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The ornament of beauty is suspect;
A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
So thou be good, slander doth but approve
Their worth be greater, being woo'd of time;
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
And thou present'st a pure unstained prime.
Thou hast past by the ambush of young days,
Either not assail'd, or victor, being charg'd;
Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise,
To tie up envy evermore enlarg'd;
If some suspect of ill, mask not thy show,
Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts should'st owe.
O how I faint, when I of you do write!
Knowing a better spirit doth use your name;
And in the praise thereof spends all his might,
To make me tongue-ty'd, speaking of your fame.
But since your worth (wide as the ocean is)
The humble as the proudest coil doth bear;
My saucy bark (inferior far to h
On your broad main doth wilfully appr.
Your shallowest help will hold me up ahoat,
Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;
Or (being wreck'd) I am a worthless boat,
He of tall building, and of goodly pride.
Then if he thrive, and I be cast-away,
The worst was this, my love was my decay.
Or shall I live your epitaph to make?
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten?
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Altho' in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
Tho' I (once gone) to all the world must die ;
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie :
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read;
And tongues to be, your being shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead:
You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen
Where breath most breathes, ev'n in the mouths of men.
THE PICTURE OF TRUE LOVE.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, altho' his height be taken.
Love's not time's fool, tho' rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.)
IN PRAISE OF HIS LOVE.
I grant thou wert not marry'd to my muse,
And therefore may'st without attaint o'erlook
The dedicated wards when writers use
Of their fair subject iessing every book:
Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue;
Finding thy worth a limit past my praise;
And therefore art inforc'd to seek anew
Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days:
And do so, love; yet when they have devis'd
What strained touches rhetorick can lend,
Thou, truly fair, wert truly sympathiz'd,
In true plain words, by thy true-telling friend.
And their gross painting might be better us'd,
Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abus'd.
I never saw that you did painting need,
And therefore to you fair no painting set:
I found (or thought I found) you did exceed
The barren tender of a poet's debt:
And therefore have I slept in your report,
That you yourself being extant, well might show,
How far a modern quill doth come too short,
Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow.
This silence of my sin you did impute,
Which shall be most my glory, being dumb;
For I impair not beauty, being mute,
When others would give life, and bring a tomb.
There lives more life in one of your fair eyes,
Than both your poets can in praise devise.
Who is it, that says most, which can say more
Than this rich praise, that you alone are you ?
In whose confine immured is the store,
Which should example where your equal grew?
Lean penury within that pen doth dwell,
That to his subject lends not some small glory:
But he that writes of you, if he can tell
That you are you, so dignifies his story.
Let him but copy what in you is writ,
Not making worse what nature made so clear;
And such a counterpart shall fame his wit,
Making him still admired every where.
You to your beauteous blessing add a curse,
Being fond of praise, which makes your praises worse.
My tongue-ty'd muse in manners holds her still,
While comments of your praise, richly compil'd,
Reserve their character with golden quill,
And precious phrase by all the muses fill'd.
I think good thoughts, whilst others write good words,
And, like unletter'd clerk, still cry Amen
To every hymn that able spirit affords,
In polish'd form of well refined pen.
Hearing you praised, I say 'tis so, 'tis true,
And to the most of praise add something more;
But that is in my thought, whose love to you
(Tho' words come hindmost) holds his ranks before :
Then others, for the breath of words, respect;
Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse,
Bound for the prize of (all-too-precious) you,
That did my ripe thoughts in my brain rehearse,
Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew!
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write
Above a mortal pitch that struck me dead?
No, neither he, nor his compeers by night,
Giving him aid, my verse astonished.
He, nor that affable familiar ghost,
M VOL. IX.
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,
As victors, of my silence cannot boast;
I was not sick of any fear from thence.
But when your countenance fill'd up his line,
Then lack'd I matter that enfeebled mine.
Farewell, thou art too dear for my possessing,
And, like enough, thou know'st thy estimate;
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing ;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee, but by thy granting,
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav'st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking.
So thy great gift upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, in waking, no such matter.
As it fell upon a day,
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade,
With a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,
Trees did grow, and plants did spring;
Every thing did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone;
She (poor bird!) as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast up-till a thorn,
And there sung the doleful'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry;
Tereu, tereu, by and by ;
That to hear her so complain,
Scarce I could from tears refrain ;
For her griefs so lovely shown,
Made me think upon my own.
Ah! (thought I) thou mourn'st in vain,
None takes pity on thy pain;
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee;
Ruthless bears, they will not cheer thee?
King Pandion, he is dead;
All thy friends are lapp'd in lead;
All thy fellow-birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing:
Whilst as fickle fortune smil❜d,
Thou and I were both beguil'd;
Every one, that flatters thee,
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy, like the wind,
Faithful friends are hard to find;
Every man will be thy friend,
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend ;
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call;
And with such like flattering
Pity but he was a king.
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will intice.
If to women he be bent,
They have him at commandment.
But if fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown;
They that fawn'd on him before,
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need;
If thou sorrow he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep.
Thus of every grief in heart,
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe.
A REQUEST TO HIS SCORNFUL LOVE.
When thou shalt be disposed to set me light,
And place my merit in the eye of scorn,
Upon thy side against thyself I'll fight,
And prove thee virtuous, tho' thou art forsworn.
With mine own weakness being best acquainted,
Upon thy part I can set down a story
Of faults conceal'd wherein I am attainted;
That thou in losing me shalt win much glory.