A Female I by Name

Original Text: 
Humfrey Gifford, A Posie of Gilloflowers, eche differing from other in colour and odour, yet all sweete (London: John Perin, 1580): 77v. British Library Also Intro. F. J. Harvey Darton. Westminster: Hawthornden Press, 1933. PR 2279 G2P6 1933 Robarts Library
2        Am sister to a brother:
3In all the world may not be found
4        Our like, nor one nor other.
5For he no sooner dies
6        But I straightways do live:
7And I oft yielding unto death
8        Still life to him do give.
11But he than arrow from the bow
12        More swiftly flies away.
13Straightways he follows me,
14        My presence to attain:
15And as he fled from me before,
16        I fly from him again.
17Though strange our state doth seem,
18        By proof ye may it try
19That both of us are still alive,
20        Yet both do daily die.
21That ye may better know
24        With men of each degree.


1] Gifford describes this poem as a riddle translated from the Italian, but the source is unknown. Line 23 deftly solves the riddle. Back to Line
9] hie: hurry. Back to Line
10] stay: prevent from leaving. Back to Line
22] strangers: foreigners. Back to Line
23] Gifford solves the riddle at the end of the book: "The night and day." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: