Shakespeare's Sonnets: The little love-god lying once asleep

Sonnet 154

Original Text: 
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS (London: G. Eld for T. T. and sold by William Aspley, 1609): k1r.
2Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand
3Whil'st many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep
4Came tripping by, but in her maiden hand
6Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd,
7And so the general of hot desire
8Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm'd.
9This brand she quenchèd in a cool well by,
10Which from love's fire took heat perpetual,
11Growing a bath and healthful remedy
12For men diseas'd, but I, my mistress' thrall,
13    Came there for cure and this by that I prove:
14    Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.


1] little love-god] Cupid, classical god of love, son of Venus and Mercury. Back to Line
5] votary] one living a life dedicated to a god or goddess. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: