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Poem by John Oldham

Complaining of Absence

TEN days (if I forget not) wasted are
(A year in any lover's calendar)
Since I was forced to part, and bid adieu
To all my joy and happiness in you:
And still by the same hindrance am detained,
Which me at first from your loved sight constrained:
Oft I resolve to meet my bliss, and then
My tether stops, and pulls me back again:
So when our raisèd thoughts to heaven aspire,
Earth stifles them, and chokes the good desire.
Curse on that man whom business first designed,
And by't enthralled a freedom lover's mind!
A curse on fate who thus subjected me,
And made me slave to any thing but thee!
Lovers should be as unconfined as air,
Free as its wild inhabitants from care:
So free those happy lovers are above.
Exempt from all concerns but those of love:
But I, poor lover militant below,
The cares and troubles of dull life must know;
Must toil for that which does on others wait,
And undergo the drudgery of fate.
Yet I'll no more to her a vassal be,
Thou now shalt make and rule my destiny:
Hence troublesome fatigues! all business hence!
This very hour my freedom shall commence:
Too long that jilt has thy proud rival been,
And made me by neglectful absence sin;
But I'll no more obey its tyranny,
Nor that, nor fate itself shall hinder me,
Henceforth from seeing and enjoying thee.

John Oldham

John Oldham's other poems:
  1. Some Verses on Presenting a Book to Cosmelia
  2. A Satire Touching Nobility
  3. David's Lamentation for the Death of Saul and Jonathan, Paraphrased
  4. A Dithyrambic
  5. The Parting

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