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ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Britannia's Pastorals: The Fourth Song.

Britannia's Pastorals. [Book I.]

William Browne of Tavistock


Modulating into satire, William Browne tells of the misfortunes of Aletheia, or Truth, with a description of the Vale of Woe and its inhabitants. Doridon's dog chases a deer who turns out to be Fida's cherished friend; the shepherds' revels are broken off when the deer (Aletheia) is pursued by Riot.

F. W. Moorman: "In the Faerie Queene (Book VI, Canto 3) we find a somewhat similar situation. Calidore wandering through the forest, comes suddenly upon Calepine and Serena, sitting as lovers 'in covert shade.' Calepine is at first angry at the disturbance, but Calidore's courteous apology melts his anger, and they enter with one another into friendly discourse. But Serena, straying aside, is seized by the Blatant Beast and carried off, the others following in pursuit" William Browne (1897) 26.



THE ARGUMENT.
Fida's distresse, the Hinde is slaine,
Yet from her ruines lives againe.
Riots description next I rime;
Then Aletheia, and old Time:
And lastly, from this Song I goe,
Having describ'd the Vale of Woe.

Happy yee dayes of old, when every waste
Was like a SANCTUARIE to the chaste:
When Incests, Rapes, Adulteries, were not knowne;
All pure as blossomes, which are newly blowne.
Maides were as free from spots, and soiles within,
As most unblemisht in the outward skinne.
Men every Plaine and Cottage affords,
As smooth in deeds, as they were faire in words.
Maidens with Men as sisters with their brothers;
And Men with Maides convers'd as with their Mothers;
Free from suspition, or the rage of blood.
Strife onely raign'd, for all striv'd to be good.

But then as little Wrens but newly fledge,
First, by their nests hop up and downe the hedge;
Then one from bough to bough gets up a tree:
His fellow noting his agilitie,
Thinkes hee as well may venter as the other,
So flushing from one spray unto another,
Gets to the toppe, and then enbold'ned flyes,
Unto an height past ken of humane eyes:
So time brought worse, men first desir'd to talke;
Then came suspect; and then a private walke;
Then by consent appointed times of meeting,
Where most securely each might kisse his sweeting;
Lastly, with lusts their panting brests so swell,
They came to. But to what I blush to tell,
And entred thus, Rapes used were of all,
Incest, Adultery, held as Veniall:
The certainty in doubtfull ballance rests,
If beasts did learne of men, or men of beasts.
Had they not learn'd of man who was their King,
So to insult upon an underling,
They civilly had spent their lives gradation,
As meeke and milde as in their first creation;
Nor had th' infections of infected mindes
So alter'd nature, and disorder'd kindes.
Fida had beene lesse wretched, I more glad,
That so true love so true a progresse had.

When Remond left her (Remond then unkinde)
Fida went downe the dale to seeke the Hinde;
And found her taking foyle within a flood:
Whom when shee call'd straight follow'd to the wood.
Fida then wearied, seekes the cooling shade,
And found an arbour by the shepheards made
To frolike in (when Sol did hottest shine)
With cates which were farre cleanlier then fine.
For in those dayes men never us'd to feede
So much for pleasure as they did for neede.
Enriching then the arbour downe shee sate her;
Where many a busie Bee came flying at her:
Thinking when shee for ayre her brests discloses,
That there had growne some tuft of Damaske-Roses,
And that her azure veynes which then did swell,
Were Conduit-pipes brought from a living Well.
Whose liquor might the world enjoy for money,
Bees would be bank-rupt, none would care for honey.
The Hinde lay still without (poore silly creature,
How like a woman art thou fram'd by nature?
Timerous, apt to teares, wilie in running,
Caught best when force is entermixt with cunning)
Lying thus distant, different chances meet them,
And with a fearfull object Fate doth greete them.

