Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed and edited from the Scolar Press facsimile by Thomas Larque by whose kind permission this Renascence Editions text is provided. A few emendations have been undertaken, including those offered by the errata, within square brackets. Catchwords and pagination have been omitted. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 1998 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the Publisher.
To the Reader.
Entle Reader, I pray thee correct those faultes escaped in the printing, finding them as they are noted heere following.
Sonnet 5 . most vnkindest, read sweete vnkindest
Sonnet 14 . Yer least, read Yet least
Sonnet 20 . desires, read desiers
Sonnet 36 . yee, read yce
Sonnet 41 . her brow, read her troubled brow
Sonnet 44 . tunres, read turnes
Ight honorable, although I rather desired to keep in the private passions of my youth, from the multitude, as things vtterd to my selfe, and consecrated to silence: yet seeing I was betraide by the indiscretion of a greedie Printer, and had some of my secrets bewraide to the world, vncorrected: doubting the like of the rest, I am forced to publish that which I neuer ment. But this wrong was not onely done to mee, but to him whose vnmatchable lines have indured the like misfortune; Ignorance sparing not to commit sacriledge vpon so holy Reliques. Yet Astrophel, flying with the wings of his own fame, a higher pitch then the gross-sighted can discerne, hath registred his owne name in the Annals of eternitie, and cannot be disgraced, howsoever disguised.
And for my selfe, seeing I am thrust out into the worlde, and that my vnboldned Muse, is forced to appeare so rawly in publique; I desire onely to bee graced by the countenance of your protection: whome the fortune of our time hath made the happie and iudiciall Patronesse of the Muses, (a glory hereditary to your house) to preserve them from those hidious Beastes, Obliuion, and Barbarisme. VVherbey you doe not onely possesse the honour of the present, but also do bind posterity to an euer gratefull memorie of your vertues, wherein you must survive your selfe. And if my lines heereafter better laboured, shall purchase grace in the world, they must remaine the monuments of your honourable fauour, and recorde the zealous duetie of mee, who am vowed to your honour in all obseruancy for euer.
Vnto the boundles Ocean of thy beautie
Runs this poore riuer, charg'd with streames of zeale:
Returning thee the tribute of my dutie,
Which heere my loue, my youth, my playnts reueale.
Heere I vnclaspe the booke of my charg'd soule,
Where I have cast th'accounts of all my care:
Heere have I summ'd my sighes, heere I enroule
Howe they were spent for thee; Looke what they are.
Looke on the deere expences of my youth,
And see how iust I reckon with thyne eyes:
Examine well thy beautie with my trueth,
And crosse my cares ere greater summes arise.
Reade it sweet maide, though it be doone but slightly;
Who can shewe all his loue, doth loue but lightly.
Goe wailing verse, the infants of my loue,
Minerua-like, brought foorth without a Mother:
Present the image of the cares I proue,
Witnes your Fathers griefe exceedes all other.
Sigh out a story of her cruell deedes,
With interrupted accents of dispayre:
A Monument that whosoeuer reedes,
May iustly praise, and blame my loueles Faire.
Say her disdaine hath dryed vp my blood,
And starued you, in succours still denying:
Presse to her eyes, importune me some good;
Waken her sleeping pittie with your crying.
Knock at that hard hart, beg till you have moou'd her;
And tell th'vnkind, how deerely I haue lou'd her.
If so it hap this of-spring of my care,
These fatall Antheames, sad and mornefull Songes:
Come to their view, who like afflicted are;
Let them yet sigh their owne, and mone my wrongs.
But vntouch'd harts, with vnaffected eye,
Approch not to behold so great distresse:
Cleer-sighted you, soone note what is awry,
Whilst blinded ones mine errours neuer gesse.
You blinded soules whom youth and errours lead,
You outcast Eglets, dazled with your sunne:
Ah you, and none but you my sorrowes read,
You best can judge the wrong that she hath dunne.
That she hath doone, the motiue of my paine;
Who whilst I loue, doth kill me with disdaine.
These plaintiue verse, the Posts of my desire,
Which haste for succour to her slowe regarde:
Beare not report of any slender fire,
Forging a greife to winne a fames rewarde.
Nor are my passions limnd for outward hewe,
For that no collours can depaynt my sorrowes:
Delia her selfe, and all the world may viewe
Best in my face, how cares hath til'd deepe forrowes.
No Bayes I seeke to deck my mourning brow,
O cleer-eyed Rector of the holie Hill:
My humble accents craue the Olyue bow,
Of her milde pittie and relenting will.
These lines I use, t'unburthen mine owne hart;
My loue affects no fame, nor steemes of art.
VVhilst youth and error led my wandring minde,
And set my thoughts in heedeles waies to range:
All vnawares a Goddesse chaste I finde,
Diana-like, to worke my suddaine change.
For her no sooner had my view bewrayd,
But with disdaine to see me in that place:
With fairest hand, the [sweete] vnkindest maide,
Castes water-cold disdaine vpon my face.
Which turn'd my sport into a Harts dispaire,
Which still is chac'd, whilst I have any breath,
By mine owne thoughts: set on me by my faire,
My thoughts like houndes, pursue me to my death.
Those that I fostred of mine owne accord,
Are made by her to murther thus their Lord.
Faire is my loue, and cruell as sh'is faire;
Her brow shades frownes, although her eyes are sunny;
Her Smiles are lightning, though her pride dispaire;
And her disdaines are gall; her fauours hunny.
A modest maide, deckt with a blush of honour,
Whose feete doe treade greene pathes of youth and loue,
The wonder of all eyes that looke vppon her:
Sacred on earth, design'd a Saint aboue.
Chastitie and Beautie, which were deadly foes,
Liue reconciled friends within her brow:
And had she pittie to conioine with those,
Then who had heard the plaints I vtter now.
O had she not beene faire, and thus vnkinde,
My Muse had slept, and none had knowne my minde.
O had she not beene faire and thus vnkinde,
Then had no finger pointed at my lightnes:
The world had neuer knowne what I doe finde,
And Clowdes obscure had shaded still her brightnes.
Then had no Censors eye these lines suruaide,
Nor grauer browes have iudg'd my Muse so vaine;
No sunne my blush and errour had bewraide,
Nor yet the world had heard of such disdaine.
Then had I walkt with bold erected face,
No down-cast looke had signified my mis:
But my degraded hopes, with such disgrace
Did force me grone out griefes, and vtter this.
For being full, should not I then have spoken:
My sence opres'd, had fail'd; and hart had broken.
Thou poore hart sacrifiz'd vnto the fairest,
Hast sent the incens of thy sighes to heauen:
And still against her frownes fresh vowes repayrest,
And made thy passions with her beautie euen.
And you mine eyes the agents of my hart,
Told the dumbe message of my hidden griefe:
And oft with carefull turnes, with silent art,
Did treate the cruell Fayre to yeelde reliefe.
And you my verse, the Aduocates of loue,
Haue followed hard the processe of my case:
And vrg'd that title which dooth plainely proue,
My faith should win, if iustice might haue place.
Yet though I see, that nought we doe can moue her,
Tis not disdaine must make me leaue to loue her.
If this be loue, to drawe a weary breath,
Painte on flowdes, till the shore, crye to th'ayre:
With downward lookes, still reading on the earth;
The sad memorials of my loues despaire.
If this be loue, to warre against my soule,
Lye downe to waile, rise vp to sigh and grieue me:
The never-resting stone of care to roule,
Still to complaine my griefes, and none releiue me.
If this be loue, to cloath me with darke thoughts,
Haunting vntroden pathes to waile apart;
My pleasures horror, Musique tragicke notes,
Teares in my eyes, and sorrowe at my hart.
If this be loue, to liue a liuing death;
O then love I, and drawe this weary breath.
O then I loue, and drawe this weary breath,
For her the cruell faire, within whose brow
I written finde the sentence of my death,
In vnkinde letters; wrought she cares not how.
O thou that rul'st the confines of the night,
Laughter-loving Gods, worldly pleasures Queene,
Intenerat that hart that sets so light,
The truest loue that ever yet was seene.
And cause her leaue to triumph in this wise,
Vppon the prostrate spoyle of that poore harte:
That serves a trophey to her conquering eyes,
And must their glorie to the world imparte.
Once let her know, sh'hath done enough to proue me;
And let her pittie if she cannot loue me[.]
