Best Famous Edmund Spenser Poems

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from Amoretti: Sonnet 67

Like as a huntsman after weary chase,
Seeing the game from him escap'd away,
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey:
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return'd the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
There she beholding me with milder look, Sought not to fly, but fearless still did bide: Till I in hand her yet half trembling took, And with her own goodwill her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem'd, to see a beast so wild, So goodly won, with her own will beguil'd.
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MOST glorious Lord of Lyfe! that on this day  
Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin; 
And having harrowd hell didst bring away 
Captivity thence captive us to win: 
This joyous day deare Lord with joy begin; 5 
And grant that we for whom thou diddest dye  
Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin  
May live for ever in felicity! 

And that Thy love we weighing worthily  
May likewise love Thee for the same againe; 10 
And for Thy sake that all lyke deare didst buy  
With love may one another entertayne! 
So let us love deare Love lyke as we ought  
¡ªLove is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
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Poem 18

 NOw welcome night, thou night so long expected,
that long daies labour doest at last defray,
And all my cares, which cruell loue collected,
Hast sumd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing ouer my loue and me,
that no man may vs see,
And in thy sable mantle vs enwrap,
>From feare of perrill and foule horror free.
Let no false treason seeke vs to entrap, Nor any dread disquiet once annoy the safety of our ioy: But let the night be calme and quietsome, Without tempestuous storms or sad afray: Lyke as when Ioue with fayre Alcmena lay, When he begot the great Tirynthian groome: Or lyke as when he with thy selfe did lie, And begot Maiesty.
And let the mayds and yongmen cease to sing: Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.
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Sonnet 30 (Fire And Ice)

 My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
how comes it then that this her cold so great
is not dissolv'd through my so hot desire,
but harder grows, the more I her entreat?

Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
is not delayed by her heart frozen cold,
but that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
and feel my flames augmented manifold?

What more miraculous thing may be told
that fire, which all thing melts, should harden ice:
and ice which is congealed with senseless cold,
should kindle fire by wonderful device?

Such is the pow'r of love in gentle mind
that it can alter all the course of kind.
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Sonnet 54

 Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love like the spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits, And mask in myrth lyke to a comedy: Soone after when my joy to sorrow flits, I waile and make my woes a tragedy.
Yet she, beholding me with constant eye, Delights not in my merth nor rues my smart: But when I laugh she mocks, and when I cry She laughs and hardens evermore her heart.
What then can move her? if nor merth nor mone, She is no woman, but a senceless stone.
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From Daphnaïda

An Elegy

SHE fell away in her first ages spring, 
Whil'st yet her leafe was greene, and fresh her rinde, 
And whil'st her braunch faire blossomes foorth did bring, 
She fell away against all course of kinde.
For age to dye is right, but youth is wrong; 5 She fel away like fruit blowne downe with winde.
Weepe, Shepheard! weepe, to make my undersong.
Yet fell she not as one enforst to dye, Ne dyde with dread and grudging discontent, But as one toyld with travaile downe doth lye, 10 So lay she downe, as if to sleepe she went, And closde her eyes with carelesse quietnesse; The whiles soft death away her spirit hent, And soule assoyld from sinfull fleshlinesse.
How happie was I when I saw her leade 15 The Shepheards daughters dauncing in a rownd! How trimly would she trace and softly tread The tender grasse, with rosie garland crownd! And when she list advance her heavenly voyce, Both Nymphes and Muses nigh she made astownd, 20 And flocks and shepheards caus¨¨d to rejoyce.
But now, ye Shepheard lasses! who shall lead Your wandring troupes, or sing your virelayes? Or who shall dight your bowres, sith she is dead That was the Lady of your holy-dayes? 25 Let now your blisse be turn¨¨d into bale, And into plaints convert your joyous playes, And with the same fill every hill and dale.
For I will walke this wandring pilgrimage, Throughout the world from one to other end, 30 And in affliction wast my better age: My bread shall be the anguish of my mind, My drink the teares which fro mine eyed do raine, My bed the ground that hardest I may finde; So will I wilfully increase my paine.
35 Ne sleepe (the harbenger of wearie wights) Shall ever lodge upon mine ey-lids more; Ne shall with rest refresh my fainting sprights, Nor failing force to former strength restore: But I will wake and sorrow all the night 40 With Philumene, my fortune to deplore; With Philumene, the partner of my plight.
And ever as I see the starres to fall, And under ground to goe to give them light Which dwell in darknes, I to minde will call 45 How my fair Starre (that shinde on me so bright) Fell sodainly and faded under ground; Since whose departure, day is turnd to night, And night without a Venus starre is found.
And she, my love that was, my Saint that is, 50 When she beholds from her celestiall throne (In which shee joyeth in eternall blis) My bitter penance, will my case bemone, And pitie me that living thus doo die; For heavenly spirits have compassion 55 On mortall men, and rue their miserie.
So when I have with sorowe satisfide Th' importune fates, which vengeance on me seeke, And th' heavens with long languor pacifide, She, for pure pitie of my sufferance meeke, 60 Will send for me; for which I daylie long: And will till then my painful penance eeke.
Weep, Shepheard! weep, to make my undersong!
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A Ditty

