Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Extracts from Britannia’s Pastorals: The Praise of Sydney
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)
 
Book II. Song 2.

ERE their arrival Astrophell had done
His shepherd’s lay, yet equalized of none.
The admired mirror, glory of our isle,
Thou far far more than mortal man, whose style
Struck more men dumb to hearken to thy song        5
Than Orpheus’ harp, or Tully’s golden tongue.
To him, as right, for wit’s deep quintessence,
For honour, valour, virtue, excellence,
Be all the garlands, crown his tomb with bay,
Who spake as much as e’er our tongue can say.
*        *        *        *        *
        10
He sweetly touchèd what I harshly hit,
Yet thus I glory in what I have writ;
Sidney began, and,—if a wit so mean
May taste with him the dews of Hippocrene,—
I sung the pastoral next; his Muse my mover;        15
And on the plains full many a pensive lover
Shall sing us to their loves, and praising be
My humble lines the more for praising thee.
Thus we shall live with them, by rocks, by springs,
As well as Homer by the deaths of kings.        20
 
 
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