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Short poem

Edmund Waller (1606-1687)

On a Girdle

              1That which her slender waist confin'd,
              2Shall now my joyful temples bind;
              3No monarch but would give his crown,
              4His arms might do what this has done.

              5It was my heaven's extremest sphere,
              6The pale which held that lovely deer,
              7My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
              8Did all within this circle move.

              9A narrow compass, and yet there
            10Dwelt all that's good, and all that's fair;
            11Give me but what this ribbon bound,
            12Take all the rest the sun goes round.


5] extremest sphere: outermost sphere. The metaphor is from the Ptolemaic system of concentric spheres, revolving around the earth.

6] pale: enclosure.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Edmund Waller, Poems (1645); facs. edn., Poems, 1645, together with poems from Bodleian MS Dond. 55 (Menston: Scolar Press, 1971). PR 3750 A1 1645 AB Robarts Library
First publication date: 1645
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.443; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/14

Rhyme: aabb

Other poems by Edmund Waller