Verse > Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey > Poetical Works
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Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47).  The Poetical Works.  1880.
 
Songs and Sonnets
The faithful Lover declareth his Pains and his uncertain Joys, and with only Hope recomforteth somewhat his woful Heart
 
IF care do cause men cry, why do not I complain?
If each man do bewail his woe, why shew not I my pain?
Since that amongst them all, I dare well say is none
So far from weal, so full of woe, or hath more cause to moan.
For all things having life, sometime hath quiet rest;        5
The bearing ass, the drawing ox, and every other beast;
The peasant, and the post, that serves at all assays;
The ship-boy, and the galley-slave, have time to take their ease;
Save I, alas! whom care, of force doth so constrain,
To wail the day, and wake the night, continually in pain.        10
From pensiveness to plaint, from plaint to bitter tears,
From tears to painful plaint again; and thus my life it wears.
No thing under the sun, that I can hear or see,
But moveth me for to bewail my cruel destiny.
For where men do rejoice, since that I cannot so,        15
I take no pleasure in that place, it doubleth but my woe.
And when I hear the sound of song or instrument,
Methink each tune there doleful is, and helps me to lament.
And if I see some have their most desired sight,
‘Alas!’ think I, ‘each man hath weal save I, most woful wight.’        20
Then as the stricken deer withdraws himself alone,
So do I seek some secret place, where I may make my moan.
There do my flowing eyes shew forth my melting heart;
So that the streams of those two wells right well declare my smart.
And in those cares so cold, I force myself a heat        25
(As sick men in their shaking fits procure themselves to sweat)
With thoughts, that for the time do much appease my pain:
But yet they cause a farther fear, and breed my woe again.
Methink within my thought I see right plain appear
My heart’s delight, my sorrow’s leech, mine earthly goddess here,        30
With every sundry grace, that I have seen her have:
Thus I within my woful breast her picture paint and grave.
And in my thought I roll her beauties to and fro;
Her laughing chere, her lively look, my heart that pierced so.
Her strangeness when I sued her servant for to be;        35
And what she said, and how she smiled, when that she pitied me.
Then comes a sudden fear that reaveth all my rest,
Lest absence cause forgetfulness to sink within her breast.
For when I think how far this earth doth us divide,
Alas! me-seems love throws me down; I feel how that I slide.        40
But then I think again, ‘Why should I thus mistrust
So sweet a wight, so sad and wise, that is so true and just?
For loath she was to love, and wavering is she not;
The farther off the more desired.’ Thus lovers tie their knot.
So in despair and hope plung’d am I both up and down,        45
As is the ship with wind and wave, when Neptune list to frown:
But as the watery showers delay the raging wind,
So doth Good-hope clean put away despair out of my mind;
And bids me for to serve, and suffer patiently:
For what wot I the after weal that fortune wills to me.        50
For those that care do know, and tasted have of trouble,
When passed is their woful pain, each joy shall seem them double.
And bitter sends she now, to make me taste the better
The pleasant sweet, when that it comes, to make it seem the sweeter.
And so determine I to serve until my breath;        55
Yea, rather die a thousand times, than once to false my faith.
And if my feeble corpse, through weight of woful smart
Do fail, or faint, my will it is that still she keep my heart.
And when this carcass here to earth shall be refar’d,
I do bequeath my wearied ghost to serve her afterward.        60
 
 
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