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"So on the tip of his subduing tongue
All kind of arguments and question deep,
All replication prompt, and reason strong,
For his advantage still did wake and sleep:
To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weep,
He had the dialect and different skill,
Catching all passions in his craft of will;
"That he did in the general bosom reign
Of young, of old; and sexes both enchanted,
To dwell with him in thoughts, or to remain
In personal duty, following where he haunted:
Consents bewitch'd, ere he desire have granted;
And dialogued for him what he would say,
Ask'd their own wills, and made their wills obey.
Many there were that did his picture get,
To serve their eyes, and in it put their mind;
Like fools that in the imagination set
The goodly objects which abroad they find
Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assign'd;
And labouring in more pleasures to bestow them,
Than the true gouty landlord which doth owet them:
So many have, that never touch'd his hand,
Sweetly supposed them mistress of his heart,
My woeful self, that did in freedom stand,
And was my own fee-simple (not in part),
What with his art in youth, and youth in art,
Threw my affections in his charmed power,
Reserved the stalk, and gave him all my flower.
"Yet did I not, as some my equals did,
Demand of him, nor being desired, yielded;
Finding myself in honour so forbid,
With safest distance I mine honour shielded:
Experience for me many bulwarks builded
Of proofs new-bleeding, which remain❜d the foil
Of this false jewel, and his amorous spoil.
"But ah! who ever shunn'd by precedent
The destined ill she must herself assay?
Or forced examples, 'gainst her own content,
To put the by-past perils in her way?
Counsel may stop a while what will not stay;
For when we rage, advice is often seen
By blunting us to make our wits more keen.
"Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood,
That we must curb it upon others' proof,
To be forbid the sweets that seem so good,
For fear of harms that preach in our behoof.
O appetite, from judgment stand aloof!
The one a palate hath that needs will taste,
Though reason weep, and cry it is thy last.
"For further I could say, this man's untrue,
And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling;
Heard where his plants in others' orchards grew,
Saw how deceits were gilded in his smiling;
Knew vows were ever brokers to defiling;
Thought characters, and words merely but art,
And bastards of his foul adulterate heart.
"And long upon these terms I held my city,
Till thus he 'gan besiege me : Gentle maid,
Have of my suffering youth some feeling pity,
And be not of my holy vows afraid :
That's to you sworn, to none was ever said;
For feasts of love I have been call'd unto,
Till now did ne'er invite, nor never vow.
"All my offences that abroad you see,
Are errors of the blood, none of the mind:
Love made them not; with acture+ they may be,
Where neither party is nor true nor kind:
They sought their shame that so their shame did find;
And so much less of shame in me remains,
By how much of me their reproach contains.
Among the many that mine eyes have seen,
Not one whose flame my heart so much as warm'd,
Or my affection put to the smallest teen,‡
Or any of my leisures ever charm'd:
Harm have I done to them, but ne'er was harm'd;
Kept hearts in liveries, but mine own was free,
And reign'd, commanding in his monarchy.
"Look here, what tributes wounded fancies§ sent me, Of paled pearls, and rubies red as blood;
Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
Of grief and blushes aptly understood
In bloodless white, and the encrimson'd mood;
Effects of terror and dear modesty,
Encamp'd in hearts, but fighting outwardly.
"And lo! behold these talents of their hair,||
With twisted metal amorously impleach'd,
I have received from many a several fair
(Their kind acceptance weepingly beseech'd),
With the annexions of fair gems enrich'd,
And deep-brain'd sonnets that did amplify
Each stone's dear nature, worth, and quality.
† Acture is probably synonymous with action.
"The diamond; why 'twas beautiful and hard,
Whereto his invised* properties did tend;
The deep-green emerald, in whose fresh regard
Weak sights their sickly radiance do amend;
The heaven-hued sapphire and the opal blend
With objects manifold; each several stone,
With wit well blazon'd, smiled or made some moan.
"Lo! all these trophies of affections hot,
Of pensived and subdued desires the tender,
Nature hath charged me that I hoard them not,
But yield them up where I myself must render,
That is, to you, my origin and ender:
For these, of force, must your oblations be,
Since I their altar, you enpatron me.
"O then advance of yours that phraseless+ hand,
Whose white weighs down the airy scale of praise;
Take all these similes to your own command,
Hallow'd with sighs that burning lungs did raise;
What me your minister, for you obeys,
Works under you; and to your audit comes
Their distract§ parcels in combined sums.
