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Shakespeare's Sonnets

Poems (From Tottel's Miscellany)

1

Sooner I would of death sustain the smart Than break one word of that I promised you. Accept therefore my service in good part: None is alive that can ill tongues eschew. 8 Hold them as false, and let not us depart Our friendship old, in hope of any new. Put not thy trust in such as use to feign, Except thou mind to put thy friend to pain. 12
Sooner I would of death sustayn the smart Than break one word of that I promised you : Accept therfore my service in good part ; None is alyve that can yll tonges eschew ; Hold them as false, and let not us depart Our frendship olde, in hope of any new. Put not thy trust in such as use to fayn, Except thou mynde to put thy frend to payn.

NOTES

8. ill tongues eschew = escape from malicious gossip. 9. Hold them = consider them (the slanderers). depart = depart from, abandon. 11. such as use = those who make a habit of.

2

Pass forth my wonted cries Those cruel eares to pierce, Which in most hateful wise Do still my plaints reverse. 4 Do you my tears, also So wet her barren heart, That pity there may grow, And cruelty depart. 8 For though hard rocks among She seems to have been bred, And of the Tiger long Been nourished and fed; 12 Yet shall that nature change, If pity once win place When as unknown and strange, She now away doth chase. 16 And as the water soft Without forcing or strength, Where that it falleth oft, Hard stones doth perse at length. 20 So in her stony hart My plaints at last shall grave, And, rigour set apart, Win grant of that I crave. 24 Wherefore my plaints, present Still so to her my suit As ye, through her assent May bring to me some fruit. 28 And as she shall me prove, So bid her me regard, And render love for love, Which is a just reward. 32
Passe forth my wonted cryes Those cruell eares to pearce, Which in most hateful wyse Doe styll my plaintes reverse. Doe you my teares, also So wet her barrein hart, That pitye there may grow, And crueltie departe. For though hard rockes among She semes to have bene bred, And of the Tigre long Bene nourished and fed ; Yet shall that nature change, If pitie once win place Whan as unknowen and strange, She now away doth chase. And as the water soft Without forcyng or strength, Where that it falleth oft, Hard stones doeth perse at length : So in her stony hart My plaintes at last shall grave, And rigour set apart, Winne grant of that I crave. Wherefore my plaintes, present Styll so to her my sute As ye, through her assent May bring to me some frute. And as she shall me prove, So bid her me regarde, And render love for love, Which is a just reward.

NOTES

4. reverse = send back to me. 15. When as = when it, as (i.e. pity). 20. perse = pierce. 22. grave = engrave. 23. rigour set apart = (with her) harshness put to one side. 25. present - an imperative addressed to his complaints. 'Go forth, my complaints, and present persistently my suit to her'. 29. prove = find.

3

Your looks so often cast, Your eyes so friendly rolled, Your sight fixed so fast, Always one to behold. 4 Though hide it fain ye would, It plainly doth declare Who hath your heart in hold, And where good will ye bear. 8 Fain would ye find a cloak Your burning fire to hide, Yet both the flame and smoke Breaks out on every side. 12 Ye cannot love so guide That it to issue win - Abroad needs must it glide That burns so hot within. 16 For cause your self do wink Ye judge all other blind. And secret it you think Which every man doth find. 20 In waste oft spend ye wind Your self in love to quit; For agues of that kind Will show who hath the fit. 24 Your sighs you fet from far And all to wry your woe; Yet are ye ne'er the nar, Men are not blinded so. 28 Deeply oft swear ye now, But all those oaths are vain. So well your eye doth show Who puts your heart to pain. 32 Think not therefore to hide That still it self betrays, Nor seek means to provide To dark the sunny days. 36 Forget those wonted ways, Leave off such frowning cheer, There will be found no stays To stop a thing so clear. 40
Your lokes so often cast, Your eyes so frendly rolde, Your sight fixed so fast, Alwayes one to behold : Though hyde it fain ye would : It plainly doth declare Who hath your hart in hold, And where good will ye bare. Fayn would ye finde a cloke Your brennyng fire to hyde : Yet both the flame and smoke Breakes out on every side : Yee can not love so guide That it to issue winne. Abrode nedes must it glide, That brens so hote within. For cause your self do wink Ye judge all other blinde : And secret it you think Which every man doth finde. In wast oft spend ye winde Your self in love to quit : For agues of that kinde Will show, who hath the fit. Your sighes yow fet from farre And all to wry your wo : Yet are ye nere the narre, Men are not blinded so. Depely oft swere ye no : But all those othes ar vaine. So well your eye doth showe Who puttes your hert to paine. Thinke not therfore to hide That still it selfe betrayes, Nor seke meanes to provide To darke the sunny daies ; Forget those wonted waies : Leave of such frowning chere : There will be found no stayes To stoppe a thing so clere.

