Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, STONEHENGE, by PHILIP SIDNEY



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

STONEHENGE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Near wilton sweet huge heaps of stone are found
Last Line: She is the cause that all the rest I am.
Variant Title(s): Sonnet: 22. The Seven Wonders Of England
Subject(s): England; Stonehenge; English


Near Wilton sweet, huge heaps of stone are found;
But so confused, that neither any eye
Can count them just, nor reason reason try
What force brought them to so unlikely ground.

To stranger weights my mind's waste soil is bound,
Of passion's hills, reaching to reason's sky,
From fancy's earth passing all number's bound,
Passing all guess whence into me should fly
So mazed a mass; or if in me it grows,
A simple soul should breed so mixed woes.

The Breretons have a lake, which when the sun
Approaching warms -- not else -- dead logs up sends,
From hidd'nest depth, which tribute when it ends,
Sore sign it is the lord's last thread is spun.

My lake is sense, whose still streams never run,
But when my sun her shining twins there bends;
Then from his depth with force in her begun,
Long drowned hopes to watery eyes it lends;
But when that fails my dead hopes up to take,
Their master is fair warned his will to make.

We have a fish, by strangers much admired,
Which, caught, to cruel search yields his chief part,
With gall cut out, closed up again by art;
Yet lives until his life be new required.

A stranger fish myself, not yet expired,
Though rapt with beauty's hook, I did impart
Myself unto th'anatomy desired,
Instead of gall, leaving to her my heart;
Yet live with thoughts closed up, till that she will
By conquest's right, instead of searching, kill.

Peak hath a cave whose narrow entries find
Large rooms within, where drops distil amain,
Till knit with cold, though there unknown, remain,
Deck that poor place with alabaster lined.

Mine eyes the strait, the roomy cave my mind,
Whose cloudy thoughts let fall an inward rain
Of sorrow's drops, till colder reason bind
Their running fall into a constant vein
Of truth, far more than alabaster pure;
Which, though despised, yet still doth truth endure.

A field there is, where, if a stake be pressed
Deep in the earth, what hath in earth receipt
Is changed to stone, in hardness, cold, and weight;
The wood above doth soon consuming rest.

The earth, her ears; the stake is my request;
Of which, how much may pierce to that sweet seat,
To honour turned, doth dwell in honour's nest,
Keeping that form, though void of wonted heat;
But all the rest, which fear durst not apply,
Failing themselves, with withered conscience die.

Of ships by shipwreck cast on Albion coast,
Which rotting on the rocks their death do die,
From wooden bones, and blood of pitch, doth fly
A bird which gets more life than ship had lost.

My ship, desire, with wind of lust long tossed,
Brake on fair cleeves of constant chastity;
Where, plagued for rash attempt, gives up his ghost,
So deep in seas of virtue beauties lie.
But of his death flies up a purest love,
Which, seeming less, yet nobler life doth move.

These wonders England breeds; the last remains,
A lady, in despite of nature chaste,
On whom all love, in whom no love is placed,
Where fairness yields to wisdom's shortest reins.

An humble pride, a scorn that favour stains;
A woman's mould, but like an angel graced;
An angel's mind, but in a woman cast;
A heaven on earth, or earth that heaven contains;
Now thus this wonder to myself I frame;
She is the cause that all the rest I am.





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