John Payne.

Flowers of France: the renaissance period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, representative poems of the sixteenth century; online

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Now in the summer that of life myself I see,
More firmly than before my bonds thou hast renewed;
Nay, and meseemeth, Love, that 'tis thy wanton mood
To aggravate my ill and make an end of me.
What have I done to thee and what is thine intent?
Might not the many ills I've suffered thee content,

> See post, p. 89, "Of Love after Death."


But thus, from age to age, thou must me mortify?
Behold my Autumn-tide, that cometh fast on me !
But, nay, I speak in vain; thou hearken'st not my cry.
God grant that, at the least, my Winter may be free!

I love my love, because she coal-black eyes
And eyebrows hath and cheeks of rosy hue;
Because she hath a breast of ivory new.
Sweet breath and gracious smile, I love her, I.
I love her for her forehead broad and high.
Where Love in glory thrones; I love her, too,
For her sweet speech and memory rich and true
And for her wit, which doth all else outvie.
I love her well, because she is humane.
Because she wit and wisdom hath amain
And for her heart from avarice is free.
But that to love her most which doth me spur
Is that still well in point she holdeth me
And that I lie, whenas I will, with her.

How happy is the man that from the town afar
Lives freely in the fields upon his own domain
And who in quiet holds his proper house in train
Nor otherwhither seeks a better-fortuned star!
He knoweth not of needs nor what distresses are
And hath no other care than of the hail and rain;
And if his house be bare of great affairs and gain,
Great troubles, at the least, come not his peace to mar.
Vines unto elms anon he binds; anon a tree
He grafts and otherwhiles upon llic swarded lea.
For watering of the grass, he taps a fountain-head ;
Then, with his faithful wife and little ones, at night.
Returning home again, he sups by candle-light.
Devises, warms himself, and so betimes to bed.


Now that so mild the dawn is in this month of May,
I rise as soon from bed as rosy-fingered Morn
And seeking to allay the prick of sorrow's thorn,
Unto the woods repair, to list the small birds' lay;
Where, if the nightingale I hear complain, straightway,
Progne, to boot, begins bewail herself, lovelorn;
And each consoleth each and each with each doth mourn ;
And so, within this brake, content they bide and gay.
But I, alas! I moan, I cry and I lament.
Help seeking for the ill that doth me thus torment.
And never any find that doth to me reply.
I only, I, these woods with my complaint awake
And to myself, alas! I only answer make,
Having none other hope than that I soon shall die.

How shall we do, my Gordes ? Shall we, then, ne'er have
peace ?
Have we, then, said farewell to peace for evermore?
Shall we for ever, then, upon the earth have war,
War, that a people's loads so sorely doth increase?
But soldiers, horses, arms, I see and never cease
To hear discourse of nought of battle but and gore,
No sound but trumpets' clang, arms' clash and cannon's roar,
Nor talk of aught but wars begun at kings' caprice.
Nay, princes with our lives, in these our times, do play;
And when our goods and store they've reft from us away,
They've neither power nor care to render them to us.
Unhappy we to live in such an age as this,
Which sufifereth us be of ills environed thus !
The fault from others comes; but ours the damage is.

What while I make my moan, beneath this copse's shade,
Of her, my freedom lost in durance who detains,


The nightingale I hear, of Tereus who complains
And who to my sad voice attunes her serenade.
Yet on far different wise our twin complaint is made.
The thirst for vengeance breathes in Philomela's strains;
Whilst in my soul the love of one forever reigns,
By whom an hundred deaths in life on me are laid.
True is it, her complaint in three months finisheth;
But mine no respite hath, no end except in death,
And dureth still with me, in travail and repose.
Since, then, my amorous pain unequalled is of her
Or any other, let me end my days and woes.
Still singing on till death, as doth the grasshopper.



That tress is yours, my mistress fair,
That tress of golden, glittering hair.
That very gold itself would shame;
Yon brows, that flawless ivory seem,
And those twin stars, below that beam,
All these are yours, my dulcet dame.

Yours is that lovesome cheek of rose
And those two lips, that in repose
Like threads of virgin coral show,
Ancl eke those teeth, whence issueth
The fragrance of your balmy breath,
Like pearls or crystals all arow.

Brief, yours they are, the lovely face,
The gracious wit, the goodly grace.
The sweetness inenarrable.
Mine only is the dire distress
And all I suffer of duresse
For you to love and wish you well.



Because, in these my Loves diversely here down-set,
I parley now with Anne and now with Margaret,,
Louise and Maudlin, some may charge me, sooth to tell,
With loving in o'er-many a quarter to love well.

