Poem of the Week: To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything

Happy Monday!

Poem of the Week has been sadly neglected of late, but allow me to reassure you: things will now be resuming as they were! Routine will soon be returning to my life with the start of my college classes. “The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner” will be postponed, however.

This week’s highlighted poem is “To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything”, written by English poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674).

There is a story behind the choosing of this poem. This afternoon I decided to wander into “Yesterday’s”: a used bookstore downtown Mt. Airy, my small town. I came across a beautiful, worn book of British poetry and prose.

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(The book is complete with notes in the margins and a couple papers from 1940… What more could I have asked for?!)

I bought it, and as I was wandering through its pages, I stumbled upon index, made up of titles, authors, and first lines of poetry. One particular “first line” jumped out and gripped my heartstrings… The rest of the poem was far from disappointment for me. It was not a poem to be kept to oneself. I hope it grips your heart as it did mine.

To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything

“Bid me to live, and I will live
         Thy protestant to be;
Or bid me love, and I will give
         A loving heart to thee.
A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
         A heart as sound and free,
As in the whole world thou canst find,
         That heart I’ll give to thee.
Bid that heart stay, and it will stay,
         To honour thy decree;
Or bid it languish quite away,
         And ‘t shall do so for thee.
Bid me to weep, and I will weep,
         While I have eyes to see;
And having none, yet I will keep
         A heart to weep for thee.
Bid me despair, and I’ll despair,
         Under that cypress tree;
Or bid me die, and I will dare
         E’en death, to die for thee.
Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
         The very eyes of me;
And hast command of every part,
         To live and die for thee.”
~Robert Herrick
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Breathtaking, is it not? Thank you for reading. 🙂
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3 thoughts on “Poem of the Week: To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything

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