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.

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.

Ruins Of Rome, By Bellay

1

Ye heavenly spirits, whose ashy cinders lie
Under deep ruins, with huge walls opprest,
But not your praise, the which shall never die
Through your fair verses, ne in ashes rest;
If so be shrilling voice of wight alive
May reach from hence to depth of darkest hell,
Then let those deep Abysses open rive,
That ye may understand my shreiking yell.
Thrice having seen under the heavens' vail
Your tomb's devoted compass over all,
Thrice unto you with loud voice I appeal,
And for your antique fury here do call,
The whiles that I with sacred horror sing,
Your glory, fairest of all earthly thing.


2

Great Babylon her haughty walls will praise,
And sharpèd steeples high shot up in air;
Greece will the old Ephesian buildings blaze;
And Nylus' nurslings their Pyramids fair;
The same yet vaunting Greece will tell the story
Of Jove's great image in Olympus placed,
Mausolus' work will be the Carian's glory,
And Crete will boast the Labybrinth, now 'rased;
The antique Rhodian will likewise set forth
The great Colosse, erect to Memory;
And what else in the world is of like worth,
Some greater learnèd wit will magnify.
But I will sing above all monuments
Seven Roman Hills, the world's seven wonderments.


3

Thou stranger, which for Rome in Rome here seekest,
And nought of Rome in Rome perceiv'st at all,
These same old walls, old arches, which thou seest,
Old Palaces, is that which Rome men call.
Behold what wreak, what ruin, and what waste,
And how that she, which with her mighty power
Tam'd all the world, hath tam'd herself at last,
The prey of time, which all things doth devour.
Rome now of Rome is th' only funeral,
And only Rome of Rome hath victory;
Ne ought save Tyber hastening to his fall
Remains of all: O world's inconstancy.
That which is firm doth flit and fall away,
And that is flitting, doth abide and stay.


4

She, whose high top above the stars did soar,
One foot on Thetis, th' other on the Morning,
One hand on Scythia, th' other on the Moor,
Both heaven and earth in roundness compassing,
Jove fearing, lest if she should greater grow,
The old Giants should once again uprise,
Her whelm'd with hills, these seven hills, which be now
Tombs of her greatness, which did threat the skies:
Upon her head he heaped Mount Saturnal,
Upon her belly th' antique Palatine,
Upon her stomach laid Mount Quirinal,
On her left hand the noisome Esquiline,
And Cælian on the right; but both her feet
Mount Viminall and Aventine do meet.


5

Who lists to see, what ever nature, art,
And heaven could do, O Rome, thee let him see,
In case thy greatness he can guess in heart,
By that which but the picture is of thee.
Rome is no more: but if the shade of Rome
May of the body yield a seeming sight,
It's like a corse drawn forth out of the tomb
By Magick skill out of eternal night:
The corpse of Rome in ashes is entombed,
And her great sprite rejoinèd to the sprite
Of this great mass, is in the same enwombed;
But her brave writings, which her famous merit
In spite of time, out of the dust doth rear,
Do make her idol through the world appear.


6

Such as the Berecynthian Goddess bright
In her swift chariot with high turrets crowned,
Proud that so many Gods she brought to light;
Such was this City in her good days found:
This city, more than the great Phrygian mother
Renowned for fruit of famous progeny,
Whose greatness by the greatness of none other,
But by herself her equal match could see:
Rome only might to Rome comparèd be,
And only Rome could make great Rome to tremble:
So did the Gods by heavenly doom decree,
That other deathly power should not resemble
Her that did match the whole earth's puissaunce,
And did her courage to the heavens advance.


7

Ye sacred ruins, and ye tragic sights,
Which only do the name of Rome retain,
Old monuments, which of so famous sprites
The honour yet in ashes do maintain:
Triumphant arcs, spires neighbors to the sky,
That you to see doth th' heaven itself appall,
Alas, by little ye to nothing fly,
The people's fable, and the spoil of all:
And though your frames do for a time make war
'Gainst time, yet time in time shall ruinate
Your works and names, and your last relics mar.
My sad desires, rest therefore moderate:
For if that time make ends of things so sure,
It also will end the pain, which I endure.


8

Through arms and vassals Rome the world subdued,
That one would ween, that one sole City's strength
Both land and sea in roundess had surview'd,
To be the measure of her breadth and length:
This people's virtue yet so fruitful was
Of virtuous nephews that posterity
Striving in power their grandfathers to pass,
The lowest earth join'd to the heaven high;
To th' end that having all parts in their power
Nought from the Roman Empire might be 'quite,
And that though time doth Commonwealths devour,
Yet no time should so low embase their height,
That her head earth'd in her foundations deep,
Should not her name and endless honour keep.


