|Earl of Rochester
D I A L O G U E
ALEXIS and STREPHON.
Written at the Bath, in the Year 1674.
THERE sighs not on the Plain
So lost a Swain as I;
Scorch'd up with Love, froz'n with Disdain,
Of killing Sweetness I complain.
If 'tis Corrinna, die.
Since first my dazzled Eyes were thrown
On that bewitching Face,
Like ruin'd Birds robb'd of their Young,
Lamenting, frighted, and undone,
I fly from Place to Place.
Fram'd by some cruel Pow'rs above,
So Nice she is, and Fair;
None from Undoing can remove,
Since all, who are not blind, must Love;
Who are not vain, Despair.
The Gods no sooner give a Grace,
But, fond of their own Art,
Severely Jealous, ever place,
To guard the Glories of a Face,
A Dragon in the Heart.
Proud and Ill-natured Pow'rs they are,
Who, peevish to Mankind,
For their own Honour's sake, with care
Make a sweet Form divinely fair,
Then add a cruel Mind.
Since she's insensible of Love,
By Honour taught to hate;
If we, forc'd by Decrees above,
Must sensible to Beauty prove,
How tyrannous is Fate?
I to the Nymph have never nam'd
The Cause of all my Pain.
Such Bashfulness may well be blam'd;
For since to Serve we're not asham'd,
Why should she blush to Reign?
But if her haughty Heart despise
My humble proffer'd one;
The just Compassion she denies,
I may obtain from others' Eyes;
Hers are not fair alone.
Devouring Flames require new Food;
My Heart's consumed almost:
New Fires must kindle in her Blood,
Or mine go out, and that's as good.
Wou'dst live, when Love is lost?
Be dead before thy Passion dies;
For if thou shou'dst survive,
What Anguish would thy Heart surprize,
To see her Flames begin to rise,
And thine no more alive?
Rather what Pleasure should I meet
In my Triumphant Scorn,
To see my Tyrant at my Feet;
While taught by her, unmov'd I sit
A Tyrant in my turn.
Ungentle Shepherd! cease, for shame;
Which way can you pretend
To merit so Divine a Flame,
Who to dull Life make a mean Claim,
When Love is at an End?
As Trees are by their Bark embrac'd,
Love to my Soul doth cling;
When torn by the Herd's greedy Taste,
The injur'd Plants feel they're defac'd,
They wither in the Spring.
My rifled Love would soon retire,
Dissolving into Air,
Shou'd I that Nymph cease to admire,
Bless'd in whose Arms I will expire,
Or at her Feet despair.
Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of. The Works of John Earl of Rochester.
London: Jacob Tonson, 1714. 5-8.
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