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Piers. Thou need'st the truth but plainly tell
Which much I doubt thou canst not well,
Thou art so oft a liar.
Thenot. If in my song no more I show
Than heaven and earth and sea do know,
Then truly I have spoken. Piers. Sufficeth not no more to name,
But being no less, the like, the same
Else laws of truth be broken.
Thenot. Then say, she is so good, so fair,
With all the earth she may compare,
Nor Woman's self denying, Riers. Compare may think where likeness holds,
Nought like to her the earth enfolds ;
I thought to find you lying.
Thenot. Soon as Astrea shews her face,
Straight every ill avoids the place,
And every good aboundeth. Pieres. Nay, long before her face doth show,
The last doth come, the first doth go;
How loud this lie resoundeth.
Thenot. Astrea is our chiefest joy,
Our chiefest guard against annoy.
Our chiefest wealth, our treasure, Piers. Where chiefest are, there others be,
To us none else but only she ,
When wilt thou speak in measure Thenot. Astrea may be justly said
A field in flowery robe array'd,
In seasons freest spridging,
6.6., Except. + Royal and Noble Authors, Vol. 2, p. 195
Piers. That spring endures but shortest time,
This never leaves Astrea's clime :
Thou liest in stead of singing.
Therot. Astrea rightly term I may
A manly palm, a maiden bay,
Her verdure never dying. Piers. Palm oft is crooked, bay is low,
She still upright, still high doth grow,
Good Thenot leave thy lying.
Thenot. Then, Piers, of friendship tell me why,
My meaning true, my words should lie,
And strive in vain to raise her. Piers. Words from conceit do only rise,
Above conceit her honour flies :
But* silence nought can praise her. † A pure sąmple this of that outrageous flattery, close bordering upon the brink of irony and ridicule, in which Elizabeth was weak and vain enough to find delight,strange inconsistency of human nature.
A very scarce published work of the Countess, bears the title of “The Tragedy of Antonie ; done into English by the Countess of Pembroke.” Dated at Ramsbury, 26 Nov. 1590. Printed by P. S. for W. Ponsonby, 1595, 16mo. From this production Mr. Park has selected the following extract as a specimen :--
Drown we with tears our woe;
Lamented, easy grow,
We want that woeful song
Wherewith wood-musick's queen Doth ease her woes among,
Fresh spring-time's bushes green. On pleasant branch alone, Renewing ancient moan. We want that moanful sound
That pratling Progne makes,
Or streams of Thracian lakes,
Bewailing Ceyx lot,
Which his dead limbs have got,
BORN 1553.-DIED 1599.
The connection of Edmund Spenser, the sweetest of English Poets, with the County of Kent, has been already noticed. One canto of the “Faery Queen," is supposed, by some of the commentators, to have been written when he was a visitor at Penshurst, then the residence of Sir Henry Sidney. Sir Philip Sidney, to use his own words,
“Who first my muse did lift out of the floor,
was his first, his best, and almost his only patron.By bim he was introduced to the powerful Earl of Leicester, who procured his appointment in Ireland, and the grant of land which he obtained in consequence. At Sidney's recommendation the “Faery Queen" was undertaken. To the same accomplished man he dedicated " The Shepherd's Calendar," one of bis earliest works; and he had the misfortune to devote another to the memory of his untimely fate. From the mass of “lucky words” with which the “gentle muse” favoured the destined urn" of Sidney, we shall select these of Spenser,
"And bid fair peace be to his sable shroud."
Astrophel: a Pastoral Elegy upon the Death of the
most noble and valorous knight, Sir Philip Sidney: Dedicated to the most beautiful and virtuous Lady, the Countess of Essex. A gentle shepherd, born in Arcady,
Of gentlest race that ever shepherd bore, About the grassy banks of Hæmony
Did keep his sheep, his little stock and store; Full carefully he kept them day and night, In fairest fields, and Astrophel he hight.
Young Astrophel ! the pride of shepherd's praise;
Young Astrophel! the rustick lasses love;
In all that seemly shepherds might behove;
For from the time that first the nymph his mother
Him forth did bring, and taught her lambs to feed A slender swain, excelling for each other
In comely shape like her that did him breed,
Which daily more and more he did augment " With gentle usage and demeanour mild, That all men's hearts with secret ravishment
He stole away, and weetingly beguild ; Not Spight itself, that all good things doth spilli, Found out in him that she could say was ill. His sports were fair, his joyance innocent,
Sweet without sour, and honey without gall;