Sir Philip Sidney

S
Sir Philip Sidney
Sonnet 1
Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,—
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
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Astrophil and Stella 101: Stella is sick, and in that sick-bed lies
Stella is sick, and in that sick-bed lies
Sweetness, that breathes and pants as oft as she;
And grace, sick too, such fine conclusions tries
That sickness brags itself best graced to be.
Beauty is sick, but sick in so fair guise
That in that paleness beauty’s white we see;
And joy, which is inseparate from these eyes,
Stella now learns (strange case!) to weep in thee.
Love moves thy pain, and like a faithful page,
As thy looks stir, runs up and down, to make
All folks prest at thy will thy pain to assuage;
Nature with care sweats for her darling’s sake,
Knowing worlds pass, ere she enough can find
Of such heaven stuff, to clothe so heavenly mind.
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Astrophil and Stella 102: Where be the roses gone, which sweetened so our eyes?
Where be the roses gone, which sweetened so our eyes?
Where those red cheeks, which oft with fair increase did frame
The height of honor in the kindly badge of shame?
Who hath the crimson weeds stolen from my morning skies?
How doth the color vade of those vermilion dyes,
Which Nature's self did make, and self engrained the same!
I would know by what right this paleness overcame
That hue, whose force my heart still unto thraldom ties?
Galen's adoptive sons, who by a beaten way
Their judgements hackney on, the fault on sickness lay;
But feeling proof makes me say they mistake it far:
It is but love, which makes his paper perfect white
To write therein more fresh the story of delight,
Whiles beauty's reddest ink Venus for him doth stir.
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Astrophil and Stella 106: O absent presence, Stella is not here
O absent presence, Stella is not here;
False flattering hope, that with so fair a face
Bare me in hand, that in this orphan place
Stella, I say my Stella, should appear.
What say’st thou now? Where is that dainty cheer
Thou told’st mine eyes should help their famished case?
But thou art gone, now that self-felt disgrace
Doth make me most to wish thy comfort near.
But here I do store of fair ladies meet,
Who may with charm of conversation sweet
Make in my heavy mould new thoughts to grow:
Sure they prevail as much with me, as he
That bade his friend, but then new maimed, to be
Merry with him, and not think of his woe.
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Astrophil and Stella 107: Stella, since thou so right a princess art 
Stella, since thou so right a princess art
Of all the powers which life bestows on me,
There ere by them aught undertaken be
They first resort unto that sovereign part;
Sweet, for a while give respite to my heart,
Which pants as though it still should leap to thee,
And on my thoughts give thy lieutenancy
To this great cause, which needs both use and art,
And as a queen, who from her presence sends
Whom she employs, dismiss from thee my wit,
Till it have wrought what thy own will attends.
On servants’ shame oft master’s blame doth sit.
Oh let not fools in me thy works reprove,
And scorning say, “See what it is to love.”
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Astrophil and Stella 14: Alas, have I not pain enough, my friend
Alas, have I not pain enough, my friend,
Upon whose breast a fiercer gripe doth tire
Than did on him who first stale down the fire,
While Love on me doth all his quiver spend,
But with your rhubarb words you must contend
To grieve me worse, in saying that Desire
Doth plunge my well-formed soul even in the mire
Of sinful thoughts, which do in ruin end?
If that be sin which doth the manners frame,
Well stayed with truth in word and faith of deed,
Ready of wit, and fearing naught but shame;
If that be sin which in fixed hearts doth breed
A loathing of all loose unchastity,
Then love is sin, and let me sinful be.
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Astrophil and Stella 2: Not at first sight, nor with a dribbèd shot
Not at first sight, nor with a dribbèd shot,
Love gave the wound which while I breathe will bleed:
But known worth did in mine of time proceed,
Till by degrees it had full conquest got.
I saw, and liked; I liked, but lovèd not;
I loved, but straight did not what love decreed:
At length to love’s decrees I, forced, agreed,
Yet with repining at so partial lot.
