Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare: Poems.  1914.

Sonnet CLIV.

“The little Love-god lying once asleep”

THE LITTLE Love-god lying once asleep 
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand, 
Whilst many nymphs that vow’d chaste life to keep 
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand 
The fairest votary took up that fire         5
Which many legions of true hearts had warm’d; 
And so the general of hot desire 
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarm’d. 
This brand she quenched in a cool well by, 
Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual,  10
Growing a bath and healthful remedy 
For men diseas’d; but I, my mistress’ thrall, 
  Came there for cure, and this by that I prove, 
  Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love. 



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