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 Counterlove
By John Lyly (1555?–1606)
 
(From The Phoenix Nest, 1593)

DECLARE, O mind, from fond desires excluded,
That thou didst find erewhile, by Love deluded.
 
An eye, the plot, whereon Love sets his gin,
Beauty, the trap, wherein the heedless fall,
A smile, the train, that draws the simple in,        5
Sweet words, the wily instrument of all,
  Intreaties posts, fair promises are charms,
  Writing, the messenger, that woos our harms.
 
Mistress, and servant, titles of mischance:
Commandments done, the act of slavery,        10
Their colors worn, a clownish cognizance,
And double duty, petty drudgery,
  And when she twines and dallies with thy locks,
  Thy freedom then is brought into the stocks.
 
To touch her hand, her hand binds thy desire,        15
To wear her ring, her ring is Nessus’ gift,
To feel her breast, her breast doth blow the fire,
To see her bare, her bare a baleful drift,
  To bait thine eyes thereon, is loss of sight,
  To think of it, confounds thy senses quite.        20
 
Kisses the keys, to sweet consuming sin,
Closings, Cleopatra’s adders at thy breast,
Fained resistance then she will begin,
And yet unsatiable in all the rest,
  And when thou dost unto the act proceed,        25
  The bed doth groan, and tremble at the deed.
 
Beauty, a silver dew that falls in May,
Love is an Eggshell, with that humor filled,
Desire, a winged boy, coming that way,
Delights and dallies with it in the field,        30
  The fiery Sun, draws up the shell on high,
  Beauty decays, Love dies, desire doth fly.
 
  Unharmed give ear, that thing is hap’ly caught,
    That cost some dear, if thou mayst ha’ for naught.
 
 
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