To my Inconstant Mistress

By Thomas Carew 1595–1640 Thomas Carew
When thou, poor excommunicate
    From all the joys of love, shalt see
The full reward and glorious fate
    Which my strong faith shall purchase me,
    Then curse thine own inconstancy.

A fairer hand than thine shall cure
    That heart, which thy false oaths did wound;
And to my soul, a soul more pure
    Than thine shall by Love's hand be bound,
    And both with equal glory crown'd.

Then shalt thou weep, entreat, complain
    To Love, as I did once to thee;
When all thy tears shall be as vain
    As mine were then, for thou shalt be
    Damn'd for thy false apostasy.

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Poet Thomas Carew 1595–1640


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Relationships, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Thomas  Carew


Thomas Carew was the poetic arbiter elegantiae of the court of Charles I. He gave one last witty spin to the tradition of Petrarchan lyric, polishing and resetting the traditional conceits of love poetry for an increasingly sophisticated and aristocratic audience. Carew penned the most notorious erotic poem of the seventeenth century, "A Rapture," as well as what is generally regarded as the most accomplished of the Caroline . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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