by Thomas Watson

Sonnets 41- 60


Centurie of

Transcribed by Barboura Flues. Web version created by Robert Brazil.
copyright © 2002

Some, but not all, footnotes are derived from the original publication.
Notes that derive from Graves' The Greek Myths are marked (Graves).
Notes from the transcriber are marked (BF).
Words/phrases described in the glossary are underlined.

H e k a t o m p a t h i a
Sonnets 41- 60


This Passion is framed upon a somewhat tedious or too much affected continuation of that figure in Rhetoric, which of the Greeks is called paltlsgia or anadiplosis, of the Latins Reduplicatio; whereof Susenbrotus (if I well remember me) allegeth this example out of Virgil,
  Sequitur pulcherrimus ustur, . . .Aeneid. 10.
  Auftur equo fidens.

O Happy men that find no lack in Love
I Love, and lack what most I do desire;
My deep desire no reason can remove;
All reason shuns my breast, that's set on fire;
   And so the fire maintains both force and flame,
   That force availeth not against the same;
One only help can slake this burning heat,
Which burning heat proceedeth from her face,
Whose face by looks bewitched my conceit,
Through which conceit I live in woeful case;
   O woeful case, which hath no end of woe,
   Till woes have end by favor of my foe;
And yet my foe maintaineth such a War,
As all her War is nothing else but Peace;
But such a Peace as breedeth secret jar,
Which jar no wit, nor force, nor time can cease;
   Yet cease despair: for time by wit, or force,
   May force my friendly foe to take remorse.


In this Passion the Author under color of telling his dream doth very cunningly and lively praise his Mistress, so far forth as not only to prefer her before Helen of Greece for excellence of beauty, but also before how many soever are now living in this our age. The dream of itself is so plainly and effectually set down (albeit in few words) that it need no further annotation to explain it.

This latter night amidst my troubled rest
A Dismal Dream my fearful heart appall'd,
Whereof the sum was this: Love made a Feast.
To which all Neighbor, Saints and Gods were call'd:
   The cheer was more than mortal men can think,
   And mirth grew on, by taking in their drink.
Then Jove amidst his cups for service done
Gan thus to jest with Ganymede his boy;
I fain would find for thee my pretty Son
A fairer Wife than Paris brought to Troy:
   Why, sir, quoth he, if Phoebus stand my friend,
   Who knows the world, this gyre will soon have end.
Then Jove replied that Phoebus should not choose
But do his best to find the fairest face;
And she once found should neither will nor choose
But yield herself, and change her dwelling-place;
   Alas, how much was then my heart affright
   Which bade me wake and watch my fair delight?


The sense or matter of this Passion is taken out of Seraphine in his Strambotti, who writeth thus,
  Se Salamandra in fiamma viue, e in suoco,
  Non me stupisce quel che fa natura,
  Ma costei che e di giaccio, e io di suoco,
  E in mezo del mio cuor vuie sicura;
  Chi la defende in cosi ardente suoco,
  Che douendo fguagliar diventa dura?
  Solo Amor di Natura aspro adversario,
  Che a suo dispetto unisce ogni contrario.

The Salamander lives in fire and flame,
And yet but wonder small in Nature's work:
By stranger force love wins away her fame,
As causing cold in midst of heart to lurk.
   Who list of these my pains to take the view,
   Will soon confess that what I say is true.
For one as cold as hardest frozen ice,
Is fixed fast, and lodgeth in my breast;
Whom reason can remove by no device,
Nor any force can cause to let me rest:
   And yet I still so swim in hot desire,
   That more I burn than either flame or fire.
How strange is this? Can contraries so gree,
That Ice in flame will neither waste nor melt,
But still increase, and harder grow to be,
Than erst before? All this myself have felt.
   For Love, Dame Nature's foe, without remorse,
   Thus coupleth contraries in me by force.


In this Passion the Author misliketh one while his estate, and by and by after liketh of the same again, upon hope and likelihood of amendment, and throughout the whole Sonnet he sayeth his Mistress to be a Second Sun, and by expressing his private infelicity, in either always melting away with Love, or growing stiff through Death approaching near him by reason of daily cares, he maketh allusion unto the diver effects of the Sun, which maketh the day much harder, and the wax softer, than it was before.