Something appear'd, which seem'd farre off, a man,
In stature, habit, gate, proportion:
But when their eyes their objects Masters were,
And it for stricter censure came more neere,
By all his properties one well might ghesse,
Than of a man, hee sure had nothing lesse.
For verily since old Deucalions flood
Earths slime did ne'er produce a viler brood.
Upon the various earths embrodered gowne
There is a weede upon whose head growes Downe;
Sow-thistle 'tis ycleep'd, whose downy wreath,
If any one can blow off at a breath,
We deeme her for a Maide: such was his haire,
Ready to shed at any stirring ayre.
His eares were strucken deafe when hee came nie,
To heare the Widowes or the Orphans crie.
His eyes encircled with a bloudy chaine,
With poaring in the bloud of bodyes slaine.
His mouth exceeding wide, from whence did flye
Vollyes of execrable blasphemie;
Banning the Heavens, and he that rideth on them,
Dar'd vengeance to the teeth to fall upon him:
Like Scythian Wolves, or men of wit bereaven,
Which howle and shoote against the Lights of Heaven.
His hands, (if hands they were) like some dead corse,
With digging up his buried ancestors;
Making his Fathers Tombe and sacred shrine
The trough wherein the Hog-heard fed his Swine.
And as that Beast hath legs (which shepherds feare,
Ycleep'd a Badger, which our Lambes doth teare)
One long, the other short, that when hee runs
Upon the plaines, hee halts; but when he wons
On craggy Rockes, or steepy hils, we see
None runs more swift, nor easier then hee:
Such legs the Monster had, one sinew shrunke,
That in the plaines hee reel'd, as being drunke;
And halted in the paths to Vertue tending:
And therefore never durst be that way bending:
But when he came on carved Monuments,
Spiring Colosses, and high raised rents,
He past them o're, quicke, as the Easterne winde
Sweepes through a Meadow; or a nimble Hinde,
Or Satyre on a Lawne; or skipping Roe;
Or well-wing'd Shaft forth of a Parthian bowe.
His body made (still in consumptions rife)
A miserable prison for a life:

Riot hee hight; whom some curs'd Fiend did raise,
When like a Chaos were the nights and dayes:
Got and brought up in the Cymerian Clime,
Where Sun nor Moon, nor dayes, nor nights doe time:
As who should say, they scorn'd to shew their faces
To such a Fiend should seeke to spoile the Graces.

At sight whereof, Fida nigh drown'd in feare,
Was cleane dismaide when hee approched neare;
Nor durst shee call the Deere, nor whistling winde her,
Fearing her noyse might make the Monster finde her;
Who slilie came, for hee had cunning learn'd him,
And seiz'd upon the Hinde, ere shee discern'd him.
Oh how shee striv'd and strugled; every nerue
Is prest at all assayes a life to serve:
Yet soone we lose, what we might longer keepe
Were not Prevention commonly asleepe.
Maides, of this Monsters broode be fearefull all,
What to the Hinde may hap to you befall.
Who with her feet held up in stead of hands,
And teares which pittie from the Rocke commands,
Shee sighes, and shrikes, and weepes, and looks upon him:
Alas shee sobs, and many a groane throwes on him;
With plaints which might abate a Tyrants knife;
She begges for pardon, and entreats for life,
The hollow caves resound her moanings neere it,
That heart was flint which did not grieve to heare it:
The high topt Firres which on that mountaine keepe,
Have ever since that time beene seene to weepe.
The Owle till then, 'tis thought full well could sing,
And tune her voyce to every bubling Spring:
But when shee heard those plaints, then forth shee yode
Out of the covert of an Ivy tod,
And hallowing for aide, so strain'd her throate,
That since shee cleane forgot her former noate.
A little Robin sitting on a tree,
In dolefull noates bewail'd her Tragedie.
An Aspe, who thought him stout, could not dissemble,
But shew'd his feare, and yet is seene to tremble.
Yet Cruelty was deafe, and had no sight
In ought which might gain-say the appetite:
But with his teeth rending her throate asunder,
Besprinkl'd with her bloud the greene grasse under.
And gurmundizing on her flesh and bloud,
He vomitting returned to the Wood.

Ryot but newly gone, as strange a vision
Though farre more heavenly, came in apparition.

As that Arabian bird (whom all admire)
Her exequies prepar'd and funerall fire,
Burnt in a flame conceived from the Sunne,
And nourished with slips of Cynamon,
Out of her ashes hath a second birth,
And flyes abroad, a wonderment on earth:
So from the ruines of this mangled Creature
Arose so faire and so divine a feature,
That Envy for her heart would doate upon her;
Heaven could not chuse but be enamour'd on her:
Were I a Starre, and shee a second Spheare,
Ide leave the other, and be fixed there.
Had faire Arachne wrought this Maidens haire,
When shee with Pallas did for skill compare,
Minerva's worke had been esteemd a toy,
And this had wonne the praise from that of Troy.
Yet gladly now shee would reverse her doome,
Weaving this haire within a Spiders Loome.
Upon her fore-head, as in glory sate
Mercy and Majesty, for wondring at,
As pure and simple as Albania's snow,
Or milke-white Swans which stem the streams of Poe:
Like to some goodly fore-land, bearing out
Her haire, the tufts which fring'd the shoare about.
And lest the man which sought those coasts might slip,
Her eyes like Starres, did serve to guide the ship.
Upon her front (heavens fairest Promontory)
Delineated was, th' Authentique Story
Of those Elect, whose sheepe at first began
To nibble by the springs of Canaan:
Out of whose sacred loynes (brought by the stem
Of that sweet Singer of Jerusalem)
Came the best Shepheard ever flocks did keepe,
Who yeelded up his life to save his sheepe.