Now even that footstep of lost liberty
Is gone, and now like slave-born Muscovite
I call it praise to suffer tyranny;
And now employ the remnant of my wit
To make myself believe that all is well,
While with a feeling skill I paint my hell.
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Astrophil and Stella 21: Your words my friend (right healthful caustics) blame 
Your words my friend (right healthful caustics) blame
My young mind marred, whom Love doth windlass so,
That mine own writings like bad servants show
My wits, quick in vain thoughts, in virtue lame,
That Plato I read for nought, but if he tame
Such coltish gyres, that to my birth I owe
Nobler desires, least else that friendly foe,
Great expectation, wear a train of shame.
For since mad March great promise made of me,
If now the May of my years much decline,
What can be hoped my harvest time will be?
Sure you say well, your wisdom’s golden mine
Dig deep with learning’s spade, now tell me this,
Hath this world ought so fair as Stella is?
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Astrophil and Stella 25: The wisest scholar of the wight most wise 
The wisest scholar of the wight most wise
By Phoebus’ doom, with sugared sentence says
That Virtue, if it once met with our eyes,
Strange flames of love it in our souls would raise;
But, for that man with pain this truth descries,
While he each thing in sense’s balance weighs,
And so nor will nor can behold those skies
Which inward sun to heroic mind displays,
Virtue of late, with virtuous care to stir
Love of herself, takes Stella’s shape, that she
To mortal eyes might sweetly shine in her.
It is most true, for since I her did see,
Virtue’s great beauty in that face I prove,
And find th’effect, for I do burn in love.
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Astrophil and Stella 47: What, have I thus betrayed my liberty? 
What, have I thus betrayed my liberty?
Can those black beams such burning marks engrave
In my free side? or am I born a slave,
Whose neck becomes such yoke of tyranny?
Or want I sense to feel my misery?
Or sprite, disdain of such disdain to have?
Who for long faith, though daily help I crave,
May get no alms but scorn of beggary.
Virtue, awake! Beauty but beauty is;
I may, I must, I can, I will, I do
Leave following that which it is gain to miss.
Let her go. Soft, but here she comes. Go to,
Unkind, I love you not! O me, that eye
Doth make my heart give to my tongue the lie!
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Astrophil and Stella 48: Soul’s joy, bend not those morning stars from me
Soul’s joy, bend not those morning stars from me,
Where virtue is made strong by beauty’s might,
Where love is chasteness, pain doth learn delight,
And humbleness grows one with majesty.
Whatever may ensue, O let me be
Co-partner of the riches of that sight;
Let not mine eyes be hell-driv’n from that light;
O look, O shine, O let me die and see.
For though I oft my self of them bemoan,
That through my heart their beamy darts be gone,
Whose cureless wounds even now most freshly bleed,
Yet since my death wound is already got,
Dear killer, spare not they sweet cruel shot;
A kind of grace it is to slay with speed.
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Astrophil and Stella 49: I on my horse, and Love on me, doth try 
I on my horse, and Love on me, doth try
Our horsemanships, while by strange work I prove
A horseman to my horse, a horse to Love,
And now man’s wrongs in me, poor beast, descry.
The reins wherewith my rider doth me tie
Are humbled thoughts, which bit of reverence move,
Curbed in with fear, but with gilt boss above
Of hope, which makes it seem fair to the eye.
The wand is will; thou, fancy, saddle art,
Girt fast by memory; and while I spur
My horse, he spurs with sharp desire to my heart;
He sits me fast, however I do stir;
And now hath made me to his hand so right
That in the manage myself takes delight.
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Astrophil and Stella 5: It is most true, that eyes are formed to serve
It is most true, that eyes are formed to serve
The inward light; and that the heavenly part
Ought to be king, from whose rules who do swerve,
Rebels to Nature, strive for their own smart.
It is most true, what we call Cupid’s dart,
An image is, which for ourselves we carve;
And, fools, adore in temple of our heart,
Till that good god make Church and churchman starve.
True, that true beauty virtue is indeed,
Whereof this beauty can be but a shade,
Which elements with mortal mixture breed;
True, that on earth we are but pilgrims made,
And should in soul up to our country move;
True; and yet true, that I must Stella love.
