George Wither frames his epithalamium with a pastoral narrative in heroic couplets describing the poet's journey up to London and the sights he saw — with attention to the political significance of the marriage, his status as an outsider at court, and the criticism he was receiving for having published Abuses Stript and Whipt. The epithalamium itself is written in lilting octosyllabic couplets, and the whole is followed by seven epigrams on the subject of marriage.
The frame opens with a description of the great storm; Wither asks his muse about it, and is informed that the noise was Jove and Neptune summoning their forces to attend "A match concluded, twixt Thame and Rhine" Sig. A4v. The poet then travels to court, where in contrast to the recent mourning for Prince Henry, all is now as gay as the Spring itself. He observes the pageantry, and predicts great things for the new princess of Palatine: "Thy Mind, shall ever be above thy state. | For over, and beside thy proper merit, | Our last Eliza grants her Noble spirit" Sig. B2v.
Interpreting the pageants for Elizabeth, Wither possibly alludes to Mother Hubberds Tale: "And if hereafter, you should hap to see | Such Mimick Apes; (that courts disgraces be) | I meane such Chamber-combatants; who never | Weare other helmet, then a hat of Bever ... | Your wisdome judge (by this experience) can: | Which hath most worth, Hermaphrodite, or Man" Sig. B3v-B4. After displaying this temerity, the poet asserts that he is no courtier: "I am not of those Heliconian wits; | Whose pleasing straines the Courts known humor fits. | But a poore rurall Shepheard, that for need: | Can make sheepe Musique, on an Oaten reed" Sig. B4. There follows the Epithalamium proper, mingling traditional topics with descriptions of the particular occasion and its political significance.
Preface: "Readers; for that in my booke of Satyricall Essayes; I have been deemed over Cynicall; to shew, that I am not wholy inclined to that Vaine: But indeed especially, out of the love which in duty I owe to those incomparable Princes, I have in honor of their Royall Solemnities, Published these short Epithalamiaes. By which you may perceave, (how ever the world thinke of me) I am not of such a Churlish Constitution, but I can afford Vertue her deserved honor; and have as well an affable looke to encourage Honestie; as a sterne frowne to cast on Villanie; if the times would suffer me, I could be as pleasing as others; and perhaps ere long I will make you amends for my former rigor; Meane while I commit this unto your censures; and bid you farewell. G. W." Sig A3.
George Ellis: "The first productions of this author gave proof of genuine poetical talents, till his headstrong and restless disposition forced him out of the path of the Muses into the busy and turbulent scene of puritanical politics. After which, his almost innumerable works, though marked with strong original sense and ardent party zeal, began, necessarily from the subject, to degenerate in their style and tone, and to lose that playful fancy, pure taste, and artless delicacy of sentiment, which distinguish the poetry of his early youth" Specimens of early English Poets (1801; 1845) 3:74.
Robert Aris Willmott: "Wither composed the Epithalamia with a twofold object: to honour the Princess, and to convince the public that he 'had as well an affable look to encourage honesty, as a stern frown to cast on villany. If the times would suffer me,' he adds, 'I could be as pleasing others, and, perhaps, ere long I will make you amends for my former rigour.' The song of congratulation was worthy of himself and of the occasion; and the manner in which he recommends his rustic melody is very graceful and tender.... The sound of Pan's shepherd-reed was in some danger of being drowned in the general rejoicing and pomp of these sumptuous nuptials; upon the celebration of which, according to Rapin, the enormous sum of £93,278 was expended" Lives of Sacred Poets (1834) 71-72.
Robert Southey described George Wither as "a most prolific and unequal writer, whose poems, more perhaps than those of any other English author, deserve to be carefully winnowed, the grain, which is of the best quality, being now lost amid the heap of chaff" The Doctor (1849) 244.
Samuel Austin Allibone: "Epithalamia, 1612, 4to: Heber, pt. 4, 3027, £4 9s." Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 3:2805.
