1596
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Orchestra or a Poeme of Dauncing.

Orchestra or a Poeme of Dauncing. Judicially prooving the true observation of Time and Measure, in the authenticall and laudable use of Dauncing.

Sir John Davies


131 seven-line stanzas published anonymously by Sir John Davies; "Colin" appears in a catalogue of ancient and modern poets at the end of the poem. The passage was omitted in the revised version of 1622.

William Thompson: "It is a great pity, and to be lamented by the poetical world, that so very ingenious a poem should be left unfinished, or what is more likely, that the imperfect part of it should be lost; for in all probability, he completed it in his youth, in Queen Elizabeth's reign, as appears from the conclusion" Poetical Works of Sir John Davies (1773) Sig. L2.

Robert Anderson: "The Orchestra contains a very ingenious explanation of the antiquity and excellence of Dancing, in a dialogue between Penelope and one of her wooers. It is much to be regretted, that it should be left unfinished; or what is more likely, that the imperfect part should be lost; for in all probability he completed it, being written in his youth, as appears from the conclusion. Harrington has an epigram in commendation of it, at the end of his translation of Ariosto" Works of the British Poets (1795) 3:678.

Robert Southey: "Sir John Davis, who holds an honourable and permanent station among English statesmen and poets, deduces Dancing, in a youthful poem of extraordinary merit, from the Creation.... This poem of Sir John Davies could not have been unknown to Burton, for Burton read everything; but it must have escaped his memory; otherwise he who delighted in quotations and quoted so well, would have introduced some of his stanzas, when he himself was treating of the same subject, and illustrated it with some of the same similitudes" The Doctor (1847) 500.

Samuel Austin Allibone: "Sir John Davies, 1570-1626, a native of Wiltshire, was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, and afterwards studied law. In 1603 he was sent as solicitor-general to Ireland, soon rose to be attorney-general, and subsequently was knighted, and after filling several offices with great credit, he was in 1626 appointed Lord Chief Justice of England, but 'died suddenly before the ceremony of settlement or installation could be performed'" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:481.

George Saintsbury: "His poetical work consists chiefly of three poems or collections of poems. These are Nosce Teipsum, or the immortality of the soul, in quatrains, and as light as the unsuitableness of the subject to verse will allow; a singularly clever collection of acrostics called Astraea, all making the name of Elizabetha Regina; and the Orchestra, or poem on dancing, which has made his fame. Founded as it is on a mere conceit — the reduction of all natural phenomena to a grave and regulated motion which the author calls dancing — it is one of the very best poems of the school of Spenser, and in harmony of metre (the seven-lined stanza) and grace of illustration is sometimes not too far behind Spenser himself" History of Elizabethan Literature (1887; 1909) 294.

W. J. Courthope: "The first to introduce the classic style into the Court of Elizabeth was John Davies, author of Nosce Teipsum, who, though he was the earliest, remains in many respects the finest didactic poet in the English language. The third son of John Davies, a gentleman of Wiltshire, he was born at Tisbury, in that county, in 1569, and was educated first at Winchester, afterwards either at New College or (according to other authorities) Queen's College, Oxford. In 1587 he was admitted as a member of the Society of the Middle Temple, and in 1590 took his B.A. degree at Oxford. His first published poem, Orchestra, was licensed for printing as early as 1593, but no edition is found earlier than 1596. It was dedicated in a laudatory sonnet to his friend, Richard Martin, a member of the same Inn; but in 1597 the latter must have given Davies deep offence, for the poet struck him publicly in the Middle Temple Hall, while seated at dinner. In consequence of this breach of discipline and good manners, Davies was disbarred, and returned for a while to Oxford, where he occupied himself with the composition of his famous poem" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 3:55.

Clare Howard: "The influence of Spenser appears in the concern with astronomy, theology, sociology, and general cosmology.... The seven-line stanza is the one which Spenser used in Fowre Hymnes, those expositions of love and beauty which follow closely the doctrines of the Neoplatonist Girolamo Benivieni. For an example of the close similarity of philosophy between Spenser and Davies compare 'An Hymne in Honour of Love,' stanzas 11-14, with Orchestra, stanzas 28-30" Poems (1941) 16, 18.

Robert Krueger: "Orchestra in particular reminds us of Spenser. It uses a rather long ornate stanza for narrative, one that Spenser uses for Ruines of Time and The Fowre Hymnes (although Orchestra antedates the publication of Spenser's Hymnes, it contains verbal similarities). It resembles The Faerie Queene in its pictorial qualities, its Ovidian mythmaking such as the birth of dancing, and the appearance of personifications" Poems (1975) liii.

Several parallel passages are noted in Wells, Spenser Allusions (1972) 47-48.



Where lives the man that never yet did heare
Of chast Penelope, Ulisses Queene?
Who kept her faith unspotted twenty yeere
Till he returnd that farre away had beene,
And many men, and many townes had seene:
Ten yeere at siege of Troy he lingring lay,
And ten yeare in the Midland-sea did stray.

Homer, to whom the Muses did carouse
A great deepe cup with heavenly nectar filld,
The greatest, deepest cup in Jove's great house,
(For Jove himselfe had so expresly willd)
He dranke of all, ne let one drop be spilld;
Since when, his braine that had before been dry,
Became the wellspring of all Poetry.

