Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Fair Is My Love for April’s in Her Face
By Robert Greene (1558–1592)
 
FAIR 1 is my love for April’s in her face:
  Her lovely breasts September claims his part,
And lordly July in her eyes takes place,
  But cold December dwelleth in her heart;
Blest be the months that set my thoughts on fire,        5
Accurst that month that hindereth my desire.
 
Like Phœbus’ fire, so sparkle both her eyes,
  As air perfumed with amber is her breath,
Like swelling waves, her lovely breasts do rise,
  As earth her heart, cold, dateth me to death:        10
Aye me, poor man, that on the earth do live,
When unkind earth, death and despair doth give!
 
In pomp sits mercy seated in her face,
  Love twixt her breasts his trophies doth imprint,
Her eyes shine favour, courtesy, and grace,        15
  But touch her heart, ah that is framed of flint!
Therefore my harvest in the grass bears grain;
The rock will wear, washed with a winter’s rain. 2
 
Note 1. From Perimedes the Blacksmith, 1588. In Morley’s First Book of Madrigals (1594) there is a madrigal with the stanza:
  April is in my mistress’ face,
And July in her eyes hath place;
Within her bosom is September,
But in her heart a cold December.
Oliphant surmises, in the Musa Madrigalesca, p. 74, that both are translated from a foreign original. [back]
Note 2. Lines 17, 18, My harvest in the grass bears grain, and, The rock will wear, washed with a winter’s rain, are proverbs. Compare the opening lines of Greene’s Doralicia’s Ditty:
  In time we see that silver drops
  The craggy stones make soft, etc.
and also the stanza in a poem to which Prof. Schelling calls attention, signed “M. T.,” published in The Paradise of Dainty Devises, beginning:
  The sturdy rock for all his strength,
  By raging seas is rent in twain;
The marble stone is pierced, at length,
  With little drops of drizzling rain.
 
 
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