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The Sonnets in Florilegia

Pity the world, or else this glutton be:

To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

This were to be new made when thou art old,

And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

But if thou live remembered not to be,

Die single, and thine image dies with thee.

Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee,

Which usèd, lives th’executor to be.

But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,

Lose but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair

To be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir.

So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon,

Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.

Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,

Sings this to thee: ‘Thou single wilt prove none.’

No love toward others in that bosom sits

That on himself such murd’rous shame commits.

Make thee another self for love of me,

That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby

Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

And nothing ‘gainst time’s scythe can make defence

Save breed to brave him when he takes thee hence.

O, none but unthrifts, dear my love, you know,

You had a father; let your son say so.

Or else of thee this I prognosticate:

Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.

And all in war with time for love of you,

As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

To give away yourself keeps yourself still,

And you must live drawn by your own sweet skill.

But were some child of yours alive that time,

You should live twice: in it, and in my rhyme.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Yet do thy worst, old time; despite thy wrong

My love shall in my verse ever live young.

But since she pricked thee out for women’s pleasure,

Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

Let them say more that like of hearsay well;

I will not praise that purpose not to sell.

Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain:

Thou gav’st me thine not to give back again.

O learn to read what silent love hath writ;

To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.

Yet this cunning want to grace their art:

They draw but what they see, know not the heart.

Then happy I, that love and am beloved

Where I may not remove nor be removed.

Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee;

Till then, not show my head where thou mayst prove me.

Lo, thus by day my limbs, by night my mind,

For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.

But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer,

And night doth nightly make grief’s strength seem stronger.

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings’.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored, and sorrows end.

Their images I loved I view in thee,

And thou, all they, hast all the all of me.

But since he died, and poets better prove,

Theirs for their style I’ll read, his for his love.’

Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth:

Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

Ah, but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,

And they are rich, and ransom all ill deeds.

That I an accessory needs must be

To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.

But do not so. I love thee in such sort

As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

Look what is best, that best I wish in thee;

This wish I have, then ten times happy me.

If my slight muse do please these curious days,

The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

And that thou teachest how to make one twain

By praising him here who doth hence remain!

Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,

Kill me with spites, yet we must not be foes.

Hers, by thy beauty tempting her to thee,

Thine, by thy beauty being false to me.

But here’s the joy: my friend and I are one.

Sweet flattery! Then she loves but me alone.

All days are nights to see till I see thee,

And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

Receiving naught by elements so slow

But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.

This told, I joy; but then no longer glad,

I send them back again and straight grow sad.

As thus: mine eye’s due is thy outward part,

And my heart’s right thy inward love of heart.

Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight

Awakes my heart to heart’s and eye’s delight.

And even thence thou wilt be stol’n, I fear,

For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.

To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,

Since why to love I can allege no cause.

For that same groan doth put thin in my mind:

My grief lies onward and my joy behind.

Since from thee going he went wilful-slow,

Towards thee I’ll ruin and give him leave to go.

Blessèd are you whose worthiness gives scope,

Being had, to triumph; being lacked, to hope.

In all external grace you have some part,

But you like none, none you, for constant heart.

And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,

When that shall fade, by verse distils your truth.

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,

You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

Or call it a winter, which, being full of care,

Makes summer’s welcome, thrice more wished, more rare.

Sp true a fool is love that in your will,

Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.

I am to wait, though waiting so be hell,

Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well.

O, sure I am the wits of former days

To subjects worse have given admiring praise.

And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,

Praising thy worth despite his cruel hand.

For thee watch I whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,

From me far off, with others all too near.

‘Tis thee, my self, that for myself I praise,

Painting my age with beauty of thy days.

His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,

And they shall live, and he in them still green.

This thought is as a death, which cannot choose

But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

O none, unless this miracle have might:

That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,

Save that to die I leave my love alone.

O, hi, she stores to show what wealth she had

In days long since, before these last so bad.

And him as for a map doth nature store,

To show false art what beauty was of yore.

But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,

The soil is this: that though dost common grow.

If some suspect of ill masked not thy show,

Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.

Lest the wise world should look into your moan

And mock you with me after I am gone.

For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,

And so should you, to love things nothing worth.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

The worth of that is that which it contains,

And that is this, and this with thee remains.

Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,

Or gluttoning on all, or all away.

For as the sun is daily new and old,

So is my love, still telling what is told.

These offices so oft as thou wilt look

Shall profit thee and much enrich thy book.

But thou art all my art, and dost advance

As high as learning my rude ignorance.

