The Dark Lady Reflections
By Stuart Diamond
All Original Materials Copyrighted 2008


Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

That outward Beautie which the world commends,
Is not the subject I will write upon
Whose date expir'd, that tyrant Time soone ends,
Those dawsie colours soone are spent and gone: unaccompanied
But those faire Virtues which on thee attends with virtue
Are alwaies fresh, they never are but one.  

CXXVII

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name;
But now is black beauty's successive heir,
And beauty slanders with a bastard's shame:
For since each hand hath put on Nature's power, Fairing the foul with Art's false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' eyes are raven black.
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandr'ring creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.
   


 
  
     He says I am dark. Dark of complexion, dark of soul. Did I really affect him so? I was only 26.  And he... he was the rising star of the court... of the theater -- Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet. Everyone knew his name. We were not youths, not children. He acts as though it was his first youthful infatuation. There were many men around and about at that time. The court was glittering. I was handsome they said, exotic, a dark beauty. What accident of fate, my destiny to be born as I was.

    I look in a mirror and what is there to see? My hair is streaked with white. Am I that old? Not yet, but soon -- I know. Is my skin truly that dark as they said?  And then these eyes. My eyes, they are black, black as a raven, yes, maybe so. But they still see, though my sight is fading, that my sense of self is that of as a young women. I see my skin as clear, my hair full and long. And I loved as a women - fully. My loins gave birth and I nursed with these breasts. I am a women, plain and simple; and yet, they loved me so… for indeed I was that dark women of England's royal court. 


    They all said how beautiful I was. How odd… that one is born to beauty and others to another fate. What lines and symmetries come together to form such a picture. I’ve learned what it is to paint a face, to bait a man with scents and perfumes. And yet there is that lure that is beyond such artifices. It is as though men are bent on such simplicity. They see what they choose to see. Even Will… Could he have been so taken with this face? Was it these dark eyes that bewitched him so? Or is there something beyond such simple sights.

    I always wanted to look like my friends, my lovers, and yet I knew I was not one of them. They treated me different; they treated me as someone else. When I lay with one, I could feel the difference. They stood apart from themselves, watching both themselves and me, seeking, looking, as though I was an alien being.

    I was born in England like the rest. But my father was a Jew. From Venizia. Though he died when I was but a girl. Truly I am a soul born from another world.

CXXVIII

How oft when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap,
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.



    S
o he loved my music. But did he ever really understand what it is to be a musician. Did he know what it is to spend the hours in love with music? The hours, the endless hours, practicing, the hours and hours that form you, that mold your soul. I doubt anyone could ever know but another musician.  When you first sit down at a keyboard and press a nimble finger to the wood to hear its sound, it is but a curiosity. But then through time the music enters you, seeps into every pore, until there is little left of what was and you are now the music, sculpted by sound. This music is my world. They watch me play but how could one know that place that I go to. Perhaps he feels this place when he is on stage as an actor or perhaps when he writes. Odd how they all seem to look at me when I play. It is a most peculiar state. The more I can focus on the music another part of me is freed. It hovers above me. I can look at each of them. And I can make love to them through this music… if they only knew. It is oh so intimate. For when I play I usually play just for one. Sometimes if there is a child in the room I will play just for her though a score of eyes follow my every move. And sometimes when I play I make love to one that strikes my fancy. If I open my heart with the music it so much easier to choose one and play just for one being, one heart, and when I close my eyes it all comes through me, with an electric charge. I see him as though we were bedded. Yes, Will that is my music. Did I ever dream of you when I played? Were you the one that inhabited my music with me? I do not remember. I cannot say.
 

CXXIX

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action: and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad.
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.



   

    Did he really hunt me with such a ferocious hungered flame? Did he really want me to such a shame?  If I recall at first it was just a kiss. It was In the hall. Was it Spring or was it Winter? Why did we kiss? For me it was merely a dance. There were other men, other players in the game. It was the Court. It was silly. It was dangerous. I was a master of my world. They all wanted me, I think, when I was young. It was simple, a glance of an eye, the accidental brush of a hand.  Even the women were not immune. Oh the women, that was where the danger lay. Even the Queen noticed. Yes, that was my flattery. The women were dangerous for they understood the game from the inside out.

    They circled. We all did like moths, to the flames of each other. We all had our lovers, but we also had each other.



CXXX

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.





    And is this who I was? A painted image in his mind. Brown skin, red lips, breasts of dun, wired hair. Am I as women no more than that to these men? Yet he was so intelligent. We all said he was the perceptive one. He speaks of my eyes. But what of his, for when his eyes fell upon you… I remember now…  so pleading, so sad, that there was a chill in the air. His gaze became my fear.


    For though he saw deeply into my eyes, what did I see in his? It was frightening, because when he looked, you knew he knew. He saw the truth of others. It was his gift… it was his curse. How could one love one that knew you more than you knew yourself?

    And yet he was still this little man who saw the color of skin, not the Virtue of who I am as women. Though the fabric of my flower fades, my Virtue remains. Will he only see my Virtue once I am anciently withered?


Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

As for those matchlesse colours Red and White,
Or perfit features in a fading face,
Or due proportion pleasing to the night:           
All these doe draw but dangers and disgrace:
A mind enrich'd with Virtue, shines more bright,
Addes everlasting Beauty, gives true grace,
    Frames an immortall Goddesse on the earth,
    Who though she dies, yet Fame gives her new berth.      

That pride of Nature which adornes the faire,
Like blasing Comets to allure all eies,
Is but the thred, that weaves their web of Care,
Who glories most, where most their danger lies;
For greatest perills do attend the faire,      
When men do seeke, attempt, plot and devise,
How they may overthrow the chastest Dame,
Whose Beautie is the White whereat they aime.  

 What fruit did yeeld that faire forbidden tree,
But blood, dishonour, infamie, and shame?
Poore blinded Queene, could'st thou no better see,
But entertaine disgrace, in stead of fame?                         
Doe these designes with Majestie agree?
To staine thy blood, and blot thy royall name.
    That heart that gave consent unto this ill,
    Did give consent that thou thy selfe should'st kill.  



CXXXI

Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel;
For well thou know'st to my dear doting heart
Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel.
Yet, in good faith, some say that thee behold,
Thy face hath not the power to make love groan;
To say they err I dare not be so bold,
Although I swear it to myself alone.
And to be sure that is not false I swear,
A thousand groans, but thinking on thy face,
One on another's neck, do witness bear
Thy black is fairest in my judgment's place.
In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,
And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.



   

    Tyrannous? I was not, not as those proud beauties. There was Catherine. Aloof and removed, she was the royal bitch, a plague upon the men. Rather it was my very temperament, not my self as temptress, that they sought.  I had no more, no less than the other ladies. But there was one young man. He came to be with me from a good family, a wealthy family. They paid Will handsomely to write about him. Could I have known what it would become? That was a true love. Oh, he was passion -- filled with a lust for life. WIll frankly was for all his delight still shy. He never had the effrontery, the confidence. I don't think I realized at that point I was his love. And then there was his daintiness. With him and the others one never knew whether it was his friends he preferred. We all knew he had loved his friend, my friend. That was clear. Yes, the friend was handsome. A pity that Will may have suffered. It was all meant to be good fun back then.


Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

Though famous women elder times have knowne,   
Whose glorious actions did appeare so bright,
That powrefull men by them were overthrowne,
And all their armies overcome in fight;
The Scythian women by their powre alone,
Put king Darius unto shamefull flight: 
    All Asia yeelded to their conq'ring hand,
    Great Alexander could not their powre withstand.  

Whose worth, though writ in lines of blood and fire,
Is not to be compared unto thine;
Their powre was small to overcome Desire,
Or to direct their wayes by Virtues line:
Were they alive, they would thy Life admire,
And unto thee their honours would resigne:
    For thou a greater conquest do'st obtaine,
    Than they who have so many thousands slaine.

CXXXII

Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Knowing thy heart torments me with disdain,
Have put on black and loving mourners be,
Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain.
And truly not the morning sun of heaven
Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Nor that full star that ushers in the even,
Doth half that glory to the sober west,
As those two mourning eyes become thy face:
O! let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part.
Then will I swear beauty herself is black,
And all they foul that thy complexion lack.



   

    Were these eyes the instrument of his pain? These windows of soul that hurt him so. Did he see all that of what he speaks within my eyes -- my black, black eyes? I never meant him harm. His eyes saw what they wanted to see. I was past a girl, but still young at heart with much of life to understand. I had suffered too, when I was a child, but the suffering of a child is unaware. Yes, I was an orphan, but the family took me in. I was born a Jew, they told me that. Yet, I am a Christian, a sinner. Yes a sinner for what I did, but they were sinners too for what they did to me. For as woman there is a purity, Virtue, something unknown to any man. That is the Beauty what it is to be a woman. That is what these men, these sad and pathetic men, can never understand.


Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

Wise Deborah that judged Israel,
Nor valiant Judeth cannot equall thee,
Unto the first, God did his will reveale,
And gave her powre to set his people free;
Yea Judeth had the powre likewise to queale  
Proud Holifernes, that the just might see
What small defence vaine pride, and greatnesse hath
 Against the weapons of Gods word and faith.  

But thou farre greater warre do'st still maintaine,
Against that many headed monster Sinne,
Whose mortall sting hath many thousand slaine,
And every day fresh combates doe begin;
Yet cannot all his venome lay one staine
Upon thy Soule, thou do'st the conquest winne,
Though all the world he daily doth devoure,
Yet over thee he never could get powre. 


CXXXIII

Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me!
Is't not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet'st friend must be?
Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken,
And my next self thou harder hast engrossed:
Of him, myself, and thee I am forsaken;
A torment thrice three-fold thus to be crossed.
Prison my heart in thy steel bosom's ward,
But then my friend's heart let my poor heart bail;
Whoe'er keeps me, let my heart be his guard;
Thou canst not then use rigour in my jail:
And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.

   

    And now he curses me as though I were to blame for these words of furious love. Does he not know what I am, who I have become? These words that I write were sown at his feet. Cannot he know that it was he who helped pen my words. Of these words… Which are mine? Which are his?

    But could he have not known that I would read these words? These words that I look at now, with which he curses me, this scriber who purports to hate me. Yet I cannot resist to be bewitched by the very language that curses me. From some icy tomb his words come forth to touch me, to haunt me with a word-wise specter.
 



CXXXIV

So now I have confessed that he is thine,
And I my self am mortgaged to thy will,
Myself I'll forfeit, so that other mine
Thou wilt restore to be my comfort still:
But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free,
For thou art covetous, and he is kind;
He learned but surety-like to write for me,
Under that bond that him as fast doth bind.
The statute of thy beauty thou wilt take,
Thou usurer, that put'st forth all to use,
And sue a friend came debtor for my sake;
So him I lose through my unkind abuse.
Him have I lost; thou hast both him and me:
He pays the whole, and yet am I not free.





    Was he that maddened -- to forfeit himself, his world, his genius to me?  No, if he suffered his genius only learned. For his work was spared after all that transpired. His genius only grew. He himself did not understand his own genius, that all he suffered was of its own making, its own necessary concoction for its own wisdom. I was its tool, this genius' fodder. But I do remember that he had lost his son. We had heard that. We didn't talk of such things, but now I can understand. To see my children grow and then to lose them, the grief must have been beyond imagining. And for Will, poor Will. That genius imagination. I know full well what misery imagination can create. Such genius treasoned upon itself is a hell beyond imagining. For all the magic this genius could create, it is must be a Satan's sorcery when inflicted upon itself.



CXXXV

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in over-plus;
More than enough am I that vexed thee still,
To thy sweet will making addition thus.
Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious,
Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
Shall will in others seem right gracious,
And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
The sea, all water, yet receives rain still,
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will
One will of mine, to make thy large will more.
Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will.

 



    And yet the cheek of the fellow. Were we lovers by then? It's all lost in haze and gauzy memories. This Will was sweet. His was of a delicate soul. He was slight and we did not truly match. But what is it to love in memory -- to hold him and be held by him. His kisses were sweet, tender kisses and yet the truth of the fun was in the words. We wedded in the night with his words, those glorious words. His voice could tremble like a sparrow fluttering on a twig, or swoop down upon a hillock as though a hawk plummeting from the Heavens. And yet I can only wonder now that  seed implanted in me by my Will was not the Will of Flesh but the Will of the Word…  For "In the beginning… was there not the Word?”
 

CXXXVI

If thy soul check thee that I come so near,
Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy Will,
And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;
Thus far for love, my love-suit, sweet, fulfil.
Will, will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.
In things of great receipt with ease we prove
Among a number one is reckoned none:
Then in the number let me pass untold,
Though in thy store's account I one must be;
For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold
That nothing me, a something sweet to thee:
Make but my name thy love, and love that still,
And then thou lovest me for my name is 'Will.'

 

   

    What is this Soul with which he says checked when he was near, that turned away. Was it not my Virtue misunderstood? Then, I still did not understand that I am not this Flesh. For at first it was my flesh that commanded me, that opened me to Will, and these many other wills. And yet I knew, I must have known even then. It was revulsion. How odd that at first what one wants with such an ardor can turn so quick into such displeasure. And yet it was not that my Will was no more, no less attractive then before. I can admit that it was Virtue's revulsion for my self. The lesson learnt was to see my own flower fade, so quick, so fast. Only then could I see beyond my own eye's disgust when mirrored in eye's younger still.


Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

Thy beauty shining brighter than the Sunne,
Thine honour more than ever Monarke gaind,
Thy wealth exceeding his that Kingdomes wonne,
Thy Love unto his Spouse, thy Faith unfaind,
Thy Constancy in what thou hast begun,   
Till thou his heavenly Kingdom have obtaind;
Respecting worldly wealth to be but drosse,
Which, if abuz'd, doth proove the owners losse.


CXXXVII

Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
That they behold, and see not what they see?
They know what beauty is, see where it lies,
Yet what the best is take the worst to be.
If eyes, corrupt by over-partial looks,
Be anchored in the bay where all men ride,
Why of eyes' falsehood hast thou forged hooks,
Whereto the judgment of my heart is tied?
Why should my heart think that a several plot,
Which my heart knows the wide world's common place?
Or mine eyes, seeing this, say this is not,
To put fair truth upon so foul a face?
In things right true my heart and eyes have erred,
And to this false plague are they now transferred.

 
   

    To be born under Beauty's laurel leads to the curse of these men pleading and then despising, to be used, abused and raped. I had my Lord and patron. Eventuality's Will's patron so I have heard. He came and went. I sat on his right arm. His true wedded wife was nothing to him. He lauded me; he spent his wealth on me. But I was nothing. When I presented him with child I was quickly banished, married off to dear Alfonso.

    And then I was ugly. Big-bellied and married. Suddenly I knew what it was to be shunned. And when my daughter came… Oh, that was an ecstasy. And then these men, these self-satisfied men, let me return to their court, to their presence. And then oddly I was more sought. Mistress was one thing, but my married state made me safer, freer to be free with them.

    Forgive me Will, I take little heed of talk of how your eyes perceive Beauty this way or that. Your genius was bound to your balls as with all men.

    And we women are as tied to our womb, our babies, as you to your balls. But to look into those most beautiful eyes, my daughter's raven black eyes, was the wonder of my times.

 
Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

Great Cleopatra's love to Anthony,
Can no way be compared unto thine; 
Shee left her Love in his extremitie,
When greatest need should cause her to combine
Her force with his, to get the Victory:
Her Love was earthly, and thy Love Divine;
Her Love was onely to support her pride,  
Humilitie thy Love and Thee doth guide. 

That glorious part of Death, which last shee plai'd,
T'appease the ghost of her deceased Love,
Had never needed, if shee could have stai'd
When his extreames made triall, and did prove 
Her leaden love unconstant, and afraid:
Their wicked warres the wrath of God might move
To take revenge for chast Octavia's wrongs,
Because shee enjoyes what unto her belongs. 

No Cleopatra, though thou wert as faire
As any Creature in Antonius eyes;
Yea though thou wert as rich, as wise, as rare,
As any Pen could write, or Wit devise;
Yet with this Lady canst thou not compare,
Whose inward virtues all thy worth denies:  
Yet thou a blacke Egyptian do'st appeare;
Thou false, shee true; and to her Love more deere.

Shee sacrificeth to her deerest Love,
With flowres of Faith, and garlands of Good deeds;
Shee flies not from him when afflictions prove,
Shee beares his crosse, and stops his wounds that bleeds;
Shee love and lives chaste as the Turtle dove,
Shee attends upon him, and his flocke shee feeds;
Yea for one touch of death which thou did'st trie,
A thousand deaths shee every day doth die. 

Her virtuous life exceeds thy worthy death,
Yea, she hath richer ornaments of state,
Shining more glorious than in dying breath
Thou didst; when either pride, or cruell fate,
Did worke thee to prevent a double death;
To stay the malice, scorne, and cruell hate
Of Rome; that joy'd to see thy pride pull'd downe,
Whose Beauty wrought the hazard of her Crowne. 
 

CXXXVIII

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O! love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love, loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.


 

    And so my kindness was but a lie. There were more attractive men. Of course, that was the truth. In that I cannot lie. And so he lied in what he told to me. For what? To seek my bed. To lie upon a lie?

    Truth is not of this Earth. He must know that. But yet I suspect his brilliance was but of a heathened set.

    Truth is Christened sent, and if not, falls under Satan's rent. Thus his heart-filled pleas were not filled with true Love's intent but a folly of a man, old and spent.

    So if I were not a Beauty and thus not Truth, then your eyes were solipsed upon thyself? What was Beauty and what was Ugly was but a mirror of your Soul. For never was there a lie, it was but truth as the insight of Yourself.


