What Length of Verse?

By Sir Philip Sidney 1554–1586 Philip Sidney
What length of verse can serve brave Mopsa’s good to show,
Whose virtues strange, and beauties such, as no man them may know?
Thus shrewdly burden, then, how can my Muse escape?
The gods must help, and precious things must serve to show her shape.

Like great god Saturn, fair, and like fair Venus, chaste;
As smooth as Pan, as Juno mild, like goddess Iris fast.
With Cupid she foresees, and goes god Vulcan’s pace;
And for a taste of all these gifts, she borrows Momus’ grace.

Her forehead jacinth-like, her cheeks of opal hue,
Her twinkling eyes bedecked with pearl, her lips of sapphire blue,
Her hair pure crapall stone, her mouth, O heavenly wide,
Her skin like burnished gold, her hands like silver ore untried.

As for those parts unknown, which hidden sure are best,
Happy be they which believe, and never seek the rest.

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Poet Sir Philip Sidney 1554–1586

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

Sir Philip  Sidney

Biography

The grandson of the Duke of Northumberland and heir presumptive to the earls of Leicester and Warwick, Sir Philip Sidney was not himself a nobleman. Today he is closely associated in the popular imagination with the court of Elizabeth I, though he spent relatively little time at the English court, and until his appointment as governor of Flushing in 1585 received little preferment from Elizabeth. Viewed in his own age as the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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