Teares, vowes, and prayers win the hardest hart:
Teares, vowes, and prayers haue I spent in vaine;
Teares, cannot soften flint, nor vowes conuart,
Prayers preuaile not with a quaint disdaine.
I lose my teares, where I have lost my loue,
I vowe my faith, where faith is not regarded;
I pray in vaine, a merciles to moue:
So rare a faith ought better be rewarded.
Yet though I cannot win her will with teares,
Though my soules Idoll scorneth all my vowes;
Though all my prayers be to so deafe eares:
No fauour though the cruell faire allowes.
Yet will I weepe, vowe, pray to cruell Shee;
Flint, Frost, Disdaine, weares, melts, and yeelds we see.
My spotles loue hoouers with white wings:
About the temple of the proudest frame:
Where blaze those lights fayrest of earthly things,
Which cleere our clouded world with brightest flame.
M'ambitious thoughts confined in her face,
Affect no honour, but what she can give mee:
My hopes doe rest in limits of her grace,
I weygh no comfort vnlesse she releeue mee.
For she that can my hart imparadize,
Holdes in her fairest hand what deerest is:
My fortunes wheele, the circle of her eyes,
Whose rowling grace deigne once a turn of blis.
All my liues sweete consists in her alone,
So much I loue the most vnlouing one.
Behold what happe Pigmaleon had to frame,
And carue his proper griefe vpon a stone:
My heauie fortune is much like the same,
I worke on Flint, and that's the cause I mone.
For haples loe euen with mine owne desires,
I figured on the table of my harte:
The fayrest forme, the worldes eye admires,
And so did perish by my proper arte.
And still I toile, to chaunge the marble brest
Of her, whose sweetest grace I doe adore:
Yet cannot finde her breathe vnto my rest,
Hard is her hart and woe is me therefore.
O happie he that ioy'd his stone and arte,
Vnhappy I to loue a stony harte.
Those amber locks, are those same nets my deere,
Wherewith my libertie thou didst surprize:
Loue was the flame, that fired me so neere,
The darte transpearsing, were those Christall eyes.
Strong is the net, and feruent is the flame;
Deepe is the wounde, my sighes do well report:
Yet doe I loue, adore, and praise the same,
That holdes, that burnes, that wounds me in this sort.
And list not seeke to breake, to quench, to heale,
The bonde, the flame, the wound the festreth so;
By knife, by lyquor, or by salue to deale:
So much I please to perish in my wo.
Ye[t] least long trauailes be aboue my strength,
Good Delia lose, quench, heale me now at length.
If that a loyall hart and faith vnfained,
If a sweete languish with a chast desire:
If hunger-staruen thoughts so long retayned,
Fed but with smoake, and cherisht but with fire.
And if a brow with cares caracterss painted,
Bewraies my loue, with broken words halfe spoken;
To her that fits in my thoughts Temple fainted,
And layes to view my Vultur-gnawne hart open.
If I have doone due homage to her eyes,
And had my sighes styll tending on her name:
If on her loue my life and honour lyes;
And she th'vnkindest maide still scornes the same.
Let this suffice, the world yet may see;
The fault is hers, though mine the hurt must bee.
Happie in sleepe, waking content to languish,
Imbracing cloudes by night, in day time morne:
All things I loath saue her and mine owne anguish,
Pleas'd in my hurt, inur'd to liue forlorne.
Nought doe I craue, but loue, death, or my Lady,
Hoarce with crying mercy, mercy yet my merit;
So many vowes and prayers euer made I,
That now at length t'yeelde, meere pittie were it.
But still the Hydra of my cares renuing,
Reuiues new sorrowes of her fresh disdayning;
Still must I goe the Summer windes pursuing:
Finding no ende nor Period of my payning.
Waile all my life, my greifes do touch so neerely,
And th[u]s I liue, because I loue her deerely.
Since the first looke that led me to this error,
To this thoughts-maze, to my confusion tending:
Still have I liu'd in griefe, in hope, in terror,
The circle of my sorrowes neuer ending.
Yet cannot leaue her loue that holdes me hatefull,
Her eyes exact it, though her hart disdaines mee:
See what reward he hath that serues th'vngratefull,
So true and loyall loue no fauours gaines mee.
Still must I whet my younge desires abated,
Vppon the Flint of such a hart rebelling;
And all in vaine, her pride is so innated,
She yeeldes no place at all for pitties dwelling.
Oft haue I tolde her that my soule did loue her,
And that with teares, yet all this will not moue her.
Restore thy tresses to the golden Ore,
Yeelde Cithereas sonne those Arkes of loue;
Bequeath the heauens the starres that I adore,
And to th'Orient do thy Pearles remoue.
Yeelde thy hands pride vnto th'yuory whight,
T'Arabian odors giue thy breathing sweete:
Restore thy blush vnto Aurora bright,
To Thetis giue the honour of thy feete.
Let Venus haue thy graces, her resigned,
And thy sweete voyce giue backe vnto the Spheares:
But yet restore thy fearce and cruell minde,
To Hyrcan Tygers, and to ruthles Beares.
Yeelde to the Marble thy hard hart againe;
So shalt thou cease to plague, and I to paine.
If Beautie thus be clouded with a frowne,
That pittie shines no comfort to my blis:
And vapors of disdaine so ouergrowne,
That my liues light thus wholy darkned is.
Why should I more molest the world with cryes?
The ayre with sighes, the earth belowe with teares?
Since I liue hatefull to those ruthlesse eyes,
Vexing with vntun'd moane, her daintie eares.
If I haue lou'd her deerer then my breath,
My breath that calls the heauens to witnes it:
And still must holde her deere till after death.
And if that all this cannot moue a whit;
Yet let her say that she hath doone me wrong,
To vse me thus and knowe I lou'd so long.
Come death the Anchor-holde of all my thoughtes,
My last Resort whereto my soule appealeth;
For all too long on earth my fancy dotes,
Whilst my best blood my younge desi[er]s sealeth.
That hart is now the pospectiue of horror,
That honored hath the cruelst faire that lyueth:
The cruelst faire, that sees I languish for her,
Yet neuer mercy to my merit giueth.
[ ] This is her Lawrell and her triumphes prize,
To tread me downe with foote of her disgrace:
Whilst I did builde my fortune in her eyes,
And laide my liues rest on so faire a face;
That rest I lost, my loue, my life and all,
So high attempts to lowe disgraces fall.
These sorrowing sighes, the smaokes of mine annoy;
These teares, which heate of sacred flame distils;
Are these due tributes that my faith dooth pay
Vnto the tyrant; whose vn[k]indnes kils.
I sacrifize my youth, and blooming yeares,
At her proud feete, and she respects not it:
My flowre vntimely's withred with my teares,
And winter woes, for spring of youth vnfit.
She thinkes a looke may recompence my care,
And so with lookes prolongs my long-lookt ease:
As short that blisse, so is the comfort rare,
Yet must that blisse my hungry thoughts appease.
Thus she returnes my hopes so fruitlesse euer,
Once let her loue indeede, or eye me neuer.
False hope prolongs my euer certaine griefe;
Traytrous to me and faithfull to my loue:
A thousand times it promis'd me reliefe,
Yet neuer any true effect I proue.
Oft when I finde in her no trueth at all,
I banish her, and blame her trechery:
Yet soone againe I must her backe recall,
As one that dyes without her company.
Thus often as I chase my hope from mee,
Straight way she hates her vnto Delias eyes:
Fed with some pleasing looke there shall she bee,
And so sent backe and thus my fortune lyes.
Lookes feede my Hope, Hope fosters me in vaine;
Hopes are vnsure, when certaine is my paine.
Looke in my griefes, and blame me not to morne,
From care to care that leades a life so bad;
Th'Orphan of fortune, borne to be her scorne,
Whose clouded brow dooth make my daies so sad.
Long are their nights whose cares doe neuer sleepe
Loathsome their daies, whome no sunne euer ioyde:
Her fairest eyes doe penetrate so deepe,
That thus I liue booth day and night annoyde.
But since the sweetest roote doth yeeld thus much,
Her praise from my complaint I may not part:
I loue th'effect for that the cause is such,
Ile praise her face, and blame her flintie hart.
Whilst that wee make the world admire at vs,
Her for disdaine, and me for louing thus.
Oft and in vaine my rebel thoughts haue ventred,
To stop the passage of my vanquisht hart:
And shut those waies my friendly foe first entred,
Hoping thereby to free my better part.
