To His Mistress Poem by Lord John Wilmot

To His Mistress

Rating: 3.9

Why dost thou shade thy lovely face? O why
Does that eclipsing hand of thine deny
The sunshine of the Sun's enlivening eye?

Without thy light what light remains in me?
Thou art my life; my way, my light's in thee;
I live, I move, and by thy beams I see.

Thou art my life-if thou but turn away
My life's a thousand deaths. Thou art my way-
Without.thee, Love, I travel not but stray.

My light thou art-without thy glorious sight
My eyes are darken'd with eternal night.
My Love, thou art my way, my life, my light.

Thou art my way; I wander if thou fly.
Thou art my light; if hid, how blind am I!
Thou art my life; if thou withdraw'st, I die.

My eyes are dark and blind, I cannot see:
To whom or whither should my darkness flee,
But to that light?-and who's that light but thee?

If I have lost my path, dear lover, say,
Shall I still wander in a doubtful way?
Love, shall a lamb of Israel's sheepfold stray?

My path is lost, my wandering steps do stray;
I cannot go, nor can I safely stay;
Whom should I seek but thee, my path, my way?

And yet thou turn'st thy face away and fly'st me!
And yet I sue for grace and thou deny'st me!
Speak, art thou angry, Love, or only try'st me?

Thou art the pilgrim's path, the blind man's eye,
The dead man's life. On thee my hopes rely:
If I but them remove, I surely die.

Dissolve thy sunbeams, close thy wings and stay!
See, see how I am blind, and dead, and stray!
-O thou art my life, my light, my way!

Then work thy will! If passion bid me flee,
My reason shall obey, my wings shall be
Stretch'd out no farther than from me to thee!

Carlos Echeverria 06 February 2012

A poet in love from centuries ago, may sound corny in our times; but reading aloud Lord Wilmot's verse taps our transcendent humanity.

4 4 Reply
Manonton Dalan 06 February 2012

he has to have one or life isn't complete. very truthful.

4 3 Reply
Dextini Omo-omo 06 February 2012

Good. I love the rhyme pattern

3 4 Reply
Lenore Lee 06 February 2012

Beautiful poem about his mistress shying away from him and his fear that she'll leave him. He says many times that she is his life. It is a love poem through and through, with a good rhyming pattern and simple yet effective language.

1 3 Reply
Malini Kadir 06 February 2013

What a lovely, romantic lines of love as his light!

1 2 Reply
poemtheart1 poemtheart 27 January 2023

beautiful... lovely words..

0 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 26 January 2023

Powerfully and movingly penned....

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MAHTAB BANGALEE 26 January 2023

Thou art my way; I wander if thou fly. Thou art my light; if hid, how blind am I! Thou art my life; if thou withdraw'st, I die. These poetic expressions is just love; love by heart to his mistress; great to read

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Lungelo S Mbuyazi 27 May 2018

Very emotional poem here... like it

0 0 Reply
Savita Tyagi 03 January 2018

I live I move by thy beams I see.....beautiful poem. Love is eternal!

0 0 Reply
Lord John Wilmot

Lord John Wilmot

Oxfordshire / England
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