La Dame Du Palais De La Reine

SOPHIE, in shocks of scarlet lace,
Receives her usual embrace
Beneath a hedge, behind a curtain,
Or in the chambers of His Grace.
Whether a kiss be worth the care
Five minions wasted on her hair,
Sophie herself is half uncertain,
Paused in adorable despair.
When past beseeching Man she floats
In golden-coasted petticoats,
A shaft of irritation passes;
Like colic; but with antidotes.
Then serious doubts occur of Love
That spoils the Peacock, sours the Dove,
And mixes up the lower classes
So hopelessly with those above.
Is the bird Passion worth the lime?
Can the small Amor turn to crime
By ruining skirts—and the digestion?
Such problems occupy her time.
But often these objections thaw
To counts with viols—or grooms with straw—
And Sophie, giving up the question,
Bends to some strange but natural law.
With books of music, diamond rings,
Spaniels and roses, fireworks, swings,
Her lovers come. But Sophie sighs,
Whose thoughts are fixed on Higher Things.
Between the sleepy kisses given,
Her mind by grave debate is driven,
Perplexity distracts those eyes
Which, lovers vow, are lost in Heaven!

by Kenneth Slessor

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