Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PASTORAL: DISPRAISE OF A COURTLY LIFE, by PHILIP SIDNEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PASTORAL: DISPRAISE OF A COURTLY LIFE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Walking in bright phoebus' blaze
Last Line: Void of wishing and repenting.
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Dyer, Sir Edward (1540-1607); Greville, Fulke, 1st Baron Brooke

Walking in bright Phoebus' blaze,
Where with heat oppressed I was,
I got to a shady wood,
Where green leaves did newly bud.
And of grass was plenty dwelling,
Decked with pied flowers sweetly smelling.

In this wood a man I met,
On lamenting wholly set;
Rueing change of wonted state,
Whence he was transformed late,
Once to shepherd's god retaining,
Now in servile court remaining.

There he wand'ring malcontent,
Up and down perplexed went,
Daring not to tell to me,
Spake unto a senseless tree,
One among the rest, electing
These same words, or this effecting:

"My old mates I grieve to see,
Void of me in field to be,
Where we once our lovely sheep
Lovingly like friends did keep,
Oft each other's friendship proving,
Never striving, but in loving.

"But may love abiding be
In poor shepherd's base degree?
It belongs to such alone
To whom art of love is known;
Silly shepherds are not witting
What in art of love is fitting.

"Nay, what need the art to those,
To whom we our love disclose?
It is to be used then,
When we do but flatter men;
Friendship true in heart assured
Is by nature's gifts procured.

"Therefore, shepherds wanting skill
Can love's duties best fulfill,
Since they know not how to feign,
Nor with love to cloak disdain,
Like the wiser sort whose learning
Hides their inward will of harming.

"Well was I, while under shade
Oaten reeds me music made,
Striving with my mates in song,
Mixing mirth our songs among,
Greater was that shepherd's treasure,
Than this false, fine, courtly pleasure.

"Where, how many creatures be,
So many puffed in mind I see,
Like to Juno's birds of pride,
Scarce each other can abide,
Friends like to black swans appearing,
Sooner these than those in hearing.

"Therefore Pan, if thou mayst be
Made to listen unto me,
Grant, I say, if silly man
May make treaty to god Pan,
That I, without thy denying,
May be still to thee relying.

"Only for my two loves' sake, Sir Ed. D. and M.F.G.
In whose love I pleasure take,
Only two do me delight
With their ever-pleasing sight,
Of all men to thee retaining,
Grant me with those two remaining.

"So shall I to thee always,
With my reeds sound mighty praise;
And first lamb that shall befall,
Yearly deck thine altar shall.
If it please thee be reflected,
And I from thee not rejected."

So I left him in that place,
Taking pity on his case,
Learning this among the rest,
That the mean estate is best,
Better filled with contenting,
Void of wishing and repenting.

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