Homer doth tell in his aboundant verse,
The long laborious travailes of the man,
And of his Lady too he doth reherse,
How shee illudes with all the Art she can,
Th' ungratefull love which other Lords began;
For of her Lord, false Fame long since had sworne,
That Neptunes Monsters had his carcasse torne.

All this he tells, but one thing he forgot,
One thing most worthy his eternall song,
But he was old, and blind, and saw it not,
Or else he thought he should Ulisses wrong,
To mingle it his Tragick acts among.
Yet was there not in all the world of things,
A sweeter burden for his Muses wings.

The Courtly love Antinous did make,
Antinous that fresh and jolly Knight
Which of the gallants that did undertake
To win the Widdow, had most wealth and might,
Wit to perswade, and beautie to delight.
The Courtly love he made unto the Queene,
Homer forgot, as if it had not beene,

Sing then Terpischore, my light Muse sing
His gentle Art, and cunning curtesie:
You Lady can remember every thing
For you are daughter of Queene Memorie,
But sing a plaine and easie Melodie:
For the soft meane that warbleth but the ground,
To my rude eare doth yeeld the sweetest sound.

One onely night's discourse I can report,
When the great Torch-bearer of Heaven was gone
Downe in a maske unto the Oceans Court,
To revell it with Tethis all alone;
Antinous disguised and unknowne
Like to the spring in gaudie Ornament
Unto the Castle of the Princesse went.

The soveraine Castle of the rockie Ile,
Wherein Penelope the Princesse lay,
Shone with a thousand lamps, which did exile
The dim dark shades, and turn'd the night to day,
Not Jove's blew Tent what time the Sunny ray
Behind the bulwarke of the earth retires
Is seene to sparkle with more twinckling fiers.

That night the Queene came forth from far within,
And in the presence of her Court was seene,
For the sweet singer Phaemius did begin
To praise the Worthies that at Troy had beene;
Somewhat of her Ulisses she did weene
In his grave Hymne the heav'nly man would sing,
Or of his warres, or of his wandering.

Pallas that houre with her sweet breath divine
Inspir'd immortall beautie in her eyes,
That with coelestiall glory she did shine,
Brighter then Venus when shee doth arise
Out of the waters to adorne the skies;
The wooers all amazed doe admire
And checke their owne presumptuous desire.

Onely Antinous when at first he view'd
Her starbright eyes, that with new honour shind,
Was not dismayd, but there-with-all renew'd
The noblesse and the splendour of his mind;
And as he did fit circumstances find,
Unto the throne he boldly gan advance,
And with faire maners wooed the Queene to dance.

Goddesse of women, sith your heav'nlinesse
Hath now vouchsaft it selfe to represent
To our dim eyes, which though they see the lesse
Yet are they blest in their astonishment;
Imitate heav'n, whose beauties excellent
Are in continuall motion day and night,
And move thereby more wonder and delight.

Let me the moover be, to turne about
Those glorious ornaments, that Youth and Love
Have fixed in you, every part throughout,
Which if you will in timely measure move,
Not all those precious Jemms in heav'n above
Shall yield a sight more pleasing to behold,
With all their turnes and tracings manifold.

With this the modest Princesse blusht and smil'd,
Like to a cleare and rosie eventide;
And softly did returne this answer mild,
Faire Sir; you needs must fairely be denide
Where your demaund cannot be satisfied.
My feete, which onely Nature taught to goe,
Did never yet the Art of footing know.

But why perswade you me to this new rage?
(For all disorder and misrule is new,)
For such misgovernment in former age
Our old divine Forefathers never knew,
Who if they liv'd, and did the follies view,
Which their fond Nephews make their chiefe affaires,
Would hate themselues that had begot such heires.

Sole heire of Vertue, and of Beautie both,
Whence cometh it (Antinous replies)
That your imperious vertue is so loth,
To graunt your beautie her chiefe exercise?
Or from what spring doth your opinion rise
That Dauncing is a frenzie and a rage,
First knowne and us'd in this new-fangled age?

Dauncing (bright Lady) then began to be,
When the first seeds whereof the world did spring
The Fire, Ayre, Earth, and water did agree,
By Love's perswasion, Nature's mighty King,
To leave their first disordred combating;
And in a daunce such measure to observe,
As all the world their motion should preserve.

Since, when, they still are carried in a round,
And changing come one in anothers place,
Yet doe they neither mingle nor confound,
But every one doth keepe the bounded space
Wherein the Daunce doth bid it turne or trace:
This wondrous myracle did Love devise,
For Dauncing is Loves proper exercise.

Like this, he fram'd the Gods eternall bower,
And of a shapelesse and confused masse
By his through-piercing and digesting power
The turning vault of heaven framed was:
Whose starrie wheeles he hath so made to passe,
As that their movings do a musick frame
And they themselves, still daunce unto the same.

Or if this (All!) which round about we see,
(As idle Morpheus some sicke braines hath taught)
Of undevided motes compacted bee,
How was this goodly Architecture wrought?
Or by what meanes were they together brought?
They erre that say they did concurre by chaunce,
Love made them meete in a well-ordered daunce.

