A Defence of Poesie and Poems

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Author: Philip Sidney

Poem: a Remedy for Love

Philoclea and Pamela sweet,
By chance, in one great house did meet;
And meeting, did so join in heart,
That th’ one from th’ other could not part:
And who indeed (not made of stones)
Would separate such lovely ones?
The one is beautiful, and fair
As orient pearls and rubies are;
And sweet as, after gentle showers,
The breath is of some thousand flowers:
For due proportion, such an air
Circles the other, and so fair,
That it her brownness beautifies,
And doth enchant the wisest eyes.

Have you not seen, on some great day,
Two goodly horses, white and bay,
Which were so beauteous in their pride,
You knew not which to choose or ride?
Such are these two; you scarce can tell,
Which is the daintier bonny belle;
And they are such, as, by my troth,
I had been sick with love of both,
And might have sadly said, ’Good-night
Discretion and good fortune quite;’
But that young Cupid, my old master,
Presented me a sovereign plaster:
Mopsa! ev’n Mopsa! (precious pet)
Whose lips of marble, teeth of jet,
Are spells and charms of strong defence,
To conjure down concupiscence.

How oft have I been reft of sense,
By gazing on their excellence,
But meeting Mopsa in my way,
And looking on her face of clay,
Been healed, and cured, and made as sound,
As though I ne’er had had a wound?
And when in tables of my heart,
Love wrought such things as bred my smart,
Mopsa would come, with face of clout,
And in an instant wipe them out.
And when their faces made me sick,
Mopsa would come, with face of brick,
A little heated in the fire,
And break the neck of my desire.
Now from their face I turn mine eyes,
But (cruel panthers!) they surprise
Me with their breath, that incense sweet,
Which only for the gods is meet,
And jointly from them doth respire,
Like both the Indies set on fire:

Which so o’ercomes man’s ravished sense,
That souls, to follow it, fly hence.
No such-like smell you if you range
To th’ Stocks, or Cornhill’s square Exchange;
There stood I still as any stock,
Till Mopsa, with her puddle dock,
Her compound or electuary,
Made of old ling and young canary,
Bloat-herring, cheese, and voided physic,
Being somewhat troubled with a phthisic,
Did cough, and fetch a sigh so deep,
As did her very bottom sweep:
Whereby to all she did impart,
How love lay rankling at her heart:
Which, when I smelt, desire was slain,
And they breathed forth perfumes in vain.
Their angel voice surprised me now;
But Mopsa, her Too-whit, Too-whoo,
Descending through her oboe nose,
Did that distemper soon compose.

And, therefore, O thou precious owl,
The wise Minerva’s only fowl;
What, at thy shrine, shall I devise
To offer up a sacrifice?
Hang AEsculapius, and Apollo,
And Ovid, with his precious shallow.
Mopsa is love’s best medicine,
True water to a lover’s wine.
Nay, she’s the yellow antidote,
Both bred and born to cut Love’s throat:
Be but my second, and stand by,
Mopsa, and I’ll them both defy;
And all else of those gallant races,
Who wear infection in their faces;
For thy face (that Medusa’s shield!)
Will bring me safe out of the field.

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Sir Philip Sidney

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Chicago: Philip Sidney, "Poem: A Remedy for Love," A Defence of Poesie and Poems, ed. Sutherland, Alexander, 1853-1902 and trans. Seaton, R. C. in A Defence of Poesie and Poems (New York: George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892), Original Sources, accessed September 25, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UHJ7KN9TUH9TQF.

MLA: Sidney, Philip. "Poem: A Remedy for Love." A Defence of Poesie and Poems, edited by Sutherland, Alexander, 1853-1902, and translated by Seaton, R. C., in A Defence of Poesie and Poems, New York, George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, Original Sources. 25 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UHJ7KN9TUH9TQF.

Harvard: Sidney, P, 'Poem: A Remedy for Love' in A Defence of Poesie and Poems, ed. and trans. . cited in ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, A Defence of Poesie and Poems, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 25 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UHJ7KN9TUH9TQF.