Gail White: Corinna to Robert Herrick

I like to sleep late on these fine spring mornings,
or lie in bed dreaming and half awake,
and here’s some fool under my window babbling
about Aurora. Oh for heaven’s sake!

I think you’ve drunk already to the May-pole
and to its garlands and the village girls
who dance around it in a tipsy circle
with daffodils and roses on their curls.

I don’t intend to deck myself with flowers
and walk about spangled with gems of dew.
The other girls can play at being milkmaids.
I’d look a perfect fool – and so would you.

The joys of getting up before the sunrise
to see the tender leaves on every tree
and gather flowers and dance around the May-pole
may suit your other friends. They’re not for me.

But to your pastoral theme of sticky greenery
you bring in kisses as a counterpoint
and talk of early morning assignations.
Aha! I think we’re coming to the point.

The thought that we should multiply like fishes,
frankly, does not appeal to me, old dear.
It’s men who get the pleasure from the process,
and girls who get a baby every year.

Life is so short! you cry. But on this subject
enough (enough, already) has been said.
Death’s night is long, but last night isn’t over.
Pack it in, Bob. I’m going back to bed.