Archive for May 7th, 2015

Thursday, 7 May 2015

For a Gentlewoman by Humfrey Gifford

Like as a forte or fencèd towne,
By foes assault that lies in Held,
When Bulwarkes are all beaten downe,
Is by perforce constraynde to yeelde:
So I that could no while withstand,
The battery of your pleasant love,
The flagge of truce tooke in my hande,
And meant your mercy for to prove.
My foolish fancie did enforce
Me first to like your friendly sute,
Whiles your demaunds bred such remorce,
That I could not the same refute.
I bad you take with free consent,
All that which true pretence might crave,
And you remaynde as one content,
The thing obtaynd that you would have.
Such friendly lookes and countenance fayre,
You freely then to me profest,
As if all troth that ever were,
Had harboured beene within your brest.
And I which saw such perfect shewes,
Of fraudlesse fayth in you appeare,
Did yeelde myselfe to Cupids Lawes,
And shewde likewise a merrie cheere.
No loving toyes I did withholde,
And no suspect did make me doubt.
Till your demeanure did unfolde
The wilie traines ye went about.
Who sees a ruinous house to fall,
And will not shift to get him thence;
When limmes be crusht, and broken all,
Its then too late to make defence.
When pleasant baite is swallowed downe,
The hookèd fish is sure to die:
On these Dame Fortune oft doe frowne,
As trust too farre before they trie.
Or had I wist, who makes his moane,
Its ten to one he never thrives.
When theeves are from the Gibbet throwne
No pardon then can save theyr lives.
Such good advice as comes too late,
May wel be calde, Sir fore wits foole;
Elswhere goe play the cosoning mate
I am not now to goe to schoole.
But cleerely doe at length discerne,
The marke to which your bow is bent,
And these examples shall me warne,
What harme they have that late repent.
Your sugred speech was but a baite,
Wherwith to bleare my simple eyes,
And under them did lurke deceipt,
As poison under hony lies.
Wherefore since now your drift is knowne,
Goe set your staule some other where:
I may not so be overthrowne,
Your double dealings make me feare.
When steede by theeves is stolne away,
I will not then the doore locke fast;
Wherefore depart without delay,
Your words are winde, your sute is wast
And this shal be the finall doome,
That I to your request will give,
Your love in me shall have no roome,
Whiles life and breath shal make me live.

From: Gifford, Humfrey and Grosart, Alexander B. (ed.), The Complete Poems and Translations in Prose of Humfrey Gifford, Gentleman (1580), Edited, with Memorial-Introduction and Notes by the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, St. George’s, Blackburn, Lancashire, 1875: C.E. Simms: Manchester, pp. 102-104.

Date: 1580

By: Humfrey Gifford (fl. 1580)