I rode past, thinking, recently,
Like one who’s sad and sorrowful,
Of that lament that renders me
Of all lovers the most mournful,
Since, with his dart so dreadful,
Death has stolen my mistress,
And left me lonely: left me dull,
In the sole charge of Sadness.
I said to myself: ‘I should cease
Writing and rhyming, it appears,
Abandon laughter, and be pleased
To replace all this with tears.
And so I must employ my years,
Without heart or inclination
To pen a single thing, I fear,
That pleases me, or anyone.
If any would constrain my will
To write of happy things,
My pen would not possess the skill,
Nor my tongue the power to sing.
My lips could never part, in smiling,
Without a gaze that lips betrayed,
Since my heart would claim denial
Through the tears my cheeks displayed.
I leave it to the lover, who nurses
Hopes that his wound might heal,
To make ballads, songs and verses,
That each might his own skill reveal.
My lady, by her will, did steal
At her Death, God save her soul,
And carry away, my power to feel,
That lies with her beneath the stone.