Such was Philoclea, and such Dorus’ flame!
The matchless Sidney, that immortal frame
Of perfect beauty on two pillars placed,
Not his high fancy could one pattern, graced
With such extremes of excellence, compose;
Wonders so distant in one face disclose!
Such cheerful modesty, such humble state,
Moves certain love, but with as doubtful fate
As when, beyond our greedy reach, we see 9
Inviting fruit on too sublime a tree.
All the rich flowers through his Arcadia found,
Amazed we see in this one garland bound.
Had but this copy (which the artist took
From the fair picture of that noble book)
Stood at Kalander’s, the brave friends had jarr’d,
And, rivals made, th’ensuing story marr’d.
Just nature, first instructed by his thought,
In his own house thus practised what he taught;
This glorious piece transcends what he could think,
So much his blood is nobler than his ink! 20
 ‘Dorothy Sidney’: see Life for
an account of ‘Saccharissa.’
 ‘Philoclea and Dorus’: the reader may turn for these names and their
histories, to the glorious, flowery wilderness of the ‘Arcadia.’
Sidney was granduncle to Dorothy.
Had Dorothea lived when mortals made
Choice of their deities, this sacred shade
Had held an altar to her power, that gave
The peace and glory which these alleys have;
Embroider’d so with flowers where she stood,
That it became a garden of a wood.
Her presence has such more than human grace,
That it can civilise the rudest place;
And beauty too, and order, can impart,
Where nature ne’er intended it, nor art. 10
The plants acknowledge this, and her admire,
No less than those of old did Orpheus’ lyre;
If she sit down, with tops all tow’rds her bow’d,
They round about her into arbours crowd;
Or if she walk, in even ranks they stand,
Like some well-marshall’d and obsequious band.
Amphion so made stones and timber leap
Into fair figures from a confused heap;
And in the symmetry of her parts is found
A power like that of harmony in sound. 20
Ye lofty beeches, tell this matchless dame,
That if together ye fed all one flame,
It could not equalise the hundredth part
Of what her eyes have kindled in my heart!
Go, boy, and carve this passion on the bark
Of yonder tree, which stands the sacred mark
Of noble Sidney’s birth; when such benign,
Such more than mortal-making stars did shine,
That there they cannot but for ever prove
The monument and pledge of humble love; 30
His humble love whose hope shall ne’er rise higher,
Than for a pardon that he dares admire.