William Shakespeare. 1564–1616

Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, I.

“It was a lording’s daughter, the fairest one of three”

IT was a lording’s daughter, the fairest one of three,  
That liked of her master as well as well might be,  
Till looking on an Englishman, the fair’st that eye could see,  
  Her fancy fell a-turning.  
Long was the combat doubtful that love with love did fight,    5
To leave the master loveless, or kill the gallant knight:  
To put in practice either, alas! it was a spite  
  Unto the silly damsel.  
But one must be refused; more mickle was the pain  
That nothing could be used to turn them both to gain,   10
For of the two the trusty knight was wounded with disdain:  
  Alas! she could not help it.  
Thus art with arms contending was victor of the day,  
Which by a gift of learning did bear the maid away;  
Then lullaby, the learned man hath got the lady gay;   15
  For now my song is ended.