Does Love’s Sweet Passage Have an End?

In nets of doubt my limbs are caught
As I my lover seek to please.
My mind’s gripped by a fearful thought
That casts out every hope of ease.
My breath quickens, my skin goes pale.
Even now, as I lewdly flail
And shudder as my bedsmate brays,
With mournful notes the music plays
While I my passion’s store expend.
There’s nothing time cannot erase –
Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

 

Has lusty verve no high-walled fort
Secured against time’s harsh decrees?
Shall stout defences come to naught,
Their ramparts routed by the breeze?
No castle can protect its grail;
The king shall weaken, though he rail.
From crag to sand each rock decays;
This transition ought not amaze.
The painful truth we must perpend:
If nothing lingers, nothing stays,
Then love’s sweet passage has an end.

 

Life is long, but youth’s voyage short,
For degrades each ship by degrees.
The worn-out vessel’s held in port,
Too old to brave the thrilling seas;
Its frames, once mighty, now are frail –
Yet still the seaman longs to sail!
The ropes loosen; the canvas frays;
The decrepit mast limply sways.
The captain stirs to patch and mend;
He craves those salty ocean sprays.
But love’s sweet passage has an end.

 

Bewail this wrong before the court,
You’ll have poor answer to your pleas.
There’s no redressing Nature’s tort
When all your wealth its bailiffs seize.
No sly parliament can prevail:
Each politician’s bound to fail.
No knotted legislative maze
With perplexing turns meant to faze
Shall timeless laws a jot amend.
These bills’ defeat the house dismays,
Yet love’s sweet passage has an end.

 

Let this lesson be soundly taught:
Those merry Metaphysic fleas
Who with our mingled blood disport
Must succumb to the wry disease
That leaves no creature brisk and hale.
Ardent verses are no avail;
Delude yourself that lines of praise
In honour of your lover’s ways
Shall the unerring clock suspend,
When all’s told, the same question weighs:
Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

 

ENVOI

Aged and feeble in far-off days,
I’ll turn to see with squinting gaze
Time’s dark backward abysm extend,
Beclouded by memory’s haze;
For love’s sweet passage has an end.

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