Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter



192                                   To His Forsaken Mistress

I DO confess thou’rt smooth and fair,
    And I might have gone near to love thee,
Had I not found the slightest prayer
    That lips could move, had power to move thee;
But I can let thee now alone
As worthy to be loved by none.
I do confess thou’rt sweet; yet find
    Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,
Thy favours are but like the wind
    That kisseth everything it meets:
And since thou canst with more than one,
hou’rt worthy to be kiss’d by none.
The morning rose that untouch’d stands
    Arm’d with her briers, how sweet she smells!
But pluck’d and strain’d through ruder hands,
    Her sweets no longer with her dwells:
But scent and beauty both are gone,
And leaves fall from her, one by one.
Such fate ere long will thee betide
    When thou hast handled been awhile,
With sere flowers to be thrown aside;
    And I shall sigh, while some will smile,
To see thy love to every one
Hath brought thee to be loved by none.

193                                      To an Inconstant One

I LOVED thee once; I’ll love no more—
   Thine be the grief as is the blame;
Thou art not what thou wast before,
   What reason I should be the same?
     He that can love unloved again,
     Hath better store of love than brain:
   God send me love my debts to pay,
   While unthrifts fool their love away!
Nothing could have my love o’erthrown
   If thou hadst still continued mine;
Yea, if thou hadst remain’d thy own,
   I might perchance have yet been thine.
     But thou thy freedom didst recall
     That it thou might elsewhere enthral:
   And then how could I but disdain
   A captive’s captive to remain?
When new desires had conquer’d thee
   And changed the object of thy will,
It had been lethargy in me,
   Not constancy, to love thee still.
     Yea, it had been a sin to go
     And prostitute affection so:
   Since we are taught no prayers to say
   To such as must to others pray.
Yet do thou glory in thy choice—
   Thy choice of his good fortune boast;
I’ll neither grieve nor yet rejoice
   To see him gain what I have lost:
     The height of my disdain shall be
     To laugh at him, to blush for thee;
   To love thee still, but go no more
   A-begging at a beggar’s door.

Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter