Christopher Marlowe

(26 February 1564 - 30 May 1593 / Canterbury, England)

Ignoto Poem by Christopher Marlowe


I love thee not for sacred chastity.
Who loves for that? nor for thy sprightly wit:
I love thee not for thy sweet modesty,
Which makes thee in perfection's throne to sit.
I love thee not for thy enchanting eye,
Thy beauty, ravishing perfection:
I love thee not for that my soul doth dance,
And leap with pleasure when those lips of thine,
Give musical and graceful utterance,
To some (by thee made happy) poet's line.
I love thee not for voice or slender small,
But wilt thou know wherefore? Fair sweet, for all.

'Faith, wench! I cannot court thy sprightly eyes,
With the base viol placed between my thighs:
I cannot lisp, nor to some fiddle sing,
Nor run upon a high stretching minikin.
I cannot whine in puling elegies.
Entombing Cupid with sad obsequies:
I am not fashioned for these amorous times,
To court thy beauty with lascivious rhymes:
I cannot dally, caper, dance and sing,
Oiling my saint with supple sonneting:
I cannot cross my arms, or sigh 'Ah me,'
'Ah me forlorn!' egregious foppery!
I cannot buss thy fill, play with thy hair,
Swearing by Jove, 'Thou art most debonnaire!'
Not I, by cock! but I shall tell thee roundly,
Hark in thine ear, zounds I can ____ thee soundly.

Sweet wench, I love thee; yet I will not sue,
Or show my love as musky courtiers do;
I'll not carouse a health to honour thee,
In this same bezzling drunken courtesy:
And when all's quaffed, eat up my bousinglass,
In glory that I am thy servile ass.
Nor will I wear a rotten Bourbon lock,
As some sworn peasant to a female mock.
Well-featured lass, thou know'st I love thee dear,
Yet for thy sake I will not bore mine ear,
To hang thy dirty silken shoe-tires there:
Not for thy love will I once gnash a brick,
Or some pied colours in my bonnet stick.
But by the chaps of hell, to do thee good,
I'll freely spend my thrice decocted blood.

Submitted: Thursday, May 5, 2011
Edited: Thursday, May 5, 2011

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