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1How canst thou heavy be now
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 she scowling flies away;
Aurora with her orient light2
8Doth scorn and trample
Cynthia with her glittering train4
10Hide all away for fear of her disdain.
11But yet (alas) what comfort’s in this light
12That is alternately pursued by night?
13Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
14It doth successively renew my grief.
15There is no cheerful light below the skies,
16Nor can we see till we lose our eyes.
17Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
18Let me be nothing if I
19But on condition of eternal glory,
20I am contented with my life’s sad story.
21For shame, my soul, leave this base discontent,
22And cheerly look up to the
See how Aurora sprinkles dewlike pearls7
24On Ceres’ corn 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 up-nursed,
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 bred,
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 closes8;
38Crowned were our heads with
myrtle and with roses9,
39Which to this hour are flowery, fresh and green,
cypress buds10were here and there between
41Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love;
42Or else that we should place our thoughts above,
43Where only is
true11love 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 that thy heart will ease,
48Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
Apollo12, this salubrious morning,
50With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
51Comes glittering forth in most refulgent grace,
52Joying to run his
53Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
54Until he lays in wanton Thetis’ lap,
55His flagrant head then she in love belaves,
56His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
57And that sweet dew on flowers redolent
58Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
59He with his heat exhales above our view
60Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
61See how the
solsequium14thrusts her head
62Up through the center from that common bed
63Into the liquid azure sea above her
Phoebus15her admired lover.
65When he in our horizon gives his race,
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 nadir to 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
74It more discovers my deformity.
75If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
He burns me black17for failing so in duty;
77But if in innocence 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 transitory18.
81Then those celestial orbs that shine so bright,
Should fellows be and further our delight19.
83Happy should be their influence and dances,
84Both their full-eyed aspects and secret glances.
85Then unto them I should be independent,
86Nor need I fear, though
Saturn’s my ascendant20.
87But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
88’Cause at my birth
some planet looked awry21,
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 saviour with these eyes,
104When that bright sun of righteousness shall 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.
108Oh then (till then) send
grace24into my heart,
109Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
110But I’ll improve’t, my few and evil days,
111Until it doth exhale in thanks and praise.