Complaint of the Absence of Her Love Being Upon the Sea

By Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey 1517–1547 Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
O happy dames, that may embrace
   The fruit of your delight,
Help to bewail the woeful case
   And eke the heavy plight
Of me, that wonted to rejoice
The fortune of my pleasant choice;
Good ladies, help to fill my mourning voice.

In ship, freight with remembrance
   Of thoughts and pleasures past,
He sails that hath in governance
   My life while it will last;
With scalding sighs, for lack of gale,
Furthering his hope, that is his sail,
Toward me, the sweet port of his avail.

Alas! how oft in dreams I see
   Those eyes that were my food;
Which sometime so delighted me,
   That yet they do me good;
Wherewith I wake with his return,
Whose absent flame did make me burn:
But when I find the lack, Lord, how I mourn!

When other lovers in arms across
   Rejoice their chief delight.
Drowned in tears, to mourn my loss
   I stand the bitter night
In my window, where I may see
Before the winds how the clouds flee.
Lo! what a mariner love hath made of me!

And in green waves when the salt flood
   Doth rise by rage of wind,
A thousand fancies in that mood
   Assail my restless mind.
Alas! now drencheth my sweet foe,
That with the spoil of my heart did go,
And left me; but, alas! why did he so?

And when the seas wax calm again
   To chase fro me annoy,
My doubtful hope doth cause me pain;
   So dread cuts off my joy.
Thus is my wealth mingled with woe,
And of each thought a doubt doth grow;
“Now he comes! Will he come? Alas, no, no!”

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Poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey 1517–1547


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Heartache & Loss

 Henry   Howard, Earl of Surrey


Tudor poet Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, was born in Hunsdon, Hertfordshire, England. He was the son of the third Duke of Norfolk. Associated with the royal court, he grew up at Windsor, where he was a childhood companion to the Duke of Richmond, son of Henry VIII. Surrey was also a first cousin to Anne Boleyn. Educated by tutors, he lived an eventful life as a soldier and a courtier, eventually marrying Lady Frances de . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Heartache & Loss


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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