Edmund Gosse: "The time has passed when this voluminous writer can be treated by any competent critic with the contempt of the age of Anne. The scorn of Pope still clings, however, to the 'wretched Withers,' whose name is misspelt, and of whose works he had probably seen nothing but the satires. Nor would it be safe, on the score of exquisite beauties discoverable in the early lyrics of Wither, to overlook the radical faults of his style. One or two generous appreciators of Jacobean verse have done this, and have claimed for Wither a very high place in English poetry. But proportion, judgment, taste must count for something, and in these qualities the lyrist was deplorably deficient. The careful student, not of excerpts made by loving and partial hands, but of the bulk of his published writings, will be inclined to hesitate before he admits that Wither was a great poet. He will rather call him a very curious and verbose scribbler, to whom in his youth there came unconsidered flashes of most genuine and exquisite poetry" The Jacobean Poets (1894) 181.
George Saintsbury: "Wither illustrated both his pluck and his silliness by collecting all his good poems under the name of 'Juvenilia' when he was nearly thirty-five, and publishing hardly anything that was not rubbish later. In fact, out of 'The Hymns and Songs of the Church' and 'Hallelujah,' it is quite in vain to search the vast desert of his later work for anything good; and the samples of good hymn-metre and phrase in these two are not abundant. Even the Juvenilia themselves contain plenty of warning both of what was to come an of what was not" History of English Prosody (1906-10) 2:122.
Virginia Tufte: "The poet describes the tempestuous and windy weather and asks his Muse the reason for it. She explains that the thunder was Jove summoning his legions, and the winds were the Tritons 'sounding in the deep' to warn the rivers and streams of 'A match concluded, 'twixt great Thame and Rhine.' Descriptions of the preparations for the wedding, the shows and triumphs, the sea fight and fireworks, and 'what meditations the mind may be occupied about when we behold them' occupy nine pages in the first edition, followed by the ten-page nuptial song, two pages of comment by the poet on his own role, and three pages of epigrams on marriage" Poetry of Marriage (1970) 320.
William B. Hunter: "An interesting aspect of Wither's early poetry is its indication that someone outside James's court could aspire to poetic prominence. Wither tried at first to make his way by celebrating the affairs of court with the funeral poem for Prince Henry and the wedding poem for Elizabeth. One quickly recognizes, however, that this is an outsider speaking: he comes up from his home in the country to see the public display for the wedding, but he remains at a distance.... Its thirty-nine stanzas follow the wedding day from dawn into night as did Spenser's but lack the complexity of thought or structure of the more famous poem. One lacks any sense, too, of immediate participation on the poet's part. Only once (ll. 469-70) does he verge on the sensual, but he then quickly retreats. Without being actively involved in the party, Wither has Puritan leanings" English Spenserians (1977) 113.
Bright Northerne Star, and faire Minervaes peere,
Sweet Lady of this Day: Great Britans deere.
Loe thy poore Vassall, that was erst so rude,
With his most Rustick Satyrs to intrude,
Once more like a poore Silvan now drawes neare,
And in thy sacred Presence dares appeare.
Oh, let not that sweete Bowe thy Browe be bent,
To scarre him with a Shaft of discontent.
One looke with Anger, nay, thy gentlest Frowne,
Is twice enough to cast a Greater downe.
My Will is ever, never to offend,
These that are good; and what I here entend,
Your Worth compels me to; For lately greev'd,
More then can be exprest, or well beleev'd:
Minding for ever to abandon sport,
And live exilede from places of resort;
Careles of all, I yeelding to security,
Thought to shut up my Muse in darke obscuritie.
And in content, the better to repose,
A lonely Grove upon a Mountaine chose.
East from Caer Winn, midway twixt Arle and Dis,
Two Springs, where Britans true Arcadia is.
But ere I entred my entended course,
Great Aeolus began to offer force.
The boysterous King was growne so mad with rage;
That all the Earth was but his furies stage.
