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My Lute, alas! doth not offend,
To sing to them that heareth me;
My Lute and strings may not deny,
But as I strike they must obey; Break not them then so wrongfully,
But wreak thyself some other way; And though the songs which I indite, Do quit thy change with rightful spite, Blame not my Lute!
Spite asketh spite, and changing change,
And falsed faith, must needs be known;
"BLAME NOT MY LUTE."
The faults so great, the case so strange;
Blame but thyself that hast misdone,
Change thou thy way, so evil begone,
And then my Lute shall sound that same;
But if till then my fingers play,
By thy desert their wonted way,
Blame not my Lute!
Farewell! unknown; for though thou break
Yet have I found out for thy sake,
Strings for to string my Lute again:
And if perchance this silly rhyme,
Blame not my Lute.
REFLECTIONS, WHILE A PRISONER IN
BY HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY.
[HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY, the eldest son of the Duke of Norfolk, was born in Suffolk, in 1516; and was educated at Windsor with a natural son of Henry VIII. He was greatly attached to that young man; and, after his premature death, travelled on the continent to heal his grief. He is celebrated for his chivalrous, but undoubtedly platonic love of the "Ladye Geraldine," daughter of Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare. He conducted an expedition sent to ravage the Scottish borders, with great success, in 1542. But an attempt which he was ordered to make on Boulogne, in 1544, being unfortunate, he fell under the displeasure of the merciless despot Henry VIII.; and, after a mock trial, was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1547; his real crime being his noble character as a gallant soldier, and most accomplished knight. He wrote the first English sonnets.]
So cruel prison how could betide, alas!
As proud Windsor? where I, in lust and joy,
Where each sweet place returns a taste full sour!
With eyes cast up into the Maiden Tower,
And easy sighs such as folk draw in love.
The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue;
The palm-play, where, despoiled for the game,
Have missed the ball and got sight of our dame,
The gravel ground, with sleeves tied on the helm
Of foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts; With cheer, as though one should another whelm, Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts;
With silver drops the mead yet spread for ruth,
The secret groves which oft we made resound,
What hope of speed, what dread of long delays:
The wild forest, the clothed holts with green, With reins availed and swift ybreathed horse; With cry of hounds and merry blasts between, Where we did chase the fearful hart of force.
The wide vales, eke, that harboured us each night,
The sweet accord such sleeps as yet delight,
The secret thoughts imparted with such trust,
The wanton talk, the divers change of play, The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just; Wherewith we passed the winter night away.
And with this thought, the blood forsakes the face,
O place of bliss! renewer of my woes,
Give me accounts, where is my noble fere; Whom in thy walls thou dost each night enclose; To other leef, but unto me most dear:
Echo, alas! that doth my sorrow rue,
Returns thereto a hollow sound of plaint. Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew,
In prison pine with bondage and restraint, And with remembrance of the greater grief To banish the less, I find my chief relief.