Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
 
Amoretti and Epithalamion
Amoretti
 
 
I
HAPPY ye leaves! when as those lilly hands,
Which hold my life in their dead doing might,
Shall handle you, and hold in loves soft bands,
Lyke captives trembling at the victors sight.
And happy lines! on which, with starry light,        5
Those lamping eyes will deigne sometimes to look,
And reade the sorrowes of my dying spright,
Written with teares in harts close bleeding book.
And happy rymes! bath’d in the sacred brooke
Of Helicon, whence she derived is,        10
When ye behold that angels blessed looke,
My soules long lacked foode, my heavens blis.
Leaves, lines, and rymes, seeke her to please alone,
Whom if ye please, I care for other none.
 
II
Unquiet thought, whom at the first I bred
        15
Of th’ inward bale of my love pined hart,
And sithens have with sighes and sorrowes fed,
Till greater then my wombe thou woxen art:
Breake forth at length out of the inner part,
In which thou lurkest lyke to vipers brood,        20
And seeke some succour, both to ease my smart
And also to sustayne thy selfe with food.
But if in presence of that fayrest proud
Thou chance to come, fall lowly at her feet;
And with meeke humblesse and afflicted mood        25
Pardon for thee, and grace for me intreat.
Which if she graunt, then live, and my love cherish,
If not, die soone, and I with thee will perish.
 
III
The soverayne beauty which I doo admyre,
Witnesse the world how worthy to be prayzed;        30
The light wherof hath kindled heavenly fyre
In my fraile spirit, by her from basenesse raysed:
That being now with her huge brightnesse dazed,
Base thing I can no more endure to view;
But looking still on her, I stand amazed        35
At wondrous sight of so celestiall hew.
So when my toung would speak her praises dew,
It stopped is with thoughts astonishment;
And when my pen would write her titles true,
It ravisht is with fancies wonderment.        40
Yet in my hart I then both speake and write
The wonder that my wit cannot endite.
 
IV
New Yeare, forth looking out of Janus gate,
Doth seeme to promise hope of new delight,
And bidding th’ old adieu, his passed date        45
Bids all old thoughts to die in dumpish spright;
And calling forth out of sad Winters night
Fresh Love, that long hath slept in cheerlesse bower,
Wils him awake, and soone about him dight
His wanton wings and darts of deadly power.        50
For lusty Spring now in his timely howre
Is ready to come forth, him to receive;
And warnes the Earth, with divers colord flowre
To decke hir selfe, and her faire mantle weave.
Then you, faire flowre, in whom fresh youth doth raine,        55
Prepare your selfe new love to entertaine.
 
V
Rudely thou wrongest my deare harts desire,
In finding fault with her too portly pride:
The thing which I doo most in her admire
Is of the world unworthy most envide.        60
For in those lofty lookes is close implide
Scorn of base things, and sdeigne of foule dishonor;
Thretning rash eies which gaze on her so wide,
That loosely they ne dare to looke upon her.
Such pride is praise, such portlinesse is honor,        65
That boldned innocence beares in hir eies,
And her faire countenance, like a goodly banner,
Spreds in defiaunce of all enemies.
Was never in this world ought worthy tride,
Without some spark of such self-pleasing pride.        70
 
VI
Be nought dismayd that her unmoved mind
Doth still persist in her rebellious pride:
Such love, not lyke to lusts of baser kynd,
The harder wonne, the firmer will abide.
The durefull oake, whose sap is not yet dride,        75
Is long ere it conceive the kindling fyre:
But when it once doth burne, it doth divide
Great heat, and makes his flames to heaven aspire.
So hard it is to kindle new desire
In gentle brest, that shall endure for ever:        80
Deepe is the wound that dints the parts entire
With chast affects, that naught but death can sever.
Then thinke not long in taking litle paine
To knit the knot that ever shall remaine.
 
VII
Fayre eyes, the myrrour of my mazed hart,
        85
What wondrous vertue is contaynd in you,
The which both lyfe and death forth from you dart
Into the object of your mighty view?
For when ye mildly looke with lovely hew,
Then is my soule with life and love inspired:        90
But when ye lowre, or looke on me askew,
Then doe I die, as one with lightning fyred.
But since that lyfe is more then death desyred,
Looke ever lovely, as becomes you best,
That your bright beams, of my weak eies admyred,        95
May kindle living fire within my brest.
Such life should be the honor of your light,
Such death the sad ensample of your might.
 
VIII
More then most faire, full of the living fire
Kindled above unto the Maker neere:        100
No eies, but joyes, in which al powers conspire,
That to the world naught else be counted deare:
Thrugh your bright beams doth not the blinded guest
Shoot out his darts to base affections wound;
But angels come, to lead fraile mindes to rest        105
In chast desires, on heavenly beauty bound.
You frame my thoughts, and fashion me within,
You stop my toung, and teach my hart to speake,
You calme the storme that passion did begin,
Strong thrugh your cause, but by your vertue weak.        110
Dark is the world where your light shined never;
Well is he borne that may behold you ever.
 
IX
Long-while I sought to what I might compare
Those powrefull eies which lighten my dark spright;
Yet find I nought on earth to which I dare        115
Resemble th’ ymage of their goodly light.
Not to the sun; for they doo shine by night:
Nor to the moone; for they are changed never:
Nor to the starres; for they have purer sight:
Nor to the fire; for they consume not ever:        120
Nor to the lightning; for they still persever:
Nor to the diamond; for they are more tender:
Nor unto christall; for nought may them sever:
Nor unto glasse; such basenesse mought offend her.
Then to the Maker selfe they likest be,        125
Whose light doth lighten all that here we see.
 
X
Unrighteous Lord of Love, what law is this,
That me thou makest thus tormented be,
The whiles she lordeth in licentious blisse
Of her freewill, scorning both thee and me?        130
See how the tyrannesse doth joy to see
The huge massacres which her eyes do make,
And humbled harts brings captive unto thee,
That thou of them mayst mightie vengeance take!
But her proud hart doe thou a little shake,        135
And that high look, with which she doth comptroll
All this worlds pride, bow to a baser make,
And al her faults in thy black booke enroll:
That I may laugh at her in equall sort
As she doth laugh at me, and makes my pain her sport.        140
 
XI
Dayly when I do seeke and sew for peace,
And hostages doe offer for my truth,
She, cruell warriour, doth her selfe addresse
To battell, and the weary war renew’th:
Ne wilbe moov’d with reason or with rewth,        145
To graunt small respit to my restlesse toile;
But greedily her fell intent poursewth,
Of my poore life to make unpitteid spoile.
Yet my poore life, all sorrowes to assoyle,
I would her yield, her wrath to pacify:        150
But then she seekes, with torment and turmoyle,
To force me live, and will not let me dy.
All paine hath end, and every war hath peace;
But mine no price nor prayer may surcease.
 
