Blunted Knives – Words for Afflicted England: Let me not love thee, if I love thee not


Among the score of coaches and advisers; batting, bowling (spin and quick), diet, diviners and mind-unfcukers, where is the poet?

“All these plumbers and no poets, Third Man!”

Such a tradition, such wealth, such insight, such connection neglected.

“No-one to tweet Affliction I, Your Grace?”

“No-one to make the simple substitution: for wealth and lasting fame with bat and ball, read wealth and lasting fame with oratory and rhetoric.”

“For health, read form?”

“For ‘entangled in a world of strife’, read ‘entangled in a world of strife’.”

Affliction. (I)

When first thou didst entice to thee my heart,                                    I thought the service brave:
                  I thought the service brave
So many joyes I writ down for my part,
                  Besides what I might have
Out of my stock of naturall delights,
Augmented with thy gracious benefits.

I looked on thy furniture so fine,
           And made it fine to me:
Thy glorious houshold-stuffe did me entwine,
           And ‘tice me unto thee.
Such starres I counted mine: both heav’n and earth
Paid me my wages in a world of mirth.

What pleasures could I want, whose King I served,
           Where joyes my fellows were?
Thus argu’d into hopes, my thoughts reserved
           No place for grief or fear.
Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place,
And made her youth and fierceness seek thy face.

At first thou gav’st me milk and sweetnesses;
           I had my wish and way:
My dayes were straw’d with flow’rs and happinesse;
           There was no month but May.
But with my yeares sorrow did twist and grow,
And made a partie unawares of woe. 

My flesh began unto my soul in pain,
           Sicknesses cleave my bones;
Consuming argues dwell in ev’ry vein,
           And tune my breath to grones.
Sorrow was all my soul; I scarce believed,
Till grief did tell me roundly, that I lived. 

When I got health, thou took’st away my life,
           And more; for my friends die:
My mirth and edge was lost; a blunted knife
           Was of more use then I.
Thus thin and lean without a fence or friend,
I was blown through with ev’ry storm and wind. 

Whereas my birth and spirit rather took
           The way that takes the town;
Thou didst betray me to a lingring book,
           And wrap me in a gown.
I was entangled in the world of strife,
Before I had the power to change my life.

Yet, for I threaten'd oft the siege to raise,
           Not simpring all mine age,
Thou often didst with Academic praise
           Melt and dissolve my rage.
I took thy sweet'ned pill, till I came where
I could not go away, nor persevere.

Yet lest perchance I should too happy be
           In my unhappinesse,
Turning my purge to food, thou throwest me
           Into more sicknesses.
Thus doth my power cross-bias me, not making
Thine own gift good, yet me from my ways taking.

Now I am here, what thou wilt do with me
           None of my books will show:
I read, and sigh, and wish I were a tree;
           For sure then I should grow
To fruit or shade: at least some bird would trust
Her houshold to me, and I should be just 

Yet, though thou troublest me, I must be meek;
           In weaknesse must be stout.
Well, I will change the service, and go seek
           Some other master out.
Ah my dear God! Though I am clean forgot,
Let me not love thee, if I love thee not.

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