To this my answer is, according to the pains,
Which I've so long endured for these fair maids' disdains,
And to such good as I have had of them no less,
I've striv'n to set it down with truth and simpleness.

But one alone to love and by that one behold
My life fore'er in thrall to torments manifold,
I'faith, that can I not; I'd rather say. "Adieu!"
And in another place a better lot ensue.

'Twas Nature made me thus, and she herself is fair
For the diversity that's in her everywhere;
Thus natural I am and that which pleaseth me
In the affairs of love is e'en diversity.

A young man's but a fool, deserving of disgrace,
Who lodgeth not his heart but in one only place;
And woe betide the mouse for whom the cat's jaws gape,
Who knoweth but one hole whereby he may escape.

One's fortune still from port to port to seek 'tis sage,
To hither, thither fare, to change one's pasturage;
And if acceptance due we find not anywhere.
Another land to seek and better fortune there.

By travel and discourse in various lands and seas.
By talk with divers folk in divers languages,
A man approves himself more rare and gains the fame
Of one who's seen the world, a man of wit and name.


Those peevish swains, who night and day to sigh are fain
After a love, to which they still aspire in vain,
Lose food and sleep, what while they yet draw living breath,
Each moment of their days still suffer many a death.

I make my mock of them; for this their furious love
That is not which transports man's soul to heav'n above;
A frenzy 'tis that turns their wills from good to bad
And makes men in the streets still point at them for mad.

Let us, then, love at large and these sour constancies
Far banish from our loves and our alliances,
Loving who loveth us and still abiding free
To enter on new loves, when of the old tire we.


If it be true that, in the world below,
We love on still, in spite of time and death,
And that true love in nothing suffereth
From the dark grave, to which we all must go,

Let Death, then, do on me his utmost scaith,
I will love constantly, despite his dart.
And dead or live, in thee, my love, my heart
Shall ever live, my puissance and my faith.

Let us live happy, then, since so it is
That after death, one can live on fore'er
And all the happier hold oneself that there
The less one hath of cares and miseries.

There neither doubts nor languors sad undue,
Nor vain regrets nor harassing suspects,
Cold fears nor traitor looks nor sad affects,
Trouble the gentle hearts of lovers true.


Nay, gaily, still, in some sweet shaded place,
With kisses sweet their loves they certify
And living each anew the other by,
Their arms about each other's necks enlace.

There not, as here, the churlish husbandman
Our mother's bosom rends with the sharp share,
Nor doth the knave surveyor ever there
The fields and woods unfairly mete and span.

There all the goods of life in common are ;
Earth without care produceth them or cark;
Nor ever there the mantle of the dark
The blue of heaven's air with night doth mar.

There Zephyr wafteth ever with soft wing
And there the meadows lush and bosky bowers,
All diapered with many-coloured flowers,
The coolth exhale of an eternal Spring.

The wolves there never ravish from the flocks
The tender lambkins nor the humble ewes;
No dolphin in the streams the fish pursues
Nor falcon strikes the pigeons on the rocks.

The timid hart goes never there in dread
Of the fierce tiger: nor the serpents there.
Casting their slough among the meadows fair,
Upon the painted grass their venom shed.

No tempest there the summer-quiet shocks,
Filling the temperate air with hurtling hail;
Nor stormwinds o'er the ocean rage and wail,
Urging the ships upon the parlous rocks.


The heats of summer in that dulcet clime
Th'enamelled gardens never scorch and burn;
Nor are the fields and woodlands there in turn
Of leaves and flowers despoiled by Autumn-time.

No winters there the rills in ice encage;
Nor usance there nor habitude nor need,
Despite of time, hath aye availed to breed
The arts and crafts that dull our sorry age.

Thither we'll go and there, together, we
Our gentle loves \\dll dulcetly ensue
And there in peace and pleasance dwell, we two,
In happiness that shall for ever be.

Let Death, then, do on me his utmost scaith.
I will love constantly, despite his dart;
And dead or live, in thee, my love, my heart
Shall ever live, my puissance and my faith.




Who, in this waste of days,
Shall succour my amaze?
O Jesus of my praise,
Have pity on my case;
Show me Thy shining face;
Give ear unto my cries;
Solace my lovesick spright
And bless my longing eyes
With Thine eternal light.

