Have ye beheld (with much delight)
A red rose peeping through a white?
Or else a cherry (double graced)
Within a lily? Centre placed?
Or ever marked the pretty beam
A strawberry shows half drowned in cream?
Or seen rich rubies blushing through
A pure smooth pearl, and orient too?
So like to this, nay all the rest,
Is each neat niplet of her breast.

Display thy breasts, my Julia—there let me
Behold that circummortal purity,
Between whose glories there my lips I’ll lay,
Ravish’d in that fair via lactea.

Here a pretty baby lies
Sung asleep with lullabies:
Pray be silent and not stir
Th’ easy earth that covers her.

When a daffodil I see,
Hanging down his head towards me,
Guess I may what I must be:
First, I shall decline my head;
Secondly, I shall be dead;
Lastly, safely buried.

2.8k
To Dianeme

Sweet, be not proud of those two eyes
Which starlike sparkle in their skies;
Nor be you proud that you can see
All hearts your captives, yours yet free;
Be you not proud of that rich hair
Which wantons with the love-sick air;
Whenas that ruby which you wear,
Sunk from the tip of your soft ear,
Will last to be a precious stone
When all your world of beauty’s gone.

Droop, droop no more, or hang the head,
Ye roses almost withered;
Now strength and newer purple get,
Each here declining violet.
O primroses! let this day be
A resurrection unto ye;
And to all flowers ally’d in blood,
Or sworn to that sweet sisterhood:
For health on Julia’s cheek hath shed
Claret and cream commingled;
And those her lips do now appear
As beams of coral, but more clear.

2.3k
Her Legs

Fain would I kiss my Julia’s dainty leg,
Which is as white and hairless as an egg.

To me my Julia lately sent
A bracelet richly redolent:
The beads I kissed, but most lov’d her
That did perfume the pomander.

Would ye have fresh cheese and cream?
Julia’s breast can give you them:
And, if more, each nipple cries:
To your cream here’s strawberries.

To-morrow, Julia, I betimes must rise,
For some small fault to offer sacrifice:
The altar’s ready: fire to consume
The fat; breathe thou, and there’s the rich perfume.

The Rose was sick and smiling died;
And, being to be sanctified,
About the bed there sighing stood
The sweet and flowery sisterhood:
Some hung the head, while some did bring,
To wash her, water from the spring;
Some laid her forth, while others wept,
But all a solemn fast there kept:
The holy sisters, some among,
The sacred dirge and trental sung.
But ah! what sweet smelt everywhere,
As Heaven had spent all perfumes there.
At last, when prayers for the dead
And rites were all accomplishèd,
They, weeping, spread a lawny loom,
And closed her up as in a tomb.

Why I tie about thy wrist,
      Julia, this my silken twist;
      For what other reason is ‘t,
But to show thee how, in part,
Thou my pretty captive art?
But thy bondslave is my heart;
’Tis but silk that bindeth thee,
Knap the thread and thou art free:
But ’tis otherwise with me;
—I am bound, and fast bound, so
That from thee I cannot go;
If I could, I would not so.

So smooth, so sweet, so silv’ry is thy voice
As, could they hear, the damn’d would make no noise,
But listen to thee, walking in thy chamber,
Melting melodious words to lutes of amber.

Mine eyes, like clouds, were drizzling rain;
And as they thus did entertain
The gentle beams from Julia’s sight
To mine eyes levell’d opposite,
O thing admir’d!  there did appear
A curious rainbow smiling there;
Which was the covenant that she
No more would drown mine eyes or me.

By those soft tods of wool
With which the air is full;
By all those tinctures there,
That paint the hemisphere;
By dews and drizzling rain
That swell the golden grain;
By all those sweets that be
I’ the flowery nunnery;
By silent nights, and the
Three forms of Hecate;
By all aspects that bless
The sober sorceress,
While juice she strains, and pith
To make her philters with;
By time that hastens on
Things to perfection;
And by yourself, the best
Conjurement of the rest:
O my Electra! be
In love with none but me.

Would ye oil of blossoms get?
Take it from my Julia’s sweat:
Oil of lilies and of spike?
From her moisture take the like,
Let her breathe, or let her blow,
All rich spices thence will flow.