Lo! this device was sent me from a nun,
A sister sanctified of holiest note;
Which late her noble suit || in court did shun,
Whose rarest havings T made the blossoms dote;
For she was sought by spirits of richest coat, **
But kept cold distance, and did thence remove,
To spend her living in eternal love.
"But O, my sweet, what labour is't to leave
The thing we have not, mastering what not strives?
Paling the place which did no form receive,tt
Playing patient sports in unconstrained gyves:
She that her fame so to herself contrives,
The scars of battle scapeth by the flight,
And makes her absence valiant, not her might.
"O pardon me, in that my boast is true;
The accident which brought me to her eye,
Upon the moment did her force subdue,
And now she would the caged cloister fly:
Religious love put out religion's eye:
Not to be tempted, would she be immured,
And now, to tempt all, liberty procured.
Whose so rare acquisitions made the flower of the young nobility passionately enamoured.
** By nobles of rich quarterings.
++ Fencing in the place which of itself received no impression.
"How mighty then you are, O hear me tell!
The broken bosoms that to me belong,
Have emptied all their fountains in my well,
And mine I pour your ocean all among:
I strong o'er them, and you o'er me being strong,
Must for your victory us all congest,
As compound love to physic your cold breast.
'My parts had power to charm a sacred sun,*
Who disciplined and dieted in grace,
Believed her eyes when they to assail begun,
All vows and consecrations giving place.
O most potential love! vow, bond, nor space,
In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine,
For thou art all, and all things else are thine.
"When thou impressest, what are precepts worth
Of stale example? When thou wilt inflame,
How coldly those impediments stand forth
Of wealth, of filial fear, law, kindred, fame ?
Love's arms are proof 'gainst rule, 'gainst sense, 'gainst shame,
And sweetens, in the suffering pangs it bears,
The aloes of all forces, shocks, and fears.
"Now all these hearts that do on mine depend,
Feeling it break, with bleeding groans they pine,
And supplicant their sighs to you extend,
To leave the battery that you make 'gainst mine,
Lending soft audience to my sweet design,
And credent soul to that strong-bonded oath,
That shall prefer and undertake my troth.'
"This said, his watery eyes he did dismount,
Whose sights till then were levell'd on my face; †
Each cheek a river running from a fount
With brinish current downward flow'd apace:
O how the channel to the stream gave grace!
Who, glazed with crystal, gate the glowing roses
That flame through water which their hue incloses.
O father, what a hell of witchcraft lies
In the small orb of one particular tear?
But with the inundation of the eyes
What rocky heart to water will not wear?
What breast so cold that is not warmed here?
O cleft effect!§ cold modesty, hot wrath,
Both fire from hence and chill extincture hath!
* I. e. the brightest luminary of the cloister.
+ The allusion is to the old English fire-arms, which were supported on what was called a rest.
O divided and discordant effect!
"For lo! his passion, but an art of craft,
Even there resolved my reason into tears;
There my white stole of chastity I daft, *
Shook off my sober guards, and civilt fears;
Appear to him, as he to me appears,
All melting; though our drops this difference bore,
His poison'd me, and mine did him restore.
"In him a plenitude of subtle matter,
Applied to cautels, all strange forms receives,
Of burning blushes, or of weeping water,
Or swooning paleness; and he takes and leaves,
In either's aptness as it best deceives,
To blush at speeches rank, to weep at woes,
Or to turn white and swoon at tragic shows;
That not a heart which in his level § came,
Could scape the ill of his all-hurting aim,
Showing fair nature is both kind and tame;
And veil'd in them, would win whom he would maim :
Against the thing he sought he would exclaim;
When he most burnt in heart-wish'd luxury,||
He preach'd pure maid, ¶ and praised cold chastity.
"Thus merely with the garment of a Grace
The naked and concealed fiend he cover'd,
That the unexperienced gave the tempter place,
Which, like a cherubim, above them hover'd.
Who, young and simple, would not be so lover'd ?
Ah me! I fell; and yet do question make
What I should do again for such a sake.
O, that infected moisture of his eye,
O, that false fire which in his cheek so glow'd,
O, that forced thunder from his heart did fly,
that sad breath his spungy lungs bestow'd,
O, all that borrow'd motion, seeming owed,**
Would yet again betray the fore-betray'd,
And new pervert a reconciled maid!""
* I. e. put off,—did off.
I. e. to insidious purposes.
I. e. lasciviousness.
** I. e. Seeming his own, owned by him.
+ Grave, decorous.
I. e. within his scope.
I. e. pure virginity.