I have a mistress, for perfections rare
In every eye, but in my thoughts most fair.
Like tapers on the altar shine her eyes;
Her breath is the perfume of sacrifice;
And wheresoe’er my fancy would begin,
Still her perfection lets religion in.
We sit and talk, and kiss away the hours
As chastely as the morning dews kiss flowers:
I touch her, like my beads, with devout care,
And come unto my courtship as my prayer
– Thomas Randolph
Thomas Randolph (15 June 1605 – March 1635) was an English poet and dramatist. He was born at Newnham, England to William and Elizabeth Randolph. Thomas was awarded Master of Arts in 1631, and became a major fellow of his college in the same year. He wrote epitaphs for people close to the family when he was 16. Thomas was one of the most popular playwrights of his time and was expected to become Poet Laureate after Ben Johnson. It was his untimely death at age of 29, two years before Johnson’s death, that prevented this. His famous printed works are “Aristippus”, “Or”, “The Joviall Philosopher. Presented in a private shew”, “To which is added”, and “The Conceited Pedlar”.