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Sir Philip Sidney

Hendrick Gerritsz Pot. The Miser, 1640s.
Hendrick Gerritsz Pot. The Miser, 1640s.


Astrophel and Stella

XXIV

Rich fools there be whose base and filthy heart
      Lies hatching still the goods wherein they flow,
      And damning their own selves to Tantal's smart,
      Wealth breeding want, more blest, more wretched grow.
Yet to those fools heaven such wit doth impart,
      As what their hands do hold, their heads do know;
      And knowing, love; and loving, lay apart
      As sacred things, far from all danger's show.
But that rich fool, who by blind fortune's lot
      The richest gem of love and life enjoys,
      And can with foul abuse such beauties blot,
Let him, deprived of sweet but unfelt joys,
      Exiled for aye from those high treasures which
      He knows not, grow in only folly rich!




[AJ Note:
This sonnet is a barely-veiled attack on Stella's
(Penelope Devereaux) husband, Robert Rich,
3rd Baron Rich, and later Earl of Warwick.]


Source:
Poetry of the English Renaissance 1509-1660.
J. William Hebel and Hoyt H. Hudson, Eds.
New York: F. S. Crofts & Co., 1941. 109-110.




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