Elizabethan Sonnet Month
To my very good friends, Iohn Zouch, and Edward Fitton, Esquiers.
Both louing friends, forasmuch as by reason of an ague, I was inforced to keepe my chamber,
and to abandon idlenes, I tooke in hande my pen to finish an idle worke I had begun, at the
command and seruice of a faire Dame, being most exquisitly well featured, and of as excellent
good carriage, adorned with vertue : and vnderstanding the storie, and knowing you both to be
of sufficient valour, wit, and honestie, presumed to dedicate the same to you, not doubting but
that you will vouchsafe for my sake, to maintaine the honour of so sweete a Saint. Thus crauing
you my deare friends to be patrones of these fewe Sonnets : being well perswaded you will excuse
my vnlearned writing, in regard you may be assured I am no scholler, as dooth appeare by this my
worthles verse : hoping you will receiue my goodwill with content, as I my selfe shall be then best
satisfied. And so wishing you both as much comfortable happines, as to my soule: I bid you heartily
Yours in all true friendship
Sonnets I - X
When first the rage of loue assail'd my hart,
And towards my thoughts his fiery forces bent:
Eftsoones to shield me from his wounding dart,
Arm'd with disdaine, I held him in contempt.
Curld headed loue when from mount Erecine
He saw this geere, so ill thereof he brookes,
That thence he speedes vnwilling to be seene,
Till he had tane his stand in thy faire lookes.
There all inrag'd his golden bow he bent,
And nockt his arrow like a pretie elfe:
Which when I saw, I humbly to him went,
And cri'd hold, hold, and I will yeeld my selfe.
Thus Cupid conquer'd me, and made me sweare
Homage to him, and dutie to my deare.
Sonnet IIHomage to loue, dutie to thee my deare,
Deare mistris of my thoughts, Queene of my ioy:
Then my lifes gratious planet bright appeare,
My hearts deepe griefe and sorrow to destroy.
Be not (I thee beseech) my cares maintainer:
For in thy power it lyes to saue or strike,
To kill the griefe, or els the griefes retainer,
With loue or hate the infant of dislike.
O if that cruell loue did not command
To slay my heart without remorse or pitie:
Or if he did that sad doome countermand,
And be a gratious Queene of gentle mercie:
Sweet shew thy selfe diuine in being pitifull,
For nature of the gods is to be mercifull.
Sonnet IIIWhy doe I pleade for mercie vnto thee,
When from offence my life & soule are cleere?
For in my heart I neere offended thee,
Vnlesse the hie pitch of his flight it were.
I, that is it, I to too well consider,
Thy sparkling beautie is the sunne that melted:
My thoughts the waxe that ioyn'd his wings together,
And till my very fall I neuer felt it:
Despaire the Ocean is that swallowed me,
Where I like Icarus continue drowned,
Till with thy beautie I reuiued be,
And with loues immortalitie be crowned.
True loue immortall is, then loue me truly:
Sweet doe, and then thy name Ile honor duly.
Sonnet IVMy forlorne muse that neuer trode the path
That leades to top of hie Pierion mount,
Nor neuer washt within the liuesome bath
Of learnings spring, bright Aganippe fount:
Mine artles pen that neuer yet was dipt
In sacred nectar of sweet Castalie,
My louesicke heart that euer hath I clipt,
Emaricdulfe the Queene of chastitie:
Shall now learne skill my Ladies fame to raise,
Shall now take paines her vertues to record,
And honor her with more immortall praise,
Then euer heretofore they could affoord:
Both heart, and pen, and muse shall thinke it dutie,
With sigheswolne words to blaze her heaue[n]ly beutie.
Sonnet VNature (Emaricdulfe) did greatly fauour,
When first her pourtrait she began to pencill,
And rob'd the heauens of her chiefest honour:
There sacred beautie all her parts doth tincill.
Heauens Hyrarkie is in her bright eyes spheered:
The Graces sport in her cheekes dimpled pits:
Trophies of maiestie in her face be reared,
And in her lookes stately Saturnia sits.
