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.
 
Love’s Witchery
By Thomas Lodge (1558–1625)
 
MY 1 bonny lass, thine eye,
        So sly,
Hath made me sorrow so;
Thy crimson cheeks, my dear,
        So clear,        5
Have so much wrought my woe;
 
Thy pleasing smiles and grace,
        Thy face,
Have ravished so my sprites,
That life is grown to nought        10
        Through thought
Of love, which me affrights.
 
For fancy’s flames of fire
        Aspire
Unto such furious power        15
As, but the tears I shed
        Make dead
The brands would me devour,
 
I should consume to nought
        Through thought        20
Of thy fair shining eye,
Thy cheeks, thy pleasing smiles,
        The wiles
That forced my heart to die;
 
Thy grace, thy face, the part        25
        Where art
Stands gazing still to see
The wondrous gifts and power,
        Each hour,
That hath bewitchèd me.        30
 
Note 1. My bonny lass, thine eye.  From The Phœnix’ Nest, 1593. “For the first time in miscellany literature,” Mr. Erskine writes in his Study of The Elizabethan Lyric (Ed. 1905): “complicated forms are used without disturbing the lightness of the song as in the lyric by Thomas Lodge, beginning, “My bonnie Lass,” etc. It is easy to recognize the theme of the love-plaint in this opening stanza, but the manner is quite new; the song-quality, lightness of word and imagery, has become more important than the subject-matter. This is the first example in the miscellanies of this Elizabethan trait—a joyous treatment of ostensibly unhappy themes, often practised by Shakespeare, as in ‘Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more!’ The trait defies analysis, and later becomes familiar in the Cavalier lyrics.” [back]
 
 
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