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.
 
Katherine Philips
 
68. To my Lucasia, in defence of declared Friendship
 
O MY Lucasia, let us speak our Love, 
  And think not that impertinent can be, 
Which to us both doth such assurance prove, 
  And whence we find how justly we agree. 
  
Before we knew the treasures of our Love,         5
  Our noble aims our joys did entertain; 
And shall enjoyment nothing then improve? 
  'Twere best for us then to begin again. 
  
Now we have gain'd, we must not stop, and sleep 
  Out all the rest of our mysterious reign:  10
It is as hard and glorious to keep 
  A victory, as it is to obtain. 
  
Nay to what end did we once barter Minds, 
  Only to know and to neglect the claim? 
Or (like some Wantons) our Pride pleasure finds  15
  To throw away the thing at which we aim. 
  
If this be all our Friendship does design, 
  We covet not enjoyment then, but power: 
To our Opinion we our Bliss confine, 
  And love to have, but not to smell, the flower.  20
  
Ah! then let Misers bury thus their Gold, 
  Who though they starve, no farthing will produce: 
But we lov'd to enjoy and to behold, 
  And sure we cannot spend our stock by use. 
  
Think not 'tis needless to repeat desires;  25
  The fervent Turtles alwaies court and bill, 
And yet their spotless passion never tires, 
  But does increase by repetition still. 
  
Although we know we love, yet while our Soul 
  Is thus imprison'd by the Flesh we wear,  30
There's no way left that bondage to controul, 
  But to convey transactions through the Ear. 
  
Nay, though we read our passions in the Eye, 
  It will oblige and please to tell them too: 
Such joys as these by motion multiply,  35
  Were't but to find that our Souls told us true. 
  
Believe not then, that being now secure 
  Of either's heart, we have no more to do: 
The Spheres themselves by motion do endure, 
  And they move on by Circulation too.  40
  
And as a River, when it once hath paid 
  The tribute which it to the Ocean owes, 
Stops not, but turns, and having curl'd and play'd 
  On its own waves, the shore it overflows: 
  
So the Soul's motion does not end in bliss,  45
  But on her self she scatters and dilates, 
And on the Object doubles till by this 
  She finds new joys which that reflux creates. 
  
But then because it cannot all contain, 
  It seeks a vent by telling the glad news,  50
First to the Heart which did its joys obtain, 
  Then to the Heart which did those joys produce. 
  
When my Soul then doth such excursions make, 
  Unless thy Soul delight to meet it too, 
What satisfaction can it give or take,  55
  Thou being absent at the interview? 
  
'Tis not Distrust; for were that plea allow'd, 
  Letters and Visits all would useless grow: 
Love's whole expression then would be its cloud, 
  And it would be refin'd to nothing so.  60
  
If I distrust, 'tis my own worth for thee, 
  'Tis my own fitness for a love like thine; 
And therefore still new evidence would see, 
  T'assure my wonder that thou canst be mine. 
  
But as the Morning-Sun to drooping Flowers,  65
  As weary Travellers a Shade do find, 
As to the parched Violet Evening-showers; 
  Such is from thee to me a Look that's kind. 
  
But when that Look is drest in Words, 'tis like 
  The mystick pow'r of Musick's unison;  70
Which when the finger doth one Viol strike, 
  The other's string heaves to reflection. 
  
Be kind to me, and just then to our love, 
  To which we owe our free and dear Converse; 
And let not tract of Time wear or remove  75
  It from the privilege of that Commerce. 
  
Tyrants do banish what they can't requite: 
  But let us never know such mean desires; 
But to be grateful to that Love delight 
  Which all our joys and noble thoughts inspires.  80
 
 
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