A Lover's Complaint

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FRom off a hill whose concaue wombe reworded,
A plaintfull story from a sistring vale
My spirrits t'attend this doble voyce accorded,
And downe I laid to list the sad tun'd tale,
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale
Tearing of papers breaking rings a twaine,
Storming her world with sorrowes, wind and raine.
Vpon her head a plattid hiue of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the Sunne,
Whereon the thought might thinke sometime it saw
The carkas of a beauty spent and donne,
Time had not sithed all that youth begun,
Nor youth all quit, but spight of heauens fell rage,
Some beauty peept, through lettice of sear'd age.
Oft did she heaue her Napkin to her eyne,
Which on it had conceited charecters:
Laundring the silken figures in the brine,
That seasoned woe had pelleted in teares,
And often reading what contents it beares:
As often shriking vndistinguisht wo,
In clamours of all size both high and low.
Some-times her leueld eyes their carriage ride,
As they did battry to the spheres intend:
Sometime diuerted their poore balls are tide,
To th'orbed earth ;sometimes they do extend,
Their view right on, anon their gases lend,
To euery place at once and no where fixt,
The mind and sight distractedly commxit.
Her haire nor loose nor ti'd in formall plat,
Proclaimd in her a carelesse hand of pride;
For some vntuck'd descended her sheu'd hat,
Hanging her pale and pined cheeke beside,
Some in her threeden fillet still did bide,
And trew to bondage would not breake from thence,
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
A thousand fauours from a maund she drew,
Of amber christall and of bedded Iet,
Which one by one she in a riuer threw,
Vpon whose weeping margent she was set,
Like vsery applying wet to wet,
Or Monarches hands that lets not bounty fall,
Where want cries some; but where excesse begs all.
Of folded schedulls had she many a one,
Which she perus'd, sighd, tore and gaue the flud,
Crackt many a ring of Posied gold and bone,
Bidding them find their Sepulchers in mud,
Found yet mo letters sadly pend in blood,
With sleided silke, feate and affectedly
Enswath'd and seald to curious secrecy.
These often bath'd she in her fluxiue eies,
And often kist, and often gaue to teare,
Cried O false blood thou register of lies,
What vnapproued witnes doost thou beare!
Inke would haue seem'd more blacke and damned heare!
This said in top of rage the lines she rents,
Big discontent, so breaking their contents.
A reuerend man that graz'd his cattell ny,
Sometime a blusterer that the ruffle knew
Of Court of Cittie, and had let go by
The swiftest houres obserued as they flew,
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew:
And priuiledg'd by age desires to know
In breefe the grounds and motiues of her wo.
So slides he downe vppon his greyned bat;
And comely distant sits he by her side,
When hee againe desires her, being satte,
Her greeuance with his hearing to deuide:
If that from him there may be ought applied
Which may her suffering extasie asswage
Tis promist in the charitie of age.
Father she saies, though in mee you behold
The iniury of many a blasting houre;
Let it not tell your Iudgement I am old,
Not age, but sorrow, ouer me hath power;
I might as yet haue bene a spreading flower
Fresh to my selfe, if I had selfe applyed
Loue to my selfe, and to no Loue beside.
But wo is mee, too early I atttended
A youthfull suit it was to gaine my grace;
O one by natures outwards so commended,
That maidens eyes stucke ouer all his face,
Loue lackt a dwelling and made him her place.
And when in his faire parts shee didde abide,
Shee was new lodg'd and newly Deified.
His browny locks did hang in crooked curles,
And euery light occasion of the wind
Vpon his lippes their silken parcels hurles,
Whats sweet to do, to do wil aptly find,
Each eye that saw him did inchaunt the minde:
For on his visage was in little drawne,
What largenesse thinkes in parradise was sawne.
Smal shew of man was yet vpon his chinne,
His phenix downe began but to appeare
Like vnshorne veluet, on that termlesse skin
Whose bare out-brag'd the web it seem'd to were.
Yet shewed his visage by that cost more deare,
And nice affections wauering stood in doubt
If best were as it was, or best without.
His qualities were beautious as his forme,
For maiden tongu'd he was and thereof free;
Yet if men mou'd him, was he such a storme
As oft twixt May and Aprill is to see,
When windes breath sweet, vnruly though they bee.
His rudenesse so with his authoriz'd youth,
Did liuery falsenesse in a pride of truth.