O thou Eterne! by whom all beings move,
Giving the Springs beneath, and Springs above:
Whose Finger doth this Universe sustaine,
Bringing the former and the latter raine:
Who dost with plentie Meads and Pastures fill,
By drops distill'd like dew on Hermon Hill:
Pardon a silly Swaine, who (farre unable
In that which is so rare, so admirable)
Dares on an Oaten-pipe, thus meanly sing
Her praise immense, worthy a silver string.
And thou which through the Desart and the Deepe,
Didst lead thy Chosen like a flocke of sheepe:
As sometime by a Starre thou guidedst them,
Which fed upon the plaines of Bethelem;
So by thy sacred Spirit direct my quill,
When I shall sing ought of thy Holy hill,
That times to come, when they my rymes rehearse,
May wonder at mee, and admire my Verse:
For who but one rapt in Coelestiall fire,
Can by his Muse to such a pitch aspire;
That from aloft he might behold and tell
Her worth, whereon an iron Pen might dwell.

When she was borne, Nature in sport began,
To learne the cunning of an Artizan,
And did Vermilion with a white compose,
To mocke her selfe, and paint a Damaske Rose.
But scorning Nature unto Art should seeke,
Shee spilt her colours on this Maidens cheeke.
Her mouth the gate from whence all goodnesse came,
Of power to give the dead a living name.
Her words embalmed in so sweet a breath,
That made them triumph both on Time and Death,
Whose fragrant sweets, since the Camelion knew,
And tasted of, hee to this humor grew:
Left other Elements, held this so rare,
That since he never feeds on ought but Ayre.

O had I Virgils verse, or Tullies Tongue!
Or raping numbers like the Thracian's Song,
I have a Theame would make the Rocks to dance,
And surly Beasts that through the Desart prance,
Hie from their Caves, and every gloomy den,
To wonder at the excellence of men.
Nay, they would thinke their states for ever raised,
But once to looke on one, so highly [p]raised.

Out of whose Maiden brests (which sweetly rise)
The Seers suckt their hidden Prophecies:
And tolde that for her love in times to come,
Many should seeke the Crowne of Martyrdome,
By fire, by sword, by tortures, dungeons, chaines,
By stripes, by famine, and a world of paines;
Yet constant still remaine (to her they loved)
Like Syon Mount, that cannot be removed.
Proportion on her armes and hands recorded,
The world for her no fitter place afforded.
Praise her who list, he still shall be her debter:
For Art ne'er fain'd, nor Nature fram'd a better.

As when a holy Father hath beganne
To offer sacrifice to mighty Pan,
Doth the request of every Swaine assume,
To scale the Welkin in a sacred fume,
Made by a widow'd Turtles loving mate,
Or Lamkin, or some Kid immaculate,
Th' offring heaves aloft, with both his hands;
Which all adore, that neere the Altar stands:
So was her heavenly body comely rais'd
On two faire columnes; those that Ovid prais'd
In Julia's borrowed name, compar'd with these,
Were Crabs to Apples of th' Hespherides;
Or stumpe-foote Vulcan in comparison,
With all the height of true perfection.

Nature was here so lavish of her store,
That shee bestow'd untill shee had no more.
Whose Treasure being weakned (by this Dame)
Shee thrusts into the world so many lame.

The highest Synode of the glorious Skye,
(I heard a Wood-Nymph sing) sent Mercurie
To take a survay of the fairest faces,
And to describe to them all womens graces;
Who long time wandring in a serious quest,
Noting what parts by Beautie were possest:
At last hee saw this Maide, then thinking fit
To end his journey, here, Nil ultra, writ.

Fida in adoration kiss'd her knee,
And thus bespake; Hayle glorious Deitie!
(If such thou art, and who can deeme you lesse?)
Whether thou raign'st Queene of the Wildernesse,
Or art that Goddesse ('tis unknowne to mee)
Which from the Ocean drawes her pettigree:
Or one of those, who by the mossie bankes
Of drisling Hellicon, in airie rankes
Tread Roundelayes upon the silver sands,
Whilst shaggy Satyres tripping o're the strands,
Stand still at gaze, and yeeld their senses thrals
To the sweet cadence of your Madrigals:
Or of the Faiery troope which nimbly play,
And by the Springs dance out the Summers day;
Teaching the little birds to build their nests,
And in their singing how to keepen rests:
Or one of those, who watching where a Spring
Out of our Grandame Earth hath issuing,
With your attractive Musicke wooe the streame
(As men by Faieries led, falne in a dreame)
To follow you, which sweetly trilling wanders
In many Mazes, intricate Meanders;
Till at the last, to mocke th' enamour'd rill,
Yee bend your traces up some shady hill;
And laugh to see the wave no further treade;
But in a chafe runne foaming on his head,
Being enforc'd a channell new to frame,
Leaving the other destitute of name.
If thou be one of these, or all, or more,
Succour a seely Maide, that doth implore
Aid, on a bended heart, unfain'd and meeke,
As true as blushes of a Maiden cheeke.

