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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Saturday Rave: You little stars that live in skies by Fulke Greville

 Fulke Greville, 1554 - 1628, was a strange man. He was an aristocrat, a poet, a playwright and a writer of moral works. He loved his old school-friend Philip Sidney very much indeed - but not, it seems, anyone much else.

Greville was a serious man, a capable administrator, and a rather unskillful politician who was always ready to drop even the most previously helpful acquaintance if necessary. He seems to have trusted more or less nobody - and it also seems that few people really trusted him.

Queen Elizabeth I found him useful and kept him close, without showering him with riches or affection.

After Greville's political career ended, he spent his long retirement renovating his numerous homes. He never married, and in the end was stabbed to death by a servant who was helping him put on his breeches.

Here's a love poem by Fulke Greville. I find it interestingly odd.

You little stars that live in skies

And glory in Apollo's glory,

In whose aspects conjoined lies

The heaven's will and nature's story,

Joy to be likened to those eyes,

Which eyes make all eyes glad or sorry;

For when you force thoughts from above,

These overrule your force by love.

And thou, O Love, which in these eyes

Hast married Reason with Affection,

And made them saints of Beauty's skies,

Where joys are shadows of perfection,

Lend me thy wings that I may rise

Up, not by worth, but thy election;

For I have vowed in strangest fashion

To love and never seek compassion.

Well! Is that saintly or creepy?

I don't think I'd have been running to share any secrets with Fulke Greville, either.

Word To Use Today: compassion. This word comes from the Old French, from the Latin compassiō, fellow feeling, from com- with and patī, to beat or suffer.

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