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.
 
Did Not the Heavenly Rhetoric of Thine Eye
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
DID 1 not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye,
’Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument,
Persuade my heart to this false perjury?
Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment.
A woman I forswore; but I will prove,        5
Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee:
My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love;
Thy grace being gain’d cures all disgrace in me.
Vows are but breath, and breath a vapour is:
Then thou, fair sun, which on my earth dost shine,        10
Exhal’st this vapour-vow; in thee it is:
If broken then, it is no fault of mine;
  If by me broke, what fool is not so wise
  To lose an oath to win a paradise?
 
Note 1. Biron’s sonnet to Rosalind from Love’s Labour’s Lost, 1592, act iv. sc. 3; it was included as the third poem in The Passionate Pilgrim, 1599. (See note to No. 41.) [back]
 
 
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