His Love Admits No Rival

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Shall I like a hermit dwell,
On a rock, or in a cell,
Calling home the smallest part
That is missing of my heart,
To bestow it where I may
Meet a rival every day?
If she undervalue me,
What care I how fair she be?

Were her tresses angel gold,
If a stranger may be bold,
Unrebuked, unafraid,
To convert them to a braid,
And with little more ado
Work them into bracelets too?
If the mine be grown so free,
What care I how rich it be?

Were her hand as rich a prize
As her hairs, or precious eyes,
If she lay them out to take
Kisses, for good manners' sake:
And let every lover skip
From her hand unto her lip;
If she seem not chaste to me,
What care I how chaste she be?

No; she must be perfect snow,
In effect as well as show;
Warming, but as snowballs do,
Not like fire, by burning too;
But when she by change hath got
To her heart a second lot,
Then if others share with me,
Farewell her, whate'er she be!

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 – 1618)