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THE INCONSTANT. I Never yet could see that face,
Which had no dart for me;
From fifteen years, to fifty's pace,
They all victorious be.
Colour or shape, good limbs, or face,
Goodness, or wit, in all I find;
In motion or in speech a grace,
If all fail, yet 'tis womankind. If tall, the name of proper slays;
If fair, she's pleasant as the light : If low, her prettiness does please;
If black, what lover loves not night. The fat, like plenty, fills my heart,
The lean, with love, makes me so too; If straight, her body's Cupid's dart ;
To me, if crooked, 'tis his bow. Thus, with unwearied wings I fee,
Through all Love's garden and his fields; And, like the wise industrious bee,
No weed but honey to me yields.
I'LL sing of heroes and of kings,
In mighty numbers, mighty things.
Begin, my Muse! but lo! the strings
To my great song rebellious prove;
The strings will sound of nought but love.
I broke them all, and put on new;
"T is this or nothing sure will do.
These sure (said I) will me obey;
These, sure, heroic notes will play.
Strait I began with thundering Jove,
And all th' immortal powers; but Love,
Love smild, and from my' enfeebled lyre
Came gentle airs, such as inspire
Melting love and soft desire.
Farewell then, heroes ! farewell, kings !
And mighty numbers, mighty things !
Love tunes my heart just to my strings.
THE thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The plants suck-in the earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair;
The sea itself (which one would think
Should have but little need of drink)
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
So fill'd that they o'erflow the cup.
The busy sun (and one would guess
By's drunken fiery face no less)
Drinks up the sea, and, when he 'as done,
The moon and stars drink up the sun :
They drink and dance by their own light;
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in nature's sober found,
But an eternal health goes round.
Fill up the bowl then, fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there; for why
Should every creature drink but I;
Why, man of morals, tell me why?
LIBERAL Nature did dispense
To all things arms for their defence ; And some she arms with sinewy force, And some with swiftness in the course;
Some with hard hoofs or forked claws,
And some with horns or tusked jaws :
And some with scales, and some with wings,
And some with teeth, and some with stings.
Wisdom to man she did afford,
Wisdom for shield, and wit for sword.
What to beauteous womankind,
What arms, what armour, has she' assign'd?
Beauty is both; for with the fair
What arms, what armour, can compare ?
What steel, what gold, or diamond,
More impassible is found?
And yet what flame, what lightning, e'er
So great an active force did bear?
They are all weapon, and they dart
Like porcupines from every part.
Who can, alas! their strength express,
Arm'd, when they themselves undress,
Cap-a-pie with nakedness?
YES, I will love then, I will love;
I will not now Love's rebel prove,
Though I was once his enemy ;
Though ill-advis'd and stubborn I,
Did to the combat him defy.
An helmet, spear, and mighty shield,
Like some new Ajax, I did wield.
Love in one hand his bow did take,
In th' other hand a dart did shake;
But yet in vain the dart did throw,
In vain he often drew the bow;
So well my armour did resist,
So oft by flight the blow I mist :
But, when I thought all danger past,
His quiver empty'd quite at last,
Instead of arrow or of dart
He shot himself into my heart.
The living and the killing arrow
Ran through the skin, the flesh, the blood,
And broke the bones, and scorch'd the marrow,
No trench or work of life withstood.
In vain I now the walls maintain;
I set out guards and scouts in vain;
Since th' enemy does within remain.
In vain a breast-plate now I wear,
Since in my breast the foe I bear;
In vain my feet their swiftness try;
For from the body can they fly?
IT am I by the women told,
Poor Anacreon! thou grow'st old :
Look how thy hairs are falling all ;
Poor Anacreon, how they fall!
Whether I grow old or no,
By th' effects I do not know;
This I know, without being told,
'Tis time to live, if I grow old ;
"T is time short pleasures now to tako,
Of little life the best to make,
And manage wisely the last stake.
HEN all the stars are by thee told
(The endless sums of heavenly gold);
Or when the hairs are reckon'd all,
From sickly autumn's head that fall;
Or when the drops that make the sea,
Whilst all her sands they counters be ;
Thou then, and thou alone, may'st prove
Th' arithmetician of my love.
An hundred loves at Athens score,
At Corinth write an hundred more :
Fair Corinth does such beauties bear,
So few, is an escaping there.
Write then at Chios seventy-three;
Write then at Lesbos (let me see)
Write me at Lesbos ninety down,
Full ninety loves, and half a one.
And, next to these, let me present
The fair Ionian regiment;
And next the Carian company;
Five hundred both effectively.
Three hundred more at Rhodes and Crete;
Three hundred 't is, I'm sure, complete ;.
For arms at Crete each face does bear,
And every eye's an archer there.
Go on: this stop why dost thou make ?
Thou think'st, perhaps, that I mistake.
Seems this to thee too great a sum?
Why many thousands are to come ;
The mighty Xerxes could not boast
Such different nations in his host.
On; for my love, if thou be'st weary,
Must find some better secretary.
I have not yet my Persian told,
Nor yet my Syrian loves enroll’d,
Nor Indian, nor Arabian ;
Nor Cyprian loves, nor African;
Nor Scythian nor Italian flames;
There's a whole map behind of names
of gentle loves i' th' temperate zone,
And cold ones in the frigid onė,
Cold frozen loves, with which I pine,
And parched loves beneath the Line.
FILL the bowl with rosy wine !
Around our temples roses twine!
And let us chearfully awhile,
Like the wine and roses, smile.