Set me whereas the sun doth parch the green …
Set me whereas the sun doth parch the green
Or where his beams do not dissolve the ice,
In temperate heat where he is felt and seen;
In presence prest of people, mad or wise;
Set me in high or yet in low degree,
In longest night or in the shortest day,
In clearest sky or where clouds thickest be,
In lusty youth or when my hairs are gray.
Set me in heaven, in earth, or else in hell;
In hill, or dale, or in the foaming flood;
Thrall or at large, alive whereso I dwell,
Sick or in health, in evil fame or good:
Hers will I be, and only with this thought
Content myself although my chance be nought.
Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, was first cousin to both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. After Thomas Wyatt introduced sonnets into English, it was Howard who gave them the rhyming structure that Shakespeare then used. But these were dangerous times, even for a writer of sonnets about unrequited love, and he was beheaded for treason in 1547.