As when Amphion with his charming Lire
Begot so sweet a Syren of the ayre,
That with her Rethorike made the stones conspire
The ruines of a Citty to repayre,
(A worke of wit and reason's wise affayre)
So Loves smooth tongue, the motes such measure taught
That they joyn'd hands; and so the world was wrought.

How justly then is Dauncing termed new
Which with the world in point of time begun?
Yea Time it selfe (whose birth Jove never knew,
And which is far more auncient then the Sun)
Had not one moment of his age outrunne,
When out leapt Dauncing from the heap of things,
And lightly rode upon his nimble wings.

Reason hath both their pictures in her Treasure,
Where Time the measure of all moving is;
And Dauncing is a moving all in measure,
Now if you doe resemble that to this,
And thinke both one, I thinke you think amis:
But if you judge them Twins, together got,
And Time first borne, your judgment erreth not.

Thus doth it equall age with age injoy,
And yet in lustie youth for ever flowers,
Like Love his sire, whom Paynters make a Boy,
Yet is the eldest of the heav'nly powers:
Or like his brother Time whose winged howers
Going and comming will not let him dye,
But still preserve him in his infancie.

This said; the Queene with her sweet lips divine
Gently began to move the subtile ayre,
Which gladly yielding, did itselfe incline
To take a shape betweene those rubies fayre
And being formèd, softly did repayre
With twenty doublings in the emptie way,
Unto Antinous eares, and thus did say.

What eye doth see the heav'n but doth admire
When it the movings of the heav'ns doth see?
My selfe, if I to heav'n may once aspire,
If that be dauncing, will a Dauncer be:
But as for this your frantick jollitie
How it began, or whence you did it learne,
I never could with reasons eye discerne.

Artinous answered: Jewell of the Earth,
Worthie you are that heav'nly Daunce to leade:
But for you thinke our dauncing base of birth,
And newly borne but of a brainesick head
I will forthwith his antique Gentry read,
And for I love him, will his Herault be,
And blaze his armes, and draw his Petigree.

When Love had shapt this world, this great faire wight
That all wights else in this wide womb containes
And had instructed it to daunce aright,
A thousand measures with a thousand straines,
Which it should practise with delightfull paines,
Untill that fatall instant should revolve,
When all to nothing should againe resolve:

The comely order and proportion faire
On every side, did please his wandring eye,
Till glauncing through the thin transparent ayre
A rude disordered rout he did espie
Of men and women, that most spightfullie
Did one another throng, and crowd so sore,
That his kind eye in pitty wept therefore.

And swifter then the Lightning downe he came,
Another shapelesse Chaos to digest,
He will begin another world to frame,
(For Love till all be well will never rest)
Then with such words as cannot be exprest
He cutts the troups, that all a sunder fling,
And ere they wist, he casts them in a ring.

Then did he rarifie the Element
And in the center of the ring appeare,
The beames that from his forehead shining went,
Begot an horrour and religious feare
In all the soules that round about him weare;
Which in their eares attentiveness procures,
While he with such like sounds their minds allures.

How doth Confusions mother, headlong Chance,
Put reason's noble squadron to the rout?
Or how should you that have the governance
Of Nature's children, heaven and earth throughout
Prescribe them rules, and live your selves without?
Why should your fellowship a trouble be,
Since man's chiefe pleasure is societie?

If sence hath not yet taught you, learne of me
A comely moderation and discreet,
That your assemblies may well ordered be
When my uniting power shall make you meet,
With heav'nly tunes it shall be tempered sweet:
And be the modell of the World's great frame,
And you Earth's children, Dauncing shall it name.

Behold the World how it is whirled round,
And for it is so whirl'd, is named so;
In whose large volume many rules are found
Of this new Art, which it doth fairely show:
For your quick eyes in wandring too and fro
From East to West, on no one thing can glaunce,
But if you marke it well, it seemes to daunce.

First you see fixt in this huge mirrour blew
Of trembling lights a number numberlesse,
Fixt they are nam'd, but with a name untrue,
For they are moved, and in a Daunce expresse
That great long yeare, that doth containe no lesse
Then threescore hundreds of those yeares in all
Which the Sunne makes with his course naturall.

What if to you these sparks disordered seeme
As if by chaunce they had beene scattered there?
The Gods a solemne measure doe it deeme
And see a just proportion every where,
And know the points whence first their movings were;
To which first points when all returne againe,
The Axeltree of Heav'n shall breake in twaine.

Under that spangled skye, five wandring flames
Besides the King of Day, and Queene of Night,
Are wheel'd around, all in their sundry frames,
And all in sundry measures doe delight:
Yet altogether keepe no measure right.
For by it selfe, each doth it selfe advance,
And by it selfe each doth a Galliard daunce.

Venus the Mother of that bastard Love,
Which doth usurpe the worlds great Marshals name,
Just with the Sunne her dainty feete doth move
And unto him doth all the jestures frame:
Now after, now afore, the flattering Dame,
With divers cunning passages doth erre,
Still him respecting that respects not her.

For that brave Sunne the Father of the Day,
Doth love this Earth, the Mother of the Night,
And like a revellour in rich aray,
Doth daunce his Galliard in his Lemmans sight,
Both back, and forth, and side-wayes passing light;
His gallant grace doth so the Gods amaze,
That all stand still and at his beautie gaze.

