Simon de Vos. Allegorical Scene, detail. 1635.
To Lysander, who made some Verses on a
Discourse of Loves Fire.
In vain, dear Youth, you say you love,
And yet my Marks of Passion blame;
Since Jealousie alone can prove,
The surest Witness of my Flame:
And she who without that, a Love can vow,
Believe me, Shepherd, does not merit you.
Then give me leave to doubt, that Fire
I kindle, may another warm:
A Face that cannot move Desire,
May serve at least to end the Charm:
Love else were Witchcraft, that on malice bent,
Denies ye Joys, or makes ye Impotent.
'Tis true, when Cities are on Fire,
Men never wait for Christal Springs;
But to the Neighb'ring-Pools retire;
Which nearest, best Assistance brings;
And serves as well to quench the raging Flame,
As if from God-delighting Streams it came.
A Fancy strong may do the Feat
Yet this to Love a Riddle is,
And shows that Passion but a Cheat;
Which Men but with their Tongues Confess.
For 'tis a Maxime in Loves learned School,
Who blows the Fire, the flame can only Rule.
Though Honour does your Wish deny,
Honour! the Foe to your Repose;
Yet 'tis more Noble far to dye,
Then break Loves known and Sacred Laws:
What Lover wou'd pursue a single Game,
That cou'd amongst the Fair deal out his flame?
Since then, Lysander, you desire,
Amynta only to adore;
Take in no Partners to your Fire,
For who well Loves, that Loves one more?
And if such Rivals in your Heart I find,
Tis in My Power to die, but not be kind.
The Works of Aphra Behn. Vol. VI. Montague Summers, Ed.
London: William Heinemann, 1915. 196-197.
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