Featured Poem: To my Lord Biron’s tune of — Adieu Phillis by Katherine Philips

This week’s Featured Poem comes a little later than usual, so much so it is almost next week’s Featured Poem. So to herald in the weekend, Katherine Philips’ To my Lord Biron’s tune of – Adieu Phillis.

On first reading, Katherine Philips’ poem may seem melancholic, indeed she tosses us between the fear of death and the pain of living, but is there comfort to be found in To my Lord Biron’s…?

While she first suggests the stars are to blame for our “entangled fortunes”, Philips seems to conclude that the power to change things may be in our own hands after all.

We have the power to betray our griefs, even if it costs us dearly. Our hopes, even if they are lost, “we can call it ours”. Is that a comfort? To feel that your fortunes are under your own control? Or is it a greater consolation to have no influence over the things which befall us?

To my Lord Biron’s tune of — Adieu Phillis

‘Tis true, our life is but a long disease,
Made up of reall pain and seeming ease;
You stars, who these entangled fortunes give,
O tell me why
It is so hard to dy,
Yet such a task to live?
If with some pleasure we our griefs betray,
It costs us dearer then it can repay:
For time or fortune all things so devours;
Our hopes are cross’d,
Or els the object lost,
Ere we can call it ours.
Katherine Philips

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