And whilst I garde these windowes of this forte,
Where my harts theese to vexe me made her choice:
And thether all my forces doe transporte,
An other passage opens at her voice.
Her voyce betraies me to her hand and eye:
My freedomes tyrants conquering all by arte:
But ah, what glorie can she get thereby,
With three such powers to plague one silly harte.
Yet my soules soueraigne, since I must resigne;
Reigne in my thoughts, my loue and life are thine.
Raigne in my thoughts faire hand, sweete eye, rare voyce,
Possesse me whole, my harts triumuirat:
Yet heauie hart to make so hard a choise,
Of such as spoile thy poore afflicted state,
For whilst they striue which shall be Lord of all,
All my poore life by them is troden downe:
They all erect their Trophies on my fall.
And yeelde me nought that giues them their renowne.
When backe I looke, I sigh my freedome past,
And waile the state wherein I present stande:
And see my fortune euer like to last,
Finding me rain'd with such a heauie hande;
What can I doo but yeeld, and yeeld I doo,
And serue all three, and yet they spoile me too.
Whilst by her eyes pursu'd, my poore hart flew it,
Into the sacred bosome of my deerest:
She there in that sweete sanctuary flew it,
Where it presum'd his safetie to be neerest.
My priuiledge of faith could not protect it,
That was with blood and three yeeres witnes signed:
In all which time she neuer could suspect it,
For well she sawe my loue, and how I pined.
And yet no comfort would her brow reueale mee.
No lightning looke, which falling hopes erecteth:
What bootes to lawes of succour to appeale mee?
Ladies and tyrants, neuer lawes respecteth.
Then there I dye, where hop'd I to have liuen;
And by that hand, which better might haue giuen.
The starre of my mishappe impos'd this payning,
To spend the Aprill of my yeers in wayling,
That neuer found my fortune but in wayning,
With still fresh cares my present woes assayling.
Yet her I blame not, though she might haue blest mee,
But my desires wings so high aspiring:
Now melted with the sunne that hath possest mee,
Downe doe I fall from off my high desiring;
And in my fall doe cry for mercy speedy,
No pittying eye lookes backe vppon my mourning:
No helpe I finde when now most fauour neede I,
Th'Ocean of my teares must drowne me burning,
And this my death shall christen her anew,
And giue the cruell Faire her tytle dew.
Raysing my hopes on hills of high desire,
Thinking to skale the heauen of her hart:
My slender meanes presum'd too high a part;
Her thunder of disdaine forst me retire;
And threw mee downe to paine in all this fire,
Where loe I languish in so heauie smart,
Because th'attempt was farre aboue my arte:
Her pride brook'd not poore soules shold come so nye her.
Yet I protest my high aspyring will,
Was not to dispossesse her of her right:
Her soueraignty should haue remayned still,
I onely sought the blisse to haue her sight.
Her sight contented thus to see me spill,
[ ] Fram'd my desires fit for her eyes to kill.
O why dooth Delia credite so her glasse,
Gazing her beautie deign'd her by the skyes:
And dooth not rather looke on him (alas)
Whose state best shewes the force of murthering eyes.
The broken toppes of loftie trees declare,
The fury of a mercy wanting storme:
And of what force your wounding graces are,
Vppon my selfe you best may finde the forme.
Then leave your glasse, and gaze your selfe on mee,
That Mirrour shewes what powre is in your face:
To viewe your forme too much, may daunger bee,
Narcissus chaung'd t'a flowre in such a case.
And you are chaung'd, but not t'a Hiacint;
I feare your eye hath turn'd your hart to flint.
I once may see when yeeres shall wrecke my wronge,
When golden haires shall chaunge to siluer wyer:
And those bright rayes, that kindle all this fyer
Shall faile in force, their working not so stronge.
Then beautie, now the burthen of my song,
Whose glorious blaze the world dooth so admire;
Must yeelde vp all to tyrant Times desire:
Then fade those flowres which deckt her pride so long.
When if she grieue to gaze her in her glas,
Which then presents her winter-withered hew;
Goe you my verse, goe tell her what she was;
For what she was she best shall finde in you.
Your firie heate lets not her glorie passe,
But Phenix-like shall make her liue anew.
Looke Delia how wee steeme the half-blowne Rose,
The image of thy blush and Summers honor:
Whilst in her tender greene she doth inclose
That pure sweete beautie, Time bestowes vppon her.
No sooner spreades her glorie in the ayre,
But straight her ful-blowne pride is in declyning;
She then is scorn'd that late adorn'd the fayre:
So clowdes thy beautie, after fayrest shining.
No Aprill can reuiue thy withred flowers,
Whose blooming grace adornes thy glorie now:
Swift speedy Time, feathred with flying howers,
Dissolues the beautie of the fairest brow.
O let not then such riches waste in vaine;
But loue whilst that thou maist be lou'd againe.
But loue whilst that thou maist be lou'd againe,
Now whilst thy May hath fill'd thy lappe with flowers;
Now whilst thy beautie beares without a staine;
Now vse thy Summer smiles ere winter lowres.
And whilst thou spread'st vnto the rysing sunne,
The fairest flowre that euer sawe the light:
Now ioye thy time before thy sweete be dunne,
And Delia, thinke thy morning must haue night.
And that thy brightnes sets at length to west:
When thou wilt close vp that which now thou showest:
And thinke the same becomes thy fading best,
Which then shall hide it most, and couer lowest.
Men doe not weigh the stalke for that it was,
When once they finde her flowre, her glory passe.
VVhen men shall finde thy flowre, thy glory passe,
And thou with carefull brow sitting alone:
Receiued hast this mesage from thy glasse,
That tells thee trueth, and saies that all is gone.
Fresh shalt thou see in mee the woundes thou madest,
Though spent thy flame, in mee the heate remayning:
I that have lou'd thee thus before thou fadest,
My faith shall waxe, when thou art in thy wayning.
The world shall finde this miracle in mee,
That fire can burne, when all the matter's spent:
Then what my faith hath beene thy selfe shalt see,
And that thou wast vnkinde thou maiest repent.
Thou maist repent, that thou hast scorn'd my teares,
When Winter snowes vppon thy golden heares.
VVhen Winter snowes vpon thy golden heares,
And frost of age hath nipt thy flowers neere:
When darke shall seeme thy day that neuer cleares,
And all lyes withred that was held so deere.
Then take this picture which I heere present thee,
Limned with a Pensill not all vnworthy:
Heere see the giftes that God and nature lent thee;
Heere read thy selfe, and what I suffred for thee,
This may remaine thy lasting monument,
Which happily posteritie may cherish:
These collours with thy fading are not spent;
These may remaine, when thou and I shall perish.
If they remaine, then thou shalt liue thereby;
They will remaine, and so thou canst not dye.
Thou canst not dye whilst any zeale abounde
In feeling harts, that can conceiue these lines:
Though thou a Laura hast no Petrarch founde,
In base attire, yet cleerely Beautie shines.
And I, though borne in a colder clime,
Doe feele mine inward heate as great, I knowe it:
He neuer had more faith, although more rime,
I loue as well, though he could better shew it.
But I may ad one feather to thy fame,
To helpe her flight throughout the fairest Ile:
And if my penne could more enlarge thy name,
Then shouldst thou liue in an immortall stile.
But though that Laura better limned bee,
Suffice, thou shalt be lou'd as well as shee.
O be not grieu'd that these my papers should,
Bewray vnto the world howe faire thou art:
Or that my wits have shew'd the best they could,
The chastest flame that euer warmed hart.
Thinke not sweete Delia, this shall be thy shame,
My Muse should sound thy praise with mournefull warble:
How many liues the glory of whose name,
Shall rest in y[c]e, when thine is grau'd in Marble.
Thou maist in after ages liue esteem'd,
Vnburied in these lines reseru'd in purenes;
These shall intombe those eyes, that haue redeem'd
Mee from the vulgar, thee from all obscurenes.
Although my carefull accents neuer mou'd thee;
Yet count it no disgrace that I haue lou'd thee.
Delia these eyes that so admireth thine,
Haue seene those walles the which ambition reared,
To checke the world, how they intombd haue lyen
[W]ithin themselues; and on them ploughes haue eared.
Yet for all that no barbarous hand attaynde,
The spoyle of fame deseru'd by vertuous men:
Whose glorious actions luckely had gainde,
Th'eternall An[n]alls of a happie pen.
