Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
A Praise of His Love
By Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–1547)
 
[Wherein he reproveth them that compare their ladies with his]

GIVE place, ye lovers, here before
That spent your boasts and brags in vain;
My lady’s beauty passeth more
The best of yours, I dare well sayen,
Than doth the sun the candle light        5
Or brightest day the darkest night.
 
And thereto hath a troth as just
As had Penelope the fair;
For what she saith, ye may it trust,
As it by writing sealed were:        10
And virtues hath she many moe
Than I with pen have skill to show.
 
I could rehearse, if that I would,
The whole effect of Nature’s plaint,
When she had lost the perfect mould,        15
The like to whom she could not paint:
With wringing hands, how she did cry,
And what she said, I know it, I.
 
I know she swore with raging mind,
Her kingdom only set apart,        20
There was no loss by law of kind
That could have gone so near her heart;
And this was chiefly all her pain;
‘She could not make the like again.’
 
Sith Nature thus gave her the praise,        25
To be the chiefest work she wrought;
In faith, methinks! some better ways
On your behalf might well be sought,
Than to compare, as ye have done,
To match the candle with the sun.        30
 
 
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