Sapphics


If mine eyes can speak to do hearty errand,
Or mine eyes' language she do hap to judge of,
So that eyes' message be of her received,
     Hope, we do live yet.

But if eye fail then, when I most do need them,
Or if eyes' language be not to her known,
So that eyes' message do return rejected,
     Hope, we do both die.

Yet, dying and dead, do we sing her honour;
So become our tombs monuments of her praise;
So becomes our loss the triumph of her gain;
     Here be to the glory.

If the spheres senseless do yet hold a music,
If the swan's sweet voice be not heard but at death,
If the mute timber when it hath the life lost
     Yieldeth a lute's tune,

Are then human minds privileged so meanly
As that hateful Death can abridge them of power
With the vow of truth to record to all worlds
     That we be her spoils?

Thus, not ending, ends the due praise of her praise:
Fleshly veil consumes, but a soul hath his life
Which is held in love: love it is that hath joined
     Life to this our soul.

But if eyes can speak to do hearty errand,
Or mine eyes' language she do hap to judge of,
So that eyes' message be of her received,
     Hope, we do yet live.


Philip Sidney.