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Poem by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey


The Lover Describeth His Restless State


AS oft as I behold, and see
The sovereign beauty that me bound ;
The nigher my comfort is to me,
Alas ! the fresher is my wound.

As flame doth quench by rage of fire,
And running streams consume by rain ;
So doth the sight that I desire
Appease my grief, and deadly pain.

Like as the fly that see'th the flame,
And thinks to play her in the fire ;
That found her woe, and sought her game
Where grief did grow by her desire.

First when I saw those crystal streams,
Whose beauty made my mortal wound ;
I little thought within their beams
So sweet a venom to have found.

But wilful will did prick me forth,
Blind Cupid did me whip and guide ;
Force made me take my grief in worth ;1
My fruitless hope my harm did hide ;

Wherein is hid the cruel bit,
Whose sharp repulse none can resist ;
And eke the spur that strains each wit
To run the race against his list.

As cruel waves full oft be found
Against the rocks to roar and cry ;
So doth my heart full oft rebound
Against my breast full bitterly.

And as the spider draws her line,
With labour lost I frame my suit ;
The fault is her's, the loss is mine :
Of ill sown seed, such is the fruit.

I fall, and see mine own decay ;
As he that bears flame in his breast,
Forgets for pain to cast away
The thing that breedeth his unrest 



Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey


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


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