“A Dialogue betwixt Wit and Beauty”
Mixt Rose and Lilly, why are you so proud,
Since Fair is not in all Minds like allow’d?
Some do like Black, some Brown, and some like White;
Some Eyes in all Complexions 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, and long, curl’d to the Feet: 10
Yet, were it like a Statue made of Stone,
The Eye would weary grow to look upon:
Had it no Wit, the Mind still to delight,
It soon would 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 pleas’d to be.
Ingenious ‘tis, doth new Inventions find,
To ease the Body, and divert the Mind. 20
When I appear, I strike the Optick Nerve;
I wound the Heart, and make the Passions serve.
Souls are my Pris’ners, yet do love me well:
My Company is Heav’n, 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:
As those which in the House of God do go,
Are very Zealous in a Pray’r or two; 30
But, if they must an Hour-long kneel to pray,
Their Zeal grows cold, nor know they what they say:
So Admirations are, they do not last;
After Nine days, the greatest Wonder’s past.
The Mind, as th’ Senses all, delights in change; 35
They nothing love, but what is new and strange.
But subtil Wit, can please both long, and well:
For, to the Ear, Wit a new Tale can tell.
And, for the Tast, doth dress Meat several ways.
To th’ Eye, it can new 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’th’ Brain I can create Idea’s, and
Those make to th’ Mind seem real, though but feign’d.
The Mind’s a Shop, where sorts of Toys I sell;
With fine Conceits, I fit all Humours well. 50
I can the Work of Nature imitate,
And, in the Brain, each several Shape create.
I Conquer all, am Master of the Field,
And make fair Beauty, in Love’s Warrs to yield.
Title Wit “The faculty of thinking and reasoning in general; mental capacity, understanding, intellect, reason” (OED).
16 Humour “A particular temperamental inclination” (OED).
29 House of God A church or place of worship (OED).
50 Conceits “A fanciful or ingenious expression, metaphor, turn of thought” (OED).
SOURCE: Poems, Or, Several Fancies in Verse: With the Animal Parliament in Prose, Part II, Third Edition (London, 1668), pp. 117-18. [Google Books]
Edited by Izabella Garcia