"Against Pleasure"
By Katherine Philips

  • Transcription, correction, editorial commentary, and markup by Staff and Research Assistants at The University of Virginia, John O'Brien, Sara Brunstetter
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London : Printed by J.M. for H. Herringman, 1667This text is based on transcriptions created by the Early English Books Online Texts Creation Partnership, a library-based project directed by the University of Michigan and Oxford University. Their digital text was produced from the 1667 edition, published by Henry Herringman in London in 1667, three years after Philips's death, but with the collaboration of her late husband. We have also consulted The Collected Works of Katherine Philips, edited by Patrick Thomas (Essex: Stump Cross Books, 1990), which takes Philips's manuscript versions of her poems as its copytext. Annotations have been provided by faculty and students at the University of Virginia. For a full description of this object, see its ESTC entry.

Editorial Statements

Research informing these annotations draws on publicly-accessible resources, with links provided where possible. Annotations have also included common knowledge, defined as information that can be found in multiple reliable sources. If you notice an error in these annotations, please contact lic.open.anthology@gmail.com.

Original spelling and capitalization is retained, though the long s has been silently modernized and ligatured forms are not encoded.

Hyphenation has not been retained, except where necessary for the sense of the word.

Page breaks have been retained. Catchwords, signatures, and running headers have not. Where pages break in the middle of a word, the complete word has been indicated prior to the page beginning.

Materials have been transcribed from and checked against first editions, where possible. See the Sources section.


Philips, Katherine. "Against Pleasure"Poems by the most deservedly admired Mrs. Katherine Philips, the matchless Orinda; to which is added Monsieur Corneille's Pompey & Horace, tragedies; with several other translations out of French, Printed by J.M. for H. Herringman, 1667. Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. http://anthologydev.lib.virginia.edu/work/Philips/philips-against-pleasure. Accessed: 2020-07-13T05:49:25.78Z

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66 Against Pleasure. Set by Dr. Coleman. 1There's no such thing as pleasure here, 2'Tis all a perfect cheat, 67 3Which does but shine and disappear, 4Whose charm is but deceit: 5The empty bribe of yielding souls, 6Which first betrays, and then controls. 7'Tis true, it looks at distance fair, 8But if we do approach, 9The fruit of Sodomn001n001Sodom was a city destroyed by God for their sins. Source: Oxford English Dictionary will impair, 10And perish at a touch; 11It being than in fancy less, 12And we expect more than possess. 13For by our pleasure we are cloy'dn002n002Cloy'd refers to being made weary by something that was initially pleasureable or sweet. 14And so desire is done; 15Or else, like rivers, they make wide 16The channels where they run; 17And either way true bliss destroys, 18Making us narrow, or our joys. 19We covet pleasure easily, 20But ne'er true bliss possess; 21For many things must make it be, 22But one may make it less. 23Nay, were our state as we would choose it, 24'Twould be consumed by fear to lose it. 25What art thou, then, thou wingëd air, 26More weak and swift than fame? 27Whose next successor is despair, 28And its attendant shame. 68 29Th' experienced prince then reason had 30Who said of Pleasure,-"It is mad."