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What thing is love? It is a power divine,
That reigns in us, or else a wreakful law,
That dooms our minds to beauty to incline:
It is a star, whose influence doth draw

Our hearts to love dissembling of his might,
Till he be master of our hearts and sight.

Love is a discord, and a strange divorce
Betwixt our sense and reason, by whose power,
As mad with reason, we admit that force,
Which wit or labour never may devour :

It is a will that brooketh no consent;
It would refuse, yet never may repent.

Love's a desire, which for to wait a time,
Doth lose an age of years, and so doth pass,
As doth the shadow, sever'd from his prime,
Seeming as though it were, yet never was;

Leaving behind nought but repentant thoughts
Of days ill spent, for that which profits noughts.

It's now a peace, and then a sudden war;
A hope consum'd before it is conceiv'd ;
At hand it fears, and menaceth afar;
And he that gains is most of all deceiv'd :

It is a secret hidden and not known,
Which one may better feel than write upon.




MADRIGAL. The swans, whose pens as white as ivory, Eclipsing fair Endymion's silver love, Floating like snow down by the banks of Po, Ne'er tun’d their notes, like Leda once forlorn, With more despairing sorts of madrigals, Than I, whom wanton Love hath with his gad Prickt to the court of deep and restless thoughts. The frolic youngsters Bacchus' liquor mads, Run not about the wood of Thessaly, With more enchanted fits of lunacy, Than I, whom Love, whom sweet and bitter Love Fires, infects with sundry passions ; Now lorn with liking overmuch my love, Frozen with fearing if I step too far, Fired with gazing at such glimmering stars, As stealing light from Phoebus' brightest rays, Sparkle and set * a flame within my breast. Rest, restless Love, fond baby be content; Child, hold thy darts within thy quiver close ; And, if thou wilt be roying with thy bow, Aim at those hearts that may attend on love: Let country swains, and silly swads + be still, To court, young wag, and wanton there thy fill !

* Sparkle and set] The 4to. “ Sparkles and sets.

t swads] i. e. clowns : see my note on Peele's Works, vol. ii. p. 236. ed. 1829.


Obscure and dark is all the gloomy air,
The curtain of the night is overspread ;
The silent mistress of the lowest sphere
Puts on her sable colour'd veil, and lours. *
Nor star, nor milk-white circle of the sky
Appears, where Discontent doth hold her lodge.
She sits shrin'd in a canopy of clouds,
Whose massy darkness mazeth every sense.
Wan are + her looks, her cheeks of azure hue;
Her hairs as Gorgon's foul retorting snakes;
Envy the glass wherein the hag doth gaze ;
Restless the clock that chimes her fast asleep;
Disquiet thoughts the minutes of her watch.
Forth from her cave the fiend full oft doth fly :
To kings she goes, and troubles them with crowns,
Setting those high aspiring brands on fire,
That flame from earth unto the seat of Jove ;
To such as Midas, men that doat on wealth,
And rent the bowels of the middle earth
For coin, who gape as did fair Danae
For showers of gold, there Discontent in black
Throws forth the vials of her restless cares;
To such as sit at Paphos for relief,
And offer Venus many solemn vows;
To such as Hymen in his saffron robe
Hath knit a Gordian knot of passions;
To these, to all, parting the gloomy air,
Black Discontent doth make her bad repair.

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In Cyprus sat fair Venus by a fount,

Wanton Adonis toying on her knee:
She kiss'd the wag, her darling of account;

The boy 'gan blush, which when his lover see, She smil'd, and told him love might challenge debt, And he was young, and might be wanton yet.

The boy wax'd bold, fired by fond desire,

That woo he could and court her with conceit: Reason spied this, and sought to quench the fire

With cold disdain; but wily Adon straight Cheer'd up the flame, and said, good sir, what let? I am but young, and may be wanton yet.

Reason replied, that beauty was a bane

To such as feed their fancy with fond love,
That when sweet youth with lust is overta'en,

It rues in age: this could not Adon move,
For Venus taught him still this rest to set,
That he was young, and might be wanton yet.

Where Venus strikes with beauty to the quick,

It little 'vails sage reason to reply;
Few are the cares for such as are love-sick,

But love: then, though I wanton it awry,
And play the wag, from Adon this I get,
I am but young, and may be wanton yet.



The Siren Venus nourish'd in her lap

Fair Adon, swearing whiles he was a youth
He might be wanton : note his after-hap,

The guerdon that such lawless lust ensu'th ;
So long he follow'd flattering Venus' lore,
Till, seely lad, he perish'd by a boar.

Mars in his youth did court this lusty dame,

He won her love; what might his fancy let, He was but young ? at last, unto his shame,

Vulcan entrapp'd them slily in a net, And call'd the Gods to witness as a truth, A lecher's fault was not excus'd by youth.

If crooked age accounteth youth his spring,

The spring, the fairest season of the year, Enrich'd with flowers, and sweets, and many a

thing, That fair and gorgeous to the eyes appear ; It fits that youth, the spring of man, should be ’Rich'd with such flowers as virtue yieldeth thee.

Fair is my love, for April in her face,

Her lovely breasts September claims his part, And lordly July in her eyes takes place,

But cold December dwelleth in her heart : Blest be the months, that set * my thoughts on fire, Accurst that month that hindereth my desire !

* set] The 4to. “ sets.

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