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Friday, August 6, 2010

Reminded by Wordsworth--Sir Philip Sidney

A glancing thought, a brief reference, and I flew back to Sir Philip Sidney's magnificent Arcadia.

from Arcadia
Sir Philip Sidney

IT was in the time that the earth begins to put on her new apparel against
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the approach of her louer, and that the Sun ru[n]ning a most eue[n] course becums an indifferent arbiter betweene the night and the day; when the hopelesse shepheard Strephon was come to the sandes, which lie against the Island of Cithera; where viewing the place with a heauy kinde of delight, and sometimes casting his eyes to the Ileward, he called his friendly riuall, the pastor Claius vnto him, and setting first downe in his darkened countenance a dolefull copie of what he would speake: O my Claius, said he, hether we are now come to pay the rent, for which we are so called vnto by ouer-busie Remembrance, restlesse Remembrance, which claymes not onely this dutie of vs, but for it will haue vs forget our selues. I pray you when wee were amid our flocke, and that of other shepeheardes some were running after their sheep strayed beyond their bounds, some delighting their eyes with seeing them nibble vpon the short and sweete grasse, some medicining their sick ewes, some setting a bell for an ensigne of a sheepish squadron, some with more leasure inuenting new games of exercising their bodies & sporting their wits: did Remembrance grount vs any holiday, eyther for pastime or deuotion, nay either for necessary foode or naturall rest? but that still it forced our thoughts to worke vpo[n] this place, where we last (alas that the word last should so long last) did gaze our eyes vpon her euer flourishing beautie: did it not still crie within vs? Ah you base minded wretches, are your thoughts so deeply bemired in the trade of ordinary worldlings, as for respect of gaine some paultry wooll may yeeld you, to let so much time passe without knowing perfectly her estate, especially in so troublesome a season? to leaue that shore vnsaluted, from whence you may see to the Island where she dwelleth? to leaue those steps vnkissed wherein Vrania printed the farewell of all beautie?

For the complete work--see The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia

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