truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she, dear she, might take some
pleasure of my pain,
Pleasure might cause her read, reading
might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,
I sought fit words to paint the blackest
face of woe;
Studying inventions fine
her wits to entertain,
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if
thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's
And others' feet still seemed but
strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak and helpless in my
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in
thy heart, and write."
With how sad steps, O Moon,
thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What, may it be that even in heav'nly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries!
Sure, if that long-with love-acquainted
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's
I read it in thy looks; thy languished
To me, that feel the like, thy state
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deemed there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?
Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
Th' indifferent judge between the high and low.
With shield of proof shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts despair at me doth throw:
O make in me those civil wars to cease;
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light,
A rosy garland and a weary head:
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.
Who will in fairest book of nature know
How virtue may best lodged in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee,
Stella, those fair lines which true goodness show.
There shall he find all vices' overthrow,
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly;
That inward sun in thine eyes shineth so.
And, not content to be perfection's heir
Thyself, dost strive all minds that way to move,
Who mark in thee what is in thee most fair.
So while thy beauty draws thy heart to love,
As fast thy virtue bends that love to good:
"But ah," Desire still cries, "Give me some