Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love like the spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits,
And mask in myrth lyke to a comedy:
Soone after when my joy to sorrow flits,
I waile and make my woes a tragedy.
Yet she, beholding me with constant eye,
Delights not in my merth nor rues my smart:
But when I laugh she mocks, and when I cry
She laughs and hardens evermore her heart.
What then can move her? if nor merth nor mone,
She is no woman, but a senceless stone.

Amoretti Lxxiv: Most Happy Letters

Most happy letters, fram'd by skilful trade,
With which that happy name was first design'd:
The which three times thrice happy hath me made,
With gifts of body, fortune, and of mind.
The first my being to me gave by kind,
From mother's womb deriv'd by due descent,
The second is my sovereign Queen most kind,
That honour and large richesse to me lent.
The third my love, my life's last ornament,
By whom my spirit out of dust was raised:
To speak her praise and glory excellent,
Of all alive most worthy to be praised.
Ye three Elizabeths for ever live,
That three such graces did unto me give.

['Joy of my life, full oft for loving you']

Joy of my life, full oft for loving you
I bless my lot, that was so lucky placed:
But then the more your own mishap I rue,
That are so much by so mean love embased.
For had the equal heavens so much you graced
In this as in the rest, ye might invent
Some heavenly wit, whose verse could have enchased
Your glorious name in golden monument.
But since ye deign'd so goodly to relent
To me your thrall, in whom is little worth,
That little that I am shall all be spent
In setting your immortal praises forth;
Whose lofty argument uplifting me
Shall lift you up unto an high degree.

Amoretti I: Happy ye leaves when as those lilly hands

Happy ye leaves when as those lilly hands,
Which hold my life in their dead doing might
Shall handle you and hold in loves soft bands,
Lyke captives trembling at the victors sight.
And happy lines, on which with starry light,
Those lamping eyes will deigne sometimes to look
And reade the sorrowes of my dying spright,
Written with teares in harts close bleeding book.
And happy rymes bath'd in the sacred brooke,
Of Helicon whence she derived is,
When ye behold that Angels bless�d looke,
My soules long lacked foode, my heavens blis,
Leaves, lines, and rymes, seeke her to please alone,
Whom if ye please, I care for other none.

Calm was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister fair;
When I (whom sullen care,
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In prince's court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain),
Walk'd forth to ease my pain
Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames;
Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems,
Was painted all with variable flowers,
And all the meads adorn'd with dainty gems
Fit to deck maidens' bowers,
And crown their paramours,
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

There, in a meadow, by the river's side,
A flock of nymphs I chanced to espy,
All lovely daughters of the flood thereby,
With goodly greenish locks, all loose untied,
As each had been a bride;
And each one had a little wicker basket,
Made of fine twigs, entrailed curiously,
In which they gathered flowers to fill their flasket,
And with fine fingers cropt full feateously
The tender stalks on high.
Of every sort, which in that meadow grew,
They gathered some; the violet, pallid blue,
The little daisy, that at evening closes,
The virgin lily, and the primrose true,
With store of vermeil roses,
To deck their bridegrooms' posies
Against the bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

With that I saw two swans of goodly hue
Come softly swimming down along the Lee;
Two fairer birds I yet did never see;
The snow which doth the top of Pindus strew,
Did never whiter shew,
Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be,
For love of Leda, whiter did appear;
Yet Leda was (they say) as white as he,
Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near;
So purely white they were,
That even the gentle stream, the which them bare,
Seem'd foul to them, and bad his billows spare
To wet their silken feathers, lest they might
Soil their fair plumes with water not so fair,
And mar their beauties bright,
That shone as heaven's light,
Against their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill,
Ran all in haste to see that silver brood,
As they came floating on the crystal flood;
Whom when they saw, they stood amazed still,
Their wond'ring eyes to fill;
Them seem'd they never saw a sight so fair,
Of fowls so lovely, that they sure did deem
Them heavenly born, or to be that same pair
Which through the sky draw Venus' silver team;
For sure they did not seem
To be begot of any earthly seed,
But rather angels, or of angels' breed;
Yet were they bred of Somers-heat, they say,
In sweetest season, when each flower and weed
The earth did fresh array;
So fresh they seem'd as day,
Even as their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

Then forth they all out of their baskets drew
Great store of flowers, the honour of the field,
That to the sense did fragrant odours yield,
All which upon those goodly birds they threw
And all the waves did strew,
That like old Peneus' waters they did seem,
When down along by pleasant Tempe's shore,
Scatt'red with flowers, through Thessaly they stream,
That they appear through lilies' plenteous store,
Like a bride's chamber floor.
Two of those nymphs, meanwhile, two garlands bound
Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found,
The which presenting all in trim array,
Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crown'd,
Whilst one did sing this lay,
Prepar'd against that day,
Against their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

"Ye gentle birds, the world's fair ornament
And heaven's glory, whom this happy hour
Doth lead unto your lovers' blissful bower,
Joy may you have, and gentle heart's content
Of your love's complement;
And let fair Venus, that is Queen of Love,
With her heart-quelling son upon you smile,
Whose smile, they say, hath virtue to remove
All love's dislike, and friendship's faulty guile
For ever to assoil.
Let endless Peace your steadfast hearts accord,
And blessed Plenty wait upon your board:
And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound,
That fruitful issue may to you afford,
Which may your foes confound,
And make your joys redound
Upon your bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song."

So ended she; and all the rest around
To her redoubled that her undersong,
Which said their bridal day should not be long;
And gentle Echo from the neighbour ground
Their accents did resound.
So forth those joyous birds did pass along,
Adown the Lee, that to them murmur'd low,
As he would speak, but that he lack'd a tongue,
Yet did by signs his glad affection show,
Making his stream run slow.
And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell
Gan flock about these twain, that did excel
The rest, so far as Cynthia doth shend
The lesser stars. So they, enranged well,
Did on those two attend,
And their best service lend
Against their wedding day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

At length they all to merry London came,
To merry London, my most kindly nurse,
That to me gave this life's first native source,
Though from another place I take my name,
An house of ancient fame.
There when they came, whereas those bricky towers
The which on Thames' broad aged back do ride,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers,
There whilom wont the Templar Knights to bide,
Till they decay'd through pride:
Next whereunto there stands a stately place,
Where oft I gained gifts and goodly grace
Of that great lord, which therein wont to dwell,
Whose want too well now feels my friendless case:
But ah! here fits not well
Old woes, but joys, to tell
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer,
Great England's glory, and the world's wide wonder,
Whose dreadful name late through all Spain did thunder,
And Hercules' two pillars standing near
Did make to quake and fear:
Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry,
That fillest England with thy triumph's fame,
Joy have thou of thy noble victory,
And endless happiness of thine own name
That promiseth the same;
That through thy prowess, and victorious arms,
Thy country may be freed from foreign harms;
And great Eliza's glorious name may ring
Through all the world, fill'd with thy wide alarms,
Which some brave Muse may sing
To ages following,
Upon the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

From those high towers this noble lord issuing,
Like radiant Hesper, when his golden hair
In th' ocean billows he hath bathed fair,
Descended to the river's open viewing,
With a great train ensuing.
Above the rest were goodly to be seen
Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature,
Beseeming well the bower of any queen,
With gifts of wit, and ornaments of nature,
Fit for so goodly stature,
That like the twins of Jove they seem'd in sight,
Which deck the baldric of the heavens bright;
They two, forth pacing to the river's side,
Receiv'd those two fair brides, their love's delight;
Which, at th' appointed tide,
Each one did make his bride
Against their bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song.

A Hymn In Honour Of Beauty

Ah whither, Love, wilt thou now carry me?
What wontless fury dost thou now inspire
Into my feeble breast, too full of thee?
Whilst seeking to aslake thy raging fire,
Thou in me kindlest much more great desire,
And up aloft above my strength dost raise
The wondrous matter of my fire to praise.

That as I erst in praise of thine own name,
So now in honour of thy mother dear,
An honourable hymn I eke should frame,
And with the brightness of her beauty clear,
The ravish'd hearts of gazeful men might rear
To admiration of that heavenly light,
From whence proceeds such soul-enchanting might.

Thereto do thou, great goddess, queen of beauty,
Mother of love, and of all world's delight,
Without whose sovereign grace and kindly duty
Nothing on earth seems fair to fleshly sight,
Do thou vouchsafe with thy love-kindling light
T' illuminate my dim and dulled eyne,
And beautify this sacred hymn of thine:

That both to thee, to whom I mean it most,
And eke to her, whose fair immortal beam
Hath darted fire into my feeble ghost,
That now it wasted is with woes extreme,
It may so please, that she at length will stream
Some dew of grace into my withered heart,
After long sorrow and consuming smart.

WHAT time this world's great Workmaster did cast
To make all things such as we now behold,
It seems that he before his eyes had plac'd
A goodly pattern, to whose perfect mould
He fashion'd them as comely as he could;
That now so fair and seemly they appear,
As nought may be amended anywhere.

That wondrous pattern, wheresoe'er it be,
Whether in earth laid up in secret store,
Or else in heaven, that no man may it see
With sinful eyes, for fear it to deflore,
Is perfect Beauty, which all men adore;
Whose face and feature doth so much excel
All mortal sense, that none the same may tell.

Thereof as every earthly thing partakes
Or more or less, by influence divine,
So it more fair accordingly it makes,
And the gross matter of this earthly mine,
Which clotheth it, thereafter doth refine,
Doing away the dross which dims the light
Of that fair beam which therein is empight.

For, through infusion of celestial power,
The duller earth it quick'neth with delight,
And lifeful spirits privily doth pour
Through all the parts, that to the looker's sight
They seem to please. That is thy sovereign might,
O Cyprian queen, which flowing from the beam
Of thy bright star, thou into them dost stream.

That is the thing which giveth pleasant grace
To all things fair, that kindleth lively fire,
Light of thy lamp, which, shining in the face,
Thence to the soul darts amorous desire,
And robs the hearts of those which it admire;
Therewith thou pointest thy son's poison'd arrow,
That wounds the life, and wastes the inmost marrow.

How vainly then do idle wits invent,
That beauty is nought else but mixture made
Of colours fair, and goodly temp'rament
Of pure complexions, that shall quickly fade
And pass away, like to a summer's shade;
Or that it is but comely composition
Of parts well measur'd, with meet disposition.

Hath white and red in it such wondrous power,
That it can pierce through th' eyes unto the heart,
And therein stir such rage and restless stour,
As nought but death can stint his dolour's smart?
Or can proportion of the outward part
Move such affection in the inward mind,
That it can rob both sense and reason blind?

Why do not then the blossoms of the field,
Which are array'd with much more orient hue,
And to the sense most dainty odours yield,
Work like impression in the looker's view?
Or why do not fair pictures like power shew,
In which oft-times we nature see of art
Excell'd, in perfect limning every part?

But ah, believe me, there is more than so,
That works such wonders in the minds of men;
I, that have often prov'd, too well it know,
And whoso list the like assays to ken,
Shall find by trial, and confess it then,
That beauty is not, as fond men misdeem,
An outward shew of things, that only seem.

For that same goodly hue of white and red,
With which the cheeks are sprinkled, shall decay,
And those sweet rosy leaves, so fairly spread
Upon the lips, shall fade and fall away
To that they were, even to corrupted clay;
That golden wire, those sparkling stars so bright,
Shall turn to dust; and lose their goodly light.

But that fair lamp, from whose celestial ray
That light proceeds, which kindleth lovers' fire,
Shall never be extinguish'd nor decay;
But when the vital spirits do expire,
Unto her native planet shall retire;
For it is heavenly born and cannot die,
Being a parcel of the purest sky.

For when the soul, the which derived was,
At first, out of that great immortal Spright,
By whom all live to love, whilom did pass
Down from the top of purest heaven's height
To be embodied here, it then took light
And lively spirits from that fairest star,
Which lights the world forth from his fiery car.

Which power retaining still or more or less,
When she in fleshly seed is eft enraced,
Through every part she doth the same impress,
According as the heavens have her graced,
And frames her house, in which she will be placed,
Fit for herself, adorning it with spoil
Of th' heavenly riches which she robb'd erewhile.

Thereof it comes that these fair souls, which have
The most resemblance of that heavenly light,
Frame to themselves most beautiful and brave
Their fleshly bower, most fit for their delight,
And the gross matter by a sovereign might
Tempers so trim, that it may well be seen
A palace fit for such a virgin queen.

So every spirit, as it is most pure,
And hath in it the more of heavenly light,
So it the fairer body doth procure
To habit in, and it more fairly dight
With cheerful grace and amiable sight.
For of the soul the body form doth take:
For soul is form, and doth the body make.

Therefore wherever that thou dost behold
A comely corpse, with beauty fair endued,
Know this for certain, that the same doth hold
A beauteous soul, with fair conditions thewed,
Fit to receive the seed of virtue strewed.
For all that fair is, is by nature good;
That is a sign to know the gentle blood.

Yet oft it falls that many a gentle mind
Dwells in deformed tabernacle drown'd,
Either by chance, against the course of kind,
Or through unaptness in the substance found,
Which it assumed of some stubborn ground,
That will not yield unto her form's direction,
But is deform'd with some foul imperfection.

And oft it falls, (ay me, the more to rue)
That goodly beauty, albe heavenly born,
Is foul abus'd, and that celestial hue,
Which doth the world with her delight adorn,
Made but the bait of sin, and sinners' scorn,
Whilst every one doth seek and sue to have it,
But every one doth seek but to deprave it.

Yet nathëmore is that fair beauty's blame,
But theirs that do abuse it unto ill:
Nothing so good, but that through guilty shame
May be corrupt, and wrested unto will:
Natheless the soul is fair and beauteous still,
However flesh{"e}s fault it filthy make;
For things immortal no corruption take.

But ye fair dames, the world's dear ornaments
And lively images of heaven's light,
Let not your beams with such disparagements
Be dimm'd, and your bright glory dark'ned quite;
But mindful still of your first country's sight,
Do still preserve your first informed grace,
Whose shadow yet shines in your beauteous face.

Loathe that foul blot, that hellish firebrand,
Disloyal lust, fair beauty's foulest blame,
That base affections, which your ears would bland,
Commend to you by love's abused name,
But is indeed the bondslave of defame;
Which will the garland of your glory mar,
And quench the light of your bright shining star.

But gentle Love, that loyal is and true,
Will more illumine your resplendent ray,
And add more brightness to your goodly hue,
From light of his pure fire; which, by like way
Kindled of yours, your likeness doth display;
Like as two mirrors, by oppos'd reflection,
Do both express the face's first impression.

Therefore, to make your beauty more appear,
It you behoves to love, and forth to lay
That heavenly riches which in you ye bear,
That men the more admire their fountain may;
For else what booteth that celestial ray,
If it in darkness be enshrined ever,
That it of loving eyes be viewed never?

But, in your choice of loves, this well advise,
That likest to yourselves ye them select,
The which your forms' first source may sympathize,
And with like beauty's parts be inly deckt;
For, if you loosely love without respect,
It is no love, but a discordant war,
Whose unlike parts amongst themselves do jar.

For love is a celestial harmony
Of likely hearts compos'd of stars' concent,
Which join together in sweet sympathy,
To work each other's joy and true content,
Which they have harbour'd since their first descent
Out of their heavenly bowers, where they did see
And know each other here belov'd to be.

Then wrong it were that any other twain
Should in love's gentle band combined be
But those whom Heaven did at first ordain,
And made out of one mould the more t' agree;
For all that like the beauty which they see,
Straight do not love; for love is not so light
As straight to burn at first beholder's sight.

But they, which love indeed, look otherwise,
With pure regard and spotless true intent,
Drawing out of the object of their eyes
A more refined form, which they present
Unto their mind, void of all blemishment;
Which it reducing to her first perfection,
Beholdeth free from flesh's frail infection.

And then conforming it unto the light,
Which in itself it hath remaining still,
Of that first Sun, yet sparkling in his sight,
Thereof he fashions in his higher skill
An heavenly beauty to his fancy's will;
And it embracing in his mind entire,
The mirror of his own thought doth admire.

Which seeing now so inly fair to be,
As outward it appeareth to the eye,
And with his spirit's proportion to agree,
He thereon fixeth all his fantasy,
And fully setteth his felicity;
Counting it fairer than it is indeed,
And yet indeed her fairness doth exceed.

