Archive for ‘16th Century’

Thursday, 10 May 2012

If This Be Love, To Draw A Weary Breath by Samuel Daniel

If this be love, to draw a weary breath,
To paint on floods till the shore cry to th’air,
With downward looks, still reading on the earth
The sad memorials of my love’s despair;
If this be love, to war against my soul,
Lie down to wail, rise up to sigh and grieve,
The never-resting stone of care to roll,
Still to complain my griefs whilst none relieve;
If this be love, to clothe me with dark thoughts,
Haunting untrodden paths to wail apart;
My pleasures horror, music tragic notes,
Tears in mine eyes and sorrow at my heart.
If this be love, to live a living death,
Then do I love and draw this weary breath.

From: http://www.sonnets.org/daniel.htm#007

Date: 1592

By: Samuel Daniel (1562-1619)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Strange Description of A Rare Garden Plot by Nicholas Breton

My garden ground of griefe: where selfe wils seeds are sowne,
Whereof comes vp the weedes of wo, that ioies haue ouergrown:
With patience paled round, to keep in secret spight:
And quickset round about with care, to keepe out all delight.

Foure quarters squared out, I finde in sundrie sort;
Whereof according to their kindes, I meane to make report:
The first, the knot of loue, drawne euen by true desier,
Like as it were two harts in one, and yet both would be nier.

The herbe is calde Isop, the iuice of such a taste,
As with the sowre, makes sweete conceits to flie away too fast:
The borders round about, are set with priuie sweete,
Where neuer bird but nightingale, presumde to set hir feete.

From this I stept aside, vnto the knot of care,
Which so was crost with strange co[n]ceits, as tong cannot declare:
The herbe was called Time, which set out all that knot:
And like a Maze me thought it was, when in the crookes I got.

The borders round about, are Sauerie vnsweete:
An herbe not much in my conceit, for such a knot vnmeete:
From this to friendships knot, I stept and tooke the view,
How it was drawne, and then againe, in order how it grew.

The course was not vnlike, a kinde of hand in hand:
But many fingers were away, that there should seeme to stand:
The herbe that set the knot, was Pennie Riall round:
And as me seem’d, it grew full close, and nere vnto the ground.

And parched heere and there, so that it seemed not
Full as it should haue been in deed, a perfect friendship knot:
Heerat I pawsd awhile, and tooke a little view
Of an od quarter drawne in beds, where herbs and flowers grew.

The flowres were buttons fine, for batchelers to beare,
And by those flowres ther grew an herb, was called maiden hear.

Amid this garden ground, a Condit strange I found,
Which water fetcht from sorows spring, to water al the ground:
To this my heauie house, the dungeon of distresse,
Where fainting hart lies panting still, despairing of redresse.

Whence from my window loe, this sad prospect I haue,
A piece of ground wheron to gaze, would bring one to his graue:
Lo thus the welcome spring, that others lends delight,
Doth make me die, to thinke I lie, thus drowned in despight,

That vp I cannot rise, and come abrode to thee,
My fellow sweet, with whom God knowes, how oft I wish to bee:
And thus in haste adieu, my hart is growne so sore,
And care so crookes my fingers ends, that I can write no more.

From: http://www.luminarium.org/renascence-editions/phoenix.html#Forpittiepretieeiessurcease

Date: 1593

By: Nicholas Breton (?1545-?1626)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Accurst Be Love, and Those That Trust His Trains! by Thomas Lodge

Accurst be Love, and those that trust his trains!
He tastes the fruit whilst others toil;
He brings the lamp, we lend the oil;
He sows distress, we yield him soil;
He wageth war, we bide the foil.

Accurst be Love, and those that trust his trains!
He lays the trap, we seek the snare;
He threat’neth death, we speak him fair;
He coins deceits, we foster care;
He favoureth pride, we count it rare

Accurst be Love, and those that trust his trains!
He seemeth blind, yet wounds with art;
He vows content, he pays with smart;
He swears relief, yet kills the heart;
He calls for truth, yet scorns desart.
Accurst be Love, and those that trust his trains!
Whose heaven is hell, whose perfect joys are pains.

