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You know my love which I in vain should hide ;
Would God it did appear to none beside !
Oh, Jove! how often have I turn’d my cheek,
To hide th' apparent tears, that passage seek.
From forth my eyes, and to a corner stept,
Lest any man should ask wherefore I wept.
How often have I told you piteous tales,
Of constant lovers, and how love prevails?
When such great heed to my discourse I took,
That every accent suited to your look.
In forged names myself I represented ;
The lover so perplex'd and so tormented,
If you will know, behold I am the same;
Paris was meant in that true lover's name.
As often, that I might the more securely,
Speak loose immodest words, that sound impurely,
That they offenceless might your sweet ears touch,
I've lispt them up, like one had drunk too much.
Once I remember, your loose veil betray'd
Your naked skin, and a fair passage made
To my enamour'd eye : Oh! skin much brighter
Than snow, or purest milk, in colour whiter
Than your fair mother Læda, when Jove grac'd her,
And in the shape of feather'd swan embrac'd her,
Whilst at this ravishing sight I stood amaz’d,
And without interruption freely gaz'd,
The wreathed handle of the bowl I grasp'd,
Fell from my hold, my strengthless hand unclasp'd,
A goblet at that time I held by chance,
And down it fell, for I was in a trance.
Kiss your fair daughter, and to her I skip,
And snatch your kisses from your sweet child's lip.
Sometimes I throw myself along, and lie,
Singing love-songs; and if you cast your eye
On my effeminate gestures, I still find
Some pretty cover'd signs to speak my mind;
And then my earnest suit bluntly invades
Æthra and Climene, your two chief maids,
But they return me answers full of fear,
And to my motions lend no further ear.
Oh! that you were the prize of some great strife,
And he that wins might claim you for his wife.
Hypomenes with swift Atlanta ran,
And at one course the goal and lady wou.
Even she, by whom so many suitors perishid,
Was in the bosom of her new love cherish'a.
So Hercules for Dejaneira strove,
Brake Achelous' horn, and gain'd his love,
Had I such liberty, such freedom granted,
My resolution never could be daunted.
Yourself should find, and all the world should see,
Helen a prize alone reserv'd for me.
There is not left me any means (most fair)
To court you now, but by intreats and prayer ;
Unless (as it becomes me) you think meet,
That I should prostrate fali, and kiss your feet,
Oh! all the honour that our last age wins,
Thou glory of the Tindarian twins ?
Worthy to be Jove's wife, in heaven to reign,
Were you not Jove's own daughter, of his strain.
To the Sygean confines I will carry thee,
And in the temple of great Pallas, marry thee ;
Or in this island where I vent my moans,
I'll beg a tomb for my exiled bones.
My wound is not a slight raze with an arrow,
But it hath pierc'd my heart, and burnt my marrow-
This prophecy my sister oft hath sounded,
That by an heavenly dart I should be wounded.
Oh! then forbear (fair Helen!) to oppose you
Against the gods, they say, I shall not lose you
Yield you to their behest, and you shall find
The gods to your petitions likewise kind.
A thousand things at once are in my brain,
Which that I may essentially complain,
And not in papers empty all my head,
Anon at night receive me to your bed.
Blush you at this ? or, lady, do you fear
To violate the nuptial laws austere
Oh, simple Helen ! foolish I might say,
What profit reap you to be chaste, I pray?
Is't possible, that you a world to win,
Should keep that face, that beauty, without sin ?
Rather you must your glorious face exchange
For one (less fair) or else not seem so strange.
Beauty and chastity at variance are ;
'Tis hard to find one woman chaste and fair.
Venus will not have beauty over-aw'd,
High Jove himself, stolen pleasures will applaud ;
And by such thievish pastimes we may gather
How Jove 'gainst wedlock's laws became your father.
He and your mother Læda both transgress'd :
When you were got, she bare a tender breast.
What glory can you gain love-sweets to smother?
Or to be counted chaster than your mother?
Profess strict chastity, when with great joy,
I lead you as my bride espous'd through Troy.
Then I entreat you rein your pleasures in ;
I wish thy Paris may be all thy sin.
If Cytherea her firm covenant keep,
Tho' I within your bosom nightly sleep,
We shall not much misdo, but so offend,
That we by marriage may our guilt amend.
Your husband hath himself this business aided,
And (tho' not with his tongue) he hath persuaded,
By all his deeds (as much) lest he should stay
Our private meetings, he is far away,
Of purpose rid unto the farthest West,
That he might leave his wife unto his guest.
No fitter time he could have found to visit
The Chrisean royal sceptre, and to seize it.
