All the way to the hospital
for my twentieth transfusion
i thought of you, darling,
and your funny lovebites.
--David Calder

Breathes there a man with hide so tough,
Who says two sexes aren't enough?
--Samuel Hoffenstein (1890-1947)

She was poor but she was honest,
Victim of a rich man's whim.
He was rich and he seduced her,
And she had a child by him.

See him riding in his carriage,
See him going to the hunt,
Thinking nothing of a marriage,
Only of a piece of cunt.

Now she stands in Picadilly,
Selling matches by the box;
Anyone who buys those matches
Gets a hellfire dose of pox.

There was a young plumber of Leigh
Was plumbing a maid by the sea.
      Said the main, "Cease your plumbing,
      I think someone's coming."
Said the plumber, still plumbing, "It's me!"
--Arnold Bennett

When Pontius wished an edict might be passed
That cuckolds should into the sea be cast,
His wife, assenting, thus replied to him:
"But first, my dear, I'd have you learn to swim."
--Matthew Prior (1664-1721)

You sing a little song or two,
And you have a little chat,
You make a little candy-fudge,
And then you take your hat.

You hold her hand and say "Good-night"
As sweetly as you can;
Ain't that a hell of an evening
For a great big, healthy man!

from Idea
Michael Drayton (1563--1631)
Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part;
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart
That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
Shake hands forever; cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocense is closing up his eyes,
      Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
      From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

There was a young harlot of Clyde
Whose doctor cut open her hide.
      He misplaced his stitches
      And closed the wrong niches;
She now does her work on the side.

There was a young lady named Flo
Whose lover was almighty slow.
      So they tried it all night
      Till he got it just right,
For practice makes pregnant, you know.

A broken-down harlot named Tupps
Was heard to confess in her cups,
      "The height of my folly
      Was diddling a collie-
But I got a nice price for the pups."

A lady removing her scanties
Heard them crackle electrical chanties;
      Said her husband, "My dear,
      I very much fear
You suffer from amps in your panties."

Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all, for I know your savor;
But I am completely nourished.

William Wood
I twist your arm,
You twist my leg,
I make you cry,
You make me beg,
I dry your eyes,
You wipe my nose
And that's the way
The Loving goes.

John Wilmot (1647-1680)
Have you not in a chimney seen
A sullen faggot, wet and green,
How coyly it reserves the heat,
And at both ends does fume and sweat?

So fares it with the harmless maid
When first upon her back she's laid.
But the kind, experienced dame
Cracks, and rejoices in the same.

Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)

Exhausted now her sighs, and dry her tears,
For twenty youths these more than twenty years,
Anne, turning nun, swears God alone shall have her...
God ought to bow profoundly for the favour.

annie died the other day
e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

annie died the other day

never was there such a lay--
whom, among her dollies, dad
first ('don't tell your mother') had
making annie slightly mad
but very wonderful in bed
--saints and satyrs, go your way

youths and maidens: let us pray

Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)
I only kissed her hand;
      Is that why Lisette dislikes me?
I cannot understand--
I only kissed her hand,
I deserved a reprimand--
      But another notion strikes me:
I only kissed her hand;
      Is that why Lisette dislikes me?

Matthew Prior (1664-1721)
No, no; for my virginity
When I lose that, says Rose, I'll die,
Behind the elms, last night, cried Dick,
Rose, were you not extremely sick?

Robert Creeley (1926--)
My wife and I lived all alone,
contention was our only bone.
I fought with her, she fought with me,
and things went on right merrily.

But now I live here by myself
with hardly a damn thing on the shelf,
and pass my days with little cheer
since I have parted from my dear.

Oh come home soon, I write to her.
Go fuck yourself, is her answer.
Now what is that, for Christian word?
I hope she feeds on dried goose turd.

I love her and the children too.
I only think it fit that she
should quickly come right back to me.

Ah no, she says, and she is tough,
and smacks me down with her rebuff.
Ah no, she says, I will not come
after the bloody things you've done.

Oh wife, oh wife -- I tell you true,
I never loved no one but you.
I never will, it cannot be
another woman is for me.

That may be right, she will say then,
but as for me, there's other men.
And I will tell you I propose
to catch them firmly by the nose.

And I will wear what dresses I choose!
And I will dance, and what's to lose!
I'm free of you, you little prick,
and I'm the one to make it stick.

Was this the darling I did love?
Was this that mercy from above
did open violets in the spring --
and made my own worn self to sing?

She was. I know. And she is still,
and if I love her? then so I will.
And I will tell her, and tell her right . . .

Oh lovely lady, morning or evening or afternoon.
Oh lovely lady, eating with or without a spoon.
Oh most lovely lady, whether dressed or undressed or partly.
Oh most lovely lady, getting up or going to bed or sitting only.

Oh loveliest of ladies, than whom none is more fair, more gracious, more beautiful.
Oh loveliest of ladies, whether you are just or unjust, merciful, indifferent, or cruel.
Oh most loveliest of ladies, doing whatever, seeing whatever, being whatever.
Oh most loveliest of ladies, in rain, in shine, in any weather.

Oh lady, grant me time,
please, to finish my rhyme.

Wendy Cope (1945--)
From: Serious Concerns
Bloody men are like bloody buses--

You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.
You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You're trying to read the destinations,
You haven't much time to decide.
If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you'll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.

