Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret
Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well
at my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Will you then write me a sonnet in praise
of my beauty?
No, I was not born under a rhyming planet,
nor I cannot woo in festival terms
In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living
shall come over it, for in most comely truth
thou deservest it.
To have no man come over me? Why, shall I always
keep below stairs?
Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound’s mouth;
And yours as blunt as the fencer’s foils, which hit
but hurt not.
A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt
a woman. And so, I pray thee, call Beatrice.
I give thee the bucklers.
Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.
If you use them, Margaret, you must put in
the pikes with a vice, and they are dangerous
weapons for maids.
Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think
And therefore will come.
The god of love
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve—
I mean in singing. But in loving, Leander the good
swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
a whole book full of these quondam carpetmongers,
whose names yet run smoothly in the even
road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly
turned over and over as my poor self in love. Marry,
I cannot show it in rhyme. I have tried. I can find out
no rhyme to “lady” but “baby”—an innocent
rhyme; for “scorn,” “horn”—a hard rhyme; for
“school,” “fool”—a babbling rhyme; very ominous
endings. No, I was not born under a rhyming
planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.