OF THE FIFTH VOLUME.
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The Ruines of Time The Teares of the Muses Virgils Gnat Prosopopoia: or Mother Hubberds Tale Ruines of Rome: by Bellay Muiopotmos: or the Fate of the Butterflie Visions of the Worlds Vanitie The Visions of Bellay The Visions of Petrarch
I. Variations from the Original Editions
II. Two Letters from Spenser to Harvey
III. Index of Proper Names
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CONTAINING SUNDRIE SMALL POEMES OF THE WORLDS VANITIE:
WHEREOF THE NEXT PAGE MAKETH MENTION.
BY ED. SP.
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IMPRINTED FOR WILLIAM PONSONBIE, DWELLING IN PAULES CHURCHYARD AT THE SIGNE OF THE BISHOPS HEAD.
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A NOTE OF THE SUNDRIE POEMES CONTAINED IN THIS VOLUME.
1. The Ruines of Time.
2. The Teares of the Muses.
3. Virgils Gnat.
4. Prosopopoia, or Mother Hubberds Tale.
5. The Ruines of Rome: by Bellay.
6. Muiopotmos, or The Tale of the Butterflie.
7. Visions of the Worlds Vanitie.
8. Bellayes Visions.
9. Petrarches Visions.
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THE PRINTER TO THE GENTLE READER.
Since my late setting foorth of the Faerie Queene, finding that it hath found a favourable passage amongst you, I have sithence endevoured by all good meanes, (for the better encrease and accomplishment of your delights,) to get into my handes such smale poemes of the same Authors as I heard were disperst abroad in sundrie hands, and not easie to bee come by by himselfe; some of them having bene diverslie imbeziled and purloyned from him, since his departure over sea. Of the which I have by good meanes gathered togeather these fewe parcels present, which I have caused to bee imprinted altogeather, for that they al seeme to containe like matter of argument in them, being all complaints and meditations of the worlds vanitie, verie grave and profitable. To which effect I understand that he besides wrote sundrie others, namelie: Ecclesiastes and Canticum Canticorum translated, A Senights Slumber, The Hell of Lovers, his Purgatorie, being all dedicated to ladies, so as it may seeme he ment them all to one volume: besides some other pamphlets looselie scattered abroad; as The Dying Pellican, The Howers of the Lord, The Sacrifice of a Sinner, The Seven Psalmes, &c., which, when I can either by himselfe or otherwise attaine too, I meane likewise for your favour sake to set foorth. In the meane time, praying you gentlie to accept of these, and graciouslie to entertaine the new Poet*, I take leave.
[* Spenser had printed nothing with his name before the Faerie Queene.—Ponsonby's account of the way in which this volume was collected is rather loose. The Ruins of Time and The Tears of the Muses were certainly written shortly before they were published, and there can be equally little doubt that Mother Hubberd's Tale was retouched about the same time. C.]
THE RUINES OF TIME.
TO THE RIGHT NOBLE AND BEAUTIFULL LADIE,
THE LA: MARIE,
COUNTESSE OF PEMEBROOKE.
Most honourable and bountifull Ladie, there bee long sithens deepe sowed in my brest the seede of most entire love and humble affection unto that most brave knight, your noble brother deceased; which, taking roote, began in his life time somewhat to bud forth, and to shew themselves to him, as then in the weakenes of their first spring; and would in their riper strength (had it pleased High God till then to drawe out his daies) spired forth fruit of more perfection. But since God hath disdeigned the world of that most noble spirit which was the hope of all learned men, and the patron of my young Muses, togeather with him both their hope of anie further fruit was cut off, and also the tender delight of those their first blossoms nipped and quite dead. Yet, sithens my late cumming into England, some frends of mine, which might much prevaile with me, and indeede commaund me, knowing with howe straight bandes of duetie I was tied to him, as also bound unto that noble house, of which the chiefs hope then rested in him, have sought to revive them by upbraiding me, for that I have not shewed anie thankefull remembrance towards him or any of them, but suffer their names to sleep in silence and forgetfulnesse. Whome chieflie to satisfie, or els to avoide that fowle blot of unthankefulnesse, I have conceived this small Poeme, intituled by a generall name of The Worlds Ruines; yet speciallie intended to the renowming of that noble race from which both you and he sprong, and to the eternizing of some of the chiefe of them late deceased. The which I dedicate unto your La. as whome it most speciallie concerneth, and to whome I acknowledge my selfe bounden by manie singular favours and great graces. I pray for your honourable happinesse, and so humblie kisse your handes.
Your Ladiships ever
humblie at commaund,
* * * * *
THE RUINES OF TIME.
It chaunced me on* day beside the shore Of silver streaming Thamesis to bee, Nigh where the goodly Verlame stood of yore, Of which there now remaines no memorie, Nor anie little moniment to see, 5 By which the travailer that fares that way This once was she may warned be to say. [* On, one.]
There, on the other side, I did behold A Woman sitting sorrowfullie wailing, Rending her yeolow locks, like wyrie golde 10 About her shoulders careleslie downe trailing, And streames of teares from her faire eyes forth railing*: In her right hand a broken rod she held, Which towards heaven shee seemd on high to weld, [* Railing, flowing.]
Whether she were one of that rivers nymphes, 15 Which did the losse of some dere Love lament, I doubt; or one of those three fatall impes Which draw the dayes of men forth in extent; Or th'auncient genius of that citie brent*; But, seeing her so piteouslie perplexed, 20 I, to her calling, askt what her so vexed. [* Brent, burnt.]
"Ah! what delight," quoth she, "in earthlie thing, Or comfort can I, wretched creature, have? Whose happines the heavens envying, From highest staire to lowest step me drave, 25 And have in mine owne bowels made my grave, That of all nations now I am forlorne*, The worlds sad spectacle, and Fortunes scorne." [* Forlorne, forsaken.]
Much was I mooved at her piteous plaint, And felt my heart nigh riven in my brest 30 With tender ruth to see her sore constraint; That, shedding teares, a while I still did rest, And after did her name of her request. "Name have I none," quoth she, "nor anie being, Bereft of both by Fates uniust decreeing. 35
"I was that citie which the garland wore Of Britaines pride, delivered unto me By Romane victors which it wonne of yore; Though nought at all but ruines now I bee, And lye in mine owne ashes, as ye see, 40 VERLAME I was; what bootes it that I was, Sith now I am but weedes and wastfull gras?
"O vaine worlds glorie, and unstedfast state Of all that lives on face of sinfull earth! Which, from their first untill their utmost date, 45 Tast no one hower of happines or merth; But like as at the ingate* of their berth They crying creep out of their mothers woomb, So wailing backe go to their wofull toomb. [* Ingate, entrance, beginning.]
"Why then dooth flesh, a bubble-glas of breath, 50 Hunt after honour and advauncement vaine, And reare a trophee for devouring death With so great labour and long-lasting paine, As if his daies for ever should remaine? Sith all that in this world is great or gaie 55 Doth as a vapour vanish and decaie.
"Looke backe, who list, unto the former ages, And call to count what is of them become. Where be those learned wits and antique sages, Which of all wisedome knew the perfect somme? 60 Where those great warriors, which did overcome The world with conquest of their might and maine, And made one meare* of th'earth and of their raine? [* Meare, boundary.]
"What nowe is of th'Assyrian Lyonesse, Of whome no footing now on earth appeares? 65 What of the Persian Beares outragiousnesse, Whose memorie is quite worne out with yeares? Who of the Grecian Libbard* now ought heares, That over-ran the East with greedie powre, And left his whelps their kingdomes to devoure? 70 [* Libbard, leopard]
"And where is that same great seven-headded beast, That made all nations vassals of her pride, To fall before her feete at her beheast, And in the necke of all the world did ride? Where doth she all that wondrous welth nowe hide? 75 With her own weight downe pressed now shee lies, And by her heaps her hugenesse testifies.
"O Rome, thy ruine I lament and rue, And in thy fall my fatall overthrowe, That whilom was, whilst heavens with equall vewe 80 Deignd to behold me and their gifts bestowe, The picture of thy pride in pompous shew: And of the whole world as thou wast the empresse, So I of this small Northerne world was princesse.
"To tell the beawtie of my buildings fayre, 85 Adornd with purest golde and precious stone, To tell my riches and endowments rare, That by my foes are now all spent and gone, To tell my forces, matchable to none, Were but lost labour that few would beleeve, 90 And with rehearsing would me more agreeve.
"High towers, faire temples, goodly theaters, Strong walls, rich porches, princelie pallaces, Large streetes, brave houses, sacred sepulchers, Sure gates, sweete gardens, stately galleries 95 Wrought with faire pillours and fine imageries,— All those, O pitie! now are turnd to dust, And overgrowen with blacke oblivions rust.
"Theretoo, for warlike power and peoples store In Britannie was none to match with mee, 100 That manie often did abie full sore: Ne Troynovant*, though elder sister shee, With my great forces might compared bee; That stout Pendragon to his perill felt, Who in a siege seaven yeres about me dwelt. 105 [* Troynovant, London]
"But long ere this, Bunduca, Britonnesse, Her mightie hoast against my bulwarkes brought; Bunduca! that victorious conqueresse, That, lifting up her brave heroick thought Bove womens weaknes, with the Romanes fought, 110 Fought, and in field against them thrice prevailed: Yet was she foyld, when as she me assailed.
"And though at last by force I conquered were Of hardie Saxons, and became their thrall, Yet was I with much bloodshed bought full deere, 115 And prizde with slaughter of their generall, The moniment of whose sad funerall, For wonder of the world, long in me lasted, But now to nought, through spoyle of time, is wasted.
"Wasted it is, as if it never were; 120 And all the rest that me so honord made, And of the world admired ev'rie where, Is turnd to smoake that doth to nothing fade; And of that brightnes now appeares no shade, But greislie shades, such as doo haunt in hell 125 With fearfull fiends that in deep darknes dwell.
"Where my high steeples whilom usde to stand, On which the lordly faulcon wont to towre, There now is but an heap of lyme and sand For the shriche-owle to build her balefull bowre: 130 And where the nightingale wont forth to powre Her restles plaints, to comfort wakefull lovers, There now haunt yelling mewes and whining plovers.
