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Shakespeare's Sonnets

Poems (From the Devonshire manuscript. Part Ia.)

1

Take heed betimes lest ye be spied. Your loving eyes can not hide, At last the truth will sure be tried Therefore take heed! For some there be of crafty kind, Though you show no part of your mind, Surely their eyes you cannot blind, Therefore take heed! For in like case themselves hath been, And thought right sure none had them seen, But it was not as they did ween Therefore take heed! All though they be of diverse schools And well can use all crafty tools At length they prove themselves but fools Therefore take heed! If they might take you in that trap, They wold soon leave it in your lap, To love unspied is but a hap, Therefore take heed!
Take hede be tyme lest ye be spyde. Your lovyng Iyes can not hyde, At last the trouthe will sure be tryde Therefore take hede ! For som there be of craftye kynde, Thowe yow shew no parte of your mynde, Surelye their Iyes yo can not blynde, Therefore take hede ! Ffor in lyke case themselves hathe bene, And thowght ryght sure none had them sene, But it was not as they did wene Therefore take hede ! All thowgh theye be of dyvers skooles And well can use all craftye toolles At length they prove themselves but fooles Therefore take hede ! Yf theye myght take you in that trape, They wolde sone leve yt in your lape, To love unspyde is but a happe, Therefore take hede !

NOTES

betimes = in good time. Your loving eyes etc. = the love in your eyes cannot be hidden (?). The fact of your being in love cannot be hidden from other's eyes (?). tried = put to the test, put on show. of crafty kind = of a crafty disposition.

2

My pen, take pain a little space To follow that which doth me chase, And hath in hold my heart so sore, But when thou hast this brought to pass, My pen I prithee, write no more! Remember, oft thou hast me eased, And all my pain full well appeased. But now I know, unknown before, For where I trust I am deceived. And yet my pen thou canst no more. A time thou had'st as other have, To write which way my hope to crave. That time is past, withdraw therefore, Since we do lose that other save. As good leave off and write no more. In worth to use another way, Not as we would, but as we may. For once my loss is past restore, And my desire is my decay, My pen, yet write a little more. To love in vain who ever shall, Of worldly pain it passeth all, As in like case I find. Wherefore To hold so fast and yet to fall! Alas my pen, now write no more! Since thou hast taken pain this space To follow that which doth me chase, And hath in hold my heart so sore, Now hast thou brought my mind to pass. My pen I prithee, write no more!
My pen, take payn a lyttyll space To folow that whyche dothe me chase, And hathe in hold my hart so sore ; But when thow hast thys browght to passe, My pen I prithe, wryght nomore ! Remember, oft thow hast me easyd, And all my payne full well apeasyd But now I know, unknowen before, Ffor where I trust I am dysceavyd ; And yet my pen thow canst no more. A tyme thow haddyst as other have, To wryght whyche way my hope to crave ; That tyme ys past, withdrawe therffore ; Syns we do lose that other save As good leve off and wryght no more. In worthe to use another waye Not as we wold, but as we maye, For ons my losse ys past restore, And my desyre ys my decaye, My pen, yet wryght a lytyll more. To love in vayn who ever shall, Of worldlye payn it passythe all, As in lyke case I fynd; wherefore To hold so fast and yet to ffall ! Alas my pen, now wryght no more ! Syns thow hast taken payn thys space To folow that whyche dothe me chase, And hathe in hold my hart so sore ; Now hast thou browght my mynde to passe My pen I prithe, wryght no more !

NOTES

take pain = make an effort. a little space = for a short time more. to follow = to write about. that which doth me chase = that which distresses and harasses me, i.e. my love for her. hath in hold = holds captive. so sore = in such pain. This brought to pass = (?) acheived a description of my woes; made my woes more bearable. I prithee = I beseech you. now I know, unknown before = I now know that which I was unaware of before. For where I trust = that, in the very place I put my trust in, i.e. in her heart. A time thou had'st ... my hope to crave = (?) you had an opportunity once to write in such a way as to win her over and satisfy your desire for her. we do lose that other save = my loss is another's gain, i.e. someone else now enjoys her favours. In worth = it is worthwile. to use another way = to try a different tack. For once = for now and hereafter. to hold so fast = to be so faithful. and yet to fall = and still to fail to win her over. Rebholz puts a question mark after fall. 'Why should one be so constant only to be betrayed in the end? The exclamation mark perhaps introduces a tone of irony. Both punctuation marks are equally arbitrary. brought my mind to pass - see above.