This day, my Julia, thou must make
For Mistress Bride the wedding-cake:
Knead but the dough, and it will be
To paste of almonds turn’d by thee:
Or kiss it thou but once or twice,
And for the bride-cake there’ll be spice.

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
  Why do ye fall so fast?
  Your date is not so past
But you may stay yet here awhile
  To blush and gently smile,
      And go at last.

What! were ye born to be
  An hour or half’s delight,
  And so to bid good night?
’Twas pity Nature brought you forth
  Merely to show your worth
      And lose you quite.

But you are lovely leaves, where we
  May read how soon things have
  Their end, though ne’er so brave:
And after they have shown their pride
  Like you awhile, they glide
      Into the grave.

Shut not so soon; the dull-eyed night
Has not as yet begun
To make a seizure on the light,
Or to seal up the sun.

No marigolds yet closed are;
No shadows great appear;
Nor doth the early shepherds’ star
Shine like a spangle here.

Stay but till my Julia close
Her life-begetting eye,
And let the whole world then dispose
Itself to live or die.

Th’ast dar’d too far ; but, fury, now forbear
To give the least disturbance to her hair:
But less presume to play a plait upon
Her skin’s most smooth and clear expansion.
’Tis like a lawny firmament as yet,
Quite dispossess’d of either fray or fret.
Come thou not near that film so finely spread,
Where no one piece is yet unlevelled.
This if thou dost, woe to thee, fury, woe,
I’ll send such frost, such hail, such sleet, and snow,
Such fears, quakes, palsies, and such heats as shall
Dead thee to th’ most, if not destroy thee all.
And thou a thousand thousand times shalt be
More shak’d thyself than she is scorched by thee.

Permit me, Julia, now to go away;
Or by thy love decree me here to stay.
If thou wilt say that I shall live with thee,
Here shall my endless tabernacle be:
If not, (as banish’d), I will live alone
There where no language ever yet was known.

Some ask’d me where the rubies grew,
    And nothing I did say :
But with my finger pointed to
    The lips of Julia.
Some ask’d how pearls did grow, and where ;
    Then spoke I to my girl,
To part her lips, and show’d them there
    The quarelets of Pearl.

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
  You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
  Has not attain’d his noon.
        Stay, stay
    Until the hasting day
        Has run
    But to the evensong;
And, having pray’d together, we
    Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
  We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
  As you, or anything.
        We die
    As your hours do, and dry
        Away
    Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
    Ne’er to be found again.

1.3k
To Violets

Welcome, maids of honour!
    You do bring
    In the spring,
And wait upon her.

She has virgins many,
    Fresh and fair;
    Yet you are
More sweet than any.

You’re the maiden posies,
    And so graced
    To be placed
‘Fore damask roses.

Yet, though thus respected,
    By-and-by
    Ye do lie,
Poor girls, neglected.

Here she lies, a pretty bud,
Lately made of flesh and blood:
Who as soon fell fast asleep
As her little eyes did peep.
Give her strewings, but not stir
The earth that lightly covers her.

1.2k
To Meadows

Ye have been fresh and green,
  Ye have been fill’d with flowers,
And ye the walks have been
  Where maids have spent their hours.

You have beheld how they
  With wicker arks did come
To kiss and bear away
  The richer cowslips home.

You’ve heard them sweetly sing,
  And seen them in a round:
Each virgin like a spring,
  With honeysuckles crown’d.

But now we see none here
  Whose silv’ry feet did tread
And with dishevell’d hair
  Adorn’d this smoother mead.

Like unthrifts, having spent
  Your stock and needy grown,
You’re left here to lament
  Your poor estates, alone.

Ask me why I send you here
This sweet Infanta of the year?
Ask me why I send to you
This primrose, thus bepearl’d with dew?
I will whisper to your ears:—
The sweets of love are mix’d with tears.

Ask me why this flower does show
So yellow-green, and sickly too?
Ask me why the stalk is weak
And bending (yet it doth not break)?
I will answer:—These discover
What fainting hopes are in a lover.

Thrice happy roses, so much grac’d to have
Within the bosom of my love your grave.
Die when ye will, your sepulchre is known,
Your grave her bosom is, the lawn the stone.

