Philip Sidney

Text derived from the 1891 edition from Cassell & Co.

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Table of Contents

  1. Two Pastorals
  2. Dispraise of a Courtly Life
  3. Dirge
  4. Stanzas to Love
  5. A Remedy for Love
  6. Verses
  7. Translation
  8. A Sonnet by Sir Edward Dyer
  9. Sir Philip Sidney’s Sonnet in Reply
  10. Must Love Lament?
  11. A Dialogue Between Two Shepherds
  12. Song
  13. The Smokes of Melancholy
  14. Ode
  15. Verses
  16. Song
  17. Translation
  18. Sonnets
  19. Wooing-Stuff
  20. Sonnets
  21. Song
  22. Song
  23. A Farewell
  24. The Seven Wonders of England
  25. From Earth to Heaven

Two Pastorals

Made by Sir Philip Sidney, upon his meeting with his two worthy friends and fellow poets, Sir Edward Dyer and M. Fulke Greville.

Join mates in mirth to me,

Grant pleasure to our meeting;

Let Pan, our good god, see

How grateful is our greeting.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

Ye hymns and singing skill

Of god Apollo’s giving,

Be pressed our reeds to fill

With sound of music living.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

Sweet Orpheus’ harp, whose sound

The stedfast mountains moved,

Let there thy skill abound,

To join sweet friends beloved.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

My two and I be met,

A happy blessed trinity,

As three more jointly set

In firmest band of unity.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

Welcome my two to me,

The number best beloved,

Within my heart you be

In friendship unremoved.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

Give leave your flocks to range,

Let us the while be playing;

Within the elmy grange,

Your flocks will not be straying.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

Cause all the mirth you can,

Since I am now come hither,

Who never joy, but when

I am with you together.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

Like lovers do their love,

So joy I in you seeing:

Let nothing me remove

From always with you being.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

And as the turtle dove

To mate with whom he liveth,

Such comfort fervent love

Of you to my heart giveth.

Join hearts and hands, so let it be,

Make but one mind in bodies three.

Now joined be our hands,

Let them be ne’er asunder,

But link’d in binding bands

By metamorphosed wonder.

So should our severed bodies three

As one for ever joined be.

Dispraise of a Courtly Life

Walking in bright Phoebus’ blaze,

Where with heat oppressed I was,

I got to a shady wood,

Where green leaves did newly bud;

And of grass was plenty dwelling,

Decked with pied flowers sweetly smelling.

In this wood a man I met,

On lamenting wholly set;

Ruing change of wonted state,

Whence he was transformed late,

Once to shepherds’ God retaining,

Now in servile court remaining.

There he wand’ring malecontent,

Up and down perplexed went,

Daring not to tell to me,

Spake unto a senseless tree,

One among the rest electing,

These same words, or this affecting:

“My old mates I grieve to see

Void of me in field to be,

Where we once our lovely sheep

Lovingly like friends did keep;

Oft each other’s friendship proving,

Never striving, but in loving.

“But may love abiding be

In poor shepherds’ base degree?

It belongs to such alone

To whom art of love is known:

Seely shepherds are not witting

What in art of love is fitting.

“Nay, what need the art to those

To whom we our love disclose?

It is to be used then,

When we do but flatter men:

Friendship true, in heart assured,

Is by Nature’s gifts procured.

“Therefore shepherds, wanting skill,

Can Love’s duties best fulfil;

Since they know not how to feign,

Nor with love to cloak disdain,

Like the wiser sort, whose learning

Hides their inward will of harming.

“Well was I, while under shade

Oaten reeds me music made,

Striving with my mates in song;

Mixing mirth our songs among.

Greater was the shepherd’s treasure

Than this false, fine, courtly pleasure.

“Where how many creatures be,

So many puffed in mind I see;

Like to Juno’s birds of pride,

Scarce each other can abide:

Friends like to black swans appearing,

Sooner these than those in hearing.

“Therefore, Pan, if thou may’st be

Made to listen unto me,

Grant, I say, if seely man

May make treaty to god Pan,

That I, without thy denying,

May be still to thee relying.

“Only for my two loves’ sake,

In whose love I pleasure take;

Only two do me delight

With their ever-pleasing sight;

Of all men to thee retaining,

Grant me with those two remaining.

“So shall I to thee always

With my reeds sound mighty praise:

And first lamb that shall befall,

Yearly deck thine altar shall,

If it please thee to be reflected,

And I from thee not rejected.”

So I left him in that place,

Taking pity on his case;

Learning this among the rest,

That the mean estate is best;

Better filled with contenting,

Void of wishing and repenting.


Ring out your bells, let mourning shows be spread,

For Love is dead:

All Love is dead, infected

With plague of deep disdain:

Worth, as nought worth, rejected,

And faith fair scorn doth gain.

From so ungrateful fancy;

From such a female frenzy;

From them that use men thus,

Good Lord, deliver us.

Weep, neighbours, weep, do you not hear it said

That Love is dead:

His death-bed, peacock’s folly:

His winding-sheet is shame;

His will, false-seeming holy,

His sole executor, blame.

From so ungrateful fancy;

From such a female frenzy;

From them that use men thus,

Good Lord, deliver us.

