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Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618). Poems. 1892.


A Poesy to prove Affection is not Love; before 1602

CONCEIT, begotten by the eyes,

Is quickly born and quickly dies;

For while it seeks our hearts to have,

Meanwhile, there reason makes his grave;

For many things the eyes approve,

Which yet the heart doth seldom love.

For as the seeds in spring time sown

Die in the ground ere they be grown,

Such is conceit, whose rooting fails,

As child that in the cradle quails;

Or else within the mother’s womb

Hath his beginning and his tomb.

Affection follows Fortune’s wheels,

And soon is shaken from her heels;

For, following beauty or estate,

Her liking still is turned to hate;

For all affections have their change,

And fancy only loves to range.

Desire himself runs out of breath,

And, getting, doth but gain his death:

Desire nor reason hath nor rest,

And, blind, doth seldom choose the best:

Desire attained is not desire,

But as the cinders of the fire.

As ships in ports desired are drowned,

As fruit, once ripe, then falls to ground,

As flies that seek for flames are brought

To cinders by the flames they sought;

So fond desire when it attains,

The life expires, the woe remains.

And yet some poets fain would prove

Affection to be perfect love;

And that desire is of that kind,

No less a passion of the mind;

As if wild beasts and men did seek

To like, to love, to choose alike.

W. R.