Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Parthenophil and Parthenophe
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
Parthenophil and Parthenophe
Elegy XVII. Dear Mistress! than my soul, to me much dearer!
Barnabe Barnes (1569?–1609)
DEAR Mistress! than my soul, to me much dearer!
  Wonder not that another writes my letter;
  For Sorrow, still, mine heart oppresseth nearer,
  And extreme sickness doth my sinews fetter.
  Of my dear life, to thy love am I debtor!        5
Thine is my soul! Than soul, what can be meerer?
  Thine, my chief best! Than that, what can be better?
  Absented far and (that which is far worse)
  Unable either for to go or ride;
  Here am I, in perpetual bondage tied!        10
Than if with savage Sauromates, far worse!
  This air is loathsome; and this air, I curse;
  Because, with thy sweet breath it is not blest!
  Though hot; cool waters I cannot abide,
  Since the which thy clear eyes as all the rest.        15
Be not, as they sometimes were, purified!
  The ground I tread, my footing doth infest;
  Because it is not hallowed with thy feet!
  I loathe all meat; for all meat is unmeet,
  Which is not eaten, where thy sweet self feedest!        20
Nothing is pleasant, lovely, rich, or sweet;
  Which doth not with his grace, thy beauty meet!
  Ah, too dear absence! which this sickness breedest
  Of thy dear Sweet, which cannot be too dear!
  Yet, if thou will vouchsafe my life to save,        25
Write but one line! One line, my life will cheer!
  The ransom of my life, thy name will pay!
  And I be freed from my much doubtful fear.

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