Let dirge be sung, and trentals rightly read,

For Love is dead:

Sir Wrong his tomb ordaineth

My mistress’ marble heart;

Which epitaph containeth,

“Her eyes were once his dart.”

From so ungrateful fancy;

From such a female frenzy;

From them that use men thus,

Good Lord, deliver us.

Alas! I lie: rage hath this error bred;

Love is not dead,

Love is not dead, but sleepeth

In her unmatched mind:

Where she his counsel keepeth

Till due deserts she find.

Therefore from so vile fancy,

To call such wit a frenzy:

Who Love can temper thus,

Good Lord, deliver us.

Stanzas to Love

Ah, poor Love, why dost thou live,

Thus to see thy service lost;

If she will no comfort give,

Make an end, yield up the ghost!

That she may, at length, approve

That she hardly long believed,

That the heart will die for love

That is not in time relieved.

Oh, that ever I was born

Service so to be refused;

Faithful love to be forborn!

Never love was so abused.

But, sweet Love, be still awhile;

She that hurt thee, Love, may heal thee;

Sweet! I see within her smile

More than reason can reveal thee.

For, though she be rich and fair,

Yet she is both wise and kind,

And, therefore, do thou not despair

But thy faith may fancy find.

Yet, although she be a queen

That may such a snake despise,

Yet, with silence all unseen,

Run, and hide thee in her eyes:

Where if she will let thee die,

Yet at latest gasp of breath,

Say that in a lady’s eye

Love both took his life and death.

A Remedy for Love

Philoclea and Pamela sweet,

By chance, in one great house did meet;

And meeting, did so join in heart,

That th’ one from th’ other could not part:

And who indeed (not made of stones)

Would separate such lovely ones?

The one is beautiful, and fair

As orient pearls and rubies are;

And sweet as, after gentle showers,

The breath is of some thousand flowers:

For due proportion, such an air

Circles the other, and so fair,

That it her brownness beautifies,

And doth enchant the wisest eyes.

Have you not seen, on some great day,

Two goodly horses, white and bay,

Which were so beauteous in their pride,

You knew not which to choose or ride?

Such are these two; you scarce can tell,

Which is the daintier bonny belle;

And they are such, as, by my troth,

I had been sick with love of both,

And might have sadly said, ‘Good-night

Discretion and good fortune quite;’

But that young Cupid, my old master,

Presented me a sovereign plaster:

Mopsa! ev’n Mopsa! (precious pet)

Whose lips of marble, teeth of jet,

Are spells and charms of strong defence,

To conjure down concupiscence.

How oft have I been reft of sense,

By gazing on their excellence,

But meeting Mopsa in my way,

And looking on her face of clay,

Been healed, and cured, and made as sound,

As though I ne’er had had a wound?

And when in tables of my heart,

Love wrought such things as bred my smart,

Mopsa would come, with face of clout,

And in an instant wipe them out.

And when their faces made me sick,

Mopsa would come, with face of brick,

A little heated in the fire,

And break the neck of my desire.

Now from their face I turn mine eyes,

But (cruel panthers!) they surprise

Me with their breath, that incense sweet,

Which only for the gods is meet,

And jointly from them doth respire,

Like both the Indies set on fire:

Which so o’ercomes man’s ravished sense,

That souls, to follow it, fly hence.

No such-like smell you if you range

To th’ Stocks, or Cornhill’s square Exchange;

There stood I still as any stock,

Till Mopsa, with her puddle dock,

Her compound or electuary,

Made of old ling and young canary,

Bloat-herring, cheese, and voided physic,

Being somewhat troubled with a phthisic,

Did cough, and fetch a sigh so deep,

As did her very bottom sweep:

Whereby to all she did impart,

How love lay rankling at her heart:

Which, when I smelt, desire was slain,

And they breathed forth perfumes in vain.

Their angel voice surprised me now;

But Mopsa, her Too-whit, Too-whoo,

Descending through her oboe nose,

Did that distemper soon compose.

And, therefore, O thou precious owl,

The wise Minerva’s only fowl;

What, at thy shrine, shall I devise

To offer up a sacrifice?

Hang AEsculapius, and Apollo,

And Ovid, with his precious shallow.

Mopsa is love’s best medicine,

True water to a lover’s wine.

Nay, she’s the yellow antidote,

Both bred and born to cut Love’s throat:

Be but my second, and stand by,

Mopsa, and I’ll them both defy;

And all else of those gallant races,

Who wear infection in their faces;

For thy face (that Medusa’s shield!)

Will bring me safe out of the field.


To the tune of the Spanish song, “Si tu senora no ducles de mi.”

O fair! O sweet! when I do look on thee,

In whom all joys so well agree,

Heart and soul do sing in me.

This you hear is not my tongue,

Which once said what I conceived;

For it was of use bereaved,

With a cruel answer stung.

No! though tongue to roof be cleaved,

Fearing lest he chastised be,

Heart and soul do sing in me.

O fair! O sweet! when I do look on thee,

In whom all joys so well agree,

Just accord all music makes;

In thee just accord excelleth,

Where each part in such peace dwelleth,

One of other beauty takes.

