Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXVI. Melancholy
From ‘Daphnaida’
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
 
[See full text.]

OUT of the world thus was she reft awaie,
Out of the world, vnworthie such a spoyle;
And borne to heauen, for heauen a fitter pray:
Much fitter then the Lyon, which with toyle
Alcides slew, and fixt in firmament;        5
Her now I seek throughout this earthlie soyle,
And seeking misse, and missing doe lament….
 
She fell away in her first ages spring,
Whil’st yet her leafe was greene, and fresh her rinde,
And whil’st her braunch faire blossomes foorth did bring,        10
She fell away against all course of kinde:
For age to dye is right, but youth is wrong;
She fel away like fruit blowne downe with winde:
Weepe Shepheard weepe to make my vndersong….
 
Yet fell she not, as one enforst to dye,        15
Ne dyde with dread and grudging discontent,
But as one toyld with trauaile downe doth lye,
So lay she downe, as if to sleepe she went,
And closde her eyes with carelesse quietnesse;
The whiles soft death away her spirit hent,        20
And soule assoyld from sinfull fleshlinesse….
 
Our daies are full of dolor and disease,
Our life afflicted with incessant paine,
That nought on earth may lessen or appease.
Why then should I desire here to remaine?        25
Or why should he that loues me, sorie bee
For my deliuerance, or at all complaine
My good to heare, and toward ioyes to see?…
 
And when those pallid cheekes and ashy hew,
In which sad death his pourtraicture had writ,        30
And when those hollow eyes and deadly view,
On which the clowde of ghastly night did sit,
I match with that sweet smile and chearful brow,
Which all the world subdued vnto it;
How happie was I then, and wretched now?        35
 
How happie was I, when I saw her leade
The Shepheards daughters dauncing in a rownd!
How trimly would she trace and softly tread
The tender grasse with rosie garland crownd!
And when she list aduance her heauenly voyce,        40
Both Nimphs and Muses nigh she made astownd,
And flocks and shepheards caused to reioyce….
 
For I will walke this wandring pilgrimage
Throughout the world from one to other end,
And in affliction wast my better age.        45
My bread shall be the anguish of my mind,
My drink the teares which fro mine eyes do raine,
My bed the ground that hardest I may finde;
So will I wilfully increase my paine.
 
And she my loue that was, my Saint that is,        50
When she beholds from her celestiall throne,
(In which shee ioyeth in eternall blis)
My bitter penance, will my case bemone,
And pitie me that liuing thus doo die:
For heauenly spirits haue compassion        55
On mortall men, and rue their miserie.
 
So when I haue with sorowe satisfide
Th’ importune fates, which vengeance on me seeke,
And th’ heauens with long languor pacifide,
She for pure pitie of my sufferance meeke,        60
Will send for me; for which I daylie long,
And will till then my painfull penance eeke:
Weep Shepheard, weep to make my vnder song….
 
And euer as I see the starres to fall,
And vnder ground to goe, to giue them light        65
Which dwell in darknes, I to minde will call,
How my faire Starre (that shinde on me so bright)
Fell sodainly, and faded vnder ground;
Since whose departure, day is turnd to night,
And night without a Venus starre is found….        70
 
 
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