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.
Andrew Marvell
65. The Definition of Love
MY Love is of a birth as rare 
As 'tis for object strange and high: 
It was begotten by despair 
Upon Impossibility. 
Magnanimous Despair alone         5
Could show me so divine a thing, 
Where feeble Hope could ne'r have flown 
But vainly flapt its Tinsel Wing. 
And yet I quickly might arrive 
Where my extended Soul is fixt,  10
But Fate does Iron wedges drive, 
And alwaies crouds it self betwixt. 
For Fate with jealous Eye does see 
Two perfect Loves; nor lets them close: 
Their union would her ruine be,  15
And her Tyrannick pow'r depose. 
And therefore her Decrees of Steel 
Us as the distant Poles have plac'd, 
(Though Loves whole World on us doth wheel) 
Not by themselves to be embrac'd.  20
Unless the giddy Heaven fall, 
And Earth some new Convulsion tear; 
And, us to joyn, the World should all 
Be cramp'd into a Planisphere. 
As Lines so Loves oblique may well  25
Themselves in every Angle greet: 
But ours so truly Paralel, 
Though infinite can never meet. 
Therefore the Love which us doth bind, 
But Fate so enviously debarrs,  30
Is the Conjunction of the Mind, 
And Opposition of the Stars. 

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