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


Ah! were she pitiful as she is fair,

Or but as mild as she is seeming so,

Then were my hopes greater than my despair,

Then all the world were heaven, nothing woe.

Ah! were her heart relenting as her hand,

That seems to melt even with the mildest touch,

Then knew I where to seat me in a land

Under wide heavens, but yet there is not such.

So as she shows she seems the budding rose,

Yet sweeter far than is an earthly flower;

Sovran of beauty, like the spray she grows;

Compass'd she is with thorns and canker'd flower.

Yet were she willing to be pluck'd and worn,

She would be gather'd, though she grew on thorn.

Ah! when she sings, all music else be still,

For none must be comparéd to her note;

Ne'er breathed such glee from Philomela's bill,

Nor from the morning-singer's swelling throat.

Ah! when she riseth from her blissful bed

She comforts all the world as doth the sun,

And at her sight the night's foul vapour's fled;

When she is set the gladsome day is done.

O glorious sun, imagine me the west,

Shine in my arms, and set thou in my breast!

— Robert Greene

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