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Astrophil and Stella 52: A strife is grown between Virtue and Love
A strife is grown between Virtue and Love,
While each pretends that Stella must be his:
Her eyes, her lips, her all, saith Love, do this,
Since they do wear his badge, most firmly prove.
But Virtue thus that title doth disprove,
That Stella (O dear name) that Stella is
That virtuous soul, sure heir of heav’nly bliss;
Not this fair outside, which our hearts doth move.
And therefore, though her beauty and her grace
Be Love’s indeed, in Stella’s self he may
By no pretense claim any manner place.
Well, Love, since this demur our suit doth stay,
Let Virtue have that Stella's self; yet thus,
Let Virtue but that body grant to us.
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Astrophil and Stella 63: O Grammar rules, O now your virtues show
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Astrophil and Stella 72: Desire, though thou my old companion art
Desire, though thou my old companion art,
And oft so clings to my pure Love that I
One from the other scarcely can descry,
While each doth blow the fire of my heart,
Now from thy fellowship I needs must part;
Venus is taught with Dian’s wings to fly;
I must no more in thy sweet passions lie;
Virtue’s gold now must head my Cupid’s dart.
Service and honor, wonder with delight,
Fear to offend, will worthy to appear,
Care shining in mine eyes, faith in my sprite:
These things are let me by my only dear;
But thou, Desire, because thou wouldst have all,
Now banished art. But yet alas how shall?
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Astrophil and Stella 90: Stella, think not that I by verse seek fame
Stella, think not that I by verse seek fame,
Who seek, who hope, who love, who live but thee;
Thine eyes my pride, thy lips my history;
If thou praise not, all other praise is shame.
Nor so ambitious am I, as to frame
A nest for my young praise in laurel tree:
In truth I sweare, I wish not there should be
Graved in mine epitaph a Poet’s name:
Nay if I would, could I just title make,
That any laud to me thereof should grow,
Without my plumes from others’ wings I take.
For nothing from my wit or will doth flow,
Since all my words thy beauty doth endite,
And love doth hold my hand, and makes me write.
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Fourth Song
Only joy, now here you are,
Fit to hear and ease my care;
Let my whispering voice obtain,
Sweet reward for sharpest pain;
Take me to thee, and thee to me.
No, no, no, no, my dear, let be.

Night hath closed all in her cloak,
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The Nightingale
The nightingale, as soon as April bringeth
Unto her rested sense a perfect waking,
While late bare earth, proud of new clothing, springeth,
Sings out her woes, a thorn her song-book making,
And mournfully bewailing,
Her throat in tunes expresseth
What grief her breast oppresseth
For Tereus’ force on her chaste will prevailing.
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Seventh Song
Whose sense in so evil consort, their stepdame Nature lays,
That ravishing delight in them most sweet tunes do not raise;
Or if they do delight therein, yet are so cloyed with wit,
As with sententious lips to set a title vain on it:
O let them hear these sacred tunes, and learn in wonder’s schools,
To be (in things past bounds of wit) fools, if they be not fools.

Who have so leaden eyes, as not to see sweet beauty’s show,
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What Length of Verse?
What length of verse can serve brave Mopsa’s good to show,
Whose virtues strange, and beauties such, as no man them may know?
Thus shrewdly burden, then, how can my Muse escape?
The gods must help, and precious things must serve to show her shape.

Like great god Saturn, fair, and like fair Venus, chaste;
As smooth as Pan, as Juno mild, like goddess Iris fast.
With Cupid she foresees, and goes god Vulcan’s pace;
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Astrophil and Stella 1: Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show
Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,—
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,—
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe;
Studying inventions fine her wits to entertain,
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn'd brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting invention's stay;
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows;
And others' feet still seem'd but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write."
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Astrophil and Stella 15: You that do search for every purling spring 
You that do search for every purling spring
Which from the ribs of old Parnassus flows,
And every flower, not sweet perhaps, which grows
Near thereabouts, into your poesy wring;
Ye that do dictionary's method bring
Into your rimes, running in rattling rows;
You that poor Petrarch's long-deceased woes
With new-born sighs and denizen'd wit do sing:
You take wrong ways; those far-fet helps be such
As do bewray a want of inward touch,
And sure, at length stol'n goods do come to light.
