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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Song: ‘Perhaps it is not love, said I’

William Shenstone (1714–1763)

PERHAPS it is not love, said I,

That melts my soul when Flavia’s nigh:

Where wit and sense like hers agree,

One may be pleased, and yet be free.

The beauties of her polish’d mind

It needs no lover’s eye to find;

The hermit freezing in his cell

Might wish the gentle Flavia well.

It is not love—averse to bear

The servile chain that lovers wear;

Let, let me all my fears remove,

My doubts dispel—it is not love—

O! when did wit so brightly shine

In any form less fair than thine?

It is—it is love’s subtile fire,

And under friendship lurks desire.