XII
One day I sought with her hart-thrilling eies
        155
To make a truce, and termes to entertaine,
All fearlesse then of so false enimies,
Which sought me to entrap in treasons traine.
So as I then disarmed did remaine,
A wicked ambush, which lay hidden long        160
In the close covert of her guilefull eyen,
Thence breaking forth, did thick about me throng.
Too feeble I t’ abide the brunt so strong,
Was forst to yeeld my selfe into their hands:
Who me captiving streight with rigorous wrong,        165
Have ever since me kept in cruell bands.
So, ladie, now to you I doo complaine,
Against your eies that justice I may gaine.
 
XIII
In that proud port which her so goodly graceth,
Whiles her faire face she reares up to the skie,        170
And to the ground her eie lids low embaseth,
Most goodly temperature ye may descry:
Myld humblesse mixt with awfull majesty.
For looking on the earth, whence she was borne,
Her minde remembreth her mortalitie:        175
What so is fayrest shall to earth returne.
But that same lofty countenance seemes to scorne
Base thing, and thinke how she to heaven may clime,
Treading downe earth as lothsome and forlorne,
That hinders heavenly thoughts with drossy slime.        180
Yet lowly still vouchsafe to looke on me;
Such lowlinesse shall make you lofty be.
 
XIV
Retourne agayne, my forces late dismayd,
Unto the siege by you abandon’d quite.
Great shame it is to leave, like one afrayd,        185
So fayre a peece for one repulse so light.
Gaynst such strong castles needeth greater might
Then those small forts which ye were wont belay:
Such haughty mynds, enur’d to hardy fight,
Disdayne to yield unto the first assay.        190
Bring therefore all the forces that ye may,
And lay incessant battery to her heart;
Playnts, prayers, vowes, ruth, sorrow, and dismay;
Those engins can the proudest love convert.
And if those fayle, fall down and dy before her;        195
So dying live, and living do adore her.
 
XV
Ye tradefull merchants, that with weary toyle
Do seeke most pretious things to make your gain,
And both the Indias of their treasures spoile,
What needeth you to seeke so farre in vaine?        200
For loe! my love doth in her selfe containe
All this worlds riches that may farre be found:
If saphyres, loe! her eies be saphyres plaine;
If rubies, loe! hir lips be rubies sound;
If pearles, hir teeth be pearles both pure and round;        205
If yvorie, her forhead yvory weene;
If gold, her locks are finest gold on ground;
If silver, her faire hands are silver sheene:
But that which fairest is but few behold,
Her mind, adornd with vertues manifold.        210
 
XVI
One day as I unwarily did gaze
On those fayre eyes, my loves immortall light,
The whiles my stonisht hart stood in amaze,
Through sweet illusion of her lookes delight,
I mote perceive how, in her glauncing sight,        215
Legions of loves with little wings did fly,
Darting their deadly arrowes, fyry bright,
At every rash beholder passing by.
One of those archers closely I did spy,
Ayming his arrow at my very hart:        220
When suddenly, with twincle of her eye,
The damzell broke his misintended dart.
Had she not so doon, sure I had bene slayne;
Yet as it was, I hardly scap’t with paine.
 
XVII
The glorious pourtraict of that angels face,
        225
Made to amaze weake mens confused skil,
And this worlds worthlesse glory to embase,
What pen, what pencill, can expresse her fill?
For though he colours could devize at will,
And eke his learned hand at pleasure guide,        230
Least, trembling, it his workmanship should spill,
Yet many wondrous things there are beside.
The sweet eye-glaunces, that like arrowes glide,
The charming smiles, that rob sence from the hart,
The lovely pleasance, and the lofty pride,        235
Cannot expressed be by any art.
A greater craftesmans hand thereto doth neede,
That can expresse the life of things indeed.
 
XVIII
The rolling wheele, that runneth often round,
The hardest steele in tract of time doth teare:        240
And drizling drops, that often doe redound,
The firmest flint doth in continuance weare:
Yet cannot I, with many a dropping teare
And long intreaty, soften her hand hart,
That she will once vouchsafe my plaint to heare,        245
Or looke with pitty on my payneful smart.
But when I pleade, she bids me play my part,
And when I weep, she sayes teares are but water,
And when I sigh, she sayes I know the art,
And when I waile, she turnes hir selfe to laughter.        250
So do I weepe, and wayle, and pleade in vaine,
Whiles she as steele and flint doth still remayne.
 
XIX
The merry cuckow, messenger of Spring,
His trompet shrill hath thrise already sounded,
That warnes al lovers wayt upon their king,        255
Who now is comming forth with girland crouned.
With noyse whereof the quyre of byrds resounded
Their anthemes sweet, devized of Loves prayse,
That all the woods theyr ecchoes back rebounded,
As if they knew the meaning of their layes.        260
But mongst them all which did Loves honor rayse,
No word was heard of her that most it ought,
But she his precept proudly disobayes,
And doth his ydle message set at nought.
Therefore, O Love, unlesse she turne to thee        265
Ere cuckow end, let her a rebell be.
 
XX
In vaine I seeke and sew to her for grace,
And doe myne humbled hart before her poure:
The whiles her foot she in my necke doth place,
And tread my life downe in the lowly floure.        270
And yet the lyon, that is lord of power,
And reigneth over every beast in field,
In his most pride disdeigneth to devoure
The silly lambe that to his might doth yield.
But she, more cruell and more salvage wylde,        275
Than either lyon or the lyonesse,
Shames not to be with guiltlesse bloud defylde,
But taketh glory in her cruelnesse.
Fayrer then fayrest, let none ever say
That ye were blooded in a yeelded pray.        280
 
XXI
Was it the worke of Nature or of Art,
Which tempred so the feature of her face,
That pride and meeknesse, mixt by equall part,
Doe both appeare t’ adorne her beauties grace?
For with mild pleasance, which doth pride displace,        285
She to her love doth lookers eyes allure;
And with sterne countenance back again doth chace
Their looser lookes that stir up lustes impure.
With such strange termes her eyes she doth inure,
That with one looke she doth my life dismay,        290
And with another doth it streight recure:
Her smile me drawes, her frowne me drives away.
Thus doth she traine and teach me with her lookes:
Such art of eyes I never read in bookes.
 
XXII
This holy season, fit to fast and pray,
        295
Men to devotion ought to be inclynd:
Therefore, I lykewise, on so holy day,
For my sweet saynt some service fit will find.
Her temple fayre is built within my mind,
In which her glorious ymage placed is,        300
On which my thoughts doo day and night attend,
Lyke sacred priests that never thinke amisse.
There I to her, as th’ author of my blisse,
Will builde an altar to appease her yre;
And on the same my hart will sacrifise,        305
Burning in flames of pure and chast desyre:
The which vouchsafe, O goddesse, to accept,
Amongst thy deerest relicks to be kept.
 
XXIII
Penelope, for her Ulisses sake,
Deviz’d a web her wooers to deceave,        310
In which the worke that she all day did make,
The same at night she did againe unreave.
Such subtile craft my damzell doth conceave,
Th’ importune suit of my desire to shonne:
For all that I in many dayes doo weave        315
In one short houre I find by her undonne.
So when I thinke to end that I begonne,
I must begin and never bring to end:
For with one looke she spils that long I sponne,
And with one word my whole years work doth rend.        320
Such labour like the spyders web I fynd,
Whose fruitlesse worke is broken with least wynd.
 
