George Wither

(11 June 1588 – 2 May 1667 / Bentworth, Hampshire)

Shall I Wasting in Despair Poem by George Wither


Shall I wasting in despair
Die because a woman's fair?
Or make pale my cheeks with care
'Cause another's rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day,
Or the flow'ry meads in May,
If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?

Shall my heart be griev'd or pin'd
'Cause I see a woman kind?
Or a well-disposed nature
Joined with a lovely feature?
Be she meeker, kinder, than
Turtle dove or pelican,
If she be not so to me,
What care I how kind she be?

Shall a woman's virtues move
Me to perish for her love?
Or her well-deserving known
Make me quite forget mine own?
Be she with that goodness blest
Which may gain her name of best
If she be not such to me,
What care I, how good she be?

'Cause her fortune seems too high
Shall I play the fool and die?
Those that bear a noble mind,
Where they want of riches find,
Think what with them they would
That without them dare to woo;
And unless that mind I see,
What care I how great she be?

Great, or good, or kind, or fair,
I will ne'er the more despair;
If she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve;
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go;
For if she be not for me,
What care I for whom she be?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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