Sleep not too much; nor longer than asleep
Within thy bed thy lazy body keep;
For when thou, warm awake, shall feel it soft,
Fond cogitations will assail thee oft:
Then start up early, study, work, or write,
Let labour, others' toil, be thy delight.
Eat not to much, or if thou much dost eat,
Let it not be dainty or stirring meat;
Abstain from wine, although thou think it good,
It sets thy meat on fire, and stirs thy blood;
Use thyself much to bathe thy wanton limbs,
In coolest streams which o'er the gravel swims:
Be still in gravest company, and fly
The wanton rabble of the younger fry,
Whose lustful tricks will lead thee to delight
To think on love, where thou shalt perish quite;
Come not at all where many women are,
But, like a bird that lately 'scaped the snare,
Avoid their garish beauty fly with speed,
And learn by her that lately made thee bleed;
Be not too much alone, but if alone,
Get thee some modest book to look upon;
But do not read the lines of wanton men,
Poetry sets thy mind on fire again:
Abstain from songs and verses, and take heed
That not a line of love thou ever read.
A Funeral Elegy On The Death Of The Lady Penelope Clifton
Since thou art dead, Clifton, the world may see
A certain end of flesh and blood in thee;
Till then a way was left for man to cry,
Flesh may be made so pure it cannot die;
But now thy unexpected death doth strike
With grief the better and the worse alike;
The good are sad they are not with thee there,
The bad have found they must not tarry here.
Death, I confess, 'tis just in thee to try
Thy pow'r on us, for thou thyself must die;
Thou pay'st but wages, Death, yet I would know
What strange delight thou tak'st to pay them so;
When thou com'st face to face thou strik'st us mute
And all our liberty is to dispute
With thee behind thy back, which I will use:
If thou hadst bravery in thee, thou wouldst choose
(Since thou art absolute, and canst controul
All things beneath a reasonable soul)
Some looked for way of killing; if her day
Had ended in a fire, a sword, or sea,
Or hadst thou come hid in a hundred years
To make an end of all her hopes and fears,
Or any other way direct to thee
Which Nature might esteem an enemy,
Who would have chid thee? now it shews thy hand
Desires to cozen where it might command:
Thou art not prone to kill, but where th' intent
Of those that suffer is their nourishment;
If thou canst steal into a dish, and creep
When all is still as though into a sleep,
And cover thy dry body with a draught,
Whereby some innocent lady may be caught,
And cheated of her life, then thou wilt come
And stretch thyself upon her early tomb,
And laugh as pleased, to show thou canst devour
Mortality as well by wit as pow'r.
I would thou hadst had eyes, or not a dart,
That yet at least, the clothing of that heart
Thou struck'st so spitefully might have appear'd
To thee, and with a reverence have been fear'd:
But since thou art so blind, receive from me
Who 'twas on whom thou wrought'st this tragedy;
She was a lady, who for public fame,
Never (since she in thy protection came,
Who sett'st all living tongues at large) received
A blemish; with her beauty she deceived
No man; when taken with it, they agree
'Twas Nature's fault, when from 'em 'twas in thee.
And such her virtue was, that although she
Received as much joy, having pass'd through thee,
As ever any did; yet hath thy hate
Made her as little better in her state,
As ever it did any being here;
She lived with us as if she had been there.
Such ladies thou canst kill no more, but so
I give thee warning here to kill no moe;
For if thou dost, my pen shall make the rest
Of those that live, especially the best,
Whom thou most thirstest for, to abandon all
Those fruitless things, which thou wouldst have us call
Preservatives, keeping, their diet so,
As the long-living poor their neighbours do:
Then shall we have them long, and they at last
Shall pass from thee to her, but not so fast.
An Elegy On The Lady Markham
As unthrifts groan in straw for their pawn'd beds,
As women weep for their lost maidenheads,
When both are without hope or remedy,
Such an untimely grief I have for thee.
I never saw thy face, nor did my heart
Urge forth mine eyes unto it whilst thou wert;
But being lifted hence, that, which to thee
Was death's sad dart, proved Cupid's shaft to me.
