Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford

FROM  R. S.'s  Phoenix Nest,  1593    

[What cunning can express?]         

What cunning can express
The favor of her face
To whom in this distress
I do appeal for grace?
    A thousand Cupids fly
    About her gentle eye.

From whence each throws a dart
That kindleth soft sweet fire
Within my sighing heart,
Possessëd by desire.
    No sweeter life I try
    Than in her love to die.

The lily in the field
That glories in his white,
For pureness now must yield
And render up his right.
    Heav'n pictured in her face
    Doth promise joy and grace.

Fair Cynthia's silver light
That beats on running streams
Compares not with her white,
Whose hairs are all sun-beams.
    Her virtues so do shine
    As day unto mine eyne.

With this there is a red
Exceeds the damask rose,
Which in her cheeks is spread,
Whence every favor grows.
    In sky there is no star
    That she surmounts not far.

When Phoebus from the bed
Of Thetis doth arise,
The morning blushing red
In fair carnation wise,
    He shows it in her face
    As queen of every grace.

This pleasant lily-white,
This taint of roseate red,
This Cynthia's silver light,
This sweet fair Dea spread,
    These sun-beams in mine eye,
    These beauties make me die!

Poetry of the English Renaissance 1509-1660.
J. William Hebel and Hoyt H. Hudson, Eds.
New York: F. S. Crofts & Co., 1941. 104-105.

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