"And where the christall Thamis wont to slide In silver channell downe along the lee, 135 About whose flowrie bankes on either side A thousand nymphes, with mirthfull iollitee, Were wont to play, from all annoyance free, There now no rivers course is to be seene, But moorish fennes, and marshes ever greene. 140
"Seemes that that gentle river, for great griefe Of my mishaps which oft I to him plained, Or for to shunne the horrible mischiefe With which he saw my cruell foes me pained, And his pure streames with guiltles blood oft stained, From my unhappie neighborhood farre fled, 145 And his sweete waters away with him led.
"There also where the winged ships were seene In liquid waves to cut their fomie waie, And thousand fishers numbred to have been, 150 In that wide lake looking for plenteous praie Of fish, which they with baits usde to betraie, Is now no lake, nor anie fishers store, Nor ever ship shall saile there anie more.
"They all are gone, and all with them is gone! 155 Ne ought to me remaines, but to lament My long decay, which no man els doth mone, And mourne my fall with dolefull dreriment: Yet it is comfort in great languishment, To be bemoned with compassion kinde, 160 And mitigates the anguish of the minde.
"But me no man bewaileth, but in game Ne sheddeth teares from lamentable eie; Nor anie lives that mentioneth my name To be remembred of posteritie, 165 Save one, that maugre Fortunes iniurie, And Times decay, and Envies cruell tort*, Hath writ my record in true-seeming sort. [* Tort, wrong]
"CAMBDEN! the nourice* of antiquitie, And lanterne unto late succeding age 170 To see the light of simple veritie Buried in ruines, through the great outrage Of her owne people led with warlike rage, CAMBDEN! though Time all moniments obscure, Yet thy iust labours ever shall endure. 175 [* Nourice, nurse]
"But whie, unhappie wight! doo I thus crie, And grieve that my remembrance quite is raced* Out of the knowledge of posteritie, And all my antique moniments defaced? Sith I doo dailie see things highest placed, 180 So soone as Fates their vitall thred have shorne, Forgotten quite as they were never borne [* Raced, razed.]
"It is not long, since these two eyes beheld A mightie Prince*, of most renowmed race, Whom England high in count of honour held, 185 And greatest ones did sue to game his grace; Of greatest ones he, greatest in his place, Sate in the bosom of his Soveraine, And Right and Loyall** did his word maintaine. [* I. e. the Earl of Leicester.] [** Leicester's motto.]
"I saw him die, I saw him die as one 190 Of the meane people, and brought foorth on beare; I saw him die, and no man left to mone His dolefull fate that late him loved deare; Scarse anie left to close his eylids neare; Scarse anie left upon his lips to laie 195 The sacred sod, or requiem to saie.
"O trustlesse state of miserable men, That builde your blis on hope of earthly thing, And vainly thinke your selves halfe happie then, When painted faces with smooth flattering 200 Doo fawne on you, and your wide praises sing; And, when the courting masker louteth* lowe, Him true in heart and trustie to you trow! [* Louteth, boweth.]
"All is but fained, and with oaker* dide, That everie shower will wash and wipe away; 205 All things doo change that under heaven abide, And after death all friendship doth decaie. Therefore, what ever man bearst worldlie sway, Living, on God and on thy selfe relie; For, when thou diest, all shall with thee die. 210 [* Oaker, ochre, paint.]
"He now is dead, and all is with him dead, Save what in heavens storehouse he uplaid: His hope is faild, and come to passe his dread, And evill men (now dead) his deeds upbraid: Spite bites the dead, that living never baid. 215 He now is gone, the whiles the foxe is crept Into the hole the which the badger swept.
"He now is dead, and all his glorie gone, And all his greatnes vapoured to nought, That as a glasse upon the water shone, 220 Which vanisht quite so soone as it was sought. His name is worne alreadie out of thought, Ne anie poet seekes him to revive; Yet manie poets honourd him alive.
"Ne doth his Colin, carelesse Colin Cloute, 225 Care now his idle bagpipe up to raise, Ne tell his sorrow to the listning rout Of shepherd groomes, which wont his songs to praise: Praise who so list, yet I will him dispraise, Untill he quite* him of this guiltie blame. 230 Wake, shepheards boy, at length awake for shame! [* Quite, acquit.]
"And who so els did goodnes by him game, And who so els his bounteous minde did trie*, Whether he shepheard be, or shepheards swaine, (For manie did, which doo it now denie,) 235 Awake, and to his song a part applie: And I, the whilest you mourne for his decease, Will with my mourning plaints your plaint increase. [* Trie, experience.]
"He dyde, and after him his brother dyde, His brother prince, his brother noble peere, 240 That whilste he lived was of none envyde, And dead is now, as living, counted deare; Deare unto all that true affection beare, But unto thee most deare, O dearest Dame, His noble spouse and paragon of fame. 245
"He, whilest he lived, happie was through thee, And, being dead, is happie now much more; Living, that lincked chaunst with thee to bee, And dead, because him dead thou dost adore As living, and thy lost deare love deplore. 250 So whilst that thou, faire flower of chastitie, Dost live, by thee thy lord shall never die.
"Thy lord shall never die, the whiles this verse Shall live, and surely it shall live for ever: For ever it shall live, and shall rehearse 255 His worthie praise, and vertues dying never, Though death his soule doo from his bodie sever: And thou thy selfe herein shalt also live; Such grace the heavens doo to my verses give.
"Ne shall his sister, ne thy father, die; 260 Thy father, that good earle of rare renowne, And noble patrone of weake povertie; Whose great good deeds, in countrey and in towne. Have purchast him in heaven an happie crowne: Where he now liveth in eternall blis, 265 And left his sonne t'ensue those steps of his.
"He, noble bud, his grandsires livelie hayre, Under the shadow of thy countenaunce Now ginnes to shoote up fast, and flourish fayre In learned artes, and goodlie governaunce, 270 That him to highest honour shall advaunce. Brave impe* of Bedford, grow apace in bountie, And count of wisedome more than of thy countie! [* Impe, graft, scion.]
"Ne may I let thy husbands sister die, That goodly ladie, sith she eke did spring 275 Out of this stocke and famous familie Whose praises I to future age doo sing; And foorth out of her happie womb did bring The sacred brood of learning and all honour; In whom the heavens powrde all their gifts upon her.
"Most gentle spirite breathed from above, 281 Out of the bosome of the Makers blis, In whom all bountie and all vertuous love Appeared in their native propertis, And did enrich that noble breast of his 285 With treasure passing all this worldes worth, Worthie of heaven it selfe, which brought it forth:
"His blessed spirite, full of power divine And influence of all celestiall grace, Loathing this sinfull earth and earthlie slime, 290 Fled backe too soonc unto his native place; Too soone for all that did his love embrace, Too soone for all this wretched world, whom he Robd of all right and true nobilitie.
"Yet, ere his happie soule to heaven went 295 Out of this fleshlie goale, he did devise Unto his heavenlie Maker to present His bodie, as a spotles sacrifise, And chose that guiltie hands of enemies Should powre forth th'offring of his guiltles blood: So life exchanging for his countries good. 300
"O noble spirite, live there ever blessed, The worlds late wonder, and the heavens new ioy; Live ever there, and leave me here distressed With mortall cares and cumbrous worlds anoy! 305 But, where thou dost that happines enioy, Bid me, O bid me quicklie come to thee, That happie there I maie thee alwaies see!
"Yet, whilest the Fates affoord me vitall breath, I will it spend in speaking of thy praise, 310 And sing to thee, untill that timelie death By heavens doome doo ende my earthlie daies: Thereto doo thou my humble spirite raise, And into me that sacred breath inspire, Which thou there breathest perfect and entire. 315
"Then will I sing; but who can better sing Than thine owne sister, peerles ladie bright, Which to thee sings with deep harts sorrowing, Sorrowing tempered with deare delight, That her to heare I feele my feeble spright 320 Robbed of sense, and ravished with ioy; O sad ioy, made of mourning and anoy!
"Yet will I sing; but who can better sing Than thou thyselfe thine owne selfes valiance, That, whilest thou livedst, madest the forrests ring, 325 And fields resownd, and flockes to leap and daunce, And shepheards leave their lambs unto mischaunce, To runne thy shrill Arcadian pipe to heare: O happie were those dayes, thrice happie were!
"But now more happie thou, and wretched wee, 330 Which want the wonted sweetnes of thy voice, Whiles thou now in Elisian fields so free, With Orpheus, and with Linus, and the choice Of all that ever did in rimes reioyce, Conversest, and doost heare their heavenlie layes, 335 And they heare thine, and thine doo better praise.
"So there thou livest, singing evermore, And here thou livest, being ever song Of us, which living loved thee afore, And now thee worship mongst that blessed throng 340 Of heavenlie poets and heroes strong. So thou both here and there immortall art, And everie where through excellent desart.
"But such as neither of themselves can sing, Nor yet are sung of others for reward, 345 Die in obscure oblivion, as the thing Which never was; ne ever with regard Their names shall of the later age be heard, But shall in rustic darknes ever lie, Unles they mentiond be with infamie. 350
"What booteth it to have been rich alive? What to be great? what to be gracious? When after death no token doth survive Of former being in this mortall hous, But sleepes in dust dead and inglorious, 355 Like beast, whose breath but in his nostrels is, And hath no hope of happinesse or blis.
"How manie great ones may remembred be, Which in their daies most famouslie did florish, Of whome no word we heare, nor signe now see, 360 But as things wipt out with a sponge to perishe, Because they living cared not to cherishe No gentle wits, through pride or covetize, Which might their names for ever memorize!
"Provide therefore, ye Princes, whilst ye live, 365 That of the Muses ye may friended bee, Which unto men eternitie do give; For they be daughters of Dame Memorie And love, the father of Eternitie, And do those men in golden thrones repose, 370 Whose merits they to glorifie do chose.
"The seven-fold yron gates of grislie Hell, And horrid house of sad Proserpina, They able are with power of mightie spell To breake, and thence the soules to bring awaie 375 Out of dread darkenesse to eternall day, And them immortall make which els would die In foule forgetfulnesse, and nameles lie.
