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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 3/175 -

John Fletcher [1579-1625]


The sea hath many thousand sands, The sun hath motes as many; The sky is full of stars, and Love As full of woes as any: Believe me, that do know the elf, And make no trial by thyself!

It is in truth a pretty toy For babes to play withal: But O, the honies of our youth Are oft our age's gall: Self-proof in time will make thee know He was a prophet told thee so:

A prophet that, Cassandra-like, Tells truth without belief; For headstrong Youth will run his race, Although his goal be grief: - Love's Martyr, when his heat is past, Proves Care's Confessor at the last.



Love, brave Virtue's younger brother, Erst hath made my heart a mother, She consults the anxious spheres, To calculate her young son's years; She asks if sad or saving powers Gave omen to his infant hours; She asks each star that then stood by If poor Love shall live or die.

Ah, my heart! is that the way? Are these the beams that rule thy day? Thou know'st a face in whose each look Beauty lays ope Love's fortune-book, On whose fair revolutions wait The obsequious motions of Love's fate. Ah, my heart! her eyes and she Have taught thee new astrology. Howe'er Love's native hours were set, Whatever starry synod met, 'Tis in the mercy of her eye, If poor Love shall live or die.

If those sharp rays, putting on Points of death, bid Love be gone; - Though the heavens in council sate To crown an uncontrolled fate; Though their best aspects twined upon The kindest constellation, Cast amorous glances on its birth, And whispered the confederate earth To pave his paths with all the good That warms the bed of youth and blood: - Love has no plea against her eye; Beauty frowns, and Love must die.

But if her milder influence move, And gild the hopes of humble Love; - Though heaven's inauspicious eye Lay black on Love's nativity; Though every diamond in Jove's crown Fixed his forehead to a frown; - Her eye a strong appeal can give, Beauty smiles, and Love shall live.

O, if Love shall live, O where, But in her eye, or in her ear, In her breast, or in her breath, Shall I hide poor Love from death? For in the life aught else can give, Love shall die, although he live.

Or, if Love shall die, O where, But in her eye, or in her ear, In her breath, or in her breast, Shall I build his funeral nest? While Love shall thus entombed lie, Love shall live, although he die!

Richard Crashaw [1613?-1649]

"AH, HOW SWEET IT IS TO LOVE!" From "Tyrannic Love"

Ah, how sweet it is to love! Ah, how gay is young Desire! And what pleasing pains we prove When we first approach Love's fire! Pains of Love be sweeter far Than all other pleasures are.

Sighs which are from lovers blown Do but gently heave the heart: Even the tears they shed alone Cure, like trickling balm, their smart: Lovers, when they lose their breath, Bleed away in easy death.

Love and Time with reverence use, Treat them like a parting friend; Nor the golden gifts refuse Which in youth sincere they send: For each year their price is more, And they less simple than before.

Love, like spring-tides full and high, Swells in every youthful vein; But each tide does less supply, Till they quite shrink in again: If a flow in age appear, 'Tis but rain, and runs not clear.

John Dryden [1631-1700]


Love still has something of the sea, From whence his Mother rose; No time his slaves from doubt can free, Nor give their thoughts repose.

They are becalmed in clearest days, And in rough weather tossed;

They wither under cold delays, Or are in tempests lost.

One while they seem to touch the port, Then straight into the main Some angry wind, in cruel sport, The vessel drives again.

At first Disdain and Pride they fear, Which if they chance to 'scape,

Rivals and Falsehood soon appear, In a more dreadful shape.

By such degrees to joy they come, And are so long withstood, So slowly they receive the sum, It hardly does them good.

'Tis cruel to prolong a pain; And to defer a joy, Believe me, gentle Celemene, Offends the winged boy.

An hundred thousand oaths your fears, Perhaps, would not remove; And if I gazed a thousand years, I could no deeper love.

Charles Sedley [1639?-1710]

THE VINE From "Sunday Up the River"

The wine of Love is music, And the feast of Love is song: And when Love sits down to the banquet, Love sits long:

Sits long and arises drunken, But not with the feast and the wine; He reeleth with his own heart, That great, rich Vine.

James Thomson [1834-1882]


Fain would I change that note To which fond love hath charmed me, Long, long to sing by rote, Fancying that that harmed me: Yet when this thought doth come, - Love is the perfect sum Of all delight. I have no other choice Either for pen or voice To sing or write.

O love, they wrong thee much That say thy sweet is bitter

The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 3/175

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