The Divorce of a Lover
Divorce me nowe good death, from love and lingring life,
That one hath bene my concubine, that other was my wife.
In youth I lived with love, she had my lustye dayes,
In age I thought with lingering life to stay my wandering wais,
But now abusde by both, I come for to complaine,
To thee good death, in whom my helpe doth wholy now remain,
My libell loe behold: wherein I doe protest,
The processe of my plaint is true, in which my griefe doth rest.
First love my concubine (whome I have kept so trimme,
Even she for whome I seemd of yore, in seas of joy to swimme:
To whome I dare avowe, that I have served as well,
And played my part as gallantly, as he that beares the bell)
She cast me of long since, and holdes me in disdaine,
I cannot pranke to please hir nowe, my vaunting is but vaine.
My writhled cheekes bewraye, that pride of heate is past,
My stagring steppes eke tell the trueth, that nature fadeth fast,
My quaking crooked joyntes, are combred with the crampe,
The boxe of oyle is wasted wel, which once dyd feede my lampe.
The greenesse of my yeares, doth wyther now so sore,
That lusty love leapes quite awaye, and lyketh me no more,
And love my lemman gone, what lyking can I take?
In lothsome lyfe that croked croane, although she be my make?
Shee cloyes me with the cough, hir comfort is but cold,
She bids me give mine age for almes, wher first my youth was sold.
No day can passe my head, but she beginnes to brall,
No mery thoughts conceived so fast, but she confounds them al.
When I pretend to please, she overthwarts me still,
When I wou[l]d faynest part with hir, she overwayes my will.
Be judge then gentle death, and take my cause in hand,
Consider every circumstaunce, marke how the case doth stand.
Percase thou wilte aledge, that cause thou canst none see,
But that I like not of that one, that other likes not me:
Yes gentle judge give eare, and thou shalt see me prove,
My concubine incontinent, a common whore is love.
And in my wyfe I find, such discord and debate,
As no man living can endure the tormentes of my state.
Wherefore thy sentence say, devorce me from them both,
Since only thou mayst right my wronges, good death nowe be not loath.
But cast thy pearcing dart, into my panting brest,
That I may leave both love and life, & thereby purchase rest.