Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN EPISTLE, by WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)



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AN EPISTLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hasten, o hasten, for my love's sake haste
Last Line: W. B.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Admiration


HASTEN, O hasten, for my love's sake haste:
The Spring already hath your Beachworth grac'd.
What need you longer stay to grace it more;
Or add to that which had enough before?
The heavens admit no suns: why should your seat
Have two, then, equal good and as complete?
Hasten, O hasten then; for till I see
Whom most I love, 'tis Winter still with me
I feel no Spring; nor shall I, till your light
Repel my too-too long and lonely night:
Till you have quicken'd with your happy shine
A drooping discontented heart of mine,
No mirth, but what is forc'd, shall there be plac'd.
Hasten, O hasten then: for love's sake haste.
So longing Hero oftentimes was wont
Upon the flow'ry banks of Hellespont
To walk, expecting when her love should land,
As I have done on silver Isis' strand.
I ask the snowy swans, that swim along,
Seeking some sad place for their sadder song,
Whether they came from Mole, or heard her tell
What worth doth near her wanton river dwell;
And naming you, the gentle spotless birds,
As if they understood the power of words,
To bend their stately necks do straight agree;
And honouring the name, so answer me.
Those being gone, I ask the crystal brook,
Since part of it unwillingly had took
An ever-leave of that more happy place
Than pleasant Tempe, which the gods did grace;
The stream I ask'd, if when it lately left
Those daisied banks, and griev'd to be bereft
So sweet a channel, you did mean to stay
Still in that vale whence they were forc'd away;
Hereat the wave a little murmur makes,
And then another wave that overtakes;
And then a third comes on, and then another,
Rolling themselves up closely each to other—
(As little lads, to know their fellow's mind,
While he is talking, closely steal behind;)
I ask them all, and each like murmur keeps;
I ask another, and that other weeps.
What they should mean by this, I do not know,
Except the mutt'rings and the tears they show
Be from the dear remembrance of that site
Where, when they left you, they forsook delight.
That this the cause was, I perceived plain;
For going thence, I thither came again
What time it had been flood, a pretty while;
And then the dimpled waters seem'd to smile;
As if they did rejoice and were full fain,
That they were turning back to Mole again.
In such-like thoughts, I spend the tedious day;
But when the night doth our half-globe array
In mournful black, I leave the curled stream,
And by the kindness of a happy dream,
Enjoy what most I wish; yourself and such,
Whose worth, whose love, could I as highly touch
As I conceive, some hours should still be spent
To raise your more than earthly monument.
In sleep I walk with you, and do obtain
A seeming conf'rence: but, alas, what pain
Endures that man, which evermore is taking
His joys in sleep, and is most wretched waking?
To make me happy then, be you my sun,
And with your presence clear all clouds begun;
My mists of melancholy will outwear,
By your appearing in our hemisphere;
Till which, within a vale as full of woe,
As I have ever sung, or eye can know,
Or you can but imagine, reading this,
Inthralled lies the heart of him that is

Careless of all others' love
without your respect,
W. B.





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