Maiden, arise, repli'd the new-borne Maide:
"Pure Innocence the very stones will aide."
Nor of the Faierie troope, nor Muses nine;
Nor am I Venus, nor of Proserpine:
But daughter to a lusty aged Swaine,
That cuts the greene tufts off th' enamel'd plaine;
And with his Sythe hath many a Summer shorne
The plow'd-lands lab'ring with a crop of corne;
Who from the cloud-clipt mountaine by his stroake
Fels downe the lofty Pine, the Cedar, Oake:
He opes the flood-gates as occasion is
Sometimes on that mans land, sometimes on this.
When Verolame, a stately Nymph of yore
Did use to decke her selfe on Isis shore,
One morne (among the rest) as there shee stood,
Saw the pure Channell all besmear'd with bloud;
Inquiring for the cause, one did impart,
Those drops came from her holy Albans hart;
Herewith in griefe she gan entreate my Syre,
That Isis streame, which yeerely did attire
Those gallant fields in changeable array,
Might turne her course and runne some other way.
Lest that her waves might wash away the guilt
From off their hands which Albans bloud had spilt:
Hee condescended, and the nimble wave
Her Fish no more within that channell drave:
But as a witnesse left the crimson gore
To staine the earth, as they their hands before.
He had a beeing ere there was a birth,
And shall not cease untill the Sea and Earth,
And what they both containe, shall cease to be,
Nothing confines him but Eternitie.
By him the names of good men ever live,
Which short liv'd men unto Oblivion give:
And in forgetfulnesse he lets him fall,
That is no other man then naturall:
'Tis he alone that rightly can discover,
Who is the true, and who the fained Lover.
In Summers heate when any Swaine to sleepe
Doth more addict himselfe then to his sheepe;
And whilst the Leaden God sits on his eyes,
If any of his Folde or strayes or dyes,
And to the waking Swaine it be unknowne,
Whether his sheepe be dead, or straid, or stolne;
To meete my Syre he bends his course in paine,
Either where some high hill survayes the plaine;
Or takes his step toward the flowrie vallyes,
Where Zephyre with the Cowslip hourely dallyes;
Or to the groves, where birds from heate or weather,
Sit sweetly tuning of their noates together;
Or to a Meade a wanton River dresses
With richest Collers of her turning Esses;
Or where the Shepheards sit olde stories telling,
Chronos my Syre hath no set place of dwelling;
But if the Shepheard meete the aged Swaine,
He tels him of his sheepe, or shewes them slaine.
So great a gift the sacred Powers of heaven
(Above all others) to my Syre have given,
That the abhorred Stratagems of night,
Lurking in cavernes from the glorious light,
By him (perforce) are from their dungeons hurl'd,
And shew'd as monsters to the wondring World.

What Mariner is hee sailing upon
The watry Desart clipping Albion,
Heares not the billowes in their dances roare
Answer'd by Ecchoes from the neighbour shoare?
To whose accord the Maids trip from the Downes,
And Rivers dancing come, ycrown'd with Townes,
All singing forth the victories of Time,
Upon the Monsters of the Westerne Clyme,
Whose horrid, damned, bloudy, plots would bring
Confusion on the Laureate Poets King,
Whose Hell-fed hearts devis'd how never more
A Swan might singing sit on Isis shore:
But croaking Ravens, and the Scrich-owles crie,
The fit Musitians for a Tragedie,
Should evermore be heard about her strand,
To fright all Passengers from that sad Land.

Long Summers dayes I one his worth might spend,
And yet beginne againe when I would end.
All Ages since the first age first begun,
Ere they could know his worth their age was done:
Whose absence all the Treasury of earth
Cannot buy out. From farre-fam'd Tagus birth,
Not all the golden gravell hee treads over,
One minute past, that minute can recover.
I am his onely Childe (he hath no other)
Cleep'd Aletheia, borne without a Mother.
Poore Aletheia long despis'd of all,
Scarce Charitie would lend an Hospitall
To give my Months cold watching one nights rest,
But in my roome tooke in the Misers Chest.

