An Excuse For Lalage

A poem by Eugene Field

To bear the yoke not yet your love's submissive neck is bent,
To share a husband's toil, or grasp his amorous intent;
Over the fields, in cooling streams, the heifer longs to go,
Now with the calves disporting where the pussy-willows grow.

Give up your thirst for unripe grapes, and, trust me, you shall learn
How quickly in the autumn time to purple they will turn.
Soon she will follow you, for age steals swiftly on the maid;
And all the precious years that you have lost she will have paid.

Soon she will seek a lord, beloved as Pholoe, the coy,
Or Chloris, or young Gyges, that deceitful, girlish boy,
Whom, if you placed among the girls, and loosed his flowing locks,
The wondering guests could not decide which one decorum shocks.

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