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- I SERVE a mistress whiter than snow,
- Straighter than cedar, brighter than the glass,
- Finer in trip and swifter than the roe,
- More pleasant than the field of flowering grass;
- More gladsome to my withering joys that fade,
- Than winter's sun or summer's cooling shade.
- Sweeter than swelling grape of ripest wine,
- Softer than feathers of the fairest swan,
- Smoother than jet, more stately than the pine,
- Fresher than poplar, smaller than my span,
- Clearer than beauty's fiery pointed beam,
- Or icy crust of crystal's frozen stream.
- Yet is she curster than the bear by kind,
- And harder hearted than the agèd oak,
- More glib than oil, more fickle than the wind,
- Stiffer than steel, no sooner bent but broke.
- Lo! thus my service is a lasting sore;
- Yet will I serve, although I die therefore.
- Anthony Munday
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