Whoever thinks me foolish that the force
Of a report can make me love a corse,
Know he that when with this I do compare
The love I do a living woman bear,
I find myself most happy: now I know
Where I can find my mistress, and can go
Unto her trimm'd bed, and can lift away
Her grass-green mantle, and her sheet display;
And touch her naked; and though th' envious mold
In which she lies uncover'd, moist, and cold,
Strive to corrupt her, she will not abide
With any art her blemishes to hide,
As many living do, and, know their need;
Yet cannot they in sweetness her exceed,
But make a stink with all their art and skill,
Which their physicians warrant with a bill;
Nor at her door doth heaps of coaches stay,
Footmen and midwives to bar up my way;
Nor needs she any maid or page to keep,
To knock me early from my golden sleep,
With letters that her honour all is gone,
If I not right her cause on such a one.
Her heart is not so hard to make me pay
For every kiss a supper and a play:
Nor will she ever open her pure lips
To utter oaths, enough to drown our ships,
To bring a plague, a famine, or the sword,
Upon the land, though she should keep her word;
Yet, ere an hour be past, in some new vein
Break them, and swear them double o'er again.
Pardon me, that with thy blest memory
I mingle mine own former misery:
Yet dare I not excuse the fate that brought
These crosses on me, for then every thought
That tended to thy love was black and foul,
Now all as pure as a new-baptiz'd soul:
For I protest, for all that I can see,
I would not lie one night in bed with thee;
Nor am I jealous, but could well abide
My foe to lie in quiet by thy side.
You worms, my rivals, whilst she was alive,
How many thousands were there that did strive
To have your freedom? for their sake forbear
Unseemly holes in her soft skin to wear:
But if you must (as what worms can abstain
To taste her tender body?) yet refrain
With your disordered eatings to deface her,
But feed yourselves so as you most may grace her.
First, through her ear-tips see you make a pair
Of holes, which, as the moist inclosed air
Turns into water, may the clean drops take,
And in her ears a pair of jewels make.
Have ye not yet enough of that white skin,
The touch whereof, in times past, would have been
Enough to have ransom'd many a thousand soul
Captive to love? If not, then upward roll
Your little bodies, where I would you have
This Epitaph upon her forehead grave:
'Living, she was young, fair, and full of wit;
Dead, all her faults are in her forehead writ.'
An Elegy On The Death Of The Virtuous Lady Elizabeth, Countess Of Rutland
I may forget to drink, to eat, to sleep,
Remembering thee: but when I do, to weep
In well-weighed lines, that men shall at thy hearse
Envy the sorrow which brought forth my verse;
May my dull understanding have the might
Only to know her last was yesternight!
Rutland, the fair, is dead! and if to hear
The name of Sidney will more force a tear,
'Tis she that is so dead! and yet there be
Some more alive profess not poetry;
The statesmen and the lawyers of our time
Have business still, yet do it not in rhyme.
Can she be dead, and can there be of those
That are so dull to say their prayers in prose?
It is three days since she did feel Death's hand;
And yet this isle not feel the poet's land?
Hath this no new ones made? and are the old
At such a needful time as this grown cold?
They all say they would fain; but yet they plead
They cannot write, because their muse is dead.
Hear me then speak, which will take no excuse;
Sorrow can make a verse without a muse.
Why didst thou die so soon? O, pardon me,
I know it was the longest life to thee,
That e'er with modesty was called a span,
Since the Almighty left to strive with man;
Mankind is sent to sorrow; and thou hast
More of the business which thou cam'st for past,
Than all those aged women, which, yet quick,
Have quite outlived their own arithmetic.
As soon as thou couldst apprehend a grief,
There were enough to meet thee; and the chief
Blessing of women, marriage, was to thee
Nought but a sacrament of misery;
For whom thou hadst, if we may trust to fame,
Could nothing change about thee but thy name:
A name which who (that were again to do't)
Would change without a thousand joys to boot?
In all things else thou rather led'st a life
Like a betrothed virgin than a wife.
But yet I would have called thy fortune kind,
If it had only tried the settled mind
With present crosses: not the loathed thought
Of worse to come, or past, then might have wrough
Thy best remembrance to have cast an eye
Back with delight upon thine infancy.
