P. J. Croft (ed.), The Poems of Robert Sidney
pg 210 Sonnet. 18
- Most faier: [the altered to] The feeld is yowrs: now stay yor hands
- No power is left to stryue: less to rebell.
- I pleasure take, that at yowr blowes I fell
- and lawrell weare, in Triumph of my bands
- Ah how, [those] yowr eyes, the ioies of peace, seem brands
- to wast, what conquest hath, assured so well
- How [those] yowr lawgiuing lips, in [pure] prowd redd swell
- whyle my captiued sowl, at mercy stands.
- O best: O onely faier: suffer these eyes
- to liue, wch wayte yowr will, humble and true
- These knees wch from yowr feet do neuer ryse
- These hands, wch still held vp, sweare faith to you
- O saue: doe not destroy what is yowr own
- [A altered to] Iust prince to spoile himself, was neuer know̄
pg 211Editor’s Note Sonnet 18
- 1Most fair: the field is yours—now stay your hands;
- 2No power is left to strive, less to rebel.
- 3I pleasure take that at your blows I fell,
- Editor’s Note4And laurel wear in triumph of my bands.
- 5Ah how your eyes, the joys ofpeace, seem brands
- 6To waste what conquest hath assured so well;
- 7How your lawgiving lips in proud red swell,
- 8While my captivèd soul at mercy stands.
- 9O best, O only fair: suffer these eyes
- 10To live, which wait your will humble and true;
- 11These knees, which from your feet do never rise,
- 12These hands, which still held up swear faith to you,
- 13O save: do not destroy what is your own.
- 14Just prince to spoil himself was never known.
This sonnet, where the poet-lover takes pleasure in his helpless enslavement, is directly followed by a sonnet where he is bitter about that same enslavement ('Unstaid and skittish in all motions else Save in the constant image of the creature That is beloved': see pp. 106–8).
4 The poet wears the emblem of victory in celebration of his defeat by the beloved.