Home  »  The Book of Elizabethan Verse  »  George Gascoigne (d. 1577)

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

The Strange Passion of a Lover

George Gascoigne (d. 1577)

AMID my bale I bathe in bliss,

I swim in heaven, I sink in hell;

I find amends for every miss

And yet my moan no tongue can tell.

I live and love, what would you more?

As never lover lived before.

I laugh sometimes with little lust,

So jest I oft and feel no joy;

Mine ease is builded all on trust,

And yet mistrust breeds my annoy.

I live and lack, I lack and have,

I have and miss the thing I crave.

These things seem strange, yet are they true;

Believe me, sweet, my state is such,

One pleasure which I would eschew

Both slakes my grief and breeds my grutch.

So doth one pain which I would shun

Renew my joys, where grief begun.

Then like the lark that passed the night

In heavy sleep, with cares oppressed,

Yet when she spies the pleasant light

She sends sweet notes from out her breast:

So sing I now because I think

How joys approach when sorrows shrink.

And as fair Philomene, again,

Can watch and sing when others sleep,

And taketh pleasure in her pain

To wray the woe that makes her weep:

So sing I now for to bewray

The loathsome life I lead alway.

The which to thee, dear wench, I write,

That knows’t my mirth, but not my moan.

I pray God grant thee deep delight,

To live in joys when I am gone.

I cannot live, it will not be,

I die to think to part from thee.