The Definition of Love
- My Love is of a birth as rare
- As 'tis, for object, strange and high ;
- It was begotten by Despair,
- Upon Impossibility.
- Magnanimous Despair alone
- Could show me so divine a thing,
- Where feeble hope could ne'er have flown,
- But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.
- And yet I quickly might arrive
- Where my extended soul is fixed ;
- But Fate does iron wedges drive,
- And always crowds itself betwixt.
- For Fate with jealous eye does see
- Two perfect loves, nor lets them close ;
- Their union would her ruin be,
- And her tyrannic power depose.
- And therefore her decrees of steel
- Us as the distant poles have placed,
- (Though Love's whole world on us doth wheel),
- Not by themselves to be embraced,
- Unless the giddy heaven fall,
- And earth some new convulsion tear.
- And, us to join, the world should all
- Be cramp'd into a planisphere.
- As lines, so love's oblique, may well
- Themselves in every angle greet :
- But ours, so truly parallel,
- Though infinite, can never meet.
- Therefore the love which us doth bind,
- But Fate so enviously debars,
- Is the conjunction of the mind,
- And opposition of the stars.
From: Miscellaneous Poems, 1681.
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