Global Utilities

Mary Wroth's Poetry: An Electronic Edition

Wroth Poem - F5 - Can pleaſing ſight, misfortune euer bring?

Folger Image Folger Transcription Folger Modernisation PA Transcription PA Modernisation Urania Transcription Urania Modernisation
F5 F5mod P5 P5mod

.5.

Can pleaſing ſight, misfortune euer bring?
    can firme deſire, euer, torments try?
    can winning eyes proue to the hart a sting?
    Or can ſweet lips in treaſon hidden ly?

The Sun most pleaſing blinds the strongest eye
    if to much look'd on, breaking the ſights string;
    deſires crost, must vnto miſchiefes hye,
    and as dispaire, a luckles chance may fling.

Eyes, hauing wunn, reiecting proues a sting
    killing the bud beefor the tree doth spring
    ſweet lips nott louing doth as poyſon proue

Deſire, ſight, Eyes, lips, ſeeke, ſee, proue, and find
    you loue may wi, butt curſes if vnkind
    Then show you harmes diſlike, and ioye in Loue
5.

Can* pleasing sight, misfortune ever bring?
    Can firm desire ever, torments* try?
    Can winning eyes prove to the hart a sting?
    Or can sweet lips in treason hidden lie?

The Sun most pleasing blinds the strongest eye
    If too* much look'd on, breaking the sight's string;
    Desires crossed * must unto mischiefs* hie,
    And as despair, a luckless chance may fling.

Eyes, having won,* rejecting proves a sting
    Killing the bud before the tree doth spring,
    Sweet lips not loving doth* as poison prove.

Desire, sight, eyes, lips, seek, see, prove, and find
    You love may win, but curses if unkind,
    Then show you harm's dislike, and joy in Love.


This sonnet has a similar structure (termed correlative verse) to AS sonnet 43, which begins:

    Faire eyes, sweet lips, dear heart, that foolish I
    Could hope, by Cupid's help, on you to prey,
    Since to himself he doth your gifts apply,
    As his main force, choice sport, and easeful stay!

Wroth made a number of revisions for the 1621 printing (P).

'Ever, torments' = 'a painfull torment' (P)
'too' = 'to' (F), 'two' (P)
'crossed' = 'still crossed' (P)
'mischiefs' = 'mischief' (P)
'won' = 'none' (P)
'doth' = 'do' (P)
5


Can pleaſing ſight misfortune euer bring?
    Can firme deſire a painefull torment trye?
    Can winning eyes proue to the heart a ſting?
    Or can ſweet lips in Treaſon hidden lye?

The Sunne moſt pleaſing, blindes the ſtrongeſt eye,
    If two much look'd on, breaking the ſights ſtring;
    Deſires ſtill croſt muſt vnto miſchiefe hie,
    And as Deſpaire, a luckleſſe chance may fling.

Eyes hauing none, reiecting prooues a ſting,
    Killing the budd before the tree doth ſpring;
    Sweet lipps, not louing, do as poyſon proue:

Deſire, ſight, eyes, lipps; ſeeke, ſee, proue, aud finde,
    You loue may winn, but curſes, if vnkinde,
    Then ſhew you harmes diſlike, and ioy in loue.
5.

Can pleasing sight, misfortune ever bring?
    Can firm desire a painful torment try?
    Can winning eyes prove to the hart a sting?
    Or can sweet lips in treason hidden lie?

The Sun most pleasing blinds the strongest eye
    If too* much look'd on, breaking the sight's string;
    Desires still crossed must unto mischief hie,
    And as despair, a luckless chance may fling.

Eyes, having none,* rejecting proves a sting
    Killing the bud before the tree doth spring,
    Sweet lips not loving do as poison prove.

Desire, sight, eyes, lips, seek, see, prove, and find
    You love may win, but curses if unkind,
    Then show you harm's dislike, and joy in love.


'too': emended from 'two'
'none' = 'won' in F, perhaps a transcription error in P.


Content Approved by: Paul Salzman
Page maintained by: Gayle Allan
Page last generated: 15/06/2012 10:11:28