But if, both for your love and skill, your name
You seek to nurse at fullest breasts of Fame,
Stella behold, and then begin to endite.
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Astrophil and Stella 20: Fly, fly, my friends, I have my death wound, fly
Fly, fly, my friends, I have my death wound, fly!
See there that boy, that murd'ring boy, I say,
Who, like a thief, hid in dark bush doth lie
Till bloody bullet get him wrongful prey.
So tyrant he no fitter place could spy,
Nor so fair level in so secret stay,
As that sweet black which veils the heav'nly eye;
There himself with his shot he close doth lay.
Poor passenger, pass now thereby I did,
And stay'd, pleas'd with the prospect of the place,
While that black hue from me the bad guest hid;
But straight I saw motions of lightning grace
And then descried the glist'ring of his dart:
But ere I could fly thence it pierc'd my heart.
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Astrophil and Stella 23: The curious wits, seeing dull pensiveness
The curious wits, seeing dull pensiveness
Bewray itself in my long-settl'd eyes,
Whence those same fumes of melancholy rise,
With idle pains and missing aim do guess.
Some, that know how my spring I did address,
Deem that my Muse some fruit of knowledge plies;
Others, because the prince my service tries,
Think that I think state errors to redress;
But harder judges judge ambition's ragei
Scourge of itself, still climbing slipp'ry placei
Holds my young brain captiv'd in golden cage.
O fool or over-wise! alas, the race
Of all my thoughts hath neither stop nor start
But only Stella's eyes and Stella's heart.
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Astrophil and Stella 3: Let dainty wits cry on the sisters nine
Let dainty wits cry on the sisters nine,
That, bravely mask'd, their fancies may be told;
Or, Pindar's apes, flaunt they in phrases fine,
Enam'ling with pied flowers their thoughts of gold.
Or else let them in statelier glory shine,
Ennobling newfound tropes with problems old;
Or with strange similes enrich each line,
Of herbs or beasts which Ind or Afric hold.
For me, in sooth, no Muse but one I know;
Phrases and problems from my reach do grow,
And strange things cost too dear for my poor sprites.
How then? even thus: in Stella's face I read
What love and beauty be; then all my deed
But copying is, what in her Nature writes.
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Astrophil and Stella 31: With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies
With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What, may it be that even in heav'nly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries!
Sure, if that long-with love-acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case,
I read it in thy looks; thy languish'd grace
To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, ev'n of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?
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Astrophil and Stella 33: I might!—unhappy word—O me, I might
I might!—unhappy word—O me, I might,
And then would not, or could not, see my bliss;
Till now wrapt in a most infernal night,
I find how heav'nly day, wretch! I did miss.
Heart, rend thyself, thou dost thyself but right;
No lovely Paris made thy Helen his,
No force, no fraud robb'd thee of thy delight,
Nor Fortune of thy fortune author is;
But to myself myself did give the blow,
While too much wit, forsooth, so troubled me
That I respects for both our sakes must show:
And yet could not by rising morn foresee
How fair a day was near: O punish'd eyes,
That I had been more foolish,—or more wise!
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Astrophil and Stella 39: Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace
Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
Th' indifferent judge between the high and low.
With shield of proof shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts despair at me doth throw:
O make in me those civil wars to cease;
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light,
A rosy garland and a weary head:
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.
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Astrophil and Stella 41: Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance 
Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
Guided so well that I obtain'd the prize,
Both by the judgment of the English eyes
And of some sent from that sweet enemy France;
Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance,
Town folks my strength; a daintier judge applies
His praise to sleight which from good use doth rise;
Some lucky wits impute it but to chance;
Others, because of both sides I do take
My blood from them who did excel in this,
Think Nature me a man of arms did make.
How far they shot awry! The true cause is,
Stella look'd on, and from her heav'nly face
Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.
