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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    And long vpon these termes I held my Citty,
    Till thus hee gan besiege me :Gentle maid
    Haue of my suffering youth some feeling pitty
    And be not of my holy vowes affraid,
    180Thats to ye sworne to none was euer said,
    For feasts of loue I haue bene call'd vnto
    Till now did nere inuite nor neuer vovv.
    All my offences that abroad you see
    Are errors of the blood none of the mind:
    185Loue made them not, with acture they may be,
    Where neither Party is nor trew nor kind,
    They sought their shame that so their shame did find,
    And so much lesse of shame in me remaines,
    By how much of me their reproch containes,
    190Among the many that mine eyes haue seene,
    Not one whose flame my hart so much as warmed,
    Or my affection put to th, smallest teene,
    Or any of my leisures euer Charmed,
    Harme haue I done to them but nere was harmed,
    195Kept hearts in liueries, but mine owne was free,
    And raignd commaunding in his monarchy.
    Looke heare what tributes wounded fancies sent me,
    Of palyd pearles and rubies red as blood:
    Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
    200Of greefe and blushes, aptly vnderstood
    In bloodlesse white, and the encrimson'd mood,
    Effects of terror and deare modesty,
    Encampt in hearts but fighting outwardly.
    And Lo behold these tallents of their heir,
    205With twisted mettle amorously empleacht
    I haue receau'd from many a seueral faire,
    Their kind acceptance, wepingly beseecht,
    With th'annexions of faire gems inricht,
    And deepe brain'd sonnets that did amplifie
    210Each stones deare Nature, worth and quallity.