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

To His Forsaken Mistress

Sir Robert Ayton (1570–1638)

I DO confess thou’rt smooth and fair,

And I might have gone near to love thee,

Had I not found the slightest prayer

That lips could move, had power to move thee;

But I can let thee now alone

As worthy to be loved by none.

I do confess thou’rt sweet; yet find

Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,

Thy favours are but like the wind

That kisseth everything it meets:

And since thou canst with more than one,

Thou’rt worthy to be kiss’d by none.

The morning rose that untouch’d stands

Arm’d with her briars, how sweet she smells!

But plucked and strain’d through ruder hands,

Her sweets no longer with her dwells:

But scent and beauty both are gone,

And leaves fall from her, one by one.

Such fate ere long will thee betide

When thou hast handled been awhile,

With sere flowers to be thrown aside;

And I shall sigh, while some will smile,

To see thy love to every one

Hath brought thee to be loved by none.