As You Came from the Holy Land (attributed)

By Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618 Sir Walter Ralegh
As you came from the holy land
         Of Walsingham,
Met you not with my true love
         By the way as you came?

   “How shall I know your true love,
         That have met many one,
I went to the holy land,
         That have come, that have gone?”

   She is neither white, nor brown,
         But as the heavens fair;
There is none hath a form so divine
         In the earth, or the air.

“Such a one did I meet, good sir,
         Such an angelic face,
Who like a queen, like a nymph, did appear
         By her gait, by her grace.”

She hath left me here all alone,
         All alone, as unknown,
Who sometimes did me lead with herself,
         And me loved as her own.

“What’s the cause that she leaves you alone,
         And a new way doth take,
Who loved you once as her own,
         And her joy did you make?”

I have lov’d her all my youth;
         But now old, as you see,
Love likes not the falling fruit
         From the withered tree.

Know that Love is a careless child,
         And forgets promise past;
He is blind, he is deaf when he list,
         And in faith never fast.

His desire is a dureless content,
         And a trustless joy:
He is won with a world of despair,
         And is lost with a toy.

Of womenkind such indeed is the love,
         Or the word love abus’d,
Under which many childish desires
         And conceits are excus’d.

But true love is a durable fire,
         In the mind ever burning,
Never sick, never old, never dead,
         From itself never turning.

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Poet Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Living, Relationships, Time & Brevity, Love, Men & Women, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Sir Walter  Ralegh

Biography

Before his execution for treason, Sir Walter Ralegh won fame as an explorer of the New World — both for voyages to Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina (whose capital is named after him), and to Venezuela in search of El Dorado, the mythical city of gold. Also a scholar and a gifted lyric poet, Ralegh brought glory to Elizabethan England along with the potatoes and tobacco he is said to have introduced there.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Relationships, Time & Brevity, Love, Men & Women, Romantic Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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