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So oft as I her beauty do behold,
And therewith do her cruelty compare,
I marvel of what substance was the mould,
The which her made attonce so cruel fair.
Not earth ; for her high thoughts more heavenly are :
Not water; for her love doth burn like fire :
Not air ; for she is not so light or rare :
Not fire ; for she doth freeze with faint desire.
Then needs another element inquire
Whereof she mote be made; that is, the sky:
For, to the heaven her haughty looks aspire ;
And eke her love is pure, immortal, high.
Then, sith to heaven ye liken'd are the best,
Be like in mercy as in all the rest.
The doubt which ye misdeem, fair love, is vain,
That fondly fear to lose your liberty ;
When, losing one, two liberties ye gain,
And make him bond that bondage erst did fly.
Sweet be the bands, the which true love doth tie
Without constraint or dread of any ill:
The gentle bird feels no captivity
Within her cage, but sings and feeds her fill.
There pride dare not approach, nor discord spill
The league twixt them that loyal love hath bound:
But simple Truth and mutual Good-will
Seeks with sweet peace to salve each other's wound:
There Faith doth fearless dwell in brazen tower,
And spotless Pleasure builds her sacred bower.
Like as a huntsman after weary chace,
Seeing the game from him escap'd away,
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey:
So, after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chace forsook,
The gentle deer return’d the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook :
There she, beholding me with milder look,
Sought not to fly, but fearless still did bide;
Till I in hand her yet half-trembling took,
And with her own good-will her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem'd, to see a beast so wild,
So goodly won, with her own will beguild !
Fresh Spring, the herald of love's mighty king,
In whose coat-armour richly are display'd
All sorts of flowers, the which on earth do spring,
In goodly colours gloriously array'd;
Go to my love, where she is careless laid,
Yet in her winter's bower not well awake;
Tell her the joyous time will not be stay’d,
Unless she do him by the forelock take;
Bid her therefore herself soon ready make,
To wait on Love amongst his lovely crew,
Where every one that misseth then her make,
Shall be by him amerc'd with penance due.
Make haste, therefore, sweet love, whilst it is prime;
For none can call again the passed time.
Like as the culver, on the bared bough,
Sits mourning for the absence of her mate,
And in her songs sends many a wishful vow
For his return, that seems to linger late :
So I alone, now left disconsolate,
Mourn to myself the absence of my love ;
And, wandering here and there all desolate,
Seek with my plaints to match that mournful dove :
Ne joy of ought that under heaven doth hove,
Can comfort me, but her own joyous sight;
Whose sweet aspect both God and man can move,
In her unspotted pleasance to delight.
Dark is my day, whiles her fair light I miss,
And dead my life, that wants such lively bliss.