Why then though Delia fade let that not moue her,
Though time do spoyle her of the fairest vaile
That euer yet mortallitie did couer;
Which shall instarre the needle and the trayle.
That grace, that vertue, all that seru'd t'in woman;
Dooth her vnto eternitie assommon.
Faire and louely maide, looke from the shore,
See thy Leander striuing in these waues:
Poore soule fore-spent, whose force can doe no more,
Now send foorth hopes, for now calme pitte saues.
And wafte him to thee with those louely eyes,
A happy conuoy to a holy lande:
Now shew thy powre, and where thy vertue lyes,
To saue thine owne, stretch out the fayrest hand.
Stretch out the fairest hand a pledge of peace,
That hand that dartes so right, and neuer misses:
Ile not reuenge olde wrongs, my wrath shall cease;
For that which gaue me woundes, Ile giue it kisses.
Once let the Ocean of my cares finde shore,
That thou be pleas'd, and I may sigh no more.
Reade in my face, a volume of despayres,
The wayling Iliades of my tragicke wo;
Drawne with my bloud, and printed with my cares,
Wrought by her hand, that I haue honoured so.
Who whilst I burne, she singes at my soules wrack,
Looking a loft from Turret of her pride:
There my soules tyrant ioyes her, in the sack
Of her owne seate, whereof I made her guide.
[ ] There doe these smoakes that from affliction ryse,
Serue as an incense to a cruell Dame:
A Sacrifize thrice gratefull to her eyes,
Because their powre serue to exact the same.
Thus ruines she, to satisfie her will;
The Temple, where her name was honored still.
My Cynthia hath the waters of mine eyes,
The ready handmaides on her grace attending:
That neuer fall to ebbe, nor euer dryes,
For to their flowe she neuer graunts an ending.
Th'Ocean neuer did attende more duely,
Vppon his Soueraignes course, the nights pale Queene:
Nor paide the impost of his waues more truely,
Then mine to her in truth haue euer beene.
Yet nought the rocke of that hard hart can moue,
Where beate these teares with zeale, and fury driueth:
And yet I rather languish in her loue
Then I would ioy the fayrest she that liueth.
I doubt to finde such pleasure in my gayning,
As now I taste in compas of complayning.
How long shall I in mine affliction morne,
A burthen to my selfe, distress'd in minde:
When shall my interdicted hopes returne,
From out despayre wherein they liue confin'd.
When shall her [troubled] browe charg'd with disdaine,
Reueale the treasure which her smyles impart:
When shall my faith the happinesse attaine,
To breake the yce that hath congeald her hart.
Vnto her selfe, her selfe my loue dooth sommon,
If loue in her hath any powre to moue:
And let her tell me as she is a woman,
Whether my faith hath not deseru'd her loue.
I knowe she cannot but must needes confesse it,
Yet deignes not with one simple signe t'expresse it.
Beautie, sweet loue, is like the morning dewe,
Whose short refresh vpon the tender greene,
Cheeres for a time but tyll the Sunne doth shew,
And straight tis gone as it had neuer beene.
Soone doth it fade that makes sthe fairest florish,
Short is the glory of the blushing Rose,
The hew which thou so carefully doost nourish,
Yet which at length thou must be forc'd to lose.
When thou surcharg'd with burthen of thy yeeres,
Shalt bend thy wrinkles homeward to the earth:
When tyme hath made a pasport for thy feares,
Dated in age the Kalends of our death.
But ah no more, thys hath beene often tolde,
And women grieue to thinke they must be old.
I must not grieue my Loue, whose eyes would reede,
Lines of delight, whereon her youth might smyle:
Flowers haue a tyme before they come to seede,
And she is young and now must sport the while.
Ah sport sweet Mayde in season of these yeeres,
And learne to gather flowers before they wither:
And where the sweetest blossoms first appeares,
Let loue and youth conduct thy pleasures thither.
Lighten forth smyles to cleere the clowded ayre,
And calme the tempest which my sighes doe rayse:
Pittie and smyles doe best become the fayre,
Pittie and smyles shall yeeld thee lasting prayse.
I hope to say when all my griefes are gone,
Happy the hart that sigh'd for such a one.
Drawne vvith th'attractiue vertue of her eyes,
My toucht hart tu[rn]es it to that happie cost:
My ioyfull North, where all my fortune lyes,
The leuell of my hopes desired most.
There vvhere my Delia fayrer then the sunne,
Deckt with her youth whereon the world smyleth:
Ioyes in that honour vvhich her beautie wonne,
Th'eternall volume vvhich her fame compyleth.
Florish faire Albion, glory of the North,
Neptunes darling helde betweene his armes:
Deuided from the world as better worth,
Kept for himselfe, defended from all harmes.
Still let disarmed peace decke her and thee;
And Muse-foe Mars, abroade farre fostred bee.
Care-charmer sleepe, sonne of the Sable night,
Brother to death, in silent darknes borne:
Relieue my languish, and restore the light,
With darke forgetting of my cares returne
And let the day be time enough to morne,
The shipwrack of my ill-aduentred youth:
Let vvaking eyes suffice to vvayle theyr scorne,
Without the torment of the nights vntruth.
Cease dreames, th'ymagery of our day desires,
To modell foorth the passions of the morrow:
Neuer let rysing Sunne approue you lyers,
To adde more griefe to aggrauat my sorrow.
Still let me sleepe, imbracing clovvdes in vaine;
And neuer vvake, to feele the dayes disdayne.
Let others sing of Knights and Palladines,
In aged accents, and vntimely words:
Paint shadowes in imaginary lines,
Which well the reach of their high wits records;
But I must sing of thee and those faire eyes,
Autentique shall my verse in time to come,
When yet th'vnborne shall say, loe where she lyes,
Whose beautie made him speake that els was dombe.
These are the Arkes the Tropheis I erect,
That fortifie thy name against old age,
And these thy sacred vertues must protect,
Against the Darke and times consuming rage.
Though th'error of my youth they shall discouer,
Suffice they shew I liu'd and was thy louer.
Like as the Lute that ioyes or els dislikes,
As is his arte that playes vpon the same:
So sounds my Muse according as she strikes,
On my hart strings high tun'd vnto her fame.
Her touch doth cause the warble of the sound,
Which heere I yeeld in lamentable wise,
A wailing deskant on the sweetest ground,
Whose due reports giue honor to her eyes.
Els harsh my style, vntunable my Muse,
Hoarce sounds the voyce that prayseth not her name:
If any pleasing realish heere I vse,
Then iudge the world her beautie giues the same.
O happie ground that makes the musique such,
And blessed hand that giues so sweete a tuch.
None other fame myne vnambitious Muse,
Affected euer but t'eternize thee:
All other honours doe my hopes refuse,
Which meaner priz'd and momentarie bee.
For God forbid I should my papers blot,
With mercynary lines, with seruile pen:
Praising vertues in them that haue them not,
Basely attending on the hopes of men.
No no my verse respects nor Thames nor Theaters,
Nor seekes it to be knowne vnto the Great:
But Auon rich in fame, though poore in waters,
Shall have my song, where Delia hath her seate.
Auon shall be my Thames, and she my Song;
Ile sound her name the Ryuer all along.
Vnhappy pen and ill accepted papers,
That intimate in vaine my chaste desiers,
My chaste desiers, the euer burning tapers,
Inkindled by her eyes celestiall fiers.
Celestiall fiers and vnrespecting powers,
That deigne not view the glory of your might,
In humble lines the worke of carefull howers,
The sacrifice I offer to her sight.
But sith she scornes her owne, this rests for me,
Ile mone my selfe, and hide the wrong I haue:
And so content me that her frownes should be
To my' infant stile the cradle, and the graue.
What though my selfe no honor get thereby,
Each byrd sings t'herselfe, and so will I.
Loe heere the impost of a faith vnfaining,
That loue hath paide, and her disdaine extorted:
Beholde the message of my iust complayning,
That shewes the world how much my griefe imported.
These tributary plaintes fraught with desire,
I sende those eyes the cabinets of loue;
The Paradice whereto my hopes aspire,
From out this hell, which mine afflictions proue.
Wherein I thus doe liue cast downe from myrth,
Pensiue alone, none but despayre about mee;
My ioyes abortiue, perisht at their byrth,
My carres long liu'de, and will not dye without mee.
This is my state, and Delias hart is such;
I say no more, I feare I saide too much.
