To The Noble Lady, The Lady I.S. Of Worldly Crosses

A poem by Michael Drayton

Madame, to shew the smoothnesse of my vaine,
Neither that I would haue you entertaine
The time in reading me, which you would spend
In faire discourse with some knowne honest friend,
I write not to you. Nay, and which is more,
My powerfull verses striue not to restore,
What time and sicknesse haue in you impair'd,
To other ends my Elegie is squar'd.
Your beauty, sweetnesse, and your gracefull parts
That haue drawne many eyes, wonne many hearts,
Of me get little, I am so much man,
That let them doe their vtmost that they can,
I will resist their forces: and they be
Though great to others, yet not so to me.
The first time I beheld you, I then sawe
That (in it selfe) which had the power to drawe
My stayd affection, and thought to allowe
You some deale of my heart; but you have now
Got farre into it, and you haue the skill
(For ought I see) to winne vpon me still.
When I doe thinke how brauely you haue borne
Your many crosses, as in Fortunes scorne,
And how neglectfull you have seem'd to be,
Of that which hath seem'd terrible to me,
I thought you stupid, nor that you had felt
Those griefes which (often) I haue scene to melt
Another woman into sighes and teares,
A thing but seldome in your sexe and yeares,
But when in you I haue perceiu'd agen,
(Noted by me, more then by other men)
How feeling and how sensible you are
Of your friends sorrowes, and with how much care
You seeke to cure them, then my selfe I blame,
That I your patience should so much misname,
Which to my vnderstanding maketh knowne
Who feeles anothers griefe, can feele their owne.
When straight me thinkes, I heare your patience say,
Are you the man that studied Seneca:
Plinies most learned letters; and must I
Read you a Lecture in Philosophie,
T'auoid the afflictions that haue vs'd to reach you;
I'le learne you more, Sir, then your bookes can teach you.
Of all your sex, yet neuer did I knowe,
Any that yet so actually could showe
Such rules for patience, such an easie way,
That who so sees it, shall be forc'd to say,
Loe what before seem'd hard to be discern'd,
Is of this Lady, in an instant learn'd.
It is heauens will that you should wronged be
By the malicious, that the world might see
Your Doue-like meekenesse; for had the base scumme,
The spawne of Fiends, beene in your slander dumbe,
Your vertue then had perish'd, neuer priz'd,
For that the same you had not exercised;
And you had lost the Crowne you haue, and glory,
Nor had you beene the subiect of my Story.
Whilst they feele Hell, being damned in their hate,
Their thoughts like Deuils them excruciate,
Which by your noble suffrings doe torment
Them with new paines, and giues you this content
To see your soule an Innocent, hath suffred,
And vp to heauen before your eyes be offred:
Your like we in a burning Glasse may see,
When the Sunnes rayes therein contracted be
Bent on some obiect, which is purely white,
We finde that colour doth dispierce the light,
And stands vntainted: but if it hath got
Some little sully; or the least small spot,
Then it soon fiers it; so you still remaine
Free, because in you they can finde no staine.
God doth not loue them least, on whom he layes
The great'st afflictions; but that he will praise
Himselfe most in them, and will make them fit,
Near'st to himselfe who is the Lambe to sit:
For by that touch, like perfect gold he tries them,
Who are not his, vntill the world denies them.
And your example may work such effect,
That it may be the beginning of a Sect
Of patient women; and that many a day
All Husbands may for you their Founder pray.
Nor is to me your Innocence the lesse,
In that I see you striue not to suppresse
Their barbarous malice; but your noble heart
Prepar'd to act so difficult a part,
With vnremoued constancie is still
The same it was, that of your proper ill,
The effect proceeds from your owne selfe the cause,
Like some iust Prince, who to establish lawes,
Suffers the breach at his best lou'd to strike,
To learne the vulgar to endure the like.
You are a Martir thus, nor can you be
Lesse to the world so valued by me:
If as you haue begun, you still perseuer
Be euer good, that I may loue you euer.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'To The Noble Lady, The Lady I.S. Of Worldly Crosses' by Michael Drayton

comments powered by Disqus