Since then truth to all minds telleth,

That in thee lives harmony,

Heart and soul do sing in me.

O fair! O sweet! when I do look on thee,

In whom all joys so well agree,

They that heaven have known do say,

That whoso that grace obtaineth,

To see what fair sight there reigneth,

Forced are to sing alway:

So then since that heaven remaineth

In thy face, I plainly see,

Heart and soul do sing in me.

O fair! O sweet! when I do look on thee,

In whom all joys so well agree,

Sweet, think not I am at ease,

For because my chief part singeth;

This song from death’s sorrow springeth:

As to swan in last disease:

For no dumbness, nor death, bringeth

Stay to true love’s melody:

Heart and soul do sing in me.


From Horace, Book II. Ode X., beginning “Rectius vives, Licini,” &c.

You better sure shall live, not evermore

Trying high seas; nor, while sea’s rage you flee,

Pressing too much upon ill-harboured shore.

The golden mean who loves, lives safely free

From filth of foreworn house, and quiet lives,

Released from court, where envy needs must be.

The wind most oft the hugest pine tree grieves:

The stately towers come down with greater fall:

The highest hills the bolt of thunder cleaves.

Evil haps do fill with hope, good haps appall

With fear of change, the courage well prepared:

Foul winters, as they come, away they shall.

Though present times, and past, with evils be snared,

They shall not last: with cithern silent Muse,

Apollo wakes, and bow hath sometime spared.

In hard estate, with stout shows, valour use,

The same man still, in whom wisdom prevails;

In too full wind draw in thy swelling sails.

A Sonnet by Sir Edward Dyer

Prometheus, when first from heaven high

He brought down fire, till then on earth not seen;

Fond of delight, a satyr, standing by,

Gave it a kiss, as it like sweet had been.

Feeling forthwith the other burning power,

Wood with the smart, with shouts and shrieking shrill,

He sought his ease in river, field, and bower;

But, for the time, his grief went with him still.

So silly I, with that unwonted sight,

In human shape an angel from above,

Feeding mine eyes, th’ impression there did light;

That since I run and rest as pleaseth love:

The difference is, the satyr’s lips, my heart,

He for a while, I evermore, have smart.

Sir Philip Sidney’s Sonnet in Reply

A satyr once did run away for dread,

With sound of horn which he himself did blow:

Fearing and feared, thus from himself he fled,

Deeming strange evil in that he did not know.

Such causeless fears when coward minds do take,

It makes them fly that which they fain would have;

As this poor beast, who did his rest forsake,

Thinking not why, but how, himself to save.

Ev’n thus might I, for doubts which I conceive

Of mine own words, my own good hap betray;

And thus might I, for fear of may be, leave

The sweet pursuit of my desired prey.

Better like I thy satyr, dearest Dyer,

Who burnt his lips to kiss fair shining fire.

Must Love Lament?

My mistress lowers, and saith I do not love:

I do protest, and seek with service due,

In humble mind, a constant faith to prove;

But for all this, I cannot her remove

From deep vain thought that I may not be true.

If oaths might serve, ev’n by the Stygian lake,

Which poets say the gods themselves do fear,

I never did my vowed word forsake:

For why should I, whom free choice slave doth make,

Else-what in face, than in my fancy bear?

My Muse, therefore, for only thou canst tell,

Tell me the cause of this my causeless woe?

Tell, how ill thought disgraced my doing well?

Tell, how my joys and hopes thus foully fell

To so low ebb that wonted were to flow?

O this it is, the knotted straw is found;

In tender hearts, small things engender hate:

A horse’s worth laid waste the Trojan ground;

A three-foot stool in Greece made trumpets sound;

An ass’s shade e’er now hath bred debate.

If Greeks themselves were moved with so small cause,

To twist those broils, which hardly would untwine:

Should ladies fair be tied to such hard laws,

As in their moods to take a ling’ring pause?

I would it not, their metal is too fine.

My hand doth not bear witness with my heart,

She saith, because I make no woeful lays,

To paint my living death and endless smart:

And so, for one that felt god Cupid’s dart,

She thinks I lead and live too merry days.

Are poets then the only lovers true,

Whose hearts are set on measuring a verse?

Who think themselves well blest, if they renew

Some good old dump that Chaucer’s mistress knew;

And use but you for matters to rehearse.

Then, good Apollo, do away thy bow:

Take harp and sing in this our versing time,

And in my brain some sacred humour flow,

That all the earth my woes, sighs, tears may know;

And see you not that I fall low to rhyme.

As for my mirth, how could I but be glad,

Whilst that methought I justly made my boast

That only I the only mistress had?

But now, if e’er my face with joy be clad,

Think Hannibal did laugh when Carthage lost.

Sweet lady, as for those whose sullen cheer,

Compared to me, made me in lightness sound;

Who, stoic-like, in cloudy hue appear;

Who silence force to make their words more dear;

Whose eyes seem chaste, because they look on ground:

Believe them not, for physic true doth find,

Choler adust is joyed in woman-kind.

A Dialogue Between Two Shepherds

Uttered in a Pastoral Show at Wilton.

WILL. Dick, since we cannot dance, come, let a cheerful voice

Show that we do not grudge at all when others do rejoice.