But thou hadst, ere thou knew'st the use of tears,
Sorrow laid up against thou cam'st to years;
Ere thou wert able who thou wert to tell,
By a sad war thy noble father fell,
In a dull clime, which did not understand
What 'twas to venture him to save a land.
He left two children, who for virtue, wit,
Beauty, were loved of all; thee and his wit:
Two was too few; yet death hath from us took
Thee, a more faultless issue than his book,
Which now the only living thing we have
From him, we'll see, shall never find a grave
As thou hast done. Alas! 'would it might be
That books their sexes had, as well as we,
That we might see this married to the worth,
And many poems like itself bring forth!
But this vain wish divinity controuls;
For neither to the angels, nor to souls,
Nor anything he meant should ever live,
Did the wise God of nature sexes give.
Then with his everlasting work alone
We must content ourselves, since she is gone;
Gone, like the day thou diedst upon; and we
May call that back again as soon as thee.
Who should have looked to this? Where were you all,
That do yourselves the help of nature call,
Physicians? I acknowledce you were there
To sell such words as one in health would hear:
So died she. Curst be he who shall defend
Your art of hastening nature to its end!
In this you shewed that physic can but be
At best an art to cure your poverty.
Ye're many of you impostors, and do give
To sick men potions that yourselves may live.
He that hath surfeited, and cannot eat,
Must have a medicine to procure you meat;
And that's the deepest ground of all your skill,
Unless it be some knowledge how to kill.
Sorrow and madness make my verses flow
Cross to my understanding; for I know
You can do wonders: Every day I meet
The looser sort of people in the street
From desperate diseases freed; and why
Restore you them, and suffer her to die?
Why should the state allow you colleges,
Pensions for lectures, and anatomies,
If all your potions, vomits, letting blood,
Can only cure the bad, and not the good,
Which only they can do? and I will show
The hidden reason, why you did not know
The way to cure her: You believed her blood
Ran on such courses as you understood;
By lectures you believed her arteries
Grew as they do in your anatomies:
Forgetting that the state allows you none
But only whores and thieves to practise on
And every passage 'bout them I am sure
You understood, and only them can cure;
Which is the cause that both —
Are noted for enjoying so long lives.
But noble blood treads in too strange a path
For your ill-got experience, and hath
Another way of cure. If you had seen
Penelope dissected, or the Queen
Of Sheba; then you might have found a way
To have preserved her from that fatal day.
As 'tis, you have but made her sooner blest,
By sending her to Heaven, where let her rest.
I will not hurt the peace which she would have,
By longer looking in her quiet grave.
The Remedy Of Love
When Cupid read this title, straight he said,
'Wars, I perceive, against me will be made.'
But spare, oh Love! to tax thy poet so,
Who oft bath borne thy ensign 'gainst thy foe;
I am not he by whom thy mother bled,
When she to heaven on Mars his horses fled.
I oft, like other youths, thy flame did prove,
And if thou ask, what I do still? I love.
Nay, I have taught by art to keep Love's course,
And made that reason which before was force.
I seek not to betray thee, pretty boy,
Nor what I once have written to destroy.
If any love, and find his mistress kind,
Let him go on, and sail with his own wind;
But he that by his love is discontented,
To save his life my verses were invented.
Why should a lover kill himself? or why
Should any, with his own grief wounded, die?
Thou art a boy, to play becomes thee still,
Thy reign is soft; play then, and do not kill;
Or if thou'lt needs be vexing, then do this,
Make lovers meet by stealth, and steal a kiss
Make them to fear lest any overwatch them,
And tremble when they think some come to catch them;
And with those tears that lovers shed all night,
Be thou content, but do not kill outright.—
Love heard, and up his silver wings did heave,
And said, 'Write on; I freely give thee leave.'
Come then, all ye despised, that love endure,
I, that have felt the wounds, your love will cure;
But come at first, for if you make delay,
Your sickness will grow mortal by your stay:
The tree, which by delay is grown so big,
In the beginning was a tender twig;
That which at first was but a span in length,
Will, by delay, be rooted past men's strength.
Resist beginnings, medicines bring no curing
Where sickness is grown strong by long enduring.
When first thou seest a lass that likes thine eye,
Bend all thy present powers to descry
Whether her eye or carriage first would shew
If she be fit for love's delights or no:
Some will be easy, such an one elect;
But she that bears too grave and stern aspect,
Take heed of her, and make her not thy jewel,
Either she cannot love, or will be cruel.
If love assail thee there, betime take heed,
Those wounds are dangerous that inward bleed;
He that to-day cannot shake off love's sorrow,
Will certainly be more unapt to-morrow.
Love bath so eloquent and quick a tongue,
That he will lead thee all thy life along,
And on a sudden clasp thee in a yoke,
Where thou must either draw, or striving choke.
Strive then betimes, for at the first one hand
May stop a water-drill that wears the sand
But, if delayed, it breaks into a flood,
Mountains will hardly make the passage good.
But I am out, for now I do begin
To keep them off, not heal those that are in.
First, therefore, lovers, I intend to shew
How love came to you, then how he may go.
You that would not know what love's passions be,
Never be idle, learn that rule of me.
Ease makes you love, as that o'ercomes your wills,
Ease is the food and cause of all your ills.
Turn ease and idleness but out of door,
Love's darts are broke, his flame can burn no more.
As feeds and willows love the water's side,
So love loves with the idle to abide.
If then at liberty you fain would be,
Love yields to labour, labour and be free.
Long sleeps, soft beds, rich vintage, and high feeding,
Nothing to do, and pleasure of exceeding,
Dulls all our senses, makes our virtue stupid,
And then creeps in that crafty villain Cupid.
That boy loves ease a' life, hates such a stir,
Therefore thy mind to better things prefer.
Behold thy country's enemies in arms,
At home love gripes the heart in his sly charms;
Then rise and put on armour, cast off sloth,
Thy labour may at once o'ercome them both!
If this seem hard and too unpleasant, then
Behold the law set forth by God and men;
Sit down and study that, that thou may'st know
The way to guide thyself, and others shew.
Or if thou lov'st not to be shut up so,
Learn to assail the deer with trusty bow,
That through the woods thy well-mouth'd bounds may ring,
Whose echo better joys than love will sing:
There may'st thou chance to bring thy love to end;
Diana unto Venus is no friend.
The country will afford thee means enow,
Sometimes disdain not to direct the plough;
To follow through the fields the bleating lamb,
That mourns to miss the comfort of his dam.
Assist the harvest, help to prune the trees,
Graft, plant, and sow, no kind of labour leese.
Set nets for birds, with hook'd lines bait for fish,
Which will employ thy mind and fill thy dish;
That, being weary with these pains, at night
Sound sleep may put the thoughts of love to flight.
With such delights, or labours as are these,
Forget to love, and learn thyself to please.
But chiefly learn this lesson, for my sake,
Fly from her far, some journey undertake:
I know thou'lt grieve, and that her name once told,
Will be enough thy journey to withhold;
But when thou find'st thyself most bent to stay,
Compel thy feet to run with thee away.
Nor do thou wish that rain or stormy weather
May stay your steps, and bring you back together;
Count not the miles you pass, nor doubt the way,
Lest those respects should turn you back to stay.
Tell not the clock, nor look not once behind,
But fly like lightning, or the northern wind:
For, where we are too much o'ermatch'd in might,
There is no way for safe-guard but by flight.
But some will count my lines too hard and bitter:
I must confess them hard; but yet 'tis better
To fast a while, that health may be provoked,
Than feed at plenteous tables and be choked.
To cure the wretched body, I am sure
Both fire and steel thou gladly wilt endure:
Wilt thou not then take pains by any art
To cure thy mind, which is thy better part?
The hardness is at first, and that once past,
Pleasant and easy ways will come at last.
I do not bid thee strive with witches' charms,
Or such unholy acts, to cure thy harms;
Ceres herself, who all these things did know,
Had never power to cure her own love so:
No, take this medicine, (which of all is sure)
Labour and absence is the only cure.
But if the fates compel thee in such fashion,
That thou must needs live near her habitation,
And canst not fly her sight, learn here of me,
Thou that would'st fain, and canst, not yet be free:
Set all thy mistress' faults before thine eyes,
And all thy own disgraces well advise;
Say to thyself, that 'she is covetous,
Hath ta'en my gifts, and used me thus and thus;
Thus hath she sworn to me, and thug deceived;
Thus have I hoped, and thus have been bereaved.
