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Shakespeare's Sonnets

Later poems I (after 1536)

A TRILOGY ON LOVE

PART I Lo, what it is to love! Learn ye, that list to prove, At me I say, No ways that may 4 The grounded grief remove, My life alway That doth decay. Lo! what it is to love. 8 Flee alway from the snare, Learn by me to beware Of such a train Which doubles pain, 12 And endless woe and care That doth retain; Which to refrain Flee alway from the snare. 16 To love and to be wise, To rage with good advice, Now thus, now then, Now off, now on, 20 Uncertain as the dice; There is no man At once that can To love and to be wise. 24 Such are the diverse throes, Such, that no man knows That hath not proved, And once have loved. 28 Such are the raging woes: Sooner reproved Than well removed, Such are the diverse throes. 32 Love is a fervent fire Kindled by hot desire; For a short pleasure, Long displeasure; 36 Repentance is the hire. A poor treasure, Without measure. Love is a fervent fire. 40 Lo! what it is to love!
PART I Lo, what it is to love ! Lerne ye, that list to prove, At me I say, No ways that may The grownd is greiff remove, My liff alwaie, That doeth decaye ; Lo ! what it is to love. Ffle alwaye from the snare, Lerne by me to beware, Of suche a trayne, Which doubles payne, And endles woo and care, That doth retayne ; Which to refrayne, Fle alwaye from the snare. To love and to be wise, To rage with good admyse, Now thus now than Now of now an Uncerteyn as the dyse ; There is no man At ons that can To love and to be wise. Suche are the dyvers throws, Suche, that no man knows That hath no profd, And ons have losd : Suche are the raging woos : Soner reprofd Then well remofd, Suche are the dyvers throws. Love is a fervent fire Kendeld by hote desire, For a short pleasure, Long displeasur ; Repentaunce is the hire ; A poure tresoure, Withoute mesure, Love is a fervent fire. Lo ! what it is to love, etc.

NOTES

PART II Leave thus to slander love! Though evil with such it prove Which often use Love to misuse, 4 And loving to reprove. Such cannot chose, For their refuse, But thus, to slander love. 8 Flee not so much the snare - Love seldom causeth care, But by deserts And crafty parts, 12 Some leese their own welfare. Be true of hearts, And for no smarts Flee not so much the snare. 16 To love and not to be wise Is but a mad device. Such love doth last As sure and fast 20 As chance on the dice. A bitter taste Comes at the last, To love and not to be wise. 24 Such be the pleasant days, Such be the honest ways. There is no man, That fully can 28 Know it, but that he says Loving to ban Were folly then! Such be the pleasant days. 32 Such is a pleasant fire, Kindled by true desire. And though the pain Cause men to plain 36 Speed well is oft the hire. Then though some feign And leese the gain, Love is a pleasant fire. 40
PART II Leve thus to slander love ! Though evill, with suche it prove Which often use Love to mysuse, And loving to reprove ; Such cannot chose, For their refuse, But thus, to slaunder love. Ffle not so much the snare ; Love sildam causeth care ; But by deserftes And crafty partes, Som lese their owne welfar ; Be true of hertes, And for no smartes Fle not so much the snare To love and not to be wise Is but a mad devise ; Such love doeth last As sure and fast As chaunce on the dyse ; A bitter tast Coms at the last, To love and not to be wise. Such be the plaisaunt daies, Such be the honest wayes ; There is no man, That fully can Know it, but he that sayes Loving to ban Were folly than ! Such be the pleasaunt daies. Such is a plaisaunt fire, Kyndeled by true desire ; And though the payne Cause men to playne Sped well is oft the hiere. Then though some fayne And lese the gayne Love is a pleasaunt fire.

