TO HIS MISTRESS OBJECTING TO HIM
NEITHER TOYING OR TALKING.
by Robert Herrick
YOU say I love not, 'cause I do not play
Still with your curls, and kiss the time away.
You blame me too, because I can't devise
Some sport to please those babies in your eyes :
By love's religion, I must here confess it,
The most I love when I the least express it.
Small griefs find tongues : full casks are ever found
To give (if any, yet) but little sound.
Deep waters noiseless are ; and this we know,
That chiding streams betray small depth below.
So, when love speechless is, she doth express
A depth in love and that depth bottomless.
Now, since my love is tongueless, know me such
Who speak but little 'cause I love so much.
Babies in your eyes, probably only a translation of
its metaphor, involved in the use of the Latin pupilla
(a little girl), our "pupil," for the central spot of the eye.
The metaphor doubtless arose from the small reflections
of the inlooker, which appear in the eyes of the person
gazed at; but we meet with it both intensified, as in the
phrase "to look babies in the eyes" (= to peer amorously),
and with its origin disregarded, as in Herrick, where
the "babies" are the pupils, and have an existence
independent of any inlooker.
Herrick, Robert. Works of Robert Herrick. vol I.
Alfred Pollard, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1891. 16-17.
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