Wel could hee ride, and often men would say
That horse his mettell from his rider takes
Proud of subiection, noble by the swaie,
What rounds, what bounds, what course what stop he makes
And controuersie hence a question takes,
Whether the horse by him became his deed,
Or he his mannad'g, by'th wel doing Steed.
But quickly on this side the verdict went,
His reall habitude gaue life and grace
To appertainings and to ornament,
Accomplisht in him-selfe not in his case:
All ayds them-selues made fairer by their place,
Can for addicions, yet their purpos'd trimme
Peec'd not his grace but were al grac'd by him.
So on the tip of his subduing tongue
All kinde of arguments and question deepe,
Al replication prompt, and reason strong
For his aduantage still did wake and sleep,
To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weepe:
He had the dialect and different skil,
Catching al passions in his craft of will.
That hee didde in the general bosome raigne
Of young, of old, and sexes both inchanted,
To dwel with him in thoughts, or to remaine
In personal duty, following where he haunted,
Consent's bewitcht, ere he desire haue granted,
And dialogu'd for him what he would say,
Askt their own wils and made their wils obey.
Many there were that did his picture gette
To serue their eies, and in it put their mind,
Like fooles that in th' imagination set
The goodly obiects which abroad they find
Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assign'd,
And labouring in moe pleasures to bestow them,
Then the true gouty Land-lord which doth owe them.
So many haue that neuer toucht his hand
Sweetly suppos'd them mistresse of his heart:
My wofull selfe that did in freedome stand,
And was my owne fee simple (not in part)
What with his art in youth and youth in art
Threw my affections in his charmed power,
Reseru'd the stalke and gaue him al my flower.
Yet did I not as some my equals did
Demaund of him, nor being desired yeelded,
Finding my selfe in honour so forbidde,
With safest distance I mine honour sheelded,
Experience for me many bulwarkes builded
Of proofs new bleeding which remaind the foile
Of this false Iewell, and his amorous spoile.
But ah who euer shun'd by precedent,
The destin'd ill she must her selfe assay,
Or forc'd examples gainst her owne content
To put the by-past perrils in her way?
Counsaile may stop a while what will not stay:
For when we rage, aduise is often seene
By blunting vs to make our wits more keene.
Nor giues it satisfaction to our blood,
That wee must curbe it vppon others proofe,
To be forbod the sweets that seemes so good,
For feare of harmes that preach in our behoofe;
O appetite from iudgement stand aloofe!
The one a pallate hath that needs will taste,
Though reason weepe and cry it is thy last.
For further I could say this mans vntrue,
And knew the patternes of his foule beguiling,
Heard where his plants in others Orchards grew,
Saw how deceits were guilded in his smiling,
Knew vowes, were euer brokers to defiling,
Thought Characters and words meerly but art,
And bastards of his foule adulterat heart.
And long vpon these termes I held my Citty,
Till thus hee gan besiege me :Gentle maid
Haue of my suffering youth some feeling pitty
And be not of my holy vowes affraid,
Thats to ye sworne to none was euer said,
For feasts of loue I haue bene call'd vnto
Till now did nere inuite nor neuer vow.
All my offences that abroad you see
Are errors of the blood none of the mind:
Loue made them not, with acture they may be,
Where neither Party is nor trew nor kind,
They sought their shame that so their shame did find,
And so much lesse of shame in me remaines,
By how much of me their reproch containes,
Among the many that mine eyes haue seene,
Not one whose flame my hart so much as warmed,
Or my affection put to th, smallest teene,
Or any of my leisures euer Charmed,
Harme haue I done to them but nere was harmed,
Kept hearts in liueries, but mine owne was free,
And raignd commaunding in his monarchy.
Looke heare what tributes wounded fancies sent me,
Of palyd pearles and rubies red as blood:
Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
Of greefe and blushes, aptly vnderstood
In bloodlesse white, and the encrimson'd mood,
Effects of terror and deare modesty,
Encampt in hearts but fighting outwardly.
And Lo behold these tallents of their heir,
With twisted mettle amorously empleacht
I haue receau'd from many a seueral faire,
Their kind acceptance, wepingly beseecht,
With th'annexions of faire gems inricht,
And deepe brain'd sonnets that did amplifie
Each stones deare Nature, worth and quallity.
The Diamond? why twas beautifull and hard,
Whereto his inuis'd properties did tend,
The deepe greene Emrald in whose fresh regard,
Weake sights their sickly radience do amend.
