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

The Scorner Scorned

George Wither (1588–1667)

SHALL I, wasting in despair,

Die because a woman’s fair?

Or make pale my cheeks with care

’Cause another’s rosy are?

Be she fairer than the day,

Or the flowery meads in May—

If she think not well of me,

What care I how fair she be?

Shall my silly heart be pined

’Cause I see a woman kind?

Or a well disposèd nature

Joinèd with a lovely feature?

Be she meeker, kinder, than

Turtle-dove or pelican,

If she be not so to me,

What care I how kind she be?

Shall a woman’s virtues move

Me to perish for her love?

Or her well-deservings known

Make me quite forget my own?

Be she with that goodness blest

Which may merit name of Best,

If she be not such to me,

What care I how good she be?

’Cause her fortune seems too high,

Shall I play the fool and die?

She that bears a noble mind,

If not outward helps she find,

Thinks what with them he would do

Who without them dares her woo;

And unless that mind I see,

What care I how great she be?

Great, or good, or kind, or fair,

I will ne’er the more despair;

If she love me, this believe,

I will die ere she shall grieve;

If she slight me when I woo,

I can scorn and let her go;

For if she be not for me,

What care I for whom she be?