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On His Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia
by Sir Henry Wotton

Wotton produced a small body of work and was mainly known for being a distinguished man of affairs. His best known works include; Elizabeth of Bohemia: or You Meaner Beauties of the Night, The Character of a Happy life and Upon the Sudden Restraint of the Earl of Somerset. Twelve years after his death, a collection of his works was published entitled Reliquiae Wollonianae. This collection was edited by the poet Izaak Walton.


On His Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia
by Sir Henry Wotton

You meaner beauties of the night,
Which poorly satisfy our eyes
More by your number than your light,
You common people of the skies;
What are you when the moon shall rise?

You curious chanters of the wood,
That warble forth Dame Nature's lays,
Thinking your passions understood
By your weak accents; what's your praise
When Philomel her voice shall raise?

You violets, that first appear,
By your pure purple mantles known,
Like the proud virgins of the year,
As if the spring were all your own;
What are you when the rose is blown?

So, when my mistress shall be seen
In form and beauty of her mind,
By virtue first, then choice, a queen,
Tell me, if she were not designed
Th' eclipse and glory of her kind?


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