Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed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 vow.
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.