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AYAy me, to whom shall I my case complaine,
That may compassion my impatient griefe?
Or where shall I vnfoldunfold my inward paine,
That my enriuenenriven heart may find reliefe?
Shall I vntounto the heauenlyheavenly powres it show?
Or vntounto earthly men that dwell below?
To heauensheavens? ah they alas the authors were,
And workers of my vnremediedunremedied wo:
For they foresee what to vsus 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 subiectsubject to the heauensheavens ordinance:
Bound to abide what euerever they decree,
Their best redresse, is their best sufferance.
How then can they like wetched comfort mee,
The which no lesse, need comforted to bee?
Then to my selfe will I my sorrow mourne,
Sith none aliuealive like sorrowfull remaines:
And to my selfe my plaints shall back retourne,
To pay their vsuryusury with doubled paines.
The woods, the hills, the riuersrivers shall resound
The mournfull accent of my sorrowes ground.
VVoodsWoods, hills and riuersrivers, 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 euerever grew,
VVasWas Astrophel; that was, we all may rew.
VVhatWhat cruell hand of cursed foe vnknowneunknowne,
Hath cropt the stalke which bore so faire a flowre?
VntimelyUntimely cropt, before it well were growne,
And cleane defaced in vntimelyuntimely howre.
Great losse to all that euerever him 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,
NeuerNever againe let lasse put gyrlond on.
Instead of gyrlond, weare sad Cypres nowe,
And bitter Elder, broken from the bowe.
Ne euerever sing the loue-layeslove-layes which he made,
VVhoWho euerever made such layes of louelove as hee?
Ne euerever read the riddles, which he sayd
VntoUnto yourseluesyourselves, to make you mery glee.
Your mery glee is now laid all abed,
Your mery maker now alasse is dead.
Death the deuourerdevourer of all worlds delight,
Hath robbed you and rest fro me my ioyjoy:
Both you and me, and all the world he quight
Hath robd of ioyancejoyance, and lest sad annoy.
IoyJoy of the world, and shepheards pride was hee,
Shepheards hope neuernever like againe to see.
Oh death that hast vsus of such riches reft,
Tell vsus at least, what hast thou with it done?
VVhatWhat 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
VVithWith all the dowries of celestiall grace:
By souerainesoveraine choyce from th’heuenlyth’hevenly quires select,
And lineally deriv’d from Angels race,
O what is now of it become aread.
Ay me, can so diuinedivine a thing be dead?
Ah no: it is not dead, ne can it die,
But liueslives for aie, in blisfull Paradise:
VVhereWhere like a new-borne babe it soft doth lie,
In bed 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 vnderstoodunderstood,
Lull him a sleep in Angelick 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 diuinedivine aspects, appearing plaine,
And kindling louelove in him aboueabove all measure,
Sweet louelove still ioyousjoyous, neuernever feeling paine.
For what so goodly forme he there doth see,
He may enioyenjoy from iealousjealous rancor free.
There liuethliveth he in euerlastingeverlasting blis,
Sweet spirit neuernever fearing more to die:
Ne dreading harme from any foes of his,
Ne fearing saluagesalvage beasts more crueltie.
Whilest we here wretches waile his priuateprivate lack,
And with vaine vowes do often call him back.
But liuelive thou there still happie, happie spirit,
And giuegive vsus leaueleave thee here thus to lament:
Not thee that doest thy heauensheavens ioyjoy inherit,
But our owne seluesselves 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 deuicedevice:
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 euerieeverie one in order lov’d him best,
Gan dight themseluesthemselves t’expresse their inward woe,
With dolefull layes vntounto the time addrest.
The which I here in order will rehearse,
As fittest flowres to deck his mournfull hearse.
Building display . . .
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Textual Changes

The vagaries of early modern printing often required that lines or words be broken. Toggling Modern Lineation on will reunite divided words and set errant words in their lines.

Off: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, (blest. And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely (FQ I.ii.18.8-9) On: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely blest.

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Off: Sweet slõbring deaw, the which to sleep them biddes: (FQ I.i.36.4)

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Off: And all the world in their subiection held, Till that infernall feend with foule vprore (FQ I.i.5.6-7) On: And all the world in their subjection held, Till that infernall feend with foule uprore

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Off: But wander too and fro in waies vnknowne (FQ I.i.10.5) On: But wander to and fro in waies vnknowne.

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Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine (FQ I.i.14.9) 14.9. Most lothsom] this edn.; Mostlothsom 1590

(The text of 1590 reads Mostlothsom, while the editors’ emendation reads Most lothsom.)


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And shall thee well rewarde to shew the place, (FQ I.i.31.5) 5. thee] 1590; you 15961609

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To my long approoved and singular good frende, Master G.H. (Letters I.1) 1. long aprooved: tried and true, found trustworthy over a long period