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Francis Beaumont

(1584 – 6 March 1616 / Leicestershire)

The Glance


Cold Virtue guard me, or I shall endure
From the next glance a double calenture
Of fire and lust! Two flames, two Semeles,
Dwell in those eyes, whose looser glowing rays
Would thaw the frozen Russian into lust,
And parch tile negro's hotter blood to dust.
Dart not your bllls of wild-fire here; go throw
Those flakes upon the eunuch's colder snow,
Till he in active blood do boil as high
As he that made him so in jealousy.
When that loose queen of love did dress her eyes
In the most taking flame to the prize
At Ida; that faint glare to this desire
Burnt like a taper to the zone of fire:
And could she then the lustful youth have crowned
With thee his Helen, Troy had never found
Her fate in Sinon's fire; thy hotter eyes
Had made it burn a quicker sacrifice
To lust, whilst every glance in subtle wiles
Had shot itself like lightning through the piles.
Go blow upon some equal blood, and let
Earth's hotter ray engender and beget
New flames to dress the aged Paphians' quire,
And lend the world new Cupids borne on fire.
Dart no more here, those flatmes, nor strive to throw
Your fire on him who is immured in snow!
Those glances work on me like the weak shine
The frosty sun throws on the Appenine,
When the hill's active coldness doth go near
To freeze the glimmering taper to his sphere:
Each ray is lost on me, like the faint light
The glow-worm shoots at the cold breast of night.
Thus virtue can secure; but for that name
I had been now sin's martyr, and your flame.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Friday, June 22, 2012

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