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Shakespeare's Sonnets

Poems (miscellaneous poems II)

15

1. Ye know my heart my lady dear, That since the time I was your thrall, I have been yours both whole and clear, Though my reward hath been but small. So am I yet and more than all. And ye know well how I have served. As if ye prove, it shall appear How well, how long How faithfully; And suffered wrong How patiently! Then since that I have never swervèd Let not my pains be undeservèd. 2 Ye know also though ye say nay That you alone are my desire; And you alone it is that may Assuage my fervent flaming fire; Succour me then I you require. Ye know it were a just request, Since ye do cause my heat I say. If that I burn, That ye will warm, And not to turn All to my harm, Sending such flame from frozen breast Against all right for my unrest. 3 And I know well how frowardly Ye have mistaken my true intent, And hitherto how wrongfully I have found cause for to repent. But death shall rid me readily, If your (cruel) heart do not relent; And I know well all this ye know, That I and mine, And all I have, Ye may assign To spill or save. Why are ye then so cruel foe Unto your own that loveth you so ?
1. Ye know my herte my ladye dere, That sins the tyme I was your thrall, I have bene yours both hole and clere, Tho my reward hath bene but small : So am I yet and more than all. And ye kno well how I have served. As yf ye prove, it shall apere Howe well how longe How faithefulye : And soffred wrong How patientlye ! Then sins that I have never swervid Let not my paines be ondeservid. 2 Ye know also though ye saye naye That you alone are my desire ; And you alone it is that maye Asswage my fervent flaming fire ; Succour me then I you require. Ye know it were a just request, Sins ye do cause my heat I say. If that I bourne That ye will warme, And not to tourne All to my harme, Sending such flame from frosen brest Against all right for my unrest. 3 And I know well how frowerdly Ye have mystaken my true intent, And hetherto how wrongfully I have founde cause for to repent. Butt deth shall ryd me redely, If your (cruell) hert do not relent; And I knowe well all this ye knowe, That I and myne, And all I have, Ye may assiyne, To spill or save. Why are ye then so cruel ffoo Unto your owne that loveth you so ?

NOTES

thrall = slave. whole and clear = wholly and without deception. if ye prove = if you put it to the test. I you require = I request you to. That ye will warm = it will warm you. frowardly =stubbornly, unreasonably.

16

1. If fancy would favour, As my deserving shall, My love, my paramour, Should love me best of all. 2 But if I cannot attain The grace that I desire, Then may I well complain My service and my hire. 3 Fancy doth know how To further my true heart ; If fancy might avow With faith to take part. 4 But fancy is so frail And flitting still so fast, That faith may not prevail To help me first nor last. 5 For fancy at his lust Doth rule all but by guess, Whereto should I then trust In truth or stedfastness? 6 Yet gladly would I please The fancy of her heart; That may me only ease And cure my careful smart. 7 Therefore, my lady dear Set once your fantasy, To make some hope appear Of stedfastnes, remedy. 8 For if he be my friend, And undertake my woe, My grief is at an end If he continue so. 9 Else fancy doth not right, As I deserve and shall, To have you day and night, To love me best of all.
1. If fansy would favor, As my deserving shall ; My love, my paramor, Should love me best of all. 2 But if I cannot attain The grace that I desir ; Then may I well complain My service and my hier. 3 Ffansy doeth know how To further my trew hert ; If fansy myght avowe With faith to take part. 4 But fansy is so fraill And flitting still so fast ; That faith may not prevaill To helpe me furst nor last. 5 Ffor fansy at his lust Doeth rule all but by gesse, Whereto should I then trust In trouth or stedfastnes ? 6 Yet gladdely would I please The fansy of her hert ; That may me onely ease And cure my carefull smart. 7 Therefore, my lady dere Set ons your fantasy, To make som hope appere Of stedfastnes, remedy. 8 Ffor if he be my frend, And undertake my woo, My grief is at an end If he continue so. 9 Elles fansy doeth not ryght, As I deserve and shall ; To have you daye and nyght, To love me best of all.

NOTES

at his lust = as it pleases. but by guess = at random, without rational direction. that may me only ease = who is the only one who gives me solace. careful = full of care. For if he = for if your fantasy etc. undertake = come to grips with.

17

1 At most mischief I suffer grief, For of relief, Since I have none, My lute and I Continually Shall us apply To sigh and moan. 2 Nought may prevail, To weep or wail, Pity doth fail, In you, Alas ! Mourning or moan, Complaint or none, It is all one, As in this case. 3 For cruelty, Most that can be, Hath sovereignty, Within your heart ; Which maketh bare, All my welfare; Nought do you care How sore I smart : 4 No Tiger's heart, Is so pervert, Without desert To wreak his ire; And you me kill, For my good will Lo how I spill For my desire! 5 There is no love That can ye move, And I can prove, None other way; Therefore I must Restrain my lust, Banish my trust, And wealth away. 6 For in myschief, I suffer grief, For of relief, Since I have none, My lute and I Continually, Shall us apply To sigh and moan.
1 At moost myschief I suffre greif For of relief, Syns I have none ; My lute and I, Continuelly, Shall us apply To sigh and mone. 2 Nought may prevaill, To wepe or waill, Pitie doeth faill, In you, Alas ! Morning or mone, Complaint or none, It is all one, As in thys case. 3 Ffor crueltie, Moost that can be, Hath soveraynte, Within your hert ; Which maketh bare, All my welfare ; Nought do you care How sore I smart : 4 No Tigres hert, Is so pervert, Withoute desert To wreke his Ire ; And you me kyll For my good will, Lo how I spill For my desir ! 5 Ther is no love That can ye move, And I can prove, None other way ; Therefore I must Restrain my lust, Banisshe my trust, And welth away. 6 For in myschief, I suffer grief, For of relief, Syns I have none, My lute and I Continually, Shall us apply To sigh and mone.

NOTES

NOTES 1. At most mischief = in a condition of the greatest distress; at (the hands of) the greatest ill-will on your part. 2. It is all one = it has no effect. 3. Moost that can = the greatest that could. maketh bare = ruins. welfare = happiness. 4. without desert = on someone undeserving. to wreak his ire = to vent his anger upon. And you me kill etc. = you kill me by making me waste my good will upon you to no effect. 5. I can prove = I cannot discover or bring to bear

18

1 Marvel no more although The songs I sing do moan, For other life than woe I never proved none. 2 And in my heart also Is graven with letters deep A thousand sighes and mo A flood of tears to weep. 3 How may a man in smart Find matter to rejoice? How may a mourning heart Set forth a pleasant voice ? 4 Play who that can that part: Needs must in me appear How fortune, overthwart, Doth cause my mourning cheer. 5. Perdy there is no man If he never saw sight, That perfectly tell can The nature of the light. 6 Alas how should I then That never tasted but sour, But do as I began Continually to lour. 7 But yet perchance some chance, May chance to change my tune: And when such chance doth chance Then shall I thank Fortune. 8 And if I have chance, Perchance ere it be long, For such a pleasant chance To sing some pleasant song.
1 Marvaill no more all tho The songes I sing do mone, For other liff then wo I never proved none. 2 And in my hert also Is graven with lettres diepe : A thousand sighes and mo A flod of teres to wepe. 3 How may a man in smart Fynde matter to rejoyse ? How may a morning hert Set forth a pleasaunt voise ? 4 Play who that can that part : Nedes must in me appere How fortune, overthwart, Doeth cause my morning chere. 5. Perdy there is no man If he never sawe sight, That perfaictly tell can The nature of the light. 6 Alas how should I then That never tasted but sowre ; But do as I began Continuelly to lowre. 7 But yet perchaunce some chaunce, May chaunce to chaunge my tune : And when such chaunce doeth chaunce Then shall I thanck Fortune. 8 And if I have chaunce, Perchaunce ere it be long ; For such a pleasant chaunce To syng some pleasant song.

NOTES

1. proved = experienced. 2. graven = engraved. and mo = and more, i.e more than a thousand sighes. Possibly 'and furthermore, (I have) a flood of tears etc. ' 3. in smart = in pain. 4. Play who that can = Let whoso can play (that role). overthwart = contrary, hostile. my mourning cheer = my sorrowful appearance. 5. Perdy = By God! If he never saw sight = if he was blind. 6. to lour = to be gloomy.