In praise of Eliza Queen of the Shepherds

SEE where she sits upon the grassie greene, 
(O seemely sight!) 
Yclad in Scarlot, like a mayden Queene, 
And ermines white: 
Upon her head a Cremosin coronet 5 
With Damaske roses and Daffadillies set: 
Bay leaves betweene, 
And primroses greene, 
Embellish the sweete Violet.
Tell me, have ye seene her angelick face 10 Like Phoebe fayre? Her heavenly haveour, her princely grace, Can you well compare? The Redde rose medled with the White yfere, In either cheeke depeincten lively chere: 15 Her modest eye, Her Majestie, Where have you seene the like but there? I see Calliope speede her to the place, Where my Goddesse shines; 20 And after her the other Muses trace With their Violines.
Bene they not Bay braunches which they do beare, All for Elisa in her hand to weare? So sweetely they play, 25 And sing all the way, That it a heaven is to heare.
Lo, how finely the Graces can it foote To the Instrument: They dauncen deffly, and singen soote, 30 In their meriment.
Wants not a fourth Grace to make the daunce even? Let that rowme to my Lady be yeven.
She shal be a Grace, To fyll the fourth place, 35 And reigne with the rest in heaven.
Bring hether the Pincke and purple Cullambine, With Gelliflowres; Bring Coronations, and Sops-in-wine Worne of Paramoures: 40 Strowe me the ground with Daffadowndillies, And Cowslips, and Kingcups, and lov¨¨d Lillies: The pretie Pawnce, And the Chevisaunce, Shall match with the fayre flowre Delice.
45 Now ryse up, Elisa, deck¨¨d as thou art In royall aray; And now ye daintie Damsells may depart Eche one her way.
I feare I have troubled your troupes to longe: 50 Let dame Elisa thanke you for her song: And if you come hether When Damsines I gether, I will part them all you among.
GLOSS: medled] mixed.
yfere] together.
soote] sweet.
coronations] carnations.
sops-in-wine] striped pinks.
pawnce] pansy.
chevisaunce] wallflower.
flowre delice] iris.
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CALM was the day, and through the trembling air 
Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play¡ª 
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay 
Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister fair; 
When I, (whom sullen care, 5 
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay 
In princes' court, and expectation vain 
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away 
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain,) 
Walk'd forth to ease my pain 10 
Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames, 
Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems, 
Was painted all with variable flowers, 
And all the meads adorn'd with dainty gems 
Fit to deck maidens' bowers, 15 
And crown their paramours 
Against the bridal day, which is not long: 
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
There in a meadow by the river's side A flock of nymphs I chanc¨¨d to espy, 20 All lovely daughters of the flood thereby, With goodly greenish locks all loose untied As each had been a bride; And each one had a little wicker basket Made of fine twigs, entrail¨¨d curiously.
25 In which they gather'd flowers to fill their flasket, And with fine fingers cropt full feateously The tender stalks on high.
Of every sort which in that meadow grew They gather'd some¡ªthe violet, pallid blue, 30 The little daisy that at evening closes, The virgin lily and the primrose true, With store of vermeil roses, To deck their bridegrooms' posies Against the bridal day, which was not long: 35 Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
With that I saw two swans of goodly hue Come softly swimming down along the Lee: Two fairer birds I yet did never see; The snow which doth the top of Pindus strow 40 Did never whiter show, Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be For love of Leda, whiter did appear; Yet Leda was (they say) as white as he, Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near; 45 So purely white they were That even the gentle stream, the which them bare? Seem'd foul to them, and bade his billows spare To wet their silken feathers, lest they might Soil their fair plumes with water not so fair, 50 And mar their beauties bright That shone as Heaven's light Against their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill? 55 Ran all in haste to see that silver brood As they came floating on the crystal flood; Whom when they saw, they stood amaz¨¨d still Their wondering eyes to fill; Them seem'd they never saw a sight so fair 60 Of fowls, so lovely, that they sure did deem Them heavenly born, or to be that same pair Which through the sky draw Venus' silver team; For sure they did not seem To be begot of any earthly seed, 65 But rather Angels, or of Angels' breed; Yet were they bred of summer's heat, they say, In sweetest season, when each flower and weed The earth did fresh array; So fresh they seem'd as day, 70 Ev'n as their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
