Verse > Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey > Poetical Works
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47).  The Poetical Works.  1880.
Songs and Sonnets
Complaint of the Absence of her Lover, being upon the Sea
GOOD ladies! ye that have your pleasure in exile,
Step in your foot, come, take a place, and mourn with me awhile:
And such as by their lords do set but little price,
Let them sit still, it skills them not what chance come on the dice.
But ye whom Love hath bound, by order of desire,        5
To love your Lords, whose good deserts none other would require;
Come ye yet once again, and set your foot by mine,
Whose woful plight, and sorrows great, no tongue may well define.
My love and lord, alas! in whom consists my wealth,
Hath fortune sent to pass the seas, in hazard of his health.        10
Whom I was wont t’embrace with well contented mind,
Is now amid the foaming floods at pleasure of the wind.
Where God will him preserve, and soon him home me send;
Without which hope my life, alas! were shortly at an end.
Whose absence yet, although my hope doth tell me plain,        15
With short return he comes anon, yet ceaseth not my pain.
The fearful dreams I have ofttimes do grieve me so,
That when I wake, I lie in doubt, where they be true or no.
Sometime the roaring seas, me seems, do grow so high,
That my dear Lord, ay me! alas! methinks I see him die.        20
And other time the same, doth tell me he is come,
And playing, where I shall him find, with his fair little son. 1
So forth I go apace to see that liefsome sight,
And with a kiss, methinks I say, ‘Welcome, my Lord, my knight;
Welcome, my sweet; alas! the stay of my welfare;        25
Thy presence bringeth forth a truce betwixt me and my care.’
Then lively doth he look, and saluteth me again,
And saith, ‘My dear, how is it now that you have all this pain?’
Wherewith the heavy cares, that heap’d are in my breast,
Break forth and me dischargen clean, of all my huge unrest.        30
But when I me awake, and find it but a dream,
The anguish of my former woe beginneth more extreme;
And me tormenteth so that unneath 2 may I find
Some hidden place, wherein to slake the gnawing of my mind.
Thus every way you see, with absence how I burn;        35
And for my wound no cure I find, but hope of good return:
Save when I think, by sour how sweet is felt the more,
It doth abate some of my pains, that I abode before.
And then unto myself I say: ‘When we shall meet,
But little while shall seem this pain; the joy shall be so sweet.’        40
Ye winds, I you conjure, in chiefest of your rage,
That ye my Lord me safely send, my sorrows to assuage.
And that I may not long abide in this excess,
Do your good will to cure a wight, that liveth in distress.
Note 1. In the copy printed by Dr. Nott from the Harrington MS. this line stands,
“And playing, where I shall him find with T. his little son;”
which induces that writer to observe: “This proves the piece to have been written, not as an exercise of fancy, but for some existing person.” If this conjecture be correct, the Complainant may have been intended for Lady Surrey, and “T. his little son,” for Thomas her eldest son, afterwards Duke of Norfolk. [back]
Note 2. With difficulty. [back]

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