Archive for ‘17th Century’

Sunday, 3 April 2022

[The Midnight Moon] by Yasuhara Teishitsu

the midnight moon—
almost like a big chunk
of coolness.


Date: c1670 (original in Japanese); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Yasuhara Teishitsu (1610-1673)

Translated by: Gabi Greve (1948- )

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Song [Go Lovely Rose] by Edmund Waller

Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retir’d:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desir’d,
And not blush so to be admir’d.

Then die, that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair.


Date: 1645

By: Edmund Waller (1606-1687)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Doom by James Shirley

Victorious men of earth, no more
    Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
Though you bind in every shore,
    And your triumphs reach as far
            As night or day,
Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey,
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.

Devouring Famine, Plague and War,
    Each able to undo mankind,
Death’s servile emissaries are :
    Nor to these alone confined,
            He hath at will
More quaint and subtle ways to kill ;
A smile or kiss, as he will use the art,
Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.


Date: 1653

By: James Shirley (1596-1666)

Alternative Title: Death’s Subtle Ways

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Love (III) by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
            Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
            From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
            If I lacked anything.

“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”:
            Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
            I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
            “Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
            Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
            “My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
            So I did sit and eat.


Date: 1633

By: George Herbert (1593-1633)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My Love by Robert Jones

My love is neither young nor old,
Not fiery-hot nor frozen-cold,
But fresh and fair as springing-briar
Blooming the fruit of love’s desire;
Not snowy-white nor rosy-red,
But fair enough for shepherd’s bed;
And such a love was never seen
On hill or dale or country-green.

From: Chambers, Edmund Kerchever, English Pastorals, 1969, Ayer Publishing:New York, p. 109.

Date: 1601

By: Robert Jones (fl.1597-1617)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Damelus’ Song to His Diaphenia by Henry Constable

Diaphenia, like the daffadowndilly,
White as the sun, fair as the lily,
Heigh ho, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as my lambs
Are belovéd by their dams;
How blest were I if thou would’st prove me.

Diaphenia like the spreading roses,
That in thy sweets all sweets encloses,
Fair sweet, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as each flower
Loves the sun’s life-giving power;
For dead, thy breath to life might move me.

Diaphenia like to all things blesséd,
When all thy praises are expresséd,
Dear joy, how I do love thee!
As the birds do love the spring,
Or the bees their careful king:
Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!


Date: 1600

By: Henry Constable (1562-1613)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Poverty by Thomas Traherne

As in the house I sate,
Alone and desolate,
No creature but the fire and I,
The chimney and the stool, I lift mine eye
Up to the wall,
And in the silent hall,
Saw nothing mine
But some few cups and dishes shine,
The table and the wooden stools
Where people used to dine;
A painted cloth there was,
Wherein some ancient story wrought
A little entertained my thought,
Which light discovered through the glass.

I wondered much to see
That all my wealth should be
Confined in such a little room,
Yet hope for more I scarcely durst presume.
It grieved me sore
That such a scanty store
Should be my all;
For I forgot my ease and health,
Nor did I think of hands or eyes,
Nor soul nor body prize;
I neither thought the sun,
Nor moon, nor stars, nor people mine,
Though they did round about me shine;
And therefore was I quite undone.

Some greater things, I thought,
Must needs for me be wrought,
Which till my craving mind could see
I ever should lament my poverty;
I fain would have
Whatever bounty gave,
Nor could there be
Without or love or deity;
For should not he be infinite
Whose hand created me?
Ten thousand absent things
Did vex my poor and wanting mind,
Which, till I be no longer blind,
Let me not see the King of kings.

His love must surely be
Rich, infinite, and free;
Nor can he be thought a God
Of grace and power, that fills not his abode,
His holy court,
In kind and liberal sort;
Joys and pleasures,
Plenty of jewels, goods, and treasures,
To enrich the poor, cheer the forlorn,
His palace must adorn,
And given all to me;
For till his works my wealth became,
No love or peace did me inflame:
But now I have a Deity.


Date: 1902 (published)

By: Thomas Traherne (?1636-1674)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

To the Ladie Lucie, Countesse of Bedford by Aemilia Lanyer

Me thinkes I see faire Virtue readie stand,
T’unlocke the closet of your louely breast,
Holding the key of Knowledge in her hand,
Key of that Cabbine where your selfe doth rest,
To let him in, by whom her youth was blest:
The true-loue of your soule, your hearts delight,
Fairer than all the world in your cleare sight.

He that descended from celestiall glory,
To taste of our infirmities and sorrowes,
Whose heauenly wisdom read the earthly storie
Of fraile Humanity, which his godhead borrows:
Loe here he coms all stucke with pale deaths arrows:
In whose most pretious wounds your soule may reade
Saluation, while he (dying Lord) doth bleed.

You whose cleare Iudgement farre exceeds my skil,
Vouchsafe to entertaine this dying louer,
The Ocean of true grace, whose streames doe fill
All those with Ioy, that can his loue recouer;
About this blessed Arke bright Angels houer:
Where your faire sould may sure and safely rest,
When he is sweetly seated in your brest.

There may your thoughts as seruants to your heart,
Giue true attendance on this louely guest,
While he doth to that blessed bowre impart
Flowres of fresh comforts, decke that bed of rest,
With such rich beauties as may make it blest:
And you in whom all raritie is found,
May be with his eternall glory crownd.


Date: 1611

By: Aemilia Lanyer (1569-1645)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cherry-Ripe by Thomas Campion

There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies blow;
A heavenly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow:
There cherries grow which none may buy
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rose-buds filled with snow;
Yet them no peer nor prince can buy
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

Her eyes like angels watch them still;
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threat’ning with piercing frowns to kill
All that attempt with eye or hand
Those sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.


Date: 1617

By: Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Song (To Amarantha, That She Would Dishevell Her Haire) by Richard Lovelace

    Amarantha sweet and faire,
Ah brade no more that shining haire !
    As my curious hand or eye,
Hovering round thee let it flye.

    Let it flye as unconfin’d
As its calme Ravisher, the winde ;
    Who hath left his darling th’ East,
To wanton o’re that spicie Nest.

    Ev’ry Tresse must be confest ;
But neatly tangled at the best ;
    Like a Clue of golden thread,
Most excellently ravelled.

    Doe not then winde up that light
In Ribands, and o’re-cloud in Night ;
    Like the Sun in’s early ray,
But shake your head and scatter day.

    See ’tis broke !  Within this Grove
The Bower, and the walkes of Love,
    Weary lye we downe and rest,
And fanne each others panting breast.

    Heere wee’l strippe and coole our fire
In Creame below, in milke-baths higher :
    And when all Well’s are drawne dry,
I’le drink a tear out of thine eye.

    Which our very Joyes shall leave
That sorrowes thus we can deceive ;
    Or our very sorrowes weepe,
That joyes so ripe, so little keepe.


Date: 1649

By: Richard Lovelace (1618-1657)