TO HIS CONSCIENCE.
by Robert Herrick
CAN I not sin, but thou wilt be
My private protonotary ?
Can I not woo thee to pass by
A short and sweet iniquity ?
I'll cast a mist and cloud upon
My delicate transgression
So utter dark as that no eye
Shall see the hugg'd impiety ;
Gifts blind the wise, and bribes do please
And wind all other witnesses ;
And wilt not thou with gold be ti'd
To lay thy pen and ink aside ?
That in the mirk and tongueless night
Wanton I may, and thou not write ?
It will not be. And therefore, now,
For times to come I'll make this vow,
From aberrations to live free ;
So I'll not fear the Judge or thee.
Protonotary, once the title of the chief clerk in the
Courts of Common Pleas and King's Bench.
Herrick, Robert. Works of Robert Herrick. vol II.
Alfred Pollard, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1891. 193.