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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Earl of Rochester

Aelbert Cuyp. Piping Shepherds, 1643-44.

A Pastoral D I A L O G U E



Written at the Bath, in the Year 1674.

THERE sighs not on the Plain
     So lost a Swain as I;
Scorch'd up with Love, froz'n with Disdain,
Of killing Sweetness I complain.

     If 'tis Corrinna, die.
Since first my dazzled Eyes were thrown
     On that bewitching Face,
Like ruin'd Birds robb'd of their Young,
Lamenting, frighted, and undone,
     I fly from Place to Place.
Fram'd by some cruel Pow'rs above,
     So Nice she is, and Fair;
None from Undoing can remove,
Since all, who are not blind, must Love;
     Who are not vain, Despair.

The Gods no sooner give a Grace,
     But, fond of their own Art,
Severely Jealous, ever place,
To guard the Glories of a Face,
     A Dragon in the Heart.
Proud and Ill-natured Pow'rs they are,
     Who, peevish to Mankind,
For their own Honour's sake, with care
Make a sweet Form divinely fair,
     Then add a cruel Mind.

Since she's insensible of Love,
     By Honour taught to hate;
If we, forc'd by Decrees above,
Must sensible to Beauty prove,
     How tyrannous is Fate?
I to the Nymph have never nam'd
     The Cause of all my Pain.

Such Bashfulness may well be blam'd;
For since to Serve we're not asham'd,
     Why should she blush to Reign?

But if her haughty Heart despise
     My humble proffer'd one;
The just Compassion she denies,
I may obtain from others' Eyes;
     Hers are not fair alone.
Devouring Flames require new Food;
     My Heart's consumed almost:
New Fires must kindle in her Blood,
Or mine go out, and that's as good.

Wou'dst live, when Love is lost?
Be dead before thy Passion dies;
     For if thou shou'dst survive,
What Anguish would thy Heart surprize,
To see her Flames begin to rise,
     And thine no more alive?

Rather what Pleasure should I meet
     In my Triumphant Scorn,
To see my Tyrant at my Feet;
While taught by her, unmov'd I sit
     A Tyrant in my turn.

Ungentle Shepherd! cease, for shame;
     Which way can you pretend
To merit so Divine a Flame,
Who to dull Life make a mean Claim,
     When Love is at an End?
As Trees are by their Bark embrac'd,
     Love to my Soul doth cling;
When torn by the Herd's greedy Taste,
The injur'd Plants feel they're defac'd,
     They wither in the Spring.
My rifled Love would soon retire,
     Dissolving into Air,
Shou'd I that Nymph cease to admire,
Bless'd in whose Arms I will expire,
     Or at her Feet despair.

Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of. The Works of John Earl of Rochester.
London: Jacob Tonson, 1714. 5-8.


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Samuel Butler
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John Bunyan
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Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea
Mary Astell
William Congreve
Matthew Prior
Daniel Defoe
John Gay
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Jonathan Swift
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Sir Richard Steele
James Thomson
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