Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
162. His Supposed Mistress
Ben Jonson (1573–1637)
IF I freely can discover
What would please me in my lover,
  I would have her fair and witty,
  Savouring more of court than city;
  A little proud, but full of pity;        5
  Light and humourous in her toying;
  Oft building hopes, and soon destroying;
  Long, but sweet in the enjoying,
Neither too easy, nor too hard:
All extremes I would have barred.        10
She should be allowed her passions,
So they were but used as fashions;
  Sometimes froward, and then frowning,
  Sometimes sickish, and then swowning,
  Every fit with change still crowning.        15
  Purely jealous I would have her;
  Then only constant when I crave her,
  ’Tis a virtue should not save her.
Thus, nor her delicates would cloy me,
Neither her peevishness annoy me.        20


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