NOTES

Tottel entitles the poem 'The lover's case cannot be hidden however he dissemble'. 1. cast = turned to one side. 4. Always one = always the same person. 10. Your burning fire - metaphorical. The flame of passion. 13. guide = control. 14. to issue win = finds a way out. 15. Abroad = into the open. 17. For cause = because. wink = shut your eyes. 21. In waste etc. = you chatter idly, you waste your breath. 25. fet from far = fetch from deep in your body. 26. wry = (?) to cover hide. However 'all to wry' could be equivalent to 'all awry' hence 'Your sorrows are all irrational, crude and disjointed'. 27. ne'er the nar = no nearer, i.e. no nearer success in hiding the cause of your behaviour. 34. That = that which.

4

Since love will needs that I shall love, Of very force I must agree; And since no chance may it remove In wealth and in adversity, 4 I shall alway my self apply To serve and suffer patiently. 6 Though for good will I find but hate, And cruelty my life to waste, And though that still a wretched state Should pine my days unto the last, 10 Yet I profess it willingly To serve and suffer patiently. 12 For since my heart is bound to serve, And I not ruler of mine own, What so befall, till that I starve, By proof full well it shall be known, 16 That I shall still my self apply To serve and suffer patiently. 18 Yea though my grief find no redress But still increase before mine eyes, Though my reward be cruelness With all the harm hap can devise: 22 Yet I profess it willingly To serve and suffer patiently. 24 Yea though fortune her pleasant face Should show, to set me up aloft, And straight my wealth, for to deface, Should writhe away, as she doth oft: 28 Yet would I still myself apply To serve and suffer patiently. 30 There is no grief, no smart, no woe That yet I feel, or after shall, That from this mind may make me go. And whatsoever me befall, 34 I do profess it willingly To serve and suffer patiently. 36
Synce love wyll nedes that I shall love, Of very force I must agree : And since no chance may it remove In welth and in adversitie, I shall alway my self apply To serve and suffer paciently. Though for good will I finde but hate, And cruelty my life to wast, And though that still a wretched state Should pine my dayes unto the last : Yet I professe it willingly To serve and suffer paciently. For since my hart is bound to serve, And I not ruler of mine owne, What so befall, till that I sterve, By proofe full well it shall be knowne, That I shall still my self apply To serve and suffer paciently. Yea though my grief finde no redresse But still increase before mine eyes : Though my reward be cruelnesse With all the harme, happe can devise : Yet I professe it willingly To serve and suffer paciently. Yea though fortune her pleasant face Should shew, to set me up aloft : And streight my wealth, for to deface ; Should writhe away, as she doth oft : Yet would I styll myself apply To serve and suffer paciently. There is no grief, no smart, no wo That yet I fele, or after shall, That from this mynde may make me go : And whatsoever me befall, I do professe it willingly To serve and suffer pacientlty.

NOTES

Tottel entitles the poem 'The lover determineth to serve faithfully'. 1. love = Cupid, Venus. 10. pine = cause to pine, cause to waste away. 22. hap = (ill) fortune. 28. writhe away = (?) wrench away. These four lines 25-8 seem to describe the changing face of fortune and its tendency to enrich one followed by immediate impoverishment. 33. mind = intention, determination.

5

For want of will, in woe I plain, Under colour of soberness, Renewing with my suit my pain, My wan hope with your steadfastness. 4 Awake therefore of gentleness, Regard at length I you require The sweltering pains of my desire. 7 Betimes who giveth willingly, Redoubled thanks aye doth deserve; And I that sue unfeignedly In fruitless hope, alas, do starve; 11 How great my cause is for to swerve, And yet how steadfast is my suit. Lo here ye see, where is the fruit? 14 As hound that hath his keeper lost, Seek I your presence to obtain, In which my heart delighteth most, And shall delight though I be slain. 18 You may release my band of pain. Loose then the care that makes me cry For want of help, or else I die. 21 I die, though not incontinent, By process yet consumingly, As waste of fire which doth relent, If you as wilfull will deny. 25 Wherefore cease of such cruelty, And take me wholly in your grace, Which lacketh will to change his place. 28
For want of will, in wo I playne Under colour of sobernesse : Renewyng with my sute my payne, My wanhope with your stedfastnesse. Awake therfore of gentlenesse : Regard at length I you require The sweltyng paynes of my desire. Betimes who geveth willingly, Redoubled thankes aye doth deserve ; And I that sue unfaynedly In frutelesse hope, alas, do sterve ; How great my cause is for to swerve : And yet how stedfast is my sute Lo here ye see, where is the frute ? As hounde that hath his keper lost, Seke I your presence to obtayne, In which my hart deliteth most, And shall delight though I be slayne. You may release my band of payne. Lose then the care that makes me crye For want of helpe or els I dye. I dye, though not incontinent, By processe yet consumingly As waste of fire which doth relent, If you as wilfull wyll denye. Wherefore cease of such crueltye, And take me wholy in your grace, Which lacketh will to change his place.

