Poem of the day

By Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803–1849)


“SHALL I be your first love, lady, shall I be your first?
      Oh! then I’ll fall before you, down on my velvet knee,
      And deeply bend my rosy head and press it upon thee,
And swear that there is nothing more, for which my heart doth thirst,
      But a downy kiss, and pink,
      Between your lips’ soft chink.”


“Yes, you shall be my first love, boy, and you shall be my first,
      And I will raise you up again unto my bosom’s fold;
      And when you kisses many one on lip and cheek have told,
I’ll let you loose upon the grass, to leave me if you durst;
      And so we’ll toy away
      The night besides the day.”


“But let me be your second love, but let me be your second,
      For then I’ll tap so gently, dear, upon your window pane,
      And creep between the curtains in, where never man has lain,
And never leave thy gentle side till the morning star hath beckoned,
      Held in the silken lace
      Of thy young arms’ embrace.”


“Well thou shalt be my second love, yes, gentle boy, my second,
      And I will wait at eve for thee all lonely in my bower,
      And yield unto thy kisses, like a bud to April’s shower,
From moonset till the tower-clock the hour of dawn hath reckoned,
      And lock thee with my arms
      All silent up in charms.”


“No, I will be thy third love, lady, ay, I will be the third,
      And break upon thee, bathing, in woody place alone,
      And catch thee to my saddle and ride o’er stream and stone,
And press thee well, and kiss thee well, and never speak a word,
      ’Till thou has yielded up
      The first taste of love’s cup.”


“Then thou shalt not be my first love, boy, nor my second, nor my third;
      If thou’rt the first, I’ll laugh at thee and pierce thy flesh with thorns;
      If the second, from my chamber pelt with jeering laugh and scorns;
And if thou darest be the third, I’ll draw my dirk unheard
      And cut thy heart in two,—
      And then die, weeping you.”

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