Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
The Description of Castara
By William Habington (1605–1654)
 
LIKE the violet which alone
Prospers in some happy shade;
My Castara lives unknown,
To no looser eye betrayed,
    For she ’s to her self untrue,        5
    Who delights i’ th’ public view.
 
Such is her beauty as no arts
Have enriched with borrowed grace;
Her high birth no pride imparts,
For she blushes in her place.        10
    Folly boasts a glorious blood,
    She is noblest, being good.
 
Cautious, she knew never yet
What a wanton courtship meant;
Nor speaks loud to boast her wit,        15
In her silence eloquent:
    Of her self survey she takes
    But ’tween men no difference makes.
 
She obeys with speedy will
Her grave parents’ wise commands;        20
And so innocent that ill
She nor acts nor understands;
    Women’s feet run still astray
    If once to ill they know the way.
 
She sails by that rock, the court,        25
Where oft honour splits her mast:
And retiredness thinks the port,
Where her fame may anchor cast:
    Virtue safely cannot sit,
    Where vice is enthroned for wit.        30
 
She holds that day’s pleasure best
Where sin waits not on delight;
Without mask, or ball, or feast,
Sweetly spends a winter’s night:
    O’er that darkness, whence is thrust        35
    Prayer and sleep, oft governs lust.
 
She her throne makes reason climb,
While wild passions captive lie;
And each article of time
Her pure thoughts to Heaven fly:        40
    All her vows religious be,
    And her love she vows to me.
 
 
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