What do you like about the ISE? What could we do better? Please tell us in this 10-minute survey!

Start Survey

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    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 (makes
    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
    All kinde of arguments and question deepe,
    Al replication prompt, and reason strong
    For his aduantage still did wake and sleep,
    To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weepe:
    125He had the dialect and different skil,
    Catching al passions in his craft of will.
    That hee didde in the general bosome raigne
    Of young, of old, and sexes both inchanted,
    To dwel with him in thoughts, or to remaine
    130In personal duty, following where he haunted,
    Consent's bewitcht, ere he desire haue granted,
    And dialogu'd for him what he would say,
    Askt their own wils and made their wils obey.
    Many there were that did his picture gette
    135To serue their eies, and in it put their mind,
    Like fooles that in th' imagination set
    The goodly obiects which abroad they find
    Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assign'd,
    And labouring in moe pleasures to bestow them,
    140Then the true gouty Land-lord which doth owe them.