"So whilome raised they the puissant brood Of golden-girt Alcmena, for great merite, 380 Out of the dust to which the Oetaean wood Had him consum'd, and spent his vitall spirite, To highest heaven, where now he doth inherite All happinesse in Hebes silver bowre, Chosen to be her dearest paramoure. 385
"So raisde they eke faire Ledaes warlick twinnes. And interchanged life unto them lent, That, when th'one dies, th'other then beginnes To shew in heaven his brightnes orient; And they, for pittie of the sad wayment*, 390 Which Orpheus for Eurydice did make, Her back againe to life sent for his sake. [* Wayment, lament.]
"So happie are they, and so fortunate, Whom the Pierian sacred sisters love, That freed from bands of impacable** fate, 395 And power of death, they live for aye above, Where mortall wreakes their blis may not remove: But with the gods, for former verities meede, On nectar and ambrosia do feede. [* Impacable, unappeasable.]
"For deeds doe die, how ever noblie donne, 400 And thoughts of men do as themselves decay; But wise wordes taught in numbers for to runne, Recorded by the Muses, live for ay; Ne may with storming showers be washt away, Ne bitter-breathing windes with harmfull blast, 405 Nor age, nor envie, shall them ever wast.
"In vaine doo earthly princes then, in vaine, Seeke with pyramides to heaven aspired, Or huge colosses built with costlie paine, Or brasen pillours never to be fired, 410 Or shrines made of the mettall most desired, To make their memories for ever live: For how can mortall immortalitie give?
"Such one Mausolus made, the worlds great wonder, But now no remnant doth thereof remaine: 415 Such one Marcellus, but was torne with thunder: Such one Lisippus, but is worne with raine: Such one King Edmond, but was rent for gaine. All such vaine moniments of earthlie masse, Devour'd of Time, in time to nought doo passe. 420
"But Fame with golden wings aloft doth flie, Above the reach of ruinous decay, And with brave plumes doth beate the azure skie, Admir'd of base-borne men from farre away: Then who so will with vertuous deeds assay 425 To mount to heaven, on Pegasus must ride, And with sweete Poets verse be glorifide.
"For not to have been dipt in Lethe lake, Could save the sonne of Thetis from to die; But that blinde bard did him immortall make 430 With verses dipt in deaw of Castalie: Which made the Easterne conquerour to crie, O fortunate yong man! whose vertue found So brave a trompe thy noble acts to sound.
"Therefore in this halfe happie I doo read* 435 Good Melibae, that hath a poet got To sing his living praises being dead, Deserving never here to be forgot, In spight of envie, that his deeds would spot: Since whose decease, learning lies unregarded, 440 And men of armes doo wander unrewarded. [* Read, consider]
"Those two be those two great calamities, That long agoe did grieve the noble spright Of Salomon with great indignities, Who whilome was alive the wisest wight: 445 But now his wisedome is disprooved quite, For he that now welds* all things at his will Scorns th'one and th'other in his deeper skill. [* Welds, wields]
"O griefe of griefes! O gall of all good heartes! To see that vertue should dispised bee 450 Of him that first was raisde for vertuous parts, And now, broad spreading like an aged tree, Lets none shoot up that nigh him planted bee. O let the man of whom the Muse is scorned, Nor alive nor dead, be of the Muse adorned! 455
"O vile worlds trust! that with such vaine illusion Hath so wise men bewitcht and overkest*, That they see not the way of their confusion: O vainesse to be added to the rest That do my soule with inward griefe infest! 460 Let them behold the piteous fall of mee, And in my case their owne ensample see. [* Overkest, overcast.]
"And who so els that sits in highest seate Of this worlds glorie, worshipped of all, Ne feareth change of time, nor fortunes threats, 465 Let him behold the horror of my fall, And his owne end unto remembrance call; That of like ruine he may warned bee, And in himselfe be moov'd to pittie mee."
Thus having ended all her piteous plaint, 470 With dolefull shrikes shee vanished away, That I, through inward sorrowe wexen faint, And all astonished with deepe dismay For her departure, had no word to say; But sate long time in sencelesse sad affright, 475 Looking still, if I might of her have sight.
Which when I missed, having looked long, My thought returned greeved home againe, Renewing her complaint with passion strong, For ruth of that same womans piteous paine; 480 Whose wordes recording in my troubled braine, I felt such anguish wound my feeble heart, That frosen horror ran through everie part.
So inlie greeving in my groning brest, And deepelie muzing at her doubtfull speach, 485 Whose meaning much I labored foorth to wreste, Being above my slender reasons reach, At length, by demonstration me to teach, Before mine eies strange sights presented were, Like tragicke pageants seeming to appeare. 490
I saw an Image, all of massie gold, Placed on high upon an altare faire, That all which did the same from farre beholde Might worship it, and fall on lowest staire. Not that great idoll might with this compaire, 495 To which th'Assyrian tyrant would have made The holie brethren falslie to have praid.
But th'altare on the which this image staid Was (O great pitie!) built of brickle* clay, That shortly the foundation decaid, 500 With showres of heaven and tempests worne away; Then downe it fell, and low in ashes lay, Scorned of everie one which by it went; That I, it seing, dearelie did lament. [* Brickle, brittle.]
Next unto this a statelie Towre appeared, 505 Built all of richest stone that might bee found, And nigh unto the heavens in height upreared, But placed on a plot of sandie ground: Not that great towre which is so much renownd For tongues confusion in Holie Writ, 510 King Ninus worke, might be compar'd to it.
But, O vaine labours of terrestriall wit, That buildes so stronglie on so frayle a soyle, As with each storme does fall away and flit, And gives the fruit of all your travailes toyle 515 To be the pray of Tyme, and Fortunes spoyle, I saw this towre fall sodainlie to dust, That nigh with griefe thereof my heart was brust.
Then did I see a pleasant Paradize, Full of sweete flowres and daintiest delights, 520 Such as on earth man could not more devize, With pleasures choyce to feed his cheereful sprights: Not that which Merlin by his magicke slights Made for the gentle Squire, to entertaine His fayre Belphoebe, could this gardine staine. 525
But O short pleasure bought with lasting paine! Why will hereafter anie flesh delight In earthlie blis, and ioy in pleasures vaine? Since that I sawe this gardine wasted quite, That where it was scarce seemed anie sight; 530 That I, which once that beautie did beholde, Could not from teares my melting eyes with-holde.
Soone after this a Giaunt came in place, Of wondrous power, and of exceeding stature, That none durst vewe the horror of his face; 535 Yet was he milde of speach, and meeke of nature. Not he which in despight of his Creatour With railing tearmes defied the Iewish hoast, Might with this mightie one in hugenes boast;
For from the one he could to th'other coast 540 Stretch his strong thighes, and th'ocean overstride, And reatch his hand into his enemies hoast. But see the end of pompe and fleshlie pride! One of his feete unwares from him did slide, That downe hee fell into the deepe abisse, 545 Where drownd with him is all his earthlie blisse.
Then did I see a Bridge, made all of golde, Over the sea from one to other side, Withouten prop or pillour it t'upholde, But like the coloured rainbowe arched wide: 550 Not that great arche which Traian edifide, To be a wonder to all age ensuing, Was matchable to this in equall vewing.
But ah! what bootes it to see earthlie thing In glorie or in greatnes to excell, 555 Sith time doth greatest things to ruine bring? This goodlie bridge, one foote not fastned well, Gan faile, and all the rest downe shortlie fell, Ne of so brave a building ought remained, That griefe thereof my spirite greatly pained. 560
VI. I saw two Beares, as white as anie milke, Lying together in a mightie cave, Of milde aspect, and haire as soft as silke, That salvage nature seemed not to have, Nor after greedie spoyle of blood to crave: 565 Two fairer beasts might not elswhere be found, Although the compast* world were sought around. [* Compast, rounded.]
But what can long abide above this ground In state of blis, or stedfast happinesse? The cave in which these beares lay sleeping sound Was but earth, and with her owne weightinesse 571 Upon them fell, and did unwares oppresse; That, for great sorrow of their sudden fate, Henceforth all worlds felicitie I hate.
Much was I troubled in my heavie spright, 575 At sight of these sad spectacles forepast, That all my senses were bereaved quight, And I in minde remained sore agast, Distraught twixt feare and pitie; when at last I heard a voyce which loudly to me called, 580 That with the suddein shrill I was appalled.
"Behold," said it, "and by ensample see, That all is vanitie and griefe of minde, Ne other comfort in this world can be, But hope of heaven, and heart to God inclinde; 585 For all the rest must needs be left behinde." With that it bad me to the other side To cast mine eye, where other sights I spide.
Upon that famous rivers further shore, There stood a snowie Swan, of heavenly hiew 590 And gentle kinde as ever fowle afore; A fairer one in all the goodlie criew Of white Strimonian brood might no man view: There he most sweetly sung the prophecie Of his owne death in dolefull elegie. 595
At last, when all his mourning melodie He ended had, that both the shores resounded, Feeling the fit that him forewarnd to die, With loftie flight above the earth he bounded, And out of sight to highest heaven mounted, 600 Where now he is become an heavenly signe; There now the ioy is his, here sorrow mine.
Whilest thus I looked, loe! adowne the lee* I sawe an Harpe, stroong all with silver twyne, And made of golde and costlie yvorie, 605 Swimming, that whilome seemed to have been The harpe on which Dan Orpheus was seene Wylde beasts and forrests after him to lead, But was th'harpe of Philisides** now dead. [* Lee, surface of the stream.] [** Phili-sid-es, Sir Philip Sidney]
At length out of the river it was reard, 610 And borne above the cloudes to be divin'd, Whilst all the way most heavenly noyse was heard Of the strings, stirred with the warbling wind, That wrought both ioy and sorrow in my mind: So now in heaven a signe it doth appeare, 615 The Harpe well knowne beside the Northern Beare.
Soone after this I saw on th'other side A curious Coffer made of heben* wood, That in it did most precious treasure hide, Exceeding all this baser worldes good: 620 Yet through the overflowing of the flood It almost drowned was and done to nought, That sight thereof much griev'd my pensive thought. [* Heben, ebony.]
At length, when most in perill it was brought, Two angels, downe descending with swift flight, 625 Out of the swelling streame it lightly caught, And twixt their blessed armes it carried quight Above the reach of anie living sight: So now it is transform'd into that starre, In which all heavenly treasures locked are. 630
Looking aside I saw a stately Bed, Adorned all with costly cloth of gold, That might for anie princes couche be red*, And deckt with daintie flowres, as if it shold Be for some bride, her ioyous night to hold: 635 Therein a goodly virgine sleeping lay; A fairer wight saw never summers day. [* Red, taken.]
