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This HTML etext of Sir John Davies' "Gullinge Sonnets" (c.1596) was created in July 2006 by Anniina Jokinen of Luminarium. The text is unaltered.
    Source text:
    Davies, Sir John. Gullinge Sonnets.
    The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Vol II.
    Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, ed.
    London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly, 1876.  55-62.
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Please note: the title-page is fake, created by A. Jokinen for this e-text.

Fake title-page for Gulling Sonnets


by Sir John Davies

[Dedicatory Sonnet.]


HERE my Camelion Muse her selfe doth chaunge
to diuers shapes of gross absurdities,
and like an Antick1 mocks wth fashion straunge
the fond2 admirers of lewde gulleries.
Your iudgement sees wth pitty, and wth scorne
The bastard Sonnetts of the Rymers bace,
Wch in this whiskinge age are daily borne
To their own shames, and Poetrie's disgrace.
Yet some praise those and some perhappes will praise
euen these of myne : and therefore thes I send
to you that pass in Courte yor glorious dayes;
Yt if some rich rash gull these Rimes commend
Thus you may sett this formall witt to schoole,
Vse yor owne grace, and begg him for a foole.

J. D.

1 = motley-dressed jester or fool.  G.
2 = foolish.  G.


Gullinge Sonnets.       


THE Louer Vnder burthen of his M ris love
  Wch lyke to Ætna did his harte oppresse:
did giue such piteous grones yt he did moue
the heau'nes at length to pitty his distresse
but for the fates in theire highe Courte aboue
forbad to make the greuous burthen lesse.
the gracous powers did all conspire to proue
Yf miracle this mischeife mighte redresse;
therefore regardinge yt ye loade was such
as noe man mighte wth one man's mighte sustayne
and yt mylde patience3 imported much
to him that shold indure an endles payne:
By there decree he soone transformèd was
into a patiente burden-bearinge Asse.


AS when ye brighte Cerulian firmament
hathe not his glory wth black cloudes defas'te,

3   A trisyllable.   G.


Soe were my thoughts voyde of all discontent ;
and wth noe myste of passions ouercast
they all were pure and cleare, till at the last
an ydle careles thoughte forthe wandringe wente
and of yt poysonous beauty tooke a taste
Wch doe the harts of louers so torment:
then as it chauncethe in a flock of sheepe
when some contagious yll breedes first in one
daylie it spreedes & secretly doth creepe
till all the silly troupe be ouergone.
So by close neighbourhood wth in my brest
one scuruy thoughte infecteth all the rest.


What Eagle can behould her sunbrighte eye,
her sunbrighte eye yt lights the world wth loue,
the world of Loue wherein I liue and dye,
I liue and dye and diuers chaunges proue,
I chaunges proue, yet still the same am I,
The same am I and neuer will remoue,
neuer remoue vntill my soule dothe flye,
my soule dothe fly, and I surcease to moue,
I cease to moue wch now am mou'd by you,
am mou'd by you yt moue all mortall hartes,
all mortall hartes whose eyes yor eyes doth veiwe,
Yor eyes doth veiwe whence Cupid shoots his darts,


whence Cupid shootes his dartes and woundeth those
that honor you and neuer weare4 his foes.


The hardnes of her harte and truth of myne
when the all seeinge eyes of heauen did see
they streight concluded yt by powre devine
to other formes our hartes should turnèd be.
then hers as hard as flynte, a Flynte became
and myne as true as steele, to steele was turned,
and then betwene or hartes sprange forthe the flame
of kindest loue, wch vnextinguish'd burned;
And longe the sacred lampe of mutuall loue
incessantlie did burne in glory brighte;
Vntill my folly did her fury moue
to recompence my seruice wth despighte,
and to put out wth snuffers of her pride
the lampe of loue wch els had neuer dyed.


Mine Eye, mine eare, my will, my witt, my harte
did see, did heare, did like, discerne, did loue:
her face, her speche, her fashion, iudgmt, arte,
wch did charme, please, delighte, confounde and moue.
Then fancie, humor, loue, conceipte, and thoughte
did soe drawe, force, intyse, perswade, deuise,

4 = were.   G.


that she was wonne, mou'd, caryed, compast, wrought
to thinck me kinde, true, comelie, valyant, wise;
that heauen, earth, hell, my folly and her pride
did worke, contriue, labor, conspire and sweare
to make me scorn'd, vile, cast of, bace, defyed
Wth her my loue, my lighte, my life, my deare:
So that my harte, my witt, will, eare, and eye
doth greiue, lament, sorrowe, dispaire and dye.


The sacred Muse that firste made loue deuine
hath made him naked and wthout attyre,
but I will cloth him wth this penn of myne
that all the world his fashion shall admyre.
his hatt of hope, his bande of beautye fine,
his cloake of crafte, his doblett of desyre,
greife for a girdell, shall aboute him twyne,
his pointes of pride, his Ilet holes of yre,
his hose of hate, his Cod peece of conceite,
his stockings of sterne strife, his shirte of shame,
his garters of vaine glorie gaye and flyte;
his pantofels of passions I will frame,
pumpes5 of presumption shall adorne his feete
and Socks of fullennes excedinge sweete.

5 = slipper-shoes.  G.



Into the midle Temple of my harte
the wanton Cupid did himselfe admitt,
and gaue for pledge yor Eagle-sighted witt
Yt he wold play noe rude vncivill parte:
Longe tyme he cloak'te his nature wth his arte
and sadd and graue and sober he did sitt
but at the last he gan to reuell it,
to breake good rules, and orders to peruerte:
Then loue and his younge pledge were both conuented
before sadd6 Reason, that old Bencher graue,
who this sadd sentence vnto him presented
by dilligence, yt slye and secreate knaue
That loue and witt, for euer shold departe
out of the midle Temple of my harte.


My case is this, I loue Zepheria brighte,
Of her I hold my harte by fealtye:
Wch I discharge to her perpetuallye,
Yet she thereof will neuer me accquite.
for now supposinge I wth hold her righte
she hathe distreinde my harte to satisfie

6 = serious ; and so 'sadly' = seriously, e.g. Skelton:
" I have not offended, I trust,
   If it be sadly discust."  G.


the duty wch I neuer did denye,
and far away impounds it wth despite;
I labor therefore iustlie to repleaue7
my harte wch she vniustly doth impounde
but quick conceite wch nowe is loue's highe Sheife
retornes it as esloynde, not to be founde:
Then wch the lawe affords I onely craue
her harte for myne in wit her name to haue.


To Loue my lord I doe knightes seruice owe
and therefore nowe he hath my witt in warde,
but while it is in his tuition soe
me thincks he doth intreate it passinge hard;
for thoughe he hathe it marryed longe agoe
to Vanytie, a wench of noe regarde,
and nowe to full, and perfect age doth growe,
Yet nowe of freedome it is most debarde.
But why should loue after minoritye
when I am past the one and twentith yeare
perclude my witt of his sweete libertye,
and make it still ye yoake of wardshippe beare.
I feare he hath an other Title gott
and holds my witte now for an Ideott.

Mr Dauyes.

7 = recover (a legal term)  G.



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