THE CURIOUS MAID
by: Hildebrand Jacobs
gaudy sign, no more,
- To tempt the gazer to the door;
- Without the entertainment lies,
- Far off remov'd from vulgar eyes.
- Thus Chloe, beautiful and gay,
- As on her bed the Wanton lay,
- Hardly awake from dreaming o'er
- Her conquests of the day before.
- And what's this hidden charm? (she cry'd)
- And spurned th' embracing cloaths aside,
- From limbs of such a shape and hue,
- As Titian's pencil never drew;
- Resol'd the Dark Abode to trace,
- Of female honour or disgrace;
- Where Virtue finds her talk too hard,
- And often slumbers on the guard.
- Th' attempt she makes, and buckles to
- With all her might; but 'twou'd not do;
- Still, as she bent, the Part requir'd,
- As conscious of its shame, retir'd.
- What's to be done? We're all-aground!
- Some other method must be found--
- Water Narcissus' Face cou'd show,
- And why not Chloe's charms below?
- Big with this project she applies
- The Jordan to her virgin thighs;
- But the dull Lake her wish denies.
- What luck is here? We're foil'd again!
- The Devil's in the Dice, that's plain!
- No Chymist e'er was so perplexed;
- No jilted Coxcomb half so vex'd;
- No Bard, whose gentle muse excells
- At Tunbridge, Bath, or Epsom-Wells,
- Ordain'd by Phoebus' special grace,
- To sing the beauties of the place,
- E'er pump'd, and chaf'd to that degree,
- To tag his fav'rite simile.
- Thus folks are often at a stand,
- When remedies are near at hand.
- For lo! the Glass--ay, That indeed!
- 'Tis Ten to One we now succeed!
- To this relief she flies amain,
- And straddles o'er the shining Plain,
- The shining Plain reflects at large
- All Damon's wish and Chloe's charge.
- The Curious Maid, in deep surprise,
- On the Grim Feature, fix'd her eyes:
- (Far less amaz'd Æneas stood,
- When by Avernus' sacred flood,
- He saw Hell's Portal fringed with Wood.)
- And is this all? Is this (she cry'd)
- Man's great Desire, and Woman's Pride:
- The Spring whence flows the Lover's Pain,
- The Ocean where 'tis lost again,
- By Fate for ever doom'd to prove
- The Nursery and Grove of Love?
- O thou of dire and horrid mien,
- Far always better felt than seen!
- Fit rapture for the gloomy Night,
- O, never more approach the Light!
- Like other Myst'ries men adore,
- Be hid to be rever'd the more.
POEMS BY HILDEBRAND JACOBS
"The Curious Maid" is
reprinted from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York:
Crown Publishers, 1921.