I heard a voyce that called farre away, And her awaking bad her quickly dight, For lo! her bridegrome was in readie ray 640 To come to her, and seeke her loves delight: With that she started up with cherefull sight, When suddeinly both bed and all was gone, And I in languor left there all alone.
Still as I gazed, I beheld where stood 645 A Knight all arm'd, upon a winged steed, The same that was bred of Medusaes blood, On which Dan Perseus, borne of heavenly seed, The faire Andromeda from perill freed: Full mortally this knight ywounded was, 650 That streames of blood foorth flowed on the gras.
Yet was he deckt (small ioy to him, alas!) With manie garlands for his victories, And with rich spoyles, which late he did purchas Through brave atcheivements from his enemies: 655 Fainting at last through long infirmities, He smote his steed, that straight to heaven him bore, And left me here his losse for to deplore.
Lastly, I saw an Arke of purest golde Upon a brazen pillour standing hie, 660 Which th'ashes seem'd of some great prince to hold, Enclosde therein for endles memorie Of him whom all the world did glorifie: Seemed the heavens with the earth did disagree, Whether should of those ashes keeper bee. 665
At last me seem'd wing-footed Mercurie, From heaven descending to appease their strife, The arke did beare with him above the skie, And to those ashes gave a second life, To live in heaven, where happines is rife: 670 At which the earth did grieve exceedingly, And I for dole was almost like to die.
Immortall spirite of Philisides, Which now art made the heavens ornament, That whilome wast the worldes chiefst riches. 675 Give leave to him that lov'de thee to lament His losse by lacke of thee to heaven hent*, And with last duties of this broken verse, Broken with sighes, to decke thy sable herse! [* Hent, taken away.]
And ye, faire Ladie! th'honor of your daies 680 And glorie of the world, your high thoughts scorne, Vouchsafe this moniment of his last praise With some few silver dropping teares t'adorne; And as ye be of heavenlie off-spring borne, So unto heaven let your high minde aspire, 685 And loath this drosse of sinfull worlds desire.
* * * * *
Ver. 8.—Verlame. Veralam, or Verulamium, was a British and Roman town, near the present city of St. Alban's in Hertfordshire. Some remains of its walls are still perceptible. H.
Ver. 64.—Th'Assyrian Lyonesse. These types of nations are taken from the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel. H.
Ver. 190.—I saw him die. Leicester died at Cornbury Lodge, in Oxfordshire. Todd suggests that he may have fallen sick at St. Alban's, and that Spenser, hearing the report in Ireland, may havo concluded without inquiry that this was the place of his subsequent death, C.
Ver. 225.—Colin Cloute. Spenser himself, who had been befriended by Leicester. H.
Ver. 239.—His brother. Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick.
Ver. 245.—His noble spouse. Anne, the eldest daughter of Francis Russell, Earl of Bedford.
Ver. 260.—His sister. Lady Mary Sidney.
Ver. 261.—That good earle, &c. This Earl of Bedford died in 1585.— TODD.
Ver. 267.—He, noble bud, &c. Edward Russell, grandson of Francis Earl of Bedford, succeeded in the earldom, his father, Francis, having been slain by the Scots.—OLDYS.
Ver. 275.—That goodly ladie, &c. Lady Mary Sidney, mother of Sir Philip Sidney and the Countess of Pembroke.
Ver. 281.—Most gentle spirite. Sir Philip Sidney.
Ver. 317.—Thine owne sister, &c. The Countess of Pembroke, to whom this poem is dedicated. "The Dolefull Lay of Clorinda" (Vol. IV. p. 426) appears to have been written by her.
Ver. 436.—Good Melibae. Sir Francis Walsingham, who died April 6,1590. The poet is Thomas Watson.—OLDYS.
Ver. 447-455.—These lines are aimed at Burghley, who was said to have opposed the Queen's intended bounty to the poet. C.
Ver 491.—These allegorical representations of the vanity of exalted position, stately buildings, earthly pleasures, bodily strength, and works of beauty and magnificence, admit of an easy application to the splendid career of the Earl of Leicester,—his favor and influence with the Queen, his enlargement of Kenilworth, his princely style of living, and particularly (IV.) his military command in the Low Countries. The sixth of these "tragick pageants" strongly confirms this interpretation. The two bears are Robert and Ambrose Dudley. While Leicester was lieutenant in the Netherlands, he was in the habit of using the Warwick crest (a bear and ragged staff) instead of his own. Naunton, in his Fragmenta Regalia, calls him Ursa Major. C.
Ver. 497.—The holie brethren, &c. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Daniel, ch. iii. C.
Ver. 582-586.—A paraphrase of Sir Philip's last words to his brother. "Above all, govern your will and affection by the will and word of your Creator, in me beholding the end of this world with all her vanities." This is pointed out by Zouch, Life of Sidney, p. 263. C.
Ver 590.—This second series of pageants is applicable exclusively to Sir Philip Sidney. The meaning of the third and fourth is hard to make out; but the third seems to have reference to the collection of the scattered sheets of the Arcadia, and the publication of this work by the Countess of Pembroke, after it had been condemned to destruction by the author. The fourth may indeed signify nothing more than Lady Sidney's bereavement by her husband's death; but this interpretation seems too literal for a professed allegory. The sixth obviously alludes to the splendid obsequies to Sidney, performed at the Queen's expense, and to the competition of the States of Holland for the honor of burying his body. C.
L'ENVOY: L'Envoy was a sort of postscript sent with poetical compositions, and serving either to recommend them to the attention of some particular person, or to enforce what we call the moral of them.— TYRWHITT.
* * * * *
THE TEARES OF THE MUSES.
BY ED. SP.
IMPRINTED FOR WILLIAM PONSONBIE, DWELLING IN PAULES CHURCHYARD AT THE SIGNE OF THE BISHOPS HEAD.
* * * * *
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE
THE LADIE STRANGE.
Most brave and noble Ladie, the things that make ye so much honored of the world as ye bee are such as (without my simple lines testimonie) are throughlie knowen to all men; namely, your excellent beautie, your vertuous behavior, and your noble match with that most honourable Lord, the verie paterne of right nobilitie. But the causes for which ye have thus deserved of me to be honoured, (if honour it be at all,) are, both your particular bounties, and also some private bands of affinitie*, which it hath pleased your Ladiship to acknowledge. Of which whenas I found my selfe in no part worthie, I devised this last slender meanes, both to intimate my humble affection to your Ladiship, and also to make the same universallie knowen to the world; that by honouring you they might know me, and by knowing me they might honor you. Vouchsafe, noble Lady, to accept this simple remembrance, though not worthy of your self, yet such as perhaps by good acceptance thereof ye may hereafter cull out a more meet and memorable evidence of your own excellent deserts. So recommending the same to your Ladiships good liking, I humbly take leave.
Your La: humbly ever.
[Footnote: Lady Strange was Alice Spencer, sixth daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe. C.]
* * * * *
THE TEARES OF THE MUSES.
Rehearse to me, ye sacred Sisters nine, The golden brood of great Apolloes wit, Those piteous plaints and sorowfull sad tine Which late ye powred forth as ye did sit Beside the silver springs of Helicone, 5 Making your musick of hart-breaking mone!
For since the time that Phoebus foolish sonne, Ythundered, through loves avengefull wrath, For traversing the charret of the Sunne Beyond the compasse of his pointed path, 10 Of you, his mournfull sisters, was lamented, Such mournfull tunes were never since invented.
Nor since that faire Calliope did lose Her loved twinnes, the dearlings of her ioy, Her Palici, whom her unkindly foes, 15 The Fatall Sisters, did for spight destroy, Whom all the Muses did bewaile long space, Was ever heard such wayling in this place.
For all their groves, which with the heavenly noyses Of their sweete instruments were wont to sound, 20 And th'hollow hills, from which their silver voyces Were wont redoubled echoes to rebound, Did now rebound with nought but rufull cries, And yelling shrieks throwne up into the skies.
The trembling streames which wont in chanels cleare 25 To romble gently downe with murmur soft, And were by them right tunefull taught to beare A bases part amongst their consorts oft; Now forst to overflowe with brackish teares, With troublous noyse did dull their daintie eares. 30
The ioyous Nymphes and lightfoote Faeries Which thether came to heare their musick sweet, And to the measure of their melodies Did learne to move their nimble-shifting feete, Now hearing them so heavily lament, 35 Like heavily lamenting from them went.
And all that els was wont to worke delight Through the divine infusion of their skill, And all that els seemd faire and fresh in sight, So made by nature for to serve their will, 40 Was turned now to dismall heavinesse, Was turned now to dreadfull uglinesse.
Ay me! what thing on earth, that all thing breeds, Might be the cause of so impatient plight? What furie, or what feend, with felon deeds 45 Hath stirred up so mischievous despight? Can griefe then enter into heavenly harts, And pierce immortall breasts with mortall smarts?
Vouchsafe ye then, whom onely it concernes, To me those secret causes to display; 50 For none but you, or who of you it learnes, Can rightfully aread so dolefull lay. Begin, thou eldest sister of the crew, And let the rest in order thee ensew.
Heare, thou great Father of the Gods on hie, 55 That most art dreaded for thy thunder darts; And thou, our Syre? that raignst in Castalie And Mount Parnasse, the god of goodly arts: Heare, and behold the miserable state Of us thy daughters, dolefull desolate. 60
Behold the fowle reproach and open shame The which is day by day unto us wrought By such as hate the honour of our name, The foes of learning and each gentle thought; They, not contented us themselves to scorne, 65 Doo seeke to make us of the world forlorne*. [* Forlorne, abandoned]
Ne onely they that dwell in lowly dust, The sonnes of darknes and of ignoraunce; But they whom thou, great love, by doome uniust Didst to the type of honour earst advaunce; 70 They now, puft up with sdeignfull insolence, Despise the brood of blessed Sapience.
The sectaries* of my celestiall skill, That wont to be the worlds chiefe ornament, And learned impes that wont to shoote up still, 75 And grow to hight of kingdomes government, They underkeep, and with their spredding armes Doo beat their buds, that perish through their harmes. [* Sectaries, followers.]
