[Page 80]


Tantæne animis coelestibus Iræ? Virg.
1 In Virgil's Sacred Verse we find,
2 That Passion can depress or raise
3 The Heav'nly, as the Human Mind:
4 Who dare deny what Virgil says?
5 But if They shou'd; what our Great Master
6 Has thus laid down, my Tale shall prove.
7 Fair Venus wept the sad Disaster
8 Of having lost her Fav'rite Dove.
9 In Complaisance poor Cupid mourn'd;
10 His Grief reliev'd his Mother's Pain;
11 He vow'd he'd leave no Stone unturn'd,
12 But She shou'd have her Dove again.
13 Tho' None, said He, shall yet be nam'd,
14 I know the Felon well enough:
15 But be She not, Mamma, condemn'd
16 Without a fair and legal Proof.
17 With that, his longest Dart he took,
18 As Constable wou'd take his Staff:
19 That Gods desire like Men to look,
20 Wou'd make ev'n Heraclitus laugh.
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21 Loves Subaltern, a Duteous Band,
22 Like Watchmen round their Chief appear:
23 Each had his Lanthorn in his Hand:
24 And Venus mask'd brought up the Rear.
25 Accouter'd thus, their eager Step
26 To Cloe's Lodging They directed:
27 (At once I write, alas! and weep,
28 That Cloe is of Theft suspected.)
29 Late They set out, had far to go:
30 St. Dunstan's, as They pass'd, struck One.
31 Cloe, for Reasons good, You know,
32 Lives at the sober End o'th' Town.
33 With one great Peal They rap the Door,
34 Like Footmen on a Visiting-Day.
35 Folks at Her House at such an Hour!
36 Lord! what will all the Neighbours say?
37 The Door is open'd: up They run:
38 Nor Prayers, nor Threats divert their Speed:
39 Thieves, Thieves! cries Susan; We're undone;
40 They'll kill my Mistress in her Bed.
41 In Bed indeed the Nymph had been
42 Three Hours: for all Historians say,
43 She commonly went up at Ten,
44 Unless Picquet was in the Way.
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45 She wak'd, be sure, with strange Surprize.
46 O Cupid, is this Right or Law,
47 Thus to disturb the brightest Eyes,
48 That ever slept, or ever saw?
49 Have You observ'd a sitting Hare,
50 List'ning, and fearful of the Storm
51 Of Horns and Hounds, clap back her Ear,
52 Afraid to keep, or leave her Form?
53 Or have You mark'd a Partridge quake,
54 Viewing the tow'ring Faulcon nigh?
55 She cuddles low behind the Brake:
56 Nor wou'd she stay: nor dares she fly.
57 Then have You seen the Beauteous Maid;
58 When gazing on her Midnight Foes,
59 She turn'd each Way her frighted Head,
60 Then sunk it deap beneath the Cloaths.
61 Venus this while was in the Chamber
62 Incognito: for Susan said,
63 It smelt so strong of Myrrh and Amber
64 And Susan is no lying Maid.
65 But since We have no present Need
66 Of Venus for an Episode;
67 With Cupid let us e'en proceed;
68 And thus to Cloe spoke the God:
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69 Hold up your Head: hold up your Hand:
70 Wou'd it were not my Lot to show ye
71 This cruel Writ, wherein you stand
72 Indicted by the Name of Cloe:
73 For that by secret Malice stirr'd,
74 Or by an emulous Pride invited,
75 You have purloin'd the fav'rite Bird,
76 In which my Mother most delighted.
77 Her blushing Face the lovely Maid
78 Rais'd just above the milk-white Sheet.
79 A Rose-Tree in a Lilly Bed,
80 Nor glows so red, nor breathes so sweet.
81 Are You not He whom Virgins fear,
82 And Widows court? Is not your Name
83 Cupid? If so, pray come not near
84 Fair Maiden, I'm the very same.
85 Then what have I, good Sir, to say,
86 Or do with Her, You call your Mother?
87 If I shou'd meet Her in my Way,
88 We hardly court'sy to each other.
89 Diana Chaste, and Hebe Sweet,
90 Witness that what I speak is true:
91 I wou'd not give my Paroquet
92 For all the Doves that ever flew.
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93 Yet, to compose this Midnight Noise,
94 Go freely search where-e'er you please:
95 (The Rage that rais'd, adorn'd Her Voice)
96 Upon yon' Toilet lie my Keys.
97 Her Keys He takes; her Doors unlocks;
98 Thro' Wardrobe, and thro' Closet bounces;
99 Peeps into ev'ry Chest and Box;
100 Turns all her Furbeloes and Flounces.
101 But Dove, depend on't, finds He none;
102 So to the Bed returns again:
103 And now the Maiden, bolder grown,
104 Begins to treat Him with Disdain.
105 I marvel much, She smiling said,
106 Your Poultry cannot yet be found:
107 Lies he in yonder Slipper dead,
108 Or, may be, in the Tea-pot drown'd?
109 No, Traytor, angry Love replies,
110 He's hid somewhere about Your Breast;
111 A Place, nor God, nor Man denies,
112 For Venus' Dove the proper Nest.
113 Search then, She said, put in your Hand,
114 And Cynthia, dear Protectress, guard Me:
115 As guilty I, or free may stand,
116 Do Thou, or punish, or reward Me.
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117 But ah! what Maid to Love can trust?
118 He scorns, and breaks all Legal Power:
119 Into her Breast his Hand He thrust;
120 And in a Moment forc'd it lower.
121 O, whither do those Fingers rove,
122 Cries Cloe, treacherous Urchin, whither?
123 O Venus! I shall find thy Dove,
124 Says He; for sure I touch his Feather.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The DOVE.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: ode

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Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 80-85. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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