Say, mighty love, and teach my song

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General information

This is a poem by Isaac Watts, from Horae Lyricae, entitled Few Happy Matches.

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Text and translations

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1. Say, mighty love, and teach my song
To whom thy sweetest joys belong,
And who the happy pairs,
Whose yielding hearts and joining hands
Find blessings twilled with their bands,
To soften all their cares.

2. Not the wild herd of nymphs and swains,
That thoughtless fly into the chains,
As custom leads the way:
If there be bliss without design,
Ivies and oaks may grow and twine,
And be as blessed as they.

3. Not sordid souls of earthy mold,
Who drawn by kindred charms of gold,
To dull embraces move :
So two rich mountains of Peru
May rush to wealthy marriage too,
And make a world of love.


4. Not the mad tribe that hell inspires
With wanton flames; those raging fires
The purer bliss destroy:
On AEtna's top let furies wed,
And sheets of lightning dress the bed,
To improve the burning joy.

5. Not the dull pairs, whose marble forms
None of the melting passions warms,
Can mingle hearts and hands:
Logs of green wood, that quench the coals.
Are married just like Stoic souls,
With osiers for their bands.

6. Not minds of melancholy strain,
Still silent, or that still complain,
Can the dear bondage bless :
As well may heavenly concerts spring
From two old lutes with ne'er a string,
Or none beside the bass.


7. Nor can the soft enchantments hold
Two jarring souls of angry mold.
The rugged and the keen:
Sampson's young foxes might as well
In bands of cheerful wedlock dwell,
With firebrands tied between.

8. Nor let the cruel fetters bind
A gentle to a savage mind;
For love abhors the sight:
Loose the fierce tiger from the deer;
For native rage and native fear
Rise and forbid delight.

9. Two kindest souls alone must meet;
Tis friendship makes the bondage sweet,
And feeds their mutual loves:
Bright Venus on her rolling throne
Is drawn by gentlest birds alone,
And Cupids yoke the doves.

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