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And ye faire Mayds, the matches of his yeares,
Which in his grace did boast you most to bee!
Ah! where were ye, when he of you had need,
To stop his wound that wondrously did bleed!
Ah! wretched boy, the shape of dreryhead,
And sad ensample of mans suddein end :
Full litle faileth but thou shalt be dead,
Unpitied, unplaynd, of foe or frend!
Whilest none is nigh, thine eyelids up to close,
And kisse thy lips like faded leaves of rose.
A sort of Shepheards sewing of the chace,
As they the forest raunged on a day,
By fate or fortune came unto the place,
Where as the lucklesse boy yet bleeding lay;
Yet bleeding lay, and yet would still have bled,
Had not good hap those shepheards thether led.
They stopt his wound, (too late to stop it was!)
And in their armes then softly did him reare:
Tho (as he wild) unto his loved lasse,
His dearest love, him dolefully did beare.
The dolefulst biere that ever man did see,
Was Astrophel, but dearest unto mee!
She, when she saw her Love in such a plight,
With crudled blood and filthie gore deformed,
That wont to be with flowers and gyrlonds dight,
And her deare favours dearly well adorned;
Her face, the fairest face that eye mote see,
She likewise did deforme like him to bee.
Her yellow locks that shone so bright and long,
sunny beames in fairest somers day,
She fiersly tore, and with outragious wrong
From her red cheeks the roses rent away:
And her faire brest, the threasury of joy,
She spoyld thereof, and filled with annoy.
His palled face, impictured with death,
"She bathed oft with teares and dried oft:
And with sweet kisses suckt the wasting breath
Out of his lips like Lillies pale and soft.
And oft she cald to him, who answerd nought,
But onely by his lookes did tell his thought.
The rest of her impatient regret,
And piteous mone the which she for him made,
No toong can tell, nor any forth can set,
But he whose heart like sorrow did invade.
At last, when paine his vitall powres
His wasted life her weary lodge forwent.
Which when she saw, she staied not a whit,
But after him did make untimely haste:
Forth-with her ghost out of her corps did flit,
And followed her make like Turtle chaste :
Το prove that death their hearts cannot divide,
Which living were in love so firmly tide.
The Gods, which all things see, this same beheld,
And, pittying this paire of lovers trew,
Transformed them there lying on the field
Into one flowre that is both red and blew :
It first growes red, and then to blew doth fade,
Like Astrophel, which thereinto was made.
And in the midst thereof a star appeares,
As fairly formd as any star in skyes;
Resembling Stella in her freshest yeares,
Forth darting beames of beautie from her eyes:
And all the day it standeth full of deow,
Which is the teares, that from her eyes did flow.
That hearbe of some Starlight is cald by name,
Of others Penthia, though not so well:
But thou, where ever thou doest finde the same,
From this day forth do call it Astrophel:
And, when so ever thou it up doest take,
Do pluck it softly for that shepheards sake.
Hereof when tydings far abroad did passe,
The shepheards all which loved him full deare,
And sure full deare of all he loved was,
Did thether flock to see what they did heare.
And when that pitteous spectacle they vewed,
The same with bitter teares they all bedewed.
And every one did make exceeding mone,
With inward anguish and great griefe opprest :
And every one did weep and waile, and mone,
And meanes deviz'd to shew his sorrow best.
That from that houre, since first on grassie greene
Shepheards kept sheep, was not like mourning seen.
But first his sister that Clorinda hight,
The gentlest shepheardesse that lives this day,
And most resembling both in shape and spright
Her brother deare, began this dolefull lay.
Which, least I marre the sweetnesse of the vearse,
In short as she it sung I will rehearse.
THE DOLEFULL LAY OF CLORINDA.*
AY me, to whom shall I my case complaine,
That may compassion my impatient griefe!
Or where shall I unfold my inward paine,
That my enriven heart may find reliefe !
Shall I unto the heavenly powres it show?
Or unto earthly men that dwell below?
To heavens? ah! they alas! the Authors were,
And workers of my unremédied wo :
These verses are supposed to have been written by Mary Countess of Pembroke, sister to Sir Philip Sidney.
For they foresee what to us happens here,
And they foresaw, yet suffred this be so.
From them comes good, from them comes also il;
That which they made, who can them warne to spill!
To men? ah! they alas like wretched bee,
And subject to the heavens ordinance:
Bound to abide what ever they decree,
Their best redresse is their best sufferance.
How then can they, like wretched, comfort mee,
The which no lesse need comforted to bee?
Then to my selfe will I my sorrow mourne,
Sith none alive like sorrowfull remaines :
And to my selfe my plaints shall backe retourne,
Το pay their usury with doubled paines.
The woods, the hills, the rivers, shall resound
The mournfull accent of my sorrowes ground.
Woods, hills, and rivers, now are desolate,
Sith he is gone the which them all did grace:
And all the fields do waile their widow state,
Sith death their fairest flowre did late deface.
The fairest flowre in field that ever grew,
Was Astrophel; that was, we all may rew.
What cruell hand of cursed foe unknowne,
Hath cropt the stalke which bore so faire a flowre?
Untimely cropt, before it well were growne,
And cleane defaced in untimely howre.
Great losse to all that ever him did see,
Great losse to all, but greatest losse to mee!
Breake now your gyrlonds, O ye shepheards lasses,
Sith the faire flowre, which them adornd, is gon:
The flowre, which them adornd, is gone to ashes,
Never againe let Lasse put gyrlond on.
In stead of gyrlond, weare sad Cypres nowe,
And bitter Elder, broken from the bowe.
Ne ever sing the love-layes which he made;
Who ever made such layes of love as hee?
Ne ever read the riddles, which he sayd
Unto your selves, to make you mery glee.
Your mery glee is now laid all abed,
Your mery maker now alasse! is dead.
Death, the devourer of all worlds delight,
Hath robbed you, and reft fro me my joy :
Both you and me, and all the world he quight
Hath robd of joyance, and left sad annoy.
Joy of the world, and shepheards pride was hee!
Shepheards, hope never like againe to see!
Oh Death! that hast us of such riches reft,
Tell us at least, what hast thou with it done?
What is become of him whose flowre here left
Is but the shadow of his likenesse gone?
Scarse like the shadow of that which he was,
Nought like, but that he like a shade did pas.
But that immortall spirit, which was deckt
With all the dowries of celestiall grace,
By soveraine choyce from th' hevenly quires select,
And lineally deriv'd from Angels race,
O! what is now of it become aread.
Ay me, can so divine a thing be dead?
Ah! no it is not dead, ne can it die,
But lives for aie, in blisfull Paradise:
Where like a new-borne babe it soft doth lie,
In bed of Lillies wrapt in tender wise;
And compast all about with Roses sweet,
And daintie Violets from head to feet.
There thousand birds, all of celestiall brood,
To him do sweetly caroll day and night;
And with straunge notes, of him well understood,
Lull him asleep in angelick delight;