"I hate the day, because it lendeth light To see all things, and not my love to see; I hate the darknesse and the dreary night, Because they breed sad balefulnesse in mee; 410 I hate all times, because all times doo fly So fast away, and may not stayed bee, But as a speedie post that passeth by.
"I hate to speake, my voyce is spent with crying; I hate to heare, lowd plaints have duld mine eares; I hate to tast, for food withholds my dying; 416 I hate to see, mine eyes are dimd with teares; I hate to smell, no sweet on earth is left; I hate to feele, my flesh is numbd with feares: So all my senses from me are bereft. 420
"I hate all men, and shun all womankinde; The one, because as I they wretched are; The other, for because I doo not finde My love with them, that wont to be their starre. And life I hate, because it will not last; 425 And death I hate, because it life doth marre; And all I hate that is to come or past.
"So all the world, and all in it I hate, Because it changeth ever to and fro, And never standeth in one certaine state, 430 But, still unstedfast, round about doth goe Like a mill-wheele in midst of miserie, Driven with streames of wretchednesse and woe, That dying lives, and living still does dye.
"So doo I live, so doo I daylie die, 435 And pine away in selfe-consuming paine! Sith she that did my vitall powres supplie, And feeble spirits in their force maintaine, Is fetcht fro me, why seeke I to prolong My wearie daies in dolour and disdalne! 440 Weepe, Shepheard! weepe, to make my undersong.
"Why doo I longer live in lifes despight, And doo not dye then in despight of death! Why doo I longer see this loathsome light, And doo in darknesse not abridge my breath, 445 Sith all my sorrow should have end thereby, And cares finde quiet! Is it so uneath* To leave this life, or dolorous to dye? [* Uneath, difficult.]
"To live I finde it deadly dolorous, For life drawes care, and care continuall woe; 450 Therefore to dye must needes be ioyeous, And wishfull thing this sad life to forgoe. But I must stay; I may it not amend; My Daphne hence departing bad me so; She bad me stay, till she for me did send. 455
"Yet, whilest I in this wretched vale doo stay, My wearie feete shall ever wandring be, That still I may be readie on my way When, as her messenger doth come for me; Ne will I rest my feete for feeblenesse, 460 Ne will I rest my limmes for frailtie, Ne will I rest mine eyes for heavinesse.
"But, as the mother of the gods, that sought For faire Euridyce, her daughter dere, Throughout the world, with wofull heavie thought, So will I travell whilest I tarrie heere, 466 Ne will I lodge, ne will I ever lin*, Ne, when as drouping Titan draweth nere To loose his teeme, will I take up my inne**. [* Lin, cease.] [** Inne, lodging.]
"Ne sleepe, the harbenger* of wearie wights, 470 Shall ever lodge upon mine eye-lids more, Ne shall with rest refresh my fainting sprights, Nor failing force to former strength restore: But I will wake and sorrow all the night With Philumene*, my fortune to deplore; 475 With Philumene, the partner of my plight. [* Harbenger, one who provides lodging or repose.] [** Philumene, Philomel.]
"And ever as I see the starre to fall, And under ground to goe to give them light Which dwell in darknesse, I to mind will call How my faire starre, that shind on me so bright, 480 Fell sodainly and faded under ground; Since whose departure, day is turnd to night, And night without a Venus starre is found.
"But soon as day doth shew his deawie face, And cals foorth men unto their toylsome trade, 485 I will withdraw me to some darkesome place, Or some dere* cave, or solitarie shade; There will I sigh, and sorrow all day long, And the huge burden of my cares unlade. 489 Weepe, Shepheard! weepe, to make my undersong. [* Qu. derne, lonely? Or, drere?]
"Henceforth mine eyes shall never more behold Faire thing on earth, ne feed on false delight Of ought that framed is of mortall mould, Sith that my fairest flower is faded quight; For all I see is vaine and transitorie, 495 Ne will be held in any stedfast plight, But in a moment loose their grace and glorie.
"And ye, fond Men! on Fortunes wheele that ride, Or in ought under heaven repose assurance, Be it riches, beautie, or honours pride, 500 Be sure that they shall have no long endurance, But ere ye be aware will flit away; For nought of them is yours, but th'only usance Of a small time, which none ascertains may.
"And ye, true Lovers! whom desastrous chaunce, 505 Hath farre exiled from your ladies grace, To mourne in sorrow and sad sufferauncc, When ye doe heare me in that desert place Lamenting loud my Daphnes elegie, Helpe me to waile my miserable case, 510 And when life parts vouchsafe to close mine eye.
"And ye, more happie Lovers! which enioy The presence of your dearest loves delight, "When ye doe heare my sorrowfull annoy, Yet pittie me in your empassiond spright, 515 And thinke that such mishap as chaunst to me May happen unto the most happiest wight; For all mens states alike unstedfast be.
"And ye, ray fellow Shepheards! which do feed Tour carelesse flocks on hils and open plaines, 520 With better fortune than did me succeed, Remember yet my undeserved paines; And when ye heare that I am dead or slaine, Lament my lot, and tell your fellow-swaines That sad Aleyon dyde in lifes disdaine. 525
"And ye, faire Damsels! shepheards deare delights, That with your loves do their rude hearts possesse, When as my hearse shall happen to your sightes, Vouchsafe to deck the same with cyparesse; And ever sprinckle brackish teares among, 530 In pitie of my undeserv'd distresse, The which, I, wretch, endured have thus long.
"And ye, poore Pilgrims! that with restlesse toyle Wearie your selves in wandring desart wayes, Till that you come where ye your vowes assoyle*, 535 When passing by ye reade these wofull layes On my grave written, rue my Daphnes wrong, And mourne for me that languish out my dayes. Cease, Shepheard! cease, and end thy undersong." [* Assoyle, absolve, pay.]
Thus when he ended had his heavie plaint, 540 The heaviest plaint that ever I heard sound, His cheekes wext pale, and sprights began to faint, As if againe he would have fallen to ground; Which when I saw, I, stepping to him light, Amooved* him out of his stonie swound, 545 And gan him to recomfort as I might. [* Amooved, roused.]
But he no waie recomforted would be, Nor suffer solace to approach him nie, But, casting up a sdeinfull eie at me, That in his traunce I would not let him lie, 550 Did rend his haire, and beat his blubbred face, As one disposed wilfullie to die, That I sore griev'd to see his wretched case.
Tho when the pang was somewhat overpast, And the outragious passion nigh appeased, 555 I him desyrde, sith daie was overcast And darke night fast approched, to be pleased To turne aside unto my cabinet*, And staie with me, till he were better eased Of that strong stownd** which him so sore beset. 560 [* Cabinet, cabin.] [** Stownd, mood, parosysm of grief.]
But by no meanes I could him win thereto, Ne longer him intreate with me to staie, But without taking leave he foorth did goe With staggring pace and dismall looks dismay, As if that Death he in the face had seene, 565 Or hellish hags had met upon the way: But what of him became I cannot weene.
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WRITTEN NOT LONG SINCE BY
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PRINTED FOR WILLIAM POSBONBY.
G. W. SENIOR*, TO THE AUTHOR. [* These commendatory Sonnets first appeared in the first folio edition of Spenser's entire works (1611). G. W., as Todd conjectures, may be George Whetstone. C.]
Darke is the day when Phoebus face is shrowded, And weaker sights may wander soone astray; But when they see his glorious raies unclowded, With steddy steps they keepe the perfect way: So, while this Muse in forraine land doth stay, Invention weepes, and pennes are cast aside; The time, like night, deprivd of chearfull day; And few doe write, but ah! too soone may slide. Then his thee home, that art our perfect guide, And with thy wit illustrate Englands fame, Daunting therby our neighbors ancient pride, That do for Poesie challenge chiefest name:
So we that live, and ages that succeed, With great applause thy learned works shall reed.
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Ah! Colin, whether on the lowly plaine, Piping to shepheards thy sweet roundelayes, Or whether singing, in some loftie vaine, Heroicke deeds of past or present dayes, Or whether in thy lovely mistresse praise Thou list to exercise thy learned quill, Thy Muse hath got such grace and power to please, With rare invention, beautified by skill, As who therin can ever ioy their fill! O, therefore let that happy Muse proceed To clime the height of Vertues sacred hill, Where endlesse honour shal be made thy meed: Because no malice of succeeding dales Can rase those records of thy lasting praise.
G. W. I[unior].
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[* These Sonnets furnish us with a circumstantial and very interesting history of Spenser's second courtship, which, after many repulses, was successfully terminated by the marriage celebrated in the Epithalamion. As these poems were entered in the Stationers' Registers on the 19th of November, 1594, we may infer that they cover a period of time extending from the end of 1592 to the summer of 1594. It is possible, however, that these last dates may be a year too late, and that Spenser was married in 1593. We cannot be sure of the year, but we know, from the 266th verse of the Epithalamion, that the day was the feast of St. Barnabas, June 11 of the Old Style. In the 74th sonnet we are directly told that the lady's name was Elizabeth. In the 61st, she is said to be of the "Brood of Angels, heavenly born." From this and many similar expressions, interpreted by the laws of Anagram, and taken in conjunction with various circumstances which do not require to be stated here, it may be inferred that her surname was Nagle. C.]
