"There chast Alceste lives inviolate, 425 Free from all care, for that her husbands daies She did prolong by changing fate for fate: Lo! there lives also the immortall praise Of womankinde, most faithfull to her mate, Penelope; and from her farre awayes 430 A rulesse* rout of yongmen which her woo'd, All slaine with darts, lie wallowed in their blood. [* Rulesse, rule-less.]
"And sad Eurydice thence now no more Must turne to life, but there detained bee For looking back, being forbid before: 435 Yet was the guilt thereof, Orpheus, in thee! Bold sure he was, and worthie spirite bore, That durst those lowest shadowes goe to see, And could beleeve that anie thing could please Fell Cerberus, or Stygian powres appease. 440
"Ne feard the burning waves of Phlegeton, Nor those same mournfull kingdomes, compassed With rustle horrour and fowle fashion; And deep digd vawtes*; and Tartar covered With bloodie night and darke confusion; 445 And iudgement seates, whose iudge is deadlie dred, A iudge that after death doth punish sore The faults which life hath trespassed before. [* Vawtes, vaults.]
"But valiant fortune made Dan Orpheus bolde: For the swift running rivers still did stand, 450 And the wilde beasts their furie did withhold, To follow Orpheus musicke through the land: And th'okes, deep grounded in the earthly molde, Did move, as if they could him understand; 454 And the shrill woods, which were of sense bereav'd, Through their hard barke his silver sound receav'd.
"And eke the Moone her hastie steedes did stay, Drawing in teemes along the starrie skie; And didst, O monthly Virgin, thou delay Thy nightly course, to heare his melodie? 460 The same was able, with like lovely lay, The Queene of Hell to move as easily To yeeld Eurydiee unto her fere, Backe to be borne, though it unlawfull were.
"She, ladie, having well before approoved 465 The feends to be too cruell and severe, Observ'd th'appointed way, as her behooved, Ne ever did her eysight turne arere, Ne ever spake, ne cause of speaking mooved; But, cruell Orpheus, thou much crueller, 470 Seeking to kisse her, brok'st the gods decree, And thereby mad'st her ever damn'd to be.
"Ah! but sweete love of pardon worthie is, And doth deserve to have small faults remitted; If Hell at least things lightly done amis 475 Knew how to pardon, when ought is omitted: Yet are ye both received into blis, And to the seates of happie soules admitted. And you beside the honourable band Of great heroes doo in order stand. 480
"There be the two stout sonnes of AEacus, Fierce Peleus, and the hardie Telamon, Both seeming now full glad and ioyeous Through their syres dreadfull iurisdiction, Being the iudge of all that horrid hous: 488 And both of them, by strange occasion, Renown'd in choyce of happie marriage Through Venus grace, and vertues cariage.
"For th'one was ravisht of his owne bondmaide, The faire Ixione captiv'd from Troy: 490 But th'other was with Thetis love assaid, Great Nereus his daughter and his ioy. On this side them there is a yongman layd, Their match in glorie, mightie, fierce, and coy, That from th'Argolick ships, with furious yre, 495 Bett back the furie of the Troian fyre.
"O! who would not recount the strong divorces Of that great warre, which Troianes oft behelde, And oft beheld the warlike Greekish forces, When Teucrian soyle with bloodie rivers swelde, 500 And wide Sigraean shores were spred with corses, And Simois and Xanthus blood outwelde; Whilst Hector raged, with outragious minde, Flames, weapons, wounds, in Greeks fleete to have tynde.
"For Ida selfe, in ayde of that fierce fight, 505 Out of her mountaines ministred supplies; And like a kindly nourse did yeeld, for spight, Store of firebronds out of her nourseries Unto her foster children, that they might Inflame the navie of their enemies, 510 And all the Rhetaean shore to ashes turne, Where lay the ships which they did seeke to burne.
"Gainst which the noble sonne of Telamon Oppos'd himselfe, and thwarting* his huge shield, Them battell bad; gainst whom appeard anon 515 Hector, the glorie of the Troian field: Both fierce and furious in contention Encountred, that their mightie strokes so shrild As the great clap of thunder, which doth ryve The railing heavens and cloudes asunder dryve. 520 [* Thwarting, interposing.]
"So th'one with fire and weapons did contend To cut the ships from turning home againe To Argos; th'other strove for to defend* The force of Vulcane with his might and maine. Thus th'one Aeacide did his fame extend: 525 But th'other ioy'd that, on the Phrygian playne Having the blood of vanquisht Hector shedd, He compast Troy thrice with his bodie dedd. [* Defend, keep off.]
"Againe great dole on either partie grewe, That him to death unfaithfull Paris sent; 530 And also him that false Ulysses slewe, Drawne into danger through close ambushment; Therefore from him Laertes sonne his vewe Doth turn aside, and boasts his good event In working of Strymonian Rhaesus fall, 535 And efte* in Dolons slye surprysall. [* Efte, again.]
"Againe the dreadfull Cycones him dismay, And blacke Laestrigones, a people stout; Then greedie Scilla, under whom there bay Manie great bandogs, which her gird about; 540 Then doo the AEtnean Cyclops him affray, And deep Charybdis gulphing in and out; Lastly the squalid lakes of Tartarie, And griesly feends of hell him terrifie.
"There also goodly Agamemnon bosts, 545 The glorie of the stock of Tantalus, And famous light of all the Greekish hosts; Under whose conduct most victorious, The Dorick flames consum'd the Iliack posts. Ah! but the Greekes themselves, more dolorous, 550 To thee, O Troy, paid penaunce for thy fall, In th'Hellespont being nigh drowned all.
"Well may appeare by proofe of their mischaunce The chaungfull turning of mens slipperie state, That none whom fortune freely doth advaunce 555 Himselfe therefore to heaven should elevate: For loftie type of honour through the glaunce Of envies dart is downe in dust prostrate, And all that vaunts in worldly vanitie Shall fall through fortunes mutabilitie. 560
"Th'Argolicke power returning home againe, Enricht with spoyles of th'Ericthonian towre, Did happie winde and weather entertaine, And with good speed the fomie billowes scowre: No signe of storme, no feare of future paine, 565 Which soone ensued them with heavie stowre*: Nereis to the seas a token gave, The whiles their crooked keeles the surges clave. [* Stowre, turmoil, uproar.]
"Suddenly, whether through the gods decree, Or haplesse rising of some froward starre, 570 The heavens on everie side enclowded bee: Black stormes and fogs are blowen up from farre, That now the pylote can no loadstarre see, But skies and seas doo make most dreadfull warre; The billowes striving to the heavens to reach, 575 And th'heavens striving them for to impeach*. [* Impeach, hinder.]
"And, in avengement of their bold attempt, Both sun and starres and all the heavenly powres Conspire in one to wreake their rash contempt, And downe on them to fall from highest towres: 580 The skie, in pieces seeming to be rent, Throwes lightning forth, and haile, and harmful showres, That death on everie side to them appeares, In thousand formes, to worke more ghastly feares.
"Some in the greedie flouds are sunke and drent*; 585 Some on the rocks of Caphareus are throwne; Some on th'Euboick cliffs in pieces rent; Some scattred on the Hercaean** shores unknowne; And manie lost, of whom no moniment Remaines, nor memorie is to be showne: 590 Whilst all the purchase@ of the Phrigian pray, Tost on salt billowes, round about doth stray. [* Drent, drowned.] [** Hercaean should probably be AEgean.] [@ Purchase, booty.]
"Here manie other like heroes bee, Equall in honour to the former crue, Whom ye in goodly seates may placed see, 595 Descended all from Rome by linage due; From Rome, that holds the world in sovereigntie, And doth all nations unto her subdue: Here Fabii and Decii doo dwell, Horatii that in vertue did excell. 600
"And here the antique fame of stout Camill Doth ever live; and constant Curtius, Who, stifly bent his vowed life to spill For countreyes health, a gulph most hideous Amidst the towne with his owne corps did fill, 605 T'appease the Powers; and prudent Mutius, Who in his flesh endur'd the scorching flame, To daunt his foe by ensample of the same.
"And here wise Curius, companion Of noble vertues, lives in endles rest; 610 And stout Flaminius, whose devotion Taught him the fires scorn'd furie to detest; And here the praise of either Scipion Abides in highest place above the best, To whom the ruin'd walls of Carthage vow'd, 615 Trembling their forces, sound their praises lowd.
"Live they for ever through their lasting praise! But I, poore wretch, am forced to retourne To the sad lakes that Phoebus sunnie rayes Doo never see, where soules doo alwaies mourne; 620 And by the wayling shores to waste my dayes, Where Phlegeton with quenchles flames doth burne; By which iust Minos righteous soules doth sever From wicked ones, to live in blisse for ever.
"Me therefore thus the cruell fiends of hell, 625 Girt with long snakes and thousand yron chaynes, Through doome of that their cruell iudge compell, With bitter torture and impatient paines, Cause of my death and iust complaint to tell. For thou art he whom my poore ghost complaines 630 To be the author of her ill unwares, That careles hear'st my intollerable cares.
"Them therefore as bequeathing to the winde, I now depart, returning to thee never, And leave this lamentable plaint behinde. 635 But doo thou haunt the soft downe-rolling river, And wilde greene woods and fruitful pastures minde, And let the flitting aire my vaine words sever." Thus having said, he heavily departed With piteous crie that anie would have smarted. 640
Now, when the sloathfull fit of lifes sweete rest Had left the heavie Shepheard, wondrous cares His inly grieved minde full sore opprest; That balefull sorrow he no longer beares For that Gnats death, which deeply was imprest, 645 But bends what ever power his aged yeares Him lent, yet being such as through their might He lately slue his dreadfull foe in fight.
By that same river lurking under greene, Eftsoones* he gins to fashion forth a place, 650 And, squaring it in compasse well beseene**, There plotteth out a tombe by measured space: His yron-headed spade tho making cleene, To dig up sods out of the flowrie grasse, His worke he shortly to good purpose brought, 655 Like as he had conceiv'd it in his thought. [* Eftsoones, immediately.] [** Well beseene, seemly.]