In winters time when hardly fed the flockes,
And Isicles hung dangling on the Rockes;
When Hyems bound the floods in silver chaines,
And hoary Frosts had candy'd all the Plaines;
When every Barne rung with the threshing Flailes,
And Shepheards Boyes for cold gan blow their nailes:
(Wearied with toyle in seeking out some one
That had a sparke of true devotion;)
It was my chance (chance onely helpeth neede)
To finde an house ybuilt for holy deede,
With goodly Architect, and Cloisters wide,
With groves and walkes along a Rivers side;
The place it selfe afforded admiration,
And every spray a Theame of contemplation.
But (woe is me) when knocking at the gate,
I gan entreat an enterance thereat:
The Porter askt my name: I told; He swell'd,
And bad me thence: wherewith in griefe repell'd,
I sought for shelter to a ruin'd house,
Harb'ring the Weasell, and the dust-bred Mouse;
And others none, except the two-kinde Bat,
Which all the day there melancholy sate:
Here sate I downe with winde and raine ybeate;
Griefe fed my minde, and did my body eate.
Yet Idlenesse I saw (lam'd with the Gout)
Had entrance when poore Truth was kept without.
There saw I Drunkennesse with Dropsies swolne;
And pamper'd Lust that many a night had stolne
Ouer the Abby-wall when Gates were lock'd,
To be in Venus wanton bosome rock'd:
And Gluttony nigh dead with surfetting,
Knocke at the gate and straight-way taken in:
Sadly I sate, and sighing griev'd to see,
Their happinesse, my infelicitie.
At last came Envy by, who having spide
Where I was sadly seated, inward hide,
And to the Convent eagerly shee cryes,
Why sit you here, when with these eares and eyes
I heard and saw a strumpet dares to say,
Shee is the true faire Aletheia,
Which you have boasted long to live among you,
Yet suffer not a peevish Girle to wrong you?
With this provok'd, all rose, and in a rout
Ran to the gate, strove who should first get out,
Bade me be gone, and then (in tearmes uncivill)
Did call me counterfaite, witch, hagge, whore, divell;
Then like a strumpet drove me from their cels,
With tinkling pans, and with the noyse of bels.
And hee that lov'd me, or but moan'd my case,
Had heapes of fire-brands banded at his face.

Thus beaten thence (distrest, forsaken wight)
Inforc'd in fields to sleepe, or wake all night;
A silly sheepe seeing me straying by,
Forsooke the shrub where once she meant to lie;
As if she in her kinde (unhurting elfe)
Did bid me take such lodging as her selfe:
Gladly I tooke the place the sheepe had given,
Uncanopy'd of any thing but heaven.
Where nigh benumb'd with cold, with griefe frequented,
Unto the silent night I thus lamented:

Faire Cynthia, if from thy silver Throne,
Thou ever lentst an eare to Virgins mone!
Or in thy Monthly course, one minute staid
Thy Palfrayes trot, to heare a wretched Maid!
Pull in their reynes, and lend thine eare to mee,
Forlorne, forsaken, cloth'd in miserie:
But if a woe hath never wood thine eare,
To stop those Coursers in their full careare;
But as stone-hearted men, uncharitable,
Passe carelesse by the poore, when men lesse able
Hold not the needies helpe in long suspence,
But in their hands poure their benevolence.
O! if thou be so hard to stoppe thine eares!
When stars in pitty droppe downe from their Spheares,
Yet for a while in gloomy vaile of night,
Inshrowde the pale beames of thy borrowed light:
O! never once discourage goodnesse (lending
One glimpse of light) to see misfortune spending
Her utmost rage on Truth, despiz'd, distressed,
Unhappy, unrelieved, yet unredressed.
Where is the heart at vertues suffring grieveth?
Where is the eye that pittying relieveth?
Where is the hand that still the hungry feedeth?
Where is the eare that the decrepit steedeth?
That heart, that hand, that eare, or else that eye,
Giveth, relieveth, feedes, steedes misery?
O earth produce me one (of all thy store)
Enjoyes; and be vaine-glorious no more.

By this had Chanticlere, the village-clocke,
Bidden the good-wife for her Maides to knocke:
And the swart Plow-man for his Breakefast staid,
That he might till those lands were fallow laid:
The hils and vallyes here and there resound
With the re-ecchoes of the deepe-mouth'd Hound.
Each Shepheards daughter with her cleanly Peale,
Was come a field to milke the Mornings meale,
And ere the Sunne had clymb'd the Easterne hils,
To guild the muttring bournes, and pritty rils,
Before the lab'ring Bee had left the Hive,
And nimble Fishes which in Rivers dive,
Beganne to leape, and catch the drowned Flye,
I rose from rest, not in felicitie.
Seeking the place of Charities resort,
Unware I hapned on a Princes Court;
Where meeting Greatnesse, I requir'd reliefe,
(O happy undelay'd) shee said in briefe,
To small effect thine oratorie tends,
How can I keepe thee and so many friends?
If of my Housholde I should make thee one,
Farewell my servant Adulation:
I know shee will not stay when thou art there:
But seeke some Great mans service other-where.
Darknesse and light, summer and winters weather
May be at once, ere you two, live together.
Thus with a nod she left me cloath'd in woe.

