Isabel's Ode

by Robert Greene

Robert Greene

Sitting by a river side,
Where a silent stream did glide,
Banked about with choice flowers,
Such as spring from April showers,
When fair Iris smiling shows
All her riches in her dews;
Thick-leaved trees so were planted,
As nor art nor nature wanted,
Bordering all the brook with shade,
As if Venus there had made,
By Flora's wile, a curious bower,
To dally with her paramour;
At this current as I gazed,
Eyes intrapt, mind amazed,
I might see in my ken
Such a flame as fireth men,
Such a fire as doth fry
With one blaze both heart and eye,
Such a heat as doth prove
No heat like to heat of love.
Bright she was, for 'twas a she
That traced her steps towards me:
On her head she wore a bay,
To fence Phoebus' light away:
In her face one might descry
The curious beauty of the sky:
Her eyes carried darts of fire,
Feathered all with swift desire,
Yet forth these fiery darts did pass
Pearled tears as bright as glass,
That wonder 'twas in her eyne
Fire and water should combine,
If the old saw did not borrow,
Fire is love, and water sorrow.
Down she sat, pale and sad;
No mirth in her looks she had;
Face and eyes shewed distress,
Inward sighs discours'd no less:
Head on hand might I see,
Elbow leaned on her knee.
Last she breathed out this saw,
- Oh, that love hath no law!-
Love enforceth with constraint,
Love delighteth in complaint.
Whoso loves, hates his life,
For love's peace is mind's strife.
Love doth feed on beauty's fare,
Every dish sauced with care:
Chiefly women, reason why,
Love is hatched in their eye;
Thence it steppeth to the heart,
There it poisoneth every part,
Mind and heart, eye and thought,
Till sweet love their woes hath wrought:
Then repentant they 'gan cry,
Oh my heart that trowed mine eye.'
Thus she said, and then she rose,
Face and mind both full of woes;
Flinging thence with this saw,
- Fie on love that hath no law. -

Last updated February 21, 2018