Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
Bessie Bell
By Richard Brathwaite (1588?–1673)
 
(From Barnabee’s Journal, 1638)

DAMÆTAS.        ELIZA-BELLA.
1.
DAM.  My bonny Bell. I love thee so well,
I would thou wad scud a lang hether,
That we might here in a Cellar dwell,
And blend our bows together!
Deer a’rt to me as thy geere’s to thee,        5
The World will never suspect us,
This place it is private, ’tis folly to drive it,
Love Spies have no eyes to detect us.
 
2.
BEL.  Trust me Damætus, youth will not let us,
Yet to be sing’d with love’s taper,        10
Bonny blith Swainlin intend thy Lambkin,
To requite both thy lays and thy labour.
I love not thee, why should’st thou love me,
The yoke, I cannot approve it,
Than lie still with one, I’d rather have none,        15
Nor I love, nor am lov’d, nor have loved.
 
3.
DAM.  To lead apes in hell, it will not do well,
’Tis an enemy to procreation,
In the world to tarry and never to marry
Would bring it soon to desolation.        20
See my countenance is merry, cheeks red as cherry,
This Cover will never suspect us,
This place it is private, ’tis folly to drive it,
Loves Spies have no eyes to detect us.
 
4.
BEL.  ’Las, maidens must fain it, I love though I lain it,
        25
I would, but I will not confess it,
My years are consorting and fain would be sporting,
But bashfulness shames to express it.
I love not thee, why should’st thou love me,
That yoke I cannot approve it,        30
Than lie still with one, I’d rather have none,
Nor I love, nor am lov’d, nor have loved.
 
5.
DAM.  My beauteous Bell, who stars dost excell
See mine eyes never dries but do weat me,
Some comfort unbuckle my sweet honeysuckle,        35
Come away, do not stay, I entreat thee.
Delay would undo me, hie quickly unto me,
This River will never suspect us,
This place it is private, ’tis folly to drive it,
Loves Spies have no eyes to detect us.        40
 
6.
BEL.  Come on Damætas, ripe age doth fit us,
Take aside thy naked Bride and enjoy her,
So thou coil thy sweeting, let flocks fall a bleeting,
My maids weed on thy meed I’ll bestow there.
Thus love I thee, so be thou love me,        45
The yoke is so sweet I approve it,
To lie still with one is better than none,
I do love, I am lov’d, and have lov’d it.
 
 
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