Thence to the Citie once I thought to goe,
But somewhat in my minde this thought had throwne,
It was a place wherein I was not knowne.
And therefore went unto these homely Townes,
Sweetly environ'd with the dazied Downes.

Upon a Streame washing a village end
A Mill is plac'd, that never difference kend
Twixt dayes for worke, and holy-tydes for rest,
But alwayes wrought and ground the neighbors grest.
Before the dore I saw the Miller walking,
And other two (his neighbours) with him talking:
One of them was a Weaver, and the other
The Village Tayler, and his trusty Brother;
To them I came, and thus my suit beganne:
Content, the riches of a Country-man,
Attend your actions, be more happy still,
Then I am haplesse! and as yonder Mill,
Though in his turning it obey the streame,
Yet by the head-strong torrent from his beame
Is unremov'd, and till the wheele be tore,
It daily toyles; then rests, and workes no more:
So in lifes motion may you never be
(Though swai'd with griefes) o'er-borne with miserie.

With that the Miller laughing, brush'd his cloathes,
Then swore by Cocke and other dung-hill oathes,
I greatly was to blame, that durst so wade
Into the knowledge of the Wheele-wrights trade.
I, neighbour, quoth the Tayler (then hee bent
His pace to me, spruce like a Jacke of Lent)
Your judgement is not seame-rent when you spend it,
Nor is it botching, for I cannot mend it.
And Maiden, let me tell you in displeasure,
You must not presse the cloath you cannot measure:
But let your steps be stitcht to wisedomes chalking,
And cast presumptuous shreds out of your walking.
The Weaver said; Fie wench, your selfe you wrong,
Thus to let slip the shuttle of your rong:
For marke me well, yea, marke me well, I say,
I see you worke your speeches Web astray.

Sad to the Soule, o'er laid with idle words,
O heaven, quoth I, where is the place affords
A friend to helpe, or any heart that ruth
The most dejected hopes of wronged Truth!
Truth! quoth the Miller, plainely for our parts,
I and the Weaver hate thee with our hearts:
The strifes you raise I will not now discusse,
Betweene our honest Customers and us:
But get you gone, for sure you may despaire
Of comfort here, seeke it some other-where.
Maide (quoth the Tailer) wee no succour owe you,
For as I guesse here's none of us doth know you:
Nor my remembrance any thought can seize
That I have ever seene you in my dayes.
Seene you? nay, therein confident I am;
Nay, till this time I never heard your name,
Excepting once, and by this token chiefe,
My neighbour at that instant cald me Theefe,
By this you see you are unknowne among us,
We cannot help you, though your stay may wrong us.

Thus went I on, and further went in woe:
For as shrill sounding Fame, that's never slow,
Growes in her going, and encreaseth more,
Where she is now, then where she was before:
So Griefe, (that never healthy, ever sicke,
That froward Scholler to Arethmeticke,
Who doth Division and Substraction flie,
And chiefly learnes to adde and multiply)
In longest journeyes hath the strongest strength,
And is at hand, supprest, unquail'd at length.

Betweene two hils, the highest Phoebus sees
Gallantly crownd with large Skie-kissing trees,
Under whose shade the humble vallyes lay;
And Wilde-Bores from their dens their gamboles play:
There lay a gravel'd walke ore-growne with greene,
Where neyther tract of man nor beast was seene.
And as the Plow-man when the land he tils,
Throwes up the fruitfull earth in ridged hils,
Betweene whose Chevron forme he leaves a balke;
So twixt those hils had Nature fram'd this walke,
Not over darke, nor light, in angles bending,
And like the gliding of a Snake descending:
All husht and silent as the mid of night:
No chattring Pie, nor Crow appear'd in sight;
But further in I heard the Turtle-Dove,
Singing sad Dirges on her lifelesse Love.
Birds that compassion from the rockes could bring,
Had onely license in that place to sing:
Whose dolefull noates the melancholly Cat
Close in a hollow tree sate wond'ring at.
And Trees that on the hill-side comely grew,
When any little blast of Aeol' blew,
Did nod their curled heads, as they would be
The Judges to approve their melody.

Just halfe the way this solitary Grove,
A Christall Spring from eyther hill-side strove,
Which of them first should wooe the meeker ground,
And make the Pibbles daunce unto their sound.
But as when children having leave to play,
And neere their Masters eye sport out the day,
(Beyond condition) in their childish toyes
Oft vex their Tutor with too great a noyse,
And make him send some servant out of dore,
To cease their clamour, lest they play no more:
So when the prettie Rill a place espies,
Where with the Pibbles she would wantonize;
And that her upper streame so much doth wrong her
To drive her thence, and let her play no longer;
If she with too loud mutt'ring ranne away,
As being much incens'd to leave her play;
A westerne milde, and prettie whispering gale,
Came dallying with the leaves along the dale,
And seem'd as with the water it did chide,
Because it ran so long unpacifide:
Yea, and me thought it bade her leave that coyle,
Or hee would choake her up with leaves and soyle:
Whereat the rivelet in my minde did weepe,
And hurl'd her head into a silent deepe.

