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Mary Wroth's Poetry: An Electronic Edition

Wroth Poem - F39 - Take heed mine eyes, how you yor lookes doe cast

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34.

Take heed mine eyes, how you yor lookes doe cast
    least they beetray my harts most ſecrett thought;
    bee true vnto your ſelues for nothings bought
    more deere then doubt wch brings a louers fast

Catch you all waching eyes, ere they bee paſt,
    or take yours fixt wher your best loue hath ſought
    the pride of your deſires; lett them bee taught
    theyr faults wth shame, they could noe truer last

Then looke, and looke wt ioye for conquest wunn
    of thoſe that ſearch'd your hurt in double kinde;
    ſoe you kept ſafe, lett them themſelues looke blinde
    watch, gaze, and marke till they to madnes runn,

While you, my eyes inioye full ſight of loue
contented that ſuch hapineſses moue
34.

Take heed mine eyes, how you your looks do cast
    Lest* they betray my heart's most secret thought;
    Be true unto your selves for nothing's bought
    More dear than doubt which brings a lover's fast.*

Catch you all watching eyes, ere they be past,
    Or take yours fixed where your best love hath sought
    The pride of your desires; let them be taught
    Their faults with* shame, they could no truer last.*

Then look, and look with joy for conquest won
    Of those that searched your hurt* in double kind;
    So you kept safe, let them themselves look blind
    Watch, gaze, and mark till they to madness run,

While you, my* eyes enjoy full sight of love
    Contented that such happinesses move.


This arresting sonnet offers a resistance on the speaker's part to the prying eyes that attempt to penetrate her defences, and it continues the theme of sonnet 23 [F26/P26], offering a sense of self to resist those who would assert their control over Pamphilia/Wroth.

'Lest': Wroth's 'least' is a variant spelling.
'a lover's fast': there are a number of ambiguous phrases in this sonnet: this might mean that the lover is held fast by doubt, or that there is some sense of the lover fasting/ wasting away with doubt.
'with' = 'for' in P.
'last': in this whole stanza, it is hard to determine exactly who 'they' are, given that they seem to move from being the watching eyes, which are to be resisted, to the speaker's own eyes which have in some sense betrayed her.
'searched your hurt': a vivid image of the vulnerability of the speaker/all women, who might have their 'hurt' (wound) searched (examined) - but this vulnerability is overturned by the strength of the speaker, who ultimately blinds the desperately searching/gazing eyes of those who would look at her; in the end it is she who enjoys 'full sight of love'.
'my' = 'mine' in P.
34.

Take heed mine eyes, how you your looks doe caſt,
    Leſt they betray my hearts moſt ſecret thought:
    Be true vnto your ſelues; for nothing's bought
    More deare then Doubt, which brings a Louers faſt.

Catch you alwatching eyes ere they be paſt,
    Or take yours fix't, where your beſt Loue hath ſought
    The pride of your deſires; let them be taught
    Their faults for ſhame they could no truer laſt.

Then looke, and looke with ioy, for conqueſt won,
    Of thoſe that ſearch'd your hurt in double kinde:
    So you kept ſafe, let them themſelues looke blinde,
    Watch, gaze, and marke till they to madneſſe run.

While you mine eyes enioy full ſight of Loue,
Contented that ſuch happineſſes moue.
34.

Take heed mine eyes, how you your looks do cast
    Lest they betray my heart's most secret thought;
    Be true unto your selves for nothing's bought
    More dear than doubt which brings a lover's fast.

Catch you all watching eyes, ere they be past,
    Or take yours fixed where your best love hath sought
    The pride of your desires; let them be taught
    Their faults for shame, they could no truer last.

Then look, and look with joy for conquest won
    Of those that searched your hurt in double kind;
    So you kept safe, let them themselves look blind
    Watch, gaze, and mark till they to madness run,

While you, mine eyes enjoy full sight of love
    Contented that such happinesses move.



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