John Heywood


A Praise Of His Lady

GIVE place, you ladies, and begone!
   Boast not yourselves at all!
For here at hand approacheth one
   Whose face will stain you all.

The virtue of her lively looks
   Excels the precious stone;
I wish to have none other books
   To read or look upon.

In each of her two crystal eyes
   Smileth a naked boy;
It would you all in heart suffice
   To see that lamp of joy.

I think Nature hath lost the mould
   Where she her shape did take;
Or else I doubt if Nature could
   So fair a creature make.

She may be well compared
   Unto the Phoenix kind,
Whose like was never seen or heard,
   That any man can find.

In life she is Diana chaste,
   In troth Penelopey;
In word and eke in deed steadfast.
   --What will you more we say?

If all the world were sought so far,
   Who could find such a wight?
Her beauty twinkleth like a star
   Within the frosty night.

Her rosial colour comes and goes
   With such a comely grace,
More ruddier, too, than doth the rose,
   Within her lively face.

At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet,
   Ne at no wanton play,
Nor gazing in an open street,
   Nor gadding as a stray.

The modest mirth that she doth use
   Is mix'd with shamefastness;
All vice she doth wholly refuse,
   And hateth idleness.

O Lord! it is a world to see
   How virtue can repair,
And deck in her such honesty,
   Whom Nature made so fair.

Truly she doth so far exceed
   Our women nowadays,
As doth the jeliflower a weed;
   And more a thousand ways.

How might I do to get a graff
   Of this unspotted tree?
--For all the rest are plain but chaff,
   Which seem good corn to be.

This gift alone I shall her give;
   When death doth what he can,
Her honest fame shall ever live
   Within the mouth of man.
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