3

I love, loved and so doth she, And yet in love we suffer still. The cause is strange, as seemeth me, To love so well and want our will. O deadly yea! O grievous smart! Worse than refuse, unhappy gain! I love: whoever played this part To love so well and live in pain? Was ever heart so well agreed Since love was love as I do trow, That in their love so well did speed To love so well and live in woe. Thus mourn we both and hath done long, With woeful plaint and careful voice, Alas it is a grievous wrong, To love so well and not rejoice. And here an end of all our moan. With sighing oft my breath is scant, Since of mishap ours is alone To love so well and it to want. But they that causer is of this Of all our cares, god send them part, That they may know what grief it is To love so well and live in smart.
I love lovyd and so doth she, And yet in love wee suffer still ; The cause is strange, as semeth me, To love so well and want our will. O deadly yea ! o grevous smart ! Worse then refuse, unhappe gaine : I love : whoever played this part To love so well and live in payn ! Was ever hert so well agrede Syns love was love as I do trowe, That in their love soo well did spede To love so well and live in woo. Thus morne wee bothe and hathe don long, With wofull plaint and careful voice, Alas [alas] it is a grevous wrong, To love so well and not reioyce. And here an end of all our mone : With sighinge oft my breth is skant, Sins of myshappe ours is alone To love so well and it to want. But they that causer is of this Of all our cares, god send them part, That they may knowe what grefe it is To love so well and live in smart.

NOTES

as seemeth me = as it seems to me. want our will = not achieve our desire. deadly yea = desperately painful 'Yes' (probably the 'Yes' spoken by the beloved. It results in worse pain than if she had said 'No'. ) refuse = refusal. woeful plaint = sorrowful laments. careful = full of care. scant = short. since of mishap ours is alone = (?) we are the only ones to suffer misfortune like this; (?) this alone is our misfortune. it to want = to lack fulfilment of our love. they that causer is = they who are the cause of . (It is not known who they are, possibly parents, possibly outsiders who have an interest in preventing the two lovers from being united).

4

Suffering in sorrow in hope to attain, Desiring in fear, and dare not complain, True of belief in whom is all my trust, Do thou apply to ease me of my pain, Else thus to serve and suffer still I must. Hope is my hold, yet in despair to speak I drive from time to time, and doth not keep How long to live thus after love's lust, In study still of that I dare not break Wherefore to serve and suffer still I must. Encrease of care I find both day and night, I have that was one time all my delight, The cause thereof ye know I have discussed, And yet to refrain it passeth my might, Wherefore to serve and suffer still I must. Love who so list at length he shall well say "To love and live in fear it is no play," Record that knoweth, and if this be not just That whereas love doth live, there is no way But serve and suffer ever still he must. Then for to live with loss of liberty, At last perchance shall be his remedy, And for his truth reigneth with false mistrust, Who would not rue to see how wrongfully --- Thus for to serve and suffer still he must. Untruth by trust oftimes hath me betrayed, Misusing my hope, still to be delayed, Fortune always I have it found unjust, And so with like reward now am I paid, That is, to serve and suffer still I must. Never to cease, nor yet like to attain As long as I in fear dare not complain, True of belief hath always been my trust And till she knoweth the cause of all my pain, Content to serve and suffer still I must.
Suffryng in sorow in hope to attayn Desyryng in fere, and dare not complayn, Trew of beleffe, in whome ys all my trust, Do thou apply to ease me off my payn, Els thus to serve and suffer styll I must. Hope ys my hold, yet in dyspayre to speke I dryve from tyme to tyme, and dothe not kepe How long to lyve thus after loves lust, In studye styll of that I dare not breke Wherefore to serve and suffer styll I must. Encrease of care I fynd bothe day and nyght, I have that was ontyme all my delyght, The cawse thereoff ye know I have dyscust, And yet to reffrayn yt passythe my myght, Wherefore to serve and suffer styll I must. Love who so lyst at lengthe he shall well say "To love and lyve in fere yt ys no play," Record that knowythe, and yf thys be not just That whereas love dothe live, there is no way But serve and suffer ever styll he must. Then for to live with losse of libertye, At last perchawnce shall be his remedye, And for his trouthe reigneth with fals mistrust, Who would not rew to se how wrongfully --- Thus for to serve and suffer styll he must. Untrew by trust oftymes hathe me betrayd, Mysusyng my hope, styll to be delayd, Fortune allways I have yt fownd unjust, And so with lyke rewarde now am I payd, That ys, to serve and suffer styll I must. Never to cesse, nor yet lyke to attayn As long as I in fere dare not complayn, True of beleff hath allways ben my trust And tyll she knowythe the cause of all my payn, Content to serve and suffer styll I must.

