You best discerned of my mind’s
And yet your graces outwardly divine,
Whose dear remembrance in my bosom lies,
Too rich a relic for so poor a shrine;
You, in whom nature chose herself to view,
When she her own perfection would admire;
Bestowing all her excellence on you,
At whose pure eyes Love lights his hallowed fire;
Even as a man that in some trance hath seen
More than his wond’ring utterance can unfold,
That rapt in spirit in better worlds hath been,
So must your praise distractedly be told;
Most of all short when I would show you most,
In your perfections so much am I lost.
In former times, such as had
store of coin,
In wars at home or when for conquests bound,
For fear that some their treasure should purloin,
Gave it to keep to spirits within the ground;
And to attend it them as strongly tied
Till they returned. Home when they never came,
Such as by art to get the same have tried,
From the strong spirit by no means force the same.
Nearer men come, that further flies away,
Striving to hold it strongly in the deep.
Ev’n as this spirit, so you alone do play
With those rich beauties Heav’n gives you to keep;
Pity so left to th’ coldness of your blood,
Not to avail you nor do others good.
As Love and I late harboured
in one inn,
With Proverbs thus each other entertain.
“In love there is no lack,” thus I begin:
“Fair words make fools,” replieth he again.
“Who spares to speak, doth spare to speed,” quoth I.
“As well,” saith he, “too forward as too slow.”
“Fortune assists the boldest,” I reply.
“A hasty man,” quoth he, “ne’er wanted woe!”
“Labour is light, where love,” quoth I, “doth pay.”
Saith he, “Light burden’s heavy, if far born.”
Quoth I, “The main lost, cast the by away!”
“You have spun a fair thread,” he replies in scorn.
And having thus awhile each other thwarted,
Fools as we met, so fools again we parted.
Define my weal, and tell the
joys of heaven;
Express my woes and show the pains of hell;
Declare what fate unlucky stars have given,
And ask a world upon my life to dwell;
Make known the faith that fortune could no move,
Compare my worth with others’ base desert,
Let virtue be the touchstone of my love,
So may the heavens read wonders in my heart;
Behold the clouds which have eclipsed my sun,
And view the crosses which my course do let;
Tell me, if ever since the world begun
So fair a rising had so foul a set?
And see if time, if he would strive to prove,
Can show a second to so pure a love.