Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  401. Hidden Flame

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

John Dryden. 1631–1700

401. Hidden Flame

I FEED a flame within, which so torments me 
That it both pains my heart, and yet contents me: 
‘Tis such a pleasing smart, and I so love it, 
That I had rather die than once remove it. 
Yet he, for whom I grieve, shall never know it;         5
My tongue does not betray, nor my eyes show it. 
Not a sigh, nor a tear, my pain discloses, 
But they fall silently, like dew on roses. 
Thus, to prevent my Love from being cruel, 
My heart ‘s the sacrifice, as ’tis the fuel;  10
And while I suffer this to give him quiet, 
My faith rewards my love, though he deny it. 
On his eyes will I gaze, and there delight me; 
While I conceal my love no frown can fright me. 
To be more happy I dare not aspire,  15
Nor can I fall more low, mounting no higher.