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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    1FRom off a hill whose concaue wombe reworded,
    A plaintfull story from a sistring vale
    My spirrits t'attend this doble voyce accorded,
    And downe I laid to list the sad tun'd tale,
    5Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale
    Tearing of papers breaking rings a twaine,
    Storming her world with sorrowes, wind and raine.
    Vpon her head a plattid hiue of straw,
    Which fortified her visage from the Sunne,
    10Whereon the thought might thinke sometime it saw
    The carkas of a beauty spent and donne,
    Time had not sithed all that youth begun,
    Nor youth all quit, but spight of heauens fell rage,
    Some beauty peept, through lettice of sear'd age.
    15Oft did she heaue her Napkin to her eyne,
    Which on it had conceited charecters:
    Laundring the silken figures in the brine,
    That seasoned woe had pelleted in teares,
    And often reading what contents it beares:
    20As often shriking vndistinguisht wo,
    In clamours of all size both high and low.
    Some-times her leueld eyes their carriage ride,
    As they did battry to the spheres intend:
    Sometime diuerted their poore balls are tide,
    25To th'orbed earth ;sometimes they do extend,
    Their view right on, anon their gases lend,
    To euery place at once and no where fixt,
    The mind and sight distractedly commxit.
    Her haire nor loose nor ti'd in formall plat,
    30Proclaimd in her a carelesse hand of pride;
    For some vntuck'd descended her sheu'd hat,
    Hanging her pale and pined cheeke beside,
    Some in her threeden fillet still did bide,
    And trew to bondage would not breake from thence,
    35Though slackly braided in loose negligence.