NOTES

PART III Who most doth slander love The deed must alway prove. Truth shall excuse That you accuse, 4 For slander and reprove; Not by refuse, But by abuse You most do slander love. 8 Ye grant it is a snare And would us not beware. Lest that your train Should be too plain, 12 Ye colour all the care. Lo, how you feign, Pleasure for pain, And grant it is a snare. 16 To love and to be wise, It were a strange device! But from that taste Ye vow the fast, -- 20 On zyns though run your dice, Ambs-ace may haste Your pain to waste, To love, and to be wise. 24 Of all such pleasant days, Of all such pleasant plays, Without desert You have your part, 28 And all the world so says. Save that poor heart That for more smart Feeleth yet such pleasant days. 32 Such fire and such heat Did never make ye sweat, For without pain You best obtain 36 To good speed and to great. Who so doth plain, You best do feign Such fire and such heat. 40 Who now doth slander love?
PART III Who most doeth slaunder love The dede must alwaye prove ; Trouth shall excuse That you accuse, For slaunder and reprove ; Not by refuse, But by abuse You most do slaunder love. Ye graunt it is a snare ! And would us not beware ! Lest that your trayne Should be to playne, Ye colour all the care ! Lo, how you fayne, Pleasur for payne, And graunt it is a snare. To love and to be wise ! It were a straunge devise ! But from that tast Ye vow the fast, -- On zyns tho run your dise, Ambs-as may hast Your payne to wast To love, and to be wise. Of all such pleasaunt dayes, Of all such pleasaunt playes, Without deserft, You have your part, And all the worould so says ; Save that poure hert That for more smart Feleth yet suche pleasaunt dayes. Such fire and suche hete Did never make ye swete, For withoute payne You best obtayne To good spede and to grete Who so doeth playne, You best do fayne Such fire and such hete. Who now doeth slaunder Love, etc.

NOTES

Arguments for and against love. The final part of the trilogy is somewhat obscure, but it seems to be spoken by the first speaker, he who contemned love and advised against it, rather than being a summary of the arguments pro and contra. PART I 2. list to prove = desire to experience. 3. at me = from me. 5. grounded = deep-seated. 11. train = lure, bait; pother, turmoil. 14. that doth retain = which (i.e. love) keeps within itself. 17-21. These lines are governed by what follows in 22-4. I.e there is no man who can withstand these contraries listed here raging within him. 26-7 - I.e. no man could know of these things unless he had experienced them. 37. hire = reward, paymment. 39. without measure = unlimited, boundless (refers to repentance and regret) . PART II 1. Leave thus = cease, desist from. 2-5. Those who frequently abuse and misuse love cannot choose but to see it as evil, and to reprove it. 7. their refuse = having met with refusal (?). 11-12. deservedly, and for using deception. 13. leese = lose. 18. a mad device = a foolish plan, an idiotic approach. 26-31. No man who has tasted the fruits of love could possibly wish to ban it. 37. Speed well etc. = the reward is often success. PART III The first speaker now responds and attempts to prove his point, that love is not worth the candle. 1-2. The fact itself will show who is most guilty of slandering love. 4. That you accuse = him, whom you accuse (i.e. me, the speaker). 5. For = of. reprove = reproof, criticism. 6-8. It is not by refusing to love, but by misreprenting its true nature (abuse) that one most slanders love. 11. your train = the allurements which you describe love as having. 14-15. Look how you pretend that the pain of love is really a pleasure. 17-18. The speaker implies that to love and to be wise is near impossible. 19-20. You vow that you will not be so foolish as to love madly, but will refrain from such food. (That = that other possibility, of loving and being unwise). 21. zyns = five and six, the highest and luckiest score at dice. 22. Ambs-ace = two aces, a low and unlucky score. 21-22 = Do not trust to your luck, which is sure to change. The final two stanzas are difficult to interpret, but they seem to suggest that the speaker of Part II has just been lucky, and that his day of pain and torment in love will one day come.

1

Though this [be thy] port and I thy servant true, And thou thy self dost cast thy beams from high From thy chief house, promising to renew Both joy and eke delight, behold yet how that I, Banished from my bliss, carefully do cry, 5 "Help now, Citherea, my lady dear, "My fearful trust," en voguant la galère. 7 Alas the doubt that dreadful absence giveth! Without thine aid assurance is there none. The firm faith that in the water floateth Succour thou therefore; in thee it is alone. Stay that with faith that faithfully doth moan; 12 And thou also givest me both hope and fear. Remember thou me, en voguant la galère. 14 By seas and hills elongèd from thy sight Thy wontèd grace reducing to my mind, In stead of sleep, thus I occupy the night; A thousand thoughts and many doubts I find, And still I trust thou canst not be unkind; 19 Or else despair, my comfort and my cheer Would she forthwith, en voguant la galère. 21 Yet on my faith, full little doth remain Of any hope, whereby I may myself uphold, For since that only words do me retain, I may well think the affection is but cold; But since my will is nothing that as I would, 26 But in my hands it resteth whole and clear, Forget me not, en voguant la galère. 28
Though this port : and I thy servaunt true, And thou thy self doist cast thy bemes from hye From thy chieff howse, promising to renew Both Joye and eke delite, behold yet how that I, Bannisshed from my blisse, carefully do crye, "Helpe now, Citherea, my lady dere, "My ferefull trust," en vogant la galere. Alas the dowbt that dredfull absence geveth Withoute thyn ayde ; assuraunce is there none : The ferme faith, that in the water floteth Succor thou therefor ; in thee it is alone : Stay that with faith that faithfully doeth mone ; And thou also gevest me boeth hope and fere ; Remembr thou me, en vogant la galerie. By sees and hilles elonged from thy sight Thy wonted grace reducing to my mynde, In sted of slepe, thus I occupy the nyght ; A thowsand thoughtes and many dowbtes I fynde, And still I trust thou canst not be unkinde ; Or els dispere, my comfort and my chiere Would she fourthwith, en vogant la galerie. Yet on my faith, full litle doeth remain Of any hope, whereby I may myself uphold, For syns that onely wordes do me retain, I may well thinck the affection is but cold ; But syns my will is nothing that as I would, But in my handes it resteth hole and clere, Forget me not, en vogant la galerie.