NOTES

dare not complain = not daring to complain. still (passim) = always, now and hereafter. hold = stronghold, support. True of belief in whom = stedfastly trusting in her whom. Do thou apply = kindly make some effort (addressed to the beloved presumably). I drive = I defer (to speak). doth not keep = (?) do not consider. How long to live = how long I might live. after love's lust = (?) seeking to fulfil love's desire. break = divulge, utter. Encrease = increase. The original spelling is retained since the opening letter of each stanza spells the word Shulton (for Shelton) and Mary Shelton's name is written at the foot of the page. refrain - i.e. refrain from loving you. passeth = surpasses. Love whoso list = whover it is that loves. Record who knoweth = let him who knows this fact set it on record. whereas = where. for his truth reigneth with false mistrust = because his sense of truth and justice lives alongside treachery. (Other manuscripts give 'requit' instead of 'reigneth'.) Untruth by trust - Perhaps it should be 'Untruth my trust'. The meaning is unclear. True of belief etc. = I have always trusted in truth and fidelity.

5

At last withdraw your cruelty Or let me die at once, It is too much extremity Devised for the nonce, To hold me thus alive In pain still for to drive, What may I more sustain, Alas that die would fain And cannot die for pain. For to the flame wherewith ye burn My thought and my desire, When into ashes it should turn My heart by fervent fire, Ye send a stormy rain, That doth it quench again, And makes my eyes express The tears that do redress My life in wretchedness. Then when these should have drowned And overwhelmed my heart, The heart doth then confound Renewing all my smart. Then doth flame increase, My torment cannot cease. My woe doth then revive, And I remain alive With Death still for to strive. But if that he would have my death And that ye would no other, Shortly then for to spare my breath Withdraw the one or tother ; For thus your cruelness Doth let itself doubtless And it is reason why No man alive nor I Of double death can die.
At last withdrawe your crueltie Or let me die at ons, It is too much extremitie Devised for the nons, To hold me thus alive In paine still for to dryve, What may I more sustayne Alas that dye wuld faine And cannot dye for paine. For to the flame wherewith ye burne My thought and mye desyr, When into ashys it shulde turn My hert by fervent fyer, Ye send a stormy rayn, That doth it quench agayn, And makes my Iyes expresse The teres that do redresse My lyff in wretchednes. Then when thes shulde have drownde And overwhelmed my hart, The hart dothe then confownde Renewing all my smart, Then dothe flame encrease, My torment can not cease ; My woo doeth then revive, And I remaine alyve With Death still for to stryve. But if that he wolde have my death And that ye wolde no nother Shortly then for to spare my breth Withdrawe the ton ot tother ; For thus your cruelnes Doeth let itself dowbtles And it is reason why No man alyve nor I Of double death can dy.

NOTES

This poem is based on an Italian original by Pietro Bembo, and perhaps derives some of its obscurity from that source. Devised for the nonce = thought out for this occasion. The phrase suggests a premeditated effort by the beloved to harm the lover. still for to drive = continually to defer to you. Rebholz gives 'strive' for 'drive'. would fain = desires. And cannot die for pain = (?) the pain of loving you and wishing to stay alive to do so prevents me from dying. express = emit, send forth, issue. redress = restore, bring back to life. these = my (and your?) tears. confound = collapse. he would have my death = he (Death) desires to take me. (Rebholz gives 'ye' for 'he'). the one or tother = either your beauty (which torments me) or your cruelty of refusing to gratify me. let itself = hinders itself. Of double death can die - Perhaps proverbial - a man can die only once. The mistress seeks to kill him by her beauty and by her refusal to gratify him.

6

To wet your eye withouten tear, And in good health to feign disease, That you thereby mine eye might blear, Therewith your other friends to please. And tho' ye think ye need not fear Yet so ye cannot me appease But as ye list, feign, flatter, or glose, Ye shall not win if I do lose. Prate and paint and spare not, Ye know I can me wreck, And if so be ye care not, Be sure I do not reck. And though ye swear it were not I can both swear and speak. By God and by this cross If I have the mock, ye shall have the loss.
To wette your Iye withouten teare, And in good helth to faine desease, That you therby myn Iye myght bleare, Therwith your other frendes to please. And tho ye thinke ye ned not feare Yet so ye can not me apease But as ye list, faine, flater, or glose Ye shall not wynne if I do lose. Prate and paint and spare not, Ye know I can me worke ; And if so be ye can so not, Be sure I do not reke ; And thowe ye swere it were not I can bothe swere and speke ; By God and by this crusse If I have the mok, ye shall have the loss.

