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 . . .
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