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    Not Peer Reviewed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)


    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.

    So many haue that neuer toucht his hand
    Sweetly suppos'd them mistresse of his heart:
    My wofull selfe that did in freedome stand,
    And was my owne fee simple (not in part)
    145What with his art in youth and youth in art
    Threw my affections in his charmed power,
    Reseru'd the stalke and gaue him al my flower.

    Yet did I not as some my equals did
    Demaund of him, nor being desired yeelded,
    150Finding my selfe in honour so forbidde,
    With safest distance I mine honour sheelded,
    Experience for me many bulwarkes builded