NOTES

withouten tear = without tears, i.e. pretend to cry. blear = dim, blind, obfuscate. Yet so = (Do not think) that in this way etc. as ye list = according to your wishes. glose = explain away, pretend rationality. prate = prattle paint = give spurious and colourful explanations. Ye shall not win etc. = If I am not successful (in my love), neither will you be. I can me wreck = (?) I might possibly go to ruin. Ye care not = you do not care for me. reck = care, take account of. If I have the mock = if I am made a fool of.

7

A mornings then when I do rise, I turn unto my wonted guise, All day after muse and devise What means this? And if perchance by me there pass She unto whom I sue for grace, The cold blood forsaketh my face. What means this? But if I sit near her by, With loud voice my heart doth cry, And yet my mouth is dumb and dry. What means this? To ask for help, no heart I have, My tongue doth fail what I should crave, Yet inwardly I rage and rave, What means this? Thus have I passed many a year, And many a day, tho' nought appear But most of that that most I fear. What means this ?
What menythe thys, when I lye alone I tosse, I turn, I syght, I grone, My bedd me semys as hard as stone, What menys thys ? I syght, I playne contynually, The clothes that on the bedd do ly Always methynk they lye awry, What menys thys ? In slumbers oft for fere I quake, Ffor hete and cold, I burne and shake, Ffor lake of slepe my hede dothe ake, What menys thys ? A mornynges then when I do ryse, I torne unto my wonted gyse, All day after muse and devyse What menys thys ? And if perchance by me there passe She unto whome I sue for grace, The cold blood forsakythe my face. What menys thys ? But yff I sytte nere her by, With lowd voyce my hart dothe cry, And yet my mowthe is dome and dry. What menys thys ? To aske ffor helpe, no hart I have, My tong dothe fayle what I shuld crave, Yet inwardly I rage and rave, What menys thys ? Thus have I passyd many a yere, And many a day, tho nowght apere But most of that that most I fere. What menys thys ?

NOTES

me seems = seems to me (to be). plain = complain. For heat etc. = because of heat etc. A mornings = in the morning. my wonted guise = my habitual pursuits. muse and devise = dream and make conjectures. forsaketh = leaves. near her by = nearby to her. My tongue doth fail = my tongue is unable to ask for. what I should crave = the thing which I desire. tho' nought appear = with no success. But most of that etc. = except my continuous sense of frustration and failure, which I dread.

8

The heart and service to you proffered With right good will full honestly, Refuse it not, since it is offered, But take it to you gentlely. And though it be a small present, Yet good, consider graciously The thought, the mind, and the intent Of him that loves you faithfully. It were a thing of small effect To work my woe thus cruelly, For my good will to be object, Therefore accept it lovingly. Pain or travail, to run or ride, I undertake it pleasantly, Bid ye me go and straight I glide At your commandment humblely. Pain or pleasure, now may you plant Even which it please you stedfastly. Do which you list, I shall not want To be your servant secretly. And since so much I do desire To be your own assuredly, For all my service and my fire Reward your servant liberally.
The hart and servys to yow profferd With ryght good wyll full honestly, Refuse it not, syns yt ys offerd, But take yt to you gentylly. And tho it be a small present, Yet good, consyder gracyously The thowght, the mynd, and the entent Of him that lovys you faythfully. Yt were a thing of small effecte To worke my wo thus cruelly, Ffor my good wyll to be objecte, Therefor accepte it lovyngly. Payn or travell, to run or ryde I undertake it plesauntly, Bid ye me go and strayte I glyde At your commandement humbly. Payne or pleasure, now may you plant Evyn whyche it plese yow stedfastly ; Do whyche yow lyst, I shall not want To be your servaunte secrettly. And syns so muche I do desyre To be your owne assuryddly, Ffor all my servys and my fyer Reward your servaunte lyberally.

NOTES

gentlely = with gentleness and meekness. good = good heart. of small effect = of no great consequence, i.e. something which you could do easily. object = rejected. Other eds give 'abject'. It is from the Latin basic root word iacio 'to throw', with ab or ob as a prefix. pleasantly = with pleasure. Bid you me go = if you bid me to go (somewhere), or to leave etc. straight = immediately. plant - i.e. in my heart/soul. I shall not want = I shall not fail. assuredly = faithfully.

