Percy's Reliques - Fancy and Desire.

Fancy and Desire.

BY THE EARL OF OXFORD.

            Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, was in high fame for his poetical talents in the reign of Elizabeth: perhaps it is no injury to his reputation that few of his compositions are preserved for the inspection of impartial posterity. To gratify curiosity, we have inserted a sonnet of his, which is quoted with great encomiums for its "excellencie and wit," in Puttenham's Arte of Eng. Poesie,[ 1] and found entire in the Garland of Good-will. A few more of his sonnets (distinguished by the initial letters E. O.) may be seen in the Paradise of Daintie Devises. One of them is intitled, "The Complaint of a Lover, wearing blacke and tawnie." The only lines in it worth notice are these:

"A crowne of baies shall that man beare
Who triumphs over me;
For black and tawnie will I weare,

Which mourning colours be."

            We find in Hall's Chronicle, that when Queen Catharine of Arragon died, Jan. 8, 1536, "Queen Anne [Bullen] ware YELLOWE for the mourning." And when this unfortunate princess lost her head, May 19, the same year, "on the ascension day following, the kyng for mourning ware WHYTE." Fol. 227, 228.

            Edward, who was the seventeenth earl of Oxford, of the family of Vere, succeeded his father in his title and honours in 1562, and died an aged man in 1604. See Mr. Walpole's Noble Authors. Athen. Oxon. &c.

COME hither, shepherd's swayne:
"Sir, what do you require? "
I pray thee, shewe to me thy name.
"My name is FOND DESIRE."

When wert thou borne, Desire?
"In pompe and pride of May."
By whom, sweet boy, wert thou begot?
"By fond Conceit men say."

Tell me who was thy nurse?
"Fresh youth in sugred joy."
What was thy meate and dayly foode?
"Sad sighes with great annoy."

What hadst thou then to drinke?
"Unsavoury lovers teares."
What cradle wert thou rocked in?
"In hope devoyde of feares."

What lulld thee then asleepe?
"Sweete speech, which likes me best."
Tell me, where is thy dwelling place?
"In gentle hartes I rest."

What thing doth please thee most?
"To gaze on beauty stille."
Whom dost thou thinke to be thy foe?
"Disdayn of my good wille."

Doth company displease?
"Yes, surelye, many one."
Where doth Desire delight to live?
"He loves to live alone."

Doth either tyme or age
Bringe him unto decaye?
"No, no, Desire both lives and dyes
Ten thousand times a daye."

Then, fond Desire, farewelle,
Thou art no mate for mee;
I sholde be lothe, methinkes, to dwelle
With such a one as thee.

NOTES

1. Lond. 1589, p. 172.

 

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