Raleigh, Rebutted

St.-L’s Gentle Plea to the Reticent Nymph
(In joy: no date)

In re:
“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”
(Christopher Marlowe, before 1593)
“Reply to Marlowe”
(Sir Walter Raleigh, before 1599)

* * *

For J.

* * *

Again I say, come be my love
And let the cynics hovel’d live.
Sure, there are shepherds, I concede
Who lie to lay, but I’m not one.
In truth to you my troth I pledge.

Time drives and cold and blah blah blah;
Once burned one shouldn’t doubt you doubt.
But worry not, material things
Are not my purview, nor my wings,
But wealth in loving kindness gained.

Our flowers may fade, but what of that?
The reason more to live and love.
Dried posies have a beauty fair
And fruit, uneaten, goes to rot
While spring and summer do return;
And bounty’s seasons every one.

You think to be a pragmatist,
You think me risk, chaos and ruin,
Impossible, expendable.
Out of my league, past tense: So sung
(A heart that beats near breaks at that).

And true, in winter, we will die,
as the actress Raleigh did
(A master of the obvious;
If only he had stuffed his pen
I mightn’t have to plead like this.)

Kissed coral lips, your movèd mind
In joyfulness of heart and soul
Let’s straddle rocks, while rivers rage;
Let’s twine a pair, the pleasures prove.
Come live with me and be my love.

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