Love, the sole Goddess fit for swearing by,
Concedes us graciously the little lie:
The white lie, the half-lie, the lie corrective
Without which love’s exchange might prove defective,
Confirming hazardous relationships
By kindly maquillage of Truth’s pale lips.
This little lie was first told, so they say,
On the sixth day (Love’s planetary day)
When, meeting her full-bosomed and half dressed,
Jove roared out suddenly: ‘Hell take the rest!
Six hard days of Creation are enough’ —
And clasped her to him, meeting no rebuff.
Next day he rested, and she rested too.
The busy little lie between them flew:
‘If this be not perfection,’ Love would sigh,
‘Perfection is a great, black, thumping lie. ...’
Endearments, kisses, grunts, and whispered oaths;
But were her thoughts on breakfast, or on clothes?