Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Diana
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Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
 
Diana
The Fifth Decade
Sonnet I. Ay me, poor wretch! my prayer is turned to sin
Henry Constable (1562–1613)
 
AY me, poor wretch! my prayer is turned to sin.
  I say, “I love!” My Mistress says, “’Tis lust!”
  Thus most we lose, where most we seek to win.
  Wit will make wicked what is ne’er so just.
And yet I can supplant her false surmise.        5
  Lust is a fire that, for an hour or twain,
  Giveth a scorching blaze, and then he dies:
  Love, a continual furnace doth maintain.
A furnace! Well, this a furnace may be called;
  For it burns inward, yields a smothering flame,        10
  Sighs which, like boiled lead’s smoking vapour, scald.
  I sigh apace, at echo of Sighs’ name.
Long have I served. No short blaze is my love.
Hid joys there are, that maids scorn till they prove.
 
 
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