A lover is my soul.
Whose aim Thou art and goal:
Thou, too, of those, heart-whole
Who love Thee, lover art.
Come, quicken Thou my heart;
Enlighten Thou the way.
Wherein my spright's afire:
Thou only canst allay
The flame of my desire.

Thou surely canst not hate
The soul disconsolate,
That pineth still, await
For that Thy promised grace
And its salvation trace


Doth to Thy precious blood.
Then why th'immortal sweet
To it of this Thy good
Delayest Thou to mete ?

Ah, wherefore dost Thou leave,
Unsuccoured, me to grieve?
Why fail'st Thou to relieve
My woes? Why cast my prayers,
Unanswered, to the airs?
The voices of my pain,
That rend my mazed wit,
Besiege Thine ear in vain:
Thy love's but counterfeit.

But Thou, in vain, forby,
With careful love dost try.
Torment and mortify,
In sorrow day and night,
My longing, lovesick spright.
It will not cease for aye
To love its own defeat
And languishing, will say,
"To languish thus is sweet."



The summer winter shall become and Autumn Spring-
The heav'ns shall heavy grow and heavy lead be light;
The fishes in the air our eyes shall see in flight
And these that now are dumb be voiced to speak and sing;
Water shall turn to fire and fire to water cold,
Or ever other love upon my heart take hold.


111 shall give gladness, ease dismay and sickness health ;
Snow shall be black and bold the timid hare and brave;
The lion, coward turned, shall blood no longer crave;
The earth no more shall herbs nor silver yield and gold;
The rocks, of their own will, shall have the power to range.
Or e'er my love from this its present case shall change.

The wolf in one same fold shall stable with the ewe,
Together penned without a sign of enmity;
The eagle with the doves in brotherhood shall be
And the chameleon shall no longer change his hue.
The swallow leave in Spring to nest the eaves above,
Or e'er this heart of mine be ta'en with a new love.

The moon, which in a month returneth, its career
In thirty years shall run, instead of thirty days,
And Saturn, who his course in thirty years defrays,
Shall lighterfooted grow than Phoebe's silver sphere;
The night shall be the day, the day shall be the night.
Or e'er I at the fire of other loves take light.

The years shall work no change in fashion nor in hair;
The senses shall in peace with reason come to dwell;
And pleasanter shall be mischances foul and fell
Than all the world's delights to hearts that find it fair;
Men shall love Death and Life on like wise hate and shun,
Toward another love or e'er you see me run.

Hope from the world of men forevermore shall cease
And falsehood none from truth be able to discern;
Fortune no more without a cause shall shift and turn
And war's effects ensue in harmlessness and peace;
The sun shall darkened be and God grow visible
Or e'er another love my captive heart compel.



I. OF HIS lady's praise.

The lovesome visage of my dame
Is tinct with such a virgin snow
And flushed with such a vermeil flame,
That burneth still and never low,
That of her several beauties Love
Scarce knoweth which is which above
And He, who conquers all save Death,
Conquered Himself acknowledgeth.

The amorous and dulcet flush,
Upon her lovesome cheek that glows.
Under her tresses long and lush,
Is as a glad incarnate rose,
That from its thorn-set crown of green
Discovereth its blossoms sheen,
Whenas the sun, at dawning gray,
Leaving the East, leads up the day.

And so her forehead's glittering white
Is as the moon above the sea.
That on the trembling waves at night
With sparkling rays resplendently
Far shineth o'er the snowy spray,
Chasing the sullen shades away,
When, in the time and air serene.
Unclouded all the heav'ns are seen.

So fair is she to whom I find
Me bounden and so worshipworth ;
The Gods to her have been so kind
That her I caniiot deem of earth;


And all the other things men prize
For precious in the earth and skies
To me, compared with her my star,
As nought or very little are.

2. A lover's complaint.

I do not plain me of the feeble power
That for defence my reason hath to dower;
But I do plain me of my fancy's flight,
That still its pinions plies at such a height.

I do not plain me of my fleeting youth
Nor of Love's war, that slays me without ruth;
But I complain that for her high estate.
The cause of all my woes, I am no mate.

I plain me not that at all hours mine eye
In tears is drowned, that still I weep and sigh;
But I do plain me of my tongue, that will,
And of mine eyes, that cannot, hide mine ill.

I do not plain me of my wounded heart.
That, 'neath feigned cheer, it feels the hidden smart,
But that it joyeth in its languishment
So that its woe alone can it content.

I do not plain me that my thought love-sick,
Leaving me, traitor, after her will prick;
But that, my heart being hers, I have no sign
By which to say of hers, "It will be mine."

I plain me of the dulcet fire no whit.
Which in my soul her lovesome eyes have lit;
But I do plain me that my ill begot
Was of her looks and yet they know it not.


I plain me not that day long, night long, I
In cruel martyrdom must groan and sigh;
But I complain that Echo me alone
Pities and pitiful as I makes moan.

I do not plain me that her loveliness
Commandeth me and holdeth in duresse;
But I complain that, when near her I come,
She still Medusa is and strikes me dumb.

Not that my wound is mortal I complain
Nor that I die for love of her in vain;
But 1 complain that she will never know
How she it was who caused me perish so.


The violets white and blue
In this sweet season blow
And many flow'rets new
In every quarter show:
But of all blooms, that fields and bowers

In Springtime bear,
My Immortelle's most bright and fair.
The flower of flowers.

O beauteous blossom, cause of my despite,

Immortelle mine.

The new flower of thy beauty bright

Maketh me pine.

The meads, themselves unto
The sun abandoning.
With flowers of every hue
Enamelled are in Spring,


In vain. Before the tinct vermeil

Of her face fair,
That doth to heav'n my courage bear,

Their blooms all pale.

To weave a garland, apt
On her fair head to set,
Where Love hath me entrapped
Within her tresses' net,
The treasures all of wood and field

Despoil will I,
That, jealous, each with other vie,
Themselves to yield.

The lily and the rose.
The white flowers and the red.
The honour to repose
Upon that happy head
Would have, o'er which, upon a plain

A cloud as 'twere,

That showers waters from the air,

All blessings rain.

All fairest flowers and best
Were fain on her to fade,
Esteeming themselves blest
To touch so fair a maid,
Who, like Aurora bright, doth still

With blossoms pied,
Wherein an hundred Lovelets hide,
Her bosom fill.

Life taking from my fair,
Thou'lt see them blossom high;
And out of envy, there
If Flora doom them die,


It pleaseth them to pine, as me,

For her sweet sake,
That doth Spring's sheen as nothing make,

So fair is she.

Three little months but lasts
The Springtime sweet and soft.
And stranger cold and blasts
Do wreck and waste it oft;
But ne'er shall Winter mar, with his

Untimeous harms,
The April of my lady's charms.
So perfect 'tis.

Needs must it be confest,
Of all who make compare,
That over April's best
The bell her beauties bear;
Albe it boast its nightingale.

That to his mate

Among the branches doth relate

His lovelorn tale.

Yon rustic minstrel gay.
That in the flowering brake,
Whilst April lasts and May,
Doth amorous music make.
If he my lady sing should hear,

His tender throat
He'd seek to teach, its native note
To take from her.

Then let the Spring return
At pleasure, whence it came.
The fair, for whom I burn,
Will never fail my flame.


Whilst she is present here, I see

The gracious Prime;
And she being absent, Winter-time

It is for me.

O beauteous blossom, cause of my despite.
Immortelle mine,
The new flower of thy beauty bright
Maketh me pine.

4. OF HIS lady's absence.

Now far that, my life.
Thou art from my gaze,
I live but in strife
Nor look for bright days.
The black shadows' throng
Shall be for my light:
Me call may I well
A martyr of hell.
Afar from thy sight.

The amorous earth
Grows graceless and gray,
When sweet Summer's mirth
Hath fleeted away:
So absence from thee
Hath deadened in me
All hope of delight;
Me call may I well
A martyr of hell
Afar from thy sight.

Each high-soaring thought,
That fluttered in me,
Is wasted to nought,
E'enso as I see,


No flower and no herb
Abideth superb
In darkness of night.
Me call may I well
A martyr of hell,
Afar from thy sight.

My darkling eclipse
With that is at one,
Which on the moon grips,
For lack of the sun;
For out of the skies.
That limit mine eyes,
Day blotted is quite.
Me call may I well
A martyr of hell,
Afar from thy sight.

My secrets I say
To the rocks where 1 err;
No stone in my way
So hard is of ear
But pities my woe
And softer doth grow.
For ruth on my plight.
Me call may I well
A martyr of hell,
Afar from thy sight.

The tears, in my road
The herbage that strew.
The grasses corrode
With poisonous dew;
What flocks on them graze
Are given for preys


To sickness and blight.
Me call may I well
A martyr of hell,
Afar from thy sight.

The woefuUest plaints
Of lovers whilere
But words are and feints
By that which I bear;
And nought stays the flame,
Save thine oft-chanted name,
Of my perishing spright.
So me may I well
Call a martyr of hell,
Afar from thy sight.



