- O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
- O stay and hear! your true-love's coming
- That can sing both high and low;
- Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
- Journeys end in lovers meeting–
- Every wise man's son doth know.
- What is love? 'tis not hereafter;
- Present mirth hath present laughter;
- What's to come is still unsure:
- In delay there lies no plenty,–
- Then come kiss me, Sweet and twenty,
- Youth's a stuff will not endure.
It's from Twelfth Night.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers meeting . . .
Are there any lovelier lines in all of English poetry?
What I like about them most is that they combine the lover's faith with the storyteller's faith.
The reference to singing both high and low is apparently mildly obscene, but I'll leave the details of it to your imagination.
The carpe diem message of the
song is not unusual, but the gossamer delicacy of the tone is
rare. As I've suggested before, A. E. Housman got it down pretty
Clay lies still but blood's a rover,
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad, when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.