Upon My Lady Carlisle's Walking
in Hampton Court Garden
Didst thou not find the place inspired,
And flowers, as if they had desired
No other sun, start from their beds,
And for a sight steal out their heads?
Heard'st thou not music when she talked?
And didst not find that, as she walked,
She threw rare perfumes all about,
Such as bean-blossoms newly out,
Or chaféd spices give?
I must confess those perfumes, Tom,
I did not smell; nor found that from
Her passing by, ought sprung up new;
The flowers had all their birth from you,
For I passed o'er the selfsame walk
And did not find one single stalk
Of anything that was to bring
This unknown after after-spring.
Dull and insensible, could'st see
A thing so near a deity
Move up and down, and feel no change?
None and so great were alike strange.
I had my thoughts, but not your way;
All are not born, sir, to the bay.
Alas! Tom, I am flesh and blood,
And was consulting how I could
In spite of masks and hoods descry
The parts denied unto the eye.
I was undoing all she wore;
And, had she walked but one turn more,
Eve in her first state had not been
More naked, or more plainly seen.
'Twas well for thee she left the place,
There is great danger in that face;
But hadst thou viewed her leg and thigh
And, upon that discovery,
Searched after parts that are more dear
(As fancy seldom stops so near),
No time or age had ever seen
So lost a thing as thou hadst been.
'Troth in her face I could descry
No danger, no divinity.
But since the pillars were so good
On which the lovely fountain stood,
Being once come so near, I think
I should have ventured hard to drink.
What ever fool like me had been
If I'd not done as well as seen?
There to be lost why should I doubt
When fools with ease go in and out?
Ben Jonson and the Cavalier Poets. Hugh Maclean, Ed.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1974. 261-3.
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Created by Anniina Jokinen on November 15, 1997.