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Poem by Robert Ayton


To an Unconstant One


I loved thee once; Ill love no more 
	Thine be the grief as is the blame; 
Thou art not what thou wast before, 
	What reason I should be the same? 
		He that can love unloved again, 
		Hath better store of love than brain: 
God send me love my debts to pay, 
While unthrifts fool their love away!

Nothing could have my love oerthrown 
	If thou hadst still continued mine;
Yea, if thou hadst remaind thy own, 
	I might perchance have yet been thine.
		But thou thy freedom didst recall 
		That it thou might elsewhere enthral: 
And then how could I but disdain 
A captives captive to remain?

When new desires had conquerd thee 
	And changed the object of thy will, 
It had been lethargy in me,
	Not constancy, to love thee still. 
		Yea, it had been a sin to go 
		And prostitute affection so: 
Since we are taught no prayers to say 
To such as must to others pray.

Yet do thou glory in thy choice 
	Thy choice of his good fortune boast; 
Ill neither grieve nor yet rejoice 
	To see him gain what I have lost: 
		The height of my disdain shall be 
		To laugh at him, to blush for thee; 
To love thee still, but go no more 
A-begging at a beggars door.



Robert Ayton


Robert Ayton's other poems:
  1. To His Forsaken Mistress
  2. Old-Long-Syne


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