Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Licia
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Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
 
Elegy III: If sad Complaint would shew a Lover’s pain
Giles Fletcher (1586?–1623)
 
1.  IF sad Complaint would shew a Lover’s pain;
Or Tears express the torments of my heart:
If melting Sighs would ruth and pity gain;
Or true Laments but ease a Lover’s smart:
 
2.  Then should my Plaints the thunder’s noise surmount;        5
And Tears, like seas, should flow from out my eyes.
Then Sighs, like air, should far exceed all count;
And true Laments with sorrow dim the skies.
 
3.  But Plaints and Tears, Laments and Sighs I spend:
Yet greater torments do my heart destroy.        10
I could all these from out my heart still send;
If, after these, I might my Love enjoy.
 
4.  But heavens conspire; and heavens I must obey:
That seeking love, I still must want my ease.
For greatest joys are tempered with delay:        15
Things soon obtained do least of all us please.
 
5.  My thoughts repine, and think the time too long.
My love impatient wisheth to obtain.
I blame the heavens, that do me all this wrong:
To make me loved; and will not ease my pain.        20
 
6.  No pain like this, to love and not enjoy.
No grief like this, to mourn and not be heard.
No time so long as that which breeds annoy.
No hell like this, to love and be deferred.
 
7.  But heaven shall stand, and earth inconstant fly;        25
The sun shall freeze, and ice inconstant burn;
The mountains flow, and all the earth be dry:
Ere time shall force my loving thoughts to turn.
 
8.  “Do you resolve, sweet Love! to do the same:
Say that you do, and seal it with a kiss!        30
Then shall our truths [troths] the heavens’ unkindness blame;
That cannot hurt, yet shew their spite in this.
 
9.  “The silly Prentice, bound for many years,
Doth hope that time his service will release;
The town besieged, that lives in midst of fears,        35
Doth hope in time the cruel wars will cease;
 
10.  “The toiling Ploughman sings in hope to reap;
The tossèd bark expecteth for a shore;
The boy at school to be at play doth leap,
And straight forgets the fear he had before:        40
 
11.  “If those, by hope, do joy in their distress;
And constant are, in hope to conquer time:
Then let not hope in us, sweet Friend! be less;
And cause our love to wither in the prime.
 
“Let us conspire, and time will have an end;        45
So both of us in time shall have a friend.”

F I N I S.
 
 
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