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Happy, ye leaves! when as those lilly hands Which hold my life in their dead-doing might Shall handle you, and hold in loves soft bands, Lyke captives trembling at the victors sight. And happy lines! on which, with starry light. Those lamping eyes will deigne sometimes to look, And reade the sorrowes of my dying spright, And happy rymes! bath'd in the sacred brooke Of Helicon, whence she derived is. When ye behold that Angels blessed looke, My soules long-lacked food, my heavens blis, Leaves, lines, and rymes, seeke her to please alone, Whom if ye please, I care for other none!
Unquiet thought! whom at the first I bred Of th'inward bale of my love-pined hart, And sithens have with sighes and sorrowes fed, Till greater then my wombe thou woxen art, Breake forth at length out of the inner part, In which thou lurkest lyke to vipers brood, And seeke some succour both to ease my smart, And also to sustayne thy selfe with food. But if in presence of that fayrest Proud Thou chance to come, fall lowly at her feet; And with meek humblesse and afflicted mood Pardon for thee, and grace for me, intreat: Which if she graunt, then live, and my love cherish: If not, die soone, and I with thee will perish.
The soverayne beauty which I doo admyre, Witnesse the world how worthy to be prayzed! The light wherof hath kindled heavenly fyre In my fraile spirit, by her from basenesse raysed; That being now with her huge brightnesse dazed, Base thing I can no more endure to view: But, looking still on her, I stand amazed At wondrous sight of so celestiall hew. So when my toung would speak her praises dew, It stopped is with thoughts astonishment; And when my pen would write her titles true, It ravisht is with fancies wonderment: Yet in my hart I then both speak and write The wonder that my wit cannot endite.
New yeare, forth looking out of Ianus gate, Doth seeme to promise hope of new delight, And, bidding th'old adieu, his passed date Bids all old thoughts to die in dumpish* spright; And calling forth out of sad Winters night Fresh Love, that long hath slept in cheerlesse bower, Wils him awake, and soone about him dight His wanton wings and darts of deadly power. For lusty Spring now in his timely howre Is ready to come forth, him to receive; And warns the Earth with divers colord flowre To decke hir selfe, and her faire mantle weave. Then you, faire flowre! in whom fresh youth doth raine, Prepare your selfe new love to entertaine. [l Dumpish, mournful.]
Rudely thou wrongest my deare harts desire, In finding fault with her too portly pride: The thing which I doo most in her admire, Is of the world unworthy most envide. For in those lofty lookes is close implide Scorn of base things, and sdeigne of foul dishonor; Thretning rash eies which gaze on her so wide, That loosely they ne dare to looke upon her. Such pride is praise, such portlinesse is honor, That boldned innocence beares in hir eies, And her faire countenaunce, like a goodly banner, Spreds in defiaunce of all enemies. Was never in this world ought worthy tride*, Without some spark of such self-pleasing pride. [* Tride, found.]
Be nought dismayd that her unmoved mind Doth still persist in her rebellious pride: Such love, not lyke to lusts of baser kynd, The harder wonne, the firmer will abide. The durefull oake whose sap is not yet dride Is long ere it conceive the kindling fyre; But when it once doth burne, it doth divide Great heat, and makes his flames to heaven aspire. So hard it is to kindle new desire In gentle brest, that shall endure for ever: Deepe is the wound that dints the parts entire* With chaste affects, that naught but death can sever. Then thinke not long in taking litle paine To knit the knot that ever shall remaine. [* Entire, inward.]
Fayre eyes! the myrrour of my mazed hart, What wondrous vertue is contayn'd in you, The which both lyfe and death forth from you dart Into the obiect of your mighty view? For when ye mildly looke with lovely hew, Then is my soule with life and love inspired: But when ye lowre, or looke on me askew, Then do I die, as one with lightning fyred. But since that lyfe is more then death desyred, Looke ever lovely, as becomes you best; That your bright beams, of my weak eies admyred, May kindle living fire within my brest. Such life should be the honor of your light, Such death the sad ensample of your might.
More then most faire, full of the living fire Kindled above unto the Maker nere, No eies, but ioyes, in which al powers conspire, That to the world naught else be counted deare! Thrugh your bright beams doth not the blinded guest Shoot out his darts to base affections wound; But angels come, to lead fraile mindes to rest In chast desires, on heavenly beauty bound. You frame my thoughts, and fashion me within; You stop my toung, and teach my hart to speake; You calme the storme that passion did begin, Strong thrugh your cause, but by your vertue weak. Dark is the world where your light shined never; Well is he borne that may behold you ever.
Long-while I sought to what I might compare Those powrefull eies which lighten my dark spright; Yet find I nought on earth, to which I dare Resemble th'ymage of their goodly light. Not to the sun, for they doo shine by night; Nor to the moone, for they are changed never; Nor to the starres, for they have purer sight; Nor to the fire, for they consume not ever; Nor to the lightning, for they still persever; Nor to the diamond, for they are more tender; Nor unto cristall, for nought may them sever; Nor unto glasse, such basenesse mought offend her. Then to the Maker selfe they likest be, Whose light doth lighten all that here we see.
Unrighteous Lord of love, what law is this, That me thou makest thus tormented be, The whiles she lordeth in licentious blisse Of her freewill, scorning both thee and me? See! how the Tyrannesse doth ioy to see The hugh massacres which her eyes do make, And humbled harts brings captive unto thee, That thou of them mayst mightie vengeance take. But her proud hart doe thou a little shake, And that high look, with which she doth comptroll All this worlds pride, bow to a baser make*, And al her faults in thy black booke enroll: That I may laugh at her in equall sort As she doth laugh at me, and makes my pain her sport. [* Make, mate.]
Dayly when I do seeke and sew for peace, And hostages doe offer for ray truth, She, cruell warriour, doth her selfe addresse To battell, and the weary war renew'th; Ne wilbe moov'd, with reason or with rewth*, To graunt small respit to my restlesse toile; But greedily her fell intent poursewth, Of my poore life to make unpittied spoile. Yet my poore life, all sorrowes to assoyle, I would her yield, her wrath to pacify; But then she seeks, with torment and turmoyle, To force me live, and will not let me dy. All paine hath end, and every war hafh peace; But mine, no price nor prayer may surcease. [* Rewth, ruth, pity.]
One day I sought with her hart-thrilling eies To make a truce, and termes to entertaine; All fearlesse then of so false enimies, Which sought me to entrap in treasons traine. So, as I then disarmed did remaine, A wicked ambush, which lay hidden long In the close covert of her guilful eyen, Thence breaking forth, did thick about me throng. Too feeble I t'abide the brunt so strong, Was forst to yield my selfe into their hands; Who, me captiving streight with rigorous wrong, Have ever since kept me in cruell bands. So, Ladie, now to you I doo complaine Against your eies, that iustice I may gaine.
In that proud port which her so goodly graceth, Whiles her faire face she reares up to the skie, And to the ground her eie-lids low embaseth, Most goodly temperature ye may descry; Myld humblesse mixt with awful! maiestie. For, looking on the earth whence she was borne, Her minde remembreth her mortalitie, Whatso is fayrest shall to earth returne. But that same lofty countenance seemes to scorne Base thing, and thinke how she to heaven may clime; Treading downe earth as lothsome and forlorne, That hinders heavenly thoughts with drossy slime. Yet lowly still vouchsafe to looke on me; Such lowlinesse shall make you lofty be.
Retourne agayne, my forces late dismayd, Unto the siege by you abandon'd quite. Great shame it is to leave, like one afrayd, So fayre a peece* for one repulse so light. 'Gaynst such strong castles needeth greater might Then those small forts which ye were wont belay**: Such haughty mynds, enur'd to hardy fight, Disdayne to yield unto the first assay. Bring therefore all the forces that ye may, And lay incessant battery to her heart; Playnts, prayers, vowes, ruth, sorrow, and dismay; Those engins can the proudest love convert: And, if those fayle, fall down and dy before her; So dying live, and living do adore her. [l Peece, fortress.] [** Belay, beleaguer.]
Ye tradefull Merchants, that, with weary toyle, Do seeke most pretious things to make your gain, And both the Indias of their treasure spoile, What needeth you to seeke so farre in vaine? For loe, my Love doth in her selfe containe All this worlds riches that may farre be found: If saphyres, loe, her eies be saphyres plaine; If rubies, loe, hir lips be rubies sound; If pearles, hir teeth be pearles, both pure and round; If yvorie, her forhead yvory weene; If gold, her locks are finest gold on ground; If silver, her faire hands are silver sheene: But that which fairest is but few behold:— Her mind adornd with vertues manifold.
One day as I unwarily did gaze On those fayre eyes, my loves immortall light, The whiles my stonisht hart stood in amaze, Through sweet illusion of her lookes delight, I mote perceive how, in her glauncing sight, Legions of Loves with little wings did fly, Darting their deadly arrows, fyry bright, At every rash beholder passing by. One of those archers closely I did spy, Ayming his arrow at my very hart: When suddenly, with twincle of her eye, The damzell broke his misintended dart. Had she not so doon, sure I had bene slayne; Yet as it was, I hardly scap't with paine.
The glorious pourtraict of that angels face, Made to amaze weake mens confused skil, And this worlds worthlesse glory to embase, What pen, what pencil!, can expresse her fill? For though he colours could devize at will, And eke his learned hand at pleasure guide, Least, trembling, it his workmanship should spill*, Yet many wondrous things there are beside: The sweet eye-glaunces, that like arrowes glide, The charming smiles, that rob sence from the hart, The lovely pleasance, and the lofty pride, Cannot expressed be by any art. A greater craftesmans hand thereto doth neede, That can expresse the life of things indeed. [l Spill, spoil.]
The rolling wheele that runneth often round, The hardest steele, in tract of time doth teare: And drizling drops, that often doe redound*, The firmest flint doth in continuance weare: Yet cannot I, with many a drooping teare And long intreaty, soften her hard hart, That she will once vouchsafe my plaint to heare, Or looke with pitty on my payneful smart. But when I pleade, she bids me play my part; And when I weep, she sayes, teares are but water; And when I sigh, she sayes, I know the art; And when I waile, she turnes hir selfe to laughter. So do I weepe, and wayle, and pleade in vaine, Whiles she as steele and flint doth still remayne. [* Redound, overflow.]
The merry cuckow, messenger of Spring, His trompet shrill hath thrise already sounded. That warnes al lovers wayte upon their king, Who now is coming forth with girland crouned. With noyse whereof the quyre of byrds resounded Their anthemes sweet, devized of loves prayse, That all the woods theyr ecchoes back rebounded, As if they knew the meaning of their layes. But mongst them all which did Loves honor rayse, No word was heard of her that most it ought; But she his precept proudly disobayes, And doth his ydle message set at nought. Therefore, O Love, unlesse she turne to thee Ere cuckow end, let her a rebell be!
In vaine I seeke and sew to her for grace, And doe myne humbled hart before her poure, The whiles her foot she in my necke doth place, And tread my life downe in the lowly floure*. And yet the lyon, that is lord of power, And reigneth over every beast in field, In his most pride disdeigneth to devoure The silly lambe that to his might doth yield. But she, more cruell and more salvage wylde Than either lyon or the lyonesse, Shames not to be with guiltlesse bloud defylde, But taketh glory in her cruelnesse. Fayrer then fayrest! let none ever say That ye were blooded in a yeelded pray. [* Floure, floor, ground.]
Was it the worke of Nature or of Art, Which tempred so the feature of her face, That pride and meeknesse, mist by equall part, Doe both appeare t'adorne her beauties grace? For with mild pleasance, which doth pride displace, She to her love doth lookers eyes allure; And with stern countenance back again doth chace Their looser lookes that stir up lustes impure. With such strange termes* her eyes she doth inure, That with one looke she doth my life dismay, And with another doth it streight recure: Her smile me drawes; her frowne me drives away. Thus doth she traine and teach me with her lookes; Such art of eyes I never read in bookes! [* Termes, extremes (?).]
This holy season*, fit to fast and pray, Men to devotion ought to be inclynd: Therefore, I lykewise, on so holy day, For my sweet saynt some service fit will find. Her temple fayre is built within my mind, In which her glorious ymage placed is; On which my thoughts doo day and night attend, Lyke sacred priests that never thinke amisse. There I to her, as th'author of my blisse, Will builde an altar to appease her yre; And on the same my hart will sacrifise, Burning in flames of pure and chaste desyre: The which vouchsafe, O Goddesse, to accept, Amongst thy deerest relicks to be kept. [* I.e. Easter.]
Penelope, for her Ulisses sake, Deviz'd a web her wooers to deceave; In which the worke that she all day did make, The same at night she did againe unreave. Such subtile craft my damzell doth conceave, Th'importune suit of my desire to shonne: For all that I in many dayes do weave, In one short houre I find by her undonne. So when I thinke to end that I begonne, I must begin and never bring to end: For with one looke she spils that long I sponne, And with one word my whole years work doth rend. Such labour like the spyders web I fynd, Whose fruitlesse worke is broken with least wynd.
When I behold that beauties wonderment, And rare perfection of each goodly part, Of Natures skill the onely complement, I honor and admire the Makers art. But when I feele the bitter balefull smart Which her fayre eyes unwares doe worke in mee, That death out of theyr shiny beames doe dart, I thinke that I a new Pandora see, Whom all the gods in councell did agree Into this sinfull world from heaven to send, That she to wicked men a scourge should bee, For all their faults with which they did offend. But since ye are my scourge, I will intreat That for my faults ye will me gently beat.
How long shall this lyke-dying lyfe endure, And know no end of her owne mysery, But wast and weare away in termes unsure, 'Twixt feare and hope depending doubtfully! Yet better were attonce to let me die, And shew the last ensample of your pride, Then to torment me thus with cruelty, To prove your powre, which I too wel have tride. But yet if in your hardned brest ye bide A close intent at last to shew me grace, Then all the woes and wrecks which I abide, As meanes of blisse I gladly wil embrace; And wish that more and greater they might be, That greater meede at last may turne to mee.
Sweet is the rose, but growes upon a brere; Sweet is the iunipeer; but sharpe his bough; Sweet is the eglantine, but pricketh nere; Sweet is the firbloome, but his braunches rough*; Sweet is the cypresse, but his rynd is rough; Sweet is the nut, but bitter is his pill**; Sweet is the broome-flowre, but yet sowre enough; And sweet is moly, but his root is ill. So every sweet with soure is tempred still, That maketh it be coveted the more: For easie things, that may be got at will, Most sorts of men doe set but little store. Why then should I accompt of little paine, That endlesse pleasure shall unto me gaine! [* I.e. raw, crude.] [** Pill, peel.]
Faire Proud! now tell me, why should faire be proud, Sith all worlds glorie is but drosse uncleane, And in the shade of death it selfe shall shroud, However now thereof ye little weene! That goodly idoll, now so gay beseene*, Shall doffe her fleshes borrowd fayre attyre, And be forgot as it had never beene, That many now much worship and admire! Ne any then shall after it inquire, Ne any mention shall thereof remaine, But what this verse, that never shall expyre, Shall to you purchas with her thankles pain! Faire! be no lenger proud of that shall perish, But that which shall you make immortall cherish. [* Beseene, appearing.]
The laurel-leafe which you this day doe weare Gives me great hope of your relenting mynd: For since it is the badge which I doe beare*, Ye, bearing it, doe seeme to me inclind. The powre thereof, which ofte in me I find, Let it likewise your gentle brest inspire With sweet infusion, and put you in mind Of that proud mayd whom now those leaves attyre: Proud Daphne, scorning Phrebus lovely** fyre, On the Thessalian shore from him did flie; For which the gods, in theyr revengefull yre, Did her transforme into a laurell-tree. Then fly no more, fayre Love, from Phebus chace, But in your brest his leafe and love embrace. [* I. e. as poet-laureate.] [** Lovely, loving.]
See! how the stubborne damzell doth deprave My simple meaning with disdaynfull scorne, And by the bay which I unto her gave Accoumpts my self her captive quite forlorne. The bay, quoth she, is of the victours born, Yielded them by the vanquisht as theyr meeds, And they therewith doe poetes heads adorne, To sing the glory of their famous deeds. But sith she will the conquest challeng needs, Let her accept me as her faithfull thrall; That her great triumph, which my skill exceeds, I may in trump of fame blaze over all. Then would I decke her head with glorious bayes, And fill the world with her victorious prayse.
My Love is lyke to yse, and I to fyre: How comes it then that this her cold so great Is not dissolv'd through my so hot desyre, But harder growes the more I her intreat? Or how comes it that my exceeding heat Is not delayd* by her hart-frosen cold, But that I burne much more in boyling sweat, And feele my flames augmented manifold? What more miraculous thing may be told, That fire, which all things melts, should harden yse, And yse, which is congeald with sencelesse cold, Should kindle fyre by wonderful devyse? Such is the powre of love in gentle mind, That it can alter all the course of kynd. [* Delayd, tempered.]
Ah! why hath Nature to so hard a hart Given so goodly giftes of beauties grace, Whose pryde depraves each other better part, And all those pretious ornaments deface? Sith to all other beastes of bloody race A dreadfull countenance she given hath, That with theyr terrour all the rest may chace, And warne to shun the daunger of theyr wrath. But my proud one doth worke the greater scath*, Through sweet allurement of her lovely hew, That she the better may in bloody bath Of such poore thralls her cruell hands embrew. But did she know how ill these two accord, Such cruelty she would have soone abhord. [* Scath, injury.]
The paynefull smith with force of fervent heat The hardest yron soone doth mollify, That with his heavy sledge he can it beat, And fashion to what he it list apply. Yet cannot all these flames in which I fry Her hart, more hard then yron, soft a whit, Ne all the playnts and prayers with which I Doe beat on th'andvile of her stubberne wit: But still, the more she fervent sees my fit, The more she frieseth in her wilfull pryde, And harder growes, the harder she is smit With all the playnts which to her be applyde. What then remaines but I to ashes burne, And she to stones at length all frosen turne!
Great wrong I doe, I can it not deny, To that most sacred empresse, my dear dred, Not finishing her Queene of Faery, That mote enlarge her living prayses, dead. But Lodwick*, this of grace to me aread: Do ye not thinck th'accomplishment of it Sufficient worke for one mans simple head, All were it, as the rest, but rudely writ? How then should I, without another wit, Thinck ever to endure so tedious toyle, Sith that this one is tost with troublous fit Of a proud Love, that doth my spirite spoyle? Cease, then, till she vouchsafe to grawnt me rest, Or lend you me another living brest. [* I.e. Lodowick Bryskett.]
