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I sick withal, the help of bath desir'd,
And thither hied, a sad distemper'd guest,
But found no cure : the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire, my mistress' eyes.
The little Love-god lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs, that vow'd chaste life to keep,
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd:
And so the general of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarm’d.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath, and healthful remedy
For men diseas'd; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.s
-water cools not love.] These two last sonnets have no connection with those that precede them. They are, in fact, only to be looked upon as one sonnet, the same thought running through both, as if the author had first composed one, and, not quite pleasing himself, had afterwards written the other. Possibly, they were not by the same hand, two different poets dealing with the same fancy.
FROM off a hill whose concave womb re-worded
A plaintful story from a sistering vale,
My spirits t' attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tun'd tale ;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.
Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcass of a beauty spent and done :
Time had not scythed all that youth begun,
Nor youth all quit; but, spite of heaven's fell rage,
Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne,
Which on it had conceited characters,
Laundering the silken figures in the brine
That season'd woe had pelleted in tears,
And often reading what contents it bears ;
As often shrieking undistinguish'd woe
In clamours of all size, both high and low.
Sometimes her levell'd eyes their carriage ride,
As they did battery to the spheres intend ;
Sometimes, diverted, their poor balls are tied
To the orb'd earth; sometimes they do extend
Their view right on; anon their gazes bendo
To every place at once, and nowhere fix'd,
The mind and sight distractedly commix'd.
Her hair, nor loose, nor tied in formal plait,
Proclaim'd in her a careless hand of pride ;
For some, untuck'd, descended her sheav'd hat,
Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside ;
Some in her threaden fillet still did bide,
And, true to bondage, would not break from thence,
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
A thousand favours from a maund she drew1
Of amber, crystal, and of bedded jet,
Which one by one she in a river threw,
Upon whose weeping margent she was set ;
Like usury, applying wet to wet,
Or monarchs' hands, that let not bounty fall
Where want cries Some, but where excess begs all.
Of folded schedules had she many a one,
Which she perus’d, sigh’d, tore, and gave the flood;
Crack'd many a ring of posied gold and bone,
Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud ;
9 —their gazes BEND] In the old copy “bend” is lend.
1—from a MAUND she drew] The word “maund", for a basket, is still in use in several parts of the country.
Found yet more letters sadly penn'd in blood,
With sleided silk feat and affectedly
Enswath'd, and seal'd to curious secrecy.
These often bath'd she in her fluxive eyes,
And often kiss'd, and often 'gan to tear ;
Cried, O false blood! thou register of lies,
What unapproved witness dost thou bear!
Ink would have seem'd more black and damned here.
This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,
Big discontent so breaking their contents.
A reverend man that graz'd his cattle nigh,
Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest hours, observed as they flew,
Towards this afflicted fancy” fastly drew ;
And, privileged by age, desires to know,
In brief, the grounds and motives of her woe.
So slides he down upon his grained bat,
And comely-distant sits he by her side ;
When he again desires her, being sat,
Her grievance with his hearing to divide :
If that from him there may be aught applied,
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage,
'Tis promis'd in the charity of age.
· Toward this afflicted FANCY-] “Fancy", in Shakespeare, and other poets, is often used for love; and here it seems applied to the subject of the passion.