That Second Sun, whose beams have dimm'd my sight,
So scorched hath my heart and senses all,
That clogg'd with cares and void of all delight,
I only seek, and sue to be her thrall;
   Yet so this heat increaseth day by day,
   That more and more it hast'neth my decay.
Sometimes I melt, as if my limbs were wax,
Sometimes grow stiff, as if they were of clay;
Thrice happy he whom Love doth never vex,
For any Second Sun doth melt away:
   Nay cursed I blaspheme the fairest Light
   That ever yet was seen by day or night.
Perchance her parching heats will once repair
My heart again, and make me all anew:
The Phoenix so revives amidst the air
By virtue of that Sun which all men view:
  The virtue of my Sun exceeds the sky,
   By her I shall revive, though first I die.


The Author useth in this Passion the like sense to that which he had in the last before it, calling his Mistress a Second Sun upon earth, wherewith Heaven itself is become in Love: But when he compiled this Sonnet, he thought not to have placed it amongst these his English toys.

(Latin Poem #4)


Here the Author bewaileth the extremity of his estate growing daily to be more troublesome than before, and all through the hard heart of his beloved: whom he therefore aptly compareth unto a stony rock, which nothing can move or waste away but long continuance of time. And hereupon, after having long strived with himself and his passions, he is quietly resolved to have patience, and so long to persevere in the still-hoping mind of a true lover, till by long continuance of time Love be induced to stand his friend.

All ye that love compare your pains with mine,
Which void of hope continue still her thrall,
Whose heart is hard, and never will assign
A ransom-day, nor once will bow at all,
   Much like the stony rock, whose harden'd side
   Will scarcely wear with course of time or tide.
And yet, since time can wear each thing away,
I will enforce myself to live content,
Till so my thoughts have fed upon delay,
That Reason rule the roast and love relent;
   O vain attempt in striving with Despair,
   I build nought else but castles in the air.
For why: the Sun may sooner shine by night,
And twinkling stars give glimsing sparks by day:
Then I can cease to serve my Sweet delight,
Whom neither force nor time can drive away:
   Therefore in hope that love will stand my friend
   I thus conclude, Each thing but love hath end.


This Passion containeth a relation throughout from line to line; as, from every line of the first staff as it standeth in order, unto every line of the second staff; and from the second staff unto the third. The oftener it is read of him that is no great clerk, the more pleasure he shall have in it. And this poesy a scholar set down over this Sonnet, when he had well considered of it: Tam cafu, quam art et industria. The two first lines are an imitation of Seraphine, Sonnetto 103.
  Col tempo et Villanello all giogo mena
  El Tor si fiero, e si crudo animale,
  Col tempo el Falcon s'vsa a menar l'ale
  E ritornare a te chiamando a pena.

In time the Bull is brought to wear the yoke;
In time all haggard Hawks will stoop the Lures;
In time small wedge will cleave the sturdiest Oak;
In time the Marble wears with weakest showers:
   More fierce is my sweet love, more hard withal,
   Than Beast, or Bird, than Tree or Stony wall.
No yoke prevails, she will not yield to might;
No Lure will cause her stoop, she bears full gorge;
No wedge of woes make print, she recks no right;
No shower of tears can move, she thinks I forge:
   Help therefore Heav'nly Boy, come pierce her breast
   With that same shaft which robs me of my rest.
So let her feel thy force, that she relent;
So keep her low, that she vouchsafe a pray;
So frame her will to right, that pride be spent;
So forge, that I may speed without delay;
   Which if thou do, I'll swear and sing with joy,
   That Love no longer is a blinded Boy.

[This sonnet seems to represent a first for the haggard hawk/woman relationship: Watson borrowing from a Latin sonnet. See Appendix II: Connections. . . . BF]


This Passion containeth two principal points. In the first are placed two similitudes; in both which the Author expresseth his own willfulness in love. In the second, he compareth the beautiful eyes of his Mistress unto the eyes of the Basilisk, which killeth a man with his only sight being a far off; whereof Lucan lib. 9. sayeth thus,
  Sibilaque effundens cunctas terrentia pestes,
  Ante venena nocens, late sibi submouet omne
  Vulgus, et in vacua regnat Basiliscus arena.