Nowe each creature ioyes the other,
Pasing happy daies and howers:
One byrd reports to another,
In the fall of siluer showers,
Whilst the earth our common mother,
Hath her bosome deckt with flowers.
VVhilst the greatest torch of heauen,
With bright rayes warmes Floras lappe:
Making nights and dayes both euen,
Cheering plants with fresher sappe:
My field of flowers quite be-reauen,
Wants refresh of better happe.
Eccho daughter of the ayre,
Babbling gheste of Rocks and Hills,
Knowes the name of my fearce Fayre,
And soundes the accents of my ills:
Each thing pitties my dispaire,
Whilst that she her Louer kills.
Whilst that she O cruell Maide,
Doth me, and my true loue dispise:
My liues florish is decayde
That depended on her eyes:
But her will must be obaide,
And well he' ends for loue who dies.
VT from the horror of infernall deepes,
My poore afflicted ghost comes heere to plaine it:
Attended with my shame that neuer sleepes,
The spot wherewith my kinde, and youth did staine it:
My body found a graue where to containe it,
A sheete could hide my face, but not my sin,
For Fame finds neuer tombe t'inclose it in.
And which is worse, my soule is nowe denied,
Her transport to the sweet Elisean rest,
The ioyfull blisse for ghosts repurified,
Th'euer springing Gardens of the blest,
Caron denies me waftage with the rest.
And sayes my soule can neuer passe that Riuer,
Till Louers sighes on earth shall it deliuer.
So shall I neuer passe; for how should I
Procure this sacrifice amongst the liuing?
Time hath long since worne out the memorie,
Both of my life, and liues vniust depriuing:
Sorrow for me is dead for aye reuiuing.
Rosamond hath little left her but her name,
And that disgrac'd, for time hath wrong'd the same.
No Muse suggests the pittie of my case,
Each penne dooth ouerpasse my iust complaint,
Whilst others are preferd, though farre more base:
Shores wife is grac'd, and passes for a Saint;
Her Legend iustifies her foule attaint;
Her well-told tale did such compassion finde,
That she is pass'd, and I am left behinde.
Which seene with griefe, my myserable ghost,
(VVhilome inuested in so faire a vaile,
Which whilst it liu'd, was honoured of the most,
And being dead, giues matter to bewaile)
Comes to sollicit thee, since others faile,
To take this taske, and in thy wofull Song
To forme my case, and register my wrong.
Although I knowe thy iust lamenting Muse,
Toylde in th'affliction of thine owne distresse,
In others cares hath little time to vse,
And therefore maist esteeme of mine the lesse:
Yet as thy hopes attend happie redresse,
Thy ioyes depending on a womans grace,
So moue thy minde a wofull womans case.
Delia may happe to deynge to read our story,
And offer vp her sigh among the rest,
Whose merit would suffice for both our glorie,
Whereby thou might'st be grac'd, and I be blest,
That indulgence would profit me the best;
Such powre she hath by whom thy youth is lead,
To ioy the liuing and to blesse the dead.
So I through beautie made the wofull'st vvight,
By beautie might haue comfort after death:
That dying fayrest, by the fayrest might
Finde life aboue on earth, and rest beneath:
She that can blesse vs with one happy breath,
Giue comfort to thy Muse to doe her best.
That thereby thou maist ioy, and I might rest.
Thus saide: forthwith mou'd with a tender care
And pittie, which my selfe could neuer finde:
What she desir'd, my Muse deygn'd to declare,
And therefore will'd her boldly tell her minde:
And I more willing tooke this charge assignd,
Because her griefes were worthy to be knowne,
And telling hers, might hap forget mine owne.
Then write quoth shee the ruine of my youth,
Report the downe-fall of my slippry state:
Of all my life reueale the simple truth,
To teach to others, what I learnt too late:
Exemplifie my frailtie, tell howe Fate
Keepes in eternall darke our fortunes hidden,
And ere they come, to know them tis forbidden.
For whilst the sunn-shine of my fortune lasted,
I ioy'd the happiest warmth, the sweetest heat
That euer yet imperious beautie tasted,
I had what glory euer flesh could get:
But this faire morning had a shamefull set;
Disgrace darkt honor, sinne did clowde my brow,
As note the sequel, and Ile tell thee how.
The blood I staind was good and of the best,
My birth had honor, and my beautie fame:
Nature and Fortune ioyn'd to make me blest,
Had I had grace t'haue knowne to vse the same:
My education shew'd from whence I came,
And all concur'd to make me happy furst,
That so great hap might make me more accurst.
Happie liu'd I whilst Parents eye did guide,
The indiscretion of my feeble wayes:
And Country home kept me from being eyde,
Where best vnknowne I spent my sweetest dayes;
Till that my frindes mine honour sought to rayse,
To higher place, which greater credite yeeldes,
Deeming such beauty was vnfit for feeldes.
From Country then to Court I was preferr'd,
From calme to stormes, from shore into the deepes:
There where I perish'd, where my youth first err'd;
There where I lost the Flowre which honour keepes;
There where the worser thriues, the better weepes;
Ah me poore wench, on this vnhappy shelfe
I grounded me, and cast away my selfe.
For thither com'd, when yeeres had arm'd my youth
With rarest proofe of beautie euer seene:
When my reuiuing eye had learnt the truth,
That it had powre to make the winter greene,
And flowre affections whereas none had beene:
Soone could I teach my browe to tyrannize.
And make the world do homage to mine eyes.
For age I saw, though yeeres with cold conceit,
Congeald theyr thoughts against a warme desire:
Yet sigh their want, and looke at such a baite,
I saw how youth was waxe before the fire:
I saw by stealth, I fram'd my looke a lire,
Yet well perceiu'd how Fortune made me then,
The enuy of my sexe, and wonder vnto men.
Looke how a Comet at the first appearing,
Drawes all mens eyes with wonder to behold it:
Or as the saddest tale at suddaine hearing,
Makes silent listning vnto him that told it:
So did my speech when rubies did vnfold it;
So did the blasing of my blush appeere,
T'amaze the world, that holds such sights so deere.
Ah beauty Syren, fayre enchaunting good,
Sweet silent rethorique of perswading eyes:
Dombe eloquence, whose powre doth moue the blood,
More then the words, or wisedome of the wise:
Still harmonie, whose diapason lyes
Within a brow, the key which passions moue,
To rauish sence, and play a world in loue.
What might I then not doe whose powre was such?
What cannot vvomen doe that know theyr powre?
What women knowes it not I feare too much,
How blisse or bale lyes in theyr laugh or lowre?
Whilst they enioy their happy blooming flowre,
Whilst nature decks her with her proper fayre
Which cheeres the worlde, ioyes each sight, sweetens th'ayre.
Such one was I, my beautie was mine owne,
No borrowed blush which banck-rot beauties seeke:
The newfound-shame, a sinne to vs vnknowne,
Th'adulterate beauty of a falsed cheeke:
Vild staine to honor and to women eeke,
Seeing that time our fading must detect,
Thus with defect to couer our defect.
Impiety of times, chastities abator,
Falshod, wherein thy selfe, thy selfe deniest:
Treason, to counterfeit the seale of nature,
The stampe of heauen, impresed by the hiest.
Disgrace vnto the world, to whom thou lyest,
Idol vnto thy selfe, shame to the wise,
And all that honors thee idolatrise.
Farre was that sinne from vs whose age was pure,
When simple beautie was accounted best,
The time when women had no other lure
But modestie, pure cheekes, a vertuous brest:
This was the pompe wherewith my youth was blest;
These were the weapons which mine honour wunne
In all the conflicts that mine eyes begunne.
VVhich were not small, I wrought on no meane obiect;
A Crowne was at my feete, Scepters obaide mee:
Whom Fortune made my King, Loue made my Subiect,
Who did commaund the Land, most humbly praid mee:
Henry the second, that so highly weigh'd mee,
Founde well by proofe the priuiledge of Beautie,
That it hath powre to counter-maund all duetie.
For after all his victories in Fraunce,
Tryumphing in the honour of his deedes:
Vnmatch'd by sword, vvas vanquisht by a glaunce,
And hotter warres within his bosome breedes:
Warres vvhom whole Legions of desires feedes,
Against all which my chastitiy opposes,
The fielde of honour, vertue neuer loses.
