by Robert Herrick

ONE silent night of late,
    When every creature rested,
Came one unto my gate
    And, knocking, me molested.

Who's that, said I, beats there,
    And troubles thus the sleepy?
Cast off, said he, all fear,
    And let not locks thus keep ye.

For I a boy am, who
    By moonless nights have swerved ;
And all with show'rs wet through,
    And e'en with cold half starved.

I pitiful arose,
    And soon a taper lighted ;
And did myself disclose
    Unto the lad benighted.

I saw he had a bow
    And wings, too, which did shiver ;
And, looking down below,
    I spied he had a quiver.

I to my chimney's shine
    Brought him, as love professes,
And chafed his hands with mine,
    And dried his drooping tresses.
But when he felt him warm'd :
Let's try this bow of ours,
And string, if they be harm'd,
    Said he, with these late showers.

Forthwith his bow he bent,
    And wedded string and arrow,
And struck me, that it went
    Quite through my heart and marrow.

Then, laughing loud, he flew
    Away, and thus said, flying :
Adieu, mine host, adieu,
    I'll leave thy heart a-dying.

Peter Paul Rubens. Venus Frigida, 1614. Detail.
Peter Paul Rubens. Venus Frigida, 1614.
From CGFA.

Herrick, Robert. Works of Robert Herrick. vol I.
Alfred Pollard, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1891. 30-31.

Backto Works of Robert Herrick

Created by Anniina Jokinen on October 9, 1998.
Copyright ©1998 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.