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If care or skill could conquer vain desire

If care or skill could conquer vain desire,
Or Reason’s reins my strong affection stay:
There should my sighs to quiet breast retire,
And shun such signs as secret thoughts betray;
Uncomely Love which now lurks in my breast
Should cease, my grief through Wisdom’s power oppress’d.

But who can leave to look on Venus’ face,
Or yieldeth not to Juno’s high estate?
What wit so wise as gives not Pallas place?
These virtues rare each Gods did yield a mate;
Save her alone, who yet on earth doth reign,
Whose beauty’s string no God can well destrain.

What worldly wight can hope for heavenly hire,
When only sighs must make his secret moan?
A silent suit doth seld to grace aspire,
My hapless hap doth roll the restless stone.
Yet Phoebe fair disdained the heavens above,
To joy on earth her poor Endymion’s love.

Rare is reward where none can justly crave,
For chance is choice where Reason makes no claim;
Yet luck sometimes despairing souls doth save,
A happy star made Giges joy attain.
A slavish smith, of rude and rascal race,
Found means in time to gain a Godess’ grace.

Then lofty Love thy sacred sails advance,
My sighing seas shall flow with streams of tears;
Amidst disdains drive forth thy doleful chance,
A valiant mind no deadly danger fears;
Who loves aloft and sets his heart on high
Deserves no pain, though he do pine and die.

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If care or skill could conquer vain desire - EDWARD DE VERE