Chloe, you shun me like a hind
That, seeking vainly for her mother,
Hears danger in each breath of wind,
And wildly darts this way and t’ other;
Whether the breezes sway the wood
Or lizards scuttle through the brambles,
She starts, and off, as though pursued,
The foolish, frightened creature scrambles.
But, Chloe, you’re no infant thing
That should esteem a man an ogre;
Let go your mother’s apron-string,
And pin your faith upon a toga!
How happens it, my cruel miss,
You’re always giving me the mitten?
You seem to have forgotten this:
That you no longer are a kitten!
A woman that has reached the years
Of that which people call discretion
Should put aside all childish fears
And see in courtship no transgression.
A mother’s solace may be sweet,
But Hymen’s tenderness is sweeter;
And though all virile love be meet,
You’ll find the poet’s love is metre.
Since Chloe is so monstrous fair,
With such an eye and such an air,
What wonder that the world complains
When she each am’rous suit disdains?
Close to her mother’s side she clings,
And mocks the death her folly brings
To gentle swains that feel the smarts
Her eyes inflict upon their hearts.
Whilst thus the years of youth go by,
Shall Colin languish, Strephon die?
Nay, cruel nymph! come, choose a mate,
And choose him ere it be too late!
A Third Paraphrase
Why, Mistress Chloe, do you bother
With prattlings and with vain ado
Your worthy and industrious mother,
Eschewing them that come to woo?
Oh, that the awful truth might quicken
This stern conviction to your breast:
You are no longer now a chicken
Too young to quit the parent nest.
So put aside your froward carriage,
And fix your thoughts, whilst yet there’s time,
Upon the righteousness of marriage
With some such godly man as I’m.
A Fourth Paraphrase
Syn that you, Chloe, to your moder sticken,
Maketh all ye yonge bacheloures full sicken ;
Like as a lyttel deere you ben y-hiding
Whenas come lovers with theyre pityse chiding.
Sothly it ben faire to give up your moder
For to beare swete company with some oder;
Your moder ben well enow so farre shee goeth,
But that ben not farre enow, God knoweth;
Wherefore it ben sayed that foolysh ladyes
That marrye not shall leade an aype in Hadys;
But all that do with gode men wed full quicklye
When that they be on dead go to ye seints full sickerly.