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NEW ELEGANT EXTRACTS.
SONNETS, BY SIR PHILIP SIDNEY-A.D. 1554-84.
Because I oft in dark abstracted guise
In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
If yet thine eyes (Great Henry) may endure
If with my shame thine eyes thou fain would'st
What by this conquest canst thou hope to win,
Though honour our ambitious sex doth please,
But Henry, how canst thou affect me thus,
Sometimes, to pass the tedious irksome hours,
As in the gallery this other day,
Why, girl (quoth I) this is that Roman dame And to declare for what intent it came,
Lest I therein should ever keep my shame.
That Jove's love, lo, turn’d into a cow ;
So wakeful still be Juno's jealousies :
By this I well might have forwarned been, In beauty's field pitching his crimson tent,
T' have clear'd myself to thy suspecting Queen, In lovely sanguine sutes the lily cheek,
Who with more hundred eyes attendeth me, Whilst it but for a resting place doth seek;
Than had poor Argus single eyes to see. And changing oftentimes with sweet delight, In this thou rightly imitatest Jove, Converts the white to red, the red to white:
Into a beast thou hast transform'd thy love;
A monster both in body and in mind.
With the dull vap'ry dimness mocks my sight,
As tho’ the damp, which hinders the clear flame,
When as it look'd with a dark lowering eye,
And if a star but by the glass appear,
I straight intreat it not to look in here : With fearful nibbling fly th' inticing gin,
I am already hateful to the light, By nature taught what danger lies therein.
And will it too betray me to the night? Things reasonless thus warn’d by nature be,
Then sith my shame so much belongs to thee,
Rid me of that, by only murd'ring me;
Thou shalt not need by circumstance t'accuse me ;
If I deny it, let the heavens refuse me. Rose of the World, so doth import my name,
My life's a blemish, which doth cloud thy name, Shame of the World, my life hath made the same:
Take it away, and clear shall shine thy fame : And to th' unchaste this name shall given be
Yield to my suit, if ever pity mov'd thee;
In this shew mercy, as I ever lov’d thee.
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY,
TO THE LADY GERALDINE.
The Earl of Surrey, that renowned lord,
Th' old English glory bravely that restor’d, With all her nymphs got round about to hide her,
That prince and poet (a name more divine) As when Acteon had by chance espy'd her:
Falling in love with beauteous Geraldine, This sacred image I no sooner view'd,
Of the Geraldi, which derive their name But as that metamorphos'd man pursu'd
From Florence: whither to advance her fame, By his own hounds, so by my thoughts am I,
He travels, and in public jousts maintain'd Which chase me still, which way soe'er I fly.
Her beauty peerless, which by arms he gain'd: Touching the grass, the lioney-dropping dew,
By staying long, fair Italy to see,
To let her know him constant still to be,
From Tuscany this letter to her writes;
Which her rescription instantly invites.
From learned Florence (long time rich in fame)
From whence thy race, thy noble grandsires came Thou sent'st the night before mine honour lost,
To famous England, that kind nurse of mine, Amimone was wrought, a harmless maid,
Thy Surrey sends to heav'nly Geraldine.
Yet let not Tuscan think I do it wrong,
That I from thence write in my native tongue ;
That in these harsh-tun'd cadences I sing,
Sitting so near the muses' sacred spring;
But rather think it self adorn'd thereby,
Though to the Tuscans I the smoothness grant, The little taper which should give thee light,
Methought wax'd dim, to see thy eyes so bright;
Thine eye again supply'd the taper's turn,
And with his beams more brightly made it burn:
And as it did ascend, it straight did seize it,
And as it sunk it presently did raise it.
Canst thou by sickness banish beauty so,
Which if put from thee, knows not where to go
To make her shift, and for succour seek
To every rivel'd face, each bankrupt cheek?
“ If health preserv'd, thou beauty still dost cherish; And as a post to England-ward it goes.
If that neglected, beauty soon doth perish.”
Sorrow breeds sorrow,
one grief brings forth twain.
If live, I live; and if thou die, I die:
One heart, one love, one joy, one grief, one troth,
One good, one ill, one life, one death to both.
If Howard's blood thou hold'st as but too vile,
That lion plac'd in our bright silver bend,
And not a dower so well contenting thee:
Yet I am one of great Apollo's heirs,
The sacred Muses challenge me for theirs.
By Princes my immortal lines are sung,
My flowing verses grac'd with ev'ry tongue:
The little children when they learn to go,
By painful mothers daded to and fro,
And have their sweet lips season'd with my verse.
When heav'n would strive to do the best it can,
And put an angel's spirit into man,
The utmost power it hath, it then doth spend,
When to the world a Poet it doth intend.
That little diff'rence 'twixt the gods and us,
(By them confirm’d) distinguish'd only thus: And as that wealthy Germany I past,
Whom they in birth ordain to happy days,
The gods commit their glory to our praise ;
T'' eternal life when they dissolve their breath,
We likewise share a second pow'r by death.
