Now winter nights enlarge
  The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
  Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze,
  And cups o’erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
  With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
  Shall wait on honey Love;
While youthful revels, masks, and courtly sights
  Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
  With lovers’ long discourse.
Much speech hath some defense
  Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well:
  Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
  Some poems smoothly read.
The Summer hath his joys,
  And Winter his delights.
Though Love and all his pleasures are but toys,
  They shorten tedious nights.

–Thomas Campion

(Update: Cinderella points out that this, like many Elizabethan poems, was meant to be sung, and provides a link to the music, also written by Campion. I would rather hear it recited, but the fact that so many Elizabethan poems were written as songs partly accounts for the remarkably sensitive meters of such masters as Campion, Dowland, Nashe and Morley.)

Aaron Haspel | Posted December 8, 2002 @ 6:18 PM | General

1 Response to “Poetry Corner”

  1. 1 1. C.Bloggerfeller

    Nice to be reminded of that poem. There’s a MIDI file of the tune Campion wrote for it here together with a lot more of his verse.

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