Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Vivamus Mea Lesbia, Atque Amemus
By Thomas Campion (1567–1620)
 
MY 1 sweetest Lesbia, let us live and love,
And though the sager sort our deeds reprove
Let us not weigh them. Heaven’s great lamps do dive
Into their west, and straight again revive;
But, soon as once set is our little light,        5
Then must we sleep one ever-during night.
 
If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armour should not be;
No drum nor trumpet peaceful sleeps should move,
Unless alarm came from the Camp of Love:        10
But fools do live and waste their little light,
And seek with pain their ever-during night.
 
When timely death my life and fortunes ends,
Let not my hearse be vext with mourning friends;
But let all lovers, rich in triumph, come        15
And with sweet pastimes grace my happy tomb:
And, Lesbia, close up thou my little light,
And crown with love my ever-during night.
 
Note 1. From Campion’s Book of Airs, 1601. This poem was suggested by and partly translated from Catullus’ Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus. “Campion was steeped in classical feeling; his rendering of Vivamus, mea Lesbia, etc. is, so far as it goes, delightful.” (Bullen. Introduction to Lyrics from Elizabethan Song-Books.) Compare Jonson’s Vivamus, No. 141. [back]
 
 
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