James Tucker
A year now without a letter.
Come and scrape the paint from the walls.
Lift up the tiles from the floor.
Rip out all the devious wires
that led to the maps
we argued under.
In the attic, there’s a flower you missed.
Go up the stairs,
(after pulling up the carpet),
and tear the petals apart.
In the cellar, there’s a bottle of wine
never opened, it meant to much.
Break it, break the blue plates
our forks scraped lines in.
Remove the strings from the guitar
and use them to choke the cat.
Take the one black stocking you left,
take your combs and pins.
Take especially the bed
we rolled in like colts.
Knock out the braces,
carry off the bricks.
Let the whole house fall down.
Salt this ground.

Adrian Mitchell (1932--)
When I am sad and weary,
When I think all hope has gone,
When I walk along High Holbern
I think of you with nothing on.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Thou gav'st me leave to kiss,
Thou gav'st me leave to woo,
Thou mad'st me think by this
And that, thou lov'dst me too.
But I shall ne'er forget
How for to make you merry
Thou mad'st me chop, but yet
Another snapped the cherry.

Robert Burns (1759--1796)
Comin' thro' the rye, poor body,
      Comin' thro' the rye;
She draigl't a' her petticoatie,
      Comin' thro' the rye.

      Oh, Jenny's a' weet, poor body,
            Jenny's seldom dry;
      She's draigl't a' her petticoatie,
            Comin' thro' the rye.

Gin a body meet a body,
      Comin' thro' the rye;
Gin a body kiss a body,
      Need a body cry?

Gin a body meet a body,
      Comin' thro' the glen;
Gin a body kiss a body,
      Need the warld ken?

Harry Graham (1874–1936)
Weep no more for little Leonie,
Abducted by a French Marquis!
Though loss of honor was a wrench,
Just think how it's improved her French!

"How's your father?" came the whisper
      Bashful Ned the silence breaking;
"Oh, he's nicely," Annie murmured,
      Smilingly the question taking.

Conversation flagged a moment.
      Hopeless Ned essayed another:
"Annie, I-I," then a coughing,
      And the question, "How's your mother?"

"Mother? Oh, she's doing finely!"
      Fleeting fast was all forbearance,
When in low, despairing accents,
      Came the climax, "How's your parents?"

A. D. Hope
Crossing the frontier they were stopped in time,
Told, quite politely, they would have to wait:
Passports in order, nothing to declare
And surely holding hands was not a crime
Until they saw how, ranged across the gate,
All their most formidable friends were there.

Wearing his conscience like a crucifix,
Her father, rampant, nursed the Family Shame;
And, armed with their old-fashioned dinner-gong,
His aunt, who even when they both were six,
Had just to glance towards a childish game
To make them feel that they were doing wrong.

And both their mothers, simply weeping floods,
Her head-mistress, his boss, the parish priest,
And the bank manager who cashed their cheques;
The man who sold him his first rubber-goods;
Dog Fido, from whose love-life, shameless beast,
She first observed the basic facts of sex.

They looked as though they had stood there for hours;
For years -- perhaps for ever. In the trees
Two furtive birds stopped courting and flew off;
While in the grass beside the road the flowers
Kept up their guilty traffic with the bees.
Nobody stirred. Nobody risked a cough.

Nobody spoke. The minutes ticked away;
The dog scratched idly. Then, as parson bent
And whispered to a guard who hurried in,
The customs-house loudspeakers with a bray
Of raucous and triumphant argument
Broke out the wedding march from Lohengrin.

He switched the engine off: "We must turn back."
She heard his voice break, though he had to shout
Against a din that made their senses reel,
And felt his hand, so tense in hers, go slack.
But suddenly she laughed and said: "Get out!
Change seats! Be quick!" and slid behind the wheel.

And drove the car straight at them with a harsh,
Dry crunch that showered both with scraps and chips,
Drove through them; barriers rising let them pass
Drove through and on and on, with Dad's moustache
Beside her twitching still round waxen lips
And Mother's tears still streaming down the glass.

Edward Newman Horn (1905- )
Darling, if you only knew
How delectable are you;
Such a clever, dear, delightful,
Fresh and fragrant little nightful.

Virginia Graham (1912--1998)
Shyness and modesty, they said,
      Will bring love to your side,
Seek not to gild the gingerbread;
      Dear heavens, how they lied!

The oinment pots are full of flies,
      And bitter is the cup
For those of us who drop our eyes
      And no one picks them up.

Robert Graves (1895 - 1985)
Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame
That at the whisper of Love's name,
Or Beauty's, presto! up you raise
Your angry head and stand at gaze?

Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach
The ravelin and effect a breach--
Indifferent what you storm or why,
So be that in the breach you die!

Love may be blind, but Love at least
Knows what is man and what mere beast;
Or Beauty wayward, but requires
More delicacy from her squires.

Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
Could be your staunchness at the post,
When were you made a man of parts
To think fine and profess the arts?

Will many-gifted Beauty come
Bowing to your bald rule of thumb,
Or Love swear loyalty to your crown?
Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!

Gavin Ewart (1916-1995)
The love we thought would never stop
now cools like a congealing chop.
The kisses that were hot as curry
are bird pecks taken in a hurry.
The hands that held electric charges
now lie inert as four moored barges.
The feet that ran to meet a date
are running slow and running late.
The eyes that shone and seldom shut
are victims of a power cut.
The parts that then transmitted joy
are now reserved and cold and coy.
Romance, expected once to stay,
has left a note saying GONE AWAY.

J.V. Cunningham (1911- )

And now you're ready who while she was here
Hung like a flag in a calm. Friend, though you stand
Erect and eager, in your eye a tear,
I will not pet you, or lend a hand.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
When other ladies to the shades go down,
Still Flavia, Chloris, Celia stay in town;
Those ghosts of beauty lingering there abide,
And haunt the places where their honor died.