CXXXIX

O! call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye, but with thy tongue:
Use power with power, and slay me not by art,
Tell me thou lov'st elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside:
What need'st thou wound with cunning, when thy might
Is more than my o'erpressed defence can bide?
Let me excuse thee: ah! my love well knows
Her pretty looks have been mine enemies;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
That they elsewhere might dart their injuries:
Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,
Kill me outright with looks, and rid my pain.


 

    My dear, dear Will. Wound thee with my words? What words then? These words with which I write were not present then. For that was a time, as a girl, when my eyes were my weapons, to wound and hurt. I knew no battle could be won upon your field of words. Even a girl, naïve and sweet, knows where to choose her crossing. I had but these eyes with which to win the war. You dear friend had an eternity of words. As these eyes grow dim, and left with only words, I lose the conflict. Yet with your words, my friend, you stride across the bridge of time.

     I learned to write these very words from you and yet they are but paltry daggers against your sword. Oh, Will, who is the victor?  How could you be so confused?


CXL

Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press
My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain;
Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express
The manner of my pity-wanting pain.
If I might teach thee wit, better it were,
Though not to love, yet, love to tell me so;
As testy sick men, when their deaths be near,
No news but health from their physicians know;
For, if I should despair, I should grow mad,
And in my madness might speak ill of thee;
Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be.
That I may not be so, nor thou belied,
Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.



  

    Did I tie your tongue with my wit? It was you who did teach me wit, who taught me how rhymed and metered sound made a better case that the Law's wrangled writs.

    When I tried to tangle with thy tongue, I was but a mute, I admit. With my dearest friends I could gossip but a bit. But your presence emptied me of that Wit that you taught me to use behind your back. You, you were sweet, but I was fearful in that Wit whose bar I feared to meet. 


CXLI

In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who, in despite of view, is pleased to dote.
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted;
Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone:
But my five wits nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
That she that makes me sin awards me pain.

 
  

    Oh Will. At last you speak of Truth. But would you love me now as I am no longer that darkened beauty of my youth. The raven hair is streaked with white, the flesh you loved is softer and weathered, and those eyes that hurt you so... do they still glow with a girl's love of life?

    Would you see that the woman you loved was never truly there? You love the women of art and virtue that I always was. Did your sight blind you from the truth? Or did you always see the truth and were but blinded by the sight?

    Answer me that you heart saw a truth your mind could not and I will be yours.

 


CXLII

Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving:
O! but with mine compare thou thine own state,
And thou shalt find it merits not reproving;
Or, if it do, not from those lips of thine,
That have profaned their scarlet ornaments
And sealed false bonds of love as oft as mine,
Robbed others' beds' revenues of their rents.
Be it lawful I love thee, as thou lov'st those
Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee:
Root pity in thy heart, that, when it grows,
Thy pity may deserve to pitied be.
If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
By self-example mayst thou be denied!

 

  

    Call the sin for what it is. You were the adulterer, I the girl. Did I sin? Yes, but I was sinned upon but as a child. If I am the weaker of the gendered two, do not rail. It was your choice. If I am denied the full protection of men's laws then blame me not with hatred upon thy sin. It was not my seduction that cursed the race but your weak resolve to hold true to Virtue's vice.

    I held my hate for your Virtue's sake. That you could see beyond the silence is but a testament to your knowing sin. It was not Eve's apple that you bit but your own deception. Your words are but a labyrinth in which a lost soul cries demanding its own punishment?
 
Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

But surely Adam can not be excusde,
Her fault though great, yet hee was most too blame;
What Weaknesse offerd, Strength might have refusde,
Being Lord of all, the greater was his shame: 
Although the Serpents craft had her abusde,
Gods holy word ought all his actions frame,
For he was Lord and King of all the earth,
Before poore Eve had either life or breath. 

Who being fram'd by Gods eternall hand, 
The perfect'st man that ever breath'd on earth;
And from Gods mouth receiv'd that strait command,
The breach whereof he knew was present death:
Yea having powre to rule both Sea and Land,
Yet with one Apple wonne to loose that breath  

Which God had breathed in his beauteous face,
Bringing us all in danger and disgrace. 

And then to lay the fault on Patience backe,
That we (poore women) must endure it all;
We know right well he did discretion lacke, 
Beeing not perswaded thereunto at all;
If Eve did erre, it was for knowledge sake,
The fruit beeing faire perswaded him to fall:
No subtill Serpents falshood did betray him,
If he would eate it, who had powre to stay him?  
Not Eve, whose fault was onely too much love,
Which made her give this present to her Deare,
That what shee tasted, he likewise might prove,
Whereby his knowledge might become more cleare;
He never sought her weakenesse to reprove,     

With those sharpe words, which he of God did heare:
Yet Men will boast of Knowledge, which he tooke
From Eves faire hand, as from a learned Booke. 