19

1 Where shall I have at mine own will Tears to complain ? where shall I fetch Such sighs that I may sigh my fill, And then again my plaints repeat? 2 For though my plaint shall have none end, My tears cannot suffice my woe; To moan my harm have I no friend, For Fortune's friend is mishap's foe. 3 Comfort (God wot) else have I none But in the wind to waste my words; Nought moveth you my deadly moan, But all, you turn it into bourds. 4 I speak not now to move your heart, That you should rue upon my pain; The sentence given may not revert; I know such labour were but vain. 5 But since that I for you my dear Have lost that thing that was my best, A right small loss it must appear, To lose these words and all the rest. 6 But though they sparkle in the wind Yet shall they show your falsèd faith, Which is returned unto his kind, For like to like, the proverb sayeth. 7 Fortune and you did me advance: Me thought I swam and could not drown, Happiest of all; but my mischance Did lift me up to throw me down. 8 And you with your own cruelness, Did set your foot upon my neck, Me and my welfare to oppress Without offence your heart to wreak. 9 Where are your pleasant words, alas? Where your faith, your stedfastness? There is no more, but all doth pass, And I am left all comfortless. 10 But for because it doth you grieve, And also me, my wretched life, Have here my troth, shall not relieve But death alone, my very strife. 11 Therefore farewell my life, my death, My gain, my loss, my salve, my sore: Farewell also with you, my breath, For I am gone for evermore.
1 Where shall I have at myn owne will Teres to complain ? where shall I fett Suche sighes that I may sigh my fill, And then again my plaintes repete ? 2 For tho my plaint shall have none end, My teres cannot suffice my woo : To mone my harme have I no frend, For fortunes frend is myshappes ffoo. 3 Comfort (God wot) els have I none But in the wynde to wast my wordes : Nought moveth you my dedly mone, But all, you torn it into bordes. 4 I speke not now to move your hert, That you should rue upon my pain : The sentence geven may not revert : I know suche labor were but vayn 5 But syns that I for you my dere Have lost that thing that was my best, A right small losse it must appere, To lese thes wordes and all the rest. 6 But tho they sparkill in the wynde Yet shall they show your falsed faith, Which is retorned unto his kynde, For like to like, the proverbe saieth. 7 Ffortune and you did me avaunce : Me thought I swam and could not drowne, Happiest of all : but my myschaunce Did lyft me up to throw me downe. 8 And you with your owne cruelnes, Did set your fote upon my neck : Me and my welfare to oppresse Withoute offence your herte to wreke. 9 Wher are your plaisaunt wordes, alas ; Where your faith, your stedfastnes ? There is no more, but all doeth passe And I ame left all comfortles. 10 But forbicause it doeth you greve, And al so me, my wretched liff : Have here my trouth, shall not releve But deth alone, my very striff. 11 Therefore farewell my liff, my deth, My gayn, my losse, my salve, my sore : Farewell also with you, my breth, For I am gone for evermore.

NOTES

1. at mine own will = when I wish it, when I need it. fet = fetch. plaints = complaints, sighs. 2. Fortune's friend etc. = he who is befriended by Fortune has no sympathy for one suffering bad fortune (mishap). 3. Comfort etc. = God knows I have no other comfort. But all etc. = you turn everything into mockery. 4. may not revert = may not be changed. 5. that thing that was my best = my heart, my soul. 6. sparkle in the wind = put up a vain frothy show? returned unto his kind = reverted to its true nature. 7 mischance = misfortune. 8. welfare = well-being. Without offence etc. = (in order to ) wreak your cruel vengeance on me, who had caused you no offence. 10. for because it = because it (my life) my troth = my promise, my vow. shall not relieve/ But death alone, my very strife = only death will relieve me from all this turmoil. 11. my life, my death etc. - probably these all refer to the lady herself, who is his life, death, gain, loss etc.

