William A. Ringler, Jr. (ed.), The Poems of Sir Philip Sidney

Find Location in text

Main Text

Critical Apparatus66

Editor’s Note1

[Philisides] As I my little flocke on Ister banke

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus2(A little flocke; but well my pipe they couthe)

3Did piping leade, the Sunne already sanke

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus4Beyond our worlde, and ere I gatt my boothe

Critical Apparatus5Each thing with mantle black the night doth soothe;

6  Saving the glowe worme, which would curteous be

7  Of that small light oft watching shepheards see.

8The welkin had full niggardly enclosed

Critical Apparatus9In cofer of dimme clowdes his silver groates,

Critical Apparatus10Icleped starres; each thing to rest disposed:

11The caves were full, the mountaines voide of goates:

Critical Apparatus12The birds' eyes closde, closed their chirping notes.

pg 9913  As for the Nightingale, woodmusique's King,

Critical Apparatus14  It August was, he daynde not then to sing.

Critical Apparatus15Amid my sheepe, though I sawe nought to feare,

16Yet (for I nothing sawe) I feared sore;

Critical Apparatus17Then founde I which thing is a charge to beare

Critical Apparatus18For for my sheepe I dreaded mickle more

19Then ever for my selfe since I was bore:

Critical Apparatus20  I sate me downe: for see to goe ne could,

21  And sange unto my sheepe lest stray they should.

Critical Apparatus22The songe I sange old Languet had me taught,

Critical Apparatus23Languet, the shepheard best swift Ister knewe,

Editor’s Note24For clerkly reed, and hating what is naught,

25For faithfull hart, cleane hands, and mouth as true:

26With his sweet skill my skillesse youth he drewe,

27  To have a feeling tast of him that sitts

Critical Apparatus28  Beyond the heaven, far more beyond your witts.

29He said, the Musique best thilke powers pleasd

30Was jumpe Concorde betweene our wit and will:

31Where highest notes to godlines are raisd,

32And lowest sinke not downe to jote of ill:

Critical Apparatus33With old true tales he woont mine eares to fill,

34  How sheepheards did of yore, how now they thrive,

35  Spoiling their flock, or while twixt them they strive.

36He liked me, but pitied lustfull youth:

37His good strong staffe my slippry yeares upbore:

Critical Apparatus38He still hop'd well, because I loved truth;

Critical Apparatus39Till forste to parte, with harte and eyes even sore,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus40To worthy Coredens he gave me ore.

Critical Apparatus41  But thus in oke's true shade recounted he

42  Which now in night's deepe shade sheep heard of me.

pg 100Editor’s Note43Such maner time there was (what time I n'ot)

Critical Apparatus44When all this Earth, this damme or mould of ours,

Critical Apparatus45Was onely won'd with such as beastes begot:

Critical Apparatus46Unknowne as then were they that buylden towers:

47The cattell wild, or tame, in nature's bowers

Critical Apparatus48  Might freely rome, or rest, as seemed them:

Critical Apparatus49  Man was not man their dwellings in to hem.

Editor’s Note50The beastes had sure some beastly pollicie:

Critical Apparatus51For nothing can endure where order n'is.

52For once the Lion by the Lambe did lie;

53The fearefull Hinde the Leopard did kisse:

54Hurtles was Tyger's pawe and Serpent's hisse.

Editor’s Note55  This thinke I well, the beasts with courage clad

56  Like Senators a harmeles empire had.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus57At which, whether the others did repine,

58(For envie harbreth most in feeblest hartes)

59Or that they all to chaunging did encline,

60(As even in beasts their dammes leave chaunging parts)

61The multitude to fove a suite empartes,

62  With neighing, blaying, braying, and barking,

63  Roring, and howling for to have a King.

64A King, in language theirs they said they would:

65(For then their language was a perfect speech)

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus66The birdes likewise with chirpes, and puing could,

67Cackling, and chattring, that of fove beseech.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus68Onely the owle still warnde them not to seech

69  So hastily that which they would repent:

Critical Apparatus70  But sawe they would, and he to deserts went.

71fove wisely said (for wisedome wisely sayes)

Critical Apparatus72'O beasts, take heed what you of me desire.

73Rulers will thinke all things made them to please,

74And soone forget the swincke due to their hire.

