Town Eclogues: Wednesday; The Tête à Tête

Original Text: 
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Six Town Eclogues. With some other Poems (London: M. Cooper, 1747): 15-19. British Library 11631.g.10. ESTC reel 2908 no. 5
1DANCINDA. " NO, fair DANCINDA, no ; you strive in vain
2" To calm my care and mitigate my pain ;
3" If all my sighs, my cares, can fail to move,
4" Ah ! sooth me not with fruitless vows of love."
5Thus STREPHON spoke. DANCINDA thus reply'd :
6`What must I do to gratify your pride ?
7`Too well you know (ungrateful as thou art)
8`How much you triumph in this tender heart ;
9`What proof of love remains for me to grant ?
10Yet still you teize me with some new complaint.
11Oh ! would to heav'n ! -- but the fond wish is vain --
12Too many favours had not made it plain !
13But such a passion breaks thro' all disguise,
14Love reddens on my cheek and wishes in my eyes.
15Is't not enough (inhuman and unkind !)
16I own the secret conflict of my mind ?
17You cannot know what secret pain I prove,
18When I with burning blushes own I love.
19You see my artless joy at your approach,
20I sigh, I faint, I tremble at your touch ;
21And in your absence all the world I shun ;
22I hate mankind, and curse the cheering sun.
23Still as I fly, ten thousand swains pursue ;
24Ten thousand swains I sacrifice to you.
25I shew you all my heart without disguise :
26But these are tender proofs that you despise --
27I see too well what wishes you pursue ;
28You wou'd not only conquer, but undo :
29You, cruel victor, weary of your flame,
30Would seek a cure in my eternal shame ;
31And not content my honour to subdue,
32Now strive to triumph o'er my virtue too.
33Oh ! LOVE, a God indeed to womankind,
34Whose arrows burn me and whose fetters bind,
35Avenge thy altars, vindicate thy fame,
36And blast these traytors that profane thy name,
37Who by pretending to thy sacred fire,
38Raise cursed trophies to impure desire.
39Have you forgot with what ensnaring art
40You first seduc'd this fond uncautious heart ?
41Then as I fled, did you not kneeling cry,
42Turn, cruel beauty ; whither wou'd you fly ?
43Why all these Doubts ? why this distrustful fear ?
44No impious wishes shall offend your ear :
45Nor ever shall my boldest hopes pretend
46Above the title of a tender friend ;
47Blest, if my lovely Goddess will permit
48My humble vow, thus sighing at her feet.
49The tyrant Love that in my Bosom reigns,
50The God himself submits to wear your chains ;
51You shall direct his course, his ardour tame,
52And check the fury of his wildest flame.
53Unpractis'd youth is easily deceiv'd ;
54Sooth'd by such sounds, I listen'd and believ'd :
55Now quite forgot that soft submissive fear :
56You dare to ask what I must blush to hear.
57Cou'd I forget the honour of my race,
58And meet your wishes, fearless of disgrace ;
59Cou'd passion o'er my tender youth prevail,
60And all my mother's pious maxims fail ;
61Yet to preserve your heart (which still must be,
62False as it is, for ever dear to me)
63This fatal proof of love I wou'd not give,
64Which you contemn the moment you receive.
65The wretched she, who yields to guilty joys
66A man may pity, but he must despise.
67Your ardour ceas'd, I then shou'd see you shun
68The wretched victim by your arts undone.
69Yet if I cou'd that cold indifference bear,
70What more wou'd strike me with the last despair,
71With this reflection wou'd my soul be torn,
72To know I merited your cruel scorn.
73Has Love no pleasures free from guilt or fear ?
74Pleasures less fierce, more lasting, more sincere ?
75Thus let us gently kiss and fondly gaze,
76Love is a child, and like a child it plays.
77O STREPHON, if you wou'd continue just,
78If Love be something more than brutal lust,
79Forbear to ask what I must still deny,
80This bitter pleasure, this destructive joy,
81So closely follow'd by the dismal train
82Of cutting shame, and guilt's heart-piercing pain.
83She paus'd ; and fix'd her eyes upon her fan ;
84He took a pinch of snuff, and thus began ;
85Madam, if Love -- but he cou'd say no more,
86For Mademoiselle came rapping at the door.
87The dangerous moments no adieus afford ;
88Begone, she cries, I'm sure I hear my Lord.
89The lover starts from his unfinish'd loves,
90To snatch his hat, and seek his scatter'd gloves :
91The sighing dame to meet her dear prepares,
92While STREPHON cursing, slips down the back-stairs.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998-2000.