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            Sir John Davies (1569-1626)

                      On a Pair of Garters

    Go loving woodbind, clip with lowly grace
    Those two sweet plants, which bear the flowers of love;
    Go silken vines, those tender Elms embrace
    Which flourish still, although their roots do move.

        As soon as you possess your blessed places,
        You are advanced, and enobled more
        Than Diadems, which were white silken laces
        That Ancient kings about their forehead wore.

    Sweet bands take heed, lest you ungently bind,
    Or with your strictness make too deep a print;
    Was never tree had such a tinder rind,
    Although her Inward heart be hard as flint:

        And let your knots be fast, and loose at will;
        She must be free, though I stand bounden still.


woodbind = an ivy or climbing plant
clip = archaic term for embrace or hug

The above has modernized spellings, but the layout and punctuation that can be found, for example, in:

  • Davies, Sir John. The Poems of Sir John Davies. Robert Krueger, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.
    Another modernization appears in:
  • Pinter, Harold, Geoffrey Godbert, and Anthony Astbury, eds. 100 Poems by 100 Poets. New York: Grove Press, 1986.

    Davies was named Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1603. Much of his poetry was written before that time, but more is known of his life after.