It most behoves the honorable race Of mightie peeres true wisedome to sustaine, 80 And with their noble countenaunce to grace The learned forheads, without gifts or game: Or rather learnd themselves behoves to bee; That is the girlond of nobilitie.
But ah! all otherwise they doo esteeme 85 Of th'heavenly gift of wisdomes influence, And to be learned it a base thing deeme: Base minded they that want intelligence; For God himselfe for wisedome most is praised, And men to God thereby are nighest raised. 90
But they doo onely strive themselves to raise Through pompous pride, and foolish vanitie; In th'eyes of people they put all their praise, And onely boast of armes and auncestrie: But vertuous deeds, which did those armes first give To their grandsyres, they care not to atchive. 96
So I, that doo all noble feates professe To register and sound in trump of gold, Through their bad dooings, or base slothfulnesse, Finde nothing worthie to be writ, or told: 100 For better farre it were to hide their names, Than telling them to blazon out their blames.
So shall succeeding ages have no light Of things forepast, nor moniments of time; And all that in this world is worthie hight 105 Shall die in darknesse, and lie hid in slime! Therefore I mourne with deep harts sorrowing, Because I nothing noble have to sing.
With that she raynd such store of streaming teares, That could have made a stonie heart to weep; 110 And all her sisters rent* their golden heares, And their faire faces with salt humour steep. So ended shee: and then the next anew Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew. [* Rent, rend.]
O, who shall powre into my swollen eyes 115 A sea of teares that never may be dryde, A brasen voice that may with shrilling cryes Pierce the dull heavens and fill the ayer wide, And yron sides that sighing may endure, To waile the wretchednes of world impure! 120
Ah, wretched world! the den of wickednesse, Deformd with filth and fowle iniquitie; Ah, wretched world! the house of heavinesse, Fild with the wreaks of mortall miserie; Ah, wretched world, and all that is therein! 125 The vassals of Gods wrath, and slaves of sin.
Most miserable creature under sky Man without understanding doth appeare; For all this worlds affliction he thereby, And fortunes freakes, is wisely taught to beare: 130 Of wretched life the onely ioy shee is. And th'only comfort in calamities.
She armes the brest with constant patience Against the bitter throwes of dolours darts: She solaceth with rules of sapience 135 The gentle minds, in midst of worldlie smarts: When he is sad, shee seeks to make him merie, And doth refresh his sprights when they be werie.
But he that is of reasons skill bereft, And wants the staffe of wisedome him to stay, 140 Is like a ship in midst of tempest left Withouten helme or pilot her to sway: Full sad and dreadfull is that ships event; So is the man that wants intendiment*. [* Intendiment, understanding.]
Whie then doo foolish men so much despize 145 The precious store of this celestiall riches? Why doo they banish us, that patronize The name of learning? Most unhappie wretches! The which lie drowned in deep wretchednes, Yet doo not see their owne unhappines. 150
My part it is and my professed skill The stage with tragick buskin to adorne, And fill the scene with plaint and outcries shrill Of wretched persons, to misfortune borne: But none more tragick matter I can finde 155 Than this, of men depriv'd of sense and minde.
For all mans life me seemes a tragedy, Full of sad sights and sore catastrophees; First comming to the world with weeping eye, Where all his dayes, like dolorous trophees, 160 Are heapt with spoyles of fortune and of feare, And he at last laid forth on balefull beare.
So all with rufull spectacles is fild, Fit for Megera or Persephone; But I that in true tragedies am skild, 165 The flowre of wit, finde nought to busie me: Therefore I mourne, and pitifully mone, Because that mourning matter I have none.
Then gan she wofully to waile, and wring Her wretched hands in lamentable wise; 170 And all her sisters, thereto answering, Threw forth lowd shrieks and drerie dolefull cries. So rested she: and then the next in rew Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew.
Where be the sweete delights of learnings treasure, 175 That wont with comick sock to beautefie The painted theaters, and fill with pleasure The listners eyes, and eares with melodie, In which I late was wont to raine as queene, And maske in mirth with graces well beseene? 180
O, all is gone! and all that goodly glee, Which wont to be the glorie of gay wits, Is layd abed, and no where now to see; And in her roome unseemly Sorrow sits, With hollow browes and greisly countenaunce 185 Marring my ioyous gentle dalliaunce.
And him beside sits ugly Barbarisme, And brutish Ignorance, ycrept of late Out of dredd darknes of the deep abysme, Where being bredd, he light and heaven does hate: They in the mindes of men now tyrannize, 191 And the faire scene with rudenes foule disguize.
All places they with follie have possest, And with vaine toyes the vulgare entertaine; But me have banished, with all the rest 195 That whilome wont to wait upon my traine, Fine Counterfesaunce*, and unhurtfull Sport, Delight, and Laughter, deckt in seemly sort. [* Counterfesaunce, mimicry.]
All these, and all that els the comick stage With seasoned wit and goodly pleasance graced, 200 By which mans life in his likest image Was limned forth, are wholly now defaced; And those sweete wits which wont the like to frame Are now despizd, and made a laughing game.
And he, the man whom Nature selfe had made 205 To mock her selfe, and truth to imitate, With kindly counter* under mimick shade, Our pleasant Willy, ah! is dead of late: With whom all ioy and iolly meriment Is also deaded, and in dolour drent**. 210 [* Counter, counterfeit.] [** Drent, drowned.]
In stead thereof scoffing Scurrilitie, And scornfull Follie with Contempt is crept, Rolling in rymes of shameles ribaudrie Without regard, or due decorum kept; Each idle wit at will presumes to make*, 215 And doth the learneds taske upon him take. [* Make, write poetry.]
But that same gentle spirit, from whose pen Large streames of honnie and sweete nectar flowe, Scorning the boldnes of such base-borne men, Which dare their follies forth so rashlie throwe, 220 Doth rather choose to sit in idle cell, Than so himselfe to mockerie to sell.
So am I made the servant of the manie, And laughing stocke of all that list to scorne, Not honored nor cared for of anie, 225 But loath'd of losels* as a thing forlorne: Therefore I mourne and sorrow with the rest, Untill my cause of sorrow be redrest. [* Losels, worthless fellows.]
Therewith she lowdly did lament and shrike, Pouring forth streames of teares abundantly; 230 And all her sisters, with compassion like, The breaches of her singulfs* did supply. So rested shee: and then the next in rew Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew. [* I.e. the pauses of her sighs.]
Like as the dearling of the summers pryde, 235 Faire Philomele, when winters stormie wrath The goodly fields, that earst so gay were dyde In colours divers, quite despoyled hath, All comfortlesse doth hide her chearlesse head During the time of that her widowhead, 240
So we, that earst were wont in sweet accord All places with our pleasant notes to fill, Whilest favourable times did us afford Free libertie to chaunt our charmes at will, All comfortlesse upon the bared bow*, 245 Like wofull culvers**, doo sit wayling now. [* Bow, bough.] [** Culvers, doves.]
For far more bitter storme than winters stowre* The beautie of the world hath lately wasted, And those fresh buds, which wont so faire to flowre, Hath marred quite, and all their blossoms blasted; 250 And those yong plants, which wont with fruit t'abound, Now without fruite or leaves are to be found. [* Stowre, violence.]
A stonie coldnesse hath benumbd the sence And livelie spirits of each living wight, And dimd with darknesse their intelligence, 255 Darknesse more than Cymerians daylie night: And monstrous Error, flying in the ayre, Hath mard the face of all that semed fayre.
Image of hellish horrour, Ignorance, Borne in the bosome of the black abysse, 260 And fed with Furies milke for sustenaunce Of his weake infancie, begot amisse By yawning Sloth on his owne mother Night,— So hee his sonnes both syre and brother hight,—
He, armd with blindnesse and with boldnes stout, 265 (For blind is bold,) hath our fayre light defaced; And, gathering unto him a ragged rout Of Faunes and Satyres, hath our dwellings raced*, And our chast bowers, in which all vertue rained, With brutishnesse and beastlie filth hath stained. 270 [* Raced, razed.]
The sacred springs of horsefoot Helicon, So oft bedeawed with our learned layes, And speaking streames of pure Castalion, The famous witnesse of our wonted praise, They trampled have with their fowle footings trade*, And like to troubled puddles have them made. 276 [* Trade, tread.]
Our pleasant groves, which planted were with paines, That with our musick wont so oft to ring, And arbors sweet, in which the shepheards swaines Were wont so oft their pastoralls to sing, 280 They have cut downe, and all their pleasaunce mard, That now no pastorall is to bee hard.
In stead of them, fowle goblins and shriek-owles With fearfull howling do all places fill, And feeble eccho now laments and howles, 285 The dreadfull accents of their outcries shrill. So all is turned into wildernesse, Whilest Ignorance the Muses doth oppresse.
And I, whose ioy was earst with spirit full To teach the warbling pipe to sound aloft, 290 My spirits now dismayd with sorrow dull, Doo mone my miserie in silence soft. Therefore I mourne and waile incessantly, Till please the heavens affoord me remedy.
Therewith shee wayled with exceeding woe, 295 And pitious lamentation did make; And all her sisters, seeing her doo soe, With equall plaints her sorrowe did partake. So rested shee: and then the next in rew Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew. 300
Whoso hath in the lap of soft delight Beene long time luld, and fed with pleasures sweet, Feareles through his own fault or Fortunes spight To tumble into sorrow and regreet, Yf chaunce him fall into calamitie, 305 Findes greater burthen of his miserie.
So wee, that earst in ioyance did abound, And in the bosome of all blis did sit, Like virgin queenes, with laurell garlands cround, For vertues meed and ornament of wit, 310 Sith Ignorance our kingdome did confound, Bee now become most wretched wightes on ground.
And in our royall thrones, which lately stood In th'hearts of men to rule them carefully, He now hath placed his accursed brood, 315 By him begotten of fowle Infamy; Blind Error, scornefull Follie, and base Spight, Who hold by wrong that wee should have by right.
They to the vulgar sort now pipe and sing, And make them merrie with their fooleries; 320 They cherelie chaunt, and rymes at randon fling, The fruitfull spawne of their ranke fantasies; They feede the eares of fooles with flattery, And good men blame, and losels* magnify. [* Losels, worthless fellows.]
