Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Astrophel and Stella
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Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
 
Astrophel and Stella
Other Songs of Variable Verse
Fifth Song: While favour fed my hope, delight with hope was brought
Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
 
WHILE favour fed my hope, delight with hope was brought;
Thought waited on delight; and speech did follow thought.
Then grew my tongue and pen records unto thy glory.
I thought all words were lost that were not spent of thee;
I thought each place was dark, but where thy lights would be;        5
And all ears worse than deaf, that heard not out thy story.
 
I said thou wert most fair, and so indeed thou art.
I said thou art most sweet, sweet poison to my heart.
I said my soul was thine, O that I then had lied!
I said thine eyes were stars, thy breasts the milken way,        10
Thy fingers CUPID’s shafts, thy voice the Angels’ lay:
And all I said so well, as no man it denied.
 
But now that hope is lost, unkindness kills delight;
Yet thought and speech do live, thought metamorphosed quite:
For RAGE now rules the reins, which guided were by PLEASURE.        15
I think now of thy faults, who late thought of thy praise.
That speech falls now to blame which did thy honour raise.
The same key open can, which can lock up a treasure.
 
Thou then whom partial heavens conspired in one to frame
The proof of beauty’s worth, th’inheritrix of fame,        20
The mansion seat of bliss, and just excuse of lovers:
See now those feathers pluckt, wherewith thou flew most high!
See what clouds of reproach shall dark thy honour’s sky!
Whose own fault casts him down, hardly high seat recovers.
 
And O my Muse! though oft you lulled her in your lap;        25
And then a heavenly child, gave her ambrosian pap;
And to that brain of hers, your hidnest gifts infused!
Since she disdaining me, doth you in me disdain;
Suffer not her to laugh, while both we suffer pain.
Princes in subjects wronged, must deem themselves abused.        30
 
Your client poor, my self; shall STELLA handle so?
Revenge! revenge! my Muse! Defiance trumpet blow!
Threaten what may be done! yet do more than you threaten!
Ah! my suit granted is. I feel my breast doth swell.
Now child! a lesson new you shall begin to spell.        35
Sweet babes must babies have, but shrewd girls must be beaten.
 
Think now no more to hear of warm fine-odoured snow,
Nor blushing lilies, nor pearls ruby-hidden row,
Nor of that golden sea whose waves in curls are broken:
But of thy soul, so fraught with such ungratefulness,        40
As where thou soon might’st help; most faith thou dost oppress.
Ungrateful who is called, the worst of evils is spok’n.
 
Yet worse than worst, I say thou art a Thief! A thief!
Now GOD forbid! A Thief! and of worst thieves, the chief.
Thieves steal for need; and steal but goods, which pain recovers:        45
But thou, rich in all joys, dost rob my joys from me;
Which cannot be restored by time nor industry.
Of foes, the spoil is evil: far worse of constant lovers’.
 
Yet gentle English thieves do rob, but will not slay.
Thou English murdering thief! wilt have hearts for thy prey.        50
The name of Murderer now on thy fair forehead sitteth.
And even while I do speak, my death wounds bleeding be;
Which, I protest, proceed from only cruel thee.
Who may and will not save; murder in truth committeth.
 
But murder’s private fault seems but a toy to thee.        55
I lay then to thy charge unjustest Tyranny!
If rule by force without all claim, a tyrant showeth.
For thou dost lord my heart, who am not born thy slave;
And which is worse, makes me most guiltless torments have.
A rightful Prince by unright deeds a Tyrant groweth.        60
 
Lo! you grow proud with this! For tyrants make folk bow.
Of foul Rebellion then I do appeach thee now!
Rebel by Nature’s laws, Rebel by law of reason.
Thou sweetest subject wert born in the realm of Love;
And yet against thy Prince, thy force dost daily prove.        65
No virtue merits praise, once touched with blot of treason.
 
But valiant rebels oft in fools’ mouths purchase fame.
I now then stain thy white with vagabonding shame;
Both Rebel to the Son and Vagrant from the Mother.
For wearing VENUS’ badge, in every part of thee;        70
Unto DIANA’s train thou Runaway didst flee!
Who faileth one is false, though trusty to another.
 
What, is not this enough? Nay, far worse cometh here.
A Witch! I say thou art, though thou so fair appear.
For I protest my sight never thy face enjoyeth,        75
But I in me am changed; I am alive and dead,
My feet are turned to roots, my heart becometh lead.
No witchcraft is so evil, as which man’s mind destroyeth.
 
Yet witches may repent. Thou art far worse than they.
Alas! that I am forced such evil of thee to say.        80
I say thou art a Devil! though clothed in angel’s shining;
For thy face tempts my soul to leave the heavens for thee,
And thy words of refuse do pour even hell on me.
Who tempt, and tempted plague; are Devils in true defining.
 
You then ungrateful Thief! you murdering Tyrant you!        85
You Rebel! Runaway! to Lord and Lady untrue.
You Witch! you Devil! Alas, you still of me beloved!
You see what I can say. Mend yet your froward mind!
And such skill in my Muse you, reconciled, shall find;
That by these cruel words, your praises shall be proved.        90
 
 
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