This HTML etext of Sidney's "A Dialogue Between Two Shepherds" (c.1580) was created in July 2006 by Anniina Jokinen of Luminarium. The text is unaltered.
Sidney, Philip. "A Dialogue Between Two Shepherds."
The Complete Poems of Sir Philip Sidney. v.1.
Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, ed. London: Robson & Sons, 1873. 207-211.
Vttered in a Pastorall Show at Wilton.
by Sir Philip Sidney
Will. Dick, since we cannot dance, come, let a chearefull voyce
Shew that we do not grudge at all when others do rejoyce.
Dick. Ah Will! though I grudge not, I count it feeble glee,
With sight made dymme with dayly teares, another's sport to see.
Whoeuer lambkins saw (yet lambkins loue to play)
To play when that their louèd dammes are stoln or gone astray?
If this in them be true, as true in men think I,
A lustles song, forsooth, thinks hee, that hath more lust to cry. =pleasureless
Will. A tyme there is for all, my mother often sayes,
When she, with skirts tuckt very hy, with girles at football playes.
When thou hast mynd to weepe, seeke out some smoky room:
Now let those lightsomme sights we see thy darknes ouercome.
Dick. What ioy the ioyfull sunne giues vnto blearèd eyes:
That comfort in these sports you like, my mynde his comfort tryes.
Will. What! is thy bagpipe broke, or are thy lambs miswent;
Thy wallet or thy tar-box lost; or thy new rayment rent?
Dick. I would it were but thus; for thus it were too well.
Will. Thou see'st my eares do itch at it: good Dick, thy sorow tell.
Dick. Hear, then, and learne to sigh: a mistress I do serue,
Whose wages makes me beg the more, who feeds me till I sterue,
Whose lyuerie's such as most I freeze apparelled most,
And lookes so neere vnto my cure, that I must needes be lost.
Will. What! these are riddles, sure; art thou, then, bound to her?
Dick. Bound, as I neither power haue, nor would haue power, to stir.
Will. Who bound thee?
Dick. Loue, my lord.
Will. What witnesses therto?
Dick. Faith in myself, and worth in her, which no proofe can vndoe.
Will. What seale?
Dick. My hart deep grauen.
Will. Who made the band so fast?
Dick. Wonder that, by two so black eyes, the glittring stars be past.
Will. What keepeth safe thy band?
Dick. Remembrance is the chest
Lockte fast with knowing that she is of worldly things the best.
Will. Thou late of wages playnd'st: what wages mayst thou haue?
Dick. Her heauenly looks, which more and more do giue me cause to craue.
Will. If wages make you want, what food is that she giues?
Dick. Teares' drink, sorrowe's meat, wherewith not I, but in me my death liues.
Will. What liuing get you then?
Dick. Disdayne, but iust disdayne:
So haue I cause myselfe to plaine, but no cause to complayne.
Will. What care takes she for thee?
Dick. Hir care is to preuent
My freedom, with show of hir beames, with virtue, my content.
Will. God shield vs from such dames! If so our downes be sped,
The shepheards will grow leane, I trow; their sheep will ill be fed.
But, Dick, my counsell marke: run from the place of wo:
The arrow being shot from far doth giue the smaller blowe.
Dick. Good Will, I cannot take thy good aduice: before
That foxes leaue to steale, they finde they dy therefore.
Will. Then, Dick, let vs go hence, lest wee great folkes annoy;
For nothing can more tedious bee then plaint, in time of ioy.
Dick. Oh hence! O cruell word! which euen doggs do hate:
But hence, euen hence I must needes go; such is my doggèd fate.
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