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HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY


Bordone. Allegory (Venus, Flora, Mars and Cupid)
Paris Bordone. Allegory (Venus, Flora, Mars and Cupid), c1560.


THE LOVER EXCUSETH HIMSELF OF
SUSPECTED CHANGE.


THOUGH I regarded not
The promise made by me ;
Or passed not to spot
My faith and honesty :
Yet were my fancy strange,
And wilful will to wite,
If I sought now to change
A falcon for a kite.

All men might well dispraise
My wit and enterprise,
If I esteemed a pese1
Above a pearl in price :
Or judged the owl in sight
The sparhawk to excel ;
Which flieth but in the night,
As all men know right well.

Or if I sought to sail
Into the brittle port,
Where anchor hold doth fail
To such as do resort ;
And leave the haven sure,
Where blows no blustering wind ;
No fickleness in ure,2
So far-forth as I find.

No ! think me not so light,
Nor of so churlish kind,
Though it lay in my might
My bondage to unbind,
That I would leave the hind
To hunt the gander's foe.
No ! no !  I have no mind
To make exchanges so.

Nor yet to change at all ;
For think, it may not be
That I should seek to fall
From my felicity.
Desirous for to win,
And loth for to forego ;
Or new change to begin ;
How may all this be so ?

The fire it cannot freeze,
For it is not his kind ;
Nor true love cannot lese
The constance of the mind.
Yet as soon shall the fire
Want heat to blaze and burn ;
As I, in such desire,
Have once a thought to turn.



1 A pea.
2 Practise.




Source:
Surrey, Henry Howard, Earl of.
The Poetical Works of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.
Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1854.  39-40.





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Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
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