Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
As Ye Came from the Holy Land
By Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618)
AS 1 ye came from the holy land
  Of Walsinghame,
Met you not with my true love
  By the way as you came?
How should I know your true love,        5
  That have met many a one,
As I came from the holy land,
  That have come, that have gone?
She is neither white nor brown,
  But as the heavens fair;        10
There is none hath her form divine
  In the earth or the air.
Such a one did I meet, good sir,
  Such an angelic face,
Who like a nymph, like a queen, did appear        15
  In her gait, in her grace.
She hath left me here alone
  All alone, as unknown,
Who sometime did me lead with herself,
  And me loved as her own.        20
What’s the cause that she leaves you alone
  And a new way doth take,
That sometime did love you as her own,
  And her joy did you make?
I have loved her all my youth,        25
  But now am old, as you see:
Love likes not the falling fruit,
  Nor the witherèd tree.
Know that Love is a careless child,
  And forgets promise past:        30
He is blind, he is deaf when he list,
  And in faith never fast.
His desire is a dureless content,
  And a trustless joy;
He is won with a world of despair,        35
  And is lost with a toy.
Of womankind such indeed is the love,
  Or the word love abusèd,
Under which many childish desires
  And conceits are excusèd.        40
But true love is a durable fire,
  In the mind ever burning,
Never sick, never dead, never cold,
  From itself never turning.
Note 1. In Oldys and Birch’s Life and Works of Raleigh, vol. viii., p. 733, with the title, False Love and True Love, this poem is credited to W. Rive, The Bodleian MSS. The poem occurs in several versions. The first stanza is quoted in act ii. sc. 2 of Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle, 1610; and in Hans Beer-pot, his Invisible Comedy. The second stanza may have suggested Ophelia’s “How should I your true love know.” (Schelling, A Book of Elizabethan Lyrics.) Most of the versions read, As you come, instead of us ye came, which I have followed, and which, as far as I am able to ascertain, is an emendation by Mr. Quiller-Couch. For other variants let the reader compare Hannah’s Raleigh in the Courtly Poets, 1870, p. 80. Line 1, From the holy land: “The shrine of the Blessed Virgin at Walsingham, in Norfolk, was famous throughout Europe: and in Norfolk the Milky Way, being supposed to point the pilgrims to this shrine, was called the ‘Walsingham Way,’ just as it was called ‘St. Jago’s Way’ in Italy, and ‘Jacobstrasse’ in Germany, as pointing to Compostella. In 1538, at the dissolution of the monasteries, the great image of the Virgin was carried off to Chelsea, and there burnt. It had been, perhaps, a more famous shrine of pilgrimage than even the tomb of St. Thomas of Canterbury. Cf. Erasmus. Colloq. Peregrinatio religionis ergo. Ascham, visiting Cologne in 1550, says: ‘The Three Kings be not so rich, I believe, as was the Lady of Walsingham,’ the wealth of the shrine at Cologne being then valued at about six millions of francs. (£240,000.)” (Quiller-Couch.) [back]

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