For lovers' eyes more sharply sighted be
Than other men's, and in dear love's delight
See more than any other eyes can see,
Through mutual receipt of beam{"e}s bright,
Which carry privy message to the spright,
And to their eyes that inmost fair display,
As plain as light discovers dawning day.

Therein they see, through amorous eye-glances,
Armies of loves still flying to and fro,
Which dart at them their little fiery lances;
Whom having wounded, back again they go,
Carrying compassion to their lovely foe;
Who, seeing her fair eyes' so sharp effect,
Cures all their sorrows with one sweet aspect.

In which how many wonders do they rede
To their conceit, that others never see,
Now of her smiles, with which their souls they feed,
Like gods with nectar in their banquets free;
Now of her looks, which like to cordials be;
But when her words' embássade forth she sends,
Lord, how sweet music that unto them lends.

Sometimes upon her forehead they behold
A thousand graces masking in delight;
Sometimes within her eyelids they unfold
Ten thousand sweet belgards, which to their sight
Do seem like twinkling stars in frosty night;
But on her lips, like rosy buds in May,
So many millions of chaste pleasures play.

All those, O Cytherea, and thousands more
Thy handmaids be, which do on thee attend,
To deck thy beauty with their dainties' store,
That may it more to mortal eyes commend,
And make it more admir'd of foe and friend:
That in men's hearts thou may'st thy throne install,
And spread thy lovely kingdom over all.

Then Iö, triumph! O great Beauty's Queen,
Advance the banner of thy conquest high,
That all this world, the which thy vassals bene,
May draw to thee, and with due fealty
Adore the power of thy great majesty,
Singing this hymn in honour of thy name,
Compil'd by me, which thy poor liegeman am.

In lieu whereof grant, O great sovereign,
That she whose conquering beauty doth captive
My trembling heart in her eternal chain,
One drop of grace at length will to me give,
That I her bounden thrall by her may live,
And this same life, which first fro me she reaved,
May owe to her, of whom I it received.

And you, fair Venus' darling, my dear dread,
Fresh flower of grace, great goddess of my life,
When your fair eyes these fearful lines shall read,
Deign to let fall one drop of due relief,
That may recure my heart's long pining grief,
And shew what wondrous power your beauty hath,
That can restore a damned wight from death.

An Hymn In Honour Of Beauty

AH whither, Love, wilt thou now carry me?
What wontless fury dost thou now inspire
Into my feeble breast, too full of thee?
Whilst seeking to aslake thy raging fire,
Thou in me kindlest much more great desire,
And up aloft above my strength dost raise
The wondrous matter of my fire to praise.

That as I erst in praise of thine own name,
So now in honour of thy mother dear,
An honourable hymn I eke should frame,
And with the brightness of her beauty clear,
The ravish'd hearts of gazeful men might rear
To admiration of that heavenly light,
From whence proceeds such soul-enchanting might.

Thereto do thou, great goddess, queen of beauty,
Mother of love, and of all world's delight,
Without whose sovereign grace and kindly duty
Nothing on earth seems fair to fleshly sight,
Do thou vouchsafe with thy love-kindling light
T' illuminate my dim and dulled eyne,
And beautify this sacred hymn of thine:

That both to thee, to whom I mean it most,
And eke to her, whose fair immortal beam
Hath darted fire into my feeble ghost,
That now it wasted is with woes extreme,
It may so please, that she at length will stream
Some dew of grace into my withered heart,
After long sorrow and consuming smart.

WHAT time this world's great Workmaster did cast
To make all things such as we now behold,
It seems that he before his eyes had plac'd
A goodly pattern, to whose perfect mould
He fashion'd them as comely as he could;
That now so fair and seemly they appear,
As nought may be amended anywhere.

That wondrous pattern, wheresoe'er it be,
Whether in earth laid up in secret store,
Or else in heaven, that no man may it see
With sinful eyes, for fear it to deflore,
Is perfect Beauty, which all men adore;
Whose face and feature doth so much excel
All mortal sense, that none the same may tell.

Thereof as every earthly thing partakes
Or more or less, by influence divine,
So it more fair accordingly it makes,
And the gross matter of this earthly mine,
Which clotheth it, thereafter doth refine,
Doing away the dross which dims the light
Of that fair beam which therein is empight.

For, through infusion of celestial power,
The duller earth it quick'neth with delight,
And lifeful spirits privily doth pour
Through all the parts, that to the looker's sight
They seem to please. That is thy sovereign might,
O Cyprian queen, which flowing from the beam
Of thy bright star, thou into them dost stream.

That is the thing which giveth pleasant grace
To all things fair, that kindleth lively fire,
Light of thy lamp, which, shining in the face,
Thence to the soul darts amorous desire,
And robs the hearts of those which it admire;
Therewith thou pointest thy son's poison'd arrow,
That wounds the life, and wastes the inmost marrow.

How vainly then do idle wits invent,
That beauty is nought else but mixture made
Of colours fair, and goodly temp'rament
Of pure complexions, that shall quickly fade
And pass away, like to a summer's shade;
Or that it is but comely composition
Of parts well measur'd, with meet disposition.

Hath white and red in it such wondrous power,
That it can pierce through th' eyes unto the heart,
And therein stir such rage and restless stour,
As nought but death can stint his dolour's smart?
Or can proportion of the outward part
Move such affection in the inward mind,
That it can rob both sense and reason blind?

Why do not then the blossoms of the field,
Which are array'd with much more orient hue,
And to the sense most dainty odours yield,
Work like impression in the looker's view?
Or why do not fair pictures like power shew,
In which oft-times we nature see of art
Excell'd, in perfect limning every part?

But ah, believe me, there is more than so,
That works such wonders in the minds of men;
I, that have often prov'd, too well it know,
And whoso list the like assays to ken,
Shall find by trial, and confess it then,
That beauty is not, as fond men misdeem,
An outward shew of things, that only seem.

For that same goodly hue of white and red,
With which the cheeks are sprinkled, shall decay,
And those sweet rosy leaves, so fairly spread
Upon the lips, shall fade and fall away
To that they were, even to corrupted clay;
That golden wire, those sparkling stars so bright,
Shall turn to dust; and lose their goodly light.

But that fair lamp, from whose celestial ray
That light proceeds, which kindleth lovers' fire,
Shall never be extinguish'd nor decay;
But when the vital spirits do expire,
Unto her native planet shall retire;
For it is heavenly born and cannot die,
Being a parcel of the purest sky.

For when the soul, the which derived was,
At first, out of that great immortal Spright,
By whom all live to love, whilom did pass
Down from the top of purest heaven's height
To be embodied here, it then took light
And lively spirits from that fairest star,
Which lights the world forth from his fiery car.

Which power retaining still or more or less,
When she in fleshly seed is eft enraced,
Through every part she doth the same impress,
According as the heavens have her graced,
And frames her house, in which she will be placed,
Fit for herself, adorning it with spoil
Of th' heavenly riches which she robb'd erewhile.

Thereof it comes that these fair souls, which have
The most resemblance of that heavenly light,
Frame to themselves most beautiful and brave
Their fleshly bower, most fit for their delight,
And the gross matter by a sovereign might
Tempers so trim, that it may well be seen
A palace fit for such a virgin queen.

So every spirit, as it is most pure,
And hath in it the more of heavenly light,
So it the fairer body doth procure
To habit in, and it more fairly dight
With cheerful grace and amiable sight.
For of the soul the body form doth take:
For soul is form, and doth the body make.

Therefore wherever that thou dost behold
A comely corpse, with beauty fair endued,
Know this for certain, that the same doth hold
A beauteous soul, with fair conditions thewed,
Fit to receive the seed of virtue strewed.
For all that fair is, is by nature good;
That is a sign to know the gentle blood.

Yet oft it falls that many a gentle mind
Dwells in deformed tabernacle drown'd,
Either by chance, against the course of kind,
Or through unaptness in the substance found,
Which it assumed of some stubborn ground,
That will not yield unto her form's direction,
But is deform'd with some foul imperfection.

And oft it falls, (ay me, the more to rue)
That goodly beauty, albe heavenly born,
Is foul abus'd, and that celestial hue,
Which doth the world with her delight adorn,
Made but the bait of sin, and sinners' scorn,
Whilst every one doth seek and sue to have it,
But every one doth seek but to deprave it.

Yet nathëmore is that fair beauty's blame,
But theirs that do abuse it unto ill:
Nothing so good, but that through guilty shame
May be corrupt, and wrested unto will:
Natheless the soul is fair and beauteous still,
However flesh{"e}s fault it filthy make;
For things immortal no corruption take.

But ye fair dames, the world's dear ornaments
And lively images of heaven's light,
Let not your beams with such disparagements
Be dimm'd, and your bright glory dark'ned quite;
But mindful still of your first country's sight,
Do still preserve your first informed grace,
Whose shadow yet shines in your beauteous face.

Loathe that foul blot, that hellish firebrand,
Disloyal lust, fair beauty's foulest blame,
That base affections, which your ears would bland,
Commend to you by love's abused name,
But is indeed the bondslave of defame;
Which will the garland of your glory mar,
And quench the light of your bright shining star.

But gentle Love, that loyal is and true,
Will more illumine your resplendent ray,
And add more brightness to your goodly hue,
From light of his pure fire; which, by like way
Kindled of yours, your likeness doth display;
Like as two mirrors, by oppos'd reflection,
Do both express the face's first impression.

Therefore, to make your beauty more appear,
It you behoves to love, and forth to lay
That heavenly riches which in you ye bear,
That men the more admire their fountain may;
For else what booteth that celestial ray,
If it in darkness be enshrined ever,
That it of loving eyes be viewed never?

But, in your choice of loves, this well advise,
That likest to yourselves ye them select,
The which your forms' first source may sympathize,
And with like beauty's parts be inly deckt;
For, if you loosely love without respect,
It is no love, but a discordant war,
Whose unlike parts amongst themselves do jar.

For love is a celestial harmony
Of likely hearts compos'd of stars' concent,
Which join together in sweet sympathy,
To work each other's joy and true content,
Which they have harbour'd since their first descent
Out of their heavenly bowers, where they did see
And know each other here belov'd to be.

Then wrong it were that any other twain
Should in love's gentle band combined be
But those whom Heaven did at first ordain,
And made out of one mould the more t' agree;
For all that like the beauty which they see,
Straight do not love; for love is not so light
As straight to burn at first beholder's sight.

But they, which love indeed, look otherwise,
With pure regard and spotless true intent,
Drawing out of the object of their eyes
A more refined form, which they present
Unto their mind, void of all blemishment;
Which it reducing to her first perfection,
Beholdeth free from flesh's frail infection.

And then conforming it unto the light,
Which in itself it hath remaining still,
Of that first Sun, yet sparkling in his sight,
Thereof he fashions in his higher skill
An heavenly beauty to his fancy's will;
And it embracing in his mind entire,
The mirror of his own thought doth admire.

Which seeing now so inly fair to be,
As outward it appeareth to the eye,
And with his spirit's proportion to agree,
He thereon fixeth all his fantasy,
And fully setteth his felicity;
Counting it fairer than it is indeed,
And yet indeed her fairness doth exceed.

For lovers' eyes more sharply sighted be
Than other men's, and in dear love's delight
See more than any other eyes can see,
Through mutual receipt of beam{"e}s bright,
Which carry privy message to the spright,
And to their eyes that inmost fair display,
As plain as light discovers dawning day.

Therein they see, through amorous eye-glances,
Armies of loves still flying to and fro,
Which dart at them their little fiery lances;
Whom having wounded, back again they go,
Carrying compassion to their lovely foe;
Who, seeing her fair eyes' so sharp effect,
Cures all their sorrows with one sweet aspect.

In which how many wonders do they rede
To their conceit, that others never see,
Now of her smiles, with which their souls they feed,
Like gods with nectar in their banquets free;
Now of her looks, which like to cordials be;
But when her words' embássade forth she sends,
Lord, how sweet music that unto them lends.

Sometimes upon her forehead they behold
A thousand graces masking in delight;
Sometimes within her eyelids they unfold
Ten thousand sweet belgards, which to their sight
Do seem like twinkling stars in frosty night;
But on her lips, like rosy buds in May,
So many millions of chaste pleasures play.

All those, O Cytherea, and thousands more
Thy handmaids be, which do on thee attend,
To deck thy beauty with their dainties' store,
That may it more to mortal eyes commend,
And make it more admir'd of foe and friend:
That in men's hearts thou may'st thy throne install,
And spread thy lovely kingdom over all.

Then Iö, triumph! O great Beauty's Queen,
Advance the banner of thy conquest high,
That all this world, the which thy vassals bene,
May draw to thee, and with due fealty
Adore the power of thy great majesty,
Singing this hymn in honour of thy name,
Compil'd by me, which thy poor liegeman am.

In lieu whereof grant, O great sovereign,
That she whose conquering beauty doth captive
My trembling heart in her eternal chain,
One drop of grace at length will to me give,
That I her bounden thrall by her may live,
And this same life, which first fro me she reaved,
May owe to her, of whom I it received.

And you, fair Venus' darling, my dear dread,
Fresh flower of grace, great goddess of my life,
When your fair eyes these fearful lines shall read,
Deign to let fall one drop of due relief,
That may recure my heart's long pining grief,
And shew what wondrous power your beauty hath,
That can restore a damned wight from death.

A Hymn Of Heavenly Beauty

Rapt with the rage of mine own ravish'd thought,
Through contemplation of those goodly sights,
And glorious images in heaven wrought,
Whose wondrous beauty, breathing sweet delights
Do kindle love in high-conceited sprights;
I fain to tell the things that I behold,
But feel my wits to fail, and tongue to fold.

Vouchsafe then, O thou most Almighty Spright,
From whom all gifts of wit and knowledge flow,
To shed into my breast some sparkling light
Of thine eternal truth, that I may show
Some little beams to mortal eyes below
Of that immortal beauty, there with thee,
Which in my weak distraughted mind I see;

That with the glory of so goodly sight
The hearts of men, which fondly here admire
Fair seeming shews, and feed on vain delight,
Transported with celestial desire
Of those fair forms, may lift themselves up higher,
And learn to love, with zealous humble duty,
Th' eternal fountain of that heavenly beauty.

Beginning then below, with th' easy view
Of this base world, subject to fleshly eye,
From thence to mount aloft, by order due,
To contemplation of th' immortal sky;
Of the soare falcon so I learn to fly,
That flags awhile her fluttering wings beneath,
Till she herself for stronger flight can breathe.

Then look, who list thy gazeful eyes to feed
With sight of that is fair, look on the frame
Of this wide universe, and therein reed
The endless kinds of creatures which by name
Thou canst not count, much less their natures aim;
All which are made with wondrous wise respect,
And all with admirable beauty deckt.

First th' earth, on adamantine pillars founded,
Amid the sea engirt with brazen bands;
Then th' air still flitting, but yet firmly bounded
On every side, with piles of flaming brands,
Never consum'd, nor quench'd with mortal hands;
And last, that mighty shining crystal wall,
Wherewith he hath encompassed this All.

By view whereof it plainly may appear,
That still as every thing doth upward tend,
And further is from earth, so still more clear
And fair it grows, till to his perfect end
Of purest beauty it at last ascend;
Air more than water, fire much more than air,
And heaven than fire, appears more pure and fair.

Look thou no further, but affix thine eye
On that bright, shiny, round, still moving mass,
The house of blessed gods, which men call sky,
All sow'd with glist'ring stars more thick than grass,
Whereof each other doth in brightness pass,
But those two most, which ruling night and day,
As king and queen, the heavens' empire sway;

And tell me then, what hast thou ever seen
That to their beauty may compared be,
Or can the sight that is most sharp and keen
Endure their captain's flaming head to see?
How much less those, much higher in degree,
And so much fairer, and much more than these,
As these are fairer than the land and seas?

For far above these heavens, which here we see,
Be others far exceeding these in light,
Not bounded, not corrupt, as these same be,
But infinite in largeness and in height,
Unmoving, uncorrupt, and spotless bright,
That need no sun t' illuminate their spheres,
But their own native light far passing theirs.

And as these heavens still by degrees arise,
Until they come to their first Mover's bound,
That in his mighty compass doth comprise,
And carry all the rest with him around;
So those likewise do by degrees redound,
And rise more fair; till they at last arrive
To the most fair, whereto they all do strive.

