The poem humorously describes a case of male impotence, or the inability to get an erection. The shepherd Lisander spots Cloris in a green thicket and is inflamed with an uncontrollable desire for her. The day is fading into night and the darkness helps him in his seduction. Realizing she is trapped in a thicket, Cloris decides to give up on shame and permits Lisander's force upon her with willing submission. However, she is still conflicted, as she is worried about losing her virginity, which society sees as her "honor." Lisander does not listen and kisses her all over. Cloris is overwhelmed by desire, barely breathing and appearing almost lifeless. Lisander is also overcome with passion as he sees her naked body. Unable to withstand waiting, he throws himself onto her. He realizes at this moment that he has lost his erection. Unable to penetrate Cloris, Lisander tries to stimulate an erection with his hands but is unsuccessful. He begins to get angry. Cloris touches his crotch, but draws her hand back in disgust when she encounters his limp penis. While Cloris runs away, Lisander curses his fate and blames the shepherdess for causing an excess of passion in him.