DICK. Ah Will, though I grudge not, I count it feeble glee,

With sight made dim with daily tears another’s sport to see.

Whoever lambkins saw, yet lambkins love to play,

To play when that their loved dams are stolen or gone astray?

If this in them be true, as true in men think I,

A lustless song forsooth thinks he that hath more lust to cry.

WILL. A time there is for all, my mother often says,

When she, with skirts tucked very high, with girls at football plays

When thou hast mind to weep, seek out some smoky room:

Now let those lightsome sights we see thy darkness overcome.

DICK. What joy the joyful sun gives unto bleared eyes;

That comfort in these sports you like, my mind his comfort tries.

WILL. What? Is thy bagpipe broke, or are thy lambs miswent;

Thy wallet or thy tar-box lost; or thy new raiment-rent?

DICK. I would it were but thus, for thus it were too well.

WILL. Thou see’st my ears do itch at it: good Dick thy sorrow


DICK. Hear then, and learn to sigh: a mistress I do serve,

Whose wages make me beg the more, who feeds me till I starve;

Whose livery is such, as most I freeze apparelled most,

And looks so near unto my cure, that I must needs be lost.

WILL. What? These are riddles sure: art thou then bound to her?

DICK. Bound as I neither power have, nor would have power, to stir.

WILL. Who bound thee?

DICK. Love, my lord.

WILL. What witnesses thereto?

DICK. Faith in myself, and Worth in her, which no proof can undo.

WILL. What seal?

DICK. My heart deep graven.

WILL. Who made the band so fast?

DICK. Wonder that, by two so black eyes the glitt’ring stars be


WILL. What keepeth safe thy band?

DICK. Remembrance is the chest

Lock’d fast with knowing that she is of worldly things the best.

WILL. Thou late of wages plain’dst: what wages may’sh thou have?

DICK. Her heavenly looks, which more and more do give me cause to


WILL. If wages make you want, what food is that she gives?

DICK. Tear’s drink, sorrow’s meat, wherewith not I, but in me my

death lives.

WILL. What living get you then?

DICK. Disdain; but just disdain;

So have I cause myself to plain, but no cause to complain.

WILL. What care takes she for thee?

DICK. Her care is to prevent

My freedom, with show of her beams, with virtue, my content.

WILL. God shield us from such dames! If so our dames be sped,

The shepherds will grow lean I trow, their sheep will be ill-fed.

But Dick, my counsel mark: run from the place of woo:

The arrow being shot from far doth give the smaller blow.

DICK. Good Will, I cannot take thy good advice; before

That foxes leave to steal, they find they die therefore.

WILL. Then, Dick, let us go hence lest we great folks annoy:

For nothing can more tedious be than plaint in time of joy.

DICK. Oh hence! O cruel word! which even dogs do hate:

But hence, even hence, I must needs go; such is my dogged fate.


To the tune of “Wilhelmus van Nassau,” &c.

Who hath his fancy pleased,

With fruits of happy sight,

Let here his eyes be raised

On Nature’s sweetest light;

A light which doth dissever,

And yet unite the eyes;

A light which, dying, never

Is cause the looker dies.

She never dies, but lasteth

In life of lover’s heart;

He ever dies that wasteth

In love his chiefest part.

Thus is her life still guarded,

In never dying faith;

Thus is his death rewarded,

Since she lives in his death.

Look then and die, the pleasure

Doth answer well the pain;

Small loss of mortal treasure,

Who may immortal gain.

Immortal be her graces,

Immortal is her mind;

They, fit for heavenly places,

This heaven in it doth bind.

But eyes these beauties see not,

Nor sense that grace descries;

Yet eyes deprived be not

From sight of her fair eyes:

Which, as of inward glory

They are the outward seal,

So may they live still sorry,

Which die not in that weal.

But who hath fancies pleased,

With fruits of happy sight,

Let here his eyes be raised

On Nature’s sweetest light.

The Smokes of Melancholy


Who hath e’er felt the change of love,

And known those pangs that losers prove,

May paint my face without seeing me,

And write the state how my fancies be,

The loathsome buds grown on Sorrow’s tree.

But who by hearsay speaks, and hath not fully felt

What kind of fires they be in which those spirits melt,

Shall guess, and fail, what doth displease,

Feeling my pulse, miss my disease.


O no! O no! trial only shows

The bitter juice of forsaken woes;

Where former bliss, present evils do stain;

Nay, former bliss adds to present pain,

While remembrance doth both states contain.

Come, learners, then to me, the model of mishap,

Ingulphed in despair, slid down from Fortune’s lap;

And, as you like my double lot,

Tread in my steps, or follow not.


For me, alas! I am full resolved

Those bands, alas! shall not be dissolved;

Nor break my word, though reward come late;

Nor fail my faith in my failing fate;

Nor change in change, though change change my state:

But always own myself, with eagle-eyed Truth, to fly

Up to the sun, although the sun my wings do fry;

For if those flames burn my desire,

Yet shall I die in Phoenix’ fire.


When, to my deadly pleasure,

When to my lively torment,

Lady, mine eyes remained

Joined, alas! to your beams.

