Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
So Oft As I Her Beauty Do Behold
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
 
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 at once so cruel fair,
Not earth, for her high thoughts more heavenly are;        5
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;        10
For to the heaven her haughty looks aspire,
And eke her mind is pure immortal high.
Then, sith to heaven ye likened are the best,
Be like in mercy as in all the rest.
 
 
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