Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye,
That thou consum’st thy self in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee like a makeless wife;
The world will be thy widow and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep
By children’s eyes, her husband’s shape in mind:
Look what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it;
But beauty’s waste hath in the world an end,
And kept unused the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murd’rous shame commits.
The poet asks if it is fear of making someone a widow that causes the young man to refuse to marry. The argument is unsound, says the poet, for a beautiful youth must leave behind him a form or copy of himself, otherwise the world itself will endure widowhood, and yet have no consolation for its loss. For it will not be able to view the young man resurrected in the eyes of his children. If he persists in this single obduracy, it is an unforgivable shame, showing lack of love to others and equivalent to murdering himself and all his heirs.
Leave a Reply