Fair is the heaven where happy souls have place,
In full enjoyment of felicity,
Whence they do still behold the glorious face
Of the divine eternal Majesty;
More fair is that, where those Ideas on high
Enranged be, which Plato so admired,
And pure Intelligences from God inspired.

Yet fairer is that heaven, in which do reign
The sovereign Powers and mighty Potentates,
Which in their high protections do contain
All mortal princes and imperial states;
And fairer yet, whereas the royal Seats
And heavenly Dominations are set,
From whom all earthly governance is fet.

Yet far more fair be those bright Cherubins,
Which all with golden wings are overdight,
And those eternal burning Seraphins,
Which from their faces dart out fiery light;
Yet fairer than they both, and much more bright,
Be th' Angels and Archangels, which attend
On God's own person, without rest or end.

These thus in fair each other far excelling,
As to the highest they approach more near,
Yet is that highest far beyond all telling,
Fairer than all the rest which there appear,
Though all their beauties join'd together were;
How then can mortal tongue hope to express
The image of such endless perfectness?

Cease then, my tongue, and lend unto my mind
Leave to bethink how great that beauty is,
Whose utmost parts so beautiful I find;
How much more those essential parts of his,
His truth, his love, his wisdom, and his bliss,
His grace, his doom, his mercy, and his might,
By which he lends us of himself a sight.

Those unto all he daily doth display,
And shew himself in th' image of his grace,
As in a looking-glass, through which he may
Be seen of all his creatures vile and base,
That are unable else to see his face,
His glorious face which glistereth else so bright,
That th' Angels selves cannot endure his sight.

But we, frail wights, whose sight cannot sustain
The sun's bright beams when he on us doth shine,
But that their points rebutted back again
Are dull'd, how can we see with feeble eyne
The glory of that Majesty Divine,
In sight of whom both sun and moon are dark,
Compared to his least resplendent spark?

The means, therefore, which unto us is lent
Him to behold, is on his works to look,
Which he hath made in beauty excellent,
And in the same, as in a brazen book,
To read enregister'd in every nook
His goodness, which his beauty doth declare;
For all that's good is beautiful and fair.

Thence gathering plumes of perfect speculation,
To imp the wings of thy high-flying mind,
Mount up aloft through heavenly contemplation,
From this dark world, whose damps the soul so blind,
And, like the native brood of eagles' kind,
On that bright Sun of Glory fix thine eyes,
Clear'd from gross mists of frail infirmities.

Humbled with fear and awful reverence,
Before the footstool of his majesty
Throw thyself down, with trembling innocence,
Ne dare look up with corruptible eye
On the dread face of that great Deity,
For fear, lest if he chance to look on thee,
Thou turn to nought, and quite confounded be.

But lowly fall before his mercy seat,
Close covered with the Lamb's integrity
From the just wrath of his avengeful threat
That sits upon the righteous throne on high;
His throne is built upon eternity,
More firm and durable than steel or brass,
Or the hard diamond, which them both doth pass.

His sceptre is the rod of righteousness,
With which he bruiseth all his foes to dust,
And the great Dragon strongly doth repress,
Under the rigour of his judgement just;
His seat is truth, to which the faithful trust,
From whence proceed her beams so pure and bright
That all about him sheddeth glorious light:

Light far exceeding that bright blazing spark
Which darted is from Titan's flaming head,
That with his beams enlumineth the dark
And dampish air, whereby all things are read;
Whose nature yet so much is marvelled
Of mortal wits, that it doth much amaze
The greatest wizards which thereon do gaze.

But that immortal light, which there doth shine,
Is many thousand times more bright, more clear,
More excellent, more glorious, more divine,
Through which to God all mortal actions here,
And even the thoughts of men, do plain appear;
For from th' eternal truth it doth proceed,
Through heavenly virtue which her beams do breed.

With the great glory of that wondrous light
His throne is all encompassed around,
And hid in his own brightness from the sight
Of all that look thereon with eyes unsound;
And underneath his feet are to be found
Thunder and lightning and tempestuous fire,
The instruments of his avenging ire.

There in his bosom Sapience doth sit,
The sovereign darling of the Deity,
Clad like a queen in royal robes, most fit
For so great power and peerless majesty,
And all with gems and jewels gorgeously
Adorn'd, that brighter than the stars appear,
And make her native brightness seem more clear.

And on her head a crown of purest gold
Is set, in sign of highest sovereignty;
And in her hand a sceptre she doth hold,
With which she rules the house of God on high,
And manageth the ever-moving sky,
And in the same these lower creatures all
Subjected to her power imperial.

Both heaven and earth obey unto her will,
And all the creatures which they both contain;
For of her fullness which the world doth fill
They all partake, and do in state remain
As their great Maker did at first ordain,
Through observation of her high behest,
By which they first were made, and still increast.

The fairness of her face no tongue can tell;
For she the daughters of all women's race,
And angels eke, in beauty doth excel,
Sparkled on her from God's own glorious face,
And more increas'd by her own goodly grace,
That it doth far exceed all human thought,
Ne can on earth compared be to aught.

Ne could that painter (had he lived yet)
Which pictured Venus with so curious quill,
That all posterity admired it,
Have portray'd this, for all his mast'ring skill;
Ne she herself, had she remained still,
And were as fair as fabling wits do feign,
Could once come near this beauty sovereign.

But had those wits, the wonders of their days,
Or that sweet Teian poet, which did spend
His plenteous vein in setting forth her praise,
Seen but a glimpse of this which I pretend,
How wondrously would he her face commend,
Above that idol of his feigning thought,
That all the world should with his rhymes be fraught.

How then dare I, the novice of his art,
Presume to picture so divine a wight,
Or hope t' express her least perfection's part,
Whose beauty fills the heavens with her light,
And darks the earth with shadow of her sight?
Ah, gentle Muse, thou art too weak and faint
The portrait of so heavenly hue to paint.

Let angels, which her goodly face behold
And see at will, her sovereign praises sing,
And those most sacred mysteries unfold
Of that fair love of mighty heaven's King;
Enough is me t' admire so heavenly thing,
And being thus with her huge love possest,
In th' only wonder of herself to rest.

But whoso may, thrice happy man him hold,
Of all on earth whom God so much doth grace
And lets his own beloved to behold;
For in the view of her celestial face
All joy, all bliss, all happiness, have place;
Ne aught on earth can want unto the wight
Who of herself can win the wishful sight.

For she, out of her secret treasury,
Plenty of riches forth on him will pour,
Even heavenly riches, which there hidden lie
Within the closet of her chastest bower,
Th' eternal portion of her precious dower,
Which mighty God hath given to her free,
And to all those which thereof worthy be.

None thereof worthy be, but those whom she
Vouchsafeth to her presence to receive,
And letteth them her lovely face to see,
Whereof such wondrous pleasures they conceive,
And sweet contentment, that it doth bereave
Their soul of sense, through infinite delight,
And them transport from flesh into the spright.

In which they see such admirable things,
As carries them into an ecstasy,
And hear such heavenly notes, and carollings
Of God's high praise, that fills the brazen sky;
And feel such joy and pleasure inwardly,
That maketh them all worldly cares forget,
And only think on that before them set.

Ne from thenceforth doth any fleshly sense,
Or idle thought of earthly things, remain;
But all that erst seem'd sweet seems now offence,
And all that pleased erst now seems to pain;
Their joy, their comfort, their desire, their gain,
Is fixed all on that which now they see;
All other sights but feigned shadows be.

And that fair lamp, which useth to inflame
The hearts of men with self-consuming fire
Thenceforth seems foul, and full of sinful blame;
And all that pomp to which proud minds aspire
By name of honour, and so much desire,
Seems to them baseness, and all riches dross,
And all mirth sadness, and all lucre loss.

So full their eyes are of that glorious sight,
And senses fraught with such satiety,
That in nought else on earth they can delight,
But in th' aspect of that felicity,
Which they have written in their inward eye;
On which they feed, and in their fastened mind
All happy joy and full contentment find.

Ah, then, my hungry soul, which long hast fed
On idle fancies of thy foolish thought,
And, with false beauty's flatt'ring bait misled,
Hast after vain deceitful shadows sought,
Which all are fled, and now have left thee nought
But late repentance through thy follies prief;
Ah cease to gaze on matter of thy grief:

And look at last up to that sovereign light,
From whose pure beams all perfect beauty springs,
That kindleth love in every godly sprite,
Even the love of God, which loathing brings
Of this vile world and these gay-seeming things;
With whose sweet pleasures being so possest,
Thy straying thoughts henceforth for ever rest.

An Hymn Of Heavenly Beauty

Rapt with the rage of mine own ravish'd thought,
Through contemplation of those goodly sights,
And glorious images in heaven wrought,
Whose wondrous beauty, breathing sweet delights
Do kindle love in high-conceited sprights;
I fain to tell the things that I behold,
But feel my wits to fail, and tongue to fold.

Vouchsafe then, O thou most Almighty Spright,
From whom all gifts of wit and knowledge flow,
To shed into my breast some sparkling light
Of thine eternal truth, that I may show
Some little beams to mortal eyes below
Of that immortal beauty, there with thee,
Which in my weak distraughted mind I see;

That with the glory of so goodly sight
The hearts of men, which fondly here admire
Fair seeming shews, and feed on vain delight,
Transported with celestial desire
Of those fair forms, may lift themselves up higher,
And learn to love, with zealous humble duty,
Th' eternal fountain of that heavenly beauty.

Beginning then below, with th' easy view
Of this base world, subject to fleshly eye,
From thence to mount aloft, by order due,
To contemplation of th' immortal sky;
Of the soare falcon so I learn to fly,
That flags awhile her fluttering wings beneath,
Till she herself for stronger flight can breathe.

Then look, who list thy gazeful eyes to feed
With sight of that is fair, look on the frame
Of this wide universe, and therein reed
The endless kinds of creatures which by name
Thou canst not count, much less their natures aim;
All which are made with wondrous wise respect,
And all with admirable beauty deckt.

First th' earth, on adamantine pillars founded,
Amid the sea engirt with brazen bands;
Then th' air still flitting, but yet firmly bounded
On every side, with piles of flaming brands,
Never consum'd, nor quench'd with mortal hands;
And last, that mighty shining crystal wall,
Wherewith he hath encompassed this All.

By view whereof it plainly may appear,
That still as every thing doth upward tend,
And further is from earth, so still more clear
And fair it grows, till to his perfect end
Of purest beauty it at last ascend;
Air more than water, fire much more than air,
And heaven than fire, appears more pure and fair.

Look thou no further, but affix thine eye
On that bright, shiny, round, still moving mass,
The house of blessed gods, which men call sky,
All sow'd with glist'ring stars more thick than grass,
Whereof each other doth in brightness pass,
But those two most, which ruling night and day,
As king and queen, the heavens' empire sway;

And tell me then, what hast thou ever seen
That to their beauty may compared be,
Or can the sight that is most sharp and keen
Endure their captain's flaming head to see?
How much less those, much higher in degree,
And so much fairer, and much more than these,
As these are fairer than the land and seas?

For far above these heavens, which here we see,
Be others far exceeding these in light,
Not bounded, not corrupt, as these same be,
But infinite in largeness and in height,
Unmoving, uncorrupt, and spotless bright,
That need no sun t' illuminate their spheres,
But their own native light far passing theirs.

And as these heavens still by degrees arise,
Until they come to their first Mover's bound,
That in his mighty compass doth comprise,
And carry all the rest with him around;
So those likewise do by degrees redound,
And rise more fair; till they at last arrive
To the most fair, whereto they all do strive.

Fair is the heaven where happy souls have place,
In full enjoyment of felicity,
Whence they do still behold the glorious face
Of the divine eternal Majesty;
More fair is that, where those Ideas on high
Enranged be, which Plato so admired,
And pure Intelligences from God inspired.

Yet fairer is that heaven, in which do reign
The sovereign Powers and mighty Potentates,
Which in their high protections do contain
All mortal princes and imperial states;
And fairer yet, whereas the royal Seats
And heavenly Dominations are set,
From whom all earthly governance is fet.

Yet far more fair be those bright Cherubins,
Which all with golden wings are overdight,
And those eternal burning Seraphins,
Which from their faces dart out fiery light;
Yet fairer than they both, and much more bright,
Be th' Angels and Archangels, which attend
On God's own person, without rest or end.

These thus in fair each other far excelling,
As to the highest they approach more near,
Yet is that highest far beyond all telling,
Fairer than all the rest which there appear,
Though all their beauties join'd together were;
How then can mortal tongue hope to express
The image of such endless perfectness?

Cease then, my tongue, and lend unto my mind
Leave to bethink how great that beauty is,
Whose utmost parts so beautiful I find;
How much more those essential parts of his,
His truth, his love, his wisdom, and his bliss,
His grace, his doom, his mercy, and his might,
By which he lends us of himself a sight.

Those unto all he daily doth display,
And shew himself in th' image of his grace,
As in a looking-glass, through which he may
Be seen of all his creatures vile and base,
That are unable else to see his face,
His glorious face which glistereth else so bright,
That th' Angels selves cannot endure his sight.

But we, frail wights, whose sight cannot sustain
The sun's bright beams when he on us doth shine,
But that their points rebutted back again
Are dull'd, how can we see with feeble eyne
The glory of that Majesty Divine,
In sight of whom both sun and moon are dark,
Compared to his least resplendent spark?

The means, therefore, which unto us is lent
Him to behold, is on his works to look,
Which he hath made in beauty excellent,
And in the same, as in a brazen book,
To read enregister'd in every nook
His goodness, which his beauty doth declare;
For all that's good is beautiful and fair.

Thence gathering plumes of perfect speculation,
To imp the wings of thy high-flying mind,
Mount up aloft through heavenly contemplation,
From this dark world, whose damps the soul so blind,
And, like the native brood of eagles' kind,
On that bright Sun of Glory fix thine eyes,
Clear'd from gross mists of frail infirmities.

Humbled with fear and awful reverence,
Before the footstool of his majesty
Throw thyself down, with trembling innocence,
Ne dare look up with corruptible eye
On the dread face of that great Deity,
For fear, lest if he chance to look on thee,
Thou turn to nought, and quite confounded be.

But lowly fall before his mercy seat,
Close covered with the Lamb's integrity
From the just wrath of his avengeful threat
That sits upon the righteous throne on high;
His throne is built upon eternity,
More firm and durable than steel or brass,
Or the hard diamond, which them both doth pass.

His sceptre is the rod of righteousness,
With which he bruiseth all his foes to dust,
And the great Dragon strongly doth repress,
Under the rigour of his judgement just;
His seat is truth, to which the faithful trust,
From whence proceed her beams so pure and bright
That all about him sheddeth glorious light:

Light far exceeding that bright blazing spark
Which darted is from Titan's flaming head,
That with his beams enlumineth the dark
And dampish air, whereby all things are read;
Whose nature yet so much is marvelled
Of mortal wits, that it doth much amaze
The greatest wizards which thereon do gaze.

But that immortal light, which there doth shine,
Is many thousand times more bright, more clear,
More excellent, more glorious, more divine,
Through which to God all mortal actions here,
And even the thoughts of men, do plain appear;
For from th' eternal truth it doth proceed,
Through heavenly virtue which her beams do breed.

With the great glory of that wondrous light
His throne is all encompassed around,
And hid in his own brightness from the sight
Of all that look thereon with eyes unsound;
And underneath his feet are to be found
Thunder and lightning and tempestuous fire,
The instruments of his avenging ire.

There in his bosom Sapience doth sit,
The sovereign darling of the Deity,
Clad like a queen in royal robes, most fit
For so great power and peerless majesty,
And all with gems and jewels gorgeously
Adorn'd, that brighter than the stars appear,
And make her native brightness seem more clear.

And on her head a crown of purest gold
Is set, in sign of highest sovereignty;
And in her hand a sceptre she doth hold,
With which she rules the house of God on high,
And manageth the ever-moving sky,
And in the same these lower creatures all
Subjected to her power imperial.

Both heaven and earth obey unto her will,
And all the creatures which they both contain;
For of her fullness which the world doth fill
They all partake, and do in state remain
As their great Maker did at first ordain,
Through observation of her high behest,
By which they first were made, and still increast.