With violence of heavenly

Beauty, tied to virtue;

Reason abashed retired;

Gladly my senses yielded.

Gladly my senses yielding,

Thus to betray my heart’s fort,

Left me devoid of all life.

They to the beamy suns went,

Where, by the death of all deaths,

Find to what harm they hastened.

Like to the silly Sylvan,

Burned by the light he best liked,

When with a fire he first met.

Yet, yet, a life to their death,

Lady you have reserved;

Lady the life of all love.

For though my sense be from me,

And I be dead, who want sense,

Yet do we both live in you.

Turned anew, by your means,

Unto the flower that aye turns,

As you, alas! my sun bends.

Thus do I fall to rise thus;

Thus do I die to live thus;

Changed to a change, I change not.

Thus may I not be from you;

Thus be my senses on you;

Thus what I think is of you;

Thus what I seek is in you;

All what I am, it is you.


To the tune of a Neapolitan song, which beginneth, “No, no, no, no.”

No, no, no, no, I cannot hate my foe,

Although with cruel fire,

First thrown on my desire,

She sacks my rendered sprite;

For so fair a flame embraces

All the places,

Where that heat of all heats springeth,

That it bringeth

To my dying heart some pleasure,

Since his treasure

Burneth bright in fairest light. No, no, no, no.

No, no, no, no, I cannot hate my foe,

Although with cruel fire,

First thrown on my desire,

She sacks my rendered sprite;

Since our lives be not immortal,

But to mortal

Fetters tied, do wait the hour

Of death’s power,

They have no cause to be sorry

Who with glory

End the way, where all men stay. No, no, no, no.

No, no, no, no, I cannot hate my foe,

Although with cruel fire,

First thrown on my desire,

She sacks my rendered sprite;

No man doubts, whom beauty killeth,

Fair death feeleth,

And in whom fair death proceedeth,

Glory breedeth:

So that I, in her beams dying,

Glory trying,

Though in pain, cannot complain. No, no, no, no.


To the tune of a Neapolitan Villanel.

All my sense thy sweetness gained;

Thy fair hair my heart enchained;

My poor reason thy words moved,

So that thee, like heaven, I loved.

Fa, la, la, leridan, dan, dan, dan, deridan:

Dan, dan, dan, deridan, deridan, dei:

While to my mind the outside stood,

For messenger of inward good.

Nor thy sweetness sour is deemed;

Thy hair not worth a hair esteemed;

Reason hath thy words removed,

Finding that but words they proved.

Fa, la, la, leridan, dan, dan, dan, deridan,

Dan, dan, dan, deridan, deridan, dei:

For no fair sign can credit win,

If that the substance fail within.

No more in thy sweetness glory,

For thy knitting hair be sorry;

Use thy words but to bewail thee

That no more thy beams avail thee;

Dan, dan,

Dan, dan,

Lay not thy colours more to view,

Without the picture be found true.

Woe to me, alas, she weepeth!

Fool! in me what folly creepeth?

Was I to blaspheme enraged,

Where my soul I have engaged?

Dan, dan,

Dan, dan,

And wretched I must yield to this;

The fault I blame her chasteness is.

Sweetness! sweetly pardon folly;

Tie me, hair, your captive wholly:

Words! O words of heavenly knowledge!

Know, my words their faults acknowledge;

Dan, dan,

Dan, dan,

And all my life I will confess,

The less I love, I live the less.


From “La Diana de Monte–Mayor,” in Spanish: where Sireno, a shepherd, whose mistress Diana had utterly forsaken him, pulling out a little of her hair, wrapped about with green silk, to the hair he thus bewailed himself.

What changes here, O hair,

I see, since I saw you!

How ill fits you this green to wear,

For hope, the colour due!

Indeed, I well did hope,

Though hope were mixed with fear,

No other shepherd should have scope

Once to approach this hair.

Ah hair! how many days

My Dian made me show,

With thousand pretty childish plays,

If I ware you or no:

Alas, how oft with tears, —

O tears of guileful breast! —

She seemed full of jealous fears,

Whereat I did but jest.

Tell me, O hair of gold,

If I then faulty be,

That trust those killing eyes I would,

Since they did warrant me?

Have you not seen her mood,

What streams of tears she spent,

‘Till that I sware my faith so stood,

As her words had it bent?

Who hath such beauty seen

In one that changeth so?

Or where one’s love so constant been,

Who ever saw such woe?

Ah, hair! are you not grieved

To come from whence you be,

Seeing how once you saw I lived,

To see me as you see?

On sandy bank of late,

I saw this woman sit;

Where, “Sooner die than change my state,”

She with her finger writ:

Thus my belief was staid,

Behold Love’s mighty hand

On things were by a woman said,

And written in the sand.

The same Sireno in “Monte–Mayor,” holding his mistress’s glass

before her, and looking upon her while she viewed herself, thus


Of this high grace, with bliss conjoined,

No farther debt on me is laid,

Since that in self-same metal coined,

Sweet lady, you remain well paid;

For if my place give me great pleasure,

Having before my nature’s treasure,

In face and eyes unmatched being,

You have the same in my hands, seeing

What in your face mine eyes do measure.