9

Ye cruel stars, and eke ye Gods unkind,
Heaven envious, and bitter stepdame Nature,
Be it by fortune, or by course of kind
That ye do weld th' affairs of earthly creature:
Why have your hands long sithence troubled
To frame this world, that doth endure so long?
Or why were not these Roman palaces
Made of some matter no less firm and strong?
I say not, as the common voice doth say,
That all things which beneath the moon have being
Are temporal, and subject to decay:
But I say rather, though not all agreeing
With some, that ween the contrary in thought:
That all this whole shall one day come to nought.


10

As that brave son of Aeson, which by charms
Achieved the golden fleece in Colchid land,
Out of the earth engendered men of arms
Of Dragons' teetch, sown in the sacred sand;
So this brave town, that in her youthly days
An Hydra was of warriors glorious,
Did fill with her renownéd nurslings praise
The firey sun's both one and other house:
But they at last, there being then not living
An Hercules, so rank seed to repress,;
Amongst themselves with cruel fury striving,
Mow'd down themselves with slaughter merciless;
Renewing in themselves that rage unkind,
Which whilom did those searthborn brethren blind.


11

Mars shaming to have given so great head
To his off-spring, that mortal puissance
Puffed up with pride of Roman hardy head,
Seem'd above heaven's power itself to advance;
Cooling again his former kindled heat,
With which he had those Roman spirits filled;
Did blow new fire, and with enflaméd breath,
Into the Gothic cold hot rage instill'd:
Then 'gan that Nation, th' earth's new Giant brood,
To dart abroad the thunder bolts of war,
And beating down these walls with furious mood
Into her mother's bosom, all did mar;
To th' end that none, all were if Jove his sire
Should boast himself of the Roman Empire.


12

Like as whilome the children of the earth
Heaped hills on hills, to scale the starry sky,
And fight against the Gods of heavenly birth,
Whilst Jove at them his thunderbolts let fly;
All suddenly with lightning overthrown,
The furious squadrons down the ground did fall,
That th' earth under her children's weight did groan,
And th' heavens in glory triumphed over all:
So did that haughty front which heapéd was
On these seven Roman hills, itself uprear
Over the world, and lift her lofty face
Against the heaven, that 'gan her force to fear.
But now these scorned fields bemoan her fall,
And Gods secure fear not her force at all.


13

Nor the swift fury of the flames aspiring,
Nor the deep wounds of victor's raging blade,
Nor ruthless spoil of soldiers blood-desiring,
The which so oft thee, Rome, their conquest made;
Ne stroke on stroke of fortune variable,
Ne rust of age hating continuance,
Nor wrath of Gods, nor spite of men unstable,
Nor thou oppos'd against thine own puissance;
Nor th' horrible uproar of winds high blowing,
Nor swelling streams of that God snaky-paced,
Which hath so often with his overflowing
Thee drenched, have thy pride so much abased;
But that this nothing, which they have thee left,
Makes the world wonder, what they from thee reft.


14

As men in summer fearless pass the ford,
Which is in winter lord of all the plain,
And with his tumbling streams doth bear aboard
The plowman's hope, and shepherd's labor vain;
And as the coward beasts use to despise
The noble lion after his life's end
Whetting their teeth, and with vain foolhardise
Daring the foe, that cannot him defend:
And as at Troy most dastards of the Greeks
Did brave about the corpse of Hector cold;
So those which whilome wont with pallid cheeks
The Roman triumphs glory to behold,
Now on these ashy tombs show boldness vain,
And conquer'd dare the Conqueror disdain.


15

Ye pallid spirits, and ye ashy ghosts,
Which joying in the brightness of your day,
Brought forth those signs of your premptuous boasts
Which now their dusty relics do bewray;
Tell me ye spirits (sith the darksome river
Of Styx not passable to souls returning,
Enclosing you in thrice three wards forever,
Do not restrain your images still mourning)
Tell me then (for perhaps some one of you
Yet here above him secretly doth hide)
Do ye not feel your torments to accrue,
When ye sometimes behold the ruin'd pride
Of these old Roman works built with your hands,
Now to become nought else, but heaped sands?


16

Like as ye see the wrathful sea from far,
In a great mountain heap'd with hideous noise,
Eftsoons of thousand bilows shouldered narre,
Against a rock to break with dreadful poise;
Like as ye see fell Boreas with sharp blast,
Tossing huge tempests through the troubled sky,
Eftsoons having his wide wings spent in vast,
To stop his wearie carrier suddenly;
And as ye see huge flames spread diversly,
Gathered in one up to the heavens to spire,
Eftsoons consum'd to fall down feebily:
So whilom did this Monarchy aspire
As waves, as wind, as fire spread over all,
Till it by fatal doom adown did fall.