20

A Robin Jolly Robin Tell me how thy leman doth And thou shalt know of mine. Refrain 1 My lady is unkind, perdy! Pl Alack, why is she so? R She loveth an other better than me, Pl And yet she will say no. 2 Response I find no such doubleness, I find women true, My lady loveth me doubtless, And will change for no new. 3 Ye Plaintiff Thou art happy while that doth last But I say as I find, That womens' love is but a blast And turneth like the wind. 4 Response If that be true yet as thou sayst That women turn their heart, Then speak better of them thou mayst In hope to have thy part. 5 Ye Plaintiff Such folks shall take no harm by love That can abide their turn; But I, alas, can no way prove In love but lack and mourn. 6 Response But if thow wilt avoid thy harm Learn this lesson of me: At other fires thyself to warm, And let them warm with thee.
A Robyn Joly Robyn Tell me how thy leman doeth And thou shalt know of myn. Refrain 1 My lady is unkynd, perde ! Pl Alack whi is she so ? R She loveth an othr better then me, Pl And yet she will say no. 2 Response I fynde no such doublenes, I fynde women true , My lady loveth me dowtles, And will chaunge for no newe. 3 Ye Plaintif Thou art happy while that doeth last But I say as I fynde, That womens love is but a blast And torneth like the wynde. 4 Response If that be true yett as thow sayst That women turn their hart, Then speke better of them thou mayst In hop to have thy partt. 5 Ye Plaintif Suche folkes shall take no harm by love That can abide their torn ; But I alas can no way prove In love but lack and morn. 6 Response But if thow wilt avoyde thy harme Lerne this lesson of me : At othr fires thyself to warme, And let theim warme with the.

NOTES

A Robin = a round, a chorus, a catch. leman = lover. 1. perdy = by God (a mild oath). 3. a blast = a gust of wind. 4. In hope to have thy part = in hope that they will bestow some of their loving on you. 5. abide their turn = wait till their turn comes round. can no way prove = experience nothing else but 6. At other fires thyself to warm = take other's lovers and enjoy them.

21

1 Though I cannot your cruelty constrain, For my good will to favour me again, Though my true and faithfull love Have no power your heart to move, Yet rue upon my pain! 2 Though I your thrall must evermore remain And for your sake my liberty restrain, The greatest grace that I do crave Is that ye would vouchesafe, To rue upon my pain! 3 Though I have not deserved to obtain So high reward, but this, to serve in vain Though I shall have no redress, Yet of right ye can no less But rue upon my pain! 4 But I see well that your high disdain Will no wise grant that I shall more attain; Yet ye must grant that, at the least, This my poor and small request: Rejoice not at my pain!
1 Tho I cannot your crueltie constrain, For my good will to favor me again, Tho my true and faithfull love Have no power your hert to move, Yet rew upon my pain ! 2 Tho I your thrall must evermore remain And for your sake my libertie restrain, The greatest grace that I do crave Is that ye would vouchesave, To rew upon my pain ! 3 Tho I have not deserved to obtain So high Reward, but this, to serve in vain Tho I shall have no redresse, Yet of right ye can no lesse But rew upon my pain ! 4 But I se well that your high disdain Wull no wise graunt that I shall more attain ; Yet ye must graunt that at the lest This my powre and small request, Rejoyse not at my pain !

NOTES

rue = have pity. thrall = servant, slave.

22

1 To wish and want and not obtain To seek and sue ease of my pain, Since all that ever I do is vain, What may it avail me! 2 Although I strive both day and hour Against the stream of all my power, If fortune list yet for to lour, What may it avail me! 3 If willingly I suffer woe, If from the fire me list not go, If then I burn to plain me so, What may it avail me ! 4 And if the harm that I suffer Be run too far out of measure, To seek for help any further, What may it avail me! 5 What though each heart that heareth me plain, Pitieth and plaineth for my pain, If I no less in grief remain What may it avail me! 6 Yea, though the want of my relief Displease the causer of my grief, Since I remain still in mischief What may it avail me! 7 Such cruel chance doth so me threat, Continually inward to fret. Then of release for to treat What may it avail me ! 8 Fortune is deaf unto my call, My torment moveth her not at all, And though she turn as doth a ball, What may it avail me! 9 For in despair there is no rede; To want of ear, speech is no speed; To linger still, alive as dead, What may it avail me!
1 To wisshe and want and not obtain To seke and sew ese of my pain, Syns all that ever I do is vain, What may it availl me ! 2 All tho I stryve boeth day and howre Against the streme of all my powre, If fortune list yet for to lowre, What may it availl me ! 3 If willingly I suffre woo, If from the fyre me list not goo, If then I burn to plaine me so, What may it avail me ! 4 And if the harme that I suffre Be run too farr oute of mesur, To seke for helpe any further, What may it availl me ! 5 What tho eche hert that hereth me plain, Pitieth and plaineth for my payn, If I no les in greif remain What may it availl me ! 6 Ye tho the want of my relief Displease the causer of my greif, Syns I remain still in myschief What may it availl me ! 7 Suche cruell chaunce doeth so me threte, Continuelly inward to frete, Then of relesse for to trete What may it avail me ! 8 Ffortune is deiff unto my call, My torment moveth her not at all, And though she torn as doeth a ball, What may it availl me ! 9 For in despere there is no rede ; To want of ere, speche is no spede ; To linger still, alyve as dede, What may it availl me !