When time shall turn those amber locks to gray,
My verse again shall gild and make them gay
And trick them up in knotted curls anew,
And to thy autumn give a summer's hue;
That sacred pow'r, that in my ink remains,
Shall put fresh blood into thy wither’d veins,
And on thy red decay'd, thy whiteness dead, Where when thou cam'st unto that word of love,
Shall set a white more white, a red more red: Ev'n in thine eyes I saw how passion strove :
When thy dim sight thy glass cannot descry, That snowy lawn which covered thy bed,
Nor thy craz'd mirror can discern thine eye; Methought look'd white, to see thy cheek so red;
My verse, to tell th’ one what the other was, Thy rosy cheek oft changing in my sight,
Shall represent them both, thine eye and glass i Yet still was red, to see the lawn so white :
Where both thy mirror and thine eye shall see, Whose leaves still mutt'ring, as the air doth breathe,
If Florence once should lose her old renown, Where light-foot Fairies sport at prison-base,
(No doubt there is some pow'r frequents the place) My lines for thee a Florence shall erect,
There the soft poplar and smooth beech do bear Which great Apollo ever shall protect,
Our names together carved every where,
The names of Henry and Geraldine.
Be call’d the lover's bless’d Elyzium ;
Whither my mistress wonted to resort, If ever Surrey truly were inspir’d.
In summer's heat, in those sweet shades to sport: And famous Wyat, who in numbers sings
A thousand sundry names I have it given, To that enchanting Thracian harper's strings,
And call'd it Wonder-hider, Cover-heav'n, To whom Phæbus (the Poets' god) did drink
The roof where beauty her rich court doth keep, A bowl of nectar, fill'd up to the brink;
Under whose compass all the stars do sleep. And sweet-tongu'd Bryan (whom the Muses kept,
There is one tree, which now I call to mind, And in his cradle rockt him whilst he slept)
Doth bear these verses carved in the rind : In sacred verses (most divinely penn’d)
“ When Geraldine shall sit in thy fair shade, Upon thy praises ever shall attend.
Fan her fair tresses with perfumed air, What time I came into this famous town,
Let thy large boughs a canopy be made, And made the cause of my arrival known,
To keep the sun from gazing on my fair: Great Medices a list for triumphs built;
And when thy spreading branched arms be sunk, Within the which, upon a tree of gilt,
And thou no sap nor pith shalt more retain, (Which was with sundry rare devices set)
Ev'n from the dust of thy unwieldy trunk I did erect thy lovely counterfeit,
I will renew thee, phænix-like, again, To answer those Italian dames desire,
And from thy dry decayed root will bring Which daily came thy beauty to admire;
A new-born stem, another Æson's spring." By which, my lion in his gaping jaws
I find no cause, nor judge I reason why, Held up my lance, and in his dreadful paws
My country should give place to Lombardy. Reacheth my gauntlet unto him that dare
As goodly flow'rs on Thamesis do grow, A beauty with my Geraldine's compare.
As beautify the banks of wanton Po; Which, when each manly valiant arm assays,
As many nymphs as haunt rich Arnus' strand, After so many brave triumphant days,
By silver Severn tripping hand in hand: The glorious prize upon my lance I bear,
Our shade's as sweet, though not to us so dear, By herald's voice proclaim'd to be thy share.
Because the sun hath greater power here. The shiver'd staves here for thy beauty broke,
This distant place doth give me greater woe ; With fierce encounters past at every shock,
Far off, my sighs the farther have to go. When stormy courses answer cuff for cuff,
Ah, absence! why thus should'st thou seem so long? Denting proud bevers with the counter-buff,
Or wherefore should’st thou offer time such wrong, Upon an altar, burnt with holy flame,
Summer so soon to steal on winter's cold, I sacrific'd, as incense to thy fame:
Or winter blasts so soon make summer old ? Where, as the phenix from her spiced fume
Love did us both with one self-arrow strike, Renews herself, in that she doth consume ;
Our wounds both one, our cure should be the like; So from these sacred ashes live we both,
Except thou hast found out some mean by art, Ev'n as that one Arabian wonder doth.
Some pow’rful medicine to withdraw the dart; When to my chamber I myself retire,
But mine is fixt, and absence being proved, Burnt with the sparks that kindled all this fire,
It sticks too fast, it cannot be removed. Thinking of England, which my hope contains,
Adieu, adieu, from Florence when I go, The happy isle where Geraldine remains :
By my next letters Geraldine shall know,
Which if good fortune shall my course direct,
Till when, I leave thee to thy heart's desire,
By him that lives thy virtues to admire.
THE LADY GERALDINE TO HENRY
HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY. Whose bushy top doth bid the sun forbear,
Such greeting as the noble Surrey sends, And checks his proud beams that would enter there;
The like to thee thy Geraldine commends ;