Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEFENCE, by HENRY KING (1592-1669)



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THE DEFENCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Why slightest thou what I approve?
Last Line: To love by judgement, not by sense.
Subject(s): Love; Virtue


Why slightest thou what I approve?
Thou art no Peer to try my love,
Nor canst discern where her form lies,
Unless thou saw'st her with my eyes.

Say she were foul and blacker than
The Night, or sunburnt African,
If lik'd by me, 'tis I alone
Can make a beauty where was none;
For rated in my fancy, she
is so as she appears to me.

But 'tis not feature, or a face,
That does my free election grace,
Nor is my liking only led
By a well-temper'd white and red;
Could I enamour'd grow on those,
The Lily and the blushing Rose
United in one stalk might be
As dear unto my thoughts as she.

But I look farther, and do find
A richer beauty in her mind;
Where something is so lasting fair,
As time or age cannot impair.
Hadst thou a perspective so clear,
Thou couldst behold my object there;
When thou her virtues shouldst espy,
They'd force thee to confess that I
Had cause to like her, and learn thence
To love by judgement, not by sense.





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