As Love doth e’er reign in my will and heart,
So make I ready the lord to entreat,
Who even now keeps ransomed by his seat
My lady love, with whom I dare depart.
I arm myself in steel of Cupid-dart
Linèd well with tresses of my love sweet;
In piety I dress from head to feet,
For her love is God’s love in every part.
Gleam I without as gleam my self within,
Upon my shield a book to keep me strong.
Now I approach the doors where ruleth Sin:
Adornèd thus, I sure to do no wrong.
I keep thee ever close, o Love, o Lord,
Pray, make my faith stronger than Hades’ sword.
The primary virtue here, as noted within the poem, is piety.
1. “As Love … heart”: This is a reference to the first line of Petrarch’s Rime 140 (“Love, who lives and reigns in my thought”) and Surrey’s translation of it (“Love that doth raine and live within my thought”).
5. “steel of Cupid-dart”: The steel of the armor is the same as Cupid’s arrowheads.
8. “Upon my shield a book”: The heraldry of Orphos’ shield is the Bible. It is a more obvious Christian reference (perhaps) than the heraldry sported by Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, who boasts a pentangle on his shield that symbolizes his five-fold Christian virtues.
11. Sin: Hades, Satan.