NOTES

Tottel entitles this poem 'The lover lamenteth his estate with suit for grace'. 1. will = determination, will power. plain = complain. 2. Under colour etc. = pretending restraint and sobriety. 3. suit = love suit, pleas for love and reciprocation. 4. wan hope = despair, distress. This line is governed by 'renewing' in the previous line. 5. of gentleness = through your kindness. 8. Betimes = in good time, early on. 12. swerve = turn away from (you) to another love. 19. band = bonds. 20. Loose = slacken, release. 22. incontinent = immediately. 25. as wilfull = being stubborn. 28. Which = who - the antecedent is 'me' of the previous line. 28. change his place = seek another love.

6

If ever man might him avaunt Of fortune's friendly cheer, It was my self, I must it grant For I have bought it dear. 4 And dearly have I held also The glory of her name, In yielding her such tribute, lo, As did set forth her fame. 8 Sometime I stood so in her grace, That as I would require, Each joy I thought did me embrace That furthered my desire. 12 And all those pleasures lo had I, That fancy might support; And nothing she did me deny That was to my comfort. 16 I had, what would you more perdy, Each grace that I did crave: Thus fortune's will was unto me All thing that I would have. 20 But all too rathe, alas the while, She built on such a ground In little space - too great a guile In her now have I found. 24 For she hath turned so her wheel That I, unhappy man, May wail the time that I did feel Wherewith she fed me then. 28 For broken now are her behests, And pleasant looks she gave; And therefore now all my requests From peril can not save. 32 Yet would I well it might appear To her my chief regard: Though my deserts have been too dear To merit such reward. 36 Sith fortune's will is now so bent To plague me thus, poor man, I must myself therewith content And bear it as I can. 40
If ever man might him avaunt Of fortunes frendly chere, It was my selfe I must it graunt For I have bought it dere. And derely have I helde also The glory of her name, In yelding her such tribute, lo, As did set forth her fame. Sometyme I stode so in her grace, That as I would require, Ech joy I thought did me imbrace That furdered my desire. And all those pleasures lo had I, That fansy might support ; And nothing she did me denye That was to my comfort. I had, what would you more perdee, Ech grace that I did crave : Thus fortunes will was unto me All thing that I would have. But all to rathe, alas the while, She built on such a ground : In little space, too great a guyle In her now have I found. For she hath turned so her whele That I, unhappy man, May waile the time that I did fele Wherwith she fed me than. For broken now are her behestes, And pleasant lokes she gave; And therefore now all my requestes From peril can not save. Yet would I well it might appere To her my chiefe regard : Though my desertes have ben to dere To merite such reward. Sith fortunes will is now so bent To plage me thus pore man, I must myself therwith content And beare it as I can.

NOTES

Tottel entitles the poem 'The lover waileth his changed joys'. However it appears that the entire poem is addressed to the goddess Fortune, and the title is inapposite. Some of the delights mentioned in verses 2 and 3 that fortune has granted could be taken as being the consent of the beloved to accept him. 1. avaunt = boast, brag. 4. For = (?) even though. 9. Sometime = there was a time. 17. perdy = by God. 21. too rathe = too suddenly, too early. 22. She = Fortune. 23. In little space = in a short time. 28. Wherewith = with which. 32. can not save = cannot be saved. 34. To her = To fortune 33-36. Of uncertain meaning. 'I would that fortune would now accept that my chief concern is to praise her. Although the costly benefits she has bestowed on me in the past means that I deserve little more hereafter'.

