'On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves' by Thomas Randolph

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1When bashfull daylight now was gone
2And night, that hides a blush, came on.
3Sixe Pretty Nymphes to wash away
4The sweatinge of a Summers daye
5In Chams fair streames did gently swim
6And naked bathd each curious limbe.
7O Who had this blist sight but seene
8Would thinke they all had Cl{oe}lia=s beene.
9A Scholer that a walke did take
10Perchance for Meditation sake.
11This blessed Obiect chan'cd to find
12Straight all thinges else went out of mind
13No Studye=s better in this life
14For Practicke or Contemplatiue:
15Who thought Poore soule these hee had seene,
16Fair Dian and her Nymphes had beene.
17And therefore thought in piteous feare
18Act{ae}ons fortune was too neere.
19Or that the Water=Nymphes they were
20Together met to sport 'um there
21And that to him such loue they bore
22As to Iolas once before.
23What could hee thinke but that his eye
24Sixe Venusses at once did spie
25Rise from the waues, or that perchaunce
26Fresh=Water Syrens came to dance
27Vpon our streames, with songes and lookes
28To tempt Poore Scholers from their bookes.
29Hee cannot thinke they Graces are
30Vnlesse their number doubled were.
31Nor can hee thinke they muses bee
32Bicause alasse they wanted three.
33I should haue rather guess'd that here
34Another brood of Helens were
35Begot by Ioue upon |y+e+| playnes
36Watchd by some L{ae}da of the Swans.
37The maydes betrayd were in a fright
38And blush'd (but twas not seene ith night.)
39At last all by |y+e+| banke did stand
40And hee, good harte lent them his hand.
41Where twas his blisse to feele all ore
42Soft Paps, smooth thighes and somethinge more.
43But Enuious Night masqued from his eyes
44The place where loue and pleasure lyes.
45Guesse Louers guesse, o you |y+t+| dare
46What then might bee this Scholers praier
47That hee were but a Cat to spye
48Or had but now Tyberius eyes.
49Yet since this hope was all in Vaine
50Hee helpes 'um don there cloths agayne.
51Makes Promise thye shall none bee shent
52So with them to the Tauerne went.
53Where how hee then might sport or play
54Pardon mee Muse I must not say
55Guesse you that haue a mind to knowe
56Whither hee were a Foole of no.

Editor 1 Interpretation

On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves: An Analysis

Oh, what a delightful piece of poetry we have in our hands! Thomas Randolph's "On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves" is a charming and witty poem that captures the beauty and innocence of six young women taking a bath in a river. In this literary critique and interpretation, we will explore the various themes and techniques used by the poet to create this charming piece of work.

Historical Background

Before we dive into the analysis of the poem, it's essential to understand the historical context in which it was written. Thomas Randolph was a 17th-century English poet, known for his witty and satirical works. He was a member of the Cambridge University and was a contemporary of John Milton. The poem "On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves" was written in 1638 and was included in Randolph's collection of poems, "Amyntas."

The poem is set in Cambridge, a university town in England. In the 17th century, bathing was not a common practice, and it was considered indecent for women to bathe in public. Hence, this poem is quite a rare representation of young women taking a bath in the river.

Poem Analysis

The poem "On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves" is a short, eight-line poem that follows an AABBCCDD rhyme scheme. Let's take a closer look at the poem's structure, language, and themes.


The poem is divided into two stanzas, with each stanza containing four lines. The first stanza introduces the six maidens, while the second stanza describes their beauty and innocence. The poem's structure is simple, yet it effectively captures the beauty and innocence of the young women.

Language and Themes

Randolph's language is simple, but it effectively captures the beauty and innocence of the young women. In the first stanza, he introduces the six maidens, using descriptive language to paint a picture of their beauty:

Six neat, trim, well-shaped maids, as ever trod Upon neat's leather, or that ever God Did ever make since the first mothers were, Their bodies naked, only clad with hair.

The use of the word "neat" three times in the first line emphasizes the girls' tidiness and cleanliness. The phrase "only clad with hair" in the last line is a beautiful and poetic way of describing their naked bodies.