NOTES

The poem is addressed to Venus (Aphrodite in Greek), and also to the beloved woman. Cytheria was an island in the Aegean specially dedicated to Aphrodite, perhaps where she was born, rising from the foam of the sea. (See detail from Botticelli's painting opposite). 1. this thy port - possibly a port in Italy at which Wyatt embarked or disembarked. A specific port dedicated to Venus has not been identified. 2. cast thy beams from high - referring to the planet Venus, the evening or morning star. 3. chief house - an astrological term, referring to a section of the heaven in which Venus was said to be propitious. 4. eke = also, in addition. 5. carefully = full of sorrow. 7. en voguant la galère = while the ship sails on. But the French phrase 'Et vogue la galère' is also an idiom meaning 'Come what may'. 8. absence - i.e. separation from the beloved. 9. thine aid - i.e. the aid of Venus. 10. that in the water floateth = that is in danger of drowning. 12 stay = support, protect. 15. thy wonted grace = your unfailing beauty. This stanza seems to be addressed more to the beloved than to Venus. 15. reducing = bringing back. From the Latin reducere = to lead back. 19 unkind = savage; contrary to the nature of woman. 20. despair = cause to despair. The subject is 'she' of the following line. 26. my will is nothing that as I would = my desire does not match what in reality I may attain.

2

Process of time worketh such wonder, That water, which is of kind so soft, Doth pierce the marble stone asunder By little drops falling from aloft. 4 And yet an heart that seems so tender Receiveth no drop of the stilling tears, That alway still cause me to render The vain plaint that sounds not in her ears. 8 So cruel alas is nought alive, So fierce, so froward, so out of frame; But some way, some time, may so contrive By means the wild to temper and tame. 12 And I that always have sought and seek Each place, each time, for some lucky day, This fierce tiger - less I find her meek And more denied, the longer I pray. 16 The lion in his raging furor Forbears that sueth meekness for his [boot]; And thou alas, in extreme dolour The heart so low thou treadest under foot. 20 Each fierce thing lo how thou dost exceed, And hides it under so humble a face; 22 And yet the humble to help at need Nought helpeth, time, humbleness, nor place.
Processe of tyme worketh suche wounder, That water, which is of kynd so soft, Doeth perse the marbell stone a sonder By litle droppes faling from a loft. And yet an hert that sems so tender Receveth no dropp of the stilling teres, That alway still cause me to render The vain plaint that sowndes not in her eres. So cruel alas is nowght alyve, So fiers, so froward, so owte of fframe ; But some way, some tyme, may so contryve By mens the wild to temper and tame. And I that alwaies have sought and seke Eche place, eche tyme, for som lucky daye, This fiers Tigre : lesse I fynde her meke And more denyd, the lenger I pray. The lyon in his raging furor Forberis that sueth mekenes for his [boote] ; And thou alas, in extreme dolor The hert so low thou tredis under foote. Eche fiers thing lo how thou doest excede, And hides it under so humble a face ; And yet the humble to helpe at nede Nought helpeth tyme, humblenes, nor place.

NOTES

2. of kind = by nature. 6. stilling = gathering, falling, distilling. 10. out of frame = disjointed, unnatural. 14. some lucky day = some day in which I might catch and tame her (this fierce tiger). 15/16. less I find her etc. = I find her always less meek and amenable than I would wish, and the more I beseech her the more she denies me. 17. furor = fury. 18. Forbears that = spares anyone, any creature, that etc. 19. dolour = sorrow. (Refers to the heart in the next line). 23. at need = in their need. 23/24. Uncertain meaning. Perhaps ' And yet nothing constrains you to help the lowly in their hour of need, neither their humility, nor the time nor the place of their asking you'.

