Sonnet XII: Patronage

Hast thou the heart to touch, or even look
Upon such art as this and give its due
An thou profess as fanciful, outgrew,
Though for this canvas rapture overtook;

But are such things professed forever true:
That hath these sculpted works thy nature shook;
And shall thy past refinement be forsook,
Though long thou from thine innocence withdrew?

Rare, priceless, as may not be seen again,
Wilt claim thou of thy prime: the best doth wane;
And of this art, so fast a friend may come,
Though whether ancient made or new, as fast.
Shalt thou most proper frame such art at last,
Or once more to thy patronage succumb?

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Sonnet XI: The Art of War

How strangely opposite our sameness then,
My friend; although I know thy form–as hard
As mine–not pliant, nor as soft, we men;
Nor sweet, as  fond our distaff we regard.

With toil, these untendered limbs are scarred,
That reach for thee, though laughingly, with force
To equal thine, as though we will have sparred–
Yet battle merely reticent remorse.

And, having long since made our peace, the source
Of this reserve has fuelled our desire;
And brought us far along our wicked course!
That we, forbidden wickedness, conspire.

And–battle, artistry, or sin–we choose
This contest both would win, or wish to lose.

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Sonnet X: Labyrinth

His shape as pleaseth me, this fiery art
Doth longsome dream to me whilst gripped in sleep.
Shot through with lightning’s fire, doth dream impart
Such thrill: convivial to wake, to weep,

To think it trivial that thence I’ve gone,
That this Oneiran path: forever lost;
Not Morpheus, nor Hypnos’ other Spawn
Reveals’ this darkened place to whence I crost;

For these three Sons shall ‘ever show
A mortal man each labyrinth but once.
So at my waking hour, must I go
Away within imaginings, unless some bunce

Befall me; kindly providence might choose
To call me with such luck as I may use.

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Sonnet IX: Eros Philia Agape

As perfect thee, thine image as thine art:
Sublime, as sculpture’s ideations see;
Though mere in thought do such ideals exist,
My hands believe perfection thus to be.

Do not I trust this truth my hands impart
When next they touch conviction wrought of fire:
This certitude of which mine eyes insist
When they confirm withal my hands acquire;

Wherefore our brothers, hath He given heart
That for the other, petuous, will burn;
For she, from whom our brothers’ ribs consist,
Do all of us, this undespoilt, yearn.

For one: with art, we praise His strength thereof;
The other: doth enlist with us His love.

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Sonnet VIII: His Hand

Look ye upon this hand and then suppose
Ye know its master’s strength; as must it be
perceived, its width and length are plain to see,
conceived for war or mercy as he chose.

From grace to passion, powerful it flows’
To keep ye captive; both extremes agree;
Enrapt, gave ye desire with strength to free
Such still and racing hearts as passion knows.’

To bate thy breath, its mastery displayed,
To touch thee known, or thee beyond compare,
And bind thy strength, or thee thy beauty there;
Command in both, this hand shall be obeyed:
Such frailty and such power thus are swayed;
Perfection to ensnare,  succumb, prepare!

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Sonnet VII: Gilded Fire

What gilded fire hast thou within me lit
When once thou hast so deep thy fingers prest;
What hale, such perfection doth acquit
When light-acquainted fire doth bestow?

From lightest dost thou brush, to deepest touch;
For verge thou mee as though of thine possessed:
From out thy mastery, ownership as such
For mee, this fiery lightning set aglow.

May’ once, an I escape thee, light as well;
Might fire as hast thou lit be thus expressed;
May’ hearty lightning mine, and flame impel;
Might I, thine elements alight, thee know?

Can I, thy lightning’s fyre, reflect as blest;
Come I, as thy desire shall overflow?

This sonnet is part of a short sequence; click here to read it all:

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