Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
The Constant Lover
By Sir John Suckling (1609–1642)
OUT 1 upon it, I have loved
  Three whole days together!
And am like to love three more,
  If it prove fair weather.
Time shall moult away his wings        5
  Ere he shall discover
In the whole wide world again
  Such a constant lover.
But the spite on ’t is, no praise
  Is due at all to me:        10
Love with me had made no stays,
  Had it any been but she.
Had it any been but she,
  And that very face,
There had been at least ere this        15
  A dozen dozen in her place.
Note 1. This poem was found in an obscure volume of verse of the time of Charles I., by A. D., whom Hazlitt conjectured to be Alexander Dyce. The poem has been attributed to Suckling because it possesses the internal evidence of his peculiar qualities, which one, once having read The Careless Lover, can have no two opinions about. An answer was written by Sir Toby Matthew, which read:

  Say, but did you love so long?
  In troth, I needs must blame you:
Passion did your judgment wrong,
  Or want of reason shame you.
Truth, Time’s fair and witty daughter,
  Shortly shall discover,
Y’are a subject fit for laughter,
  And more fool than lover.
But I grant you merit praise
  For your constant folly;
Since you doted three whole days,
  Were you not melancholy?
She to whom you, prov’d so true,
  And that very, very face,
Puts each minute such as you
  A dozen, dozen to disgrace.

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