SO grieves th' adventurous merchant, when he throws
All the long toil'd-for treasure his ship stows
Into the angry main, to save from wrack
Himself and men, as I grieve to give back
These letters : yet so powerful is your sway
As if you bid me die, I must obey.
Go then, blest papers, you shall kiss those hands
That gave you freedom, but hold me in bands ;
Which with a touch did give you life, but I,
Because I may not touch those hands, must die.
Methinks, as if they knew they should be sent
Home to their native soil from banishment ;
I see them smile, like dying saints that know
They are to leave the earth and toward heaven go.
When you return, pray tell your sovereign
And mine, I gave you courteous entertain ;
Each line received a tear, and then a kiss ;
First bathed in that, it 'scaped unscorch'd from this :
I kiss'd it because your hand had been there ;
But, 'cause it was not now, I shed a tear.
Tell her, no length of time, nor change of air,
No cruelty, disdain, absence, despair,
No, nor her steadfast constancy, can deter
My vassal heart from ever honouring her.
Though these be powerful arguments to prove
I love in vain, yet I must ever love.
Say, if she frown, when you that word rehearse,
Service in prose is oft called love in verse :
Then pray her, since I send back on my part
Her papers, she will send me back my heart.
If she refuse, warn her to come before
The god of love, whom thus I will implore :