George Gascoigne

(1535 – 7 October 1577 / Cardington, Bedfordshire)

Praise of the Fair Bridges, afterwards Lady Sandes, on Her Having a Scar in Her Forehead

In court whoso demaundes
What dame doth most excell;
For my conceit I must needes say,
Faire Bridges beares the bel.

Upon whose lively cheeke,
To prove my judgement true,
The rose and lilie seeme to strive
For equall change of hewe.

And therewithall so well
Hir graces all agree,
No frowning chere dare once presume
In hir sweet face to bee.

Although some lavishe lippes,
Which like some other best,
Will say the blemishe on hir browe
Disgracefull all the rest.

Thereto I thus replie:
God wotte, they little knowe
The hidden cause of that mishap,
Nor how the harm did growe;

For when Dame Nature first
Had framde hir heavenly face,
And thoroughly bedecked it
With goodly gleames of grace;

It lyked hir so well:
'Lo here,' quod she, 'a peece
For perfect shape that passeth all
Appelles' worke in Greec.e

'This bayt may chaunce to catche
The greatest god of love,
Or mightie thundring Jove himself,
That rules the roast above.'

But out, alas! those words
Were vaunted all in vayne;
And some unseen were present there,
Pore Bridges, to thy pain.

For Cupide, crafty boy,
Close in a corner stoode,
Not blyndfold then, to gaze on hir:
I gesse it did him good.

Yet when he felte the flame
Gan kindle in his brest,
And herd Dame Nature boast by hir
To break him of his rest,

His hot newe-chosen love
He chaunged into hate,
And sodenlye with mightie mace
Gan rap hir on the pate.

It greeved Nature muche
To see the cruell deede:
Mee seemes I see hir, how she wept
To see hir dearling bleede.

'Wel yet,' quod she, 'this hurt
Shal have some helpe I trowe;'
And quick with skin she covered it,
That whiter is than snowe.

Wherwith Dan Cupide fled,
For feare of further flame,
When angel-like he saw hir shine,
Whome he had smit with shame.

Lo, thus was Bridges hurt
In cradel of hir kind.
The coward Cupide brake hir browe
To wreke his wounded mynd.

The skar still there remains;
No force, there let it bee:
There is no cloude that can eclipse
So bright a sunne as she.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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