Chaste Florimel

A poem by Matthew Prior

No, I'll endure ten thousand deaths
Ere any further I'll comply:
Oh! Sir, no man on earth that breathes
Had ever yet his hand so high.

Oh! take your sword and pierce my heart,
Undaunted see me meet the wound
Oh! will you act a Tarquin's part?
A second Lucrece you have found.

Thus to the pressing Corydon
Poor Florimel, unhappy maid,
Fearing by love to be undone,
In broken dying accents said;

Delia who held the conscious door,
Inspired by truth and brandy, smiled,
Knowing that sixteen months before
Our Lucrece had her second child.

And hark ye, Madam, cried the bawd,
None of your flights, your high-rope dodging;
Be civil here, or march abroad;
Oblige the 'squire, or quit the lodging.

Oh! have I, Florimel went on,
Lord what is lost my Delia's aid?
Where shall forsaken virtue run
If by her friend she is betray'd?

Oh! curse on empty friendship's name:
Lord what is all our future view?
Then, dear destroyer of my fame,
Let my last succour be to you.

From Delia's rage and Fortune's frown
A wretched lovesick maid deliver;
Oh! tip me but another crown,
Dear Sir, and make me yours for ever.

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