If any Evill did in her remaine,
Beeing made of him, he was the ground of all; 
If one of many Worlds could lay a staine
Upon our Sexe, and worke so great a fall
To wretched Man, by Satans subtill traine;
What will so fowle a fault amongst you all?
Her weakenesse did the Serpents words obay;         
But you in malice Gods deare Sonne betray. 

Whom, if unjustly you condemne to die,
Her sinne was small, to what you doe commit;
All mortall sinnes that doe for vengeance crie,
Are not to be compared unto it:
If many worlds would altogether trie,
By all their sinnes the wrath of God to get;
    This sinne of yours, surmounts them all as farre
    As doth the Sunne, another little starre.

                        Then let us have our Libertie againe,                       
And challendge to your selves no Sov'raigntie;
You came not in the world without our paine,
Make that a barre against your crueltie;
Your fault beeing greater, why should you disdaine
        Our beeing your equals, free from tyranny?             
If one weake woman simply did offend,
This sinne of yours, hath no excuse, nor end.

 

CXLIII

Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feather'd creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe, and makes all swift dispatch
In pursuit of the thing she would have stay;
Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent
To follow that which flies before her face,
Not prizing her poor infant's discontent;
So runn'st thou after that which flies from thee,
Whilst I thy babe chase thee afar behind;
But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,
And play the mother's part, kiss me, be kind;
So will I pray that thou mayst have thy 'Will,'
If thou turn back and my loud crying still.

 


    Are we but all such babes, chasing and teething, little whines that circle about with little reasoned rhyme of why in any larger sense.

    If there be truth to metaphor than you describe our Court, their Earls and Lords, the Ladies and the Dames. At its center is the Queen, and we as mad suitors circle about, currying favors, friendships, for no point or sake.

    But I see now Will that you were both in and without. With one foot in the game and one foot out, no way better to both watch and play. Is that your genius? That while one Will loves, it is the other Will who watches and wonders. Who cannot ever play, who as some lonely lost child pleads for attention and for love. But because he rests in some other place and plane can never fully touch. So he lifts Will's pen and whispering in his ear tells him the secrets that leads to fame. Is that your secret Will? That there is this child by the by, poor and crying through which all your riches flow.

CXLIV

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil,
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turned fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell:
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

 



    A question for my Will: Are you man or woman? Angel or Devil? Which should be sorted with which?

    You paint the women as the worser sex. But we always wondered who and what you were, for we all felt, not only I, that there was something queer about our Will. He had his men, yes, but others shared in such. That was not what was the odd part. He had a gift. For he understood me, all the ladies, in a way that was beyond the knowing of the most perceptive man. It was a way that only a woman knows a woman. He felt in a woman’s way. He would weep with us; he would giggle and gossip. But then in a flash he would change and with the Lords talk of war and blood as though sport could be made of such.

     Yes, he was both Devil and Angel, Woman and Man. Like no other. The question remains: Which went with which?


CXLV

Those lips that Love's own hand did make,
Breathed forth the sound that said 'I hate',
To me that languished for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom;
And taught it thus anew to greet;
'I hate' she altered with an end,
That followed it as gentle day,
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
'I hate', from hate away she threw,
And saved my life, saying 'not you'.

 

  

    Did I hate you? Yes, I probably did. It was my sin I admit, for Virtue and God's love knows not of hate. But was I to blame? Was it not your attention misspent, putting upon me the responsibility of your happiness? Is that the burden of Beauty unasked for, unwanted?

    They all said I was their path to happiness -- through me, not with me. But how could I know that difference? Responsible for each man's joy, for each bliss. But where was I in all of this, where could my happiness reside?

    It is with lessons such as this that turn one away form this Earth and find the truest path of Heaven's Way... and to Christ Our Lord.

    My hate was the sin, but this sin remorsed is the door to eternal bliss.


CXLVI

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
That these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shall thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And Death once dead, there's no more dying then.

 



    And is Death as eternal finality the final rub?  Was that the place where Will and I parted ways. Are we bred to be one who loves the Lord and one who does not know?

    I must admit there is no other mind that holds a royal right above this generation as does my Will. Yet when Death has done its turn on him, he will be no more. But Christ My Lord will be my bedded partner for Eternity.

    Yet is this a story too? Do both Will and I spin fabled fairy dreams? But if they both be dreams, I choose the one of hope eternal. And let Will cast his lot with Satan's will.

