Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show, That the 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 sun-burned brain.
- But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows, And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way. Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
- Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
- 'Fool' said my Muse to me, 'look in thy heart and write.'
Queen Vertues court, which some call Stellas face,
- Prepar'd by Natures chiefest furniture,
- Hath his front built of Alabaster pure;
- Gold is the covering of that stately place
The doore by which sometimes comes forth her Grace,
- Red Porphir is, which locke of pearl makes sure:
- Whose porches rich (which name of cheeks endure)
- Marble mixt red and white do enterlace.
The windowes now through which this heav'nly guest
- Looks over the world, and can find nothing such,
- Which dare claime from those lights the name of best.
Of touch they are that without touch doth touch,
- Which Cupids selfe from Beauties myne did draw:
- Of touch they are, and poore I am their straw.
On Cupid's bow how are my heartstrings bent,
- That see my wrack, and yet embrace the same?
- When most I glory, then I feel most shame:
- I willing run, yet while I run, repent.
My best wits still their own disgrace invent:
- My very ink turns straight to Stella's name;
- And yet my words, as them my pen doth frame,
- Avise themselves that they are vainly spent.
For though she pass all things, yet what is all
- That unto me, who fare like him that both
- Looks to the skies and in a ditch doth fall?
Oh let me prop my mind, yet in his growth,
- And not in Nature, for best fruits unfit:
- "Scholar," saith Love, "bend hitherward your wit."
Fly, fly, my friends, I have my death wound; fly!
- See there that boy, that murthering boy I say,
- Who like a thief, hid in dark bush doth lie,
- Till bloody bullet get him wrongful prey.
So tyrant he no fitter place could spy,
- Nor so fair level in so secret stay,
- As that sweet black which veils the heav'nly eye:
- There himself with his shot he close doth lay.
Poor passenger, pass now thereby I did,
- And stayed pleas'd with the prospect of the place,
- While that black hue from me the bad guest hid:
But straight I saw motions of lightning grace,
- And then descried the glist'ring of his dart:
- But ere I could fly hence, it pierc'd my heart.