Elizabethan Sonnet Month
Thomas Watson (1557-1592)
Discalimer: Most of the available information of this poet is unsubstantiated.
The author would be grateful for any further information.
Born: England, c.1555
Died: England, c.1592
Educated at Winchester College and Oxford University.
1589: Possibly involved in a skimish with William Bradley over an unpaid debt,
which resulted in the deah of Bradley.
Possibly one of Walsingham's spies
1592: Records show Watson as possibly being buried at St Bartholomew-the-Less, London
From: The Tears of Fancie, or Love Disdained
Sonnets 1 - 8
Goe idle lines unpolisht rude and base,
Unworthy words to blason beauties glory:
(Beauty that hath my restless hart in chase,
Beauty the subject of my ruefull story.)
I warne thee shunne the bower of her abiding,
Be not so bold ne hardy as to view her:
Least shee inragèd with thee fall a chiding,
And so her anger prove thy woes renewer.
Yet if she daigne to rew thy dreadfull smart,
And reading laugh, and laughing so mislike thee:
Bid her desist, and looke within my hart,
Where shee may see how ruthles shee did strike mee.
If shee be pleasde though shee reward thee not,
What others say of me regard it not.
In prime of youthly yeares as then not wounded,
With Loves impoisoned dart or bitter gall:
Nor minde nor thoughts on fickle Fancie grounded
But carelesse hunting after pleasures ball.
I tooke delight to laugh at Lovers follie,
Accounting beautie but a fading blossome:
What I esteemed prophane, they deemed holie,
Joying the thraldome which I counted loathsome.
Their plaintes were such as no thing might relieve them,
Their harts did wellnie breake loves paine induring:
Yet still I smild to see hoe love did grieve them,
Unwise they were their sorrowes selfe procuring.
Thus while they honoured Cupid for a God,
I held him as a boy not past the rod.
Long time I fought, and fiercely waged warre,
Against the God of amarous Desire:
Who sets the senses mongst themselves at jarre,
The harts inflaming with his lustful fire.
The winged boy upon his mothers knee,
Wantonlie playing neere to Paphos shrine:
Scorning that I should check his Deitie,
Whose dreaded power tam'd the gods divine.
From forth his quiver drew the keenest dart,
Wherewith high Jove he oftentimes had wounded:
And fiercely aimd it at my stubborne hart,
But backe againe the idle shaft rebounded.
Love saw and frownd, that he was so beguiled,
I laught outright, and Venus sweetly smiled.
Shee smild to see her sonne in such a rage,
I laught to thinke how I had Loue prevented:
He frownd and vowd nought should his ire asswage,
Till I had stoopt to Love, and love repented.
The more he rag'd the greater grew our laughter,
The more we laught the fiercer was his ire:
And in his anger sware my poore harts slaughter,
Which in my breast beautie should set on fire.
Faire Venus seeing her deere sonne in chollar,
Fearing mishap by his too hasty anger:
Perswaded him that she should work my dollor,
And by her meanes procure my endles langor.
So Love and loves Queene (Love having consented,)
Agreed that I by Love should be tormented.
Tho taking in her lap the God of love
Shee lightly mounted through the Christall aire:
And in her Coach ydrawne with silver Doves,
To Vulcans smokie Forge shee did repaire.
Where having wonne the Ciclops to her will,
Loves quiver fraught with arrowes of the best:
His bended bow in hand all armed to kill,
He vowd revenge and threatned my unrest.
And to be sure that he would deadly strike me,
His blindfold eies he did a while uncover:
Choosing an arrow that should much mislike me,
He bad wound him that scornes to be a Lover.
But when he saw his bootles arrow shiver,
He brake his bow, and cast away his quiver.
Hopeles and helples too, poore love amated,
To see himselfe affronted with disdaine:
And all his skill and power spent in vaine,
At me the onely object that he hated.
Now Cytherea from Olimpus mount,
Descending from the sphere with her deere sonne:
With dovelike wings to Alcidalyon,
Love on her knee, she by the Christall fount;
Advisde the boy what scandall it would bee,
If Fame should to the open world discover
How I surviv'd and scornd Loves sacred power.
Then Cupid lightly leaping from her knee,
Unto his mother vowd my discontenting:
Unhappy vowe the ground of my lamenting.
Then on the sodaine fast away he fled,
He fled apace as from pursuing foe:
Ne ever lookt he backe, ne turnd his head
Untill he came whereas he wrought my woe.
Tho casting from his backe his bended bow.
He quickly clad himselfe in strange disguise:
In strange disguise that no man might him know,
So coucht himself within my Ladies eies.
But in here eies such glorious beames did shine,
That welnigh burnt loves party coloured wings,
Whilst I stood gazing on her sunne-bright eien,
The wanton boy shee in my bosome flings.
He built his pleasant bower in my brest,
So I in love, and love in me doth rest.
Now love triumphed having got the day,
Proudly insulting, tyrannizing still:
As Hawke that ceazeth on the yeelding pray,
So am I made the scorne of Victors will.
Now eies with teares, now hart with sorrow fraught,
Hart sorrowes at my watry teares lamenting:
Eyes shed salt teares to see harts pining thought,
And both that then love scornd are now repenting.
But all in vaine too late I plead repentance,
For teares in eies and sighs in hart must weeld me :
The feathered boy hath doomd my fatal sentence,
That I to tyrannizing love must yeeld me.
And bow my necke erst subject to no yoke,
To Loves false lure (such force hath beauties stroke).
O what a life is it that Lovers joy,
Wherein both paine and pleasure shrouded is:
Both heavenly pleasures and eke hells annoy,
Hells fowle annoyance and eke heavenly blisse.