XXIV
When I behold that beauties wonderment,
And rare perfection of each goodly part,
Of Natures skill the onely complement,        325
I honor and admire the Makers art.
But when I feele the bitter balefull smart
Which her fayre eyes unwares doe worke in mee,
That death out of theyr shiny beames doe dart,
I thinke that I a new Pandora see;        330
Whom all the gods in councell did agree,
Into this sinfull world from heaven to send,
That she to wicked men a scourge should bee,
For all their faults with which they did offend.
But since ye are my scourge, I will intreat        335
That for my faults ye will me gently beat.
 
XXV
How long shall this lyke dying lyfe endure,
And know no end of her owne mysery,
But wast and weare away in termes unsure,
Twixt feare and hope depending doubtfully?        340
Yet better were attonce to let me die,
And shew the last ensample of your pride,
Then to torment me thus with cruelty,
To prove your powre, which I too wel have tride.
But yet if in your hardned brest ye hide        345
A close intent at last to shew me grace,
Then all the woes and wrecks which I abide
As meanes of blisse I gladly wil embrace,
And wish that more and greater they might be,
That greater meede at last may turne to mee.        350
 
XXVI
Sweet is the rose, but growes upon a brere;
Sweet is the junipere, but sharpe his bough;
Sweet is the eglantine, but pricketh nere;
Sweet is the firbloome, but his braunches rough;
Sweet is the cypresse, but his rynd is tough;        355
Sweet is the nut, but bitter is his pill;
Sweet is the broome-flowre, but yet sowre enough;
And sweet is moly, but his root is ill.
So every sweet with soure is tempred still,
That maketh it be coveted the more:        360
For easie things, that may be got at will,
Most sorts of men doe set but little store.
Why then should I accoumpt of little paine,
That endlesse pleasure shall unto me gaine?
 
XXVII
Faire proud! now tell me, why should faire be proud,
        365
Sith all worlds glorie is but drosse uncleane,
And in the shade of death it selfe shall shroud,
How ever now thereof ye little weene?
That goodly idoll, now so gay beseene,
Shall doffe her fleshes borowd fayre attyre,        370
And be forgot as it had never beene,
That many now much worship and admire.
Ne any then shall after it inquire,
Ne any mention shall thereof remaine,
But what this verse, that never shall expyre,        375
Shall to you purchas with her thankles paine.
Faire, be no lenger proud of that shall perish,
But that which shall you make immortall cherish.
 
XXVIII
The laurel leafe which you this day doe weare
Gives me great hope of your relenting mynd:        380
For since it is the badg which I doe beare,
Ye, bearing it, doe seeme to me inclind.
The powre thereof, which ofte in me I find,
Let it lykewise your gentle brest inspire
With sweet infusion, and put you in mind        385
Of that proud mayd whom now those leaves attyre.
Proud Daphne, scorning Phæbus lovely fyre,
On the Thessalian shore from him did flie:
For which the gods, in theyr revengefull yre,
Did her transforme into a laurell tree.        390
Then fly no more, fayre love, from Phebus chace,
But in your brest his leafe and love embrace.
 
XXIX
See how the stubborne damzell doth deprave
My simple meaning with disdaynfull scorne,
And by the bay which I unto her gave        395
Accoumpts my self her captive quite forlorne.
The bay (quoth she) is of the victours borne,
Yielded them by the vanquisht as theyr meeds,
And they therewith doe poetes heads adorne,
To sing the glory of their famous deedes.        400
But sith she will the conquest challeng needs,
Let her accept me as her faithfull thrall,
That her great triumph, which my skill exceeds,
I may in trump of fame blaze over all.
Then would I decke her head with glorious bayes,        405
And fill the world with her victorious prayse.
 
XXX
My love is lyke to yse, and I to fyre;
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolv’d through my so hot desyre,
But harder growes the more I her intreat?        410
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not delayd by her hart frosen cold,
But that I burne much more in boyling sweat,
And feele my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,        415
That fire, which all things melts, should harden yse,
And yse, which is congeald with sencelesse cold,
Should kindle fyre by wonderful devyse?
Such is the powre of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kynd.        420
 
XXXI
Ah! why hath Nature to so hard a hart
Given so goodly giftes of beauties grace,
Whose pryde depraves each other better part,
And all those pretious ornaments deface?
Sith to all other beastes of bloody race        425
A dreadfull countenaunce she given hath,
That with theyrterrour al the rest may chace,
And warne to shun the daunger of theyr wrath.
But my proud one doth worke the greater scath,
Through sweet allurement of her lovely hew,        430
That she the better may in bloody bath
Of such poore thralls her cruell hands embrew.
But did she know how ill these two accord,
Such cruelty she would have soone abhord.
 
XXXII
The paynefull smith with force of fervent heat
        435
The hardest yron soone doth mollify;
That with his heavy sledge he can it beat,
And fashion to what he it list apply.
Yet cannot all these flames in which I fry
Her hart, more harde then yron, soft a whit;        440
Ne all the playnts and prayers with which I
Doe beat on th’ andvyle of her stubberne wit:
But still, the more she fervent sees my fit,
The more she frieseth in her wilfull pryde;
And harder growes, the harder she is smit,        445
With all the playnts which to her be applyde.
What then remaines but I to ashes burne,
And she to stones at length all frosen turne?
 
XXXIII
Great wrong I doe, I can it not deny,
To that most sacred empresse, my dear dred,        450
Not finishing her Queene of Faëry,
That mote enlarge her living prayses, dead.
But Lodwick, this of grace to me aread:
Do ye not thinck th’ accomplishment of it
Sufficient worke for one mans simple head,        455
All were it, as the rest, but rudely writ?
How then should I, without another wit,
Thinck ever to endure so tædious toyle,
Sins that this one is tost with troublous fit
Of a proud love, that doth my spirite spoyle?        460
Cease then, till she vouchsafe to grawnt me rest,
Or lend you me another living brest.
 
XXXIV
Lyke as a ship, that through the ocean wyde
By conduct of some star doth make her way,
Whenas a storme hath dimd her trusty guyde,        465
Out of her course doth wander far astray;
So I, whose star, that wont with her bright ray
Me to direct, with cloudes is overcast,
Doe wander now in darknesse and dismay,
Through hidden perils round about me plast.        470
Yet hope I well, that when this storme is past,
My Helice, the lodestar of my lyfe,
Will shine again, and looke on me at last,
With lovely light to cleare my cloudy grief.
Till then I wander carefull comfortlesse,        475
In secret sorrow and sad pensivenesse.
 
