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Be wise as thou art cruel ; do not press
My tongue-ty'd patience with too much disdain ;
Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express
The manner of my pity-wanting pain.
If I might teach thee wit, better it were,
Though not to love, yet, love, to tell me so;
(As testy sick men, when their deaths be near,
No news but health from their physicians know ;)
For, if I should despair, I should grow mad,
And in my madness might speak ill of thee:
Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
Mad slanderers by mad ears elieved be.
That I may not be so, nor thou bely'd,
Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart
In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleas'd to dote.
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted;
Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,
Nor taste nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone :
my five wits, nor my five senses can Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee, Who leaves unsway'd the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
Only my plague thus far I count my gain, That she that makes me sin, awards me pain.
Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving :
O, but with mine compare thou thine own state,
And thou shalt find it merits not reproving;
Or if it do, not from those lips of thine,
That have profan'd their scarlet ornaments,
And seal'd false bonds of love as oft as mine;
Robb’d others' beds revenues of their rents.
Be it lawful I love thee, as thou lov’st those
Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee:
Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows,
Thy pity may deserve to pity'd be.
If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
By self-example may'st thou be deny'd !
Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feather'd creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe, and makes all swift despatch
In pursuit of the thing she would have stay;
Whilst her neglected child holds her in chace,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent
To follow that which flies before her face,
Not prizing her poor infant's discontent;
So run'st thou after that which flies from thee,
Whilst I thy babe chace thee afar behind; But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me, And play the mother's part, kiss me, be kind :
So will I pray that thou may’st have thy Will, If thou turn back, and my loud crying still.
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest 76 me still;
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman, colour'd ill,
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turn'd fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell ;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
guess one angel in another's hell.
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.
Those lips that Love's own hand did make,
Breath'd forth the sound that said, I hate,
To me that languish'd for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue, that ever sweet
76 suggest] i. e. lempt.
Was us'd in giving gentle doom;
And taught it thus anew to greet:
I hate she alter'd with an end,
That follow'd it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
I hate from hate away she threw,
And say'd my life, saying—not you.
Poor soul,77 the centre of my sinful earth,
Fool'd by those rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and, suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store ;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross ;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,
And, death once dead, there's no more dying
77 Poor soul, &c.] The two first lines of this sonnet are thus given in the old copy;
“ Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth,
My sinful earth these rebel powers that thee array." The emendation is Malone's.
My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease;
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve,
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic mad with evermore unrest ;
My thoughts and my discourse as mad men's are,
At random from the truth vainly express'd ;
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.
O me! what
hath love put
Which have no correspondence with true sight?
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures 78 falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so ?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love's eye is not so true as all men's: no,
How can it? O how can Love's eye be true,
78 censures] i. e. estimates.