75But since you will, part of my heav'nly fire

pg 10176  I will you lende; the rest your selves must give,

77  That it both seene and felte may with you live'.

78Full glad they were and tooke the naked sprite,

79Which streight the Earth yclothed in his claye:

80The Lion, harte; the Ounce gave active might;

81The Horse, good shape; the Sparrow, lust to playe;

82Nightingale, voice, entising songes to saye.

Critical Apparatus83  Elephant gave a perfect memorie:

84  And Parot, ready tongue, that to applie.

85The Foxe gave crafte; the Dog gave flatterie;

86Asse, pacience; the Mole, a working thought;

87Eagle, high looke; Wolfe secrete crueltie:

88Monkie, sweet breath; the Cow, her faire eyes brought;

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus89The Ermion, whitest skinne, spotted with nought;

90  The sheep, mild-seeming face; climing, the Beare;

91  The Stagge did give the harme eschewing feare.

Critical Apparatus92The Hare, her sleights; the Cat, his melancholie;

93Ante, industrie; and Connie, skill to builde;

94Cranes, order; Storkes, to be appearing holie;

Critical Apparatus95Camæleon, ease to chaunge; Ducke, ease to yelde;

96Crocodile, teares, which might be falsely spilde:

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus97  Ape great thing gave, though he did mowing stand,

98  The instrument of instruments, the hand.

99Ech other beast likewise his present brings:

Critical Apparatus100And (but they drad their Prince they ofte should want)

101They all consented were to give him wings:

102And aye more awe towards him for to plant,

103To their owne worke this priviledge they graunt,

104  That from thenceforth to all eternitie,

105  No beast should freely speake, but onely he.

106Thus Man was made; thus Man their Lord became:

107Who at the first, wanting, or hiding pride,

108He did to beastes' best use his cunning frame;

109With water drinke, herbes meate, and naked hide,

110And fellow-like let his dominion slide;

pg 102Critical Apparatus111  Not in his sayings saying I, but we:

Editor’s Note112  As if he meant his lordship common be.

113But when his seate so rooted he had found,

114That they now skilld not, how from him to wend;

115Then gan in guiltlesse earth full many a wound,

Critical Apparatus116Iron to seeke, which gainst it selfe should bend,

117To teare the bowels, that good corne should send.

118  But yet the common Damme none did bemone;

119  Because (though hurt) they never heard her grone.

Critical Apparatus120Then gan he factions in the beastes to breed;

121Where helping weaker sort, the nobler beastes,

122(As Tygers, leopards, beares, and Lions' seed)

123Disdaind with this, in deserts sought their restes;

124Where famine ravine taught their hungrie chestes,

125  That craftily he forst them to do ill,

Critical Apparatus126  Which being done he afterwards would kill.

Critical Apparatus127For murdre done, which never erst was seene,

Critical Apparatus128By those great beastes, as for the weaker's good,

129He chose themselves his guarders for to bene,

130Gainst those of might, of whom in feare they stood,

131As horse and dogge, not great, but gentle blood:

Critical Apparatus132  Blith were the commons, cattell of the fielde,

Editor’s Note133  Tho when they saw their foen of greatnes kilde.

Editor’s Note134But they or spent, or made of slender might,

Critical Apparatus135Then quickly did the meaner cattell finde,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus136The great beames gone, the house on shoulders light:

137For by and by the horse faire bitts did binde:

Critical Apparatus138The dogge was in a coller taught his kinde.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus139  As for the gentle birds, like case might rewe

140  When falcon they, and gossehauke saw in mewe.

141Worst fell to smallest birds, and meanest heard,

Critical Apparatus142Who now his owne, full like his owne he used.

143Yet first but wooll, or fethers off he teard:

144And when they were well us'de to be abused,

Critical Apparatus145For hungrie throte their flesh with teeth he brused:

pg 103146  At length for glutton taste he did them kill:

Critical Apparatus147  At last for sport their sillie lives did spill.

148But yet ô man, rage not beyond thy neede:

Critical Apparatus149Deeme it no gloire to swell in tyrannic

Critical Apparatus150Thou art of blood; joy not to make things bleede:

151Thou fearest death; thinke they are loth to die.

152A plaint of guiltlesse hurt doth pierce the skie.

153  And you poore beastes, in patience bide your hell,

Editor’s Note154  Or know your strengths, and then you shall do well.