9

Farewell all my welfare, My shoe is trod awry, Now may I cark and care To sing lullay by by. Alas what shall I do thereto, There is no shift to help me now. Who made it such offence To love for love again? God wot that my pretence Was but to ease his pain, For I had ruth to see his woe Alas more fool why did I so? For he from me is gone, And makes thereat a game, And hath left me alone To suffer sorrow and shame. Alas he is unkind doubtless To leave me thus all comfortless. It is a grievous smart To suffer pain and sorrow, But most grieved my heart He laid his faith to borrow. And falsehood hath his faith and troth, And he forsworn by many an oath. All ye lovers perdy, Hath cause to blame his deed, Which shall example be To let you of your speed. Let never woman again Trust to such words as men can sayn. For I unto my cost Am warning to you all, That they whom you trust most Soonest deceive you shall. But complaint cannot redress Of my great grief the great excess.
Farewell all my welfare, My shoe is trode awry, Now may I carke and care To sing lullay by by. Alas what shall I do thereto, There is no shyffte to helpe me now. Who made hytt suche offence To love for love agayne ; God wot that my pretence Was but to ease hys payn ; For I had Ruthe to see hys wo Alas more fole why did I so ? Ffor he frome me ys gone, And makes there at a game, And hathe leffte me alone To suffer sorow and shame. Alas he ys unkynd dowbtles To leve me thus all comfortles. Hytt is a grevous smart To suffer payne and sorowe, But most grevyd my hart He leyde his faith to borow ; And falshode hathe hys fayth and trowthe, And he forsworn by many an othe. All ye lovers perde, Hath cawse to blame his dede, Whyche shall example be To lett yow of yowre spede ; Let never woman agayn Trust to such wordes as men can sayn. For I unto my cost Am warnyng to yow all, That they whom you trust most Sonest dysceyve you shall ; But complaynte cannot redresse Of my great greffe the great excesse.

NOTES

A woman laments that she has been betrayed in love. welfare = good fortune, happiness. My shoe is trod awry = I have gone astray. (Proverbial). cark = fret, worry. care = be full of cares. lullay by by = the refrain of a lullaby. The suggestion is perhaps that she has or will have a child as a result of giving herself to the lover. thereto = because of this. shift = escape, expedient. To love for love again = to reciprocate love. God wot = god knows. pretence = behaviour; pretext. ruth = pity. makes thereat a game = makes light of his actions. laid his faith to borrow = pledged his good faith. falsehood hath = (?) has made a falsehood of. perdy = by God. blame = find fault with. To let you of your speed = to hinder your hastiness. sayn = say, speak. deceive you shall = shall deceive you. redress = put right, cure.

10

Alas poor man what hap have I That must forbear that I love best, I trow it be my destiny Never to live in quiet rest. No wonder is tho' I complain, Not without cause ye may be sure, I seek for that I cannot attain, Which is my mortal displeasure. Alas poor heart as in this case With pensive plaints thou art opprest, Unwise thou wert to desire place Where as another is possest. Do what I can to ease thy smart, Thou wilt not let to love her still, Hers and not mine I see thou art Let her do by thee as she will. A carefull carcass full of pain Now hast thou left to mourn for thee. The heart once gone, the body is slain, That ever I saw her woe is me! Mine eye alas was cause of this Which her to see had never his fill To me that sight full bitter is In recompense of my good will. She that I serve all other above Hath paid my hire as ye may see I was unhappy, and that I prove, To love above my poor degree.
Alas poore man what hap have I That must fforbere that I love best, I trow it be my desteny Never to lyve in quiet rest. No wonder ys tho' I complayn, Not withowt cawse ye may be sure, I seke ffor that I cannot attayn, Whyche is my mortall dysplesure. Alas pore hart as in thys case With pensyff playntes thou art opprest Unwysse thow wert to desyre place Where as another ys possest. Do what I can to ese thy smart, Thow wylt not let to love her styll, Hers and not myn I se thow art Let her do by the as she wyll. A carefull carkace full of payn Now hast thow lefft to morne for the ; The hart ons gone, the body ys slayn, That ever I saw her wo is me ! Mine Iye alas was cause of thys Whyche her to se had never hys ffyll To me that syght full bytter ys In recompence of my good wyll. She that I sarve all other above Hathe payd my hyre as ye may se I was unhappe, and that I prove, To love above my pore degre.