Modest Diana in her thoughts doth glorie,
Loue-lacking Vesta in her heart inthroned:
The quired Muses on her lips doe storie
Their heauen sweet notes, as if that place they owned,
But aye is me, Cupid and Venus faire
Haue no degree, saue in her golden haire.
Sonnet VIWithin her haire Venus and Cupid sport them:
Sometime they twist it Amberlike in gold,
To which the whistling windes doe oft resort them,
As if they stroue to haue the knots vnrold:
Sometime they let their golden tresses dangle,
And therewith nets and amorous gins they make,
Wherewith the hearts of louers to intangle:
Which once inthral'd, no ransome they will take.
But as to tyrants sitting in their thrones,
Looke on their slaues with tyrannizing eyes:
So they no whit regarding louers mones,
Doome worlds of hearts to endles slaueries,
Vnlesse they subiect-like sweare to adore,
And serue Emaricdulf for euermore.
Sonnet VIII Will perseuer euer for to loue thee,
O cease diuinest sweetnes to disdaine mee:
Albeit my loues true types can neuer moue thee,
Yet from affection let not pride detaine thee.
Although my heart once purchast thy displeasure
With ouerbold presumption on thy fauour:
Yet now Ile sacrifice my richest treasure
Vnto thy name and much admired honour:
Teares are the treasure of my griefe-gal'd hart,
Which on (thy loue) my altar I haue dropped
To thee, that my thoughts temples goddesse art,
Hoping thy anger would thereby be stopped.
If these to get thy grace may not suffice,
My heart is slaine, accept that sacrifice.
Sonnet VIIIEmaricdulf, thou grace to euery grace,
Thou perfect life of my vnperfect liuing:
My thoughts sole heaue[n], my harts sweet resting place,
Cause of my woe and comfort of my grieuing.
O giue me leaue and I will tell thee how
The haples place and the vnhappie time,
Wherein and when my selfe I did auow
To honour thee, and giue my heart to thine.
Wearie with labour, labour that did like me,
I gaue my bodie to a sweet repose:
A golden slumber suddenly did strike me,
That in deaths cabbin euery sense did close:
And either in a heauenly trance or vision,
I then beheld this pleasing apparition.
Sonnet IXAwight was clad most Foster-like in greene,
With loyal horne and hunting pole in hand:
Whose chanting hou[n]ds were heard in woods & seene
The deere amasde before the rider stand:
The keeper bids goe choose the best in heard:
The huntsman sayd, my choise is not to change:
And drawing neere the deere was sore affeard,
Into the woods the rider spurd to range:
There did he view a faire young barren doe
Within the hey fast by the purley side,
And woodman-like did take the winde then soe,
Whereby the deere might better him abide.
At length he shot, and hit the very same
Where he best likte and lou'd of all the game.
Sonnet XBvt stay conceit where he best likt to loue,
Yea better he if better best might bee:
The Rider thought the best of better proue,
Till fortune sign'd his fortune for to see.
Now wearie he betooke himselfe to rest,
Deuised where he might good harbour finde:
Emaricdulf (quoth he) I am her guest,
And thither went: she greeted him most kinde:
Welcome sayd she, three welcomes more she gaue:
His hand she tooke, and talking with him then,
What wine or beere to drinke wilt please you haue,
Sixe welcomes more, and so she made them ten.
He dranke his fill, and fed to his desire,
Refresht himselfe, and then did home retire.
Forthwith I saw, and with the sight was blest,
A beautious issue of a beautious mother,
A young Emaricdulf, whose sight increast
Millions of ioyes each one exceeding other:
Faire springing branch sprong of a hopefull stocke,
On thee more beauties nature had bestowde,
Then in her heauenly storehouse she doth locke,
Or may be seene disperst on earth abrode.
Thrise had the Sunne the world encompassed,
Before this blossome with deaths winter nipt:
O cruell death that thus hast withered
So faire a branch before it halfe was ripte!
Halfe glad with ioyes, and halfe appal'd with feares,
I wak't, and found my cheekes bedew'd with teares.
Sonnets XI - XX
Sonnet XIIMy cheeks bedew'd, my eies eue[n] drown'd with teares
O fearfull storme that causde so great a showre
Griefe ty'd my tongue, sorrow did stop my eares,
Because earth lost her sweetest paramoure.