Fyre, Ayre, Earth, Sea, were intermixt in one:
Yet Fyre, through Water, Earth and Ayr shone.
The Sea, as if she ment to whelme them under,
Beat on the Cliffs, and ragt more loud then thunder:
And whilst the Vales she with salt waves did fill,
The Ayre showert Flouds that drencht our highest hill,
And the proud trees, that would no duty know;
Lay overturned, twenties in a Rowe.
Yea every Man for feare, fell to Devotion;
Least the whole Ile should have been drencht in th' Ocean.
Which I perceiving conjur'd up my Muse,
The Spirit whose good helpe I sometimes use;
And though I ment to breake her rest no more,
I was then faine her ayd for to implore.
And by her helpe indeed, I came to know,
Why both the Ayre, and Seas, were troubled so.
For having urg'd her, that she would unfold
What cause she knewe: Thus much at last she told.
Of late (quoth she) there is by powers Divine;
A match concluded, twixt Great Thame and Rhine.
Two famous Rivers, equall both to Nile:
The one, the pride of Europes greatest Ile.
Th' other disdaining to be closely pent,
Washes a great part, of the Continent.
Yet with abundance, doth the Wants supplie,
Of the still-thirsting Sea, that's never drie.
And now, these, being not alone endear'd,
To mightie Neptune, and his watrie Heard:
But also to the great, and dreadfull Jove
With all his sacred Companies above,
Both have assented by their Loves inviting:
To grace (with their owne presence) this Uniting.
Jove cal'd a Summons to the Worlds great wonder;
T'was that we heard of late, which we thought thunder.
A thousand Legions he intends to send them:
Of Cherubins and Angells, to attend them:
And those strong Winds, that did such blustering keepe,
Were but the Tritons, sounding in the Deepe;
To warne each River, pettie Streame and Spring,
Their aide unto their Soveraigne to bring.
The Floods and Shewers that came so plenteous downe,
And lay entrencht in every Field and Towne:
Were but retainers to the Nobler sort
That owe their Homage at the Watrie Court.
Or else the Streames not pleas'd with their owne store,
To grace the Thames, their Mistres borrowed more.
Exacting from their neighboring Dales and Hills,
But by consent all, naught against their wills.
Yet now since in this stir, are brought to ground
Many faire buildings, many hundreds drown'd,
And dailie found, of broken Ships great store,
That lie dismembred upon every shore:
With divers other mischeefes knowne to all
This is the cause, that those great harmes befall.
Whilst others things, in redines did make,
Hells hatefull Haggs, from out their prisons brake,
And spighting at this hopefull match, began
To wreak their wrath, on Ayre, Earth, Sea, and Man.
Some, having shapes of Romish shavelings got
Spewd out their venome: and began to plot:
Which way to thwart it: others made their way
With much distraction thorough land and Sea
Extreamely raging. But Almighty Jove
Perceaves their Hate, and Envy from above:
He'le checke their fury, and in yrons chain'd
Their libertie abus'd, shall be restrain'd;
Hee'le shut them up, from comming to molest,
The Meriments of Hymens holy feast.
Where shall be knit that sacred Gordian knot,
Which in no age to come, shall be forgot;
Which Policie nor Force shall nere unty,
But must continue to eternitie.
Which for the whole Worlds good was fore-decreed,
With Hope expected long, now come indeed.
And of whose future glorie, worth, and merit,
Much I could speak, with a prophetick spirit.
Thus by my Muses deare assistance, finding
The cause of this disturbance, with more minding
My Countries welfare, then my owne content:
And longing to behold this Tales event.
My lonely life I suddainly forsooke,
And to the Court againe my journey tooke.
Mean while I sawe the furious Winds were laid;
The risings of the swelling Waters staid.
The Winter, gan to change in every thing;
And seem'd to borrow mildnes of the Spring.
The Violet and Primerose fresh did growe;
And as in Aprill, trimd both Cops and rowe.
The Citie, that I left in mourning clad,
Drouping; as if it would have still bin sad:
I found deckt up; in robes so neat, and trimme,
Fair Iris, would have lookt but stale and dimme,
In her best cullors; had she there appeard.
The Sorrowes of the Court I found well cleerd,
Their wofull habits quite cast off, and tyr'd
In such a glorious fashion; I admir'd.
All her cheefe Peeres and choicest beauties too
In greater pompe, then Mortalls use to doe;
Wait as attendants; Juno's come to see;
Because shee heares that this solemnitie
Exceeds faire Hippodamia's, (where the strife
Twixt her, Minerva, and lame Vulcans wife
Did first arise) and with her, leads along;
A Noble, stately, and a mightie throng.
Venus, (attended with her rarest features,
Sweet lovely-smiling, and hart-moving creatures,
The very fairest Jewells of her treasure,
Able to move the senseles stones to pleasure)
Of all her sweetest Saints, hath robd their shrines;
And brings them for the Courtiers Valentines.
Nor doth Dame Pallas, from these tryumphs lurke:
Her Noblest wits, shee freely sets on worke.
Of late, shee summond them unto this place,
To do your masks and Revells, better grace.
Here Mars himselfe to, Clad in Armor bright,
Hath showne his fury, in a bloudles fight;
And both on land, and water, sternly drest,
Acted his bloudy Stratagems in Jest.
Which to the people, frighted by their error;
With seeming wounds and death did ad more terror.
Besides; to give, the greater cause of wonder;
Jove did vouchsafe, a ratling peale of thunder,
Cometts and Meteors by the starrs exhald
Were from the Midle-region lately cald:
And to a place appointed, made repaire,
To show their fierie friscolls in the ayre.
People innumerable do resort;
As if all Europe here would keepe one Court.
Yea Hymen in his safferon-coloured weed;
To celebrate his rites is full agreed.
All this I see; which seeing, makes me borrow,
Some of their mirth a while, and lay downe sorrow.
And yet not this: but rather the delight,
My hart doth take in the much-hoped sight,
Of these thy glories, long already due:
And this sweet comfort, that my eyes do viewe.
Thy happy Bridegrome, Prince Count Palatine,
Now thy best friend and truest Valentine.
Upon whose brow, my mind doth read the story,
Of mightie fame; and a true future glorie.
Me thinks I doe foresee already, how
Princes, and Monarchs, at his stirrop bow.
I see him shine in steele. The bloudy feilds
Already wonne; and how his proud foe yeelds.
God, hath ordaind him happines great store:
And yet in nothing, is he happy more
Then in thy love, (faire Princesse) For, unles
Heaven, like to man, be prone to ficklenes:
Thy Fortunes, must be greater in effect,
Then time, makes show of, or men can expect.
Yet, notwithstanding all those goods of fate;
Thy Mind, shall ever be above thy state.
For over, and beside thy proper merit,
Our last Eliza grants her Noble spirit.
To be redoubled on thee; and your names
Being both one, shall give you both one fames.
Oh blessed thou! and they to whom thou giv'st,
The leave to be attend thee where thou liv'st.
And haples we, that must of force let goe,
The matchles treasure, we esteeme of so.
But yet, we trust tis for our good, and thine:
Or els thou shouldst not, change thy Thame for Rhyne.
We hope, that this will the uniting prove,
Of Countries, and of nations by your love.
And that from out your blessed loynes shall come;
Another terror, to the Whore of Rome:
And such a stout Achilles as shall make,
Her tottering Walls, and weake foundation shake.
For Thetis-like, thy fortunes do require:
Thy Issue should be greater, then his sire.
But (gratious Princesse) now since thus it fares:
And God so well for you, and us, prepares.
Since he hath daign'd such honors, for to do you
And showne himselfe, so favourable to you.
Since he hath changd your sorrowes, and your sadnes
Into such great, and unexpected gladnes.
