When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her (though I know she lies) That she might think me some untutor’d youth, Unskillful in the world’s false forgeries.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, Although I know my years be past the best, I smiling credit her false-speaking tongue, Outfacing faults in love with love’s ill rest.
But wherefore says my love that she is young? And wherefore say not I that I am old? O, love’s best habit’s in a soothing tongue, And age in love, loves not to have years told.
Therefore I’ll lie with love, and love with me, Since that our faults in love thus smother’d be.
Two loves I have, of comfort and despair, That like two spirits do suggest me still: My better angel is a man (right fair), My worser spirit a woman (color’d ill).
To win me soon to hell, my female evil Tempteth my better angel from my side; And would corrupt my saint to be a devil, Wooing his purity with her fair pride.
And whether that my angel be turn’d fiend, Suspect I may (yet not directly tell): For being both to me, both to each friend, I guess one angel in another’s hell:
The truth I shall not know, but live in doubt, Till my bad angel fire my good one out.
Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye, ’Gainst whom the world could not hold argument, Persuade my heart to this false perjury? Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment.
A woman I forswore; but I will prove, Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee: My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love; Thy grace being gain’d cures all disgrace in me.
My vow was breath, and breath a vapor is, Then thou, fair sun, that on this earth doth shine, Exhal’st this vapor vow, in thee it is: If broken, then it is no fault of mine.
If by me broke, what fool is not so wise To break an oath, to win a paradise?
Sweet Cytherea, sitting by a brook With young Adonis, lovely, fresh, and green, Did court the lad with many a lovely look, Such looks as none could look but beauty’s queen.
She told him stories to delight his ear; She show’d him favors to allure his eye; To win his heart she touch’d him here and there— Touches so soft still conquer chastity.
But whether unripe years did want conceit, Or he refus’d to take her figured proffer, The tender nibbler would not touch the bait, But smile and jest at every gentle offer.
Then fell she on her back, fair queen, and toward: He rose and ran away, ah, fool too froward!
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love? O, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed: Though to myself forsworn, to thee I’ll constant prove;
Those thoughts to me like oaks, to thee like osiers bowed. Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes, Where all those pleasures live that art can comprehend.
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice: Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend, All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder,
Which is to me some praise, that I thy partsadmire. Thine eye Jove’s lightning seems, thy voice his dreadful thunder, Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O, do not love that wrong: To sing heaven’s praise with such an earthly tongue.
Scarce had the sun dried up the dewy morn, And scarce the herd gone to the hedge for shade, When Cytherea (all in love forlorn) A longing tarriance for Adonis made
Under an osier growing by a brook, A brook where Adon us’d to cool his spleen. Hot was the day, she hotter that did look For his approach, that often there had been.
Anon he comes, and throws his mantle by, And stood stark naked on the brook’s green brim. The sun look’d on the world with glorious eye, Yet not so wistly as this queen on him.
He spying her, bounc’d in, whereas he stood; “O Jove,” quoth she, “why was not I a flood?”
Fair is my love, but not so fair as fickle, Mild as a dove, but neither true nor trusty, Brighter than glass, and yet as glass is brittle, Softer than wax, and yet as iron rusty:
A lily pale, with damask dye to grace her, None fairer, nor none falser to deface her. Her lips to mine how often hath she joined, Between each kiss her oaths of true love swearing!
How many tales to please me hath she coined, Dreading my love, the loss whereof still fearing! Yet in the midst of all her pure protestings,
Her faith, her oaths, her tears, and all were jestings. She burnt with love, as straw with fire flameth, She burnt out love, as soon as straw out-burneth;
She fram’d the love, and yet she foil’d the framing, She bade love last, and yet she fell a-turning. Was this a lover, or a lecher whether? Bad in the best, though excellent in neither.
If music and sweet poetry agree, As they must needs (the sister and the brother), Then must the love be great ’twixt thee and me, Because thou lov’st the one, and I the other.
Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch Upon the lute doth ravish human sense; Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such As passing all conceit, needs no defense.
Thou lov’st to hear the sweet melodious sound That Phoebus’ lute, the queen of music, makes; And I in deep delight am chiefly drown’d When as himself to singing he betakes.
One god is god of both (as poets feign), One knight loves both, and both in thee remain.
Fair was the morn when the fair queen of love, Paler for sorrow than her milk-white dove, For Adon’s sake, a youngster proud and wild, Her stand she takes upon a steep-up hill.
Anon Adonis comes with horn and hounds; She, silly queen, with more than love’s good will, Forbade the boy he should not pass those grounds.
“Once,” quoth she, “did I see a fair sweet youth Here in these brakes deep-wounded with a boar, Deep in the thigh, a spectacle of ruth! See, in my thigh,” quoth she, “here was the sore.”
She showed hers, he saw more wounds than one, And blushing fled, and left her all alone.
Sweet rose, fair flower, untimely pluck’d, soon vaded, Pluck’d in the bud, and vaded in the spring! Bright orient pearl, alack, too timely shaded!
Fair creature, kill’d too soon by death’s sharp sting! Like a green plum that hangs upon a tree, And falls (through wind) before the fall should be. I weep for thee, and yet no cause I have,
For why: thou lefts me nothing in thy will; And yet thou lefts me more than I did crave, For why: I craved nothing of thee still. O yes, dear friend, I pardon crave of thee,
Thy discontent thou didst bequeath to me.