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Not at first sight,-not with a dribbing shot,
Love gave the wound which while I breathe will bleed,
But known worth did in tract of time proceed, "Till by degrees it had full conquest got : I saw, and liked, I liked but loved not,
I loved but straight did not what love decreed :
At length, to love's decrees, I forced, agreed, Yet with repining at such partial lot.
Many Sonrets follow in which the contest between love and reason, passion and virtue; between the ardour of the Poet's affection, and the strict sense of honour and firm principle of the unhappy object of it, are severally pourtrayed. At length we arrive at
With rage of love, I called my love unkind :
Sweet said, that I true love in her should find, I joyed, but straight thus watered was my wine,
That love she did, but with a love not blind, Which would not let me, whom she loved, decline
From noblest course, fit for my mirth and mind. And therefore, by her love's authority,
Willed me these tempests of vain love to fly, And anchor fast myself on Virtue's shore.
Alas! if this the only metal be
Of love new-coined to help my beggary,
Doth Stella now begin with piteous eye
Will she take him, before all wrecked he be ?
But fail'st thou not in phrase so heavenly high 1
Look on again; the fair text better try :
Hast thou found such and such like argument ?
Well, how so thou interpret the contents,
Sonnet 68. Stella! the only planet of my light,
Light of my life, and life of my desire,
Chief good, whereto my hope doth only aspire, World of my wealth, and heaven of my delight! Why dost thou spend the treasure of thy spirit
With voice more fit to wed Amphion's lyre,
Seeking to quench in me the noble fire,
With choicest words, thy words with reasons rase, Thy reasons firmly set on virtue's feet,
Labour to kill in me this killing care: Oh! think I then, what paradise of joy It is, so fair a Virtue to enjoy!
O bliss ! fit for a nobler state than me :
Envy put out thine eyes, lest thou do see What oceans of delight in me do flow. My friend ! that oft saw'st through all masks my woe,
Come, come, and let me pour myself on thee!
Gone is the winter of my misery;
Of her high heart given me the monarchy:
And though she give but this conditionally, This realm of bliss, while virtuous course I take, No kings be crowned, but they some covenants make !
How virtue may best lodged in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee, Stella, those fair lines, which true goodness shew; There shall he find all vice's overthrow,
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly That inward sun in thine eyes shining so. And not content to be perfection's heir
Thyself-dost strive all minds that way to move: Who mark in thee, what is in thee most fair ;
So while thy beauty draws the heart to love,
And oft so clingst to my pure love, that I
One from the other scarcely can descry,
Venus is taught with Dian's wings to fly :
Virtue's gold now must head my Cupid's dart.
Fear to offend, well worthy to appear,
These things are left me by my only dear;
To whać little purpose the following Song directly shews :
Have I caught my heavenly jewel
Teaching sleep most fair to be?
Now will 1 teach her that she,
Since sweet sleep her eyes
Now will I with that boy prove
Her tongue, waking, still refuseth,
Giving frankly niggard No;
Now will I attempt to know,
See the hand which waking guardeth;
Sleeping grants a free resort;
Now will I invade the fort;
But O fool! think of the danger
Of her just and high disdain :
Now will I, alas! refrain!... w:
Yet those lips so sweetly swelling,
Do invite a stealing kiss :
Now will I but venture this!
Oh! sweet kiss! but ah ! she's waking;
Lowering beauty chastens me:
This stolen kiss fills the poet with raptures, which he expresses in several Sonnets, the following is perhaps the best.
Or gems, or fruits of new-found Paradise,
Teaching dumb lips a nobler exercise.
By links of love, and only nature's art:
Or of thy gifts, at least, shade out some part?
She builds her fame on higher seated praise :
my heart burns, I cannot silent be. Then since, dear life, you fain would have me peace, And I, mad with delight, want wit to cease,
Stop you my mouth, with still still kissing me! In the midst of these raptures, the following, Alas is found.
Infected by those vapours, which arise