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.
 
His Winding-Sheet
By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
 
COME thou, who art the wine and wit
      Of all I’ve writ:
The grace, the glory, and the best
      Piece of the rest.
Thou art of what I did intend        5
      The all and end;
And what was made, was made to meet
      Thee, thee, my sheet.
Come then and be to my chaste side
      Both bed and bride:        10
We two, as reliques left, will have
      One rest, one grave:
And hugging close, we will not fear
      Lust entering here:
Where all desires are dead or cold        15
      As in the mould;
And all affections are forgot,
      Or trouble not.
Here, here, the slaves and prisoners be
      From shackles free:        20
And weeping widows long oppress’d
      Do here find rest.
The wrongèd client ends his laws
      Here, and his cause.
Here those long suits of Chancery lie        25
      Quiet, or die:
And all Star-Chamber bills do cease
      Or hold their peace.
Here needs no Court for our Request
      Where all are best,        30
All wise, all equal, and all just
      Alike i’ th’ dust.
Nor need we here to fear the frown
      Of court or crown:
Where fortune bears no sway o’er things,        35
      There all are kings.
In this securer place we’ll keep
      As lull’d asleep;
Or for a little time we’ll lie
      As robes laid by;        40
To be another day reworn,
      Turn’d, but not torn;
Or like old testaments engross’d,
      Lock’d up, not lost.
And for a while lie here conceal’d,        45
      To be reveal’d
Next at the great Platonick year, 1
      And then meet here.
 
Note 1. Platonick year: According to Plato in Timaeus, the period in which the eight stellar circles complete their rotation round the axis of the Kosmos, and return to the same position. [back]
 
 
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