SIR WALTER RALEIGH (ca. 1552-1618)


1 If all the world and love were young,
2 And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
3 These pretty pleasures might me move
4 To live with thee and be thy love.

5 Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
6 When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
7 And Philomel becometh dumb;
8 The rest complains of cares to come.

9 The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
10 To wayward winter reckoning yields;
11 A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
12 Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

13 Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
14 Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
15 Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,--
16 In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

17 Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
18 The coral clasps and amber studs,
19 All these in me no means can move
20 To come to thee and be thy love.

21 But could youth last and love still breed,
22 Had joys no date nor age no need,
23 Then these delights my mind might move
24 To live with thee and be thy love.

1. First published anonymously in England's Helicon,
1600, and ascribed to Raleigh on the authority of
Izaac Walton, in the Compleat Angler, 1653. The poem
replies to Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate
Shepherd to his Love." See also Donne's The Bait.