Now he that guides the Chariot of the Sunne,
Upon th' Eclipticke Circle had so runne,
That his brasse-hoof'd fire-breathing horses wanne
The stately height of the Meridian:
And the day-lab'ring man (who all the morne
Had from the quarry with his Pick-axe torne
A large well squared stone, which hee would cut
To serve his stile, or for some water-shut)
Seeing the Sunne preparing to decline,
Tooke out his Bagge, and sate him downe to dine.
When by a sliding, yet not steepe descent,
I gain'd a place, ne'er Poet did invent
The like for sorrow: not in all this Round
A fitter seat for passion can be found.

As when a dainty Fount, and Christall Spring,
Is in his rise by Rockes immured in,
And from the thirsty earth would be with-held,
Till to the Cesterne top the waves have swell'd:
But that a carefull Hinde the Well hath found,
As he walkes sadly through his parched ground;
Whose patience suffring not his land to stay
Untill the water o'er the Cesterne play,
Hee gets a Picke-axe and with blowes so stout,
Digs on the Rocke, that all the groves about
Resound his stroke, and still the rocke doth charge,
Till he hath made a hole both long and large,
Whereby the waters from their prison runne,
To close earths gaping wounds made by the Sunne:
So through these high rais'd hils, embracing round
This shady, sad, and solitarie ground,
Some power (respecting one whose heavie mone
Requir'd a place to sit and weepe alone)
Had cut a path, whereby the grieved wight
Might freely take the comfort of this Scyte.
About the edges of whose roundle forme,
In order grew such Trees as doe adorne
The sable hearse, and sad forsaken mate;
And Trees whose teares their losse commisserate,
Such are the Cypresse, and the weeping Myrrhe,
The dropping Amber, and the refin'd Fyrrhe,
The bleeding Vine, the watry Sicamour,
And Willough for the forlorne Paramour;
In comely distance: underneath whose shade
Most neate in rudenesse Nature arbors made:
Some had a light; some so obscure a seat,
Would entertaine a sufferance ne'er so great:
Where grieved wights sate (as I after found,
Whose heavie hearts the height of sorrow crown'd)
Wailing in saddest tunes the doomes of Fate
On men by vertue cleeped fortunate.

The first Noate that I heard seem'd by the Song,
To be the sighes of faire Endymion;
The subject of whose mournfull heavy lay
Was his declining with faire Cynthia.

Next him a great man sate, in woe no lesse;
Teares were but barren shadowes to expresse
The substance of his griefe, and therefore stood
Distilling from his heart red streames of blood:
Hee was a Swaine whom all the Graces kist,
A brave, heroicke, worthy Martialist:
Yet on the Downes hee oftentimes was seene
To draw the merry Maidens of the Greene
With his sweet voyce: Once, as hee sate alone,
Hee sung the outrage of the lazy Drone,
Upon the lab'ring Bee, in straines so rare,
That all the flitting Pinnionists of ayre
Attentive sate, and in their kindes did long
To learne some Noate from his well-timed Song.

Exiled Naso (from whose golden pen
The Muses did distill delights for men)
Thus sang of Cephalus (whose name was worne
Within the bosome of the blushing Morne:)
He had a dart was never set on wing,
But death flew with it: hee could never fling,
But life fled from the place where stucke the head.
A Hunters frolicke life in Woods he lead
In separation from his yoaked Mate,
Whose beauty, once, hee valued at a rate
Beyond Aurora's cheeke, when shee (in pride)
Promis'd their off-spring should be Deifide:
Procris shee hight; who (seeking to restore
Her selfe that happinesse shee had before)
Unto the greene wood wends, omits no paine
Might bring her to her Lords embrace againe:
But Fate thus crost her, comming where hee lay
Wearied with hunting all a Summers day,
Hee somewhat heard within the thicket rush,
And deeming it some Beast, hid in a bush,
Raised himselfe, then set on wing a dart,
Which tooke a sad rest in the restlesse heart
Of his chaste Wife; who with a bleeding brest
Left love and life, and slept in endlesse rest.

With Procris heavie Fate this Shepheards wrong
Might justly undertake comparison.

