Give Me Leave to Rail at You

John Wilmot

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Give me leave to rail at you, -
I ask nothing but my due:
To call you false, and then to say
You shall not keep my heart a day.
But alas! against my will
I must be your captive still.
Ah! be kinder, then, for I
Cannot change, and would not die.

Kindness has resistless charms;
All besides but weakly move;
Fiercest anger it disarms,
And clips the wings of flying love.
Beauty does the heart invade,
Kindness only can persuade;
It gilds the lover's servile chain,
And makes the slave grow pleased again.

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  • Kanak Agarwal

    Just finished reading "Give Me Leave to Rail at You" for my homework. It's interesting to see how love and anger can be so intertwined. Not quite sure though, is the speaker angry because he can't break free from his love, or because the love isn't reciprocated? It's complex. Pretty powerful stuff for such a short poem. 😅🤔