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    Not Peer Reviewed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)


    90For on his visage was in little drawne,
    What largenesse thinkes in parradise was sawne.

    Smal shew of man was yet vpon his chinne,
    His phenix downe began but to appeare
    Like vnshorne veluet, on that termlesse skin
    95Whose bare out-brag'd the web it seem'd to were.
    Yet shewed his visage by that cost more deare,
    And nice affections wauering stood in doubt
    If best were as it was, or best without.

    His qualities were beautious as his forme,
    100For maiden tongu'd he was and thereof free;
    Yet if men mou'd him, was he such a storme
    As oft twixt May and Aprill is to see,
    When windes breath sweet, vnruly though they bee.
    His rudenesse so with his authoriz'd youth,
    105Did liuery falsenesse in a pride of truth.

    Wel could hee ride, and often men would say
    That horse his mettell from his rider takes
    Proud of subiection, noble by the swaie,
    What rounds, what bounds, what course what stop he
    110And controuersie hence a question takes,
    Whether the horse by him became his deed,
    Or he his mannad'g, by'th wel doing Steed.

    But quickly on this side the verdict went,
    His reall habitude gaue life and grace
    115To appertainings and to ornament,
    Accomplisht in him-selfe not in his case:
    All ayds them-selues made fairer by their place,
    Can for addicions, yet their purpos'd trimme
    Peec'd not his grace but were al grac'd by him.

    120So on the tip of his subduing tongue
    K 3