Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A YOUNG MAN TO AN OLD WOMAN COURTING HIM, by JOHN CLEVELAND



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A YOUNG MAN TO AN OLD WOMAN COURTING HIM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Peace, beldam eve, surcease thy suit
Last Line: An aged chronicle's new cover.
Subject(s): Almanacs; Courtship; Love - Age Differences


PEACE, Beldam Eve, surcease thy suit;
There's no temptation in such fruit;
No rotten medlars, whilst there be
Whole orchards in virginity.
Thy stock is too much out of date
For tender plants t' inoculate.
A match with thee thy bridegroom fears
Would be thought interest in his years,
Which, when compared to thine, become
Odd money to thy grandam sum.
Can wedlock know so great a curse
As putting husbands out to nurse?
How Pond and Rivers would mistake
And cry new almanacs for our sake.
Time sure hath wheeled about his year,
December meeting Janiveer.
The Egyptian serpent figures Time,
And stripped, returns unto his prime.
If my affection thou wouldst win,
First cast thy hieroglyphic skin.
My modern lips know not, alack!
The old religion of thy smack.
I count that primitive embrace
As out of fashion as thy face.
And yet, so long 'tis since thy fall,
Thy fornication's classical.
Our sports will differ; thou mayst play
Lero, and I Alphonso way.
I'm no translator, have no vein
To turn a woman young again,
Unless you'll grant the tailor's due,
To see the fore-bodies be new.
I love to wear clothes that are flush,
Not prefacing old rags with plush,
Like aldermen, or under-shrieves
With canvass backs and velvet sleeves:
And just such discord there would be
Betwixt thy skeleton and me.
Go study salve and treacle, ply
Your tenant's leg or his sore eye.
Thus matrons purchase credit, thank
Six pennyworth of mountebank;
Or chew thy cud on some delight
That thou didst taste in 'eighty-eight;
Or be but bed-rid once, and then
Thou'lt dream thy youthful sins again.
But if thou needs wilt be my spouse,
First hearken and attend my vows.
When Aetna's fires shall undergo
The penance of the Alps in snow;
When Sol at one blast of his horn
Posts from the Crab to Capricorn;
When th' heavens shuffle all in one
The Torrid with the Frozen Zone;
When all these contradictions meet,
Then, Sibyl, thou and I will greet.
For all these similes do hold
In my young heat and thy dull cold.
Then, if a fever be so good
A pimp as to inflame thy blood,
Hymen shall twist thee and thy page,
The distinct tropics of man's age.
Well, Madam Time, be ever bald.
I'll not thy periwig be called.
I'll never be 'stead of a lover,
An aged chronicle's new cover.





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