1608 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joshua Sylvester

Joseph Hall, "To Mr. Josuah Sylvester, of his Bartas Metaphrased" Joshua Sylvester, Bartas, his Devine Weekes and Workes (1608) sig. B5v.



I dare confesse; of Muses, more than nine,
Nor list, nor can I envy none, but thine.
Shee, drencht alone in Sion's sacred Spring,
Her Makers praise hath sweetly chose to sing,
And reacheth neerest th' Angels notes above;
Nor lists to sing or Tales, or Warrs, or Love.
One while I finde hir, in hir nimble flight,
Cutting the brazen spheares of heav'n bright:
Thence, straight she glides, before I be aware,
Through the three regions of the liquid ayre:
Thence, rushing down, through Nature's Closet-dore,
She ransacks all her Grandame's secret store;
And, diving to the darknes of the Deep,
Sees there what wealth the waves in prison keep:
And, what shee sees above, belowe, betweene,
Shee showes and sings to others eares and eyne.
'Tis true; thy Muse another's steps doth presse:
The more's her paine; nor is her praise the lesse.
Freedom gives scope, unto the roving thought;
Which, by restraint, is curb'd. Who wonders ought
That feet, unfettered, walken farre, or fast?
Which, pent with chaines, mote want their wonted haste.
Thou follow'st Bartasses diviner streine;
And singst his numbers in his native veine.
BARTAS was some French Angell, girt with Bayes:
And thou a BARTAS art, in English Layes.
Whether is more? Me seemes (the sooth to say'n)
One BARTAS speaks in Tongues, in Nations, twayn.