3

After great storms the calm returns And pleasanter it is thereby. Fortune likewise that often turns Hath made me now the most happy. 4 Th' heaven that pitied my distress My just desire and my cry, Hath made my languor to cease, And me also the most happy. 8 Whereto despaired ye my friends? My trust alway in him did lie, That knoweth what my though(t) intends, Whereby I live the most happy. 12 Lo! what can take hope from that heart That is assured steadfastly? Hope therefore ye that live in smart, Whereby I am the most happy. 16 And I that have felt of your pain, Shall pray to God continually To make your hope your health retain, And me also the most happy. 20
After great stormes the cawme retornis And plesanter it is thereby ; Fortune likewise that often tornis Hath made me now the moost happy. Thevin that pited my distres, My just desire and my cry, Hath made my langour to cesse, And me also the most happy. Whereto dispaired ye my frendes ; My trust alway in hid ly, That knoweth what my though(t) intendes, Whereby I lyve the most happy. Lo ! what can take hope from that hert That is assured stedfastly ; Hope therefore ye that lyve in smert, Whereby I ame the most happy. And I that have felt of your paine, Shall pray to God continually To make your hope your helth retayne, And me also the most happy.

NOTES

The poem is possibly one of religious fervour, enjoining a trust in God, rather than a love poem celebrating the return of his mistress's favours. 3. that often turns - Fortune was often depicted with a wheel which she frequently turned, uplifting some, and destroying others. .Hence the phrase 'the wheel of Fortune'. 7. languor = depression, misery, hopelessness. 10. him = God. Some editors emend to 'in her'.

4

All heavy minds Do seek to ease their charge, And that that most them binds To let at large. 4 Then why should I Hold pain within my heart, And may my tune apply To ease my smart? 8 My faithful lute Alone shall hear me plain, For else all other suit Is clean in vain. 12 For where I sue Redress of all my grief, Lo they do most eschew My hearts relief. 16 Alas my dear Have I deserved so, That no help may appear Of all my woe? 20 Whom speak I to, Unkind and deaf of ear? Alas, lo I go, And wot not where. 24 Where is my thought? Where wanders my desire? Where may the thing be sought That I require? 28 Light in the wind Doth flee all my delight, Where truth and faithfull mind Are put to flight. 32 Who shall me give Feathered wings for to flee, The thing that doth me grieve That I may see? 36 Who would go seek The cause whereby to pain? Who could his foe beseek For ease of pain? 40 My chance doth so My woeful case procure, To offer to my foe My heart to cure. 44 What hope I then To have any redress? Of whom or where or when Who can express? 48 No! since despair Hath set me in this case, In vain oft in the air To say 'Alas'! 52 I seek nothing But thus for to discharge My heart of sore sighing, To plain at large. 56 And with my lute Some time to ease my pain, For else all other suit Is clean in vain. 60
All hevy myndes Do seke to ese their charge, And that that most theim byndes To let at large. Then why should I Hold payne within my hert, And may my tune apply To ease my smart. My faithfull lute Alone shall here me plaine : For els all othr sute Is clene in vaine. Ffor where I sue Redresse of all my grieff, Lo they do most eschew My hertes relieff. Alas my dere Have I deserved so, That no help may appere Of all my wo ? Whome speke I to, Unkynd and deff of ere ; Alas, lo I go, And wot not where. Where is my thoght ? Where wanders my desire ? Where may the thing be soght That I require ? Light in the wynde Doth fle all my delight ; Where trouth and faithfull mynde Are put to flyght. Who shall me gyve Fetherd wynges for to fle, The thing that doeth me greve That I may se ? Who would go seke The cause whereby to payne ? Who could his foo beseke For ease of payne ? My chaunce doeth so My wofull case procure, To offer to my ffoo My hert to cure. What hope I then To have any redresse ? Of whome or where or when Who can expresse ? No ! sins dispaire Hath set me in this case, In vain oft in the ayre To say 'Alas' ! I seke nothing But thus for to discharge My hert of sore sighing, To plaine at large. And with my lute Sum tyme to ease my pain, For els all othr sute Is clene in vain.

