Home  »  The Book of Elizabethan Verse  »  Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)

William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

Song: ‘Who is it that, this dark night’

Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)

WHO is it that, this dark night,

Underneath my window plaineth?

It is one who from thy sight

Being, ah! exiled, disdaineth

Every other vulgar light.

Why, alas, and are you he?

Be not yet those fancies changèd?

Dear, when you find change in me,

Though from me you be estrangèd,

Let my change to ruin be.

Well, in absence this will die:

Leave to see, and leave to wonder.

Absence sure will help, if I

Can learn how myself to sunder

From what in my heart doth lie.

But time will these thoughts remove;

Time doth work what no man knoweth.

Time doth as the subject prove,

With time still the affection groweth

In the faithful turtle dove.

What if you new beauties see?

Will not they stir new affection?

I will think they pictures be

(Image-like, of saints’ perfection)

Poorly counterfeiting thee.

But your reason’s purest light

Bids you leave such minds to nourish.

Dear, do reason no such spite!

Never doth thy beauty flourish

More than in my reason’s sight.

But the wrongs love bears, will make

Love at length leave undertaking.

No, the more fools it do shake

In a ground of so firm making,

Deeper still they drive the stake.

Peace! I think that some give ear!

Come no more! lest I get anger.

Bliss! I will my bliss forbear;

Fearing, Sweet, you to endanger!

But my soul shall harbour there.

Well begone, begone I say!

Lest that Argus’ eyes perceive you.

O unjust Fortune’s sway,

Which can make me thus to leave you:

And from louts to run away.