- To Cynthia
- To Cynthia: On Her Embraces
- To Cynthia: On Her Coyness
- To Cynthia: An Apology
- To Cynthia: On a Parting Kiss
- To Cynthia: On the Concealment of Her Beauty
When I behold the heaven of thy face,
And see how every beauty, every grace
Move, and are there:
As in their Sphere,
What need have I (my Cynthia) to confer
With any Chaldee, or astrologer:
Since in the scheme of thy fair face I see
All the aspects of my nativity.
For if at any time thou should’st cast down
From thy serenest brow an angry frown,
Or shouldst reflect
That dire aspect
Of opposition, or of enmity,
That look would sure be fatal unto me,
Unless fair Venus’ kind succeeding ray,
Did much of the malignity allay.
Or if I should be so unfortunate
To see a look, though of imperfect hate,
I am most sure
Would cast me in a quartan love-sick fever,
Of which I should recover late, if ever,
Or into a consumption, so should I
Perish at last, although not suddenly.
But when I see those starry twins of thine,
Behold me with a sextile, or a trine,
And that they move
In perfect love
With amorous beams, they plainly do discover,
My horoscope marked me to be a lover:
And that I only should not have the honor
To be born under Venus, but upon her.
To Cynthia: On Her Embraces
If thou a reason dost desire to know,
My dearest Cynthia, why I love thee so,
As when I do enjoy all thy love’s store
I am not yet content, but seek for more.
When we do kiss so often as the tale
Of kisses doth outvie the winter’s hail,
When I do print them on more close and sweet
Than shells of scallops, cockles when they meet,
Yet am not satisfied. When I do close
Thee nearer to me than the ivy grows
Unto the oak, when those white arms of thine
Clip me more close than doth the elm the vine;
When, naked both, thou seemest not to be
Contiguous, but continuous parts of me,
And we in bodies are together brought
So near, our souls may know each other’s thought
Without a whisper, yet I do aspire
To come more close to thee, and to be nigher,
Know, ’twas well said that spirits are too high
For bodies, when they meet, to satisfy;
Our souls having like forms of light and sense,
Proceeding from the same intelligence,
Desire to mix like to two water drops,
Whose union some little hindrance stops,
Which meeting both together would be one.
For in the steel, and in the adamant stone,
One and the same magnetic soul is cause
That with such unseen chains each other draws:
So our souls now divided brook ’t not well
That being one they should asunder dwell.
Then let me die, that so my soul being free
May join with that her other half in thee,
For when in thy pure self it shall abide
It shall assume a body glorified,
Being in that high bliss; nor shall we twain
Or wish to meet, or fear to part again.
To Cynthia: On Her Coyness
What sweetness is in fruits: in nectarine,
Peach, cherry, apricot, those lips of thine,
Cynthia, express: what colours grace the rose,
The jessamine, the lily, pink, all those,
Whether it be in colours, or in smells,
Are emblems of thy body, which excels
All flowers in purity, but can we find
A flower, or herb an emblem of thy mind?
Yes: the coy shame-faced plant Pudefetan,
Which is endued with sense, for if a man
Come near the female, and his finger put
Upon her leaf, she instantly will shut
Close all her branches, as she did disdain
The handling of a man, and spread again
Her leaves abroad, when as a man is gone,
And she is in her earthy bed alone:
This Indian plant a man may well suppose,
Within the garden of thy bosom grows,
Which though it be invisible hath such
A property, to make thee fly my touch:
And sure the plant hath such a sympathy,
As that it will not close her leaves to thee;
And if thou com’st, her self she will not hide,
But will (more nice than she) thy touch abide.
To Cynthia: An Apology
Expect not, lovely Cynthia, yet from me
Lines like thy fairest self, so cleare, so free
From any blemish, for what now I write,
Is like a picture done in a dim light;
A night piece, for my soul is overcast,
As is a mirror with a humid blast
Of breathing on it: and a misty cloud
Thy beauties’ brightness in a veil doth shroud.
These lines of mine are only to be read
To make thee drowsy when thou go’st to bed,
For the long gloomy dark and clouded sky
That the sun’s brightness to us doth deny,
Darkens all souls, and damps all human sense,
That to his light hath any reference,
And quenches so those hot and amorous flames,
That would have made the water of the Thames
Burn like Canary sack: more dull, and cold
Than wine at court, which is both small, and old.
Give me a little respite then to end
That romance, which to thy name I intend
Till Hampton court’s, or Greenwich’s purer air,
Produce lines like thy self, serene and faire.
Meantime imagine that Newcastle’s coals,
Which as Sir Inigo saith have perished Paul’s,
And by the skill of Marquis would-be Jones,
‘Tis found the smoak’s salt did corrupt the stones.
Thinke thou I am in London where I have
No intermission, but to be a slave
To other mens’ affairs more than my own,
And have no leisure for to be alone.
Yet, dearest Cynthia, think this much of me:
By night I do both think, and dream of thee,
And that which I shall write in thy high praise,
Shall be the work of fair, and sunshine days:
Nor to describe thee will I take the pains
But in the hour when Iove, or Venus reigns.
To Cynthia: On a Parting Kiss
So would a soul, if that it did but know,
being formed in heaven, how that it was to go
To a dark womb on earth from heav’nly bliss,
Regret, as I do at our parting kiss.
For when I part from thee, though the delight
Of the kiss is a sunbeam before night;
Yet I much better should endure the pain,
Were I but sure that we should kiss again.
But being uncertain, like a soul in fear,
Whether it shall return to the same sphere,
Or star, or house celestial, whence it came.
My Cynthia, beauty’s queen, thou canst not blame
My fear, nor my credulity in this,
If I considering of our parting kiss,
Shall straight affirm that on thy lip doth dwell
At once a heav’nly pleasure and a hell.
For in our kiss is bliss without dimension,
And in our parting grief, beyond extension:
O do me then the favour done to those
Die on the Blocke, to whom the headsman shows,
Nor sword, nor axe, nor doth the traitor know,
When he will strike, until he feel the blow.
Use me then so, let’s kiss so oft, so fast,
I may not know, which kis. shall be my last.
To Cynthia: On the Concealment of Her Beauty
Do not conceal thy radiant eyes,
The starlight of serenest skies,
Least wanting of their heavenly light,
They turn to chaos endless night.
Do not conceal those tresses fair,
The silken snares of thy curled haire,
Least finding neither gold, nor ore,
The curious silkworm work no more.
Do not conceale those breasts of thine,
More snow-white than the Appennine,
Lest if there be like cold or frost,
The lily be for ever lost.
Do not conceal that fragrant scent,
Thy breath, which to all flowers hath lent
Perfumes, least it being suppressed,
No spices grow in all the East.
Do not conceal thy heavenly voice,
Which makes the hearts of gods rejoice,
Lest music hearing no such thing,
The nightingale forget to sing.
Do not conceal, nor yet eclipse
Thy pearly teeth with coral lips,
Lest that the seas cease to bring forth
Gems which from thee have all their worth.
Do not conceal no beauty grace,
That’s either in thy mind or face,
Lest virtue, overcome by vice,
Make men believe no paradise.