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1How canst thou heavy be? Now she appears,
2My pensive soul, that with her luster cheers
3All drooping spirits; lift up thy sad eyes,
4Behold how horrid darkness from her flies.
5Do thou but look how at the sight of day
6With sable wings
she2, scowling, flies away.
Aurora3with her orient light
8Doth scorn and trample melancholy Night!
Cynthia4with her glitt’ring train
10Hides all away for fear of her disdain.
11But yet (alas) what
comfort’s5in this light
12That is alternately pursued by Night?
13Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
successively6renew my grief.
15There is no cheerful light below the skies,
16Nor can we see it till we lose our eyes.
17Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
18Let me be nothing
if I debreathe on Earth7;
19But on condition of eternal glory,
20I am contented with my life’s sad story.
21For shame, my soul! Leave this base discontent,
cheerly8look up to the firmament.
23See how Aurora sprinkles dew-like pearls
Ceres’s9corn, gathered by rural girls
25To wash the freckles from their lovely face,
26That in their lovers’ eyes they may find grace.
27Alas, what beauty with such care
28When Sickness, Age, and Grief (of all the worst)
29Have acted all their parts? Then comes pale Death
30And closes up their eyes and stops their breath.
31How empty and how vain is carnal love
32Compared but with a glimpse of joys above!
33I was in youth a modest virgin
34And brought with honor to my nuptial bed,
35To a most lovely youth and nobly born;
36Virtue and beauty did his youth adorn.
37Our music then had sweet and pleasant
38Crowned were our heads with
myrtle13and with roses,
39Which to this hour are flowery, fresh, and green,
Though cypress buds14were here and there between
41Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love,
else that15we should place our thoughts above,
43Where only is pure, true love and lasting peace.
44That love shall last when faith and hope shall cease.
45From heaven, my soul (from heaven), thy comfort springs,
46For earth (alas) nought but affliction brings.
47Look up once more; here’s
that16thy heart will ease,
48Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
50With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
51Comes glitt’ring forth in most
52Joying to run his
53Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
54Until he lays in wanton
flagrant23head; then she, in love,
56His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
57And that sweet dew on flowers
58Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
59He with his heat exhales above our view,
60Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
61See how the
solsequium26thrusts her head
62Up through the center from that common bed
63Into the liquid
azure27sea above her
Phoebus28, her admiréd lover;
65When he in our horizon
gives his race29,
66Then in the air she shows her lovely face.
67So when he is our zenith at midday,
68She at full length her beauty doth display;
69But when the sun is
nadir30to us here,
70She meets him in the other hemisphere.
71To see these marvels and this shining lamp
72Dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp;
73For when I do his
75If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
76He burns me black for failing so in duty.
in innocence33, I had stood upright,
78Nor sun, nor moon should hurt me day or night,
79But I (ay me) in Adam fell from glory,
80Which makes me live a life most transitory.
Then34, those celestial orbs that shine so bright
82Should fellows be and further our delight.
83Happy should be their influence and dances,
aspects36and secret glances.
unto37them I should be independent,
86Nor need I fear, though Saturn’s my
87But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
88’Cause at my birth some planet looked awry,
89Forgetting Him that them and me did make,
90Who of His children constant care doth take;
91And those celestial works of wonder,
92He knows their names, natures, and number,
93Their turning and their constant stations,
94And every influence of those constellations.
95In God, my soul, trust ever and depend,
96So shalt thou live a life that ne’er shall end.
97Nor be thou hopeless when thy body’s crumbled,
98And with all creatures in this mass is jumbled;
99But at thy death sing cheerfully a
100For thou with joy shall, like the solsequium,
101Meet thy redeemer in a
102Brighter than this; thy flesh shall rest in hope,
103And thou shalt see thy Savior with these eyes,
104When that bright
Sun of Righteousness41shall rise;
105With healing wings He shall, from my sad eyes
106And from all faces else, wipe off the tears;
107So from all hearts he will dispel all fears.
108O then (till then) send
grace42into my heart,
109Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
110But I’ll improve’t,
my43few and evil days,
111Until it doth
exhale44in thanks and praise.