And Mantuan in like manner. Natus in ardenti Libyae Basiliscus arena,
  Vulnerat aspectu, luminibusque necat.

Like as the silly Bird amid'st the night,
When Birders beat the bush, and shake his nest,
He flutt'ring forth straight flies unto the light,
As if it were the day new-sprung from East,
   Where so his willful wings consume away,
   That needs he must become the Birder's prey:
Or, as the Fly, when candles are alight,
Still plays about the flame until he burn:
Even so my heart hath seen a heav'nly sight,
Wherehence again it hardly can return:
   The beams thereof contain such wond'rous flame,
  That Jove himself would burn to see the same.
I mean a Virgin's face, whose beauty rare,
Much like the Basilisk in Lybia soil,    [1]
With only sight is cause of all my care,
And loads my yielding heart with endless toil;
   Yet needs I must confess she hath more grace
   Than all the Nymphs that haunt Diana's chase.

[1. Presumably Medusa. . . . BF]


The Author in this Song bewrayeth his daily Passions in love to be so troublesome, that to avoid the flames thereof, he gladly and fain would yield himself to die, were it not that he feareth a further inconvenience would then arise. For he doubteth lest those flames, wherein his soul continually burneth, shall make Charon afraid to grant him passage over the Lake of Styx, by reason, his old withered boat is apt to take fire.

So great a Light hath set my mind on fire,
That flesh and bone consume with secret flame,
Each vein dries up, wit yields to deep desire;
I scarce (alas) dare say, for very shame,
   How fain my soul an interchange would make
   Twixt this her present State and Limbo lake;
And yet she dreads, lest when she parts from hence,
Her Heats be such that Charon will retire,
And let her pass for prayer, nor for pence,(1)
For fear his with'red boat be set on fire;
   So dang'rous are the flames of Mighty Love
   In Styx itself, in earth, or heav'n above.
Wherefore dear Dame vouchsafe to rue my case,
And salve the sore which thou thyself hast made:
My Heats first grew by gazing on thy face,
Whose lights were such that I could find no shade:
   And thou my weary Soul bend all thy force,
   By Plaints and Tears to move her to remorse.

1. Naulum intelligit, de quo Iuuenal: Miserum est post omnia perderee naulum.


In this Passion is effectually set down in how strange a case he liveth that is in love, and in how contrary an estate to all other men, which are at defiance with the like folly. And this the Author expresseth here in his own person: therewithal calling upon Love, to stand his friend; or if he fail, upon death to cut off his wearisome life.

While others feed, my fancy makes me fast;
While others live secure, I fear mischance;
I dread no force, where other stand aghast;
I follow suit where Fortune leads the Dance,
   Who like a mumming mate so throws the Dice,
   That Reason leesing all, Love wins the price;
Which Love by force so worketh in my breast,
That needs perforce I must incline my will
To die in dreams while others live in rest,
And live in woes while others feel none ill.
   O gentle Death, let here my days have end,
   Or mighty Love, so use me as thy friend.
Mine eyes are worn with tears, my wits with woe,
My color dried with cares, my heart with pains,
My will bewitch'd, my limbs consumed so,
That scarcely blood or vital breath remains:
   While others joy or sleep, I wail and wake:
   All this (Dear Dame) I suffer for thy sake.


Tityus was the son of Jupiter, and for attempting to dishonest Latona, was slain by Apollo. Since which time the Poets feign that for punishment he lieth in hell, miserably tormented with a ravening Vulture, which feedeth upon his bowels continually: and they as they are consumed, still miraculously grow up again, to breed his endless misery, as the Poet witnesseth,
  Quid dicam Tityum, cuius sub vulnere faeuo Claud. in
  Viscera nascuntur grauibus certantia paenis? Gigantomachia.

The Author compareth his passions with the pains of this Tityus, and imitateth Seneca writing to like effect,
  Vulture relicto transuolet Tityo serus,
  Meumque paena semper addrescat iecur.