But see the Earth, when she approcheth neere,
How she for joy doth spring and sweetly smile;
But see againe her sad and heavie cheere
When changing places he retires a while:
But those black clouds he shortly will exile,
And make them all before his presence flye
As mists consum'd before his cheerfull eye.

Who doth not see the measures of the Moone,
Which thirteene times she daunceth every yeare?
And ends her pavine, thirteene times as soone
As doth her brother, of whose golden heire
She borroweth part and proudly doth it weare.
Then doth she coylie turne her face aside,
Then halfe her cheeke is scarce sometimes discride.

Next her, the pure, subtile, and cleansing fire,
Is swiftly carried in a circle even:
Though Vulcan be pronounst by many a lyer,
The only halting God that dwels in heaven.
But that foule name may be more fitly given
To your false fier that farre from heav'n is fall
And doth consume, waste, spoile, disorder all.

And now behold your tender Nurse the ayre
And common neighbour that ay runns around,
How many pictures and impressions faire
Within her empty regions are there found,
Which to your sences Dauncing doe propound?
For what are breath, speech, Ecchos, musicke, winds,
But Dauncings of the ayre in sundry kinds?

For when you breath, the ayre in order moves,
Now in, now out, in time and measure trew;
And when you speake, so well she dauncing loves,
That doubling oft, and oft redoubling new,
With thousand formes she doth her selfe endew:
For all the words that from our lips repaire,
Are nought but tricks and turnings of the aire.

Hence is her pratling daughter Eccho borne,
That daunces to all voyces she can heare:
There is no sound so harsh that shee doth scorne,
Nor any time wherein shee will forbeare
The aiery pavement with her feete to weare:
And yet her hearing sence is nothing quick,
For after time she endeth every trick.

And thou sweet Musicke, Dauncing's onely life,
The eares sole happines, the ayres best speach,
Loadstone of fellowship, charming rod of strife,
The soft mind's Paradice, the sicke minds Leach,
With thine own tongue, thou trees and stones canst teach,
That when the Aire doth daunce her finest measure,
Then art thou borne, the Gods and mens sweet pleasure.

Lastly, where keepe the winds their revelry
Their violent turnings and wild whirling hayes?
But in the Ayres tralucent gallery?
Where shee her selfe is turnd a hundreth wayes,
While with those Maskers wantonly she playes;
Yet in this misrule, they such rule embrace,
As two at once encomber not the place.

If then fier, ayre, wandring and fixed lights
In every province of the imperiall skye,
Yeeld perfect formes of dauncing to your sights,
In vaine I teach the eare, that which the eye
With certaine view already doth descrie.
But for your eyes perceive not all they see,
In this I will your senses master bee.

For loe the Sea that fleets about the Land,
And like a girdle clips her solide wast,
Musick and measure both doth understand;
For his great Christall eye is alwayes cast
Up to the Moone, and on her fixed fast:
And as she daunceth in her pallid spheere,
So daunceth he about his Center heere.

Sometimes his proud greene waves in order set,
One after other flow unto the shore,
Which, when they have with many kisses wet,
They ebbe away in order as before;
And to make knowne his Courtly Love the more,
He oft doth lay aside his three-forkt Mace,
And with his armes the timorous Earth embrace.

Onely the Earth doth stand for ever still:
Her rocks remove not, nor her mountaines meete,
(Although some witts enricht with Learning's skill
Say heav'n stands firme, and that the Earth doth fleete,
And swiftly turneth underneath their feete)
Yet though the Earth is ever stedfast seene,
On her broad breast hath Dauncing ever beene.

For those blew vaines that through her body spred,
Those saphire streams which from great hils do spring,
(The Earths great duggs: for every wight is fed
With sweet fresh moisture from them issuing)
Observe a daunce in their wilde wandering:
And still their daunce begets a murmur sweete,
And still the murmur with the daunce doth meete.

Of all their wayes I love Meander's path,
Which to the tunes of dying Swans doth daunce:
Such winding sleights, such turnes and tricks he hath,
Such Creekes, such wrenches, and such daliaunce,
That whether it be hap or heedlesse chaunce,
In this indented course and wriggling play
He seemes to daunce a perfect cunning Hay.

But wherefore doe these streames for ever runne?
To keepe themselves for ever sweet and cleare:
For let their everlasting course be donne
They straight corrupt and foule with mud appeare.
O yee sweet Nimphs that beauties losse do feare,
Contemne the Drugs that Physick doth devise,
And learne of Love this dainty exercise.

See how those flowres that have sweet Beauty too
(The onely Jewels that the Earth doth weare,
When the young Sunne in bravery her doth woo)
As oft as they the whistling wind doe heare,
Doe wave their tender bodies here and there;
And though their daunce no perfect measure is,
Yet oftentimes their musick makes them kis,

What makes the Vine about the Elme to daunce
With turnings, windings, and imbracements round?
What makes the Load-stone to the North advaunce
His subtile point, as if from thence he found
His chiefe attractive Vertue to redound?
Kind Nature first doth cause all things to love,
Love makes them daunce and in just order move.

Harke how the birds doe sing, and marke then how
Jumpe with the modulation of their layes,
They lightly leape, and skip from bow to bow;
Yet doe the cranes deserve a greater prayse
Which keepe such measure in their ayrie wayes,
As when they all in order ranked are,
They make a perfect forme triangular.

