Archive for June 11th, 2014

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A Platonick Elegie by Thomas Randolph

Love, give me leave to serve thee, and be wise
To keepe thy torch in, but restore blind eyes.
I will a flame into my bosome take,
That Martyrs Court when they embrace the stake:
Not dull, and smoakie fires, but heat divine,
That burnes not to consume, but to refine.
I have a Mistresse, for perfections rare
In every eye, but in my thoughts most faire.
Like Tapers on the Altar shine her eyes;
Her breath is the perfume of Sacrifice.
And where soe’re my fancy would begin,
Still her perfection lets religion in.
I touch her, like my Beads, with devout care,
And come unto my Courtship as my Praier.
We sit, and talke, and kisse away the houres,
As chastly as the morning dews kisse flowers.
Goe wanton Lover, spare, thy sighs and teares,
Put on the Livery which thy dotage weares,
And call it Love, where heresie gets in
Zeale’s but a coale to kindle greater sin.
Wee weare no flesh, but one another greet,
As blessed soules in separation meet.
Were’t possible that my ambitious sin,
Durst commit rapes upon a Cherubin,
I might have lustfull thoughts to her, of all
Earth’s heav’nly Quire the most Angelicall.
Looking into my brest, her forme I find
That like my Guardian-Angell keeps my mind
From rude attempts; and when affections stirre,
I calme all passions with one thought of her.
Thus they whose reasons love, and not their sence,
The spirits love: thus one Intelligence
Reflects upon his like, and by chast loves
In the same spheare this and that Angell moves.
Nor is this barren Love; one noble thought
Begets an other, and that still is brought
To bed of more; vertues and grace increase,
And such a numerous issue ne’re can cease,
Where Children, though great blessings, only bee
Pleasures repriv’d to some posteritie.
Beasts love like men, if men in lust delight
And call that love which is but appetite.
When essence meets with essence, and soules joyne
In mutuall knots, thats the true Nuptall twine:
Such Lady is my Love, and such is true;
All other Love is to your Sexe, not You.

From: Randolph, Thomas and Parry, John J. (ed.), The Poems and Amyntas of Thomas Randolph, 1917, Yale University Press: New Haven, pp. 113-114.

Date: 1634

By: Thomas Randolph (1605-1635)