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

Love’s Casuistry

William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

IF love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?

Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow’d!

Though to myself forsworn, to thee I’ll faithful prove;

Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers bow’d.

Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes,

Where all those pleasures live that art would comprehend;

If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;

Well learnèd is that tongue that well can thee commend;

All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;

Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire.

Thy eye Jove’s lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder,

Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.

Celestial as thou art, O pardon love this wrong

That sings heaven’s praise with such an earthly tongue.