Critical Apparatus155Thus did I sing, and pipe eight sullen houres

156To sheepe, whom love, not knowledge, made to heare,

Editor’s Note157Now fancie's fits, now fortune's balefull stowers:

Critical Apparatus158But then I homeward call'd my lambkins deare:

Critical Apparatus159For to my dimmed eyes beganne t'appeare

160  The night growne old, her blacke head waxen gray,

Critical Apparatus161  Sure shepherd's signe, that morne would soone fetch day.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
66. 9093, OA.
Editor’s Note
1–21. The localization of the action on the banks of the Danube may be meant as a safety measure to indicate that the political situation with which the song deals applies to conditions on the Continent rather than in England. The night-time setting (pastorals are usually sung during the day) serves to underline Sidney's apprehensions that the sheep, the common people, might be led astray in the darkness of their ignorance.
Critical Apparatus
2 they] the 93 Ph.
Editor’s Note
2 couthe, knew.
Critical Apparatus
4 gatt] got 9093 St As Da Ph Je Qu.
Editor’s Note
4 gatt, arrived at. Sidney's archaisms confused his copyists, who often modernized—see the variant readings to lines 20, 46, and 100. boothe, temporary dwelling.
Critical Apparatus
5 soothe] scothe 9093 St.
Critical Apparatus
9 dimme] deuine Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
10 Icleped] yeeldeped As, eclipsed Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
12 closde 90.
closed] closde St Le Qu, closde vp Cl, did close As Da, om. Ph Je.
Critical Apparatus
14 Nightingale 90.
woodmusique's] wood Musak Cl Le.
Critical Apparatus
15 feare 90.
Critical Apparatus
17 founde] fonde 90 St.
Critical Apparatus
18 For] As 9093.
dreaded] dradded 9093 St Le, feared dreaded Cl.
Critical Apparatus
20 sate] satt Cl Le As Da Ph.
see] so Cl Le Da.
Critical Apparatus
22 Languet] Lanquet 9093.
Critical Apparatus
23 Languet] Lanquet 9093.
Editor’s Note
24 clerkly reed, learned advice.
Critical Apparatus
28 heaven] heauens Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
33 mine] my Bo Cl.
Critical Apparatus
38 I] he 9093.
Critical Apparatus
39 harte] hartes St Bo Ph.
Critical Apparatus
40 Coredens] Coriden 9093, Coridens Ph, Corydens Je, Corydus Qu.
Editor’s Note
40 Coredens is also mentioned in the prose of the Third and Fourth Eclogues as a friend of Philisides who like him is a non-Arcadian shepherd hopelesssly in love with Mira (iv. 229, 318). Since the name clearly ends in 's' it is probably not a variant of the Virgilian shepherd-name Corydon; it may be a made-up compound, 'co-red[i]ens', meaning 'returning with'. In his Defence of Poesie (iii. 3) Sidney mentions being at the Emperor's Court in Vienna with the 'right vertuous' Edward Wotton, who returned with him to England in the spring of 1575; and Languet frequently sent greetings to 'noster Wottonus' in his letters to Sidney. Wotton, Sidney's Kentish neighbor and some six years his senior, a 'young man of great learning and knowledge of languages', was employed by Queen Elizabeth on several delicate diplomatic missions, and had a place at Sidney's funeral as one of his four most intimate friends. Brie (pp. 277–8), followed by R. M. Sargent (At the Court of Queen Elizabeth, 1935, pp. 66–68), suggested that 'Coridon' is Sidney's friend Edward Dyer; but Dyer had never been on 'Ister bank' with Sidney, and Languet did not become acquainted with him until he himself visited England some four years after the 'giving o'er' had been accomplished.
Critical Apparatus
41 thus] this As Da Ph Je.
he] be St Ph Qu.
Editor’s Note
43–54. Dr. W. J. Stuckey pointed out to me that this is a combination of the Golden Age described by Ovid (Met. i. 89–112) and the millennial kingdom prophesied by Isaiah (xi. 6–8)—'The wolfe also shall dwell with the lambe, and the leopard shal lie with the kid, and the calfe, and the lion, and the fat beast together. … And the sucking childe shall play upon the hole of the aspe.'
Editor’s Note
43 n'ot, know not.
Editor’s Note
45 won'd, inhabited.
Critical Apparatus
44 ours 90.
ours] cures Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
45 won'd] wened Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