An heape of earth he hoorded up on hie, Enclosing it with banks on everie side, And thereupon did raise full busily A little mount, of greene turffs edifide*; 660 And on the top of all, that passers by Might it behold, the toomb he did provide Of smoothest marble stone in order set, That never might his luckie scape forget. [* Edifide, built.]
And round about he taught sweete flowres to growe; 665 The Rose, engrained in pure scarlet die; The Lilly fresh, and Violet belowe; The Marigolde, and cherefull Rosemarie; The Spartan Mirtle, whence sweet gumb does flowe; The purple Hyacinths, and fresh Costmarie, 670 And Saffron, sought for in Cilician soyle, And Lawrell, th'ornament of Phoebus toyle:
Fresh Rhododaphne, and the Sabine flowre*, Matching the wealth of th'auncient Frankincence; And pallid Yvie, building his owne bowre; 675 And Box, yet mindfull of his olde offence; Red Amaranthus, lucklesse paramour; Oxeye still greene, and bitter Patience; Ne wants there pale Narcisse, that, in a well Seeing his beautie, in love with it fell. 680 [* Sabine flowre, a kind of juniper, the savine.]
And whatsoever other flowre of worth, And whatso other hearb of lovely hew The ioyous Spring out of the ground brings forth, To cloath her selfe in colours fresh and new, He planted there, and reard a mount of earth, 685 In whose high front was writ as doth ensue:
To thee, small Gnat, in lieu of his life saved, The Shepheard hath thy deaths record engraved.
* * * * *
VIRGILS GNAT. This is a very skilful elaboration of the Culex, a poem attributed, without reason, to Virgil. The original, which is crabbed and pedantic, where it is not unintelligible from corruption, is here rendered with sufficient fidelity to the sense, but with such perspicuity, elegance, and sweetness, as to make Spenser's performance too good a poem to be called a translation. C.
* * * * *
OR MOTHER HUBBERDS TALE.
BY ED. SP.
DEDICATED TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE,
THE LADIE COMPTON AND MOUNTEGLE.
* * * * *
IMPRINTED FOR WILLIAM PONSONBIE, DWELLING IN PAULES CHURCHYARD AT THE SIGNE OF THE BISHOPS HEAD.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE,
THE LADIE COMPTON AND MOUNTEGLE.[*]
Most faire and vertuous Ladie: having often sought opportunitie by some good meanes to make knowen to your Ladiship the humble affection and faithfull duetie which I have alwaies professed, and am bound to beare, to that house from whence yee spring, I have at length found occasion to remember the same by making a simple present to you of these my idle labours; which having long sithens composed in the raw conceipt of my youth, I lately amongst other papers lighted upon, and was by others, which liked the same, mooved to set them foorth. Simple is the device, and the composition meane, yet carrieth some delight, even the rather because of the simplicitie and meannesse thus personated. The same I beseech your Ladiship take in good part, as a pledge of that profession which I have made to you, and keepe with you untill with some other more worthie labour redeeme it out of your hands, and discharge my utmost dutie. Till then, wishing your Ladiship all increase of honour and happinesse, I humblie take leave.
Your La: ever humbly, ED. SP.
[* "This lady was Anne, the fifth daughter of Sir John Spencer, distinguished also, in the pastoral of Colin Clouts come Home again, by the name of Charillis. She was married, first to Sir William Stanley, Lord Mountegle; next to Henry Compton, Lord Compton; and lastly to Robert Sackvilie, Lord Buckhurst, afterwards Earl of Dorset."—TODD.]
* * * * *
MOTHER HUBBERDS TALE.
It was the month in which the righteous Maide That for disdaine of sinfull worlds upbraide Fled back to heaven, whence she was first conceived, Into her silver bowre the Sunne received; And the hot Syrian Dog on him awayting, 5 After the chafed Lyons cruell bayting, Corrupted had th'ayre with his noysome breath. And powr'd on th'earth plague, pestilence, and death. Emongst the rest a wicked maladie Raign'd emongst men, that manie did to die, 10 Depriv'd of sense and ordinarie reason; That it to leaches seemed strange and geason. [Geason, rare.] My fortune was, mongst manie others moe, To be partaker of their common woe; And my weake bodie, set on fire with griefe, 15 Was rob'd of rest and naturall reliefe. In this ill plight, there came to visite mee Some friends, who, sorie my sad case to see, Began to comfort me in chearfull wise, And meanes of gladsome solace to devise. 20 But seeing kindly sleep refuse to doe His office, and my feeble eyes forgoe, They sought my troubled sense how to deceave With talke that might unquiet fancies reave; [Reave, take away.] And sitting all in seates about me round, 25 With pleasant tales fit for that idle stound [Stound, time.] They cast in course to waste the wearie howres. Some tolde of ladies, and their paramoures; Some of brave knights, and their renowned squires; Some of the faeries and their strange attires; 30 And some of giaunts hard to be beleeved; That the delight thereof me much releeved. Amongst the rest a good old woman was, Hight Mother Hubberd, who did farre surpas The rest in honest mirth, that seem'd her well. 35 She, when her turne was come her tale to tell, Tolde of a strange adventure that betided Betwixt the Foxe and th'Ape by him misguided; The which, for that my sense it greatly pleased, All were my spirite heavie and diseased, 40 Ile write in termes, as she the same did say, So well as I her words remember may. No Muses aide me needes heretoo to call; Base is the style, and matter meane withall. [Base, humble.]
[Symbol: Paragraph mark to indicate beginning of story.] Whilome, said she, before the world was civill, The Foxe and th'Ape, disliking of their evill 46 And hard estate, determined to seeke Their fortunes farre abroad, lyeke with his lyeke: For both were craftie and unhappie witted; [Unhappie, mischievous.] Two fellowes might no where be better fitted. 50 The Foxe, that first this cause of griefe did finde, Gan first thus plaine his case with words unkinde: "Neighbour Ape, and my gossip eke beside, (Both two sure bands in friendship to be tide,) To whom may I more trustely complaine 55 The evill plight that doth me sore constraine, And hope thereof to finde due remedie? Heare then my paine and inward agonie. Thus manie yeares I now have spent and worne, In meane regard, and basest fortunes scorne, 60 Dooing my countrey service as I might, No lesse I dare saie than the prowdest wight; And still I hoped to be up advaunced For my good parts; but still it hath mischaunced. Now therefore that no lenger hope I see, 65 But froward fortune still to follow mee, And losels lifted up on high, where I did looke, [Losels, worthless fellows.] I meane to turne the next leafe of the booke. Yet ere that anie way I doe betake, I meane my gossip privie first to make." 70 "Ah! my deare gossip," answer'd then the Ape, "Deeply doo your sad words my wits awhape, [Awhape, astound.] Both for because your griefe doth great appeare, And eke because my selfe am touched neare: For I likewise have wasted much good time, 75 Still wayting to preferment up to clime, Whilst others alwayes have before me stept, And from my beard the fat away have swept; That now unto despaire I gin to growe, And meane for better winde about to throwe. 80 Therefore to me, my trustie friend, aread [Aread, declare.] Thy councell: two is better than one head." "Certes," said he, "I meane me to disguize In some straunge habit, after uncouth wize, Or like a pilgrime, or a lymiter, 85 [Lymiter, I.e. a friar licensed to beg within a certain district.] Or like a gipsen, or a iuggeler, [Gipsen, gypsy.] And so to wander to the worlds ende, To seeke my fortune, where I may it mend: For worse than that I have I cannot meete. Wide is the world I wote, and everie streete 90 Is full of fortunes and adventures straunge, Continuallie subiect unto chaunge. Say, my faire brother now, if this device Doth like you, or may you to like entice." "Surely," said th'Ape, "it likes me wondrous well; 95 And would ye not poore fellowship expell, My selfe would offer you t'accompanie In this adventures chauncefull ieopardie. For to wexe olde at home in idlenesse Is disadventrous, and quite fortunelesse: 100 Abroad, where change is, good may gotten bee." The Foxe was glad, and quickly did agree: So both resolv'd, the morrow next ensuing, So soone as day appeard to peoples vewing, On their intended iourney to proceede; 105 And over night, whatso theretoo did neede Each did prepare, in readines to bee. The morrow next, so soone as one might see Light out of heavens windowes forth to looke, Both their habiliments unto them tooke, 110 And put themselves, a Gods name, on their way. Whenas the Ape, beginning well to wey This hard adventure, thus began t'advise: "Now read, Sir Reynold, as ye be right wise, What course ye weene is best for us to take, 115 That for our selves we may a living make. Whether shall we professe some trade or skill? Or shall we varie our device at will, Even as new occasion appeares? Or shall we tie our selves for certaine yeares 120 To anie service, or to anie place? For it behoves, ere that into the race We enter, to resolve first hereupon." "Now surely, brother," said the Foxe anon, "Te have this matter motioned in season: 125 For everie thing that is begun with reason Will come by readie meanes unto his end; But things miscounselled must needs miswend. [Miswend, go wrong.] Thus therefore I advize upon the case: That not to anie certaine trade or place, 130 Nor anie man, we should our selves applie. For why should he that is at libertie Make himselfe bond? Sith then we are free borne. Let us all servile base subiection scorne; And as we bee sonnes of the world so wide, 135 Let us our fathers heritage divide, And chalenge to our selves our portions dew Of all the patrimonie, which a few Now hold in hugger mugger in their hand, [In hugger mugger, in secret] And all the rest doo rob of good and land: 140 For now a few have all, and all have nought, Yet all be brethren ylike dearly bought. There is no right in this partition, Ne was it so by institution Ordained first, ne by the law of Nature, 145 But that she gave like blessing to each creture As well of worldly livelode as of life, That there might be no difference nor strife, Nor ought cald mine or thine: thrice happie then Was the condition of mortall men. 150 That was the golden age of Saturne old, But this might better be the world of gold; For without golde now nothing wilbe got. Therefore, if please you, this shalbe our plot: We will not be of anie occupation; 155 Let such vile vassalls, borne to base vocation, Drudge in the world and for their living droyle, [Droyle, moil] Which have no wit to live withouten toyle. But we will walke about the world at pleasure, Like two free men, and make our ease our treasure. Free men some beggers call; but they be free; 161 And they which call them so more beggers bee: For they doo swinke and sweate to feed the other, [Swinke, toil.] Who live like lords of that which they doo gather, And yet doo never thanke them for the same, 165 But as their due by nature doo