Lyke as a ship, that through the ocean wyde By conduct of some star doth make her way, Whenas a storm hath dimd her trusty guyde, Out of her course doth wander far astray, So I, whose star, that wont with her bright ray Me to direct, with cloudes is over-cast, Doe wander now in darknesse and dismay, Through hidden perils round about me plast. Yet hope I well that, when this storme is past, My Helice*, the lodestar of ray lyfe, Will shine again, and looke on me at last, With lovely light to cleare my cloudy grief. Till then I wander carefull, comfortlesse, In secret sorrow and sad pensivenesse. [* I. e. Cynosure.]
My hungry eyes, through greedy covetize Still to behold the obiect of their paine, With no contentment can themselves suffize; But having, pine, and having not, complaine. For lacking it, they cannot lyfe sustayne; And having it, they gaze on it the more, In their amazement lyke Narcissus vaine, Whose eyes him starv'd: so plenty makes me poore. Yet are mine eyes so filled with the store Of that faire sight, that nothing else they brooke, But lothe the things which they did like before, And can no more endure on them to looke. All this worlds glory seemeth vayne to me, And all their showes but shadowes, saving she.
Tell me, when shall these wearie woes have end; Or shall their ruthlesse torment never cease, But al my days in pining languor spend, Without hope of asswagement or release? Is there no meanes for me to purchace peace, Or make agreement with her thrilling eyes; But that their cruelty doth still increace, And dayly more augment my miseryes? But when ye have shew'd all extremityes, Then think how little glory ye have gayned By slaying him, whose lyfe, though ye despyse, Mote have your life in honor long maintayned. But by his death, which some perhaps will mone, Ye shall condemned be of many a one.
What guyle is this, that those her golden tresses She doth attyre under a net of gold, And with sly skill so cunningly them dresses, That which is gold or haire may scarse be told? Is it that mens frayle eyes, which gaze too bold, She may entangle in that golden snare; And, being caught, may craftily enfold Their weaker harts, which are not wel aware? Take heed therefore, myne eyes, how ye doe stare Henceforth too rashly on that guilefull net, In which if ever ye entrapped are, Out of her bands ye by no meanes shall get. Fondnesse it were for any, being free, To covet fetters, though they golden bee!
Arion, when, through tempests cruel wracke, He forth was thrown into the greedy seas, Through the sweet musick which his harp did make Allur'd a dolphin him from death to ease. But my rude musick, which was wont to please Some dainty eares, cannot, with any skill, The dreadfull tempest of her wrath appease, Nor move the dolphin from her stubborn will. But in her pride she dooth persever still, All carelesse how my life for her decayes: Yet with one word she can it save or spill. To spill were pitty, but to save were prayse! Chuse rather to be praysd for doing good, Then to be blam'd for spilling guiltlesse blood.
Sweet smile! the daughter of the Queene of Love, Expressing all thy mothers powrefull art, With which she wonts to temper angry Iove, When all the gods he threats with thundring dart, Sweet is thy vertue, as thy selfe sweet art. For when on me thou shinedst late in sadnesse, A melting pleasance ran through every part, And me revived with hart-robbing gladnesse; Whylest rapt with ioy resembling heavenly madness, My soule was ravisht quite as in a traunce, And, feeling thence no more her sorrowes sadnesse, Fed on the fulnesse of that chearfull glaunce. More sweet than nectar, or ambrosiall meat, Seem'd every bit which thenceforth I did eat.
Mark when she smiles with amiable cheare, And tell me whereto can ye lyken it; When on each eyelid sweetly doe appeare An hundred Graces as in shade to sit. Lykest it seemeth, in my simple wit, Unto the fayre sunshine in somers day, That, when a dreadfull storme away is flit, Thrugh the broad world doth spred his goodly ray At sight whereof, each bird that sits on spray. And every beast that to his den was fled, Comes forth afresh out of their late dismay, And to the light lift up their drouping hed. So my storme-beaten hart likewise is cheared With that sunshine, when cloudy looks are cleared. [Footnote: XL. 4.—An hundred Graces. E.K., in his commentary on the Shepheards Calender, quotes a line closely resembling this from Spenser's Pageants:
"An hundred Graces on her eyelids sat."
The same fancy occurs in the Faerie Queene, and in the Hymn to Beauty. It is copied from a poem ascribed to Musaeus. C.]
Is it her nature, or is it her will, To be so cruell to an humbled foe? If nature, then she may it mend with skill; If will, then she at will may will forgoe. But if her nature and her will be so, That she will plague the man that loves her most, And take delight t'encrease a wretches woe, Then all her natures goodly guifts are lost; And that same glorious beauties ydle boast Is but a bayt such wretches to beguile, As, being long in her loves tempest tost, She meanes at last to make her pitious spoyle. O fayrest fayre! let never it be named, That so fayre beauty was so fowly shamed.
The love which me so cruelly tormenteth So pleasing is in my extreamest paine, That, all the more my sorrow it augmenteth, The more I love and doe embrace my bane. Ne do I wish (for wishing were but vaine) To be acquit fro my continual smart, But ioy her thrall for ever to remayne, And yield for pledge my poor and captyved hart, The which, that it from her may never start, Let her, yf please her, bynd with adamant chayne, And from all wandring loves, which mote pervart His safe assurance, strongly it restrayne. Onely let her abstaine from cruelty, And doe me not before my time to dy.
Shall I then silent be, or shall I speake? And if I speake, her wrath renew I shall; And if I silent be, my hart will breake, Or choked be with overflowing gall. What tyranny is this, both my hart to thrall, And eke my toung with proud restraint to tie, That neither I may speake nor thinke at all, But like a stupid stock in silence die! Yet I my hart with silence secretly Will teach to speak and my just cause to plead, And eke mine eies, with meek humility, Love-learned letters to her eyes to read; Which her deep wit, that true harts thought can spel, Wil soon conceive, and learne to construe well.
When those renoumed noble peres of Greece Through stubborn pride among themselves did iar, Forgetfull of the famous golden fleece, Then Orpheus with his harp theyr strife did bar. But this continuall, cruell, civill warre The which my selfe against my selfe doe make, Whilest my weak powres of passions warreid arre, No skill can stint, nor reason can aslake. But when in hand my tunelesse harp I take, Then doe I more augment my foes despight, And griefe renew, and passions doe awake To battaile, fresh against my selfe to fight. Mongst whome the more I seeke to settle peace, The more I fynd their malice to increace.
Leave, Lady! in your glasse of cristall clene Your goodly selfe for evermore to vew, And in my selfe, (my inward selfe I meane,) Most lively lyke behold your semblant trew. Within my hart, though hardly it can shew Thing so divine to vew of earthly eye, The fayre idea of your celestiall hew And every part remaines immortally: And were it not that through your cruelty With sorrow dimmed and deform'd it were, The goodly ymage of your visnomy*, Clearer than cristall, would therein appere. But if your selfe in me ye playne will see, Remove the cause by which your fayre beames darkned be. [* Visnomy, countenance.]
When my abodes prefixed time is spent, My cruell fayre streight bids me wend my way: But then from heaven most hideous stormes are sent, As willing me against her will to stay. Whom then shall I—or heaven, or her—obay? The heavens know best what is the best for me: But as she will, whose will my life doth sway, My lower heaven, so it perforce must be. But ye high hevens, that all this sorowe see, Sith all your tempests cannot hold me backe, Aswage your storms, or else both you and she Will both together me too sorely wrack. Enough it is for one man to sustaine The stormes which she alone on me doth raine.
Trust not the treason of those smyling lookes, Untill ye have their guylefull traynes well tryde; For they are lyke but unto golden hookes, That from the foolish fish theyr bayts do hyde: So she with flattring smyles weake harts doth guyde Unto her love, and tempte to theyr decay; Whome, being caught, she kills with cruell pryde, And feeds at pleasure on the wretched pray. Yet even whylst her bloody hands them slay, Her eyes looke lovely, and upon them smyle, That they take pleasure in their cruell play, And, dying, doe themselves of payne beguyle. O mighty charm! which makes men love theyr bane, And thinck they dy with pleasure, live with payne.
Innocent paper! whom too cruell hand Did make the matter to avenge her yre, And ere she could thy cause well understand, Did sacrifize unto the greedy fyre, Well worthy thou to have found better hyre Then so bad end, for hereticks ordayned; Yet heresy nor treason didst conspire, But plead thy maisters cause, unjustly payned: Whom she, all carelesse of his grief, constrayned To utter forth the anguish of his hart, And would not heare, when he to her complayned The piteous passion of his dying smart. Yet live for ever, though against her will, And speake her good, though she requite it ill.
Fayre Cruell! why are ye so fierce and cruell? Is it because your eyes have powre to kill? Then know that mercy is the Mighties iewell, And greater glory think to save then spill. But if it be your pleasure and proud will To shew the powre of your imperious eyes, Then not on him that never thought you ill, But bend your force against your enemyes. Let them feel the utmost of your crueltyes, And kill with looks, as cockatrices do: But him that at your footstoole humbled lies, With mercifull regard give mercy to. Such mercy shall you make admyr'd to be; So shall you live, by giving life to me.