From: http://www.archive.org/stream/songssonnets00lodgiala/songssonnets00lodgiala_djvu.txt

Date: 1593

By: Thomas Lodge (?1558-1625)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Farewell to Arms (To Queen Elizabeth) by George Peele

His golden locks Time hath to silver turn’d;
         O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth ‘gainst time and age hath ever spurn’d,
         But spurn’d in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
         And, lovers’ sonnets turn’d to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
         And feed on prayers, which are Age his alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His Saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
         He’ll teach his swains this carol for a song,–
‘Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
         Curst be the souls that think her any wrong.’
Goddess, allow this aged man his right
To be your beadsman now that was your knight.

From: http://www.daypoems.net/poems/104.html

Date: 1590

By: George Peele (1556-1596)

Monday, 23 April 2012

What Cunning Can Express by Edward de Vere

What cunning can express
The favour of her face
To whom in this distress
I do appeal for grace?
     A thousand Cupids fly
    About her gentle eye.

From whence each throws a dart
That kindleth soft sweet fire
Within my sighing heart,
Possessèd by desire.
    No sweeter life I try
    Than in her love to die.

The lily in the field
That glories in his white,
For pureness now must yield
And render up his right.
    Heaven pictured in her face
    Doth promise joy and grace.

Fair Cynthia’s silver light
That beats on running streams
Compares not with her white,
Whose hairs are all sunbeams.
    Her virtues so do shine
    As day unto mine eyne.

With this there is a red
Exceeds the damask rose,
Which in her cheeks is spread,
Whence every favour grows.
    In sky there is no star
    That she surmounts not far.

When Phoebus from the bed
Of Thetis doth arise,
The morning blushing red
In fair carnation wise,
    He shows it in her face
    As queen of every grace.

This pleasant lily-white,
This taint of roseate red,
This Cynthia’s silver light,
This sweet fair Dea spread,
    These sunbeams in mine eye,
    These beauties make me die!

From: http://theotherpages.org/poems/vere01.html

Date: 1593

By: Edward de Vere (1550-1604)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

How the Lover Perisheth in his Delight as the Fly in the Fire by Thomas Wyatt

Some fowls there be that have so perfect sight,
Against the sun their eyes for to defend ;
And some, because the light doth them offend,
Never appear but in the dark or night :
Other rejoice to see the fire so bright,
And ween to play in it, as they pretend,
But find contrary of it, that they intend.
Alas ! of that sort may I be by right ;
For to withstand her look I am not able ;
Yet can I not hide me in no dark place ;
So followeth me remembrance of that face,
That with my teary eyen, swoln, and unstable,
    My destiny to behold her doth me lead ;
    And yet I know I run into the glead.

From: http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/somefowls.htm

Date: 1557 (published)

By: Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Dolefull Lay of Clorinda by Mary (Sidney) Herbert

Ay me, to whom shall I my case complaine?
That may compassion my impatient griefe?
Or where shall I unfold my inward paine,
That my enriuen heart may find reliefe?
Shall I vnto the heauenly powres it show?
Or unto earthly men that dwell below?

To heauens? ah they alas the authors were,
And workers of my vnremedied wo:
For they foresee what to vs happens here,
And they foresaw, yet suffred this be so.
From them comes good, from them comes also il
That which they made, who can them warne to spill.

To men? ah, they alas like wretched bee,
And subiect to the heauens ordinance:
Bound to abide what euer they decree,
Their best redresse, is their best sufferance.
How then can they like wretched comfort mee,
The which no lesse, need comforted to bee?

Then to my selfe will I my sorrow mourne,
Sith none aliue like sorrowfull remaines
And to my selfe my plaints shall back retourne,
To pay their vsury with doubled paines.
The woods, the hills, the riuers shall resound
The mournfull accent of my sorrowes ground.

Woods, hills and riuers, now are desolate,
Sith he is gone the which them all did grace:
And all the fields do waile their widow state,
Sith death their fairest flowre did late deface.
The fairest flowre in field that euer grew,
Was Astrophel:  that was, we all may rew.

What cruell hand of cursed foe vnknowne,
Hath cropt the stalke which bore so faire a flowre?
Vntimely cropt, before it well were growne,
And cleane defaced in vntimely howre.
Great losse to all that ever him did see,
Great losse to all, but greatest losse to mee.

Breake now your gyrlonds, O ye shepheards lasses,
Sith the faire flowre, which them adornd, is gon:
The flowre, which them adornd, is gone to ashes,
Neuer againe let lasse put gyrlond on:
In stead of gyrlond, weare sad Cypres nowe,
And bitter Elder, broken from the bowe.

