A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Complaint of a Lover" by Mrs. Anne Killigrew (c.1660-1685).
From Killigrew, Anne. Poems 1686. Facs. edn., ed. R. E. Morton. Gainesville, Florida: Scholars, 1967. pp. 19-22.

[Page 19]

THE

Complaint of a Lover.

SEest thou younder craggy Rock,
  Whose Head o'er-looks the swelling Main,
Where never Shepherd fed his Flock,
  Or careful Peasant sow'd his Grain.

No wholesome Herb grows on the same,
  Or Bird of Day will on it rest;
'Tis Barren as the Hopeless Flame,
  That scortches my tormented Breast.

Deep underneath a Cave does lie,
  Th' entrance hid with dismal Yew,
Where Phebus never shew'd his Eye,
  Or cheerful Day yet pierced through.

[Page 20]

In that dark Melancholy Cell,
  (Retreate and Sollace to my Woe)
Love, sad Dispair, and I, do dwell,
  The Springs from whence my Griefs do flow.

Treacherous Love that did appear,
  (When he at first approach't my Heart)
Drest in a Garb far from severe,
  Or threatning ought of future smart.

So Innocent those Charms then seem'd,
  When Rosalinda first I spy'd,
Ah! Who would them have deadly deem'd?
  But Flowers do often Serpents hide.

Beneath those sweets conceal'd lay,
  To Love the cruel Foe, Disdain,
With which (alas) she does repay
  My Constant and Deserving Pain.

[Page 21]

When I in Tears have spent the Night,
  With Sighs I usher in the Sun,
Who never saw a sadder sight,
  In all the Courses he has run.

Sleep, which to others Ease does prove,
  Comes unto me, alas, in vain:
For in my Dreams I am in Love,
  And in them too she does Disdain.

Some times t'Amuse my Sorrow, I
  Unto the hollow Rocks repair,
And loudly to the Eccho cry,
  Ah! gentle Nimph come ease my Care.

Thou who, times past, a Lover wer't,
  Ah! pity me, who now am so,
And by a sense of thine own smart,
  Alleviate my Mighty Woe.

[Page 22]

Come Flatter then, or Chide my Grief;
  Catch my last Words, and call me Fool;
Or say, she Loves, for my Relief;
  My Passion either sooth, or School.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom