1610
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christs Triumph over Death.

Christs Victorie, and Triumph in Heaven, and Earth, over, and after death.

Rev. Giles Fletcher


The third canto concerns the Crucifixion.

James Hervey, proposing a new edition: "Had I been in perfect Health and disengaged from other Employment, I question whether I should not have retouched the Poetry, changed several of the obsolete Words, illustrated the obscure Passages by occasional Notes, and run the Risque of publishing the Whole at my own Expence.... Could not Rivington get some one to make these necessary Alterations? Or if he does not care to engage in it, would not Dodsley undertake it, who is himself a Poet, and very capable of abridging it in some Places, enlarging it in others, and thoroughly correcting the whole. — Do you know Mr. Joseph Warton of Trinity College, Oxford, who translated Virgil? — He is very capable of doing this; and as he is a Clergyman, I should imagine he would think his Time well employed, in thus contributing to our blessed Master's Honour" 1758; in Collection of Letters by James Hervey (1760) 2:153.

W. J. Courthope: "The meters [the Fletchers] employ are, as far as I know, peculiar to themselves. They consist of either the first quatrain of Spenser, the first five lines of the royal stanza, or the first six lines of the ottava rima, closed with a rhyming triplet of which the last verse is an Alexandrine. Within these the last three lines is generally compressed the point of the epigram at which they always aim. Giles Fletcher had as strong a passion for coining new words as any member of the French Pleiad. He models himself on Spenser, but he discards most of the archaic inflections of his master; on the other hand, he resorts freely to the Latin vocabulary or to old English for the enrichment of his native tongue" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 3:144.

Herbert E. Cory: "From now on Fletcher ceases to employ allegory to say extent. The poem gains distinctly in earnest eloquence, greater vigor, and nobler simplicity. Christ passes over the Cedron singing to his death.... The betrayal and crucifixion are described with an eremite's ecstasy and with occasional incursions into the realms of grotesque horror. All earth mourns. But the second dawn is an ecstasy of light. The flowers spring luxuriantly to welcome their Lord. Triumphant from his harrowing of Hell, Christ returns to earth and thence ascends into Heaven" Spenser, the Fletchers, and Milton" UCPMP 2 (1912) 329-30.

Frank S. Kastor: "Aside from the rational, sermonlike structure and the near absence of narrative movement in Book III, there are neither allegories nor figures. Few readers find anything very Spenserian about this section of the work; even description seems minimal" Giles and Phineas Fletcher (1978) 55.



So downe the silver streames of Eridan,
On either side bank't with a lilly wall,
Whiter then both, rides the triumphant Swan,
And sings his dirge, and prophesies his fall,
Diving into his watrie funerall:
But Eridan to Cedron must submit
His flowry shore, nor can he envie it,
If when Apollo sings, his swans doe silent sit.

That heav'nly voice I more delight to heare,
Then gentle ayres to breath, or swelling waves
Against the sounding rocks their bosomes teare,
Or whistling reeds, that rutty Jordan laves,
And with their verdure his white head embraves,
To chide the windes, or hiving bees, that flie
About the laughing bloosms of sallowie,
Rocking asleepe the idle groomes that lazie lie.

And yet, how can I heare thee singing goe,
When men incens'd with hate, thy death foreset?
Or els, why doe I heare thee sighing so,
When thou, inflam'd with love, their life doest get?
That Love, and hate, and sighs, and songs are met;
But thus, and onely thus thy love did crave,
To sende thee singing for us to thy grave,
While we sought thee to kill, and thou sought'st us to save.

When I remember Christ our burden beares,
I looke for glorie, but finde miserie;
I looke for joy, but finde a sea of teares;
I looke that we should live, and finde him die;
I looke for Angels songs, and heare him crie:
Thus what I looke, I cannot finde so well,
Or rather, what I finde, I cannot tell,
These bankes so narrowe are, those streames so highly swell.

Christ suffers, and in this, his teares begin,
Suffers for us, and our joy springs in this,
Suffers to death, here is his Manhood seen,
Suffers to rise, and here his Godhead is.
For Man, that could not by himselfe have ris,
Out of the grave doth by the Godhead rise,
And God, that could not die, in Manhood dies,
That we in both might live, by that sweete sacrifice.