The fairness of her face no tongue can tell;
For she the daughters of all women's race,
And angels eke, in beauty doth excel,
Sparkled on her from God's own glorious face,
And more increas'd by her own goodly grace,
That it doth far exceed all human thought,
Ne can on earth compared be to aught.

Ne could that painter (had he lived yet)
Which pictured Venus with so curious quill,
That all posterity admired it,
Have portray'd this, for all his mast'ring skill;
Ne she herself, had she remained still,
And were as fair as fabling wits do feign,
Could once come near this beauty sovereign.

But had those wits, the wonders of their days,
Or that sweet Teian poet, which did spend
His plenteous vein in setting forth her praise,
Seen but a glimpse of this which I pretend,
How wondrously would he her face commend,
Above that idol of his feigning thought,
That all the world should with his rhymes be fraught.

How then dare I, the novice of his art,
Presume to picture so divine a wight,
Or hope t' express her least perfection's part,
Whose beauty fills the heavens with her light,
And darks the earth with shadow of her sight?
Ah, gentle Muse, thou art too weak and faint
The portrait of so heavenly hue to paint.

Let angels, which her goodly face behold
And see at will, her sovereign praises sing,
And those most sacred mysteries unfold
Of that fair love of mighty heaven's King;
Enough is me t' admire so heavenly thing,
And being thus with her huge love possest,
In th' only wonder of herself to rest.

But whoso may, thrice happy man him hold,
Of all on earth whom God so much doth grace
And lets his own beloved to behold;
For in the view of her celestial face
All joy, all bliss, all happiness, have place;
Ne aught on earth can want unto the wight
Who of herself can win the wishful sight.

For she, out of her secret treasury,
Plenty of riches forth on him will pour,
Even heavenly riches, which there hidden lie
Within the closet of her chastest bower,
Th' eternal portion of her precious dower,
Which mighty God hath given to her free,
And to all those which thereof worthy be.

None thereof worthy be, but those whom she
Vouchsafeth to her presence to receive,
And letteth them her lovely face to see,
Whereof such wondrous pleasures they conceive,
And sweet contentment, that it doth bereave
Their soul of sense, through infinite delight,
And them transport from flesh into the spright.

In which they see such admirable things,
As carries them into an ecstasy,
And hear such heavenly notes, and carollings
Of God's high praise, that fills the brazen sky;
And feel such joy and pleasure inwardly,
That maketh them all worldly cares forget,
And only think on that before them set.

Ne from thenceforth doth any fleshly sense,
Or idle thought of earthly things, remain;
But all that erst seem'd sweet seems now offence,
And all that pleased erst now seems to pain;
Their joy, their comfort, their desire, their gain,
Is fixed all on that which now they see;
All other sights but feigned shadows be.

And that fair lamp, which useth to inflame
The hearts of men with self-consuming fire
Thenceforth seems foul, and full of sinful blame;
And all that pomp to which proud minds aspire
By name of honour, and so much desire,
Seems to them baseness, and all riches dross,
And all mirth sadness, and all lucre loss.

So full their eyes are of that glorious sight,
And senses fraught with such satiety,
That in nought else on earth they can delight,
But in th' aspect of that felicity,
Which they have written in their inward eye;
On which they feed, and in their fastened mind
All happy joy and full contentment find.

Ah, then, my hungry soul, which long hast fed
On idle fancies of thy foolish thought,
And, with false beauty's flatt'ring bait misled,
Hast after vain deceitful shadows sought,
Which all are fled, and now have left thee nought
But late repentance through thy follies prief;
Ah cease to gaze on matter of thy grief:

And look at last up to that sovereign light,
From whose pure beams all perfect beauty springs,
That kindleth love in every godly sprite,
Even the love of God, which loathing brings
Of this vile world and these gay-seeming things;
With whose sweet pleasures being so possest,
Thy straying thoughts henceforth for ever rest.

The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto Iv (Excerpts)

CANTO IIII
To sinfull house of Pride, Duessa
guides the faithfull knight,
Where brothers death to wreak Sansjoy
doth chalenge him to fight.

i
Young knight, what ever that dost armes professe,
And through long labours huntest after fame,
Beware of fraud, beware of ficklenesse,
In choice, and change of thy deare loved Dame,
Least thou of her beleeve too lightly blame,
And rash misweening doe thy hart remove:
For unto knight there is no greater shame,
Then lightnesse and inconstancie in love;
That doth this Redcrosse knights ensample plainly prove.

ii

Who after that he had faire Una lorne,
Through light misdeeming of her loialtie,
And false Duessa in her sted had borne,
Called Fidess', and so supposd to bee;
Long with her traveild, till at last they see
A goodly building, bravely garnished,
The house of mightie Prince it seemd to bee:
And towards it a broad high way that led,
All bare through peoples feet, which thither traveiled.

iii

Great troupes of people traveild thitherward
Both day and night, of each degree and place,
But few returned, having scaped hard,
With balefull beggerie, or foule disgrace,
Which ever after in most wretched case,
Like loathsome lazars, by the hedges lay.
Thither Duessa bad him bend his pace:
For she is wearie of the toilesome way,
And also nigh consumed is the lingring day.

iv

A stately Pallace built of squared bricke,
Which cunningly was without morter laid,
Whose wals were high, but nothing strong, nor thick,
And golden foile all over them displaid,
That purest skye with brightnesse they dismaid:
High lifted up were many loftie towres,
And goodly galleries farre over laid,
Full of faire windowes, and delightfull bowres;
And on the top a Diall told the timely howres.

v

It was a goodly heape for to behould,
And spake the praises of the workmans wit;
But full great pittie, that so faire a mould
Did on so weake foundation ever sit:
For on a sandie hill, that still did flit,
And fall away, it mounted was full hie,
That every breath of heaven shaked it:
And all the hinder parts, that few could spie,
Were ruinous and old, but painted cunningly.

vi

Arrived there they passed in forth right;
For still to all the gates stood open wide,
Yet charge of them was to a Porter hight
Cald Malven{'u}, who entrance none denide:
Thence to the hall, which was on every side,
With rich array and costly arras dight:
Infinite sorts of people did abide
There waiting long, to win the wished sight
Of her, that was the Lady of that Pallace bright.

vii

By them they passe, all gazing on them round,
And to the Presence mount; whose glorious vew
Their frayle amazed senses did confound:
In living Princes court none ever knew
Such endlesse richesse, and so sumptuous shew;
Ne Persia selfe, the nourse of pompous pride
Like ever saw. And there a noble crew
Of Lordes and Ladies stood on every side
Which with their presence faire, the place much beautifide.

viii

High above all a cloth of State was spred,
And a rich throne, as bright as sunny day,
On which there sate most brave embellished
With royall robes and gorgeous array,
A mayden Queene, that shone as Titans ray,
In glistring gold, and peerelesse pretious stone:
Yet her bright blazing beautie did assay
To dim the brightnesse of her glorious throne,
As envying her selfe, that too exceeding shone.

ix

Exceeding shone, like Phoebus fairest childe,
That did presume his fathers firie wayne,
And flaming mouthes of steedes unwonted wilde
Through highest heaven with weaker hand to rayne;
Proud of such glory and advancement vaine,
While flashing beames do daze his feeble eyen,
He leaves the welkin way most beaten plaine,
And rapt with whirling wheels, inflames the skyen,
With fire not made to burne, but fairely for to shyne.

x

So proud she shyned in her Princely state,
Looking to heaven; for earth she did disdayne,
And sitting high; for lowly she did hate:
Lo underneath her scornefull feete, was layne
A dreadfull Dragon with an hideous trayne,
And in her hand she held a mirrhour bright,
Wherein her face she often vewed fayne,
And in her selfe-lov'd semblance tooke delight;
For she was wondrous faire, as any living wight.

xi

Of griesly Pluto she the daughter was,
And sad Proserpina the Queene of hell;
Yet did she thinke her pearelesse worth to pas
That parentage, with pride so did she swell,
And thundring Jove, that high in heaven doth dwell,
And wield the world, she claymed for her syre,
Or if that any else did Jove excell:
For to the highest she did still aspyre,
Or if ought higher were then that, did it desyre.

xii


And proud Lucifera men did her call,
That made her selfe a Queene, and crownd to be,
Yet rightfull kingdome she had none at all,
Ne heritage of native soveraintie,
But did usurpe with wrong and tyrannie
Upon the scepter, which she now did hold:
Ne ruld her Realme with lawes, but pollicie,
And strong advizement of six wisards old,
That with their counsels bad her kingdome did uphold.

xiii


Soone as the Elfin knight in presence came,
And false Duessa seeming Lady faire,
A gentle Husher, Vanitie by name
Made rowme, and passage for them did prepaire:
So goodly brought them to the lowest stair
Of her high throne, where they on humble knee
Making obeyssance, did the cause declare,
Why they were come, her royall state to see,
To prove the wide report of her great Majestee.

xiv


With loftie eyes, halfe loth to looke so low,
She thanked them in her disdainefull wise,
Ne other grace vouchsafed them to show
Of Princesse worthy, scarse them bad arise.
Her Lordes and Ladies all this while devise
Themselves to setten forth to straungers sight:
Some frounce their curled haire in courtly guise,
Some prancke their ruffes, and others trimly dight
Their gay attire: each others greater pride does spight.

xv


Goodly they all that knight do entertaine,
Right glad with him to have increast their crew:
But to Duess' each one himselfe did paine
All kindnesse and faire courtesie to shew;
For in that court whylome her well they knew:
Yet the stout Faerie mongst the middest crowd
Thought all their glorie vaine in knightly vew,
And that great Princesse too exceeding prowd,
That to strange knight no better countenance allowd.

xvi


Suddein upriseth from her stately place
The royall Dame, and for her coche doth call:
All hurtlen forth, and she with Princely pace,
As faire Aurora in her purple pall,
Out of the East the dawning day doth call:
So forth she comes: her brightnesse brode doth blaze;
The heapes of people thronging in the hall,
Do ride each other, upon her to gaze:
Her glorious glitterand light doth all mens eyes amaze.

xvii


So forth she comes, and to her coche does clyme,
Adorned all with gold, and girlonds gay,
That seemd as fresh as Flora in her prime,
And strove to match, in royall rich array,
Great Junoes golden chaire, the which they say
The Gods stand gazing on, when she does ride
To Joves high house through heavens bras-paved way
Drawne of faire Pecocks, that excell in pride,
And full of Argus eyes their tailes dispredden wide.

xviii


But this was drawne of six unequall beasts,
On which her six sage Counsellours did ryde,
Taught to obay thelr bestiall beheasts,
With like conditions to their kinds applyde:
Of which the first, that all the rest did guyde,
Was sluggish Idlenesse the nourse of sin;
Upon a slouthfull Asse he chose to ryde,
Arayd in habit blacke, and amis thin,
Like to an holy Monck, the service to begin.

xix


And in his hand his Portesse still he bare,
That much was worne, but therein little red,
For of devotion he had little care,
Still drownd in sleepe, and most of his dayes ded;
Scarse could he once uphold his heavie hed,
To looken, whether it were night or day:
May seeme the wayne was very evill led,
When such an one had guiding of the way,
That knew not, whether right he went, or else astray.

xx


From worldly cares himselfe he did esloyne.
And greatly shunned manly exercise,
From every worke he chalenged essoyne.
For contemplation sake: yet otherwise,
His life he led in lawlesse riotise;
By which he grew to grievous malady;
For in his lustlesse limbs through evill guise
A shaking fever raignd continually:
Such one was Idlenesse, first of this company.

xxi


And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,
Deformed creature, on a filthie swyne,
His belly was up-blowne with luxury,
And eke with fatnesse swollen were his eyne,
And like a Crane his necke was long and fyne,
With which he swallowd up excessive feast,
For want whereof poore people oft did pyne;
And all the way, most like a brutish beast,
He spued up his gorge, that all did him deteast.

xxii


In greene vine leaves he was right fitly clad;
For other clothes he could not weare for heat,
And on his head an yvie girland had,
From under which fast trickled downe the sweat:
Still as he rode, he somewhat still did eat,
And in his hand did beare a bouzing can,
Of which he supt so oft, that on his seat
His dronken corse he scarse upholden can,
In shape and life more like a monster, than man.

xxiii


Unfit he was for any worldly thing,
And eke unhable once to stirre or go,
Not meet to be of counsell to a king,
Whose mind in meat and drinke was drowned so,
That from his friend he seldome knew his fo:
Full of diseases was his carcas blew,
And a dry dropsie through his flesh did flow,
Which by misdiet daily greater grew:
Such one was Gluttony, the second of that crew.

xxiv


And next to him rode lustfull Lechery,
Upon a bearded Goat, whose rugged haire,
And whally eyes (the signe of gelosy,)
Was like the person selfe, whom he did beare:
Who rough, and blacke, and filthy did appeare,
Unseemely man to please faire Ladies eye;
Yet he of Ladies oft was loved deare,
When fairer faces were bid standen by:
O who does know the bent of womens fantasy?

xxv


In a greene gowne he clothed was full faire,
Which underneath did hide his filthinesse,
And in his hand a burning hart he bare,
Full of vaine follies, and new fanglenesse:
For he was false, and fraught with ficklenesse,
And learned had to love with secret lookes,
And well could daunce, and sing with ruefulnesse,
And fortunes tell, and read in loving bookes,
And thousand other wayes, to bait his fleshly hookes.

xxvi


Inconstant man, that loved all he saw,
And lusted after all, that he did love,
Ne would his looser life be tide to law,
But joyd weake wemens hearts to tempt, and prove
If from their loyall loves he might them move;
Which lewdnesse fild him with reprochfull paine
Of that fowle evill, which all men reprove,
That rots the marrow, and consumes the braine:
Such one was Lecherie, the third of all this traine.

xxvii


And greedy Avarice by him did ride,
Upon a Camell loaden all with gold;
Two iron coffers hong on either side,
With precious mettall full, as they might hold,
And in his lap an heape of coine he told;
For of his wicked pelfe his God he made,
And unto hell him selfe for money sold;
Accursed usurie was all his trade,
And right and wrong ylike in equall ballaunce waide.

xxviii


His life was nigh unto deaths doore yplast,
And thred-bare cote, and cobled shoes he ware,
Ne scarse good morsell all his life did tast,
But both from backe and belly still did spare,
To fill his bags, and richesse to compare;
Yet chylde ne kinsman living had he none
To leave them to; but thorough daily care
To get, and nightly feare to lose his owne,
He led a wretched life unto him selfe unknowne.

xxix


Most wretched wight, whom nothing might suffise,
Whose greedy lust did lacke in greatest store,
Whose need had end, but no end covetise,
Whose wealth was want, whose plenty made him pore,
Who had enough, yet wished ever more;
A vile disease, and eke in foote and hand
A grievous gout tormented him full sore,
That well he could not touch, nor go, nor stand:
Such one was Avarice, the fourth of this faire band.

xxx


And next to him malicious Envie rode,
Upon a ravenous wolfe, and still did chaw
Betweene his cankred teeth a venemous tode,
That all the poison ran about his chaw;
But inwardly he chawed his owne maw
At neighbours wealth, that made him ever sad;
For death it was, when any good he saw,
And wept, that cause of weeping none he had,
But when he heard of harme, he wexed wondrous glad.

xxxi


All in a kirtle of discolourd say
He clothed was, ypainted full of eyes;
And in his bosome secretly there lay
An hatefull Snake, the which his taile uptyes
In many folds, and mortall sting implyes.
Still as he rode, he gnasht his teeth, to see
Those heapes of gold with griple Covetyse,
And grudged at the great felicitie
Of proud Lucifera, and his owne companie.

xxxii


He hated all good workes and vertuous deeds,
And him no lesse, that any like did use,
And who with gracious bread the hungry feeds,
His almes for want of faith he doth accuse;
So every good to bad he doth abuse:
And eke the verse of famous Poets witt
He doth backebite, and spightfull poison spues
From leprous mouth on all, that ever writt:
Such one vile Envie was, that fifte in row did sitt.

xxxiii


And him beside rides fierce revenging Wrath,
Upon a Lion, loth for to be led;
And in his hand a burning brond he hath,
The which he brandisheth about his hed;
His eyes did hurle forth sparkles fiery red,
And stared sterne on all, that him beheld,
As ashes pale of hew and seeming ded;
And on his dagger still his hand he held,
Trembling through hasty rage, when choler in him sweld.

xxxiv


His ruffin raiment all was staind with blood,
Which he had spilt, and all to rags yrent,
Through unadvized rashnesse woxen wood;
For of his hands he had no governement,
Ne car'd for bloud in his avengement:
But when the furious fit was overpast,
His cruell facts he often would repent;
Yet wilfull man he never would forecast,
How many mischieves should ensue his heedlesse hast.

xxxv


Full many mischiefes follow cruell Wrath;
Abhorred bloudshed, and tumultuous strife,
Unmanly murder, and unthrifty scath,
Bitter despight, with rancours rusty knife,
And fretting griefe the enemy of life;
All these, and many evils moe haunt ire,
The swelling Splene, and Frenzy raging rife,
The shaking Palsey, and Saint Fraunces fire:
Such one was Wrath, the last of this ungodly tire.

xxxvi


And after all, upon the wagon beame
Rode Sathan, with a smarting whip in hand,
With which he forward lasht the laesie teme,
So oft as Slowth still in the mire did stand.
Huge routs of people did about them band,
Showting for joy, and still before their way
A foggy mist had covered all the land;
And underneath their feet, all scattered lay
Dead sculs and bones of men, whose life had gone astray.

