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.
The Poet Loves a Mistress, but Not to Marry
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
(Songs from Hesperides, 1648)

I DO not love to wed,
Though I do like to woo;
And for a maidenhead
I’ll beg and buy it too.
I’ll praise and I’ll approve        5
Those maids that never vary;
And fervently I’ll love,
But yet I would not marry.
I’ll hug, I’ll kiss, I’ll play,
And, cock-like, hens I’ll tread,        10
And sport in any way
But in the bridal bed:
For why? that man is poor
Who hath but one of many,
But crown’d he is with store        15
That single may have any.
Why then, say, what is he,
To freedom so unknown,
Who, having two or three,
Will be content with one?        20

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