Sir Robert Aytoun (1570-1638)

Upon Platonic Love: To Mistress Cicely Crofts, Maid of Honour

Oh that I were all soul, that I might prove
For you as fit a love
As you are for an angel; for I vow
None but pure spirits are fit loves for you.

You’re all ethereal, there is in you no dross
Nor any part that’s gross;
Your coarsest part is like the curious lawn
O’er vestal relics for a covering drawn.

Your other part, part of the purest fire
That e’er heaven did inspire,
Makes every thought that is refined by it
A quintessence of goodness and of wit.

Thus do your raptures reach to that degree
In love’s philosophy
That you can figure to yourself a fire,
Void of all heat, a love without desire.

Nor in divinity do you go less:
You hold and you profess
That souls may have a plenitude of joy,
Though their bodies never meet to enjoy.

But I must needs confess I do not find
The motions of my mind
So purified as yet, but at their best
My body claims in them some interest.

I hold a perfect joy makes all our parts
As joyful as our hearts;
My senses tell me if I please not them
My love is but a dotage or a dream.

How shall we then agree? You may descend,
But will not to my end.
I fain would tune my fancy to your key,
But cannot reach to your abstracted way.

There rests but this, that, while we sojourn here,
Our bodies may draw near,
And when our joys they can no more extend
Then let our souls begin where they did end.

On Tobacco

Forsaken of all comforts but these two,—
My fagot and my pipe—I sit to muse
On all my crosses, and almost excuse
The heavens for dealing with me as they do.

When Hope steps in, and, with a smiling brow,
Such cheerful expectations doth infuse
As makes me think ere long I cannot choose
But be some grandee, whatsoe’er I’m now.

But having spent my pipe, I then perceive
That hopes and dreams are cousins,—both deceive.
Then mark I this conclusion in my mind,

It’s all one thing,—both tend into one scope,—
To live upon Tobacco and on Hope:
The one’s but smoke, the other is but wind.