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HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY.
The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
With green hath clad the hill and eke the vale:
The nightingale with feathers new she sings ;
The turtle to her make hath told her tale:
Summer is come, for every spray now springs;
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale;
The buck in brake his winter coat he flings;
The fishes flete with new-repaired scale;
The adder all her slough away she slings;
The swift swallow pursueth the flies smale;
The busy bee her honey now she mings;
Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale :
And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs.
Alas! have I not pain enough, my friend,
Upon whose breast a fiercer gripe doth tire
Than did on him who first stale down the fire,
While Love on me doth all his quiver spend ;
But with your rhubarb words ye must contend
To grieve me worse, in saying, that desire
Doth plunge my well-form’d soul even in the mire
Of sinful thoughts, which do in ruin end ?
If that be sin, which doth the manners frame,
Well staid with truth in word and faith of deed,
Ready of wit, and fearing nought but shame;
If that be sin, which in fix'd hearts doth breed
A loathing of all loose unchastity,
Then love is sin, and let me sinful be,
Because I oft, in dark abstracted guise,
Seem most alone in greatest company,
With dearth of words, or answers quite awry,
To them that would make speech of speech arise ;
They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies,
That poison foul of bubbling pride doth lie
So in my swelling breast, that only I
Fawn on myself, and others do despise.
Yet pride, I think, doth not my soul possess,
Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass :
But one worse fault, ambition, I confess,
That makes me oft my best friends, overpass,
Unseen, unheard, while thought to highest place
Bends all his power, even unto Stella's grace.
With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face !
What! may it be, that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?
Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case ;
I read it in thy looks, thy languish'd grace
To that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet
Those lovers scorn, whom that love doth possess ?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness ?
Come, Sleep-0 Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe,
poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
Th' indifferent judge between the high and low!
With shield of proof, shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw:
O make in me those civil wars to cease!
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed ;
A chamber deaf to noise, and blind to light;
A rosy garland, and a weary head:
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt, in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.