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.
 
Rosaline
By Thomas Lodge (1558–1625)
 
LIKE 1 to the clear in highest sphere
  Where all imperial glory shines,
Of selfsame colour is her hair
  Whether unfolded or in twines
    Heigh ho, fair Rosaline!        5
Her eyes are sapphires set in snow,
  Resembling heaven by every wink;
The gods do fear whenas they glow,
  And I do tremble when I think
    Heigh ho, would she were mine!        10
 
Her cheeks are like the blushing cloud
  That beautifies Aurora’s face,
Or like the silver crimson shroud
  That Phœbus’ smiling looks doth grace:
    Heigh ho, fair Rosaline!        15
Her lips are like two budded roses
  Whom ranks of lilies neighbour nigh,
Within whose bounds she balm encloses
  Apt to entice a deity:
    Heigh ho, would she were mine!        20
 
Her neck is like a stately tower
  Where Love himself imprison’d lies,
To watch for glances every hour
  From her divine and sacred eyes:
    Heigh ho, fair Rosaline!        25
Her paps are centres of delight,
  Her breasts are orbs of heavenly frame,
Where Nature moulds the dew of light
  To feed perfection with the same:
    Heigh ho, would she were mine!        30
 
With orient pearl, with ruby red,
  With marble white, with sapphire blue,
Her body every way is fed,
  Yet soft in touch and sweet in view:
    Heigh ho, fair Rosaline!        35
Nature herself her shape admires;
  The gods are wounded in her sight;
And Love forsakes his heavenly fires
  And at her eyes his brand doth light:
    Heigho ho, would she were mine!        40
 
Then muse not, Nymphs, though I bemoan
  The absence of fair Rosaline,
Since for a fair there’s fairer none,
  Nor for her virtues so divine:
    Heigh ho, fair Rosaline!        45
Heigh ho, my heart! would God that she were mine!
 
Note 1. From Rosalind, 1590. “Readers who have visited Italy will be reminded of more than one picture by this gorgeous Vision of Beauty, equally sublime and pure in its Paradisaical naturalness. Lodge wrote it on a voyage to ‘the Islands of Terceras and the Canaries;’ and he seems to have caught, in those southern seas, no small portion of the qualities which marked the almost contemporary Art of Venice,—the glory and the glow of Veronese, or Titian, or Tintoret, when he most resembles Titian, and all but surpasses him.” (F. T. Palgrave, Golden Treasury, First Series.) Line 1, Like to the clear … is her hair. “The clear (clearness) in highest sphere is the empyrean or sphere of pure fire, which was outermost and next to the primum mobile in the old cosmography, not the crystalline sphere as explained by Mr. Palgrave. This passage then means: Her hair is of the self same color as the brightness (the clear) of the empyrean. The difficulty of the passage consists in the tautology, or possibly the double construction, involved in saying like to and of self same, of the same color like to the empyreal brightness. I am indebted to Professor Kittredge for this note.” (Schelling, A Book of Elizabethan Lyrics.) [back]
 
 
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