Mercury And Cupid

A poem by Matthew Prior

In sullen Humour one Day Jove
Sent Hermes down to Ida's Grove,
Commanding Cupid to deliver
His Store of Darts, his total Quiver;
That Hermes shou'd the Weapons break,
Or throw 'em into Lethe's Lake.

Hermes, You know, must do his Errand:
He found his Man, produc'd his Warrant:
Cupid, your Darts this very Hour
There's no contending against Power.

How sullen Jupiter, just now
I think I said: and You'll allow,
That Cupid was as bad as He:
Hear but the Youngster's Repartee.

Come Kinsman (said the little God)
Put off your Wings; lay by your Rod;
Retire with Me to yonder Bower;
And rest your self for half an Hour:
'Tis far indeed from hence to Heav'n:
And You fly fast: and 'tis but Seven.
We'll take one cooling Cup of Nectar;
And drink to this Celestial Hector

He break my Darts, or hurt my Pow'r!
He, Leda's Swan, and Danae's Show'r!
Go, bid him his Wife's Tongue restrain;
And mind his Thunder, and his Rain.

My Darts? O certainly I'll give 'em:
From Cloe's Eyes He shall receive 'em.
There's One, the Best in all my Quiver,
Twang! thro' his very Heart and Liver.
He then shall Pine, and Sigh, and Rave:
Good Lord! what Bustle shall We have!
Neptune must straight be sent to Sea;
And Flora summon'd twice a-day:

One must find Shells, and t'other Flow'rs,
For cooling Grotts, and fragrant Bow'rs,
That Cloe may be serv'd in State:
The Hours must at Her Toilet wait:
Whilst all the reasoning Fools below,
Wonder their Watches go too slow.
Lybs must fly South, and Eurus East,
For Jewels for Her Hair and Breast:
No Matter tho' their cruel Haste
Sink Cities, and lay Forrests waste.
No Matter tho' This Fleet be lost;
Or That lie wind-bound on the Coast.
What whis'pring in my Mother's Ear!
What Care, that Juno shou'd not hear!
What Work among You Scholar Gods!
Phoebus must write Him am'rous Odes:
And Thou, poor Cousin, must compose
His Letters in submissive Prose:
Whilst haughty Cloe, to sustain
The Honour of My mystic Reign,
Shall all his Gifts and Vows disdain;
And laugh at your Old Bully's Pain.
Dear Couz, said Hermes in a Fright,
For Heav'n sake keep Your Darts: Good Night.

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