it clame. Such will we fashion both our selves to bee, Lords of the world; and so will wander free Where so us listeth, uncontrol'd of anie. Hard is our hap, if we, emongst so manie, 170 Light not on some that may our state amend; Sildome but some good commeth ere the end." Well seemd the Ape to like this ordinaunce: Yet, well considering of the circumstaunce, As pausing in great doubt awhile he staid, 175 And afterwards with grave advizement said: "I cannot, my lief brother, like but well [Lief, dear.] The purpose of the complot which ye tell; For well I wot (compar'd to all the rest Of each degree) that beggers life is best, 180 And they that thinke themselves the best of all Oft-times to begging are content to fall. But this I wot withall, that we shall ronne Into great daunger, like to bee undonne, Thus wildly to wander in the worlds eye, 185 Withouten pasport or good warrantye, For feare least we like rogues should be reputed, And for eare-marked beasts abroad be bruted. Therefore I read that we our counsells call How to prevent this mischiefe ere it fall, 190 And how we may, with most securitie, Beg amongst those that beggars doo defie." "Right well, deere gossip, ye advized have," Said then the Foxe, "but I this doubt will save: For ere we farther passe, I will devise 195 A pasport for us both in fittest wize, And by the names of souldiers us protect, That now is thought a civile begging sect. Be you the souldier, for you likest are For manly semblance, and small skill in warre: 200 I will but wayte on you, and, as occasion Falls out, my selfe fit for the same will fashion." The pasport ended, both they forward went; The Ape clad souldierlike, fit for th'intent, In a blew iacket with a crosse of redd 205 And manie slits, as if that he had shedd Much blood throgh many wounds therein receaved, Which had the use of his right arme bereaved, Upon his head an old Scotch cap he wore, With a plume feather all to peeces tore; 210 His breeches were made after the new cut, Al Portugese, loose like an emptie gut, And his hose broken high above the heeling, And his shooes beaten out with traveling. But neither sword nor dagger he did beare; 215 Seemes that no foes revengement he did feare; In stead of them a handsome bat he held, [Bat, stick.] On which he leaned, as one farre in elde. [Elde, age.] Shame light on him, that through so false illusion Doth turne the name of souldiers to abusion, 220 And that which is the noblest mysterie [Mysterie, profession.] Brings to reproach and common infamie! Long they thus travailed, yet never met Adventure which might them a working set: Yet manie waies they sought, and manie tryed; 225 Yet for their purposes none fit espyed. At last they chaunst to meete upon the way A simple husbandman in garments gray; Yet, though his vesture were but meane and bace, [Bace, humble.] A good yeoman he was of honest place, 230 And more for thrift did care than for gay clothing: Gay without good is good hearts greatest loathing. The Foxe, him spying, bad the Ape him dight [Dight, prepare.] To play his part, for loe! he was in sight That, if he er'd not, should them entertaine, 235 And yeeld them timely profite for their paine. Eftsoones the Ape himselfe gan up to reare, [Eftsoones, straightway.] And on his shoulders high his bat to beare, As if good service he were fit to doo, But little thrift for him he did it too: 240 And stoutly forward he his steps did straine, That like a handsome swaine it him became. When as they nigh approached, that good man, Seeing them wander loosly, first began T'enquire, of custome, what and whence they were. To whom the Ape: "I am a souldiere, 246 That late in warres have spent my deerest blood, And in long service lost both limbs and good; And now, constraint that trade to overgive, I driven am to seeke some meanes to live: 250 Which might it you in pitie please t'afford, I would be readie, both in deed and word, To doo you faithfull service all my dayes. This yron world" (that same he weeping sayes) "Brings downe the stowtest hearts to lowest state: 255 For miserie doth bravest mindes abate, And make them seeke for that they wont to scorne, Of fortune and of hope at once forlorne." [Forlorne, deserted.] The honest roan that heard him thus complaine Was griev'd as he had felt part of his paine; 260 And, well dispos'd him some reliefe to showe, Askt if in husbandrie he ought did knowe,— To plough, to plant, to reap, to rake, to sowe, To hedge, to ditch, to thrash, to thetch, to mowe; Or to what labour els he was prepar'd: 265 For husbands life is labourous and hard. [Husbands, husbandman's.] Whenas the Ape him hard so much to talke Of labour, that did from his liking balke, He would have slipt the coller handsomly, And to him said: "Good Sir, full glad am I 270 To take what paines may anie living wight: But my late maymed limbs lack wonted might To doo their kindly services, as needeth: [Kindly, natural.] Scarce this right hand the mouth with diet feedeth; So that it may no painfull worke endure, 275 Ne to strong labour can it selfe enure. But if that anie other place you have, Which askes small paines, but thriftines to save, Or care to overlooke, or trust to gather, Ye may me trust as your owne ghostly father." 280 With that the husbandman gan him avize, That it for him were fittest exercise Cattell to keep, or grounds to oversee; And asked him, if he could willing bee To keep his sheep, or to attend his swyne, 285 Or watch his mares, or take his charge of kyne. "Gladly," said he, "what ever such like paine Ye put on me, I will the same sustaine: But gladliest I of your fleecie sheepe (Might it you please) would take on me the keep. 290 For ere that unto armes I me betooke, Unto my fathers sheepe I usde to looke, That yet the skill thereof I have not loste: Thereto right well this curdog, by my coste, (Meaning the Foxe,) will serve my sheepe to gather, And drive to follow after their belwether." 295 The husbandman was meanly well content [Meanly, humbly.] Triall to make of his endevourment; And, home him leading, lent to him the charge Of all his flocke, with libertie full large, 300 Giving accompt of th'annuall increce Both of their lambes, and of their woolly fleece. Thus is this Ape become a shepheard swaine, And the false Foxe his dog: God give them paine! For ere the yeare have halfe his course out-run, 305 And doo returne from whence he first begun, They shall him make an ill accompt of thrift. Now whenas time, flying with winges swift, Expired had the terme that these two iavels [Iavels, worthless fellows.] Should render up a reckning of their travels 310 Unto their master, which it of them sought, Exceedingly they troubled were in thought, Ne wist what answere unto him to frame, Ne how to scape great punishment, or shame, For their false treason and vile theeverie: 315 For not a lambe of all their flockes-supply Had they to shew; but ever as they bred, They slue them, and upon their fleshes fed: For that disguised dog lov'd blood to spill, And drew the wicked shepheard to his will. 320 So twixt them both they not a lambkin left; And when lambes fail'd, the old sheepes lives they reft; That how t'acquite themselves unto their lord They were in doubt, and flatly set abord. [Set abord, set adrift, at a loss.] The Foxe then counsel'd th'Ape for to require 325 Respite till morrow t'answere his desire: For times delay new hope of helpe still breeds. The good man granted, doubting nought their deeds, And bad next day that all should readie be. But they more subtill meaning had than he: 330 For the next morrowes meed they closely ment, [Closely, secretly.] For feare of afterclaps, for to prevent: [Prevent, anticipate.] And that same evening, when all shrowded were In careles sleep, they without care or feare Cruelly fell upon their flock in folde, 335 And of them slew at pleasure what they wolde. Of which whenas they feasted had their fill, For a full complement of all their ill, They stole away, and tooke their hastie flight, Carried in clowdes of all-concealing night. 340 So was the husbandman left to his losse, And they unto their fortunes change to tosse. After which sort they wandered long while, Abusing manie through their cloaked guile; That at the last they gan to be descryed 345 Of everie one, and all their sleights espyed; So as their begging now them failed quyte, For none would give, but all men would them wyte. [Wyte, blame.] Yet would they take no paines to get their living, But seeke some other way to gaine by giving, 350 Much like to begging, but much better named; For manie beg which are thereof ashamed. And now the Foxe had gotten him a gowne, And th'Ape a cassocke sidelong hanging downe; For they their occupation meant to change, 355 And now in other state abroad to range: For since their souldiers pas no better spedd, They forg'd another, as for clerkes booke-redd. Who passing foorth, as their adventures fell, Through manie haps, which needs not here to tell, 360 At length chaunst with a formall Priest to meete, [Formall, regular.] Whom they in civill manner first did greete, And after askt an almes for Gods deare love. The man straightway his choler up did move, And with reproachfull tearmes gan them revile, 365 For following that trade so base and vile; And askt what license or what pas they had. "Ah!" said the Ape, as sighing wondrous sad, "Its an hard case, when men of good deserving Must either driven be perforce to sterving, 370 Or asked for their pas by everie squib, [Squib, flashy, pretentious fellow] That list at will them to revile or snib. [Snib, snub] And yet (God wote) small oddes I often see Twixt them that aske, and them that asked bee. Natheles because you shall not us misdeeme, 375 But that we are as honest as we seeme, Yee shall our pasport at your pleasure see, And then ye will (I hope) well mooved bee." Which when the Priest beheld, he vew'd it nere, As if therein some text he studying were, 380 But little els (God wote) could thereof skill: [Skill, understand.] For read he could not evidence nor will, Ne tell a written word, ne write a letter, Ne make one title worse, ne make one better. Of such deep learning little had he neede, 385 Ne yet of Latine ne of Greeke, that breede Doubts mongst divines, and difference of texts, From whence arise diversitie of sects, And hatefull heresies, of God abhor'd. But this good Sir did follow the plaine word, 390 Ne medled with their controversies vaine; All his care was his service well to saine, [Saine, say.] And to read homelies upon holidayes; When that was done, he might attend his playes: An easie life, and fit high God to please. 