Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Amoretti and Epithalamion
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
Amoretti and Epithalamion
Sonnet XLI. Is it her nature, or is it her will
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
IS it her nature, or is it her will,
To be so cruel to an humbled foe?
If nature; then she may it mend with skill:
If will; then she at will may will forego.
But if her nature and her will be so,        5
That she will plague the man that loves her most,
And take delight t’ increase a wretch’s woe;
Then all her nature’s goodly gifts are lost:
And that same glorious beauty’s idle boast
Is but a bait such wretches to beguile,        10
As, being long in her love’s tempest toss’d,
She means at last to make her piteous spoil.
  O fairest fair! let never it be named,
  That so fair beauty was so foully shamed.

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