YE learned sisters, which have oftentimes
Beene to me ayding, others to adorne,
Whom ye thought worthy of your gracefull rymes,
That even the greatest did not greatly scorne
To heare theyr names sung in your simple layes,
But joyed in theyr praise;
And when ye list your owne mishaps to mourne,
Which death, or love, or fortunes wreck did rayse,
Your string could soone to sadder tenor turne,
And teach the woods and waters to lament
Your dolefull dreriment:
Now lay those sorrowfull complaints aside;
And, having all your heads with girlands crownd,
Helpe me mine owne loves prayses to resound;
Ne let the same of any be envide:
So Orpheus did for his owne bride!
So I unto my selfe alone will sing;
The woods shall to me answer, and my Eccho ring.

Early, before the worlds light-giving lampe
His golden beame upon the hils doth spred,
Having disperst the nights unchearefull dampe,
Doe ye awake; and, with fresh lusty-hed,
Go to the bowre of my beloved love,
My truest turtle dove;
Bid her awake; for Hymen is awake,
And long since ready forth his maske to move,
With his bright Tead that flames with many a flake,
And many a bachelor to waite on him,
In theyr fresh garments trim.
Bid her awake therefore, and soone her dight,
For lo! the wished day is come at last,
That shall, for all the paynes and sorrowes past,
Pay to her usury of long delight:
And, whylest she doth her dight,
Doe ye to her of joy and solace sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.

Bring with you all the Nymphes that you can heare
Both of the rivers and the forrests greene,
And of the sea that neighbours to her neare:
Al with gay girlands goodly wel beseene.
And let them also with them bring in hand
Another gay girland
For my fayre love, of lillyes and of roses,
Bound truelove wize, with a blew silke riband.
And let them make great store of bridale poses,
And let them eeke bring store of other flowers,
To deck the bridale bowers.
And let the ground whereas her foot shall tread,
For feare the stones her tender foot should wrong,
Be strewed with fragrant flowers all along,
And diapred lyke the discolored mead.
Which done, doe at her chamber dore awayt,
For she will waken strayt;
The whiles doe ye this song unto her sing,
The woods shall to you answer, and your Eccho ring.

Ye Nymphes of Mulla, which with carefull heed
The silver scaly trouts doe tend full well,
And greedy pikes which use therein to feed;
(Those trouts and pikes all others doo excell;)
And ye likewise, which keepe the rushy lake,
Where none doo fishes take;
Bynd up the locks the which hang scatterd light,
And in his waters, which your mirror make,
Behold your faces as the christall bright,
That when you come whereas my love doth lie,
No blemish she may spie.
And eke, ye lightfoot mayds, which keepe the deere,
That on the hoary mountayne used to towre;
And the wylde wolves, which seeke them to devoure,
With your steele darts doo chace from comming neer;
Be also present heere,
To helpe to decke her, and to help to sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.

Wake now, my love, awake! for it is time;
The Rosy Morne long since left Tithones bed,
All ready to her silver coche to clyme;
And Phoebus gins to shew his glorious hed.
Hark! how the cheerefull birds do chaunt theyr laies
And carroll of Loves praise.
The merry Larke hir mattins sings aloft;
The Thrush replyes; the Mavis descant playes;
The Ouzell shrills; the Ruddock warbles soft;
So goodly all agree, with sweet consent,
To this dayes merriment.
Ah! my deere love, why doe ye sleepe thus long?
When meeter were that ye should now awake,
T' awayt the comming of your joyous make,
And hearken to the birds love-learned song,
The deawy leaves among!
Nor they of joy and pleasance to you sing,
That all the woods them answer, and theyr eccho ring.

My love is now awake out of her dreames,
And her fayre eyes, like stars that dimmed were
With darksome cloud, now shew theyr goodly beams
More bright then Hesperus his head doth rere.
Come now, ye damzels, daughters of delight,
Helpe quickly her to dight:
But first come ye fayre houres, which were begot
In Joves sweet paradice of Day and Night;
Which doe the seasons of the yeare allot,
And al, that ever in this world is fayre,
Doe make and still repayre:
And ye three handmayds of the Cyprian Queene,
The which doe still adorne her beauties pride,
Helpe to addorne my beautifullest bride:
And, as ye her array, still throw betweene
Some graces to be seene;
And, as ye use to Venus, to her sing,
The whiles the woods shal answer, and your eccho ring.

Now is my love all ready forth to come:
Let all the virgins therefore well awayt:
And ye fresh boyes, that tend upon her groome,
Prepare your selves; for he is comming strayt.
Set all your things in seemely good aray,
Fit for so joyfull day:
The joyfulst day that ever sunne did see.
Faire Sun! shew forth thy favourable ray,
And let thy lifull heat not fervent be,
For feare of burning her sunshyny face,
Her beauty to disgrace.
O fayrest Phoebus! father of the Muse!
If ever I did honour thee aright,
Or sing the thing that mote thy mind delight,
Doe not thy servants simple boone refuse;
But let this day, let this one day, be myne;
Let all the rest be thine.
Then I thy soverayne prayses loud wil sing,
That all the woods shal answer, and theyr eccho ring.

Harke! how the Minstrils gin to shrill aloud
Their merry Musick that resounds from far,
The pipe, the tabor, and the trembling Croud,
That well agree withouten breach or jar.
But, most of all, the Damzels doe delite
When they their tymbrels smyte,
And thereunto doe daunce and carrol sweet,
That all the sences they doe ravish quite;
The whyles the boyes run up and downe the street,
Crying aloud with strong confused noyce,
As if it were one voyce,
Hymen, iö Hymen, Hymen, they do shout;
That even to the heavens theyr shouting shrill
Doth reach, and all the firmament doth fill;
To which the people standing all about,
As in approvance, doe thereto applaud,
And loud advaunce her laud;
And evermore they Hymen, Hymen sing,
That al the woods them answer, and theyr eccho ring.

Loe! where she comes along with portly pace,
Lyke Phoebe, from her chamber of the East,
Arysing forth to run her mighty race,
Clad all in white, that seemes a virgin best.
So well it her beseemes, that ye would weene
Some angell she had beene.
Her long loose yellow locks lyke golden wyre,
Sprinckled with perle, and perling flowres atweene,
Doe lyke a golden mantle her attyre;
And, being crowned with a girland greene,
Seeme lyke some mayden Queene.
Her modest eyes, abashed to behold
So many gazers as on her do stare,
Upon the lowly ground affixed are;
Ne dare lift up her countenance too bold,
But blush to heare her prayses sung so loud,
So farre from being proud.
Nathlesse doe ye still loud her prayses sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.

Tell me, ye merchants daughters, did ye see
So fayre a creature in your towne before;
So sweet, so lovely, and so mild as she,
Adornd with beautyes grace and vertues store?
Her goodly eyes lyke Saphyres shining bright,
Her forehead yvory white,
Her cheekes lyke apples which the sun hath rudded,
Her lips lyke cherryes charming men to byte,
Her brest like to a bowle of creame uncrudded,
Her paps lyke lyllies budded,
Her snowie necke lyke to a marble towre;
And all her body like a pallace fayre,
Ascending up, with many a stately stayre,
To honors seat and chastities sweet bowre.
Why stand ye still ye virgins in amaze,
Upon her so to gaze,
Whiles ye forget your former lay to sing,
To which the woods did answer, and your eccho ring?

But if ye saw that which no eyes can see,
The inward beauty of her lively spright,
Garnisht with heavenly guifts of high degree,
Much more then would ye wonder at that sight,
And stand astonisht lyke to those which red
Medusaes mazeful hed.
There dwels sweet love, and constant chastity,
Unspotted fayth, and comely womanhood,
Regard of honour, and mild modesty;
There vertue raynes as Queene in royal throne,
And giveth lawes alone,
The which the base affections doe obay,
And yeeld theyr services unto her will;
Ne thought of thing uncomely ever may
Thereto approch to tempt her mind to ill.
Had ye once seene these her celestial threasures,
And unrevealed pleasures,
Then would ye wonder, and her prayses sing,
That al the woods should answer, and your echo ring.

Open the temple gates unto my love,
Open them wide that she may enter in,
And all the postes adorne as doth behove,
And all the pillours deck with girlands trim,
For to receyve this Saynt with honour dew,
That commeth in to you.
With trembling steps, and humble reverence,
She commeth in, before th' Almighties view;
Of her ye virgins learne obedience,
When so ye come into those holy places,
To humble your proud faces:
Bring her up to th' high altar, that she may
The sacred ceremonies there partake,
The which do endlesse matrimony make;
And let the roring Organs loudly play
The praises of the Lord in lively notes;
The whiles, with hollow throates,
The Choristers the joyous Antheme sing,
That al the woods may answere, and their eccho ring.

Behold, whiles she before the altar stands,
Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes,
And blesseth her with his two happy hands,
How the red roses flush up in her cheekes,
And the pure snow, with goodly vermill stayne
Like crimsin dyde in grayne:
That even th' Angels, which continually
About the sacred Altare doe remaine,
Forget their service and about her fly,
Ofte peeping in her face, that seems more fayre,
The more they on it stare.
But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground,
Are governed with goodly modesty,
That suffers not one looke to glaunce awry,
Which may let in a little thought unsownd.
Why blush ye, love, to give to me your hand,
The pledge of all our band!
Sing, ye sweet Angels, Alleluya sing,
That all the woods may answere, and your eccho ring.

Now al is done: bring home the bride againe;
Bring home the triumph of our victory:
Bring home with you the glory of her gaine;
With joyance bring her and with jollity.
Never had man more joyfull day then this,
Whom heaven would heape with blis,
Make feast therefore now all this live-long day;
This day for ever to me holy is.
Poure out the wine without restraint or stay,
Poure not by cups, but by the belly full,
Poure out to all that wull,
And sprinkle all the postes and wals with wine,
That they may sweat, and drunken be withall.
Crowne ye God Bacchus with a coronall,
And Hymen also crowne with wreathes of vine;
And let the Graces daunce unto the rest,
For they can doo it best:
The whiles the maydens doe theyr carroll sing,
To which the woods shall answer, and theyr eccho ring.

Ring ye the bels, ye yong men of the towne,
And leave your wonted labors for this day:
This day is holy; doe ye write it downe,
That ye for ever it remember may.
This day the sunne is in his chiefest hight,
With Barnaby the bright,
From whence declining daily by degrees,
He somewhat loseth of his heat and light,
When once the Crab behind his back he sees.
But for this time it ill ordained was,
To chose the longest day in all the yeare,
And shortest night, when longest fitter weare:
Yet never day so long, but late would passe.
Ring ye the bels, to make it weare away,
And bonefiers make all day;
And daunce about them, and about them sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.

Ah! when will this long weary day have end,
And lende me leave to come unto my love?
How slowly do the houres theyr numbers spend?
How slowly does sad Time his feathers move?
Hast thee, O fayrest Planet, to thy home,
Within the Westerne fome:
Thy tyred steedes long since have need of rest.
Long though it be, at last I see it gloome,
And the bright evening-star with golden creast
Appeare out of the East.
Fayre childe of beauty! glorious lampe of love!
That all the host of heaven in rankes doost lead,
And guydest lovers through the nights sad dread,
How chearefully thou lookest from above,
And seemst to laugh atweene thy twinkling light,
As joying in the sight
Of these glad many, which for joy doe sing,
That all the woods them answer, and their echo ring!

Now ceasse, ye damsels, your delights fore-past;
Enough it is that all the day was youres:
Now day is doen, and night is nighing fast,
Now bring the Bryde into the brydall boures.
The night is come, now soon her disaray,
And in her bed her lay;
Lay her in lillies and in violets,
And silken courteins over her display,
And odourd sheetes, and Arras coverlets.
Behold how goodly my faire love does ly,
In proud humility!
Like unto Maia, when as Jove her took
In Tempe, lying on the flowry gras,
Twixt sleepe and wake, after she weary was,
With bathing in the Acidalian brooke.
Now it is night, ye damsels may be gon,
And leave my love alone,
And leave likewise your former lay to sing:
The woods no more shall answere, nor your echo ring.

Now welcome, night! thou night so long expected,
That long daies labour doest at last defray,
And all my cares, which cruell Love collected,
Hast sumd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing over my love and me,
That no man may us see;
And in thy sable mantle us enwrap,
From feare of perrill and foule horror free.
Let no false treason seeke us to entrap,
Nor any dread disquiet once annoy
The safety of our joy;
But let the night be calme, and quietsome,
Without tempestuous storms or sad afray:
Lyke as when Jove with fayre Alcmena lay,
When he begot the great Tirynthian groome:
Or lyke as when he with thy selfe did lie
And begot Majesty.
And let the mayds and yong men cease to sing;
Ne let the woods them answer nor theyr eccho ring.

Let no lamenting cryes, nor dolefull teares,
Be heard all night within, nor yet without:
Ne let false whispers, breeding hidden feares,
Breake gentle sleepe with misconceived dout.
Let no deluding dreames, nor dreadfull sights,
Make sudden sad affrights;
Ne let house-fyres, nor lightnings helpelesse harmes,
Ne let the Pouke, nor other evill sprights,
Ne let mischivous witches with theyr charmes,
Ne let hob Goblins, names whose sence we see not,
Fray us with things that be not:
Let not the shriech Oule nor the Storke be heard,
Nor the night Raven, that still deadly yels;
Nor damned ghosts, cald up with mighty spels,
Nor griesly vultures, make us once affeard:
Ne let th' unpleasant Quyre of Frogs still croking
Make us to wish theyr choking.
Let none of these theyr drery accents sing;
Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.

But let stil Silence trew night-watches keepe,
That sacred Peace may in assurance rayne,
And tymely Sleep, when it is tyme to sleepe,
May poure his limbs forth on your pleasant playne;
The whiles an hundred little winged loves,
Like divers-fethered doves,
Shall fly and flutter round about your bed,
And in the secret darke, that none reproves,
Their prety stealthes shal worke, and snares shal spread
To filch away sweet snatches of delight,
Conceald through covert night.
Ye sonnes of Venus, play your sports at will!
For greedy pleasure, carelesse of your toyes,
Thinks more upon her paradise of joyes,
Then what ye do, albe it good or ill.
All night therefore attend your merry play,
For it will soone be day:
Now none doth hinder you, that say or sing;
Ne will the woods now answer, nor your Eccho ring.

Who is the same, which at my window peepes?
Or whose is that faire face that shines so bright?
Is it not Cinthia, she that never sleepes,
But walkes about high heaven al the night?
O! fayrest goddesse, do thou not envy
My love with me to spy:
For thou likewise didst love, though now unthought,
And for a fleece of wooll, which privily
The Latmian shepherd once unto thee brought,
His pleasures with thee wrought.
Therefore to us be favorable now;
And sith of wemens labours thou hast charge,
And generation goodly dost enlarge,
Encline thy will t'effect our wishfull vow,
And the chast wombe informe with timely seed
That may our comfort breed:
Till which we cease our hopefull hap to sing;
Ne let the woods us answere, nor our Eccho ring.