395 He, having overlookt their pas at ease, Gan at the length them to rebuke againe, That no good trade of life did entertaine, But lost their time in wandring loose abroad; Seeing the world, in which they bootles boad, 400 [Bootless boad, dwelt unprofitably.] Had wayes enough for all therein to live; Such grace did God unto his creatures give. Said then the Foxe: "Who hath the world not tride From the right way full eath may wander wide. [Eath, easy.] We are but novices, new come abroad, 405 We have not yet the tract of anie troad, [I.e. routine of any way of life.] Nor on us taken anie state of life, But readie are of anie to make preife. [Preife, proof.] Therefore might please you, which the world have proved, Us to advise, which forth but lately moved, 410 Of some good course that we might undertake, Ye shall for ever us your bondmen make." The priest gan wexe halfe proud to be so praide, And thereby willing to affoord them aide, "It seemes," said he, "right well that ye be clerks, 415 Both by your wittie words and by your works. Is not that name enough to make a living To him that hath a whit of Natures giving? How manie honest men see ye arize Daylie thereby, and grow to goodly prize; 420 To deanes, to archdeacons, to commissaries, To lords, to principalls, to prebendaries? All iolly prelates, worthie rule to beare, Who ever them envie: yet spite bites neare. Why should ye doubt, then, but that ye likewise 425 Might unto some of those in time arise? In the meane time to live in good estate, Loving that love, and hating those that hate; Being some honest curate, or some vicker, Content with little in condition sicker." 430 [Sicker, sure.] "Ah! but," said th'Ape, "the charge is wondrous great, To feed mens soules, and hath an heavie threat." "To feede mens soules," quoth he, "is not in man: For they must feed themselves, doo what we can. We are but charg'd to lay the meate before: 435 Eate they that list, we need to doo no more. But God it is that feedes them with his grace, The bread of life powr'd downe from heavenly place. Therefore said he that with the budding rod Did rule the lewes, All shalbe taught of God. 440 That same hath Iesus Christ now to him raught, [Raught, reached, taken.] By whom the flock is rightly fed and taught: He is the shcpheard, and the priest is hee; We but his shepheard swaines ordain'd to bee. Therefore herewith doo not your selfe dismay; 445 Ne is the paines so great, but beare ye may; For not so great, as it was wont of yore, It's now a dayes, ne halfe so streight and sore. They whilome used duly everie day Their service and their holie things to say, 450 At morne and even, beside their anthemes sweete, Their penie masses, and their complynes meete, [Complynes, even-song; the last service of the day.] Their diriges, their trentals, and their shrifts, [Trentals, thirty masses for the dead.] Their memories, their singings, and their gifts. [Memories, services for the dead.] Now all those needlesse works are laid away; 455 Now once a weeke, upon the Sabbath day, It is enough to doo our small devotion, And then to follow any merrie motion. Ne are we tyde to fast, but when we list; Ne to weare garments base of wollen twist, 460 But with the finest silkes us to aray, That before God we may appeare more gay, Resembling Aarons glorie in his place: For farre unfit it is, that person bace Should with vile cloaths approach Gods maiestie, 465 Whom no uncleannes may approachen nie; Or that all men, which anie master serve, Good garments for their service should deserve, But he that serves the Lord of Hoasts Most High, And that in highest place, t'approach him nigh, 470 And all the peoples prayers to present Before his throne, as on ambassage sent Both too and fro, should not deserve to weare A garment better than of wooll or heare. Beside, we may have lying by our sides 475 Our lovely lasses, or bright shining brides; We be not tyde to wilfull chastitie, But have the gospell of free libertie." By that he ended had his ghostly sermon, The Foxe was well induc'd to be a parson; 480 And of the priest eftsoones gan to enquire How to a benefice he might aspire. "Marie, there," said the priest, "is arte indeed: Much good deep learning one thereout may reed; For that the ground-worke is, and end of all, 485 How to obtaine a beneficiall. First, therefore, when ye have in handsome wise Your selfe attyred, as you can devise, Then to some nobleman your selfe applye, Or other great one in the worldes eye, 490 That hath a zealous disposition To God, and so to his religion. There must thou fashion eke a godly zeale, Such as no carpers may contrayre reveale: For each thing fained ought more warie bee. 495 There thou must walke in sober gravitee, And seeme as saintlike as Saint Radegund: Fast much, pray oft, looke lowly on the ground, And unto everie one doo curtesie meeke: These lookes (nought saying) doo a benefice seeke, And be thou sure one not to lacke or long. 501 [Or, ere.] But if thee list unto the Court to throng, And there to hunt after the hoped pray, Then must thou thee dispose another way For there thou needs must learne to laugh, to lie, 505 To face, to forge, to scoffe, to companie, To crouche, to please, to be a beetle-stock Of thy great masters will, to scorne, or mock: So maist thou chaunce mock out a benefice, Unlesse thou canst one coniure by device, 510 Or cast a figure for a bishoprick: And if one could, it were but a schoole trick. These be the wayes by which without reward Livings in court he gotten, though full hard; For nothing there is done without a fee: 515 The courtier needes must recompenced bee With a benevolence, or have in gage [Gage, pledge.] The primitias of your parsonage: [Primitias, first-fruits.] Scarse can a bishoprick forpas them by, But that it must be gelt in privitie. 520 Doo not thou therefore seeke a living there, But of more private persons seeke elswhere, Whereas thou maist compound a better penie, Ne let thy learning question'd be of anie. For some good gentleman, that hath the right 525 Unto his church for to present a wight, Will cope with thee in reasonable wise, [Cope, bargain.] That if the living yerely doo arise To fortie pound, that then his yongest sonne Shall twentie have, and twentie thou hast wonne: 530 Thou hast it wonne, for it is of franke gift And he will care for all the rest to shift; Both that the bishop may admit of thee, And that therein thou maist maintained bee. This is the way for one that is unlern'd 535 Living to get, and not to be discern'd. But they that are great clerkes have nearer wayes For learning sake to living them to raise: Yet manie eke of them (God wote) are driven T'accept a benefice in peeces riven.— 540 How saist thou, friend, have I not well discourst Upon this common-place, though plaine, not wourst? Better a short tale than a bad long shriving: Needes anie more to learne to get a living?" "Now sure, and by my hallidome," quoth he 545 "Yea great master are in your degree: Great thankes I yeeld you for your discipline, And doo not doubt but duly to encline My wits theretoo, as ye shall shortly heare." The priest him wisht good speed and well to fare: 550 So parted they, as eithers way them led. But th'Ape and Foxe ere long so well them sped, Through the priests holesome counsell lately tought, And throgh their owne faire handling wisely wroght, That they a benefice twixt them obtained, 555 And craftie Reynold was a priest ordained, And th'Ape his parish clarke procur'd to bee: Then made they revell route and goodly glee. But, ere long time had passed, they so ill Did order their affaires, that th'evill will 560 Of all their parishners they had constraind; Who to the ordinarie of them complain'd, How fowlie they their offices abusd, And them of crimes and heresies accusd; That pursivants he often for them sent. 565 But they neglected his commaundement; So long persisted obstinate and bolde, Till at the length he published to holde A visitation, and them cyted thether. Then was high time their wits about to geather; 570 What did they then, but made a composition With their next neighbor priest for light condition, To whom their living they resigned quight For a few pence, and ran away by night. So passing through the countrey in disguize, 575 They fled farre off, where none might them surprize, And after that long straied here and there, Through everie field and forrest farre and nere; Yet never found occasion for their tourne, But, almost sterv'd, did much lament and mourne. 580 At last they chaunst to meete upon the way The Mule, all deckt in goodly rich aray, With bells and bosses that full lowdly rung, And costly trappings that to ground downe hung. Lowly they him saluted in meeke wise; 585 But he through pride and fatnes gan despise Their meanesse; scarce vouchsafte them to requite. Whereat the Foxe deep groning in his sprite, Said: "Ah! Sir Mule, now blessed be the day That I see you so goodly and so gay 590 In your attyres, and eke your silken hyde Fil'd with round flesh, that everie bone doth hide. Seemes that in fruitfull pastures ye doo live, Or fortune doth you secret favour give." "Foolish Foxe!" said the Mule, "thy wretched need Praiseth the thing that doth thy sorrow breed. 596 For well I weene thou canst not but envie My wealth, compar'd to thine owne miserie, That art so leane and meagre waxen late That scarse thy legs uphold thy feeble gate." 600 "Ay me!" said then the Foxe, "whom evill hap Unworthy in such wretchednes doth wrap, And makes the scorne of other beasts to bee. But read, faire Sir, of grace, from whence come yee; Or what of tidings you abroad doo heare; 605 Newes may perhaps some good unweeting beare." "From royall court I lately came," said he, "Where all the braverie that eye may see, And all the happinesse that heart desire, Is to be found; he nothing can admire, 610 That hath not seene that heavens portracture. But tidings there is none, I you assure, Save that which common is, and knowne to all, That courtiers as the tide doo rise and fall." "But tell us," said the Ape, "we doo you pray, 615 Who now in court doth beare the greatest sway: That, if such fortune doo to us befall, We may seeke favour of the best of all." "Marie," said he, "the highest now in grace, Be the wilde beasts, that swiftest are in chase; 620 For in their speedie course and nimble flight The Lyon now doth take the most delight: But chieflie ioyes on foote them to beholde, Enchaste with chaine and circulet of golde: [Enchaste, adorned.] So wilde a beaste so tame ytaught to bee, 625 And buxome to his bands, is ioy to see; [Buxome, obedient.] So well his golden circlet him beseemeth. But his late chayne his Liege unmeete esteemeth; For so brave beasts she loveth best to see [She: I.e. the queen.] In the wilde forrest raunging fresh and free. 630 Therefore if fortune thee in court to live, In case thou ever there wilt hope to thrive, To some of these thou must thy selfe apply; Els as a thistle-downe in th'ayre doth flie, So vainly shalt thou too and fro be tost, 635 And loose thy labour and thy fruitles cost. And yet full few which follow them I see For vertues bare regard advaunced bee, But either for some gainfull benefit, Or that they may for their owne turnes be fit. 640 Nath'les, perhaps ye things may handle soe, That ye may better thrive than thousands moe." "But," said the Ape, "how shall we first come in, That after we may favour seeke to win?" "How els," said he, "but with a good bold face, 645 And with big words, and with a stately pace, That men may thinke of you in generall That to be in you which is not at all: For not by that which is the world now deemeth, (As it was wont) but by that same that seemeth. 