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Mary Wroth's Poetry: An Electronic Edition

Wroth Poem - F38 - How many eyes hast thou poore Loue to guard

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33.

How many eyes hast thou poore Loue to guard
    thee, from thy most deſired wish, and end
    is itt becauſe ſome ſay thou' art blind, that bard
    from ſight, thou should'st noe hapines attend?

Who blame thee ſoe, ſmale iustice can pretend
    since 'twixt thee, and ye ſunn noe question hard
    can bee, his ſight butt outward, thou canst bend
    the hart, and guide itt freely; thus vnbard

Art thou, while wee both blind, and bold thus dare
    accuſe thee of the harmes, our ſelues should find
    who led wth folly, and by rashnes blind
    thy ſacred powre, doe wt a childs compare

Yett Loue this boldnes pardon: for admire
thee ſure wee must, or bee borne wthout fire
33.

How many eyes hast thou, poor Love,* to guard
    Thee from thy most desired wish, and end?
    Is it because some say thou' art blind, that barred
    From sight, thou should'st no happiness attend?

Who blame thee so, small* justice can pretend,
    Since 'twixt thee, and the sun no question hard
    Can be, his sight but outward, thou canst bend
    The heart, and guide it freely; thus unbarred

Art thou, while we both blind and bold thus* dare
    Accuse thee of the harms, ourselves should find
    Who led with folly, and by rashness blind,
    Thy sacred power do with a child's compare

Yet Love this boldness pardon: for admire
    Thee sure we must, or be born without fire.


This sonnet plays a particularly elaborate game with the idea of love/Cupid's blindness and the trials of desire. There is also a central paradox about the depiction of love as Cupid, a child, when the effects of desire are so powerful. Lovers themselves are grateful that they are born with 'fire', even if that subjects them to Cupid's power.

'hast thou, poor Love': = 'poor Love hast thou' in P.
'thus' = 'oft' in P; a good example of Wroth's painstaking revision.
'small': Wroth's 'smale' was in use for 'small' at the time she wrote, though would already have been a bit old fashioned.
33.

How many eyes (poore Loue) haſt thou to guard
    Thee from thy moſt deſired wiſh, and end?
    Is it becauſe ſome ſay th'art blinde, that barr'd
    From ſight, thou ſhould'ſt no happineſſe attend?

Who blame thee ſo, ſmall Iuſtice can pretend,
    Since twixt thee and the Sunne no queſtion hard
    Can be; his ſight but outward, thou can'ſt bend
    The heart, and guide it freely thus vnbar'd.

Art thou, while we both blinde and bold, oft dare
    Accuſe thee of the harmes our ſelues ſhould finde:
    Who led with folly, and by raſhneſſe blinde
    Thy ſacred power doe with a child's compare.

Yet Loue, this boldneſſe pardon; for admire
Thee ſure we muſt, or be borne without fire.
33.

How many eyes poor Love hast thou to guard
    Thee from thy most desired wish, and end?
    Is it because some say thou' art blind, that barred
    From sight, thou should'st no happiness attend?

Who blame thee so, small justice can pretend,
    Since 'twixt thee, and the sun no question hard
    Can be, his sight but outward, thou canst bend
    The heart, and guide it freely; thus unbarred

Art thou, while we both blind and bold oft dare
    Accuse thee of the harms, ourselves should find
    Who led with folly, and by rashness blind,
    Thy sacred power do with a child's compare

Yet Love this boldness pardon: for admire
    Thee sure we must, or be born without fire.



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