And thou, great Juno! which with awful might
The lawes of wedlock still dost patronize;
And the religion of the faith first plight
With sacred rites hast taught to solemnize;
And eeke for comfort often called art
Of women in their smart;
Eternally bind thou this lovely band,
And all thy blessings unto us impart.
And thou, glad Genius! in whose gentle hand
The bridale bowre and geniall bed remaine,
Without blemish or staine;
And the sweet pleasures of theyr loves delight
With secret ayde doest succour and supply,
Till they bring forth the fruitfull progeny;
Send us the timely fruit of this same night.
And thou, fayre Hebe! and thou, Hymen free!
Grant that it may so be.
Til which we cease your further prayse to sing;
Ne any woods shall answer, nor your Eccho ring.

And ye high heavens, the temple of the gods,
In which a thousand torches flaming bright
Doe burne, that to us wretched earthly clods
In dreadful darknesse lend desired light
And all ye powers which in the same remayne,
More then we men can fayne!
Poure out your blessing on us plentiously,
And happy influence upon us raine,
That we may raise a large posterity,
Which from the earth, which they may long possesse
With lasting happinesse,
Up to your haughty pallaces may mount;
And, for the guerdon of theyr glorious merit,
May heavenly tabernacles there inherit,
Of blessed Saints for to increase the count.
So let us rest, sweet love, in hope of this,
And cease till then our tymely joyes to sing:
The woods no more us answer, nor our eccho ring!

Song! made in lieu of many ornaments,
With which my love should duly have been dect,
Which cutting off through hasty accidents,
Ye would not stay your dew time to expect,
But promist both to recompens;
Be unto her a goodly ornament,
And for short time an endlesse moniment.

The Faerie Queene, Book Iii, Canto Vi

THE THIRD BOOKE OF THE FAERIE QUEENE
Contayning
THE LEGENDE OF BRITOMARTIS
OR OF CHASTITIECANTO VI
The birth of faire Belphoebe and
Of Amoret is told.
The Gardins of Adonis fraught
With pleasures manifold.


i
Well may I weene, faire Ladies, all this while
Ye wonder, how this noble Damozell
So great perfections did in her compile,
Sith that in salvage forests she did dwell,
So farre from court and royall Citadell,
The great schoolmistresse of all curtesy:
Seemeth that such wild woods should far expell
All civill usage and gentility,
And gentle sprite deforme with rude rusticity.

ii

But to this faire Belphoebe in her berth
The heavens so favourable were and free,
Looking with myld aspect upon the earth,
In th'Horoscope of her nativitee,
That all the gifts of grace and chastitee
On her they poured forth of plenteous horne;
Jove laught on Venus from his soveraigne see,
And Phoebus with faire beames did her adorne,
And all the Graces rockt her cradle being borne.

iii

Her berth was of the wombe of Morning dew,
And her conception of the joyous Prime,
And all her whole creation did her shew
Pure and unspotted from all loathly crime,
That is ingenerate in fleshly slime.
So was this virgin borne, so was she bred,
So was she trayned up from time to time,
In all chast vertue, and true bounti-hed
Till to her dew perfection she was ripened.

iv

Her mother was the faire Chrysogonee,
The daughter of Amphisa, who by race
A Faerie was, yborne of high degree,
She bore Belphoebe, she bore in like cace
Faire Amoretta in the second place:
These two were twinnes, and twixt them two did share
The heritage of all celestiall grace.
That all the rest it seem'd they robbed bare
Of bountie, and of beautie, and all vertues rare.

v

It were a goodly storie, to declare,
By what straunge accident faire Chrysogone
Conceiv'd these infants, and how them she bare,
In this wild forrest wandring all alone,
After she had nine moneths fulfild and gone:
For not as other wemens commune brood,
They were enwombed in the sacred throne
Of her chaste bodie, nor with commune food,
As other wemens babes, they sucked vitall blood.

vi

But wondrously they were begot, and bred
Through influence of th'heavens fruitfull ray,
As it in antique bookes is mentioned.
It was upon a Sommers shynie day,
When Titan faire his beames did display,
In a fresh fountaine, farre from all mens vew,
She bath'd her brest, the boyling heat t'allay;
She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

vii

Till faint through irkesome wearinesse, adowne
Upon the grassie ground her selfe she layd
To sleepe, the whiles a gentle slombring swowne
Upon her fell all naked bare displayd;
The sunne-beames bright upon her body playd,
Being through former bathing mollifide,
And pierst into her wombe, where they embayd
With so sweet sence and secret power unspide,
That in her pregnant flesh they shortly fructifide.

viii

Miraculous may seeme to him, that reades
So straunge ensample of conception;
But reason teacheth that the fruitfull seades
Of all things living, through impression
Of the sunbeames in moyst complexion,
Doe life conceive and quickned are by kynd:
So after Nilus inundation,
Infinite shapes of creatures men do fynd,
Informed in the mud, on which the Sunne hath shynd.

ix

Great father he of generation
Is rightly cald, th'author of life and light;
And his faire sister for creation
Ministreth matter fit, which tempred right
With heate and humour, breedes the living wight.
So sprong these twinnes in wombe of Chrysogone,
Yet wist she nought thereof, but sore affright,
Wondred to see her belly so upblone,
Which still increast, till she her terme had full outgone.

x

Whereof conceiving shame and foule disgrace,
Albe her guiltlesse conscience her cleard,
She fled into the wildernesse a space,
Till that unweeldy burden she had reard,
And shund dishonor, which as death she feard:
Where wearie of long travell, downe to rest
Her selfe she set, and comfortably cheard;
There a sad cloud of sleepe her overkest,
And seized every sense with sorrow sore opprest.

xi

It fortuned, faire Venus having lost
Her little sonne, the winged god of love,
Who for some light displeasure, which him crost,
Was from her fled, as flit as ayerie Dove,
And left her blisfull bowre of joy above,
(So from her often he had fled away,
When she for ought him sharpely did reprove,
And wandred in the world in strange aray,
Disguiz'd in thousand shapes, that none might him bewray.)

xii


Him for to seeke, she left her heavenly hous,
The house of goodly formes and faire aspects,
Whence all the world derives the glorious
Features of beautie, and all shapes select,
With which high God his workmanship hath deckt;
And searched every way, through which his wings
Had borne him, or his tract she mote detect:
She promist kisses sweet, and sweeter things
Unto the man, that of him tydings to her brings.

xiii


First she him sought in Court, where most he used
Whylome to haunt, but there she found him not;
But many there she found, which sore accused
His falsehood, and with foule infamous blot
His cruell deedes and wicked wyles did spot:
Ladies and Lords she every where mote heare
Complayning, how with his empoysned shot
Their wofull harts he wounded had whyleare,
And so had left them languishing twixt hopt and feare.

xiv


She then the Citties sought from gate to gate,
And every one did aske, did he him see;
And every one her answerd, that too late
He had him seene, and felt the crueltie
Of his sharpe darts and whot artillerie;
And every one threw forth reproches rife
Of his mischievous deedes, and said, That hee
Was the disturber of all civill life,
The enimy of peace, and author of all strife.

xv


Then in the countrey she abroad him sought,
And in the rurall cottages inquired,
Where also many plaints to her were brought,
How he their heedlesse harts with love had fyred,
And his false venim through their veines inspyred;
And eke the gentle shepheard swaynes, which sat
Keeping their fleecie flockes, as they were hyred,
She sweetly heard complaine, both how and what
Her sonne had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat.

xvi


But when in none of all these she him got,
She gan avize, where else he mote him hyde:
At last she her bethought, that she had not
Yet sought the salvage woods and forrests wyde,
In which full many lovely Nymphes abyde,
Mongst whom might be, that he did closely lye,
Or that the love of some of them him tyde:
For thy she thither cast her course t'apply,
To search the secret haunts of Dianes company.

xvii


Shortly unto the wastefull woods she came,
Whereas she found the Goddesse with her crew,
After late chace of their embrewed game,
Sitting beside a fountaine in a rew,
Some of them washing with the liquid dew
From offtheir dainty limbes the dustie sweat,
And soyle which did deforme their lively hew;
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
The rest upon her person gave attendance great.

xviii


She having hong upon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiver, had unlaste
Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh,
And her lancke loynes ungirt, and brests unbraste,
After her heat the breathing cold to taste;
Her golden lockes, that late in tresses bright
Embreaded were for hindring of her haste,
Now loose about her shoulders hong undight,
And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinckled light.

xix


Soone as she Venus saw behind her backe,
She was asham'd to be so loose surprized,
And woxe halfe wroth against her damzels slacke,
That had not her thereof before avized,
But suffred her so carelesly disguized
Be overtaken. Soone her garments loose
Upgath'ring, in her bosome she comprized,
Well as she might, and to the Goddesse rose,
Whiles all her Nymphes did like a girlond her enclose.

xx


Goodly she gan faire Cytherea greet,
And shortly asked her, what cause her brought
Into that wildernesse for her unmeet,
From her sweete bowres, and beds with pleasures fraught:
That suddein change she strange adventure thought.
To whom halfe weeping, she thus answered,
That she her dearest sonne Cupido sought,
Who in his frowardnesse from her was fled;
That she repented sore, to have him angered.

xxi


Thereat Diana gan to smile, in scorne
Of her vaine plaint, and to her scoffmg sayd;
Great pittie sure, that ye be so forlorne
Of your gay sonne, that gives ye so good ayd
To your disports: ill mote ye bene apayd.
But she was more engrieved, and replide;
Faire sister, ill beseemes it to upbrayd
A dolefull heart with so disdainfull pride;
The like that mine, may be your paine another tide.

xxii


As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
Your glory set, to chace the salvage beasts,
So my delight is all in joyfulnesse,
In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feasts:
And ill becomes you with your loftie creasts,
To scorne the joy, that Jove is glad to seeke;
We both are bound to follow heavens beheasts,
And tend our charges with obeisance meeke:
Spare, gentle sister, with reproch my paine to eeke.

xxiii


And tell me, if that ye my sonne have heard,
To lurk emongst your Nymphes in secret wize;
Or keepe their cabins: much I am affeard,
Lest he like one of them him selfe disguize,
And turne his arrowes to their exercize:
So may he long himselfe full easie hide:
For he is faire and fresh in face and guize,
As any Nymph (let not it be envyde.)
So saying every Nymph full narrowly she eyde.

xxiv


But Phoebe therewith sore was angered,
And sharply said; Goe Dame, goe seeke your boy,
Where you him lately left, in Mars his bed;
He comes not here, we scorne his foolish joy,
Ne lend we leisure to his idle toy:
But if I catch him in this company,
By Stygian lake I vow, whose sad annoy
The Gods doe dread, he dearely shall abye:
Ile clip his wanton wings, that he no more shall fly.

xxv


Whom when as Venus saw so sore displeased,
She inly sory was, and gan relent,
What she had said: so her she soone appeased,
With sugred words and gentle blandishment,
Which as a fountaine from her sweet lips went,
And welled goodly forth, that in short space
She was well pleasd, and forth her damzels sent,
Through all the woods, to search from place to place,
If any tract of him or tydings they mote trace.

xxvi


To search the God of love, her Nymphes she sent
Throughout the wandring forrest every where:
But after them her selfe eke with her went
To seeke the fugitive, both farre and nere.
So long they sought, till they arrived were
In that same shadie covert, whereas lay
Faire Crysogone in slombry traunce whilere:
Who in her sleepe (a wondrous thing to say)
Unwares had borne two babes, as faire as springing day.

xxvii


Unwares she them conceiv'd, unwares she bore:
She bore withouten paine, that she conceived
Withouten pleasure: ne her need implore
Lucinaes aide: which when they both perceived,
They were through wonder nigh of sense bereaved,
And gazing each on other, nought bespake:
At last they both agreed, her seeming grieved
Out of her heavy swowne not to awake,
But from her loving side the tender babes to take.

xxviii


Up they them tooke, each one a babe uptooke,
And with them carried, to be fostered;
Dame Phoebe to a Nymph her babe betooke,
To be upbrought in perfect Maydenhed,
And of her selfe her name Belphoebe red:
But Venus hers thence farre away convayd,
To be upbrought in goodly womanhed,
And in her litle loves stead, which was strayd,
Her Amoretta cald, to comfort her dismayd.

xxix


She brought her to her joyous Paradize,
Where most she wonnes, when she on earth does dwel.
So faire a place, as Nature can devize:
Whether in Paphos, or Cytheron hill,
Or it in Gnidus be, I wote not well;
But well I wote by tryall, that this same
All other pleasant places doth excell,
And called is by her lost lovers name,
The Gardin of Adonis, farre renowmd by fame.

xxx


In that same Gardin all the goodly flowres,
Wherewith dame Nature doth her beautifie,
And decks the girlonds of her paramoures,
Are fetcht: there is the first seminarie
Of all things, that are borne to live and die,
According to their kindes. Long worke it were,
Here to account the endlesse progenie
Of all the weedes, that bud and blossome there;
But so much as doth need, must needs be counted here.

xxxi


It sited was in fruitfull soyle of old,
And girt in with two walles on either side;
The one of yron, the other of bright gold,
That none might thorough breake, nor over-stride:
And double gates it had, which opened wide,
By which both in and out men moten pas;
Th'one faire and fresh, the other old and dride:
Old Genius the porter of them was,
Old Genius, the which a double nature has.

xxxii


He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
All that to come into the world desire;
A thousand thousand naked babes attend
About him day and night, which doe require,
That he with fleshly weedes would them attire:
Such as him list, such as eternall fate
Ordained hath, he clothes with sinfull mire,
And sendeth forth to live in mortall state,
Till they againe returne backe by the hinder gate.

xxxiii


After that they againe returned beene,
They in that Gardin planted be againe;
And grow afresh, as they had never seene
Fleshly corruption, nor mortall paine.
Some thousand yeares so doen they there remaine;
And then of him are clad with other hew,
Or sent into the chaungefull world againe,
Till thither they returne, where first they grew:
So like a wheele around they runne from old to new.

xxxiv


Ne needs there Gardiner to set, or sow,
To plant or prune: for of their owne accord
All things, as they created were, doe grow,
And yet remember well the mightie word,
Which first was spoken by th'Almightie lord,
That bad them to increase and multiply:
Ne doe they need with water of the ford,
Or of the clouds to moysten their roots dry;
For in themselves eternall moisture they imply.

xxxv


Infinite shapes of creatures there are bred,
And uncouth formes, which none yet ever knew,
And every sort is in a sundry bed
Set by it selfe, and ranckt in comely rew:
Some fit for reasonable soules t'indew,
Some made for beasts, some made for birds to weare,
And all the fruitfull spawne of fishes hew
In endlesse rancks along enraunged were,
That seem'd the Ocean could not containe them there.

xxxvi


Daily they grow, and daily forth are sent
Into the world, it to replenish more;
Yet is the stocke not lessened, nor spent,
But still remaines in everlasting store,
As it at first created was of yore.
For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes,
In hatefull darkenesse and in deepe horrore,
An huge eternall Chaos, which supplyes
The substances of natures fruitfull progenyes.

xxxvii


All things from thence doe their first being fetch,
And borrow matter, whereof they are made,
Which when as forme and feature it does ketch,
Becomes a bodie, and doth then invade
The state of life, out of the griesly shade.
That substance is eterne, and bideth so,
Ne when the life decayes, and forme does fade,
Doth it consume, and into nothing go,
But chaunged is, and often altred to and fro.

xxxviii


The substance is not chaunged, nor altered,
But th'only forme and outward fashion;
For every substance is conditioned
To change her hew, and sundry formes to don,
Meet for her temper and complexion:
For formes are variable and decay,
By course of kind, and by occasion;
And that faire flowre of beautie fades away,
As doth the lilly fresh before the sunny ray.

xxxix


Great enimy to it, and to all the rest,
That in the Gardin of Adonis springs,
Is wicked Time, who with his scyth addrest,
Does mow the flowring herbes and goodly things,
And all their glory to the ground downe flings,
Where they doe wither, and are fowly mard:
He flyes about, and with his flaggy wings
Beates downe both leaves and buds without regard,
Ne ever pittie may relent his malice hard.

xl


Yet pittie often did the gods relent,
To see so faire things mard, and spoyled quight:
And their great mother Venus did lament
The losse of her deare brood, her deare delight;
Her hart was pierst with pittie at the sight,
When walking through the Gardin, them she saw,
Yet no'te she find redresse for such despight.
For all that lives, is subject to that law:
All things decay in time, and to their end do draw.

xli


But were it not, that Time their troubler is,
All that in this delightfull Gardin growes,
Should happie be, and have immortall blis:
For here all plentie, and all pleasure flowes,
And sweet love gentle fits emongst them throwes,
Without fell rancor, or fond gealosie;
Franckly each paramour his leman knowes,
Each bird his mate, ne any does envie
Their goodly meriment, and gay felicitie.

xlii


There is continuall spring, and harvest there
Continuall, both meeting at one time:
For both the boughes doe laughing blossomes beare,
And with fresh colours decke the wanton Prime,
And eke attonce the heavy trees they clime,
Which seeme to labour under their fruits lode:
The whiles the joyous birdes make their pastime
Emongst the shadie leaves, their sweet abode,
And their true loves without suspition tell abrode.

xliii


Right in the middest of that Paradise,
There stood a stately Mount, on whose round top
A gloomy grove of mirtle trees did rise,
Whose shadie boughes sharpe steele did never lop,
Nor wicked beasts their tender buds did crop,
But like a girlond compassed the hight,
And from their fruitfull sides sweet gum did drop,
That all the ground with precious deaw bedight,
Threw forth most dainty odours, and most sweet delight.

xliv


And in the thickest covert of that shade,
There was a pleasant arbour, not by art,
But of the trees owne inclination made,
Which knitting their rancke braunches part to part,
With wanton yvie twyne entrayld athwart,
And Eglantine, and Caprifole emong,
Fashiond above within their inmost part,
That neither Phoebus beams could through them throng,
Nor Aeolus sharp blast could worke them any wrong.

xlv


And all about grew every sort of flowre,
To which sad lovers were transformd of yore;
Fresh Hyacinthus, Phoebus paramoure,
And dearest love,
Foolish Narcisse, that likes the watry shore,
Sad Amaranthus, made a flowre but late,
Sad Amaranthus, in whose purple gore
Me seemes I see Amintas wretched fate,
To whom sweet Poets verse hath given endlesse date.

xlvi


There wont faire Venus often to enjoy
Her deare Adonis joyous company,
And reape sweet pleasure of the wanton boy;
There yet, some say, in secret he does ly,
Lapped in flowres and pretious spycery,
By her hid from the world, and from the skill
Of Stygian Gods, which doe her love envy;
But she her selfe, when ever that she will,
Possesseth him, and of his sweetnesse takes her fill.

xlvii


And sooth it seemes they say: for he may not
For ever die, and ever buried bee
In balefull night, where all things are forgot;
All be he subject to mortalitie,
Yet is eterne in mutabilitie,
And by succession made perpetuall,
Transformed oft, and chaunged diverslie:
For him the Father of all formes they call;
Therefore needs mote he live, that living gives to all.

xlviii


There now he liveth in eternall blis,
Joying his goddesse, and of her enjoyd:
Ne feareth he henceforth that foe of his,
Which with his cruell tuske him deadly cloyd:
For that wilde Bore, the which him once annoyd,
She firmely hath emprisoned for ay,
That her sweet love his malice mote avoyd,
In a strong rocky Cave, which is they say,
Hewen underneath that Mount, that none him losen may.

xlix


There now he lives in everlasting joy,
With many of the Gods in company,
Which thither haunt, and with the winged boy
Sporting himselfe in safe felicity:
Who when he hath with spoiles and cruelty
Ransackt the world, and in the wofull harts
Of many wretches set his triumphes hye,
Thither resorts, and laying his sad darts
Aside, with faire Adonis playes his wanton parts.

l


And his true love faire Psyche with him playes,
Faire Psyche to him lately reconcyld,
After long troubles and unmeet upbrayes,
With which his mother Venus her revyld,
And eke himselfe her cruelly exyld:
But now in stedfast love and happy state
She with him lives, and hath him borne a chyld,
Pleasure, that doth both gods and men aggrate,
Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche late.

li


Hither great Venus brought this infant faire,
The younger daughter of Chrysogonee,
And unto Psyche with great trust and care
Committed her, yfostered to bee,
And trained up in true feminitee:
Who no lesse carefully her tendered,
Then her owne daughter Pleasure, to whom shee
Made her companion, and her lessoned
In all the lore of love, and goodly womanhead....

The Ruines Of Time

It chaunced me on day beside the shore
Of siluer streaming Thamesis to bee,
Nigh where the goodly Verlame stood of yore,
Of which there now remaines no memorie,
Nor anie little moniment to see,
By which the trauailer, that fares that way,
This once was she, may warned be to say.
There on the other side, I did behold
A Woman sitting sorrowfullie wailing,
Rending her yeolow locks, like wyrie golde,
About her shoulders careleslie downe trailing,
And streames of teares from her faire eyes forth railing.
In her right hand a broken rod she held,
Which towards heauen shee seemd on high to weld.

Whether she were one of that Riuers Nymphes,
Which did the losse of some dere loue lament,
I doubt; or one of those three fatall Impes,
Which draw the dayes of men forth in extent;
Or th' auncient Genius of that Citie brent:
But seeing her so piteouslie perplexed,
I (to her calling) askt what her so vexed.

Ah what delight (quoth she) in earthlie thing,
Or comfort can I, wretched creature haue?
Whose happines the heauens enuying,
From highest staire to lowest step me draue,
And haue in mine owne bowels made my graue,
That of all Nations now I am forlorne,
The worlds sad spectacle, and fortunes scorne.

Much was I mooued at her piteous plaint,
And felt my heart nigh riuen in my brest
With tender ruth to see her sore constraint,
That shedding teares a while I still did rest,
And after did her name of her request.
Name haue I none (quoth she) nor anie being,
Bereft of both by Fates vniust decreeing.

I was that Citie, which the garland wore
Of Britaines pride, deliuer'd vnto me
By Romane Victors, which it wonne of yore;
Though nought at all but ruines now I bee,
And lye in mine owne ashes, as ye see:
Verlame I was; what bootes it that I was,
Sith now I am but weedes and wastfull gras?

O vaine worlds glorie, and vnstedfast state
Of all that liues, on face of sinfull earth,
Which from their first vntill their vtmost date
Tast no one hower of happines or merth,
But like as at the ingate of their berth,
They crying creep out of their mothers woomb,
So wailing backe go to their wofull toomb.

Why then dooth flesh, a bubble glas of breath,
Hunt after honour and aduauncement vaine,
And reare a trophee for deuouring death,
With so great labour and long lasting paine,
As if his daies for euer should remaine?
Sith all that in this world is great or gaie,
Doth as a vapour vanish, and decaie.

Looke backe, who list, vnto the former ages,
And call to count, what is of them become:
Where be those learned wits and antique Sages,
Which of all wisedome knew the perfect somme:
Where those great warriors, which did ouercomme
The world with conquest of their might and maine,
And made one meare of th' earth & of their raine?

What nowe is of th' Assyrian Lyonesse,
Of whom no footing now on earth appeares?
What of the Persian Beares outragiousnesse,
Whose memorie is quite worne out with yeares?
Who of the Grecian Libbard now ought heares,
That ouerran the East with greedie powre,
And left his whelps their kingdomes to deuoure?

And where is that same great seuen headded beast,
That made all nations vassals of her pride,
To fall before her feete at her beheast,
And in the necke of all the world did ride?
Where doth she all that wondrous welth nowe hide?
With her owne weight downe pressed now shee lies,
And by her heaps her hugenesse testifies.

O Rome thy ruine I lament and rue,
And in thy fall my fatall ouerthrowe,
That whilom was, whilst heauens with equall vewe
Deignd to behold me, and their gifts bestowe,
The picture of thy pride in pompous shew:
And of the whole world as thou wast the Empresse,
So I of this small Northerne world was Princesse.

To tell the beawtie of my buildings fayre,
Adorn'd with purest golde and precious stone;
To tell my riches, and endowments rare
That by my foes are now all spent and gone:
To tell my forces matchable to none,
Were but lost labour, that few would beleeue,
And with rehearsing would me more agreeue.

High towers, faire temples, goodly theaters,
Strong walls, rich porches, princelie pallaces,
Large streetes, braue houses, sacred sepulchers,
Sure gates, sweete gardens, stately galleries,
Wrought with faire pillours and fine imageries
All those (ô pitie) now are turnd to dust,
And ouergrowen with black obliuions rust.

Theretoo for warlike power, and peoples store,
In Brittanie was none to match with mee,
That manie often did abie full sore:
Ne Troynouaunt, though elder sister shee,
With my great forces might compared bee;
That stout Pendragon to his perill felt,
Who in a seige seauen yeres about me dwelt.

But long ere this Bunduca Britonesse
Her mightie hoast against my bulwarkes brought,
Bunduca, that victorious conqueresse,
That lifting vp her braue heroïck thought
Bove womens weaknes, with the Romanes fought,
Fought, and in field against them thrice preuailed:
Yet was she foyld, when as she me assailed.

And though at last by force I conquer'd were
Of hardie Saxons, and became their thrall;
Yet was I with much bloodshed bought full deere,
And prizde with slaughter of their Generall:
The moniment of whose sad funerall,
For wonder of the world, long in me lasted;
But now to nought through spoyle of time is wasted.

Wasted it is, as if it neuer were,
And all the rest that me so honord made,
And of the world admired eu'rie where,
Is turnd to smoake, that doth to nothing fade;
And of that brightnes now appeares no shade,
But greislie shades, such as doo haunt in hell.
With fearfull fiends, that in deep darknes dwell.

Where my high steeples whilom vsde to stand,
On which the lordly Faulcon wont to towre,
There now is but an heap of lyme and sand,
For the Shricke-owle to build her baleful bowre:
And where the Nightingale wont forth to powre
Her restles plaints, to comfort wakefull Louers,
There now haunt yelling Mewes & whining Plouers.

And where the christall Thamis wont to slide
In siluer channell, downe along the Lee,
About whose flowrie bankes on either side
A thousand Nymphes, with mirthfull iollitee,
Were wont to play, from all annoyance free;
There now no riuers course is to be seene,
But moorish fennes, and marshes euer greene.

Seemes, that that gentle Riuer for great griefe
Of my mishaps, which oft I to him plained;
Of for to shunne the horrible mischiefe,
With which he saw my cruell foes me pained,
And his pure streames with guiltles blood oft stained,
From my vnhappie neighborhood farre fled,
And his sweete waters away with him led.

There also where the winged ships were seene
In liquid waues to cut their fomie waie,
And thousand Fishers numbred to haue been,
In that wide lake looking for plenteous praie
Of fish, which they with baits vsde to betraie,
Is now no lake, nor anie fishers store,
Nor euer ship shall saile there anie more.

They all are gone, and all with them is gone,
Ne ought to me remaines, but to lament
My long decay, which no man els doth mone,
And mourne my fall with dolefull dreriment.
Yet it is comfort in great languishment,
To be bemoned with compassion kinde,
And mitigates the anguish of the minde.

But me no man bewaileth, but in game,
Ne sheddeth teares from lamentable eie:
Nor anie liues that mentioneth my name
To be remembred of posteritie,
Saue One that maugre fortunes iniurie,
And times decay, and enuies cruell tort,
Hath writ my record in true-seeming sort.

Cambden the nourice of antiquitie,
And lanterne vnto late succeeding age,
To see the light of simple veritie,
Buried in ruines, through the great outrage
Of her owne people, led with warlike rage;
Cambden, though Time all moniments obscure,
Yet thy iust labours euer shall endure.

But whie (vnhappie wight) doo I thus crie,
And grieue that my remembrance quite is raced
Out of the knowledge of posteritie,
And all my antique moniments defaced?
Sith I doo dailie see things highest placed,
So soone as fates their vitall thred haue neuer borne.

It is not long, since these two eyes beheld
A mightie Prince, of most renowmed race,
Whom England high in count of honour held,
And greatest ones did serue to gaine his grace;
Of greatest ones he greatest in his place,
Sate in the bosome of his Soueraine,
And Right and loyall did his worde maintaine.

I saw him die, I saw him die, as one
Of the meane people, and brought foorth on beare,
I saw him die, and no man left to mone
His dolefull fate, that late him loued deare:
Scarse anie left to close his eylids neare;
Scarse anie left vpon his lips to laie
The sacred sod, or Requiem to saie.

O trustlesse state of miserable men,
That builde your blis on hope of earthly thing,
And vainly thinke your selues halfe happy then,
When painted faces with smooth flattering
Doo fawne on you, and your wide praises sing,
And when the courting masker louteth lowe,
Him true in heart and trustie to you trow.

All is but fained, and with oaker die,
That euerie shower will wash and wipe away,
All things doo change that vnder heauen abide
And after death all friendship doth decaie.
Therefore what euer man bearst worldlie sway,
Liuing, on God, and on thy selfe relie;
For when thou diest, all shall with thee die.

He now is dead, and all is with him dead,
Saue what in heauens storehouse he vplaid:
His hope is faild, and come to passe his dread,
And euill men, now dead, his deedes vpbraid:
Spite bites the dead, that liuing neuer baid.
He now is gone, and whiles the Foxe is crept
Into the hole, the which the Badger swept.

He now is dead, and all his glorie gone,
And all his greatnes vapoured to nought,
That as a glasse vpon the water is shone,
Which vanisht quite, so soone as it was sought:
His name is worne alreadie out of thought,
Ne anie Poet seekes him to reuiue;
Yet manie Poets honourd him aliue.

Ne doth his Colin, carelesse Colin Cloute,
Care now his idle bagpipe vp to raise,
Ne tell his sorrow to the listning rout
Of shepherd groomes which wont his songs to praise:
Praise who so list, yet I will him dispraise,
Vntill he quite him of his guiltie blame:
Wake shepheards boy, at length awake for shame.

And who so els did goodnes by him gaine,
And who so els his bounteous minde did trie,
Whether he shepheard be, or shepheards swaine,
(for manie did, which doo it now denie)
Awake, and to his Song a part applie:
And I, the whilest you mourne for his decease,
Will with my mourning plaints your plaint increase.

He dyde, and after him his brother noble Peere,
His brother Prince, his brother noble Peere,
That whilste he liued, was of none enuyde,
And dead is now, as liuing, counted deare,
Deare vnto all that true affection beare:
But vnto thee most deare, ô dearest Dame,
His noble Spouse, and Paragon of fame.

He whilest he liued, happie was through thee,
And being dead is happie now much more;
Liuing, that lincked chaunst with thee to bee,
And dead, because him dead thou dost adore
As liuing, and thy lost deare loue deplore.
So whilst that thou, faire flower of chastitie,
Dost liue, by thee thy Lord shall neuer die.

Thy Lord shall neuer die, the whiles this verse
Shall live, and surely it shall liue for euer:
For euer it shall liue, and shall rehearse
His worthie praise, and vertues dying neuer,
Though death his soule doo from his bodie seuer.
And thou thy selfe herein shalt also liue;
Such grace the heauens doo to my verses giue.

Ne shall his sister, ne thy father die,
Thy father, that good Earle of rare renowne,
And noble Patrone of weak pouertie;
Whose great good deeds in countrey and in towne
Haue purchast him in heauen an happie crowne;
Where he now liueth in eternall blis,
And left his sonne t' ensue those steps of his.

He noble bud, his Grandsires liuelie hayre,
Vnder the shadow of thy countenaunce
Now ginnes to shoote vp fast, and flourish fayre,
In learned artes and goodlie gouernaunce,
That him to highest honour shall aduaunce.
Braue Impe of Bedford, grow apace in bountie,
And count of wisedome more than of thy Countie.

Ne may I let thy husbands sister die,
That goodly Ladie, sith she eke did spring
Out of his stocke, and famous familie,
Whose praises I to future age doo sing,
And foorth out of her happie womb did bring
The sacred brood of learning and all honour;
In whom the heauens powrde all their gifts vpon her.

Most gentle spirite breathed from aboue,
Out of the bosome of the makers blis,
In whom all bountie and all vertuous loue
Appeared in their natiue propertis,
And did enrich that noble breast of his,
With treasure passing all this worldes worth,
Worthie of heaven it selfe, which brought it forth.

His blessed spirite full of power diuine
And influence of all celestiall grace,
Loathing this sinfull earth and earthlie slime,
Fled backe too soone vnto his natiue place.
Too soone for all that did his loue embrace,
Too soone for all this wretched world, whom he
Robd of all right and true nobilitie.