NOTES

what hap = what is my fortune? mortal = causing my death. displeasure = smart, agony. to desire place = to desire to be in the place. whereas = where. is possest = has possession. let = hinder, prevent, cease. careful = full of care. unhappy = misfortunate. that I prove = I demonstrate the fact (that it is so). To love above etc. = by having fallen in love with one who is above my social position.

11

Is it possible, That so high debate, So sharp, so sore, and of such rate, Should end so soon that was begun so late, Is it possible! Is it possible So cruel intent So hasty heat and so soon spent, From love to hate, and thence for to relent, Is it possible? Is it possible That any may find Within one heart, so diverse mind, To change or turn as weather and wind, Is it possible? Is it possible To spy it in an eye That turns as oft as chance on die, The truth whereof can any try? Is it possible? It is possible For to turn so oft, To bring that lowest that was most aloft, And to fall highest yet to light soft, It is possible. All is possible, Who so list believe. Trust therefore first, and after prove. As men wed ladies by licence and leave, All is possible.
Ys yt possyble, That so hye debate, So sharpe, so sore, and off suche rate, Shuld end so sone that was begone so late, Is it possyble ! Ys yt possyble ! So cruell intent So hasty hete and so sone spent, Ffrom love to hate, and thens ffor to relent, Is it possyble ! Ys yt possyble ! That eny may fynde Within oon hart, so diverse mynd, To change or torn as wether and wynd, Is it possyble ! Ys yt possyble ! To spye it in an Iye That tornys as oft as chance on dy, The trothe wheroff can eny try ? Is it possyble ! It is possyble Ffor to torne so oft, To bryng that lowyste that was most aloft, And to fall hyest yet to lyght sofft, It is possyble. All ys possyble, Who so list beleve ; Trust therfore fyrst, and after preve : As men wedd ladyes by lycence and leve All ys possyble.

NOTES

such high debate = such fierce and intense reasoning. sore = painful. such rate = (?) with such swift changes, (?) with such animosity. so late = so recently. to spy it = (?) to see these freaks of behaviour. chance on die = the chance throwings or readings of a dice. (Strictly speaking die is the singular of dice, but the former is rarely used nowadays). Trust therefore first ..... licence and leave. - Of uncertain meaning. It suggests that marriage is a formality, but the proof of the happiness or otherwise of it only comes by trying it out. Hence all is possible, since women may turn out to be as fickle as dice, or they may repay trust with trust and faithfulness.

12

And wilt thou leave me thus ? Say nay, say nay, for shame, To save thee from the blame Of all my grief and grame. And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay, say nay ! And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath loved thee so long, In wealth and woe among? And is thy heart so strong As for to leave me thus? Say nay, say nay! And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath given thee my heart, Never for to depart, Neither for pain nor smart? And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay, say nay! And wilt thou leave me thus, And have no more pity Of him that loveth thee? Helas thy cruelty! And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay, say nay!
And wylt thow leve me thus ? Say nay, say nay, ffor shame, To save thee from the blame Of all my greffe and grame ; And wylt thow leve me thus ! Say nay, say nay ! And wylt thow leve me thus, That hath lovyd the so long, In welthe and woo among ? And is thy hart so strong As for to leve me thus ? Say nay, say nay ! And wylt thow leve me thus, That hathe gevyn the my hart, Never for to depart, Nother for payn nor smart ; And wylt thow leve me thus ! Say nay, say nay ! And wylt thow leve me thus, And have nomore pyttye Of hym that lovythe the ? Helas thy cruellte ! And wylt thow leve me thus ! Say nay, say nay !

NOTES

grame = sorrow. Helas = an old form of 'Alas'.