Long languishing in double malady Of my harts wound and of my bodies griefe, There came to me a leach, that would apply Fit medcines for my bodies best reliefe. Vayne man, quoth I, that hast but little priefe* In deep discovery of the mynds disease; Is not the hart of all the body chiefe, And rules the members as it selfe doth please? Then with some cordialls seeke for to appease The inward languor of my wounded hart, And then my body shall have shortly ease. But such sweet cordialls passe physicians art: Then, my lyfes leach! doe you your skill reveale, And with one salve both hart and body heale. [* Priefe, proof, experience.]
Doe I not see that fayrest ymages Of hardest marble are of purpose made, For that they should endure through many ages, Ne let theyr famous moniments to fade? Why then doe I, untrainde in lovers trade, Her hardnes blame, which I should more commend? Sith never ought was excellent assayde Which was not hard t'atchive and bring to end; Ne ought so hard, but he that would attend Mote soften it and to his will allure. So do I hope her stubborne hart to bend, And that it then more stedfast will endure: Only my paines wil be the more to get her; But, having her, my ioy wil be the greater.
So oft as homeward I from her depart, I go lyke one that, having lost the field, Is prisoner led away with heavy hart, Despoyld of warlike armes and knowen shield. So doe I now my self a prisoner yield To sorrow and to solitary paine, From presence of my dearest deare exylde, Long-while alone in languor to remaine. There let no thought of ioy, or pleasure vaine, Dare to approch, that may my solace breed; Bet sudden* dumps**, and drery sad disdayne Of all worlds gladnesse, more my torment feed. So I her absens will my penaunce make, That of her presens I my meed may take. [* Sudden, Qu. sullen?] [** Dumps, lamentations.]
The panther, knowing that his spotted hyde Doth please all beasts, but that his looks them fray*, Within a bush his dreadful head doth hide, To let them gaze, whylst he on them may pray. Right so my cruell fayre with me doth play; For with the goodly semblance of her hew She doth allure me to mine owne decay, And then no mercy will unto me shew. Great shame it is, thing so divine in view, Made for to be the worlds most ornament, To make the bayte her gazers to embrew: Good shames to be to ill an instrument! But mercy doth with beautie best agree, As in theyr Maker ye them best may see. [* Fray, frighten.]
Of this worlds theatre in which we stay, My Love, like the spectator, ydly sits, Beholding me, that all the pageants play, Disguysing diversly my troubled wits. Sometimes I ioy when glad occasion fits, And mask in myrth lyke to a comedy: Soone after, when my ioy to sorrow flits, I waile, and make my woes a tragedy. Yet she, beholding me with constant eye, Delights not in my merth, nor rues my smart: But when I laugh, she mocks; and when I cry, She laughs, and hardens evermore her hart. What then can move her? If nor merth, nor mone, She is no woman, but a sencelesse stone.
So oft as I her beauty doe behold, And therewith doe her cruelty compare, I marvaile of what substance was the mould The which her made attonce so cruell faire. Not earth; for her high thoughts more heavenly are: Not water; for her love doth burne like fyre: Not ayre; for she is not so light or rare; Not fyre; for she doth friese with faint desire. Then needs another element inquire, Whereof she mote be made; that is, the skye. For to the heaven her haughty looks aspire, And eke her love is pure immortall hye. Then sith to heaven ye lykened are the best, Be lyke in mercy as in all the rest.
Fayre ye be sure, but cruell and unkind, As is a tygre, that with greedinesse Hunts after bloud; when he by chance doth find A feeble beast, doth felly him oppresse. Fayre be ye sure, but proud and pitilesse, As is a storme, that all things doth prostrate; Finding a tree alone all comfortlesse, Beats on it strongly, it to ruinate. Fayre be ye sure, but hard and obstinate, As is a rocke amidst the raging floods; Gaynst which a ship, of succour desolate, Doth suffer wreck both of her selfe and goods. That ship, that tree, and that same beast, am I, Whom ye doe wreck, doe ruine, and destroy.
Sweet warriour! when shall I have peace with you? High time it is this warre now ended were, Which I no lenger can endure to sue, Ne your incessant battry more to beare. So weake my powres, so sore my wounds, appear, That wonder is how I should live a iot, Seeing my hart through-launced every where With thousand arrowes which your eies have shot. Yet shoot ye sharpely still, and spare me not, But glory thinke to make these cruel stoures*. Ye cruell one! what glory can be got, In slaying him that would live gladly yours? Make peace therefore, and graunt me timely grace, That al my wounds will heale in little space. [* Stoures, agitations.]
By her that is most assured to her selfe.
Weake is th'assurance that weake flesh reposeth In her own powre, and scorneth others ayde; That soonest fals, when as she most supposeth Her selfe assur'd, and is of nought affrayd, All flesh is frayle, and all her strength unstayd, Like a vaine bubble blowen up with ayre: Devouring tyme and changeful chance have prayd* Her glorious pride, that none may it repayre. Ne none so rich or wise, so strong or fayre, But fayletb, trusting on his owne assurance: And he that standeth on the hyghest stayre Fals lowest; for on earth nought hath endurance. Why then doe ye, proud fayre, misdeeme so farre, That to your selfe ye most assured arre!
[Footnote: LVIII.—By her, &c. By is perhaps a misprint for to; or this title may belong to Sonnet LIX. H.] [* Prayd, preyed upon.]
Thrise happie she that is so well assured Unto her selfe, and setled so in hart, That neither will for better be allured, Ne feard with worse to any chaunce to start: But, like a steddy ship, doth strongly part The raging waves, and kcepes her course aright, Ne ought for tempest doth from it depart, Ne ought for fayrer weathers false delight. Such selfe-assurance need not feare the spight Of grudging foes, ne favour seek of friends: But in the stay of her owne stedfast might, Neither to one her selfe nor other bends. Most happy she that most assur'd doth rest; But he most happy who such one loves best.
They that in course of heavenly spheares are skild To every planet point his sundry yeare, In which her circles voyage is fulfild: As Mars in threescore yeares doth run his spheare. So, since the winged god his planet cleare Began in me to move, one yeare is spent; The which doth longer unto me appeare, Then al those fourty which my life out-went. Then, by that count which lovers books invent, The spheare of Cupid fourty yeares containes, Which I have wasted in long languishment, That seem'd the longer for my greater paines. But let my Loves fayre planet short her wayes This yeare ensuing, or else short my dayes.
[Footnote: LX. 4.—As Mars in three score yeares. I do not understand Spenser's astronomy. C.]
The glorious image of the Makers beautie, My soverayne saynt, the idoll of my thought, Dare not henceforth, above the bounds of dewtie, T'accuse of pride, or rashly blame for ought. For being, as she is, divinely wrought, And of the brood of angels heavenly born, And with the crew of blessed saynts upbrought, Each of which did her with theyr guifts adorne, The bud of ioy, the blossome of the morne, The beame of light, whom mortal eyes admyre, What reason is it then but she should scorne Base things, that to her love too bold aspire! Such heavenly formes ought rather worshipt be, Then dare be lov'd by men of meane degree.
The weary yeare his race now having run, The new begins his compast course anew: With shew of morning mylde he bath begun, Betokening peace and plenty to ensew. So let us, which this chaunge of weather vew, Chaunge eke our mynds, and former lives amend; The old yeares sinnes forepast let us eschew, And fly the faults with which we did offend. Then shall the new yeares ioy forth freshly send Into the glooming world his gladsome ray, And all these stormes, which now his beauty blend*, Shall turne to calmes, and tymely cleare away. So, likewise, Love! cheare you your heavy spright, And chaunge old yeares annoy to new delight.
[* Blend, blemish.]
After long stormes and tempests sad assay, Which hardly I endured heretofore, In dread of death, and daungerous dismay, With which my silly bark was tossed sore, I doe at length descry the happy shore, In which I hope ere long for to arryve: Fayre soyle it seemes from far, and fraught with store Of all that deare and daynty is alyve. Most happy he that can at last atchyve The ioyous safety of so sweet a rest; Whose least delight sufficeth to deprive Remembrance of all paines which him opprest. All paines are nothing in respect of this; All sorrowes short that gaine eternall blisse.
Comming to kisse her lyps, (such grace I found,) Me seemd I smelt a gardin of sweet flowres, That dainty odours from them threw around, For damzels fit to decke their lovers bowres. Her lips did smell lyke unto gillyflowers; Her ruddy cheekes lyke unto roses red; Her snowy browes lyke budded bellamoures; Her lovely eyes lyke pincks but newly spred; Her goodly bosome lyke a strawberry bed; Her neck lyke to a bounch of cullambynes; Her brest lyke lillyes, ere their leaves be shed; Her nipples lyke young blossomd jessemynes. Such fragrant flowres doe give most odorous smell; But her sweet odour did them all excell.
[Footnote: LXIV. 7.—Bellamoures. I have not discovered what flower is here meant. C.]
The doubt which ye misdeeme, fayre Love, is vaine, That fondly feare to lose your liberty, When, losing one, two liberties ye gayne, And make him bond that bondage earst did fly. Sweet be the bands the which true love doth tye, Without constraynt or dread of any ill: The gentle birde feeles no captivity Within her cage, but sings, and feeds her fill. There pride dare not approch, nor discord spill The league twixt them that loyal love hath bound, But simple Truth and mutual Good-will Seeks with sweet peace to salve each others wound: There Fayth doth fearless dwell in brasen towre, And spotlesse Pleasure builds her sacred bowre.
