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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Earl of Rochester

Actress Elizabeth Barry. Sir Godfrey Kneller, c1675.

S O N G.

Leave this gaudy guilded stage,
     From custom more than use frequented,
Where fools of either sex and age
     Crowd to see themselves presented.
To Love's theatre, the bed,
     Youth and beauty fly together,
And act so well it may be said
     The laurel there was due to either.
Twixt strifes of love and war, the difference lies in this:
When neither overcomes, love's triumph greater is.

Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. David M. Vieth, ed.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. 85-86.


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