Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Extracts from The Pastime of Pleasure: Description of La Belle Pucel
By Stephen Hawes (d. 1523)
 
[From Canto xxx.]

                I SAWE to me appeare
The flower of comfort, the starre of vertue cleare,
Whose beauty bryght into my hart did passe,
Like as fayre Phebus dothe shyne in the glasse.
 
So was my harte by the stroke of loue        5
With sorowe persed and with mortall payne,
That vnneth I myght from the place remoue
Where as I stode, I was so take certayne.
Yet vp I loked to se her agayne,
And at aduenture, with a sory mode        10
Up then I went, where as her person stode.
 
And first of all, my harte gan to learne
Right well to regester in remembraunce
Howe that her beauty I might then decerne
From toppe to tooe endued with pleasaunce,        15
Whiche I shall shewe withouten variaunce;
Her shining heere so properly she dresses
Aloft her forheade with fayre golden tresses.
 
Her forheade stepe, with fayre browes ybent,
Her eyen gray, her nose straight and fayre.        20
In her white chekes the faire bloude it went
As among the wite the redde to repayre;
Her mouthe right small, her breathe swete of ayre;
Her lippes soft and ruddy as a rose;
No hart alive but it woulde him appose.        25
 
With a little pitte in her well fauoured chynne,
Her necke long, as white as any lillye,
With vaynes blewe in which the bloude ranne in,
Her pappes rounde, and therto right pretye;
Her armes slender, and of goodly bodye,        30
Her fingers small and therto right long,
White as the milke, with blewe vaynes among.
 
Her fete proper, she gartred well her hose:
I neuer sawe so fayre a creature;
Nothing she lacketh, as I do suppose,        35
That is longyng to faire dame Nature.
Yet more ouer her countenaunce so pure,
So swete, so louely, woulde any hart enspire
With feruent loue to attayne his desire.
 
But what for her maners passeth all,        40
She is bothe gentle, good, and vertuous.
Alas, what fortune did me to her call
Without that she be to me pitifull?
With her so fettred, in paynes dolorous.
Alas, shall pitie be from her exiled,        45
Whiche all vertus hath so vndefiled?
 
 
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