Love and Life: A Song

By John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 1647–1680 John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
All my past life is mine no more,
         The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams giv’n o’er,
Whose images are kept in store
         By memory alone.

The time that is to come is not;
         How can it then be mine?
The present moment’s all my lot;
And that, as fast as it is got,
         Phyllis, is only thine.

Then talk not of inconstancy,
         False hearts, and broken vows;
If I, by miracle, can be
This live-long minute true to thee,
         ’Tis all that Heav'n allows.

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Poet John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 1647–1680

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Love, Men & Women, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated

Occasions Engagement

Holidays Valentine's Day

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester and Baron of Adderbury in England, Viscount Athlone in Ireland, infamous in his time for his life and works and admired for his deathbed performance, was the cynosure of the libertine wits of Restoration England. He was anathematized as evil incarnate and simultaneously adored for his seraphic presence, beauty, and wit, even from his first appearance at the court of Charles II. This . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Love, Men & Women, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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