Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
Sonnet: ‘Fairest, when by the rules of palmistry’
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)
FAIREST, when by the rules of palmistry
You took my hand to try if you could guess,
By lines therein, if any wight there be
Ordained to make me know some happiness;
I wished that those characters could explain,        5
Whom I will never wrong with hope to win;
Or that by them a copy might be seen,
By you, O love, what thoughts I had within.
But since the hand of Nature did not set
(As providently loth to have it known)        10
The means to find that hidden alphabet,
Mine eyes shall be th’ interpreters alone;
  By them conceive my thoughts, and tell me, fair,
  If now you see her that doth love me there?

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