Richard Lovelace

1618-1657 / London / England

Strive Not, Vain Lover


Strive not, vain lover, to be fine;
Thy silk's the silk-worm's, and not thine:
You lessen to a fly your mistriss' thought,
To think it may be in a cobweb caught.
What, though her thin transparent lawn
Thy heart in a strong net hath drawn:
Not all the arms the god of fire ere made
Can the soft bulwarks of nak'd love invade.


Be truly fine, then, and yourself dress
In her fair soul's immac'late glass.
Then by reflection you may have the bliss
Perhaps to see what a true fineness is;
When all your gawderies will fit
Those only that are poor in wit.
She that a clinquant outside doth adore,
Dotes on a gilded statue and no more.
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