From Mercy's Book of Poems and Stories
February 20, 1692
Papa was loaned a book of poetry from a gentleman he knows in Marblehead. Such a lovely, sad poem. It was written by Sir George Etherege. He wrote it for the woman who asked how long he would love her. Who of us knows the span of years we will be granted? I would rather exhaust myself having loved than to have avoided the ache of having loved simply because of the things I do not know.
"It is not, Celia, in our power
To say how long our love will last;
It may be we within this hour
May lose those joys we now do taste;
The Blessed, that immortal be,
From change in love are only free.
Then since we mortal lovers are,
Ask not how long our love will last;
But while it does, let us take care
Each minute be with pleasure past:
Were it not madness to deny
To live because we're sure to die?"