Cloe Jealous

A poem by Matthew Prior

Forbear to ask Me, why I weep;
Vext Cloe to her Shepherd said:
'Tis for my Two poor stragling Sheep
Perhaps, or for my Squirrel dead.
For mind I what You late have writ?
Your subtle Questions, and Replies;
Emblems, to teach a Female Wit
The Ways, where changing Cupid flies.
Your Riddle, purpos'd to rehearse
The general Pow'r that Beauty has:
But why did no peculiar Verse
Describe one Charm of Cloe's Face?
The Glass, which was at Venus' Shrine,
With such Mysterious Sorrow laid:
The Garland (and You call it Mine)
Which show'd how Youth and Beauty fade.
Ten thousand Trifles light as These
Nor can my Rage, nor Anger move:
She shou'd be humble, who wou'd please:
And She must suffer, who can love.
When in My Glass I chanc'd to look;
Of Venus what did I implore?
That ev'ry Grace which thence I took,
Shou'd know to charm my Damon more.

Reading Thy Verse; who heeds, said I,
If here or there his Glances flew?
O free for ever be His Eye,
Whose Heart to Me is always true.
My Bloom indeed, my little Flow'r
Of Beauty quickly lost it's Pride:
For sever'd from it's Native Bow'r,
It on Thy glowing Bosom dy'd.
Yet car'd I not, what might presage
Or withering Wreath, or fleeting Youth:
Love I esteem'd more strong than Age,
And Time less permanent than Truth.
Why then I weep, forbear to know:
Fall uncontroll'd my Tears, and free:
O Damon, 'tis the only Woe,
I ever yet conceal'd from Thee.
The secret Wound with which I bleed
Shall lie wrapt up, ev'n in my Herse:
But on my Tomb-stone Thou shalt read
My Answer to Thy dubious Verse.

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