No armour might bee founde that coulde defend,
Transpearcing rayes of Christall-pointed eyes:
No Stratagem, no reason could amend,
No not his age; yet olde men should be wise:
B[u]t shewes deceiue, outward appearance lyes;
Let none for seeming so, thinke Saints of others,
For all are men, and all have suckt their Mothers.
VVho would haue thought, a Monarch would haue euer
Obayed his handmaide, of so meane a state;
Vultur ambition feeding on his lyuer,
Age hauing worne his pleasures out of date:
But happe comes neuer or it comes too late,
For such a daintie which his youth found not,
Vnto his feeble age did chaunce allot.
Ah Fortune neuer absolutely good,
For that some crosse still counterchecks our luck:
As heere beholde th'incompatible blood,
Of age and youth was that whereon we stuck:
Whose loathing, we from natures brests do suck,
As opposit to what our blood requires;
For equall age doth equall like desires.
But mightie men in highest honor sitting,
Nought but applause and pleasure can behold:
Sooth'd in their liking, carelesse what is fitting,
May not be suffred once to thinke the'are old:
Not trusting what they see, but what is told.
Miserable fortune to forget so farre,
The state of flesh, and what our frailties are.
Yet must I needes excuse so great defect,
For drinking of the Lethe of myne eyes:
H'is forc'd forget himselfe, and all respect
Of maiestie whereon his state relyes:
And now of loues, and pleasures must deuise.
For thus reuiu'd againe, he serues and su'th,
And seekes all meanes to vndermine my youth.
Which neuer by assault he could recouer,
So well incamp'd in strength of chaste desires:
My cleane-arm'd thoughts repell'd an vnchast louer,
The Crowne that could commaund what it requires,
I lesser priz'd then chastities attires,
Th'vnstained vaile, which innocents adornes,
Th'vngathred Rose, defended with the thornes.
And safe mine honor stoode till that in truth,
One of my Sexe, of place, and nature bad:
Was set in ambush to intrap my youth,
One in the habit of like frailtie clad,
One who the liu'ry of like weakenes had.
A seeming Matrone, yet a sinfull monster,
As by her words the chaster sort may conster.
Shee set vpon me with the smoothest speech,
That Court and age could cunningly deuise:
Th'one autentique made her fit to teach,
The other learnt her how to subtelise:
Both were enough to circumuent the wise.
A document that well may teach the sage,
That there's no trust in youth, nor hope in age.
Daughter (saith she) behold thy happy chaunce,
That hast the lot cast downe into thy lap,
VVhereby thou maist thy honor great aduaunce,
VVhilst thou (vnhappy) wilt not see thy hap:
Such fond respect thy youth doth so inwrap,
T'oppose thy selfe against thine owne good fortune,
That points thee out, and seemes thee to importune.
Doost thou not see how that thy King thy Ioue,
Lightens foorth glory on thy darke estate:
And showres downe golde and treasure from aboue,
Whilst thou doost shutte thy lappe against thy fate:
Fye fondling fye, thou wilt repent too late
[ ] The error of thy youth; that canst not see
[ ] What is the fortune that dooth followe thee.
Thou must not thinke thy flowre can alwayes florish,
And that thy beautie will be still admired:
But that those rayes which all these flames doe nourish,
Canceld with Time, will haue their date expyred,
And men will scorne what now is so desired:
Our frailtyes doome is written in the flowers,
Which florish now and fade ere many howers.
Reade in my face the ruines of my youth,
The wracke of yeeres vpon my aged brow:
I haue beene faire, I must confesse the trueth,
And stoode vppon as nice respects as thow;
I lost my time, and I repent it now;
But were I to beginne my youth againe,
I would redeeme the time I spent in vayne.
But thou hast yeeres and priuiledge to vse them,
Thy priuiledge doth beare beauties great seale:
Besides, the law of nature doth excuse them,
To whom thy youth may haue a iust appeale:
Esteeme not fame more then thou doost thy weale,
Fame, wherof the world seemes to make such choyce:
Is but an Eccho, and an idle voyce.
Then why should thys respect of honor bound vs,
In th'imaginary lists of reputation?
Titles which cold seueritie hath found vs,
Breath of the vulgar, foe to recreation:
Melancholies opinion, customs relation;
Pleasures plague, beauties scourge, hell to the fayre,
To leaue the sweete for Castles in the ayre.
Pleasure is felt, opinion but conceau'd,
Honor, a thing without vs, not our owne:
Whereof we see how many are bereau'd,
Which should haue rep'd the glory they had sowne,
And many haue it, yet vnworthy knowne.
So breathes his blasts this many-headed beast,
Whereof the wisest haue esteemed least.
The subtile Citty-women better learned,
Esteeme them chast ynough that best seeme so:
Who though they sport, it shall not be discerned,
Their face bewraies not what their bodies doe;
Tis warie walking that doth safliest goe.
With shew of vertue, as the cunning knowes,
Babes are beguild with sweetes, and men with showes.
Then vse thy tallent, youth shall be thy warrant,
And let not honor from thy sports detract:
Thou must not fondly thinke thy selfe transparent,
That those who see thy face can iudge the fact;
Let her haue shame that cannot closely act.
And seeme the chast, which is the the cheefest arte,
For what we seeme each sees, none knowes our harte.
The mightie who can with such sinnes dispence,
In steed of shame doe honors great bestow:
A worthie author doth redeeme th'offence,
And makes the scarelet sinne as white as snow.
The Maiestie that doth descend so low,
Is not defilde, but pure remaines therein:
And being sacred, sanctifies the sin.
What, doost thou stand on thys, that he is olde,
Thy beauty hath the more to worke vppon:
Thy pleasures want shal be supply'd with gold,
Cold age dotes most when the heate of youth is gone:
Enticing words preuaile with such a one,
Alluring shewes most deepe impression strikes,
For age is prone to credite what it likes.
Heere interupt she leaues me in a doubt,
When loe began the combat in my blood:
Seeing my youth inuirond round about,
The ground vncertaine where my reasons stood;
Small my defence to make my party good,
Against such powers which were so surely layde,
To ouerthrow a poore vnskilful mayde.
Treason was in my bones my selfe conspyring,
To sell my selfe to lust, my soule to sinne:
Pure-blushing shame was in retiring,
Leauing the sacred hold it glory'd in.
Honor lay prostrate for my flesh to win,
When cleaner thoughts my weakenes can vpbray
Against my selfe, and shame did force me say.
Ah Rosamond, what doth thy flesh prepare,
Destruction to thy dayes, death to thy fame:
Wilt thou betray that honor held with care,
T'intombe with blacke reproch a spotted name,
Leauing thy blush the collours of thy shame.
Opening thy feete to sinne, thy soule to lust,
Gracelesse to lay thy glorie in the dust.
Nay first let th'earth gape wide to swallow thee,
And shut thee vp in bosome with her dead:
Ere Serpent tempt thee taste forbidden tree,
Or feele the warmth of an vnlawfull bed:
Suffring thy selfe by lust to be misled;
So to disgrace thy selfe and grieue thine heires,
That Cliffords race should scorne thee one of theyrs.
Neuer wish longer to inioy the ayre,
Then that thou breath'st the breath of chastitie:
Longer then thou preseru'st thy soule as faire
As is thy face, free from impuritie:
Thy face that makes th'admired in euery eye:
Where natures care such rarities inroule,
Which vs'd amisse, may serue to damne thy soule.
But what? he is my King and may constraine me,
Whether I yeelde or not I liue defamed:
The world will thinke authority did gaine me,
I shal be iudg'd hys loue, and so be shamed:
We see the fayre condemn'd, that neuer gamed.
And if I yeeld, tis honorable shame,
If not, I liue disgrac'd, yet thought the same.
What way is left thee then vnhappy mayde,
Whereby thy spotlesse foote may wander out
Thys dreadfull danger, which thou seest is layd,
VVherein thy shame doth compasse thee about?
Thy simple yeeres cannot resolue this doubt.
Thy youth can neuer guide thy foote so euen,
But in despight some scandall will be giuen.
Thus stood I ballanc'd equallie precize,
Till my fraile flesh did weigh me downe to sinne:
Till vvorld and pleasure made me partialize,
And glittering pompe my vanitie did winne;
When to excuse my fault my lusts beginne,
And impious thoughts alledg'd this wanton clause,
That though I sinn'd, my sinne had honest cause.
So well the golden balles cast downe before me,
Could entertaine my course, hinder my way:
Whereat my rechlesse youth stooping to store me,
Lost me the gole, the glory, and the day.
