Love is our Reasons Paradox, which still
by Henry King
Against the judgment doth maintain the Will:
And governs by such arbitrary laws,
It onely makes the Act our Likings cause:
We have no brave revenge, but to forgo
Our full desires, and starve the Tyrant so.
They whom the rising blood tempts not to taste,
Preserve a stock of Love can never waste;
When easie people who their wish enjoy,
Like Prodigalls at once their wealth destroy.
Adam till now had stayd in Paradise
Had his desires been bounded by his eyes.
When he did more then look, that made th' offence,
And forfeited his state of innocence.
Fruition therefore is the bane t'undoe
Both our affection and the subject too.
'Tis Love into worse language to translate,
And make it into Lust degenerate:
'Tis to De-throne, and thrust it from the heart,
To seat it grossely in the sensual part.
Seek for the Starre that's shot upon the ground,
And nought but a dimme gelly there is found.
Thus foul and dark our female starres appear,
If fall'n or loosned once from Vertues Sphear.
Glow-worms shine onely look't on, and let ly,
But handled crawl into deformity:
So beauty is no longer fair and bright,
Then whil'st unstained by the appetite:
And then it withers like a blasted flowre
Some poys'nous worm or spider hath crept ore.
Pigmaleon's dotage on the carved stone,
Shews Amorists their strong illusion.
Whil'st he to gaze and court it was content,
He serv'd as Priest at beauties Monument:
But when by looser fires t'embraces led,
It prov'd a cold hard Statue in his bed.
Irregular affects, like mad mens dreams
Presented by false lights and broken beams,
So long content us, as no neer address
Shews the weak sense our painted happiness.
But when those pleasing shaddowes us forsake,
Or of the substance we a trial make,
Like him, deluded by the fancies mock,
We ship-wrack 'gainst an Alabaster rock.
What though thy Mistress far from Marble be?
Her softness will transform and harden thee.
Lust is a Snake, and Guilt the Gorgons head,
Which Conscience turns to Stone, & Joyes to Lead.
Turtles themselves will blush, if put to name
The Act, whereby they quench their am'rous flame.
Who then that's wise or vertuous, would not feare
To catch at pleasures which forbidden were,
When those which we count lawful, cannot be
Requir'd without some loss of modestie?
Ev'n in the Marriage-Bed, where soft delights
Are customary and authoriz'd Rites;
What are those tributes to the wanton fense,
But toleration of Incontinence?
For properly you cannot call that Love
Which does not from the Soul, but Humour move.
Thus they who worship't Pan or Isis Shrine,
By the fair Front judg'd all within Divine:
Though entring, found 'twas but a Goat or Cow
To which before their ignorance did bow.
Such Temples and such Goddesses are these
Which foolish Lovers and admirers please:
Who if they chance within the Shrine to prie,
Find that a beast they thought a Deity.
Nor makes it onely our opinion less
Of what we lik't before, and now possess;
But robbs the Fuel, and corrupts the Spice
Which sweetens and inflames Loves sacrifice.
After Fruition once, what is Desire
But ashes kept warm by a dying fire?
This is (if any) the Philosophers Stone,
Which still miscarries at Projection.
For when the Heat ad Octo intermits,
It poorly takes us like Third Ague fits;
Or must on Embers as dull Druggs infuse,
Which we for Med'cine not for Pleasure use.
Since Lovers joyes then leave so sick a taste,
And soon as relish'd by the Sense are past;
They are but Riddles sure, lost if possest,
And therefore onely in Reversion best.
For bate them Expectation and Delay,
You take the most delightful Scenes away.
These two such rule within the fancie keep,
As banquets apprehended in our sleep;
After which pleasing trance next morn we wake
Empty and angry at the nights mistake.
Give me long Dreams and Visions of content,
Rather then pleasures in a minute spent.
And since I know before, the shedding Rose
In that same instant doth her sweetness lose,
Upon the Virgin-stock still let her dwell
For me, to feast my longings with her smell.
Those are but counterfeits of joy at best,
Which languish soon as brought unto the test.
Nor can I hold it worth his pains who tries
To Inne that Harvest which by reaping dies.
Resolve me now what spirit hath delight,
If by full feed you kill the appetite?
That stomack healthy'st is, that nere was cloy'd,
Why not that Love the best then, nere enjoy'd?
Since nat'rally the blood, when tam'd or sated,
Will cool so fast it leaves the object hated.
Pleasures like wonders quickly lose their price
When Reason or Experience makes us wise.
To close my argument then. I dare say
(And without Paradox) as well we may
Enjoy our Love and yet preserve Desire,
As warm our hands by putting out the fire.