Gateway to the Classics: Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by Arthur Quiller-Couch
Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by  Arthur Quiller-Couch

As Ye Came from the Holy Land

As ye came from the holy land

Of Walsinghame,

Met you not with my true love

By the way as you came?

How should I know your true love,

That have met many a one

As I came from the holy land,

That have come, that have gone?

She is neither white nor brown,

But as the heavens fair;

There is none hath her form divine

In the earth or the air.

Such a one did I meet, good sir,

Such an angelic face,

Who like a nymph, like a queen, did appear

In her gait, in her grace.

She hath left me here alone

All alone, as unknown,

Who sometime did me lead with herself,

And me loved as her own.

What's the cause that she leaves you alone

And a new way doth take,

That sometime did love you as her own,

And her joy did you make?

I have loved her all my youth,

But now am old, as you see:

Love likes not the falling fruit,

Nor the withered tree.

Know that Love is a careless child,

And forgets promise past:

He is blind, he is deaf when he list,

And in faith never fast.

His desire is a dureless content,

And a trustless joy;

He is won with a world of despair,

And is lost with a toy.

Of womenkind such indeed is the love,

Or the word love abuséd,

Under which many childish desires

And conceits are excuséd.

But true love is a durable fire,

In the mind ever burning,

Never sick, never dead, never cold,

From itself never turning.

— Anonymous
16th century   

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