Nor think the match unevenly made,

That of those beams in you do tarry,

The glass to you but gives a shade,

To me mine eyes the true shape carry;

For such a thought most highly prized,

Which ever hath Love’s yoke despised,

Better than one captived perceiveth,

Though he the lively form receiveth,

The other sees it but disguised.


The dart, the beams, the sting, so strong I prove,

Which my chief part doth pass through, parch, and tie,

That of the stroke, the heat, and knot of love,

Wounded, inflamed, knit to the death, I die.

Hardened and cold, far from affection’s snare

Was once my mind, my temper, and my life;

While I that sight, desire, and vow forbare,

Which to avoid, quench, lose, nought boasted strife.

Yet will not I grief, ashes, thraldom change

For others’ ease, their fruit, or free estate;

So brave a shot, dear fire, and beauty strange,

Bid me pierce, burn, and bind, long time and late,

And in my wounds, my flames, and bonds, I find

A salve, fresh air, and bright contented mind.

* * *

Virtue, beauty, and speech, did strike, wound, charm,

My heart, eyes, ears, with wonder, love, delight,

First, second, last, did bind, enforce, and arm,

His works, shows, suits, with wit, grace, and vows’ might,

Thus honour, liking, trust, much, far, and deep,

Held, pierced, possessed, my judgment, sense, and will,

Till wrongs, contempt, deceit, did grow, steal, creep,

Bands, favour, faith, to break, defile, and kill,

Then grief, unkindness, proof, took, kindled, taught,

Well-grounded, noble, due, spite, rage, disdain:

But ah, alas! in vain my mind, sight, thought,

Doth him, his face, his words, leave, shun, refrain.

For nothing, time, nor place, can loose, quench, ease

Mine own embraced, sought, knot, fire, disease.


Faint amorist, what, dost thou think

To taste Love’s honey, and not drink

One dram of gall? or to devour

A world of sweet, and taste no sour?

Dost thou ever think to enter

Th’ Elysian fields, that dar’st not venture

In Charon’s barge? a lover’s mind

Must use to sail with every wind.

He that loves and fears to try,

Learns his mistress to deny.

Doth she chide thee? ’tis to show it,

That thy coldness makes her do it:

Is she silent? is she mute?

Silence fully grants thy suit:

Doth she pout, and leave the room?

Then she goes to bid thee come:

Is she sick? why then be sure,

She invites thee to the cure:

Doth she cross thy suit with “No?”

Tush, she loves to hear thee woo:

Doth she call the faith of man

In question? Nay, she loves thee than;

And if e’er she makes a blot,

She’s lost if that thou hit’st her not.

He that after ten denials,

Dares attempt no farther trials,

Hath no warrant to acquire

The dainties of his chaste desire.


Since shunning pain, I ease can never find;

Since bashful dread seeks where he knows me harmed;

Since will is won, and stopped ears are charmed;

Since force doth faint, and sight doth make me blind;

Since loosing long, the faster still I bind;

Since naked sense can conquer reason armed;

Since heart, in chilling fear, with ice is warmed;

In fine, since strife of thought but mars the mind,

I yield, O Love, unto thy loathed yoke,

Yet craving law of arms, whose rule doth teach,

That, hardly used, who ever prison broke,

In justice quit, of honour made no breach:

Whereas, if I a grateful guardian have,

Thou art my lord, and I thy vowed slave.

When Love puffed up with rage of high disdain,

Resolved to make me pattern of his might,

Like foe, whose wits inclined to deadly spite,

Would often kill, to breed more feeling pain;

He would not, armed with beauty, only reign

On those affects which easily yield to sight;

But virtue sets so high, that reason’s light,

For all his strife can only bondage gain:

So that I live to pay a mortal fee,

Dead palsy-sick of all my chiefest parts,

Like those whom dreams make ugly monsters see,

And can cry help with naught but groans and starts:

Longing to have, having no wit to wish,

To starving minds such is god Cupid’s dish.


To the tune of “Non credo gia che piu infelice amante.”

The nightingale, as soon as April bringeth

Unto her rested sense a perfect waking,

While late bare earth, proud of new clothing, springeth,

Sings out her woes, a thorn her song-book making;

And mournfully bewailing,

Her throat in tunes expresseth

What grief her breast oppresseth,

For Tereus’ force on her chaste will prevailing.

O Philomela fair! O take some gladness,

That here is juster cause of plaintful sadness:

Thine earth now springs, mine fadeth;

Thy thorn without, my thorn my heart invadeth.


Alas! she hath no other cause of anguish,

But Tereus’ love, on her by strong hand wroken,

Wherein she suffering, all her spirits languish,

Full womanlike, complains her will was broken,

But I, who daily craving,

Cannot have to content me,

Have more cause to lament me,

Since wanting is more woe than too much having.

O Philomela fair! O take some gladness,

That here is juster cause of plaintful sadness:

Thine earth now springs, mine fadeth;

Thy thorn without, my thorn my heart invadeth.


To the tune of “Basciami vita mia.”

Sleep, baby mine, Desire’s nurse, Beauty, singeth;

Thy cries, O baby, set mine head on aching:

The babe cries, “‘Way, thy love doth keep me waking.”