The heauen hewd Saphir and the Opall blend
With obiects manyfold; each seuerall stone,
With wit well blazond smil'd or made some mone.
Lo all these trophies of affections hot,
Of pensiu'd and subdew'd desires the tender,
Nature hath chargd me that I hoord them not,
But yeeld them vp where I my selfe must render:
That is to you my origin and ender:
For these of force must your oblations be,
Since I their Aulter, you enpatrone me.
Oh then aduance (of yours) that phraseles hand,
Whose white weighes downe the airy scale of praise,
Take all these similies to your owne command,
Hollowed with sighes that burning lunges did raise:
What me your minister for you obaies
Workes vnder you, and to your audit comes
Their distract parcells, in combined summes.
Lo this deuice was sent me from a Nun,
Or Sister sanctified of holiest note,
Which late her noble suit in court did shun,
Whose rarest hauings made the blossoms dote,
For she was sought by spirits of ritchest cote,
But kept cold distance, and did thence remoue,
To spend her liuing in eternall loue.
But oh my sweet what labour ist to leaue,
The thing we haue not, mastring what not striues,
Playing the Place which did no forme receiue,
Playing patient sports in vnconstraind giues,
She that her fame so to her selfe contriues,
The scarres of battaile scapeth by the flight,
And makes her absence valiant, not her might.
Oh pardon me in that my boast is true,
The accident which brought me to her eie,
Vpon the moment did her force subdewe,
And now she would the caged cloister flie:
Religious loue put out religions eye:
Not to be tempted would she be enur'd,
And now to tempt all liberty procure.
How mightie then you are, Oh heare me tell,
The broken bosoms that to me belong,
Haue emptied all their fountaines in my well:
And mine I powre your Ocean all amonge:
I strong ore them and you ore me being strong,
Must for your victorie vs all congest,
As compound loue to phisick your cold brest.
My parts had powre to charme a sacred Sunne,
Who disciplin'd I dieted in grace,
Beleeu'd her eies, when they t' assaile begun,
All vowes and consecrations giuing place:
O most potentiall loue, vowe, bond, nor space
In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine
For thou art all and all things els are thine.
When thou impressest what are precepts worth
Of stale example? when thou wilt inflame,
How coldly those impediments stand forth
Of wealth of filliall feare, lawe, kindred fame,
Loues armes are peace, gainst rule, gainst sence, gainst shame
And sweetens in the suffring pangues it beares,
The Alloes of all forces, shockes and feares.
Now all these hearts that doe on mine depend,
Feeling it breake, with bleeding groanes they pine,
And supplicant their sighes to you extend
To leaue the battrie that you make gainst mine,
Lending soft audience, to my sweet designe,
And credent soule, to that strong bonded oth,
That shall preferre and vndertake my troth.
This said, his watrie eies he did dismount,
Whose sightes till then were leaueld on my face,
Each cheeke a riuer running from a fount,
With brynish currant downe-ward flowed a pace:
Oh how the channell to the streame gaue grace!
Who glaz'd with Christall gate the glowing Roses,
That flame through water which their hew incloses,
Oh father, what a hell of witch-craft lies,
In the small orb of one perticular teare?
But with the invndation of the eies:
What rocky heart to water will not weare?
What brest so cold that is not warmed heare,
Or cleft effect, cold modesty hot wrath:
Both fire from hence, and chill extincture hath.
For loe his passion but an art of craft,
Euen there resolu'd my reason into teares,
There my white stole of chastity I daft,
Shooke off my sober gardes, and ciuill feares,
Appeare to him as he to me appeares:
All melting, though our drops this diffrence bore,
His poison'd me, and mine did him restore.
In him a plenitude of subtle matter,
Applied to Cautills, all straing formes receiues,
Of burning blushes, or of weeping water,
Or sounding palenesse: and he takes and leaues,
In eithers aptnesse as it best deceiues:
To blush at speeches ranck, to weepe at woes
Or to turne white and sound at tragick showes.
That not a heart which in his leuell came,
Could scape the haile of his all hurting ayme,
Shewing faire Nature is both kinde and tame:
And vaild in them did winne whom he would maime,
Against the thing he sought, he would exclaime,
When he most burnt in hart-wisht luxurie,
He preacht pure maide, and praisd cold chastitie.
