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STELLA, think not that I by verse seek fame,
Who seek, who hope, who love, who live but thee;
Thine eyes my pride, thy lips mine history :
If thou praise not, all other praise is shame.
Nor so ambitious am I, as to frame
A nest for my young praise in laurel tree :
In truth I swear, I wish not there should be
Grav'd in my epitaph a poet's name.
Ne, if I would, I could just title make,
That any laud to me thereof should grow,
Without my plumes from others' wings I take,
For nothing from my wit or will doth flow;
Since all my words thy beauty doth indite,
And Love doth hold my hand, and makes me write.
When far-spent night persuades each mortal eye,
To whom nor art nor nature granteth light,
To lay his then mark-wanting shafts of sight,
Clos'd with their quivers, in sleep's armoury;
With windows ope, then most my mind doth lie,
Viewing the shape of darkness and delight;
Takes in that sad hue, which with th' inward night
Of his maz'd powers keeps perfect harmony:
But when birds charm, and that sweet air which is
Morn's messenger, with rose-enamelld skies,
Calls each wight to salute the flower of bliss ;
In tomb of lids then buried are mine eyes,
Forc'd by their lord, who is asham'd to find
Such light in sense, with such a darken’d mind.
When May is in his prime and youthful spring
Doth clothe the tree with leaves, and ground with flowers,
And time of year reviveth every thing,
And lovely nature smiles, and nothing lours ;
Then Philomela most doth strain her breast
With night-complaints, and sits in little rest.
This bird's estate I may compare with mine,
To whom fond love doth work such wrongs by day,
That in the night my heart must needs repine
And storm with sighs, to ease me as I may,
Whilst others are becalm’d, or lie them still,
Or sail secure, with tide and wind at will.
And as all those which hear this bird complain
Conceive in all her tunes a sweet delight,
Without remorse or pitying her pain ;
So she, for whom I wail both day and night,
Doth sport herself in hearing my complaint:
A just reward for serving such a saint.
ON SPENSER'S FAERY QUEENE.
METHOUGHT I saw the grave where Laura lay,
Within that temple where the vestal flame
Was wont to burn ; and passing by that way,
To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love and fairer Virtue kept,
All suddenly I saw the Faery Queen;
At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept,
And from thenceforth those Graces were not seen ;
For they this Queen attended ; in whose stead
Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse :
Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce,
Where Homer's sprite did tremble all for grief,
And curs’d th' access of that celestial thief.
Unto the boundless ocean of thy beauty
Runs this poor river, charg'd with streams of zeal ;
Returning thee the tribute of my duty,
Which here my love, my youth, my plaints reveal.
Here I unclasp the book of my charg'd soul,
Where I have cast th' accounts of all my care :
Here have I summ'd my sighs; here I enroll
How they were spent for thee; look what they are:
Look on the dear expenses of my youth,
And see how just I reckon with thine eyes;
Examine well thy beauty with my truth,
And cross my cares, ere greater sums arise.
Read it, sweet maid, though it be done but slightly:
Who can shew all his love, doth love but lightly.