Pro-Sex Poems of Love and Desire: Herrick and St.Vincent MillayPosted: December 9, 2014 Filed under: Edna St.Vincent Millay, English, Robert Herrick Comments Off on Pro-Sex Poems of Love and Desire: Herrick and St.Vincent Millay
Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Love Lightly Pleased
Let fair or foul my mistress be,
Or low, or tall, she pleaseth me;
Or let her walk, or stand, or sit,
The posture her’s, I’m pleased with it;
Or let her tongue be still, or stir
Graceful is every thing from her;
Or let her grant, or else deny,
My love will fit each history.
. . .
Delight in Disorder
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility;–
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.
. . .
Upon the Nipples of Julia’s Breast
Have ye beheld (with much delight)
A red rose peeping through a white?
Or else a cherry (double graced)
Within a lily? Centre placed?
Or ever marked the pretty beam
A strawberry shows half drowned in cream?
Or seen rich rubies blushing through
A pure smooth pearl, and orient too?
So like to this, nay all the rest,
Is each neat niplet of her breast.
. . .
A Hymn to Love
I will confess
Love is a thing so likes me,
That, let her lay
On me all day,
I’ll kiss the hand that strikes me.
I will not, I,
Now blubb’ring cry,
It, ah! too late repents me
That I did fall
To love at all–
Since love so much contents me.
No, no, I’ll be
In fetters free;
While others they sit wringing
Their hands for pain,
The wounds of love with singing.
With flowers and wine,
And cakes divine,
To strike me I will tempt thee;
Which done, no more
I’ll come before
Thee and thine altars empty.
Edna St.Vincent Millay (1892-1950)
I, being born a woman and distressed (1923)
I, being born a woman and distressed
By all the needs and notions of my kind,
Am urged by your propinquity to find
Your person fair, and feel a certain zest
To bear your body’s weight upon my breast:
So subtly is the fume of life designed,
To clarify the pulse and cloud the mind,
And leave me once again undone, possessed.
Think not for this, however, the poor treason
Of my stout blood against my staggering brain,
I shall remember you with love, or season
My scorn with pity, — let me make it plain:
I find this frenzy insufficient reason
For conversation when we meet again.
. . .
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (1923)
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
. . .
I, too, beneath your moon, Almighty Sex (1939)
I too beneath your moon, almighty Sex,
Go forth at nightfall crying like a cat,
Leaving the lofty tower I laboured at
For birds to foul and boys and girls to vex
With tittering chalk; and you, and the long necks
Of neighbours sitting where their mothers sat
Are well aware of shadowy this and that
In me, that’s neither noble nor complex.
Such as I am, however, I have brought
To what it is, this tower; it is my own;
Though it was reared To Beauty, it was wrought
From what I had to build with: honest bone
Is there, and anguish; pride; and burning thought;
And lust is there, and nights not spent alone.
. . . . .