XXXV
My hungry eyes, through greedy covetize
Still to behold the object of their paine,
With no contentment can themselves suffize,
But having pine, and having not complaine.        480
For lacking it, they cannot lyfe sustayne,
And having it, they gaze on it the more:
In their amazement lyke Narcissus vaine,
Whose eyes him starv’d: so plenty makes me poore.
Yet are mine eyes so filled with the store        485
Of that faire sight, that nothing else they brooke,
But lothe the things which they did like before,
And can no more endure on them to looke.
All this worlds glory seemeth vayne to me,
And all their showes but shadowes, saving she.        490
 
XXXVI
Tell me, when shall these wearie woes have end,
Or shall their ruthlesse torment never cease,
But al my dayes in pining languor spend,
Without hope of aswagement or release?
Is there no meanes for me to purchace peace,        495
Or make agreement with her thrilling eyes:
But that their cruelty doth still increace,
And dayly more augment my miseryes?
But when ye have shewed all extremityes,
Then thinke how litle glory ye have gayned        500
By slaying him, whose lyfe though ye despyse,
Mote have your life in honour long maintayned.
But by his death, which some perhaps will mone,
Ye shall condemned be of many a one.
 
XXXVII
What guyle is this, that those her golden tresses
        505
She doth attyre under a net of gold,
And with sly skill so cunningly them dresses,
That which is gold or heare may scarse be told?
Is it that mens frayle eyes, which gaze too bold,
She may entangle in that golden snare,        510
And being caught, may craftily enfold
Theyr weaker harts, which are not wel aware?
Take heed therefore, myne eyes, how ye doe stare
Henceforth too rashly on that guilefull net,
In which if ever ye entrapped are,        515
Out of her bands ye by no meanes shall get.
Fondnesse it were for any, being free,
To covet fetters, though they golden bee.
 
XXXVIII
Arion, when, through tempests cruel wracke,
He forth was thrown into the greedy seas,        520
Through the sweet musick which his harp did make
Allur’d a dolphin him from death to ease.
But my rude musick, which was wont to please
Some dainty eares, cannot, with any skill,
The dreadfull tempest of her wrath appease,        525
Nor move the dolphin from her stubborne will;
But in her pride she dooth persever still,
All carelesse how my life for her decayse:
Yet with one word she can it save or spill.
To spill were pitty, but to save were prayse.        530
Chose rather to be praysd for dooing good,
Then to be blam’d for spilling guiltlesse blood.
 
XXXIX
Sweet smile, the daughter of the Queene of Love,
Expressing all thy mothers powrefull art,
With which she wonts to temper angry Jove,        535
When all the gods he threats with thundring dart:
Sweet is thy vertue, as thy selfe sweet art.
For when on me thou shinedst late in sadnesse,
A melting pleasance ran through every part,
And me revived with hart robbing gladnesse:        540
Whylest rapt with joy resembling heavenly madnes,
My soule was ravisht quite, as in a traunce,
And feeling thence no more her sorowes sadnesse,
Fed on the fulnesse of that chearefull glaunce.
More sweet than nectar, or ambrosiall meat,        545
Seem’d every bit which thenceforth I did eat.
 
XL
Mark when she smiles with amiable cheare,
And tell me whereto can ye lyken it;
When on each eyelid sweetly doe appeare
An hundred Graces as in shade to sit.        550
Lykest it seemeth, in my simple wit,
Unto the fayre sunshine in somers day,
That, when a dreadfull storme away is flit,
Thrugh the broad world doth spred his goodly ray:
At sight whereof, each bird that sits on spray,        555
And every beast that to his den was fled,
Comes forth afresh out of their late dismay,
And to the light lift up theyr drouping hed.
So my storme beaten hart likewise is cheared
With that sunshine, when cloudy looks are cleared.        560
 
XLI
Is it her nature, or is it her will,
To be so cruell to an humbled foe?
If nature, then she may it mend with skill,
If will, then she at will may will forgoe.
But if her nature and her wil be so,        565
That she will plague the man that loves her most,
And take delight t’ encrease a wretches woe,
Then all her natures goodly guifts are lost;
And that same glorious beauties ydle boast
Is but a bayt such wretches to beguile,        570
As, being long in her loves tempest tost,
She meanes at last to make her piteous spoyle.
O fayrest fayre, let never it be named,
That so fayre beauty was so fowly shamed.
 
XLII
The love which me so cruelly tormenteth
        575
So pleasing is in my extreamest paine,
That all the more my sorrow it augmenteth,
The more I love and doe embrace my bane.
Ne doe I wish (for wishing were but vaine)
To be acquit fro my continuall smart,        580
But joy, her thrall for ever to remayne,
And yield for pledge my poore captyved hart;
The which, that it from her may never start,
Let her, yf please her, bynd with adamant chayne,
And from all wandring loves, which mote pervart        585
His safe assurance, strongly it restrayne.
Onely let her abstaine from cruelty,
And doe me not before my time to dy.
 
XLIII
Shall I then silent be, or shall I speake?
And if I speake, her wrath renew I shall:        590
And if I silent be, my hart will breake,
Or choked be with overflowing gall.
What tyranny is this, both my hart to thrall,
And eke my toung with proud restraint to tie;
That nether I may speake nor thinke at all,        595
But like a stupid stock in silence die!
Yet I my hart with silence secretly
Will teach to speak, and my just cause to plead,
And eke mine eies, with meek humility,
Love-learned letters to her eyes to read:        600
Which her deep wit, that true harts thought can spel,
Wil soone conceive, and learne to construe well.
 
XLIV
When those renoumed noble peres of Greece
Thrugh stubborn pride amongst themselves did jar,
Forgetfull of the famous golden fleece,        605
Then Orpheus with his harp theyr strife did bar.
But this continuall cruell civill warre,
The which my selfe against my selfe doe make,
Whilest my weak powres of passions warreid arre,
No skill can stint, nor reason can aslake.        610
But when in hand my tunelesse harp I take,
Then doe I more augment my foes despight,
And griefe renew, and passions doe awake
To battaile, fresh against my selfe to fight.
Mongst whome the more I seeke to settle peace,        615
The more I fynd their malice to increace.
 
XLV
Leave, lady, in your glasse of christall clene
Your goodly selfe for evermore to vew,
And in my selfe, my inward selfe I meane,
Most lively lyke behold your semblant trew.        620
Within my hart, though hardly it can shew
Thing so divine to vew of earthly eye,
The fayre idea of your celestiall hew
And every part remaines immortally:
And were it not that through your cruelty        625
With sorrow dimmed and deformd it were,
The goodly ymage of your visnomy
Clearer then christall would therein appere.
But if your selfe in me ye playne will see,
Remove the cause by which your fayre beames darkned be.        630
 
XLVI
When my abodes prefixed time is spent,
My cruell fayre streight bids me wend my way:
But then from heaven most hideous stormes are sent,
As willing me against her will to stay.
Whom then shall I, or heaven or her, obay?        635
The heavens know best what is the best for me:
But as she will, whose will my life doth sway,
My lower heaven, so it perforce must bee.
But ye high hevens, that all this sorowe see,
Sith all your tempests cannot hold me backe,        640
Aswage your stormes, or else both you and she
Will both together me too sorely wrack.
Enough it is for one man to sustaine
The stormes which she alone on me doth raine.
 
