Nicholas Breton

(1546 - 1626 / England)

A Sweet Contention Between Love, His Mistress, And Beauty


Love and my mistress were at strife
Who had the greatest power on me:
Betwixt them both, oh, what a life!
Nay, what a death is this to be!

She said, she did it with her eye;
He said, he did it with his dart;
Betwixt them both (a silly wretch!)
'Tis I that have the wounded heart.

She said, she only spake the word
That did enchant my peering sense;
He said, he only gave the sound
That enter'd heart without defence.

She said, her beauty was the mark
That did amaze the highest mind;
He said, he only made the mist
Whereby the senses grew so blind.

She said, that only for her sake,
The best would venture life and limb:
He said, she was too much deceiv'd;
They honour'd her because of him.

Long while, alas, she would not yield,
But it was she that rul'd the roost;
Until by proof, she did confess,
If he were gone, her joy was lost.

And then she cried, 'Oh, dainty love,
I now do find it is for thee,
That I am lov'd and honour'd both,
And thou hast power to conquer me.'

But, when I heard her yield to love,
Oh! how my heart did leap for joy!
That now I had some little hope
To have an end to mine annoy!

But, as too soon, before the field
The trumpets sound the overthrow,
So all too soon I joy'd too much,
For I awaked, and nothing saw.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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