Sophie Burrell (1750-1802)

Which is the best to hit your taste,
Fat pork or scrag of mutton?
The last wou'd suit an invalid,
The first wou'd gorge a glutton.

If fat and plenty is your aim,
Let Phillis be your treat.
If leaner viands are your choice,
You Pamela may eat.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
"Never shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair."

"But I can get a hair dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or carrot,
That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair."

"I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair."

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Would ye have fresh cheese and cream?
Julia's breast can give you them.
And if more, each nipple cries
To your cream here's strawberries.

W.H. Auden (1907-1973)
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Wendy Cope (1945--)
There's not a Shakespeare sonnet
Or a Beethoven quartet
That's easier to like than you
Or harder to forget.

You think that sounds extravagant?
I haven't finished yet--
I like you more than I would like
To have a cigarette.

Paul Ramsey (1924--)
No, she said. Please, she said.
He tasted her hunger, his fingers
touching her earlobe, the flesh behind it.
Nonetheless, he did not kiss her
In the hallway and down the stairs he trembled
with the hurt of his leaving.
In the raw snow blowing in the wind,
In the slide of the water loosing,
he said, Please, he said Please, in the snow.

Anonymous (1670)

I'd have you, quoth he
Would you have me, quoth she,
where, Sir?

In my Chamber, quoth he,
In your Chamber, quoth she,
      Why there, Sir?

To kiss you, quoth he.
To kiss me, quoth she,
why, Sir?

'Cause I love it, quoth he.
Do you love it, quoth she,
      So do I, Sir.

Lines written upon hearing the startling news that cocoa is, in fact, a mild aphrodisiac
Stanley J. Sharpless

Half-past nine-high time for supper;
"Cocoa, love?" "Of course, my dear."
Helen thinks it's quite delicious,
John prefers it now to beer.
Knocking back the sepia potion,
Hubby winks, says, "Who's for bed?"
"Shan't be long," says Helen softly,
Cheeks a faintly flushing red.
For they've stumbled on the secret
Of a love that never wanes,
Rapt beneath the tumbled bedclothes,
Cocoa coursing through their veins.

Don't you care for my love? she said bitterly.

      I handed her the mirror, and said:
Please address these questions to the proper person!
Please make all requests to head-quarters!
In all matters of emotional importance
please approach the supreme authority direct! --
     So I handed her the mirror.
And she would have broken it over my head,
but she caught sight of her own reflection
and that held her spell bound for two seconds
     while I fled.

by Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)
Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in:
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kissed me.
(PS: There's a funny version of this one in the section on parodies...)


Some say that kissing's a sin;
      But I think it's nane awa,
For kissing has wonn'd in this world
      Sincere ever that there was twa.

O, if it wasna lawfu'
      Lawyers wadna allow it;
If it wasna holy,
      Ministers wadna do it.

If it wasna modest,
      Maidens wadna tak' it,
If it wasna plenty,
      Puir folk wadna get it.

Hugh S. Robertson

Step we gaily, on we go, Heel for heel and toe for toe
Arm in arm and row on row, All for Mairi's wedding.

Over hillways up and down,
Myrtle green and bracken brown,
Past the shieling, through the town,
All for sake o' Mairi.

Red her cheeks as rowans are,
Bright her eyes as any star,
Fairest o' them a' by far,
      Is our darling Mairi.


Plenty herring, plenty meal,
      Plenty peat to fill her creel,
Plenty bonnie bairns as weel;
      That's the toast for Mairi.

Wendy Cope
The day he moved out was terrible--
That evening she went through hell.
His absence wasn't a problem
But the corkscrew had gone as well.

by Charles Stuart Calverley (1831-1884)
Canst thou love me, lady?
        I've not learn'd to woo:
    Thou art on the shady
        Side of sixty too.
    Still I love thee dearly!
        Thou hast lands and pelf:
    But I love thee merely
        Merely for thyself.
    Wilt thou love me, fairest?
     Though thou art not fair;
And I think thou wearest
     Someone-else's hair.
Thou could'st love, though, dearly:
     And, as I am told,
Thou art very nearly
     Worth thy weight, in gold.
Dost thou love me, sweet love?
     Tell me that thou dost!
Women fairly beat one,
     But I think thou must.
Thou art loved so dearly:
     I am plain, but then
Thou (to speak sincerely)
     Art as plain again.
Love me, bashful fairy!
     I've an empty purse:
And I've "moods," which vary;
     Mostly for the worse.
Still, I love thee dearly:
     Though I make (I feel)
Love a little queerly,
     I'm as true as steel.
Love me, swear to love me
     (As, you know, they do)
By yon heaven above me
     And its changeless blue.
Love me, lady, dearly,
     If you'll be so good;
Though I don't see clearly
     On what ground you should.
Love me -- ah or love me
     Not, but be my bride!
Do not simply shove me
     (So to speak) aside!
P'raps it would be dearly
     Purchased at the price;
But a hundred yearly
     Would be very nice.

Nicholas Moore (1918- )
He sat alone upon an ash-heap by
A slow meandering brook, his spectacles
Perched endlessly upon his scholar's nose.
The yokels pointed at him, schoolboys jeered,
Professors shook their heads, the women laughed.
Yet still he kept his rigid pose.

