Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Promised Weal
By Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
 
O WORDS, 1 which fall like summer dew on me!
O breath, more sweet than is the growing bean!
O tongue, in which all honeyed liquors be!
O voice, that doth the thrush in shrillness stain!
    Do you say still this is her promise due:        5
    That she is mine, as I to her am true!
 
Gay hair, more gay than straw when harvest lies!
Lips, red and plump as cherries’ ruddy side!
Eyes, fair and great, like fair great ox’s eyes!
O breast, in which two white sheep swell in pride!        10
    Join you with me to seal this promise due:
    That she be mine, as I to her am true!
 
But thou, white skin, as white as curds well pressed,
So smooth as sleek-stone 2 like it smoothes each part!
And thou, dear flesh, as soft as wool new dressed,        15
And yet as hard as brawn made hard by art!
    First four but say, next four their saying seal;
    But you must pay the gage of promised weal.
 
Note 1. From the Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, 1590. [back]
Note 2. So smooth as sleek-stone: a smoothing-stone for smoothing or dressing linen or butter. [back]
 
 
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