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

Who Grace for Zenith Had

Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke (1554–1628)

WHO grace for zenith had,

From which no shadows grow,

Who hath seen joy of all his hopes,

And end of all his woe;

Whose love beloved hath been

The crown of his desire;

Who hath seen sorrow’s glories burnt

In sweet affection’s fire;

If from this heavenly state,

Which souls with souls unites,

He be fallen down into the dark

Despairèd war of sprites,

Let him lament with me;

For none doth glory know,

That hath not been above himself,

And thence fallen down to woe.

But if there be one hope

Left in his anguished heart,

If fear of worse, if wish of ease,

If horror may depart.

He plays with his complaints;

He is no mate for me,

Whose love is lost, whose hopes are fled,

Whose fears for ever be;

Yet not those happy fears

Which show Desire her death,

Teaching with use a piece in woe,

And in despair a faith.

No, no; my fears kill not,

But make uncurèd wounds,

Where joy and peace do issue out,

And only pain abounds.

Unpossible are help,

Reward, and hope to me;

Yet while unpossible they are,

They easy seem to be.

Most easy seems remorse,

Despair, and death to me;

Yet while they passing easy seem,

Unpossible they be.

So neither can I leave

My hopes that do deceive,

Nor can I trust mine own despair

And nothing else receive.

Thus be unhappy men

Blest, to be more accurst;

Near to the glories of the sun

Clouds with most horror burst.

Like ghost raised out of graves,

Who live not, though they go;

Whose walking, fear to others is,

And to themselves a woe;

So is my life by her

Whose love to me is dead,

On whose worth my despair yet walks,

And my desire is fed.

I swallow down the bait

Which carries down my death;

I cannot put love from my heart

While life draws in my breath.

My winter is within,

Which witherèth my joy;

My knowledge, seat of civil war,

Where friends and foes destroy;

And my desires are wheels,

Whereon my heart is borne,

With endless turning of themselves,

Still living to be torn.

My thoughts are eagle’s food,

Ordained to be a prey

To wrath, and being still consumed,

Yet never to decay.

My memory, where once

My heart laid up the store

Of help, of joy, of spirit’s wealth

To multiply them more.

In Paradise I once

Did live, and taste the tree,

Which shadowed was from all the world,

In joy to shadow me:

The tree hath lost his fruit,

Or I have lost my seat;

My soul both black with shadow is,

And over-burnt with heat.

Truth here for triumph serves,

To show her power is great,

Whom no desert can overcome,

Nor no distress entreat.

Time past lays up my joy,

And time to come my grief;

She ever must be my desire,

And never my relief.

Wrong, her lieutenant is;

My wounded thoughts are they

Who have no power to keep the field,

Nor will to run away.

O rueful constancy!

And where is change so base,

As it may be compared with thee

In scorn and in disgrace?

Like as the kings forlorn,

Deposed from their estate,

Yet cannot choose but love the crown

Although new kings they hate;

If they do plead their right,—

Nay, if they only live,—

Offences to the crown alike

Their good and ill shall give.

So I would I were not,

Because I may complain,

And cannot choose but love my wrongs,

And joy to wish in vain.

This faith condemneth me;

My right doth rumour move;

I may not know the cause I fell,

Nor yet without cause love.

Then, love, where is reward,—

At least where is the fame

Of them that, being, bear thy cross,

And, being not, thy name?

The world’s example I,

A fable everywhere,

A well from whence the springs are dried,

A tree that doth not bear;

I, like the bird in cage,

At first with cunning caught,

And in my bondage for delight

With greater cunning taught.

Now owner’s humour dies;

I’m neither loved, nor fed,

Nor freed am I, till in the cage

Forgotten I be dead.

The ship of Greece, the stream,

And she, be not the same

They were, although ship, stream, and she

Still bear their antique name.

The wood which was, is worn;

Those waves are run away;

Yet still a ship, and still a stream,

Still running to a sea.

She loved, and still she loves,

But doth not still love me;

To all except myself yet is

As she was wont to be.

O my once happy thoughts!

The heaven where grace did dwell!

My saint hath turned away her face;

And made that heaven my hell!

A hell, for so is that

From whence no souls return,

Where, while our spirits are sacrificed,

They waste not, though they burn.

Since then this is my state,

And nothing worse than this,

Behold the map of death-like life,

Exiled from lovely bliss:

Alone among the world,

Strange with my friends to be,

Showing my fall to them that scorn,

See not, or will not see;

My heart, a wilderness,

My studies only fear,

And, as in shadows of curst death,

A prospect of despair.

My exercise must be

My horrors to repeat;

My peace, joy, end, and sacrifice,

Her dead love to entreat;

My food, the time that was;

The time to come, my fast;

For drink, the barren thirst I feel

Of glories that are past;

Sighs and salt tears my bath;

Reason my looking-glass,

To show me, he most wretched is

That once most happy was.

Forlorn desires my clock,

To tell me every day

That Time hath stolen love, life and all

But my distress away.

For music, heavy sighs;

My walk an inward woe;

Which like a shadow ever shall

Before my body go.

And I myself am he

That doth with none compare,

Except in woes and lack of worth

Whose states more wretched are.

Let no man ask my name,

Nor what else I should be;

For GRIEVE-ILL, pain, forlorn estate

Do best decipher me.