Elegy IX: Of Love and War. By Henry Cromwell.Trust me, my Atticus, in love are wars;
And Cupid has his camp, as well as Mars:
The age that's fit for war best suits with love,
The old in both unserviceable prove,
Infirm in war, and impotent in love.
The soldiers which a general does require,
Are such as ladies would in bed desire:
Who but a soldier, and a lover, can
Bear the night's cold, in show'rs of hail and rain?
One in continual watch his station keeps,
Or on the earth in broken slumbers sleeps;
The other takes his still repeated round
By mistress' house — then lodges on the ground.
Soldiers, and lovers, with a careful eye,
Observe the motions of the enemy:
One to the walls makes his approach in form,
Pushes the siege, and takes the town by storm:
The other lays his close to Celia's fort,
Presses his point, and gains the wish'd-for port.
As soldiers, when the foe securely lies
In sleep, and wine dissolv'd, the camp surprise;
So when the jealous to their rest remove,
And all is hush'd, — the other steals to love.
You then, who think that love's an idle fit,
Know, that it is the exercise of wit.
In flames of love the fierce Achilles burns,
And, quitting arms, absent Briseis mourns:
From the embraces of Andromache
Went Hector arm'd for war, and victory.
As Agamemnon saw Cassandra pass
With hair dishevell'd, and disorder'd dress,
H' admir'd the beauties of the prophetess:
The god of war was caught in th' act of love;
A story know to all the court above.
Once did I pass my hours in sloth and ease,
Cool shades and beds of down could only please;
When a commanding beauty rais'd my mind,
I left all little trifling thoughts behind,
And to her service all my heart resign'd:
Since, like an active soldier, have I spent
My time in toils of war, in beauty's tent:
And for so sweet a pay all dangers underwent.
You see, my Atticus, by what I prove,
Who would not live in idleness-must love.