Aemilia Lanyer

(1569-1645 / England)

To The Lady Susan

Come you that were the Mistris of my youth,
The noble guide of my vngouern'd days;
Come you that haue delighted in Gods truth,
Help now your handmaid to sound foorth his praise:
You that are pleas'd in his pure excellencie,
Vouchsafe to grace this holy feast, and me.

And as your rare Perfections shew'd the Glasse
Wherein I saw each wrinckle of a fault;
You the Sunnes virtue, I that faire greene grasse
That flourisht fresh by your cleere virtue taught:
For you possest those gifts that grace the mind,
Restraining youth whom Errour oft doth blind.

In you those noble Virtues did I note,
First, loue and feare of God, of Prince, of Lawes,
Rare Patience with a mind so farre remote
From worldly pleasures, free from giuing cause
Of least suspect to the most enuious eie,
That in faire Virtues Storehouse sought to prie.

Whose Faith did undertake in Infincie,
All dang'rous trauells by deuouring Seas
To flie to Christ from vaine Idolatry,
Not seeking there this worthlesse world to please,
By your most famous Mother so directed,
That noble Dutchesse, who liu'd vnsubiected.

From Romes ridiculous prier and tyranny,
That mighty Monarchs kept in awfull feare:
Leauing here her lands, her state, dignitie:
Nay more, vouchsaft disguised weedes to weare:
When with Christ Iesus she did meane to goe,
From sweet delights to taste part of his woe.

Come you that euer since hath followed her,
In these sweet paths of faire Humilitie:
Contemning Pride pure Virtue to preferre,
Not yeelding to base Imbecillitie,
Nor to those weake inticements of the world,
That haue so many thousand Soules insnared.

Receiue your Loue whom you haue sought so farre,
Which here presents himselfe within your view:
Behold this bright and all directing Starre,
Light of your Soule that doth all grace renew:
And in his humble paths since you do tread,
Take this faire Bridegroome in your Soules pure bed.

And since no former gaine hath made me write,
Nor my desertlesse seruice could haue wonne,
Onely your noble Virtues do incite
My Pen, they are the ground I write upon:
Nor any future profit is expected;
Then how can these poore lines goe vnrespected?

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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