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This carol they began that hour,
How that life was but a flower:

And therefore take the present time

With a hey and a ho, and a hey-nonino !
For love is crownèd with the prime
In springtime, the only pretty ringtime,
When birds do sing hey ding a ding:

Sweet lovers love the Spring.

William Shakespeare.



IT is not beauty I demand,

A crystal brow, the moon's despair, Nor the snow's daughter, a white hand, Nor mermaid's yellow pride of hair:

Tell me not of your starry eyes,

Your lips that seem on roses fed,
Your breasts, where Cupid tumbling lies
Nor sleeps for kissing of his bed ;-

A bloomy pair of vermeil cheeks
Like Hebe's in her ruddiest hours,
A breath that softer music speaks

Than summer winds a-wooing flowers,--

These are but gauds: nay what are lips?
Coral beneath the ocean-stream,
Whose brink when your adventurer slips
Full oft he perisheth on them.

And what are cheeks, but ensigns oft
That wave hot youth to fields of blood?

Did Helen's breast, though ne'er so soft,.
Do Greece or Ilium any good?

Eyes can with baleful ardour burn;

Poison can breath, that erst perfumed;
There's many a white hand holds an urn
With lovers' hearts to dust consumed.

For crystal brows there's nought within;
They are but empty cells for pride;
He who the syren's hair would win
Is mostly strangled in the tide.

Give me, instead of beauty's bust,
A tender heart, a loyal mind
Which with temptation I would trust,
Yet never linked with error find,-

One in whose gentle bosom I

Could pour my secret heart of woes, Like the care-burthened honey-fly

That hides his murmurs in the rose,

My earthly comforter! whose love
So indefeasible might be

That, when my spirit wonned above,

Hers could not stay, for sympathy.



SHALL I tell you whom I love?
Hearken then a while to me;
And if such a woman move
As I now shall versify;
Be assured 't is she, or none,
That I love, and love alone.
Nature did her so much right

As she scorns the help of art,
In as many virtues dight

As e'er yet embraced a heart.


So much good so truly tried,

Some for less were deified.

Wit she has without desire

To make known how much she hath; And her anger flames no higher

Than may fitly sweeten wrath.

Full of pity as may be,

Though perhaps not so to me.

Reason masters every sense,

And her virtues grace her birth; Lovely as all excellence,

Modest in her most of mirth : Likelihood enough to prove Only worth could kindle love.

Such she is; and if you know
Such a one as I have sung:
Be she brown, or fair, or so,

That she be but somewhile young,
Be assured 't is she, or none,

That I love, and love alone.


William Browne.



STILL be neat, still to be drest
As you were going to a feast,
Still to be powdered, still perfumed;
Lady, it is to be presumed,

Though art's hid causes are not found,

All is not sweet, all is not sound.

Give me a look, give me a face
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all the adulteries of art;

They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

Ben Jonson.




A SWEET disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness :--
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distractiòn,-

An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher,-
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly,-
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat,—
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility,-

Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

Robert Herrick.




WHEN as in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows

That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
That brave vibration each way free;
O how that glittering taketh me!


Robert Herrick.



My Love in her attire doth shew her wit,
It doth so well become her:

For every season she hath dressings fit,
For Winter, Spring, and Summer.

No beauty she doth miss When all her robes are on: But beauty's self she is When all her robes are gone.




LOVE in my bosom, like a bee,

Doth suck his sweet;

Now with his wings he plays with me,
Now with his feet.

Within mine eyes he makes his nest,

His bed amidst my tender breast;

My kisses are his daily feast,

And yet he robs me of my rest:
Ah, wanton, will you?

And if I sleep, then pierceth he

With pretty slight,

And makes his pillow of my knee
The livelong night.


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