Sunday Poetry – Thomas Carew

Thomas Carew (picture from here) was a diplomat & gentleman of the Court of Charles I. Influenced by Jonson & Donne, his poetry reflects the idle life of the courtier. This poem, Mediocrity in Love Rejected, seems to bear out that interpretation of his work. The speaker sounds very bored, longing for sensation – whether ecstasy or agony, I don’t think he’d much mind – as long as he could feel something.

Give me more love, or more disdain;
The torrid or the frozen zone
Bring equal ease unto my pain;
The temperate affords me none:
Either extreme, of love or hate,
Is sweeter than a calm estate.

Give me a storm; if it be love,
Like Danae in that golden shower,
I swim in pleasure; if it prove
Disdain, that torrent will devour
My vulture hopes; and he’s possessed
Of heaven, that’s but from hell released.
Then crown my joys, or cure my pain;
Give me more love, or more disdain.

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