Elegie II

William Alexander

Let not the world beleeue th'accusing of my fate
Tends to allure it to condole with me my tragick state:
Nor that I haue sent foorth these stormie teares of rage,
So by disburd'ning of my brest, my sorrowes to asswage.
No, no, that serues for nought, I craue no such reliefe,
Nor will I yeeld that any should be partners of my griefe.
My fantasie to feed I only spend those teares:
My plaints please me, no musicke sounds so sweetly in my eares,
I wish that from my birth I had acquainted bene
Still with mishaps, and neuer had but woes and horrors seene:
Then ignorant of Ioyes, lamenting as I do,
As thinking all men did the like, I might content me too.
But ah, my fate was worse: for it (as in a glasse)
Shew'd me through litle blinkes of blisse, the state wherein I was.
Which vnperfected ioyes, scarce constant for an houre,
Was like but to a watrie Sunne, that shines before a shoure.
For if I euer thought or rather dream'd of Ioyes,
That litle lightning but foreshew'd a thunder of annoyes:
It was but like the fruit that Tantalus torments,
Which while he sees & nought attains, his hunger but augments.
For so the shadow of that but imagin'd mirth,
Cal'd all the crosses to record, I suffer'd since my birth,
Which are to be bewail'd, but hard to be redrest:
Whose strange effects may well be felt, but cannot be exprest.
Iudge what the feeling was, when thinking on things past,
I tremble at the torment yet, and stand a time agast.
Yet do I not repent, but will with patience pine:
For though I mourne, I murmure not, like men that do repine.
I graunt I waile my lot, yet I approue her will;
What my soules oracle thinkes good, I neuer shall thinke ill.
If I had onely sought a salue to ease my paines,
Long since I had bewail'd my lot alongst th'Elysian plaines:
Yet mind I not in this selfe-louer-like to die,
As one that car'd not for her losse, so I my selfe were free.
No, may ten nights annoyes make her one night secure,
A day of dolors vnto her a moments mirth procure:
Or may a yeares laments reioyce her halfe an houre,
May seuen years sorrows make her glad, I shal not think them soure.
And if she do delight to heare of my disease,
Then ô blest I, who so may haue th'occasion her to please.
For now the cause I liue, is not for loue of life,
But onely for to honour her that holds me in this strife.
And ere those vowes I make do vnperform'd escape,
This world shal once againe renuerst resume her shapelesse shape.
But what? what haue I vow'd, my passions were too strong,
As if the mildest of the world delighted to do wrong:
As she whom I adore with so deuote a mind,
Could rest content to see me starue, be glad to see me pin'd.
No, no, she wailes my state, and would appease my cares,
Yet interdited to the fates, conformes her will to theirs.
Then ô vnhappie man, whom euen thy Saint would saue,
And yet thy cruel destinie doth damne thee to the graue.
This sentence then may serue for to confound my feares,
Why burst I not my brest with sighs, & drowne mine eyes with tears?
Ah, I haue mourn'd so much, that I may mourn no more,
My miseries passe numbring now, plaints perish in their store.
The meanes t'vnlode my brest doth quite begin to faile;
For being drunke with too much dole, I wot not how to waile.
And since I want a way my anguish to reueale,
Of force contented with my Fate, Ile suffer and conceale.
And for to vse the world, euen as my loue vs'd me,
Ile vse a count'nance like to one, whose mind from grief were free.
For when she did disdaine, she shew'd a smiling face,
Euen then when she denounc'd my death, she seem'd to promise grace.
So shall I seeme in show my thoughts for to repose,
Yet in the center of my soule shall shroud a world of woes:
Then wofull brest and eyes your restlesse course controule,
And with no outward signes betray the anguish of my soule.
Eyes raine your shoures within, arrowze the Earth no more,
Passe drowne with a deluge of teares the brest ye burnt before:
Brest arme your selfe with sighes, if ore weake to defend,
Then perish by your proper fires, and make an honest end.

Last updated January 14, 2019