Page images

The night discharged of all care, Where wine the wit may not oppress.

The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night;

Contented with thine own estate,
Ne wish for death, ne fear his might.


Give place, ye lovers, here before
That spent your boasts and brags in
My lady's beauty passeth more
The best of yours, I dare well sayen,
Than doth the sun the candlelight,
Or brightest day the darkest night;

And thereto hath a troth as just
As had Penelope the fair;
For what she saith ye may it trust,
As it by writing sealed were; —
And virtues hath she many mo'
Than I with pen have skill to show.

I could rehearse, if that I would,
The whole effect of Nature's plaint,
When she had lost the perfect mould,
The like to whom she could not paint.
With wringing hands, how did she cry!
And what she said, I know it aye.

I know she swore, with raging mind,
Her kingdom only set apart,
There was no loss by law of kind
That could have gone so near her
And this was chiefly all her pain, –
“She could not make the like again.”

Sith Nature thus gave her the praise
To be the chiefest work she wrought,
In faith, methink, some better ways
On your behalf might well be sought,
Than to compare, as ye have done,
To match the candle with the sun.

FIOW WO AGA2 IS CONTENT WITH /TS OWN ESTATE. LAYD in my quiet bed in study as I were, I saw within my troubled head, a heap of thoughts appear,

And every thought did shew so lyvely in myne eyes, That now I sight, and then I smilde, as cause of thoughts did ryse. I saw the little boy, in thought how oft that he Did wishe of God, to scape the rod, a tall young man to be, The young man eake that feles his bones with paines opprest How he would be a riche old man, to live and lye at rest; The riche olde man that sees his end draw on so sore, How he would be a boy againe to live so much the more. Whereat full oft I smylde, to see how all those three From boy to man, from man to boy, would chop and change degree. And musing thus, I think, the case is very strange, That man from wealth, to live in wo, doth ever seke to change. Thus thoughtfull as I lay, I sawe my withered skyn, How it doth shew my dented chewes, the flesh was worn so thin, And eke my tootheless chaps, the gates of my right way, That opes and shuttes, as I do speak, do thus unto me say: The white and horish heres, the messengers of age, That shew like lines of true belief, that this life doth assuage, Biddes thee lay hand, and feele them hanging on thy chin. The whiche doth write to ages past, the third now coming in; Hang up therefore the bitte, of thy yong wanton tyme, And thou that therein beaten art, the happiest life defyne. Whereat I sighed, and sayde, farewell my wonted toye, Trusse up thy packe, and trudge from me, to every little boy, And tell them thus from me, their time most happy is, If to theyr time they reason had, to know the truth of this.


[Thomas Wyatt, the eldest son of Sir Henry Wo: a baronet of ancient family, was born at Allington Castle, in Kent, in 1503. In the Court of Henry VIII. he soon became a conspicuous figure, famous for his wit, his learning, his poetical talents, his linguistic attainments, his skill in athletic exercises, his fascinating manners and his handsome person. From a courtier he developed into a statesman and a diplomatist, and in the duties incident to statesmanship and diplomacy most of his life was passed. He died at Sherborne, while on his road to Falmouth, and was buried there

October 11, 1542.


A FACE that should content me wonderous well, Should not be fatt, but lovely to behold, Of lively look all griefe for to repell With right good grace so would I that it should. Speak without word, such words as none can tell; Her tress also should be of crisped gold. With wit and these, perchaunce I might be tryde And knit againe with knot that should not slide.


SOE feeble is the thred that doth the burden stay, Of my poor life in heavy plight that falleth in decay, That but it have elsewhere some ayde or some succours, The running spindle of my fate anon shall end his course. For since the unhappy houre that dyd me to depart, From my sweet weale one only hoape hath stayed my life apart, Which doth perswade such words unto my sored mynde, Maintaine thy selfe, O wofull wight, some better luck to find. For though thou be deprived from thy desired sight Who can thee tell, if thy returne before thy more delight; Or who can tell thy loss if thou mayst once recover,

His poems were first printed in Toffel's Miscellany in 1557.]

