Poking Fun At Xanthias

A poem by Eugene Field

Of your love for your handmaid you need feel no shame.
Don't apologize, Xanthias, pray;
Remember, Achilles the proud felt a flame
For Brissy, his slave, as they say.
Old Telamon's son, fiery Ajax, was moved
By the captive Tecmessa's ripe charms;
And Atrides, suspending the feast, it behooved
To gather a girl to his arms.

Now, how do you know that this yellow-haired maid
(This Phyllis you fain would enjoy)
Hasn't parents whose wealth would cast you in the shade,--
Who would ornament you, Xan, my boy?
Very likely the poor chick sheds copious tears,
And is bitterly thinking the while
Of the royal good times of her earlier years,
When her folks regulated the style!

It won't do at all, my dear boy, to believe
That she of whose charms you are proud
Is beautiful only as means to deceive,--
Merely one of the horrible crowd.
So constant a sweetheart, so loving a wife,
So averse to all notions of greed
Was surely not born of a mother whose life
Is a chapter you'd better not read.

As an unbiased party I feel it my place
(For I don't like to do things by halves)
To compliment Phyllis,--her arms and her face
And (excuse me!) her delicate calves.
Tut, tut! don't get angry, my boy, or suspect
You have any occasion to fear
A man whose deportment is always correct,
And is now in his forty-first year!

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