Oh now remember, you to be at leasure
Sometime to think on him, amidst your pleasure!
Let not these glories of the world deceave you
Nor her vaine favors of your selfe bereave you.
Consider yet, for all this Jollitie,
Y' are mortall, and must feele mortalitie.
And that God can in midst of all your Joyes,
Quite dash this pompe, and fill you with annoyes,
Triumphes are fit for Princes; yet we find,
They ought not wholy to take up the mind.
Nor yet to be let past, as things in vaine,
For out of all things, wit will knowledge gaine.
Musique may teach, of difference in degree,
The best-tun'd Common-Weales will framed be.
And that he moves, and lives, with greatest grace;
That unto Time, and Measure, tyes his pace.
Then let these things be Emblems, to present.
Your Mind, with a more lasting true content.
When you behold the infinite resort,
The glory and the splendor, of the Court:
What wondrous favor's, God doth here bequeath you,
How many hundred thousands, are beneath you:
And view with admiration your great blisse,
Then with your selfe you may imagine this.
"Tis but a blast, or transitory shade;
Which in the turning of a hand, may fade.
Honors, which you your selfe did never winne.
And might, (had God bin pleas'd), anothers bin.
And think, if shaddowes have such majestie;
What are the glories of eternitie?"
Then by this image of a fight on sea,
Wherein you heard the thundring canons plea;
And saw flames, breaking from their Murthering throts;
Which in true skirmish, fling resistles shots.
Your wisdome may (and will no doubt) begin;
To cast what perill a poore Souldiers in.
You will conceave his miseries and cares,
How many dangers, deaths, and wounds he shares.
Then though the most pass't over and neglect them
That Retorick, will move you to respect them.
And if hereafter, you should hap to see
Such Mimick Apes; (that courts disgraces be)
I meane such Chamber-combatants; who never
Weare other helmet, then a hat of Bever.
Or nere board Pinnace but in silken saile,
And in the stead of boysterous shirts of maile,
Goe arm'd in Cambrick? if that such a Kite,
(I say) should scorne an Egle in your sight:
Your wisdome judge (by this experience) can:
Which hath most worth, Hermaphrodite, or Man.
The nights strange prospects, made to feede the eyes;
With Artfull fyres, mounted in the skies:
Graced with horred claps of sulphury thunders;
May make you mind, Jehovahs greater wonders.
Nor is there any thing, but you may thence
Reape inward gaine; aswell as please the Sense.
But pardon me (oh fayrest) that am bold,
My heart thus freely, plainely, to unfold.
What though I knowe, you knew all this before:
My love this showes, and that is something more.
Do not, my honest service here disdaine,
I am a faithfull, though an humble Swaine.
I'me none of those, that have the meanes or place;
With showes of cost to do your Nuptialls grace:
But only master, of mine owne desire,
Am hither come, with others to admire.
I am not of those Heliconian wits;
Whose pleasing straines the Courts known humor fits.
But a poore rurall Shepheard, that for need:
Can make sheepe Musique, on an Oaten reed.
Yet for my love (Ile this be bold to boast)
It is as much to you, as his that's most:
Which; since I no way els, can now explaine,
If you'l in midst of all these glories, daigne
To lend your eares unto my Muse so long:
She shall declare it, in a Wedding song.
Valentine, good morrow to thee,
Good I wish, though none I doe thee:
I would waite upon thy pleasure,
But I cannot be at leasure.
For I owe this day as debter,
To (a thousand times) thy better,
Hymen now will have effected
What hath been so long expected:
Thame thy Mistres, now unwedded;
Soone must with a Prince be bedded.
If thou'lt see her Virgin ever,
Come, and do it now, or never.
Where art thou, oh faire Aurora?
Call in Ver and lady Flora.
And you daughters of the Morning,
In your neat'st, and feat'st, adorning:
Cleare your fore-heads, and be sprightfull;
That this day may seeme delightfull.
