A poem by the Earl of Rochester.

First published in 1676 in A New Collection of the Choicest Songs, its composition date is unknown.

While on those lovely looks I gaze
        To see a wretch pursuing,
In raptures of a blest amaze,
        His pleasing, happy ruin,
'Tis not for pity that I move:
        His fate is too aspiring
Whose heart, broke with a load of love,
        Dies wishing and admiring.

But if this murder you'd forgo,
        Your slave from death removing,
Let me your art of charming know,
        Or learn you mine of loving.
But whether life or death betide,
        In love 'this equal measure:
The victor lives with empty pride,
        The vanquished die with pleasure.

An example of Wilmot's more chaste verses, another would be this untitled poem.

Like the poem referenced above, this deals with courting and love but unlike that one, it does not specify or even care whether it is requited or not. It discusses the pleasures of courting as regards some possibly doomed rake or rogue and suggests that unrequited love need not be a matter for angst but can be a beautiful thing in it's own way, in this sense it expresses an ideal of "Better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all".

Whilst I might not entirely agree with that sentiment, I do certainly agree that there is a je ne sais quoi to the start of a romance when one is still unsure if the feelings are returned and you wonder at the possibilities, the love can not be unrequited at this time because it is still only anticipated.

The observer/narrator in the poem seems to feel that love is a glorious state to be in and that one is always as much in love with love itself as with the object of one's desire. In this sense, the wretch so doomed is to be envied for his fleeting pleasure, not pitied for his uncertain fate.

There are many poems of the era titled simply 'Song' and it seems to indicate that a poem is of an obvious nature. Possibly better than thinking up some less than relevant title which would only mislead people anyway.

CST Approved