Lully, lully, my babe, Hope cradle bringeth

Unto my children alway good rest taking:

The babe cries, “Way, thy love doth keep me waking.”

Since, baby mine, from me thy watching springeth,

Sleep then a little, pap Content is making;

The babe cries, “Nay, for that abide I waking.”


The scourge of life, and death’s extreme disgrace;

The smoke of hell, the monster called Pain:

Long shamed to be accursed in every place,

By them who of his rude resort complain;

Like crafty wretch, by time and travel taught,

His ugly evil in others’ good to hide;

Late harbours in her face, whom Nature wrought

As treasure-house where her best gifts do bide;

And so by privilege of sacred seat,

A seat where beauty shines and virtue reigns,

He hopes for some small praise, since she hath great,

Within her beams wrapping his cruel stains.

Ah, saucy Pain, let not thy terror last,

More loving eyes she draws, more hate thou hast.


Woe! woe to me, on me return the smart:

My burning tongue hath bred my mistress pain?

For oft in pain, to pain my painful heart,

With her due praise did of my state complain.

I praised her eyes, whom never chance doth move;

Her breath, which makes a sour answer sweet;

Her milken breasts, the nurse of child-like love;

Her legs, O legs! her aye well-stepping feet:

Pain heard her praise, and full of inward fire,

(First sealing up my heart as prey of his)

He flies to her, and, boldened with desire,

Her face, this age’s praise, the thief doth kiss.

O Pain! I now recant the praise I gave,

And swear she is not worthy thee to have.


Thou pain, the only guest of loathed Constraint;

The child of Curse, man’s weakness foster-child;

Brother to Woe, and father of Complaint:

Thou Pain, thou hated Pain, from heaven exiled,

How hold’st thou her whose eyes constraint doth fear,

Whom cursed do bless; whose weakness virtues arm;

Who others’ woes and plaints can chastely bear:

In whose sweet heaven angels of high thoughts swarm?

What courage strange hath caught thy caitiff heart?

Fear’st not a face that oft whole hearts devours?

Or art thou from above bid play this part,

And so no help ‘gainst envy of those powers?

If thus, alas, yet while those parts have woe;

So stay her tongue, that she no more say, “O.”


And have I heard her say, “O cruel pain!”

And doth she know what mould her beauty bears?

Mourns she in truth, and thinks that others feign?

Fears she to feel, and feels not others’ fears?

Or doth she think all pain the mind forbears?

That heavy earth, not fiery spirits, may plain?

That eyes weep worse than heart in bloody tears?

That sense feels more than what doth sense contain?

No, no, she is too wise, she knows her face

Hath not such pain as it makes others have:

She knows the sickness of that perfect place

Hath yet such health, as it my life can save.

But this, she thinks, our pain high cause excuseth,

Where her, who should rule pain, false pain abuseth.

* * *

Like as the dove, which seeled up doth fly,

Is neither freed, nor yet to service bound;

But hopes to gain some help by mounting high,

Till want of force do force her fall to ground:

Right so my mind, caught by his guiding eye,

And thence cast off where his sweet hurt he found,

Hath neither leave to live, nor doom to die;

Nor held in evil, nor suffered to be sound.

But with his wings of fancies up he goes,

To high conceits, whose fruits are oft but small;

Till wounded, blind, and wearied spirit, lose

Both force to fly, and knowledge where to fall:

O happy dove, if she no bondage tried!

More happy I, might I in bondage bide!

* * *

In wonted walks, since wonted fancies change,

Some cause there is, which of strange cause doth rise:

For in each thing whereto mine eye doth range,

Part of my pain, me-seems, engraved lies.

The rocks, which were of constant mind the mark,

In climbing steep, now hard refusal show;

The shading woods seem now my sun to dark,

And stately hills disdain to look so low.

The restful caves now restless visions give;

In dales I see each way a hard ascent:

Like late-mown meads, late cut from joy I live;

Alas, sweet brooks do in my tears augment:

Rocks, woods, hills, caves, dales, meads, brooks, answer me;

Infected minds infect each thing they see.

If I could think how these my thoughts to leave,

Or thinking still, my thoughts might have good end;

If rebel sense would reason’s law receive;

Or reason foiled, would not in vain contend:

Then might I think what thoughts were best to think:

Then might I wisely swim, or gladly sink.

If either you would change your cruel heart,

Or, cruel still, time did your beauties stain:

If from my soul this love would once depart,

Or for my love some love I might obtain;

Then might I hope a change, or ease of mind,

By your good help, or in myself, to find.

But since my thoughts in thinking still are spent.

With reason’s strife, by senses overthrown;

You fairer still, and still more cruel bent,

I loving still a love that loveth none:

I yield and strive, I kiss and curse the pain,

Thought, reason, sense, time, You, and I, maintain.

A Farewell

Oft have I mused, but now at length I find

Why those that die, men say, they do depart:

Depart: a word so gentle to my mind,

Weakly did seem to paint Death’s ugly dart.

But now the stars, with their strange course, do bind

Me one to leave, with whom I leave my heart;

I hear a cry of spirits faint and blind,

That parting thus, my chiefest part I part.

