English Courtier and Poet
Edward Dyer, fully Sir Edward Dyer
English Courtier and Poet
My mind to me a kingdom is, such present joys therein I find, that it excels all other bliss that world affords or grows by kind. Though much I want which most would have, yet still my mind forbids to crave. Some have too much, yet still do crave; I little have, and seek no more: they are but poor, though much they have, and I am rich with little store: they poor, I rich; they beg, I give; they lack, I have; they pine, I live.
True hearts have ears and eyes, no tongues to speak; they hear and see, and sigh, and then they break.
And love is love, in beggars and in kings.
The man of Woe -
The mann whose thoughtes agaynste him do conspyre,
One whom Mishapp her storye dothe depaynt,
The mann of woe, the matter of desier,
Free of the dead, that lives in endles plaint,
His spirit am I, whiche in this deserte lye,
To rue his case, whose cause I cannot flye.
Despayre my name, whoe never findes releife,
Frended of none, but to my selfe a foe;
An idle care, mayntaynde by firme beleife
That prayse of faythe shall throughe my torments growe,
And counte those hopes, that others hartes do ease,
Butt base conceites the common sense to please.
For sure I am I never shall attayne
The happy good from whence my joys aryse;
Nor haue I powre my sorrows to refrayne
But wayle the wante, when noughte ellse maye suffyse;
Whereby my lyfe the shape of deathe muste beare,
That deathe which feeles the worst that lyfe doth feare.
But what auayles withe tragicall complaynte,
Not hopinge healpe, the Furyes to awake?
Or why shoulde I the happy mynds aquaynte
With doleful tunnes, theire settled peace to shake?
All ye that here behoulde Infortune's feare,
May judge noe woe may withe my gref compare.
Sir Edward Dyer
I woulde it were not as it is
Or that I cared not yea or no;
I woulde I thoughte it not amiss,
Or that amiss mighte blamles goo;
I woulde I were, yet woulde I not,
I mighte be gladd yet coulde I not.
I coulde desire to know the meane
Or that the meane desyre soughte;
I woulde I coulde my fancye weane
From suche sweet joyes as Love hathe wroughte;
Onlye my wishe is leaste of all
A badge whereby to know a thrall.
O happy man whiche doste aspire
To that whiche semeleye thou dost crave!
Thrise happy man, if thy desyre
Maye winn with hope good happ to have;
But woe to me unhappy man
Whom hope nor happ acquiet cann.
The budds of hope are starvde with feare
And still his foe presents his face;
My state, if hope the palme shoulde beare
Unto my happ woulde be disgrace.
As diamond in woode were set
Or Irus raggs in goulde I frett.
For loe my tyrèd shoulders beare
Desyre's weery beatinge winges;
And at my feet a clogg I weare
Tyde one wth selfe disdayning stringes.
My wings to mounte aloft make hast.
My clog doth sinke me downe as faste.
This is our state, loe thus we stande
They ryse to fall that climbe to hye;
The boye that fled kynge Minos lande
Maye learne the wise more love to flye.
What gaynde his poynte agaynste the sonne
He drownde in seas himself, that wonne.
Yet Icarus more happy was,
By present deathe his cares to ende
Than I, pore mann, on whom alas
Tenn thousande deathes theire paynes do sende.
Now greife, now hope, now loue, now spyghte
Longe sorrows mixte withe shorte delyghte.
The pheere and fellowe of thy smarte
Prometheus I am indeede;
Upon whose ever livinge harte
The greedy gryphes do daylye feede;
But he that lyfts his harte so hye
Muste be contente to pine and dye.
As rare to heare as seldome to be seene,
It cannot be nor never yet hathe bene
That fire should burne with perfecte heate and flame
Without some matter for to yealde the same.
A straunger case yet true by profe I knowe
A man in joy that livethe still in woe:
A harder happ who hathe his love at lyste
Yet lives in love as he all love had miste:
Whoe hathe enougehe, yet thinkes he lives wthout,
Lackinge no love yet still he standes in doubte.
What discontente to live in suche desyre,
To have his will yet ever to requyre.
A Fancy -
Hee that his mirth hath loste,
Whose comfort is dismaid,
Whose hope is vaine, whose faith is scorned,
Whose trust is all betraid,
If he have held them deare,
And cannot cease to moane,
Come, let him take his place by me;
He shall not rue alone.
But if the smalest sweete
Be mixt with all his sowre;
If in the day, the moneth, the yeare,
He finde one lightsome hower,
Then rest he by himself;
He is noe mate for me,
Whose hope is falen, whose succor voyde,
Whose hart his death must be.
Yet not the wishèd death,
That hathe noe plainte nor lacke,
Which, making free the better parte,
Is onely nature's sacke.
Oh me! that wer too well,
My death is of the minde,
Which alwayes yeeldès extreame paines,
Yet keepes the worst behind.
As one that lives in shewe
But inwardly doth die,
Whose knowledge is a bloody field
Wheare all hope slaine doth lie;
Whose harte the aulter is,
Whose spirit, the sacrifize
Unto the Powers whome to appease
Noe sorrowes can sufize.
Whose fancies are like thornes,
On which I goe by night,
Whose arguments are like a hoste,
That force hath put to flight.
Whose sense is passion's spye,
Whose thoughtes, like ruins old
Of Carthage, or the famous towne
That Sinon bought and sold.
Which still before my face,
My mortall foe doth lay,
Whome love and fortune once advanced
And nowe hath cast away.
O thoughtes! noe thoughtes but woundes,
Sometimes the seate of Joy
Sometimes the chaire of quiet rest
But nowe of all annoy.
I sowed the feild of peace,
My blisse was in the Springe;
And day by day I ate the fruit
That my Live's tree did bring.
To nettels nowe my corne,
My feild is turnd to flint,
Where sitting in the cipres shade,
I reade the hiacint.
The joy, the rest, the life
That I enioyed of yore
Came to my lot that by my losse,
My smarte might smarte the more.
Thus to unhappie men
The best frames to the worste;
O tyme, O places. O woordes, O lookes,
Deere then but nowe accurst!
In 'was' stood my delight,
In 'is' and 'shall' my woe;
My horrors fastned in the 'yea,'
My hope hangs in the 'noe.'
I looke for noe delight,
Releefe will come too late;
Too late I finde, I finde too well,
Too well stoode my Estate.
Behold, heere is the end,
And nothing heere is sure:
Ah nothinge ells but plaints and cares
Doth to the world enduer.
Forsaken first was I,
Then utterly foregotten;
And he that came not to my faith,
Lo! my reward hath gotten.
Nowe Love, where are thy lawes
That make thy torments sweete?
What is the cause that some through thee
Have thought their death but meet?
Thy stately chaste disdaine,
Thy secret thanckfulnes,
Thy grace reservd, thy common light
That shines in worthines.
O that it were not soe
Or that I could excuse!
O that the wrath of Jelousie
My judgement might abuse!
O fraile unconstant kind,
And safe in truste to noe man!
Noe woemen angells are, yet loe!
My mistris is a woman!
Yet hate I but the falte,
And not the faultie one;
Nor can I rid me of the bonds
Wherein I lie alone.
Alone I lie, whose like
By love was never yet;
Nor rich, nor poore, nor younge, nor old,
Nor fond, nor full of witt.
Hers still remaine must I,
By wronge, by death, by shame;
I cannot blot out of my minde
That love wrought in her name.
I cannot set at naught
That I have held soe deare,
I cannot make it seem so farre
That is indeede soe neare.
Nor that I meane, henceforth
This strange will to professe:
I never will betray such trust
And fall to ficklenesse.
Nor shall it ever faile
That my word bare in hand:
I gave my word, my worde gave me,
Both worde and gaift shall stand.
Syth then it must be thus
And this is all to ill,
I yeelde me captiue to my curse,
My harde fate to fulfill.
The solitarie woodes,
My Cittie shall become;
The darkest den shalbe my lodge
Whereto noe light shall come.
Of heban blacke my boorde;
The wormes my meate shalbe,
Wherewith my carcase shalbe fed
Till thes doe feede on me.
My wine, of Niobe,
My bed the cragie rocke,
My harmony, the serpent's hisse,
The shreikinge owle, my cocke.
Mine exercise naught ells
But raginge agonies;
My bookes, of spightfull fortune's foiles
And drerye tragedies.
My walkes the pathes of plaint,
My prospect into Hell,
With Sisiphus and all his pheres
In endles paines to dwell.
And though I seeme to use
The poet's fainèd stile,
To figure forth my wofull plight,
My fall and my exile.
Yet is my greeffe not faind,
Wherein I starve and pine,
Whoe feeleth most shall finde it least
Comparinge his with mine.
My songe,--if anie aske
Whose grievous case is such?
Dy er thou let'st his name be knowne,--
His follye showes too much.
But best, were thee to hide
And never come to light;
For in the worle can none but thee
These accents sound aright.
And soe a end: my tale is tould:
His life is but disdaind,
Whose sorrowes present paine him soe,
His pleasures are full faind.