In the chiefe angle flyes the watchfull guide,
And all the followers their heads doe lay
On their foregoers backs, on eyther side,
But for the Captaine hath no rest to stay
His head forewearied with the windy way,
He back retires, and then the next behind,
As his Lieuetenaunt leads them through the wind.

But why relate I every singular?
Since all the world's great fortunes and affaires
Forward and backward rapt and whirled are,
According to the musick of the spheares:
And Chaunce her selfe, her nimble feete upbeares
On a round slippery wheele that rowleth ay,
And turnes all states with her impetuous sway.

Learne then to daunce, you that are Princes borne
And lawfull Lords of earthly creatures all;
Imitate them, and thereof take no scorne,
For this new Art to them is naturall
And imitate the starres caelestiall.
For when pale Death your vital twist shall sever,
Your better parts must daunce with them for ever.

Thus Love perswades, and all the crowd of men
That stands around doth make a murmuring;
As when the wind loosd from his hollow den,
Among the trees a gentle base doth sing,
Or as a Brooke through pebbles wandering:
But in their lookes they uttered this plaine speach,
That they wold learn to daunce, if Love wold teach.

Then first of all, he doth demonstrate plaine
The motions seaven that are in nature found,
Upward, and downward, forth, and back againe,
To this side, and to that, and turning round:
Whereof, a thousand brawles he doth compound,
Which he doth teach unto the multitude,
And ever with a turne they must conclude.

As when a Nimph arysing from the Land
Leadeth a daunce with her long watery traine
Downe to the Sea, she wries to every hand
And every way doth crosse the fertile plaine
But when at last shee falls into the maine
Then all her traverses concluded are,
And with the Sea her course is circulare.

Thus when at first Love had them marshalled
As earst he did the shapelesse masse of things,
He taught them rounds and winding Heyes to tread,
And about trees to cast themselves in rings,
As the two Beares, whom the first mover flings
With a short turn about heavens Axeltree,
In a round daunce for ever wheeling bee.

But after these, as men more civill grew,
He did more grave and solemn measures frame,
With such faire order and proportion trew,
And correspondence every way the same,
That no fault finding eye did ever blame:
For every eye was moved at the sight
With sober wondring, and with sweet delight.

Not those old students of the heavenly booke,
Atlas the great, Promethius the wise,
Which on the Starres did all their lyfe-time looke
Could ever finde such measures in the skies,
So full of change and rare varieties;
Yet all the feete whereon these measures goe,
Are only Spondeis, solemne, grave, and sloe.

But for more divers and more pleasing show,
A swift and wandring daunce she did invent,
With passages uncertaine to and fro,
Yet with a certaine answer and consent
To the quicke musick of the Instrument.
Five was the number of the Musicks feete,
Which still the daunce did with five paces meete.

A gallant daunce, that lively doth bewray
A spirit and a vertue Masculine;
Impatient that her house on earth should stay
Since she her selfe is fierie and divine:
Oft doth she make her body upward flyne,
With loftie turnes and capriols in the ayre,
Which with the lustie tunes accordeth fayre.

What shall I name those currant travases,
That on a triple Dactile foote doe run
Close by the ground with slyding passages,
Wherein that Dauncer greatest praise hath won
Which with best order can all orders shun:
For every where he wantonly must range,
And turne, and wind, with unexpected change.

Yet is there one, the most delightfull kind,
A loftie jumping, or a leaping round,
Where arme in arme, two Dauncers are entwind
And whirle themselves with strict embracements bound,
And still their feet an Anapest do sound:
An Anapest is all theyr musicks song,
Whose first two feet are short, and third is long.

As the victorious twinnes of Leda and Jove
That taught the Spartans dauncing on the sands
Of swift Eurotas, daunce in Heav'n above,
Knit and united with eternall hands;
Among the Starres their double image stands,
Where both are carried with an equall pace,
Together jumping in their turning race.

This is the Net wherein the Sunns bright eye
Venus and Mars entangled did behold;
For in this Daunce, their armes they so imply
As each, doth seeme the other to enfold:
What if lewd wits another tale have told
Of jealous Vulcan, and of yron chaynes,
Yet this true sence that forged lye containes.

These various formes of dauncing, Love did frame
And beside these, a hundred millions moe,
And as he did invent, he taught the same,
With goodly jesture, and with comly show,
Now keeping state, now humbly honoring low,
And ever for the persons and the place
He taught most fit, and best according grace.

For Love, within his fertile working braine
Did then conceive those gracious Virgins three,
Whose civill moderation does maintaine
All decent order and conveniencie,
And faire respect, and seemlie modestie:
And then he thought it fit they should be borne,
That their sweet presence dauncing might adorne.

Hence is it that these Graces painted are
With hand in hand dauncing an endlesse round:
And with regarding eyes, that still beware
That there be no disgrace amongst them found;
With equall foote they beate the flowry ground,
Laughing, or singing, as their passions will:
Yet nothing that they doe becomes them ill.

Thus Love taught men, and men thus learnd of Love
Sweet Musicks sound with feete to counterfaite;
Which was long time before high thundering Jove
Was lifted up to Heav'ns imperiall seat.
For though by birth he were the Prince of Creete,
Nor Creete, nor Heav'n should the yong Prince have seen,
If dancers with their Timbrels had not been.

