Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
Lord Herbert of Cherbury
25. An Ode upon a Question moved,
whether Love should continue for ever?
HAVING interr'd her Infant-birth, 
  The watry ground that late did mourn, 
  Was strew'd with flow'rs for the return 
Of the wish'd Bridegroom of the earth. 
The well accorded Birds did sing         5
  Their hymns unto the pleasant time, 
  And in a sweet consorted chime 
Did welcom in the chearful Spring. 
To which, soft whistles of the Wind, 
  And warbling murmurs of a Brook,  10
  And vari'd notes of leaves that shook, 
An harmony of parts did bind. 
While doubling joy unto each other, 
  All in so rare concent was shown, 
  No happiness that came alone,  15
Nor pleasure that was not another. 
When with a love none can express, 
  That mutually happy pair, 
  Melander and Celinda fair, 
The season with their loves did bless.  20
Walking thus towards a pleasant Grove, 
  What did, it seem'd, in new delight 
  The pleasures of the time unite, 
To give a triumph to their love, 
They stay'd at last, and on the Grass  25
  Reposed so, as o'r his breast 
  She bow'd her gracious head to rest, 
Such a weight as no burden was. 
While over eithers compassed waste 
  Their folded arms were so compos'd,  30
  As if in straitest bonds inclos'd, 
They suffer'd for joys they did taste. 
Long their fixt eyes to Heaven bent, 
  Unchanged, they did never move, 
  As if so great and pure a love  35
No Glass but it could represent. 
When with a sweet, though troubled look, 
  She first brake silence, saying, Dear friend, 
  O that our love might take no end, 
Or never had beginning took!  40
I speak not this with a false heart, 
  (Wherewith his hand she gently strain'd) 
  Or that would change a love maintain'd 
With so much faith on either part. 
Nay, I protest, though Death with his  45
  Worst Counsel should divide us here, 
  His terrors could not make me fear, 
To come where your lov'd presence is. 
Only if loves fire with the breath 
  Of life be kindled, I doubt,  50
  With our last air 'twill be breath'd out, 
And quenched with the cold of death. 
That if affection be a line, 
  Which is clos'd up in our last hour; 
  Oh how 'twould grieve me, any pow'r  55
Could force so dear a love as mine 
She scarce had done, when his shut eyes 
  An inward joy did represent, 
  To hear Celinda thus intent 
To a love he so much did prize.  60
Then with a look, it seem'd, deny'd 
  All earthly pow'r but hers, yet so, 
  As if to her breath he did ow 
This borrow'd life, he thus repli'd; 
O you, wherein, they say, Souls rest,  65
  Till they descend pure heavenly fires, 
  Shall lustful and corrupt desires 
With your immortal seed be blest? 
And shall our Love, so far beyond 
  That low and dying appetite,  70
  And which so chast desires unite, 
Not hold in an eternal bond? 
Is it, because we should decline, 
  And wholly from our thoughts exclude 
  Objects that may the sense delude,  75
And study only the Divine? 
No sure, for if none can ascend 
  Ev'n to the visible degree 
  Of things created, how should we 
The invisible comprehend?  80
Or rather since that Pow'r exprest 
  His greatness in his works alone, 
  B'ing here best in his Creatures known, 
Why is he not lov'd in them best? 
But is't not true, which you pretend,  85
  That since our love and knowledge here, 
  Only as parts of life appear, 
So they with it should take their end. 
O no, Belov'd, I am most sure, 
  Those vertuous habits we acquire,  90
  As being with the Soul intire, 
Must with it evermore endure. 
For if where sins and vice reside, 
  We find so foul a guilt remain, 
  As never dying in his stain,  95
Still punish'd in the Soul doth bide. 
Much more that true and real joy, 
  Which in a vertuous love is found, 
  Must be more solid in its ground, 
Then Fate or Death can e'r destroy. 100
Else should our Souls in vain elect, 
  And vainer yet were Heavens laws, 
  When to an everlasting Cause 
They gave a perishing Effect. 
Nor here on earth then, nor above, 105
  Our good affection can impair, 
  For where God doth admit the fair, 
Think you that he excludeth Love? 
These eyes again then, eyes shall see, 
  And hands again these hands enfold, 110
  And all chast pleasures can be told 
Shall with us everlasting be. 
For if no use of sense remain 
  When bodies once this life forsake, 
  Or they could no delight partake, 115
Why should they ever rise again? 
And if every imperfect mind 
  Make love the end of knowledge here, 
  How perfect will our love be, where 
All imperfection is refin'd? 120
Let then no doubt, Celinda, touch, 
  Much less your fairest mind invade, 
  Were not our souls immortal made, 
Our equal loves can make them such. 
So when one wing can make no way, 125
  Two joyned can themselves dilate, 
  So can two persons propagate, 
When singly either would decay. 
So when from hence we shall be gone, 
  And be no more, nor you, nor I, 130
  As one anothers mystery, 
Each shall be both, yet both but one. 
This said, in her up-lifted face, 
  Her eyes which did that beauty crown, 
  Were like two starrs, that having faln down, 135
Look up again to find their place: 
While such a moveless silent peace 
  Did seize on their becalmed sense, 
  One would have thought some influence 
Their ravish'd spirits did possess. 140

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.