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Mr. Herrick: His Daughter’s Dowry
by [?]


Ere I go hence and be no more
Seen to the world, I’ll give the score
I owe unto a female child,
And that is this, a verse enstyled
My daughter’s dowry; having which,
I’ll leave thee then completely rich.
Instead of gold, pearl, rubies, bonds
Long forfeit, pawned diamonds
Or antique pledges, house or land,
I give thee this that shall withstand
The blow of ruin and of chance.
These hurt not thine inheritance,
For ’tis fee simple and no rent
Thou fortune ow’st for tenement.
However after times will praise,
This portion, my prophetic bays,
Cannot deliver up to th’ rust,
Yet I keep peaceful in my dust.
As for thy birth and better seeds
(Those which must grow to virtuous deeds),
Thou didst derive from that old stem
(Love and mercy cherish them),
Which like a vestal virgin ply
With holy fire lest that it die.
Grow up with milder laws to know
At what time to say aye or no;
Let manners teach thee where to be
More comely flowing, where less free.
These bring thy husband, like to those
Old coins and medals we expose
To th’ show, but never part with. Next,
As in a more conspicuous text,
Thy forehead, let therein be sign’d
The maiden candour of thy mind;
And under it two chaste-born spies
To bar out bold adulteries,
For through these optics fly the darts
Of lust which set on fire our hearts.
On either side of these quick ears
There must be plac’d, for seasoned fears
Which sweeten love, yet ne’er come nigh
The plague of wilder jealousy.
Then let each cheek of thine entice
His soul as to a bed of spice
Where he may roll and lose his sense,
As in a bed of frankincense.
A lip enkindled with that coal
With which love chafes and warms the soul,
Bring to him next, and in it show
Love’s cherries from such fires grow
And have their harvest, which must stand
The gathering of the lip, not hand;
Then unto these be it thy care
To clothe thy words in gentle air,
That smooth as oil, sweet, soft and clean
As is the childish bloom of bean,
They may fall down and stroke, as the
Beams of the sun the peaceful sea.
With hands as smooth as mercy’s bring
Him for his better cherishing,
That when thou dost his neck ensnare,
Or with thy wrist, or flattering hair,
He may, a prisoner, there descry
Bondage more loved than liberty.
A nature so well formed, so wrought
To calm and tempest, let be brought
With thee, that should he but incline
To roughness, clasp him like a vine,
Or like as wool meets steel, give way
Unto the passion, not to stay;
Wrath, if resisted, over-boils,
If not, it dies or else recoils.
And lastly, see you bring to him
Somewhat peculiar to each limb;
And I charge thee to be known
By n’other face but by thine own.
Let it in love’s name be kept sleek,
Yet to be found when he shall seek
It, and not instead of saint
Give up his worth unto the paint;
For, trust me, girl, she over-does
Who by a double proxy woos.
But lest I should forget his bed,
Be sure thou bring a maidenhead.
That is a margarite, which lost,
Thou bring’st unto his bed a frost
Or a cold poison, which his blood
Benumbs like the forgetful flood.
Now for some jewels to supply
The want of earrings’ bravery
For public eyes; take only these
Ne’er travelled for beyond the seas;
They’re nobly home-bred, yet have price
Beyond the far-fet merchandise:
Obedience, wise distrust, peace, shy
Distance and sweet urbanity;
Safe modesty, lov’d patience, fear
Of offending, temperance, dear
Constancy, bashfulness and all
The virtues less or cardinal,
Take with my blessing, and go forth
Enjewelled with thy native worth.
And now if there a man be found
That looks for such prepared ground,
Let him, but with indifferent skill,
So good a soil bestock and till;
He may ere long have such a wife
Nourish in’s breast a tree of life.