All you Nimphs, that use the Mountaines,
Or delight in groves, and fountaines;
Shepheardesses, you that dally,
Either upon hill or vally;
And you daughters of the Bower,
That acknowledge Vestaes power.
Oh, you sleep too long; awake yee,
See how Time doth overtake yee:
Hark, the Lark is up and singeth,
And the house, with ecchoes ringeth.
Pretious howres, why neglect yee,
Whil'st affaires, thus expect yee?
Come away, upon my blessing,
The bride-chamber, lies to dressing:
Strow the waies, with leaves of Roses,
Some make garlands, some make poses,
'Tis a favor, and't may joy you;
That your Mistres will employ you.
Where's Sabrina, with her daughters;
That do sport about her waters;
Those that with their locks of Amber,
Haunt the fruitfull hills of Camber;
We must have to fill the number,
All the Nimphs of Trent and Humber.
Fie, your hast, is scarce sufficing,
For the Bride's awake and rising.
Enter beauties, and attend her:
All your helps and service lend her.
With your quaint'st, and new'st devices:
Trim your Lady, faire Thamisis.
See shee's ready: with Joyes greet her,
Lads, go bid the Brid-groome meet her.
But from rash approach advise him,
Lest a too much Joy, surprize him.
None I ere knew yet, that dared:
View an Angell, unprepared.
Now unto the Church she hies her,
Envy bursts, if shee espies her.
In her gestures as she paces,
Are united all the Graces:
Which who sees and hath his senses,
Loves, in spight of all defences.
Oh most true majestick creature.
Nobles did you note her feature?
Felt you not an inward motion,
Tempting Love to yeeld devotion;
And as you were ev'n desiring.
Something check you, for aspiring?
That's hir Vertue, which still tameth
Loose desires: and bad thoughts blameth.
For whilst others were unruly,
She observ'd Diana truly:
And hath by that meanes, obtayned,
Guifts of her that none have gained.
Yon's the bridgrome d'yee not spy him?
See how all the Ladies eye him.
Venus his perfection findeth,
And no more Adonis mindeth:
Much of him my Hart divineth:
On whose brow all Vertue shineth.
Two such Creatures Nature would not,
Let one place long keep: she should not:
One shee'le have, (she cares not whether)
But our Loves can spare her neither.
Therefore ere we'le so be spighted;
They in one shall be united.
Natures selfe, is well contented,
By that meanes, to be prevented.
And behold, they are retired,
So conjoyn'd, as we desired:
Hand in hand, not only fixed,
But their harts are intermixed.
Happy they, and we that see it,
For the good of Europe be it.
And heare Heaven my devotion,
Make this Rhyne and Thame an Ocean:
That it may with might and wonder,
Whelme the pride of Tyber under.
Now yon Hall their persons shroudeth,
Whither all this people crowdeth.
There they feasted are with plentie,
Sweet Ambrosia is no deinty.
Groomes quaff Nectar: for theres meeter,
Yea more costly wines, and sweeter.
Young men all, for joy go ring yee,
And your merriest Carolls sing yee.
Here's of Dam'zells many choices,
Let them tune their sweetest voices.
Fet the Muses too, to cheare them:
They can ravish, all that heare them.
Ladyes, t'is their Highnesse pleasures,
To behold you, foot the Measures:
Lovely gestures addeth graces,
To your bright, and Angell faces.
Give your active minds the bridle:
Nothing worse, then to be idle.
Worthies, your affaires forbeare yee,
For the State awhile may spare yee:
Time was; that you loved sporting,
Have you quite forgot your Courting?
Joy the hart of Cares beguileth:
Once a yeare Apollo smileth.
Fellow shepheards, how I pray you,
Can your flocks at this time stay you?
Let us, also hie us thither,
Lets lay all our witts together.
And some Pastorall invent them,
That may show the love we ment them.
