Katherine Philips

Alessandro Turchi. detail of Bacchus and Ariadne
Alessandro Turchi. detail of Bacchus and Ariadne.

Orinda to Lucasia Parting, October, 1661, 
at London

Adieu dear Object of my Love's excess, 
And with thee all my hopes of happiness, 
With the same fervent and unchangèd heart 
Which did it's whole self once to thee impart, 
(And which, though fortune has so sorely bruis'd, 
Would suffer more, to be from this excus'd) 
I to resign thy dear converse submit, 
Since I can neither keep, nor merit it. 
Thou hast too long to me confinèd been, 
Who ruin am without, passion within.                            10
My mind is sunk below thy tenderness, 
And my condition does deserve it less ; 
I'm so entangl'd and so lost a thing 
By all the shocks my daily sorrow bring, 
That wouldst thou for thy old Orinda call, 
Thou hardly couldst unravel her at all. 
And should I thy clear fortunes interline 
With the incessant miseries of mine? 
No, no, I never lov'd at such a rate, 
To tie thee to the rigours of my fate.                              20
As from my obligations thou art free, 
Sure thou shalt be so from my injury. 
Though every other worthiness I miss, 
Yet I'll at least be generous in this. 
I'd rather perish without sigh or groan, 
Than thou shoul'dst be condemn'd to give me one ; 
Nay, in my soul I rather could allow 
Friendship should be a sufferer, than thou : 
Go then, since my sad heart has set thee free, 
Let all the loads and chains remain on me.                     30
Though I be left the prey of sea and wind, 
Thou, being happy, wilt in that be kind ; 
Nor shall I my undoing much deplore, 
Since thou art safe, whom I must value more. 
Oh ! mayst thou ever be so, and as free 
From all ills else, as from my company ; 
And may the torments thou hast had from it,
Be all that Heaven will to thy life permit. 
And that they may thy virtue service do, 
Mayst thou be able to forgive them too :                       40
But though I must this sharp submission learn, 
I cannot yet unwish thy dear concern. 
Not one new comfort I expect to see, 
I quit my Joy, Hope, Life, and all but thee; 
Nor seek I thence aught that may discompose 
That mind where so serene a goodness grows. 
I ask no inconvenient kindness now, 
To move thy passion, or to cloud thy brow ; 
And thou wilt satisfy my boldest plea 
By some few soft remembrances of me,                        50
Which may present thee with this candid thought, 
I meant not all the troubles that I brought. 
Own not what Passion rules, and Fate does crush, 
But wish thou couldst have done 't without a blush ; 
And that I had been, ere it was too late, 
Either more worthy, or more fortunate. 
Ah, who can love the thing they cannot prize? 
But thou mayst pity though thou dost despise. 
Yet I should think that pity bought too dear, 
If it should cost those precious eyes a tear.                    60
    Oh, may no minute's trouble thee possess, 
But to endear the next hour's happiness ; 
And mayst thou when thou art from me remov'd, 
Be better pleas'd, but never worse belov'd : 
Oh, pardon me for pouring out my woes 
In rhyme now, that I dare not do 't in prose. 
For I must lose whatever is call'd dear, 
And thy assistance all that loss to bear, 
And have more cause than e'er I had before, 
To fear that I shall never see thee more.                        70

The Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse.
H. J. C. Grierson and G. Bullough, Eds.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934. 827-829.

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