Some pleasant houres thy wo may wrap, and thee defend and cover. Thus in this trust, as yet it hath my life sustained, But now (alas) I see it faint, and I by trust am trayned. The tyme doth flete, and I see how the hours do bende, So fast that I have scant the space to marke my coming end. Westward the sunn from out the east scant shewd his lite, When in the west he hies him straite within the dark of night And comes as fast, where he began his path awry, From east to west, from west to east, so doth his journey lye. Thy lyfe so short, so frayle, that mortall men lyve here, Soe great a weight, so heavy charge the bodyes that we bere, That when I think upon the distance and the space, That doth so farre divide me from thy dere desired face, I know not how t'attaine the winges that I require, To lyst me up that I might fly to follow my desyre. Thus of that hope that doth my lyse somethyng susteyne, Alas I fear, and partly feel full little doth remaine. Eche place doth bring me griefe where I doe not behold, Those lively eyes which of my thoughts, were wont the keys to hold. Those thoughts were pleasant sweet whilst I enjoy'd that grace, My pleasure past, my present pain, when I might well embrace.

And for because my want should more my woe increase, In watch and sleep both day and night my will doth never cease. That thing to wishe whereof synce I did lose the sight, Was never thing that mought in ought my wofull hart delight. Th’ uneasy life I lead doth teach me for to mete, The floods, the seas, the land, the hills, that doth them intermete, Twene me and those shene lights that wonted for to clere, My darked pangs of cloudy thoughts as bright as Phebus sphere; It teacheth me also, what was my pleasant State, The more to feele by such record how that my welth doth bate. If such record (alas) provoke the inflamed mynde, Which sprung that day that I dyd leave the best of me behynde, If love forgeat himselfe by length of absence let, Who doth me guid (O wofull wretch) unto this baited net: Where doth encrease my care, much better were for me, As dumm as stone all things forgott, still absent for to be. Alas the clear christall, the bright transplendant glasse, Doth not bewray the colours hid which underneath it hase. As doth the accumbred sprite the thoughtfull throwes discover, Of teares delyte of fervent love that in our hartes we cover, Out by these eyes, it sheweth that evermore delight; In plaint and teares to seek redress, and eke both day and night. Those kindes of pleasures most wherein men soe rejoice, To me they do redouble still of stormy sighes the voice. For, I am one of them, whom plaint doth well content, It fits me well my absent wealth me semes for to lament,

And with my teares to assy to charge myne eyes twayne, Like as my hart above the brink is fraughted full of payne. And for because thereto, that these fair eyes do treate, Dome provoke, I will returne, my plaint thus to repeate; For there is nothing els, so toucheth me within, Where they rule all, and I alone, nought but the case or skin. Wherefore I shall returne to them as well or spring, From whom descends my mortall wo, above all other thing. So shall myne eyes in paine accompany my heart, That were the guides, that did it lead of love to feel the smart. The crisped gold that doth surmount Appolloe's pride, The lively streames of pleasant starrs that under it doth glyde, Wherein the beames of love doe still increase theire heate, Which yet so far touch me to near in cold to make me sweat, The wise and pleasant take, so rare or else alone, That gave to me the curties gyft, that earst had never none. Be far from me alas, and every other thing, I might forbear with better will, then this that did me bring. With pleasand woord and cheer, redress of lingred payne, And wonted oft in kindled will, to vertue me to trayne. Thus am I forc’d to hear and hearken after news, My con fort scant, my large desire in dou.tful trust renews. And yet with more delight to move my wofull case, I must complaine these hands, those armes, that firmly do embrace, Me from myself, and rule the sterne of my poor life, sweet disdaynes, the pleasant wrathes, and eke the holy strife,