With love she feeds my rival, while I starve,
And pours on him kisses which I deserve:
She follows him with smiles, and gives to me
Sad looks; no lover's, but a stranger's fee.
All those embraces I so oft desired,
To him she offers daily unrequired;
Whose whole desert, and half mine weighed together,
Would make mine lead, and his seem cork and feather;
Then let her go, and, since she proves so hard,
Regard thyself, and give her no regard.'
Thus must thou school thyself, and I could wish
Thee to thyself most eloquent in this.
But put on grief enough, and do not fear,
Grief will enforce thy eloquence t' appear.
Thus I myself the love did once expel
Of one whose coyness vex'd my soul like hell.
I must confess she touch'd me to the quick,
And 1, that am physician, then was sick;
But this I found to profit: I did still
Ruminate what I thought in her was ill;
And, for to cure myself, I found a way,
Some honest slanders on her for to lay
Quoth I, 'How lamely doth my mistress go!'
(Although I must confess it was not so;)
I said her arms were crooked, fingers bent,
Her shoulders bow'd, her legs consumed and spent;
Her colour sad, her neck as dark as night,
When Venus might in all have ta'en delight.
But yet, because I would no more come nigh her,
Myself unto myself did thus bely her.
Do thou the like, and, though she fair appear,
Think vice to virtue often comes too near;
And in that error (though it be an error)
Preserve thyself from any further terror.
If she be round and plump, say she's too fat;
If brown, say black, and thick, who cares for that?
If she be slender, swear she is too lean,
That such a wench will wear a man out clean.
If she be red, say she's too full of blood;
If pale, her body nor her mind is good;
If wanton, say, she seeks thee to devour;
If grave, neglect her, say, she looks too sour.
Nay, if she have a fault, and thou do'st know it,
Praise it, that in thy presence she may show it:
As, if her voice be bad, crack'd in the ring,
Never give over till thou make her sing;
If she have any blemish in her foot,
Commend her dancing still, and put her to't;
If she be rude of speech, incite her talk;
If halting lame, provoke her much to walk;
Or if on instruments she have small skill,
Reach down a viol, urge her to that still;
Take any way to ease thy own distress,
And think those faults be which are nothing less.
Then meditate besides what thing it is
That makes thee still in love to go amiss.
Advise thee well, for as the world now goes,
Men are not caught with substance but with shows.
Women are in their bodies turn'd to French,
That face and body's least part of a wench.
I know a woman hath in love been troubled
For that which tailors make, a find neat doublet;
And men are even as mad in their desiring,
That oftentimes love women for their tiring:
He that doth so, let him take this advice:
Let him rise early, and not being nice,
Up to his mistress' chamber let him hie
Ere she arise, and there he shall espy
Such a confusion of disordered things,
In boddice, jewels, tires, wires, lawns, and rings,
That sure it cannot choose but much abhor him,
To see her lie in pieces thus before him;
And find those things shut in a painted box,
For which he loves her and endures her mocks.
Once I myself had a great mind to see
What kind of things women undressed be;
And found my sweetheart, just when I came at her,
Screwing her teeth, and dipping rags in water.
She missed her perriwig, and durst not stay,
But put it on in haste the backward way;
That, had I not o' th' sudden changed my mind,
I had mistook and kiss'd my love behind:
So, if thou wish her faults should rid thy cares,
Watch out thy time, and take her unawares;
Or rather put the better way in proof,
Come thou not near, but keep thyself aloof.
If all this serve not, use one medicine more,
Seek out another love, and her adore.
But choose out one in whom thou wed may'st see
A heart inclined to love and cherish thee:
For, as a river parted slower goes,
So love, thus parted, still more evenly flows.
One anchor will not serve a vessel tall,
Nor is one hook enough to fish withall;
He that can solace him and sport with two,
May in the end triumph as others do.
Thou, that to one hast shewed thyself too kind,
May'st in a second much more comfort find;
If one love entertain thee with despite,
The other will embrace thee with delight;
When by the former thou art made accurst,
The second will contend to excel the first,
And strive with love to drive her from thy breast:
That first to second yields, women know best.