1.2k
The Vine

I dream’d this mortal part of mine
Was Metamorphoz’d to a Vine;
Which crawling one and every way,
Enthrall’d my dainty Lucia.
Me thought, her long small legs & thighs
I with my Tendrils did surprize;
Her Belly, Buttocks, and her Waste
By my soft Nerv’lits were embrac’d:
About her head I writhing hung,
And with rich clusters (hid among
The leaves) her temples I behung:
So that my Lucia seem’d to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curles about her neck did craule,
And armes and hands they did enthrall:
So that she could not freely stir,
(All parts there made one prisoner.)
But when I crept with leaves to hide
Those parts, which maids keep unespy’d,
Such fleeting pleasures there I took,
That with the fancie I awook;
And found (Ah me!) this flesh of mine
More like a Stock then like a Vine.

For my embalming, Julia, do but this;
Give thou my lips but their supremest kiss,
Or else transfuse thy breath into the chest
Where my small relics must for ever rest;
That breath the balm, the myrrh, the nard shall be,
To give an incorruption unto me.

I freeze, I freeze, and nothing dwells
In me but snow and icicles.
For pity’s sake, give your advice,
To melt this snow and thaw this ice.
I’ll drink down flames; but if so be
Nothing but love can supple me,
I’ll rather keep this frost and snow
Than to be thaw’d or heated so.

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o’-th’-Wisp mislight thee,
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there’s none to affright thee.

Let not the dark thee cumber:
What though the moon does slumber?
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light
Like tapers clear without number.

Then, Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me;
And when I shall meet
Thy silv’ry feet
My soul I’ll pour into thee.

Cherry-ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones ; come and buy.
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer : There,
Where my Julia’s lips do smile ;
There’s the land, or cherry-isle,
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.

When that day comes, whose evening says I’m gone
Unto that watery desolation,
Devoutly to thy closet-gods then pray
That my wing’d ship may meet no remora.
Those deities which circum-walk the seas,
And look upon our dreadful passages,
Will from all dangers re-deliver me
For one drink-offering poured out by thee.
Mercy and truth live with thee! and forbear
(In my short absence) to unsluice a tear;
But yet for love’s sake let thy lips do this,
Give my dead picture one engendering kiss:
Work that to life, and let me ever dwell
In thy remembrance, Julia. So farewell.

How rich and pleasing thou, my Julia, art
In each thy dainty and peculiar part!
First, for thy queenship, on thy head is set
Of flowers a sweet commingled coronet:
About thy neck a carcanet is bound,
Made of the ruby, pearl and diamond:
A golden ring that shines upon thy thumb:
About thy wrist, the rich dardanium.
Between thy breasts (than down of swans more white)
There plays the sapphire with the chrysolite.
No part besides must of thyself be known,
But by the topaz, opal, calcedon.

Whither?  say, whither shall I fly,
To slack these flames wherein I fry?
To the treasures, shall I go,
Of the rain, frost, hail, and snow?
Shall I search the underground,
Where all damps and mists are found?
Shall I seek (for speedy ease)
All the floods and frozen seas?
Or descend into the deep,
Where eternal cold does keep?
These may cool; but there’s a zone
Colder yet than anyone:
That’s my Julia’s breast, where dwells
Such destructive icicles,
As that the congelation will
Me sooner starve than those can kill.

I dreamt the roses one time went
To meet and sit in parliament;
The place for these, and for the rest
Of flowers, was thy spotless breast,
Over the which a state was drawn
Of tiffanie or cobweb lawn.
Then in that parly all those powers
Voted the rose the queen of flowers;
But so as that herself should be
The maid of honour unto thee.

1.1k
The Rosary

One asked me where the roses grew.
    I bade him not go seek,
But forthwith bade my Julia show
    A bud in either cheek.

Anthea bade me tie her shoe;
I did ; and kissed the instep too:
And would have kissed unto her knee,
Had not her blush rebuked me.

Help me! help me! now I call
To my pretty witchcrafts all;
Old I am, and cannot do
That I was accustomed to.
Bring your magics, spells, and charms,
To enflesh my thighs and arms;
Is there no way to beget
In my limbs their former heat?
æson had, as poets feign,
Baths that made him young again:
Find that medicine, if you can,
For your dry, decrepit man
Who would fain his strength renew,
Were it but to pleasure you.

