1687 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Browne of Tavistock

William Winstanley, Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687) 140-41.



Mr. William Brown was a Gentleman (as I take it) of the Middle Temple, who besides his other ingenious Employments, had his excursions to those sweet delights of Poetry, writing a most ingenious Piece, entituled, Britain's Pastorals, it being for a Subject of an amorous and rural Nature, worthily deserving commendations, as any one will confess who shall peruse it with an impartial eye. Take a view of his abilities, out of his Second Book, first Song of his Pastorals, speaking of a deform'd Woman.

And is not she the Queen of Drabs,
Whose Head is perriwigg'd with scabs?
Whose Hair hangs down in curious flakes,
All curl'd and crisp'd, like crawling Snakes;
The Breath of whose perfumed Locks
Might choke the Devil with a Pox;
Whose dainty twinings did entice
The whole monopoly of Lice;
Her Forehead next is to be found,
Resembling much the new-plough'd ground,
Furrow'd like stairs, whose windings led
Unto the chimney of her head;
The next thing that my Muse descries,
Is the two Mill-pits of her Eyes,
Mill-pits whose depth no plum can sound,
For there the God of Love was drown'd,
On either side there hangs a Souse,
And Ear I mean keeps open house,
An Ear which always there did dwell,
And so the Head kept sentinel,
Which there was placed to descry,
If any danger there was nigh,
But surely danger there was bred
Which made them so keep off the head;
Something for certain caus'd their fears,
Which made them so to hang their ears;
But hang her ears; Thalia seeks
To suck the bottle of her cheeks, &c.