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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.



THE GENTLE season of the year

Hath made my blooming branch appear,

And beautified the land with flowers;

The air doth savour with delight,

The heavens do smile to see the sight,

And yet mine eyes augments their showers.

The meads are mantled all with green,

The trembling leaves have clothed the treen,

The birds with feathers new do sing;

But I, poor soul! when wrong doth wrack,

Attire myself in mourning black,

Whose leaf doth fall amid his spring!

And, as you see the scarlet rose

In his sweet prime his buds disclose,

Whose hue is with the sun revivèd;

So, in the April of mine age,

My lively colours do assuage,

Because my sunshine is deprivèd.

My heart, that wonted was of yore

Light as the winds abroad to soar,

Amongst the buds, when beauty springs,

Now only hovers over you;

As doth the bird that’s taken new

And mourns when all her neighbours sings.

When every man is bent to sport,

Then pensive I alone resort

Into some solitary walk;

As doth the doleful turtle-dove,

Who, having lost her faithful love,

Sits mourning on some withered stalk.

There to myself I do recount

How far my woes my joys surmount,

How Love requiteth me with hate;

How all my pleasures end in pain,

How hate doth say my hope is vain,

How fortune frowns upon my state.

And in this mood, charged with despair,

With vapoured sighs I dim the air,

And to the gods make this request:—

That, by the ending of my life,

I may have truce with this strange strife,

And bring my soul to better rest.