Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Sir Robert Ayton. 1570–1638
182. To His Forsaken Mistress
I DO confess thou'rt smooth and fair, 
  And I might have gone near to love thee, 
Had I not found the slightest prayer 
  That lips could move, had power to move thee; 
But I can let thee now alone         5
As worthy to be loved by none. 
I do confess thou'rt sweet; yet find 
  Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets, 
Thy favours are but like the wind 
  That kisseth everything it meets:  10
And since thou canst with more than one, 
Thou'rt worthy to be kiss'd by none. 
The morning rose that untouch'd stands 
  Arm'd with her briers, how sweet she smells! 
But pluck'd and strain'd through ruder hands,  15
  Her sweets no longer with her dwells: 
But scent and beauty both are gone, 
And leaves fall from her, one by one. 
Such fate ere long will thee betide 
  When thou hast handled been awhile,  20
With sere flowers to be thrown aside; 
  And I shall sigh, while some will smile, 
To see thy love to every one 
Hath brought thee to be loved by none. 
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