7

When first mine eyes did view and mark Thy fair beauty to behold, And when mine ears listened to hark The pleasant words that thou me told, 4 I would as then I had been free From ears to hear, and eyes to see. 6 And when my lips gan first to move Wherby my heart to thee was known, And when my tongue did talk of love To thee that hast true love down thrown, 10 I would my lips and tongue also Had then been dumb, no deal to go. 12 And when my hands have handled ought That thee hath kept in memory, And when my feet have gone and sought To find and get thy company, 16 I would each hand a foot had been And I each foot a hand had seen. 18 And when in mind I did consent To follow this my fancy's will, And when my heart did first relent To taste such bait my life to spill, 22 I would my heart had been as thine, Or else thy heart had been as mine. 24
When first mine eyes did view and marke Thy faire beawtie to beholde : And when mine eares listned to hark The pleasant wordes that thou me tolde : I would, as then, I had been free From eares to hear, and eyes to see. And when my lips gan first to move Wherby my hart to thee was knowne : And when my tong did talk of love To thee that hast true love down throwne : I would my lips and tong also Had then bene dum, no deale to go. And when my handes have handled ought That thee hath kept in memory : And when my fete have gone and sought To find and get thy company : I would eche hand a fote had bene And I eche foote a hand had sene. And when in mynde I did consent To folow this my fansies will : And when my hart did first relent To tast such bayt my life to spyll : I would my hart had bene as thyne, Orels thy hart had bene as mine.

NOTES

Tottel entitles the poem 'The lover curseth the time when he first fell in love'. 5. as then = (?) that then. 6. From ears etc. = that my ears had been deaf and my eyes blind. 7. gan = began. 12. no deal to go = unable to move at all. 17-18. He wishes that his hands had been feet, so that they could not have handled mementoes of his beloved, and that his feet had been hands, so that he could not have walked to see her. 21. relent = relax its guard. 22. such bait = the allurement of your beauty.

8

Mistrustful minds be moved To have me in suspect, The truth it shall be proved Which time shall once detect. 4 Though falshood go about Of crime me to accuse, At length I do not doubt But truth shall me excuse. 8 Such sauce as they have served To me without desert, Even as they have deserved Thereof God send them part. 12
Mystrustfull mindes be moved To have me in suspect, The troth it shalbe proved Which time shall once detect. Though falshed go about Of crime me to accuse, At length I do not doute But truth shall me excuse. Such sawce as they have served To me without desart, Even as they have diserved Therof God send them part.

NOTES

Tottel entitles this poem 'The lover suspected blameth ill tongues', but it is probably not a love poem, but one which cavils generally at the evils of malice and political enterprise. 2. suspect = suspicion. 4. once = at length, in the long term. 9. sauce = treatment; false descriptions of me. 12. send them part = pay them (according to their deserts).

9

I see that chance hath chosen me Thus secretly to live in pain, And to another given the fee Of all my loss, to have the gain. 4 By chance assigned thus do I serve, And other have that I deserve. 6 Unto myself sometime alone I do lament my woeful case, But what availeth me to moan? Since troth and pity have no place 10 In them, to whom I sue and serve, And other have that I deserve. 12 To seek by mean to change this mind Alas, I prove it will not be; For in my heart I cannot find Once to refrain, but still agree, 16 As bound by force, alway to serve, And other have that I deserve. 18 Such is the fortune that I have To love them most that love me least, And to my pain to seek and crave The thing that other have possessed. 22 So thus in vain alway I serve, And other have that I deserve. 24 And till I may appease the heat, If that my hap will hap so well, To wail my woe my heart shall fret, Whose pensive pain my tongue can tell. 28 Yet thus unhappy must I serve, And other have that I deserve. 30
I see that chance hath chosen me Thus secretely to live in paine, And to an other geven the fee Of all my losse to have the gayn. By chance assinde thus do I serve, And other have that I deserve. Unto myself sometime alone I do lament my wofull case, But what availeth me to mone ? Since troth and pitie have no place In them, to whom I sue and serve : And other have that I deserve. To seke by meane to change this minde Alas, I prove it will not be ; For in my hart I cannot finde Once to refrain, but still agree As bounde by force, alway to serve : And other have that I deserve. Suche is the fortune that I have To love them most that love me lest : And to my pain to seke and crave The thing that other have possest. So thus in vain alway I serve, And other have that I deserve. And till I may apease the heate, If that my happe will happe so well, To waile my wo my hart shall freate, Whose pensiv pain my tong can tell. Yet thus unhappy must I serve And other have that I deserve.

NOTES

Tottel entitles the poem 'The lover complaineth his estate'. 3. fee = profit; wages; payments etc. By chance assigned = having been given this fate by Fortune. 10. troth = truth, promises. 13. by mean = by some means. 16. once to refrain = at any time to refrain (from loving you). 25. appease the heat = cool down the heat of my passion. 26. If that my hap etc. = if Fortune would allow it. 28. Whose pensive pain = the melancholy sorrow of my heart.

10

Throughout the world if it were sought, Fair words enough a man shall find, They be good cheap, they cost right nought, 3 Their substance is but only wind, But well to say, and so to mean, That sweet accord is seldom seen. 6
Through out the world if it were sought, Faire wordes enough a man shall finde ; They be good chepe they cost right nought, Their substance is but onely winde, But well to say, and so to mene, That swete accord is seldom sene.