Earth, water, air and fire, inexorable Fate
And Gods, no less than men, conspire for my misgrace.
Thee only, dulcet dream, in this my heavy case.
None else than thee, to me I find compassionate.
The fair, for whom I lose in vain, unfortunate.
My time and youth, thou dost before mine eyes retrace.
Accoutred on such wise, with such a form and face,
That fain I'd have night dure forever without date.
Yet rare thy kindness is; for bitter love not oft
Mine eyelids sufif'reth me to close in slumber soft.
So I against his wrongs thereof may have repair.
Whence, dream, since now I may but have thee and again.
At least, whenas thou com'st, be not so swiftly fain
To bear away the good that is to me so rare.



If love it be, for ever in one's spright
To hive the memory of one only fair;
If love it be, for sadness pale to fare
And perish, absent from one's lady's sight;
If love it be, in fire both day and night
To live and worship what the heart doth tear;
If love it be, to think of nothing e'er
But to re-see the eyes, my breast that bite;
If love it be, oneself for love to bate.
To nurse Life's foe, chagrin importunate.
And from all pleasures, self-displeasured, fly;
Far from one good, oneself forlorn to hold.
Having one's soul in that sole good ensouled;
If this be love, how fast in love am I !


Full of desire that urgeth me astray,
Diverting me from every other thought.
After a mocking good, which leave 1 ought,
A shy, unfavouring fair, I follow aye.
This false desire will never let me stay:
It bears me off and I therefor can nought.
But love, as lord, my every sense hath wrought
To follow their perdition night and day.
Myself he doth to flee myself constrain
And after her I love too well, in vain.
To follow, as the clouds in heaven that fare.
In dreams the Idol may one take, this gait
Delusive, who his hands will not await
That follows her and thinks to clip the air.


Thou, to these woods, each year, delightsome nightingale,
Amid the thickset leaves that com'st to make lament.


I recognize in thee thy customary plaint
And know the wistful strains of thine accustomed tale.
But last year's me, alack! thou nevermore shalt hail;
A fair divine, renowned for worth preeminent,
Whose weapons overpass a man's admeasurement,
The favouring wind of yore hath muted for my sail.
Henceforward thou a mate unto thine accents sad
Shalt have, who day and night his love-complaints will add.
Erst was I free; but now, since Love in me doth stir,
Thou seest me, grown a slave, for my poor heart prepare
Chagrin and woe to food and those bright eyes, that were
My conquerors, make at once my bridle and my spur.


I know full well that flowers not always are a-blow;
I know that Spring's delights endure but for a spell,
That, in the woods, the leaves must fall, as still they fell:
Yet that their verdure's not for ever dead, I know.
Although the moon, bytimes, is red of tinct, not so
Forever is her hue; but, being changeable,
That she on like wise shines not ever, I know well:
But this I know that still unchanging is my woe.
Regret, I know, fore'er I harbour in my breast
For these of whom ill fate my love hath dispossest
And that they followed are forever of my thought.
I know that all repine and all regret are vain
For that which cruel Fate to us doth foreordain;
But counsel such to those who love availeth nought.


No man in this our world did ever yet live free;
None is unthralled; but one or other servitude
Doth every mortal bind with fetters mild or rude,
According to the kind of his captivity.
Some to the riches serfs which dominate them be ;


Fortune of othersome with care and toil ensued,
Some slaves to lords who pay with sheer ingratitude,
And others of all kinds of pleasures slaves we see.
One doth a fickle folk and thankless master call
And one ambition hath that holdeth him in thrall.
The laws on th'other hand forbid us still to use
The fashions and the ways that most are to our mind:
Each hath his bond; but much one may, the gentlest kind
Of service, — Love's, to wit, — if for one self one choose.


Nought in this world is lost and that which lesser grows
As much as it hath lost gains in some other land.
An if the sea bytimes go swallowing a strand,
Its waves elsewhere as much of naked earth expose.
Nay, if some land unknown, from ocean rising, shows
To some stray traveller's sight, itself, on other hand.
The sea, one may not doubt, in other oceans spanned
By other skies, as much, concealing, overflows.
So, when the Fates from us some good or pleasure bear
Away, that which we lose is found again elsewhere,
Or else another good we get, to fill its place.
Yea, in your sight I've known how sure is this my say,
For that in you far more than that to me which aye

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Online LibraryJohn PayneFlowers of France: the renaissance period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, representative poems of the sixteenth century; → online text (page 4 of 9)