Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
I. To His Sonnets, on Sending Them to His Mistress
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
HAPPY, 1 ye leaves! when as those lily hands
Which hold my life in their dead-doing might
Shall handle you, and hold in love’s soft bands,
Like captives trembling at the victor’s sight;
And happy lines! on which, with starry light,        5
Those lamping eyes will deign sometimes to look,
And read the sorrows of my dying spright
Written with tears in heart’s close-bleeding book;
And happy rhymes! bathed in the sacred brook
Of Helicon, whence she derivéd is;—        10
When ye behold that angel’s blessed look,
My soul’s long-lackéd food, my heaven’s bliss,
  Leaves, lines, and rhymes, seek her to please alone,
  Whom if ye please, I care for other none. 2
Note 1. For other sonnets of this great poet see the Introductory Essay. [back]
Note 2. A sonnet like this is worth extracting, were it only for the sake of the beautiful and affecting line—
  “Written with tears in heart’s close-bleeding book”;—
an idea imitated in a like spirit by one of our old dramatists,—
  “Within the red-leaved tablets of the heart.”

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