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Song
by John Dryden

English text, dramatist, literary critic, translator, poet laureate and royal historiographer. Dryden's immense stature upon the literary horizon of his time was so great that his age has often been called 'The Age of Dryden'. His first major works were works of poetry: the Heroique Stanza's (1658) written on the death of Cromwell and the celebrations of King James II's restoration; the Astraea Redux (1660) and the To His Sacred Majesty (1661). These were followed, in 1667, by the thrice celebratory work Annus Mirabilis (1667), written upon the occasion of two English victories over the Dutch fleet and the extinguishing of the Great Fire of London. Other works from Dryden's earlier period were mainly for the theatre. These include heroic works such as The Indian Queen (1664), The Indian Emporer (1665) and The Conquest of Granada (1669); comic works: The Wild Gallant (1663), The Rival Ladies (1664) and An Evening's Love (1668); and tragi-comic works. These latter include Secret Love (1667), Marriage a la Mode (1672) and The Assignation (1672). Dryden also adapted works by Shakespeare - The Tempest (1667) and Troilus and Cressida (1679) - and Milton (Paradise Lost) and wrote a number of critical texts, including Of Dramatick Poesie (1668), A Defence of an Essay (1668) and Of Heroic Plays (1672).


Song
by John Dryden

Sylvia the fair, in the bloom of fifteen,
Felt an innocent warmth as she lay on the green:
She had heard of a pleasure, and something she guessed
By the towsing and tumbling and touching her breast:
She saw the men eager, but was at a loss
What they meant by their sighing and kissing so close;
By their praying and whining,
And clasping and twining,
And panting and wishing,
And sighing and kissing,
And sighing and kissing so close.

"Ah!" she cried, "ah, for a languishing maid
In a country of Christians to die without aid!
Not a Whig, or a Tory, or Trimmer at least,
Or a Protestant parson, or Catholic priest,
To instruct a young virgin that is at a loss
What they meant by their sighing and kissing so close;
By their praying and whining,
And clasping and twining,
And panting and wishing,
And sighing and kissing,
And sighing and kissing so close."

Cupid in shape of a swain did appear;
He saw the sad wound, and in pity drew near;
Then showed her his arrow, and bid her not fear,
For the pain was no more than a maiden may bear;
When the balm was infused, she was not at a loss
What they meant by their sighing and kissing so close;
By their praying and whining,
And clasping and twining,
And panting and wishing,
And sighing and kissing,
And sighing and kissing so close.


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