O cruell heauens and regardlesse fates!
If the worlds beautie had compassion'd you,
You might by powre haue shut deaths ebon gates,
And been remorsefull at her heauenly view.
O foolish nature why didst thou create
A thing so faire, if fairenes be neglected?
But fairest things be subiect vnto fate,
And in the end are by the fates reiected.
Yong Emaric yet thou crost the destinie,
For thou suruiu'st in fame, that nere shall die.
Sonnet XIIIThat I did loue and once was lou'd of thee,
Witnesse the fauours that I haue receiued:
That golden ring, pledge of thy constancie:
That bracelet, that my libertie bereaued:
Those gloues, that once adorn'd thy lillie hands:
That handkercher, whose maze inthral'd me so:
Those thousand gifts, that like a thousand bands
Bound both my heart and soule to weale and woe.
All which I weare, and wearing them sigh forth
You instancies of her true loyaltie:
I doe not keepe you for your soueraigne worth,
But for her sake that sent you vnto me:
Tis she, not you, that doth compell my eyes,
My lifes sole light, my hearts sole paradice.
Sonnet XIVOne day, ô ten times happie was that day,
Emaricdulf was in her garden walking,
Where Floras imps ioy'd with her feete to play,
And I to see them thitherward ran stalking,
Behind the hedge (not daring to be seene)
I saw the sweetsent Roses blush for shame,
The Violets stain'd, and pale the Lillies beene:
Whereat to smile my Ladie had good game.
Sometimes she pleasde to sport vpon the grasse,
That chang'd his hew to see her heauenly presence:
But when she was imasked, then (alas)
They as my selfe wail'd for her beauties absence:
They mourn'd for that their mistris went away,
And I for end of such a blessed day.
Sonnet XVWhat meane our Merchants so with eger minds
To plough the seas to finde rich iuels forth?
Sith in Emaricdulf a thousand kinds
Are heap'd, exceeding wealthie Indias worth:
Then India doth her haire affoord more gold,
And thousands siluer mines her forhead showes,
More Diamonds then th'Egyptian surges folde,
Within her eyes rich treasurie nature stowes:
Her hony breath, but more then hony sweete,
Exceeds the odours of Arabia:
Those pretious rankes continually that meete,
Are pearles more worth then all America.
Her other parts (proud Cupids countermate)
Exceed the world for worth, the heauens for state.
Sonnet XVILooke when dame Tellus clad in Floras pride,
Her summer vaile with faire imbroderie,
And fragrant hearbs sweet blossom'd hauing dide.
And spred abrode her spangled tapistrie:
Then shalt thou see a thousand of her flowers
(For their faire hew and life delighting sauours)
Gathered to deck and beautifie the bowers
Of Ladies faire, grac'd with their louers fauours.
But when rough winter nips them with his rage,
They are disdain'd and not at all respected:
Then loue (Emaricdulf) in thy yong age,
Lest being old, like flowers thou be reiected:
Nature made nothing that doth euer flourish,
And euen as beautie fades, so loue doth perish.
Sonnet XVIII am inchanted with thy snow-white hands,
That mase me with their quaint dexteritie,
And with their touch, tye in a thousand bands
My yeelding heart euer to honour thee:
Thought of thy daintie fingers long and small,
For pretie action that exceed compare,
Sufficient is to blesse me, and withall
To free my chained thoughts from sorrowes snare.
But that which crownes my soule with heauenly blis,
And giues my heart fruition of all ioyes,
Their daintie concord and sweet musick is,
That poysons griefe and cureth all annoyes,
Those eyes that see, those eares are blest that heare
These heauenly gifts of nature in my deare.
Sonnet XVIIIEmaricdulf, if thou this riddle reade,
This darke AEnigma that I will demand thee,
Then for thy wisedomes well deseruing meede,
In loues pure dutie thou shalt ay command mee.
A Turtle that had chose his louing mate,
Sate seemly percht vpon a red rose breere:
Yet saw a bird (ayres paragon for state)