Christopher Marlowe, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"

 

       Come live with me and be my love, 
       And we will all the pleasures prove 
       That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, 
       Woods or steepy mountain yields. 

       And we will sit upon the rocks, 
       Seeing 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 
       Embroidered 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 th 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 shepherds' 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.

 

Sir Walter Ralegh, "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"

 

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,--
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
The coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

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Sir Philip Sidney's "What tongue can her perfections tell?"

What tongue can her perfections tell
In whose each part all pens may dwell?
Her hair fine threads of finest gold
In curled knots man's thought to hold;
But that her forehead says, 'in me
A whiter beauty you may see."
Whiter indeed; more white than snow
Which on cold winter's face doth grow.
	That doth present those even brows,
Whose equal lines their angles bows,
Like to the moon when after change
Her horned head abroad doth range;
And arches be to heav'nly lids, 
Whose wink each bold attempt forbids.
	For the black stars those spheres contain,
The matchless pair, e'en praise doth stain.
No lamp whose light by art is got,
No sun which shines, and seeth not,
Can liken them without all peer,
Save one as much as other clear;
Which only thus unhappy be
Because themselves they cannot see.
	Her cheeks with kindly claret spread,
Aurora-like new out of bed,
Or like the fresh queen-apple's side,
Blushing at sight of Phoebus' pride.
Her nose, her chin, pure ivory wears,
No purer than the pretty ears,
Save that therein appears some blood,
Like wine and milk that mingled stood.
In whose incirclets if you gaze 
Your eyes may tread a lover's maze,
But with such turns the voice to stray,
No talk untaught can find the way.
The tip no jewel needs to wear;
The tip is jewel of the ear.
	But who those ruddy lips can miss,
Which blessed still themselves do kiss?
Rubies, cherries, and roses new,
In worth, in taste, in perfect hue,
Which never part but that they show
Of precious pearl the double row,
The second sweetly-fenced ward
Her heav'nly-dewed tongue to guard,
Whence never word in vain did flow.
	Fair under these doth stately grow
The handle of this pleasant work, 
The neck, in which strange graces lurk.
Such be, I think, the sumptuous towers
Which skill doth make in princes' bowers.
	So good a say invites the eye
A little downward to espy
The lovely clusters of her breasts,
Of Venus' babe the wanton nests,
Like pommels round of marble clear,
Where azured veins well mixed appear,
With dearest tops of porphyry.
	Betwixt these two a way doth lie,
A way more worthy beauty's fame
Than that which bears the milken name. 
This leads unto the joyous field
Which only still doth lilies yield'
But lilies such whose native smell
The Indian odours doth excel.
Waist it is called, for it doth waste 
Men's lives until it be embraced.
	There may one see, and yet not see,
Her ribs in white well armed be,
More white than Neptune's foamy face
When struggling rocks he would embrace.
	In these delights the wand'ring thought
Might of each side astray be brought,
But that her navel doth unite
In curious circle busy sight,
A dainty seal of virgin wax
Where nothing but impression lacks.
	Her belly there glad sight doth fill,
Justly entitled Cupid's hill;
A hill most fit for such a master,
A spotless mine of alabaster,
Like alabaster fair and sleek,
But soft and supple, satin-like,
In that sweet seat the boy doth sport.
Loath, I must leave his chief resort;
For such an use the world hath gotten,
The best things still must be forgotten.
	Yet never shall my song omit
Those thighs (for Ovid's song more fit)
Which, flanked with two sugared flanks,
Lift up their stately swelling banks
That Albion cliffs in whiteness pass,
with haunches smooth as looking glass.
	But bow all knees, now of her knees
My tongue doth tell what fancy sees:
The knots of joy, the gems of love,
Whose motion makes all graces move;
Whose bought incaved doth yield such sight,
Like cunning painter shadowing white.
The gart'ring place with childlike sing
Shows easy print in metal fine.
	But there again the flesh doth rise
In her brave calves like crystal skies,
Whose Atlas is a smallest small,
More white than whitest bone of whale.
	There oft steals out that round clean foot,
This noble cedar's precious root;
In show and scent pale violets,
Whose step on earth all beauty sets.
	But back unto her back, my muse,
Where Leda's swan his feathers mews,
Along whose ridge such bones are met,
Like comfits round in marchpane set.
	Her shoulders be like two white doves,
Perching within square royal rooves,
Which leaded are with silver skin,
Passing the hate-spot ermelin.
	And thence those arms derived are;
The phoenix's wings be not so rare
For faultless length and stainless hue.
	Ah, woe is me, my owes renew!
Now course doth lead me to her hand,
Of my first love the fatal band,
Where whiteness doth for ever sit;
Nature herself enamelled it.
For there with strange compact doth lie
Warm snow, moist pearl, soft ivory.
There fall those sapphire-coloured brooks,
Which conduit-like, with curious crooks,
Sweet islands make in that sweet land.
As for the fingers of the hand,
The bloody shafts of Cupid's war,
With amethysts they headed are.
	Thus hath each part his beauty's part;
But how the Graces do impart
To all her limbs a special grace,
Becoming every time and place,
Which doth e'en beauty beautify,
And most bewitch the wretched eye!
How all this is but a fair inn
Of fairer guest which dwells within,
Of whose high praise, and praiseful bliss,
Goodness the pen, heav'n paper is;
The ink immortal fame doth lend.
As I began, so must I end:
	No tongue can her perfections tell
	In whose each part all pens may dwell.
From The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia

 

Edmund Spenser's Sonnet #15:

Ye tradeful Merchants, that with weary toyle,
	do seeke most pretious things to make your gain;
	and both the Indias of their treasures spoile,
	what needeth you to seeke so farre in vaine?
For loe my loue doth in her selfe containe
	all this worlds riches that may farre be found,
	if Saphyries, loe her eies be Saphyres plaine,
	if Rubies, loe hir lips be Rubies sound:
If Pearles, hir teeth be pearles both pure and round;
	if Yuorie, her forhead yuory weene;
	if gold, her locks are finest gold on ground'
	if siluer, her faire hands are siluer sheene.
But that which farest is, but few behold,
	her mind adornd with vertues manifold.

 

William Shakespeare, Sonnet #130: "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips; red;
If snow be white, why then her breats are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

 

Sir John Suckling's "The Deformed Mistress"

I know there are some Fools that care
Not for the body, so the face be faire:
Some others too that in a female creature
Respect not beauty, but a comely feature:
And other too, that for those parts in sight
Care not so much, so that the rest be right.
Each man his humor hath; and faith 'tis mine
To love that woman which I now define.
First I would have her Wainscot Face and Hand
More wrincled far then any pleited band,
That in those furrows, if I'de take the pains,
I might both sow and reap all sorts of grains:
Her Nose I'de have a foot long, not above,
With pimples embroder'd, for those I love;
And at the end a comely Pearl of Snot,
Considering whether it should fall or not;
Provided next that half her Teeth be out,
I do not care much if her pretty Snout
Meet with her furrow'd Chin, and both together
Hem in her Lips, as dry as good whit-leather;
One Wall-Eye she shall have; for that's a signe
In other Beasts the best, why not in mine?
Her Neck I'le have to be pure Jet at least,
With yellow Spots enammell'd'; and her Breast
Like a Grashoppers wing both think and lean,
Not to be toucht for dirt, unless swept clean:
As for her Belly, 'tis no matter, so
There be a Belly, and a Cunt below;
Yet if you will, let it be somthing high,
And always let there be a timpanie.
But soft, where am I now! here I should stride,
Lest I fall in, the place must be so wide; 
And pass unto her Thighs, which shall be just
Like to an Ants that's scraping in the dust:
Into her Legs I'de have Loves issues fall,
And all her Calf into a gouty Small:
Her Feet both thick, and Eagle like displaid,
The symptoms of a comely handsom Maid.
As for her parts behind, I ask no more,
If they be answer those that are before,
I have my utmost wish; and having so,
Judge whether I am happy, yea or no.

 

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