Then one day in the field he saw a girl,
A solitary reaper of desires,
Tying the corn or picking poppies from it.
He knew her from the random crowds he'd seen
Scoffing at him. She was a different sort.
In the margin he wrote a lissom sonnet.

Then he got up and raced across the field.
She raised her head, and looked at him, and cried
My love, my love. He picked her one small rose
From the tall hedge and took her silently.
Then he returned to face the scoffing world,
His spectacles perched handsome on his nose.

Peter Anthony Motteun
Man is for woman made,
And the woman made for man;
As the spur is for the jade,
As the scabbard for the blade,
As for digging is the spade,
As for liquor is the can,
So man is for the woman made,
And the woman made for man.

As the sceptre's to be swayed,
As for night's the serenade,
As for pudding is the pan.
And to cool us is the fan,
So man is for the woman made
And the woman made for man.

Be she widow, wife, or maid,
Be she wanton, be she staid,
Be she well or ill-arrayed,
Whore, or bawd, or harridan,
Yet man is for the woman made
And the woman made for man.

R.G. Howarth (1906-1974)

We loved: we vowed our love would never die.
Who was she? For that matter, who was I?

MERCURY’S SONG (from Amphitryon)
John Dryden (1631-1700)
Fair this I love, and hourly I die,
But not for a lip nor a languishing eye:
She’s fickle and false, and there we agree,
But I am as false and as fickle as she;
We neither believe what either can say,
And, neither believing, we neither betray.

‘Tis civil to swear and say things of course;
We mean not the taking for better for worse.
When present, we love; when absent, agree:
I think not of Iris, nor Iris of me.
The legend of love no couple can find
So easy to part, or so equally joined.

Bud De Sylva
The other night I dreamed that I was
Down at the bottom of the sea.
I met a Mermaid fair, Who had a cottage there,
Her name was Minnie and she tumbled for me.
She had the tail of a fish for a train,
But just the same, she could sure entertain.
O, what a time I had with Minnie the Mermaid,
Down at the bottom of the sea.
Down amongst the corals where she lost her morals,
My, but she was good to me.
Oh, what a time I had with Minnie the Mermaid
Down in her seaweed bungalow.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
Two twin beds and only one of them mussed.
Oh, what a gal was my Minnie the Mermaid,
Down at the bottom of the sea.

Gavin Ewart(1916-1995)

Miss Tye was soaping her breasts in the bath
When she heard behind her a meaningful laugh.
And to her amazement she discovered
A wicked man in the bathroom cupboard.

Theodore Roethke(1908-1963)

He left his pants upon a chair;
She was a widow, so she said;
But he was apprehended, bare,
By one who rose up from the dead.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If now be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grown on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go:
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
      And yet, by Heaven, I think my love as rare
      As any she belied with false compare.


I love the girls who don't,
      I love the girls who do;
But best, the girls who say, "I don't...
      But maybe...just for you...."

Kenneth Burke (1897-1993)
Young Mrs. Snooks was sick of sex
But Mr. Snooks was soaked in it.

Wherever he beheld a hole
He took a stick and poked in it.

He even tried to frig a frog
But fell in the pond and croaked in it.

Woman: that is to say
A body which the birds of prey
Disdain to take away.

Woman: the word implies
A thing which lies
With you at night, about you at sunrise.

A.E. Housman (1859–1936)
Oh, when I was in love with you,
      Then I was clean and brave,
And miles around the wonder grew
      How well I did behave.

But now the fancy passes by,
      And nothing will remain,
And miles around they'll say that I
      Am quite myself again.

Anonymous (18th century)

Why blush, dear girl, pray tell me why?
      You need not, I can prove it:
For though your garter met my eye,
      My thoughts were far above it.

Margaret Fishback

My mother taught me to be good
At least as good as I was able;
Otherwise I think I could
Dress in ermine, mink, or sable.

Nikki Giovanni (1943- )
(to be sung to "The Old F.U. Spirit")
It was good for the virgin mary
it was good enough for mary
it was good for the virgin mary
its good enough for me.

Wendy Cope (1945--)
Here is Peter. Here is Jane. They like fun.
Jane has a big doll. Peter has a ball.
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Here is Mummy. She has baked a bun.
Here is the milkman. He has come to call.
Here is Peter. Here is Jane. They like fun

Go Peter! Go Jane! Come, milkman, come!
The milkman likes Mummy. She likes them all
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Here are the curtains. They shut out the sun.
Let us peep! On tiptoe Jane! You are small!
Here is Peter. Here is Jane. They like fun.

I hear a car, Jane. The milkman looks glum.
Here is Daddy in his car. Daddy is tall.
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Daddy looks very cross. has he a gun?
Up milkman! Up milkman! Over the wall!
Here is Jane. They like fun.
Look, Jane, look! Look at the dog! See him run!

Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695)
"Now that poor, wayward Jane is big with child,
She has repented and is reconciled
To lead a virtuous life in thought and deed."
So spoke her aunt, and all the girls agreed.

Then one of them, an artless, large-eyed one,
Murmured, "Repentance we would never shun--
But first let's learn to do what Jane has done."

Spike Milligan (1918-2002)
So fair is she!
So fair her face
So fair her pulsing figure

Not so fair
The maniacal stare
Of a husband who's much bigger.

John Donne (1573-1631)
Go, and catch a falling star,
      Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me, where all past years are,
      Or who cleft the Devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing
      Or to keep off envy's stinging,
            And find
            What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou beest borne to strange signts,
      Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
      Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
            And swear
            No where
Lives a woman true, and faire.

