Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
A Dirge: Love Is Dead
By Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
 
RING 1 out your bells, let mourning shews be spread;
      For Love is dead.
  All Love is dead, infected
With plague of deep disdain:
  Worth, as nought worth, rejected,        5
And Faith, fair scorn doth gain.
  From so ungrateful fancy,
  From such a female franzy,
  From them that use men thus,
  Good Lord, deliver us!        10
 
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; 2        15
His sole exec’tor, blame.
  From so ungrateful fancy,
  From such a female franzy,
  From them that use men thus,
  Good Lord, deliver us!        20
 
Let dirge be sung, and trentals 3 rightly read,
      For Love is dead.
  Sir Wrong his tomb ordaineth,
My mistress’ marble heart;
  Which epitaph containeth,        25
“Her eyes were once his dart.”
  From so ungrateful fancy,
  From such a female franzy,
  From them that use men thus,
  Good Lord, deliver us!        30
 
Alas, I lie: rage hath this error bred;
      Love is not dead.
  Love is not dead, but sleepeth
In her unmatchèd mind,
  Where she his counsel keepeth,        35
Till due deserts she find.
  Therefore from so vile fancy,
  To call such wit a franzy,
  Who Love can temper thus,
  Good Lord, deliver us!        40
 
Note 1. From Certaine Sonets, The Arcadia, 1598. It is a tenable theory that all of the poems in this group contain some reference to Sidney’s love for Stella; certainly this is the case with many of them. Dr. Grosart admits that only long-established precedent withholds him from including them in that section of his edition, and indeed this is not strong enough to prevent his transferring two sonnets which he numbers as cix. and cx. of Astrophel and Stella. He considers this Dirge to have been written upon the marriage of Stella to Lord Rich. (Sidney ii., 3, 4.) Mr. Pollard, in explanation of their original omission from the book, suggests that by some accident Sidney’s own copies may have been destroyed, and that we owe the poem to the fortunate preservation of duplicates by the Countess of Pembroke. Compare Tennyson’s Ring out, wild bells, in In Memoriam, cvi., which is generally supposed to have been suggested by this poem. [back]
Note 2. False seeming holy: perhaps, hypocrisy. [back]
Note 3. Trentals: From late Latin, trigintalia; service lasting thirty days in which thirty masses were said for the repose of the soul. [back]
 
 
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