1 THrough the close covert of the shady grove,
2 One summer's day it was my chance to rove,
3 Where, shrouded from the sun's too scorching ray,
4 Stretch'd at her ease, half-slumbering Cloe lay.
5 Occasion so inviting, who could miss?
6 Softly I stole, and snatch'd a sudden kiss.
7 Startled at first, the rising blush display'd
8 The quick resentment of the ruffled maid;
9 Lively display'd — for soon it over past;
10 Such blushing anger never long did last!
11 Quick reconcilement must to rage succeed,
12 Where wrongs ideal solid pleasures breed.
13 Submissive looks my pardon soon obtain'd,
14 And pardon'd love as soon new boldness gain'd.
15 Offending thus, forgiving thus, we lay,
16 Long time entranc'd with the alternate play;[Page 313]
17 'Till warn'd, too soon, by envious night, we part:
18 The thrilling joy still flutters round my heart;
19 Thought still, tho' fainter, paints the glowing bliss,
20 On fancy's lip still cleaves the rapt'rous kiss.
21 But mark the sad effects of casual love,
22 And tread with caution in the shady grove.
23 In due time, Cloe at my doors appears,
24 A fix'd composure on her brow she wears;
25 And guess the cause: close in her lap conceal'd
26 A lovely twin in either hand she held;
27 And take, she cry'd, these pledges of our love,
28 These fruits you planted in the shady grove.
29 Soft as the downy bloom on Cloe's check,
30 Smooth as the polish'd ivory of her neck,
31 Warm as her bosom, white as was her arm,
32 So smooth were they and white, so soft and warm,
33 Pleas'd I receiv'd them for the giver's sake,
34 Heedless what censures strait-lac'd prudes might make.
35 Compliant to my forming hand they grew,
36 And with their size increas'd obedience due,
37 As I direct they take th' appointed bent,
38 With ev'ry motion, ev'ry beck, consent,
39 Whate'er I want, they reach with ready hand,
40 Where-e'er I go, they wait at my command.
41 Now at ease one in my bosom lays;
42 While by my side the other wanton plays;
43 Now this my hand embraces; t' other free,
44 Takes his full swing and plays at liberty.[Page 314]
45 Before me hand in hand sometimes they move,
46 Emblems of friendship, and united love;
47 Sometimes behind my leading steps they trace
48 Still closely knit in brotherly embrace;
49 Anon on either side as guards attend,
50 At once adorn me, and at once defend.
51 Still more and more my love they thus engage,
52 Thus still shall cherish my declining age;
53 And when th' appointed hour of fate shall come,
54 They'll follow still attendant on my tomb.
55 More lasting far than man's soon fading breath,
56 Their love extends beyond the vale of death;
57 They'll hang for ever o'er my much-lov'd bust,
58 Till they themselves, like me, are turn'd to dust.