NOTES

1. sue = ask for, pursue. 2. of all my power = to the height of my ability. To struggle against the stream (and fail) is a proverbial expression. list = wishes. lour = look threateningly. 3. plain = make complaint. 4. Be run too far out of measure = exceeds the bounds (of what is curable). 5. no less = nevertheless. 6. mischief = ill fortune, unhappiness. 7. chance = fortune. inward to fret = to make me fret inwardly. to treat = to parley, to discuss conditions for. 9. rede = counsel, (good) advice. To want of ear etc. = To one who has no ears to listen, speech is useless. alive as dead = being neither dead nor alive; suffering death in life.

23

1 My hope, alas, hath me abused And vain rejoicing hath me fed; Lust and joy have me refused, And carefull plaint is in their stead; Too much advancing slacked my speed; Mirth hath caused my heaviness, And I remain all comfortless. 2 Whereto did I assure my thought Without displeasure stedfastly, In Fortune's forge my joy was wrought And is revolted readily, I am mistaken wonderly, For I, though nought but faithfulness, Yet I remain all comfortless. 3 In gladsome cheer I did delight Till that delight did cause my smart; And all was wrong where I thought right, For right it was that my true heart Should not from truth be set apart, Since truth did cause my hardiness, Yet I remain all comfortless. 4 Sometime delight did tune my song, And led my heart full pleasantly, And to myself I said among, 'My hap is coming hastily', But it hath happèd contrary: Assuraunce causeth my distress, And I remain all comfortless. 5 Then if my note now do vary, And leave his wonted pleasantness, The heavy burden that I carry, Hath altered all my joyfulness; No pleasure hath still stedfastness, But haste hath hurt my happiness, And I remain all comfortless.
1 My hope, Alas, hath me abused And vain rejoysing hath me fed ; Lust and joye have me refused, And carefull plaint is in their stede ; To muche avauncing slaked my spede ; Myrth hath caused my hevines, And I remain all comfortles. 2 Whereto did I assure my thought Withoute displeasure stedfastly, In fortunes forge my Joye was wrought And is revolted redely, I ame mystaken wonderly : For I, tho nought but faithfulnes, Yet I remain all comfortless. 3 In gladsome chere I did delite Till that delite did cause my smert ; And all was wrong where I thought right, For right it was that my true hert Should not from trouth be set apart, Syns trouth did cause me hardines Yet I remain all comfortless. 4 Sometime delight did tune my song, And led my hert full plesauntly, And to myself I saide among, My happ is comyng hastely, But it hath happed contrary : Assuraunce causeth my distres, And I remain all comfortles. 5 Than if my note now do vary, And leve his wonted plesauntnes, The hevy burden that I cary, Hath alterd all my Joyefulnes ; No pleasure hath still stedfastnes, But hast hath hurt my happines, And I remain all comfortles.

NOTES

1. abused = deceived.
lust = desire, pleasure.
refused = deserted, refused to stay with.
careful = full of care.
Too much advancing = rushing forward too swiftly.
slacked = slowed down, impeded, brought to a halt.
2. Whereto = In the place where i.e. in my beloved's heart.
did I assure my thought = I trusted myself to be safely accepted.
Without displeasure = far from criticising, seeing no faults.
revolted = turned from what it was.
nought but faithfulness = being the epitome of faithfulness.
3. hardiness = boldness.
4. among = among other things (?); privately (?).
hap = good fortune.
5. wonted = customary.
no pleasure hath etc. = all pleasure is fleeting (?); there is no pleasure derived from being faithful (?).