Or if to yield to either thou art loth,
This may perhaps acquit thee of them both;
For what one love makes odd, two shall make even;
Thus blows with blows, and fire with fire's out driven.
Perchance this course win turn thy first love's heart,
And when thine is at ease, cause her's to smart,
If thy love's rival stick so near thy side,
Think, women can copartners worse abide;
For though thy mistress never means to love thee,
Yet from the other's love she'll strive to move thee:
But let her strive, she oft hath vex'd thy heart,
Suffer her now to bear herself a part;
And though thy bowels burn like Ætna's fire,
Seem colder far than ice, or her desire;
Feign thyself free, and sigh not overmuch,
But laugh aloud when grief thy heart doth touch.
I do not bid thee break through fire and flame,
Such violence in love is much to blame;
But I advise that thou dissemble deep,
And all thy passions in thine own breast keep.
Feign thyself well, and thou at last shalt see
Thyself as well'as thou didst feign to be:
So have I often, when I would not drink,
Sat down as one asleep, and feign'd to wink,
Till, as I nodding sat, and took no heed,
I have at last fall'n fast asleep indeed;
So have I oft been angry, feigning spite,
And, counterfeiting smiles, have laughed outright;
So love by use doth come, by use doth go,
And he that feigns well shall at length be so.
If e'er thy mistress promised to receive thee
Into her bosom, and did then deceive thee,
Locking thy rival in, thee out of door,
Be not dejected, seem not to deplore,
Nor when thou seest her next take notice of it,
But pass it over, it shall turn to profit:
For if she sees such tricks, as these perplex thee,
She will be proud, and take delight to vex thee,
But if she prove thee constant in this kind,
She will begin at length some sleights to find,
How she may draw thee back, and keep thee still
A servile captive to her fickle will.
But now take heed, here comes the proof of men,
Be thou as constant as thou seemest then:
Receive no messages, regard no lines,
They are but snares to catch thee in her twines;
Receive no gifts, think all that praise her flatter;
Whate'er she writes believe not half the matter.
Converse not with her servant, nor her maid,
Scarce bid good-morrow, lest thou be betray'd.
When thou goest by her door never look back,
And though she call do not thy journey slack.
If she should send her friends to talk with thee,
Suffer them not too long to walk with thee;
Do not believe one word they say is sooth,
Nor do not ask so much as how she doth;
Yea, though thy very heart should burn to know,
Bridle thy tongue, and make thereof no show:
Thy careless silence shall perplex her more
Than can a thousand sighs sigh'd o'er and o'er.
By saying, thou lovest not, thy loving prove not,
For he's far gone in love, that says, 'I love not:'
Then hold thy peace, and shortly love will die,
That wound heals best, that cures not by and by.
But some will say, 'Alas, this rule is hard!
Must we not love where we may find reward?
How should a tender woman bear this scorn,
That cannot, without art, by men be borne?'
Mistake me not; I do not wish you show
Such a contempt to them whose love you know;
But where a scornful lass makes you endure
Her slight regarding, there I lay my cure.
Nor think in leaving love you wrong your lass,
Who one to her content already has;
While she doth joy in him, joy thou in any,
Thou hast, as well as she, the choice of many:
Then, for thy own contempt, defer not long,
But cure thyself, and she shall have no wrong.
Among all cures I chiefly do commend
Absence in this to be the only friend;
And so it is, but I would have ye learn
The perfect use of absence to discern.
First then, when thou art absent to her sight,
In solitariness do not delight:
Be seldom left alone, for then I know
A thousand vexing thoughts will come and go.
Fly lonely walks, and uncouth places sad,
They are the nurse of thoughts that make men mad.
Walk not too much where thy fond eye may see
The place where she did give love's rights to thee:
For even the place will tell thee of those joys,
And turn thy kisses into sad annoys.
Frequent not woods and groves, nor sit and muse
With arms across, as foolish lovers use;
For as thou sitt'st alone thou soon shalt find
Thy mistress' face presented to thy mind,
As plainly to thy troubled phantasy,
As if she were in presence, and stood by.