XLVII
Trust not the treason of those smyling lookes,
        645
Untill ye have theyr guylefull traynes well tryde:
For they are lyke but unto golden hookes,
That from the foolish fish theyr bayts do hyde:
So she with flattring smyles weake harts doth guyde
Unto her love, and tempte to theyr decay;        650
Whome being caught, she kills with cruell pryde,
And feeds at pleasure on the wretched pray.
Yet even whylst her bloody hands them slay,
Her eyes looke lovely, and upon them smyle,
That they take pleasure in her cruell play:        655
And, dying, doe them selves of payne be guyle.
O mighty charm! which makes men love theyr bane,
And thinck they dy with pleasure, live with payne.
 
XLVIII
Innocent paper, whom too cruell hand
Did make the matter to avenge her yre,        660
And ere she could thy cause wel understand,
Did sacrifize unto the greedy fyre:
Well worthy thou to have found better hyre
Then so bad end, for hereticks ordayned:
Yet heresy nor treason didst conspire,        665
But plead thy maisters cause, unjustly payned:
Whom she, all carelesse of his griefe, constrayned
To utter forth the anguish of his hart:
And would not heare, when he to her complayned
The piteous passion of his dying smart.        670
Yet live for ever, though against her will,
And speake her good, though she requite it ill.
 
XLIX
Fayre cruell, why are ye so fierce and cruell?
Is it because your eyes have powre to kill?
Then know, that mercy is the Mighties jewell,        675
And greater glory thinke to save then spill.
But if it be your pleasure and proud will
To shew the powre of your imperious eyes,
Then not on him that never thought you ill,
But bend your force against your enemyes.        680
Let them feele th’ utmost of your crueltyes,
And kill with looks, as cockatrices doo:
But him that at your footstoole humbled lies,
With mercifull regard, give mercy too.
Such mercy shal you make admyred to be;        685
So shall you live by giving life to me.
 
L
Long languishing in double malady,
Of my harts wound and of my bodies greife,
There came to me a leach, that would apply
Fit medicines for my bodies best reliefe.        690
Vayne man! (quod I) that hast but little priefe
In deep discovery of the mynds disease,
Is not the hart of all the body chiefe,
And rules the members as it selfe doth please?
Then with some cordialls seeke first to appease        695
The inward languour of my wounded hart,
And then my body shall have shortly ease:
But such sweet cordialls passe physitions art.
Then, my lyfes leach, doe you your skill reveale,
And with one salve both hart and body heale.        700
 
LI
Doe I not see that fayrest ymages
Of hardest marble are of purpose made,
For that they should endure through many ages,
Ne let theyr famous moniments to fade?
Why then doe I, untrainde in lovers trade,        705
Her hardnes blame, which I should more commend?
Sith never ought was excellent assayde,
Which was not hard t’ atchive and bring to end:
Ne ought so hard, but he that would attend
Mote soften it and to his will allure:        710
So doe I hope her stubborne hart to bend,
And that it then more stedfast will endure.
Onely my paines wil be the more to get her:
But having her, my joy wil be the greater.
 
LII
So oft as homeward I from her depart,
        715
I go lyke one that, having lost the field,
Is prisoner led away with heavy hart,
Despoyld of warlike armes and knowen shield.
So doe I now my selfe a prisoner yeeld
To sorrow and to solitary paine:        720
From presence of my dearest deare exylde,
Longwhile alone in languor to remaine.
There let no thought of joy, or pleasure vaine,
Dare to approch, that may my solace breed;
But sudden dumps, and drery sad disdayne        725
Of all worlds gladnesse, more my torment feed.
So I her absens will my penaunce make,
That of her presens I my meed may take.
 
LIII
The panther, knowing that his spotted hyde
Doth please all beasts, but that his looks them fray,        730
Within a bush his dreadfull head doth hide,
To let them gaze, whylest he on them may pray.
Right so my cruell fayre with me doth play:
For with the goodly semblant of her hew
She doth allure me to mine owne decay,        735
And then no mercy will unto me shew.
Great shame it is, thing so divine in view,
Made for to be the worlds most ornament,
To make the bayte her gazers to embrew:
Good shames to be to ill an instrument:        740
But mercy doth with beautie best agree,
As in theyr Maker ye them best may see.
 
LIV
Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love, lyke the spectator, ydly sits,
Beholding me, that all the pageants play,        745
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I joy, when glad occasion fits,
And mask in myrth lyke to a comedy:
Soone after, when my joy to sorrow flits,
I waile, and make my woes a tragedy.        750
Yet she, beholding me with constant eye,
Delights not in my merth, nor rues my smart:
But when I laugh, she mocks, and when I cry,
She laughes, and hardens evermore her hart.
What then can move her? If nor merth nor mone,        755
She is no woman, but a sencelesse stone.
 
LV
So oft as I her beauty doe behold,
And therewith doe her cruelty compare,
I marvaile of what substance was the mould
The which her made attonce so cruell faire.        760
Not earth; for her high thoghts more heavenly are:
Not water; for her love doth burne like fyre:
Not ayre; for she is not so light or rare:
Not fyre; for she doth friese with faint desire.
Then needs another element inquire,        765
Whereof she mote be made; that is the skye.
For to the heaven her haughty looks aspire,
And eke her mind is pure immortall hye.
Then sith to heaven ye lykened are the best,
Be lyke in mercy as in all the rest.        770
 
LVI
Fayre ye be sure, but cruell and unkind,
As is a tygre, that with greedinesse
Hunts after bloud, when he by chance doth find
A feeble beast, doth felly him oppresse.
Fayre be ye sure, but proud and pittilesse,        775
As is a storme, that all things doth prostrate,
Finding a tree alone all comfortlesse,
Beats on it strongly, it to ruinate.
Fayre be ye sure, but hard and obstinate,
As is a rocke amidst the raging floods,        780
Gaynst which a ship, of succour desolate,
Doth suffer wreck both of her selfe and goods.
That ship, that tree, and that same beast am I,
Whom ye doe wreck, doe ruine, and destroy.
 
LVII
Sweet warriour, when shall I have peace with you?
        785
High time it is this warre now ended were:
Which I no lenger can endure to sue,
Ne your incessant battry more to beare.
So weake my powres, so sore my wounds appeare,
That wonder is how I should live a jot,        790
Seeing my hart through launched every where
With thousand arrowes which your eies have shot:
Yet shoot ye sharpely still, and spare me not,
But glory thinke to make these cruel stoures.
Ye cruell one! what glory can be got,        795
In slaying him that would live gladly yours?
Make peace therefore, and graunt me timely grace,
That al my wounds wil heale in little space.
 
LVIII
  By her that is most assured to her selfe
Weake is th’ assurance that weake flesh reposeth        800
In her owne powre, and scorneth others ayde;
That soonest fals, when as she most supposeth
Her selfe assurd, and is of nought affrayd.
All flesh is frayle, and all her strength unstayd,
Like a vaine bubble blowen up with ayre:        805
Devouring tyme and changeful chance have prayd
Her glories pride, that none may it repayre.
Ne none so rich or wise, so strong or fayre,
But fayleth, trusting on his owne assurance:
And he that standeth on the hyghest stayre        810
Fals lowest: for on earth nought hath enduraunce.
Why then doe ye, proud fayre, misdeeme so farre,
That to your selfe ye most assured arre?
 
