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

Small Comfort Might My Banish’d Hopes Recall

William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (1567?–1640)

SMALL comfort might my banish’d hopes recall

When ’whiles my dainty fair I sighing see;

If I could think that one were shed for me,

It were a guerdon great enough for all:

Or would she let one tear of pity fall

That seem’d dismiss’d from a remorseful eye,

I could content myself ungrieved to die,

And nothing might my constancy appall.

The only sound of that sweet word of “love,”

Press’d ’twixt those lips that do my doom contain,

—Were I embarked—might bring me back again

From death to life, and make me breathe and move.

Strange cruelty! that never can afford

So much as once one sigh, one tear, one word!