This to eschew open thy doors all day,
Shun no man's speech that comes into thy way;
Admit all companies, and when there's none,
Then walk thou forth thyself, and seek out one;
When he is found, seek more, laugh, drink, and sing;
Rather than be alone do anything.
Or if thou be constrained to be alone,
Have not her picture for to gaze upon:
For that's the way, when thou art eased of pain,
To wound anew and make thee sick again;
Or if thou hast it, think the painter's skill
Flattered her face, and that she looks more ill;
And think, as thou dost musing on it sit,
That she herself is counterfeit like it:
Or rather fly all things that are inclined
To bring one thought of her into thy mind;
View not her tokens, nor think on her words,
But take some book, whose learned womb affords
Physic for souls, there search for some relief
To 'guile the time, and rid away thy grief.
But if thy thoughts on her must needs be bent,
Think what a deal of precious time was spent
In quest of her; and that thy best of youth
Languish'd and died while she was void of truth;
Think but how ill she did deserve affection,
And yet how long she held thee in subjection;
Think how she changed, how ill it did become her,
And thinking so, leave love, and fly far from her.
He that from all infection would be free,
Must fly the place where the infected be:
And he that would from love's affection fly,
Must leave his mistress' walks, and not come nigh.
Sore eyes are got by looking on sore eyes,
And wounds do soon from new-heal'd sears arise;
As embers touch'd with sulphur do renew,
So will her sight kindle fresh flames in you.
If then thou meet'st her, suffer her go by thee,
And be afraid to let her come too nigh thee
For her aspect will cause desire in thee,
And hungry men scarce hold from meat, they see.
If e'er she sent thee letters, that lie by,
Peruse them not, they'll captivate thy eye,
But lap them up, and cast them in the fire,
And wish, as they waste, so may thy desire.
If e'er thou sent'st her token, gift, or letter,
Go not to fetch them back; for it is better
That she detain a little paltry pelf,
Than thou should'st seek for them and lose thyself
For why? her sight will so enchant thy heart
That thou wilt lose thy labour, I my art.
But if, by chance, there fortune such a case,
Thou needs must come where she shall be in place,
Then call to mind all parts of this discourse,
For sure thou shalt have need of an thy force.
Against thou goest curl not thy head and hair,
Nor care whether thy band be foul or fair;
Nor be not in so neat and spruce array
As if thou mean'st to make it holiday;
Neglect thyself for once, that she may see
Her love hath now no power to work on thee;
And if thy rival be in presence too,
Seem not to mark, but do as others do;
Salute him friendly, give him gentle words,
Return all courtesies that he affords:
Drink to him, carve him, give him compliment;
This shall thy mistress more than thee torment:
For she will think, by this thy careless show,
Thou car'st not now whether she love or no.
But if thou canst persuade thyself indeed
She bath no lover, but of thee hath need,
That no man loves her but thyself alone,
And that she shall be lost when thou art gone;
Thus sooth thyself, and thou shalt seem to be
In far more happy taking than is she.
For if thou think'st she's loved and loves again,
Hell-fire will seem more easy than thy pain.
But chiefly when in presence thou shalt spy
The man she most affecteth standing by,
And see him grasp her by the tender hand,
And whispering close, or almost kissing stand;
When thou shalt doubt whether they laugh at thee,
Or whether on some meeting they agree;
If now thou canst hold out, thou art a man,
And canst perform more than thy teacher can;
If then thy heart can be at ease and free,
I will give o'er to teach, and learn of thee.
But this way I would take: among them all,
I would pick out some lass to talk withall,
Whose, quick inventions and whose nimble wit
Should busy mine and keep me from my fit:
My eye with all my heart should be a-wooing,
No matter what I said so I were doing;
For all that while my love should think at least
That I, as well as she, on love did feast;
And though my heart were thinking of her face,
Of her unkindness and my own disgrace,
Of all my present pains by her neglect,
Yet would I laugh, and seem without respect.
Perchance, in envy thou should'st sport with any,
Her beck will single thee from forth of many:
But, if thou canst, of all that present are,
Her conference alone thou should'st forbear;
For if her looks so much thy mind do trouble,
Her honied speeches will distract thee double.
