A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh, Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knew Of court, of city, and had let go by The swiftest hours, observed as they flew, Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew; And, privileg'd by age, desires to know In brief, the grounds and motives of her woe.

So slides he down upon his grained bat, And comely-distant sits he by her side; When he again desires her, being sat, Her grievance with his hearing to divide: If that from him there may be aught applied Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage, 'Tis promised in the charity of age.

'Father,' she says, 'though in me you behold The injury of many a blasting hour, Let it not tell your judgement I am old; Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power: I might as yet have been a spreading flower, Fresh to myself, if I had self-applied Love to myself, and to no love beside.

'But woe is me! too early I attended A youthful suit (it was to gain my grace) Of one by nature's outwards so commended, That maiden's eyes stuck over all his face: Love lack'd a dwelling and made him her place; And when in his fair parts she did abide, She was new lodg'd and newly deified.

A Lover's Complaint Page 04

William Shakespeare Plays

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