Ne euer sing the loue-layes which he made,
Who euer made such layes of loue as hee?
Ne euer read the riddles, which he sayd
Vnto your selues, to make you mery glee.
Your mery glee is now laid all abed,
Your mery maker now alasse is dead.

Death, the deuourer of all worlds delight,
Hath robbed you and reft from me my ioy:
Both you and me, and all the world he quight
Hath robd of ioyance, and left sad annoy.
Ioy of the world, and shepheards pride was hee,
Shepheards hope neuer like againe to see.

Oh death that hast vs of such riches reft,
Tell vs at least, what hast thou with it done?
What is become of him whose flowre here left
Is but the shadow of his likenesse gone.
Scarse like the shadow of that which he was,
Nought like, but that he like a shade did pas.

But that immortall spirit, which was deckt
With all the dowries of celestiall grace:
By soueraine choyce from th’hevenly quires select,
And lineally deriu’d from Angels race,
O what is now of it become aread,
Ay me, can so diuine a thing be dead?

Ah no:  it is not dead, ne can it die,
But liues for aie, in blisfull Paradisse:
Where like a new-borne babe it soft doth lie,
In beds of lillies wrapt in tender wise.
And compast all about with roses sweet,
And daintie violets from head to feet.

There thousand birds all of celestiall brood,
To him do sweetly caroll day and night:
And with straunge notes, of him well vnderstood,
Lull him asleepe in Angel-like delight:
Whilest in sweet dreame to him presented bee
Immortall beauties, which no eye may see.

But he them sees and takes exceeding pleasure
Of their diuine aspects, appearing plaine,
And kindling loue in him aboue all measure,
Sweet loue still ioyous, never feeling paine.
For what so goodly forme he there doth see,
He may enioy from iealous rancor free.

There liueth he in euerlasting blis,
Sweet spirit neuer fearing more to die:
Ne dreading harme from any foes of his,
Ne fearing saluage beasts more crueltie.
Whilest we here wretches waile his priuate lack,
And with vain vowes do often call him back.

But liue thou there still happie, happie spirit,
And giue vs leaue thee here thus to lament:
Not thee that doest thy heauens ioy inherit,
But our owne selues that here in dole are drent.
Thus do we weep and waile, and wear our eies,
Mourning in others, our owne miseries.

From: http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/dolefull.htm

Date: 1595

By: Mary (Sidney) Herbert (1561-1621)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Litany in Time of Plague by Thomas Nashe

Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss,
This world uncertain is:
Fond are life’s lustful joys,
Death proves them all but toys.
None from his darts can fly:
I am sick, I must die.
Lord have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade,
All things to end are made;
The plague full swift goes by:
I am sick, I must die.
Lord have mercy on us!

Beauty is but a flower,
Which wrinkles will devour;
Brightness falls from the air,
Queens have died young and fair,
Dust hath closèd Helen’s eye:
I am sick, I must die.
Lord have mercy on us!

Strength stoops unto the grave,
Worms feed on Hector brave,
Swords may not fight with fate,
Earth still holds ope her gate.
Come, come, the bells do cry,
I am sick, I must die.
Lord have mercy on us!

Haste therefore each degree
To welcome destiny;
Heaven is our heritage
Earth but a player’s stage,
Mount we unto the sky:
I am sick, I must die.
Lord have mercy on us!

From: http://www.finestpoems.org/thomas-nashe/a-litany-in-time-of-plague.html

Date: 1592

By: Thomas Nashe (1567-1601)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand by Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize!
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name;
Where, whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.

From: http://www.sonnets.org/spenser.htm#075

Date: 1595

By: Edmund Spenser (c1552-1599)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Elegy for Himself by Chidiock Tichborne

Written in the Tower before his execution, 1586

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares;
  My feast of joy is but a dish of pain;
My crop of corn is but a field of tares;
  And all my good is but vain hope of gain:
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard, and yet it was not told;
  My fruit is fall’n, and yet my leaves are green;
My youth is spent, and yet I am not old;
  I saw the world, and yet I was not seen:
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death, and found it in my womb;
  I looked for life, and saw it was a shade;
I trod the earth, and knew it was my tomb;
  And now I die, and now I was but made:
My glass is full, and now my glass is run;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

From: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~martinh/poems/FORHIMS

Date: 1586

By: Chidiock Tichborne (1563-1586)