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Sweer is the rose, but grows upon a brere;
Sweet is the juniper, but sharp his bough;
Sweet is the eglantine, but pricketh near;
Sweet is the firbloom, but his branches rough ;
Sweet is the cypress, but his rind is tough;
Sweet is the nut, but bitter is his pill;
Sweet is the broom-flowre, but yet sour enough;
And sweet is moly, but his root is ill :
So every sweet with sour is tempered still,
That maketh it be coveted the more;
For easy things, that may be got at will,
Most sorts of men do set but little store.
Why then should I account of little pain,
That endless pleasure shall unto me gain?
Fair Proud ! now tell me why should fair be proud,
Sith all world's glory is but dross unclean?
And in the shade of death itself should shroud,
However now thereof ye little ween.
That goodly idol, now so gay beseen,
Shall doff her fleshes borrow'd fair attire,
And be forgot, as it had never been,
That many now much worship and admire :
then shall after it inquire,
Ne any mention shall thereof remain,
But what this verse, that never shall expire,
Shall to you purchase, with her thankless pain.
Fair! be no longer proud of that shall perish,
But that which shall you make immortal cherish.
The laurel leaf, which you this day do wear,
Gives me great hope of your relenting mind,
For since it is the badge which I do bear,
Ye bearing it, do seem to me inclined :
The power thereof, which oft in me I find,
Let it likewise your gentle breast inspire
With sweet infusion, and put you in mind
Of that proud maid whom now those leaves attire.
Proud Daphne, scorning Phoebus' lovely fire,
On the Thessalian shore from him did fly,
For which the gods, in their revengeful ire,
Did her transform into a laurel-tree.
Then fly no more, fair Love! from Phæbus' chace,
But in your breast his leaf and love embrace.
See how the stubborn damsel doth deprave
My simple meaning with disdainful scorn,
And by the bay which I unto her gave,
Accounts myself her captive quite forlorn.
“The bay," quoth she, “is of the victor born,
Yielded them by the vanquished as their meeds,
And they therewith do poets' heads adorn
To sing the glory of their famous deeds:”
But sith she will the conquest challenge needs;
Let her accept me as her faithful thrall,
That her great triumph which my skill exceeds,
I may in trump of Fame blaze over all;
Then would I deck her head with glorious bays,
And fill the world with her victorious praise.
Like as a ship that through the ocean wide,
By conduct of some star doth make her way,
When as a storm hath dimmed her trusty guide,
Out of her course doth wander far astray;
So I, whose star, that wont with her bright ray
Me to direct, with clouds is overcast,
Do wander now in darkness and dismay,
Through hidden perils round about me placed;
Yet hope I will, that when this storm is past,
My Helice, the load-star of my life,
Will shine again, and look on me at last
With lovely light, to clear my cloudy grief :
'Till then, I wander careful, comfortless,
In secret sorrow and sad pensiveness.
What guile is this, that those her golden tresses,
She doth attire under a net of gold,
And with sly skill so cunningly them dresses,
That which is gold or hair may scarce be told?
Is it that men's frail
She may entangle in that golden snare,
And being caught, may craftily enfold
Their weaker hearts, which are not well aware?
Take heed, therefore, mine Eyes ! how ye do stare,
Henceforth, too rashly on that guileful net,
In which if ever ye entrappèd are,
Out of her bands ye by no means shall get.
Fondness it were for any, being free,
To covet fetters, though they golden be.
Sweet Smile, the daughter of the Queen of Love,
Expressing all thy mother's powerful art,
With which she wonts to temper angry Jove,
When all the gods he threats with thundering dart,
Sweet is thy vertue, as thyself sweet art;
For when on me thou shinedst late in sadness,
A melting pleasance ran through every part
And me revived with heart-robbing gladness,
Whilst rapt with joy resembling heavenly madness,
My soul was ravished quite as in a trance,
And feeling thence no more her sorrow's sadness
Fed on the fulness of that chearful glance;
More sweet than nectar or ambrosial meat,
Seemed every bit which thenceforth I did eat.
MARK when she smiles with amiable chear,
And tell me whereto can ye liken it,
When on each eye-lid sweetly do appear
An hundred graces, as in shade to sit :
Likest it seemeth, in my simple wit,
Unto the fair sunshine in summer's day,
That when a dreadful storm away is flit,
Through the broad world doth spread his goodly ray,
At sight whereof each bird that sits on spray,
And every beast that to his den was fled,
Come forth afresh out of their late dismay,
And to the light lift up their drooping head;
So my storm-beaten heart likewise is cheared
With that sunshine, when cloudy looks are cleared.
So oft as I her beauty do behold,
And therewith do her cruelty compare,
I marvel of what substance was the mould,
The which her made att once so cruel fair.
Not earth, for her high thoughts more heavenly are:
Not water, for her love doth burn like fire;
Not air, for she is not so light or rare;
Not fire, for she doth freeze with faint desire ;
Then needs another element inquire,
Whereof she mote be made, that is the sky;
For to the heaven her haughty looks inspire,
And eke her love is pure immortal hy.
Then sith to heaven ye likened are the best,
Be like in mercy as in all the rest.
Sweet Warriour! when shall I have peace with you?
High time it is this war now ended were,
Which I no longer can endure to sue,
Ne your incessant battry more to bear:
So weak my powers, so sore my wounds appear,
That wonder is, how I should live a jot,
Seeing my heart through lanced everywhere,
With thousand arrows which your eyes have shot :
Yet shoot ye sharply still, and spare me not ;
But glory think to make these cruel stoures.
Ye cruel One! what glory can be got
In slaying him that would live gladly yours ?
Make peace, therefore, and grant me timely grace,
That all my wounds will heal in little space.