The Poor Lover to His Rich Mistress about to Marry His Coxcombly Rival

by William Wycherley

William Wycherley

He av'n is not gain'd with Wealth, or Bribes, we know,
So (Divine Thing!) I nothing bid for you,
No Shining Dirt, as my Rich Rivals do;
Tho' Di'monds, Pearl, may purchas'd be with Gold,
Your Eyes, Teeth, at a Higher Rate I hold;
My Precious, and Inestimable Dear!
He who wou'd buy thy Love with Money, were
But more your Undervaluer, than I,
Who, thy Love, for thy Honour, wou'd not buy;
But beg to give nothing for it, or you
But more, how much I prize you, both to show;
He, to cry down your Charms, or Wit, does seem,
Who, at the Rate of Gold, but Values them;
Whilst I, much more, my Value of 'em prove,
Thinking, there's nought can purchase them but Love;
Is he so Richly Poor, he has but Gold
To bid for thee? 'Twas Foolish, as 'twas Bold,
To think, that thou wert to be bought, or sold;
To put his Base Coin in the Scale with thee,
But Base, or Light, he thought thee sure to be;
Thee, with his Coin, to think to purchase so,
As Turks , their She-Slaves in Love's Markets do;
Or, as in ours, we Barter for a Mare,
To make our Hackney, and our Burthens bear;
So with his Gold, he'd make a Beast of thee,
But mounted, at his Pleasure, still to be,
And, in his Absence, Shackled, never Free;
Who, in Right to thy Beauty, Honour, shou'd
Think, there is nothing, which Injustice cou'd
Prove a fit Purchace for your Love, and them,
The more to show, for you, and them, Esteem;
But he, who wou'd put off your Chains of Love,
Wou'd, putting Wedlock's Bonds upon you, prove
But more your Undervaluer, than I,
By Bargain, and by Sale, thy Love to buy;
By which, he less Esteem wou'd for you show,
Thinking, with Gold alone, to purchase you;
That he by Weight of Pocket, not of Sense,
Shou'd, to his gaining you, have just Pretence;
When Free Gifts of our Hearts, not Money, prove,
For you, most True, most Honourable Love;
But he who thinks his Coin your Love cou'd buy,
Is more your Undervaluer, than I;
So honours you, but to your Infamy;
Since 'tis not Love of Man, but Love of Gold,
Which we for Love Dishonourable hold;
Not Love of Man, but Money, makes the Whore,
Not the Kind Act, but Coin 'tis purchas'd for;
Then I, who Bid less for you, prize you more;
Were Lovers Worth by Scales, Weight, Measure known,
Each Heavy, Rich Fool sure wou'd weigh me down;
But you, by your more certain Measure go,
Your Judgment, which can never cozen you;
Against Light Fools Wealth, you weigh Truth and Sense,
Without which, Wealth's an Inconvenience;
Weigh Native Worth, with High Birth, Great Estate,
Wou'd have your Man more Wise, than Fortunate,
In Merit rather, than Vain Title, Great;
The Bart'ring Fool, whom I my Rival call,
But puts thee, with his Base Coin, in the Scale,
Whilst I will my best Value for you prove,
Pawning my Body, Life, Soul, for your Love;
All the Stores Wise Men with Rich Fools can vie,
My weightiest Good of Life, my Liberty,
Whilst thee he'd buy, but into Slavery;
Your Indian Fool has but bright Shells, or Dust,
That shine, to make his Bargain sure, not just;
Not by his Native Worth, but yours, wou'd fain
Your Love, but for his Interest, obtain;
Gives you Rich Bribes, to take all from you so,
Whilst I'd give all I have, my self to you;
I court your Love, he bribes your Avarice,
Which he, (to less'ning of your Worth) implies;
Thinking, that Money cou'd your Favour buy,
To make you guilty of Love-Simony ;
For since thy Love, a Thing is so Divine,
'Twere Sacrilege, to purchase it with Coin;
And in the Church to sell thy Faith, wou'd be,
But most Disparagement to it and thee;
Thy Love, that most Divine Thing, to prophane,
And barter in the Church, for Wicked Gain;
No Hand for Gold, in a Church-Bargain take,
The most Dishonourable Truck to make;
By Marr'age thought most Honourable so,
To make your Love most Mercenary! grow;
Which (since a Thing Divine) sure ought to be,
Like Heav'nly Blessings, most Unbrib'd and Free;
Prophanely Guilty, a God's Name! you grow,
(At once) of Sacrilege, and Av'rice too;
To your Beast's Bed, to go for Hire, not Love,
But your Injustice to my Faith you prove;
Since Beauty is, like Heav'n, the Poor Man's Right,
Which he with Faith, not Off'rings, wou'd requite;
Since the Divine Gift, to our Faith, by Jove ,
Whence I, to gain the Blessing of thy Love,
(Which the Reward shou'd of Devotion be)
Have but my Faith and Love, for thine and thee;
Have only but my Tears, my Vows, and Pray'r,
To make my Claim to thee, Divinely Fair!
Who my sole Goddess, on my True Faith, art,
Who have, to prove it, but my broken Heart;
Then let my Love-Hymns, Watching, Fasting too,
And Penance, which I for your Absence do,
Gain here your Love, my Bliss, my Heaven you;
Let thee my Vows to make me Happy, move,
My Faith, in thine, best my Devotion prove,
Both by my Constant Service, Fervent Love;
Which shou'd save thee, my Precious Soul, for me,
Who damn'd else to Despair of Joy must be;
Humility, Self-Condemnation too,
Are all, and the best Claims I have to you,
And to you my True Faith, Love, Duty show;
Thou least, like Heaven, shou'dst his Portion be,
Who vainly thinks, that most he Merits thee;
Presumption was the great Pretender's Fall,
Who Lost, by his Pretence to Merit, all
That he cou'd Blessings, Joys, or Glory call;
But I, with Fear and Trembling, on my Knees,
With Penance, Watching, Fasting, Nakedness;
Like Devout Wrestlers, thee my Paradise,
By Service, Zeal, and my Heart's Sacrifice,
Wou'd not by Merit crave, but Faith wou'd seize;
Thee, wou'd not by mean Offerings Prophane,
Thee not by my Right, but thy Grace, wou'd gain,
Since Divine Beings let none Serve in vain;
Let my Devotion then be not out-done,
But by my Rival's Offerings alone;
All he, to gain Salvation, mine prevent,
Can plead is, that he is an Innocent;
All I can say, for my Faith, Hopes, or Love,
May my Faith, your Election of me prove;
Let him lose thee, as the Presumptuous do,
Their Heav'n, because he thinks he merits you;
But thee (my Heav'n on Earth, here) let me gain,
Because I think none here, by Merit can.

Last updated May 19, 2019