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.
 
A Courtly New Ballad of the Princely Wooing of the Fair Maid of London by King Edward
Roxburghe Ballads
 
(Anonymous. From The Roxburghe Ballads, Vol. I. 1874)

FAIR Angel of England! thy beauty most bright
Is all my heart’s treasure, my joy and delight;
Then grant me, sweet Lady, thy true Love to be,
That I may say “welcome, good fortune, to me.”
 
The Turtle, so true and chaste in her love,        5
By gentle persuasions her fancy will move;
Then be not intreated, sweet Lady, in vain,
For Nature requireth what I would obtain.
 
What Phoenix so famous, that liveth alone,
Is vowèd to chastity, being but one;        10
But be not, my Darling, so chaste in desire,
Lest thou, like the Phoenix, do penance in fire.
 
But alas! (gallant Lady) I pity thy state,
In being resolved to live without mate;
For if of our courting the pleasure you knew        15
You shall have a liking the same to ensue.
 
Long time have I sued the same to obtain,
Yet I am requited with scornful disdain;
But if you will grant your good will to me,
You shall be advanced to Princely degree.        20
 
Promotions and honours may often entice
The chastest that liveth, though never so nice:
What woman so worthy but will be content
To live in the Palace where Princes frequent?
 
Two brides, young and princely, to Church have I led;        25
Two Ladies most lovely have deckèd my bed;
Yet hath thy love taken more root in my heart
Than all their contentments whereof I had part.
 
Your gentle hearts cannot men’s tears much abide,
And women least angry when most they do chide;        30
Then yield to me kindly, and say that at length
Men do want mercy, and poor women strength.
 
I grant that fair Ladies may poor men resist,
But Princes will conquer and love whom they list;
A King may command her to lie by his side,        35
Whose feature deserveth to be a King’s Bride.
 
In granting your love you shall purchase renown,
Your head shall be deckèd with England’s fair crown,
Thy garment most gallant with gold shall be wrought,
If true love, for treasure, of thee may be bought.        40
 
Great Ladies of honour shall ’tend on thy train,
Most richly attired with scarlet ingrain:
My chamber most Princely thy person shall keep,
Where Virgins with music shall rock thee asleep.
 
If any more pleasures thy heart can invent,        45
Command them, sweet Lady, thy mind to content;
For Kings’ gallant Courts, where Princes do dwell,
Afford such sweet pastimes as Ladies love well.
 
Then be not resolved to die a true Maid,
But print in thy bosom the words I have said;        50
And grant a King favour thy true love to be,
That I may say, “welcome, sweet Virgin, to me.”
 
The Fair Maid of London’s Answer to King Edward’s Wanton Love

OH, wanton King Edward! thy Labour is vain
To follow the pleasure thou canst not attain,
Which getting, thou losest, and having, dost wast[e] it,        55
The which if thou purchase, is spoiled if thou hast it.
 
But if thou obtainst it, thou nothing hast won;
And I, losing nothing, yet quite am undone;
But if of that Jewel a King do deceive me,
No King can restore, though a Kingdom he give me.        60
 
My colour is changed, since you saw me last;
My favour is vanished, my beauty is past;
The Rose’s red blushes that sate on my cheeks
To paleness are turned, which all men mislikes.
 
I pass not what Princes for love do protest,        65
The name of a Virgin contenteth me best;
I have not deserved to sleep by thy side,
Nor to be accounted for King Edward’s bride.
 
The name of a Princess I never did crave,
No such type of honour thy hand-maid will have;        70
My breast shall not harbour so lofty a thought,
Nor be with rich proffers to wantonness brought.
 
If wild wanton Rosamond, one of our sort,
Had never frequented King Henry’s brave Court,
Such heaps of deep sorrow she never had seen,        75
Nor tasted the rage of a [harsh] jealous Queen.
 
All men have their freedom to shew their intent,
They win not a woman except she consent;
Who, then, can impute to a man any fault,
Who still goes uprightly while women do halt.        80
 
’Tis counted [a] kindness in men for to try,
And virtue in women the same to deny;
For women inconstant can never be proved,
Until by their betters therein they be moved.
 
If women and modesty once do but sever,        85
Then farewell good name and credit for ever!
And, royal King Edward, let me be exiled
Ere any man knows [that] my body’s defiled.
 
No, no, my old Father’s reverent tears
Too deep an impression within my soul bears;        90
Nor shall his bright honour that blot, by me, have
To bring his gray hairs with grief to the grave.
 
The heavens forbid that when I should die,
That any such sin upon my soul lie;
If I have [yet] kept me from doing this sin,        95
My heart shall not yield with a Prince to begin.
 
Come rather with pity to weep on my Tomb,
Then, for my birth, curse my dear mother’s Womb,
That brought forth a blossom that stained the tree
With wanton desires to shame her and me.        100
 
Leave me (most noble King), tempt not, in vain,
My milk-white affections with lewdness to stain:
Though England will give me no comfort at all,
Yet England shall yield me a sad burial.
 
 
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