March 20, 2005

How sweet it is to love!

About a year ago, I published a poem by John Dryden (1631-1700), namesake of this town. While I still wonder what he would think of this place after his years as a poet in England's turbulent 17th century, it seems like a good idea to publish his work occasionally as a reminder of where the town's name came from.

Ah, how sweet it is to love!
Ah, how gay is young Desire!
And what pleasing pains we prove
When we first approach Love's fire!
Pains of love be sweeter far
Than all other pleasures are.

Sighs which are from lovers blown
Do but gently heave the heart:
Ev'n the tears they shed alone
Cure, like trickling balm, their smart:
Lovers, when they lose their breath,
Bleed away in easy death.

Love and Time with reverence use,
Treat them like a parting friend;
Nor the golden gifts refuse
Which in youth sincere they send:
For each year their price is more,
And they less simple than before.

Love, like spring-tides full and high,
Swells in every youthful vein;
But each tide does less supply,
Till they quite shrink in again:
If a flow in age appear,
'Tis but rain, and runs not clear.

This particular piece was set to music by composer Henry Purcell in 1694. You can hear a sample of it (Windows-only, unfortunately) at Amazon. It won't be to everyone's taste, I'm sure.

Posted by simon at March 20, 2005 9:45 AM in
Note on photos


Lamar Cole said:

A sweet love can feel like spring after the winter.