Goe giddy braines, whose witts are thought so fresh,
Plucke all the flo[w'r]s that Nature forth doth throwe,
Goe sticke them on the cheekes of wanton flesh;
Poore idol, (forc't at once to fall and growe)
Of fading roses, and of melting snowe:
Your songs exceede your matter, this of mine,
The matter, which it sings, shall make divine,
As starres dull puddles guild, in which their beauties shine.

Who doth not see drown'd in Deucalions name,
(When earth his men, and sea had lost his shore)
Old Noah; and in Nisus lock, the fame
Of Sampson yet alive; and long before
In Phaethons, mine owne fall I deplore:
But he that conquer'd hell, to fetch againe
His virgin widowe, by a serpent slaine,
Another Orpheus was then dreaming poets feigne.

That taught the stones to melt for passion,
And dormant sea, to heare him, silent lie,
And at his voice, the watrie nation
To flocke, as if they deem'd it cheape, to buy
With their owne deaths his sacred harmonie:
The while the waves stood still to heare his song,
And steadie shore wav'd with the reeling throng
Of thirstie soules, that hung upon his fluent tongue.

What better friendship, then to cover shame?
What greater love, then for a friend to die?
Yet this is better to asself the blame,
And this is greater, for an enemie:
But more then this, to die, not suddenly,
Not with some common death, or easie paine,
But slowely, and with torments to be slaine,
O depth, without a depth, farre better seene, then saine!

And yet the Sonne is humbled for the Slave,
And yet the Slave is proude before the Sonne:
Yet the Creator for his creature gave
Himselfe, and yet the creature hasts to runne
From his Creator, and self-good doth shunne:
And yet the Prince, and God himselfe doth crie
To Man, his Traitour, pardon not to flie,
Yet Man his God, and Traytour doth his Prince defie.

Who is it sees not that he nothing is,
But he that nothing sees; what weaker brest,
Since Adams Armour fail'd, dares warrant his?
That made by God of all his creatures best,
Strait made himselfe the woorst of all the rest:
"If any strength we have, it is to ill,
But all the good is Gods, both pow'r, and will":
The dead man cannot rise, though he himselfe may kill.

But let the thorny schools these punctualls
Of wills, all good, or bad, or neuter diss;
Such joy we gained by our parentalls,
That good, or bad, whither I cannot wiss,
To call it a mishap, or happy miss
That fell from Eden, and to heav'n did rise:
Albee the mitred Card'nall more did prize
His part in Paris, then his part in Paradise.

A Tree was first the instrument of strife,
Whear Eve to sinne her soule did prostitute,
A Tree is now the instrument of life,
Though ill that trunke, and this faire body suit:
Ah, cursed tree, and yet O blessed fruit!
That death to him, this life to us doth give:
Strange is the cure, when things past cure revive,
And the Physitian dies, to make his patient live.

Sweete Eden was the arbour of delight,
Yet in his hony flo[w'r]s our poyson blew;
Sad Gethseman the bowre of balefull night,
Whear Christ a health of poison for us drewe,
Yet all our hony in that poyson grewe:
So we from sweetest flo[w'r]s, could sucke our bane,
And Christ from bitter venome, could againe
Extract life out of death, and pleasure out of paine.

A Man was first the author of our fall,
A Man is now the author of our rise,
A Garden was the place we perisht all,
A Garden is the place he payes our price,
And the old Serpent with a newe devise,
Hath found a way himselfe for to beguile,
So he, that all men tangled in his wile,
Is now by one man caught, beguil'd with his owne guile.

The dewie night had with her frostie shade
Immant'led all the world, and the stiffe ground
Sparkled in yce, onely the Lord, that made
All for himselfe, himselfe dissolved found,
Sweat without heat, and bled without a wound:
Of heav'n, and earth, and God, and Man forlore,
Thrice begging helpe of those, whose sinnes he bore,
And thrice denied of those, not to denie had swore.

Yet had he beene alone of God forsaken,
Or had his bodie beene imbroyl'd alone
In fierce assault, he might, perhaps, have taken
Some joy in soule, when all joy els was gone,
But that with God, and God to heav'n is flow'n;
And Hell it selfe out from her grave doth rise,
Black as the starles night, and with them flies,
Yet blacker then they both, the Sonne of blasphemies.

As when the Planets, with unkind aspect,
Call from her caves the meager pestilence,
The sacred vapour, eager to infect,
Obeyes the voyce of the sad influence,
And vomits up a thousand noysome sents,
The well of life, flaming his golden flood
With the sicke ayre, fevers the boyling blood,
And poisons all the bodie with contagious food.

The bold Physitian, too incautelous,
By those he cures, himselfe is murdered,
Kindnes infects, pitie is dangerous,
And the poore infant, yet not fully bred,
Thear where he should be borne, lies buried:
So the darke Prince, from his infernall cell,
Casts up his griesly Torturers of hell,
And whets them to revenge, with his insulting spell.

See how the world smiles in eternall peace;
While we, the harmles brats, and rustie throng
Of Night, our snakes in curles doe pranke, and dresse:
Why sleepe our drouzie scorpions so long?
Whear is our wonted vertue to doe wrong?
Are we our selves; or are we Graces growen?
The Sonnes of hell, or heav'n? was never knowne
Our whips so over-moss't, and brands so deadly blowne.

O long desired, never hop't for howre,
When our Tormentour shall our torments feele!
Arme, arme your selves, sad Dires of my pow'r,
And make our Judge for pardon to us kneele,
Slise, launch, dig, teare him with your whips of steele:
My selfe in honour of so noble prize,
Will powre you reaking blood, shed with the cries
Of hastie heyres, who their owne fathers sacrifice.

With that a flood of poyson, blacke as hell,
Out from his filthy gorge, the beast did spue,
That all about his blessed bodie fell,
And thousand flaming serpents hissing flew
About his soule, from hellish sulphur threw,
And every one brandisht his fierie tongue,
And woorming all about his soule they clung,
But he their stings tore out, and to the ground them flung.

So have I seene a rocks heroique brest,
Against proud Neptune, that his ruin threats,
When all his waves he hath to battle prest,
And with a thousand swelling billows beats
The stubborne stone, and foams, and chafes, and frets
To heave him from his root, unmooved stand;
And more in heapes the barking surges band,
The more in pieces beat, flie weeping to the strand.

So may wee oft a vent'rous father see,
To please his wanton sonne, his onely joy,
Coast all about, to catch the roving bee,
And stung himselfe, his busie hands employ
To save the honie, for the gamesome boy:
Or from the snake her rank'rous teeth erace,
Making his child the toothles Serpent chace,
Or, with his little hands, her tum'rous gorge embrace.

Thus Christ himselfe to watch, and sorrow gives,
While, deaw'd in easie sleepe, dead Peter lies:
Thus Man in his owne grave securely lives,
While Christ alive, with thousand horrours dies,
Yet more for theirs, then his owne pardon cries:
No sinnes he had, yet all our sinnes he bare,
So much doth God for others evills care,
And yet so careles men for their owne evills are.

See drouzie Peter, see whear Judas wakes,
Whear Judas kisses him whom Peter flies:
O kisse more deadly then the sting of snakes!
False love more hurtfull then true injuries!
Aye me! how deerly God his Servant buies?
For God his man, at his owne blood doth hold,
And Man his God, for thirtie pence hath sold.
So tinne for silver goes, and dunghill drosse for gold.

Yet was it not enough for Sinne to chuse
A Servant, to betray his Lord to them;
But that a Subject must his King accuse,
But that a Pagan must his God condemne,
But that a Father must his Sonne contemne,
But that the Sonne must his owne death desire,
That Prince, and People, Servant, and the Sire,
Gentil, and Jewe, and he against himselfe conspire?

Was this the oyle, to make thy Saints adore thee,
The froathy spittle of the rascall throng?
Ar these the virges, that ar borne before thee,
Base whipps of corde, and knotted all along?
Is this thy golden scepter, against wrong,
A reedie cane? is that the crowne adornes
Thy shining locks, a crowne of spiny thornes?
Ar theas the Angels himns, the Priests blasphemous scornes?

Who ever sawe Honour before asham'd;
Afflicted Majestie, debased height;
Innocence guiltie, Honestie defam'd;
Libertie bound, Health sick, the Sunne in night?
But since such wrong was offred unto right,
Our night is day, our sicknes health is growne,
Our shame is veild, this now remaines alone
For us, since he was ours, that wee bee not our owne.

Night was ordeyn'd for rest, and not for paine,
But they, to paine their Lord, their rest contemne,
Good lawes to save, what bad men would have slaine,
And not bad Judges, with one breath, by them
The innocent to pardon, and condemne:
Death for revenge of murderers, not decaie
Of guiltles blood, but now, all headlong sway
Mans Murderer to save, mans Saviour to slaie.

Fraile Multitude, whose giddy lawe is list,
And best applause is windy flattering,
Most like the breath of which it doth consist,
No sooner blowne, but as soone vanishing,
As much desir'd, as little profiting,
That makes the men that have it oft as light,
As those that give it, which the proud invite,
And feare: the bad mans friend, the good mans hypocrite.

It was but now their sounding clamours sung,
Blessed is he, that comes from the most high,
And all the mountaines with Hosanna rung,
And nowe, away with him, away they crie,
And nothing can be heard but crucifie:
It was but now, the Crowne it selfe they save,
And golden name of King unto him gave,
And nowe, no King, but onely Caesar, they will have:

It was but now they gathered blooming May,
And of his armes disrob'd the branching tree,
To strowe with boughs, and blossomes all thy way,
And now, the branchlesse truncke a crosse for thee,
And May, dismai'd, thy coronet must be:
It was but now they wear so kind, to throwe
Their owne best garments, whear thy feet should goe,
And now, thy selfe they strip, and bleeding wounds they show.

See whear the author of all life is dying:
O fearefull day! he dead, what hope of living?
See whear the hopes of all our lives are buying:
O chearfull day! they bought, what feare of grieving?
Love love for hate, and death for life is giving:
Loe how his armes are stretch't abroad to grace thee,
And, as they open stand, call to embrace thee,
Why stai'st thou then my soule; O flie, flie thither hast thee.

His radious head, with shamefull thornes they teare,
His tender backe, with bloody whipps they rent,
His side and heart, they furrowe with a spear,
His hands, and feete, with riving nayles they tent,
And, as to disentrayle his soule they meant,
They jolly at his griefe, and make their game,
His naked body to expose to shame,
That all might come to see, and all might see, that came.

Whereat the heav'n put out his guiltie eye,
That durst behold so execrable sight,
And sabled all in blacke the shadie skie,
And the pale starres strucke with unwonted fright,
Quenched their everlasting lamps in night:
And at his birth as all the starres heav'n had,
Wear not enough, but a newe star was made,
So now both newe, and old, and all away did fade.

The mazed Angels shooke their fierie wings,
Readie to lighten vengeance from Gods throne,
One downe his eyes upon the Manhood flings,
Another gazes on the Godhead, none
But surely thought his wits wear not his owne:
Some flew, to looke if it wear very hee,
But, when Gods arme unarmed they did see,
Albee they sawe it was, they vow'd it could not bee.

The sadded aire hung all in cheerelesse blacke,
Through which, the gentle windes soft sighing flewe,
And Jordan into such huge sorrowe brake,
(As if his holy streame no measure knewe,)
That all his narrowe bankes he overthrewe,
The trembling earth with horrour inly shooke,
And stubborne stones, such griefe unus'd to brooke,
Did burst, and ghosts awaking from their graves gan looke.

The wise Philosopher cried, all agast,
The God of nature surely lanquished,
The sad Centurion cried out as fast,
The Sonne of God, the Sonne of God was dead,
The headlong Jew hung downe his pensive head,
And homewards far'd, and ever, as he went,
He smote his brest, halfe desperately bent,
The verie woods, and beasts did seeme his death lament.

The gracelesse Traytour round about did looke,
(He lok't not long, the Devill quickely met him)
To finde a halter, which he found, and tooke,
Onely a gibbet nowe he needes must get him,
So on a wither'd tree he fairly set him,
And helpt him fit the rope, and in his thought
A thousand furies, with their whippes, he brought,
So thear he stands, readie to hell to make his vault.

For him a waking bloodhound, yelling loude,
That in his bosome long had sleeping layde,
A guiltie Conscience, barking after blood,
Pursued eagerly, ne ever stai'd,
Till the betrayers selfe it had betray'd.
Oft chang'd he place, in hope away to winde,
But change of place could never change his minde,
Himselfe he flies to loose, and followes for to finde.

Thear is but two wayes for this soule to have,
When parting from the body, forth it purges,
To flie to heav'n, or fall into the grave,
Where whippes of scorpions, with the stinging scourges,
Feed on the howling ghosts, and firie Surges
Of brimstone rowle about the cave of night,
Where flames doe burne, and yet no sparke of light,
And fire both fries, and freezes the blaspheming spright.

Thear lies the captive soule, aye-sighing sore,
Reck'ning a thousand yeares since her first bands,
Yet staies not thear, but addes a thousand more,
And at another thousand never stands,
But tells to them the starres, and heapes the sands,
And now the starres are told, and sands are runne,
And all those thousand thousand myriads done,
And yet but now, alas! but now all is begunne.

