Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Astrophel and Stella
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
Astrophel and Stella
Other Songs of Variable Verse
Eighth Song: In a grove most rich of shade
Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
IN a grove most rich of shade,
Where birds wanton music made;
May then young, his pied weeds showing,
New perfumed with flowers fresh growing;
ASTROPHEL with STELLA sweet,        5
Did for mutual comfort meet;
Both within themselves oppressed,
But each in the other blessed.
Him great harms had taught much care;
Her fair neck a foul yoke bare:        10
But her sight his cares did banish,
In his sight her yoke did vanish.
Wept they had, alas the while,
But now tears themselves did smile;
While their eyes by love directed,        15
Interchangeably reflected.
Sigh they did, but now betwixt
Sighs of woe were glad sighs mixt;
With arms crossed, yet testifying
Restless rest, and living dying.        20
Their ears hungry of each word,
Which the dear tongue would afford:
But their tongues restrained from walking,
Till their hearts had ended talking.
But when their tongues could not speak,        25
Love itself did silence break:
Love did set his lips asunder,
Thus to speak in love and wonder.
“STELLA! Sovereign of my joy!
Fair triumpher of annoy!        30
STELLA! Star of heavenly fire!
STELLA! Loadstar of desire!”
“STELLA! in whose shining eyes,
Are the lights of CUPID’s skies;
Whose beams where they once are darted,        35
Love therewith is straight imparted.”
“STELLA! whose voice when it speaks,
Senses all asunder breaks.
STELLA! whose voice when it singeth,
Angels’ to acquaintance bringeth.”        40
“STELLA! in whose body is
Writ each character of bliss.
Whose face all, all beauty passeth;
Save thy mind which yet surpasseth.”
“Grant! O grant! but speech, alas,        45
Fails me, fearing on to pass:
Grant! O me! what am I saying?
But no fault there is in praying.”
“Grant! O Dear! on knees I pray”
Knees on ground he then did stay        50
“That not I; but since I love you,
Time and place for me may move you!”
“Never season was more fit:
Never room more apt for it.
Smiling air allows my reason;        55
These birds sing: now use the season!”
“This small wind which so sweet is,
See how it the leaves doth kiss!
Each tree in his best attiring,
Sense of love to love inspiring.”        60
“Love makes earth, the water drink;
Love to earth makes water sink:
And if dumb things be so witty,
Shall a heavenly grace want pity?”
There his hands in their speech, fain        65
Would have made tongue’s language plain:
But her hands, his hands repelling,
Gave repulse, all grace excelling.
Then she spake, her speech was such,
As not ears, but heart did touch;        70
While such wise she love denied,
As yet love she signified.
[The remaining stanzas of this song were first printed in the edition of 1598.]

“ASTROPHEL!” said she, “my love!
Cease in these effects to prove.
Now be still! yet still believe me,        75
Thy grief more than death would grieve me.”
“If that any thought in me,
Can taste comfort but of thee;
Let me fed with hellish anguish,
Joyless, hopeless, endless languish.”        80
“If those eyes you praisèd, be
Half so dear as you to me;
Let me home return, stark blinded
Of those eyes; and blinder minded!”
“If to secret of my heart,        85
I do any wish impart;
Where thou art not foremost placed:
Be both wish and I defaced!”
“If more may be said, I say
All my bliss on thee I lay.        90
If thou love, my love content thee!
For all love, all faith is meant thee.”
“Trust me, while I thee deny,
In myself the smart I try.
Tyrant HONOUR doth thus use thee.        95
STELLA’s self might not refuse thee!”
“Therefore, Dear! this no more move:
Lest, though I leave not thy love,
Which too deep in me is framed;
I should blush when thou art named!”        100
Therewithal away she went,
Leaving him to passion rent,
With what she had done and spoken;
That therewith my song is broken.

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