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John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (Джон Уилмот, граф Рочестер)

A Pastoral Dialogue Between Alexis and Strephon

Written at the Bath, in the Year 1674.


THERE sighs not on the Plain
     So lost a Swain as I;
Scorch'd up with Love, froz'n with Disdain,
Of killing Sweetness I complain.


     If 'tis Corrinna, die.
Since first my dazzled Eyes were thrown
     On that bewitching Face,
Like ruin'd Birds robb'd of their Young,
Lamenting, frighted, and undone,
     I fly from Place to Place.
Fram'd by some cruel Pow'rs above,
     So Nice she is, and Fair;
None from Undoing can remove,
Since all, who are not blind, must Love;
     Who are not vain, Despair.


The Gods no sooner give a Grace,
     But, fond of their own Art,
Severely Jealous, ever place,
To guard the Glories of a Face,
     A Dragon in the Heart.
Proud and Ill-natured Pow'rs they are,
     Who, peevish to Mankind,
For their own Honour's sake, with care
Make a sweet Form divinely fair,
     Then add a cruel Mind.


Since she's insensible of Love,
     By Honour taught to hate;
If we, forc'd by Decrees above,
Must sensible to Beauty prove,
     How tyrannous is Fate?
I to the Nymph have never nam'd
     The Cause of all my Pain.


Such Bashfulness may well be blam'd;
For since to Serve we're not asham'd,
     Why should she blush to Reign?


But if her haughty Heart despise
     My humble proffer'd one;
The just Compassion she denies,
I may obtain from others' Eyes;
     Hers are not fair alone.
Devouring Flames require new Food;
     My Heart's consumed almost:
New Fires must kindle in her Blood,
Or mine go out, and that's as good.


Wou'dst live, when Love is lost?
Be dead before thy Passion dies;
     For if thou shou'dst survive,
What Anguish would thy Heart surprize,
To see her Flames begin to rise,
     And thine no more alive?


Rather what Pleasure should I meet
     In my Triumphant Scorn,
To see my Tyrant at my Feet;
While taught by her, unmov'd I sit
     A Tyrant in my turn.


Ungentle Shepherd! cease, for shame;
     Which way can you pretend
To merit so Divine a Flame,
Who to dull Life make a mean Claim,
     When Love is at an End?
As Trees are by their Bark embrac'd,
     Love to my Soul doth cling;
When torn by the Herd's greedy Taste,
The injur'd Plants feel they're defac'd,
     They wither in the Spring.
My rifled Love would soon retire,
     Dissolving into Air,
Shou'd I that Nymph cease to admire,
Bless'd in whose Arms I will expire,
     Or at her Feet despair.

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester's other poems:
  1. The Discovery
  2. The Mistress
  3. To Love
  4. A Song (Give me leave to rail at you)
  5. Nestor

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