LIX
Thrise happie she that is so well assured
Unto her selfe, and setled so in hart,        815
That nether will for better be allured,
Ne feard with worse to any chaunce to start:
But, like a steddy ship, doth strongly part
The raging waves, and keepes her course aright,
Ne ought for tempest doth from it depart,        820
Ne ought for fayrer weathers false delight.
Such selfe assurance need not feare the spight
Of grudging foes, ne favour seek of friends:
But in the stay of her owne stedfast might,
Nether to one her selfe nor other bends.        825
Most happy she that most assured doth rest;
But he most happy who such one loves best.
 
LX
They that in course of heavenly spheares are skild
To every planet point his sundry yeare,
In which her circles voyage is fulfild:        830
As Mars in three score yeares doth run his spheare.
So since the winged god his planet cleare
Began in me to move, one yeare is spent:
The which doth longer unto me appeare,
Then al those fourty which my life outwent.        835
Then, by that count which lovers books invent,
The spheare of Cupid fourty yeares containes:
Which I have wasted in long languishment,
That seemd the longer for my greater paines.
But let my loves fayre planet short her wayes        840
This yeare ensuing, or else short my dayes.
 
LXI
The glorious image of the Makers beautie,
My soverayne saynt, the idoll of my thought,
Dare not henceforth, above the bounds of dewtie,
T’ accuse of pride, or rashly blame for ought.        845
For being, as she is, divinely wrought,
And of the brood of angels hevenly borne,
And with the crew of blessed saynts upbrought,
Each of which did her with theyr guifts adorne,
The bud of joy, the blossome of the morne,        850
The beame of light, whom mortal eyes admyre,
What reason is it then but she should scorne
Base things, that to her love too bold aspire?
Such heavenly formes ought rather worshipt be,
Then dare be lov’d by men of meane degree.        855
 
LXII
The weary yeare his race now having run,
The new begins his compast course anew:
With shew of morning mylde he hath begun,
Betokening peace and plenty to ensew.
So let us, which this chaunge of weather vew,        860
Chaunge eeke our mynds, and former lives amend;
The old yeares sinnes forepast let us eschew,
And fly the faults with which we did offend.
Then shall the new yeares joy forth freshly send
Into the glooming world his gladsome ray;        865
And all these stormes, which now his beauty blend,
Shall turne to caulmes, and tymely cleare away.
So likewise, love, cheare you your heavy spright,
And chaunge old yeares annoy to new delight.
 
LXIII
After long stormes and tempests sad assay,
        870
Which hardly I endured heretofore,
In dread of death, and daungerous dismay,
With which my silly barke was tossed sore,
I doe at length descry the happy shore,
In which I hope ere long for to arryve:        875
Fayre soyle it seemes from far, and fraught with store
Of all that deare and daynty is alyve.
Most happy he that can at last atchyve
The joyous safety of so sweet a rest;
Whose least delight sufficeth to deprive        880
Remembrance of all paines which him opprest.
All paines are nothing in respect of this,
All sorrowes short that gaine eternall blisse.
 
LXIV
Comming to kisse her lyps, (such grace I found)
Me seemd I smelt a gardin of sweet flowres,        885
That dainty odours from them threw around,
For damzels fit to decke their lovers bowres.
Her lips did smell lyke unto gillyflowers;
Her ruddy cheekes lyke unto roses red;
Her snowy browes lyke budded bellamoures;        890
Her lovely eyes lyke pincks but newly spred;
Her goodly bosome lyke a strawberry bed;
Her neck lyke to a bounch of cullambynes;
Her brest lyke lillyes, ere theyr leaves be shed;
Her nipples lyke yong blossomd jessemynes.        895
Such fragrant flowres doe give most odorous smell,
But her sweet odour did them all excell.
 
LXV
The doubt which ye misdeeme, fayre love, is vaine,
That fondly feare to loose your liberty,
When loosing one, two liberties ye gayne,        900
And make him bond that bondage earst dyd fly.
Sweet be the bands the which true love doth tye,
Without constraynt or dread of any ill:
The gentle birde feeles no captivity
Within her cage, but singes and feeds her fill.        905
There Pride dare not approch, nor Discord spill
The league twixt them that loyal love hath bound:
But simple Truth and mutuall Good Will
Seekes with sweet peace to salve each others wound:
There Fayth doth fearlesse dwell in brasen towre,        910
And spotlesse Pleasure builds her sacred bowre.
 
LXVI
To all those happy blessings which ye have,
With plenteous hand by heaven upon you thrown,
This one disparagement they to you gave,
That ye your love lent to so meane a one.        915
Yee, whose high worths surpassing paragon
Could not on earth have found one fit for mate,
Ne but in heaven matchable to none,
Why did ye stoup unto so lowly state?
But ye thereby much greater glory gate,        920
Then had ye sorted with a princes pere:
For now your light doth more it selfe dilate,
And in my darknesse greater doth appeare.
Yet since your light hath once enlumind me,
With my reflex yours shall encreased be.        925
 
LXVII
Lyke as a huntsman, after weary chace,
Seeing the game from him escapt away,
Sits downe to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their pray:
So, after long pursuit and vaine assay,        930
When I all weary had the chace forsooke,
The gentle deare returnd the selfe-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brooke.
There she, beholding me with mylder looke,
Sought not to fly, but fearlesse still did bide:        935
Till I in hand her yet halfe trembling tooke,
And with her owne goodwill hir fyrmely tyde.
Strange thing, me seemd, to see a beast so wyld,
So goodly wonne, with her owne will beguyld.
 
LXVIII
Most glorious Lord of lyfe, that on this day
        940
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrowd hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, deare Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we, for whom thou diddest dye,        945
Being with thy deare blood clene washt from sin,
May live for ever in felicity:
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same againe;
And for thy sake, that all lyke deare didst buy,        950
With love may one another entertayne.
So let us love, deare love, lyke as we ought:
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
 
LXIX
The famous warriors of the anticke world
Used trophees to erect in stately wize,        955
In which they would the records have enrold
Of theyr great deeds and valarous emprize.
What trophee then shall I most fit devize,
In which I may record the memory
Of my loves conquest, peerelesse beauties prise.        960
Adorn’d with honour, love, and chastity?
Even this verse, vowd to eternity,
Shall be thereof immortall moniment,
And tell her prayse to all posterity,
That may admire such worlds rare wonderment;        965
The happy purchase of my glorious spoile,
Gotten at last with labour and long toyle.
 
LXX
Fresh Spring, the herald of loves mighty king,
In whose cote-armour richly are displayd
All sorts of flowers the which on earth do spring,        970
In goodly colours gloriously arrayd,
Goe to my love, where she is carelesse layd,
Yet in her winters bowre, not well awake;
Tell her the joyous time will not be staid,
Unlesse she doe him by the forelock take:        975
Bid her therefore her selfe soone ready make,
To wayt on Love amongst his lovely crew,
Where every one that misseth then her make
Shall be by him amearst with penance dew.
Make hast therefore, sweet love, whilest it is prime;        980
For none can call againe the passed time.
 
LXXI
I joy to see how, in your drawen work,
Your selfe unto the bee ye doe compare,
And me unto the spyder, that doth lurke
In close awayt to catch her unaware.        985
Right so your selfe were caught in cunning snare
Of a deare foe, and thralled to his love:
In whose streight bands ye now captived are
So firmely, that ye never may remove.
But as your worke is woven all about        990
With woodbynd flowers and fragrant eglantine,
So sweet your prison you in time shall prove,
With many deare delights bedecked fyne:
And all thensforth eternall peace shall see
Betweene the spyder and the gentle bee.        995
 
LXXII
Oft when my spirit doth spred her bolder winges,
In mind to mount up to the purest sky,
It down is weighd with thoght of earthly things,
And clogd with burden of mortality:
Where, when that soverayne beauty it doth spy,        1000
Resembling heavens glory in her light,
Drawne with sweet pleasures bayt, it back doth fly,
And unto heaven forgets her former flight.
There my fraile fancy, fed with full delight,
Doth bath in blisse, and mantleth most at ease;        1005
Ne thinks of other heaven, but how it might
Her harts desire with most contentment please.
Hart need not wish none other happinesse,
But here on earth to have such hevens blisse.
 
LXXIII
Being my selfe captyved here in care,
        1010
My hart, whom none with servile bands can tye,
But the fayre tresses of your golden hayre,
Breaking his prison, forth to you doth fly.
Like as a byrd, that in ones hand doth spy
Desired food, to it doth make his flight,        1015
Even so my hart, that wont on your fayre eye
To feed his fill, flyes backe unto your sight.
Doe you him take, and in your bosome bright
Gently encage, that he may be your thrall:
Perhaps he there may learne, with rare delight,        1020
To sing your name and prayses over all,
That it hereafter may you not repent,
Him lodging in your bosome to have lent.
 
LXXIV
Most happy letters! fram’d by skilfull trade,
With which that happy name was first desynd,        1025
The which three times thrise happy hath me made,
With guifts of body, fortune, and of mind.
The first my being to me gave by kind,
From mothers womb deriv’d by dew descent:
The second is my sovereigne Queene most kind,        1030
That honour and large richesse to me lent:
The third, my love, my lives last ornament,
By whom my spirit out of dust was raysed,
To speake her prayse and glory excellent,
Of all alive most worthy to be praysed.        1035
Ye three Elizabeths, for ever live,
That three such graces did unto me give.
 
LXXV
One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Agayne I wrote it with a second hand,        1040
But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.
Vayne man, sayd she, that doest in vaine assay
A mortall thing so to immortalize!
For I my selve shall lyke to this decay,
And eek my name bee wyped out lykewize.        1045
Not so (quod I) let baser things devize
To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the hevens wryte your glorious name;
Where, whenas death shall all the world subdew,        1050
Our love shall live, and later life renew.
 
LXXVI
Fayre bosome, fraught with vertues richest tresure,
The neast of love, the lodging of delight,
The bowre of blisse, the paradice of pleasure,
The sacred harbour of that hevenly spright;        1055
How was I ravisht with your lovely sight,
And my frayle thoughts too rashly led astray!
Whiles diving deepe through amorous insight,
On the sweet spoyle of beautie they did pray,
And twixt her paps, like early fruit in May,        1060
Whose harvest seemd to hasten now apace,
They loosely did theyr wanton winges display,
And there to rest themselves did boldly place.
Sweet thoughts, I envy your so happy rest,
Which oft I wisht, yet never was so blest.        1065
 
LXXVII
Was it a dreame, or did I see it playne?
A goodly table of pure yvory,
All spred with juncats fit to entertayne
The greatest prince with pompous roialty:
Mongst which, there in a silver dish did ly        1070
Twoo golden apples of unvalewd price,
Far passing those which Hercules came by,
Or those which Atalanta did entice;
Exceeding sweet, yet voyd of sinfull vice;
That many sought, yet none could ever taste;        1075
Sweet fruit of pleasure, brought from Paradice
By Love himselfe, and in his garden plaste.
Her brest that table was, so richly spredd;
My thoughts the guests, which would thereon have fedd.
 
LXXVIII
Lackyng my love, I go from place to place,
        1080
Lyke a young fawne that late hath lost the hynd,
And seeke each where, where last I sawe her face,
Whose ymage yet I carry fresh in mynd.
I seeke the fields with her late footing synd,
I seeke her bowre with her late presence deckt,        1085
Yet nor in field nor bowre I her can fynd;
Yet field and bowre are full of her aspect.
But when myne eyes I therunto direct,
They ydly back returne to me agayne,
And when I hope to see theyr trew object,        1090
I fynd my selfe but fed with fancies vayne.
Ceasse then, myne eyes, to seeke her selfe to see,
And let my thoughts behold her selfe in mee.
 
LXXIX
Men call you fayre, and you doe credit it,
For that your selfe ye dayly such doe see:        1095
But the trew fayre, that is the gentle wit
And vertuous mind, is much more praysd of me.
For all the rest, how ever fayre it be,
Shall turne to nought and loose that glorious hew:
But onely that is permanent, and free        1100
From frayle corruption, that doth flesh ensew.
That is true beautie: that doth argue you
To be divine, and borne of heavenly seed,
Deriv’d from that fayre Spirit from whom al true
And perfect beauty did at first proceed.        1105
He onely fayre, and what he fayre hath made;
All other fayre, lyke flowres, untymely fade.
 
LXXX
After so long a race as I have run
Through Faery Land, which those six books compile,
Give leave to rest me, being halfe fordonne,        1110
And gather to my selfe new breath awhile.
Then, as a steed refreshed after toyle,
Out of my prison I will breake anew:
And stoutly will that second worke assoyle,
With strong endevour and attention dew.        1115
Till then give leave to me, in pleasant mew
To sport my muse, and sing my loves sweet praise:
The contemplation of whose heavenly hew
My spirit to an higher pitch will rayse.
But let her prayses yet be low and meane,        1120
Fit for the handmayd of the Faery Queene.
 
LXXXI
Fayre is my love, when her fayre golden heares
With the loose wynd ye waving chance to marke:
Fayre, when the rose in her red cheekes appeares,
Or in her eyes the fyre of love does sparke:        1125
Fayre, when her brest, lyke a rich laden barke
With pretious merchandize, she forth doth lay:
Fayre, when that cloud of pryde, which oft doth dark
Her goodly light, with smiles she drives away.
But fayrest she, when so she doth display        1130
The gate with pearles and rubyes richly dight,
Through which her words so wise do make their way,
To beare the message of her gentle spright.
The rest be works of Natures wonderment,
But this the worke of harts astonishment.        1135
 
LXXXII
Joy of my life, full oft for loving you
I blesse my lot, that was so lucky placed:
But then the more your owne mishap I rew,
That are so much by so meane love embased.
For had the equall hevens so much you graced        1140
In this as in the rest, ye mote invent
Som hevenly wit, whose verse could have enchased
Your glorious name in golden moniment.
But since ye deignd so goodly to relent
To me your thrall, in whom is little worth,        1145
That little that I am shall all be spent
In setting your immortall prayses forth:
Whose lofty argument, uplifting me,
Shall lift you up unto an high degree.
 
