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THERE is no worldly pleasure here below,
Which by experience doth not folly prove ; But among all the follies that I know,
The sweetest folly in the world is love : But not that passion which, with fools' consent.
Above the reason bears imperious sway, Making their lifetime a perpetual Lent,
As if a man were born to fast and pray. No, that is not the humor I approve,
As either yielding pleasure or promotion ; I like a mild and lukewarm zeal in love,
Although I do not like it in devotion ; For it has no coherence with my creed,
To think that lovers die as they pretend ; If all that say they dy had dy'd indeed,
Sure, long ere now the world had had an end. Besides, we need not love but if we please,
No destiny can force men's disposition ; And how can any die of that disease
Whereof himself may be his own physician ? But some seem so distracted of their wits,
That I would think it but a venial sin To take some of those innocents that sits
In Bedlam out, and put some lovers in. Yet some men, rather than incur the slander
Of true apostates, will false martyrs prove, But I am neither Iphis nor Leander,
I 'll neither drown nor hang myself for love. Methinks a wise man's actions should be such
As always yield to reason's best advice; Now, for to love too little or too much
Are both extreams, and all extreams are vice. Yet have I been a lover by report,
Yea I have dy'd for love, as others do;
That I revived within an hour or two.
And find no reason to repent me yet ;
His courage is as little as his wit.
SIR ROBERT AYTON
Shall I tell you whom I love ?
Hearken then awhile to me ; And if such a woman move
As I now shall versify,
Nature did her so much right
As she scorns the help of art. In as many virtues dight
As e'er yet embraced a heart.
“In humble, simplest habit clad,
No wealth or power had he; Wisdom and worth were all he had,
But these were all to me.
“And when beside me in the dale
He carolled lays of love,
And music to the grove.
“The blossom opening to the day,
The dews of heaven refined, Could naught of purity display
To emulate his mind.
“The dew, the blossoms of the tree,
With charms inconstant shine;
Their constancy was mine.
“For still I tried each fickle art,
Importunate and vain;
I triumphed in his pain :
“Till, quite dejected with my scorn,
He left me to my pride; And sought a solitude forlorn,
In secret, where he died.
“But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,
And well my life shall pay; I'll seek the solitude he sought,
And stretch me where he lay. “And there forlorn, despairing, hid,
I'll lay me down and die; 'T was so for me that Edwin did,
And so for him will I."
“Forbid it, Heaven !" the Hermit cried,
And clasped her to his breast :
'T was Edwin's self that pressed.
“Turn, Angelina, ever dear,
My charmer, turn to see
Restored to love and thee.
“Thus let me hold thee to my heart,
And every care resign:
My life, - my all that 's mine?
“No, never from this hour to part,
We'll live and love so true:
Shall break thy Edwin's too."
WHAT gift for passionate lovers shall we find ?
EDMUND WILLIAM GOSSE.