Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Love’s Complement
By Thomas Carew (1595?–1639?)
(From The Poems and Masque of Thomas Carew. London. 1640. Edited by Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth. London. 1893)

  O MY Dearest, I shall grieve thee,
When I swear (yet, Sweet, believe me:)
By thine eyes, the tempting book
On which even crabbed old men look,—
    I swear to thee, though none abhor them,        5
    Yet I do not love thee for them.
  I do not love thee for that fair
Rich fan of thy most curious hair;
Though the wires thereof be drawn
Finer than the threads of lawn,        10
    And are softer than the leaves
    On which the subtle spinner weaves.
  I do not love thee for those flowers
Growing on thy cheeks—Love’s bowers;
Though such cunning hath them spread,        15
None can part their white and red;
    Love’s golden arrows thence are shot:
    Yet for them I love thee not.
  I do not love thee for those soft
Red coral lips I’ve kiss’d so oft;        20
Nor teeth of pearl, the double guard
To speech, whence music still is heard:
    Though from those lips a kiss being taken
    Would Tyrants melt, and Death awaken.
  I do not love thee, O my fairest!        25
For that richest—for that rarest
Silver pillar which stands under
Thy round head, that globe of wonder:
    Though that neck be whiter far
    Than towers of polish’d ivory are.        30
  I do not love thee for those mountains
Hill’d with snow; whence milky fountains
(Sugar’d sweets, as sirup’d berries,)
Must one day run, through pipes of cherries:
    O how much those breasts do move me!        35
    Yet for them I do not love thee.
  I do not love thee for that belly,
Sleek as satin, soft as jelly;
Though within that crystal Mound
Heaps of treasure may be found,        40
    So rich, that for the least of them
    A king might leave his diadem.
  I do not love thee for those thighs,
Whose alabaster rocks do rise
So high and even, that they stand        45
Like sea-marks to some happy land:
    Happy they, whose eyes have seen them,
    But happier he that sails between them.
  I love thee not for thy moist palm,
Though the dew thereof be balm;        50
Nor for thy pretty leg and foot,
Although it be the precious root
    On which this goodly cedar grows:
    Sweet, I love thee not for those.
  Nor for thy wit, though pure and quick,        55
Whose substance no arithmetic
Can number down; nor for the charms
Thou makest with thy embracing arms:
    Though in them one night to lie,
    Dearest, I would gladly die.        60
  I love not for those eyes, nor hair,
Nor cheeks, nor lips, nor teeth so rare,
Nor for thy speech, thy neck, nor breast,
Nor for thy belly, nor the rest;
    Nor for thy hand nor foot so small:        65
    But, would’st thou know, dear sweet?—for All!

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