24

1 What death is worse than this, When my delight, My weal, my joy, my bliss, Is from my sight ? Both day and night, My life, alas, I miss. 2 For though I seem alive, My heart is hence; Thus bootless for to strive, Out of presence Of my defence Toward my death I drive. 3 Heartless, alas, what man May long endure ? Alas how live I then ? Since no recure May me assure My life I well may ban. 4 Thus doth my torment go In deadly dread, Alas, who might live so Alive as dead, Alive to lead A deadly life in woe.
1 What deth is worse then this, When my delight, My wele, my joy, my blys, Is from my sight ? Boeth daye and night, My liff alas I mys. 2 Ffor though I seme alyve, My hert is hens ; Thus botles for to stryve, Oute of presens Of my defens Towerd my deth I dryve. 3 Hertles, alas, what man May long endure ? Alas how lyve I then ? Syns no recure May me assure My liff I well may ban. 4 Thus doeth my torment goo In dedly dred, Alas, who myght lyve so Alyve as dede, Alyve to lede A dedly lyff in woo.

NOTES

1. weal = well-being. my life ... I miss = I am deprived of life. 2. bootless = to no advantage. Out of presence = when absent is (my defence). my defence= my courage, my delight, my beloved etc.. 3. ban = banish. 4. alive as dead = neither dead nor alive; alive, in a life which is like death.

25

1 Once as me thought fortune me kissed, And bade me ask what I thought best: And I should have it as me list, Therewith to set my heart in rest. 2 I asked nought but my dear heart To have for evermore mine own; Then at an end were all my smart, Then should I need no more moan. 3 Yet for all that, a stormy blast Had overturned this goodly day, And fortune seemed at the last That to her promise she said nay. 4 But, like as one out of despair To sudden hope revived I; Now fortune showeth herself so fair That I content me wonderly. 5 My most desire my hand may reach, My will is always at my hand, Me need not long for to beseech Her that hath power me to command. 6 What earthly thing more can I crave? What would I wish more at my will? No thing on earth more would I have, Save that I have, to have it still. 7 For fortune hath kept her promise, In granting me my most desire; Of my sufferance I have redress. And I content me with my hire.
1 Ons as me thought fortune me kyst, And bad me aske what I thought best : And I should have it as me list, Therewith to set my hert in rest. 2 I asked nought but my dere hert To have for evermore myn owne ; Then at an ende were all my smert, Then should I nede no more mone. 3 Yet for all that, a stormy blast Had overtorned this goodely day, And fortune semed at the last That to her promes she saide nay. 4 But, like as oon out of dispere To soudden hope revived I ; Now fortune sheweth herself so fayer That I content me wonderly. 5 My moost desire my hand may reche My will is always at my hand ; Me nede not long for to be seche Her that hath power me to command. 6 What erthely thing more can I crave ? What would I wisshe more at my will ? No thing on erth more would I have, Save that I have, to have it still. 7 Ffor fortune hath kept her promes, In graunting me my moost desir; Of my sufferaunce I have redres. And I content me with my hiere.

NOTES

1. as me list = as I desired 2. smart = pain. 4. wonderly = wondrously. 5. most desire = that which I desire most. me to command = to command me. 6. more at my will = to satisfy more my desire. still = always. 7. sufferance = suffering. my hire = my situation (that of being your adorer).

26

1 My lute awake! perform the last Labour that thou and I shall waste, And end that I have now begun; For when this song is sung and past. My lute be still, for I have done. 2 As to be heard where ear is none, As lead to grave in marble stone, My song may pierce her heart as soon; Should we then sigh, or sing, or moan? No ! No ! my lute, for I have done. 3 The rocks do not so cruelly Repulse the waves continually As she my suit and affection; So that I am past remedy, Whereby my lute and I have done. 4 Proud of the spoil that thou hast got Of simple hearts, thorough Love's shot; By whom, unkind, thou hast them won, Think not he hath his bow forgot, Although my lute and I have done. 5 Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain That makest but game on earnest pain; Think not alone under the sun Unquit to cause thy lovers plain, Although my lute and I have done. 6 Perchance thee lie withered and old The winter nights that are so cold, Plaining in vain unto the moon; Thy wishes then dare not be told; Care then who list, for I have done. 7 And then may chance thee to repent The time that thou hast lost and spent To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon; Then shalt thou know beauty but lent, And wish and want as I have done. 8 Now cease, my lute: this is the last Labour that thou and I shall wast, And ended is that we begun; Now is this song both sung and past My lute be still, for I have done.
1 My lute awake ! perfourme the last Labor that thou and I shall wast, And end that I have now begon ; For when this song is song and past. My lute be still for I have done. 2 As to be herd where ere is none, As lede to grave in marbill stone, My song may perse her hert as sone ; Should we then sigh or sing or mone ? No ! No ! my lute, for I have done. 3 The Rokkes do not so cruelly Repulse the waves continuelly As she my suyte and affection ; So that I ame past remedy, Wherby my lute and I have done. 4 Prowd of the spoyll that thou hast gott Of simple hertes, thorough loves shot ; By whome, unkynd, thou hast theim wone, Thinck not he hath his bow forgot, All tho my lute and I have done. 5 Vengeaunce shall fall on thy disdain That makest but game on ernest pain ; Thinck not alone under the sonne Unquyt to cause thy lovers plain, All tho my lute and I have done. 6 Perchaunce the lye wethered and old The wynter nyght that are so cold, Playning in vain unto the mone ; Thy wisshes then dare not be told ; Care then who lyst, for I have done. 7 And then may chaunce the to repent The tyme that thou hast lost and spent To cause thy lovers sigh and swone ; Then shalt thou knowe beaultie but lent, And wisshe and want as I have done. 8 Now cesse, my lute : this is the last Labor that thou and I shall wast, And ended is that we begon ; Now is this song boeth song and past My lute be still, for I have done.

