by Lady Mary Wroth
joy to those hearts
That feel the pleasure of love's sporting darts,
Grudge me 2 not, though a vassal to
And a poor subject to curst 3
To rest in you, or rather restless 4
In your contents to sorrow for my love.
A love, which living lives as dead to me,
As holy relics which in boxes be
Placed in a chest, that overthrows my joy,
Shut up in change, which more than plagues
These, O you solitariness, may both endure,
And be a chirurgeon 5 to find me a
For this curst corsive 6 eating my
Memory, sad memory in you once blessed,
But now most miserable with the
Of that which only shows love's strange deceit,
You are that cruel wound that inly wears
My soul, my body wasting into tears.
You keep mine eyes unclosed, my heart untied,
From letting thought of my best days to slide.
Froward 7 remembrance, what delight
Over my miseries to take a view?
Why do you tell me in this same-like place
Of earth's best blessing I have seen the face?
But masked from me, I only see the shade
Of that which once my brightest sunshine made.
You tell me, that I then was blessed in love,
When equal passions did together move.
O why is this alone to bring distress
Without a salve, but torments in excess?
A cruel steward you are, to enroll
My once-good days, of purpose to control
With eyes of sorrow, yet leave me undone
By too much confidence, my thread so spun:
In conscience, move not such a spleen of scorn,
Under whose swellings my despairs are born.
Are you offended, choicest memory,
That of your perfect I did glory?
If I did so offend, yet pardon me,
Since 'twas to set forth true excellency.
Sufficiently I thus do punished stand,
While all that curst is, you bring to my hand.
Or, is it that I no way worthy was
In so rich treasure my few days to pass?
Alas, if so, and such a treasure given,
Must I for this to Hell-like pain be driven?
Fully torment me now, and what is best
Together take, and mem'ry with the rest,
Leave not that to me, since but for my ill,
Which punish may, and millions of hearts kill,
Then may I, lonely, sit down with my loss
Without vexation, for my losses' cross,
Forgetting pleasures late embraced with love,
Linked to a faith the world could never move,
Chained with affection I hoped could not change,
Not thinking earth could yield a place to range.
But staying, cruelly you set my bliss
With deepest mourning in my sight, for miss,
And thus must I imagine my curse more,
When you I loved add to my mischief's store.
If not, then memory continue still,
And vex me with your perfectest known skill,
While you, dear solitariness, accept
Me to your charge, whose many passions, kept
In your sweet dwellings, have this profit gained,
That in more delicacy none was pained.
Your rareness now receive my rarer woe
With change, and love appoints my soul to know.
1. See Arcadia, 'O
sweet woods, the delight of
solitariness ...' (OA 34).
2. Wandering and thinking of his unhappy
love, Dolorindus, King of Negro-
ponte, found himself on a mount in a
wood, where the sight of lovers' names
carved in the trees reminded him
of past happiness, causing him to think of
these lines (i.110-11).
3. curst] Malignant.
4. rest/restless] This was a popular Elizabethan
word-play in drama and verse.
5. chirurgeon] Surgeon.
6. corsive] Corrosive.
7. Froward] Perverse, malevolent.
Wroth, Lady Mary. Poems. R. E. Pritchard, Ed.
Staffordshire, England: Keele University Press, 1996. 135-136.
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