Poems, by Andrew Marvell

A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body

Soul.

O, WHO shall from this dungeon raise

A soul enslaved so many ways?

With bolts of bones, that fettered stands

In feet, and manacled in hands;

Here blinded with an eye, and there

Deaf with the drumming of an ear;

A soul hung up, as ’twere, in chains

Of nerves, and arteries, and veins;

Tortured, besides each other part,

In a vain head, and double heart?

Body.

O, who shall me deliver whole,

From bonds of this tyrannic soul?

Which, stretched upright, impales me so

That mine own precipice I go;

And warms and moves this needless frame,

(A fever could but do the same),

And, wanting where its spite to try,

Has made me live to let me die

A body that could never rest,

Since this ill spirit it possessed.

Soul.

What magic could me thus confine

Within another’s grief to pine?

Where, whatsoever it complain,

I feel, that cannot feel, the pain;

And all my care itself employs,

That to preserve which me destroys;

Constrained not only to endure

Diseases, but, what’s worse, the cure;

And, ready oft the port to gain,

Am shipwrecked into health again.

Body.

But Physic yet could never reach

The maladies thou me dost teach;

Whom first the cramp of hope does tear,

And then the palsy shakes of fear;

The pestilence of love does heat,

Or hatred’s hidden ulcer eat;

Joy’s cheerful madness does perplex,

Or sorrow’s other madness vex;

Which knowledge forces me to know,

And memory will not forego;

What but a soul could have the wit

To build me up for sin so fit?

So architects do square and hew

Green trees that in the forest grew.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/marvell/andrew/poems/poem18.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09