You Gote-heard Gods

Original Text: 
Sir Philippe Sidnei, The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia (London: William Ponsonbie, 1590): 95v-96v. Facsimile edited by H. Oskar Sommer (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1891).
2    You Nimphes that haunt the springs in pleasant vallies,
4    Vouchsafe your silent eares to playning musique,
5    Which to my woes giues still an early morning;
6    And drawes the dolor on till wery euening.
9    O louelie starre, entitled of the morning,
10    While that my voice doth fill these wofull vallies,
11    Vouchsafe your silent eares to plaining musique,
12    Which oft hath Echo tir'd in secrete forrests.
14    Where shade from Sunne, and sports I sought at euening,
15    I that was once esteem'd for pleasant musique,
16    Am banisht now among the monstrous mountaines
17    Of huge despaire, and foule afflictions vallies,
19I that was once delighted euery morning,
20    Hunting the wilde inhabiters of forrests,
21    I that was once the musique of these vallies,
22    So darkened am, that all my day is euening,
23    Hart-broken so, that molehilles seeme high mountaines,
24    And fill the vales with cries in steed of musique.
26    Hath made it selfe a crier of the morning,
27    And hath with wailing strength clim'd highest mountaines:
28    Long since my thoughts more desert be then forrests:
29    Long since I see my ioyes come to their euening,
30    And state throwen downe to ouer-troden vallies.
31Long since the happie dwellers of these vallies,
32    Haue praide me leaue my strange exclaiming musique,
33    Which troubles their dayes worke, and ioyes of euening:
34    Long since I hate the night, more hate the morning:
35    Long since my thoughts chase me like beasts in forrests,
36    And make me wish my selfe layd vnder mountaines.
37Me seemes I see the high and stately mountaines,
38    Transforme themselues to lowe deiected vallies:
39    Me seemes I heare in these ill changed forrests,
40    The Nightingales doo learne of Owles their musique:
41    Me seemes I feele the comfort of the morning
43Me seemes I see a filthie clowdie euening,
44    As soon as Sunne begins to clime the mountaines:
46    When I doo smell the flowers of these vallies:
47    Me seemes I heare, when I doo heare sweete musique,
48    The dreadfull cries of murdred men in forrests.
49I wish to fire the trees of all these forrests;
50    I giue the Sunne a last farewell each euening;
51    I curse the fidling finders out of Musicke:
52    With enuie I doo hate the loftie mountaines;
53    And with despite despise the humble vallies:
54    I doo detest night, euening, day, and morning.
55Curse to my selfe my prayer is, the morning:
56    My fire is more, then can be made with forrests;
57    My state more base, then are the basest vallies:
58    I wish no euenings more to see, each euening;
60    And stoppe mine eares, lest I growe mad with Musicke.
62    Whose beautie shin'de more then the blushing morning,
64    In straightnes past the Cedars of the forrests,
65    Hath cast me wretch into eternall euening,
66    By taking her two Sunnes from these darke vallies.
67For she, to whom compar'd, the Alpes are vallies,
68    She, whose lest word brings from the spheares their musique,
69    At whose approach the Sunne rose in the euening,
71    Is gone, is gone from these our spoyled forrests,
72    Turning to desarts our best pastur'de mountaines.
Strephon. Klaius.
73These mountaines witnesse shall, so shall these vallies,
75Our morning hymne is this, and song at euening.


1] Poem number 71 of the first eclogues in the 1590 Old Arcadia but in the second eclogues in 1593. Strephon and Klaius are two shepherds from outside Arcadia in love with a noble lady, Urania, wrongly supposed a shepherd's daughter,who has ordered them to stay there until she sends word to come. Back to Line
3] Satyrs: mythic goat-men (head and breast of man, lower body of goat), living in woody regions, and typically lecherous. Back to Line
7] euening: the evening star, Venus, which rises in the sky after the sun has gone down. Back to Line
8] heauenlie huntresse: Diana, goddess of chastity, the moon, and famedfor hunting. Back to Line
13] free-burges: a citizen, one who is "free of the city," that is,at liberty to do business. Back to Line
18] shrich-owle: an omen of death. Back to Line
25] deadly Swannish musique: swans were thought to sing only when dying. Back to Line
42] mortall serene: night's dew, thought to cause sickness and death. Back to Line
45] sent: scent. Back to Line
59] hate: from the 1593 edition; the 1590 reads "haue." Back to Line
61] she: Urania. Back to Line
63] passe: surpass, exceed.
state: stateliness, impressiveness. Back to Line
70] bare: carried away. Back to Line
74] eke: also. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.