O lady amorous,
Fully blithely play’d ye
These your beguilings.
So with an urchin
A man makes merry,
In mirth grows clamorous,
Laughs and rejoices,
But when the choice is
To fall aweary,
Cheats him with silence.
This is Love’s portion:
In much wayfaring
With many burdens
He loads his servants,
But at the sharing,
Are alike barren.
Within the gentle heart Love shelters him
As birds within the green shade of the grove.
Before the gentle heart, in nature’s scheme,
Love was not, nor the gentle heart ere Love.
For with the sun, at once,
So sprang the light immediately; nor was
Its birth before the sun’s.
And Love has his effect in gentleness
Of very self; even as
Within the middle fire the heat’s excess.
The fire of Love comes to the gentle heart
Like as its virtue to a precious stone;
To which no star its influence can impart
Till it is made a pure thing by the sun:
For when the sun hath smit
From out its essence that which there was vile
The star endoweth it.
And so the heart created by God’s breath
Pure, true, and clean from guile
A woman, like a star, enamoreth.
Because a lady asks me, I would tell
Of an affect that comes often and is fell
And is so overweening: Love, by name.
E'en its deniers can now hear the truth,
I for the nonce to them that know it call,
Having no hope at all
that man who is base in heart
Can bear his part of wit
into the light of it,
And save they know’t aright from nature’s source
I have no will to prove Love’s course
Where he takes rest; who maketh him to be;
Or what his active virtue is, or what his force;
Nay, nor his essence or his mode;
What his placation; why is he in verb,
Or if a man have might
to show him visible to men’s sight.
In memory’s locus taketh he his state
Formed there in manner as a mist of light
Upon a dusk that is come from Mars and stays.
Love is created, hath a sensate name,
His modus takes from soul, from heart his will;
From form seen doth he start, that, understood,
Taketh in latent intellect
As in a subject ready
place and abode,
Yet in that place it ever is unstill,
Spreading its rays, it tendeth never down
By quality, but is its own effect unendingly
Not to delight, but in an ardour of thought
That the base likeness of it kindleth not.