That wonted well to tune in temper just and mete, The rage, that ost did make me err by furour undiscrete. All this is hid from me with sharp and ragged hills, At others will my long abode, my depe dyspayr fulfills. And of my hope sometime ryse up by some redresse, It stumbleth straite for feable faint my fear hath such excesse. Such is the sort of hoape, the less for more desyre, o And yet I trust e're that I dye, to see that I require. The resting-place of love, where virtue dwells and growes, There I desire my weary life sometime may take repose, My song thou shalt attaine, to find the pleasant place, Where she doth live by whom I live, may chance to have this grace. When she hath read and seen, the griefe wherein I serve, Between her brests she shall thee put, there shall she thee reserve. Then tell her, that I come, she shall me shortly see, And if for waight the body fayl, the soul shall to her flee.


I LOTHE that I dyd love,
In youth that I thought swete,
As time requires for my behove,
Methinks they are not mete.
My lustes they do me leave,
My fancies all are fled,
And tract of time begynnes to weave
Gray heares upon my hed.
For age with stealing steppes
Hath clawde me with his crouche,
And lusty lyse away she leapes
As there had been none such.
My muse doth not delight
Me as she dyd before,
My hand and pen are not in plight,

As they have been of yore.
For reason me denyes
This youthly ydle ryme,
And day by day to me cryes,
Leave of these toyes in tyme.
The wrinkles in my browe,
The furrows in my face,
Say lymping age will lodge hym now,
Where youth must geve him place.
The harbinger of death,
To me I see him ride,
The cough, the cold, the gasping breath
Doth byd me to provyde
A pickax and a spade
And eke a shrowding shete,
A house of clay for to be made,
For such a geaste most mete.
Methinkes I hear the clarke
That knoles the carefull knell,
And byddes me leave my woful warke,
Ere nature me compell.
My kepers knit the knot,
That youth did laugh to skorne,
Of me that cleane shall be forgot,
As I had not been borne.
Thus must I youth geve up,
Whose badge I long dyd weare,
To them I yelde the wanton cup,
That better may it beare.
Lo, here the bare hed skull,
By whose balde signe I know,
That stouping age away shall pull
Which youthful yeres did sowe.
For beauty with her band
These croked cares hath wrought,
And shipped me into the land,
From whence I fyrst was brought.
And ye that byde behinde,
Have ye none other trust
As ye of clay were cast by kynd,
So shall ye waste to dust.


THE longer life the more offence,
The more offence the greater paine,
The greater paine the lesse defence,
The lesse defence the lesser gaine;
The loss of gaine long yll doth trye,
Wherefore come death and let me dye

The shorter life, less count I finde, Come gentle death, the ebbe of care, The less account the sooner made, The ebbe of care, the flood of life, The account soon made, the merier mind, The flood of life, the joyful fare, The merier mynd doth thought evade; The joyful fare, the end of strife, Short life in truth this thing doth trye, The end of strife, that thing wish I, Wherefore come death and let me dye. Wherefore come death and let me die.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Born 1573; educated at Westminster School and (according to Fuller) at St. John's College, Cambridge. After a brief connection with the trade of his step-father, a master brick-layer, he served as a volunteer in the Low Countries, and settled in London as a playwright not later than 1597. His first important comedy, Every Man on / is //ze mour, was acted 1598; his first tragedy, Sejanus, 1603. His masques chiefly belong to the reign of James I., more especially to its earlier part. He wrote nothing for the stage from 1616 to 1625. After this he produced a few more plays, without permanently securing the favor of the public. Of these plays the last but two was The Mezv Inn, the complete failure of which on the stage provoked Jonson's longer Ode to Homose?/. He enjoyed, however, in his later years, besides a fluctuating court patronage, the general homage of the English world of letters as its veteran chief. He died in London, August 6, 1637. The First Folio edition of his Works, published in 1616, included the Book of Epigrams, and the lyrics and epistles gathered under the heading The Forest in the same Folio; the Second Folio, published posthumously in 1641, contained the larger and (as its name implies) supplementary collection,

called Underwoods by its author.]

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »