William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907. To a Gentlewoman
By George Turberville (1540?1610?)
That Always Willed Him to Wear Rosemary for Her Sake in Token of Good-will to Her
T HE GREEN 1 that you did wish me wear
Aye for your love,
And on my helm a branch to bear
Not to remove,
Was ever you to have a mind, 5
Whom Cupid hath my fere assigned.
As I in this have done your will,
And mind to do;
So I request you to fulfil
My fancy too; 10
A green and loving heart to have,
And this is all that I do crave.
For if your flowering heart should change
His colour green,
Or you at length a lady strange 15
Of me be seen;
Then will my branch against his use
His colour change for your refuse. 2
As winters force can not deface
This branch his hue, 20
So let no change of love disgrace
Your friendship true:
You were mine own and be so still,
So shall we live and love our fill.
Then may I think my self to be 25
For wearing of the tree that is
So well defenced
Against all weather that doth fall
When wayward winter spits his gall. 30
And when we meet, to try me true,
Look on my head,
And I will crave an oath of you,
Where faith be fled?
So shall we both assured be, 35 Both I of you, and you of me?
George Turberville (1530?1594) was a Dorsetshire man of good family, educated at Winchester and Oxford. Besides writing a good many occasional poems he was also the author of a work on Falconry and made many translations. This selection is the best specimen of his lyrical work. [ Note 1. back] Note 2. Refuse: refusal. [ back]