In the hour of my distress,
When temptations me oppress,
And when I my sins confess,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When I lie within my bed,
Sick in heart and sick in head,
And with doubts discomforted,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the house doth sigh and weep,
And the world is drown’d in sleep,
Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the passing bell doth toll,
And the Furies in a shoal
Come to fright a parting soul,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the tapers now burn blue,
And the comforters are few,
And that number more than true,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the priest his last hath pray’d,
And I nod to what is said,
‘Cause my speech is now decay’d,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When, God knows, I’m toss’d about
Either with despair or doubt;
Yet before the glass be out,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the tempter me pursu’th
With the sins of all my youth,
And half damns me with untruth,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the flames and hellish cries
Fright mine ears and fright mine eyes,
And all terrors me surprise,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the Judgment is reveal’d,
And that open’d which was seal’d,
When to Thee I have appeal’d,
      Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

What I fancy I approve,
No dislike there is in love:
Be my mistress short or tall,
And distorted therewithal:
Be she likewise one of those,
That an acre hath of nose:
Be her forehead and her eyes
Full of incongruities:
Be her cheeks so shallow too,
As to show her tongue wag through;
Be her lips ill hung or set,
And her grinders black as jet:
Hath she thin hair, hath she none,
She’s to me a paragon.

You are a tulip seen to-day,
But, dearest, of so short a stay
That where you grew scarce man can say.

You are a lovely July-flower,
Yet one rude wind or ruffling shower
Will force you hence, and in an hour.

You are a sparkling rose i’ th’ bud,
Yet lost ere that chaste flesh and blood
Can show where you or grew or stood.

You are a full-spread, fair-set vine,
And can with tendrils love entwine,
Yet dried ere you distil your wine.

You are like balm enclosèd well
In amber or some crystal shell,
Yet lost ere you transfuse your smell.

You are a dainty violet,
Yet wither’d ere you can be set
Within the virgin’s coronet.

You are the queen all flowers among;
But die you must, fair maid, ere long,
As he, the maker of this song.

Why dost thou wound and break my heart,
As if we should for ever part?
Hast thou not heard an oath from me,
After a day, or two, or three,
I would come back and live with thee?
Take, if thou dost distrust that vow,
This second protestation now.
Upon thy cheek that spangled tear,
Which sits as dew of roses there,
That tear shall scarce be dried before
I’ll kiss the threshold of thy door.
Then weep not, sweet; but this much know,
I’m half return’d before I go.

In numbers, and but these few,
I sing Thy birth, Oh, Jesu!
Thou pretty Baby, born here,
With sup’rabundant scorn here:
Who for Thy princely port here,
          Hadst for Thy place
          Of birth, a base
Out-stable for Thy court here.

Instead of neat inclosures
Of interwoven osiers,
Instead of fragrant posies,
Of daffodils and roses,
Thy cradle, kingly Stranger,
          As Gospel tells,
          Was nothing else,
But, here, a homely manger.

But we with silks (not cruels),
With sundry precious jewels,
And lily-work will dress Thee
Of clouts; we’ll make a chamber,
          Sweet Babe, for Thee,
          Of ivory,
And plastered round with amber.

The Jews they did disdain Thee,
But we will entertain Thee
With glories to await here
Upon Thy princely state here,
And more for love, than pity.
          From year to year
          We’ll make Thee, here,
A free-born of our city.

She by the river sat, and sitting there,
She wept, and made it deeper by a tear.

Let others look for pearl and gold,
Tissues, or tabbies manifold:
One only lock of that sweet hay
Whereon the blessed Baby lay,
Or one poor swaddling-clout, shall be
The richest New-year’s gift to me.

What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!
Heart, ear, and eye, and everything.
Awake! the while the active finger
Runs division with the singer.

Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this day,
That sees December turned to May.

If we may ask the reason, say
The why, and wherefore, all things here
Seem like the springtime of the year?

Why does the chilling Winter’s morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell, like to a mead new-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden?

Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
’Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To heaven, and the under-earth.

We see Him come, and know Him ours,
Who, with His sunshine, and His showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome Him. The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the heart,

Which we will give Him; and bequeath
This holly, and this ivy wreath,
To do Him honor; who’s our King,
And Lord of all this reveling.

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction:
An erring lace which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly:
A winning wave (deserving note)
In the tempestuous petticoat:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.

Wash your hands, or else the fire
Will not tind to your desire;
Unwashed hands, ye maidens, know,
Dead the fire, though ye blow.

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