Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Laura
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
Laura—Part III.
Conclusion: Timantes, when he saw he could not paint
Robert Tofte (1561–1620)
TIMANTES, when he saw he could not paint
With lively colours, to his lasting fame,
Such works he took in hand; and found too faint
His cunning: seeking for to hide the same,
    He over them a subtil Shadow drew;        5
    So that his faults, or none, or few, could view.
So, Lady, I finding my wit too weak,
With current terms, your beauty forth to blaze;
And that to arrive, too blunt is my conceit,
Unto the height of your surmounting praise:        10
    With silence forcèd am, against my will,
    To shadow my defect, the want of skill.
Yet do I hope, the Shadow you’ll not scorn:
Since Princes, in their stately arbours green,
Account of shade, as trees which fruit adorn;        15
Because from heat they welcome shelters been.
    The Shadow shields, ’gainst sun, your beauty fair;
    Which else his scorching heat would much impair.
Then though a Shadow without fruit I be;
And scarce yield leaves to cover this my bark:        20
Accept these leaves, thy Beauty’s Shade, of me!
Where wealth doth ebb, goodwill doth flow from heart.
    Deign me, for all my love, but Shadow thine!
    Thy Substance ’s too too high for fortune mine.
R. T.    

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