650 Ne do I doubt but that ye well can fashion Your selves theretoo, according to occasion. So fare ye well: good courtiers may ye bee!" So, proudlie neighing, from them parted hee. Then gan this craftie couple to devize, 655 How for the court themselves they might aguize: [Aguize, decorate.] For thither they themselves meant to addresse, In hope to finde there happier successe. So well they shifted, that the Ape anon Himselfe had cloathed like a gentleman, 660 And the slie Foxe as like to be his groome; That to the court in seemly sort they come. Where the fond Ape, himselfe uprearing by Upon his tiptoes, stalketh stately by, As if he were some great magnifico, 665 And boldlie doth amongst the boldest go; And his man Reynold, with fine counterfesaunce, [Counterfesaunce, counterfeiting.] Supports his credite and his countenaunce. Then gan the courtiers gaze on everie side, And stare on him with big looks basen wide, 670 [Basen, swelled.] Wondring what mister wight he was, and whence; [Mister wight, sort of creature.] For he was clad in strange accoustrements, Fashion'd with queint devises never seene In court before, yet there all fashions beene; Yet he them in newfanglenesse did pas. 675 But his behaviour altogether was Alla Turchesca, much the more admyr'd; [Alla Turchesca, in the Turkish fashion.] And his lookes loftie, as if he aspyr'd To dignitie, and sdeign'd the low degree; That all which did such strangenesse in him see 680 By secrete meanes gan of his state enquire, And privily his servant thereto hire: Who, throughly arm'd against such coverture, [Coverture, underhand dealing.] Reported unto all that he was sure A noble gentleman of high regard, 685 Which through the world had with long travel far'd, And seene the manners of all beasts on ground, Now here arriv'd to see if like he found. Thus did the Ape at first him credit gaine, Which afterwards he wisely did maintaine 690 With gallant showe, and daylie more augment Through his fine feates and courtly complement; For he could play, and daunce, and vaute, and spring, And all that els pertaines to reveling. Onely through kindly aptnes of his ioynts. 695 [Kindly, natural.] Besides he could doo manie other poynts, The which in court him served to good stead: For he mongst ladies could their fortunes read Out of their hands, and merie leasings tell, And iuggle finely, that became him well. 700 But he so light was at legierdemaine, That what he toucht came not to light againe; Yet would he laugh it out, and proudly looke, And tell them that they greatly him mistooke. So would he scoffe them out with mockcrie, 705 For he therein had great felicitie; And with sharp quips ioy'd others to deface, Thinking that their disgracing did him grace: So whilst that other like vaine wits he pleased And made to laugh, his heart was greatly eased. 710 But the right gentle minde woulde bite his lip, To heare the iavell so good men to nip: [Iavell, worthless fellow.] For, though the vulgar yeeld an open eare, And common courtiers love to gybe and fleare At everie thing which they heare spoken ill, 715 And the best speaches with ill meaning spill, [Spill, spoil.] Yet the brave courtier, in whose beauteous thought Regard of honour harbours more than ought, Doth loath such base condition, to backbite [Condition, quality.] Anies good name for envie or despite. 720 He stands on tearmes of honourable minde, Ne will be carried with the common winde Of courts inconstant mutabilitie, Ne after everie tattling fable flie; But heares and sees the follies of the rest, 725 And thereof gathers for himselfe the best. He will not creepe, nor crouche with fained face, But walkes upright with comely stedfast pace, And unto all doth yeeld due curtesie; But not with kissed hand belowe the knee, 730 As that same apish crue is wont to doo: For he disdaines himselfe t'embase theretoo. He hates fowle leasings and vile flatterie, Two filthie blots in noble gentrie; And lothefull idlenes he doth detest, 735 The canker worme of everie gentle brest; The which to banish with faire exercise Of knightly feates he daylie doth devise: Now menaging the mouthes of stubborne steedes, Now practising the proofe of warlike deedes, 740 Now his bright armes assaying, now his speare, Now the nigh aymed ring away to beare: At other times he casts to sew the chace [Casts, plans, makes arrangements.] Of Swift wilde beasts, or runne on foote a race, T'enlarge his breath, (large breath in armes most needfull,) 745 Or els by wrestling to wex strong and heedfull, Or his stiffe armes to stretch with eughen bowe, [Eughen, made of yew.] And manly legs, still passing too and fro, Without a gowned beast him fast beside; A vaine ensample of the Persian pride, 750 Who after he had wonne th'Assyrian foe, Did ever after scorne on foote to goe. Thus when this courtly gentleman with toyle Himselfe hath wearied, he doth recoyle Unto his rest, and there with sweete delight 755 Of musicks skill revives his toyled spright; Or els with loves and ladies gentle sports, The ioy of youth, himselfe he recomforts: Or lastly, when the bodie list to pause, His minde unto the Muses he withdrawes, 760 Sweete Ladie Muses, ladies of delight, Delights of life, and ornaments of light: With whom he close confers with wise discourse, Of Natures workes, of heavens continuall course, Of forreine lands, of people different, 765 Of kingdomes change, of divers gouvernment, Of dreadfull battailes of renowmed knights; With which he kindleth his ambitious sprights To like desire and praise of noble fame, The onely upshot whereto he doth ayme. 770 For all his minde on honour fixed is, To which he levels all his purposis, And in his Princes service spends his dayes, Not so much for to game, or for to raise Himselfe to high degree, as for his grace, 775 And in his liking to winne worthie place, Through due deserts and comely carriage, In whatso please employ his personage, That may be matter meete to game him praise. For he is fit to use in all assayes, 780 Whether for armes and warlike amenaunce, [Amenaunce, conduct.] Or else for wise and civill governaunce; For he is practiz'd well in policie, And thereto doth his courting most applie: [Courting, life at court.] To learne the enterdeale of princes strange, 785 [Enterdeale, dealing together.] To marke th'intent of counsells, and the change Of states, and eke of private men somewhile, Supplanted by fine falshood and faire guile; Of all the which he gathereth what is fit T'enrich the storehouse of his powerfull wit, 790 Which through wise speaches and grave conference He daylie eekes, and brings to excellence. [Eekes, increases.] Such is the rightfull courtier in his kinde: But unto such the Ape lent not his minde; Such were for him no fit companions, 795 Such would descrie his lewd conditions: But the yong lustie gallants he did chose To follow, meete to whom he might disclose His witlesse pleasance and ill pleasing vaine. A thousand wayes he them could entertaine, 800 With all the thriftles games that may be found; With mumming and with masking all around, With dice, with cards, with balliards farre unfit, [Balliards, billiards.] With shuttelcocks, misseeming manlie wit, [Misseeming, unbecoming.] With courtizans, and costly riotize, 805 Whereof still somewhat to his share did rize: Ne, them to pleasure, would he sometimes scorne A pandares coate (so basely was he borne); Thereto he could fine loving verses frame, And play the poet oft. But ah! for shame, 810 Let not sweete poets praise, whose onely pride Is vertue to advaunce, and vice deride, Be with the worke of losels wit defamed, Ne let such verses poetrie be named! Yet he the name on him would rashly take, 815 Maugre the sacred Muses, and it make A servant to the vile affection Of such as he depended most upon; And with the sugrie sweete thereof allure Chast ladies eares to fantasies impure. 820 To such delights the noble wits he led Which him reliev'd, and their vaine humours fed With fruitles folies and unsound delights. But if perhaps into their noble sprights Desire of honor or brave thought of armes 825 Did ever creepe, then with his wicked charmes And strong conceipts he would it drive away, Ne suffer it to house there halfe a day. And whenso love of letters did inspire Their gentle wits, and kindly wise desire, 830 [Kindly: Qu. kindle?] That chieflie doth each noble minde adorne, Then he would scoffe at learning, and eke scorne The sectaries thereof, as people base [Sectaries, followers.] And simple men, which never came in place Of worlds affaires, but, in darke corners mewd, 835 Muttred of matters as their bookes them shewd, Ne other knowledge ever did attaine, But with their gownes their gravitie maintaine. From them he would his impudent lewde speach Against Gods holie ministers oft reach, 840 And mocke divines and their profession. What else then did he by progression, But mocke High God himselfe, whom they professe? But what car'd he for God, or godlinesse? All his care was himselfe how to advaunce, 845 And to uphold his courtly countenaunce By all the cunning meanes he could devise; "Were it by honest wayes, or otherwise, He made small choyce: yet sure his honestie Got him small gaines, but shameles flatterie, 850 And filthie brocage, and unseemly shifts, [Brocage, pimping.] And borowe base, and some good ladies gifts. [Borowe, pledging.] But the best helpe, which chiefly him sustain'd, Was his man Raynolds purchase which he gain'd: [Purchase, booty.] For he was school'd by kinde in all the skill 855 [Kinde, nature.] Of close conveyance, and each practise ill Of coosinage and cleanly knaverie, [Cleanly, neat, skillful.] Which oft maintain'd his masters braverie. Besides, he usde another slipprie slight, In taking on himselfe, in common sight, 860 False personages fit for everie sted, With which he thousands cleanly coosined: Now like a merchant, merchants to deceave, With whom his credite he did often leave In gage for his gay masters hopelesse dett: 865 Now like a lawyer, when he land would lett, Or sell fee-simples in his masters name, Which he had never, nor ought like the same; Then would he be a broker, and draw in Both wares and money, by exchange to win: 870 Then would he seeme a farmer, that would sell Bargaines of woods, which he did lately fell, Or corne, or cattle, or such other ware, Thereby to coosin men not well aware: Of all the which there came a secret fee 875 To th'Ape, that he his countenaunce might bee. Besides all this, he us'd oft to beguile Poore suters that in court did haunt some while: For he would learne their busines secretly, And then informe his master hastely, 880 That he by meanes might cast them to prevent, [Prevent, anticipate.] And beg the sute the which the other ment. Or otherwise false Reynold would abuse The simple suter, and wish him to chuse His master, being one of great regard 885 In court, to compas anie sute not hard, In case his paines were recompenst with reason: So would he worke the silly man by treason To buy his masters frivolous good will, That had not power to doo him good or ill. 890 So pitifull a thing is suters state! Most miserable man, whom wicked fate Hath brought to court, to sue for had-ywist, That few have found, and manie one hath mist! Full