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    Not Peer Reviewed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)


    Could scape the haile of his all hurting ayme,
    Shewing faire Nature is both kinde and tame:
    310And vaild in them did winne whom he would maime,
    Against the thing he sought, he would exclaime,
    When he most burnt in hart-wisht luxurie,
    He preacht pure maide, and praisd cold chastitie.

    Thus meerely with the garment of a grace,
    315The naked and concealed feind he couerd,
    That th'vnexperient gaue the tempter place,
    Which like a Cherubin aboue them houerd,
    Who young and simple would not be so louerd.
    Aye me I fell, and yet do question make,
    320What I should doe againe for such a sake.

    O that infected moysture of his eye,
    O that false fire which in his cheeke so glowd:
    O that forc'd thunder from his heart did flye,
    O that sad breath his spungie lungs bestowed,
    325O all that borrowed motion seeming owed,
    Would yet againe betray the fore-betrayed,
    And new peruert a reconciled Maide.