Then forth they all out of their baskets drew Great store of flowers, the honour of the field, That to the sense did fragrant odours yield, 75 All which upon those goodly birds they threw And all the waves did strew, That like old Peneus' waters they did seem When down along by pleasant Tempe's shore Scatter'd with flowers, through Thessaly they stream, 80 That they appear, through lilies' plenteous store, Like a bride's chamber-floor.
Two of those nymphs meanwhile two garlands bound Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found, The which presenting all in trim array, 85 Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crown'd; Whilst one did sing this lay Prepared against that day, Against their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
90 "Ye gentle birds! the world's fair ornament, And heaven's glory, whom this happy hour Doth lead unto your lovers' blissful bower, Joy may you have, and gentle heart's content Of your love's couplement; 95 And let fair Venus, that is queen of love, With her heart-quelling son upon you smile, Whose smile, they say, hath virtue to remove All love's dislike, and friendship's faulty guile For ever to assoil.
100 Let endless peace your steadfast hearts accord, And blessed plenty wait upon your board; And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound, That fruitful issue may to you afford Which may your foes confound, 105 And make your joys redound Upon your bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
" So ended she; and all the rest around To her redoubled that her undersong, 110 Which said their bridal day should not be long; And gentle Echo from the neighbour ground Their accents did resound.
So forth those joyous birds did pass along Adown the Lee that to them murmur'd low, 115 As he would speak but that he lack'd a tongue; Yet did by signs his glad affection show, Making his stream run slow.
And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell 'Gan flock about these twain, that did excel 120 The rest, so far as Cynthia doth shend The lesser stars.
So they, enrang¨¨d well, Did on those two attend, And their best service lend Against their wedding day, which was not long: 125 Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
At length they all to merry London came, To merry London, my most kindly nurse, That to me gave this life's first native source, Though from another place I take my name, 130 An house of ancient fame: There when they came whereas those bricky towers The which on Thames' broad aged back do ride, Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers, There whilome wont the Templar-knights to bide, 135 Till they decay'd through pride; Next whereunto there stands a stately place, Where oft I gain¨¨d gifts and goodly grace Of that great lord, which therein wont to dwell, Whose want too well now feels my friendless case: 140 But ah! here fits not well Old woes, but joys to tell Against the bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer, 145 Great England's glory and the world's wide wonder, Whose dreadful name late through all Spain did thunder, And Hercules' two pillars standing near Did make to quake and fear: Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry! 150 That fillest England with thy triumphs' fame Joy have thou of thy noble victory, And endless happiness of thine own name That promiseth the same; That through thy prowess and victorious arms 155 Thy country may be freed from foreign harms, And great Elisa's glorious name may ring Through all the world, fill'd with thy wide alarms, Which some brave Muse may sing To ages following: 160 Upon the bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
From those high towers this noble lord iss¨²ing Like radiant Hesper, when his golden hair In th' ocean billows he hath bath¨¨d fair, 165 Descended to the river's open viewing With a great train ensuing.
Above the rest were goodly to be seen Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature, Beseeming well the bower of any queen, 170 With gifts of wit and ornaments of nature, Fit for so goodly stature, That like the twins of Jove they seem'd in sight Which deck the baldric of the heavens bright; They two, forth pacing to the river's side, 175 Received those two fair brides, their love's delight; Which, at th' appointed tide, Each one did make his bride Against their bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
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Poem 19

 LEt no lamenting cryes, nor dolefull teares,
Be heard all night within nor yet without:
Ne let false whispers breeding hidden feares,
Breake gentle sleepe with misconceiued dout.
Let no deluding dreames, nor dreadful sights Make sudden sad affrights; Ne let housefyres, nor lightnings helpelesse harmes, Ne led the Ponke, nor other euill sprights, Ne let mischiuous witches with theyr charmes, Ne let hob Goblins, names whose sence we see not, Fray vs with things that be not.
Let not the shriech Oule, nor the Storke be heard: Nor the night Rauen that still deadly yels, Nor damned ghosts cald vp with mighty spels, Nor griefly vultures make vs once affeard: Ne let th'unpleasant Quyre of Frogs still croking Make vs to wish theyr choking.
Let none of these theyr drery accents sing; Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.
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Poem 6

 My loue is now awake out of her dreame,
and her fayre eyes like stars that dimmed were
With darksome cloud, now shew theyr goodly beams
More bright then Hesperus his head doth rere.
Come now ye damzels, daughters of delight, Helpe quickly her to dight, But first come ye fayre houres which were begot In loues sweet paradice, of Day and Night, Which doe the seasons of the yeare allot, And al that euer in this world is fayre Doe make and still repayre.
And ye three handmayds of the Cyprian Queene, The which doe still adorne her beauties pride, Helpe to addorne my beautifullest bride And as ye her array, still throw betweene Some graces to be seene, And as ye vse to Venus, to her sing, The whiles the woods shal answer & your eccho ring
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Poem 21

 WHo is the same, which at my window peepes?
Or whose is that faire face, that shines so bright,
Is it not Cinthia, she that neuer sleepes,
But walkes about high heauen al the night?
O fayrest goddesse, do thou not enuy
My loue with me to spy:
For thou likewise didst loue, though now vnthought,
And for a fleece of woll, which priuily,
The Latmian shephard once vnto thee brought,
His pleasures with thee wrought,
Therefore to vs be fauorable now;
And sith of wemens labours thou hast charge,
And generation goodly dost enlarge,
Encline they will t'effect our wishfull vow,
And the chast wombe informe with timely seed,
That may our comfort breed:
Till which we cease our hopefull hap to sing,
Ne let the woods vs answere, nor our Eccho ring.
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Amoretti LXXIX: Men Call you Fair

 Men call you fair, and you do credit it,
For that your self ye daily such do see:
But the true fair, that is the gentle wit,
And vertuous mind, is much more prais'd of me.
For all the rest, how ever fair it be, Shall turn to naught and lose that glorious hue: But only that is permanent and free From frail corruption, that doth flesh ensue.
That is true beauty: that doth argue you To be divine, and born of heavenly seed: Deriv'd from that fair Spirit, from whom all true And perfect beauty did at first proceed.
He only fair, and what he fair hath made, All other fair, like flowers untimely fade.
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The Shepheardes Calender: October

