On Jealousy

“On Jealousy”  (by William Strode)

There is a thing that nothing is,
A foolish wanton, sober wise;
It hath noe wings, noe eyes, noe eares,
And yet it flies, it sees, it heares;
It lives by losse, it feeds on smart,
It joyes in woe, it liveth not;
Yet evermore this hungry elfe
Doth feed on nothing but itselfe.

There is a thing that nothing is,
A foolish wanton, sober wise;
It has no wings, no eyes, no ears,
And yet it flies, it sees, it hears;
It lives by loss, it feeds on smart,
It joys in woe, it lives not;
Yet evermore this hungry elf
Does feed on nothing but itself

Translation into Italian:

C’è una cosa che non è nulla
E’ uno sconsiderato folle e saggio.
Non ha ali, né occhi, né orecchi,
Eppure vola, vede, sente;
Vive sulla perdita, si nutre di dolore,
Gioisce nella sofferenza, non sa vivere;
Eppure questo elfo affamato
Non mangia mai nient’altro che se stesso.



Lucas Cranach the Elder – 1530 – The Fruits of Jealousy



 William Strode (1602 – 1645) was an English poet, Doctor of Divinity and Public Orator of Oxford University.
From an early age he showed studious tendencies and at Oxford. he began to manifest his poetic talents and was elected Public Orator. He had ambitions to enter the clergy, so he took orders and began a preaching career.
During Charles I’s visit at Oxford, Strode made a speech in his honour; as a result he was promised a canonry, which he obtained some years later, when he was also made a Doctor of Divinity.
The canonry gave him the right to marry, and he did so in 1642, which was the year that civil war broke out. Strode found himself in moral difficulties, being a supporter of the king while many of his family were fighting on the other side

Much of Strode’s poetry could be described as elegies and love poems which were fairly typical of the time that they were written. They show gracefulness, a feeling for the country, and occasional gleams of tenderness, along with much of the artificiality of his age. He also wrote comical and satirical verse and some of his ballads were set to music and sung around the country. His poems are always ingenious, full of fanciful wit, and contain some remote analogies, and surprising paradoxes.

He died at the age of 43, without leaving will, which suggests that his death was unexpected.

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