Aurelian Townshend (1583-1649)

Though Regions Far Divided

Though regions far divided
And tedious tracts of time,
By my misfortune guided
Make absence thought a crime;
Though we were set asunder
As far as east from west,
Love still would work this wonder,
Thou shouldst be in my breast.

How slow alas are paces
Compared to thoughts that fly
In moment back to places
Whole ages scarce descry.
The body must have pauses;
The mind requires no rest;
Love needs no second causes
To guide thee to my breast.

Accept in that poor dwelling,
But welcome, nothing great,
With pride no turrets swelling,
But lowly as the seat;
Where, though not much delighted,
In peace thou mayst be blest,
Unfeasted yet unfrighted
By rivals, in my breast.

But this is not the diet
That doth for glory strive;
Poor beauties seek in quiet
To keep one heart alive.
The price of his ambition,
That looks for such a guest
Is, hopeless of fruition,
To beat an empty breast.

See then my last lamenting:
Upon a cliff I’ll sit,
Rock constancy presenting,
Till I grow part of it;
My tears a quicksand feeding,
Whereon no foot can rest;
My sighs a tempest breeding
About my stony breast.

Those arms, wherein wide open
Love’s fleet was wont to put
Shall laid across betoken
That haven’s mouth is shut.
Mine eyes no light shall cherish
For ships at sea distressed,
But darkling let them perish
Or split against my breast.

Yet if I can discover
When thine before it rides,
To show I was thy lover
I’ll smooth my rugged sides,
And so much better measure
Afford thee than the rest,
Thou shalt have no displeasure
By knocking at my breast.

To the Lady May

Your smiles are not, as other women’s be,
Only the drawing of the mouth awry;
For breasts and cheeks and forehead we may see,
Parts wanting motion, all stand smiling by:
Heaven hath no mouth, and yet is said to smile
After your style:
No more hath earth, yet that smiles too,
Just as you do.

No simpering lips nor looks can breed
Such smiles as from your face proceed:
The sun must lend his golden beams,
Soft winds their breath, green trees their shade,
Sweet fields their flowers, clear springs their streams,
Ere such another smile be made:
But these concurring, we may say
“So smiles the spring and so smiles lovely May.”