“If this be right, why did they then create
The world so faire, sith fairenesse is neglected? 205
Or why be they themselves immaculate,
If purest things be not by them respected?
She faire, she pure, most faire, most pure she was,
Yet was by them as thing impure reiected;
Yet she in purenesse heaven it self did pas. 210
“In purenesse, and in all celestiall grace
That men admire in goodly womankind,
She did excell, and seem’d of angels race,
Living on earth like angell new divinde*,
Adorn’d with wisedome and with chastitie, 215
And all the dowries of a noble mind,
Which did her beautie much more beautifie.
[* Divinde, deified.]
“No age hath bred (since faire Astraea left
The sinfull world) more vertue in a wight;
And, when she parted hence, with her she reft 220
Great hope, and robd her race of bounty* quight.
Well may the shepheard lasses now lament;
For doubble losse by her hath on them light,
To loose both her and bounties ornament.
[* Bounty, goodness.]
“Ne let Elisa, royall shepheardesse,
The praises of my parted* love envy,
For she hath praises in all plenteousnesse
Powr’d upon her, like showers of Castaly,
By her owne shepheard, Colin, her own shepheard,
That her with heavenly hymnes doth deifie, 230
Of rusticke Muse full hardly to be betterd.
[* Parted, departed.]
“She is the rose, the glory of the day,
And mine the primrose in the lowly shade:
Mine? ah, not mine! amisse I mine did say:
Not mine, but His which mine awhile her made; 235
Mine to be-his, with him to live for ay.
O that so faire a flowre so soon should fade,
And through untimely tempest fall away!
“She fell away in her first ages spring,
Whilst yet her leafe was greene, and fresh her rinde;
And whilst her braunch faire blossomes foorth did bring, 241
She fell away against all course of kinde*.
For age to dye is right, but youth is wrong;
She fell away like fruit blowne down with winde.
Weepe, Shepheard! weepe, to make my undersong**.
[* Kinde, nature.]
[** Undersong, accompaniment.]
“What hart so stonie hard but that would weepe.
And poure forth fountaines of incessant teares?
What Timon but would let compassion creepe
Into his breast, and pierce his frosen eares?
In stead of teares, whose brackish bitter well 250
I wasted have, my heart bloud dropping weares,
To think to ground how that faire blossome fell.
“Yet fell she not as one enforst to dye,
Ne dyde with dread and grudging discontent,
But as one toyld with travell downe doth lye, 255
So lay she downe, as if to sleepe she went,
And closde her eyes with carelesse quietriesse;
The whiles soft death away her spirit hent*,
And soule assoyld** from sinfull fleshlinesse.
[* Hent, took]
[** Assoyld, absolved.]