Thus meerely with the garment of a grace,
The naked and concealed feind he couerd,
That th'vnexperient gaue the tempter place,
Which like a Cherubin aboue them houerd,
Who young and simple would not be so louerd.
Aye me I fell, and yet do question make,
What I should doe againe for such a sake.
O that infected moysture of his eye,
O that false fire which in his cheeke so glowd:
O that forc'd thunder from his heart did flye,
O that sad breath his spungie lungs bestowed,
O all that borrowed motion seeming owed,
Would yet againe betray the fore-betrayed,
And new peruert a reconciled Maide.
Modern text
From off a hill whose concave womb reworded
A plaintful story from a sist'ring vale
My spirits t' attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a twain,
Storming her world with sorrows, wind and rain.
Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the Sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcase of a beauty spent and done,
Time had not scythed all that youth begun,
Nor youth all quit, but spite of heaven's fell rage,
Some beauty peeped, through lattice of seared age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne,
Which on it had conceited characters:
Laund'ring the silken figures in the brine,
That seasoned woe had pelleted in tears,
And often reading what contents it bears:
As often shrieking undistinguished woe,
In clamours of all size both high and low.
Sometimes her levelled eyes their carriage ride,
As they did batt'ry to the spheres intend:
Sometimes diverted their poor balls are tied
To th' orbed earth; sometimes they do extend
Their view right on; anon their gazes lend
To every place at once and no where fixed,
The mind and sight distractedly commixed.
Her hair nor loose nor tied in formal plait,
Proclaimed in her a careless hand of pride;
For some untucked descended her sheaved hat,
Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside,
Some in her threaden fillet still did bide,
And true to bondage would not break from thence,
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
A thousand favours from a maund she drew,
Of amber crystal and of bedded jet,
Which one by one she in a river threw,
Upon whose weeping margent she was set,
Like usury applying wet to wet,
Or monarch's hands that lets not bounty fall
Where want cries some, but where excess begs all.
Of folded schedules had she many a one,
Which she perused, sighed, tore and gave the flood,
Cracked many a ring of posied gold and bone,
Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud,
Found yet mo letters sadly penned in blood,
With sleided silk, feat and affectedly
Enswathed and sealed to curious secrecy.
These often bathed she in her fluxive eyes,
And often kissed, and often gave to tear,
Cried ‘ O false blood thou register of lies,
What unapproved witness dost thou bear!
Ink would have seemed more black and damned here!’
This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,
Big discontent, so breaking their contents.
A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh,
Sometime a blusterer that the ruffle knew
Of Court, of City, and had let go by
The swiftest hours observed as they flew,
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew:
And privileged by age desires to know
In brief the grounds and motives of her woe.
So slides he down upon his grained bat;
And comely distant sits he by her side,
When he again desires her, being sat,
Her grievance with his hearing to divide:
If that from him there may be ought applied
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage
'Tis promised in the charity of age.
‘ Father,’ she says, ‘ though in me you behold
The injury of many a blasting hour,
Let it not tell your judgment I am old;
Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power;
I might as yet have been a spreading flower
Fresh to myself, If I had self applied
Love to myself, and to no love beside.
‘ But woe is me, too early I attended
A youthful suit it was to gain my grace;
O one by nature's outwards so commended,
That maidens' eyes stuck over all his face,
Love lacked a dwelling and made him her place,
And when in his fair parts she did abide,
She was new lodged and newly deified.
‘ His browny locks did hang in crooked curls,
And every light occasion of the wind
Upon his lips their silken parcels hurls,
What's sweet to do, to do will aptly find,
Each eye that saw him did enchant the mind:
For on his visage was in little drawn
What largeness thinks in paradise was sawn.
‘ Small show of man was yet upon his chin,
His phoenix down began but to appear
Like unshorn velvet, on that termless skin
Whose bare out-bragged the web it seemed to wear.
Yet showed his visage by that cost more dear,
And nice affections wavering stood in doubt
If best were as it was, or best without.
‘ His qualities were beauteous as his form,
For maiden-tongued he was, and thereof free;
Yet if men moved him, was he such a storm
As oft twixt May and April is to see,
When winds breathe sweet, untidy though they be.
His rudeness so with his authorized youth
Did livery falseness in a pride of truth.
‘ Well could he ride, and often men would say
That horse his mettle from his rider takes,
Proud of subjection, noble by the sway,
What rounds, what bounds, what course, what stop he makes;
And controversy hence a question takes,
Whether the horse by him became his deed,
Or he his manage, by th' well doing steed.
