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


Shall I, like an hermit, dwell

SHALL I, like an hermit, dwell

On a rock or in a cell,

Calling home the smallest part

That is missing of my heart,

To bestow it, where I may

Meet a rival every day?

If she undervalue me,

What care I how fair she be?

Were her tresses angel-gold,

If a stranger may be bold

Unrebuked, unafraid,

To convert them to a braid,

And, with little more ado,

Work them into bracelets too;

If the mine be grown so free,

What care I how rich it be?

Were her hand as rich a prize

As her hairs or precious eyes,

If she lay them out to take

Kisses for good manners’ sake,

And let every lover skip

From her hand unto her lip;

If she seem not chaste to me,

What care I how chaste she be?

No; she must be perfect snow,

In effect as well as show;

Warming but as snow-balls do,

Not, like fire, by burning too;

But when she by change hath got

To her heart a second lot,

Then, if others share with me,

Farewell her, whate’er she be!