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A Pastorall Elegie upon the Death of the Most Noble and Most Valorous Knight, SIR Philip Sidney. Dedicated to the Most Beautifull and Vertuous Ladie, the Countess of Essex.
By EDMUND SPENSER.
Shepheards, that wont, on pipes of oaten reed,
Oft times to 2 plaine your loves concealed smart;
Compassion in a countrey lasses hart;
To you alone I sing this mournfull verse,
The mournfullst verse that ever man heard tell:
With dolours dart for death of Astrophel.
Yet as they been, if any 5 nycer wit
Shall hap to heare, or covet them to read :
Made not to please the living but the dead.
A gentle Shepheard borne in ? Arcady,
Of gentlest race that ever shepheard bore,
Did keepe his sheep, his litle 9 stock and store.
Young Astrophel, the pride of shepheards praise,
Young Astrophel, the rusticke lasses love:
In all that seemly shepheard might behove.
For from the time that first 11 the Nymph, his mother,
Him forth did bring, and taught her lambs to feed; A sclender swaine, excelling far 12 each other,
In comely shape, like her that did him breed, He grew up fast in goodnesse and in grace, And doubly faire woxe both in mynd and face.
Which daily more and more he did augment,
With gentle usage and demeanure myld: That all mens hearts with secret ravishment
He stole away, and 13 weetingly beguyld. 14 Ne Spight it selfe, that all good things doth spill, Found ought in him, that she could say was ill.
His sports were faire, his ioyance innocent,
Sweet without soure, and 15 honny without gall: And he himselfe seemd made for meriment,
Merily masking both in bowre and hall. There was no pleasure nor delightfull play, 30 When Astrophel so ever was away. For 16 he could pipe, and daunce, and caroll sweet, Emongst the shepheards in their shearing feast;
somers larke that with her song doth greet The dawning day forth comming from the East. And layes of love he also could compose : Thrise happie she, whom he to praise did chose.
Full many Maydens often did him woo,
Them to vouchsafe emongst his rimes to name,
18 For her that did his heart with love inflame.
Soone as his oaten pipe began to shrill,
To heare the charmes of his enchanting skill;
But he for none of them did care a whit,
Yet 21 Woodgods for them often sighéd sore; Ne for their gifts unworthie of his wit,
Yet not unworthie of the countries store. For one alone he cared, for one he sight His lifes desire, and his deare loves delight.
Stella the faire, the fairest star in skie,
As faire as Venus or the 22 fairest faire, (A fairer star saw never living eie,)
Shot her sharp pointed beames through purest aire.
To her he vowd the service of his daies,
On her he spent the riches of his wit;
For onely her he sung, he thought, he writ.
Ne her with ydle words alone he wowed,
And verses vaine, (yet verses are not vaine,) But with brave deeds to her sole service vowed, 70 And bold atchievements her did entertaine.
For both in deeds and words he nourtred was,
In wrestling nimble, and in renning swift,
In shooting steddie, and in swimming strong;
And all the sports that shepheards are emong.
Besides, in hunting such felicitie
Or rather infelicitie he found, That every field and forest far away
He sought where 25 salvage beasts do most abound. No beast so salvage but he could it kill, No chace so hard, but he therein had skill.
Such skill, matcht with such courage as he had,
Did prick him forth with proud desire of praise To seek abroad, of daunger nought 26 y' drad,
His mistresse name, and his own fame, to raise. What needeth perill to be sought abroad, 90 Since round about us it 27 doth make aboad?
It fortuned, as he that perilous game
In 28 forreine soyle pursued far away,
Where store he heard to be of salvage pray.
There his welwoven toyles, and subtil traines,
He laid the 30 brutish nation to enwrap;
That he of them great troups did soone entrap.
Eftsoones, all heedlesse of his dearest 31 hale,
Full greedily into the 32 heard he thrust,
Least that his 34 toyle should of their troups be brust.
His care was all how he them all might kill,
That none might scape, (so partiall unto none :)
As to become unmyndfull of his owne.
So as he rag'd emongst the beastly rout,
A cruell beast of most accursed brood
And, with fell tooth accustomed to blood,
So deadly was the dint and deep the wound,
And so huge streames of blood thereout did flow,
But on the cold deare earth himselfe did throw;