With that a flaming brand a Furie catch't,
And shooke, and tost it round in his wilde thought,
So from his heart all joy, all comfort snatch't,
With every starre of hope, and as he sought,
(With present feare, and future griefe distraught)
To flie from his owne heart, and aide implore
Of him, the more he gives, that hath the more,
Whose storehouse is the heavens, too little for his store.

Stay wretch on earth, cried Satan, restles rest,
Know'st thou not Justice lives in heav'n; or can
The worst of creatures live among the best;
Among the blessed Angels cursed man?
Will Judas now become a Christian?
Whither will hopes long wings transport thy minde;
Or canst thou not thy selfe a sinner finde;
Or cruell to thy selfe, wouldst thou have Mercie kinde?

He gave thee life: why shouldst thou seeke to slay him?
He lent thee wealth: to feed thy avarice?
He cal'd thee friend: what, that thou shouldst betray him?
He kist thee, though he knew his life the price:
He washt thy feet: should'st thou his sacrifice?
He gave thee bread, and wine, his bodie, blood,
And at thy heart to enter in he stood,
But then I entred in, and all my snakie brood.

As when wild Pentheus, growne madde with fear,
Whole troups of hellish haggs about him spies,
Two bloodie Sunnes stalking the duskie sphear,
And twofold Thebes runs rowling in his eyes:
Or through the scene staring Orestes flies,
With eyes flung back upon his Mothers ghost,
That, with infernall serpents all embost,
And torches quencht in blood, doth her stern sonne accost.

Such horrid gorgons, and misformed formes
Of damned fiends, flew dauncing in his heart,
That now, unable to endure their stormes,
Flie, flie, he cries, thy selfe, what ere thou art,
Hell, hell alreadie burnes in every part.
So downe into his Torturers armes he fell,
That readie stood his funeralls to yell,
And in a clowd of night to waft him quick to hell.

Yet oft he snacht, and started as he hung:
So when the senses halfe enslumb'red lie,
The headlong bodie, readie to be flung,
By the deluding phansie, from some high,
And craggie rock, recovers greedily,
And clasps the yeelding pillow, halfe asleepe,
And, as from heav'n it tombled to the deepe,
Feeles a cold sweat through every trembling member creepe.

Thear let him hang, embowelled in blood,
Whear never any gentle Sheapheard feed
His blessed flocks, nor ever heav'nly flood
Fall on the cursed ground, nor holesome seed
That may the least delight or pleasure breed:
Let never Spring visit his habitation,
But nettles, kixe, and all the weedie nation,
With emptie elders grow, sad signes of desolation.

Thear let the Dragon keepe his habitance,
And stinking karcases be throwne avaunt,
Faunes, Sylvans, and deformed Satyrs daunce,
Wild-cats, wolves, toads, and s[c]reechowles direly chaunt,
Thear ever let some restles spirit haunt,
With hollow sound, and clashing cheynes, to scarr
That passenger, and eyes like to the starr,
That sparkles in the crest of angrie Mars afarr.

But let the blessed deawes for ever showr
Upon that ground, in whose faire fields I spie
The bloodie ensigne of our Saviour:
Strange conquest, whear the Conquerour must die,
And he is slaine, that winns the victorie:
But he, that living, had no house to owe it,
Now had no grave, but Joseph must bestowe it,
O runne ye Saints apace, and with sweete flo[w'r]s bestrowe it.

And ye glad Spirits, that now sainted sit
On your coelestiall thrones, in beawtie drest,
Though I your teares recoumpt, O let not it
With after-sorrowe wound your tender brest,
Or with new griefe unquiet your soft rest:
Inough is me your plaints to sound againe,
That never could inough my selfe complaine,
Sing then, O sing aloude thou Arimathean Swaine.

But long he stood, in his faint armes uphoulding
The fairest spoile heav'n ever forfeited,
With such a silent passion griefe unfoulding,
That, had the sheete but on himselfe beene spread,
He for the corse might have beene buried:
And with him stood the happie theefe, that stole
By night his owne salvation, and a shole
Of Maries drowned, round about him, sat in dole.

At length (kissing his lipps before he spake,
At if from thence he fetcht againe his ghost)
To Mary thus, with teares, his silence brake.
Ah woefull soule! what joy in all our cost,
When him we hould, we have alreadie lost?
Once did'st thou loose thy Sonne, but found'st againe,
Now find'st thy Sonne, but find'st him lost, and slaine.
Ay mee! though he could death, how canst thou life sustaine?

