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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

To his Conscience

CAN I not sin, but thou wilt be
My private protonotary? 1
Can I not woo thee to pass by
A short and sweet iniquity?
I’ll cast a mist and cloud upon        5
My delicate transgression,
So utter dark as that no eye
Shall see the hugg’d impiety;
Gifts blind the wise, and bribes do please
And wind all other witnesses;        10
And wilt not thou with gold be ti’d
To lay thy pen and ink aside?
It will not be. And, therefore, now,
For times to come I’ll make this vow,
From aberrations to live free;        15
So I’ll not fear the Judge or thee.
Note 1. Chief Clerk of the High Court. [back]