Hylas, O Hylas! why sit we mute,
Now that each bird saluteth the spring?
Wind up the slacken’d strings of thy lute,
Never canst thou want matter to sing;
For love thy breast does fill with such a fire,
That whatsoe’er is fair moves thy desire.
Sweetest! you know, the sweetest of things
Of various flowers the bees do compose;
Yet no particular taste it brings
Of violet, woodbine, pink, or rose; 10
So love the result is of all the graces
Which flow from a thousand sev’ral faces.
Hylas! the birds which chant in this grove,
Could we but know the language they use,
They would instruct us better in love,
And reprehend thy inconstant Muse;
For love their breasts does fill with such a fire, 17
That what they once do choose, bounds their desire.
Chloris! this change the birds do approve,
Which the warm season hither does bring; 20
Time from yourself does further remove
You, than the winter from the gay spring;
She that like lightning shined while her face lasted,
The oak now resembles which lightning hath blasted.
Stay here, fond youth! and ask no more; be wise;
Knowing too much long since lost Paradise.
And, by your knowledge, we should be bereft
Of all that Paradise which yet is left.
The virtuous joys thou hast, thou wouldst should still
Last in their pride; and wouldst not take it ill
If rudely from sweet dreams, and for a toy,
Thou waked; he wakes himself that does enjoy.
How can the joy, or hope, which you allow
Be styled virtuous, and the end not so? 10
Talk in your sleep, and shadows still admire!
’Tis true, he wakes that feels this real fire;
But—to sleep better; for whoe’er drinks deep
Of this Nepenthe, rocks himself asleep.
Fruition adds no new wealth, but destroys,
And while it pleaseth much, yet still it cloys.
Who thinks he should be happier made for that,
As reasonably might hope he might grow fat
By eating to a surfeit; this once past,
What relishes? even kisses lose their taste. 20
Blessings may be repeated while they cloy;
But shall we starve, ’cause surfeitings destroy?
And if fruition did the taste impair
Of kisses, why should yonder happy pair,
Whose joys just Hymen warrants all the night,
Consume the day, too, in this less delight?