Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Love for Enjoying
By James Shirley (1596–1666)
(From Poems, etc., 1646)

FAIR lady, what’s your face to me?
I was not only made to see;
Every silent stander-by
May thus enjoy so much as I.
That blooming nature on your cheek,        5
Is still inviting me to seek
For unknown wealth; within the ground
Are all the royal metals found.
Leave me to search; I have a thread
Through all the labyrinth shall lead,        10
And through every winding vein
Conduct me to the golden mine;
Which once enjoy’d, will give me power
To make new Indies every hour.
Look on those jewels that abound        15
Upon your dress; that diamond
No flame, no lustre could impart,
Should not the lapidary’s art
Contribute here and there a star;
And just such things ye women are,        20
Who do not in rude quarries shine,
But meeting us, you’re made divine.
  Come let us mix ourselves, and prove
That action is the soul of love.
Why do we coward-gazing stand,        25
Like armies in the Netherland:
Contracting fear at either’s sight,
Till we both grow too weak to fight?
Let’s charge for shame, and choose you whether
One shall fall, or both together.        30
This is love’s war, whoever dies,
If the survivor be but wise,
He may reduce the spirit fled,
For t’other kiss will cure the dead.

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