If thou findst one, let me know,
      Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
      Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
            Yet she
            Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

Sir John Suckling(1609-1642)
Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
Prithee, why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee, why so pale?
Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
Prithee, why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,
Saying nothing do't?
Prithee, why so mute?
Quit, quit, for shame; this will not move,
This cannot take her;
If of herself she will not love,
Nothing can make her:
The devil take her!

Thomas Middleton (1570?--1627)
In a maiden-time professed,
Then we say that life is best;
Tasting once the married life,
Then we only praise the wife;
There’s but one state more to try
Which makes women laugh or cry—
Widow, widow. Of these three
The middle’s best, and that give me.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I,
            The gunner and his mate,
Loved Mall, Meg, and Marian, and Margery,
            But none of us cared for Kate.
            For she had a tongue with a tang,
            Would cry to a sailor, ‘Go hang!’
She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch,
Yet a tailor might scratch her where’er she did itch.
            Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang.

John Dryden (1631-1700)
Young I am, and yet unskill'd
How to make a lover yield:
How to keep or how to gain,
When to love and when to feign.

Take me, take me, some of you,
While I yet am young and true;
Ere I can my soul disguise,
Heave my breasts and roll my eyes.

Stay not till I learn the way,
How to lie and to betray:
He that has me first is blest,
For I may deceive the rest.

Could I find a blooming youth,
Full of love and full of truth,
Brisk, and of a jaunty mien,
I should long to be fifteen.

Robert Burns (1759--1796)

Roseberry to his lady says,
      "My hinnie and my succor,
Now shall we do the thing ye ken?
      Or shall we have our supper?"

Wi' modest face sae fu' o' grace,
      Replied the bonnie lady,
"My noble lord, just as ye please,
      But supper is na ready."

Wendy Cope
The aerial on this radio broke
A long, long time ago,
When you were just a name to me-
Someone I didn't know.

The man before the man before
Had not yet set his cap
The day a clumsy gesture caused
That slender rod to snap.

Love came along. Love came along.
Then you. And now it's ended.
Tomorrow I shall tidy up
And get the radio mended.

L.A.G. Strong (1896-1958)

Have I a wife? Bedam I have!
      But we was badly mated:
I hit her with a great clout one night,
      And now we're separated.

And mornin's, going to my work,
      I meets her on the quay:
"Good mornin' to ye, m'am," says I;
      "To hell with ye," says she.

Sir John Suckling (1609-1642)

Out upon it, I have loved
      Three whole days together!
And am like to love three more,
      If it prove fair weather.

Time shall moult away his wings,
      Ere he shall discover
In the whole wide world again
      Such a constant lover.

But the spite on't is, no praise
      Is due at all to me:
Love with me had made no stays
      Had it any been but she.

Had it any been but she,
      And that very face,
There had been at least ere this
      A dozen dozen in her place.

John Donne, (1572-1631)

      Mark but this flea, and mark in this
How little that which thou deny'st me is.
      It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
      Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead;
      Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper'd, swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea more than married are.
      This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed and marriage temple is;
      Though parents grudge, and you, we're met
And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.
      Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege: three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpeled thy nail in blood of innocence?
      Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?
      Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
      Tis true. Then learn how false fears be
Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.

Robert Burns (1759--1796)
Ye jovial boys who love the joys,
         The blissful joys of Lovers,
Yet dare avow, with dauntless brow,
         When the bonny lass discovers,
I pray draw near, and lend an ear,
         And welcome in a Frater,
For I’ve lately been on quarantine,
         A proven Fornicator.

Before the Congregation wide,
         I passed the muster fairly.
My handsome Betsy by my side,
         We gat our ditty rarely,
But my downcast eye did chance to spy
         What made my lips to water,
Those limbs so clean where I between
         Commenc’d a Fornicator.

With rueful face and signs of grace
         I paid the buttock hire,
But the night was dark and thro’ the park
         I could not but convoy her;
A parting kiss, I could not less,
         My vows began to scatter,
My Betsy fell—lal de lal lal lal,
         I am a Fornicator.

But for her sake this vow I make,
         And solemnly I swear it,
That while I own a single crown
         She’s welcome for to share it;
And my roguish boy his Mother’s joy
         And the darling of his Pater, For him I boast my pains and cost,
         Although a Fornicator.

Ye wenching blades whose hireling jades
         Have tipped you off blue-joram,
         I tell you plain, I do disdain,
         To rank you in the Quorum;
But a bony lass upon the grass
         To teach her esse Mater,
And no reward but fond regard,
that’s a Fornicator.

Your warlike Kings and Heroes bold
         Great Captains and Commanders;
Your mighty Caesers fam’d of old,
         And conquering Alexanders;
In fields they fought and laurels brought,
         And bulwarks strong did batter,
But still they grac’d our noble list,
         And ranked Fornicator!

A hermit once lived in a beautiful dell,
And it is no legend, this story I tell,
So my father declared, who knew him quite well,
      The hermit.

He lived in a cave by the side of the lake,
Decoctions of herbs for his health he would take,
And only of fish would this good man partake
      On Friday.

And most of his time he spent in repose.
Once a year, he would bathe both his body and clothes.
How the lake ever stood it, the Lord only knows,
      And He won't tell.

One day as he rose, dripping and wet,
His horrified vision three pretty girls met;
In matters og gallantry he wasn't a vet,
      So he blushed.

He grabbed up his hat that lay on the beach,
And covered up all that its wide brim would reach,
Then he cried to the girls, in a horrified screen,
      "Go away!"

