John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester.


424   Return

ABSENT from thee, I languish still;
   Then ask me not, When I return?
The straying fool ’twill plainly kill
   To wish all day, all night to mourn.

Dear, from thine arms then let me fly,
   That my fantastic mind may prove
The torments it deserves to try,
   That tears my fix’d heart from my love.

When, wearied with a world of woe,
   To thy safe bosom I retire,
Where love, and peace, and truth does flow,
   May I contented there expire!

Lest, once more wandering from that heaven,
   I fall on some base heart unblest;
Faithless to thee, false, unforgiven—
   And lose my everlasting rest.

425   Love and Life

ALL my past life is mine no more;
   The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams given o’er,
Whose images are kept in store
   By memory alone.

The time that is to come is not;
   How can it then be mine?
The present moment’s all my lot;
And that, as fast as it is got,
   Phillis, is only thine.

Then talk not of inconstancy,
   False hearts, and broken vows;
If I by miracle can be
This live- long minute true to thee,
   ’Tis all that Heaven allows.

426   Constancy

I CANNOT change as others do,
   Though you unjustly scorn;
Since that poor swain that sighs for you
   For you alone was born.
No, Phillis, no; your heart to move
   A surer way I’ll try;
And, to revenge my slighted love,
   Will still love on and die.

When kill’d with grief Amyntas lies,
   And you to mind shall call
The sighs that now unpitied rise,
   The tears that vainly fall—
That welcome hour, that ends this smart,
   Will then begin your pain;
For such a faithful tender heart
   Can never break in vain.

427   To His Mistress1

WHY dost thou shade thy lovely face? O why
Does that eclipsing hand of thine deny
The sunshine of the Sun’s enlivening eye?

Without thy light what light remains in me?
Thou art my life; my way, my light’s in thee;
I live, I move, and by thy beams I see.

Thou art my life—if thou but turn away
My life’s a thousand deaths. Thou art my way—
Without thee, Love, I travel not but stray.

My light thou art—without thy glorious sight
My eyes are darken’d with eternal night.
My Love, thou art my way, my life, my light.

Thou art my way; I wander if thou fly.
Thou art my light; if hid, how blind am I!
Thou art my life; if thou withdraw’st, I die.

My eyes are dark and blind, I cannot see:
To whom or whither should my darkness flee,
But to that light?—and who’s that light but thee?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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