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.
 
Fancy and Desire
By Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550–1604)
 
COME 1 hither, shepherd’s swain!
  ‘Sir, what do you require?’
I pray thee, shew to me, thy name!
  ‘My name is Fond Desire.’
 
When wert thou born, Desire?        5
  ‘In pomp and prime of May.’ 2
By whom, sweet boy, wert thou begot?
  ‘By fond Conceit, men say.’
 
Tell me who was thy nurse?
  ‘Fresh Youth, in sugared joy.’        10
What was thy meat and daily food?
  ‘Sad sighs, with great annoy.’
 
What hadst thou then to drink?
  ‘Unfeignèd lovers’ tears.’
What cradle wert thou rockèd in?        15
  ‘In hope devoid of fears.’
 
What lull’d thee then asleep?
  ‘Sweet speech, which likes me best.’
Tell me where is thy dwelling-place?
  ‘In gentle hearts I rest.’        20
 
What thing doth please thee most?
  ‘To gaze on beauty still.’
Whom dost thou think to be thy foe?
  ‘Disdain of my good-will.’
 
Doth company displease?        25
  ‘Yes, surely, many one.’
Where doth Desire delight to live?
  ‘He loves to live alone.’
 
Doth either time or age
  Bring him into decay?        30
‘No, no! Desire both lives and dies
  A thousand times a day.’
 
Then, Fond Desire, farewell!
  Thou art no mate for me;
I should be loth, methinks, to dwell        35
  With such a one as thee.
 
Note 1. Of this poem, Mr. Quiller-Couch says in The Golden Pomp, p. 337, it was “found entire in Deloney’s Garland of Goodwill (whence Percy obtained the version in his Reliques) and in Breton’s Bower of Delights, 1597. A shorter copy is found in Puttenham’s Art of English Poesy, 1589, where it is attributed to ‘Edward, Earl of Oxford, a most noble and learned gentleman.’” [back]
Note 2. Prime of May: v. 1. times a day. [back]
 
 
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