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Giles Fletcher The Elder

Licia Sonnets 22

I might have died before my life begun,
Whenas my father for his country's good
The Persian's favor and the Sophey won
And yet with danger of his dearest blood.
Thy father, sweet, whom danger did beset,
Escapéd all, and for no other end
But only this, that you he might beget,
Whom heavens decreed into the world to send.
Then father, thank thy daughter for thy life,
And Neptune praise that yielded so to thee,
To calm the tempest when the storms were rife,
And that thy daughter should a Venus be.
I call thee Venus, sweet, but be not wroth;
Thou art more chaste, yet seas did favor both.

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Licia Sonnets 16

Grant, fairest kind, a kiss unto thy friend!
A blush replied, and yet a kiss I had.
It is not heaven that can such nectar send
Whereat my senses all amazed were glad.
This done, she fled as one that was affrayed,
And I desired to kiss by kissing more;
My love she frowned, and I my kissing stayed,
Yet wished to kiss her as I did before.
Then as the vine the propping elm doth clasp,
Loath to depart till both together die,
So fold me, sweet, until my latest gasp,
That in thy arms to death I kissed may lie.
Thus whilst I live for kisses I must call;
Still kiss me, sweet, or kiss me not at all.

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Licia Sonnets 32

Years, months, days, hours, in sighs I sadly spend;
I black the night wherein I sleepless toss;
I love my griefs yet wish them at an end;
Thus time's expense increaseth but my loss.
I musing stand and wonder at my love,
That in so fair should be a heart of steel;
And then I think my fancy to remove,
But then more painful I my passions feel;
Thus must I love, sweet fair, until I die,
And your unkindness doth my love increase.
I conquered am, I can it not deny;
My life must end, yet shall my love not cease.
Then heavens, make Licia fair most kind to me,
Or with my life my loss may finished be!

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Licia Sonnets 34

Pale are my looks, forsaken of my life,
Cinders my bones, consume'd with thy flame,
Floods are my tears, to end this burning strife,
And yet I sigh for to increase the same;
I mourn alone because alone I burn;
Who doubts of this, then let him learn to love;
Her looks cold ice into a flame can turn,
As I distresséd in myself do prove.
Respect, fair Licia, what my torments are;
Count but the tithe both of my sighs and tears;
See how my love doth still increase my care,
And care's increase my life to nothing wears.
Send but a sigh my flame for to increase,
Or lend a tear and cause it so to cease.

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Licia Sonnets 51

When first the sun whom all my senses serve,
Began to shine upon this earthly round,
The heavens for her all graces did reserve,
That Pandor-like with all she might abound.
Apollo placed his brightness in her eyes,
His skill presaging and his music sweet.
Mars gave his force; all force she now defies;
Venus her smiles wherewith she Mars did meet;
Python a voice, Diana made her chaste,
Ceres gave plenty, Cupid lent his bow,
Thetis his feet, there Pallas wisdom placed.
With these she queen-like kept a world in awe.
Yet all these honors deeméd are but pelf,
For she is much more worthy of herself.

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Licia Sonnets 12

I wish sometimes, although a worthless thing,
Spurred by ambition, glad to aspire,
Myself a monarch, or some mighty king,
And then my thoughts do wish for to be higher.
But when I view what winds the cedars toss.
What storms men feels that covet for renown,
I blame myself that I have wished my loss,
And scorn a kingdom, though it give a crown.
Ah Licia, though the wonder of my thought,
My heart's content, procurer of my bliss,
For whom a crown I do esteem as naught,
As Asia's wealth, too mean to buy a kiss!
Kiss me, sweet love, this favor do for me;
Then crowns and kingdoms shall I scorn for thee.

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Licia Sonnets 11

In Ida vale three queens the shepherd saw,
Queens of esteem, divine they were all three,
A sight of worth. But I a wonder shaw,
Their virtues all in one alone to be.
Licia the fair, surpassing Venus' pride,
(The matchless queen, commander of the gods,
When drawn with doves she in her pomp doth ride)
Hath far more beauty, and more grace by odds
Juno, Jove's wife, unmeet to make compare,
I grant a goddess, but not half so mild;
Minerva wise, a virtue, but not rare;
Yet these are mean, if that my love but smiled.
She them surpasseth, when their prides are full
As far as they surpass the meanest trull.

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Licia Sonnets 35

Whenas I wish, fair Licia, for a kiss
From those sweet lips where rose and lilies strive,
Straight do mine eyes repine at such a bliss,
And seek my lips thereof for to deprive;
Whenas I seek to glut mine eyes by sight,
My lips repine and call mine eyes away;
Thus both contend to have each other's right,
And both conspire to work my full decay.
O force admired of beauty in her pride,
In whose each part such strange effects there be,
That all my forces in themselves divide.
And make my senses plainly disagree.
If all were mine, this envy would be gone;
Then grant me all, fair sweet, or grant me none!

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Licia Sonnets 28

In time the strong and stately turrets fall,
In time the rose and silver lilies die,
In time the monarchs captive are and thrall,
In time the sea and rivers are made dry;
The hardest flint in time doth melt asunder;
Still living fame in time doth fade away;
The mountains proud we see in time come under;
And earth for age we see in time decay;
The sun in time forgets for to retire
From out the east where he was wont to rise;
The basest thoughts we see in time aspire,
And greedy minds in time do wealth despise.
Thus all, sweet fair, in time must have an end,
Except thy beauty, virtues, and thy friend.

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Licia Sonnets 48

I saw, sweet Licia, when the spider ran
Within your house to weave a worthless web,
You present were and feared her with your fan,
So that amazéd speedily she fled.
She in your house such sweet perfumes did smell,
And heard the Muses with their notes refined,
Thus filled with envy, could no longer dwell,
But straight returned and at your house repined.
Then tell me, spider, why of late I saw
Thee lose thy poison, and thy bowels gone;
Did these enchant and keep thy limbs in awe,
And made thy forces to be small or none?
No, no, thou didst by chance my Licia see,
Who for her look Minerva seemed to thee

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