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

My Lady's Tears

From John Dowland's Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs  (1603)

I saw my Lady weep,

And Sorrow proud to be advancéd so

In those fair eyes where all perfections keep.

Her face was full of woe;

But such a woe (believe me) as wins more hearts

Than Mirth can do with her enticing parts.

Sorrow was there made fair,

And Passion wise; Tears a delightful thing;

Silence beyond all speech, a wisdom rare:

She made her sighs to sing,

And all things with so sweet a sadness move

As made my heart at once both grieve and love.

O fairer than aught else

The world can show, leave off in time to grieve!

Enough, enough: your joyful look excels:

Tears kill the heart, believe.

O strive not to be excellent in woe,

Which only breeds your beauty's overthrow.

— Anonymous

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