John Dryden

(9 August 1631 – 1 May 1700 / Northamptonshire, England)

Song From Amphitryon


Air Iris I love, and hourly I die,
But not for a lip, nor a languishing eye:
She's fickle and false, and there we agree,
For I am as false and as fickle as she.
We neither believe what either can say;
And, neither believing, we neither betray.
'Tis civil to swear, and say things of course;
We mean not the taking for better or worse.
When present, we love; when absent, agree:
I think not of Iris, nor Iris of me.
The legend of love no couple can find,
So easy to part, or so equally join'd.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Calvin Brainard (1/28/2006 4:18:00 PM)

    This poem is reminiscent of Shakespeare's Sonnet #138, which ends as follows:

    11. O! love's best habit is in seeming trust,
    12. And age in love, loves not to have years told:
    13. Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
    14. And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

    The Sonnet deals with lies about the lover's age, but the idea of an amorous relationship based (successfully) on mutal lies may be the inspiration for Dryden's poem. I wonder if this theme is repeated elsewhere in renaissance English poetry? (Report) Reply

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