Sonet 24

Sir William Alexander

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A Countrie Swaine while as he lay at rest,
Neare dead for cold a serpent did perceiue,
And through preposterous pitie straight would saue
That vipers life, whose death had bene his best:
For being by his bosomes heate reuiu'd,
O vile ingratitude! a monstrous thing,
Not thinking how he strengthned had her sting,
She kild the courteous Clowne by whom she liu'd.
I in this maner harbour'd in my hart
A speechlesse picture, destitute of force,
And lo attracted with a vaine remorce,
I gaue it life, and fostred it with art;
But like that poisnous viper being strong,
She burn'd the brest where she had lodg'd so long.

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