NOTES

2. As to be heard etc. - i.e. this looks forward to line 3: my song would no more pierce her heart than a voice would be heard where there are no ears to hear, or a a piece of lead would carve a marble stone. 3. my suit = my wooing. 4. the spoil = the trophies and rewards of war. In love's battles hearts are won and lost. thorough Love's shot = as a result of Cupid's archery. unkind = savage, unnatural, cruel. he = Cupid, Love. his bow forgot = he has forgotten his bow, i.e. he will remember it and aim it at you. 5. makest but game = makes fun of. Unquit = without paying the penalty. plain = to complain, to lament. Possibly -'thy lovers' plain' - meaning 'the complaint of your lovers'. 6. thee lie = you will lie. withered - weathered is also possible. 7. sigh and swoon = to sigh and to swoon. beauty but lent = beauty is only lent for a time, it is not a permanent gift.

27

1 If chance assigned Were to my mind By very kind Of destiny; Yet would I crave Nought else to have But life and liberty. 2 Then were I sure I might endure, The displeasure Of cruelty; Where now I plain Alas in vain Lacking my life for liberty. 3 For without th'one Th'other is gone, And there can none It remedy; If th'one be past Th'other doth wast And all for lack of liberty. 4 And so I drive As yet alive, Although I strive With mysery; Drawing my breath, Looking for death And loss of life for libertie. 5 But thou that still May'st at thy will Turn all this ill Adversity; For the repair Of my welfare Grant me but life and liberty. 6 And if not so, Then let all go To wretched woe, And let me die; For th'one or th'other There is none other My death, or life with liberty.
1 If chaunce assynd, Were to my mynde By very kynd Of destyne ; Yet would I crave Nought els to have But liff and libertie. 2 Then were I sure I myght endure, The displeasure Of crueltie ; Where now I plain Alas in vain Lacking my liff for libertie. 3 Ffor withoute thone Thothr is gone, And there can none It remedy ; If thone be past Thothr doeth wast And all for lack of libertie. 4 And so I dryve As yet alyve, All tho I stryve With myserie ; Drawing my breth, Lowking for deth And losse of life for libertie. 5 But thou that still Maist at thy will Torn all this ill Adversitie ; For the repare Of my welfare Graunt me but liff and libertie. 6 And if not so, Then let all goo, To wretched woo, And let me dye ; For thone or thothr There is none othr My deth, or liff with libertie.

NOTES

1. If chance assigned / Were to my mind = If the events of my life were as I would wish them to be. By very kind = by the direct actions, wishes, nature (of fortune) 2. I plain = I complain, lament. Lacking my life for liberty - uncertain meaning. Possibly the only liberty available to him is through death. Or perhaps 'for' should be 'or'. 3. th'one and th'other refer to life and liberty. none = no one. it remedy = remedy it. 4. drive = continue to go on living. this greedy lust = What wonder that I suffer so, if this greedy lust is within me, and yet I must restrain myself. This is usually interpreted as a love poem, the lady effectively depriving him of life and liberty by his infatuation for her. Some commentators think it has a political significance and refers to imprisonment.

