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.
 
Montanus’ Vow
By Thomas Lodge (1558–1625)
 
FIRST 1 shall the heavens want starry light,
The seas be robbèd of their waves;
The day want sun, the sun want bright,
The night want shade and dead men graves;
  The April, flowers and leaf and tree,        5
  Before I false my faith to thee.
 
First shall the tops of highest hills
By humble plains be overpry’d;
And poets scorn the Muses’ quills,
And fish forsake the water-glide;        10
  And Iris lose her colour’d weed
  Before I fail thee at thy need.
 
First direful Hate shall turn to Peace,
And Love relent in deep disdain;
And Death his fatal stroke shall cease,        15
And Envy pity every pain;
  And Pleasure mourn, and Sorrow smile,
  Before I talk of any guile.
 
First Time shall stay his stayless race,
And Winter bless his brows with corn;        20
And snow bemoisten July’s face,
And Winter spring and summer mourn,
  Before my pen by help of Fame
  Cease to recite thy sacred name.
 
Note 1. From Rosalind, 1590. In speaking of the influence of Desportes, Mr. Bullen says: “It seems to me that whenever Lodge imitated Desportes, he greatly improved upon his model. Desportes has a sonnet beginning:
  “On verra défaillir tous les astres aux cieux, etc.
Compare this with Lodge’s poem beginning First shall the heaven, etc. Desportes’ sonnet is a bundle of dry conceits; Lodge’s song is musical as a running brook.” (Introduction, Lyrics from Elizabethan Romances, 1890.) [back]
 
 
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