But the girls only laughed at his pitiful plight,
And begged him to show them the wonderful sight,
But he clung to his hat with all of his might
      To hide.

But just at this moment a villainous gnat
Made the hermit forget just where he was at.
He struck at the insect, and let go of the hat--
      "Oh, horrors!"

And now I have come to the crux of my tale.
At first he turned red, then he turned pale,
Then he offered a prayer, for prayers never fail,
      So 'tis said.

Of the truth of this tale, there is no doubt at all.
The Lord heard his prayer and He answered his call;
Though he let go the hat, the hat didn't fall.
      A miracle!

As sung by Thomas Moon, Inchill, Co. Leitrim, Ireland
As I went down a shady lane at a door I chanced to knock,
The servant she came to the door and asked me could I stop
Or could I mend a rusty hole that never had a drop?
Well, indeed I can, don't you know I can,
To me right-fol-looral-laddy, Well indeed I can.

She brought me through the kitchen & she brought me through the hall
And the servants cried, The Devil, are you going to clock us all?
Well, indeed I'm not, don't you know I'm not....

She brought me up the stairs for the show me what to do,
She fell on the feather bed & I fell on it, too.
Well, indeed I did....

She took up the frying pan and she began to knock,
O, then for to let the servants know that I was at me work,
Well, indeed I was....

She put her hand into her pocket and she pulled out 50 pound,
Saying Take this, me jolly tinker, & we'll have another round.
Well, indeed I did....

She put her hand into her pocket & she pulled out a gold watch,
Saying, Take this, me jolly tinker, for I know you are no botch,
Well, indeed, I'm not....

Now I'm a jolly tinker this 40 years or more,
And such a rusty hole as that I never blocked before.
Well, indeed I didn't, don't you know I didn't....

Sara Teasdale (1884--1933)
Strephon kissed me in the spring,
      Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
      And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
      Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
      Haunts me night and day.

Brian Merriman (1747-1805) translated by Frank O’Connor
I fasted three canonical hours
To try & come round the heavenly powers;
I washed my shift where the stream was deep
To hear a lover’s voice in sleep;
Often I swept the woodstack bare,
Burned bits of my frock, my nails, my hair,
Up the chimney stuck the flail,
Slept with a spade without avail;
Hid my wool in a limekiln late
And my distaff behind the churchyard gate;
I had flax on the road to halt coach or carriage
And haycocks stuffed with heads of cabbage,
And night and day on the proper occasions
Invoked Old Nick and all his legions,
But ‘twas no good and I’m brokenhearted,
For here I’m back at the place I started;
And this is the cause of all my tears.
I am fast in the rope of the rushing years,
With age and need in lessening span,
And death beyond, and no hope of a man.

Erich Kasten (1899- ) (translated from the German by Jerome Dennis Rothenberg)
They found a taxi. He took her home.
She spoke of her husband the while.
He knew she had power to charm him, some.
He didn't as much as smile.

They rode down the midnight thoroughfare
While somebody sat at the wheel.
The stars had painted their faces fair.
The streets were empty and still.

And when the taxi swung around curves
Their knees just managed to touch.
And it was plainly a case of nerves
Whenever it was too much.

He recommended a show to see
His manner was slightly forced.
She spoke of her lovely family.
Her voice sounded thin and lost.

And though he looked out of the window, he knew
That the gaze she gave him was steady
And she was suddenly troubled too,
And thought, "We are there already."

Then both of them didn't speak for a space.
Above them, some lightning broke.
The thing was awkward. He felt that the place
Was right for a funny joke.

The air was mild. And the taxi ran,
It galloped on faith and fuel.
They didn't think Nature could do them a damn,
But rubbing knees was cruel.

So at last they got out. He gave her his hand.
And went. And left it at that.
Though later, at home in his room, he would stand
And kick a hole in his hat.

Matthew Prior (1664-1721)

As Choloe came into the room t'other day,
I peevish began: "Where so long could you stay?
In your life-time you never regarded your hour:
You promised at two; and (pray look, child) 'tis four.
A lady's watch needs neither figures nor wheels,
'Tis enough, that 'tis loaded with baubles and such.
A temper so heedless no mortal can bea--"
Thus far I went on with a resolute air.
"Lord bless me," said she, "Let a body but speak:
Here's an ugly hard rosebud fall'n into my neck:
It has hurt me, and vexed me to such a degree--
See here! for you never believe me; pray see!
On the left side my breast what a mark it has made!"
So saying, her bosom she careless displayed.
That seat of delight I with wonder surveyed
And forgot every word I designed to have said.

Sir Walter Raleigh (cir 1552 to 1618)

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomal becometh dumb;
And rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten-
In folly ripe, in season rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed;
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Into love and out again,
      Thus I went, and thus I go.
Spare your voice and hold your pen--
      Well and bitterly I know
All the songs were ever sung,
      All the words were ever said;
Could it be, when I was young,
      Someone dropped me on my head?

Christopher Marlow (1564-1593)

Come live with me, and be my love;
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies;
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

George Pope Morris (1802--1864)
Old Nick, who taught the village school,
    Wedded a maid of homespun habit;
He was as stubborn as a mule
    She was as playful as a rabbit.

Poor Jane had scarce become a wife,
   Before her husband sought to make her
    The pink of country-polished life,
    And prim and formal as a Quaker.

One day the tutor went abroad,
    And simple Jenny sadly missed him;
When he returned, behind her lord
    She slyly stole, and fondly kissed him!

