Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Songs from Astrophel and Stella
By Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
 
Seventh Song.  Stella singing.

WHOSE senses in so ill consort their step-dame Nature lays,
That ravishing delight in them most sweet tunes do not raise;
Or if they do delight therein, yet are so closed with wit,
As with sententious lips to set a title vain on it;
O let them hear these sacred tunes, and learn in Wonder’s schools,        5
To be, in things past bounds of wit, fools—if they be not fools!
 
Who have so leaden eyes, as not to see sweet Beauty’s show,
Or, seeing, have so wooden wits, as not that worth to know,
Or, knowing, have so muddy minds, as not to be in love,
Or, loving, have so frothy thoughts, as eas’ly thence to move;        10
O let them see these heavenly beams, and in fair letters read
A lesson fit, both sight and skill, love and firm love to breed.
 
Hear then, but then with wonder hear, see, but adoring, see,
No mortal gifts, no earthly fruits, now here descended be:
See, do you see this face? a face, nay, image of the skies,        15
Of which, the two life-giving lights are figured in her eyes:
Hear you this soul-invading voice, and count it but a voice?
The very essence of their tunes, when angels do rejoice!
 
Tenth Song.  Absence.

            O DEAR life, when shall it be
            That mine eyes thine eyes shall see,        20
            And in them thy mind discover
            Whether absence have had force
            Thy remembrance to divorce
            From the image of thy lover?
 
            Or if I myself find not,        25
            After parting, aught forgot,
            Nor debarred from Beauty’s treasure,
            Let not tongue aspire to tell
            In what high joys I shall dwell;
            Only thought aims at the pleasure.        30
 
            Thought, therefore, I will send thee
            To take up the place for me:
            Long I will not after tarry,
            There, unseen, thou mayst be bold,
            Those fair wonders to behold,        35
            Which in them my hopes do carry.
 
            Thought, see thou no place forbear,
            Enter bravely everywhere,
            Seize on all to her belonging;
            But if thou wouldst guarded be,        40
            Fearing her beams, take with thee
            Strength of liking, rage of longing.
 
            Think of that most grateful time
            When my leaping heart will climb,
            In my lips to have his biding,        45
            There those roses for to kiss,
            Which do breathe a sugared bliss,
            Opening rubies, pearls dividing.
*        *        *        *        *
            Think, think of those dallyings,
            When with dove-like murmurings,        50
            With glad moaning, passèd anguish,
            We change eyes, and heart for heart,
            Each to other do depart, 1
            Joying till joy makes us languish.
 
            O my thought, my thoughts surcease,        55
            Thy delights my woes increase,
            My life melts with too much thinking;
            Think no more, but die in me,
            Till thou shalt revivèd be,
            At her lips my nectar drinking.        60
 
Note 1. share, exchange (Spanish departir). [back]
 
 
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