46 as then were they] were they as then Bo Le.
buylden] builded 9093 Bo Le Ph Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
48 rome] Ronne Cl Qu, runne As.
Critical Apparatus
49 in to] into 93 St Qu, even to As, had not Ph.
Editor’s Note
50 pollicie, system of government.
Critical Apparatus
51 n'is] misse As Da Ph Je Qu.
Editor’s Note
55 beasts with courage clad, nobler beasts, aristocrats.
Critical Apparatus
57 which 90.
Editor’s Note
57–152. Dr. Stuckey also pointed out that this account of the origin of monarchy combines the late classical myth of Prometheus, who when he created man of earth gave him the characteristics of every creature, including the fury of the raging lion (Horace, Carm. 1. 16. 13–16), with the fable of the frogs who asked for a king—Jupiter first sent them a harmless log of wood, which they despised, and at their second request he sent them a heron (or water snake) which devoured them (Aesop ed. Chambry 66, Phaedrus, I. ii).
Critical Apparatus
66 puing] pyinge Cl Ph Qu, pyninge Le, pṽing Da.
could 90.
Editor’s Note
66 puing, pewing, crying plaintively.
Critical Apparatus
68 still] om. Cl Le Ph.
Editor’s Note
68 seech, an eye-rhyme for 'seek'.
Critical Apparatus
70 deserts] desert Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
72 you] ye As Ph.
Critical Apparatus
83 a] om. Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
89 om. Le.
Editor’s Note
89 Ermion—see note to OA 62. 116.
Critical Apparatus
92 Hare] Beare Cl Le, harte Je.
his] her Le Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
95 ease … ease] easie … easy Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
97 mowing] mooving Cl Da Je Qu.
Editor’s Note
97 mowing, grimacing.
Critical Apparatus
100 drad] dread Bo Ph Je Qu, dreed As.
ofte] ought 9093, om. Je.
Critical Apparatus
111 sayings] sayinge Cl Le As Ph.
Editor’s Note
112 common, shared by all alike.
Critical Apparatus
116 gainst] ageanst Cl Da.
Critical Apparatus
120 he] the 9093.
Critical Apparatus
126 afterwards] after ward As Da Qu.
Critical Apparatus
127 murdre] murthers 9093 St.
Critical Apparatus
128 weaker's] weaker Je Qu.
Critical Apparatus
132 commons 90.
Editor’s Note
133 Tho, then, their foen of greatnes, their foes the nobler beasts.
Editor’s Note
134 they, the nobler beasts.
Critical Apparatus
135 the] theyre Cl Da.
Critical Apparatus
136 great] greaters Bo, greter Je Qu.
Editor’s Note
136. The structure of government, unsupported by a strong aristocracy, crushes the common people.
Critical Apparatus
138 coller] choller St As Je.
Critical Apparatus
139 birds 90.
Editor’s Note
139 gentle, meek.
Critical Apparatus
142 Who] Whom 9093.
Critical Apparatus
145 throte] teeth 9093.
Critical Apparatus
147 their] the St Bo Ph Qu.
Critical Apparatus
149 gloire] glorie 93 Bo Ph Je Qu, glore St Da, praysc Cl Le As.
Critical Apparatus
150 make] see 9093, mak St.
Editor’s Note
154 know your strengths, be aware that the aristocrats are the protectors of the commons against tyranny. W. D. Briggs (SP xxviii [1931], 153), noting the arguments of some sixteenth-century theorists that in certain circumstances it may be lawful to rebel against a tyrant, says that the point of Sidney's poem, brought out by line 103 and this line, is 'that kings are the creation of the people, and that the people may overthrow them when they come to be tyrants'. Irving Ribner (JHI xiii [1952], 261), noting the Tudor doctrine that prohibited rebellion under any circumstances and prescribed absolute obedience even to a tyrant, says that ' "strength" [sic] may very reasonably be the power of God, rather than the power of armed rebellion against the state'. It seems to me, however, that in this poem Sidney is dealing, not with the question of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of rebellion, but with the kind of government—a monarchy limited by a strong aristocracy—that will prevent the development of tyranny.
Critical Apparatus
155 sullen] solempne Cl Le Da Ph.
Editor’s Note
157 stowers, tumults.
Critical Apparatus
158 homeward] homewards 9093.
Critical Apparatus
159 t'] to Bo Cl As Da Ph Qu.
Critical Apparatus
161 would] should 9093.
logo-footer Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out