Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO SHEPHERDS IN PRAISE OF ASTRAEA, by MARY SIDNEY HERBERT



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A DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO SHEPHERDS IN PRAISE OF ASTRAEA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sing divine astrea's praise
Last Line: But silence, nought can praise her.
Alternate Author Name(s): Pembroke, Countess Of
Subject(s): Country Life


THENOT.

I sing divine Astraea's praise,
O Muses! help my wits to raise,
And heave my verses higher.

PIERS.

Thou need'st the truth but plainly tell,
Which much I doubt thou can'st 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,
Not Momus' self denying.

PIERS.

Compare may think where likeness holds,
Nought like to her the earth enfolds,
I look'd to find you lying.

THENOT.

Astraea sees with Wisdom's sight,
Astraea works by Virtue's might,
And jointly both do stay in her.

PIERS.

Nay, take from them, her hand, her mind,
The one is lame, the other blind;
Shall still your lying stain her?

THENOT.

Soon as Astraea shows her face,
Straight every ill avoids the place,
And every good aboundeth.

PIERS.

Nay, long before her face doth show,
The last doth come, the first doth go;
How loud this lie resoundeth.

THENOT.

Astraea 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.

Astraea may be justly said,
A field in flowery robe array'd,
In season freshly springing.

PIERS.

That spring endures but shortest time,
This never leaves Astraea's clime;
Thou liest instead of singing.

THENOT.

As heavenly light that guides the day,
Right so doth shine each lovely ray,
That from Astraea flieth.

PIERS.

Nay, darkness oft that light inclouds,
Astraea's beams no darkness shrouds;
How loudly Thenot lieth!

THENOT.

Astraea 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.





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