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Gloriana Dying

None shall gainsay me. I will lie on the floor.

Hitherto from horseback, throne, balcony,

I have looked down upon your looking up. 

Those sands are run. Now I reverse the glass

5And bid henceforth your homage downward, falling

Obedient and unheeded as leaves in autumn

To quilt the wakeful study I must make 

Examining my kingdom from below.

How tall my people are! Like a race of trees

10They sway, sigh, nod heads, rustle above me,

And their attentive eyes are distant as starshine.

I have still cherished the handsome and wellmade:

No queen has better masts within her forests

Growing, nor prouder and more restive minds

15Scabbarded in the loyalty of subjects;

No virgin has had better worship than 1.

No, no! Leave me alone, womafi! I will not

Be put into a bed. Do you suppose

That I who've ridden through all weathers, danced

20Under a treasury's weight of jewels, sat

Myself to stone through sermons and addresses,

Shall come to harm by sleeping on a floor?

Not that I sleep. A bed were good enough

If that were in my mind. But I am here

25For a deep study and contemplation,

And as Persephone,' and the red vixen2,

Go underground to sharpen their wits,

I have left my dais to learn a new policy

Through watching of your feet, and as the Indian

3oLays all his listening body along the earth

I lie in wait for the reverberation

Of things to come and dangers threatening.

Is that the Bishop praying? Let him pray on.

If his knees tire his faith can cushion them.

35How the poor man grieves Heaven with news of me!

Deposuit superbos.3 But no hand

Other than my own has put me down 

Not feebleness enforced on brain or limb,

Not fear, misgiving, fantasy, age, palsy,

 

 

 

 

40Has felled me. I lie here by my own will,

And by the curiosity of a queen.

I dare say there is not in all England

One who lies closer to the ground than I.

Not the traitor in the condemned hold

45Whose few straws edge away from under his weight

Of ironed fatality; not the shepherd

Huddled for cold under the hawthorn bush,

Nor the long, dreaming country lad who lies

Scorching his book before the dying brand4 .

1980

1. Persephone, (por sef';) n6) in Greek myths the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, made queen of the lower world by Hades, but allowed to spend part of each year on earth. 2. vixen, a female fox. 3. Deposuit superbos, he has put down the proud. (Latin] The Bishop is reading from "The Magnificat," the Latin text of the song of the Virgin Mary recorded in Luke 1:4655. 4. brand, a piece of burning wood.

 

 

Sir Edmund Spenser:  “Sonnet 30”
Sir Thomas Wyatt  “Whoso List to Hunt”  [below]

                                   — “ They Flee From Me”

 

Shakespeare

                                    Sonnet 30

                                    Sonnet 71

                                    Sonnet 73

 

Whoso List to Hunt?

THE LOVER DESPAIRING TO ATTAIN UNTO
HIS LADY'S GRACE RELINQUISHETH THE PURSUIT.

WHOSO list to hunt ? I know where is an  hind !
But as for me, alas !  I may no more,
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore ;
I am of them that furthest come behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer ; but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow ; I leave off therefore,
Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt
As well as I, may spend his time in vain !
And graven with diamonds in letters plain,
There is written her fair neck round about ;
 
' Noli me tangere ; for Cæsar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.'

English IV