|Love What Art Thou?
by Lady Mary Wroth
Love what art thou? A vain thought
In our minds by fant'sy wrought.
Idle smiles did thee beget,
While fond wishes made the net
Which so many fools have caught.
Love what art thou? Light and fair,
Fresh as morning, clear as th' air.
But too soon thy evening change
Makes thy worth with coldness range;
Still thy joy is mixt with care.
Love what art thou? A sweet flower
Once full blown, dead in an hour.
Dust in wind as staid remains
As thy pleasure or our gains,
If thy humor change, to lour.
Love what art thou? Childish, vain,
Firm as bubbles made by rain,
Wantonness thy greatest pride.
These foul faults thy virtues hide—
But babes can no staidness gain.
Love what art thou? Causeless cursed,
Yet alas these not the worst:
Much more of thee may be said.
But thy law I once obeyed,
Therefore say no more at first.
Titian. The Worship of Venus.
1516/1518. El Prado, Madrid.
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 6th ed., v.1.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. 1688-9.
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