13

That time that mirth did steer my ship, Which now is fraught with heaviness, And fortune bit not then the lip, But was defence of my distress, Then in my book wrote my mistress, "I am your's you may well be sure "And shall be while my life doth dure." But she her self which then wrote that, Is now mine extreme enemy. Above all men she doth me hate, Rejoycing of my misery. But though that for her sake I die, I shall be hers she may be sure, As long as my life doth endure. It is not time that can wear out With me that once is firmly set. While nature keeps her course about My love from her no man can let. Though never so sore they me threat, Yet am I hers she may be sure And shall be while that life doth dure. And once I trust to see that day Renewer of my joy and wealth, That she to me these words shall say: "In faith welcome," to me myself, "Welcome, my joy, welcome, my health, "For I am thine thou may'st be sure "And shall be while that life doth dure." Lo me alas, what words were these? In covenant I might find them so, I reck not what smart or disease I suffered, so that I might know That she were mine, I might be sure, And should while that life doth dure.
That tyme that myrthe dyd stere my shypp, Whyche now is frowght with hevines, And fortune beate not then the lypp, But was defence of my distresse, Then in my boke wrote my maystresse, "I am yowris you may well be sure "And shall be whyle my lyff dothe dure." But she her selffe whyche then wrote that, Is now myne extreme enemye ; Above all men she dothe me hate, Reioysyng of my myserye ; But though that for her sake I dye, I shall be hers she may be sure, As long as my lyff dothe endure. It is not tyme that can were owt With me that ons is fermly sett ; Whyle nature kepys her corse abowt My love from her no man can lett ; Thowghe never so sore they me thrett Yet am I hers she may be sure And shall be whyle that lyff doeth dure. And once I trust to see that day Renewer of my Joy and welthe, That she to me these wordes shall say : "In faith welcome," to me myselffe, "Welcome, my joy, welcome, my helthe, "For I am thyne thow mayst be sure "And shallbe whyle that lyff dothe dure." Lo me alas, what wordes were these ? In covenant I myght fynd them so, I reke not what smart or dysease I suffred, so that I myght knoo That she were myn, I myght be sure, And shuld whyle that lyff dothe dure.

NOTES

fraught = laden bit not then the lip = did not turn away from me. Biting the lip at someone was an expression of impatience and annoyance. dure = last, endure. keeps her course about = keeps on a stedfast course. let = hinder. In covenant I might find = would that I might find them written in a binding contract.

14

As power and wit will me assist My will shall will even as ye list. For as ye list, my will is bent In every thing to be content, To serve in love till life be spent And to reward my love thus meant Even as ye list. To feign or fable is not my mind Nor to refuse such as I find, But as a lamb of humble kind, Or bird in cage, to be assigned Even as ye list. When all the flock is come and gone Mine eye and heart agreeth in one, Hath chosen you only alone To be my joy, or else my moan Even as ye list. Joy if pity appear in place Moan, if disdain do show his face Yet crave I not as in this case But as ye lead, to follow the trace Even as ye list. Some in words much love can feign And some for words give words again Thus words for words in words remain And yet at last words do obtain Even as ye list. To crave in words I will eschew, And love in deed I will ensue; It is my mind both whole and true, And for my truth I pray you rue Even as ye list. Dear heart, I bid your heart farewell With better heart than tongue can tell. Yet take this tale as true as gospel, Ye may my life save or expel Even as ye list.
As power and wytt wyll me assyst My wyll shall wyll evyn as ye lyst. Ffor as ye lyst, my wyll is bent In every thyng to be content, To serve in love tyll lyff be spent And to Reward my love thus ment Evyn as ye lyst. To fayn or fable ys not my mynd Nor to refuse suche as I fynd, But as a lambe of humble kynd, Or byrd in cage, to be assynd Evyn as ye lyst. When all the flokk ys com and gone Myn eye and hart agreythe in one, Hathe chosyn you only alone To be my Joy, or elles my mone Evyn as ye lyst. Joy yf pytty apere in place Mone, if dysdayn do shew hys face Yet crave I not as in thys case But as ye lede, to follow the trace Evyn as ye lyst. Sum in wordes muche love can fayn And sum for wordes gyve wordes agayn Thus wordes for wordes in wordes remayn And yet at last wordes do optayn Evyn as ye lyst. To crave in wordes I wyll eschew, And love in dede I wyll ensew ; Yt ys my mynd bothe hole and trew, And for my trewthe I pray yow rew Evyn as ye lyst. Dere hart, I bydd your hart farewell With better hart than tong can tell ; Yet take thys tale as trew as gospell, Ye may my lyff save or expell Evyn as ye lyst.

NOTES

My will shall will etc. = I shall desire to be and behave as you wish me to And to reward etc. - Uncertain meaning. Possibly 'And to seek only such reward for my love, intended only for you, as you might think fitting. refuse such as I find = refuse to serve you, whatever you choose to bid me. all the flock = (?) all the available women. in place = in the place where you are, i.e. in you. trace = path, footsteps, track. (Possibly also 'rein'.) words etc. - the stanza seems to suggest that words are fickle, and that what matters are the lover's intentions. at last words do obtain = finally (your) words (bidding me what to do) must prevail. ensue = pursue, adopt. rue = have pity on. expel = cast out (into utter darkness).

