Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature Tudor Rose Sir Philip Sidney

Renaissance English Literature | Sir Philip Sidney | Biography | Quotes | Works | Essays | Bookstore | Links | Discussion Forum



Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Sir Philip Sidney

Annibale Carracci. River Landscape, c1590
Annibale Carracci. River Landscape, c1590.


The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, 1593    

[O sweet woods]          

O sweet woods, the delight of solitariness!
Oh, how much I do like your solitariness!
Where man's mind hath a freed consideration,
Of goodness to receive lovely direction.
Where senses do behold th' order of heav'nly host,
And wise thoughts do behold what the creator is;
Contemplation here holdeth his only seat,
Bounded with no limits, born with a wing of hope,
Climbs even unto the stars, nature is under it.
Nought disturbs thy quiet, all to thy service yields,
Each sight draws on a thought (thought, mother of science)
Sweet birds kindly do grant harmony unto thee,
Fair trees' shade is enough fortification,
Nor danger to thyself if 't be not in thyself.

O sweet woods, the delight of solitariness!
Oh, how much I do like your solitariness!
Here nor treason is hid, veilëd in innocence,
Nor envy's snaky eye finds any harbor here,
Nor flatterers' venomous insinuations,
Nor coming humorists' puddled opinions,
Nor courteous ruin of proffered usury,
Nor time prattled away, cradle of ignorance,
Nor causeless duty, nor cumber of arrogance,
Nor trifling title of vanity dazzleth us,
Nor golden manacles stand for a paradise,
Here wrong's name is unheard, slander a monster is;
Keep thy sprite from abuse, here no abuse doth haunt.
What man grafts in a tree dissimulation?

O sweet woods, the delight of solitariness!
Oh, how well I do like your solitariness!
Yet, dear soil, if a soul closed in a mansion
As sweet as violets, fair as lily is,
Straight as cedar, a voice stains the canary birds,
Whose shade safety doth hold, danger avoideth her;
Such wisdom that in her lives speculation;
Such goodness that in her simplicity triumphs;
Where envy's snaky eye winketh or else dieth;
Slander wants a pretext, flattery gone beyond;
Oh!  if such a one have bent to a lonely life,
Her steps glad we receive, glad we receive her eyes,
      And think not she doth hurt our solitariness,
      For such company decks such solitariness.

A Sixteenth Century Anthology. Arthur Symons, Ed.
London: Blackie & Son, Ltd., 1905. 121-122.

Back to Works of Sir Philip Sidney

Site copyright ©1996-2010 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on October 7, 2001. Last updated June 16, 2010.


The Tudors

King Henry VII
Elizabeth of York

King Henry VIII
Queen Catherine of Aragon
Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Jane Seymour
Queen Anne of Cleves
Queen Catherine Howard
Queen Katherine Parr

King Edward VI
Lady Jane Grey
Queen Mary I
Queen Elizabeth I

Renaissance English Writers
Bishop John Fisher
William Tyndale
Sir Thomas More
John Heywood
Thomas Sackville
John Bale
Nicholas Udall
John Skelton
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Henry Howard
Hugh Latimer
Thomas Cranmer
Roger Ascham
Sir Thomas Hoby
John Foxe
George Gascoigne
John Lyly
Thomas Nashe
Sir Philip Sidney
Edmund Spenser
Richard Hooker
Robert Southwell
Robert Greene
George Peele
Thomas Kyd
Edward de Vere
Christopher Marlowe
Anthony Munday
Sir Walter Ralegh
Thomas Hariot
Thomas Campion
Mary Sidney Herbert
Sir John Davies
Samuel Daniel
Michael Drayton
Fulke Greville
Emilia Lanyer
William Shakespeare

Persons of Interest
Visit Encyclopedia

Historical Events
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
The Babington Plot, 1586
The Spanish Armada, 1588

Elizabethan Theatre
See section
English Renaissance Drama

Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR

Luminarium | Encyclopedia | What's New | Letter from the Editor | Bookstore | Poster Store | Discussion Forums | Search