If Tityus wretched wight beheld my pains,
He would confess his wounds to be but small,
A Vulture worse than his tears all my veins,
Yet never lets me die, nor live at all:
   Would Gods a while I might possess his place,
   To judge of both, which were in better case.
The Hell is dark, wherein he suff'reth smart,
And wants not some Compartners of his grief:
I live in Light, and see what hurts my heart,
But want some mourning mates for my relief;
   His Pain is just reward, his crimes were such:
   My greatest fault is this, I love too much.
Why then, since too much love can breed offense,
Thou dang'rous Bird, the root of my desire,
Go perch elsewhere, remove thyself from hence;
I freeze like Ice, and burn like flaming fire:
   Yet stay good Bird: for if thou soar away,
   Twixt Frost and Flame my days will soon decay.


Here the Author after some dolorous discourse of his unhappiness, and rehearsal of some particular hurts which he sustaineth in the pursuit of his love: first questioneth with his Lady of his desert; and then, as having made a sufficient proof of his innocence, persuadeth her to pity him whom she herself hath hurt. Moreover, it is to be noted that the first letters of all the verses in this Passion being joined together as they stand, do contain this poesy agreeable to his meaning, Amor me pungit et vrit.
A    A World of woes doth reign within my breast,
m    My pensive thoughts are cov'red all with care,
o    Of all that sing the Swan doth please me best.
r     Restraint of joys exiles my wonted fare,
M       Mad-mooded Love usurping Reason's place
e         Extremity doth over-rule the case.
P    Pain drieth up my veins and vital blood,
u    Unless the Saint I serve give help in time:
n    None else, but she alone, can do me good.
g    Grant then, ye Gods, that first she may not climb
i          Immortal heav'ns, to live with Saints above,
t          Then she vouchsafe to yield me love for love
E    Examine well the time of my distress
t     Thou dainty Dame, for whom I pine away,
V   Unguilty though, as needs thou must confess,
r     Rememb'ring but the cause of my decay;
i          In viewing thy sweet face arose my grief,
t          Therefore in time vouchsafe me some relief


The two first parts of this Sonnet, are an imitation of certain Greek verses of Theocritus; which verses as they are translated by many good Poets of later days, so most aptly and plainly by C. Urcinus Velius in his Epigrams; he beginneth thus,
  Nuper apis furem pupugit violenter Amorem
  Ipsum ex alueolis clam mella favosque legentem,
  Cui summos manuum digitos confixit, at ille
  Indoluit, lafae tumuerunt vulnere palmae:
  Planxit humum, et faltu trepidans pulsavit, et ipsi
  Oftendens Veneri, casum narrauit acerbum, etc.

Where tender Love had laid him down to sleep,
A little Bee so stung his finger's end,
That burning ache enforced him to weep
And call for Phoebus' Son to stand his friend,     [1]
   To whom he cried, I muse so small a thing
   Can prick thus deep with such a little Sting.
Why so, sweet Boy, quoth Venus sitting by?
Thyself is young, thy arrows are but small
And yet thy shot makes hardest hearts to cry?
To Phoebus' Sun she turned therewithal,
   And prayed him show his skill to cure the sore,
   Whose like her Boy had never felt before.
Then he with Herbs recured soon the wound,
Which being done, he threw the Herbs away,
Whose force, through touching Love, in self-same ground,
By hapless hap did breed my heart's decay:
   For there they fell, where long my heart had li'n
   To wait for Love, and what he should assign.

1. AEsculapius.


In this Passion the Author boasteth, how sound a pleasure he lately enjoyed in the company of his Beloved, by pleasing effectually all his five senses exterior, and that through the only benefit of her friendly presence, and extraordinary favor towards him. And in many choice particulars of this Sonnet, he imitateth here and there a verse of Ronsard's, in a certain Elegy to Janet peintre du Roy: which beginneth thus,
  Pein moi, Ianet, pein moi ie te supplie
  Dans ce tableau les beautes de m'amie
  De la facon, etc.

What happy hour was that I lately past
With her, in whom I fed my senses all?
With one sure sealed kiss I pleas'd my taste;
Mine ears with words, which seemed Musical;
   My smelling with her breath, like Civet sweet;
   My touch in place where modesty thought meet,
But shall I say, what objects held mine eye?
Her curled Locks of Gold, like Tagus' sands;
Her Forehead smooth and white as Ivory,
Where Glory, State and Bashfulness held hands;
   Her Eyes, one making Peace, the other Wars;
   By Venus one, the other rul'd by Mars;
Her Eagle's Nose; her Scarlet Cheeks half white;
Her Teeth of Orient Pearl; her gracious smile;
Her dimpled Chin; her Breast as clear as light;
Her Hand like hers who Tithon did beguile.     [1]
   For worldly joys who might compare with me,
   While thus I fed each sense in his degree?

