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Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
 
Astrophel
A Pastorall Aeglogue upon the Death of Sir Phillip Sidney, Knight, &c.
 
[By Lodowick Bryskett.]

LYCON.    COLIN.

COLIN, well fits thy sad cheare this sad stownd,
This wofull stownd, wherein all things complaine
This great mishap, this greevous losse of owres.
Hear’st thou the Orown? how with hollow sownd
He slides away, and murmuring doth plaine,        5
And seemes to say unto the fading flowres
Along his bankes, unto the bared trees,
‘Phillisides is dead’? Up, jolly swaine,
Thou that with skill canst tune a dolefull lay,
Help him to mourn. My hart with grief doth freese,        10
Hoarse is my voice with crying, else a part
Sure would I beare, though rude: but as I may,
With sobs and sighes I second will thy song,
And so expresse the sorrowes of my hart.
  Colin.  Ah, Lycon, Lycon! what need skill, to teach        15
A grieved mynd powre forth his plaints? How long
Hath the pore turtle gon to school (weenest thou)
To learne to mourne her lost make? No, no, each
Creature by nature can tell how to waile.
Seest not these flocks, how sad they wander now?        20
Seemeth their leaders bell their bleating tunes
In dolefull sound. Like him, not one doth faile
With hanging head to shew a heavie cheare.
What bird (I pray thee) hast thou seen, that prunes
Himselfe of late? Did any cheerfull note        25
Come to thine eares, or gladsome sight appeare
Unto thine eies, since that same fatall howre?
Hath not the aire put on his mourning coat,
And testified his grief with flowing teares?
Sith, then, it seemeth each thing, to his powre,        30
Doth us invite to make a sad consort,
Come, let us joyne our mournfull song with theirs.
Griefe will endite, and sorrow will enforce
Thy voice, and Eccho will our words report.
  Lycon.  Though my rude rymes ill with thy verses frame,        35
That others farre excell, yet will I force
My selfe to answere thee the best I can,
And honor my base words with his high name.
But if my plaints annoy thee where thou sit
In secret shade or cave, vouchsafe (O Pan)        40
To pardon me, and here this hard constraint
With patience while I sing, and pittie it.
And eke ye rurall Muses, that do dwell
In these wilde woods, if ever piteous plaint
We did endite, or taught a wofull minde        45
With words of pure affect his griefe to tell,
Instruct me now. Now, Colin, then goe on,
And I will follow thee, though farre behinde.
  Colin.  Phillisides is dead. O harmfull death,
O deadly harme! Unhappie Albion,        50
When shalt thou see emong thy shepheards all,
Any so sage, so perfect? Whom uneath
Envie could touch for vertuous life and skill;
Curteous, valiant, and liberall.
Behold the sacred Pales, where with haire        55
Untrust she sitts, in shade of yonder hill,
And her faire face bent sadly downe, doth send
A floud of teares to bathe the earth; and there
Doth call the heav’ns despightfull, envious,
Cruell his fate, that made so short an end        60
Of that same life, well worthie to have bene
Prolongd with many yeares, happie and famous.
The Nymphs and Oreades her round about
Do sit lamenting on the grassie grene,
And with shrill cries, beating their whitest brests,        65
Accuse the direfull dart that Death sent out
To give the fatall stroke. The starres they blame,
That deafe or carelesse seeme at their request.
The pleasant shade of stately groves they shun;
They leave their cristall springs, where they wont frame        70
Sweet bowres of myrtel twigs and lawrel faire,
To sport themselves free from the scorching sun.
And now the hollow caves, where horror darke
Doth dwell, whence banisht is the gladsome aire,
They seeke; and there in mourning spend their time        75
With wailfull tunes, whiles wolves do howle and barke,
And seem to beare a bourdon to their plaint.
  Lycon.  Phillisides is dead. O dolefull ryme!
Why should my toong expresse thee? Who is left
Now to uphold thy hopes, when they do faint,        80
Lycon unfortunate? What spitefull fate,
What lucklesse destinie, hath thee bereft
Of thy chief comfort, of thy onely stay?
Where is become thy wonted happie state,
(Alas!) wherein through many a hill and dale,        85
Through pleasant woods, and many an unknowne way,
Along the bankes of many silver streames,
Thou with him yodest, and with him didst scale
The craggie rocks of th’ Alpes and Appenine,
Still with the Muses sporting, while those beames        90
Of vertue kindled in his noble brest,
Which after did so gloriously forth shine?
But (woe is me!) they now yquenched are
All suddeinly, and death hath them opprest.
Loe Father Neptune, with sad countenance,        95
How he sitts mourning on the strond now bare,
Yonder, where th’ Ocean with his rolling waves
The white feete washeth (wailing this mischance)
Of Dover cliffes. His sacred skirt about
The sea-gods all are set; from their moist caves        100
All for his comfort gathered there they be.
The Thamis rich, the Humber rough and stout,
The fruitfull Severne with the rest are come
To helpe their lord to mourne, and eke to see
The dolefull sight, and sad pomp funerall        105
Of the dead corps passing through his kingdome.
And all their heads, with cypres gyrlonds crown’d,
With wofull shrikes salute him, great and small.
Eke wailfull Eccho, forgetting her deare
Narcissus, their last accents doth resownd.        110
  Colin.  Phillisides is dead. O lucklesse age,
O widow world! O brookes and fountains cleere,
O hills, O dales, O woods, that oft have rong
With his sweet caroling, which could asswage
The fiercest wrath of tygre or of beare;        115
Ye Silvans, Fawnes, and Satyres, that emong
These thickets oft have daunst after his pipe;
Ye Nymphs and Nayades with golden heare,
That oft have left your purest cristall springs
To harken to his layes, that coulden wipe        120
Away all griefe and sorrow from your harts:
Alas! who now is left that like him sings?
When shall you heare againe like harmonie?
So sweet a sownd who to you now imparts?
Loe where engraved by his hand yet lives        125
The name of Stella, in yonder bay tree.
Happie name, happie tree! faire may you grow,
And spred your sacred branch, which honor gives
To famous emperours, and poets crowne.
Unhappie flock, that wander scattred now,        130
What marvell if through grief ye woxen leane,
Forsake your food, and hang your heads adowne?
For such a shepheard never shall you guide,
Whose parting hath of weale bereft you cleane.
  Lycon.  Phillisides is dead. O happie sprite,        135
That now in heav’n with blessed soules doest bide,
Looke down a while from where thou sitst above,
And see how busie shepheards be to endite
Sad songs of grief, their sorrowes to declare,
And gratefull memory of their kynd love.        140
Behold my selfe with Colin, gentle swaine,
(Whose lerned muse thou cherisht most whyleare)
Where we, thy name recording, seeke to ease
The inward torment and tormenting paine,
That thy departure to us both hath bred;        145
Ne can each others sorrow yet appease.
Behold the fountains now left desolate,
And withred grasse with cypres boughes bespred;
Behold these floures which on thy grave we strew;
Which, faded, shew the givers faded state,        150
(Though eke they shew their fervent zeale and pure)
Whose onely comfort on thy welfare grew.
Whose praiers importune shall the heav’ns for ay,
That to thy ashes rest they may assure;
That learnedst shepheards honor may thy name        155
With yeerly praises, and the Nymphs alway
Thy tomb may deck with fresh and sweetest flowres;
And that for ever may endure thy fame.
  Colin.  The sun (lo!) hastned hath his face to steep
In western waves; and th’ aire with stormy showres        160
Warnes us to drive homewards our silly sheep.
Lycon, lett ’s rise, and take of them good keep.

Virtute summa: cætera fortuna.

L. B.
 
 
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