Thought I delivered to Elysian green,
Where want was foreign to the every ear;
Now find I that she will not this thought bear
But to condemn her what love might have been.
Mine eyes another such never have seen,
Nor dare I cast myself to such a fear.
I ask reason why this face she doth wear,
And learn to passion’s ill I am given?
Cruel will! Infected heart! Hie thee away,
And let me to this memory remain.
Seek not to aid me, for high cost I pay
Where inflamèd desire doth complain.
From this moment ever on shall I faste,
And pray my lady think mine err but waste.
1. Elysian green: The Elysian fields were the ‘Paradise’ of some Greek myths, as opposed to the torment of Tartarus (the area of Hades most people think of when they recall the classical land of the dead). In what I hoped was true Renaissance fashion, I melted a lot of classical and Christian ideas together, so a Christian Heaven (or Hell) might be referred to by its classical counterpart.
10. memory: Another Neoplatonic philosophy embraced by Sidney, the memory was man’s device for recalling the knowledge he once possessed before the Fall (Platonically speaking, the idea of a thing as opposed to its form). The memory then informed the reason on how to utilize that knowledge, and the will (kept in check by reason, also note line 9’s “cruel will”) could then act out the proper utilization.
14: “but waste”: Here I make a very obscure nod to Wyatt’s “Ever mine hap,” which was a harshly-toned translation of Petrarch’s Rime 57 (“Mie venture al venir son tarde et pigre”) that ends, “all my trust and travail is but waste.” Of course, this sonnet has a slightly different meaning in terms of what actions are waste, and why.