To all those happy blessings which ye have With plenteous hand by heaven upon you thrown, This one disparagement they to you gave, That ye your love lent to so meane a one. Ye, whose high worths surpassing paragon Could not on earth have found one fit for mate, Ne but in heaven matchable to none, Why did ye stoup unto so lowly state? But ye thereby much greater glory gate, Then had ye sorted with a princes pere: For now your light doth more it selfe dilate, And, in my darknesse, greater doth appeare. Yet, since your light hath once enlumind me, With my reflex yours shall encreased be.
Lyke as a huntsman, after weary chace, Seeing the game from him escapt away, Sits downe to rest him in some shady place, With panting hounds, beguiled of their pray, So, after long pursuit and vaine assay, When I all weary had the chace forsooke, The gentle deer returnd the selfe-same way, Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brooke. There she, beholding me with mylder looke, Sought not to fly, but fearlesse still did bide, Till I in hand her yet halfe trembling tooke, And with her own goodwill her fyrmely tyde. Strange thing, me seemd, to see a beast so wyld So goodly wonne, with her owne will beguyld.
Most glorious Lord of lyfe! that on this day Didst make thy triumph over death and sin, And, having harrowd* hell, didst bring away Captivity thence captive, us to win, This ioyous day, dear Lord, with ioy begin; And grant that we, for whom thou diddest dy, Being with thy deare blood clene washt from sin, May live for ever in felicity; And that thy love we weighing worthily, May likewise love thee for the same againe, And for thy sake, that all lyke deare didst buy. With love may one another entertayne! So let us love, deare Love, lyke as we ought: Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught. [* Harrowd, despoiled.]
The famous warriors of the anticke world Us'd trophees to erect in stately wize, In which they would the records have enrold Of theyr great deeds and valorous emprize. What trophee then shall I most fit devize, In which I may record the memory Of my loves conquest, peerlesse beauties prise, Adorn'd with honour, love, and chastity! Even this verse, vowd to eternity, Shall be thereof immortall moniment, And tell her praise to all posterity, That may admire such worlds rare wonderment; The happy purchase of my glorious spoile, Gotten at last with labour and long toyle.
Fresh Spring, the herald of loves mighty king, In whose cote-armour richly are displayd All sorts of flowres the which on earth do spring, In goodly colours gloriously arrayd, Goe to my Love, where she is carelesse layd, Yet in her winters bowre not well awake: Tell her the ioyous time wil not be staid, Unlesse she doe him by the forelock take; Bid her therefore her selfe soone ready make, To wayt on Love amongst his lovely crew, Where every one that misseth then her make* Shall be by him amearst with penance dew. Make haste therefore, sweet Love, while it is prime**; For none can call againe the passed time. [* Make, mate.] [** Prime, spring.]
I ioy to see how, in your drawen work, Your selfe unto the Bee ye doe compare, And me unto the Spyder, that doth lurke In close awayt, to catch her unaware. Right so your selfe were caught in cunning snare Of a deare foe, and thralled to his love; In whose streight bands ye now captived are So firmely, that ye never may remove. But as your worke is woven all about With woodbynd flowers and fragrant eglantine, So sweet your prison you in time shall prove, With many deare delights bedecked fyne: And all thensforth eternall peace shall see Betweene the Spyder and the gentle Bee.
Oft when my spirit doth spred her bolder winges, In mind to mount up to the purest sky, It down is weighd with thought of earthly things, And clogd with burden of mortality: Where, when that soverayne beauty it doth spy, Resembling heavens glory in her light, Drawn with sweet pleasures bayt it back doth fly, And unto heaven forgets her former flight. There my fraile fancy, fed with full delight, Doth bathe in blisse, and mantlcth most at ease; Ne thinks of other heaven, but how it might Her harts desire with most contentment please. Hart need not wish none other happinesse, But here on earth to have such hevens blisse.
Being my self captyved here in care, My hart, (whom none with servile bands can tye, But the fayre tresses of your golden hayre,) Breaking his prison, forth to you doth fly. Like as a byrd, that in ones hand doth spy Desired food, to it doth make his flight, Even so my hart, that wont on your fayre eye To feed his fill, flyes backe unto your sight. Doe you him take, and in your bosome bright Gently encage, that he may be your thrall: Perhaps he there may learne, with rare delight, To sing your name and prayses over all: That it hereafter may you not repent, Him lodging in your bosome to have lent.
Most happy letters! fram'd by skilfull trade, With which that happy name was first desynd The which three times thrise happy hath me made, With guifts of body, fortune, and of mind. The first ray being to me gave by kind, From mothers womb deriv'd by dew descent: The second is my sovereigne Queene most kind, That honour and large richesse to me lent: The third my Love, my lives last ornament, By whom my spirit out of dust was raysed, To speake her prayse and glory excellent, Of all alive most worthy to be praysed. Ye three Elizabeths! for ever live, That three such graces did unto me give.
One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away: Agayne I wrote it with a second hand; But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray. "Vayne man," sayd she, "that doest in vaine assay A mortall thing so to immortalize; For I my selve shall lyke to this decay, And eke my name bee wyped out lykewize." "Not so," quod I; "let baser things devize To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your vertues rare shall eternize, And in the hevens wryte your glorious name. Where, when as death shall all the world subdew, Our love shall live, and later life renew."
Fayre bosome! fraught with vertues richest tresure, The neast of love, the lodging of delight, The bowre of blisse, the paradice of pleasure, The sacred harbour of that hevenly spright, How was I ravisht with your lovely sight, And my frayle thoughts too rashly led astray, Whiles diving deepe through amorous insight, On the sweet spoyle of beautie they did pray, And twixt her paps, like early fruit in May, Whose harvest seemd to hasten now apace, They loosely did theyr wanton winges display, And there to rest themselves did boldly place. Sweet thoughts! I envy your so happy rest, Which oft I wisht, yet never was so blest.
Was it a dreame, or did I see it playne? A goodly table of pure yvory, All spred with juncats fit to entertayne The greatest prince with pompous roialty: Mongst which, there in a silver dish did ly Two golden apples of unvalewd* price, Far passing those which Hercules came by, Or those which Atalanta did entice; Exceeding sweet, yet voyd of sinfull vice; That many sought, yet none could ever taste; Sweet fruit of pleasure, brought from Paradice By Love himselfe, and in his garden plaste. Her brest that table was, so richly spredd; My thoughts the guests, which would thereon have fedd. [* Unvalewd, invaluable]
Lackyng my Love, I go from place to place, Lyke a young fawne that late hath lost the hynd, And seeke each where where last I sawe her face, Whose ymage yet I carry fresh in mynd. I seeke the fields with her late footing synd; I seeke her bowre with her late presence deckt; Yet nor in field nor bowre I can her fynd, Yet field and bowre are full of her aspect. But when myne eyes I therunto direct, They ydly back return to me agayne; And when I hope to see theyr trew obiect, I fynd my self but fed with fancies vayne. Cease then, myne eyes, to seeke her selfe to see, And let my thoughts behold her selfe in mee.
Men call you fayre, and you doe credit it, For that your selfe ye daily such doe see: But the trew fayre, that is the gentle wit And vertuous mind, is much more praysd of me. For all the rest, how ever fayre it be, Shall turne to nought and lose that glorious hew; But onely that is permanent, and free From frayle corruption that doth flesh ensew. That is true beautie: that doth argue you To be divine, and born of heavenly seed, Deriv'd from that fayre Spirit from whom all true And perfect beauty did at first proceed. He only fayre, and what he fayre hath made; All other fayre, lyke flowres, untymely fade.
After so long a race as I have run Through Faery land, which those six books compile, Give leave to rest me being half foredonne, And gather to my selfe new breath awhile. Then, as a steed refreshed after toyle, Out of my prison I will break anew, And stoutly will that second work assoyle*, With strong endevour and attention dew. Till then give leave to me in pleasant mew** To sport my Muse, and sing my Loves sweet praise, The contemplation of whose heavenly hew My spirit to an higher pitch will rayse. But let her prayses yet be low and meane, Fit for the handmayd of the Faery Queene. [* Assoyle, discharge.] [** Mew, prison, retreat.]
Fayre is my Love, when her fayre golden haires With the loose wynd ye waving chance to marke; Fayre, when the rose in her red cheekes appeares, Or in her eyes the fyre of love does sparke; Fayre, when her brest, lyke a rich laden barke, With pretious merchandize she forth doth lay; Fayre, when that cloud of pryde, which oft doth dark Her goodly light, with smiles she drives away. But fayrest she, when so she doth display The gate with pearles and rubyes richly dight, Throgh which her words so wise do make their way, To beare the message of her gentle spright. The rest be works of Natures wonderment; But this the worke of harts astonishment.
Ioy of my life! full oft for loving you I blesse my lot, that was so lucky placed: But then the more your owne mishap I rew, That are so much by so meane love embased. For had the equall hevens so much you graced In this as in the rest, ye mote invent* Some hevenly wit, whose verse could have enchased Your glorious name in golden moniment. But since ye deignd so goodly to relent To me your thrall, in whom is little worth, That little that I am shall all be spent In setting your immortal prayses forth: Whose lofty argument, uplifting me, Shall lift you up unto an high degree. [* Invent, light upon, find.]
