Elegy for Philip Sidney

By Baron Brooke Fulke Greville 1554–1628 Fulke Greville
Silence augmenteth grief, writing increaseth rage,
Staled are my thoughts, which loved and lost the wonder of our age;
Yet quickened now with fire, though dead with frost ere now,
Enraged I write I know not what; dead, quick, I know not how.

Hard-hearted minds relent and rigor's tears abound,
And envy strangely rues his end, in whom no fault was found.
Knowledge her light hath lost, valor hath slain her knight,
Sidney is dead, dead is my friend, dead is the world's delight.

Place, pensive, wails his fall whose presence was her pride;
Time crieth out, My ebb is come; his life was my spring tide.
Fame mourns in that she lost the ground of her reports;
Each living wight laments his lack, and all in sundry sorts.

He was (woe worth that word!) to each well-thinking mind
A spotless friend, a matchless man, whose virtue ever shined;
Declaring in his thoughts, his life, and that he writ,
Highest conceits, longest foresights, and deepest works of wit.

He, only like himself, was second unto none,
Whose death (though life) we rue, and wrong, and all in vain do moan;
Their loss, not him, wail they that fill the world with cries,
Death slew not him, but he made death his ladder to the skies.

Now sink of sorrow I who live—the more the wrong!
Who wishing death, whom death denies, whose thread is all too long;
Who tied to wretched life, who looks for no relief,
Must spend my ever dying days in never ending grief.

Farewell to you, my hopes, my wonted waking dreams,
Farewell, sometimes enjoyëd joy, eclipsëd are thy beams.
Farewell, self-pleasing thoughts which quietness brings forth,
And farewell, friendship's sacred league, uniting minds of worth.

And farewell, merry heart, the gift of guiltless minds,
And all sports which for life's restore variety assigns;
Let all that sweet is, void; in me no mirth may dwell:
Philip, the cause of all this woe, my life's content, farewell!

Now rhyme, the son of rage, which art no kin to skill,
And endless grief, which deads my life, yet knows not how to kill,
Go, seek that hapless tomb, which if ye hap to find
Salute the stones that keep the limbs that held so good a mind.

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Poet Baron Brooke Fulke Greville 1554–1628

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Living, Death, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Elegy

Baron Brooke Fulke  Greville

Biography

Fulke Greville, first Lord Brooke, survived most of his contemporaries. His active literary life of almost fifty years (the late 1570s to the 1620s) makes him the principal courtly writer of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras (apart from his short-lived friend Sir Philip Sidney). Although some attention has been paid to him as a writer of short poems, the main interest in Greville has been focused not on his closet dramas Alaham . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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