Pain of all pain, the most grievous pain


Pain of all pain, the most grievous pain
Is to love heartily and cannot be loved again.

Love with unkindness is causer of heaviness,
Of inward sorrow and sighs painful.
Whereas I love is no redress
To no manner of pastime: the sprites so dull
With privy mournings and looks rueful,
The body all wearish, the colour pale and wan,
More like a ghost than like a living man

When Cupido hath inflamed the heart's desires
To love there as is disdain;
Of good or ill the mind oblivious,
Nothing regarding but love t'attain;
Always imagining by what mean or train
It may be at rest thus in a moment
Now here, now there, being never content.

Tossing and turning when the body would rest,
With dreams oppressed and visions fantastical,
Sleeping or waking, love is ever pressed,
Sometime to weep, sometime to cry and call,
Bewailing his fortune and life bestial,
Now in hope of recure and now in despair —
This is a sorry life to live alway in care!

Record of Terence in his comedies poetical:
In love is jealousy and injuries many one,
Anger and debate with mind sensual,
Now war, now peace, musing all alone,
Sometime all mort and cold as any stone.
This causeth unkindness of such as cannot skill
Of true love, assured with heart and good will.

Lucrece the Roman, for love of our lord
And because perforce she had commit adultery
With Tarquinus, as the story doth record,
Herself did slay with a knife most piteously
Among her nigh friends, because that she
So falsely was betrayed. Lo, this was the guerdon
Whereas true love hath no dominion.

To make rehearsal of old antiquity
What needeth it? We see by experience
Among lovers it chanceth daily
Displeasure and variance for none offence.
But if true love might give sentence
That unkindness and disdain should have no place
But true heart for true love, it were a great grace.

O Venus, lady, of love the goddess,
Help all true lovers to have love again;
Banish from thy presence disdain and unkindness;
Kindness and pity to thy service retain:
For true love, once fixed in the cordial vein,
Can never be revulsed by no manner of art,
Unto the soul from the body depart.
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