In th' Autumne of his youth, and man-hoods Spring,
Desert (growne now a most dejected thing)
Won him the favour of a Royall Maide,
Who with Diana's Nymphs in Forrests straide,
And liv'd a Huntresse life exempt from feare.
Shee once encountred with a surly Beare,
Neare to a Christall Fountaines flowery brinke,
Heate brought them thither both, and both would drinke,
When from her golden quiver she tooke forth
A Dart, above the rest esteem'd for worth,
And sent it to his side: the gaping wound
Gave purple streames to coole the parched ground.
Whereat hee gnasht his teeth, storm'd his hurt lym,
Yeelded the earth what it denyed him:
Yet sunke not there, but (wrapt in horror) hy'd
Unto his hellish cave, despair'd and dy'd.

After the Beares just death, the quickning Sunne
Had twice six times about the Zodiacke run,
And (as respectlesse) never cast an eye,
Upon the night-invail'd Cymmery,
When this brave Swaine (approved valerous)
In opposition, of a tyrannous
And bloudy Savage being absent long,
Quelling his rage with faithlesse Gerion,
Returned from the stratagems of warres,
(Inriched with his quail'd foes bootlesse scarres)
To see the cleare eyes of his dearest Love,
And that her skill in hearbs might helpe remove
The festring of a wound which he had got
In her defence, by Envies poyson'd shot,
And comming through a Grove wherein his faire
Lay with her brests displai'd to take the ayre,
His rushing through the boughes made her arise,
And dreading some wilde beasts rude enterprize,
Directs towards the noyse a sharpned dart,
That reach'd the life of his undaunted heart,
Which when shee knew, twice twentie Moones nie spent
In teares for him, and dy'd in languishment.

Within an arbour shadow'd with a Vine,
Mixed with Rosemary and Eglantine,
A Shepheardesse was set, as faire as young,
Whose praise full many a Shepheard whilome sung,
Who on an Altar faire had to her Name,
In consecration many an Anagram:
And when with sugred straines they strove to raise
Worth, to a garland of immortall Bayes;
Shee as the learnedst Maide was chose by them,
(Her flaxen haire crown'd with an Anadem)
To judge who best deserv'd, for she could fit
The height of praise unto the height of wit.
But well-a-day those happy times were gone,
(Millions admit a small subtraction.)

And as the Yeere hath first his jocund Spring,
Wherein the Leaves, to Birds sweet carrolling,
Dance with the winde: then sees, the Summers day
Perfect the Embrion Blossome of each spray:
Next commeth Autumne, when the threshed sheafe
Loseth his graine, and every tree his leafe:
Lastly, cold Winters rage, with many a storme,
Threats the proud Pines which Ida's toppe adorne,
And makes the sap leave succourlesse the shoote,
Shrinking to comfort his decaying roote.
Or as a quaint Musitian in his Song,
Running a point of sweet Division,
Gets by degrees unto the highest Key;
Then, with like order falleth in his play
Into a deeper Tone; and lastly, throwes
His Period in a Diapazon Close:
So every humane thing terrestriall,
His utmost height attain'd, bends to his fall.
And as a comely youth, in fairest age,
Enamour'd on a Maide (whose parentage
Had Fate adorn'd, as Nature deckt her eye,
Might at a becke command a Monarchie)
But poore and faire could never yet bewitch
A misers minde, preferring foule and rich,
And therefore (as a Kings heart left behinde,
When as his corps are borne to be enshrin'd)
(His Parents will, a Law) like that dead corse,
Leaving his heart, is brought unto his Horse,
Carried unto a place that can impart
No secret Embassie unto his hart,
Climes some proud hill, whose stately eminence
Vassals the fruitfull vales circumference:
From whence, no sooner can his lights descry
The place enriched by his Mistresse eye:
But some thicke cloud his happy prospect blends,
And hee in sorrow rais'd, in teares descends:
So this sad Nymph (whom all commisserate)
Once pac'd the hill of Greatnesse and of State,
And got the toppe; but when she gan addresse
Her sight, from thence to see true happinesse,
Fate interpos'd an envious cloud of feares,
And shee with-drew into this vale of teares,
Where Sorrow so enthral'd best Vertues Jewell,
Stones check'd griefs hardnesse, call'd her too-too cruel,
A streame of teares upon her faire cheekes flowes,
As morning dewe upon the Damaske-Rose,
Or Christall-glasse vailing Vermilion;
Or drops of Milke on the Carnation:
She sang and wept (O yee Sea binding Cleeves,
Yeeld Tributary drops, for Vertue grieves!)
And to the Period of her sad sweet Key
Intwinn'd her case with chaste Penelope:
But see the drisling South, my mournfull straine
Answeres, in weeping drops of quickning raine,
And since this day wee can no further goe,
Restlesse I rest within this Vale of Woe,
Untill the modest morne on earths vast Zone,
The ever gladsome day shall re-inthrone.

[pp. 63-84]