Since when all ceremonious misteries,
All sacred Orgies and religious rights,
All pomps, and tryumphs, and solemnities,
All Funerals, Nuptials, and like publike sights,
All Parliaments of peace, and warlike fights,
All learned Arts, and every great affaire
A lively shape of Dauncing seemes to beare.

For what did he who with his ten-tong'd Lute
Gave Beasts and blocks an understanding eare?
Or rather into bestiall minds and brute
Shed and infus'd the beames of reason cleare?
Doubtlesse for men that rude and savage were
A civill forme of dauncing he devis'd,
Wherewith unto their Gods they sacrifiz'd.

So did Musaeus, so Amphion did,
And Linus with his sweet enchanting song;
And he whose hand the Earth of monsters rid,
And had men's eares fast chayned to his tong:
And Theseus to his wood-borne slaves among
Us'd dauncing as the finest pollicie.
To plant religion and societie.

And therefore now the Thracian Orpheus Lire
And Hercules him selfe are stellified;
And in high heav'n amidst the starry Quire
Dauncing their parts continually doe slide;
So on the Zodiake Ganimede doth ride,
And so is Hebe with the Muses nine
For pleasing Jove with dauncing, made divine.

Wherefore was Proteus sayd himselfe to change
Into a streame, a Lyon, and a tree,
And many other formes fantastique strange,
As in his fickle thought he wisht to be?
But that he daunc'd with such facilitie,
As like a Lyon he could pace with pride,
Ply like a Plant, and like a River slide.

And how was Caeneus made at first a man,
And then a woman, then a man againe
But in a Daunce? which when he first began
Hee the man's part in measure did sustaine:
But when he chang'd into a second straine
He daunc'd the womans part another space,
And then return'd into his former place.

Hence sprang the fable of Tiresias
That he the pleasure of both sexes tryde:
For in a daunce hee man and woman was
By often change of place from side to side.
But for the woman easily did slide
And smoothly swim with cunning hidden Art,
He tooke more pleasure in a womans part.

So to a fish Venus herselfe did change,
And swimming through the soft and yeelding wave,
With gentle motions did so smoothly range
As none might see where she the water drave:
But this plaine truth that falsed fable gave
That she did daunce with slyding easines,
Plyant and quick in wandring passages.

And merry Bacchus practis'd dauncing to,
And to the Lydian numbers, rounds did make:
The like he did in th' Easterne India doo,
And taught them all when Phoebus did awake,
And when at night he did his Coach forsake:
To honor heav'n, and heav'ns great roling eie
With turning daunces, and with melodie.

Thus they who first did found a common-weale,
And they who first Religion did ordaine,
By dauncing first the peoples harts did steale:
Of whom we now a thousand tales doe faine.
Yet doe we now their perfect rules retaine,
And use them stil in such devises new
As in the world long since their withering grew.

For after Townes and Kingdomes founded were,
Betweene greate States arose well-ordered war,
Wherein most perfect measure doth appeare
Whether their well-set rankes respected are
In Quadrant forme or semicircular:
Or else the march, when all the troups advance,
And to the Drum, in gallant order daunce.

And after warrs, when white-wing'd victory
Is with a glorious tryumph beautified,
And every one doth Io Io cry,
Whiles all in gold the Conquerour doth ride,
The solemne pompe that fils the Citty wide
Observes such ranke and measure every where,
As if they altogether dauncing were.

The like just order mourners doe observe,
(But with unlike affection and attire)
When some great man that nobly did deserve
And whom his friends impatiently desire,
Is brought with honour to his latest fire:
The dead corps too in that sad daunce is mov'd
As if both dead and living, dauncing lov'd.

A divers cause, but like solemnitie
Unto the Temple leads the bashfull bride,
Which blusheth like the Indian Ivory
Which is with dip of Tyrian purple died:
A golden troope doth passe on every side
Of flourishing young men and Virgins gay,
Which keepe faire measure all the flowry way.

And not alone the generall multitude,
But those choise Nestors which in councell grave
Of Citties, and of Kingdomes doe conclude,
Most comly order in their Sessions have:
Wherefore the wise Thessalians ever gave
The name of Leader of their Countries daunce
To him that had their Countries governance.

And those great masters of their liberall Arts
In all their severall Schooles doe Dauncing teach:
For humble Grammer first doth set the parts
Of congruent and well-according speach:
Which Retorick whose state the clouds doth reach,
And heav'nly Poetry doe forward lead,
And divers Measures diversly doe tread.

For Rhetorick, clothing speech in rich aray
In looser numbers teacheth her to range,
With twentie tropes, and turnings every way,
And various figures, and licencious change:
But Poetry with rule and order strange
So curiously doth move each single pace,
As all is mard if she one foote misplace.

These Arts of speach, the guides and Marshals are,
But Logick leadeth Reason in a daunce:
(Reason the Cynosure and bright Load-star
In this world's Sea t'avoid the rock of Chaunce)
For with close following and continuance
One reason doth another so ensue,
As in conclusion still the daunce is true.

So Musick to her owne sweet tunes doth trip
With tricks of 3, 5, 8, 15, and more:
So doth the Art of Numbering seeme to skip
From ev'n to odd in her proportion'd score:
So doe those skils, whose quick eyes doe explore
The just dimension both of earth and heav'n,
In all their rules observe a measure ev'n.

