Home  »  The Book of Elizabethan Verse  »  Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1565–1601)

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

The Ways on Earth

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1565–1601)

THE WAYS on earth have paths and turnings known;

The ways on sea are gone by needle’s light;

The birds of the air the nearest way have flown,

And under earth the moles do cast aright;

A way more hard than these I needs must take,

Where none can teach, nor no man can direct;

Where no man’s good for me example makes,

But all men’s faults do teach her to suspect.

Her thoughts and mine such disproportion have;

All strength of Love is infinite in me;

She useth the ’vantage time and fortune gave

Of worth and power to get the liberty.

Earth, sea, heaven, hell, are subject unto laws,

But I, poor I, must suffer and know no cause.