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THE EXCUSE.

WRITTEN BY SIR WALTER RALEIGH IN HIS
YOUNGER YEARS.1


C
ALLING to mind, my eyes went long
        about
   To cause my heart to forsake my
        breast,
All in a rage I sought to pull them out,
    As who had been such traitors to my rest :
What could they say to win again my grace?—
Forsooth, that they had seen my mistress' face.

Another time, my heart I called to mind,—
    Thinking that he this woe on me had brought,
Because that he to love his force resigned,
    When of such wars my fancy never thought :
What could he say when I would him have slain?—
That he was hers, and had forgone my chain.

At last, when I perceived both eyes and heart
    Excuse themselves, as guiltless of my ill,
I found myself the cause of all my smart,
    And told myself that I myself would kill :
Yet when I saw myself to you was true,
I loved myself, because myself loved you.



1  Oldys' "Life of Raleigh," p. lv., "from the copy of a
celebrated lady, Lady Isabella Thynne, who probably had
it out of the family."   Quoted by Puttenham in 1589, as
" a most excellent ditty, written by Sir Walter Raleigh."
In MS. Ashm. 781, p.138, it has the signature "Sr. Wa :
Raleigh ;" and in "Wit's Interpreter," 1671, p. 205, it is
described as "by Sir Walter Raleigh."   In the "Phoenix
Nest," 1593, p.72, in MS. Harl. 6910, fol. 142 verso, and
in MS. Rawl. 85, fol. 104, verso, it is anonymous.



Source:
Hannah, J., Ed. The Poems of Sir Walter Raleigh.
London: George Bell and Sons, 1891. 4-5.




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