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Astrophil and Stella 64: No more, my dear, no more these counsels try
No more, my dear, no more these counsels try;
Oh, give my passions leave to run their race;
Let Fortune lay on me her worst disgrace;
Let folk o'ercharg'd with brain against me cry;
Let clouds bedim my face, break in mine eye;
Let me no steps but of lost labour trace;
Let all the earth with scorn recount my case,
But do not will me from my love to fly.
I do not envy Aristotle's wit,
Nor do aspire to Caesar's bleeding fame;
Nor aught do care though some above me sit;
Nor hope nor wish another course to frame,
But that which once may win thy cruel heart:
Thou art my wit, and thou my virtue art.
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Astrophil and Stella 7: When Nature made her chief work, Stella's eyes
When Nature made her chief work, Stella's eyes,
In colour black why wrapt she beams so bright?
Would she in beamy black, like painter wise,
Frame daintiest lustre, mix'd of shades and light?
Or did she else that sober hue devise,
In object best to knit and strength our sight;
Lest, if no veil these brave gleams did disguise,
They, sunlike, should more dazzle than delight?
Or would she her miraculous power show,
That, whereas black seems beauty's contrary,
She even in black doth make all beauties flow?
Both so, and thus,she,minding Love should be
Plac'd ever there, gave him this mourning weed
To honour all their deaths who for her bleed.
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Astrophil and Stella 71: Who will in fairest book of nature know 
Who will in fairest book of nature know
How virtue may best lodg'd in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee,
Stella, those fair lines which true goodness show.
There shall he find all vices' overthrow,
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly;
That inward sun in thine eyes shineth so.
And, not content to be perfection's heir
Thyself, dost strive all minds that way to move,
Who mark in thee what is in thee most fair.
So while thy beauty draws thy heart to love,
As fast thy virtue bends that love to good:
But "Ah," Desire still cries, "Give me some food!"
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Astrophil and Stella 84: Highway, since you my chief Parnassus be
Highway, since you my chief Parnassus be,
And that my Muse, to some ears not unsweet,
Tempers her words to trampling horses' feet
More oft than to a chamber melody.
Now, blessed you bear onward blessed me
To her, where I my heart, safe-left, shall meet:
My Muse and I must you of duty greet
With thanks and wishes, wishing thankfully.
Be you still fair, honour'd by public heed;
By no encroachment wrong'd, nor time forgot,
Nor blam'd for blood, nor sham'd for sinful deed;
And that you know I envy you no lot
Of highest wish, I wish you so much bliss,i
Hundreds of years you Stella's feet may kiss.
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Astrophil and Stella 92: Be your words made, good sir, of Indian ware
Be your words made, good sir, of Indian ware,
That you allow me them by so small rate?
Or do you cutted Spartans imitate?
Or do you mean my tender ears to spare,
That to my questions you so total are?
When I demand of Phoenix Stella's state,
You say, forsooth, you left her well of late:
O God, think you that satisfies my care?
I would know whether she did sit or walk;
How cloth'd, how waited on; sigh'd she, or smil'd;
Whereof, with whom, how often did she talk;
With what pastime time's journey she beguiled;
If her lips deign'd to sweeten my poor name.
Say all; and all well said, still say the same.
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Eleventh Song
"Who is it that this dark night
Underneath my window plaineth?"
It is one who from thy sight
Being, ah, exil'd, disdaineth
Every other vulgar light.

"Why, alas, and are you he?
Be not yet those fancies changed?"
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"Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust"
from Certain Sonnets Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust;
And thou, my mind, aspire to higher things;
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Ring Out Your Bells
Ring out your bells, let mourning shows be spread;
For Love is dead—
All love is dead, infected
With plague of deep disdain;
Worth, as nought worth, rejected,
And Faith fair scorn doth gain.
From so ungrateful fancy,
From such a female franzy,
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Song from Arcadia: “My True Love Hath My Heart”
My true-love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a bargain better driven.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own;
I cherish his because in me it bides.
His heart his wound received from my sight;
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still, methought, in me his hurt did smart:
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

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