Cuddie, for shame hold up thy heavye head,
And let us cast with what delight to chace,
And weary thys long lingring Phoebus race.
Whilome thou wont the shepheards laddes to leade, In rymes, in ridles, and in bydding base: Now they in thee, and thou in sleepe art dead.
CUDDY Piers, I have pyped erst so long with payne, That all mine Oten reedes bene rent and wore: And my poore Muse hath spent her spared store, Yet little good hath got, and much lesse gayne, Such pleasaunce makes the Grashopper so poore, And ligge so layd, when Winter doth her straine.
The dapper ditties, that I wont devise, To feede youthes fancie, and the flocking fry, Delighten much: what I the bett for thy? They han the pleasure, I a sclender prise.
I beate the bush, the byrds to them doe flye: What good thereof to Cuddie can arise? PIERS Cuddie, the prayse is better, then the price, The glory eke much greater then the gayne: O what an honor is it, to restraine The lust of lawlesse youth with good advice: Or pricke them forth with pleasaunce of thy vaine, Whereto thou list their trayned willes entice.
Soone as thou gynst to sette thy notes in frame, O how the rurall routes to thee doe cleave: Seemeth thou dost their soule of sence bereave, All as the shepheard, that did fetch his dame From Plutoes balefull bowre withouten leave: His musicks might the hellish hound did tame.
CUDDIE So praysen babes the Peacoks spotted traine, And wondren at bright Argus blazing eye: But who rewards him ere the more for thy? Or feedes him once the fuller by a graine? Sike prayse is smoke, that sheddeth in the skye, Sike words bene wynd, and wasten soone in vayne.
PIERS Abandon then the base and viler clowne, Lyft up thy selfe out of the lowly dust: And sing of bloody Mars, of wars, of giusts.
Turne thee to those, that weld the awful crowne, To doubted Knights, whose woundlesse armour rusts, And helmes unbruzed wexen dayly browne.
There may thy Muse display her fluttryng wing, And stretch her selfe at large from East to West: Whither thou list in fayre Elisa rest, Or if thee please in bigger notes to sing, Advaunce the worthy whome shee loveth best, That first the white beare to the stake did bring.
And when the stubborne stroke of stronger stounds, Has somewhat slackt the tenor of thy string: Of love and lustihed tho mayst thou sing, And carrol lowde, and leade the Myllers rownde, All were Elisa one of thilke same ring.
So mought our Cuddies name to Heaven sownde.
CUDDYE Indeed the Romish Tityrus, I heare, Through his Mec{oe}nas left his Oaten reede, Whereon he earst had taught his flocks to feede, And laboured lands to yield the timely eare, And eft did sing of warres and deadly drede, So as the Heavens did quake his verse to here.
But ah Mec{oe}nas is yclad in claye, And great Augustus long ygoe is dead: And all the worthies liggen wrapt in leade, That matter made for Poets on to play: For ever, who in derring doe were dreade, The loftie verse of hem was loved aye.
But after vertue gan for age to stoupe, And mighty manhode brought a bedde of ease: The vaunting Poets found nought worth a pease, To put in preace emong the learned troupe.
Tho gan the streames of flowing wittes to cease, And sonnebright honour pend in shamefull coupe.
And if that any buddes of Poesie, Yet of the old stocke gan to shoote agayne: Or it mens follies mote be forst to fayne, And rolle with rest in rymes of rybaudrye: Or as it sprong, it wither must agayne: Tom Piper makes us better melodie.
PIERS O pierlesse Poesye, where is then thy place? If nor in Princes pallace thou doe sitt: (And yet is Princes pallace the most fitt) Ne brest of baser birth doth thee embrace.
Then make thee winges of thine aspyring wit, And, whence thou camst, flye backe to heaven apace.
CUDDIE Ah Percy it is all to weake and wanne, So high to sore, and make so large a flight: Her peeced pyneons bene not so in plight, For Colin fittes such famous flight to scanne: He, were he not with love so ill bedight, Would mount as high, and sing as soote as Swanne.
PIERS Ah fon, for love does teach him climbe so hie, And lyftes him up out of the loathsome myre: Such immortall mirrhor, as he doth admire, Would rayse ones mynd above the starry skie.
And cause a caytive corage to aspire, For lofty love doth loath a lowly eye.
CUDDIE All otherwise the state of Poet stands, For lordly love is such a Tyranne fell: That where he rules, all power he doth expell.
The vaunted verse a vacant head demaundes, Ne wont with crabbed care the Muses dwell.
Unwisely weaves, that takes two webbes in hand.
Who ever casts to compasse weightye prise, And thinks to throwe out thondring words of threate: Let powre in lavish cups and thriftie bitts of meate, For Bacchus fruite is frend to Phoebus wise.
And when with Wine the braine begins to sweate, The nombers flowe as fast as spring doth ryse.
Thou kenst not Percie howe the ryme should rage.
O if my temples were distaind with wine, And girt in girlonds of wild Yvie twine, How I could reare the Muse on stately stage, And teache her tread aloft in buskin fine, With queint Bellona in her equipage.
But ah my corage cooles ere it be warme, For thy, content us in thys humble shade: Where no such troublous tydes han us assayde, Here we our slender pipes may safely charme.
PIERS And when my Gates shall han their bellies layd: Cuddie shall have a Kidde to store his farme.
CUDDIES EMBLEME Agitante calescimus illo |&c|.
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Poem 2

 EArly before the worlds light giuing lampe,
His golden beame vpon the hils doth spred,
Hauing disperst the nights vnchearefull dampe,
Doe ye awake and with fresh lusty hed,
Go to the bowre of my beloued loue,
My truest turtle doue
Bid her awake; for Hymen is awake,
And long since ready forth his maske to moue,
With his bright Tead that flames with many a flake,
And many a bachelor to waite on him,
In theyr fresh garments trim.
Bid her awake therefore and soone her dight, For lo the wished day is come at last, That shall for al the paynes and sorrowes past, Pay to her vsury of long delight, And whylest she doth her dight, Doe ye to her of ioy and solace sing, That all the woods may answer and your eccho ring.
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Whilst it is prime

FRESH Spring, the herald of loves mighty king, 
In whose cote-armour richly are displayd 
All sorts of flowers, the which on earth do spring, 
In goodly colours gloriously arrayd¡ª 
Goe to my love, where she is carelesse layd, 5 
Yet in her winters bowre not well awake; 
Tell her the joyous time wil not be staid, 
Unlesse she doe him by the forelock take; 
Bid her therefore her selfe soone ready make, 
To wayt on Love amongst his lovely crew; 10 
Where every one, that misseth then her make, 
Shall be by him amearst with penance dew.
Make hast, therefore, sweet love, whilest it is prime; For none can call againe the pass¨¨d time.
GLOSS: make] mate.