Global Utilities

Mary Wroth's Poetry: An Electronic Edition

Wroth Poem - F101 - Louers learne to speake butt truthe

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4.


Louers learne to speake butt truthe
    ſweare nott, and your othes forgoe,
giue your age a constant youth
    vowe noe more then what you'll doe

Thinke itt ſacrilidg to breake
    what you promiſe shall in loue,
and in teares what you may speake
    forgett nott when the ends you proue;

Doe nott thinke itt glory is
    to intiſce, and then deſeaue
your chiefe honors ly in this
    by worth what wunn is, nott to leaue;



'T'is nott for your fames to try
    what wee weake nott oft refuſe
in owr bownty owr faults ly
    when you to doe a fault will chuſe;

Fy, leaue this, a greater gaine
    't'is to keepe when you haue wunn
then what purchaced is wt paine
    ſoone after in all ſcorne to shun;

For if worthles to bee priz'd
    why att first will you itt moue,
and if worthy, why dispiſ'd
    you can nott ſweare, and ly, and loue,

Loue (alas) you can nott like
    't'is butt, for a fashion mou'd
non can chuſe, and then dislike
    vnles itt bee by faulshood prou'd

Butt your choice is, and yor loue
    how most numbers to deſeaue,
as if honors claime did moue
    like Popish lawe, non ſafe to leaue;

Fly this folly, and returne
    vnto truth in loue, and try,
none butt Martirs hapy burne
    more shamefull ends they haue that lye


Crown Song 4 ('Lovers learn to speak but truth')

Lovers learn to speak but truth,
    Swear not, and your oaths forego,
    Give your age a constant youth
    Vow no more than what you'll do.

Think it sacrilege to break
    What you promise shall in love,
    And in tears what you may* speak,
    Forget not when the ends you prove.

Do not think it glory is
    To entice, and then deceive,
    Your chief honours lie in this:
    By worth what won is, not to leave.

'Tis not for your fames* to try
    What we, weak, not oft refuse,
    In our bounty our faults lie
    When you to do a fault will choose.

Fie, leave this, a greater gain
    'Tis to keep when you have won
    Than what purchased is with pain
    Soon after in all scorn to shun.

For if worthless to be prized
    Why at first will you it move,
    And if worthy, why despised?
    You cannot swear, and lie, and love.

Love (alas) you cannot like
    'Tis but for a fashion moved
    None can choose, and then dislike
    Unless it be by falsehood* proved.

But your choice is, and your love,
    How most numbers* to deceive,
    As if honour's claim did move
    Like Popish law,* none safe to leave;

Fly this folly, and return
    Unto truth in love, and try,
    None but martyrs happy burn,
    More shameful ends they have that lie.


'may' = 'do' in P.
'fames' = 'fame' in P.
'falsehood' = 'fausehood' in P.
'numbers' = number in P.

Popish law: an interesting political reference: the Sidney family were militantly anti-Catholic and when Wroth was writing her poems tensions between the Catholic and Protestant factions at court were intense. The Popish law specifically in this political context may be the supposed justification for the killing of a non-Catholic monarch. The religious references in this song begin with the idea of it being sacrilege to break promises made in love.
4.

Louers learne to ſpeake but truth,
    Sweare not, and your oathes forgoe,
Giue your age a constant youth,
    Vow no more then what you'le doe.

Thinke it ſacriledge to breake
    What you promiſe, ſhall in loue
And in teares what you doe ſpeake
    Forget not, when the ends you proue.

Doe not thinke it glory is
    To entice, and then deceiue,
Your chiefe honors lye in this,
    By worth what wonne is, not to leaue.

'Tis not for your fame to try,
    What we weake, not oft refuſe,
In our bounty our faults lye,
    When you to doe a fault will chuſe.

Fye leaue this, a greater gaine,
    tis to keepe when you haue won,
Then what purchaſ'd is with paine,
    Soone after in all ſcorne to ſhun.

For if worthleſſe to be priz'd,
    Why at firſt will you it moue?
And if worthy, why diſpis'd?
    You cannot ſweare, and lie, and loue.

Loue alaſſe you cannot like,
    Tis but for a faſhion mou'd,
None can chuſe, and then diſlike,
    Vnleſſe it be by faſhood prou'd.

But your choyce is, and your loue.
    How most number to deceiue,
As if honors claime did moue
    Like Popiſh Law, none ſafe to leaue.

Flye this folly, and returne
    Vnto truth in Loue, and try,
None but Martir's happy burne,
    More ſhamefull ends they haue that lye.
Crown Song 4 ('Lovers learn to speak but truth')

Lovers learn to speak but truth,
    Swear not, and your oaths forego,
    Give your age a constant youth
    Vow no more than what you'll do.

Think it sacrilege to break
    What you promise shall in love,
    And in tears what you do speak,
    Forget not when the ends you prove.

Do not think it glory is
    To entice, and then deceive,
    Your chief honours lie in this:
    By worth what won is, not to leave.

'T'is not for your fame to try
    What we, weak, not oft refuse,
    In our bounty our faults lie
    When you to do a fault will choose.

Fie, leave this, a greater gain
    'Tis to keep when you have won
    Than what purchased is with pain
    Soon after in all scorn to shun.

For if worthless to be prized
    Why at first will you it move,
    And if worthy, why despised?
    You cannot swear, and lie, and love.

Love (alas) you cannot like
    'Tis but for a fashion moved
    None can choose, and then dislike
    Unless it be by falsehood proved.

But your choice is, and your love,
    How most number to deceive,
    As if honour's claim did move
    Like Popish law, none safe to leave;

Fly this folly, and return
    Unto truth in love, and try,
    None but martyrs happy burn,
    More shameful ends they have that lie.



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