To a Lady that Desired I Would Love Her

By Thomas Carew 1595–1640 Thomas Carew
Now you have freely given me leave to love,
      What will you do?
   Shall I your mirth, or passion move,
      When I begin to woo;
Will you torment, or scorn, or love me too?

Each petty beauty can disdain, and I
      Spite of your hate
   Without your leave can see, and die;
      Dispense a nobler fate!
’Tis easy to destroy, you may create.

Then give me leave to love, and love me too
      Not with design
   To raise, as Love’s cursed rebels do,
      When puling poets whine,
Fame to their beauty, from their blubbered eyne.

Grief is a puddle, and reflects not clear
      Your beauty’s rays;
   Joys are pure streams, your eyes appear
      Sullen in sadder lays;
In cheerful numbers they shine bright with praise,

Which shall not mention to express you fair,
      Wounds, flames, and darts,
   Storms in your brow, nets in your hair,
      Suborning all your parts,
Or to betray, or torture captive hearts.

I’ll make your eyes like morning suns appear,
      As mild, and fair;
   Your brow as crystal smooth, and clear,
      And your disheveled hair
Shall flow like a calm region of the air.

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Poet Thomas Carew 1595–1640


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes

 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 Love, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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