We present this work in honor of the 455th anniversary of the poet’s death.
Hence away, thou siren, leave me, Pish! unclasp those wanton arms, Sugared words can ne’er deceive me Though thou prove a thousand charms. Fie, fie, forbear, no common snare Can ever my affection chain. Thy painted baits and poor deceits Are all bestowed on me in vain.
I’m no slave to such as you be, Neither shall that snowy breast, Rolling eye and lip of ruby, Ever rob me of my rest. Go, go, display thy beauty’s ray To some more soon enamoured swain, Those common wiles of sighs and smiles Are all bestowed on me in vain.
I have elsewhere vowed a duty, Turn away that tempting eye, Show me not a painted beauty, These impostures I defy. My spirit loathes where gaudy clothes And feigned oaths may love obtain. I love her so, whose looks swear no, That all your labours will be vain.
Wonder was it when a rock touched by your foot became a youthful woman, Wonder was it when a multitude of boulders floated on water in steadiness, But, what wonder it is when a man by constant thinking of you obtains salvation? on This earth, pleasant one to the daughter of earth, Daasarathii, ocean of kindness!
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 400th birthday.
A love of heavenly beauty does not preclude A proper love for earthly pulchritude; Our senses are quite rightly captivated By perfect works our Maker has created. Some glory clings to all that Heaven has made; In you, all Heaven’s marvels are displayed. On that fair face such beauties are displayed. On that fair face such beauties have been lavished, The eyes are dazzled and the heart is ravished; How could I look on you, O flawless creature, And not adore the Author of all Nature, Feeling a love both passionate and pure For you, his triumph of self-portraiture? At first, I trembled lest that love should be A subtle snare that Hell had laid for me; I vowed to flee the sight of you, eschewing A rapture that might prove my soul’s undoing; But soon, fair being, I became aware That my deep passion could be made to square With rectitude, and with my bounden duty. I thereupon surrendered to your beauty. It is, I know, presumptuous on my part To bring you this poor offering of my heart, And it is not my merit, heaven knows, But your compassion on which my hopes repose. You are my peace, my solace, my salvation; On you depends my bliss—or desolation; I bide your judgment and, as you think best, I shall be either miserable or blest. I may be pious, but I’m human too: With your celestial charms before his eyes, A man has not the power to be wise. I know such words sound strangely, coming from me, But I’m no angel, nor was meant to be, And if you blame my passion, you must needs Reproach as well the charms on which it feeds. Your loveliness I had no sooner seen Than you became my soul’s unrivalled queen; Before your seraph glance, divinely sweet, My heart’s defenses crumbled in defeat, And nothing fasting, prayer, or tears might do Could stay my spirit from adoring you. My eyes, my sighs have told you in the past What now my lips make bold to say at last, And if, in your great goodness, you will deign To look upon your slave, and ease his pain— If, in compassion for my soul’s distress, You’ll stoop to comfort my unworthiness, I’ll raise to you, in thanks for that sweet manna, An endless hymn, an infinite hosanna. With me, of course, there need be no anxiety, No fear of scandal or of notoriety. These young court gallants, whom all the ladies fancy, Are vain in speech, in action rash and chancy; When they succeed in love, the world soon knows it; No favor’s granted them but they disclose it And by the looseness of their tongues profane The very altar where their hearts have lain. Men of my sort, however, love discreetly, And one may trust our reticence completely. My keen concern for my good name insures The absolute security of yours; In short, I offer you, my dear Elmire, Love without scandal, pleasure without fear.
In honor of Guy Fawkes Night, we present this work by one of 17th century England’s most contemplative poets.
Tell me thou safest End of all our Woe, Why wreched Mortals do avoid thee so: Thou gentle drier o’th’ afflicteds Tears, Thou noble ender of the Cowards Fears; Thou sweet Repose to Lovers sad dispaire, Thou Calm t’Ambitions rough Tempestuous Care. If in regard of Bliss thou wert a Curse, And then the Joys of Paradise art worse; Yet after Man from his first Station fell, And God from Eden Adam did expel, Thou wert no more an Evil, but Relief; The Balm and Cure to ev’ry Humane Grief: Through thee (what Man had forfeited before) He now enjoys, and ne’r can loose it more.
No subtile Serpents in the Grave betray, Worms on the Body there, not Soul do prey; No Vice there Tempts, no Terrors there afright, No Coz’ning Sin affords a false delight: No vain Contentions do that Peace annoy, No feirce Alarms break the lasting Joy.
Ah since from thee so many Blessings flow, Such real Good as Life can never know; Come when thou wilt, in thy afrighting’st Dress, Thy Shape shall never make thy Welcome less. Thou mayst to Joy, but ne’er to Fear give Birth, Thou Best, as well as Certain’st thing on Earth. Fly thee? May Travellers then fly their Rest, And hungry Infants fly the profer’d Brest. No, those that faint and tremble at thy Name, Fly from their Good on a mistaken Fame. Thus Childish fear did Israel of old From Plenty and the Promis’d Land with-hold; They fancy’d Giants, and refus’d to go, When Canaan did with Milk and Honey flow.