little knowest thou that hast not tride, 895 What hell it is in suing long to bide: To loose good dayes, that might be better spent; To wast long nights in pensive discontent; To speed to day, to be put back to morrow; To feed on hope, to pine with feare and sorrow; 900 To have thy Princes grace, yet want her Peeres; To have thy asking, yet waite manie yeeres; To fret thy soule with crosses and with cares; To eate thy heart through comfortlesse dispaires; To fawne, to crowche, to waite, to ride, to ronne, 905 To spend, to give, to want, to be undonne. Unhappie wight, borne to desastrous end, That doth his life in so long tendance spend! Who ever leaves sweete home, where meane estate In safe assurance, without strife or hate, 910 Findes all things needfull for contentment meeke, And will to court for shadowes vaine to seeke, Or hope to gaine, himselfe will a daw trie: That curse God send unto mine enemie! For none but such as this bold Ape unblest 915 Can ever thrive in that unluckie quest; Or such as hath a Reynold to his man, That by his shifts his master furnish can. But yet this Foxe could not so closely hide His craftie feates, but that they were descride 920 At length by such as sate in iustice seate, Who for the same him fowlie did entreate; And, having worthily him punished, Out of the court for ever banished. And now the Ape, wanting his huckster man, 925 That wont provide his necessaries, gan To growe into great lacke, ne could upholde His countenaunce in those his garments olde; Ne new ones could he easily provide, Though all men him uncased gan deride, 930 Like as a puppit placed in a play, Whose part once past all men bid take away: So that he driven was to great distresse, And shortly brought to hopelesse wretchednesse. Then closely as he might he cast to leave 935 The court, not asking any passe or leave; But ran away in his rent rags by night, Ne ever stayd in place, ne spake to wight, Till that the Foxe, his copesmate, he had found; [Copesmate, partner in trade.] To whome complayning his unhappie stound, 940 [Stound, plight, exigency.] At last againe with him in travell ioynd, And with him far'd some better chaunee to fynde. So in the world long time they wandered, And mickle want and hardnesse suffered; That them repented much so foolishly 945 To come so farre to seeke for misery, And leave the sweetnes of contented home, Though eating hipps and drinking watry fome. [Hipps, dog-rose berries.] Thus as they them complayned too and fro, Whilst through the forest rechlesse they did goe, 950 [Rechlesse, reckless.] Lo! where they spide how in a gloomy glade The Lyon sleeping lay in secret shade, His crowne and scepter lying him beside, And having doft for heate his dreadfull hide: Which when they saw, the Ape was sore afrayde, 955 And would have fled with terror all dismayde. But him the Foxe with hardy words did stay, And bad him put all cowardize away; For now was time, if ever they would hope, To ayme their counsels to the fairest scope, 960 And them for ever highly to advaunce, In case the good which their owne happie chaunce Them freely offred they would wisely take. Scarse could the Ape yet speake, so did he quake; Yet, as he could, he askt how good might growe 965 Where nought but dread and death do seeme in show. "Now," sayd he, "whiles the Lyon sleepeth sound, May we his crowne and mace take from the ground, And eke his skinne, the terror of the wood, Wherewith we may our selves, if we thinke good, 970 Make kings of beasts, and lords of forests all Subiect unto that powre imperiall." "Ah! but," sayd the Ape, "who is so bold a wretch, That dare his hardy hand to those outstretch, When as he knowes his meede, if he be spide, 975 To be a thousand deathes, and shame beside?" "Fond Ape!" sayd then the Foxe, "into whose brest Never crept thought of honor nor brave gest, [Gest, deed.] Who will not venture life a king to be, And rather rule and raigne in soveraign see, 980 Than dwell in dust inglorious and bace, Where none shall name the number of his place? One ioyous howre in blisfull happines, I chose before a life of wretchednes. Be therefore counselled herein by me, 985 And shake off this vile-harted cowardree. If he awake, yet is not death the next, For we may colour it with some pretext Of this or that, that may excuse the cryme: Else we may flye; thou to a tree mayst clyme, 990 And I creepe under ground; both from his reach: Therefore be rul'd to doo as I doo teach." The Ape, that earst did nought but chill and quake, Now gan some courage unto him to take, And was content to attempt that enterprise, 995 Tickled with glorie and rash covetise. But first gan question, whether should assay [Whether, which of the two.] Those royall ornaments to steale away? "Marie, that shall your selfe," quoth he theretoo, "For ye be fine and nimble it to doo; 1000 Of all the beasts which in the forrests bee Is not a fitter for this turne than yee: Therefore, mine owne deare brother, take good hart, And ever thinke a kingdome is your part." Loath was the Ape, though praised, to adventer, 1005 Yet faintly gan into his worke to enter, Afraid of everie leafe that stir'd him by, And everie stick that underneath did ly: Upon his tiptoes nicely he up went, For making noyse, and still his eare he lent 1010 To everie sound that under heaven blew; Now went, now stopt, now crept, now backward drew, That it good sport had been him to have eyde. Yet at the last, so well he him applyde, Through his fine handling and cleanly play 1015 He all those royall signes had stolne away, And with the Foxes helpe them borne aside Into a secret corner unespide. Whither whenas they came they fell at words, Whether of them should be the lords of lords: 1020 For th'Ape was stryfull and ambicious, And the Foxe guilefull and most covetous; That neither pleased was to have the rayne Twixt them divided into even twaine, But either algates would be lords alone: 1025 [Algates, by all means.] For love and lordship bide no paragone. [Paragone, equal, partner.] "I am most worthie," said the Ape, "sith I For it did put my life in ieopardie: Thereto I am in person and in stature Most like a man, the lord of everie creature, 1030 So that it seemeth I was made to raigne, And borne to be a kingly soveraigne." "Nay," said the Foxe, "Sir Ape, you are astray; For though to steale the diademe away Were the worke of your nimble hand, yet I 1035 Did first devise the plot by pollicie; So that it wholly springeth from my wit: For which also I claime my selfe more fit Than you to rule: for government of state Will without wisedome soone be ruinate. 1040 And where ye claime your selfe for outward shape Most like a man, man is not like an ape In his chiefe parts, that is, in wit and spirite; But I therein most like to him doo merite, For my slie wyles and subtill craftinesse, 1045 The title of the kingdome to possesse. Nath'les, my brother, since we passed are Unto this point, we will appease our iarre; And I with reason meete will rest content, That ye shall have both crowne and government, 1050 Upon condition that ye ruled bee In all affaires, and counselled by mee; And that ye let none other ever drawe Your minde from me, but keepe this as a lawe: And hereupon an oath unto me plight." 1055 The Ape was glad to end the strife so light, And thereto swore: for who would not oft sweare, And oft unsweare, a diademe to beare? Then freely up those royall spoyles he tooke, Yet at the Lyons skin he inly quooke; 1060 But it dissembled, and upon his head The crowne, and on his backe the skin, he did, And the false Foxe him helped to array. Then when he was all dight he tooke his way Into the forest, that he might be seene 1065 Of the wilde beasts in his new glory sheene. There the two first whome he encountred were The Sheepe and th'Asse, who, striken both with feare At sight of him, gan fast away to flye; But unto them the Foxe alowd did cry, 1070 And in the kings name bad them both to stay, Upon the payne that thereof follow may. Hardly naythles were they restrayned so, Till that the Foxe forth toward them did goe, And there disswaded them from needlease feare, 1075 For that the King did favour to them beare; And therefore dreadles bad them come to corte; For no wild beasts should do them any torte [Torte, wrong.] There or abroad, ne would his Maiestye Use them but well, with gracious clemencye, 1080 As whome he knew to him both fast and true. So he perswaded them with homage due Themselves to humble to the Ape prostrate, Who, gently to them bowing in his gate, [Gate, way.] Receyved them with chearefull entertayne. 1085 Thenceforth proceeding with his princely trayne, He shortly met the Tygre, and the Bore, Which with the simple Camell raged sore In bitter words, seeking to take occasion Upon his fleshly corpse to make invasion: 1090 But soone as they this mock-king did espy, Their troublous strife they stinted by and by, [Stinted by and by, stopped at once.] Thinking indeed that it the Lyon was. He then, to prove whether his powre would pas As currant, sent the Foxe to them streight way, 1095 Commaunding them their cause of strife bewray; And, if that wrong on eyther side there were, That he should warne the wronger to appeare The morrow next at court, it to defend; In the meane time upon the King t'attend. 1100 The subtile Foxe so well his message sayd, That the proud beasts him readily obayd: Whereby the Ape in wondrous stomack woxe, Strongly encorag'd by the crafty Foxe; That king indeed himselfe he shortly thought, 1105 And all the beasts him feared as they ought, And followed unto his palaice hye; Where taking conge, each one by and by Departed to his home in dreadfull awe, Full of the feared sight which late they sawe. 1110 The Ape, thus seized of the regall throne, Eftsones by counsell of the Foxe alone Gan to provide for all things in assurance, That so his rule might lenger have endurance. First, to his gate be pointed a strong gard, 1115 That none might enter but with issue hard: Then, for the safegard of his personage, He did appoint a warlike equipage Of forreine beasts, not in the forest bred, But part by land and part by water fed; 1120 For tyrannie is with strange ayde supported. Then unto him all monstrous beasts resorted Bred of two kindes, as Griffons, Minotaures, Crocodiles, Dragons, Beavers, and Centaures: With those himselfe he strengthned mightelie, 1125 That feare he neede no force of enemie. Then gan he rule and tyrannize at will, Like as the Foxe did guide his graceles skill; And all wylde beasts made vassals of his pleasures, And with their spoyles enlarg'd his private treasures. No care of iustice, nor no rule of reason, 1131 No temperance, nor no regard of season, Did thenceforth ever enter in his minde; But crueltie, the signe of currish kinde, And sdeignfull pride, and wilfull arrogaunce; 1135 Such followes those whom fortune doth advaunce. But the false Foxe most kindly plaid his part: [Kindly, according to his nature.] For whatsoever mother-wit or arte Could worke, he put in proofe: no practise slie, No counterpoint of cunning policie, 1140 [Counterpoint, counterplot.] Ne reach, no breach, that might him profit bring, But he the same did to