A Dialogue, between the Resolved Soul and Created Pleasure

By Andrew Marvell 1621–1678 Andrew Marvell
Courage, my Soul, now learn to wield
The weight of thine immortal shield.
Close on thy head thy helmet bright.
Balance thy sword against the fight.
See where an army, strong as fair,
With silken banners spreads the air.
Now, if thou be’st that thing divine,
In this day’s combat let it shine:
And show that Nature wants an art
To conquer one resolvèd heart.

PLEASURE
Welcome the creation’s guest,
Lord of earth, and heaven’s heir.
Lay aside that warlike crest,
And of Nature’s banquet share:
Where the souls of fruits and flowers
Stand prepared to heighten yours.

SOUL
I sup above, and cannot stay
To bait so long upon the way.

PLEASURE
On these downy pillows lie,
Whose soft plumes will thither fly:
On these roses strewed so plain
Lest one leaf thy side should strain.

SOUL
My gentler rest is on a thought,
Conscious of doing what I ought.

PLEASURE
If thou be’st with perfumes pleased,
Such as oft the gods appeased,
Thou in fragrant clouds shalt show
Like another god below.

SOUL
A soul that knows not to presume
Is heaven’s and its own perfume.

PLEASURE
Everything does seem to vie
Which should first attract thine eye:
But since none deserves that grace,
In this crystal view thy face.

SOUL
When the Creator’s skill is prized,
The rest is all but earth disguised.

PLEASURE
Hark how music then prepares
For thy stay these charming airs;
Which the posting winds recall,
And suspend the river’s fall.

SOUL
Had I but any time to lose,
On this I would it all dispose.
Cease, tempter. None can chain a mind
Whom this sweet chordage cannot bind.

CHORUS
Earth cannot show so brave a sight
As when a single soul does fence
The batteries of alluring sense,
And heaven views it with delight.
   Then persevere: for still new charges sound:
   And if thou overcom’st, thou shalt be crowned.

PLEASURE
All this fair, and soft, and sweet,
   Which scatteringly doth shine,
Shall within one beauty meet,
   And she be only thine.

SOUL
If things of sight such heavens be,
What heavens are those we cannot see?

PLEASURE
Wheresoe’er thy foot shall go
   The minted gold shall lie,
Till thou purchase all below,
   And want new worlds to buy.

SOUL
Were’t not a price, who’d value gold?
And that’s worth naught that can be sold.

PLEASURE
Wilt thou all the glory have
   That war or peace commend?
Half the world shall be thy slave
   The other half thy friend.

SOUL
What friends, if to my self untrue!
What slaves, unless I captive you!

PLEASURE
Thou shalt know each hidden cause;
   And see the future time:
Try what depth the centre draws;
   And then to heaven climb.

SOUL
None thither mounts by the degree
Of knowledge, but humility.

CHORUS
Triumph, triumph, victorious Soul;
The world has not one pleasure more:
The rest does lie beyond the Pole,
And is thine everlasting store.

Source: Complete Poems (1996)

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Poet Andrew Marvell 1621–1678

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Religion, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Couplet, Mixed

 Andrew  Marvell

Biography

In an era that makes a better claim than most upon the familiar term transitional, Andrew Marvell is surely the single most compelling embodiment of the change that came over English society and letters in the course of the seventeenth century. Author of a varied array of exquisite lyrics that blend Cavalier grace with Metaphysical wit and complexity, Marvell turned, first, into a panegyrist for the Lord Protector and his regime . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Couplet, Mixed

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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