I my selfe though meanest stated,
(And in Court now almost hated)
Will knit up my Scourge, and venter
In the midst of them to enter:
For I know, ther's no disdaining,
Where I looke for entertaining.
See, me thinks the very season,
As if capable of Reason;
Hath laine by her native rigor,
The faire Sunbeames have more vigor.
They are Aeols most endeared:
For the Ayres stilld, and cleared.
Fawnes, and lambs, and kidds do play,
In the honor of this day.
The shrill Blacke-bird, and the Thrushe
Hops about in every bush:
And among the tender twiggs,
Chaunt their sweet harmonious jigs.
Yea, and mov'd by this example,
They doe make each Grove a temple;
Where their time the best way using,
They their Summer loves are chusing.
And unles some Churl do wrong them,
There's not an od bird, among them.
Yet I heard as I was walking,
Groves and hills by Ecchoes talking.
Reeds, unto the small brooks whistling;
Whilst they danc't, with pretty rushling.
Then for us, to sleep twere pitty,
Since dumb creatures are so witty.
But oh Titan, thou dost dally,
Hie thee to thy Westerne vally.
Let this night one howre borrow.
Shee shall pay't againe, to morrow.
And if thou'lt that favour do them,
Send thy sister Phoebe to them.
But shee's come, her selfe unasked:
And brings Gods and Heroes masked.
None yet saw, or heard in story,
Such immortall, mortall glorie.
View not, without preparation:
Least you faint, in admiration.
Say my Lords, and speak truth barely,
Mov'd they not exceeding rarely?
Did they not such praises merit,
As if flesh had all bin spirit?
True indeed, yet I must tell them,
There was One did far excell them.
But (alas) this is ill dealing,
Night unwares away is stealing.
Their delay, the poore bed wrongeth,
That for Bride, with Bride groome longeth:
And above all other places,
Must be blest, with their embraces.
Revellers, then now forbear yee,
And unto your rests prepare yee.
Let's a while your absence borrow,
Sleep to night and dance to morrow.
We could well allow your Courting,
But twill hinder, better sporting.
They are gone; and Night all lonely,
Leaves the Bride with Bridegroome only.
Muse, now tell; (for thou hast power
To fly through wall or tower.)
What contentments their harts cheereth;
And how lovely shee appeareth.
And yet do not; tell it no man.
Rare conceits may so grow common;
Do not to the Vulgar show them,
(Tis enough that thou dost know them.)
Their ill harts are but the Center,
Where all misconceavings enter.
But thou Luna that dost lightly,
Haunt our downes and forrests nightly.
Thou that favour'st generation,
And art help, to procreation:
See their Issue thou so cherish,
I may live, to see it flourish.
And you Planets, in whose power,
Doth consist, these lives of our;
You that teach us Divinations,
Help with all your Constellations:
How to frame in Her a creature,
Blest in Fortune, Wit, and Feature.
Lastly; oh, you Angells ward them,
Set your sacred Spels to gard them:
Chase away such feares, or terrors,
As not being; seeme through errors.
Yea let not a dreames molesting,
Make them start, when they are resting.
But THOU chiefly; most adored;
That shouldst only, be implored.
Thou to whom my meaning tendeth,
Whither er'e in show, it bendeth:
Let them rest to night from sorrow
And awake with joy to morrow.
Oh, to my request be heedfull,
Grant them that, and al things needful.
Let not these, my straines of Folly,
Make true prayer be unholy,
But, if I have here offended:
Help, forgive, and see it mended.
Daigne me this. And if my Muses
Hastie issue, shee peruses;
Make it unto her seeme gratefull,
Though to all the World els, hateful.
But how er'e, yet, Soule persever,
Thus to wish her good, for ever.
Thus ends the Day, together with my Song;
Oh; may the Joyes thereof continue long.
Let Heavens just, all-seeing, sacred power;
Favor this happie Jubile, of your:
And blesse you, in your chast embraces so,
We Britans, may behold before you goe.
