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MARLOWE, Christopher

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove

That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,

Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,

Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,

By shallow rivers to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses

And a thousand fragrant posies,

A cap of flowers, and a kirtle

Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool

Which from our pretty lambs we pull;

Fair lined slippers for the cold,

With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,

With coral clasps and amber studs:

And if these pleasures may thee move,

Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing

For thy delight each May morning:

If these delights thy mind may move,

Then live with me and be my love.

Hero and Leander

The First Sestiad


About her naked neck his bare arms threw,

And laid his childish head upon her breast,

And, with still panting rocked, there took his rest.

So lovely fair was Hero, Venus' nun,

As Nature wept, thinking she was undone,

Because she took more from her than she left,

And of such wondrous beauty her bereft.

Therefore, in sign her treasure suffered wrack,

Since Hero's time hath half the world been black.

Amorous Leander, beautiful and young,

(whose tragedy divine Musaeus sung,)

Dwelt at Abydos; since him dwelt there none

For whom succeeding times make greater moan.

His dangling tresses, that were never shorn,

Had they been cut, and unto Colchos borne,

Would have allured the vent'rous youth of Greece

To hazard more than for the golden fleece.

Fair Cynthia wished his arms might be her sphere;

Grief makes her pale, because she moves not there.

His body was as straight as Circe's wand;

Jove might have sipped out nectar from his hand.

Even as delicious meat is to the taste,

So was his neck in touching, and surpassed

The white of Pelop's shoulder. I could tell ye

How smooth his breast was and how white his belly;

And whose immortal fingers did imprint

That heavenly path with many a curious dint

That runs along his back, but my rude pen

Can hardly blazon forth the loves of men,

Much less of powerful gods. Let it suffice

That my slack Muse sings of Leander's eyes,

Those orient cheeks and lips, exceeding his

That leaped into the water for a kiss

Of his own shadow and, despising many,

Died ere he could enjoy the love of any.

The Second Sestiad


By this Leander, being near the land,

Cast down his weary feet and felt the sand.

Breathless albeit he were he rested not

Till to the solitary tower he got,

And knocked and called. At which celestial noise

The longing heart of Hero much more joys

Than nymphs and shepherds when the timbrel rings,

Or crooked dolphin when the sailor sings.

She stayed not for her robes but straight arose

And, drunk with gladness, to the door she goes,

Where seeing a naked man, she screeched for fear

(Such sights as this to tender maids are rare)

And ran into the dark herself to hide.

(Rich jewels in the dark are soonest spied).

Unto her was he led, or rather drawn

By those white limbs which sparkled through the lawn.

The nearer that he came, the more she fled,

And, seeking refuge, slipped into her bed.

Whereon Leander sitting thus began,

Through numbing cold, all feeble, faint, and wan.

“If not for love, yet, love, for pity sake,

Me in thy bed and maiden bosom take.

At least vouchsafe these arms some little room,

Who, hoping to embrace thee, cheerly swum.

This head was beat with many a churlish billow,

And therefore let it rest upon thy pillow.”

Herewith affrighted, Hero shrunk away,

And in her lukewarm place Leander lay,

Whose lively heat, like fire from heaven fet,

Would animate gross clay and higher set

The drooping thoughts of base declining souls

Than dreary Mars carousing nectar bowls.


Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,

Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack'd;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear'd to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa's azur'd arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour!