by Lady Mary Wroth

Dear Love, alas, how have I 1 wrongèd thee,
     That ceaselessly thou still dost follow me?
My heart of diamond, clear and hard, I find
     May yet be pierced with one of the same kind
Which hath in it engraven a love more pure                                     5
     Than spotless white, and deep still to endure,
Wrought in with tears of never resting pain,
     Carved with the sharpest point of cursed disdain.
Rain oft doth was away a slender mark,
     Tears make mine firmer, and, as one small spark                 10
In straw may make a fire, so sparks of love
     Kindles incessantly in me to move,
While cruellest you do only pleasure take
     To make me faster tied to scorn's sharp stake.
'Tis harder, and more strength must usèd be,                                15
     To shake a tree than boughs we bending see:
So to move me it was alone your power,
     None else could e'er have found a yielding hour.
Cursed be subjection, yet blessè in this sort,
     That 'gainst all but one choice, my heart a fort                       20
Hath ever lasted: though besieged, not moved.
     But by their miss my strength the stronger proved,
Resisting with that constant might, that win
     They scarce could could parley,2 much less get foes in.
Yet worse than foes your slightings prove to be,                         25
     When careless you no pity take on me.
Make good my dreams, wherein you kind appear,
     Be to mine eyes, as to my soul, most dear.
From your accustomed strangeness at last turn;
     An ancient house once fired will quickly burn                        30
And waste unhelped; my long love claims a time
     To have aid granted, to this height I climb.
A diamond pure and hard, an unshaked tree,
     A burning house find, help, and prize in me.

1.  Composed by Pamphilia during a solitary early morning walk in the forest (i.121).
2.  win ... parley]  They could scarcely negotiate a conquest.

Wroth, Lady Mary. Poems. R. E. Pritchard, Ed.
Staffordshire, England: Keele University Press, 1996. 137.


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