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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    This said, his watrie eies he did dismount,
    280Whose sightes till then were leaueld on my face,
    Each cheeke a riuer running from a fount,
    With brynish currant downe-ward flowed a pace:
    Oh how the channell to the streame gaue grace!
    Who glaz'd with Christall gate the glowing Roses,
    285That flame through water which their hew incloses,
    Oh father, what a hell of witch-craft lies,
    In the small orb of one perticular teare?
    But with the invndation of the eies:
    What rocky heart to water will not weare?
    290What brest so cold that is not warmed heare,
    Or cleft effect, cold modesty hot wrath:
    Both fire from hence, and chill extincture hath.
    For loe his passion but an art of craft,
    Euen there resolu'd my reason into teares,
    295There my white stole of chastity I daft,
    Shooke off my sober gardes, and ciuill feares,
    Appeare to him as he to me appeares:
    All melting, though our drops this diffrence bore,
    His poison'd me, and mine did him restore.
    300In him a plenitude of subtle matter,
    Applied to Cautills, all straing formes receiues,
    Of burning blushes, or of weeping water,
    Or sounding palenesse: and he takes and leaues,
    In eithers aptnesse as it best deceiues:
    305To blush at speeches ranck, to weepe at woes
    Or to turne white and sound at tragick showes.
    That not a heart which in his leuell came,
    Could scape the haile of his all hurting ayme,
    Shewing faire Nature is both kinde and tame:
    310And vaild in them did winne whom he would maime,
    Against the thing he sought, he would exclaime,
    When he most burnt in hart-wisht luxurie,
    He preacht pure maide, and praisd cold chastitie.