his purpose wring. Nought suffered he the Ape to give or graunt, But through his hand must passe the fiaunt. [Fiaunt, fiat.] All offices, all leases by him lept, 1145 And of them all whatso he likte he kept. Iustice he solde iniustice for to buy, And for to purchase for his progeny. [Purchase, collect spoil.] Ill might it prosper that ill gotten was, But, so he got it, little did he pas. 1150 [Pas, care.] He fed his cubs with fat of all the soyle, And with the sweete of others sweating toyle; He crammed them with crumbs of benefices, And fild their mouthes with meeds of malefices; [Malifices, evil deeds.] He cloathed them with all colours save white, 1155 And loded them with lordships and with might, So much as they were able well to beare, That with the weight their backs nigh broken were. He chaffred chayres in which churchmen were set, [Chaffred, bartered.] And breach of lawes to privie ferme did let. 1160 [Ferme, farm.] No statute so established might bee, Nor ordinaunce so needfull, but that hee Would violate, though not with violence, Yet under colour of the confidence The which the Ape repos'd in him alone, 1165 And reckned him the kingdomes corner stone. And ever, when he ought would bring to pas, His long experience the platforme was: And when he ought not pleasing would put by The cloke was care of thrift, and husbandry, 1170 For to encrease the common treasures store. But his owne treasure he encreased more, And lifted up his loftie towres thereby, That they began to threat the neighbour sky; The whiles the princes pallaces fell fast 1175 To ruine; for what thing can ever last? And whilest the other peeres for povertie Were forst their auncient houses to let lie, And their olde castles to the ground to fall, Which their forefathers famous over-all 1180 [Over-all, everywhere.] Had founded for the kingdomes ornament, And for their memories long moniment. But he no count made of nobilitie, Nor the wilde beasts whom armes did glorifie, 1185 The realmes chiefe strength and girlond of the crowne. All these through fained crimes he thrust adowne, Or made them dwell in darknes of disgrace: For none but whom he list might come in place. Of men of armes he had but small regard, But kept them lowe, and streigned verie hard. 1190 For men of learning little he esteemed; His wisedome he above their learning deemed. As for the rascall commons, least he cared, For not so common was his bountie shared: 1194 "Let God," said he, "if please, care for the manie, I for my selfe must care before els anie." So did he good to none, to manie ill, So did he all the kingdome rob and pill, [Pill, plunder.] Yet none durst speake, ne none durst of him plaine; So great he was in grace, and rich through game. Ne would he anie let to have accesse 1201 Unto the Prince, but by his owne addresse: For all that els did come were sure to faile; Yet would he further none but for availe. For on a time the Sheepe, to whom of yore 1205 The Foxe had promised of friendship store, What time the Ape the kingdome first did gaine, Came to the court, her case there to complaine; How that the Wolfe, her mortall enemie, Had sithence slaine her lambe most cruellie; 1210 [Sithence, since.] And therefore crav'd to come unto the King, To let him knowe the order of the thing. "Soft, Gooddie Sheepe!" then said the Foxe, "not soe: Unto the King so rash ye may not goe; He is with greater matter busied 1215 Than a lambe, or the lambes owne mothers hed. Ne certes may I take it well in part, That ye my cousin Wolfe so fowly thwart, And seeke with slaunder his good name to blot: For there was cause, els doo it he would not: 1220 Therefore surcease, good dame, and hence depart." So went the Sheepe away with heavie hart; So manie moe, so everie one was used, That to give largely to the boxe refused.
Now when high Iove, in whose almightie hand 1225 The care of kings and power of empires stand, Sitting one day within his turret hye, From whence he vewes with his black-lidded eye Whatso the heaven in his wide vawte containes, And all that in the deepest earth remaines, 1230 And troubled kingdome of wilde beasts behelde, Whom not their kindly sovereigne did welde, [Welde, govern.] But an usurping Ape, with guile suborn'd, Had all subverst, he sdeignfully it scorn'd In his great heart, and hardly did refraine 1235 But that with thunder bolts he had him slaine, And driven downe to hell, his dewest meed. But him avizing, he that dreadfull deed Forbore, and rather chose with scornfull shame Him to avenge, and blot his brutish name 1240 Unto the world, that never after anie Should of his race be voyd of infamie; And his false counsellor, the cause of all, To damne to death, or dole perpetuall, From whence he never should be quit nor stal'd. [Stal'd, forestalled (?).] Forthwith he Mercurie unto him cal'd, 1246 And bad him flie with never-resting speed Unto the forrest, where wilde beasts doo breed, And, there enquiring privily, to learne What did of late chaunce to the Lyon stearne, 1250 That he rul'd not the empire, as he ought; And whence were all those plaints unto him brought Of wrongs and spoyles by salvage beasts committed: Which done, he bad the Lyon be remitted Into his seate, and those same treachours vile 1255 [Treachours, traitors.] Be punished for their presumptuous guile. The sonne of Maia, soone as he receiv'd That word, streight with his azure wings he cleav'd The liquid clowdes and lucid firmament, Ne staid till that he came with steep descent 1260 Unto the place where his prescript did showe. There stouping, like an arrowe from a bowe, He soft arrived on the grassie plaine, And fairly paced forth with easie paine, Till that unto the pallace nigh he came. 1265 Then gan he to himselfe new shape to frame, And that faire face, and that ambrosiall hew, Which wonts to decke the gods immortall crew, And beautefie the shinie firmament, He doft, unfit for that rude rabblement. 1270 So, standing by the gates in strange disguize, He gan enquire of some in secret wize, Both of the King, and of his government, And of the Foxe, and his false blandishment: And evermore he heard each one complaine 1275 Of foule abuses both in realme and raine: Which yet to prove more true, he meant to see, And an ey-witnes of each thing to bee. Tho on his head his dreadfull hat he dight, Which maketh him invisible in sight, 1280 And mocketh th'eyes of all the lookers on, Making them thinke it but a vision. Through power of that he runnes through enemies swerds; Through power of that he passeth through the herds Of ravenous wilde beasts, and doth beguile 1285 Their greedie mouthes of the expected spoyle; Through power of that his cunning theeveries He wonts to worke, that none the same espies; And through the power of that he putteth on What shape he list in apparition. 1290 That on his head he wore, and in his hand He tooke caduceus, his snakie wand, With which the damned ghosts he governeth, And furies rules, and Tartare tempereth. With that he causeth sleep to seize the eyes, 1295 And feare the harts, of all his enemyes; And when him list, an universall night Throughout the world he makes on everie wight; As when his syre with Alcumena lay. Thus dight, into the court he tooke his way, 1300 Both through the gard, which never him descride, And through the watchmen, who him never spide: Thenceforth he past into each secrete part, Whereas he saw, that sorely griev'd his hart, Each place abounding with fowle iniuries, 1305 And fild with treasure rackt with robberies; Each place defilde with blood of guiltles beasts Which had been slaine to serve the Apes beheasts; Gluttonie, malice, pride, and covetize, And lawlesnes raigning with riotize; 1310 Besides the infinite extortions, Done through the Foxes great oppressions, That the complaints thereof could not be tolde. Which when he did with lothfull eyes beholde, He would no more endure, but came his way, 1315 And cast to seeke the Lion, where he may, [Cast, projected.] That he might worke the avengement for this shame On those two caytives which had bred him blame And seeking all the forrest busily, At last he found where sleeping he did ly. 1320 The wicked weed which there the Foxe did lay From underneath his head he tooke away, And then him, waking, forced up to rize. The Lion, looking up, gan him avize, [Avize, bethink.] As one late in a traunce, what had of long 1325 Become of him: for fantasie is strong. "Arise," said Mercurie, "thou sluggish beast, That here liest senseles, like the corpse deceast, The whilste thy kingdome from thy head is rent, And thy throne royall with dishonour blent: 1330 [Blent, stained.] Arise, and doo thy selfe redeeme from shame, And be aveng'd on those that breed thy blame." Thereat enraged, soone he gan upstart, Grinding his teeth, and grating his great hart; And, rouzing up himselfe, for his rough hide 1335 He gan to reach; but no where it espide. Therewith he gan full terribly to rore, And chafte at that indignitie right sore. But when his crowne and scepter both he wanted, Lord! how he fum'd, and sweld, and rag'd, and panted, And threatned death and thousand deadly dolours To them that had purloyn'd his princely honours. With that in hast, disroabed as he was, He toward his owne pallace forth did pas; And all the way he roared as he went, 1345 That all the forrest with astonishment Thereof did tremble, and the beasts therein Fled fast away from that so dreadfull din. At last he came unto his mansion, Where all the gates he found fast lockt anon 1350 And manie warders round about them stood: With that he roar'd alowd, as he were wood, [Wood, frantic.] That all the pallace quaked at the stound, [Stound, (time, scene) tumult.] As if it quite were riven from the ground, And all within were dead and hartles left; 1355 And th'Ape himselfe, as one whose wits were reft, Fled here and there, and everie corner sought. To hide himselfe from his owne feared thought. But the false Foxe, when he the Lion heard, Fled closely forth, streightway of death afeard, 1360 [Closely, secretly.] And to the Lion came, full lowly creeping, With fained face, and watrie eyne halfe weeping, T'excuse his former treason and abusion, And turning all unto the Apes confusion: Nath'les the royall beast forbore beleeving, 1365 But bad him stay at ease till further preeving. [Preeving, proving.] Then when he saw no entrance to him graunted, Roaring yet lowder that all harts it daunted, Upon those gates with force he fiercely newe, And, rending them in pieces, felly slewe 1370 Those warders strange, and all that els he met But th'Ape still flying he no where might get: From rowme to rowme, from beame to beame he fled, All breathles, and for feare now almost ded: Yet him at last the Lyon spide, and caught, 1375 And forth with shame unto his iudgement brought. Then all the beasts he causd' assembled bee, To heare their doome, and sad ensample see: The Foxe, first author of that treacherie He did uncase, and then away let flie. 1380 [Uncase, strip of his disguise.] But th'Apes long taile (which then he had) he quight Cut off, and both eares pared of their hight; Since which, all Apes but halfe their eares have left, And of their tailes are utterlie bereft.