Loe this is Dauncings true nobilitie.
Dauncing, the child of Musick and of Love,
Dauncing it selfe, both love and harmony,
Where all agree, and all in order move;
Dauncing, the Art that all Arts doe approve:
The faire Caracter of the worlds consent,
The heav'ns true figure, and th' earth's ornament.

The Queene, whose dainty eares had borne too long,
The tedious praise of that she did despise,
Adding once more the musick of the tongue
To the sweet speech of her alluring eyes,
Began to answer in such winning wise
As that forthwith Antinous tongue was tyde,
His eyes fast fixt, his eares were open wide.

Forsooth (quoth she) great glory you have won,
To your trim minion, Dauncing, all this while,
By blazing him Love's first begotten sonne;
Of every ill the hatefull Father vile
That doth the world with sorceries beguile:
Cunningly mad, religiously prophane,
Wits monster, Reason's canker, Sences bane.

Love taught the mother that unkind desire
To wash her hands in her owne infants blood;
Love taught the daughter to betray her Sire
Into most base unworthy servitude;
Love taught the brother to prepare such foode
To feast his brothers that the all-seeing Sun
Wrapt in a clowd, that wicked sight did shun.

And even this self same Love hath dauncing taught,
An Art that showes th' Idea of his mind
With vainesse, frenzie, and misorder fraught;
Sometimes with blood and cruelties unkind:
For in a daunce, Tereus mad wife did finde
Fit time and place by murther of her sonne,
T'avenge the wrong his trayterous Sire had done.

What meane the Mermayds when they daunce and sing
But certaine death unto the Marriner?
What tydings doe the dauncing Dilphins bring
But that some dangerous storme approcheth nere?
Then sith both Love and Dauncing lyveries beare
Of such ill hap, unhappy may I prove,
If sitting free, I either daunce or love.

Yet once again Antinous did reply,
Great Queene, condemne not Love the innocent,
For this mischevous lust, which traterously
Usurps his Name, and steales his ornament:
For that true Love which Dauncing did invent,
Is he that tun'd the World's whole harmony,
And linkt all men in sweet societie.

He first extracted from th' earth-mingled mind
That heav'nly fire, or quintessence divine,
Which doth such simpathy in beauty find
As is betweene the Elme and fruitful Vine,
And so to beautie ever doth encline:
Lives life it is, and cordiall to the hart,
And of our better part, the better part.

Thys is true Love, by that true Cupid got
Which daunceth Galliards in your amorous eyes,
But to your frozen hart approcheth not,
Onely your hart he dares not enterprise.
And yet through every other part he flyes,
And every where he nimbly daunceth now,
Though in your selfe, your selfe perceive not how.

For your sweet beauty daintily transfus'd
With due proportion throughout every part,
What is it but a daunce where Love hath us'd
His finer cunning, and more curious Art?
Where all the elements themselves impart,
And turne, and wind, and mingle with such measure,
That th' eye that sees it, surfeits with the pleasure.

Love in the twinckling of your eylids daunceth,
Love daunceth in your pulses and your vaines,
Love when you sow, your needles point advanceth,
And makes it daunce a thousand curious straines
Of winding rounds, whereof the forme remaines,
To shew, that your faire hands can daunce the Hey,
Which your fine feet would learne as well as they.

And when your Ivory fingers touch the strings
Of any silver-sounding instrument,
Love makes them daunce to those sweete murmerings,
With busie skill, and cunning excellent:
O that your feet those tunes would represent
With artificiall motions to and fro,
That Love this art in ev'ry part might shoe.

Yet your faire soule, which came from heav'n above
To rule thys house, another heav'n below,
With divers powers in harmony doth move,
And all the vertues that from her doe flow,
In a round measure hand in hand doe goe.
Could I now see, as I conceive thys Daunce,
Wonder and Love would cast me in a traunce.

The richest Jewell in all the heav'nly Treasure
That ever yet unto the Earth was showne,
Is perfect Concord, th' onely perfect pleasure
That wretched Earth-borne men have ever knowne,
For many harts it doth compound in one:
That when so one doth will, or speake, or doe,
With one consent they all agree thereto.

Concords true picture shineth in this Art,
Where divers men and women ranked be,
And every one doth daunce a severall part,
Yet all as one, in measure doe agree,
Observing perfect uniformitie:
All turne together, all together trace,
And all together honor and embrace.

If they whom sacred Love hath link't in one,
Doe as they daunce, in all theyr course of life
Never shall burning griefe nor bitter mone,
Nor factious difference, nor unkind strife,
Arise betwixt the husband and the wife.
For whether forth or back, or round he goe,
As the man doth, so must the woman doe.

What if by often enterchange of place
Sometime the woman gets the upper hand?
That is but done for more delightfull grace,
For one that part shee doth not ever stand:
But, as the Measures law doth her command
Shee wheeles about, and ere the daunce doth end,
Into her former place shee doth transcend.

But not alone this correspondence meet
And uniform consent doth dauncing praise,
For Comlines the chyld of order sweet
Enamels it with her eye-pleasing raies:
Fair Comlines, ten hundred thousand waies,
Through dauncing shedds it selfe, and makes it shine
With glorious beauty, and with grace divine.