Pleasure had set my wel-skoold thoughts to play,
And bade me vse the vertue of mine eyes,
For sweetly it fits the fayre to wantonise.
Thus wrought to sinne, soone was I traind from Court,
To a solitarie Grange there to attend:
The time the King should thether make resort,
Where he loues long desired-work should end.
Thether he daily messages doth send,
With costly iewels orators of loue:
Which (ah too well men know) doe women moue.
The day before the night of my defeature,
He greets me with a Casket richly wrought:
So rare, that arte did seeme to striue with nature,
T'expresse the cunning work-mans curious thought;
The mistery whereof I prying sought.
And found engrauen on the lidde aboue,
Amymone how she with Neptune stroue.
Amymone old Danaus fayrest daughter,
As she was fetching water all alone
At Lerna: whereas Neptune came and caught her,
From whom she striu'd and strugled to be gone,
Beating the ayre with cryes and pittious mone.
But all in vaine, with him sh'is forc'd to goe:
Tis shame that men should vse poore maydens so.
There might I see described how she lay,
At those proude feete, not satisfied with prayer:
Wailing her heauie hap, cursing the day,
In act so pittious to expresse dispaire:
And by how much more greeu'd, so much more fayre;
Her teares vpon her cheekes poore carefull gerle,
Did seeme against the sunne cristall and perle.
VVhose pure cleere streames, which loe so faire appeares,
VVrought hotter flames, O myracle of loue,
That kindles fire in water, heate in teares,
And makes neglected beautie mightier proue:
Teaching afflicted affects to moue;
To shew that nothing ill becomes the fayre,
But crueltie, that yeeldes vnto no prayer.
This hauing viewd and therewith something moued,
Figured I found within the other squares:
Transformed Io, Ioves deerely loued,
In her affliction how she strangely fares,
Strangelie distress'd, (O beautie borne to cares)
Turn'd to a Heiffer, kept vvith iealous eyes,
Alwaies in danger of her hatefull spyes.
These presidents presented to my vievv,
Wherein the presage of my fall was showne:
Might haue fore-vvarn'd me well what would ensue,
And others harmes haue made me shunne mine owne;
But fate is not preuented though fore-knowne.
For that must hap decreed by heauenly powers,
VVho worke our fall, yet make the fault still ours.
VVitnes the world, wherein is nothing rifer,
Then miseries vnkend before they come:
VVho can the characters of chaunce discipher,
VVritten in clowdes of our concealed dome?
Which though perhaps haue beene reueald to some,
Yet that so doubtfull as successe did proue them,
That men must know they haue the heauens aboue the[m].
I sawe the sinne wherein my foote was entring,
I sawe how that dishonour did attend it,
I sawe the shame whereon my flesh was ventring,
Yet had I had not the powre for to defende it;
So weake is sence when error hath condemn'd it:
We see what's good, and thereto we consent vs;
But yet we choose the worst, and soone repent vs.
And now I come to tell the worst of ilnes,
Now drawes the date of mine affliction neere:
Now when the darke had wrapt vp all in stilnes,
And dreadfull blacke, had dispossess'd the cleere:
Com'd was the night, mother of sleepe and feare,
Who with he sable mantle friendly couers,
The sweet-stolne sports, of ioyfull meeting Louers.
When loe I ioyde my Louer not my Loue,
And felt the hand of lust most vndesired:
Enforc'd th'vnprooued bitter sweete to proue,
Which yeeldes no mutuall pleasure when tis hired.
Loue's not constrain'd, nor yet of due required,
Iudge they who are vnfortunately wed,
What tis to[ ]come vnto a loathed bed.
But soone his age receiu'd his short contenting,
And sleepe seald vp his languishing desires:
VVhen he turnes to his rest, I to repenting,
Into my selfe my waking thought retires:
My nakednes had prou'd my sences liers.
Now opned were mine eyes to looke therein,
For first we taste the fruite, then see our sin.
Now did I find my selfe vnparadis'd,
From those pure fieldes of my so cleane beginning:
Now I perceiu'd how ill I was aduis'd,
My flesh gan loathe the new-felt touch of sinning:
Shame leaues vs by degrees, not at first winning.
For nature checks a new offence with lothing:
But vse of sinne doth make it seeme as nothing.
And vse of sinne did worke in me a boldnes,
And loue in him, incorporates such zeale:
That iealosie increas'd with ages coldnes,
Fearing to loose the ioy of all his weale.
Or doubting time his stealth might els reueale,
H'is driuen to deuise some subtile way,
How he might safeliest keepe so rich a pray.
A stately Pallace he foorthwith did buylde,
Whose intricate innumerable wayes,
With such confused errors so beguil'd
Th'vnguided entrers with vncertaine strayes,
And doubtfull turnings kept them in delayes,
With bootlesse labor leading them about,
Able to finde no way, nor in, nor out.
Within the closed bosome of which frame,
That seru'd a Center to that goodly round:
Were lodgings, with a garden to the same,
With sweetest flowers that eu'r adorn'd the ground.
And all the pleasures that delight hath found,
T'entertaine the sence of wanton eyes,
Fuell of loue, from whence lusts flames arise.
Heere I inclos'd from all the world a sunder,
The Minotaure of shame kept for disgrace:
The monster of fortune, and the worlds wonder,
Liu'd cloystred in so desolate a case:
None but the King might come into the place.
With certaine maides that did attend my neede,
And he himselfe came guided by a threed.
O Iealousie, daughter of enuy' and loue
Most wayward issue of a gentle Syer;
Fostred with feares, thy Fathers ioyes t'improue,
Myrth-marring Monster, borne a subtile lyer;
Hatefull vnto thy selfe, flying thine owne desier:
Feeding vpon suspect that dooth renue thee,
Happie were Louers if they neuer knewe thee.
Thou hast a thousand gates thou enterest by,
Conducting trembling passions to our hart:
Hundred eyed Argos, euer waking Spye,
Pale hagge, infernall fury, pleasures smart,
Enuious Obseruer, prying in euery part;
Suspicious, fearefull, gazing still about thee,
O would to God that loue could be without thee.
Thou didst depriue (through false suggesting feare)
Him of content, and me of libertie:
The onely good that women holde so deare,
And turnst my freedome to captiuitie,
First made a Prisoner, ere an enemy:
Enioynd the raunsome of my bodies shame,
Which though I paide could not redeeme the same.
What greater torment euer could haue beene,
Then to inforce the fayre to liue retired?
For what is Beautie if it be not seene,
Or what is't to be seene vnlesse admired?
And though admyred, vnlesse in loue desired?
Neuer were cheekes of Roses, locks of Amber,
Ordayn'd to liue imprisond in a Chamber.
Nature created Beautie for the view,
Like as the fire for heate, the Sunne for light:
The Faire doe holde this priuiledge as due,
By auncient Charter, to liue most in sight,
And she that is debarr'd it, hath not right.
In vaine our friends in this vse their dehorting,
For Beautie will be where is most resorting.
Witnest the fayrest streetes that Thames doth visit,
The won[dr]ous concourse of the glittering Faire:
For what rare women deckt with Beautie is it,
That thither couets not to make repaire.
The solitary Country may not stay her,
Heere is the center of all beauties best,
Excepting Delia, left to adorne the West.
Heere doth the curious with iudiciall eyes,
Contemplate beauty gloriously attired:
And heerein all our cheefest glory lyes,
To liue where we are prais'd and most desired.
O how we ioy to see our selues admired,
Whilst niggardly our fauours we discouer,
VVe loue to be belou'd, yet scorne the Louer.
Yet would to God my foote had neuer moued
From Countrey safety, from the fields of rest:
To know the danger to be highly loued,
And lyue in pompe to braue among the best,
Happy for me, better had I beene blest;
If I vnluckely had neuer strayde:
But liu'd at home a happy Country mayde.
Whose vnaffected innocencie thinks
No guilefull fraude, as doth the Courtly liuer:
Sh's deckt with trueth, the Riuer where she drinks
Doth serue her for her glasse, her counsell giuer:
She loues sincerely, and is loued euer.
Her dayes are peace, and so she ends her breath,
True life that knowes not what's to die till death.
So should I neuer haue beene registred,
In the blacke booke of the vnfortunate:
Nor had my name enrold with Maydes misled,
Which bought theyr pleasures at so hie a rate.
