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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

An Epistle on Parting

By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)

From ‘Epistles’

DEAR soul, the time is come, and we must part;

Yet, ere I go, in these lines read my heart:

A heart so just, so loving, and so true,

So full of sorrow and so full of you,

That all I speak or write or pray or mean,—

And, which is all I can, all that I dream,—

Is not without a sigh, a thought of you,

And as your beauties are, so are they true.

Seven summers now are fully spent and gone,

Since first I loved, loved you, and you alone;

And should mine eyes as many hundreds see,

Yet none but you should claim a right in me;

A right so placed that time shall never hear

Of one so vowed, or any loved so dear.

When I am gone, if ever prayers moved you,

Relate to none that I so well have loved you:

For all that know your beauty and desert,

Would swear he never loved that knew to part.

Why part we then? That spring, which but this day

Met some sweet river, in his bed can play,

And with a dimpled cheek smile at their bliss,

Who never know what separation is.

The amorous vine with wanton interlaces

Clips still the rough elm in her kind embraces:

Doves with their doves sit billing in the groves,

And woo the lesser birds to sing their loves:

Whilst hapless we in griefful absence sit,

Yet dare not ask a hand to lessen it.