All places they doo with their toyes possesse, 325 And raigne in liking of the multitude; The schooles they till with fond newfanglenesse, And sway in court with pride and rashnes rude; Mongst simple shepheards they do boast their skill, And say their musicke matcheth Phoebus quill. 330
The noble hearts to pleasures they allure, And tell their Prince that learning is but vaine; Faire ladies loves they spot with thoughts impure, And gentle mindes with lewd delights distaine; Clerks* they to loathly idlenes entice, 335 And fill their bookes with discipline of vice. [* Clerks, scholars.]
So every where they rule and tyrannize, For their usurped kingdomes maintenaunce, The whiles we silly maides, whom they dispize And with reprochfull scorne discountenaunce, 340 From our owne native heritage exilde, Walk through the world of every one revilde.
Nor anie one doth care to call us in, Or once vouchsafeth us to entertaine, Unlesse some one perhaps of gentle kin, 345 For pitties sake, compassion our paine, And yeeld us some reliefe in this distresse; Yet to be so reliev'd is wretchednesse.
So wander we all carefull comfortlesse, Yet none cloth care to comfort us at all; 350 So seeke we helpe our sorrow to redresse, Yet none vouchsafes to answere to our call; Therefore we mourne and pittilesse complaine, Because none living pittieth our paine.
With that she wept and wofullie waymented, 355 That naught on earth her griefe might pacifie; And all the rest her dolefull din augmented With shrikes, and groanes, and grievous agonie. So ended shee: and then the next in rew Began her piteous plaint, as doth ensew. 360
Ye gentle Spirits breathing from above, Where ye in Venus silver bowre were bred, Thoughts halfe devine, full of the fire of love, With beawtie kindled, and with pleasure fed, Which ye now in securitie possesse, 365 Forgetfull of your former heavinesse,—
Now change the tenor of your ioyous layes, With which ye use your loves to deifie, And blazon foorth an earthlie beauties praise Above the compasse of the arched skie: 370 Now change your praises into piteous cries, And eulogies turne into elegies.
Such as ye wont, whenas those bitter stounds* Of raging love first gan you to torment, And launch your hearts with lamentable wounds 375 Of secret sorrow and sad languishment, Before your loves did take you unto grace; Those now renew, as fitter for this place. [* Stounds, hours.]
For I that rule in measure moderate The tempest of that stormie passion, 380 And use to paint in rimes the troublous state Of lovers life in likest fashion, Am put from practise of my kindlie** skill, Banisht by those that love with leawdnes fill. [* Kindlie, natural.]
Love wont to be schoolmaster of my skill, 385 And the devicefull matter of my song; Sweete love devoyd of villanie or ill, But pure and spotles, as at first he sprong Out of th'Almighties bosome, where he nests; From thence infused into mortall brests. 390
Such high conceipt of that celestiall fire, The base-borne brood of Blindnes cannot gesse, Ne ever dare their dunghill thoughts aspire Unto so loftie pitch of perfectnesse, But rime at riot, and doo rage in love, 395 Yet little wote what doth thereto behove.
Faire Cytheree, the mother of delight And queene of beautie, now thou maist go pack; For lo! thy kingdoms is defaced quight, Thy scepter rent, and power put to wrack; 400 And thy gay sonne, that winged God of Love, May now goe prune his plumes like ruffed* dove. [* Ruffed, ruffled.]
And ye three twins, to light by Venus brought, The sweete companions of the Muses late, From whom whatever thing is goodly thought 405 Doth borrow grace, the fancie to aggrate*, Go beg with us, and be companions still, As heretofore of good, so now of ill. [* Aggrate, please.]
For neither you nor we shall anie more Finde entertainment or in court or schoole: 410 For that which was accounted heretofore The learneds meed is now lent to the foole; He sings of love and maketh loving layes, And they him heare, and they him highly prayse.
With that she powred foorth a brackish flood 415 Of bitter teares, and made exceeding mone; And all her sisters, seeing her sad mood, With lowd laments her answered all at one. So ended she: and then the next in rew Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew. 420
To whom shall I my evill case complaine, Or tell the anguish of my inward smart, Sith none is left to remedie my paine, Or deignes to pitie a perplexed hart; But rather seekes my sorrow to augment 425 With fowle reproach, and cruell banishment?
For they to whom I used to applie The faithfull service of my learned skill, The goodly off-spring of loves progenie, That wont the world with famous acts to fill, 430 Whose living praises in heroick style, It is my chiefe profession to compyle,—
They, all corrupted through the rust of time, That doth all fairest things on earth deface, Or through unnoble sloth, or sinfull crime, 435 That doth degenerate the noble race, Have both desire of worthie deeds forlorne, And name of learning utterly doo scorne.
Ne doo they care to have the auncestrie Of th'old heroes memorizde anew; 440 Ne doo they care that late posteritie Should know their names, or speak their praises dew, But die, forgot from whence at first they sprong, As they themselves shalbe forgot ere long.
What bootes it then to come from glorious 445 Forefathers, or to have been nobly bredd? What oddes twixt Irus and old Inachus, Twixt best and worst, when both alike are dedd, If none of neither mention should make, Nor out of dust their memories awake? 450
Or who would ever care to doo brave deed, Or strive in vertue others to excell, If none should yeeld him his deserved meed, Due praise, that is the spur of doing well? For if good were not praised more than ill, 455 None would choose goodnes of his owne freewill.
Therefore the nurse of vertue I am hight, And golden trompet of eternitie, That lowly thoughts lift up to heavens hight, And mortall men have powre to deifie: 460 Bacchus and Hercules I raisd to heaven, And Charlemaine amongst the starris seaven.
But now I will my golden clarion rend, And will henceforth immortalize no more, Sith I no more finde worthie to commend 465 For prize of value, or for learned lore: For noble peeres, whom I was wont to raise, Now onely seeke for pleasure, nought for praise.
Their great revenues all in sumptuous pride They spend, that nought to learning they may spare; And the rich fee which poets wont divide 471 Now parasites and sycophants doo share: Therefore I mourne and endlesse sorrow make, Both for my selfe and for my sisters sake.
With that she lowdly gan to waile and shrike, 475 And from her eyes a sea of teares did powre; And all her sisters, with compassion like, Did more increase the sharpnes of her showre. So ended she: and then the next in rew Began her plaint, as doth herein ensew. 480
What wrath of gods, or wicked influence Of starres conspiring wretched men t'afflict, Hath powrd on earth this noyous pestilence, That mortall mindes doth inwardly infect With love of blindnesse and of ignorance, 485 To dwell in darkenesse without sovenance?* [* Sovenance, remembrance.]
What difference twixt man and beast is left, When th'heavenlie light of knowledge is put out, And th'ornaments of wisdome are bereft? Then wandreth he in error and in doubt, 490 Unweeting* of the danger hee is in, Through fleshes frailtie and deceipt of sin. [* Unweeting, unknowing.]
In this wide world in which they wretches stray, It is the onelie comfort which they have, It is their light, their loadstarre, and their day; 495 But hell, and darkenesse, and the grislie grave, Is Ignorance, the enemie of Grace, That mindes of men borne heavenlie doth debace.
Through knowledge we behold the worlds creation, How in his cradle first he fostred was; 500 And iudge of Natures cunning operation, How things she formed of a formelesse mas: By knowledge wee do learne our selves to knowe, And what to man, and what to God, wee owe.
From hence wee mount aloft unto the skie, 505 And looke into the christall firmament; There we behold the heavens great hierarchie, The starres pure light, the spheres swift movement, The spirites and intelligences fayre, And angels waighting on th'Almighties chayre. 510
And there, with humble minde and high insight, Th'eternall Makers maiestie wee viewe, His love, his truth, his glorie, and his might, And mercie more than mortall men can vew. O soveraigne Lord, O soveraigne happinesse, 515 To see thee, and thy mercie measurelesse!
Such happines have they that doo embrace The precepts of my heavenlie discipline; But shame and sorrow and accursed case Have they that scorne the schoole of arts divine, 520 And banish me, which do professe the skill To make men heavenly wise through humbled will.
However yet they mee despise and spight, I feede on sweet contentment of my thought, And please my selfe with mine owne self-delight, 525 In contemplation of things heavenlie wrought: So, loathing earth, I looke up to the sky, And being driven hence, I thether fly.
Thence I behold the miserie of men, Which want the blis that wisedom would them breed. And like brute beasts doo lie in loathsome den 531 Of ghostly darkenes and of gastlie dreed: For whom I mourne, and for my selfe complaine, And for my sisters eake whom they disdaine.
With that shee wept and waild so pityouslie, 535 As if her eyes had beene two springing wells; And all the rest, her sorrow to supplie, Did throw forth shrieks and cries and dreery yells. So ended shee: and then the next in rew Began her mournfull plaint, as doth ensew. 540
A dolefull case desires a dolefull song, Without vaine art or curious complements; And squallid Fortune, into basenes flong, Doth scorne the pride of wonted ornaments. Then fittest are these ragged rimes for mee, 545 To tell my sorrowes that exceeding bee.
For the sweet numbers and melodious measures With which I wont the winged words to tie, And make a tunefull diapase of pleasures, Now being let to runne at libertie 550 By those which have no skill to rule them right, Have now quite lost their naturall delight.
Heapes of huge words uphoorded hideously, With horrid sound, though having little sence, They thinke to be chiefe praise of poetry; 555 And, thereby wanting due intelligence, Have mard the face of goodly poesie, And made a monster of their fantasie.
Whilom in ages past none might professe But princes and high priests that secret skill; 560 The sacred lawes therein they wont expresse, And with deepe oracles their verses fill: Then was shee held in soveraigne dignitie, And made the noursling of nobilitie.
But now nor prince nor priest doth her maintayne, But suffer her prophaned for to bee 566 Of the base vulgar, that with hands uncleane Dares to pollute her hidden mysterie; And treadeth under foote hir holie things, Which was the care of kesars* and of kings. 570 [* Kesars, emperors.]
One onelie lives, her ages ornament, And myrrour of her Makers maiestie, That with rich bountie and deare cherishment Supports the praise of noble poesie; Ne onelie favours them which it professe, 575 But is her selfe a peereles poetresse.
Most peereles Prince, most peereles Poetresse, The true Pandora of all heavenly graces, Divine Elisa, sacred Emperesse! Live she for ever, and her royall p'laces 580 Be fild with praises of divinest wits, That her eternize with their heavenlie writs!
