To His Mistress by George Villiers

What a dull fool was I,
To think so gross a lie,
As that I ever was in love before!
I have, perhaps, known one or two
With whom I was content to be
At that, which they call ‘keeping company.’
But, after all that they could do,
I still could be with more.
Their absence never made me shed a tear;
And I can truly swear,
That, till my eyes first gazed on you,
I ne’er beheld that thing I could adore.

A world of things must curiously be sought,
A world of things must be together brought,
To make up charms which have the power to move,
Through a discerning eye, true love.
That is a masterpiece, above
What only looks and shape can do;
There must be wit, and judgment too;
Greatness of thought, and worth, which draw
From the whole world, respect and awe.

She that would raise a noble love, must find
Ways to beget a passion for her mind,
She must be that, which she, to be would seem;
For all true love is grounded on esteem.
Plainness and truth gain more a generous heart
Than all the crooked subtleties of art.
She must be (what said I?), She must be you.
None but yourself that miracle can do;
At least, I’m sure, thus much I plainly see,
None but yourself e’er did it upon me.
’Tis you alone, that can my heart subdue—
To you alone, it always shall be true!


Date: c1667

By: George Villiers (1628-1687)


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