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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.


Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583–1648)

O NO, Belov’d: I am most sure

These virtuous habits we acquire

As being with the soul entire

Must with it ever more endure.

Else should our souls in vain elect;

And vainer yet were Heaven’s laws,

When to an everlasting cause

They give a perishing effect.

These eyes again thine eyes shall see,

These hands again thine hand enfold,

And all chaste blessings can be told

Shall with us everlasting be.

For if no use of sense remain

When bodies once this life forsake,

Or they could no delight partake,

Why should they ever rise again?

And if ev’ry imperfect mind

Make love the end of knowledge here,

How perfect will our love be where

All imperfection is refined!

So when from hence we shall be gone,

And be no more nor you nor I;

As one another’s mystery

Each shall be both, yet both but one.