1. Aurora.


The whole invention of all this Passion is deducted out of Seraphine, Sonnet 63, whose verses if you read, you will judge this Author's imitation the more praiseworthy; these they are,
  Come alma asai bramosa e poco accorta
  Che mai visto havea amor fe mon depinto,
  Disposi un ai cercar fuo Laberinto,
  Vedere el monstro, e tanta gente morta.
  Ma quel fil deragion che chi per scorta
  Del qual su tutto el ceco loco cinto
  Subito, ahime, su da lui rotto e vinto,
  Talche mai piu trouar seppi la porta.

My heedless heart which Love yet never knew,
But as he was describ'd with Painter's hand,
One day amongst the rest would needs go view
The Labyrinth of Love, with all his band.
   To see the Minotaur his ugly face,
   And such as there lay slain within the place.
But soon my guiding thread by Reason spun,
Wherewith I pass'd along his darksome cave,
Was broke (alas) by him, and overrun,
And I perforce became his captive slave:
   Since when as yet I never found the way
   To leave that maze wherein so many stray.
Yet thou on whom mine eyes have gaz'd so long
May'st, if thou wilt, play Ariadne's part,
And by a second Thread revenge the wrong,
Which through deceit hath hurt my guiltless heart;
   Vouchsafe in time to save and set me free,
   Which seek and serve none other Saint but thee.


The first Staff of this Passion is much like unto that invention of Seraphine in his Strambotti, where he sayeth,
  Morte: che voui? te bramo: Eccomi appresso;
  Prendemi: a che? che manchi el mio dolore;
  Non posso: ohime, non puoi? non per adesso;
  Perche? pero che in te non regna il core, etc.

The second Staff somewhat imitateth another of his Strambotti in the same leaf; it beginneth thus,   Amor, amor: chi e quel che chiama tanto?
  Un tuo seruo fidel; uon ti consfco; etc.

The Author in the last Staff, returneth to entreat Death anew, to end his days, as being half persuaded that Love would restore unto him his heart again.

Come gentle Death; who calls? One that's oppress'd:
What is thy will? That thou abridge my woe,
By cutting off my life; cease thy request,
I cannot kill thee yet: alas, why so?
   Thou want'st thy Heart. Who stole the same away?
   Love, whom thou serv'st, entreat him sigh thou may.
Come, come, come Love: who calleth me so oft?
Thy Vassal true, whom thou should'st know by right.
What makes thy cry so faint? My voice is soft,
And almost spent by wailing day and night.
   Why then, what's thy request? That thou restore
   To me my Heart, and steal the same no more.
And thou, O Death, when I possess my Heart,
Dispatch me then at once: why so?
By promise thou art bound to end my smart.
Why, if thy Heart return, then what's thy woe?
   That brought from cold, it never will desire
   To rest with me, which am more hot than fire.


Here the Author cheerfully comforting himself, rebuketh all those his friends, or others whatsoever, which pity his estate in Love: and groundeth his invention, for the most part, upon the old Latin Proverb, Confuetudo eft altera natura. Which Proverb he confirmeth by two examples; the one, of him, that being born far North seldom catcheth cold; the other of the Negro, which being born under a hot climate, is never smothered with over-much heat.

All ye, that grieve to think my death so near,
Take pity on yourselves, whose thought is blind;
Can there be Day, unless some Light appear?
Can fire be cold, which yieldeth heat by kind?
   If Love were past, my life would soon decay,
   Love bids me hope, and hope is all my stay.
And you that see in what estate I stand,
Now hot, now cold, and yet am living still,
Persuade yourselves, Love hath a mighty hand,
And custom frames what pleaseth best her will.
   A ling'ring use of Love hath taught my breast
   To harbor strife, and yet to live in rest.
The man that dwells far North hath seldom harm
With blast of winter's wind or nipping frost:
The Negro seldom feels himself too warm
If he abide within his native coast;     [1]
   So, Love in me a Second Nature is,
   And custom makes me think my Woes are Bliss.

