We last left luckless in love Thomas Campion shivering outside his beloved’s door, and here we find him once again making his bid for a place beside Wyatt and Donne when it comes to eloquent bitterness on the theme of being dumped.
When Thou must Home to Shades of Underground
When thou must home to shades of underground,
And there arriv’d, a new admired guest,
The beauteous spirits do engirt thee round,
White Iope, blithe Helen, and the rest,
To hear the stories of thy finish’d love
From that smooth tongue whose music hell can move;
Then wilt thou speak of banqueting delights,
Of masques and revels which sweet youth did make,
Of tourneys and great challenges of knights,
And all these triumphs for thy beauty’s sake:
When thou hast told these honours done to thee,
Then tell, O tell, how thou didst murder me.
I find a lot of Elizabethan love poetry too formulaic for my taste, but this poem by Thomas Campion (1567-1620) does seem to carry a note of plaintive sincerity as the poor chap desperately tries to get his foot in the beloved’s door, if only so he can stop shivering…
Shall I come, sweet love, to thee?
Shall I come, sweet love, to thee,
When the ev’ning beams are set?
Shall I not excluded be?
Will you find no feignèd let?
Let me not, for pity, more
Tell the long hours at your door.
Who can tell what thief or foe
In the covert of the night,
For his prey, will work my woe,
Or through wicked foul despite?
So may I die unredress’d,
Ere my long love be possess’d.
But, to let such dangers pass,
Which a lover’s thoughts disdain,
’Tis enough in such a place
To attend love’s joys in vain:
Do not mock me in thy bed,
While these cold nights freeze me dead.