Sestina I

Sir William Alexander

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Hard is my fortune, stormie is my state,
And as inconstant as the wauing sea,
Whose course doth still depend vpon the winds:
For lo, my life in danger euery houre,
And though euen at the point for to be lost,
Can find no comfort but a flying show.
And yet I take such pleasure in this show,
That still I stand contented with my state,
Although that others thinke me to be lost:
And whil'st I swim amidst a dangerous sea,
Twixt feare and hope, are looking for the houre,
When my last breath shall glide amongst the winds.
Lo to the sea-man beaten with the winds,
Sometimes the heau'ns a smiling face will show,
So that to rest himselfe he finds some houre.
But nought (ay me) can euer calme my state,
Who with my teares as I would make a sea,
Am flying Silla in Charibdis lost.
The Pilote that was likely to be lost,
When he hath scap'd the furour of the winds,
Doth straight forget the dangers of the sea.
But I, vnhappie I, can neuer show,
No kind of token of a quiet state,
And am tormented still from houre to houre.
O shall I neuer see that happie houre,
When I (whose hopes once vtterly were lost)
May find a meanes to re-erect my state,
And leaue for to breath foorth such dolorous winds,
Whil'st I my selfe in constancie do show
A rocke against the waues amidst the sea.
As many waters make in end a sea,
As many minutes make in end an houre:
And still what went before th'effect doth show:
So all the labours that I long haue lost,
As one that was but wrestling with the winds,
May once in end concurre to blesse my state.
And once my storme-stead state sau'd from the sea,
In spite of aduerse winds, may in one houre
Pay all my labors lost, at least in show.

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