Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Amoretti and Epithalamion
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
Amoretti and Epithalamion
Sonnet XLIII. Shall I then silent be, or shall I speak?
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
SHALL I then silent be, or shall I speak?
And, if I speak, her wrath renew I shall;
And, if I silent be, my heart will break,
Or choked be with overflowing gall.
What tyranny is this, both my heart to thrall,        5
And eke my tongue with proud restraint to tie;
That neither I may speak nor think at all,
But like a stupid stock in silence die!
Yet I my heart with silence secretly
Will teach to speak, and my just cause to plead;        10
And eke mine eyes, with meek humility,
Love-learned letters to her eyes to read;
  Which her deep wit, that true heart’s thought can spell,
  Will soon conceive, and learn to construe well.

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