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Poem by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

The Sun Hath Twice

The sun hath twice brought forth the tender green,
   And clad the earth in lively lustiness;
   Once have the winds the trees despoiled clean,
And now again begins their cruelness,
   Since I have hid under my breast the harm
   That never shall recover healthfulness.
The winter's hurt recovers with the warm;
   The parched green restored is with shade;
   What warmth, alas, may serve for to disarm
The frozen heart that mine in flame hath made?
   What cold again is able to restore
   My fresh green years that wither thus and fade?
Alas, I see nothing to hurt so sore
   But time sometime reduceth a return;
   Yet time my harm increaseth more and more,
And seem to have my cure always in scorn.
   Strange kind of death in life that I do try,
   At hand to melt, far off in flame to burn;
And like as time list to my cure apply,
   So doth each place my comfort clean refuse.
   Each thing alive, that sees the heaven with eye,
With cloak of night may cover and excuse
   Himself from travail of the day's unrest,
   Save I, alas, against all others use,
That then stir up the torment of my breast
   To curse each star as causer of my fate.
   And when the sun hath eke the dark repressed
And brought the day, it doth nothing abate
   The travail of my endless smart and pain.
   For then, as one that hath the light in hate,
I wish for night, more covertly to plain
   And me withdraw from every haunted place,
   Lest in my cheer my chance should 'pear too plain;
And with my mind I measure, pace by pace,
   To seek that place where I myself had lost,
   That day that I was tangled in that lace,
In seeming slack that knitteth ever most;
   But never yet the travail of my thought
   Of better state could catch a cause to boast.
For if I find that sometime that I have sought
   Those stars by whom I trusted of the port,
   My sails do fall, and I advance right naught,
As anchored fast; my sprites do all resort
   To stand atgaas*, and sink in more and more          [gazing]
   The deadly harm which she doth take in sport.
Lo, if I seek, how I do find my sore.
   And if I fly, I carry with me still
   The venomed shaft which doth his force restore
By haste of flight. And I may plain my fill
   Unto myself, unless this careful song
   Print in your heart some parcel of my will.
For I, alas, in silence all too long
   Of mine old hurt yet feel the wound but green.
   Rue on my life, or else your cruel wrong
Shall well appear, and by my death be seen.

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey's other poems:
  1. Geue Place Ye Louers, Here Before
  2. Of The Death of Sir T.W. the Elder
  3. Alas! So All Things Now Do Hold Their Peace
  4. Complaint of the Absence of Her Lover Being upon the Sea
  5. A Constant Lover Lamenteth

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