Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Laura
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Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
 
Laura
Alia bellissima sua Signora
Robert Tofte (1561–1620)
 
E. C.

[The Lady’s name was E. Caril: see Book II., Poem XXXIII.]

THROUGH thee, not of thee, Lady fair I write;
Through power of Beauty, not of Virtues, thine:
With zealous will, though slender be my might,
I, weakling, seek an eagle’s nest to climb.
    Then guide my feet! and if to slip I chance,        5
    Uphold me by the favour of thy glance!
 
Accept in gree these verses rudely penned;
A sign of duty which to thee I owe:
And deign with sweet regard them to defend;
Which as condemnèd else are like to go.        10
    In thee, it rests the stamp on them to set:
    If current, Pass! Suppressed! if counterfeit.
 
And though the note, thy praises only fit,
Of sweetest bird, the dulcet nightingale:
Disdain not little Robin RedbreasT yet!
[R and T stand here, and elsewhere, for the initials of the Author.]
        15
[A line wanting.]
    What he doth want in learning or in skill;
    He doth supply with zeal of his good will.
 
For only Thee, they were devised alone:
And unto Thee, they dedicated are.        20
Who knows? Perhaps this kindness, by thee shown,
Shall make this glimpse shine like a glittering star.
    Such is thy virtue in the World his sight;
    Thy crow though black, may go for swan most white.
 
Then doubt me not, though parted we remain:        25
In England thou; and I in Italy.
As I did part, I will return again,
Loyal to thee; or else with shame I’ll die!
    True Lovers, when they travel countries strange,
    The air, and not their constant minds, do change.
Cœlum, non animum, mutant, qui trans mare currunt.

Affettionatissimo servid, della
divina Bellezza sua.

R. T.    
        30
 
 
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