NOTES

4. To let at large = to set free. 7/8. And may my tune apply etc. = when I am free to sing (to my lute) and use the song to ease my pain. 11. suit = plea for one's love to be acknowledged. 15. Lo they do most eschew = It is just those women who most refuse (to give me satisfaction). 24. wot = know. 29. Light in the wind = (as) things that are light and airy, when the wind blows. 35. the thing that doth me grieve = his beloved, who refuses to gratify him. 41. My chance = fortune; my unhappy lot. 42. My woeful case = my unhappy situation. 51. In vain = it is vain and fruitless. 54. discharge = unload, free from the burden of. 56. To plain at large = to utter my laments freely.

5

To seek each where, where man doth live, The sea, the land, the rock, the cliff, France, Spain, and Inde, and every where; Is none a greater gift to give 4 Less set by oft, and is so lief and dear, Dare I well say, than that I give to year. 6 I cannot give brooches nor rings, These goldsmiths' work and goodly things Piery nor pearls, orient and clear; But for all that is no man brings 10 Lesser jewel unto his Lady dear Dare I well say, than that I give to year. 12 Nor I seek not to fetch it far, Worse is it not though it be near, And as it is, it doth appear Uncounterfeit, mistrust to bar; 16 Left whole and pure withouten peer, Dare I well say, the gift I give to year. 18 To thee therefore the same retain. The like of thee to have again France would I give if mine it were. Is none alive in whom doth reign 22 Lesser disdain. Freely, therefore, lo! here Dare I well give, I say, my heart to year. 24
To seke eche where, where man doeth lyve, The See, the Land : the Rocke, the Clyve, Ffraunce, Spayne, and Inde and every where ; Is none a greater gift to gyve Lesse sett by oft, and is so lyeff and dere, Dare I well say than that I gyve to yere. I cannot gyve browches nor ringes, Thes Goldsmithes work and goodly thinges Piery nor perles, oryente and clere ; But for all that is no man bringes Lesser Juell unto his Lady dere Dare I well say then that I gyve to yere. Nor I seke not to fetche it farr, Worse is it not tho it be narr, And as it is, it doeth appere Uncontrefaict, mistrust to barr ; Lest hole and pure withouten pere Dare I well say the gyft I gyve to yere To the therefore the same retain The like of the to have again Ffraunce would I gyve if myn it were Is none alyve in whome doeth rayne Lesser disdaine ; frely, therefore, to here Dare I well gyve I say my hert to yere.

NOTES

The poem was possibly given with a New Year's gift. 1-4. Were one to seek etc. (one would not find a better gift. 1. each where = everywhere; or, in each place (as the following). 4. Is none = there is no etc. The gift is not specified until the last line of the poem. 5. Less set by oft = less often put aside. 6. (12, 18, 24). to year = this year. 9. Piery = jewellry, ornaments. orient and clear - i.e. the finest sort of pearls. 11. Lesser - the sense really seems to require 'greater', but the drift is obvious, that he brings something of far richer value. 16. mistrust to bar = to prevent mistrust. 17. withouten peer = without equal. 19. to thee therefore etc. = therefore hold on to this gift (the same which I have been referring to).

6

O goodly hand Wherein doth stand My heart distraught in pain. Fair hand, Alas 4 In little space My life that doth restrain. 6 O fingers slight Departed right, So long so small so round; Goodly begone 10 And yet alone Most cruel in my wound. 12 With Lilies white And Roses bright Doth strive thy colour fair; Nature did lend 16 Each finger's end A pearl for to repair. 18 Consent at last, Since that thou hast My heart in thy demesne, For service true 22 On me to rue And reach me love again. 24 And if not so, Then with more woe, Enforce thyself to strain This simple heart 28 That suffereth smart, And rid it out of pain. 30
O goodely hand Wherein doeth stand My hert distrast in payne ; Faire hand, Alas In litle spas My liff that doeth restrayne. O fyngers slight Departed right, So long so small so rownd ; Goodely begone And yet alone Most cruell in my wound. With Lilis whight And Roses bright Doeth stryve thy color faire ; Nature did lend Eche fyngers ende A perle for to repayre. Consent at last, Syns that thou hast My hert in thy demayne ; For service trew On me to rew And reche me love agayne. And if not so, Then with more woo, Enforce thiself to strayne This simple hert That suffereth smart, And rid it owt of payne.

NOTES

8. Departed right = spaced appropriately. 10. Goodly begone = (?) fairly fashioned; (?) beautifully ornamented. 18. repair = adorn. 21. demesne = estate, territory; area over which you reign supreme. 23. rue = have pity. 24. reach = offer, give. 27. strain = rack, torment. 30. rid it out of pain = bring an end to its life.