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.
 
“When May Is Come”
Anonymous
 
(Twelfth Century French Song. Translated by Claude C. Abbott)

WHEN May is come and roses open wide,
From them I went to pluck in friendly wise.
Near to an abbey, by a green wood side,
A little space I heard sweet voice confide:
 
“I feel the sweet pains ’neath my girdle run;        5
Cursed of God be they who made me nun!
 
Who made me nun, by Jesu cursed be!
Vespers, complines, I speak unwillingly;
For better far love I good company
Which knows of dalliance and jollity.        10
 
I feel the sweet pains ’neath my girdle run;
Cursed of God be they who made me nun!”
 
She spoke aloud: “my heart is sick with fear;
Ah God! who mewed me in this abbey drear?
But by our Lady I will out from here,        15
Nor gown nor surplice will I ever wear.
 
I feel the sweet pains ’neath my girdle run.
Cursed of God be they who made me nun!
 
I will command my own dear love that he
Come seek me in this abbey speedily,        20
We will to Paris, live right merrily,
For I am young, a comely man is he.
 
I feel the sweet pains ’neath my girdle run.
Cursed of God be they who made me nun!”
 
When her lover had this her speaking heard,        25
He leapt for joy, the heart within him stirred,
Towards the abbey gate straightway he spurred,
And drew his dear love forth without a word.
 
“I feel the sweet pains ’neath my girdle run.
Cursed of God be they who made me nun!”        30
 
 
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