Wherein vaine hope doth feede the Lovers hart,
And brittle joy sustaine a pining thought:
When blacke dispaire renewes a Lovers smart,
And quite extirps what first content had wrought.
Where faire resemblance eke the mind allureth,
To wanton lewd lust giving pleasure scope:
And late repentance endles paines procureth,
But none of these afflict me save vaine hope.
And sad dispaire, dispaire and hope perplexing,
Vaine hope my hart, dispaire my fancie vexing.
Two leaves containing eight sonnets (IX - XVI) are missing
from the only known copy of this volume. (Note of S. Lee).
Sonnets 17 - 20
Then from her fled my hart in sorrow wrapped.
Like unto one that shund pursuing slaughter:
All welnigh breathles told me what had happed,
How both in Court and countrie he had fought her.
The drerie teares of many love repenting,
Corrivals in my love whom fancie stroked;
Partners in love and partners in lamenting,
My fellow thralls whose necks as mine were yoked.
The shepheards praises and their harts amis,
Urged by my Mistres overweening pride;
For none but sees her but captived is,
And last he told which to my hart did glide;
How all the teares I spent were vaine and forceles,
For shee in hart had vowd to be remorceles.
Tho with a showre of teares I entertained,
My wounded hart into my breast accloied:
With thousand sundrie cares and griefes unfained,
Unfained griefes and cares my hart annoied.
Annoying sorrowes at my harts returning,
Assailed my thoughts with never ceasing horror:
That even my hart, hart like to Aetna burning,
Did often times conspire for to abhorre her.
But envious love still bent to eke my morning,
A grievous penance for my fault inflicted:
That eies should weepe and hart be ever groaning;
So love to worke my sorrowes was addicted.
But earths sole wonder whose eies my sense appalled,
The fault was loves, then pardon me, for love is franticke called.
My Hart impos'd this penance on mine eies,
(Eies the first causers of my harts lamenting) :
That they should weepe till love and fancie dies,
Fond love the last cause of my harts repenting.
Mine eies upon my hart inflict this paine,
(Bold hart that dard to harbour thoughts of love)
That it should love and purchase fell disdaine,
A grievous penance which my hart doth prove.
Mine eies did weepe as hart had them imposed,
My hart did pine as eies had it constrained:
Eies in their teares my paled face disclosed,
Hart in his sighs did show it was disdained.
So th'one did weepe th'other sighed, both grieved,
For both must live and love, both unrelieved.
My hart accused mine eies and was offended,
Vowing the cause was in mine eies aspiring:
Mine eies affirmed my hart might well amend it,
If he at first had banisht loves desiring.
Hart said that love did enter at the eies,
And from the eies descended to the hart:
Eies said that in the hart did sparkes arise,
Which kindled flame that wrought the inward smart,
Hart said eies tears might soone have quencht that fl[ame,]
Eies said harts sighs at first might love exile:
So hart the eies and eies the hart did blame,
Whilst both did pine while both the paine did feele.
Hart sighed and bled, eies wept and gaz'd too much,
Yet must I gaze because I see none such.
Sonnets 21 - 30
Fortune outwearied with my bitter mone,
Did pittie seldome seene my wretched fate:
And brought to passe that I my love alone
Unwares attacht to plead my hard estate.
Some say that love makes lovers eloquent,
And with divinest wit doth them inspire:
But beautie my tongues office did prevent,
And quite extinguished my first desire.
As if her eies had power to strike me dead,
So was I dased at her crimson die:
As one that had beheld Medusaes head,
All senses failed their Master but the eie.
Had that sense failed and from me eke beene taken,
Then I had love and love had me forsaken.
I saw the object of my pining thought,
Within a garden of sweete natures placing:
Where in an arbour artificiall wrought,
By workeman's wondrous skill the garden gracing,
Did boast his glorie, glorie farre renowned,
For in his shadie boughs my Mistres slept:
And with a garden of his branches crowned,
Her daintie forehead from the sunne ykept.
Imperious love upon her eielids tending,
Playing his wanton sports at every becke,
And into everie finest limbe descending,
From eies to lips from lips to yvorie necke.
And everie limbe supplide and t'everie part
Had free accesse but durst not touch her hart.
Aye me that love wants power to pierce the hart,
Of my harts object beauties rarest wonder:
What is become of that hart-thrilling dart,
Whose power brought the heavenly powers under.
Ah gentle love if empty be thy quiver,
Unmaske thy selfe and looke within my brest:
Where thou shalt find the dart that made me shiver,
But can I live and see my love distrest.
Ah no that dart was cause of sorrow endles,
And paine perpetuall should my lady prove:
If hart were pierst, the deare love be not friendles,
Although I never found a friend of love,
If not without her hart, her love be gained,
Let me live still forlorne and die disdained.
Still let me live forlorne and die disdained,
My hart consenting to continuall languish:
If love (my harts sore) may not be obtained,
But with the danger of my Ladies anguish.
Let me oppose myself gainst sorrowes force,
And arme my hart to bear woes heavy load:
Unpittied let me die without remorce,
Rather than monster fame shall blase abroad;
That I was causer of her woes induring,
Or brought fair beauty to so foul a domage:
If life or death might be her joyes procuring,
Both life, love, death, and all should do her homage.
But shee lives safe in freedomes liberty,
I live and die in loves extremitie.
The private place which I did choose to waile,
And deere lament my loves pride was a grove;
Plac'd twixt two hills within a lowlie dale,
Which now by fame was cald the vale of love.