|Earl of Rochester|
The Platonic Lady.
I could love thee till I die, |
Wouldst thou love me modestly,
And ne'er press, whilst I live,
For more than willingly I would give:
Which should sufficient be to prove
I'd understand the art of love.
I hate the thing is called enjoyment:
Besides it is a dull employment,
It cuts off all that's life and fire
From that which may be termed desire;
Just like the bee whose sting is gone
Converts the owner to a drone.
I love a youth will give me leave
His body in my arms to wreathe;
To press him gently, and to kiss;
To sigh, and look with eyes that wish
For what, if I could once obtain,
I would neglect with flat disdain.
I'd give him liberty to toy
And play with me, and count it joy.
Our freedom should be full complete,
And nothing wanting but the feat.
Let's practice, then, and we shall prove
These are the only sweets of love.
Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. David M. Vieth, ed.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. 25-26.
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