Some few beside this sacred skill esteme, Admirers of her glorious excellence; Which, being lightned with her beawties beme, 585 Are thereby fild with happie influence, And lifted up above the worldes gaze, To sing with angels her immortall praize.
But all the rest, as borne of salvage brood, And having beene with acorns alwaies fed, 590 Can no whit savour this celestiall food, But with base thoughts are into blindnesse led, And kept from looking on the lightsome day: For whome I waile and weepe all that I may.
Eftsoones* such store of teares shee forth did powre, As if shee all to water would have gone; 596 And all her sisters, seeing her sad stowre**, Did weep and waile, and made exceeding mone, And all their learned instruments did breake: The rest untold no living tongue can speake. 600 [* Eftsoones, forthwith.] [** Stowre, disturbance, trouble.]
* * * * *
Ver 15—Palici.. The Palici were children of Jupiter and Thalia, not Calliope. H.
Ver. 205-210.—There are sufficient reasons for believing that these lines refer to Shakespeare. He had probably written The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Love's Labor's Lost, before the Complaints were published (1591), and no other author had up to this time produced a comedy that would compare with these. For a discussion of this subject, see Collier's Life, Chap. VII., and Knight's Biography, pp. 344-348. C.
* * * * *
LONG SINCE DEDICATED
TO THE MOST NOBLE AND EXCELLENT LORD,
THE EARLE OF LEICESTER,
Wrong'd, yet not daring to expresse my paine, To you, great Lord, the causer of my care, In clowdie teares my case I thus complaine Unto your selfe, that onely privie are. But if that any Oedipus unware Shall chaunce, through power of some divining spright, To reade the secrete of this riddle rare, And know the purporte of my evill plight, Let him rest pleased with his owne insight, Ne further seeke to glose upon the text: For griefe enough it is to grieved wight To feele his fault, and not be further vext.
But what so by my selfe may not be showen, May by this Gnatts complaint be easily knowen*.
[* This riddle has never been guessed. Upton conjectures that Leicester's displeasure was incurred for "some kind of officious sedulity in Spenser, who much desired to see his patron married to the Queen." C.]
* * * * *
We now have playde, Augustus, wantonly, Tuning our song unto a tender Muse, And, like a cobweb weaving slenderly, Have onely playde: let thus much then excuse This Gnats small poeme, that th'whole history 5 Is but a iest; though envie it abuse: But who such sports and sweet delights doth blame, Shall lighter seeme than this Gnats idle name.
Hereafter, when as season more secure Shall bring forth fruit, this Muse shall speak to thee 10 In bigger notes, that may thy sense allure, And for thy worth frame some fit poesie: The golden ofspring of Latona pure, And ornament of great Ioves progenie, Phoebus, shall be the author of my song, 15 Playing on yvorie harp with silver strong*. [* Strong, strung.]
He shall inspire my verse with gentle mood, Of poets prince, whether he woon* beside Faire Xanthus sprincled with Chimaeras blood, Or in the woods of Astery abide, 20 Or whereas Mount Parnasse, the Muses brood, Doth his broad forhead like two hornes divide, And the sweete waves of sounding Castaly With liquid foote doth slide downe easily. [* Woon, dwell.]
Wherefore ye Sisters, which the glorie bee 25 Of the Pierian streames, fayre Naiades, Go too, and dauncing all in companie, Adorne that god: and thou holie Pales, To whome the honest care of husbandrie Returneth by continuall successe, 30 Have care for to pursue his footing light Throgh the wide woods and groves with green leaves dight.
Professing thee I lifted am aloft Betwixt the forrest wide and starrie sky: And thou, most dread Octavius, which oft 35 To learned wits givest courage worthily, O come, thou sacred childe, come sliding soft, And favour my beginnings graciously: For not these leaves do sing that dreadfull stound*, When giants bloud did staine Phlegraean ground; 40 [* Stound, time.]
Nor how th'halfe-horsy people, Centaures hight, Fought with the bloudie Lapithaes at bord; Nor how the East with tyranous despight Burnt th'Attick towres, and people slew with sword; Nor how Mount Athos through exceeding might 45 Was digged downe; nor yron bands abord The Pontick sea by their huge navy cast, My volume shall renowne, so long since past.
Nor Hellespont trampled with horses feete, When flocking Persians did the Greeks affray: 50 But my soft Muse, as for her power more meete, Delights (with Phoebus friendly leave) to play An easie running verse with tender feete. And thou, dread sacred child, to thee alway Let everlasting lightsome glory strive, 55 Through the worlds endles ages to survive.
And let an happie roome remaine for thee Mongst heavenly ranks, where blessed soules do rest; And let long lasting life with ioyous glee, As thy due meede that thou deservest best, 60 Hereafter many yeares remembred be Amongst good men, of whom thou oft are blest. Live thou for ever in all happinesse! But let us turne to our first businesse.
The fiery Sun was mounted now on Light 65 Up to the heavenly towers, and shot each where Out of his golden charet glistering light; And fayre Aurora, with her rosie heare, The hatefull darknes now had put to flight; When as the Shepheard, seeing day appeare, 70 His little goats gan drive out of their stalls, To feede abroad, where pasture best befalls.
To an high mountaines top he with them went, Where thickest grasse did cloath the open hills: They, now amongst the woods and thickets ment* 75 Now in the valleies wandring at their wills, Spread themselves farre abroad through each descent; Some on the soft greene grasse feeding their fills, Some, clambring through the hollow cliffes on hy, Nibble the bushie shrubs which growe thereby. 80 [* Ment, mingled.]
Others the utmost boughs of trees doe crop, And brouze the woodbine twigges that freshly bud; This with full bit* doth catch the utmost top Of some soft willow, or new growen stud**; This with sharpe teeth the bramble leaves doth lop, 85 And chaw the tender prickles in her cud; The whiles another high doth overlooke Her owne like image in a christall brooke. [* Bit, bite.] [** Stud, stock.]
O the great happines which shepheards have, Who so loathes not too much the poore estate 90 With minde that ill use doth before deprave, Ne measures all things by the costly rate Of riotise, and semblants outward brave! No such sad cares, as wont to macerate And rend the greedie mindes of covetous men, 95 Do ever creepe into the shepheards den.
Ne cares he if the fleece which him arayes Be not twice steeped in Assyrian dye; Ne glistering of golde, which underlayes* The summer beames, doe blinde his gazing eye; 100 Ne pictures beautie, nor the glauncing rayes Of precious stones, whence no good commeth by; Ne yet his cup embost with imagery Of Baetus or of Alcons vanity. [* Underlayes, surpasses.]
Ne ought the whelky* pearles esteemeth hee, 105 Which are from Indian seas brought far away: But with pure brest, from carefull sorrow free, On the soft grasse his limbs doth oft display, In sweete spring time, when flowres varietie With sundrie colours paints the sprincled lay**; 110 There, lying all at ease from guile or spight, With pype of fennie reedes doth him delight. [* Whelky, shelly (conchea).] [** lay, lea.]
There he, lord of himselfe, with palme bedight, His looser locks doth wrap in wreath of vine: There his milk-dropping goats be his delight, 115 And fruitefull Pales, and the forrest greene, And darkesome caves in pleasaunt vallies pight*, Wheras continuall shade is to be seene, And where fresh springing wells, as christall neate, Do alwayes flow, to quench his thirstie heate. 120 [* Pight, placed.]
O! who can lead then a more happie life Than he, that with cleane minde and heart sincere, No greedy riches knowes nor bloudie strife, No deadly fight of warlick fleete doth feare, Ne runs in perill of foes cruell knife, 125 That in the sacred temples he may reare A trophee of his glittering spoyles and treasure, Or may abound in riches above measure.
Of him his God is worshipt with his sythe, And not with skill of craftsman polished: 130 He ioyes in groves, and makes himselfe full blythe With sundrie flowers in wilde fieldes gathered, Ne frankincens he from Panchaea buyth: Sweete Quiet harbours in his harmeles head, And perfect Pleasure buildes her ioyous bowre, 135 Free from sad cares, that rich mens hearts devowre.
This all his care, this all his whole indevour, To this his minde and senses he doth bend, How he may flow in quiets matchles treasour, Content with any food that God doth send; 140 And how his limbs, resolv'd through idle leisour, Unto sweete sleepe he may securely lend, In some coole shadow from the scorching heat, The whiles his flock their chawed cuds do eate.
O Flocks, O Faunes, and O ye pleasaunt Springs 145 Of Tempe, where the countrey nymphs are rife, Through whose not costly care each shepheard sings As merrie notes upon his rusticke fife As that Ascraean bard*, whose fame now rings Through the wide world, and leads as ioyfull life; 150 Free from all troubles and from worldly toyle, In which fond men doe all their dayes turmoyle. [* I.e. Hesiod]
In such delights whilst thus his carelesse time This shepheard drives, upleaning on his batt*, And on shrill reedes chaunting his rustick rime, 155 Hyperion, throwing foorth his beames full hott, Into the highest top of heaven gan clime, And the world parting by an equall lott, Did shed his whirling flames on either side, As the great Ocean doth himselfe divide. 160 [* Batt, stick]
Then gan the shepheard gather into one His stragling goates, and drave them to a foord, Whose caerule streame, rombling in pible stone, Crept under mosse as greene as any goord. Now had the sun halfe heaven overgone, 165 When he his heard back from that water foord Drave, from the force of Phoebus boyling ray, Into thick shadowes, there themselves to lay.
Soone as he them plac'd in thy sacred wood, O Delian goddesse, saw, to which of yore 170 Came the bad daughter of old Cadmus brood, Cruell Agave, flying vengeance sore Of King Nictileus for the guiltie blood Which she with cursed hands had shed before; There she halfe frantick, having slaine her sonne, 175 Did shrowd her selfe like punishment to shonne.
Here also playing on the grassy greene, Woodgods, and Satyres, and swift Dryades, With many Fairies oft were dauncing seene. Not so much did Dan Orpheus represse 180 The streames of Hebrus with his songs, I weene, As that faire troupe of woodie goddesses Staied thee, O Peneus, powring foorth to thee, From cheereful lookes, great mirth and gladsome glee.
