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From Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, from Romances and Prose-Tracts of the Elizabethan Age: with Chosen Poems of Nicholas Breton., edited by A. H. Bullen; John C. Nimmo, London ; 1890; p. 138.


From The Phœnix’ Nest



CALLING to mind mine eye long went about
T’entice my heart to seek to leave my breast,
All in a rage I thought to pull it out,
By whose device I lived in such unrest:
     What could it say to purchase my grace?
— Forsooth, that it had seen my mistress’ face.

Another time I likewise call to mind
My heart was he that all my woe had wrought;
For he my breast, the fort of love, resigned,
When of such wars my fancy never thought:
     What could it say when I would have him slain?
— But he was yours, and had forgot me clean.

At length when I perceived both eye and heart
Excused themselves as guiltless of mine ill,
I found myself was cause of all my smart,
And told myself, Myself now slay I will:
     But when I found myself to you was true,
I loved myself because myself loved you.


*  No author’s name is given in “The Phœnix’ Nest”; but the poem was quoted by Puttenham in 1589 as “a most excellent ditty, written by Sir Walter Raleigh.”

[Elf. Editor: For more by Sir Walter Raleigh go here.]


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