‘ But quickly on this side the verdict went,
His real habitude gave life and grace
To appertainings and to ornament,
Accomplished in himself not in his case:
All aids themselves made fairer by their place,
Can for additions, yet their purposed trim
Pieced not his grace but were all graced by him.
‘ So on the tip of his subduing tongue
All kinds of arguments and question deep,
All replication prompt, and reason strong
For his advantage still did wake and sleep,
To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weep,
He had the dialect and different skill,
Catching all passions in his craft of will.
‘ That he did in the general bosom reign
Of young, of old, and sexes both enchanted,
To dwell with him in thoughts, or to remain
In personal duty, following where he haunted,
Consent's bewitched, ere he desire have granted,
And dialogued for him what he would say,
Asked their own wills and made their wills obey.
‘Many there were that did his picture get
To serve their eyes, and in it put their mind,
Like fools that in th' imagination set
The goodly objects which abroad they find
Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assigned,
And labouring in mo pleasures to bestow them
Than the true gouty landlord which doth owe them.
‘ So many have that never touched his hand
Sweetly supposed them mistress of his heart:
My woeful self that did in freedom stand,
And was my own fee simple (not in part)
What with his art in youth and youth in art
Threw my affections in his charmed power,
Reserved the stalk and gave him all my flower.
‘ Yet did I not as some my equals did
Demand of him, nor being desired yielded,;
Finding myself in honour so forbid,
With safest distance I mine honour shielded,
Experience for me many bulwarks builded
Of proofs new bleeding, which remained the foil
Of this false jewel, and his amorous spoil.
‘ But, ah, who ever shunned by precedent
The destined ill she must herself assay,
Or forced examples 'gainst her own content
To put the by-past perils in her way?
Counsel may stop a while what will not stay:
For when we rage, advice is often seen
By blunting us to make our wits more keen.
‘ Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood,
That we must curb it upon others' proof,
To be forbid the sweets that seems so good,
For fear of harms that preach in our behoof;
O appetite from judgment stand aloof!
The one a palate hath that needs will taste,
Though reason weep, and cry it is thy last.
‘ For further I could say this man's untrue,
And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling,
Heard where his plants in others' orchards grew,
Saw how deceits were gilded in his smiling,
Knew vows were ever brokers to defiling,
Thought characters and words merely but art,
And bastards of his foul adulterate heart.
‘ And long upon these terms I held my City,
Till thus he gan besiege me: Gentle maid,
Have of my suffering youth some feeling pity
And be not of my holy vows afraid,
That's to ye sworn to none was ever said,
For feasts of love I have been called unto,
Till now did ne'er invite nor never vow.
‘ All my offences that abroad you see
Are errors of the blood, none of the mind:
Love made them not, with acture they may be,
Where neither party is nor true nor kind,
They sought their shame that so their shame did find,
And so much less of shame in me remains,
By how much of me their reproach contains.
‘ Among the many that mine eyes have seen,
Not one whose flame my heart so much as warmed,
Or my affection put to th' smallest teen,
Or any of my leisures ever charmed,
Harm have I done to them but ne'er was harmed,
Kept hearts in liveries, but mine own was free,
And reigned commanding in his monarchy.
‘ Look here what tributes wounded fancies sent me,
Of paled pearls and rubies red as blood:;
Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
Of grief and blushes, aptly understood
In bloodless white, and the encrimsoned mood,
Effects of terror and dear modesty,
Encamped in hearts but fighting outwardly.
‘ And lo, behold these talents of their hair,
With twisted metal amorously empleached
I have received from many a several fair,
Their kind acceptance, weepingly beseeched,
With th' annexions of fair gems enriched,
And deep brained sonnets that did amplify
Each stone's dear Nature, worth and quality.
‘ The diamond? why, 'twas beautiful and hard,
Whereto his invised properties did tend,
The deep green em'rald, in whose fresh regard
Weak sights their sickly radiance do amend,
The heaven hued sapphire and the opal blend
With objects manifold; each several stone,
With wit well blazoned, smiled or made some moan.
‘ Lo, all these trophies of affections hot,
Of pensived and subdued desires the tender,
Nature hath charged me that I hoard them not,
But yield them up where I myself must render:
That is to you my origin and ender:
For these of force must your oblations be,
Since I their altar, you enpatron me.
‘ Oh then advance (of yours) that phraseless hand,
Whose white weighs down the airy scale of praise,
Take all these similes to your own command,
Hallowed with sighs that burning lungs did raise;
What me your minister for you obeys
Works under you, and to your audit comes
Their distract parcels, in combined sums.
‘ Lo, this device was sent me from a Nun,
Or Sister sanctified of holiest note,
Which late her noble suit in court did shun,
Whose rarest havings made the blossoms dote,
For she was sought by spirits of richest coat,
But kept cold distance, and did thence remove,
To spend her living in eternal love.
‘ But oh my sweet, what labour is't to leave
The thing we have not, mast'ring what not strives,
Playing the place which did no form receive,
Playing patient sports in unconstrained gyves,
She that her fame so to herself contrives,
The scars of battle 'scapeth by the flight,
And makes her absence valiant, not her might.
‘ Oh pardon me in that my boast is true,
The accident which brought me to her eye,
Upon the moment did her force subdue,
And now she would the caged cloister fly:
Religious love put out religion's eye:
Not to be tempted would she be enured,
And now to tempt all liberty procured.
‘ How mighty then you are, Oh, hear me tell,
The broken bosoms that to me belong
Have emptied all their fountains in my well:
And mine I pour your Ocean all among:
I strong o'er them and you o'er me being strong,
Must for your victory us all congest,
As compound love to physic your cold breast.
‘ My parts had power to charm a sacred Sun,
Who disciplined I dieted in grace,
Believed her eyes, when they t' assail begun,
All vows and consecrations giving place:
O most potential love, vow, bond, nor space
In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine
For thou art all and all things else are thine.
‘ When thou impressest, what are precepts worth
Of stale example? when thou wilt inflame,
How coldly those impediments stand forth
Of wealth, of filial fear, law, kindred fame,
Love's arms are peace, 'gainst rule, 'gainst sense, 'gainst shame
And sweetens in the suff'ring pangs it bears,
The aloes of all forces, shocks and fears.
‘ Now all these hearts that do on mine depend,
Feeling it break, with bleeding groans they pine,
And supplicant their sighs to you extend
To leave the batt'ry that you make 'gainst mine,
Lending soft audience, to my sweet design,
And credent soul, to that strong bonded oath,
That shall prefer and undertake my troth.
‘ This said, his wat'ry eyes he did dismount,
Whose sights till then were levelle'd on my face,
Each cheek a river running from a fount,
With brinish current downward flowe'd a pace:
Oh how the channel to the stream gave grace!
Who glazed with crystal gate the glowing roses,
That flame through water which their hue encloses.
‘ O father, what a hell of witch-craft lies
In the small orb of one particular tear?
But with the inundation of the eyes,
What rocky heart to water will not wear.
What breast so cold that is not warmed here,
Or cleft effect, cold modesty, hot wrath:
Both fire from hence, and chill extincture hath.
‘ For lo, his passion but an art of craft,
Even there resolved my reason into tears,
There my white stole of chastity I daft,
Shook off my sober guards, and civil fears,
Appear to him as he to me appears:
All melting, though our drops this diff'rence bore,
His poisoned me, and mine did him restore.
‘ In him a plenitude of subtle matter,
Applied to cautels, all strange forms receives,
Of burning blushes, or of weeping water,
Or swooning paleness: and he takes and leaves,
In either's aptness as it best deceives:
To blush at speeches rank, to weep at woes
Or to turn white and sound at tragic shows.
‘ That not a heart which in his level came
Could 'scape the hail of his all hurting aim,
Showing fair Nature is both kind and tame:
And veiled in them did win whom he would maim,
Against the thing he sought, he would exclaim,
When he most burnt in heart-wished luxury,
He preached pure maid, and praised cold chastity.
‘ Thus merely with the garment of a grace,
The naked and concealed fiend he covered,
That th' unexperient gave the tempter place,
Which like a cherubin above them hovered,
Who young and simple would not be so lovered.
Ay me, I fell, and yet do question make,
What I should do again for such a sake.
‘ O that infected moisture of his eye,
O that false fire which in his cheek so glowed:
O that forced thunder from his heart did fly,
O that sad breath his spongy lungs bestowed,
O all that borrowed motion seeming owed,
Would yet again betray the sore-betrayed,
And new pervert a reconciled maid!’
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL