A Praise Of His Lady - Poem by John Heywood
GIVE place, you ladies, and begone!
Boast not yourselves at all!
For here at hand approacheth one
Whose face will stain you all.
The virtue of her lively looks
Excels the precious stone;
I wish to have none other books
To read or look upon.
In each of her two crystal eyes
Smileth a naked boy;
It would you all in heart suffice
To see that lamp of joy.
I think Nature hath lost the mould
Where she her shape did take;
Or else I doubt if Nature could
So fair a creature make.
She may be well compared
Unto the Phoenix kind,
Whose like was never seen or heard,
That any man can find.
In life she is Diana chaste,
In troth Penelopey;
In word and eke in deed steadfast.
--What will you more we say?
If all the world were sought so far,
Who could find such a wight?
Her beauty twinkleth like a star
Within the frosty night.
Her rosial colour comes and goes
With such a comely grace,
More ruddier, too, than doth the rose,
Within her lively face.
At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet,
Ne at no wanton play,
Nor gazing in an open street,
Nor gadding as a stray.
The modest mirth that she doth use
Is mix'd with shamefastness;
All vice she doth wholly refuse,
And hateth idleness.
O Lord! it is a world to see
How virtue can repair,
And deck in her such honesty,
Whom Nature made so fair.
Truly she doth so far exceed
Our women nowadays,
As doth the jeliflower a weed;
And more a thousand ways.
How might I do to get a graff
Of this unspotted tree?
--For all the rest are plain but chaff,
Which seem good corn to be.
This gift alone I shall her give;
When death doth what he can,
Her honest fame shall ever live
Within the mouth of man.
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