Yet ere his happie soule to heauen went
Out of this fleshlie g[ao]le, he did deuise
Vnto his heauenlie maker to present
His bodie, as a spotles sacrifice;
And chose, that guiltie hands of enemies
Should powre forth th' offring of his guiltles blood:
So life exchanging for his countries good.

O noble spirite, liue there euer blessed,
The worlds late wonder, and the heauens new ioy,
Liue euer there, and leaue me here distressed
With mortall cares, and cumbrous worlds anoy.
But where thou dost that happines enioy,
Bid me, ô bid me quicklie come to thee,
That happie there I maie thee alwaies see.

Yet whilest the fates affoord me vitall breath,
I will it spend in speaking of thy praise,
And sing to thee, vntill that timelie death
By heauens doome doo ende my earthlie daies:
Thereto doo thou my humble spirite raise,
And into me that sacred breath inspire,
Which thou there breathest perfect and entire.

Then will I sing, but who can better sing,
Than thine owne sister, peerles Ladie bright,
Which to thee sings with deep harts sorrowing,
Sorrowing tempered with deare delight;
That her to heare I feele my feeble spright
Robbed of sense, and rauished with ioy:
O sad ioy made of mourning and anoy.

Yet will I sing, but who can better sing,
Than thou thy selfe, thine owne selfes valiance,
That whilest thou liuedst, madest the forrests ring,
And fields resownd, and flockes to leap and daunce,
And shepheards leaue their lambs vnto mischaunce,
To runne thy shrill Arcadian Pipe to heare:
O happie were those dayes, thrice happie were.

But now more happie thou, and wretched wee,
Which want the wonted sweetnes of thy voice,
Whiles thou now in Elisian fields so free,
With Orpheus, and with Linus and the choice
Of all that euer did in rimes reioyce,
Conuersest, and doost heare their heauenlie layes,
And they heare thine, and thine doo better praise.

So there thou liuest, singing euermore,
And here thou liuest, being euer song
Of vs, which liuing loued thee afore,
Which now thee worship, mongst that blessed throng
Of heauenlie Poets and Heroes strong.
So thou both here and there immortall art,
And euerie where through excellent desart.

But such as neither of themselues can sing,
Nor yet are sung of others for reward,
Die in obscure obliuion, as the thing
Which neuer was, ne euer with regard
Their names shall of the later age be heard,
But shall in rustie darknes euer lie,
Vnles they mentiond be with infamie.

What booteth it to haue beene rich aliue?
What to be great? what to be gracious?
When after death no token doth suruiue
Of former being in this mortall hous,
But sleepes in dust dead and inglorious,
Like beast, whose breath but in his nostrels is,
And hath no hope of happinesse or blis.

How manie great ones may remembred be,
Which in their daise most famouslie did florish;
Of whome no word we heare, nor signe now see,
But as things wipt out with a sponge to perishe,
Because they liuing cared not to cherishe
No gentle wits, through pride or couetize,
Which might their names for ever memorize.

Prouide therefore (ye Princes) whilst ye liue,
That of the Muses ye may friended bee,
Which vnto men eternitie do giue;
For they be daughters of Dame memorie
And Ioue the father of eternitie,
And do those men in golden thrones repose,
Whose merits they to glorifie do chose.

The seuen fold yron gates of grislie Hell,
And horrid house of sad Proserpina,
They able are with power of mightie spell
To breake, and thence the soules to bring awai
Out of dread darknesse, to eternall day,
And them immortall make, which els would die
In foule forgetfulnesse, and nameles lie.

So whilome raised they the puissant brood
Of golden girt Alcmena, for great merite,
Out of the dust, to which the Oetoean wood
Had him consum'd, and spent his vitall spirite:
To highest heauen, where now he doth inherite
All happinesse in Hebes siluer bowre,
Chosen to be her dearest Paramoure.

So raisde they eke faire Ledaes warlick twinnes,
And interchanged life vnto them lent,
That when th'one dies, th' other then beginnes
To shew in Heauen his brightnes orient;
And they, for pittie of the sad wayment
Which Orpheus for Eurydice did make,
Her back againe to life sent for his sake.

So happie are they, and so fortunate,
Whome the Pierian sacred sisters loue,
That freed from bands of implacable fate
And power of death, they liue for aye aboue,
Where mortall wreakes their blis may not remoue:
But with the Gods, for former vertues meede,
On Nectar and Ambrosia do feede.

For deeds doe die, how euer noblie donne,
And thoughts of men do as themselues decay,
But wise wordes taught in numbers for to runne,
Recorded by the Muses, liue for ay;
Ne may with storming showers be washt away,
Ne bitter breathing windes with harmfull blast,
Nor age, nor envie shall them euer wast.

In vaine doo earthly Princes then, in vaine
Seeke with Pyramides, to heauen aspired;
Or huge Colosses, built with costlie paine;
Or brasen Pillours, neuer to be fired,
Or Shrines, made of the mettall most desired;
To make their memories for euer liue:
For how can mortall immortalitie giue.

Such one Mausolus made, the worlds great wonder,
But now no remnant doth thereof remaine:
Such one Marcellus but was torne with thunder:
Such one Lisippus, but is worne with raine;
Such one King Edmond, but was rent for gaine.
All such vaine moniments of earthlie masse,
Deuour'd of Time, in time to nought doo passe.

But fame with golden wings aloft doth flie,
Aboue the reach of ruinous decay,
And with braue plumes doth beate the azure skie,
Admir'd of base-borne men from farre away:
Then who so will with vertuous deeds assay
To mount to heauen, on Pegasus must ride,
And with sweete Poets verse be glorifide.

For not to haue been dipt in Lethe lake,
Could saue the sonne of Thetis from to die;
But that blinde bard did him immortall make
With verses, dipt in deaw of Castalie:
Which made the Easterne Conqueror to crie,
O fortunate yong-man, whose vertue found
So braue a Trompe, thy noble acts to sound.

Therefore in this halfe happie I doo read
Good Meliboe, that hath a Poet got,
To sing his liuing praises being dead,
Deseruing neuer here to be forgot,
In spight of enuie that his deeds would spot:
Since whose decease, learning lies vnregarded,
And men of armes doo wander vnrewarded.

Those two be those two great calamities,
That long agoe did grieue the noble spright
Of Salomon with great indignities;
Who whilome was aliue the wisest wight.
But now his wisedom is disprooued quite;
For he that now welds all things at his will,
Scorns th' one and th' other in his deeper skill.

O griefe of griefes, ô: gall of all good heartes,
to see that vertue should dispised bee
Of him, that first was raisde for vertuous parts,
And now broad spreading like an aged tree,
Lets none shoot vp, that nigh him planted bee:
O let the man, of whom the Muse is scorned,
Nor aliue, nor dead be of the Muse adorned.

O vile worlds trust, that with such vaine illusion
Hath so wise men bewitcht, and ouerkest,
That they see not the way of their confusion,
O vainesse to be added to the rest,
That do my soule with inward griefe infest:
Let them behold the piteous fall of mee:
And in my case their owne ensample see.

And who so els that sits in highest seate
Of this worlds glorie, worshipped of all,
Ne feareth change of time, nor fortunes threate,
Let him behold the horror of my fall,
And his owne end vnto remembrance call;
That of like ruine he may warned bee,
And in himselfe be moou'd to pittie mee.

Thus hauing ended all her piteous plaint,
With dolefull shrikes shee vanished away,
That I through inward sorrowe wexen faint,
And all astonished with deepe dismay,
For her departure, had no word to say:
But fate long time in sencelesse sad affright,
Looking still, if I might of her haue sight.

Which when I missed, hauing looked long,
My thought returned greeued home againe,
Renewing her complaint with passion strong,
For ruth of that same womans piteous paine;
Whose wordes recording in my troubled braine,
I felt such anguish wound my feeble heart,
That frosen horror ran through euerie part.

So inlie greeuing in my groning brest,
And deepelie muzing at her doubtfull speach,
Whose meaning much I labor'd forth to wreste,
Being aboue my slender reasons reach;
At length by demonstration me to teach,
Before mine eies strange sights presented were,
Like tragicke Pageants seeming to appeare.

1.
I SAW an Image, all of ma[ss]ie gold,
Plac'd on high vpon an Altare faire,
That all, which did the same from farre beholde,
Might worship it, and fall on lowest staire.
Not that great Idoll might with this compaire,
To which the Assyrian tyrant would haue made
The holie brethren, falslie to haue praid,

But th' Altare, on the which this Image staid,
Was (ô great pitie) built of brickle clay,
That shortly the foundation decaid,
With showres of heauen and tempests worne away,
Then downe it fell, and low in ashes lay,
Scorn'd of euerie one, which by it went;
That I it seeing, dearelie did lament.

2.
Next vnto this a statelie Towre appeared,
Built all of richest stone, that might bee found,
And nigh vnto the Heauens in height vpreared,
But placed on a plot of sandie ground:
Not that great Towre, which is so much renownd
For tongues confusion in holie writ,
King Ninus worke, might be compar'd to it.

But ô vaine labours of terrestriall wit,
That buildes so stronglie on so frayle a soyle,
As with each storme does fall away, and flit,
And giues the fruit of all your travuailes toyle
To be the pray of Tyme, and Fortunes spoyle:
I saw this Towre fall sodainelie to dust,
That nigh with griefe thereof my heart was brust.

3.
Then did I see a pleasant Paradize,
Full of sweete flowres and daintiest delights,
Such as on earth man could not more deuize,
With pleasures choyce to feed his cheerefull sprights;
Not that, which Merlin by his Magicke slights
Made for the gentle squire, to entertaine
His fayre Belphoebe, could this gardine staine.

But ô short pleasure bought with lasting paine,
Why will hereafter anie flesh delight
In earthlie blis, and ioy in pleasures vaine,
Since that I sawe this gardine wasted quite,
That where it was scarce seemed anie sight?
That I, which once that beautie did beholde,
Could not from teares my melting eyes with-holde.

4.
Soone after this a Giaunt came in place,
Of wondrous power, and of exceeding stature,
That none durst vewe the horror of his face,
Yet was he milde of speach, and meeke of nature.
Not he, which in despight of his Creatour
With railing tearmes defied the Iewish hoast,
Might with this mightie one in hugenes boast.

For from the one he could to th' other coast,
Stretch his strong thighes, and th' Occaean ouerstride,
And reatch his hand into his enemies hoast.
But see the end of pompe and fleshlie pride;
One of his feete vnwares from him did slide,
That downe hee fell into the deepe Abisse,
Where drownd with him is all his earthlie blisse.

5.
Then did I see a Bridge, made all of golde,
Ouer the Sea from one to other side,
Withouten prop or pillour it t' vpholde,
But like the colour'd Rainbowe arched wide:
Not that great Arche, which Traian edifide,
To be a wonder to all age ensuing,
Was matchable to this in equall vewing.

But (ah) what bootes it to see earthlie thing
In glorie, or in greatnes to excell,
Sith time doth greatest things to ruine bring?
This goodlie bridge, one foote not fastned well,
Gan faile, and all the rest downe shortlie fell,
Ne of so braue a building ought remained,
That griefe thereof my spirite greatly pained.

6.
I saw two Beares, as white as anie milke,
Lying together in a mightie caue,
Of milde aspect, and haire as soft as silke,
That saluage nature seemed not to haue,
Nor after greedie spoyle of blood to craue:
Two fairer beasts might not elswhere be found,
Although the compast world were sought around.

But what can long abide aboue this ground
In state of blis, or stedfast happinesse?
The Caue, in which these Beares lay sleeping sound,
Was but earth, and with her owne weightinesse,
Vpon them fell, and did vnwares oppresse,
That for great sorrow of their sudden fate,
Henceforth all wor[l]ds felicitie I hate.

Much was I troubled in my heauie spright,
At sight of these sad spectacles forepast,
That all my senses were bereaued quight,
And I in minde remained sore agast,
Distraught twixt feare and pitie; when at last
I heard a voyce, which loudly to me called,
That with the suddein shrill I was appalled.

Behold (said it) and by ensample see,
That all is vanitie and griefe of minde,
Ne other comfort in this world can be,
But hope of heauen, and heart to God inclinde;
For all the rest must needs be left behinde:
With that it bad me, to the other side
To cast mine eye, where other sights I spide.

1.
UPON that famous Riuers further shore,
There stood a snowie Swan of heauenlie hiew,
And gentle kinde, as euer Fowle afore;
A fairer one in all the goodlie criew
Of white Strimonian brood might no man view:
There he most sweetly sung the prophecie
Of his owne death in dolefull Elegie.

At last, when all his mourning melodie
He ended had, that both the shores resounded,
Feeling the fit that him forewarnd to die,
With loftie flight aboue the earth he bounded,
And out of sight to highest heauen mounted:
Where now he is become an heauenly signe;
There now the ioy is his, here sorrow mine.

2.
Whilest thus I looked, loe adowne the Lee,
I saw an Harpe stroong all with siluer twyne,
And made of golde and costlie yuorie,
Swimming, that whilome seemed to haue been
The harpe, on which Dan Orpheus was seene
Wylde beasts and forrests after him to lead,
But was th' Harpe of Philisides now dead.

At length out of the Riuer it was reard
And borne aboue the cloudes to be diuin'd,
Whilst all the way most heauenly noyse was heard
Of the strings, stirred with the warbling wind,
That wrought both ioy and sorrow in my mind:
So now in heauen a signe it doth appeare,
The Harpe well knowne beside the Northern Beare.

3.
Soone after this I saw, on th' other side,
A curious Coffer made of Heben wood,
That in it did most precious treasure hide,
Exceeding all this baser worldes good:
Yet through the ouerflowing of the flood
It almost drowned was, and done to nought,
That sight thereof much grieu'd my pensiue thought.

At length when most in perill it was brought,
Two Angels downe descending with swift flight,
Out of the swelling streame it lightly caught,
And twixt their blessed armes it carried quight
Aboue the reach of anie liuing sight:
So now it is transform'd into that starre,
In which all heauenly treasures are.

4.
Looking aside I saw a stately Bed,
Adorned all with costly cloth of gold,
That might for anie Princes couche be red,
And deckt with daintie flowres, as if it shold
Be for some bride, her ioyous night to hold:
Therein a goodly Virgine sleeping lay;
A fairer wight saw neuer summers day.

I heard a voyce that called farre away
And her awaking bad her quickly dight,
For lo her Bridegrome was in readie ray
To come to her, and seeke her loues delight:
With that she started vp with cherefull sight,
When suddeinly both bed and all was gone,
And I in languor left there all alone.

5.
Still as I gazed, I beheld where stood
A Knight all arm'd, vpon a winged steed,
The same that was bred of Medusaes blood,
In which Dan Perseus borne of heauenly see,
The faire Andromeda from perill freed:
Full mortally this Knight ywounded was,
That streames of blood foorth flowed on the gras.

Yet was he deckt (small ioy it was to him alas)
With manie garlands for his victories,
And with rich spoyles, which late he did purchas
Through braue atcheiuements from his enemies:
Fainting at last through long infirmities,
He smote his steed, that straight to heauen him bore,
And left me here his losse for to deplore.

6.
Lastly I saw an Arke of purest golde
Vpon a brazen pillour standing hie,
Which th' ashes seem'd of some great Prin[c]e to hold,
Enclosde therein for endles memorie
Of him, whom all the world did glorifie:
Seemed the heauens with the earth did disagree,
Whether should of those ashes keeper bee.
At last me seem'd wing footed Mercurie,
From heauen descending to appease their strife,
The Arke did beare with him aboue the skie,
And to those ashes gaue a second life,
To liue in heauen, where happines is rife:
At which the earth did grieue exceedingly,
And I for dole was almost like to die.


L'Enuoy.
Immortall spirite of Philisides,
Which now art made the heauens ornament,
That whilome wast the worlds chiefst riches;
Giue leaue to him that lou'de thee to lament
His losse, by lacke of thee to heauen hent,
And with last duties of this broken verse,
Broken with sighes, to decke thy sable Herse.

And ye faire Ladie th' honor of your daies,
And glorie of the world, your high thoughts scorne;
Vouchsafe this moniment of his last praise,
With some few siluer dropping teares t'adorne:
And as ye be of heauenlie off-spring borne,
So vnto heauen let your high minde aspire,
And loath this drosse of sinfull worlds desire.

FINIS.

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