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


Robert Greene (1558–1592)

DECEIVING world, that with alluring toys

Hast made my life the subject of thy scorn,

And scornest now to lend thy fading joys

To lengthen my life, whom friends have left forlorn;

How well are they that die ere they be born,

And never see thy sleights, which few men shun

Till unawares they helpless are undone!

Oft have I sung of Love and of his fire;

But now I find that poet was advised,

Which made full feasts increasers of desire,

And proves weak Love was with the poor despised;

For when the life with food is not sufficed,

What thoughts of love, what motion of delight,

What pleasure can proceed from such a wight?

Witness my want the murderer of my wit:

My ravished sense, of wonted fury reft,

Wants such conceits as should in poems fit

Set down the sorrow wherein I am left:

But therefore have high heavens their gifts bereft,

Because so long they lent them me to use,

And I so long their bounty did abuse.

O, that a year were granted me to live,

And for that year my former wits restored!

What rules of life, what counsel would I give,

How should my sin with sorrow be deplored!

But I must die, of every man abhorred:

Time loosely spent will not again be won;

My time is loosely spent, and I undone.