Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Manly Heart
By George Wither (1588–1667)
 
SHALL I, wasting in despair,
Die because a woman’s fair?
Or my cheeks make pale with care
’Cause another’s rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day,        5
Or the flowery meads in May—
  If she be not so to me,
  What care I how fair she be?
 
Shall my foolish heart be pined
’Cause I see a woman kind;        10
Or a well disposèd nature
Joinèd with a lovely feature?
Be she meeker, kinder, than
Turtle-dove or pelican,
  If she be not so to me,—        15
  What care I how kind she be?
 
Shall a woman’s virtues move
Me to perish for her love?
Or her merit’s value known
Make me quite forget mine own?        20
Be she with that goodness blest
Which may gain her name of Best;
  If she seem not such to me,
  What care I how good she be?
 
’Cause her fortune seems too high,        25
Shall I play the fool and die?
Those that bear a noble mind
Where they want of riches find,
Think what with them they would do
Who without them dare to woo;        30
  And unless that mind I see,
  What care I though great she be?
 
Great or good, or kind or fair,
I will ne’er the more despair;
If she love me, this believe,        35
I will die ere she shall grieve;
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go;
  For if she be not for me,
  What care I for whom she be?        40
 
 
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