Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
On Love
By Edmund Waller (1606–1687)
ANGER, in hasty words or blows,
Itself discharges on our foes;
And sorrow, too, finds some relief
In tears which wait upon our grief:
So every passion but fond love        5
Unto its own redress does move;
But that alone the wretch inclines
To what prevents his own designs:
Makes him lament, and sigh, and weep,
Disordered, tremble, fawn, and creep;        10
Postures which render him despised,
Where he endeavors to be prized.
For women—born to be controlled—
Stoop to the forward and the bold;
Affect the haughty and the proud,        15
The gay, the frolic, and the loud.
Who first the generous steed oppressed,
Not kneeling did salute the beast;
But with high courage, life, and force,
Approaching, tamed th’ unruly horse.        20
Unwisely we the wiser East
Pity, supposing them oppressed
With tyrants’ force, whose law is will,
By which they govern, spoil, and kill:
Each nymph, but moderately fair,        25
Commands with no less rigor here.
Should some brave Turk, that walks among
His twenty lasses, bright and young,
Behold as many gallants here,
With modest guise and silent fear,        30
All to one female idol bend,
While her pride does scarce descend
To mark their follies, he would swear
That these her guard of eunuchs were,
And that a more majestic queen,        35
Or humbler slaves, he had not seen.
All this with indignation spoke,
In vain I struggled with the yoke
Of mighty Love; that conquering look,
When next beheld, like lightning strook        40
My blasted soul, and made me bow
Lower than those I pitied now.
So the tall stag, upon the brink
Of some smooth stream about to drink,
Surveying there his armèd head,        45
With shame remembers that he fled
The scornèd dogs, resolves to try
The combat next: but if their cry
Invades again his trembling ear,
He straight resumes his wonted care;        50
Leaves the untasted spring behind,
And winged with fear, outflies the wind.

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