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

Ode: ‘My only star’

Francis Davison (1575?–1619?)

MY only star,

Why, why are your dear eyes,

Where all my life’s peace lies,

With me at war?

Why to my ruin tending,

Do they still lighten woe

On him that loves you so,

That all his thoughts in you have birth and ending?

Hope of my heart,

O wherefore do the words,

Which your sweet tongue affords,

No hope impart?

But cruel without measure,

To my eternal pain,

Still thunder forth disdain

On him whose life depends upon your pleasure?

Sunshine of joy,

Why do your gestures, which

All eyes and hearts bewitch,

My bliss destroy?

And pity’s sky o’erclouding,

Of hate an endless shower

On that poor heart still pour,

Which in your bosom seeks his only shrouding?

Balm of my wound,

Why are your lines, whose sight

Should cure me with delight,

My poison found?

Which, through my veins dispersing,

Doth make my heart and mind

And all my senses, find

A living death in torments past rehearsing?

Alas! my fate

Hath of your eyes deprived me,

Which both killed and revived me

And sweetened hate;

Your sweet voice and sweet graces,

Which clothed in lovely weeds

Your cruel words and deeds,

Are intercepted by far distant places.

But, O the anguish

Which presence still presented,

Absence hath not absented,

Nor made to languish;

No, no, to increase my paining,

The cause being, ah! removed

For which the effect I loved,

The effect is still in greatest force remaining.

O cruel tiger!

If to your hard heart’s center

Tears, vows, and prayers may enter,

Desist your rigour;

And let kind lines assure me,

Since to my deadly wound

No salve else can be found,

That you that kill me, yet at length will cure me.