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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

October 7

Lament for Sir Philip Sidney

By Mathew Roydon (c. 1580–1622)

  • Sir Philip Sidney was celebrated as an author and general and as the friend of Queen Elizabeth. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Zutphen, Oct. 7, 1586.

  • YOU knew—who knew not Astrophel?

    That I should live to say I knew,

    And have not in possession still!—

    Things known permit me to renew.

    Of him you know his merit such

    I cannot say—you hear—too much.

    Within these woods of Arcady

    He chief delight and pleasure took;

    And on the mountain Partheny,

    Upon the crystal liquid brook,

    The muses met him every day,—

    Taught him to sing, and write, and say.

    When he descended down the mount

    His personage seemed most divine;

    A thousand graces one might count

    Upon his lovely, cheerful eyne.

    To hear him speak, and see him smile,

    You were in Paradise the while.

    A sweet, attractive kind of grace;

    A full assurance given by looks;

    Continual comfort in a face;

    The lineaments of gospel books;

    I trow that countenance cannot lie

    Whose thoughts are legible in the eye.

    Above all others this is he

    Who erst approvèd in his song

    That love and honor might agree,

    And that pure love will do no wrong.

    Sweet saints, it is no sin or blame

    To love a man of virtuous name.

    Did never love so sweetly breathe

    In any mortal breast before;

    Did never muse inspire beneath

    A poet’s brain with finer store.

    He wrote of love with high conceit,

    And beauty reared above her height.