Let not one sparke of filthy lustfull fyre Breake out, that may her sacred peace molest; Ne one light glance of sensuall desyre Attempt to work her gentle mindes unrest: But pure affections bred in spotlesse brest, And modest thoughts breathd from well-tempred spirits, Goe visit her in her chaste bowre of rest, Accompanyde with angelick delightes. There fill your selfe with those most ioyous sights, The which my selfe could never yet attayne: But speake no word to her of these sad plights, Which her too constant stiffnesse doth constrayn. Onely behold her rare perfection, And blesse your fortunes fayre election.
The world, that cannot deeme of worthy things, When I doe praise her, say I doe but flatter: So does the cuckow, when the mavis* sings, Begin his witlesse note apace to clatter. But they, that skill not of so heavenly matter, All that they know not, envy or admyre; Rather then envy, let them wonder at her, But not to deeme of her desert aspyre. Deepe in the closet of my parts entyre**, Her worth is written with a golden quill, That me with heavenly fury doth inspire, And my glad mouth with her sweet prayses fill: Which when as Fame in her shril trump shall thunder, Let the world chuse to envy or to wonder. [* Mavis, song-thrush.] [** Entyre, inward.]
Venemous tongue, tipt with vile adders sting, Of that self kynd with which the Furies fell, Their snaky heads doe combe, from which a spring Of poysoned words and spightfull speeches well, Let all the plagues and horrid paines of hell Upon thee fall for thine accursed hyre, That with false forged lyes, which thou didst tell. In my true Love did stirre up coles of yre: The sparkes whereof let kindle thine own fyre, And, catching hold on thine own wicked bed, Consume thee quite, that didst with guile conspire In my sweet peace such breaches to have bred! Shame be thy meed, and mischiefe thy reward, Due to thy selfe, that it for me prepard!
Since I did leave the presence of my Love, Many long weary dayes I have outworne, And many nights, that slowly seemd to move Theyr sad protract from evening untill morn. For, when as day the heaven doth adorne, I wish that night the noyous day would end: And when as night hath us of light forlorne, I wish that day would shortly reascend. Thus I the time with expectation spend, And faine my griefe with chaunges to beguile, That further seemes his terme still to extend, And maketh every minute seem a myle. So sorrowe still doth seem too long to last; But ioyous houres do fly away too fast.
Since I have lackt the comfort of that light The which was wont to lead my thoughts astray, I wander as in darknesse of the night, Affrayd of every dangers least dismay. Ne ought I see, though in the clearest day, When others gaze upon theyr shadowes vayne, But th'only image of that heavenly ray Whereof some glance doth in mine eie remayne. Of which beholding the idaea playne, Through contemplation of my purest part, With light thereof I doe my self sustayne, And thereon feed my love-affamisht hart. But with such brightnesse whylest I fill my mind, I starve my body, and mine eyes doe blynd.
Lyke as the culver* on the bared bough Sits mourning for the absence of her mate, And in her songs sends many a wishful vow For his returns, that seemes to linger late, So I alone, how left disconsolate, Mourne to my selfe the absence of my Love; And wandring here and there all desolate, Seek with my playnts to match that mournful dove Ne ioy of ought that under heaven doth hove**, Can comfort me, but her owne ioyous sight, Whose sweet aspect both God and man can move, In her unspotted pleasauns to delight. Dark is my day, whyles her fayre light I mis, And dead my life that wants such lively blis. [* Culver, dove.] [** Hove, hover, exist.]
* * * * *
Ye learned Sisters, which have oftentimes Beene to me ayding, others to adorne Whom ye thought worthy of your gracefull rymes, That even the greatest did not greatly scorne To heare theyr names sung in your simple layes, 5 But ioyed in theyr praise, And when ye list your own mishaps to mourne, Which death, or love, or fortunes wreck did rayse, Your string could soone to sadder tenor turne, And teach the woods and waters to lament 10 Your dolefull dreriment, Now lay those sorrowfull complaints aside, And having all your heads with girlands crownd, Helpe me mine owne Loves prayses to resound: Ne let the same of any be envide: 15 So Orpheus did for his owne bride; So I unto my selfe alone will sing; The woods shall to me answer, and my eccho ring.
Early, before the worlds light-giving lampe His golden beame upon the hils doth spred, 20 Having disperst the nights unchearfull dampe, Doe ye awake, and, with fresh lustyhed, Go to the bowre of my beloved Love, My truest turtle dove. Bid her awake; for Hymen is awake, 25 And long since ready forth his maske to move, With his bright tead* that flames with many a flake, And many a bachelor to waite on him, In theyr fresh garments trim. Bid her awake therefore, and soone her dight**, 30 For loe! the wished day is come at last, That shall for all the paynes and sorrowes past Pay to her usury of long delight: And whylest she doth her dight, Doe ye to her of ioy and solace sing, 35 That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring. [* Tead, torch.] [** Dight, deck.]
Bring with you all the nymphes that you can heare, Both of the rivers and the forrests greene, And of the sea that neighbours to her neare, All with gay girlands goodly wel beseene*. 40 And let them also with them bring in hand Another gay girland, For my fayre Love, of lillyes and of roses, Bound truelove wize with a blew silke riband. And let them make great store of bridale poses, 45 And let them eke bring store of other flowers, To deck the bridale bowers: And let the ground whereas her foot shall tread, For feare the stones her tender foot should wrong, Be strewd with fragrant flowers all along, 50 And diapred** lyke the discolored mead. Which done, doe at her chamber dore awayt, For she will waken strayt; The whiles do ye this song unto her sing, The woods shall to you answer, and your eccho ring;. [* Beseene, adorned.] [** Diapred, variegated.]
Ye Nymphes of Mulla, which with carefull heed 56 The silver scaly trouts do tend full well, And greedy pikes which use therein to feed, (Those trouts and pikes all others doe excell,) And ye likewise which keepe the rushy lake, 60 Where none doo fishes take, Bynd up the locks the which hang scatterd light, And in his waters, which your mirror make, Behold your faces as the christall bright, That when you come whereas my Love doth lie, 65 No blemish she may spie. And eke, ye lightfoot mayds which keepe the dere That on the hoary mountayne use to towre, And the wylde wolves, which seeke them to devoure, With your steele darts doe chace from coming neer, Be also present heere, 71 To helpe to decke her, and to help to sing, That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.
Wake now, my Love, awake! for it is time: The rosy Morne long since left Tithons bed, 75 All ready to her silver coche to clyme, And Phoebus gins to shew his glorious hed. Hark! how the cheerefull birds do chaunt theyr laies, And carroll of Loves praise: The merry larke hir mattins sings aloft; 80 The thrush replyes; the mavis* descant** playes; The ouzell@ shrills; the ruddock$ warbles soft; So goodly all agree, with sweet consent, To this dayes meriment. Ah! my deere Love, why doe ye sleepe thus long, 85 When meeter were that ye should now awake, T'awayt the comming of your ioyous make,% And hearken to the birds love-learned song, The deawy leaves among! For they of ioy and pleasance to you sing, 90 That all the woods them answer, and theyr eccho ring. [* Mavis, song-thrush.] [** Descant, variation.] [@ Ouzell, blackbird.] [$ Ruddock, redbreast.] [% Make, mate.]
My love is now awake out of her dreame, And her fayre eyes, like stars that dimmed were With darksome cloud, now shew theyr goodly beams More bright then Hesperus his head doth rere. 95 Come now, ye damzels, daughters of delight, Helpe quickly her to dight. But first come, ye fayre Houres, which were begot, In Ioves sweet paradice, of Day and Night, Which doe the seasons of the year allot, 100 And all that ever in this world is fayre Do make and still repayre: And ye three handmayds of the Cyprian Queene, The which doe still adorn her beauties pride, Helpe to adorne my beautifullest bride: 105 And, as ye her array, still throw betweene Some graces to be scene; And, as ye use to Venus, to her sing, The whiles the woods shal answer, and your eccho ring.
Now is my Love all ready forth to come: 110 Let all the virgins therefore well awayt, And ye fresh boyes, that tend upon her groome, Prepare your selves, for he is comming strayt. Set all your things in seemely good aray, Fit for so ioyfull day, 115 The ioyfulst day that ever sunne did see. Fair Sun! shew forth thy favourable ray, And let thy lifull* heat not fervent be, For feare of burning her sunshyny face, Her beauty to disgrace. 120 O fayrest Phoebus! Father of the Muse! If ever I did honour thee aright, Or sing the thing that mote thy mind delight, Doe not thy servants simple boone refuse, But let this day, let this one day, be mine; 125 Let all the rest be thine. Then I thy soverayne prayses loud wil sing, That all the woods shal answer, and theyr eccho ring. [* Lifull, life-full.]
