Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
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Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
 
Andrew Marvell
 
120. A Dialogue between the Soul and Body
 
Soul. O WHO shall, from this Dungeon, raise 
A Soul inslav'd so many wayes? 
With bolts of Bones, that fetter'd stands 
In Feet; and manacled in Hands. 
Here blinded with an Eye; and there         5
Deaf with the drumming of an Ear. 
A Soul hung up, as 'twere, in Chains 
Of Nerves, and Arteries, and Veins. 
Tortur'd, besides each other part, 
In a vain Head, and double Heart.  10
  
Body. O who shall me deliver whole, 
From bonds of this Tyrannic Soul? 
Which, stretcht upright, impales me so, 
That mine own Precipice I go; 
And warms and moves this needless Frame:  15
(A Fever could but do the same.) 
And, wanting where its spight to try, 
Has made me live to let me dye. 
A Body that could never rest, 
Since this ill Spirit it possest.  20
  
Soul. What Magick could me thus confine 
Within anothers Grief to pine? 
Where whatsoever it complain, 
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain. 
And all my Care its self employes,  25
That to preserve, which me destroys: 
Constrain'd not only to indure 
Diseases, but, whats worse, the Cure: 
And ready oft the Port to gain, 
Am Shipwrackt into Health again.  30
  
Body. But Physick yet could never reach 
The Maladies Thou me dost teach; 
Whom first the Cramp of Hope does Tear: 
And then the Palsie Shakes of Fear. 
The Pestilence of Love does heat:  35
Or Hatred's hidden Ulcer eat. 
Joy's chearful Madness does perplex: 
Or Sorrow's other Madness vex. 
Which Knowledge forces me to know; 
And Memory will not foregoe.  40
What but a Soul could have the wit 
To build me up for Sin so fit? 
So Architects do square and hew 
Green Trees that in the Forest grew. 
 
 
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