Richard Crashaw


WHOE'ER she be,
That not impossible she,
That shall command my heart and me :
Where'er she lie,
Lock'd up from mortal eye, 5
In shady leaves of destiny :
Till that ripe birth
Of studied fate, stand forth,
And teach her fair steps to our earth :
Till that divine 10
Idea take a shrine
Of crystal flesh, through which to shine :
Meet you her, my Wishes,
Bespeak her to my blisses,
And be ye call'd my absent kisses. 15
I wish her beauty,
That owes not all its duty
To gaudy tire, or glist'ring shoe-tie.
Something more than
Taffata or tissue can, 20
Or rampant feather, or rich fan.
More than the spoil
Of shop, or silkworm's toil,
Or a bought blush, or a set smile.
A face, that's best 25
By its own beauty dress'd,
And can alone command the rest.
A face, made up
Out of no other shop,
Than what Nature's white hand sets ope. 30
A cheek, where youth
And blood, with pen of truth,
Write what the reader sweetly rueth.
A cheek, where grows
More than a morning rose, 35
Which to no box his being owes.
Lips, where all day
A lover's kiss may play,
Yet carry nothing thence away.
Looks, that oppress 40
Their richest tires, but dress
And clothe their simplest nakedness.
Eyes, that displace
The neighbour diamond, and out-face
That sunshine by their own sweet grace. 45
Tresses, that wear
Jewels, but to declare
How much themselves more precious are.
Whose native ray
Can tame the wanton day 50
Of gems that in their bright shades play.
Each ruby there,
Or pearl that dare appear,
Be its own blush, be its own tear.
A well-tamed heart, 55
For whose more noble smart
Love may be long choosing a dart.
Eyes, that bestow
Full quivers on love's bow,
Yet pay less arrows than they owe. 60
Smiles, that can warm
The blood, yet teach a charm,
That chastity shall take no harm.
Blushes, that bin
The burnish of no sin, 65
Nor flames of aught too hot within.
Joys, that confess
Virtue their mistress,
And have no other head to dress.
Fears, fond and slight, 70
As the coy bride's, when night
First does the longing lover right.
Tears, quickly fled,
And vain, as those are shed
For a dying maidenhead.  75
Days, that need borrow
No part of their good morrow
From a fore-spent night of sorrow.
Days, that in spite
Of darkness, by the light 80
Of a clear mind, are day all night.
Nights, sweet as they
Made short by lovers' play,
Yet long by th' absence of the day.
Life, that dares send 85
A challenge to his end,
And when it comes, say, Welcome, friend !
Sydneian showers
Of sweet discourse, whose powers
Can crown old winter's head with flowers. 90
Soft silken hours,
Open suns, shady bowers,
'Bove all—nothing within that lowers. 
Whate'er delight
Can make day's forehead bright 95
Or give down to the wings of night.
In her whole frame,
Have Nature all the name,
Art and ornament the shame.
Her flattery, 100
Picture and poesy,
Her counsel her own virtue be. 
I wish her store
Of worth may leave her poor
Of wishes ; and I wish——no more. 105
Now, if Time knows
That her, whose radiant brows
Weave them a garland of my vows ;
Her, whose just bays
My future hopes can raise, 110
A trophy to her present praise ;
Her, that dares be
What these lines wish to see :
I seek no further, it is she.
'Tis she, and here, 115
Lo, I unclothe and clear
My Wish's cloudy character !
May she enjoy it,
Whose merit dare aplly it,
But modesty dares still deny it !  120
Such worth as this is
Shall fix my flying wishes,
And determine them to kisses.
Let her full glory,
My fancies, fly before ye, 125
Be ye my fictions but—her story.

The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw. William B. Turnbull, Ed.
London: John Russell Smith, 1858.  133-138.

to Works of Richard Crashaw

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