A Dialogue betwixt Wit and Beauty

Mixed rose and lily, why are you so proud,
Since fair is not in all minds like1 allowed?
Some do like2 black, some3 brown, and some like4 white;
In all complexions some eyes5 take delight.
Nor doth one Beauty in the world still reign,                     5
For Beauty is created in the brain.
But say there were a body perfect made,
Complexion pure, by Nature’s pencil laid,
A countenance where all sweet spirits meet,
A hair that’s thick and6 long, curled to the feet,                 10
Yet were it like a statue made of stone,
The eye would weary grow to look thereon.7
Had it not8 Wit the mind still to delight,
It soon would9 weary be, as well as sight.
For Wit is fresh and new, doth sport and play,                   15
And runs about the humour every way.
With all the passions Wit can well agree;
Wit tempers them and makes them pleased to be.
Wit’s ingenious,10 doth new inventions find,
To ease the body, recreate11 the mind.                                 20

When I appear, I strike the optic nerve;
I wound the heart; I12 make the passions serve.
Souls are my pris’ners,13 yet love me so well,14
My company is Heaven,15 my absence Hell.
Each knee doth bow to me, as to a shrine,                          25
And all the world accounts me as divine.

Beauty, you cannot long devotion keep:
The mind grows weary; senses fall asleep.16
As those which in the house of God do go
Are very zealous in a prayer or two,                                    30
But if they kneel an hour long17 to pray,
Their zeal grows cold, nor know they what they say.
So admirations are: they do not last;18
After nine days the greatest wonder’s past.19
The mind, as20 senses all, delights in change;                      35
They nothing love but what is new and strange.
But subtle Wit can please both21 long and well,
For to the ear a new tale Wit22 can tell.
And for the taste, doth dress meat23 several ways
To please the eye, new24 forms and fashions raise.           40
And for the touch, Wit spins both silk and wool,
Invents new ways to keep touch warm and cool.
For scent, Wit mixtures and compounds doth make,
That still the nose a fresh new smell may take.
I by discourse can represent the mind                                 45
With several objects, though the eyes be blind.
I can create ideas in the brain,25
Which to the26 mind seem real, though but feigned.
The mind like to a shop of toys I fill27
With fine conceits; I fit all humours well.28                        50
I can the work of Nature imitate,
And in the brain each several shape create.29
I conquer all, am master of the field;
I30 make fair Beauty in love’s wars to yield.

  1. like] best 1653
  2. do like] like the 1653
  3. some] the 1653
  4. and some like] as well as 1653
  5. In all complexions some eyes] Some Eys in all Complexions 1664; Some Eyes in all Complexions 1668
  6. and] or 1653
  7. thereon.] upon; 1664; upon: 1668
  8. not] no 1664, 1668
  9. would] wonld 1653
  10. Wit’s ingenious,] Ingenious ’tis, 1664, 1668
  11. recreate] and divert 1664, 1668
  12. I] and 1664, 1668
  13. Pris’ners,] Prisoners,1653
  14. yet love me so well,] yet do love me well; 1664; yet do Love me well: 1668
  15. Heaven,] Heav’n, 1664; Heav’n, 1668
  16. asleep.] a sleep. 1653
  17. kneel an hour long] must an Hour-long kneel 1664, 1668
  18. are: they do not last;] last not very long, 1653
  19. past.] gone. 1653
  20. as] as th’ 1664, 1668
  21. please both] both please 1653
  22. a new tale Wit] Wit a new Tale 1664; Wit a new Tale 1668
  23. doth dress meat] meat dresses 1653
  24. please the eye, new] th’ Eye it can new 1664; th’ Eye, it can new 1668
  25. I can create ideas in the brain,] I’th’ Brain I can Create Ideas, and 1664; I’th’ Brain I can create Idea’s, and 1668
  26. Which to the] Those make to th’ 1664; Those make to th’ 1668
  27. mind like to a shop of toys I fill] Mind’s a Shop, where sorts of Toys I Sell, 1664; Mind’s a Shop, where sorts of Toys I sell; 1668
  28. I fit all humours well.] all sorts of Humours sell. 1653
  29. And in the brain each several shape create.] And change my selfe into each severall Shape. 1653
  30. I] And 1664, 1668