15

Sometime I sigh, sometime I sing, Sometime I laugh, sometime mourning, As one in doubt, this is my saying: Have I displeased you in anything? Alack, what aileth you to be grieved? Right sorry am I that ye be moved, I am your own if truth be proved And by your displeasure as one mischieved. When ye be merry then am I glad, When ye be sorry then am I sad, Such grace or fortune I would I had You for to please however I were bestad. When ye be merry why should I care? Ye are my joy and my welfare, I will you love, I will not spare Into your presence as far as I dare. All my poor heart and my love true While life doth last I give it you; And you to serve with service due, And never to change you for no new.
Sumtyme I syght, sumtyme I syng, Sumtyme I lawghe, sumtyme mornynge, As one in dowte, thys ys my ssayying : Have I dysplesyd yow in any thyng ? Alake what aylythe you to be grevyd ? Ryght sory am I that ye be mevyd, I am your owne yf trewthe be prevyd And by your dyspleasure as one myschevyd. When ye be mery then am I glad, When ye be sory than am I sad, Such grace or fortune I wold I had Yow for to plese however I were bestad. When ye be mery why shuld I care, Ye are my Joye and my wellfare, I wyll you love, I wyll not spare Into yowre presens as farr as I dare. All my poore hart and my love trew Whyle lyff dothe last I gyve yt yow ; And yow to serve with servys dew, And never to change yow for no new.

NOTES

mischieved = suffering misfortune, ruined. The line is of uncertain meaning. It suggests that her displeasure brings him to ruin and distress. bestad = circumstanced; encompassed by hostile forces. I will not spare / Into your presence = I will not hold back from being where you are etc.

16

Patience of all my smart For fortune is turned awry, Patience must ease my heart That mourns continually; Patience to suffer wrong Is a patience too long. Patience to have a nay Of that I most desire, Patience to have allway And ever burn like fire; Patience without desert Is grounder of my smart. Who can with merry heart Set faith some pleasant song, That always feels but smart And never hath but wrong? Yet patience evermore Must heal the wound and sore. Patience to be content With froward fortune's train, Patience to the intent Somewhat to slake my pain. I see no remedy But suffer patiently. To plain where is none ear My chance is chanced so, For it doth well appear My friend is turned my foe. But since there is no defence I must take patience. Who would have ever thought A heart that was so set, To have such wrong me wrought, Or to be counterfeit? But who that trusteth most Is like to pay the cost. I must of force, God wot This painful life sustain, And yet I know not The chief cause of my pain. This is a strange disease, To serve and never please. I must of force endure This draught drawn awry, For I am fast and sure To have the mate thereby. But note I will this text To draw better the next.
Pacyence of all my smart Ffor fortune is tornyd awry ; Pacyence must ese my hart That mornes continually ; Pacyence to suffer wrong Ys a pacyence to long. Pacyence to have a nay Of that I most desyre, Pacyence to have allway And ever burne like fyre ; Pacyence withowt desart Is grownder of my smart. Who can with mery hart Set faithe sum plesant song, That always felys but smart And never hathe but wrong ; Yet pacyence evermore Must hele the wound and sore. Pacyence to be content With froward fortunes trayne, Pacyence to the intent Sumwhat to slake my payne ; I se no remedy But suffer pacyently. To playn wher ys none ere My chance is chawnsyd so, Ffor it dothe well apere My frend ys tornyd my foo ; But syns there ys no defence I must take pacyence. Who wold have ever thowght A hart that was so sett, To have suche wrong me wrowght, Or to be cownterfett ; But who that trustythe most Ys lyke to pay the cost. I must of force, God wott Thys paynfull lyff susteyne, And yet I know nott The chefe cawse of my payn ; Thys ys a strange dyssese, --- To serve and never plese. I must of force endure Thys drawght drawyn awry, Ffor I am fast and sure To have the mate therby ; But note I wyll thys texte To drawe better the nexte.

NOTES

of all my smart = in, throughout, with all my suffering. to have a nay = to endure refusal. grounder = cause. I.e. (?) the patience he shows enduring the whims of one who is unworthy. Set faith some pleasant song = make a pleasant song about trust and fidelity. intent = intention. I.e. I must be patient of her slight efforts to ease my pain. where is none ear = where there is no ear. so set = so stedfast. draught drawn awry = drink which is gone bad. have the mate = be checkmated (a metaphor from chess). to draw better the next = to have better luck with my next lover.