The husband's anger rose!--and red
    And white his face alternate grew!
"Less freedom, ma'am!" Jane sighed and said,
    "Oh, dear! I didn't know 'twas you!"

Folk song from the Bretons
"Why are you sad, my darling daughter?
Why do you sigh the whole day through?
In all of France or across the water
There is none lovelier than you."

"What good is loveliness to me
Mother, if you won't let me be
Free as the fruit upon the tree.

"There, as soon as the apple is red,
It must be plucked; if it hands like lead,
It rots and is ten times worse than dead.

"Apples that drop from the unplucked shoot
Wither and foul to the very root,
And what man cares for withered fruit?"

Jean De LaFontaine (1621-1695)
A certain painter, leaving in the morning,
      Was jealous of his wife...and being deft,
      Painted a donkey, just before he left,
Upon her navel, as a sort of warning.

A friend of his, whose honor had small heft,
At once consoled the lady thus bereft;
And leaving of the donkey not a trace
Was quick to paint another in its place.

But through a lapse of memory, alas!
He put a saddle on the patient ass.

Our friend returned. "My dear," the lady sighed,
      "Regard this proof that I've not fiddle-faddled you."
"A pox on you!" the irate husband cried,
      "And on the proof, and whosoever saddled you!"

Oh, I am the sterilized heiress,
The butt of all laughter of rubes.
I'm comely, I'm rich, I'm a bit of a bitch,
And my mother ran off with my tubes.

      Fie on you, mater, you scoundrel,
      For stealing my feminine joys.
      Restore my abdomen, and make me a woman,
      I want to go out with the boys.

The butler and second man scorn me.
No more do they use my doorkey.
The cook from Samoa has spermatoza
For others, but never for me.

Imagine my stark consternation
On feeling the rude surgeon's hands.
Exploring my person was Surgeon McPherson
And fiddling around with my glands.

No action in court can repay me
For stealing the peas in my pod.
Oh, where are the yeggs who took all my eggs?
I'll cut off their ballocks, by God!

Fie on you, mater, you scoundrel,
For stealing my feminine joys.
I've nothing but anger for Margaret Sanger.
I want to go out with the boys.

Albert Stillman
In good old Benjamin Franklin's time,
To stay out late was considered a crime;
In that quaint old Quaker town of Phil.,
There simply was no such word as "thrill."
Each girl went home when curfew rang;
On Sundays nobody ever sang;
The waltz was deemed a Daring Dance;
So Benjamin Franklin went to France.

Robert Herrick
I dreamed we both were in bed
Of roses almost smothered:
The warmth and sweetness and me there
Made lovingly familiar,
But that I heard thy sweet breath say,
"Faults done by night will blush by day."
I kissed thee, panting, and I call
Night to the record, that was all.
But ah! if empty dreams so please,
Love, give me more such nights as these.

Thomas Moore
When I loved you, I can't but allow
      I had many an exquisite minute;
But the scorn that I feel for you now
      Hath even more luxury in it!

Thus, whether we're on or we're off,
      Some witchery seems to await you.
To love you is pleasant enough,
      But oh! 'tis delicious to hate you!

Ben Jonson (1572—1637)
Fine Made Would-Be, wherefore should you fear,
That love to make so well, a child to bear?
The world reputes you barren; but I know
Your ‘pothecary and his drug says no.
Is it the pain affrights? That’s soon forgot.
Or your complexion’s loss? You have a pot
That can restore that. Will it hurt your feature?
To make amends, you’re though a wholesome creature.
What should the cause be? Oh, you live at court;
There’s both loss of time and loss of sport
In a great belly. Write then on thy womb:
Of the not born, yet buried, here’s the tomb.

Marcus Valerius Martialis, born 40 A.D. in Spain
You cut off the ears and the nose from his face
      Who treated your wife like a whore.
You did the right thing. But were I in your place,
      I'd have cut off considerably more.

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Should'st rubies find: I by the tide
of Humber should complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine yes, and on thy forehead gaze:
Two hundred years to adore each breast:
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
      But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near:
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honor turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
      Now, therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on they skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may:
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
      Rather at once our Time devour,
Than lanquish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our run
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Marcus Valerius Martialis (born A.D. 40 in Spain)
Your charms, alas, it's plain to see
      Are eminently salable.
Oh, be less beautiful, or be
      A little less available.

Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
      That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
      To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
      The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
      A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
      As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
      Loved I not Honour more.

W.S. Gilbert
"Gentle, modest little flower,
      Sweet epitome of May,
Love me but for half an hour,
      Love me, love me, little fay."
Sentences so fiercely flaming
      In your tiny shell-like ear,
I should always be exclaiming
      If I loved you, Phoebe dear.

"Smiles that thrill from any distance
      Shed upon me awhile I sing!
Please ecstaticize existence,
      Love me, oh, thou fairy thing!"
Words like these, out-pouring sadly,
      You'd perpetually hear,
If I loved you fondly, madly--
      But I do not, Phoebe dear.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
      Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles to-day,
      To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
      The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
      The nearer he's to setting.

That age is best, which is the first,
      When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
      Times, still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
      And while ye may, go marry;
For, having lost but once your prime,
      You may forever tarry.

Harry Graham
This morning when my wife eloped
with James, our chauffeur, how I moped.
What tragedies in life there are!
I'm dashed if I can start the car!

(Paul T. Gilbert)
"I love you, my Lord!"
      Was all that she said--
Of a dissonant chord
      "I love you, my Lord!"
Ah! how I abhored
      That sarcastic maid!--
"I love you? My Lord!"
      Was all that she said.

