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.
 
Resolved to Dust
By Thomas Watson (1555–1592)
 
RESOLVED 1 to dust entombed here lieth Love,
  Through fault of her, who here herself should lie;
He struck her breast, but all in vain did prove
  To fire the ice: and doubting by and by
    His brand had lost his force, he gan to try        5
    Upon himself; which trial made him die.
 
In sooth no force; let those lament who lust,
  I’ll sing a carol song for obsequy;
For, towards me his dealings were unjust,
  And cause of all my passèd misery:        10
    The Fates, I think, seeing what I had passed
    In my behalf wrought this revenge at last.
 
But somewhat more to pacify my mind,
  By illing him, through whom I lived a slave,
I’ll cast his ashes to the open wind,        15
  Or write this epitaph upon his grave:
    Here lieth Love, of Mars the bastard son,
    Whose foolish fault to death himself hath done.
 
Note 1. Each of the poems of Watson’s Passionate Century is preceded by a brief explanation. This poem is included among the last twenty (so-styled) sonnets, under the section titled My Love Is Past, and is prefaced as follows: “The author faineth here that Love, essaying with his brand to fire the heart of some lady, on whom it would not work, immediately, to try whether the old virtue of it were extinguished or no, applied it unto his own breast, and thereby foolishly consumed himself. This invention hath some relation unto the Epitaph of Love, written by M. Girolimo Parabosco:
  “‘In cenere giace qui sepolto Amore,
Colpa di quella, che morir mi face, etc.’”
Watson’s pains lest the reader may believe his passion not assumed, together with his pedantic gloss, has gone far toward destroying whatever of real merit the verses possess. [back]
 
 
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