For Comliness is a disposing faire
Of things and actions in fit time and place,
Which doth in dauncing shew it selfe most cleere,
When troopes confus'd, which here and there doe trace
Without distinguishment or bounded space,
By dauncings rule, into such ranks are brought,
As glads the eye, as ravisheth the thought.

Then why should reason judge that reasonles
Which is wits of-spring, and the worke of Art,
Image of concord and of comlines.
Who sees a clock moving in every part,
A sayling Pinnesse, or a wheeling Cart,
But thinks that reason, ere it came to passe
The first impulsive cause and mover was?

Who sees an Armie all in ranke advance,
But deemes a wise Commaunder is in place
Which leadeth on that brave victorious daunce?
Much more in dauncings Art, in dauncings grace,
Blindnes it selfe may reasons footstep trace:
For of Loves Maze it is the curious plot,
And of Mans fellowship the true-love knot.

But if these eyes of yours, (Load-starrs of Love,
Shewing the worlds great daunce to your mind's eye)
Cannot with all their demonstrations move
Kind apprehension in your fantasie
Of Dauncings vertue, and nobilitie:
How can my barbarous tongue win you thereto
Which heav'n and earths faire speech could never do?

O Love my King: if all my wit and power
Have done you all the service that they can,
O be you present in this present hower,
And help your seruant and your true Leige-man,
End that perswasion which I earst began:
For who in praise of Dauncing can perswade
With such sweet force as Love, which Dancing made?

Love heard his prayer, and swifter then the wind
Like to a Page, in habit, face, and speech,
He came, and stood Antinous behind,
And many secrets to his thoughts did teach:
At last, a christall Mirrour he did reach
Unto his hands, that he with one rash view,
All formes therein by Loves revealing knew.

And humbly honouring, gave it to the Queene
With this faire speech: See fairest Queene (quoth he)
The fairest sight that ever shall be seene,
And th' onely wonder of posteritie,
The richest worke in Natures treasury;
Which she disdaines to shew on this worlds stage,
And thinkes it far too good for our rude age.

But in another world devided far,
In the great, fortunate, triangled Ile,
Thrise twelve degrees remov'd from the North star,
She will this glorious workemanship compile,
Which she hath beene conceiving all this while
Since the World's birth, and will bring forth at last,
When sixe and twenty hundred yeeres are past.

Penelope the Queene, when she had view'd
The strange eye-dazeling-admirable sight,
Faine would have praisd the state and pulchritude,
But she was strocken dumbe with wonder quite,
Yet her sweet minde retaynd her thinking might:
Her ravisht minde in heav'nly thoughts did dwel,
But what she thought, no mortall tongue can tell.

You lady Muse, whom Jove the Counsellour
Begot of Memorie, Wisdoms Treasuresse,
To your divining tongue is given a power
Of uttering secrets large and limitlesse:
You can Penelope's strange thoughts expresse
Which she conceiv'd, and then would faine have told,
When shee the wondrous Christall did behold.

Her winged thoughts bore up her minde so hie
As that she weend shee saw the glorious throne
Where the bright Moone doth sit in majestie,
A thousand sparkling starres about her shone,
But she herselfe did sparkle more alone
Then all those thousand beauties would have done
If they had been confounded all in one.

And yet she thought those starrs mov'd in such measure,
To do their Soveraigne honor and delight,
As sooth'd her minde with sweet enchanting plesure
Although the various change amaz'd her sight,
And her weake judgement did entangle quite:
Beside, their moving made them shine more cleare,
As diamonds mov'd, more sparkling do appeare.

This was the Picture of her wondrous thought,
But who can wonder that her thought was so,
Sith Vulcan King of fire that Mirror wrought
(Which things to come, present, and past, doth know)
And there did represent in lively show
Our glorious English Courts divine Image,
As it should be in this our Golden Age.

Away, Terpsechore, light Muse away,
And come Uranie, prophetesse divine;
Come, Muse of heav'n, my burning thirst allay,
Even now for want of sacred drinke I tine:
In heav'nly moysture dip thys pen of mine,
And let my mouth with Nectar overflow,
For I must more then mortall glory show.

O that I had Homers aboundant vaine,
I would heereof another Ilias make,
Or els the man of Mantuas charmed braine
In whose large throat great Jove the thunder spake.
O that I could old Gefferies Muse awake,
Or borrow Colins fayre heroike stile,
Or smooth my rimes with Delias servants file.

O, could I, sweet Companion, sing like you,
Which, of a shadow, under a shadow sing;
Or, like Salve's sad lover true,
Or like the Bay, the Marigolds darling,
Whose suddaine verse Love covers with his wing
O that your braines were mingled all with mine,
T' inlarge my wit for this great worke divine.

Yet, Astrophell might one for all suffize,
Whose supple Muse Camelion-like doth change
Into all formes of excellent devise:
So might the Swallow, whose swift Muse doth range
Through rare Idaes, and inventions strange,
And ever doth enjoy her joyfull spring,
And sweeter then the Nightingale doth sing.

O that I might that singing Swallow heare
To whom I owe my service and my love,
His sugred tunes would so enchant mine eare,
And in my mind such sacred fury move,
As I should knock at Heav'ns gate above
With my proude rimes, while of this heav'nly state
I doe aspire the shadow to relate.

[sigs A3-C8v]