Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke


Sonnet LII           

Away with these self-loving lads,
Whom Cupid's arrow never glads.
Away, poor souls that sigh and weep,
In love of them that lie and sleep;
    For Cupid is a meadow god,
    And forceth none to kiss the rod.

God Cupid's shaft, like destiny,
Doth either good or ill decree.
Desert is born out of his bow,
Reward upon his feet doth go.
    What fools are they that have not known
    That Love likes no laws but his own?

My songs they be of Cynthia's praise,
I wear her rings on holy-days,
On every tree I write her name,
And every day I read the same.
    Where Honor, Cupid's rival, is,
    There miracles are seen of his.

If Cynthia crave her ring of me,
I blot her name out of the tree.
If doubt do darken things held dear,
Then welfare nothing once a year.
    For many run, but one must win;
    Fools only hedge the cuckoo in.

The worth that worthiness should move
Is love, which is the due of love,
And love as well the shepherd can,
As can the mighty nobleman.
    Sweet nymph, 'tis true you worthy be,
    Yet without love, nought worth to me.  

Listen to a vocal excerpt from The Fairest Isle

Poetry of the English Renaissance 1509-1660.
J. William Hebel and Hoyt H. Hudson, Eds.
New York: F. S. Crofts & Co., 1941. 126.

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