17

So long as Jove's great bird did make his flight,
Bearing the fire with which heaven doth us fray,
Heaven had not fear of that presumptuous might,
With which the Giants did the Gods assay.
But all so soon, as scorching Sun had brent
His wings, which wont to the earth to overspread,
The earth out of her massy womb forth sent
That antique horror, which made heaven adread.
Then was the German raven in disguise
That Roman eagle seen to cleave asunder,
And towards heaven freshly to arise
Out of these mountains, not consum'd to powder.
In which the fowl that serves to bear the lightning,
Is now no more seen flying, nor alighting.


18

These heaps of stones, these old walls which ye see,
Were first enclosures but of savage soil;
And these brave palaces which mastered be
Of time, were shepherds cottages somewhile.
Then took the shepherd kingly ornamnets
And the stout hynde arm'd his right hand with steel:
Eftsoones their rule of yearly presidents
Grew great, and six months greater a great deal;
Which made perpetual, rose to so great might,
That thence th' imperial Eagle rooting took,
Till th' heaven itself opposing 'gainst her might,
Her power to Peter's successor betook;
Who shepherdlike, (as fates the same forseeing)
Doth show, that all things turn to their first being.


19

All that is perfect, which th' heaven beautifies;
All that's imperfect, born below the moon;
All that doth feed our spriits and our eyes;
And all that doth consume our pleasures soon;
All the mishap, the which our days outwears,
All the good hap of th' oldest times afore,
Rome in the time of her great ancesters,
Like a Pandora, locked long in store.
But destiny this huge Chaos turmoiling,
In which all good and evil was enclosed,
Their heavenly virtues from these woes absolving,
Carried to heaven, from sinful bondage loosed:
But their great sins, the causers of their pain,
Under these antique ruins yet remain.


20

No otherwise than rainy cloud, first fed
With earthly vapors gathered in the air,
Eftsoones in compass arch'd, to steep his head,
Doth plunge himself in Tethys' bosom fair;
And mounting up again, from whence he came,
With his great belly spreads the dimmed world,
Till at last the last dissolving his moist frame,
In rain, or snow, or hail he forth is hurl'd;
This City, which was first but shepherds' shade,
Uprising by degrees, grew to such height,
That queen of land and sea herself she made.
At last not able to bear so great weight.
Her power dispers'd, through all the world did vade;
To show that all in th' end to nought shall fade.


21

The same which Pyrrhus, and the puissance
Of Afric could not tame, that same brave city,
Which with stout courage arm'd against mischance,
Sustain'd the shock of common enmity;
Long as her ship tossed with so many freaks,
Had all the world in arms against her bent,
Was never seen, that any fortune's wreaks
Could break her course begun with brave intent.
But when the object of her virtue failed,
Her power itself agains itself did arm;
As he that having long in tempest sailed,
Fain would arrive, but cannot for the storm,
If too great wind against the port him drive,
Doth in the port itself his vessel rive.


22

When that brave honour of the Latin name,
Which bound her rule with Africa, and Byze,
With Thames' inhabitants of noble fame,
And they which see the dawning day arise;
Her nurslings did with mutinous uproar
Hearten against herself, her conquer'd spoil,
Which she had won from all the world afore,
Of all the world was spoil'd within a while.
So when the compass'd course of the universe
In six and thirty thousand years is run,
The bands of th' elements shall back reverse
To their first discord, and be quite undone:
The seeds, of which all things at first were bred,
Shall in great Chaos' womb again be hid.


23

O wary wisdom of the man, that would
That Carthage towers from spoil should be forborn,
To th' end that his victorious people should
With cankering leisure not be overworn;
He well foresaw, how that the Roman courage,
Impatient of pleasure's faint desires,
Through idleness would turn to civil rage,
And be herself the matter of her fires.
For in a people given all to ease,
Ambition is engend'red easily;
As in a vicious body, gross disease
Soon grows through humours' superfluity.
That came to pass, when swoll'n with plentious pride,
Nor prince, nor peer, nor kin they would abide.


24

If the blind fury, which wars breedeth oft,
Wonts not t' enrage the hearts of equal beasts,
Whether they fare on foot, or fly aloft,
Or arméd be with claws, or scaly crests;
What fell Erynnis with hot burning tongs,
Did grip your hearts, with noisome rage imbew'd,
That each to other working cruel wrongs,
You blades in your own bowels you embrew'd?
Was this (ye Romans) your hard destiny?
Or some old sin, whose unappeased guilt
Power'd vengeance forth on you eternally?
Or brother's blood, the which at first was spilt
Upon your walls, that God might not endure,
Upon the same to set foundation sure?


25

O that I had the Thracian Poet's harp,
For to awake out of th' infernal shade
Those antique Cæsars, sleeping long in dark,
The which this ancient City whilome made:
Or that I had Amphion's instrument,
To quicken with his vital note's accord,
The stony joints of these old walls now rent,
By which th' Ausonian light might be restor'd:
Or that at least I could with pencil fine,
Fashion the portraits of these palaces,
By pattern of great Virgil's spirit divine;
I would assay with that which in me is,
To build with level of my lofty style,
That which no hands can evermore compile.


