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Sweet saints, it is no sinne or blame
To love a man of vertuous name.
Did never love so sweetly breath
In any mortall brest before,
Did never Muse inspire beneath
A Poet's braine with finer store:
He wrote of love with high conceit,
And beautie reard above her height.
Then, Pallas afterward attyrde
Our Astrophill with her device,
Whom in his armor heaven admyrde,
As of the nation of the skies;
He sparkled in his armes afarrs
As he were dight with fierie starrs.
The blaze whereof when Mars beheld,
(An envious eie doth see afar)
Such majestie (quoth he) is seeld,
Such majestie my mart may mar;
Perhaps this may a suter be,
To set Mars by his deitie.
In this surmize he made with speede
An iron cane, wherein he put
The thunder that in cloudes do breede;
The flame and bolt togither shut
With privie force burst out againe,
And so our Astrophill was slaine.
His word (was slaine!) straightway did move
And natures inward life strings twitch;
The skie immediately above
Was dimd with hideous clouds of pitch,
The wrastling winds from out the ground
Fild all the aire with ratling sound.
The bending trees exprest a grone,
And sigh'd the sorrow of his fall;
The forrest beasts made ruthfull mone,
The birds did tune their mourning call,
And Philomell for Astrophill
Unto her notes annext a phill.
The Turtle dove with tunes of ruthe
Shewd feeling passion of his death;
Me thought she said, I tell thee truthe,
Was never he that drew in breath,
Unto his love more trustie found,
Than he for whom our griefs abound.
The swan, that was in
presence heere, Began his funerall dirge to sing;
Good things (quoth he) may scarce appeere,
But passe away with speedie wing:
This mortall life as death is tride,
And death gives life; and so he di'de.
The generall sorrow that was made,
Among the creatures of kinde,
Fired the Phoenix where she laide,
Her ashes flying with the winde,
So as I might with reason see
That such a Phoenix nere should bee.
Haply the cinders, driven about,
May breede an offspring neere that kinde,
But hardly a peere to that, I doubt:
It cannot sinke into my minde,
That under branches ere can bee
Of worth and value as the tree.
The Egle markt with pearcing sight
The mournfull habite of the place,
And parted thence with mounting flight,
To signifie to Jove the case,
What sorrow nature doth sustaine,
For Astrophill by envie slaine.
And, while I followed with mine eie
The flight the Egle upward tooke,
All things did vanish by and by,
And disappeared from my looke;
The trees, beasts, birds, and grove was gone, So was the friend that made this mone.
This spectacle had firmly wrought,
A deepe compassion in my spright;
My molting hart issude, me thought,
In streames forth at mine eies aright:
And here my pen is forst to shrinke,
My teares discollor so mine inke.
AN EPITAPH UPON THE RIGHT
HONOURABLE SIR PHILLIP SIDNEY,
KNIGHT; LORD GOVERNOR OF FLUSHING.
O praise thy life, or waile thy worthie death,
And want thy wit, thy wit high, pure,
Is far beyond the powre of mortall line, Nor any one hath worth that draweth breath.
Yet rich in zeale, though poore in learnings lore,
And friendly care obscurde in secret brest,
And love that envie in thy life supprest,
Thy deere life done, and death hath doubled more.
And I, that in thy time and living state,
Did onely praise thy vertues in my thought,
As one that seeld the rising sun hath sought,
With words and teares now waile thy timelesse fate.
Drawne was thy race aright from princely line,
Nor lesse than such (by gifts that nature gave,
The common mother that all creatures have)
Doth vertue shew, and princely linage shine.
A king gave thee thy name: a kingly minde
That God thee gave; who found it now too deere
For this base world, and hath resumde it neere,
To sit in skies, and sort with powres divine.
Kent thy birth daies, and Oxford held thy youth;
The heavens made hast, and staid nor yeers, nor time:
The fruits of age grew ripe in thy first prime;
Thy will, thy words; thy words the seales of truth.
Great gifts and wisedom rare imployd thee thence,
To treat from kings with those more great than kings;
Such hope men had to lay the highest things
On thy wise youth, to be transported hence.
Whence to sharpe wars sweet honor did thee call,
Thy countries love, religion, and thy friends:
Of worthy men the marks, the lives, and ends,
And her defence, for whom we labor all.
There didst thou vanquish shame and tedious age,
Griefe, sorrow, sicknes, and base fortunes might:
Thy rising day saw never wofull night,
But past with praise from of[f] this worldly stage.
Back to the campe, by thee that day was brought, First thine owne death, and after thy long fame; Teares to the soldiers, the proud Castilians shame, Vertue exprest, and honor truly taught.
What hath he lost that such great grace hath woon?
Yoong yeeres for endles yeeres, and hope unsure
Of fortunes gifts for wealth that still shall dure:
Oh, happie race with so great praises run!
England doth hold thy lims that bred the same,
Flaunders thy valure where it last was tried,
The Campe thy sorrow where thy bodie died,
Thy friends thy want; the world thy vertues fame :
Nations thy wit, our mindes lay up thy love;
Letters thy learning, thy losse yeeres long to come:
In worthy harts sorrow hath made thy tombe;
Thy soule and spright enrich the heavens above.