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Upon him turnd,-despair makes cowards stout, --
And with fell tooth accustomed to blood, Launced his thigh with so mischievous might, That it both bone and muscles rived quite.
So deadly was the dint and deep the wound,
And so huge streams of blood thereout did flow, That he endured not the dreadful stound,
But on the cold drear earth himself did throw; The whiles the captive herd his nets did rend, And having none to let to wood did wend.
Ah! where were ye this while, his shepherd peers,
To whom alive was nought so dear as he? And ye, fair maids! the matches of his years,
Which in his grace did boast you most to be? Ah! where were ye when he of you had need To stop his wound that wondrously did bleed ?
Ah! wretched boy! the shape of dreryhead,
And sad ensample of man's sudden end, Full little faileth but thou shalt be dead,
Unpitied, unplain'd, of foe or friend; Whilst none is nigh thine eyelids up to close, And kiss thy lips like faded leaves of rose.
A sort of shepherds suing of the chace,
As they the forest ranged on a day, By fate or fortune came unto the place,
Whereas the luckless boy yet bleeding lay; Yet bleeding lay, and yet would still have bled, Had not good hap those shepherds thither led. They stopt his wound,--too late to stop it was,
And in their arms then softly did him rear;
Then as he willid unto his loved lass,
His dearest love, him dolefully did bear: The dolefulest bier that ever man did sees Was Astrophel, but dearest unto me.
She, when she saw her love in such a plight,
With curdled blood and filthy gore deformed, That wont to be with flowers and garlands dight,
And her dear favours dearly well adorned, Her face the fairest face that eye might see, She likewise did deform, like him to be.
Her yellow locks, that shone so bright and long, - As sunny
beams in fairest summer's day, She fiercely tore, and with outrageous wrong
From her red cheeks the ruses rent away ; And her fair breast, the treasury of joy, She spoil'd thereof, and filled with annoy. His pallid face, impictured with death,
She bathed oft with tears, and dried oft; And with sweet kisses suck the wasting breath
Out of his lips, like lillies, pale and soft; And oft she call'd to him who answer'd nought, But only by his looks did tell his thought.
The rest of her impatient regret,
And piteous moan the which she for him made, No tongue can tell, nor any forth can set,
But he whose heart like sorrow did invade : At last, when pain his vital powers had spent, His wasted life her weary. lodge forwent.
Which when she saw, she stayed not a whit,
But after him did make untimely haste;
Forthwith her ghost out of her corpse did fit,
And followed her mate, like turtle chaste; To prove
that death their hearts cannot divide, Which living were in love so firmly tied. The gods, which all things see, this same beheld,
And pitying this pair of lovers true, Transformed them there lying on the field,
Into one flower, that is both red and blue: It first grows red, and then to blue doth fade, Like Astrophel, which thereinto was made.
And in the midst thereof a star appears,
As fairly form’d as any star in skies,
Forth darting beams of beauty from her eyes;
That herb of some Starlight is call’d by name,
Of others Penthea, though not so well ;
From this day forth do call it Astrophel ;
We shall venture to make one remark only upon this poem. It is a little extraordinary that Spenser though he has dedicated bis elegy to Sidney's widow, then Countess of Essex, should make no mention of that lady in any part of it. We are assured that she accompanied her husband in his unfortunate expedition, and assiduously watched over him in the anxious interval from the time of his being wounded, until his death.
The introduction of Lady Rich, or Stella, is still more extraordinary, when the dedication is considered in connection with the following lines :
For one alone he car'd, for one he sighed,
Mr. Todd remarks, that “the early love of Sir Philip Sidney for Lady Rich is converted into a beautiful fiction in Spenser's Elegy of Astrophel.” To the present writer, this fiction appears in a directly opposite light, as one particularly unfortunate, and considering the party to whom the Elegy is dedicated, almost indecorous; very much unlike the manner of the gentle and courtly Spenser. It may, however, perhaps, admit of the following explanation : Spenser's Elegy was written before the publication of Sidney's poetry entitled “ Astrophel and Stella,” which was probably never communicated to him in manuscript. The Poet had doubtless heard of the poetic designation of Sidney's mistress, but her real name was unknown to him.The baughty and high-born Sidney, though he condescended to patronize and encourage the “lowly strains” of Spenser, was not very likely to select the plebeian bard for a confidant in an affair of so much delicacy. May we not then presume that Spenser, in celebrating the loves of Astrophel and Stella, had no other person in his view than the Countess of Essex herself, whom he considered as the original of Stella ? This conjecture receives support from some expressions in the " Mourning Muse," where Stella, lamenting the death of Sidney, is made to call him her « true and faithful Pheer,' and her “ trusty guide.”
Of all the flowers a Lilly once I loved,
Whose labouring beauties branched itself abroad,
Of the personal history of John Lilly, very little haş been handed down to us. From the authority of the Oxford historian, we find that he was entered of Magdalen College in 1569, when he was about sixteen years old, and by the titles of his books. it appears that he took a master's degree. Perhaps the following account of himself delivered in a fictitious character, is the best extant." I was born in the wild of Kent, of honest parents and worshipful, whose tender cares, if the fondness of parents may be so termed, provided all things, even from my very cradle, until their graves, that might either bring me up in good letters, or make me heir to great livings. !, without arrogance be it spoken, was not inferior in wit to many, wbich finding in myself, I flattered myself, but in the end deceived myself: for being of the age of twenty years, there was no trade or kind of life that either fitted
humour or served my tury, but the court; thinking that place the only means to climb high and sit sure. Wherein I followed the vein of young soldiers, who judge nothing sweeter than war till they feel the weight. I was there