The hopefull Issue, we shall count so deare
And whom, (unborne) his foes already feare.
Yea I desire, that all your sorrowes may;
Never be more, then they have been to day,
Which hoping; For acceptance now I sue,
And humbly, bid your Grace, and Court adue.
I saw the sight, I came for; which I know,
Was more then all, the world beside could show.
But if amongst Apolloes Layes you can,
Be pleasd, to lend a gentle eare to Pan:
Or thinke your Country Shepheard, loves as deare,
As if he were a Courtier, or a Peere:
Then I, that els must to my Cell of paine,
Will joyfull, turne unto my flocke againe.
And there, unto my fellow shepheards tell,
Why you are lov'd; wherein you doe excell.
And when we drive our flocks a field to graze them,
So chaunt your praises, that it shall amaze them:
And thinke that Fate, hath new recald from death,
Their still-lamented, sweet Elizabeth.
For though they see the Court, but now and then
They know desert as well as Greater men:
And honord Fame, in them doth live or die;
As well, as in the mouth of Majesty.
But taking granted, what I here intreat:
At heaven for you, my devotions beat,
And though I feare, fate will not suffer me,
To do you service, where your Fortunes be:
How ere my skill, hath yet despised seem'd,
(And my unripened wit been misesteem'd.)
When all this costly Showe, away shall flit,
And not one live, that doth remember it:
If Envies trouble, let not to persever;
Ile find a meanes, to make it knowne for ever.
CERTAINE EPIGRAMMES CONCERNING MARIAGE.
Tis said; in Marriage above all the rest
The children of a King find comforts least,
Because without respect of Love, or Hate
They must, and oft be, ruled by the State:
But if contented Love; Religions care;
Equalitie in State, and yeares, declare
A happie Match (as I suppose no lesse)
Then rare, and great's Elizaes Happinesse.
God was the first that Marriage did ordaine,
By making One, two; and two, One againe.
Souldier; of thee I aske, for thou canst best,
Having knowne sorrow, judge of Joy and Rest.
What greater blisse, then after all thy harmes,
To have a wife that's faire, and lawfull thine:
And lying prison'd twix't her Ivory armes;
There tell, what thou hast scapt by powers divine?
How many, round thee, thou hast murthered seene;
How oft thy soule hath been neere hand expiring,
How many times thy flesh hath wounded beene:
Whilst she thy fortune, and thy worth admiring,
With joy of health; and pitie of thy paine;
Doth weepe, and kisse, and kisse, and weepe againe.
Faire Helen having stain'd her husbands bed,
And mortall hatred twix't two Kingdomes bred,
Had still remaining in her; so much good
That Heroes, for her, lost their dearest blood:
Then; if with all that ill, such worth my last,
Oh what is she worth, that's as faire and chast!
Old Orpheus, knew a good wives worth so well,
That when his di'd, he followed her to hell:
And for her losse, at the Elizean Grove,
He did not onely Ghosts, to pitie move:
But the sad Poet breath'd his sighes so deepe;
T'is said the Divels could not chuse but weepe.
Long did I wonder, and I wondred much,
Romes Church should from her Clergie take that due,
Thought I why should she that contentment grutch?
What, doth shee all with continence indue?
Noe; but why then are they debar'd that state?
Is shee become a foe unto her owne?
Doth shee the members of her bodie hate?
Or is it for some other cause unshowne?
Oh yes; they find a womans lips so daintie;
They tie themselves from one; cause theile have twenty.
Women, as some men say, unconstant be,
Perhaps a few; and so no doubt are men:
Nay if their scapes, we could so plainely see,
I feare, that scarce there will be one, for ten.
Men, have but their owne lusts that tempt to ill;
Women have lusts, and mens allurements to:
Alas, if their strengths cannot curbe their will;
What should poore women, that are weaker do?
Oh they had need, be chast, and looke about them,
That strive 'gainst lust within, and knaves without them.