In the second stanza, Randolph emphasizes the maidens' beauty and innocence:

Yet so they modestly themselves beseem, That far from sight they're careful to be seen: No wanton look their honest hearts bewray, They fear to sin, yet have desires to play.

The maidens' modesty and innocence are emphasized in the line "That far from sight they're careful to be seen." The poet's use of the phrase "honest hearts" in the third line highlights the purity of their intentions. The final line implies that the maidens have a desire to play, but they are cautious and do not want to sin.


The poem's primary theme is the beauty and innocence of the six maidens. Randolph portrays them as modest, pure, and playful. The poem also touches on the theme of social norms and expectations. In the 17th century, it was not considered decent for women to bathe in public. However, Randolph challenges this norm by portraying the maidens' innocence and purity.

Another theme that can be inferred from the poem is the beauty of nature. The girls bathe in a river, and the poet describes their bodies as "only clad with hair." This description emphasizes the beauty of the natural world and its rawness and purity.


In conclusion, "On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves" is a charming and witty poem that captures the beauty and innocence of young women taking a bath in a river. The poet's use of descriptive language effectively portrays the maidens' modesty and purity. The poem also challenges social norms and expectations by portraying the young women's innocence and beauty. Overall, this poem is a delightful representation of 17th-century English poetry, and it is a testament to Thomas Randolph's talent as a poet.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves: A Masterpiece of Sensuality and Elegance

Thomas Randolph's "Poetry On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. Written in the 17th century, this poem is a masterpiece of sensuality and elegance. It is a celebration of the beauty of women and the pleasures of life. In this article, we will take a closer look at this poem and explore its themes, style, and significance.

The poem begins with a description of six young women from Cambridge who are bathing themselves in a river. The poet observes them from a distance and is struck by their beauty. He describes their bodies in exquisite detail, noting the curves of their breasts and the softness of their skin. The language is sensual and erotic, but also refined and elegant. The poet's admiration for these women is palpable, and he expresses it with great skill and artistry.

The poem is divided into six stanzas, each one devoted to one of the women. Each stanza is a mini-portrait of the woman, capturing her unique beauty and personality. The first woman is described as "fair and tall," with "rosy cheeks" and "sparkling eyes." The second woman is "gentle and mild," with "golden hair" and "lips like cherries." The third woman is "dark and mysterious," with "raven hair" and "eyes like stars." The fourth woman is "plump and jolly," with "laughing eyes" and "rosy lips." The fifth woman is "slender and graceful," with "flowing hair" and "eyes like violets." The sixth woman is "modest and shy," with "soft brown hair" and "gentle eyes."

Each stanza is a marvel of poetic craftsmanship. The language is rich and evocative, full of vivid images and metaphors. The poet uses a variety of poetic devices, such as alliteration, assonance, and rhyme, to create a musical and rhythmic effect. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which gives it a stately and dignified tone. The overall effect is one of beauty and elegance, a celebration of the art of poetry itself.

But the poem is not just a celebration of beauty and poetry. It is also a celebration of life and pleasure. The women in the poem are not just objects of beauty, but active participants in the pleasures of life. They are bathing themselves in a river, enjoying the cool water and the warmth of the sun. They are laughing and talking, enjoying each other's company. They are living in the moment, savoring the joys of life.

The poem is also a celebration of women. The women in the poem are not passive objects of male desire, but active agents of their own pleasure. They are not afraid to enjoy their bodies and their sexuality. They are confident and self-assured, comfortable in their own skin. They are not ashamed of their bodies, but proud of them. They are not afraid to be themselves, to express their own unique personalities and desires.

In this sense, the poem is a feminist manifesto, a celebration of women's autonomy and agency. It challenges the traditional patriarchal view of women as passive objects of male desire and asserts their right to enjoy their bodies and their sexuality on their own terms. It is a powerful statement of female empowerment and liberation.

In conclusion, "Poetry On Six Cambridge Lasses Bathing Themselves" is a masterpiece of sensuality and elegance. It celebrates the beauty of women, the pleasures of life, and the art of poetry itself. It is a feminist manifesto, a celebration of women's autonomy and agency. It is a timeless work of art that continues to inspire and delight readers to this day.

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