A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body
by Andrew Marvell
Oh, who shall from this dungeon raise
A soul enslaved so many ways?
With bolts of bones that fettered stands
In feet, and manacled in hands;
Here blinded with an eye, and there
Deaf with the drumming of an ear;
A soul hung up, as ‘twere, in chains
Of nerves and arteries and veins;
Tortured, besides each other part,
In a vain head and double heart.
Oh, who shall me deliver whole
From bonds of this tyrannic soul?
Which stretched upright, impales me so
That mine own precipice I go,
And warms and moves this needless frame —
A fever could but do the same —
And, wanting where its spite to try,
Has made me live to let me die:
A body that could never rest,
Since this ill spirit it possessed.
What magic could me thus confine
Within another’s grief to pine?
Where whatsoever it complain,
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain,
And all my care itself employs
That to preserve which me destroys,
Constrained not only to endure
Diseases, but, what’s worse, the cure;
And ready oft the port to gain,
And shipwrecked into health again.
But physic yet could never reach
The maladies thou me dost teach:
Whom first the cramp of hope does tear,
And then the palsy shakes of fear;
The pestilence of love does heat,
Or hatred’s hidden ulcer eat;
Joy’s cheerful madness does perplex,
Or sorrow’s other madness vex;
Which knowledge forces me to know,
And memory will not forgo.
What but a soul could have the wit
To build me up for sin so fit?
So architects do square and hew
Green trees that in the forest grew.