What Kind of Mistress He would Have

By Robert Herrick 1591–1674 Robert Herrick
Be the mistress of my choice,
Clean in manners, clear in voice;
Be she witty, more than wise,
Pure enough, though not precise;
Be she showing in her dress,
Like a civil wilderness,
That the curious may detect
Order in a sweet neglect;
Be she rolling in her eye,
Tempting all the passers by;
And each ringlet of her hair,
An enchantment, or a snare,
For to catch the lookers on;
But herself held fast by none.
Let her Lucrece all day be,
Thais in the night, to me.
Be she such, as neither will
Famish me, nor overfill.

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Poet Robert Herrick 1591–1674

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Men & Women, Love, Relationships, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Couplet

 Robert  Herrick

Biography

Almost forgotten in the eighteenth century, and in the nineteenth century alternately applauded for his poetry’s lyricism and condemned for its “obscenities,” Robert Herrick is, in the latter half of the twentieth century, finally becoming recognized as one of the most accomplished nondramatic poets of his age. Long dismissed as merely a “minor poet” and, as a consequence, neglected or underestimated by scholars and critics, the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Men & Women, Love, Relationships, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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