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

The Blossom

William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

From “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” Act IV. Scene 3

ON a day—alack the day!—

Love, whose month was ever May,

Spied a blossom passing fair

Playing in the wanton air:

Through the velvet leaves the wind,

All unseen, ’gan passage find;

That the lover, sick to death,

Wished himself the heaven’s breath.

“Air,” quoth he, “thy cheeks may blow;

Air, would I might triumph so!

But, alas, my hand is sworn

Ne’er to pluck thee from thy thorn:

Vow, alack, for youth unmeet;

Youth so apt to pluck a sweet.

Do not call it sin in me,

That I am forsworn for thee;

Thou for whom Jove would swear

Juno but an Ethiope were;

And deny himself for Jove,

Turning mortal for thy love.”