Verse > Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey > Poetical Works
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Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47).  The Poetical Works.  1880.
 
Songs and Sonnets
The Lover describeth his restless State
 
AS 1 oft as I behold, and see
The sovereign beauty that me bound;
The nigher my comfort is to me,
Alas! the fresher is my wound.
 
As flame doth quench by rage of fire,        5
And running streams consume by rain;
So doth the sight that I desire
Appease my grief, and deadly pain.
 
Like as the fly that see’th the flame,
And thinks to play her in the fire;        10
That found her woe, and sought her game
Where grief did grow by her desire.
 
First when I saw those crystal streams,
Whose beauty made my mortal wound;
I little thought within their beams        15
So sweet a venom to have found.
 
But wilful will did prick me forth,
Blind Cupid did me whip and guide;
Force made me take my grief in worth; 2
My fruitless hope my harm did hide;        20
 
Wherein is hid the cruel bit,
Whose sharp repulse none can resist;
And eke the spur that strains each wit
To run the race against his list.
 
As cruel waves full oft be found        25
Against the rocks to roar and cry;
So doth my heart full oft rebound
Against my breast full bitterly.
 
And as the spider draws her line,
With labour lost I frame my suit;        30
The fault is her’s, the loss is mine:
Of ill sown seed, such is the fruit.
 
I fall, and see mine own decay;
As he that bears flame in his breast,
Forgets for pain to cast away        35
The thing that breedeth his unrest. 3
 
Note 1. The 3rd, 6th, and 8th stanzas do not occur in Tottel’s collection, but were supplied by Dr. Nott from a copy in the “Nugæ Antiquæ.” [back]
Note 2. Patiently. [back]
Note 3. In Tottel’s collection this stanza is thus printed—
I fall and see mine own decay,
As one that bears flame in his breast;
Forgets in pain to put away
The thing that breedeth mine unrest.
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