James Shirley

(September 1596 – October 1666 / London, England)

The Fair Felon


In Love's name you are charged hereby
To make a speedy hue and cry,
After a face, who t'other day,
Came and stole my heart away;
For your directions in brief
These are best marks to know the thief:
Her hair a net of beams would prove,
Strong enough to capture Jove,
Playing the eagle; her clear brow
Is a comely field of snow.
A sparkling eye, so pure a gray
As when it shines it needs no day.
Ivory dwelleth on her nose;
Lilies, married to the rose,
Have made her cheek the nuptial bed;
Her lips betray their virgin red,
As they only blushed for this,
That they one another kiss.
But observe, beside the rest,
You shall know this felon best
By her tongue; for if your ear
Shall know this felon best
By her tongue; for if your ear
Shall once a heavenly music hear,
Such as neither gods nor men
But from that voice shall hear again,
That, that is she, oh, take her t'ye,
None can rock heaven asleep but she.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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