Thomas Carew


O MY dearest, I shall grieve thee,
When I swear (yet, sweet, believe me,)
By thine eyes, the tempting book
On which even crabb'd old men look,
I swear to thee, though none abhor them,
Yet I do not love thee for them.

I do not love thee for that fair
Rich fan of thy most curious hair ;
Though the wires thereof be drawn
Finer than the threads of lawn,
And are softer than the leaves
On which the subtle spinner weaves.

I do not love thee for those flowers
Growing on thy cheeks (Love's bowers) ;
Though such cunning them hath spread,
None can paint their white and red ;
Love's golden arrows thence are shot,
Yet for them I love thee not.

I do not love thee for those soft
Red coral lips I've kiss'd so oft ;
Nor teeth of pearl, the double guard
To speech, whence music still is heard ;
Though from those lips a kiss being taken
Might tyrants melt, and death awaken.

I do not love thee, O my fairest !
For that richest, for that rarest
Silver pillar which stands under
Thy sound head, that globe of wonder ;
Though that neck be whiter far
Than towers of polish'd ivory are.

I do not love thee for those mountains
Hill'd with snow, whence milky fountains
(Sugar'd sweets, as syrup'd berries),
Must one day run through pipes of cherries :
O how much those breasts do move me !
Yet for them I do not love thee.

I do not love thee for that belly,
Sleek as satin, soft as jelly ;
Though within that crystal round
Heaps of treasure might be found,
So rich, that for the best of them
A king might leave his diadem.

I do not love thee for those thighs,
Whose alabaster rocks do rise
So high and even, that they stand
Like sea-marks to some happy land :
Happy are those eyes have seen them,
More happy they that sail between them.

I love thee not for thy moist palm,
Though the dew thereof be balm ;
Nor for thy pretty leg and foot,
Although it be the precious root,
On which this goodly cedar grows :
Sweet, I love thee not for those.

Nor for thy wit, though pure and quick,
Whose substance no arithmetic
Can number down ; nor for those charms
Mask'd in thy embracing arm,
Though in them one night to lie,
Dearest, I would gladly die.

I love not for those eyes, nor hair,
Nor cheeks, nor lips, nor teeth so rare,
Nor for thy speech, thy neck, nor breast,
Nor for thy belly, nor the rest,
Nor for thy hand nor foot so small :
But, wouldst thou know, dear sweet, for all.

l.16.   Original edition, paint them.
  44.   The editions have use for rise.

Vincent, Arthur, ed. The Poems of Thomas Carew.
London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., nd. 137-139.

to Works of Thomas Carew

Site copyright ©1996-2001 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on March 28, 2001.