Promising a Visit
by John Oldham (1653-1683)
Sooner may art, and easier far, divide
The soft embracing waters of the tide,
Which with united friendship still rejoin,
Than part my eyes, my arms, or lips from thine:
Sooner it may time’s headlong motion force,
In which it marches with unaltered course,
Or sever this from the succeeding day,
Than from thy happy presence force my stay.
Not the touched needle (emblem of my soul)
With greater reverence trembles to its pole,
Nor flames with surer instinct upwards go,
Than mine, and all their motives tend to you.
Fly swift, ye minutes, and contract the space
Of time, which holds me from her dear embrace:
When I am there I’ll bid you kindly stay,
I’ll bid you rest, and never glide away.
Thither, when business gives me a release
To lose my cares in soft and gentle ease,
I’ll come, and all arrears of kindness pay,
And live o’er my whole absence in one day.
Not souls, released from human bodies, move
With quicker haste to meet their bliss above,
Than I, when freed from clogs that bind me now,
Eager to seize my happiness, will go.
Should a fierce angel armed with thunder stand,
And threaten vengeance with his brandished hand,
To stop the entrance to my paradise,
I’ll venture, and his slighted bolts despise.
Swift as the wings of fear shall be my love,
And me to her with equal speed remove;
Swift as the motions of the eye or mind,
I’ll thither fly, and leave slow thought behind!