Poem introduction

This is a somewhat indecent and yet curiously tender little poem – whether to call it a love poem I don't really know...

A Song of a Young Lady to her Ancient Lover

Ancient person, for whom I
All the flattering youth defy,
Long be it ere thou grow old,
Aching, shaking, crazy, cold;
   But still continue as thou art,
   Ancient person of my heart.

On thy withered lips and dry,
Which like barren furrows lie,
Brooding kisses I will pour
Shall thy youthful [heat] restore
(Such kind showers in autumn fall,
And a second spring recall);
   Nor from thee will ever part,
   Ancient person of my heart.

Thy nobler part, which but to name
In our sex would be counted shame,
By age’s frozen grasp possessed,
From [his] ice shall be released,
And soothed by my reviving hand,
In former warmth and vigor stand.
All a lover’s wish can reach
For thy joy my love shall teach,
And for they pleasure shall improve
All that art can add to love.
   Yet still I love thee without art,
   Ancient person of my heart.

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John Wilmot Earl of Rochester

John Wilmot Downloads read by Alan Brownjohn

1Upon Nothing


2A Satyr Against Mankind


3The Maim'd Debauchee


4The Mistress


5A Song of a young Lady, to her Ancient Lover


Books by John Wilmot Earl of Rochester