Representative Poetry Online

Random Poem of the Day

2Possess these shores with me;
3The winds and seas are troublesome,
4And here we may be free.
5      Here may we sit and view their toil
6That travail in the deep,
7And joy the day in mirth the while,
8And spend the night in sleep.
9      Fair nymph, if fame or honour were
10To be attain'd with ease,
11Then would I come and rest me there,
12And leave such toils as these.
13      But here it dwells, and here must I
14With danger seek it forth;
15To spend the time luxuriously
16Becomes not men of worth.
17      Ulysses, O be not deceiv'd
18With that unreal name;
19This honour is a thing conceiv'd
20And rests on others' fame.
21      Begotten only to molest
22Our peace, and to beguile
23The best thing of our life, our rest,
24And give us up to toil.
25      Delicious nymph, suppose there were
26Nor honour nor report,
27Yet manliness would scorn to wear
28The time in idle sport.
29      For toil doth give a better touch,
30To make us feel our joy;
31And ease finds tediousness as much
32As labour yields annoy.
33      Then pleasure likewise seems the shore
34Whereto tends all your toil,
35Which you forgo to make it more,
36And perish oft the while.
37      Who may disport them diversly,
38Find never tedious day,
39And ease may have variety
40As well as action may.
41      But natures of the noblest frame
42These toils and dangers please,
43And they take comfort in the same
44As much as you in ease,
45      And with the thoughts of actions past
46Are recreated still;
48To show that it was ill.
49      That doth opinion only cause
50That's out of custom bred,
51Which makes us many other laws
52Than ever nature did.
53      No widows wail for our delights,
54Our sports are without blood;
55The world we see by warlike wights
56Receives more hurt than good.
57But yet the state of things require
58These motions of unrest,
59And these great spirits of high desire
60Seem born to turn them best,
61      To purge the mischiefs that increase
62And all good order mar;
63For oft we see a wicked peace
64To be well chang'd for war.
65      Well, well, Ulysses, then I see
66I shall not have thee here,
67And therefore I will come to thee
68And take my fortunes there.
69      I must be won that cannot win,
70Yet lost were I not won;
71For beauty hath created been
72T' undo, or be undone.


1] First printed in Certain Small Poems, 1605. Back to Line
47] at last: eventually. Back to Line