William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907. What Poor Astronomers Are They
W HAT 1 poor astronomers are they,
Take womens eyes for stars!
And set their thoughts in battle ray,
To fight such idle wars;
When in the end they shall approve, 5
Tis but a jest drawn out of Love.
And Love itself is but a jest
Devised by idle heads,
To catch young Fancies in the nest,
And lay them in fools beds; 10
That being hatched in beautys eyes
They may be fledged ere they be wise.
But yet it is a sport to see,
How Wit will run on wheels;
While Will cannot persuaded be, 15
With that which Reason feels,
That womens eyes and stars are odd
And Love is but a feignèd god.
But such as will run mad with Will,
I cannot clear their sight 20
But leave them to their study still,
To look where is no light,
Till, time too late, we make them try, They study false Astronomy.
Like many another good piece unaccessible elsewhere, I have taken this lyric from Mr. Bullens Note 1. Lyrics from the Elizabethan Song Books (revised ed., 1888). This poem has been ascribed, without evidence, to Nicholas Breton. (Bullen.) [ back]