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121                                          Love is a Sickness

LOVE is a sickness full of woes,
    All remedies refusing;
A plant that with most cutting grows,
    Most barren with best using.
                               Why so?
More we enjoy it, more it dies;
    If not enjoy’d, it sighing cries—
                               Heigh ho!
Love is a torment of the mind,
    A tempest everlasting;
And Jove hath made it of a kind
    Not well, nor full nor fasting.
                                  Why so?
More we enjoy it, more it dies;
    If not enjoy’d, it sighing cries—
                                  Heigh ho!

122                                          Ulysses and the Siren

            Siren.    COME, worthy Greek! Ulysses, come,
                             Possess these shores with me:
                         The winds and seas are troublesome,
                             And here we may be free.
                         Here may we sit and view their toil
                             That travail in the deep,
                         And joy the day in mirth the while,
                             And spend the night in sleep.

        Ulysses.    Fair Nymph, if fame or honour were
                            To be attain’d with ease,
                         Then would I come and rest me there,
                             And leave such toils as these.
                         But here it dwells, and here must I
                             With danger seek it forth:
                         To spend the time luxuriously
                             Becomes not men of worth.

            Siren.    Ulysses, O be not deceived
                             With that unreal name;
                         This honour is a thing conceived,
                             And rests on others’ fame:
                         Begotten only to molest
                             Our peace, and to beguile
                         The best thing of our life—our rest,
                             And give us up to toil.

        Ulysses.    Delicious Nymph, suppose there were
                             No honour nor report,
                         Yet manliness would scorn to wear
                             The time in idle sport:
                         For toil doth give a better touch
                             To make us feel our joy,
                         And ease finds tediousness as much
                             As labour yields annoy.

            Siren.    Then pleasure likewise seems the shore
                             Whereto tends all your toil,
                         Which you forgo to make it more,
                             And perish oft the while.
                         Who may disport them diversely
                             Find never tedious day,
                         And ease may have variety
                             As well as action may.

        Ulysses.    But natures of the noblest frame
                             These toils and dangers please;
                         And they take comfort in the same
                             As much as you in ease;
                         And with the thought of actions past
                             Are recreated still:
                         When Pleasure leaves a touch at last
                            To show that it was ill.

            Siren.    That doth Opinion only cause
                            That’s out of Custom bred,
                         Which makes us many other laws
                            Than ever Nature did.
                         No widows wail for our delights,
                            Our sports are without blood;
                         The world we see by warlike wights
                            Receives more hurt than good.

        Ulysses.    But yet the state of things require
                            These motions of unrest:
                         And these great Spirits of high desire
                            Seem born to turn them best:
                         To purge the mischiefs that increase
                            And all good order mar:
                         For oft we see a wicked peace
                            To be well changed for war.

            Siren.    Well, well, Ulysses, then I see
                            I shall not have thee here:
                         And therefore I will come to thee,
                            And take my fortune there.
                         I must be won, that cannot win,
                            Yet lost were I not won;
                         For beauty hath created been
                            T’ undo, or be undone.

123                                       Beauty, Time, and Love


FAIR is my Love and cruel as she’s fair;
Her brow-shades frown, although her eyes are sunny.
Her smiles are lightning, though her pride despair,
And her disdains are gall, her favours honey:
A modest maid, deck’d with a blush of honour,
Whose feet do tread green paths of youth and love;
The wonder of all eyes that look upon her,
Sacred on earth, design’d a Saint above.
Chastity and Beauty, which were deadly foes,
Live reconcilàd friends within her brow;
And had she Pity to conjoin with those,
Then who had heard the plaints I utter now?
    For had she not been fair, and thus unkind,
    My Muse had slept, and none had known my mind.


My spotless love hovers with purest wings,
About the temple of the proudest frame,
Where blaze those lights, fairest of earthly things,
Which clear our clouded world with brightest flame.
My ambitious thoughts, confinàd in her face,
Affect no honour but what she can give;
My hopes do rest in limits of her grace;
I weigh no comfort unless she relieve.
For she, that can my heart imparadise,
Holds in her fairest hand what dearest is;
My Fortune’s wheel’s the circle of her eyes,
Whose rolling grace deign once a turn of bliss.
    All my life’s sweet consists in her alone;
    So much I love the most Unloving one.


And yet I cannot reprehend the flight
Or blame th’ attempt presuming so to soar;
The mounting venture for a high delight
Did make the honour of the fall the more.
For who gets wealth, that puts not from the shore?
Danger hath honour, great designs their fame;
Glory doth follow, courage goes before;
And though th’ event oft answers not the same—
Suffice that high attempts have never shame.
The mean observer, whom base safety keeps,
Lives without honour, dies without a name,
And in eternal darkness ever sleeps.—
    And therefore, Delia, ’tis to me no blot
    To have attempted, tho’ attain’d thee not.


When men shall find thy flow’r, thy glory, pass,
And thou with careful brow, sitting alone,
Receivàd hast this message from thy glass,
That tells the truth and says that All is gone;
Fresh shalt thou see in me the wounds thou mad’st,
Though spent thy flame, in me the heat remaining:
I that have loved thee thus before thou fad’st—
My faith shall wax, when thou art in thy waning.
The world shall find this miracle in me,
That fire can burn when all the matter’s spent:
Then what my faith hath been thyself shalt see,
And that thou wast unkind thou may’st repent.—
    Thou may’st repent that thou hast scorn’d my tears,
    When Winter snows upon thy sable hairs.


Beauty, sweet Love, is like the morning dew,
Whose short refresh upon the tender green
Cheers for a time, but till the sun doth show,
And straight ’tis gone as it had never been.
Soon doth it fade that makes the fairest flourish,
Short is the glory of the blushing rose;
The hue which thou so carefully dost nourish,
Yet which at length thou must be forced to lose.
When thou, surcharged with burthen of thy years,
Shalt bend thy wrinkles homeward to the earth;
And that, in Beauty’s Lease expired, appears
The Date of Age, the Calends of our Death—
    But ah, no more!—this must not be foretold,
    For women grieve to think they must be old.


I must not griee my Love, whose eyes would read
Lines of delight, whereon her youth might smile;
Flowers have time before they come to seed,
And she is young, and now must sport the while.
And sport, Sweet Maid, in season of these years,
And learn to gather flowers before they wither;
And where the sweetest blossom first appears,
Let Love and Youth conduct thy pleasures thither.
Lighten forth smiles to clear the clouded air,
And calm the tempest which my sighs do raise;
Pity and smiles do best become the fair;
Pity and smiles must only yield thee praise.
    Make me to say when all my griefs are gone,
    Happy the heart that sighed for such a one!


Let others sing of Knights and Paladines
In agàd accents and untimely words,
Paint shadows in imaginary lines,
Which well the reach of their high wit records:
But I must sing of thee, and those fair eyes
Authentic shall my verse in time to come;
When yet th’ unborn shall say, Lo, where she lies!
Whose beauty made him speak, that else was dumb!
These are the arcs, the trophies I erect,
That fortify thy name against old age;
And these thy sacred virtues must protect
Against the Dark, and Time’s consuming rage.
    Though th’ error of my youth in them appear,
    Suffice, they show I lived, and loved thee dear.


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