Verse > Sir Walter Raleigh > Poems
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618).  Poems.  1892.
Shall I, like an hermit, dwell
SHALL I, like an hermit, dwell
On a rock or in a cell,
Calling home the smallest part
That is missing of my heart,
To bestow it, where I may        5
Meet a rival every day?
  If she undervalue me,
  What care I how fair she be?
Were her tresses angel-gold,
If a stranger may be bold        10
Unrebuked, unafraid,
To convert them to a braid,
And, with little more ado,
Work them into bracelets too;
  If the mine be grown so free,        15
  What care I how rich it be?
Were her hand as rich a prize
As her hairs or precious eyes,
If she lay them out to take
Kisses for good manners’ sake,        20
And let every lover skip
From her hand unto her lip;
  If she seem not chaste to me,
  What care I how chaste she be?
No; she must be perfect snow,        25
In effect as well as show;
Warming but as snow-balls do,
Not, like fire, by burning too;
But when she by change hath got
To her heart a second lot,        30
  Then, if others share with me,
  Farewell her, whate’er she be!

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