NOTES

Tottel entitles this poem 'Of dissembling words'.

12

Sufficed not (Madame) that you did tear My woeful heart, but thus also to rent The weeping paper that to you I sent, Whereof each letter was written with a tear. 4 Could not my present pains, alas, suffice Your greedy heart? and that my heart doth feel Torments that prick more sharper than the steel, But new and new must to my lot arise? 8 Use then my death. So shall your cruelty Spite of your spite rid me from all my smart, And I no more such torments of the heart Feel as I do. This shalt thou gain thereby. 12
Suffised not (Madame) that you did teare My wofull hart, but thus also to rent The weping paper that to you I sent, Wherof eche letter was written with a teare. Could not my present paines, alas, suffise Your greedy hart ? and that my hart doth fele Tormentes that prick more sharper than the stele, But new and new must to my lot arise ? Use then my death. So shal your cruelty Spite of your spite rid me from all my smart, And I no more such tormentes of the hart Fele as I do. This shalt thou gain thereby.

NOTES

Tottel entitles this poem 'The lover blameth his love for renting of the letter he sent her'. It is probably an incomplete sonnet, with the final couplet missing. 8. new and new = ever new torments. 9. Use then my death = satisfy yourself then with my death.

13

Speak thou and speed where will or power aught help'th Where power doth want, will must be won by wealth. For need will speed, where will works not his kind, 3 And gain thy foes thy friends shall cause thee find. For suit and gold what do not they obtain, Of good and bad the tryers are these twain. 6
Speke thou and spede where will or power ought helpthe Where power doth want will must be wonne by welth. For nede will spede, where will workes not his kinde, And gayne, thy foes thy frendes shall cause thee finde. For sute and golde what do not they obtaine, Of good and bad the triers are these twaine.

NOTES

Tottel entitles this poem 'That speaking or proffering brings always speeding'. A somewhat obscure poem the theme of which is a lamentation of the world's wickedness and venality. 1.-3. Uncertain meaning, depending on how one interprets 'will' in lines 1 and 2, and to whom one considers the poem to be addressed. I cannot offer a rational paraphrase. 4. Money will cause your foes to pretend they are your friends. 5. suit = (?) preferment. 6. tryers = that which puts to the test. these twain = 'suit and gold'.

14

If thou wilt mighty be, flee from the rage Of cruel will, and see thou keep thee free From the foul yoke of sensual bondage; For though thy Empire stretch to Indian sea 4 And for thy fear trembleth the farthest Thule, If thy desire have over thee the power, Subject then art thou and no governor. 7 If to be noble and high thy mind be moved, Consider well thy ground and thy beginning; For he that hath each star in heaven fixed, And gives the Moon her horns and her eclipsing, 11 Alike hath made thee noble in his working: So that wretched no way thou may be, Except foul lust and vice do conquer thee. 14 All were it so thou had a flood of gold Unto thy thirst, yet should it not suffice; And though with Indian stones, a thousandfold More precious than can thy self devise 18 Ycharged were thy back: thy covetise And busy biting yet should never let Thy wretched life, ne do thy death profit. 21
If thou wilt mighty be, flee from the rage Of cruell wyll, and see thou kepe thee free From the foule yoke of sensuall bondage ; For though thy Empyre stretche to Inlian sea And for thy feare trembleth the fardest Thylee, If thy desire have over thee the power, Subject then art thou and no governour. If to be noble and high thy mind be meved, Consider well thy grounde and thy beginnyng ; For he that hath eche starre in heaven fixed, And gives the Moone her hornes and her eclipsyng, Alike hath made thee noble in his working : So that wretched no way thou may be, Except foul lust and vice do conquer thee. All were it so thou had a flood of gold Unto thy thirst, yet should it not suffice ; And though with Indian stones, a thousande folde More precious then can thy self devise Ycharged were thy backe : thy covitise And busye bytyng yet should never let, Thy wretched life ne do thy death profet.

NOTES

Tottel entitles this poem 'He ruleth not though he reign over realms that is subject to his own lusts '. 2. will = lust, desire. 4. Thule = Possibly Iceland or Greenland. To the ancient world 'ultima Thule' was a famed land as far North beyond the limits of civilisation as it was possible to travel. 7. You are a subject and not a ruler. 15. All were it so thou had = it would be as if you had. 19. Ycharged = laden, loaded. 20-21. (?) Your busy concerns with money and lust would never abandon (let) your wretched life, nor would your death profit you in any way.