Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
244. Wishes for the Supposed Mistress
Richard Crashaw (1613(?)–1649)
WHOE’ER she be,
That not impossible She
That shall command my heart and me;
Where’er she lie,
Lock’d up from mortal eye        5
In shady leaves of destiny:
Till that ripe birth
Of studied Fate stand forth,
And teach her fair steps tread our earth;
Till that divine        10
Idea take a shrine
Of crystal flesh, through which to shine:
—Meet you her, my Wishes,
Bespeak her to my blisses,
And be ye call’d, my absent kisses.        15
I wish her Beauty
That owes not all its duty
To gaudy tire, or glist’ring shoe-tie:
Something more than
Taffata or tissue can,        20
Or rampant feather, or rich fan.
A Face that’s best
By its own beauty drest,
And can alone commend the rest:
A Face made up        25
Out of no other shop
Than what Nature’s white hand sets ope.
A Cheek, where youth
And blood, with pen of truth,
Write what the reader sweetly ru’th.        30
A Cheek, where grows
More than a morning rose,
Which to no box his being owes.
Lips, where all day
A lover’s kiss may play,        35
Yet carry nothing thence away.
Looks, that oppress
Their richest tires, but dress
And clothe their simplest nakedness.
Eyes, that displace        40
The neighbor diamond, and outface
That sunshine by their own sweet grace.
Tresses, that wear
Jewels but to declare
How much themselves more precious are:        45
Whose native ray
Can tame the wanton day
Of gems that in their bright shades play.
Each ruby there,
Or pearl that dare appear,        50
Be its own blush, be its own tear.
A well-tamed Heart,
For whose more noble smart
Love may be long choosing a dart.
Eyes, that bestow        55
Full quivers on love’s bow,
Yet pay less arrows than they owe.
Smiles, that can warm
The blood, yet teach a charm,
That chastity shall take no harm.        60
Blushes, that bin
The burnish of no sin,
Nor flames of aught too hot within.
Joys, that confess
Virtue their mistress,        65
And have no other head to dress.
Fears, fond and slight
As the coy bride’s, when night
First does the longing lover right.
Days, that need borrow        70
No part of their good morrow
From a fore-spent night of sorrow:
Days, that in spite
Of darkness, by the light
Of a clear mind are day all night.        75
Nights, sweet as they
Made short by lovers’ play,
Yet long by th’ absence of day.
Life, that dares send
A challenge to his end,        80
And when it comes, say, ‘Welcome, friend.’
Sydneian Showers
Of sweet discourse, whose powers
Can crown old Winter’s head with flowers.
Soft silken hours,        85
Open suns, shady bowers;
’Bove all, nothing within that lowers.
Whate’er delight
Can make Day’s forehead bright
Or give down to the wings of night.        90
I wish her store
Of worth may leave her poor
Of wishes; and I wish—no more.
—Now, if Time knows
That Her, whose radiant brows        95
Weave them a garland of my vows;
Her, whose just bays
My future hopes can raise,
A trophy to her present praise;
Her that dares be        100
What these lines wish to see:
I seek no further, it is She.
’Tis She, and here
Lo! I unclothe and clear
My Wishes cloudy character.        105
May she enjoy it
Whose merit dare apply it.
But modesty dares still deny it!
Such worth as this is
Shall fix my flying Wishes,        110
And determine them to kisses.
Let her full glory,
My fancies, fly before ye;
Be ye my fictions:—but her story.


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