Lament my loss, my labor, and my pain


Lament my loss, my labour, and my pain,
All ye that hear my woeful plaint and cry.
If ever man might once your heart constrain
To pity words of right, it should be I
That since the time that youth in me did reign
My pleasant years to bondage did apply,
Which, as it was, I purpose to declare
Whereby my friends hereafter may be ware.

And if perchance some readers list to muse
What meaneth me so plainly for to write,
My good intent the fault of it shall scuse,
Which mean nothing but truly to indite
The craft and care, the grief and long abuse
Of lover's law and eke her puissant might
Which though that men oft-times by pains doth know,
Little they wot which ways the guiles doth grow.

Yet well ye know it will renew my smart
Thus to rehearse the pains that I have passed.
My hand doth shake, my pen scant doth his part,
My body quakes, my wits begin to waste.
'Twixt heat and cold in fear I feel my heart
Panting for pain; and thus, as all aghast
I do remain scant wotting what I write,
Pardon me, then, rudely though I indite.

And patiently, O reader, I thee pray,
Take in good part this work as it is meant
And grieve thee not with aught that I shall say
Since with goodwill this book abroad is sent
To tell men how in youth I did assay
What love did mean, and now I it repent,
That, noting me, my friends may well be ware
And keep them free from all such pain and care.
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