Love's Riddle

A poem by John Clare

"Unriddle this riddle, my own Jenny love,
Unriddle this riddle for me,
And if ye unriddle the riddle aright,
A kiss your prize shall be,
And if ye riddle the riddle all wrong,
Ye're treble the debt to me:

I'll give thee an apple without any core;
I'll give thee a cherry where stones never be;
I'll give thee a palace, without any door,
And thou shalt unlock it without any key;
I'll give thee a fortune that kings cannot give,
Nor any one take from thee."

"How can there be apples without any core?
How can there be cherries where stones never be?
How can there be houses without any door?
Or doors I may open without any key?
How can'st thou give fortunes that kings cannot give,
When thou art no richer than me?"

"My head is the apple without any core;
In cherries in blossom no stones ever be;
My mind is love's palace without any door,
Which thou can'st unlock, love, without any key.
My heart is the wealth, love, that kings cannot give,
Nor any one take it from thee.

So there are love's riddles, my own Jenny love,
Ye cannot unriddle to me,
And for the one kiss you've so easily lost
I'll make ye give seven to me.
To kiss thee is sweet, but 't is sweeter by far
To be kissed, my dear Jenny, by thee.

Come pay me the forfeit, my own Jenny love;
Thy kisses and cheeks are akin,
And for thy three sweet ones I'll give thee a score
On thy cheeks, and thy lips, and thy chin."
She laughed while he gave her, as much as to say,
"'T were better to lose than to win."

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Love's Riddle' by John Clare

comments powered by Disqus