LXXXIII
Let not one sparke of filthy lustfull fyre
        1150
Breake out, that may her sacred peace molest;
Ne one light glance of sensuall desyre
Attempt to work her gentle mindes unrest:
But pure affections bred in spotlesse brest,
And modest thoughts breathd from wel tempred sprites,        1155
Goe visit her in her chast bowre of rest,
Accompanyde with angelick delightes.
There fill your selfe with those most joyous sights,
The which my selfe could never yet attayne:
But speake no word to her of these sad plights,        1160
Which her too constant stiffenesse doth constrayn.
Onely behold her rare perfection,
And blesse your fortunes fayre election.
 
LXXXIV
The world, that cannot deeme of worthy things,
When I doe praise her, say I doe but flatter:        1165
So does the cuckow, when the mavis sings,
Begin his witlesse note apace to clatter.
But they that skill not of so heavenly matter,
All that they know not, envy or admyre:
Rather then envy, let them wonder at her,        1170
But not to deeme of her desert aspyre.
Deepe in the closet of my parts entyre,
Her worth is written with a golden quill:
That me with heavenly fury doth inspire,
And my glad mouth with her sweet prayses fill:        1175
Which when as Fame in her shrill trump shal thunder,
Let the world chose to envy or to wonder.
 
LXXXV
Venemous toung, tipt with vile adders sting,
Of that selfe kynd with which the Furies fell
Theyr snaky heads doe combe, from which a spring        1180
Of poysoned words and spitefull speeches well,
Let all the plagues and horrid paines of hell
Upon thee fall for thine accursed hyre,
That with false forged lyes, which thou didst tel,
In my true love did stirre up coles of yre;        1185
The sparkes whereof let kindle thine own fyre,
And catching hold on thine own wicked hed,
Consume thee quite, that didst with guile conspire
In my sweet peace such breaches to have bred.
Shame be thy meed, and mischiefe thy reward,        1190
Due to thy selfe, that it for me prepard.
 
LXXXVI
Since I did leave the presence of my love,
Many long weary dayes I have outworne,
And many nights, that slowly seemd to move
Theyr sad protract from evening untill morne.        1195
For when as day the heaven doth adorne,
I wish that night the noyous day would end:
And when as night hath us of light forlorne,
I wish that day would shortly reascend.
Thus I the time with expectation spend,        1200
And faine my griefe with chaunges to beguile,
That further seemes his terme still to extend,
And maketh every minute seem a myle.
So sorrow still doth seeme too long to last;
But joyous houres doo fly away too fast.        1205
 
LXXXVII
Since I have lackt the comfort of that light,
The which was wont to lead my thoughts astray,
I wander as in darknesse of the night,
Affrayd of every dangers least dismay.
Ne ought I see, though in the clearest day,        1210
When others gaze upon theyr shadowes vayne,
But th’ onely image of that heavenly ray,
Whereof some glance doth in mine eie remayne.
Of which beholding the idæa playne,
Through contemplation of my purest part,        1215
With light thereof I doe my selfe sustayne,
And thereon feed my love-affamisht hart.
But with such brightnesse whylest I fill my mind,
I starve my body, and mine eyes doe blynd.
 
LXXXVIII
Lyke as the culver on the bared bough
        1220
Sits mourning for the absence of her mate,
And in her songs sends many a wishfull vow
For his returne, that seemes to linger late:
So I alone, now left disconsolate,
Mourne to my selfe the absence of my love,        1225
And wandring here and there all desolate,
Seek with my playnts to match that mournful dove:
Ne joy of ought that under heaven doth hove
Can comfort me, but her owne joyous sight,
Whose sweet aspect both god and man can move,        1230
In her unspotted pleasauns to delight.
Dark is my day, whyles her fayre light I mis,
And dead my life that wants such lively blis.
 
I
IN youth, before I waxed old,
The blynd boy, Venus baby,        1235
For want of cunning made me bold,
In bitter hyve to grope for honny:
  But when he saw me stung and cry,
  He tooke his wings and away did fly.
 
II
AS Diane hunted on a day,
        1240
She chaunst to come where Cupid lay,
  His quiver by his head:
One of his shafts she stole away,
And one of hers did close convay
  Into the others stead:        1245
With that Love wounded my loves hart,
But Diane beasts with Cupids dart.
 
III
I SAW, in secret to my dame
How little Cupid humbly came,
  And sayd to her ‘All hayle, my mother!’        1250
But when he saw me laugh, for shame
His face with bashfull blood did flame,
  Not knowing Venus from the other.
‘Then, never blush, Cupid,’ quoth I,
‘For many have err’d in this beauty.’        1255
 
IV
UPON a day, as Love lay sweetly slumbring,
  All in his mothers lap,
A gentle bee, with his loud trumpet murm’ring,
  About him flew by hap.
Whereof when he was wakened with the noyse,        1260
  And saw the beast so small:
‘Whats this,’ quoth he, ‘that gives so great a voyce,
  That wakens men withall?’
    In angry wize he flyes about,
    And threatens all with corage stout.        1265
 
To whom his mother closely smiling sayd,
  Twixt earnest and twixt game:
‘See, thou thy selfe likewise art lyttle made,
  If thou regard the same.
And yet thou suffrest neyther gods in sky,        1270
  Nor men in earth to rest;
But when thou art disposed cruelly,
  Theyr sleepe thou doost molest.
    Then eyther change thy cruelty,
    Or give lyke leave unto the fly.’        1275
 
Nathlesse, the cruell boy, not so content,
  Would needs the fly pursue,
And in his hand, with heedlesse hardiment,
  Him caught for to subdue.
But when on it he hasty hand did lay,        1280
  The bee him stung therefore:
‘Now out, alasse,’ he cryde, ‘and welaway!
  I wounded am full sore:
    The fly, that I so much did scorne,
    Hath hurt me with his little horne.’        1285
 
Unto his mother straight he weeping came,
  And of his griefe complayned:
Who could not chose but laugh at his fond game,
  Though sad to see him pained.
‘Think now,’ quod she, ‘my sonne, how great the smart        1290
  Of those whom thou dost wound:
Full many thou hast pricked to the hart,
  That pitty never found:
    Therefore, henceforth some pitty take,
    When thou doest spoyle of lovers make.’        1295
 
She tooke him streight full pitiously lamenting,
  And wrapt him in her smock:
She wrapt him softly, all the while repenting
  That he the fly did mock.
She drest his wound, and it embaulmed wel        1300
  With salve of soveraigne might:
And then she bath’d him in a dainty well,
  The well of deare delight.
    Who would not oft be stung as this,
    To be so bath’d in Venus blis?        1305
 
The wanton boy was shortly wel recured
  Of that his malady:
But he, soone after, fresh againe enured
  His former cruelty.
And since that time he wounded hath my selfe        1310
  With his sharpe dart of love:
And now forgets the cruell carelesse elfe
  His mothers heast to prove.
    So now I languish, till he please
    My pining anguish to appease.        1315
 
 
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