Wednesday: The Tête à Tête

The Tête à Tête

No; fair Dancinda no; You strive in vain,
To calm my Care, and mitigate my Pain,
If all my sighs, my tears can fail to move,
Ah, sooth me not with fruitless vows of Love.—
 Thus Strephon spoke, Dancinda thus reply'd:
What must I do to gratify your Pride?
Too well you know (ungratefull as thou art)
How much you triumph in this tender Heart.
What proofe of Love remains for me to grant?
Yet still you teize me with some new Complaint!
Oh, would to Heaven (but the fond wish is vain)
Too many favours had not made it plain!
But such a passion breaks through all disguise,
Love reddens on my Cheek, and wishes in my Eyes.
 Is't not enough, Inhuman and unkind!
I own the secret conflict of my Mind?
You cannot know what torturing Pain I prove,
When I with burning Blushes own, I love.
You see my artless Joy at your Approach,
I sigh, I faint, I tremble at your touch,
And in your Absence, all the World I shun,
I hate Mankind, and curse the cheering Sun;
Still as I fly, ten thousand Swains persue;
Ten thousand Swains I sacrifice to you:
I shew you all my Heart, without Disguise:
But these are tender proofes that you despise—
I see too well what Wishes you persue;
You would not only Conquer, but undo.
You, Cruel Victor, weary of your Flame,
Would seek a Cure in my Eternal Shame;
And not content my Honor to subdue,
Now strive to triumph o're my Virtue too.
 Oh Love! A God indeed to Womankind!
(Whose Arrows burn me, and whose fetters bind)
Avenge thy Altars, vindicate thy fame,
And blast these Traitors who prophane thy Name,
Who by pretending to thy sacred Fire,
Raise Cursed Trophys to impure Desire!
 Have you forgot, with what ensnaring Art
You first seduced this fond, uncautious Heart?
Then as I fled, did you not, kneeling, cry,
Turn, Cruel Beauty! whither would you fly?
Why all these doubts, why this distrustfull Fear?
No impious Wishes shall offend your Ear,
Nor ever shall my boldest Hopes pretend
Above the Title of a tender Freind.
Blest if my Lovely Goddess will permit
My humble vow, thus sighing at her feet!
The Tyrant Love that in my Bosom reigns,
The God himselfe submits to wear your chains,
You shall direct his Course, his Ardour tame,
And check the Fury of his wildest Flame.
 Unpractis'd Youth is easily deceiv'd,
Sooth'd by such sounds, I listen'd, and beleiv'd:
Now quite forgot that soft submissive Fear,
You dare to ask, what I must blush to hear.
 Could I forget the Honor of my Race,
And meet your wishes, fearless of Disgrace;
Could Passion o're my tender Youth prevail,
And all my Mother's pious Maxims fail:
Yet to preserve your Heart (which still must be,
False as it is, for ever dear to me)
This fatal proofe of Love, I would not give,
Which you contemn the moment you receive.
The wretched she who yeilds to guilty Joys,
A Man may pity, but he must despise.
 Your Ardour ceas'd, I then should see you shun
The wretched victim by your Arts undone,
Yet if I could that cold Indifference bear,
What more would strike me with the last Despair,
With this Refflection would my Soul be torn,
To know I merited your cruel Scorn.
 Has Love no pleasures free from Guilt or Fear?
Pleasures less feirce, more lasting, more sincere?
Thus let us gently kiss, and fondly Gaze,
Love is a Child, and like a Child he plays.
 Oh Strephon! if you would continu Just,
If Love be something more than Brutal Lust;
Forbear to ask, what I must still deny,
This bitter Pleasure, this Destructive Joy;
So closely follow'd by the Dismal Train
Of cutting Shame, and Guilt's heart peirceing Pain.
 She paus'd; and fix'd her Eyes upon her Fan,
He took a pinch of snuff, and thus began,
Madam, if Love—but he could say no more
For Made'moiselle came rapping to the Door.
 The dangerous Moments no Adieus afford,
Begone, she crys, I'm sure I hear my Lord.
The Lover starts from his unfinish'd Loves,
To snatch his Hat, and seek his scatter'd Gloves,
The sighing Dame to meet her Dear prepares;
While Strephon cursing slips down the back Stairs.

Madam, if Love could touch that Gentle Breast
With halfe that ardour with which mine's oppress'd,
You would not blast my more than vestal Fire
And call it Brutal, or impure Desire.
The Lusty Bull professes not, nor vows,
But Bellows equal for a Herd of Cows,
The Stately Horse persues no chosen Fair,
But neighs, and prances for each common Mare.
This is impure desire, this Brutal Lust,
Man sighs for One, and to that One is just.
Why, Lovely Delia, do these sighs arise?
Why heaves your Breast? why sparkle thus your Eyes?
Examine your own Heart, and you will find
Some Wish still left unsatisfy'd behind.
Oh take me, press me to your panting Breast!
Let me be now, and I'm for ever blest.
He spoke, and on her Bosom laid his Cheek,
Fair Delia sigh'd, but had no power to speak,
Fair Delia blush'd, while he put out the Light,
And all that follow'd was Eternal Night.
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