Love and Wisdom

Robert Herrick

Bust portrait of Robert Herrick, 17th century English poet,  from a rare print by W Marshal

 

One of the great love poems in the English language is Robert Herrick’s (1591 – 1674) poem ‘To Sylvia , to Wed’.   The poem was published in 1674 in a collection of Herrick’s poems called ‘Hesperides’.  You will find a transcription of it at:  poets.org   The last line of this extremely short poem is . . .

“No Man can at one time be wise and love.” 

The truth of these words by Herrick have often struck me, and I have been led to compose the following poem to amplify my thoughts on the beauty of the words and the wisdom which they hold . . .

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Love and Wisdom

Great truth lies here
For love consumes the soul
Drives out the rational
In favour of those headstrong thoughts
Those unconsidered deeds
Which couple love with lust
And joy with pain
Breaching reason
As a burst dam
Floods life’s valleys
As the wildfire strips life’s undergrowth
Devouring what it most values
In the thoughtless rush and swell
Of its inflamed ardour

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