1. For both experience teacheth and Philosophical reason approveth, than an Ethiopian may easily in Spain be smothered with the heat of the country though Spain be more temperate than Ethiopia is.


Aetna, called in times past Inesia, as Volaterranus witnesseth, is a hollow hill in Sicilia, whose top burneth continually, the fire being maintained with a vein of brimstone, and other such like Minerals, which are within the said Mountain. Which notwithstanding, the bottom of the hill is very pleasant, as well for the abundance of sweet fruits and flowers, as for the number of fresh springs and fountains. The Poets feign that when Jupiter had with his thunderbolts beaten down the Giants of the earth, which rebelled against heaven, he did forthwith cover and oppress them all with the weight of this hill Aetna. These things being well considered, together with the verse of Horace:
  (Deus immortalis haberi De art Poetica
  Dum cupit Empedocles, ardentem frigidus AEtnam Insiluit
It may easily appear why the Author in this passion compareth his heart unto the hill.

There is a monstrous hill in Sicil soil,
Where works that limping God, which Vulcan hight,
And rebel Giants lurk, whom Jove did foil,
When gainst the heav'ns they durst presume to fight;
   The top thereof breaths out a burning flame,
   And Flora sits at bottom of the same.
My swelling heart is such another hill,
Wherein a blinded God bears all the sway,
And rebel thoughts resisting reason's skill
Are bound by will from starting thence away;
   The top thereof doth smoke with scalding smart,
   And seldom joys obtain the lowest part.
Yet learn herewith the diff'rence of the twain:
Empedocles consum'd with Aetnae's fire
When godhead there he fought, but all in vain:
But this my heart, all flaming with desire,
   Embraceth in itself an Angel's face,
   Which beareth rule as Goddess of the place.


The Author in this Passion accuseth his own eyes, as the principal or only cause of his amorous infelicity; wherein his heart is so oppressed continually with evils, which are contrary in themselves, that reason can bear no sway in the cause. Therefore in the end, he instantly entreateth his Lady of her speedy favor and good-will, alleging what hurt may grow through her longer delay.

That thing wherein mine eyes have most delight,
Is greatest cause my heart doth suffer pain:
Such is the hurt that comes by wanton sight;
Which reason strives to vanquish all in vain;
   This only sense, more quick than all the rest,
   Hath kindled holy fire within my breast.
And so my mourning heart is parching dry
With sending sighs abroad and keeping care,
What needs it must consume if long it lie
In place, where such a flame doth make repair:
   This flame is Love, whom none may well entreat,
   But only she, for whom I suffer heat.
Then peerless Dame, the ground of all my grief,
Vouchsafe to cure the cause of my complaint:
No favor else but thine can yield relief.
But help in time, before I further faint,
   For Danger grows by ling'ring till the last,
   And physic hath no help when life is past.


The Author groundeth this Passion upon three points. In the first, he showeth how he witting and willfully followeth his own hurt, with such like words as Medea sometime used,
  Video meliora, proboque, Ovid Metam
  Deteriora sequor, etc. lib.
In the second, he excuseth his fault upon the main force and tyranny of Love, being the only governor of his will. And lastly, he humbly entreateth his Lady for the restitution of his wonted liberty: desiring her not to exact more of him than his ability of body or mind can well sustain, according to the old verse,
  Pelle magis rabida nihil est de Vulpe petendum.

Was ever man, whose Love was like to mine?
I follow still the cause of my distress,
My Heart foreseeing hurt, doth yet incline
To seek the same, and thinks the harm the less.
   In doing thus, you ask me what I ail:
   Against main force what reason can prevail?
Love is the Lord and Signor of my will,
How shall I then dispose of any deed?
By forced Bond, he holds my freedom still,
He dulls each sense, and makes my heart to bleed.
   Thou Sacred Nymph, whose virtue wanteth stain,
   Agree with Love and set me free again.
Of this my weary Life no day shall fall,
Wherein my pen shall once thy praise forget:
No Night with sleep shall close mine eyes at all,
Before I make recount of such a debt;
   Then force me not to more than well I may,
   Besides his Skin, the Fox hath nought to pay.

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