Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

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But by and by, the cause of my disease
Gives me a pang that inwardly doth sting,
When that I think what grief it is again
To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey KG (1516 or 1517January 19 1547) was an English courtier, soldier and poet. He invented blank verse, and along with Thomas Wyatt he introduced the sonnet to English poetry.


Quotations are cited from The Poems of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (London: Bell and Daldy, 1866). [1]

  • The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
    With green hath clad the hill, and eke the vale:
    The nightingale with feathers new she sings;
    The turtle to her make hath told her tale;
    Summer is come, for every spray now springs.
    • "Description of Spring", line 1
  • And thus I see among these pleasant things
    Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs!
    • "Description of Spring", line 13
  • Love, that liveth and reigneth in my thought,
    That built his seat within my captive breast;
    Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought,
    Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
    • "Complaint of a Lover Rebuked", line 1
  • Brittle beauty, that Nature made so frail,
    Whereof the gift is small, and short the season;
    Flowering to-day, to-morrow apt to fail;
    Tickle treasure, abhorred of reason:
    Dangerous to deal with, vain, of none avail;
    Costly in keeping, past not worth two peason.
    • "The Frailty and Hurtfulness of Beauty", line 1
  • But by and by, the cause of my disease
    Gives me a pang, that inwardly doth sting,
    When that I think what grief it is again
    To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.
    • "A Complaint by Night of the Lover Not Beloved", line 11.
  • When raging love with extreme pain
    Most cruelly distrains my heart;
    When that my tears, as floods of rain,
    Bear witness of my woful smart;
    When sighs have wasted so my breath
    That I lie at the point of death:
    I call to mind the navy great
    That the Greeks brought to Troyè town:
    And how the boisterous winds did beat
    Their ships, and rent their sails adown;
    Till Agamemnon's daughter's blood
    Appeased the gods that them withstood.
    • "The Lover Comforteth Himself with the Worthiness of his Love", line 1.
  • Then think I thus: "Sith such repair,
    So long time war of valiant men,
    Was all to win a lady fair,
    Shall I not learn to suffer then?
    And think my life well spent to be,
    Serving a worthier wight than she?"
    • "The Lover Comforteth Himself with the Worthiness of his Love", line 19
  • O happy dames! that may embrace
    The fruit of your delight;
    Help to bewail the woful case,
    And eke the heavy plight
    Of me, that wonted to rejoice
    The fortune of my pleasant choice:
    Good ladies! help to fill my mourning voice.
    • "Complaint of the Absence of her Lover Being upon the Sea", line 1
  • I know she swore with raging mind,
    Her kingdom only set apart,
    There was no loss, by law of kind,
    That could have gone so near her heart;
    And this was chiefly all her pain:
    "She could not make the like again".
    • "A Praise of his Love", line 19
  • Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest:
    Whose heavenly gifts increased by disdain;
    And virtue sank the deeper in his breast:
    Such profit he by envy could obtain.
    • "Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest", line 1
  • London! hast thou accused me
    Of breach of laws? the root of strife!
    Within whose breast did boil to see,
    So fervent hot, thy dissolute life.
    • "A Satire Against the Citizens of London", line 1

Prisoned in Windsor, He Recounteth his Pleasure there Passed[edit]

  • So cruel prison how could betide, alas,
    As proud Windsor? where I, in lust and joy,
    With a King's son, my childish years did pass,
    In greater feast than Priam's sons of Troy.
    Where each sweet place returns a taste full sour.
    • Line 1
  • With silver drops the mead yet spread for ruth,
    In active games of nimbleness and strength,
    Where we did strain, trained with swarms of youth,
    Our tender limbs that yet shot up in length.
    The secret groves, which oft we made resound
    Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise;
    Recording oft what grace each one had found,
    What hope of speed, what dread of long delays.
    • Line 21
  • Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew,
    In prison pine, with bondage and restraint:
    And with remembrance of the greater grief,
    To banish the less, I find my chief relief.
    • Line 51.


  • Surrey, the Granville of a former age:
    Matchless his pen, victorious was his lance;
    Bold in the lists, and graceful in the dance.

  • Surrey, for his justness of thought, correctness of style, and purity of expression, may justly be pronounced the first English classical poet.
    • Thomas Warton The History of English Poetry (1774-81) vol. 3, p. 27.

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