When I was Fair and Young, Queen Elizabeth I

Was wondering how to end my week of women’s poetry and Queen Elizabeth I seemed a pretty good finish. I have always had a fascination with Elizabeth I and that was partly why I was drawn to study Renaissance literature. Her poetry gives an insight into her life and thoughts. She was well known for supporting and influencing the literature of the time, although the fact that she also contributed to it often does not get a mention.

When I was Fair and Young

When I was fair and young, then favour graced me.
Of many was I sought their mistress for to be.
But I did scorn them all and answered them therefore:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

How many weeping eyes I made to pine in woe,
How many sighing hearts I have not skill to show,
But the prouder grew and still this spake therefore:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

Then spake fair Venus’ son, that proud victorious boy,
Saying: You dainty dame, for that you be so coy,
I will so pluck your plumes as you shall say no more:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

As soon as he had said, such change grew in my breast
That neither night nor day I could take any rest.
Wherefore I did repent that I had said before:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

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