On Monsieur’s Departure

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly to prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned.
Since from myself another self I turned.
My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.
Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.
By Queen Elizabeth I (c.1582)

3 thoughts on “On Monsieur’s Departure

  1. Ah! The Medieavel Baebes song “Virgin Queen” from the PBS masterpiece theatre show of the same name is inspired by this poem!!! So neat to make these connections.

  2. Hi! I am studying this poem for a school class and we are analyzing its meaning. In order to help me learn Elizabeth’s intent with these lines, I need to determine her purpose in writing this poem, and its intended audience. Can anyone enlighten me as to how it was published originally, and if such publication took place during her life? Did she intend the poem for public consumption?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  3. An anonymous collection of 40 sonnets published in 1595 is entitled:
    In the Folger Library this copy is bound with three known works of
    Shakespeare. Does the enigmatic title mean anything about Elizabeth I ?

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