Nor had I taught through my vnhappy fate,
This lesson which my selfe learnt with expence,
How most it hurts that most delights the sence.
Shame followes sinne, disgrace is duly giuen,
Impietie will out, neuer so closely doone:
No walles can hide vs from the eyes of heauen,
For shame must end what wickednesse begun:
Forth breakes reproch when we least thinke thereon.
And thys is euer propper vnto Courts:
That nothing can be doone but Fame reports.
Fame doth explore what lyes most secrete hidden,
Entring the closet of the Pallace dweller:
Abroade reuealing what is most forbidden,
Of trueth and falshood both an equall teller:
Tis not a guarde can serue for to expell her,
The sword of iustice cannot cutte her wings,
Nor stop her mouth from vtt'ring secrete things.
And this our stealth she could not long conceale,
From her whom such a forfeit most concerned:
The wronged Q[u]eene, who could so closely deale:
That she the whole of all our practice learned,
And watcht a time when least it was discerned,
In absence of the King, to wreake her wrong,
With such reuenge as she desired long.
The Laberinth she entred by that threed
That seru'd a conduct to my absent Lord:
Left there by chaunce, reseru'd for such a deede,
Where she surpriz'd me whom she so abhord.
Enrag'd with madnes, scarce she speakes a word,
But flyes with eger fury to my face,
Offring me most vnwomanly disgrace.
Looke how a Tygresse that hath lost her whelpe,
Runs fearcely raging through the woods astray:
And seeing her selfe depriu'd of hope or helpe,
Furiously assaults what's in her way,
To satisfie her wrath, not for a pray:
So fell she on me in outragious wise,
As could Disdaine and Iealousie deuise.
And after all her vile reproches vsed,
She forc'd me take the poyson she had brought:
To end the lyfe that had her so abused,
And free her feares, and ease her iealous thought.
No crueltie her wrath would leaue vnwrought,
No spightfull act that to reuenge is common:
For no beast fearcer than a iealous woman.
Those handes that beauties ministers had bin,
Must now gyue death, that me adorn'd of late:
That mouth that newly gaue consent to sin,
Must now receiue destruction in there-at.
That body which my lusts did violate,
Must sacrifice it selfe t'appease the wrong,
So short is pleasure, glory lasts not long.
The poysoon soone disperc'd through all my vaines,
Had dispossess'd my liuing sences quite:
When naught respecting, death the last of paines,
Plac'd his pale collours, the 'nsigne of his might,
Vpon hys new-got spoyle before his right;
Thence chac'd my soule, setting my day ere noone,
When I least thought my ioyes could end so soone.
And as conuaid t'vntimely funerals,
My scarce colde corse not suffred longer stay:
Behold the King (by chance) returning, falls
T'incounter with the same vpon the way,
As he repaird to see his deerest ioy.
Not thinking such a meeting could haue beene,
To see his loue, and seeing beene vnseene.
Iudge those whom chaunce depriues of sweetest treasure,
What tis to lose a thing we hold so deare:
The best delight, wherein our soule takes pleasure,
The sweet of life, that penetrates so neare.
What passions feeles that hart, inforc'd to beare
The deepe impression of so strange a sight?
Tongue, pen, nor art, can neuer shew a right.
Amaz'd he standes, nor voyce nor body steares,
Words had no passage, teares no issue found:
For sorrow shut vp words, wrath kept in teares,
Confus'd affects each other doe confounde:
Oppress'd with griefe his passions had no bounde:
Striuing to tell his woes, wordes would not come;
For light cares speake, when mightie griefes are dombe.
At length extremitie breakes out away,
Through which th'imprisoned voice with teares attended,
Wayles out a sound that sorrowes doe bewray:
With armes a crosse and eyes to heauen bended,
Vauporing out sighes that to the skyes ascended.
Sighes, the poore ease calamitie affords,
Which serue for speech when sorrow wanteth words.
O heauens (quoth he) why doe myne eyes behold,
The hatefull rayes of this vnhappy sonne?
VVhy have I light to see my sinnes controld,
VVith blood of mine owne shame thus vildly donne?
How can my sight endure to looke thereon?
Why doth not blacke eternall darknes hide,
That from myne eyes my hart cannot abide?
What saw my life, wherein my soule might ioy?
What had my dayes, whom troubles still afflicted?
But onely this, to counterpoize annoy,
This ioy, this hope, which death hath interdicted:
This sweete, whose losse hath all distresse afflicted.
This that did season all my sowre of life,
Vext still at home with broyles, abroade in strife.
Vext styll at home with broyles, abrode in strife,
Dissention in my blood, iarres in my bed:
Distrust at boord, suspecting still my life,
Spending the night in horror, dayes in dred;
Such life hath tyrants, and thys lyfe I led.
These myseries goe mask'd in glittering showes,
VVhich wisemen see, the vulgar little knowes.
Thus as these passions doe him ouer-whelme,
He drawes him neere my bodie to behold it:
And as the Vine maried vnto the Elme
With strict imbraces, so doth he infold it;
And as he in hys carefull armes doth hold it,
Viewing the face that euen death commends,
On sencelesse lips, millions of kysses spends.
Pittifull mouth (quoth he) that liuing gauest
The sweetest comfort that my soule could wish:
O be it lawfull now, that dead thou hauest,
Thys sorrowing farewell of a dying kisse.
And you fayre eyes, containers of my blisse,
Motiues of loue, borne to be matched neuer:
Entomb'd in your sweet circles sleepe for euer.
Ah how me thinks I see death dallying seekes,
To entertaine it selfe in loues sweet place:
Decayed Roses of discoloured cheekes,
Doe yet retaine deere notes of former grace:
And ougly death sits faire within her face;
Sweet remnants resting of vermilion red,
That death it selfe, doubts whether she be dead.
VVonder of beautie, oh receiue these plaints,
The obsequies, the last that I shall make thee:
For loe my soule that now already faints,
(That lou'd thee lyuing, dead will not forsake thee,)
Hastens her speedy course to ouer-take thee.
Ile meete my death, and free my selfe thereby,
For ah what can he doe that cannot die?
Yet ere I die, thus much my soule doth vow,
Reuenge shall sweeten death with ease of minde:
And I will cause posterity shall know,
How faire thou wert aboue all women kind.
And after ages monuments shall find,
Shewing thy beauties title not thy name,
Rose of the world that sweetned so the same.
This said, though more desirous yet to say,
(For sorrow is vnwilling to giue ouer)
He doth represse what griefe would els bewray,
Least that too much his passions might discouer:
And yet respect scarce bridles such a Louer.
So farre transported that he knowes not whether,
For loue and Maiestie dwell ill together.
Then were my funerals not long deferred,
But doone with all the rites pompe could deuise:
At Godstow, where my body was interred,
And richly tomb'd in honorable wise.
Where yet as now scarce any note descries
Vnto these times, the memory of me,
Marble and Brasse so little lasting be.
For those walles vvhich the credulous deuout,
And apt-beleeuing ignorant did found:
With willing zeale that neuer call'd in doubt,
That time theyr works should euer so confound,
Lye like confused heapes as vnder-ground.
And what their ignorance esteem'd so holy,
The wiser ages doe account as folly.
And were it not thy fauourable lynes,
Reedified the wracke of my decayes:
And that thy accents willingly assignes,
Some farther date, and giue me longer daies,
Fevve in this age had knowne my beauties praise.
But thus renewd by fame, redeemes some time,
Till other ages shall neglect thy rime.
Then when confusion in her course shall bring,
Sad desolation on the times to come:
VVhen myrth-lesse Thames shall haue no Swan to sing,
All Musique silent, and the Muses dombe.
And yet euen then it must be known to some,
That once they florisht, though not cherisht so,
And Thames had Swannes as well as ever Po.
But heere an end, I may no longer stay thee,
I must returne t'attend at Stigian flood:
Yet ere I goe, thys one word more I pray thee,
Tell Delia now her sigh may doe me good,
And will her note the frailtie of our blood.
And if I passe vnto those happy banks,
Then she must haue her praise, thy pen her thanks.
So vanisht shee, and left me to returne,
To prosecute the tenor of my woes:
Eternall matter for my Muse to mourne,
But ah the worlde hath heard too much of those,
My youth such errors must no more disclose.
Ile hide the rest, and greeue for what hath beene,
Who made me knowne, must make me liue vnseene.
Renascence Editions: accesses since 6-Dec-97.