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A Lover's Vow

 

Set me whereas the sun doth parch the green,

Or where his beams may not dissolve the ice,

In temperate heat, where he is felt and seen;

With proud people, in presence sad and wise,

Set me in base, or yet in high degree;

In the long night, or in the shortest day;

In clear weather, or where mists thickest be;

In lusty youth, or when my hairs be gray;

Set me in earth, in heaven, or yet in hell;

In hill, in dale, or in the foaming flood;

Thrall,' or at largealive whereso I dwell;

Sick or in health, in ill fame or in good;

Yours will I be, and with that only thought

Comfort myself when that my hap 2 is naught

  1557

 

1. Thrall, enslaved. 2. hap, good fortune.

 

Alas, So All Tbings Now Do Hold Their Peace1

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Alas! so all things now do hold their peace,

Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing;

The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease,

The nightes chare2 the stars about doth bring.

Calm is the sea, the waves work less and less;

So am not  I, whom love, alas, doth wring,

Bringing before my face the great increase

Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing,

In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease.

For my sweet thoughts sometime do pleasure bring,

But by and by the cause of my disease3

Gives me a pang that inwardly doth sting,

When that I think what grief it is again

To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.

1557

 

1. A version of a sonnet by Petrarch, an Italian poet who lived 13041374. 2. chare, chariot. 3. disease, uneasiness, discomfort.


 When I Was Fair and Young—Elizabeth I

 When I was fair and young, and favor graced me,

  Of many was I sought, their mistress for to be;

 But I did scorn them all, and answered them therefore,

  "Go' go, go, seek some otherwhere,

5 Importune me no more!"

 How many weeping eyes I made to pine with woe,

  How many sighing hearts, I have no skill to show;

 Yet I the prouder grew, and answered them therefore,

  "Go, go, go, seek some otherwhere,

10 Importune me no more!"

 Then spake fair Venus' son, that proud victorious boy,'

  And said, "Fine dame, since that you be so coy,

 I will so pluck your plumes that you shall say no more,

  'Go, go, go, seek some otherwhere,

15 Importune me no more!' ”

 When he had spake these words, such change grew in my breast,

  That neither night nor day since that, I could take any rest,

 Then lo! I did repent that I had said before,

  "Go, go, go, seek some otherwhere,

20 Importune me no more!"

1579?   c. 1590

 

1. Venus'son ... boy. Cupid and his mother Venus were the patrons of lovers in Classical mythology.

 

English IV