Then thank him not for that which he doth say,

Since what he owes thee thou thyself dost pay.

Then if he thrive and I be cast away,

The worst was this: my love was my decay.

You still shall live—such virtue hath my pen—

Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.

And their gross painting might be better used

Where cheeks need blood: in thee it is abused.

There lives more life in one of your fair eyes

Than both your poets can in praise devise.

You to your beauteous blessings add a curse,

Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse.

Then others for the breath of words respect,

Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.

But when your countenance filled up his line,

Then lacked I matter; that enfeebled mine.

Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter:

In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

Such is my love, to thee I so belong,

That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.

For thee, against myself I’ll vow debate;

For I must ne’er love him whom thou dost hate.

And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,

Compared with loss of thee will not seem so.

Wretched in this alone: that thou mayst take

All this away, and me most wretched make.

But what’s so blessed fair that fears no blot?

Thou mayst be false, and yet I know it not.

How like Eve’s apple doth thy beauty grow

If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show!

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds:

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege:

The hardest knife ill used doth lose his edge.

But do not so: I love thee in such a sort

As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

Or if they sing, ‘tis with so dull a cheer

That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

Yet seemed it winter still, and you away,

As with your shadow I with these did play.

More flowers I noted, yet I none could see

But sweet or colour it had stol’n from thee.

Give my love fame faster than tie wastes life;

So, thou prevene’st his scythe and crooked knife.

Then do thy office, muse; I teach thee how

To make him seem long hence as he shows now.

Therefore like her I sometime hold my tongue,

Because I would not dull you with my song.

And more, much more, than in my verse can sit

Your own glass shows you when you look in it.

For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:

Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.

Fair, kind, and true have often lived alone,

Which three till now never kept seat in one.

For we which now behold these present days

Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

And thou in this shalt find thy monument

When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent.

Finding the first conceit of love there bred

Where time and outward form would show it dead.

For nothing this wide universe I call

Save thou my rose; in it thou art my all.

Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,

Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.

Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye

Even that your pity is enough to cure me.

You are so strongly in my purpose bred

That all the world besides, methinks, they’re dead.

Incapable of more, replete with you,

My most true mind thus makes mine eye untrue.

If it be poisoned, ‘tis the lesser sin

That mine eye loves it and doth first begin.

Love is a babe; then might I not say so,

To give full growth to that which still doth grow.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Since my appeal says I did strive to prove

The constancy and virtue of your love.

But thence I learn, and find the lesson true:

Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.

So I return rebuked to my content,

And gain by ills thrice more than I have spent.

But that your trespass now becomes a fee;

Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.

Unless this general evil they maintain:

All men are bad and in their badness reign.

To keep an adjunct to remember thee

Were to import forgetfulness in me.

This I do vow, and this shall ever be:

I will be true despite thy scythe and thee.

To this I witness call the fools of time,

Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.

Hence, thou suborned informer! A true soul

When most impeached stands least in thy control.

Her audit, though delayed, answered must be,

And her quietus is to render thee.

Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,

That every tongue says beauty should look so.

Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,

Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

All this the world well knows, yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,

And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.

Then will I swear beauty herself is black,

And all they foul that thy complexion lack.

And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee,

Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.

Him have I lost; thou hast both him and me;

He pays the whole, and yet am I not free.

Let no unkind no fair beseechers kill’

Think all but one, and me in that one Will.

Make but my name thy love, and love that still,

And then thou lov’st me for my name is Will.

In things right true my heart and eyes have erred,

And to this false plague are they now transferred.

Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,

And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,

Kill me outright with looks, and rid my pain.

That I may not be so, nor thou belied;

Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.

Only my plague thus far I count my gain:

That she that makes me sin awards me pain.

If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,

By self example mayst thou be denied!

So will I pray that thou mayst have thy Will

If thou turn back and my lord crying still.

Yet this shall I ne’er know, but live in doubt

Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,

And saved my life, saying ‘not you.’

So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,

And death once dead, there’s no more dying then.

For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,

Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

O cunning love, with tears thou keep’st me blind

Lest eyes, well seeing, thy foul faults should find!

But, love, hate on; for now I know thy mind.

Those that can see thou lov’st, and I am blind.

If thy unworthiness raised love in me,

More worthy I to be beloved of thee.

No want of conscience hold it that I call

Her ‘love’ for whose dear love I rise and fall.

For I have sworn thee fair—more perjured eye

To swear against the truth so foul a lie.

But found no cure; the bath my help lies

Where Cupid got new fire: my mistress’ eyes.

Came there for cure; and this by that I prove:

Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love.









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