Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Richard Crashaw. 1613?–1649
  
336. Wishes to His Supposed Mistress
  
WHOE'ER she be— 
That not impossible She 
That shall command my heart and me: 
 
Where'er she lie, 
Lock'd up from mortal eye         5
In shady leaves of destiny: 
 
Till that ripe birth 
Of studied Fate stand forth, 
And teach her fair steps to our earth: 
 
Till that divine  10
Idea take a shrine 
Of crystal flesh, through which to shine: 
 
Meet you her, my Wishes, 
Bespeak her to my blisses, 
And be ye call'd my absent kisses.  15
 
I wish her Beauty, 
That owes not all its duty 
To gaudy tire, or glist'ring shoe-tie: 
 
Something more than 
Taffata or tissue can,  20
Or rampant feather, or rich fan. 
 
A Face, that 's best 
By its own beauty drest, 
And can alone commend the rest. 
 
A Face, made up  25
Out of no other shop 
Than what Nature's white hand sets ope. 
 
A Cheek, where youth 
And blood, with pen of truth, 
Write what the reader sweetly ru'th.  30
 
A Cheek, where grows 
More than a morning rose, 
Which to no box his being owes. 
 
Lips, where all day 
A lover's kiss may play,  35
Yet carry nothing thence away. 
 
Looks, that oppress 
Their richest tires, but dress 
And clothe their simplest nakedness. 
 
Eyes, that displace  40
The neighbour diamond, and outface 
That sunshine by their own sweet grace. 
 
Tresses, that wear 
Jewels but to declare 
How much themselves more precious are:  45
 
Whose native ray 
Can tame the wanton day 
Of gems that in their bright shades play. 
 
Each ruby there, 
Or pearl that dare appear,  50
Be its own blush, be its own tear. 
 
A well-tamed Heart, 
For whose more noble smart 
Love may be long choosing a dart. 
 
Eyes, that bestow  55
Full quivers on love's bow, 
Yet pay less arrows than they owe. 
 
Smiles, that can warm 
The blood, yet teach a charm, 
That chastity shall take no harm.  60
 
Blushes, that bin 
The burnish of no sin, 
Nor flames of aught too hot within. 
 
Joys, that confess 
Virtue their mistress,  65
And have no other head to dress. 
 
Fears, fond and slight 
As the coy bride's, when night 
First does the longing lover right. 
 
Days, that need borrow  70
No part of their good-morrow 
From a fore-spent night of sorrow. 
 
Days, that in spite 
Of darkness, by the light 
Of a clear mind, are day all night.  75
 
Nights, sweet as they, 
Made short by lovers' play, 
Yet long by th' absence of the day. 
 
Life, that dares send 
A challenge to his end,  80
And when it comes, say, 'Welcome, friend!' 
 
Sydneian showers 
Of sweet discourse, whose powers 
Can crown old Winter's head with flowers. 
 
Soft silken hours,  85
Open suns, shady bowers; 
'Bove all, nothing within that lowers. 
 
Whate'er delight 
Can make Day's forehead bright, 
Or give down to the wings of Night.  90
 
I wish her store 
Of worth may leave her poor 
Of wishes; and I wish—no more. 
 
Now, if Time knows 
That Her, whose radiant brows  95
Weave them a garland of my vows; 
 
Her, whose just bays 
My future hopes can raise, 
A trophy to her present praise; 
 
Her, that dares be 100
What these lines wish to see; 
I seek no further, it is She. 
 
'Tis She, and here, 
Lo! I unclothe and clear 
My Wishes' cloudy character. 105
 
May she enjoy it 
Whose merit dare apply it, 
But modesty dares still deny it! 
 
Such worth as this is 
Shall fix my flying Wishes, 110
And determine them to kisses. 
 
Let her full glory, 
My fancies, fly before ye; 
Be ye my fictions—but her story. 
 
 
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