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Thou Blind Man's Mark

    THOU blind man's mark, thou fool's self chosen snare,
    Fond fancy's scum, and dregs of scatter'd thought,
    Band of all evils, cradle of causeless care,
    Thou web of will,whose end is never wrought.

    Desire, desire I have too dearly bought,
    With price of mangled mind thy worthless ware,
    Too long, too long asleep thou hast me brought,
    Who should my mind to higher things prepare.

    But yet in vain thou hast my ruin sought,
    In vain thou madest me to vain things aspire,
    In vain thou kindlest all thy smoky fire.

    For virtue hath this better lesson taught,
    Within myself to seek my only hire:
    Desiring nought but how to kill desire.

    Sir Philip Sidney


Leave Me, O Love, Which Reachest But to Dust

    LEAVE me, O Love, which reachest but to dust,
    And thou my mind aspire to higher things:
    Grow rich in that which never taketh rust:
    Whatever fades, but fading pleasure brings.

    Draw in thy beams, and humble all thy might,
    To that sweet yoke, where lasting freedoms be:
    Which breaks the clouds and opens forth the light,
    That doth both shine and give us sight to see.

    O take fast hold, let that light be thy guide,
    In this small course which birth draws out to death,
    And think how evil becometh him to slide,
    Who seeketh heaven, and comes of heavenly breath.
    Then farewell world, thy uttermost I see,
    Eternal Love, maintain thy life in me.

    Sir Philip Sidney


Ye Goatherd Gods

    Strephon:

    YE GOATHERD gods, that love the grassy mountains,
    Ye nymphs which haunt the springs in pleasant valleys,
    Ye satyrs joyed with free and quiet forests,
    Vouchsafe your silent ears to plaining music,
    Which to my woes gives still an early morning,
    And draws the dolor on till weary evening.

    Klaius:

    O Mercury, forgoer to the evening,
    O heavenly huntress of the savage mountains,
    O lovely star, entitled of the morning,
    While that my voice doth fill these woeful valleys,
    Vouchsafe you silent ears to plaining music,
    Which oft hath Echo tired in secret forests.

    Strephon:

    I, that was once free burgess of the forests,
    Where shade from sun and sport I sought in evening,
    I that was once esteemed for pleasant music,
    Am banished now among the monstrous mountains
    Of huge despair, and foul affliction's valleys,
    Am grown a screech owl to myself each morning.

    Klaius:

    I, that was once delighted every morning,
    Hunting the wild inhabiters of forests,
    I, that was once the music of these valleys,
    So darkened am that all my day is evening,
    Heartbroken so that molehills seem high mountains,
    And fill the vales with cries instead of music.

    Strephon:

    Long since, alas, my deadly swannish music
    Hath made itself a crier of the morning,
    And hath with wailing strength climbed highest mountains;
    Long since my thoughts more desert be than forests,
    Long since I see my joys come to their evening,
    And state thrown down to overtrodden valleys.

    Klaius:

    Long since the happy dwellers of these valleys,
    Have prayed me leave my strange exclaiming music
    Which troubles their day's work and joys of evening;
    Long since I hate the night, more hate the morning;
    Long since my thoughts chase me like beasts in forests
    And make me wish myself laid under mountains.

    Strephon:

    Meseems I see the high and stately mountains,
    Transform themselves to low dejected valleys;
    Meseems I hear in these ill-changed forests
    The nightingales do learn of owls their music;
    Meseems I feel the comfort of the morning
    Turned to the mortal serene of an evening.

    Klaius:

    Meseems I see a filthy cloudy evening
    As soon as sun begins to climb the mountains;
    Meseems I feel a noisome scent, the morning
    When I do smell the flowers of these valleys;
    Meseems I hear, when I do hear sweet music,
    The dreadful cries of murdered men in forests.

    Strephon:

    I wish to fire the trees of all these forests;
    I give the sun a last farewell each evening;
    I curse the fiddling finders-out of music;
    With envy I do hate the lofty mountains,
    And with despite despise the humble valleys;
    I do detest night, evening, day, and morning.

    Klaius:

    Curse to myself my prayer is, the morning;
    My fire is more than can be made with forests,
    My state more base than are the basest valleys.
    I wish no evenings more to see, each evening;
    Shamed, I hate myself in sight of mountains,
    And stop mine ears,lest I grow mad with music.

    Strephon:

    For she whose parts maintained a perfect music,
    Whose beauties shined more than the blushing morning,
    Who much did pass in state the stately mountains,
    In straightness past the cedars of the forests,
    Hath cast me, wretch, into eternal evening
    By taking her two suns from these dark valleys.

    Klaius:

    For she, with whom compared, the Alps are valleys,
    She, whose least word brings from the spheres their music,
    At whose approach the sun rose in the evening,
    Who where she went bore in her forehead morning,
    Is gone, is gone, from these our spoiled forests,
    Turning to deserts our best pastured mountains.

    Strephon:

    These mountains witness shall, so shall these valleys,

    Klaius:

    These forests eke, made wretched by our music,

    [Both:]

    Our morning hymn this is, and song at evening.

    Sir Philip Sidney


Psalm 19: Coeli enarrant

    THE heavenly frame sets forth the fame
    Of him that only thunders;
    The firmament, so strangely bent,
    Shows his handworking wonders.

    Day unto day doth it display,
    Their course doth it acknowledge,
    And night to night succeeding right
    In darkness teach clear knowledge.

    There is no speech, no language which
    Is so of skill bereaved,
    But of the skies the teaching cries
    They have heard and conceived.

    There be no eyen but read the line
    From so fair book proceeding,
    Their words be set in letters great
    For everybody's reading.

    Is not he blind that doth not find
    The tabernacle builded
    There by His Grace for sun's fair face
    In beams of beauty gilded?

    Who forth doth come, like a bridegroom,
    From out his veiling places,
    As glad is he, as giants be
    To run their mighty races.

    His race is even from ends of heaven;
    About that vault he goeth;
    There be no realms hid from his beams;
    His heat to all he throweth.

    O law of His, how perfect 'tis
    The very soul amending;
    God's witness sure for aye doth dure
    To simplest wisdom lending.

    God's dooms be right, and cheer the sprite,
    All His commandments being
    So purely wise it gives the eyes
    Both light and force of seeing.

    Of Him the fear doth cleanness bear
    And so endures forever,
    His judgments be self verity,
    They are unrighteous never.

    Then what man would so soon seek gold
    Or glittering golden money?
    By them is past in sweetest taste,
    Honey or comb of honey.

    By them is made Thy servants' trade
    Most circumspectly guarded,
    And who doth frame to keep the same
    Shall fully be rewarded.

    Who is the man that ever can
    His faults know and acknowledge?
    O Lord, cleanse me from faults that be
    Most secret from all knowledge.

    Thy servant keep, lest in him creep
    Presumtuous sins' offenses;
    Let them not have me for their slave
    Nor reign upon my senses.

    So shall my sprite be still upright
    In thought and conversation,
    So shall I bide well purified
    From much abomination.

    So let words sprung from my weak tongue
    And my heart's meditation,
    My saving might, Lord, in Thy sight,
    Receive good acceptation!

    Sir Philip Sidney


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