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
 
A Strange Passion of a Lover
By George Gascoigne (d. 1577)
 
AMID my bale I bathe in bliss,
I swim in Heaven, I sink in hell:
I find amends for every miss,
And yet my moan no tongue can tell.
I live and love (what would you more?)        5
As never lover lived before.
 
I laugh sometimes with little lust,
So jest I oft and feel no joy;
Mine eye is builded all on trust,
And yet mistrust breeds mine annoy.        10
I live and lack, I lack and have;
I have and miss the thing I crave.
 
These things seem strange, yet are they true.
Believe me, sweet, my state is such,
One pleasure which I would eschew,        15
Both slakes my grief and breeds my grutch. 1
So doth one pain which I would shun,
Renew my joys where grief begun.
 
Then like the lark that passed the night
In heavy sleep with cares oppressed,        20
Yet when she spies the pleasant light,
She sends sweet notes from out her breast;
So sing I now because I think
How joys approach when sorrows shrink.
 
And as fair Philomene again        25
Can watch and sing when other sleep,
And taketh pleasure in her pain,
To wray the woe that makes her weep;
So sing I now for to bewray
The loathsome life I lead alway.        30
 
The which to thee dear wench I write,
That know’st my mirth but not my moan:
I pray God grant thee deep delight,
To live in joys when I am gone.
I cannot live; it will not be:        35
I die to think to part from thee.
 
Note 1. grudging. [back]
 
 
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