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Henry Howard

(1517 – 19 January 1547 / Norfolk)

A CARELESS MAN SCORNING AND DESCRIBING THE SUBTLE USAGE OF WOMEN TOWARD THEIR LOVERS


WRAPT in my careless cloak, as I walk to and fro,
I see how love can shew what force there reigneth in his bow :
And how he shooteth eke a hardy heart to wound ;
And where he glanceth by again, that little hurt is found.
For seldom is it seen he woundeth hearts alike ;
The one may rage, when t' other's love is often far to seek.
All this I see, with more ; and wonder thinketh me
How he can strike the one so sore, and leave the other free.
I see that wounded wight that suff'reth all this wrong,
How he is fed with yeas and nays, and liveth all too long.
In silence though I keep such secrets to myself,
Yet do I see how she sometime doth yield a look by stealth,
As though it seem'd ; ' I wis, I will not lose thee so: '
When in her heart so sweet a thought did never truly grow.
Then say I thus : ' Alas ! that man is far from bliss,
That doth receive for his relief none other gain but this.'
And she that feeds him so, I feel and find it plain,
Is but to glory in her power, that over such can reign.
Nor are such graces spent, but when she thinks that he,
A wearied man, is fully bent such fancies to let flee.
Then to retain him still, she wrasteth new her grace,
And smileth, lo ! as though she would forthwith the
man embrace.
But when the proof is made, to try such looks withal,
He findeth then the place all void, and freighted full of gall.
Lord ! what abuse is this ; who can such women praise ?
That for their glory do devise to use such crafty ways.
I that among the rest do sit and mark the row,
Find that in her is greater craft, than is in twenty mo' :
Whose tender years, alas ! with wiles so well are sped,
What will she do when hoary hairs are powder'd in her head ?

Submitted: Friday, April 27, 2012

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