Adrian Henri
Tonight at noon
Supermarkets will advertise 3p extra on everything
Tonight at noon
Children from happy families will be sent to live in a home
Elephants will tell each other human jokes
America will declare peace on Russia
World War I generals will sell poppies on the street on November 11th
The first daffodils of autumn will appear
When the leaves fall upwards to the trees

Tonight at noon
Pigeons will hunt cats through city backyards
Hitler will tell us to fight on the beaches and on the landing fields
A tunnel full of water will be built under Liverpool
Pigs will be sighted flying in formation over Woolton
And Nelson will not only get his eye back but his arm as well
White Americans will demonstrate for equal rights
In front of the Black house
And the monster has just created Dr. Frankenstein

Girls in bikinis are moonbathing
Folksongs are being sung by real folk
Art galleries are closed to people over 21
Poets get their poems in the Top 20
There's jobs for everybody and nobody wants them
In back alleys everywhere teenage lovers are kissing in broad daylight
In forgotten graveyards everywhere the dead will quietly bury the living
You will tell me you love me
Tonight at noon

Wendy Cope
1. Don't see him. Don't phone or write a letter.
2. The easy way: get to know him better.

Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744)
Two or three visits, and two or three bows,
Two or three civil things, two or three vows,
Two or three kisses, with two or three sighs,
Two or three Jesus's--and let me dies--
Two or three squeezes, and two or three towses,
With two or three thousand pound lost at their houses,
Can never fail cuckolding two or three spouses.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
By the time you swear you're his,
      Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
      Infinite, undying--
Lady, make a note of this;
      One of you is lying.

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
'Tis not that I am weary grown
Of being yours, and yours alone,
But with what face can I incline
To damn you to be only mine-
You, whom some kinder fashion did fashion,
By merit, and by inclination,
The joy at least of a whole nation?

Let meaner spirits of your sex
With humble aims their thoughts perplex,
And boast if by their arts they can
Contrive to make one happy man;
While, moved by an impartial sense,
Favors like Nature you dispense
With universal influence.

See, the kind seed-receiving earth
To every grain affords a birth:
On her no showers unwelcome fall;
Her willing womb receives them all.
And shall my Celia be confined?
No, live up to thy mighty mind,
And be the mistress of mankind!

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Have ye beheld (with much delight)
A red rose peeping through a white?
Or else a cherry (double-graced)
Within a lily's centre placed?
Or ever marked the pretty beam,
A strawberry shows half-drowned in cream?
Or seen rich rubies blushing through
A pure smooth pearl, and orient too?
So like to this, may all the rest,
Is each neat niplet of her breast.

Western wind, when wilt thou blow
The small rain down can rain?
Christ, if my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again!

Piet Hein (1905-1996)
Love is like
a pineapple,
sweet and

X. J. Kennedy (1929--)
If you were a scoop of vanilla
And I were the cone where you sat,
If you were a slowly pitched baseball
And I were the swing of a bat,

If you were a shiny new fishhook
And I were a bucket of worms,
If we were a pin and a pincushion,
We might be on intimate terms.

If you were a plate of spaghetti
And I were your piping-hot sauce,
We'd not even need to write letters
To put our affection across.

But you're just a piece of red ribbon
In the beard of a Balinese goat
And I'm a New Jersey mosquito.
I guess we'll stay slightly remote.

Hugh MacDiarmid (1842-)
Wheesht, wheesht, my foolish heart,
For weel ye ken
I widna ha'e ye start
Auld ploys again.

It's guid to see her lie
Sae snod an' cool
A' lust o' lovin' by-
Wheesht, wheesht, ye fule!

A.E. Housman (1859–1936)
When I was one-and-twenty,
      I heard a wise man say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
      But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
      But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
      No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty,
      I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
      Was never given in vain:
'Tis paid with sighs a-plenty
      And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
      And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

When we two parted
      In silence and tears,
      To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
      Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
      Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
      Sunk chill on my brow--
It felt like the warning
      Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
      And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
      She share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
      A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me--
      Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
      Who knew thee too well;
Long, long shall I rue thee,
      Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met--
      In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
      Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
      After long years,
How should I greet thee?
      With silence and tears.

Irish folk song
Oh, the summertime is coming,
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather,
Will ye go, lassie, go?

      And we'll all go together,
      To pluck wild mountain thyme
      All around the blooming heather;
      Will ye go, lassie, go?

I will build my love a tower
Near yon pur crystal fountain,
And on it I will build
All the flowers of the mountain.
Will ye go, lassie, go?

If my true love she were gone,
I would surely find another
Where the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather;
Will ye go, lassie, go?

Shel Silverstein (1932-1999)
Mary's eyes are blue as azure,
But she is in love with Freddy;
Sue is sweet but Ronald has her,
Lovely Joan is going steady,
Helen hates me, so does May,
Eloise will not be mine;
Barbara lives too far away--
Will you be my Valentine?

Who is that pretty fellow--
The one that's always hanging around your wife?
The one that's always whispering sweet nothings in her ear,
Who leans against her chair
And casually touches her hair
With jeweled fingers?
"He works for my wife," you answer.
He does, does he? Listen, my friend:
That handsome boy does not do your wife's work.
He does yours.

Samuel Hoffenstein (1890-1947)

Your little hands,
Your little feet,
Your little mouth--
Oh, God, how sweet!

Your little nose,
Your little ears,
Your eyes, that shed
Such little tears!

Your little voice,
So soft and kind;
Your little soul,
Your little mind!

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