If she begin once to confer with thee,
Then do as I would do, be ruled by me:
When she begins to talk, imagine straight,
That now to catch thee up she lies in wait;
Then call to mind some business or affair,
Whose doubtful issue takes up all thy care;
That while such talk thy troubled fancies stirs,
Thy mind may work, and give no heed to her's.
Alas! I know men's hearts, and that full soon,
By women's gentle words we are undone;
If women sigh or weep, our souls are grieved,
Or if they swear they love, they are believed.
But trust not thou to oaths if she should swear,
Nor hearty sighs, believe they dwell not there.
If she should grieve in earnest or in jest,
Or force her arguments with sad protest,
As if true sorrow in her eyelid sate,
Nay, if she come to weeping, trust not that;
For know that women can both weep and smile,
With much more danger than the crocodile.
Think all she doth is but to breed thy pain,
And get the power to tyrannize again;
And she will beat thy heart with trouble more
Than rocks are beat with waves tipon the shore.
Do not complain to her then of thy wrong,
But lock thy thoughts within thy silent tongue,
Tell her not why thou leav'st her, nor declare
(Although she ask thee) what thy torments are.
Wring not her fingers, gaze not on her eye;
From thence a thousand snares and arrows fly:
No, let her not perceive, by sighs and signs,
How at her deeds thy inward soul repines.
Seem careless of her speech, and do not hark,
Answer by chance as though thou didst not mark;
And if she bid thee home, straight promise not,
Or break thy word as if thou hadst forgot;
Seem not to care whether thou come or no,
And if she be not earnest do not go;
Feign thou hast business, and defer the meeting,
As one that greatly cared not for her greeting,
And as she talks cast thou thine eyes elsewhere,
And look among the lasses that are there;
Compare their several beauties to her face,
Some one or other will her form disgrace;
On both their faces carry still thy view,
Balance them equally in judgment true:
And when thou find'st the other doth excel
(Yet that thou canst not love it half so well)
Blush that thy passions make thee dote on her
More than on those thy judgment doth prefer.
When thou hast let her speak all that she would,
Seem as thou hast not one word understood:
And when to part with thee thou see'st her bent,
Give her some ordinary compliment,
Such as may seem of courtesy, not love,
And so to other company remove.
This carelessness, in which thou seem'st to be,
(Howe'er in her) will work this change in thee,
That thou shalt think, for using her so slight,
She cannot choose but turn her love to spite:
And if thou art persuaded once she hates,
Thou wilt beware, and not come near her baits.
But though I wish thee constantly believe
She hates thy sight, thy passions to deceive;
Yet be not thou so base to hate her too,
That which seems ill in her do not thou do;
'Twill indiscretion seem, and want of wit,
Where thou didst love to hate instead of it;
And thou may'st shame ever to be so mated,
And joined in love with one that should be hated:
Such kind of love is fit for clowns and hinds,
And not for debonair and gentle minds;
For can there be in man a madness more
Than hate those lips he wish'd to kiss before,
Or loath to see those eyes, or hear that voice
Whose very sound bath made his heart rejoice?
Such acts as these much indiscretion shews,
When men from kissing turn to wish for blows:
And this their own example shews so naught,
That when they should direct they must be taught:
But thou wilt say, 'For all the love I bear her,
And all the service, I am ne'er the nearer;'
And, which thee most of all doth vex like hell,
'She loves a man ne'er loved her half so well:
Him she adores, but I must not come at her,
Have I not then good reason for to hate her?'
I answer, no; for make the cause thine own,
And in thy glass her actions shall be shown:
When thou thyself in love wert so far gone,
Say, couldst thou love any but her alone?
I know thou could'st not, though with tears and cries
These had made deaf thine ears, and dim thine eyes:
Would'st thou for this that they hate thee again?
If so thou would'st, then hate thy love again:
Your faults are both alike; thou lovest her,
And she in love thy rival doth prefer:
If then her love to him thy hate procure,
Thou should'st for loving her like hate endure:
Then do not hate; for all the lines I write
Are not address'd to turn thy love to spite,
But writ to draw thy doting mind from love,
That in the golden mean thy thoughts may move;
In which, when once thou find'st thyself at quiet,
Learn to preserve thyself with this good diet: