Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
Speak, Thou Fairest Fair
By John Fletcher (1579–1625)
DEAREST, 1 do not you delay me,
  Since, thou knowest, I must be gone;
Wind and tide, ’tis thought, doth stay me,
  But ’tis wind that must be blown
    From that breath, whose native smell        5
    Indian odours far excel.
Oh, then speak, thou fairest fair!
  Kill not him that vows to serve thee;
But perfume this neighbouring air,
  Else dull silence, sure, will sterve me: 2        10
    ’Tis a word that’s quickly spoken,
    Which being restrained, a heart is broken.
Note 1. From The Spanish Curate, act ii. sc. 2, 1622. [back]
Note 2. sterve me: old form of starve, here retained for sake of rhyme. [back]

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