Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO MRS. K.T (WHO ASKED HIM WHY HE WAS DUMB), by JOHN CLEVELAND



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TO MRS. K.T (WHO ASKED HIM WHY HE WAS DUMB), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Stay, should I answer, lady, then
Last Line: But means to speak the rest by signs.
Subject(s): Ignorance; Dullness; Stupdity


STAY, should I answer, Lady, then
In vain would be your question:
Should I be dumb, why then again
Your asking me would be in vain.
Silence nor speech, on neither hand,
Can satisfy this strange demand.
Yet, since your will throws me upon
This wished contradiction,
I'll tell you how I did become
So strangely, as you hear me, dumb.
Ask but the chap-fallen Puritan;
'Tis zeal that tongue-ties that good man.
(For heat of conscience all men hold
Is th' only way to catch their cold.)
How should Love's zealot then forbear
To be your silenced minister?
Nay, your Religion which doth grant
A worship due to you, my Saint,
Yet counts it that devotion wrong
That does it in the Vulgar Tongue.
My ruder words would give offence
To such an hallowed excellence,
As th' English dialect would vary
The goodness of an Ave Mary.
How can I speak that twice am checked
By this and that religious sect?
Still dumb, and in your face I spy
Still cause and still divinity.
As soon as blest with your salute,
My manners taught me to be mute.
For, lest they cancel all the bliss
You signed with so divine a kiss,
The lips you seal must needs consent
Unto the tongue's imprisonment.
My tongue in hold, my voice doth rise
With a strange E-la to my eyes,
Where it gets bail, and in that sense
Begins a new-found eloquence.
Oh listen with attentive sight
To what my pratling eyes indite!
Or, lady, since 'tis in your choice
To give or to suspend my voice,
With the same key set ope the door
Wherewith you locked it fast before.
Kiss once again, and when you thus
Have doubly been miraculous,
My Muse shall write with handmaid's duty
The Golden Legend of your beauty.

He whom his dumbness now confines
But means to speak the rest by signs.





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