    Truth or not, it is a choice to make: The worms will feast upon my flesh, while my soul will live in Heaven's wedded bliss. And Will? Can worms feast on words, such beautiful thoughts and sounds? Are these words his immortality? Can words and thoughts be ideas so rich that they never die? Is this the Immortality with which Will will cheat Death's Dark Prince?
     Oh, are my words such that they will live in another heart, generations hence from my dying days? Are his words, words of such sorrow, the portal to Eternity? And are my poor verses destined to forgettery, earthed in dusty libraries is some ancient future tomb?


CXLVII

My love is as a fever longing still,
For that which longer nurseth the disease;
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now Reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed;
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

CXLVIII

O me! what eyes hath Love put in my head,
Which have no correspondence with true sight;
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love's eye is not so true as all men's: no,
How can it? O! how can Love's eye be true,
That is so vexed with watching and with tears?
No marvel then, though I mistake my view;
The sun itself sees not, till heaven clears.
O cunning Love! with tears thou keep'st me blind,
Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.




    Was I this hell, dark as night? Was I this fever to him to be leeched from his blood? Would the physician bleed him to empty his heart of the black bile that I was to him?

    Yet did I ever love as such? Is this love or a sickness beyond any reason-proscribed madness?

    I wish I could love like this, but such love was robbed of me when I was but a girl. They all wanted me, even in my Mistress's house they took me there. And yet I was suppose to be a daughter like the rest. They took me in the dark, hell was night. I hid then, little did they know, in my work, my studies, my music. Oh, I was brilliant. That was the gift of my legacy. And then I emerged triumphant.

    For I know of who my parents were, the hated Jews. Those are the hellish loins from which I was born, and how this darkened beauty came to form. But they all wanted me. I hated this dark skin, hair and eyes -- oh, to be fair skinned and of clear blue eyes. Yet, I found their Lord, their Christ, and made him my own.

    But not like these pale girls of no heart, no sex, no lust. I took their Lord and made him mine with a passion, only as a Jewess could love a man. This is the cause of your fever, Will. Your envy for that that which I give only to thy Christian God.  I fought off those who came to take me in the night with the love of their Christ and with words that vaunt the Virtue'd gender of my sex. Yes, the Jew is triumphant, but as a Christian woman prevails over all the virtueless men of Christ.


CXLIX

Canst thou, O cruel! say I love thee not,
When I against myself with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee, when I forgot
Am of my self, all tyrant, for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend,
On whom frown'st thou that I do fawn upon,
Nay, if thou lour'st on me, do I not spend
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
What merit do I in my self respect,
That is so proud thy service to despise,
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind,
Those that can see thou lov'st, and I am blind.

CL

O! from what power hast thou this powerful might,
With insufficiency my heart to sway?
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
That in the very refuse of thy deeds
There is such strength and warrantise of skill,
That, in my mind, thy worst all best exceeds?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more,
The more I hear and see just cause of hate?
O! though I love what others do abhor,
With others thou shouldst not abhor my state:
If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
More worthy I to be beloved of thee.




    So I moved on. Your constant doting was but vexation. Yes, I knew you hated me. Your eyes were as clear and as transparent as were mine.

    It was your self-loathing that led me to disgust.

    If you could hate me with a pure simplicity that I could have better understood. But what did you then expect from your idolatry?

    The woman that you worshipped was of your own making. We of Eve's true inheritance are made of sterner stuff. Willed to follow a finer Will, answerable to only the Virtue of his Holiness, the Christ.

    It was with revenge that I took this vow to love an eternal man.

    Will, I know not of what you are made, for not once have I heard you breathe His name. You must be of devil bred, that to whisper such Holiness would wither your limbs and turn bones to dust.

    I hated not you, but the Satanry of your false Saintliness.

CLII

In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn,
But thou art twice forsworn, to me love swearing;
In act thy bed-vow broke, and new faith torn,
In vowing new hate after new love bearing:
But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee,
When I break twenty? I am perjured most;
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee,
And all my honest faith in thee is lost:
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy;
And, to enlighten thee, gave eyes to blindness,
Or made them swear against the thing they see;
For I have sworn thee fair; more perjured eye,
To swear against the truth so foul a lie!

 



    Enough of lies. I admit my adultery, but it was born of grief not of lust. I was a girl, in beggar clothes, promised food and a home.

    But I was not truly theirs and I suffered the men of the household. Oh, yes I was a beauty even then as a child. That was my curse - a beauty the likes they had never seen before. They said they loved me and so I pretended. They told me it was a game, but would a game end in so many tears. So many around me, but I was so alone.