26

Who list the Roman greatness forth to figure,
Him needeth not to seek for usage right
Of line, or lead, or rule, or square, to measure
Her length, her breadth, her deepness, or her height:
But him behooves to view in compass round
All that the ocean grasps in his long arms;
Be it where the yearly star doth scorch the ground,
Or where cold Boreas blows his bitter storms.
Rome was th' whole world, and all the world was Rome,
And if things nam'd their names do equalize,
When land and sea ye name, then name ye Rome;
And naming Rome ye land and sea comprise:
For th' ancient plot of Rome displayéd plain,
The map of all the wide world doth contain.


27

Thou that at Rome astonish'd dost behold
The antique pride, which menaced the sky,
These haughty heaps, these palaces of old,
These walls, these arcs, these baths, these temples hie;
Judge by these ample ruins' view, the rest
The which injurious time hath quite outworne,
Since of all workmen held in reck'ning best,
Yet these old fragments are for patterns born:
Then also mark, how Rome from day to day,
Repairing her decayéd fashion,
Renews herself with buildings rich and gay;
That one would judge, that the Roman dæmon
Doth yet himself with fatal hand enforce,
Again on foot to rear her pouldred corse.


28

He that hath seen a great oak dry and dead,
Yet clad with relics of some trophies old,
Lifting to heaven her agéd hoary head,
Whose foot in ground hath left but feeble hold;
But half disbowel'd lies above the ground,
Showing her wreathéd roots, and naked arms,
And on her trunk all rotten and unsound
Only supports herself for meat of worms;
And though she owe her fall to the first wind,
Yet of the devout people is ador'd,
And many young plants spring out of her rind;
Who such an oak hath seen let him record
That such this city's honor was of yore,
And 'mongst all cities flourishéd much more.


29

All that which Egypt whilome did devise,
All that which Greece their temples to embrave,
After th' Ionic, Attic, Doric guise,
Or Corinth skill'd in curious works to 'grave;
All that Lysippus' practick art could form,
Appeles' wit, or Phidias his skill,
Was wont this ancient city to adorn,
And the heaven itself with her wide wonders fill;
All that which Athens ever brought forth wise,
All that which Africa ever brought forth strange,
All that which Asia ever had of prize,
Was here to see. O marvelous great change:
Rome living, was the world's sole ornament,
And dead, is now the world's sole monument.


30

Like as the seeded field green grass first shows,
Then from green grass into a stalk doth spring,
And from a stalk into an ear forth grows,
Which ear the fruitfull grain doth shortly bring;
And as in season due the husband mows
The waving locks of those fair yellow hairs,
Which bound in sheaves, and laid in comely rows,
Upon the naked fields in stacks he rears:
So grew the Roman Empire by degree,
Till that barbarian hands it quite did spill,
And left of it but these old marks to see,
Of which all passersby do somewhat pill:
As they which glean, the relics use to gather,
Which th' husbandman behind him chanced to scatter.


31

That same is now nought but a campion wide,
Where all this world's pride once was situate.
No blame to thee, whosoever dost abide
By Nile, or Ganges, or Tigris, or Euphrate,
Ne Africa thereof guilty is, nor Spain,
Nor the bold people by the Thame's brinks,
Nor the brave, warlike brood of Alemagne,
Nor the born soldier which Rhine running drinks;
Thou only cause, O civil fury, art
Which sowing in the Aemathian fields thy spite,
Didst arm thy hand against thy proper heart;
To th' end that when thou wast in greatest height
To greatness grown, through long prosperity,
Thou then adown might'st fall more horribly.


32

Hope ye, my verses, that posterity
Of age ensuing shall you ever read?
Hope ye that ever immortality
So mean harp's work may challenge for her mead?
If under heaven any endurance were,
These monuments, which not in paper writ,
Put in porphyry and marble do appear,
Might well have hop'd to have obtained it.
Na th' less my lute, whom Phoebus deigned to give,
Cease not to sound these old antiquities:
For if that time do let thy glory live,
Well mayst thou boast, how ever base thou be,
That thou art first, which of thy Nation sung
Th' old nonor of the people gowné long.


L' Envoi

Bellay, first garland of free Poesy
That France brought forth, though fruitful of brave wits,
Well worthy thou of immorality,
That long hast travail'd by thy learned writs,
Old Rome out of her ashes to revive,
And give a second life to dead decays:
Needs must he all eternity survive,
That can to other give eternal days.
Thy days therefore are endless, and thy praise
Excelling all, that ever went before;
And after thee, 'gins Bartas high to raise
His heavenly Muse, th' Almighty to adore.
Live, happy spirits, th' honour of your name,
And fill the world with never dying fame.

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