When I was happiest, clouds always dimmed

When I was happiest, clouds always dimmed
my brightest days: surrounded, pressed in by
many bitter suspicions, I lived with
dubious hopes, well-founded fears, between

pleasures and pains. Then the Gods were not as
generous as now they are mean; so it
is that my heart endures unqualified
wretchedness for flawed joys, inadequate

content. Under nature's savage laws, Love,
most free with wounds, niggard of fruit, made whole
days unhappy whose hours were so glad.

Through sweet thresholds, through hidden lies into
cruel realms--on the outside all had seemed safe--
I was led, naked amid treachery.

From B A1:67:36. See also R LXXI:196. First printed in 1538 edition of VC; MSs F1, CASI, COR (basis of Visconti's edition), RA, V1, Ve2. See Hamlet, III:1:13. Key

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