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.
 
The Bower of Bliss
By Robert Burns (1759–1796)
 
(An old Scots countryside song. From The Merry Muses of Caledonia, c. 1800)

WHILST others to thy bosom rise
And paint the glories of thine eyes;
Or bid thy lips and cheeks disclose
The unfading bloom of Eden’s rose;
Which fell, not fear we most admire,        5
Less obvious charms, not less divine,
I sing that lovely bower of thine.
 
Rich gems worth India’s wealth alone,
How much pursued, how little known;
Tho’ rough its face, tho’ dim its hue,        10
It soils the lustre of Peru.
The vet’ran such a prize to gain,
Might all the toils of war sustain;
A devotee forsake his shrine
To venerate that bower of thine.        15
 
When the stung heart feels keen desire,
And through each vein pours liquid fire;
When with flush’d cheeks and burning eyes,
Thy lover to thy bosom flies;
Believe, dear maid, believe my vow,        20
By Venus’ self, I swear, ’tis true,
More bright the higher beauties shine,
Ilium’d by that strange bower of thine.
 
What thought sublime, what lofty strains
Its wondrous virtues can explain?        25
No place, howe’er remote, can be
From its intense attraction free.
Tho’ more elastic far than steel,
Its force ten thousand needles feel;
Pleas’d their high temper to resign        30
In that magnetic bower of thine.
 
Irriguous vale, embrown’d with shades,
Which no intrinsic storm pervades!
Soft clime, where native summer glows,
And nectar’s living current flows!        35
Not Tempe’s vale, renoun’d of yore,
Of charms could boast such endless store;
More than Elysian sweets combine
To grace that smiling bower of thine?
 
O may no rash invader stain        40
Love’s warm, sequestered virgin fane!
For me alone let gentle fate
Reserve the dear august retreat!
Along its banks when shall I stray?
Its beauteous landscape when survey?        45
How long in fruitless anguish pine
Nor view unveil’d that bower of thine?
 
O! let my tender trembling hand
The awful gate of life expand!
With all its wonders feast my sight)        50
Dear prelude to immense delight!
Till plung’d in liquid joy profound,
The dark unfathom’d deep I sound;
All panting on thy breast recline,
And, murmuring, bless that bower of thine.        55
 
 
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