28

1 I have sought long with stedfastness To have had some ease of my great smart, But nought availeth faithfulness To grave within your stony heart. 2 But hap and hit or else hit not, As uncertain as is the wind; Right so it fareth by the shot Of love alas that is so blind. 3 Therefore I played the fool in vain, With pity, when I first began Your cruel heart for to constrain, Since love regardeth no dolefull man. 4 But of your goodness, all your mind Is that I should complain in vain; This is the favor that, I find, Ye list to hear how I can plain. 5 But though I plain to please your heart, Trust me, I trust to temper it so Not for to care which do revert; All shall be one in wealth or woe. 6 For fancy ruleth, though right say nay Even as the goodman kissed his cow, None other reason can ye lay But as who sayeth 'I reck not how'.
1 I have sought long with stedfastnes To have had som ease of my great smert, But nought availeth faithfulnes To grave within your stony hert. 2 But happe and hit or els hit not, As uncertain as is the wynde ; Right so it fareth by the shott Of love alas that is so blynd. 3 Therefore I plaid the fool in vain, With pitie, when I first began Your cruell hert for to constrain, Syns love regardeth no doulfull man. 4 But of your goodenes, all your mynde Is that I should complain in vain ; This is the favor that, I fynde, Ye list to here how I can plain. 5 But tho I plain to please your hert, Trust me, I trust to temper it so Not for to care which do revert ; All shalbe oon in welth or woo. 6 Ffor fansy rueleth, tho right say nay Even as the goodeman kyst his kowe None othr reason can ye lay But as who saieth I reke not how.

NOTES

1. stedfastness = constancy, resolution. smart = sorrow, pain (of being in love). 2. hap and hit = to happen to be successful. or else hit not = or meet with no success. right so = so it is that. it fareth = things go, the world goes on. by the shot / of love = through Cupid's arrows (shot from his bow. 3. love regardeth no doleful man = a sorrowful man cannot expect to be successful in love. 4. all your mind = your only intent, your chief purpose. Ye list = you desire. 5. I plain = I complain, lament. to temper it = to harden it (my heart). which do revert = whatever turns out; whatever your decision. All shall be one = it is no matter. 6. fancy = imagination, desire, falling in love. though right say nay = though reason might object. as the goodman kissed his cow - proverbial. 'There's no accounting for tastes, as the lady said when she kissed a cow'. goodman = husband, housholder. can ye lay = are you able to offer. But as who sayeth = other than as someone who might say. I reck not how = I do not understand how (fancy dictates who to love).

29

1 Like as the swan towards her death Doth strain her voice with dolefull note, Right so sing I with waste of breath, I die ! I die ! and you regard it not. 2 I shall enforce my fainting breath, That all that hears this deadly note Shall know that you doth cause my death; I die ! I die ! and you regard it not. 3 Your unkindness hath sworn my death, And changed hath my pleasant note To painful sighs that stops my breath; I die ! I die ! and you regard it not. 4 Consumeth my life, faileth my breath; Your fault is forger of this note; Melting in tears, a cruel death; I die ! I die ! and you regard it not. 5 My faith with me after my death Buried shall be, and to this note I do bequeath my very breath To cry, "I died, and you regard it not."
1 Lyk as the swanne towardis her dethe Doeth strain her voyse with dolefull note, Right so sing I with waste of breth, I dye ! I dye ! and you regarde yt note. 2 I shall enforce my faynting breth, That all that heris this dedly note Shall kno that you dothe cause my deth ; I dye ! I dye ! and you regarde yt note. 3 Your unkindnes hath sworne my deth, And chaungid hathe my pleasaunte note To paynefull sighis that stoppis my breth ; I dye ! I dye ! and you regarde yt note. 4 Consumythe my lif, faileth my breth ; Your fawte is forger of this note ; Melting in tearis, a cruell deth ; I dye ! I dye ! and you regarde yt note. 5 My faith with me after my deth Byrred shalbe, and to this note I do bequeth my very breth To cry, "I dyede, and you regarde it not."

NOTES

1. Like as the swan - Swans were believed to sing for the first and last time when they were dying. note = song. you regard it not = you take no notice. 2. enforce = strengthen. 3. note = song, melody. 4. forger = maker, instigator. Melting in tears - Supply 'is' . Melting in tears is a cruel way to die.