Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: A Lover's Complaint (Quarto, 1609)
  • Editor: Hardy M. Cook
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-411-0

    Copyright Hardy M. Cook. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardy M. Cook
    Not Peer Reviewed

    A Lover's Complaint (Quarto, 1609)


    245The accident which brought me to her eie,
    Vpon the moment did her force subdewe,
    And now she would the caged cloister flie:
    Religious loue put out religions eye:
    Not to be tempted would she be enur'd,
    250And now to tempt all liberty procure.

    How mightie then you are, Oh heare me tell,
    The broken bosoms that to me belong,
    Haue emptied all their fountaines in my well:
    And mine I powre your Ocean all amonge:
    255I strong ore them and you ore me being strong,
    Must for your victorie vs all congest,
    As compound loue to phisick your cold brest.

    My parts had powre to charme a sacred Sunne,
    Who disciplin'd I dieted in grace,
    260Beleeu'd her eies, when they t' assaile begun,
    All vowes and consecrations giuing place:
    O most potentiall loue, vowe, bond, nor space
    In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine
    For thou art all and all things els are thine.

    265When thou impressest what are precepts worth
    Of stale example? when thou wilt inflame,
    How coldly those impediments stand forth
    Of wealth of filliall feare, lawe, kindred fame,
    Loues armes are peace, gainst rule, gainst sence, gainst
    270And sweetens in the suffring pangues it beares,
    The Alloes of all forces, shockes and feares.

    Now all these hearts that doe on mine depend,
    Feeling it breake, with bleeding groanes they pine,
    And supplicant their sighes to you extend
    275To leaue the battrie that you make gainst mine,
    Lending soft audience, to my sweet designe,