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Poem by Jonathan Swift
Louisa to Strephon
Ah! Strephon, how can you despise Her, who without thy pity dies! To Strephon I have still been true, And of as noble blood as you; Fair issue of the genial bed, A virgin in thy bosom bred: Embraced thee closer than a wife; When thee I leave, I leave my life. Why should my shepherd take amiss, That oft I wake thee with a kiss? Yet you of every kiss complain; Ah! is not love a pleasing pain? A pain which every happy night You cure with ease and with delight; With pleasure, as the poet sings, Too great for mortals less than kings. Chloe, when on thy breast I lie, Observes me with revengeful eye: If Chloe o'er thy heart prevails, She'll tear me with her desperate nails; And with relentless hands destroy The tender pledges of our joy. Nor have I bred a spurious race; They all were born from thy embrace. Consider, Strephon, what you do; For, should I die for love of you, I'll haunt thy dreams, a bloodless ghost; And all my kin, (a numerous host,) Who down direct our lineage bring From victors o'er the Memphian king; Renown'd in sieges and campaigns, Who never fled the bloody plains: Who in tempestuous seas can sport, And scorn the pleasures of a court; From whom great Sylla found his doom, Who scourged to death that scourge of Rome, Shall on thee take a vengeance dire; Thou like Alcides shalt expire, When his envenom'd shirt he wore, And skin and flesh in pieces tore. Nor less that shirt, my rival's gift, Cut from the piece that made her shift, Shall in thy dearest blood be dyed, And make thee tear thy tainted hide.
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