George Wither

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

Song II


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.

Should my heart be grieved or pined
'Cause I see a woman kind?
Or a well-disposèd nature
Joinèd with a lovely creature?
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 or riches find,
Think what with them they would do
That without them dare to woo.
And unless that mind I see,
What care I though 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, April 16, 2010

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