Harke! how the minstrils gin to shrill aloud Their merry musick that resounds from far, 130 The pipe, the tabor, and the trembling croud*, That well agree withouten breach or iar. But most of all the damzels doe delite, When they their tymbrels smyte, And thereunto doe daunce and carrol sweet, 135 That all the sences they doe ravish quite; The whyles the boyes run up and downe the street, Crying aloud with strong confused noyce, As if it were one voyce, "Hymen, Ioe Hymen, Hymen," they do shout; 140 That even to the heavens theyr shouting shrill Doth reach, and all the firmament doth fill; To which the people, standing all about, As in approvance, doe thereto applaud, And loud advaunce her laud; 145 And evermore they "Hymen, Hymen," sing, That all the woods them answer, and theyr eccho ring. [* Croud, violin]
Loe! where she comes along with portly pace, Lyke Phoebe, from her chamber of the East, Arysing forth to run her mighty race, 150 Clad all in white, that seems a virgin best. So well it her beseems, that ye would weene Some angell she had beene. Her long loose yellow locks lyke golden wyre, Sprinckled with perle, and perling flowres atweene, Doe lyke a golden mantle her attyre, 156 And, being crowned with a girland greene, Seem lyke some mayden queene. Her modest eyes, abashed to behold So many gazers as on her do stare, 160 Upon the lowly ground affixed are, Ne dare lift up her countenance too bold, But blush to heare her prayses sung so loud,— So farre from being proud. Nathlesse doe ye still loud her prayses sing, 165 That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.
Tell me, ye merchants daughters, did ye see So fayre a creature in your towne before; So sweet, so lovely, and so mild as she, Adornd with beautyes grace and vertues store? 170 Her goodly eyes lyke saphyres shining bright, Her forehead yvory white, Her cheekes lyke apples which the sun hath rudded, Her lips lyke cherries, charming men to byte, Her brest like to a bowl of creame uncrudded*, 175 Her paps lyke lyllies budded, Her snowie necke lyke to a marble towre, And all her body like a pallace fayre, Ascending up, with many a stately stayre, To honors seat and chastities sweet bowre. 180 Why stand ye still, ye virgins, in amaze, Upon her so to gaze, Whiles ye forget your former lay to sing, To which the woods did answer, and your eccho ring? [* Uncrudded, uncurdled.] [Ver. 168.—In your towne. The marriage seems to have taken place in Cork, and we might infer from this passage that the heroine of the song was a merchant's daughter. C.]
But if ye saw that which no eyes can see, 185 The inward beauty of her lively spright, Garnisht with heavenly guifts of high degree, Much more then would ye wonder at that sight, And stand astonisht lyke to those which red* Medusaes mazeful bed. 190 There dwells sweet Love, and constant Chastity, Unspotted Fayth, and comely Womanhood, Regard of Honour, and mild Modesty; There Vertue raynes as quecne in royal throne, And giveth lawes alone, 195 The which the base affections doe obay, And yeeld theyr services unto her will; Be thought of tilings uncomely ever may Thereto approch to tempt her mind to ill. Had ye once seene these her celestial threasures, 200 And unrevealed pleasures, Then would ye wonder, and her prayses sing, That all the woods should answer, and your eccho ring. [* Red, saw.]
Open the temple gates unto my Love, Open them wide that she may enter in, 205 And all the postes adorne as doth behove, And all the pillours deck with girlands trim, For to receyve this saynt with honour dew, That commeth in to you. With trembling steps and humble reverence, 210 She commeth in before th'Almighties view: Of her, ye virgins, learne obedience, When so ye come into those holy places, To humble your proud faces. Bring her up to th'high altar, that she may 215 The sacred ceremonies there partake, The which do endlesse matrimony make; And let the roring organs loudly play The praises of the Loi'd in lively notes; The whiles, with hollow throates, 220 The choristers the ioyous antheme sing, That all the woods may answer, and their eccho ring.
Behold, whiles she before the altar stands, Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes And blesseth her with his two happy hands, 225 How the red roses flush up in her cheekes, And the pure snow with goodly vermill stayne, Like crimsin dyde in grayne: That even the angels, which continually About the sacred altar doe remaine, 230 Forget their service and about her fly, Ofte peeping in her face, that seems more fayre The more they on it stare. But her sad* eyes, still fastened on the ground, Are governed with goodly modesty, 235 That suffers not one look to glaunce awry, Which may let in a little thought unsownd. Why blush ye, Love, to give to me your hand, The pledge of all our band? Sing, ye sweet angels, Alleluya sing, 240 That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring. [* Sad, serious]
Now al is done; bring home the bride againe; Bring home the triumph of our victory; Bring home with you the glory of her game, With ioyance bring her and with iollity. 245 Never had man more ioyfull day than this, Whom heaven would heape with blis. Make feast therefore now all this live-long day; This day for ever to me holy is. Poure out the wine without restraint or stay, Poure not by cups, but by the belly full, Poure out to all that wull*, And sprinkle all the posts and wals with wine, That they may sweat, and drunken be withall. Crowne ye god Bacchus with a coronall, And Hymen also crowne with wreaths of vine; And let the Graces daunce unto the rest, For they can doo it best: The whiles the maydens doe theyr carroll sing, To which the woods shall answer, and theyr eccho ring. [* Wull, will.]
Ring ye the bels, ye yong men of the towne, And leave your wonted labors for this day: This day is holy; doe ye write it downe, That ye for ever it remember may. This day the sunne is in his chiefest hight, With Barnaby the bright*, From whence declining daily by degrees, He somewhat loseth of his heat and light, When once the Crab behind his back he sees. But for this time it ill ordained was, To choose the longest day in all the yeare, And shortest night, when longest fitter weare: Yet never day so long, but late would passe. Ring ye the bels to make it weare away, And bonefiers make all day; 275 And daunce about them, and about them sing, That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring. [* Ver. 266.—Barnaby the bright. The difference between the old and new style at the time this poem was written was ten days. The summer solstice therefore fell on St. Barnabas's day, the 11th of June. C.]
Ah! when will this long weary day have end, And lende me leave to come unto my Love? How slowly do the houres theyr numbers spend? 280 How slowly does sad Time his feathers move? Hast thee, O fayrest planet, to thy home, Within the Westerne fome: Thy tyred steedes long since have need of rest. Long though it be, at last I see it gloome, 285 And the bright evening-star with golden creast Appeare out of the East. Fayre childe of beauty! glorious lampe of love! That all the host of heaven in rankes doost lead, And guidest lovers through the nights sad dread, 290 How chearefully thou lookest from above, And seemst to laugh atweene thy twinkling light, As ioying in the sight Of these glad many, which for ioy do sing, 294 That all the woods them answer, and their eccho ring!
Now ceasse, ye damsels, your delights fore-past; Enough it is that all the day was youres: Now day is doen, and night is nighing fast; Now bring the bryde into the brydall bowres. The night is come; now soon her disaray, 300 And in her bed her lay; Lay her in lillies and in violets, And silken curteins over her display, And odourd sheets, and Arras coverlets. Behold how goodly my faire Love does ly, 305 In proud humility! Like unto Maia, when as Iove her took In Tempe, lying on the flowry gras, Twixt sleepe and wake, after she weary was With bathing in the Acidalian brooke. 310 Now it is night, ye damsels may be gone, And leave my Love alone, And leave likewise your former lay to sing: The woods no more shall answer, nor your eccho ring.
Now welcome, Night! thou night so long expected, That long daies labour doest at last defray, 316 And all my cares, which cruell Love collected, Hast sumd in one, and cancelled for aye. Spread thy broad wing over my Love and me, That no man may us see; 320 And in thy sable mantle us enwrap, From feare of perrill and foule horror free. Let no false treason seeke us to entrap, Nor any dread disquiet once annoy The safety of our ioy; 325 But let the night be calme and quietsome, Without tempestuous storms or sad afray; Lyke as when Iove with fayre Alemena lay, When he begot the great Tirynthian groome; Or lyke as when he with thy selfe did lie, 330 And begot Maiesty: And let the mayds and yongmen cease to sing; Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.
Let no lamenting cryes, nor dolefull teares, Be heard all night within, nor yet without: 335 Ne let false whispers, breeding hidden feares, Breake gentle sleepe with misconceived dout. Let no deluding dreames, nor dreadful sights, Make sudden sad affrights: No let house-fyres, nor lightnings helpless harmes, 340 Ne let the Pouke, nor other evill sprights, Ne let mischievous witches with theyr charmes, Ne let hob-goblins, names whose sence we see not, Fray us with things that be not: Let not the shriech-owle, nor the storke, be heard, 345 Nor the night-raven, that still deadly yels, Nor damned ghosts, cald up with mighty spels, Nor griesly vultures, make us once affeard: Ne let th'unpleasant quyre of frogs still croking Make us to wish theyr choking. 350 Let none of these theyr drery accents sing; Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring. [Ver. 341.—The Pouke (Puck is a generic term, signifying fiend, or mischievous imp) is Robin Goodfellow. C.]
But let stil Silence trew night-watches keepe, That sacred Peace may in assurance rayne, And tymely Sleep, when it is tyme to sleepe, 355 May poure his limbs forth on your pleasant playne. The whiles an hundred little winged Loves, Like divers-fethered doves, Shall fly and flutter round about the bed, And in the secret darke, that none reproves, 360 Their prety stealthes shall worke, and snares shall spread To filch away sweet snatches of delight, Conceald through covert night. Ye sonnes of Venus, play your sports at will! For greedy Pleasure, carelesse of your toyes, 365 Thinks more upon her paradise of ioyes, Then what ye do, albe it good or ill. All night, therefore, attend your merry play, For it will soone be day: Now none doth hinder you, that say or sing; 370 Ne will the woods now answer, nor your eccho ring.