We present this work in honor of the poet’s 480th birthday.
So I might seize the prey in this divine venture I flew ever higher from sight was forced to stray, yet love so far did fly that though in my flight I faltered in the height I caught the prey on high.
As higher I ascended so the hardest conquest came about in darkness, all my sight was dazzled: yet since love was my prey from blind dark a leaper I flew on ever higher till I overtook the prey.
In this highest game, the further I ascended the humbler, more subdued more abased I became. ‘None attains it’, I did say. I sank down lower, lower, yet I rose higher, higher and so I took the prey.
My one flight in strange manner surpassed a hundred thousand for the hope of highest heaven attains the end it hopes for: there hope alone did fly unfaltering in the height: hope, seeking in its flight, I caught the prey on high.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 450th birthday.
I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then? But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den? ‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be. If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, ‘twas but a dream of thee.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls, Which watch not one another out of fear; For love, all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room an everywhere. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown, Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, And true plain hearts do in the faces rest; Where can we find two better hemispheres, Without sharp north, without declining west? Whatever dies, was not mixed equally; If our two loves be one, or, thou and I Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.
When Generosity and Greed set out to see Jahangirpur They saw a huge array of forts, towns and villages – How could I possibly recount all their names? They saw lakes and rivers that made them glad. Then they approached the ‘Bir lake.’ Seeing the magnificent Bir lake They sought the appropriate terms for describing it. It gives such pleasure on earth, this body of water! It is marvelous, clear, vast, and profound in its depths. It is home to blossoming flowers, bright like a star-lit sky. It is a place of great coolness, where the heat of summer is forbidden entry: Abode of scents, a place of beauty, effacer of the world’s cares Like the goddess Candika in its dark hue. The tall waves are a cluster of clouds releasing their spray in the wind At sunset the water takes on a red quality, Waves shimmering like lightning, removing the sorrow of men’s hearts. Night and day peacocks dance in all directions to the spray of the lake The lotuses bloom, their white luster like moonlight…
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 460th birthday.
Ay me, to whom shall I my case complaine, That may compassion my impatient griefe! Or where shall I unfold my inward paine, That my enriven heart may find reliefe! Shall I unto the heavenly powres it show? Or unto earthly men that dwell below?
To heavens? ah they alas the authors were, And workers of my unremedied wo: For they foresee what to us happens here, And they foresaw, yet suffred this be so. From them comes good, from them comes also il That which they made, who can them warne to spill.
To men? ah, they alas like wretched bee, And subject to the heavens ordinance: Bound to abide what ever they decree, Their best redresse, is their best sufferance. How then can they like wretched comfort mee, The which no lesse, need comforted to bee?
Then to my selfe will I my sorrow mourne, Sith none alive like sorrowfull remaines: And to my selfe my plaints shall back retourne, To pay their usury with doubled paines. The woods, the hills, the rivers shall resound The mournfull accent of my sorrowes ground.
Woods, hills and rivers, now are desolate, Sith he is gone the which them all did grace: And all the fields do waile their widow state, Sith death their fairest flowre did late deface. The fairest flowre in field that ever grew, Was Astrophel: that was, we all may rew.
What cruell hand of cursed foe unknowne, Hath cropt the stalke which bore so faire a flowre? Untimely cropt, before it well were growne, And cleane defaced in untimely howre. Great losse to all that ever him did see, Great losse to all, but greatest losse to mee.
Breake now your gyrlonds, O ye shepheards lasses, Sith the faire flowre, which them adornd, is gon: The flowre, which them adornd, is gone to ashes, Never againe let lasse put gyrlond on: In stead of gyrlond, weare sad Cypres nowe, And bitter Elder, broken from the bowe.
Ne ever sing the love-layes which he made, Who ever made such layes of love as hee? Ne ever read the riddles, which he sayd Unto your selves, to make you mery glee. Your mery glee is now laid all abed, Your mery maker now alasse is dead.
Death, the devourer of all worlds delight, Hath robbed you and reft from me my joy: Both you and me, and all the world he quight Hath robd of joyance, and left sad annoy. Joy of the world, and shepheards pride was hee, Shepheards hope never like againe to see.
Oh death that hast us of such riches reft, Tell us at least, what hast thou with it done? What is become of him whose flowre here left Is but the shadow of his likenesse gone. Scarse like the shadow of that which he was, Nought like, but that he like a shade did pas.
But that immortall spirit, which was deckt With all the dowries of celestiall grace: By soveraine choyce from th’ hevenly quires select, And lineally deriv’d from Angels race, O what is now of it become aread, Ay me, can so divine a thing be dead?
Ah no: it is not dead, ne can it die, But lives for aie, in blisfull Paradisse: Where like a new-borne babe it soft doth lie, In beds of lillies wrapt in tender wise. And compast all about with roses sweet, And daintie violets from head to feet.
There thousand birds all of celestiall brood, To him do sweetly caroll day and night: And with straunge notes, of him well understood, Lull him asleepe in Angel-like delight: Whilest in sweet dreame to him presented bee Immortall beauties, which no eye may see.
But he them sees and takes exceeding pleasure Of their divine aspects, appearing plaine, And kindling love in him above all measure, Sweet love still joyous, never feeling paine. For what so goodly forme he there doth see, He may enjoy from jealous rancor free.
There liveth he in everlasting blis, Sweet spirit never fearing more to die: Ne dreading harme from any foes of his, Ne fearing salvage beasts more crueltie. Whilest we here wretches waile his private lack, And with vain vowes do often call him back.
But live thou there still happie, happie spirit, And give us leave thee here thus to lament: Not thee that doest thy heavens joy inherit, But our owne selves that here in dole are drent. Thus do we weep and waile, and wear our eies, Mourning in others, our owne miseries.
Which when she ended had, another swaine Of gentle wit and daintie sweet device, Whom Astrophel full deare did entertaine, Whilest here he liv’d, and held in passing price, Hight Thestylis, began his mournfull tourne; And made the Muses in his song to mourne.
And after him full many other moe, As everie one in order lov’d him best, Gan dight themselves t’ expresse their inward woe, With dolefull layes unto the time addrest: The which I here in order will rehearse, As fittest flowres to deck his mournfull hearse.
Hence Cupid! with your cheating toys, Your real griefs, and painted joys, Your pleasure which itself destroys. Lovers like men in fevers burn and rave, And only what will injure them do crave. Men’s weakness makes love so severe, They give him power by their fear,
And make the shackles which they wear. Who to another does his heart submit, Makes his own idol, and then worships it. Him whose heart is all his own, Peace and liberty does crown, He apprehends no killing frown. He feels no raptures which are joys diseased, And is not much transported, but still pleased.