Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: John Higgins
Editor: Andrew Griffin
Not Peer Reviewed

John Higgins (Selection)

1If any woeful wight have cause to wail her woe,
Or griefs are past do prick us Princes, tell our fall:
Myself likewise must needes constrained eke do so,
And show my like misfortunes and mishaps withal.
5Should I keep close my heavy haps and thrall,
Then did I wrong: I wronged myself and thee,
Which of my facts a witness true mayest be.
A woman yet must blush when bashful is the case,
Though truth bid tell the tale and story as it fell,
10But sith that I mislike not audience, time, nor place,
Therefore, I cannot keep my woes in counsel well.
Not greater ease of heart then griefs to tell,
It vaunteth all the dolors of our mind,
Our careful hearts thereby great comfort find.
15For why to tell that may recounted be again,
And tell it as our eares may compass ease,
That is the salve and medicine of our pain,
Which cureth corsies all and sores of our disease:
It doth our pinching pangs and pains appease,
20It pleads the part of an assurèd friend,
And tells the trade, like vices to amend.
Therefore if I more willing be to tell my fall,
With my mishaps to ease my burdened breast and mind,
Some others haply may avoid and shun the thrall,
25And thereby for distress more aid and comfort find.
They keeping measure, whereas I declined,
May be as prompt to fly like bruit and blame
As I to tell, or thou to write the same.
Wherefore if thou wilt afterwards record
30What Queen Cordila tells to ease her inward smart,
I will recite my story tragical each word,
To thee that giv'st an ear, and ready art.
But lest I set the horse behind the cart,
I mind to tell each thing in order, so
35As thou may'st see and show whence sprang my woe.