Oh! simple, simple husband! but he's gone,
And going, left you this to think upon.
Fair wife (quoth he) I pr’ythee in my place
Regard the Trojan prince, and do him grace.
Behold, a witness I against you stand,
You have been careless of this kind command.
Count from his first day's journey, never since
Did you regard or grace the Trojan prince.
What think you of your husband that he knows
The worth and value of the face he owes ?
Who (but a fool) such beauty would endanger!
Or trust it to the mercy of a stranger ?
Then, royal queen! if neither may intreat,
My quenchless passion, nor love's raging heat
Can win you : we are woo'd both to this crime,
Even by the fit advantage of the time :
Either to love sweet sport we must agree,
Or show ourselves to be worse fools than he.
He took you by the hand the hour he rode,
And knowing I with you must make abode,
Biings you to me: what should I further say?
It was his mind to give you quite away.
What meant he else? then let's be blythe and jolly,
And make the best use of your husband's folly.
What should we do? your husband is far gone,
And this cold night, (poor soul) you lie alone.
I want a bed-fellow, so do we either,
What lets us then, but that we lie together?
You slumb'ring think on me, on you I dream
Both our desires are fervent and extreme.
Sweet, then appoint the night, why do you stay?
O night! more clear than e'en the brightest day.
Then I dare freely speak, protest, and swear,
And of my vows the gods shall record bear.
Then will I seal the contract and the strife;
From that day forward we are man and wife :
Then questionless I shall
so far persuade,
That you with me shall Troy's rich coast invade,
And with your Phrygian guest at last agree,
Our potent kingdom, and rich crown to see.
But if you (blushing) fear the vulgar bruit,
That says you follow me, to me make suit,
Fear it not, Helen ; I'll so work with fame,
I will (alone) be guilty of all blame.
Duke Theseus was my instance, and so were
Your brothers, lady ; can I come more near,
To ensample my attempts by? Theseus hald
Helen perforce : your brothers they prevailid
With the Lucippian sisters ; now from these,
I'll count myself the fourth (if Helen please.)
Our Trojan navy rides upon the coast,
Rigg'd, arm’d, and mann'd, and I can proudly boast,
The banks are high, why do you longer stay?
The winds and oars are ready to make way.
You shall be like a high majestic queen,
Led thro’ the Dardan city, and be seen
By millions, who your state having commended,
Will (wond'ring) swear some goddess is descended.
Where'er you walk the priests shall incense burn;
No way you shall your eye or body turn,
But sacrificed beasts the ground shall beat,
And bright religious fires the welkin heat.
My father, mother, brother, sisters, all
Ilium and Troy in pomp majestical,
Shall with rich gifts present you, (but alas !)
Not the least part (so far they do surpass)
Can my epistle speak; you may behold
More than my words or writings can unfold.
Nor fear the bruit of war, or threatening steel,
When we are fled, to dog us at the heel ;
Or that all Gracia will their powers unite :
Of many ravish’d, can you one recite
Whom war repurchas'd? These be idle fears :
Rough blustering boreas fair Orithea bears
Unto the land of Thrace, yet Thrace still free,
And Athens rais'd no rude hostility.
In winged Pegasus did Jason sail ;
And from great Colchos he Medea steal:
Yet Thessaly you see can shew no scar
Of former wounds in the Thessalian war.
He that first ravish'd you, in such a fleet
As ours is, Ariadne brought from Crete.
Yet Minos and duke Theseus were agreed ;
About that quarrel not a breast did bleed.
Less is the danger (trust me) than the fear,
T a these vain and idle doubts appear.
Bu ay, rude war should be proclaim'd at length,
Know I am valiant, and have sinewy strength.
The weapons that I use are apt to kill;
Asia besides more spacious fields can fill
With armed men, than Greece. Among us are
More perfect soldiers, more beasts apt for war.
Nor can thy husband Menelaus be
Of any high spirit and magnanimity;
Or so well prov'd in arms: for, Helen, I,
Being but a lad, have made my enemies fly ;
Regain'd the prey from out the hands of thieves,
Who had despoil'd our herds, and stol'n our beeves.
By such adventures I my name obtain'd :
(Being but a lad) the conquest I have lgain'd
Of young men in their prime, who much could do;
Deiphobus, Ilioneus too
I have o'ercome in many sharp contentions ;
Nor think these are my vain and forg'd inventions ;
Or that I only hand to hand can fight;
My arrows when I please shall touch the white :
I am expert i'th' quarry and the bow;
You cannot boast your heartless husband so.
Had you the power in all things to supply me;