Henry King

(16 January 1592 – 30 September 1669 / Worminghall, Buckinghamshire)

Madam Gabrina, Or The Ill-Favourd Choice - Poem by Henry King

Con mala Muger el remedio
Mucha Tierra por el medio.

I have oft wondred why thou didst elect
Thy Mistress of a stuff none could affect,
That wore his eyes in the right place. A thing
Made up, when Natures powers lay slumbering.
One, where all pregnant imperfections met
To make her sexes scandal: Teeth of jet,
Hair dy'd in Orpment, from whose fretful hew
Canidia her highest Witch-crafts drew.
A lip most thin and pale, but such a mouth
Which like the Poles is stretched North and South.
A face so colour'd, and of such a form,
As might defiance bid unto a storm:
And the complexion of her sallow hide
Like a wrack't body washt up by the Tyde:
Eyes small: a nose so to her vizard glew'd
As if 'twould take a Planets altitude.
Last for her breath, 'tis somewhat like the smell
That does in Ember weeks on Fishstreet dwell;
Or as a man should fasting scent the Rose
Which in the savoury Bear-garden growes.
If a Fox cures the Paralyticall,
Had'st thou ten Palsies, she'd out-stink them all.
But I have found thy plot: sure thou did'st trie
To put thy self past hope of jealousie:
And whil'st unlearned fools the senses please,
Thou cur'st thy appetite by a disease;
As many use to kill an itch withall,
Quicksilver or some biting Minerall.
Dote upon handsome things each common man
With little study and less labour can;
But to make love to a Deformity,
Onely commends thy great ability,
Who from hard-favour'd objects draw'st content,
As Estriches from iron nutriment.
Well take her, and like mounted George, in bed
Boldly archieve thy Dragons Maiden-head:
Where (though scarce sleep) thou mayst rest confident
None dares beguile thee of thy punishment:
The sin were not more foul he should commit,
Then is that She with whom he acted it.
Yet take this comfort: when old age shall raze,
Or sickness ruine many a good face,
Thy choice cannot impair; no cunning curse
Can mend that night-peece, that is, make her worse.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010



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