William Hunnis

A Nosegay Always Sweet

A NOSEGAY, lacking flowers fresh,
To you now I do send;
Desiring you to look thereon,
When that you may intend:
For flowers fresh begin to fade,
And Boreas* in the field [North Wind]
Even with his hard congealed frost
No better flowers doth yield.

But if that winter could have sprung
A sweeter flower than this,
I would have sent it presently
To you withouten miss:
Accept this then as time doth serve,
Be thankful for the same,
Despise it not, but keep it well,
And mark each flower his name.

Lavender is for lovers true,
Which evermore be fain,
Desiring always for to have
Some pleasure for their pain;
And when that they obtained have
The love that they require,
Then have they all their perfect joy,
And quenched is the fire.

Rosemary is for remembrance
Between us day and night;
Wishing that I might always have
You present in my sight.
And when I cannot have
As I have said before,
Then Cupid with his deadly dart
Doth wound my heart full sore.

Sage is for sustenance,
That should man's life sustain;
For I do still lie languishing
Continually in pain,
And shall do still until I die,
except thou favour show:
My pain and all my grievous smart
Full well you do it know.

Fennel is for flatterers,
An evil thing it is sure:
But I have always meant truly,
With constant heart most pure;
And will continue in the same
As long as life doth last,
Still hoping for a joyful day
When all our pains be past.

Violet is for faithfulness
Which in me shall abide;
Hoping likewise that from your heart
You will not let it slide;
And will continue in the same
As you have now begun,
And then for ever to abide,
Then you my heart have won.

Thyme is to try me,
As each be tried must,
Letting you know while life doth last
I will not be unjust;
And if I should I would to God
To hell my soul should bear,
And eke also that Belzebub
With teeth he should me tear.

Roses is to rule me
With reason as you will,
For to be still obedient
Your mind for to fulfil;
And thereto will not disagree
In nothing that you say,
But will content your mind truly
In all things that I may.

Gillyflowers is for gentleness,
Which in me shall remain,
Hoping that no sedition shall
Depart our hearts in twain.
As soon the sun shall lose his course,
The moon against her kind
Shall have no light, if that I do
Once put you from my mind.

Carnations is for graciousness,
Mark that now by the way,
Have no regard to flatterers,
Nor pass not what they say:
For they will come with lying tales
Your ears for to fulfil:
In any case do you consent
Nothing unto their will.

Marigolds is for marriage,
That would our minds suffice,
Lest that suspicion of us twain
By any means should rise:
As for my part, I don not care,
Myself I will still use
That all the women of the world
For you I will refuse.

Pennyroyal is to print your love
So deep within my heart,
That when you look this Nosegay on
My pain you may impart;
And when that you have read the same,
Consider well my woe,
Think ye then how to recompense
Even him that loves you so.

Cowslips is for counsel,
For secrets us between,
That none but you and I alone
Should know the thing we mean:
And if you will thus wisely do,
As I think to be best,
Then have you surely won the field
And set my heart at rest.

I pray you keep this Nosegay well,
And set by it some store:
And thus farewell! the gods thee guide
Both now and evermore!
Not as the common sort do use,
To set it in your breast,
That when the smell is gone away,
On ground he takes his rest.

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William Hunnis