Lady Mary Wroth (1586-1640)

Pamphilia to Amphilanthus (1621)


When night's black mantle could most darkness prove, 
And sleep (death's image) did my senses hire 
From knowledge of myself, then thoughts did move 
Swifter than those, most switness need require. 

In sleep, a chariot drawn by wing'd Desire, 
I saw, where sate bright Venus, Queen of love, 
And at her feet her son, still adding fire 
To burning hearts, which she did hold above. 

But one heart flaming more than all the rest, 
The goddess held, and put it to my breast. 
Dear Son, now shoot, she said, this must we win. 

He her obeyed, and martyr'd my poor heart. 
I waking hop'd as dreams it would depart, 
Yet since, O me, a lover have I been. 


Dear eyes how well (indeed) you do adorn 
That blessed sphere, which gazing souls hold dear: 
The loved place of sought for triumphs near: 
The court of glory, where Love's force was born: 

How may they term you April's sweetest morn 
When pleasing looks from those bright lights appear: 
A sun-shine day; from clouds, and mists still clear 
Kind nursing fires for wishes yet unborn! 

Two stars of Heaven, sent down to grace the Earth, 
Plac'd in that throne which gives all joys their birth; 
Shining, and burning; pleasing yet their charms; 

Which wounding, even in hurts are deem'd delights, 
So pleasant is their force! So great their mights 
As, happy, they can triumph in their harms. 


Yet is their hope: Then Love but play thy part 
Remember well thy self, and think on me; 
Shine in those eyes which conquer'd have my heart; 
And see if mine be slack to answer thee: 

Lodge in that breast, and pity moving see 
For flames which in mine burn in truest smart 
Exiling thoughts that touch inconstancy, 
Or those which waste not in the constant art, 

Watch but my sleep, if I take any rest 
For thought of you, my spiritt soe distressed 
As pale, and famish'd, I, for mercy cry; 

Will you your servant leave? Think but on this; 
Who wears love's crown, must not do so amiss, 
But seek their good, who on thy force do lie. 


Forbear dark night, my joys now bud again, 
Lately grown dead, while cold aspects did chill 
The root at heart, and my chief hope quite kill, 
And thunders struck me in my pleasures' wane 

Then I alas with bitter sobs, and pain, 
Privately groan'd, my Fortunes present ill; 
All light of comfort dimm'd, woes in prides fill, 
With strange increase of grief, I griev'd in vain. 

And most, when as a memory too good 
Molested me, which still as witness stood, 
Of those best days, in former time I knew: 

Late gone as wonders past, like the great Snow, 
Melted and wasted, with what, change must know: 
Now back the life comes where as once it grew. 


Can pleasing sight misfortune ever bring? 
Can firm desire a painful torment try? 
Can winning eyes prove to the heart a sting? 
Or can sweet lips in treason hidden lie? 

The Sun most pleasing blinds the strongest eye 
If too much look'd on, breaking the sight's string; 
Desires still crossed must unto mischief hye, 
And as despair, a luckless chance may fling. 

Eyes, having won, rejecting proves a sting 
Killing the bud before the tree doth spring; 
Sweet lips not loving do as poison prove: 

Desire, sight, Eyes, lips, seek, see, prove, and find 
You love may win, but curses if unkind; 
Then show you harm's dislike, and joy in Love.

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Dánta saor ó chóipcheart. Suíomh © 2003 Éamon Mag Uidhir