A Doubt of Martyrdom

Sir John Suckling.

O FOR some honest lover’s ghost,

  Some kind unbodied post

    Sent from the shades below!

    I strangely long to know

Whether the noble chaplets wear

Those that their mistress’ scorn did bear

    Or those that were used kindly.


For whatsoe’er they tell us here

  To make those sufferings dear,

    ’Twill there, I fear, be found

     That to the being crown’d

T’ have loved alone will not suffice,

Unless we also have been wise

    And have our loves enjoy’d.


What posture can we think him in

  That, here unloved, again

    Departs, and ’s thither gone

    Where each sits by his own?

Or how can that Elysium be

Where I my mistress still must see

    Circled in other’s arms?


For there the judges all are just,

  And Sophonisba must

    Be his whom she held dear,

    Not his who loved her here.

The sweet Philoclea, since she died,

Lies by her Pirocles his side,

    Not by Amphialus.


Some bays, perchance, or myrtle bough

  For difference crowns the brow

    Of those kind souls that were

    The noble martyrs here:

And if that be the only odds

(As who can tell?), ye kinder gods,

    Give me the woman here!

literature, poetry

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