So Mother Hubberd her discourse did end: 1385 Which pardon me if I amisse have pend, For weake was my remembrance it to hold, And bad her tongue that it so bluntly tolde.
* * * * *
MOTHER HUBBERDS TALE. This charming little poem, Spenser's only successful effort at satire, is stated by the author to have been composed in the raw conceit of his youth. There is internal evidence, however, that some of the happiest passages were added at the date of its publication, at which time the whole was probably retouched. Although Mother Hubberds Tale is in its plan an imitation of the satires of Reynard the Fox; the treatment of the subject is quite original. For the combination of elegance with simplicity, this poem will stand a comparison with Goethe's celebrated translation of the Reineke. C.
Ver. I.—It was the month, &c. August.
Ver. 453.—Diriges, dirges. The office for the dead received this name from the antiphon with which the first nocturne in the mattens commenced, taken from Psalm v. 8, "Dirige, Domine Deus meus, in conspectu tuo viam meam." Way's Promptorium Parvulorum. C.
Ver. 519.—Scarse can a bishoprick, &c. This is probably an allusion to the frequent alienations of the lands and manors of bishoprics in Elizabeth's time. TODD.
Ver. 562.—The ordinarie. An ordinary is a judge having jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters. In England, it is usually the bishop of the diocese. H.
Ver. 623, 624.—The Queen was so much pleased with the results of the Portugal expedition of 1589, that she honored the commanders, and Sir Walter Raleigh among the rest, with a gold chain. C.
Ver. 717.—The brave courtier, &c. This description is perhaps intended for Sir Philip Sidney. C.
Ver. 893.—Had-ywist. That is, had I wist! had I known that it would end so! a proverbial expression for late repentance consequent on disappointment. C.
Ver. 901.—To have thy Princes grace, yet want her Peeres. Elizabeth was said to have granted Spenser a pension which Burghley intercepted, and to have ordered him a gratuity which her minister neglected to pay. C.
Ver. 913.—Himselfe will a daw trie. So the old copy: the reading should probably be himselfe a daw will trie, prove or find himself by experience to be a daw or fool. C.
Ver. 1189.—Of men of armes, &c. This passage certainly provokes an application to Lord Burghley, and was probably intended for him. C.
* * * * *
RUINES OF ROME:
[* Joachim du Bellay, a French poet of considerable reputation in his day, died in 1560. These sonnets are translated from Le Premier Livre des Antiquez de Rome. Further on we have the Visions of Bellay, translated from the Songes of the same author. The best that can be said of these sonnets seems to be, that they are not inferior to the original. C.]
Ye heavenly spirites, whose ashie cinders lie Under deep ruines, with huge walls opprest, But not your praise, the which shall never die Through your faire verses, ne in ashes rest; If so be shrilling voyce of wight alive May reach from hence to depth of darkest hell, Then let those deep abysses open rive, That ye may understand my shreiking yell! Thrice having seene under the heavens veale Your toombs devoted compasse over all, Thrice unto you with lowd voyce I appeale, And for your antique furie here doo call, The whiles that I with sacred horror sing Your glorie, fairest of all earthly thing!
Great Babylon her haughtie walls will praise, And sharped steeples high shot up in ayre; Greece will the olde Ephesian buildings blaze, And Nylus nurslings their Pyramidcs faire; The same yet vaunting Greece will tell the storie Of Ioves great image in Olympus placed; Mausolus worke will be the Carians glorie, And Crete will boast the Labyrinth, now raced; The antique Rhodian will likewise set forth The great Colosse, erect to Memorie; And what els in the world is of like worth, Some greater learned wit will magnifie. But I will sing above all moniments Seven Romane Hils, the worlds seven wonderments.
Thou stranger, which for Rome in Rome hero seekest, And nought of Rome in Rome perceiv'st at all, These same olde walls, olde arches, which thou seest, Olde palaces, is that which Rome men call. Beholde what wreake, what mine, and what wast, And how that she which with her mightie powre Tam'd all the world hath tam'd herselfe at last; The pray of Time, which all things doth devowre! Rome now of Rome is th'onely funerall, And onely Rome of Rome hath victorie; Ne ought save Tyber hastning to his fall Remaines of all: O worlds inconstancie! That which is firme doth flit and fall away, And that is flitting doth abide and stay.
She whose high top above the starres did sore, One foote on Thetis, th'other on the Morning, One hand on Scythia, th'other on the More, Both heaven and earth in roundnesse compassing; Iove fearing, least if she should greater growe, The old giants should once againe uprise, Her whelm'd with hills, these seven hils, which be nowe Tombes of her greatnes which did threate the skies: Upon her head he heapt Mount Saturnal, Upon her bellie th'antique Palatine, Upon her stomacke laid Mount Quirinal, On her left hand the noysome Esquiline, And Caelian on the right; but both her feete Mount Viminal and Aventine doo meete.
Who lists to see what ever nature, arte, And heaven could doo, O Rome, thee let him see, In case thy greatnes he can gesse in harte By that which but the picture is of thee! Rome is no more: but if the shade of Rome May of the bodie yeeld a seeming sight, It's like a corse drawne forth out of the tombe By magicke skill out of eternall night: The corpes of Rome in ashes is entombed, And her great spirite, reioyned to the spirite Of this great masse, is in the same enwombed; But her brave writings, which, her famous merite In spight of Time out of the dust doth reare, Doo make her idole* through the world appeare. [* Idole, image, idea.]
Such as the Berecynthian goddesse bright, In her swifte charret with high turrets crownde, Proud that so manie gods she brought to light, Such was this citie in her good daies fownd: This citie, more than that great Phrygian mother Renowm'd for fruite of famous progenie, Whose greatnes by the greatnes of none other, But by her selfe, her equall match could see: Rome onely might to Rome compared bee, And onely Rome could make great Rome to tremble: So did the gods by heavenly doome decree, That other earthlie power should not resemble Her that did match the whole earths puissaunce, And did her courage to the heavens advaunce.
Ye sacred ruines, and ye tragick sights, Which onely doo the name of Rome retaine, Olde moniments, which of so famous sprights The honour yet in ashes doo maintaine, Triumphant arcks, spyres neighbours to the skie, That you to see doth th'heaven it selfe appall, Alas! by little ye to nothing flie, The peoples fable, and the spoyle of all! And though your frames do for a time make warre Gainst Time, yet Time in time shall ruinate Your workes and names, and your last reliques marre. My sad desires, rest therefore moderate! For if that Time make ende of things so sure, It als will end the paine which I endure.
Through armes and vassals Rome the world subdu'd, That one would weene that one sole cities strength Both land and sea in roundnes had survew'd, To be the measure of her bredth and length: This peoples vertue yet so fruitfull was Of vertuous nephewes*, that posteritie, Striving in power their grandfathers to passe, The lowest earth ioin'd to the heaven hie; To th'end that, having all parts in their power, Nought from the Romane Empire might be quight**; And that though Time doth commonwealths devowre, Yet no time should so low embase their hight, That her head, earth'd in her foundations deep, Should not her name and endles honour keep. [* Nephewes, descendants.] [** Quight, quit, free.]
Ye cruell starres, and eke ye gods unkinde, Heaven envious, and bitter stepdame Nature! Be it by fortune, or by course of kinde*, That ye doo weld th'affaires of earthlie creature; Why have your hands long sithence traveiled To frame this world, that doth endure so long? Or why were not these Romane palaces Made of some matter no lesse firme and strong? I say not, as the common voyce doth say, That all things which beneath the moone have being Are temporall and subiect to decay: But I say rather, though not all agreeing With some that weene the contrarie in thought, That all this whole shall one day come to nought. [* Kinde, nature.]
As that brave sonne of Aeson, which by charmes Atcheiv'd the golden fleece in Colchid land, Out of the earth engendred men of armes Of dragons teeth, sowne in the sacred sand, So this brave towne, that in her youthlie daies An hydra was of warriours glorious, Did fill with her renowmed nourslings praise The firie sunnes both one and other hous: But they at last, there being then not living An Hercules so ranke seed to represse, Emongst themselves with cruell furie striving, Mow'd downe themselves with slaughter mercilesse; Renewing in themselves that rage unkinde, Which whilom did those earthborn brethren blinde.
Mars, shaming to have given so great head To his off-spring, that mortall puissaunce, Puft up with pride of Romane hardiehead, Seem'd above heavens powre it selfe to advaunce, Cooling againe his former kindled heate With which he had those Romane spirits fild. Did blowe new fire, and with enflamed breath Into the Gothicke colde hot rage instil'd. Then gan that nation, th'earths new giant brood, To dart abroad the thunderbolts of warre, And, beating downe these walls with furious mood Into her mothers bosome, all did marre; To th'end that none, all were it* love his sire, Should boast himselfe of the Romane empire. [* All were it, although it were.]
Like as whilome the children of the earth Heapt hils on hils to scale the starrie skie, And fight against the gods of heavenly berth, Whiles Iove at them his thunderbolts let flie; All suddenly with lightning overthrowne, The furious squadrons downe to ground did fall, That th'earth under her childrens weight did grone, And th'heavens in glorie triumpht over all; So did that haughtie front, which heaped was On these seven Romane hils, it selfe upreare Over the world, and lift her loftie face Against the heaven, that gan her force to feare. But now these scorned fields bemone her fall, And gods secure feare not her force at all.