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Simon de Vos. Allegorical Scene,  detail. 1635
Simon de Vos. Allegorical Scene, detail. 1635.

To Lysander, who made some Verses on a
Discourse of Loves Fire.

       In vain, dear Youth, you say you love,
       And yet my Marks of Passion blame;
       Since Jealousie alone can prove,
       The surest Witness of my Flame:
And she who without that, a Love can vow,
Believe me, Shepherd, does not merit you.

       Then give me leave to doubt, that Fire
       I kindle, may another warm:
       A Face that cannot move Desire,
       May serve at least to end the Charm:
Love else were Witchcraft, that on malice bent,
Denies ye Joys, or makes ye Impotent.

       'Tis true, when Cities are on Fire,
       Men never wait for Christal Springs;
       But to the Neighb'ring-Pools retire;
       Which nearest, best Assistance brings;
And serves as well to quench the raging Flame,
As if from God-delighting Streams it came.

       A Fancy strong may do the Feat
       Yet this to Love a Riddle is,
       And shows that Passion but a Cheat;
       Which Men but with their Tongues Confess.
For 'tis a Maxime in Loves learned School,
Who blows the Fire, the flame can only Rule.

       Though Honour does your Wish deny,
       Honour! the Foe to your Repose;
       Yet 'tis more Noble far to dye,
       Then break Loves known and Sacred Laws:
What Lover wou'd pursue a single Game,
That cou'd amongst the Fair deal out his flame?

       Since then, Lysander, you desire,
       Amynta only to adore;
       Take in no Partners to your Fire,
       For who well Loves, that Loves one more?
And if such Rivals in your Heart I find,
Tis in My Power to die, but not be kind.

The Works of Aphra Behn. Vol. VI. Montague Summers, Ed.
London: William Heinemann, 1915. 196-197.

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