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Sir Edward Dyer

(1540 - 1607 / England)

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.


Finis.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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