Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
Ode: ‘Fair Isabel, if ought but thee’
By Charles Cotton (1630–1687)
FAIR Isabel, if ought but thee
  I could, or would, or like, or love;
  If other beauties but approve
To sweeten my captivity:
  I might those passions be above,        5
    Those powerful passions that combine
    To make and keep me only thine.
Or, if for tempting treasure I
  Of the world’s god, prevailing gold,
  Could see thy love, and my truth sold,        10
A greater, nobler treasury;
  My flame to thee might then grow cold,
    And I, like one whose love is sense,
    Exchange thee for convenience.
But when I vow to thee, I do        15
  Love thee above or health or peace,
  Gold, joy, and all such toys as these,
’Bove happiness and honour too:
  Thou then must know, this love can cease
    Nor change, for all the glorious show        20
    Wealth and discretion bribes us to.
What such a love deserves, thou, sweet,
  As knowing best, may’st best reward;
  I for thy bounty well prepared,
With open arms my blessing meet.        25
  Then do not, dear, our joys detard;
    But unto him propitious be,
    That knows no love, nor life, but thee.

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