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Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47). The Poetical Works. 1880.

Songs and Sonnets

The Frailty and Hurtfulness of Beauty

BRITTLE beauty, that Nature made so frail,

Whereof the gift is small, and short is the season;

Flowering to-day, to-morrow apt to fail;

Tickle treasure, abhorred of reason:

Dangerous to deal with, vain, of none avail;

Costly in keeping, past not worth two peason;

Slipper in sliding, as is an eel’s tail;

Hard to obtain, once gotten, not geason:

Jewel of jeopardy, that peril doth assail;

False and untrue, enticed oft to treason;

Enemy to youth, that most may I bewail;

Ah! bitter sweet, infecting as the poison,

Thou farest as fruit that with the frost is taken;

To-day ready ripe, to-morrow all to shaken.