by Francis Quarles (1592 - 1644)

Ev'n like two little bank‑dividing...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Ev'n like two little [bank-dividing]1 brooks,
  That wash the pebbles with their wanton streams,
And having rang'd and search'd a thousand nooks,
  Meet both at length [in]2 silver-breasted Thames,
    Where in a greater current they conjoin:
So I my best-beloved's am; so he is mine.
Ev'n so we met; and after long pursuit,
  Ev'n so we joyn'd; we both became entire;
No need for either to renew a suit,
  For I was flax and he was flames of fire:
    Our firm-united souls did more than twine;
So I my best-beloved's am; so he is mine.
If all those glitt'ring Monarchs that command
  The servile quarters of this earthly ball,
Should tender, in exchange, their shares of land,
  I would not change my fortunes for them all:
    Their wealth is but a counter to my coin:
The world's but theirs; but my beloved's mine.
Nay, more; If the fair Thespian Ladies all
  Should heap together their diviner treasure:
That treasure should be deem'd a price too small
  To buy a minute's lease of half my pleasure;
    'Tis not the sacred wealth of all the nine
Can buy my heart from him, or his, from being mine.
Nor Time, nor Place, nor Chance, nor Death can bow
  My least desires unto the least remove;
He's firmly mine by oath; I his by vow;
  He's mine by faith; and I am his by love;
    He's mine by water; I am his by wine,
Thus I my best-beloved's am; thus he is mine.

He is my Altar; I, his Holy Place;
  I am his guest; and he, my living food;
I'm his by penitence; he mine by grace;
  I'm his by purchase; he is mine, by blood;
    He's my supporting elm; and I his vine;
Thus I my best beloved's am; thus he is mine.
He gives me wealth; I give him all my vows:
  I give him songs; he gives me length of dayes;
With wreaths of grace he crowns my [conqu'ring]3 brows,
  And I his temples with a crown of Praise,
    Which he [accepts as an]4 everlasting signe,
That I my best-beloved's am; that he is mine.

B. Britten sets stanzas 1-3, 5-7

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: "divided"
2 Britten: "at"
3 Britten: "longing"
4 Britten: "accepts: an"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title unknown, copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 42
Word count: 355