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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Earl of Rochester

Adriaen van der Werff. Shepherd and Shepherdess, 1689.
Adriaen van der Werff. Shepherd and Shepherdess, 1689.

A Dialogue Between Strephon and Daphne.

Stre: Prethy now fond foole give o're;
Since my heart is gon before
To what purpose should I stay?
Love Commands another Way.

Daph: Perjur'd swaine I knew the time      5
When dissembling was your Crime:
In pitty now Imploy that art
Which first betrai'd to ease my heart.

Stre: Women can with pleasure faine;
Men disemble still with paine.                 10
What Advantage will it prove
If I Lye who cannot Love?

Daph: Tell me then the reason why;
Love from hearts in Love does fly;
Why the Bird will build a Nest                15
Where he ne're intends to rest.

Stre: Love Like other Little boyes
Cryes for hearts as they for toyes
Which when gained in Childish play
Wantonly are throwne away.                  20

Daph: Still on Wing or on his knee's
Love does nothing by degrees;
Basely flying when most priz'd,
Meanly fawning when despis'd,

Flatt'ring or Insulting Ever,                      25
Generous and gratefull never;
All his Joyes are Fleeting dreames,
All his Woes severe Extreames.

Stre: Nymph unjustly you enveigh:
Love Like us must fate obey.                  30
Since tis Natures Law to Change,
Constancy alone is strange.

See the Heav'ns in Lightnings breake,
Next in stormes of Thunder speake
Till a kinde Raine from above                 35
Makes a Calme, soe tis in Love.

Flames begin our first addresse:
Like meeting Thunder wee embrace.
Then you know the showers that fall
Quench the fire and quiet all.                  40

Daph: How should I these showers forget?
T'was soe pleasant to be Wett.
They kil'd Love I know it well:
I dy'd all the while they fell.

Say at Leastt what Nimph it is                45
Rob's my brest of soe much bliss.
If she is faire I shall be eas'd:
Through my Ruine, you'l be pleas'd.

Stre: Daphne never was soe faire,
Strephon scarcely soe Sincere,               50
Gentle, Innocent and free,
Ever pleas'd with only mee.

Many Charmes my heart enthrall
But there's one above 'em all:
With aversion she does fly                      55
Tedious Trading constancy.

Daph: Cruell Sheppard I submit:
Doe what Love and you thinke fitt.
Change is Fate and not designe—
Say you would have still bin mine.          60

Stre: Nymph I can not: tis too true
Change has greater Charmes than you.
Be by my Example Wise:
Faith to pleasure sacrifice.

Daph: Silly swaine I'le have you know    65
T'was my practice Long agoe:
Whilst you Vainely thought me true
I was falce in scorn of you.

By my teares my hearts disguise
I thy Love and thee despise.                  70
Woman kinde more Joy discover's
Making Fooles then keeping Lovers.

The Works of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. Harold Love, ed.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 6-8.


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Samuel Butler
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William Congreve
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