Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
To Julia to Expedite Her Promise
By John Cleveland (1613–1658)
 
SINCE ’tis my doom, Love’s undershrieve,
                Why this reprieve?
Why doth she my advowson fly
                Incumbency?
Panting expectance makes us prove        5
The antics of benighted love,
And withered mates when wedlock joins,
They’re Hymen’s monkeys, which he ties by the loins
To play alas! but at rebated foins. 1
 
To sell thyself dost thou intend        10
                By candle’s end,
And hold the contract thus in doubt
                Life’s taper out?
Think but how soon the market fails;
Your sex lives faster than the males;        15
As if, to measure age’s span,
The sober Julian were the account of man 2
Whilst you live by the fleet Gregorian.
 
Now since you bear a date so short,
                Live double for it.        20
How can thy fortress ever stand
                If it be not manned?
The seige so gains upon the place
Thou’lt find the trenches in thy face.
Pity thyself then if not me,        25
And hold not out, lest like Ostend thou be,
Nothing but rubbish at delivery.
 
The candidates of Peter’s chair
                Must plead grey hair,
And use the simony of a cough        30
                To help them off.
But when I woo thus old and spent
I’ll wed by will and testament.
No, let us love while crisped and curled;
The greatest honours, on the aged hurled,        35
Are but furlows for another world.
 
Tomorrow what thou tenderest me
                Is legacy.
Not one of all those ravenous hours
                But thee devours.        40
And though thou still requited be,
Like Pelops, 3 with soft ivory,
Though thou consume but to renew,
Yet Love as lord doth claim a Heriot due;
That’s the best quick thing I can find of you.        45
 
I feel thou art consenting ripe
                By that soft gripe,
And those regealing crystal spheres.
                I hold thy tears
Pledges of more distilling sweets        50
Than the bath that ushers in the sheets.
Else pious Julia, angel-wise,
Moves the Bethesda of her trickling eyes 4
To cure the spittle world of maladies.
 
Note 1. Rebated foins: sham combat with blunted swords. [back]
Note 2. Julian were the account of man: The Julian Account refers to the calendar as ordained by Julius Cæsar B.C. 44, which later was corrected in 1582, by Pope Gregory the Thirteenth. [back]
Note 3. Pelops: son of Tantalus, king of Syria, who was killed by his father and served at a banquet of the gods of which Ceres alone ate of the dish. Zeus restored him to life, replacing with ivory one shoulder which Ceres had eaten. [back]
Note 4. Moves the Bethesda of her trickling eyes: Cf. St. John, v. 2: “Now there is at Jerusalem by the market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five torches.” [back]
 
 
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