John Fletcher

(20 December 1579 - 29 August 1625 / Rye, Sussex, England)

Philaster


To give a stronger testimony of love
Than sickly promises (which commonly
In princes find both birth and burial
In one breath), we have drawn you, worthy sir,
To make your fair endearments to our daughter,
And worthy services known to our subjects,
Now loved and wondered at; next, our intent
To plant you deeply our immediate heir
Both to our blood and kingdoms. For this lady
(The best part of your life, as you confirm me,
And I believe), though her few years and sex
Yet teach her nothing but her fears and blushes,
Desires without desire, discourse and knowledge
Only of what herself is to herself,
Make her feel moderate health; and, when she sleeps,
In making no ill day, knows no ill dreams.
Think not, dear sir, these undivided parts
That must mold up a virgin, are put on
To show her so, as borrowed ornaments
To talk of her perfect love to you, or add
An artificial shadow to her nature.
No, sir; I boldly dare proclaim her yet
No woman. But woo her still, and think her modesty
A sweeter mistress than the offered language
Of any dame, were she a queen, whose eye
Speaks common loves and comforts to her servants.
Last, noble son (for so I now must call you),
What I have done thus public is not only
To add comfort in particular
To you or me, but all, and to confirm
The nobles and the gentry of these kingdoms
By oath to your succession, which shall be
Within this month at most.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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