Praise of the mistres
The hap which Paris had, as due for his desert,
Who favord Venus for hir face, & skornde Menervas art:
May serve to warne the wise that they no more esteme,
The glistering glosse of bewties blaze, than reason should it deme.
Dan Priams yonger son, found out ye fairest dame,
That ever bode on Troyane mold, what folowed of ye same?
I list not brut hir bale, let others spread it forth,
But for his parte to speake my minde his choice was little worth,
My meaning is but this, who markes the outward shewe,
And never grops for graftes of grace which in ye mind should grow:
May chance upon such choise as trusty Troilus had,
And dwel in dole as Paris did, when he would faine be glad.
How happie then am I whose happe hath bene to finde,
A mistresse first that doth excell in vertues of the mind.
And yet therewith hath joynd, such favoure and suche grace,
As Pandars niece (if she wer here) would quickly give hir place.
With in whose worthy brest, Dame Bounty seekes to dwel,
And saith to beawty, yeeld to me, since I doe thee excell.
Betwene whose heavenly eyes, doth right remorse appeare,
And pitie placed by the same, doth muche amende hir cheere.
Who in my daungers deepe, dyd deigne to doe mee good,
Who did relieve my heavy heart, and sought to save my blood.
Who first encreast my friendes, and overthrew my fooes,
Who loved al them that wisht me wel, & liked none but those.
O Ladies give me leave, I prayse not hir to farre,
Since she doth pas you al, as much, as Titan staines a starre.
You hold such servauntes deare, as able are to serve.
She held me deare, when I poore soule, could no good thing deserve.
You set by them that swim in all prosperitie,
She set by me when as I was in great calamitie.
You best esteeme the brave, and let the poorest passe,
Shee best esteemde my poore good wyll, all naked as it was.
But whether am I went? what humor guides my braine?
I seeke to wey ye woolsack down, with one poore pepper grain.
I seeme to penne hir praise, that doth surpasse my skill,
I strive to rowe against the tide, I hoppe against the hill.
Then let these fewe suffise, shee Helene staines for hewe,
Dydo for grace, Cressyde for cheere, and is as Thisbye true.
Yet if you furder crave, to have hir name displaide,
Dame Favor is my mistres name, dame Fortune is hir maid.