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

Fairest, When by the Rules of Palmistry

William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)

FAIREST, when by the rules of palmistry

You took my hand to try if you could guess

By lines therein, if any wight there be

Ordained to make me know some happiness;

I wished that those characters could explain,

Whom I will never wrong with hope to win;

Or that by them a copy might be ta’en,

By you alone what thoughts I have within.

But since the hand of Nature did not set—

As providently loth to have it known—

The means to find that hidden alphabet,

Mine eyes shall be th’ interpreters alone;

By them conceive my thoughts, and tell me, fair,

If now you see her, that doth love me there?