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WILMOT, John (Earl of Rochester)

I cannot change as others do

I cannot change, as others do,

Though you unjustly scorn;

Since that poor swain that sighs for you,

For you alone was born.

No, Phyllis, no, your heart to move

A surer way I'll try:

And to revenge my slighted love,

Will still love on, will still love on, and die.

When, killed with grief, Amintas lies

And you to mind shall call,

The sighs that now unpitied rise,

The tears that vainly fall,

That welcome hour that ends this smart

Will then begin your pain;

For such a fauthful tender heart

Can never break, can never break in vain.

The Disabled Debauchee

As some brave admiral, in former war

   Deprived of force, but pressed with courage still,

Two rival fleets appearing from afar,

   Crawls to the top of an adjacent hill;

From whence, with thoughts full of concern, he views

   The wise and daring conduct of the fight,

Whilst each bold action to his mind renews

   His present glory and his past delight;

From his fierce eyes flashes of fire he throws,

   As from black clouds when lightning breaks away;

Transported, thinks himself amidst the foes,

   And absent, yet enjoys the bloody day;

So, when my days of impotence approach,

   And I’m by pox and wine’s unlucky chance

Forced from the pleasing billows of debauch

   On the dull shore of lazy temperance,

My pains at least some respite shall afford

   While I behold the battles you maintain

When fleets of glasses sail about the board,

   From whose broadsides volleys of wit shall rain.

Nor let the sight of honorable scars,

   Which my too forward valor did procure,

Frighten new-listed soldiers from the wars:

   Past joys have more than paid what I endure.

Should any youth (worth being drunk) prove nice,

   And from his fair inviter meanly shrink,

’Twill please the ghost of my departed vice

   If, at my counsel, he repent and drink.

Or should some cold-complexioned sot forbid,

   With his dull morals, our bold night-alarms,

I’ll fire his blood by telling what I did

   When I was strong and able to bear arms.

I’ll tell of whores attacked, their lords at home;

   Bawds’ quarters beaten up, and fortress won;

Windows demolished, watches overcome;

   And handsome ills by my contrivance done.

Nor shall our love-fits, Chloris, be forgot,

   When each the well-looked linkboy strove t’ enjoy,

And the best kiss was the deciding lot

   Whether the boy fucked you, or I the boy.

With tales like these I will such thoughts inspire

   As to important mischief shall incline:

I’ll make him long some ancient church to fire,

   And fear no lewdness he’s called to by wine.

Thus, statesmanlike, I’ll saucily impose,

   And safe from action, valiantly advise;

Sheltered in impotence, urge you to blows,

   And being good for nothing else, be wise.

To his Mistress

Why dost thou shade thy lovely face? O why

Does that eclipsing hand of thine deny

The sunshine of the Sun's enlivening eye?

Without thy light what light remains in me?

Thou art my life; my way, my light's in thee;

I live, I move, and by thy beams I see.

Thou art my life-if thou but turn away

My life's a thousand deaths. Thou art my way-

Without.thee, Love, I travel not but stray.

My light thou art-without thy glorious sight

My eyes are darken'd with eternal night.

My Love, thou art my way, my life, my light.

Thou art my way; I wander if thou fly.

Thou art my light; if hid, how blind am I!

Thou art my life; if thou withdraw'st, I die.

My eyes are dark and blind, I cannot see:

To whom or whither should my darkness flee,

But to that light?-and who's that light but thee?

If I have lost my path, dear lover, say,

Shall I still wander in a doubtful way?

Love, shall a lamb of Israel's sheepfold stray?

My path is lost, my wandering steps do stray;

I cannot go, nor can I safely stay;

Whom should I seek but thee, my path, my way?

And yet thou turn'st thy face away and fly'st me!

And yet I sue for grace and thou deny'st me!

Speak, art thou angry, Love, or only try'st me?

Thou art the pilgrim's path, the blind man's eye,

The dead man's life. On thee my hopes rely:

If I but them remove, I surely die.

Dissolve thy sunbeams, close thy wings and stay!

See, see how I am blind, and dead, and stray!

-O thou art my life, my light, my way!

Then work thy will! If passion bid me flee,

My reason shall obey, my wings shall be

Stretch'd out no farther than from me to thee

To his moment a rebel

To this moment a rebel I throw down my arms,

Great Love, at first sight of Olinda's bright charms.

Make proud and secure by such forces as these,

You may now play the tyrant as soon as you please.

When Innocence, Beauty, and Wit do conspire

To betray, and engage, and inflame my Desire,

Why should I decline what I cannot avoid?

And let pleasing Hope by base Fear be destroyed?

Her innocence cannot contrive to undo me,

Her beauty's inclined, or why should it pursue me?

And Wit has to Pleasure been ever a friend,

Then what room for Despair, since Delight is Love's end?

There can be no danger in sweetness and youth,

Where Love is secured by good nature and truth;

On her beauty I'll gaze and of pleasure complain

While every kind look adds a link to my chain.

'Tis more to maintain than it was to surprise,

But her Wit leads in triumpth the slave of her eyes;

I beheld, with the loss of my freedom before,

But hearing, forever must serve and adore.

Too bright is my Goddess, her temple too weak:

Retire, divine image! I feel my heart break.

Help, Love! I dissolve in a rapture of charms

At the thought of those joys I should meet in her arms.

A Fragment Of Seneca Translated

After Death nothing is, and nothing, death,

The utmost limit of a gasp of breath.

Let the ambitious zealot lay aside

His hopes of heaven, whose faith is but his pride;

Let slavish souls lay by their fear

Nor be concerned which way nor where

After this life they shall be hurled.

Dead, we become the lumber of the world,

And to that mass of matter shall be swept

Where things destroyed with things unborn are kept.

Devouring time swallows us whole.

Impartial death confounds body and soul.

For Hell and the foul fiend that rules

God's everlasting fiery jails

(Devised by rogues, dreaded by fools),

With his grim, grisly dog that keeps the door,

Are senseless stories, idle tales,

Dreams, whimsey's, and no more.