Love is a discord and a strange divorce
Betwixt our sense and rest, by whose power,
As mad with reason, we admit that force
Which wit or labour never may divorce (?):
It is a will that brooketh no consent;
It would refuse yet never may repent.
Love’s a desire, which, for to wait a time,
Doth lose an age of years, and so doth pass
As doth the shadow sever’d from his prime;
Seeming as though it were, yet never was;
leaving behind naught but repentant thought
Of days ill spent of that which profits nought.
It’s now a peace and then a sudden war,
A hope consumed before it is conceived;
At hand it fears, and menaceth afar;
And he that gains is most of all deceived.
Love whets the dullest wits, his plagues be such,
But makes the wise by pleasing dote as much.
Professor Steven May lists this poem as “wrongly attributed” to Oxford.