Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
II. Love’s Nature
Philomela’s Ode
Robert Greene (1558–1592)
That She Sung in Her Arbor

SITTING by a river’s side
Where a silent stream did glide,
Muse I did of many things
That the mind in quiet brings.
I ’gan think how some men deem        5
Gold their god; and some esteem
Honor is the chief content
That to man in life is lent;
And some others do contend
Quiet none like to a friend.        10
Others hold there is no wealth
Compared to a perfect health;
Some man’s mind in quiet stands
When he ’s lord of many lands.
But I did sigh, and said all this        15
Was but a shade of perfect bliss:
And in my thoughts I did approve
Naught so sweet as is true love.
Love ’twixt lovers passeth these,
When mouth kisseth and heart ’grees—        20
With folded arms and lips meeting,
Each soul another sweetly greeting;
For by the breath the soul fleeteth,
And soul with soul in kissing meeteth.
If love be so sweet a thing,        25
That such happy bliss doth bring,
Happy is love’s sugared thrall;
But unhappy maidens all
Who esteem your virgin blisses
Sweeter than a wife’s sweet kisses.        30
No such quiet to the mind
As true love with kisses kind;
But if a kiss prove unchaste,
Then is true love quite disgraced.
Though love be sweet, learn this of me,        35
No sweet love but honesty.

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