Today’s poem is an anonymous lyric from the play Fedele & Fortunio or The Two Italian Gentlemen, translated from the Italian in 1584. The play was considered popular & influential in its day but has only survived in a few extracts, songs & poems. The picture of the lovers is from here.
If love be like the flower that in the night,
When darkness drowns the glory of the skies,
Smells sweet and glitters in the gazer’s sight,
But when the gladsome sun begins to rise,
And he that views it would the same embrace,
It withereth and loseth all his grace:
Why do I love and like the cursed tree,
Whose bud appears, but fruit will not be seen?
Why do I languish for the flower I see,
Whose root is not, when all the leaves be green?
In such a case it is a point of skill
To follow chance, and love against my will.