Saturday, February 20, 2016

British Love Poems


Sonnet XLIII

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)~

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
Or woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies;
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy-buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.

~Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)~

Jenny Kiss'd Me

Jenny kiss'd me when we met,
     Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
     Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
     Say that health and wealth have miss'd me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
     Jenny kiss'd me.

~Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)~

So We'll Go No More a Roving

So we'll go no more a roving
     So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
     And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
     And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
     And Love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
     And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
     By the light of the moon.

~George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)~

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