But back to the original request. I've spent a couple of decades traveling with the Oxford Book of English Verse (the Gardner edition rather than Rumpole's favourite, Quiller-Couch), just because I believed the view of several single-handed mariners that a volume of poetry would entertain for longer than any novel. Having done that, I have so many poems to offer, so I'll start with "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell. The very first line was distorted by Heinlein In 'Time Enough for Love'. Here's the whole thing:
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
Those thoughts survive, as they ought. I have more if wanted. Possibly none to do with reasons to abandon virginity, but there you go.Marvell wrote:"Vaster than empires and more slow"
"Time’s wingèd chariot"
"The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace."