Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
 
II. Love’s Nature
Wishes for the Supposed Mistress
Richard Crashaw (c. 1613–1649)
 
WHOE’ER she be,
That not impossible She
That shall command my heart and me:
 
Where’er she lie,
Locked up from mortal eye        5
In shady leaves of destiny:
 
Till that ripe birth
Of studied Fate stand forth,
And teach her fair steps tread our earth;
 
Till that divine        10
Idea take a shrine
Of crystal flesh, through which to shine:
 
—Meet you her, my Wishes,
Bespeak her to my blisses,
And be ye called, my absent kisses.        15
 
  I wish her beauty
That owes not all its duty
To gaudy tire, or glistering shoe-tie:
 
Something more than
Taffata or tissue can,        20
Or rampant feather, or rich fan.
 
A face that’s best
By its own beauty drest,
And can alone commend the rest:
 
A face made up        25
Out of no other shop
Than what Nature’s white hand sets ope.
 
Sidneian showers
Of sweet discourse, whose powers
Can crown old Winter’s head with flowers.        30
 
Whate’er delight
Can make day’s forehead bright
Or give down to the wings of night.
 
Soft silken hours,
Open suns, shady bowers;        35
’Bove all, nothing within that lowers.
 
Days, that need borrow
No part of their good morrow
From a fore-spent night of sorrow:
 
Days, that in spite        40
Of darkness, by the light
Of a clear mind are day all night.
 
Life that dares send
A challenge to his end,
And when it comes, say, “Welcome, friend.”        45
 
I wish her store
Of worth may leave her poor
Of wishes; and I wish—no more.
 
  Now, if Time knows
That Her, whose radiant brows        50
Weave them a garland of my vows;
 
Her that dares be
What these lines wish to see:
I seek no further, it is She.
 
’T is She, and here        55
Lo! I unclothe and clear
My wishes’ cloudy character.
 
Such worth as this is
Shall fix my flying wishes,
And determine them to kisses.        60
 
Let her full glory,
My fancies, fly before ye;
Be ye my fictions:—but her story.
 
 
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