    Yes, and then I became the greatest beauty of the court. They told me Beauty, my wit, my talent, was the entrée to a life of pleasure and happiness. But Beauty betrayed me once again.

    You speak of broken vows, but let me swear to one vow unbroken, there was not one word that was ever kept.

    I am woman born of Eve's loins, nursed at her breasts. I was not the sin, nor was Eve. It was Adam's misspent Will that raped the child of her Virtue. Only in the Christ, from Blessed Mary's virgin birth, did I find reprieve of this grief.

    Dear Will… I loved you and I loved you not. But I did not forget. How could I not remember those words?  This is how you inseminated me.  Words which gave birth to all that flows forth from me now. They are your bastard children. For your words are everywhere. Your words shape me now as music once shaped me. But your words sing beyond my simple bedchambers. Your words are everywhere, words than ring forth on every stage. Words that will replace the misbegotten utterances of Kings and Queens. Words that will live like ghosts, eternal shadows through the ages. Your legacy of words will shape every generation hence born.

     Will, I wish I loved you more. Maybe I could have loved the simple, little Will. But that other Will… could any woman, earth-born, loved that Will. I chose Christ as my path to Eternity. Your Earthly sorrow, Will, is that you are your own path to Immortality. For you will live forever in the hearts and mind of everyone who follows. I live only in the Heart of Christ.


Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

Eves Apologie.
Till now your indiscretion sets us free,   
And makes our former fault much lesse appeare;
Our Mother Eve, who tasted of the Tree,
Giving to Adam what shee held most deare,
Was simply good, and had no powre to see,                     
The after-comming harme did not appeare:
The subtile Serpent that our Sex betraide,
Before our fall so sure a plot had laide.  

That undiscerning Ignorance perceav'd
No guile, or craft that was by him intended;          
For had she knowne, of what we were bereav'd,
To his request she had not condiscended.
But she (poore soule) by cunning was deceav'd,
No hurt therein her harmelesse Heart intended:
For she alleadg'd Gods word, which he denies,      
That they should die, but even as Gods, be wise.  


CLIII

Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep:
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;
Which borrowed from this holy fire of Love,
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress' eye Love's brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distempered guest,
But found no cure, the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire; my mistress' eyes.

CLIV

The little Love-god lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed;
And so the General of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy,
For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.
 


    For all the many lovers I ever had, and how good they might have been and how strong and handsome and attractive, there was something different about how you and I made love together. Simply, it was music, a chamber song, as though a duo for viol and virginal, filled with pianissimos and fortes, crescendos and diminuendos, accelerandos and retardandos . Each love-making was a sonata with form and structure, a multitude of emotions with a transcendent catharsis. For what made our love-making special was that we both understood the secret of music. The secret is not in the sounds we hear. The truth of music lies just behind these sounds. It is in the silence… the feelings, the undulations… pushing the sounds forward through time. It is the give and take between the stokes of strings and fingers upon the keys that is the music. It is that silent movement that moves an audience to tears. And it was this silence in which we made our love. Our bodies were no more the truth of our lovemaking than the sounds are the truth of music. The reality lives beyond either. And so when we came together, it was as a rich duo. Sinuous complex melodies bounded by rich harmonies, yearning and answering in the same breath. And no one else I have ever known, no matter how good and strong and beautiful made love-music as we did.


Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum

Sweet holy rivers, pure celestiall springs,
Proceeding from the fountaine of our life;
Swift sugred currents that salvation brings,
Cleare christall streames, purging all sinne and strife,
Faire floods, where souls do bathe their snow-white  wings,
Before they flie to true eternall life:
    Sweet Nectar and Ambrosia, food of Saints,
    Which, whoso tasteth, never after faints.

This hony dropping dew of holy love,
Sweet milke, wherewith we weaklings are restored,
Who drinkes thereof, a world can never move,
All earthly pleasures are of them abhorred;      
This love made Martyrs many deaths to prove,
To taste his sweetnesse, whom they so adored:
    Sweetnesse that makes our flesh a burthen to us,
    Knowing it serves but onely to undoe us.

His sweetnesse sweet'ned all the sowre of death,
To faithfull Stephen his appointed Saint;
Who by the river stones did loose his breath,
When paines nor terrors could not make him faint:
So was this blessed Martyr turn'd to earth,
To glorifie his soule by deaths attaint:
    This holy Saint was humbled and cast downe,
    To winne in heaven an everlasting crowne.