The verie nature of the place, resounding 185 With gentle murmure of the breathing ayre, A pleasant bowre with all delight abounding In the fresh shadowe did for them prepayre, To rest their limbs with wearines redounding. For first the high palme-trees, with braunches faire, Out of the lowly vallies did arise, 191 And high shoote up their heads into the skyes.
And them amongst the wicked lotos grew, Wicked, for holding guilefully away Ulysses men, whom rapt with sweetenes new, 195 Taking to hoste*, it quite from him did stay; And eke those trees, in whose transformed hew The Sunnes sad daughters waylde the rash decay Of Phaeton, whose limbs with lightening rent They gathering up, with sweete teares did lament. 200 [* Hoste, entertain.]
And that same tree*, in which Demophoon, By his disloyalty lamented sore, Eternall hurte left unto many one: Whom als accompanied the oke, of yore 204 Through fatall charmes transferred to such an one: The oke, whose acornes were our foode before That Ceres seede of mortall men were knowne, Which first Triptoleme taught how to be sowne. [* I.e. the almond-tree.]
Here also grew the rougher-rinded pine, The great Argoan ships brave ornament, 210 Whom golden fleece did make an heavenly signe; Which coveting, with his high tops extent, To make the mountaines touch the starres divine, Decks all the forrest with embellishment; And the blacke holme that loves the watrie vale; 215 And the sweete cypresse, signe of deadly bale.
Emongst the rest the clambring yvie grew, Knitting his wanton armes with grasping hold, Least that the poplar happely should rew Her brothers strokes, whose boughes she doth enfold 220 With her lythe twigs, till they the top survew, And paint with pallid greene her buds of gold. Next did the myrtle tree to her approach, Not yet unmindfull of her olde reproach.
But the small birds in their wide boughs embowring 225 Chaunted their sundrie tunes with sweete consent; And under them a silver spring, forth powring His trickling streames, a gentle murmure sent; Thereto the frogs, bred in the slimie scowring Of the moist moores, their iarring voyces bent; 230 And shrill grashoppers chirped them around: All which the ayrie echo did resound.
In this so pleasant place the shepheards flocke Lay everie where, their wearie limbs to rest, On everie bush, and everie hollow rocke, 235 Where breathe on them the whistling wind mote best; The whiles the shepheard self, tending his stocke, Sate by the fountaine side, in shade to rest, Where gentle slumbring sleep oppressed him Displaid on ground, and seized everie lim. 240
Of trecherie or traines nought tooke he keep, But, looslie on the grassie greene dispredd, His dearest life did trust to careles sleep; Which, weighing down his drouping drowsie hedd, In quiet rest his molten heart did steep, 245 Devoid of care, and feare of all falshedd: Had not inconstant Fortune, bent to ill, Bid strange mischance his quietnes to spill.
For at his wonted time in that same place An huge great Serpent, all with speckles pide, 250 To drench himselfe in moorish slime did trace, There from the boyling heate himselfe to hide: He, passing by with rolling wreathed pace, With brandisht tongue the emptie aire did gride*, And wrapt his scalie boughts** with fell despight, 255 That all things seem'd appalled at his sight. [* Gride, pierce] [** Boughts, knots]
Now more and more having himselfe enrolde, His glittering breast he lifteth up on hie, And with proud vaunt his head aloft doth holde; His creste above, spotted with purple die, 260 On everie side did shine like scalie golde; And his bright eyes, glauncing full dreadfullie, Did seeme to flame out flakes of flashing fyre, And with sterne lookes to threaten kindled yre.
Thus wise long time he did himselfe dispace 265 There round about, when as at last he spide, Lying along before him in that place, That flocks grand captaine and most trustie guide: Eftsoones more fierce in visage and in pace, Throwing his firie eyes on everie side, 270 He commeth on, and all things in his way Full stearnly rends that might his passage stay.
Much he disdaines that anie one should dare To come unto his haunt; for which intent He inly burns, and gins straight to prepare 275 The weapons which Nature to him hath lent; Fellie he hisseth, and doth fiercely stare, And hath his iawes with angrie spirits rent, That all his tract with bloudie drops is stained, And all his foldes are now in length outstrained. 280
Whom, thus at point prepared, to prevent, A litle noursling of the humid ayre, A Gnat, unto the sleepie shepheard went, And marking where his ey-lids twinckling rare Shewd the two pearles which sight unto him lent, 285 Through their thin coverings appearing fayre His little needle there infixing deep, Warnd him awake, from death himselfe to keep.
Wherewith enrag'd, he fiercely gan upstart, And with his hand him rashly bruzing slewe 290 As in avengement of his heedles smart, That streight the spirite out of his senses flew. And life out of his members did depart: When, suddenly casting aside his vew, He spide his foe with felonous intent, 295 And fervent eyes to his destruction bent.
All suddenly dismaid, and hartles quight, He fled abacke, and, catching hastie holde Of a yong alder hard beside him pight, It rent, and streight about him gan beholde 300 What god or fortune would assist his might. But whether god or fortune made him bold Its hard to read: yet hardie will he had To overcome, that made him lesse adrad*. [* Adrad, terrified]
The scalie backe of that most hideous snake 305 Enwrapped round, oft faining to retire And oft him to assaile, he fiercely strake Whereas his temples did his creast front tyre*; And, for he was but slowe, did slowth off shake, And, gazing ghastly on, (for feare and yre 310 Had blent** so much his sense, that lesse he feard,)— Yet, when he saw him slaine, himselfe he cheard. [* Tyre, encircle] [** Blent, blinded]
By this the Night forth from the darksome bowre Of Herebus her teemed* steedes gan call, And laesie Vesper in his timely howre 315 From golden Oeta gan proceede withall; Whenas the shepheard after this sharpe stowre**, Seing the doubled shadowes low to fall, Gathering his straying flocke, does homeward fare, And unto rest his wearie ioynts prepare. 320 [* Teemed, harnessed in a team] [** Stowre, perturbation]
Into whose sense so soone as lighter sleepe Was entered, and now loosing everie lim, Sweete slumbring deaw in carelesnesse did steepe, The image of that Gnat appeard to him, And in sad tearmes gan sorrowfully weepe, 325 With grieslie countenaunce and visage grim, Wailing the wrong which he had done of late, In steed of good, hastning his cruell fate.
Said he, "What have I wretch deserv'd, that thus Into this bitter bale I am outcast, 330 Whilest that thy life more deare and precious Was than mine owne, so long as it did last? I now, in lieu of paines so gracious, Am tost in th'ayre with everie windie blast: Thou, safe delivered from sad decay, 335 Thy careles limbs in loose sleep dost display.
"So livest thou; but my poore wretched ghost Is forst to ferrie over Lethes river, And spoyld of Charon too and fro am tost. Seest thou not how all places quake and quiver, 340 Lightned with deadly lamps on everie post? Tisiphone each where doth shake and shiver Her flaming fire-brond, encountring me, Whose lockes uncombed cruell adders be.
"And Cerberus, whose many mouthes doo bay, 345 And barke out flames, as if on fire he fed, Adowne whose necke, in terrible array, Ten thousand snakes, cralling about his hed, Doo hang in heapes, that horribly affray, And bloodie eyes doo glister firie red, 350 He oftentimes me dreadfullie doth threaten With painfull torments to be sorely beaten.
"Ay me! that thankes so much should faile of meed, For that I thee restor'd to life againe, Even from the doore of death and deadlie dreed. 355 Where then is now the guerdon of my paine? Where the reward of my so piteous deed? The praise of pitie vanisht is in vaine, And th'antique faith of iustice long agone Out of the land is fled away and gone. 360
"I saw anothers fate approaching fast, And left mine owne his safetie to tender; Into the same mishap I now am cast, And shun'd destruction doth destruction render: Not unto him that never hath trespast, 365 But punishment is due to the offender: Yet let destruction be the punishment, So long as thankfull will may it relent.
"I carried am into waste wildernesse, Waste wildernes, amongst Cymerian shades, 370 Where endles paines and hideous heavinesse Is round about me heapt in darksome glades. For there huge Othos sits in sad distresse, Fast bound with serpents that him oft invades, Far of beholding Ephialtes tide, 375 Which once assai'd to burne this world so wide.
"And there is mournfull Tityus, mindefull yet Of thy displeasure, O Latona faire; Displeasure too implacable was it, That made him meat for wild foules of the ayre: 380 Much do I feare among such fiends to sit; Much do I feare back to them to repayre, To the black shadowes of the Stygian shore, Where wretched ghosts sit wailing evermore.
"There next the utmost brinck doth he abide 385 That did the bankets of the gods bewray, Whose throat through thirst to nought nigh being dride, His sense to seeke for ease turnes every way: And he that in avengement of his pride, For scorning to the sacred gods to pray, 390 Against a mountaine rolls a mightie stone, Calling in vaine for rest, and can have none.
"Go ye with them, go, cursed damosells, Whose bridale torches foule Erynnis tynde*, And Hymen, at your spousalls sad, foretells 395 Tydings of death and massacre unkinde**: With them that cruell Colchid mother dwells, The which conceiv'd in her revengefull minde With bitter woundes her owne deere babes to slay, And murdred troupes upon great heapes to lay. 400 [* Tynde, kindled.] [** Unkinde, unnatural.]
"There also those two Pandionian maides, Calling on Itis, Itis evermore, Whom, wretched boy, they slew with guiltie blades; For whome the Thracian king lamenting sore, Turn'd to a lapwing, fowlie them upbraydes, 405 And flattering round about them still does sore; There now they all eternally complaine Of others wrong, and suffer endles paine.
"But the two brethren* borne of Cadmus blood, Whilst each does for the soveraignty contend, 411 Blinde through ambition, and with vengeance wood**, Each doth against the others bodie bend His cursed steele, of neither well withstood, And with wide wounds their carcases doth rend; That yet they both doe mortall foes remaine, 415 Sith each with brothers bloudie hand was slaine. [* I.e. Eteocles and Polynices.] [** Wood, mad.]
"Ah (waladay!) there is no end of paine, Nor chaunge of labour may intreated bee: Yet I beyond all these am carried faine, Where other powers farre different I see, 420 And must passe over to th'Elisian plaine: There grim Persephone, encountring mee, Doth urge her fellow Furies earnestlie With their bright firebronds me to terrifie.