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Modest Matrons, Maidens, say,
Why thus turn your looks away?
Frolic feats of lawless love,
Of the lustful pow'rs above;
Forms obscene, that shock the sight,
In my verse I ne'er recite;
Verse! where nought indecent reigns;
Guiltless are my tender strains;
Such as pedagogues austere
Might with strict decorum hear,
Might, with no licentious speech,
To their youth reproachless teach.
I, chaste vot'ry of the Nine!
Kisses sing of chaste design:
Maids and Matrons yet, with rage,
Frown upon my blameless page;
Frown, because some wanton word
Here and there by chance occurr'd,
Or the cheated fancy caught
Some obscure, tho' harmless thought
Hence, ye prudish Matrons! hence,
Squeamish Maids devoid of sense!
And shall these in virtue dare
With my virtuous maid compare?
She! who in the bard will prize
What she'll in his lays despise;
Wantonness with love agrees,
But reserve in verse must please.