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Mary Wroth's Poetry: An Electronic Edition

Wroth Poem - F75 - Like to the Indians, ſcorched wth the ſunne

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F75 F75mod P25 P25mod

10.

Like to the Indians, ſcorched wth the ſunne,
    the ſunn wch they doe as theyr God adore
    ſoe ame I vſ'd by loue, for euer more
    I worship him, leſs fauor haue I wunn,

Better are they who thus to blacknes runn,
    and ſoe can only whitenes want deplore
    then I who pale, and white ame wt griefs store,
    nor can haue hope, butt to ſee hopes vndunn;

Beeſids theyr ſacrifies receaud's in ſight
    of theyr choſe ſainte: Mine hid as worthles rite;
    grant mee to ſee wher I my offrings giue,

Then lett mee weare the marke of Cupids might,
    in hart as they in skin doe Phœbus light
    Nott ceaſing offrings to loue while I Liue


Sonnet 19

Like to the Indians, scorched with the sun,
    The sun which they do as their God adore,
    So am I used by love, for ever more
    I worship him, less favour* have I won,

Better are they who thus to blackness run,
    And so can only whiteness' want deplore
    Than I who pale and white am with grief's store,
    Nor can have hope, but to see hopes undone;

Besides their sacrifice received's* in sight
    Of their chose saint: mine hid as worthless rite;
    Grant me to see where I my offerings give,

Then let me wear the mark of Cupid's might
    In heart as they in skin do* Phoebus' light,
    Not ceasing offerings to love while I live.


The image of the Indians may derive from Wroth's participation in Ben Jonson's Masque of Blackness (1605), in which she played the part of Baryte. The appearance of the court ladies 'blacked up' caused considerable comment at the time. This context, the paradoxes of blackness/whiteness, and the imagery of sacrifice, make this a particularly original sonnet. In P this sonnet is moved to be No 22, on fol. 12. [P25]

'favour' = 'favours' in P.
'received's': received is = 'received' in P.
'do' = 'of' in P.
22.

Like to the Indians ſcorched with the Sunne,
    The Sunne which they doe as their God adore:
    So am I vs'd by Loue, for euermore
    I worſhip him, leſſe fauours haue I wonne.

Better are they who thus to blackneſſe run,
    And ſo can onely whiteneſſe want deplore:
    Theu I who pale and white am with griefes ſtore,
    Nor can haue hope, but to ſee hopes vndone.

Beſides their ſacrifice receiu'd in ſight,
    Of their choſe Saint, mine hid as worthleſſe rite,
    Grant me to ſee where I my offerings giue.

Then let me weare the marke of Cupids might,
    In heart, as they in skin of Phœbus light,
    Not ceaſing offerings to Loue while I liue.
22.

Like to the Indians, scorched with the sun,
    The sun which they do as their God adore,
    So am I used by love, for ever more
    I worship him, less favours have I won,

Better are they who thus to blackness run,
    And so can only whiteness' want deplore
    Than I who pale and white am with grief's store,
    nor can have hope, but to see hopes undone;

Besides their sacrifice received in sight
    of their chose saint: mine hid as worthless rite;
    Grant me to see where I my offerings give,

Then let me wear the mark of Cupid's might
    In heart as they in skin of Phoebus' light,
    Not ceasing offerings to love while I live.



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