Part of my life, the loathed part to me,

Lives to impart my weary clay some breath;

But that good part wherein all comforts be,

Now dead, doth show departure is a death:

Yea, worse than death, death parts both woe and joy,

From joy I part, still living in annoy.

* * *

Finding those beams, which I must ever love,

To mar my mind, and with my hurt to please,

I deemed it best, some absence for to prove,

If farther place might further me to ease.

My eyes thence drawn, where lived all their light,

Blinded forthwith in dark despair did lie,

Like to the mole, with want of guiding sight,

Deep plunged in earth, deprived of the sky.

In absence blind, and wearied with that woe,

To greater woes, by presence, I return;

Even as the fly, which to the flame doth go,

Pleased with the light, that his small corse doth burn:

Fair choice I have, either to live or die

A blinded mole, or else a burned fly.

The Seven Wonders of England


Near Wilton sweet, huge heaps of stones are found,

But so confused, that neither any eye

Can count them just, nor Reason reason try,

What force brought them to so unlikely ground.

To stranger weights my mind’s waste soil is bound,

Of passion-hills, reaching to Reason’s sky,

From Fancy’s earth, passing all number’s bound,

Passing all guess, whence into me should fly

So mazed a mass; or, if in me it grows,

A simple soul should breed so mixed woes.


The Bruertons have a lake, which, when the sun

Approaching warms, not else, dead logs up sends

From hideous depth; which tribute, when it ends,

Sore sign it is the lord’s last thread is spun.

My lake is Sense, whose still streams never run

But when my sun her shining twins there bends;

Then from his depth with force in her begun,

Long drowned hopes to watery eyes it lends;

But when that fails my dead hopes up to take,

Their master is fair warned his will to make.


We have a fish, by strangers much admired,

Which caught, to cruel search yields his chief part:

With gall cut out, closed up again by art,

Yet lives until his life be new required.

A stranger fish myself, not yet expired,

Tho’, rapt with Beauty’s hook, I did impart

Myself unto th’ anatomy desired,

Instead of gall, leaving to her my heart:

Yet live with thoughts closed up, ‘till that she will,

By conquest’s right, instead of searching, kill.


Peak hath a cave, whose narrow entries find

Large rooms within where drops distil amain:

Till knit with cold, though there unknown remain,

Deck that poor place with alabaster lined.

Mine eyes the strait, the roomy cave, my mind;

Whose cloudy thoughts let fall an inward rain

Of sorrow’s drops, till colder reason bind

Their running fall into a constant vein

Of truth, far more than alabaster pure,

Which, though despised, yet still doth truth endure.


A field there is, where, if a stake oe prest

Deep in the earth, what hath in earth receipt,

Is changed to stone in hardness, cold, and weight,

The wood above doth soon consuming rest.

The earth her ears; the stake is my request;

Of which, how much may pierce to that sweet seat,

To honour turned, doth dwell in honour’s nest,

Keeping that form, though void of wonted heat;

But all the rest, which fear durst not apply,

Failing themselves, with withered conscience die.


Of ships by shipwreck cast on Albion’s coast,

Which rotting on the rocks, their death to die:

From wooden bones and blood of pitch doth fly

A bird, which gets more life than ship had lost.

My ship, Desire, with wind of Lust long tost,

Brake on fair cliffs of constant Chastity;

Where plagued for rash attempt, gives up his ghost;

So deep in seas of virtue, beauties lie:

But of this death flies up the purest love,

Which seeming less, yet nobler life doth move.


These wonders England breeds; the last remains —

A lady, in despite of Nature, chaste,

On whom all love, in whom no love is placed,

Where Fairness yields to Wisdom’s shortest reins.

A humble pride, a scorn that favour stains;

A woman’s mould, but like an angel graced;

An angel’s mind, but in a woman cased;

A heaven on earth, or earth that heaven contains:

Now thus this wonder to myself I frame;

She is the cause that all the rest I am.

* * *

Thou blind man’s mark; thou fool’s self-chosen snare,

Fond fancy’s scum, and dregs of scattered thought:

Band of all evils; cradle of causeless care;

Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought:

Desire! Desire! I have too dearly bought,

With price of mangled mind, thy worthless ware;

Too long, too long, asleep thou hast me brought

Who shouldst my mind to higher things prepare;

But yet in vain thou hast my ruin sought;

In vain thou mad’st me to vain things aspire;

In vain thou kindlest all thy smoky fire:

For Virtue hath this better lesson taught,

Within myself to seek my only hire,

Desiring nought but how to kill Desire.

From Earth to Heaven

Leave me, O love! which reachest but to dust;

And thou, my mind, aspire to higher things:

Grow rich in that which never taketh rust;

Whatever fades, but fading pleasure brings.

Draw in thy beams, and humble all thy might

To that sweet yoke where lasting freedoms be,

Which breaks the clouds, and opens forth the light

That doth both shine, and give us sight to see.

O take fast hold! let that light be thy guide,

In this small course which birth draws out to death,

And think how evil becometh him to slide,

Who seeketh heaven, and comes from heavenly breath.

Then farewell, world, thy uttermost I see,

Eternal Love, maintain thy life in me.

Splendidis Longum Valedico Nugis

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005