Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature Rose of King Charles II Aphra Behn

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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Paolo Veronese.  Venus and Adonis, c1562.
Paolo Veronese. Venus and Adonis, c1562.


When Jemmy first began to love,
    He was the gayest swain
That ever yet a flock had drove,
    Or danc't upon the plain.
'Twas then that I, weys me poor heart,
    My freedom threw away;
And finding sweets in every smart,
    I could not say him nay.

And ever when he talked of love,
    He would his eyes decline,
And every sigh a heart would move,
    Gued faith, and why not mine?
He'd press my hand, and kiss it oft,
    In silence spoke his flame.
And whilst he treated me thus soft,
    I wisht him more to blame.

Sometimes to feed my flocks with him,
    My Jemmy would invite me:
Where he the gayest songs would sing,
    On purpose to delight me.
And Jemmy every grace displayed,
    Which were enough I trow,
To conquer any princely maid,
    So did he me, I vow.

But now for Jemmy must I mourn,
    Who to the wars must go;
His sheephook to a sword must turn:
    Alack, what shall I do?
His bag-pipe into war-like sounds,
    Must now exchanged be:
Instead of bracelets, fearful wounds;
    Then what becomes of me?

Selected Writings of the Ingenious Mrs. Aphra Behn. Robert Phelps, ed.
New York: The Grove Press, 1950. 233.

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