Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
Fairest, When by the Rules of Palmistry
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)
FAIREST, when by the rules of palmistry
You took my hand to try if you could guess
By lines therein, if any wight there be
Ordained to make me know some happiness;
I wished that those characters could explain,        5
Whom I will never wrong with hope to win;
Or that by them a copy might be ta’en,
By you alone what thoughts I have within.
But since the hand of Nature did not set—
As providently loth to have it known—        10
The means to find that hidden alphabet,
Mine eyes shall be th’ interpreters alone;
By them conceive my thoughts, and tell me, fair,
If now you see her, that doth love me there?

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