Richard Lovelace

(1618-1657 / London / England)

A Fly About A Glasse Of Burnt Claret.


I.
Forbear this liquid fire, Fly,
It is more fatal then the dry,
That singly, but embracing, wounds;
And this at once both burns and drowns.

II.
The salamander, that in heat
And flames doth cool his monstrous sweat,
Whose fan a glowing cake is said,
Of this red furnace is afraid.

III.
Viewing the ruby-christal shine,
Thou tak'st it for heaven-christalline;
Anon thou wilt be taught to groan:
'Tis an ascended Acheron.

IV.
A snow-ball heart in it let fall,
And take it out a fire-ball;
Ali icy breast in it betray'd
Breaks a destructive wild granade.

V.
'Tis this makes Venus altars shine,
This kindles frosty Hymen's pine;
When the boy grows old in his desires,
This flambeau doth new light his fires.

VI.
Though the cold hermit over wail,
Whose sighs do freeze, and tears drop hail,
Once having pass'd this, will ne'r
Another flaming purging fear.

VII.
The vestal drinking this doth burn
Now more than in her fun'ral urn;
Her fires, that with the sun kept race,
Are now extinguish'd by her face.

VIII.
The chymist, that himself doth still,
Let him but tast this limbecks bill,
And prove this sublimated bowl,
He'll swear it will calcine a soul.

IX.
Noble, and brave! now thou dost know
The false prepared decks below,
Dost thou the fatal liquor sup,
One drop, alas! thy barque blowes up.

X.
What airy country hast to save,
Whose plagues thou'lt bury in thy grave?
For even now thou seem'st to us
On this gulphs brink a Curtius.

XI.
And now th' art faln (magnanimous Fly)
In, where thine Ocean doth fry,
Like the Sun's son, who blush'd the flood
To a complexion of blood.

XII.
Yet, see! my glad auricular
Redeems thee (though dissolv'd) a star,
Flaggy thy wings, and scorch'd thy thighs,
Thou ly'st a double sacrifice.

XIII.
And now my warming, cooling breath
Shall a new life afford in death;
See! in the hospital of my hand
Already cur'd, thou fierce do'st stand.

XIV.
Burnt insect! dost thou reaspire
The moist-hot-glasse and liquid fire?
I see 'tis such a pleasing pain,
Thou would'st be scorch'd and drown'd again.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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