Sunday Poetry – Henry King

Henry King (picture from here) was a 17th century poet & also Bishop of Chichester. He was the friend & executor of John Donne &, like Donne, seems to have written love poems in his youth that weren’t published until the end of his life. This is a lovely poem of melancholy resignation but also with a touch of self-pity in the final verse.

Tell me no more how fair she is,
I have no mind to hear
the story of that distant bliss
I never shall come near:
By sad experience I have found
That her perfection is my wound.


And tell me not how fond I am
To tempt a daring fate,
From whence no triumph ever came,
But to repent too late:
There is some hope ere long I may
In silence dote myself away.


I ask no pity, Love, from thee
Nor will thy justice blame,
So that thou wilt not envy me
The glory of my flame:
Which crowns my heart whene’er it dies,
In that it falls her sacrifice.

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