Francis Beaumont

(1584 – 6 March 1616 / Leicestershire)

On the Marriage of a Beauteous Young Gentlewoman with an Ancient Man


Fondly, too curious Nature, to adorn
Aurora with the blushes of the morn:
Why do her rosy lips breath gums and spice;
Unto the East, and sweet to Paradise?
Why do her eyes open the day? her hand
And voice intrance the panther, and command
Incensed winds; her breasts, the tents of love,
Smooth as the godded swan, or Venus' dove;
Soft as the balmy dew whose every touch
Is pregnant; but why those rich spoils, when such
Wonder and perfection must be led
A bridal captive unto Tithon's bed?
Ag'd, and deformed Tithon! must thy twine
Circle and blast at once what care and time
Had made for wonder? must pure beauty have
No other foil but ruin and a grave?
So have I seen the pride of Nature's store,
The orient pearl chained to the sooty Moor;
So hath the diamond's bright ray been set
In night, and wedded to the negro jet.
See, see, how thick those showers of pearl do fall
To weep her ransom, or her funeral,
Whose every treasured drop, congealed, might bring,
Freedom and ransom to a fettered kin,
While tyrant Wealth stands by, and laughs to see
How he can wed love and antipathy.
Hymen, thy pine burns with adulterate fire;
Thou and thy quivered boy did once conspire
To mingle equal flames, and then no shine
Of gold, but beauty, dressed the Paphian shrine;
Roses and lilies kiss'd; the amorous vine
Did with the fair and straight-limb'd elm entwine.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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