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Nor that he made the flower-de-luce so 'fraid,
Though strongly hedged of bloody lions' paws,
That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid:

Not this, not that, nor any such small cause;
But only for this worthy knight durst prove

To lose his crown rather than fail his love."

(No. 75.)

A sonnet on the open road, in a vein of conceits worthy of Philostratus, closes the group inspired by Stella's kiss:

"High way, since you my chief Parnassus be,

And that my Muse, to some ears not unsweet,
Tempers her words to trampling horse's feet
More oft than to a chamber-melody:

Now blessed you bear onward blessed me

To her, where I my heart, safe-left shall meet,
My Muse and I must you of duty greet
With thanks and wishes, wishing thankfully.
Be you still fair, honoured by public heed;

By no encroachment wronged, nor time forgot;
Nor blamed for blood, nor shamed for sinful deed;
And that you know I envy you no lot

Of highest wish, I wish you so much bliss-
Hundreds of years you Stella's feet may kiss."

(No. 84.) And now a change comes over the spirit of Sidney's dream. It is introduced, as the episode of the stolen kiss was, by a song. We do not know on what occasion he may have found himself alone with Stella at night, when her husband's jealousy was sleeping, the house closed, and her mother in bed. But the lyric refers, I think, clearly to some real incident-perhaps at Leicester House:

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"Night hath closed all in her cloak, Twinkling stars love-thoughts provoke ; Danger hence, good care doth keep; Jealousy himself doth sleep: Take me to thee and thee to me:'No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

"Better place no wit can find

Cupid's knot to loose or bind;
These sweet flowers, our fine bed, too
Us in their best language woo:
Take me to thee and thee to me:-
'No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

"This small light the moon bestows, Serves thy beams but to disclose; So to raise my hap more high, Fear not else; none can us spy: Take me to thee and thee to me:'No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

"That you heard was but a mouse; Dumb sleep holdeth all the house; Yet asleep, methinks they say, Young fools, take time while you may: Take me to thee and thee to me :'No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

"Niggard time threats, if we miss This large offer of our bliss, Long stay ere he grant the same: Sweet then, while each thing doth frame, Take me to thee and thee to me:'No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

"Your fair mother is a-bed,
Candles out and curtains spread;
She thinks you do letters write:
Write, but first let me endite :

Take me to thee and thee to me:-
'No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

"Sweet, alas! why strive you thus?
Concord better fitteth us;
Leave to Mars the strife of hands;
Your power in your beauty stands :
Take me to thee and thee to me:-
'No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

"Woe to me! and do you swear

Me to hate? but I forbear:
Cursed be my destinies all,

That brought me so high to fall!

Soon with my death I'll please thee:-
“No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'


It will be noticed that to all his pleadings, passionate or playful, and (it must be admitted) of very questionable morality, she returns a steadfast No! This accounts for the altered tone of the next sonnet. In the 85th he had indulged golden, triumphant visions, and had bade his heart be moderate in the fruition of its bliss. Now he exclaims:

"Alas! whence came this change of looks? If I
Have changed desert, let mine own conscience be
A still-felt plague to self-condemning me;
Let woe gripe on my heart, shame load mine eye!"

(No. 86.)

He has pressed his suit too far, and Stella begins to draw back from their common danger. Five songs follow in quick succession, one of which prepares us for the denouement of the love-drama:

"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

Did for mutual comfort meet;
Both within themselves oppressed,
But each in the other blessèd.

"Him great harms had taught much care,
Her fair neck a foul yoke bare;
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.
Interchangeably reflected."

For a time the lovers sat thus in silence, sighing and gazing, until Love himself broke out into a passionate apostrophe from the lips of Astrophel:

"Grant, O grant! but speech, alas,
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)
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;
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.

"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?"

To this and to yet more urgent wooing Stella replies in stanzas which are sweetly dignified, breathing the love she felt, but dutifully repressed.

"Astrophel, said she, my love,
Cease in these effects to prove;

Now be still, yet still believe me,

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.

"If those eyes you praised 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

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 in thee I lay;

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;

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