Whear ere, deere Lord, thy Shadowe hovereth,
Blessing the place, wherein it deigns abide,
Looke how the earth darke horrour covereth,
Cloathing in mournfull black her naked side,
Willing her shadowe up to heav'n to glide,
To see and if it meet thee wandring thear,
That so, and if her selfe must misse thee hear,
At least her shadow may her dutie to thee bear.

See how the Sunne in daytime cloudes his face,
And lagging Vesper, loosing his late teame,
Forgets in heav'n to runne his nightly race,
But, sleeping on bright Oetas top, doeth dreame
The world a Chaos is, no joyfull beame
Looks from his starrie bowre, the heav'ns doe mone,
And Trees drop teares, least we should greeve alone,
The windes have learnt to sigh, and waters hoarcely grone.

And you sweete flow'rs, that in this garden growe,
Whose happie states a thousand soules envie,
Did you your owne felicities but knowe,
Your selves unpluckt would to his funerals hie,
You never could in better season die:
O that I might into your places slide,
The gate of heav'n stands gaping in his side,
Thear in my soule should steale, and all her faults should hide.

Are theas the eyes, that made all others blind;
Ah why ar they themselves now blemished?
Is this the face, in which all beawtie shin'd;
What blast hath thus his flowers debellished?
Ar these the feete, that on the watry head
Of the unfaithfull Ocean passage found;
Why goe they now so lowely under ground,
Wash't with our woorthles teares, and their owne precious wound?

One hem but of the garments that he wore,
Could medicine whole countries of their paine,
One touch of this pale hand could life restore,
One word of these cold lips revive the slaine:
Well the blinde man thy Godhead might maintaine,
What though the sullen Pharises repin'd?
He that should both compare, at length would finde
The blinde man onely sawe, the Seers all wear blinde.

Why should they thinke thee worthy to be slaine?
Was it because thou gav'st their blinde men eyes;
Or that thou mad'st their lame to walke againe;
Or for thou heal'dst their sick mens maladies;
Or mad'st their dumbe to speake; and dead to rise?
O could all these but any grace have woon,
What would they not to save thy life have done?
The dumb man would have spoke, and lame man would have runne.

Let mee, O let me neere some fountaine lie,
That through the rocke heaves up his sandie head,
Or let me dwell upon some mountaine high,
Whose hollowe root, and baser parts ar spread
On fleeting waters, in his bowells bred,
That I their streames, and they my teares may feed,
Or, cloathed in some Hermits ragged weed,
Spend all my daies, in weeping for this cursed deed.

The life, the which I once did love, I leave,
The love, in whi[c]h I once did live, I loath,
I hate the light, that did my light bereave,
Both love, and life, I doe despise you both,
O that one grave might both our ashes cloath!
A Love, a Life, a Light I now obteine,
Able to make my Age growe young againe,
Able to save the sick, and to revive the slaine.

Thus spend we teares, that never can be spent,
On him, that sorrow now no more shall see:
Thus send we sighs, that never can be sent,
To him, that died to live, and would not be,
To be thear whear he would; here burie we
This heav'nly earth, here let it softly sleepe,
The fairest Sheapheard of the fairest sheepe.
So all the bodie kist, and homewards went to weepe.

So home their bodies went, to seeke repose,
But at the grave they left their soules behinde;
O who the force of love coelestiall knowes!
That can the cheynes of natures selfe unbinde,
Sending the Bodie home, without the minde.
Ah blessed Virgin, what high Angels art
Can ever coumpt thy teares, or sing thy smart,
When every naile, that pierst his hand, did pierce thy heart?

So Philomel, perch't on an aspin sprig,
Weeps all the night her lost virginitie,
And sings her sad tale to the merrie twig,
That daunces at such joyfull miserie,
Ne ever lets sweet rest invade her eye:
But leaning on a thorne her daintie chest,
For feare soft sleepe should steale into her brest,
Expresses in her song greefe not to be exprest.

So when the Larke, poore birde, afarre espi'th
Her yet unfeather'd children (whom to save
She strives in vaine) slaine by the fatall sithe,
Which from the medowe her greene locks doeth shave,
That their warme nest is now become their grave;
The woefull mother up to heaven springs,
And all about her plaintive notes she flings,
And their untimely fate most pittifully sings.

[Boas (1908) 1:58-74]