4 Not the bright shield of Thetis’ son
(For which such stern debate did rise,
That the great Ajax Telamon
Refused to live without the prize),
Those Achive peers did more engage
Than she the gallants of our age.
5 That beam of beauty, which begun
To warm us so when thou wert here,
Now scorches like the raging sun,
When Sirius does first appear.
Oh, fix this flame! and let despair
Redeem the rest from endless care.
 ‘Lord of Leicester’: Saccharissa’s
father. He was employed at this
time in foreign service.
 ‘Thetis’ son’: Achilles.
Fair fellow-servant! may your gentle ear
Prove more propitious to my slighted care
Than the bright dame’s we serve: for her relief
(Vex’d with the long expressions of my grief)
Receive these plaints; nor will her high disdain
Forbid my humble Muse to court her train.
So, in those nations which the sun adore,
Some modest Persian, or some weak-eyed Moor,
No higher dares advance his dazzled sight,
Than to some gilded cloud, which near the light 10
Of their ascending god adorns the east,
And, graced with his beams, outshines the rest.
Thy skilful hand contributes to our woe,
And whets those arrows which confound us so.
A thousand Cupids in those curls do sit
(Those curious nets!) thy slender fingers knit.
The Graces put not more exactly on
Th’ attire of Venus, when the ball she won,
Than Saccharissa by thy care is dress’d,
When all our youth prefers her to the rest. 20
You the soft season know when best her mind
May be to pity, or to love, inclined:
In some well-chosen hour supply his fear,
Whose hopeless love durst never tempt the ear
Of that stern goddess. You, her priest, declare
What offerings may propitiate the fair;
Rich orient pearl, bright stones that ne’er decay,
Or polish’d lines, which longer last than they;
For if I thought she took delight in those,
To where the cheerful morn does first disclose, 30
(The shady night removing with her beams),
Wing’d with bold love, I’d fly to fetch such gems.
But since her eyes, her teeth, her lip excels
All that is found in mines or fishes’ shells,
Her nobler part as far exceeding these,
None but immortal gifts her mind should please.
The shining jewels Greece and Troy bestow’d
On Sparta’s queen, her lovely neck did load,
And snowy wrists; but when the town was burn’d,
Those fading glories were to ashes turn’d; 40
Her beauty, too, had perished, and her fame,
Had not the Muse redeemed them from the flame.
 ‘Sparta’s queen’: Helen.