Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Licia
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
A Lover’s Maze
Giles Fletcher (1586?–1623)
          [It will be seen that Three of these Stanzas go together, rhyming in their first words: True, True, New.—Sweet, Sweet, Meet, &c.]

TRUE are my thoughts:
  my thoughts that are untrue.
Blind are my eyes:  my eyes that are not blind.
New is my love:  my love that is not new.
Kind is that Fair:  that Fair that is not kind.
  Thus eyes and thoughts, that fairest Fair, my love;        5
  Blind and untrue, unkind, unconstant prove.
True are my thoughts:  because they never flit.
Untrue my thoughts:  because they me betrayed.
Blind are my eyes:  because in clouds I sit.
Not blind my eyes:  because I looks obeyed.        10
  Thus eyes and thoughts, my dearest Fair, may view
  In sight, in love, nor blind, nor yet untrue.
New is my love:  because it never dies.
Old is my love:  because it ever lives.
Kind is that Fair:  because it hate denies.        15
Unkind that Fair:  because no hope it gives.
  Thus new my love, and still that Fair unkind,
  Renews my love; and I no favour find.
Sweet are my dreams:  my dreams that are not sweet.
Long are the nights:  the nights that are not long.        20
Meet are the pangs:  these pangs that are unmeet.
Wronged is my heart:  my heart that hath no wrong.
  Thus dreams and night, my heart, my pangs, and all,
  In taste, in length, conspire to work my fall.
Sweet are my dreams:  because my Love they show.        25
Unsweet my dreams:  because but dreams they are.
Long are the nights:  because no help I know.
Meet are the nights:  because they end my care.
  Thus dreams and nights, wherein my Love takes sport,
  Are sweet, unsweet; are long, and yet too short.        30
Meet are my pangs:  because I was too bold.
Unmeet my pangs:  because I loved so well.
Wronged was my heart:  because my grief it told.
Not wronged. For why?  My grief it could not tell.
  Thus you, my Love, unkindly cause this smart;        35
  That will not love to ease my pangs and heart.
Proud is her look:  her look that is not proud.
Done all my days:  my days that are not done.
Loud are my sighs:  my sighs that are not loud.
Begun my death:  my death not yet begun.        40
  Thus looks and days, and sighs and death, might move
  So kind, so fair, to give consent to love.
Proud is her look:  because she scorns to see.
Not proud her look:  for none dare say so much.
Done are my days:  because they hapless be.        45
Not done my days:  because I wish them such.
  Thus looks and days increase this loving strife;
  Not proud, not done, nor dead, nor giving life.
Loud are my sighs:  because they pierce the sky.
Not loud my sighs:  because they are not heard.        50
My death begun:  because I heartless cry.
But not begun:  because I am debarred.
  Thus sighs and death my heart no comfort give:
  Both life deny, and both do make me live.
Bold are her smiles:  her smiles that are not bold.        55
Wise are her words:  those words that are not wise.
Cold are her lips:  those lips that are not cold.
Ice are those hands:  those hands that are not ice.
  Thus smiles and words, her lips, her hands, and She
  Bold, wise, cold, ice, love’s cruel torments, be.        60
Bold are her smiles:  because they anger slay.
Not bold her smiles:  because they blush so oft.
Wise are her words:  because they wonders say.
Not wise her words:  because they are not soft.
  Thus smiles and words, so cruel and so bold,        65
  So blushing wise, my thoughts in prison hold.
Cold are her lips:  because they breathe no heat.
Not cold her lips:  because my heart they burn.
Ice are her hands:  because the snow ’s so great.
Not ice her hands:  that all to ashes turn.        70
  Thus lips and hands, cold ice, my sorrow bred;
  Hands, warm white snow; and lips, cold cherry red.
Small was her waist:  the waist that was not small.
Gold was her hair:  the hair that was not gold.
Tall was her shape:  the shape that was not tall.        75
Folding the arms:  the arms that did not fold.
  Thus hair and shape, those folding arms and waist,
  Did make me love; and loving made me waste.
Small was her 1 waist:  because I could it span.
Not small her waste:  because she wasted all.        80
Gold was her hair:  because a crown it wan.
Not gold her hair:  because it was more pale.
  Thus smallest waist, the greatest waste doth make;
  And finest hair, most fast a lover take.
Tall was her shape:  because she touched the sky.        85
Not tall her shape:  because she comely was.
Folding her arms:  because she hearts could tie,
Not folded arms:  because all bands they pass.
  Thus shape, and arms, with love my heart did fly;
  That hers I am, and must be till I die.        90
Sad was her joy:  her joy that was not sad.
Short was her stay:  her stay that was not short.
Glad was her speech:  her speech that was not glad.
Sporting those toys:  those toys that were not sport.
  Thus was my heart, with joy, speech, toys, and stay,        95
  Possessed with love; and so stolen quite away.
Sad was her joy:  because she did suspect.
Not sad her joy:  because her joy she had.
Short was her stay:  because to small effect.
Long was her stay:  because I was so sad.        100
  Thus joy and stay both crossed a lover’s sport;
  The one was sad, the other too too short.
Glad was her speech:  because she spake her mind.
Not glad her speech:  because afraid to speak.
Sporting her toys:  because my love was kind.        105
Not toys in sport:  because my heart they break.
  Thus speech and toys my love began in jest:
  Sweet, yield to love! and make thy servant blest!
    Tread you the Maze, sweet Love, that I have run:
    Mark but the steps, which I imprinted have.        110
    End but your love, whereas my thoughts begun:
    So shall I joy, and you a Servant have.
      If not, sweet Love, then this my suit deny:
      So shall you live, and so your Servant die.
Note 1. Spelt waste in the original edition. [back]

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