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I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood

Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else ; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;

Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know ; I should prefer,

If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun

At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,

Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.

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Twice or thrice had I loved thee,

Before I knew thy face or name ;

So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame, Angels affect us oft, and worshipp'd be.

Still when, to where thou wert, I came, Some lovely glorious nothing did I see.

But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,

More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too ;
And therefore what thou wert, and who,

I bid love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lips, eyes, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,

And so more steadily to have gone,

With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught;

Thy every hair for love to work upon
Is much too much; some fitter must be sought;

For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scattering bright, can love inhere;

Then as an angel face and wings.

Of air, not pure as it, yet pure


wear, So thy love may be my love's sphere;

Just such disparity As is 'twixt air's and angel's purity, 'Twixt women's love, and men's, will ever be.

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Love, any devil else but you
Would for a given soul give something too.
At court your fellows every day
Give th' art of rhyming, huntsmanship, or play,
For them which were their own before ;
Only I have nothing, which gave more,
But am, alas! by being lowly, lower.

I ask no dispensation now,
To falsify a tear, or sigh, or vow ;
I do not sue from thee to draw
A non obstante on nature's law

These are prerogatives, they inhere
In thee and thine ; none should forswear
Except that he Love's minion were.

Give me thy weakness, make me blind,
Both ways, as thou and thine, in eyes and mind;
Love, let me never know that this
Is love, or, that love childish is ;
Let me not know that others know
That she knows my pains, lest that 80
A tender shame make me mine own new woe.

If thou give nothing, yet thou 'rt just,
Because I would not thy first motions trust;
Small towns which stand stiff till great shot
Enforce them, by war's law condition not ;
Such in Love's warfare is my case ;
I may not article for grace,
Having put Love at last to show this face.

This face, by which he could command
And change th' idolatry of any land,
This face, which, wheresoe'er it comes,
Can call vow'd men from cloisters, dead from tombs,
And melt both poles at once, and store
Deserts with cities, and make more
Mines in the earth, than quarries were before.

For this, Love is enraged with mé,
Yet kills not; if I must example be
To future rebels, if th' unborn
Must learn by my being cut up and torn,
Kill, and dissect me, Love; for this
Torture against thine own end is ;
Rack'd carcasses make ill anatomies.

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