F. W. Moorman: "Thetis having heard the story of Tavy and Walla, continues her triumphal progress and arrives off the Welsh coast, where she finds a company of people assembled on the sea-cliffs. Anxious to know the meaning of this, she questions an old man, who commencing with the story of Pan, the Nymph, and the sacred tree, then goes on to explain the cause of the peoples coming together, and narrates the story of Philocel and Caelia" William Browne (1897) 35.
Hartley Coleridge: "Browne is one of those poets whom few but children and poets will either like or love" Essays and Marginalia (1849-51) 278; in Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 2:75.
John Dennis: "He will never again be popular as he was unquestionably in his lifetime; but he will, I think, be always read by poets and students of poetry. The task of reading his works is not wholly pleasurable. If he charms us on one page, he wearies us on another; if he delights us one moment with a genuine bit of nature, in the next he is involved in the subtleties of allegory, and becomes unreadable if not unintelligible. When at his best his poetry is like a breath of sweet country air, or the scent of newly mown grass. His similes, drawn from what we are wont to call common objects, are often singularly happy; he gives us fresh draughts from nature, and his verse is frequently marked by an Arcadian simplicity, contrasting pleasurably with the classical conceits and forced allusions over which, in other portions, the reader is doomed to groan" Heroes of Literature (1883) 95.
A. H. Bullen: "The story of the Pastorals, if story there be, is naught; it would be a hopeless task to attempt to give an intelligible summary of the adventures of Celand, Marina, and the others. But the dallying diffuseness of the poem constitutes no small part of its charm. Horace Walpole threw out the suggestion that somebody should issue a series of "Lounging Books" — books that one can take up, without fatigue, at odd moments. I fear that his nice critical judgment would not have included William Browne in the series; but to the lovers of our old poets Britannia's Pastorals will always be a favourite lounging book" Poetical Works of William Browne, ed. Goodwin (1893) 1:xxvii.
Within this Song my Muse doth tell
The worthy fact of Philocel,
And how his Love and he in thrall
To death depriv'd of Funerall
The Queene of Waves doth gladly save,
And frees Marina from the Cave.
So soone as can a Martin from our Towne
Fly to the River underneath the Downe,
And backe returne with morter in her bill,
Some little cranny in her nest to fill,
The Shepheard came. And thus began anew:
Two houres alas, onely two houres are due
From time to him, t'is sentenc'd so of those
That here on earth as Destinies dispose
The lives and deaths of men; and that time past
He yeelds his judgement leave and breaths his last.
But to the cause. Great Goddesse understand
In Mona Ile thrust from the Brittish land,
As (since it needed nought of others store)
It would intyre be and a part no more,
There liv'd a Maid so faire, that for her sake
Since she was borne the Ile had never Snake,
Nor were it fit a deadly sting should be
To hazard such admired Symmetrie,
So many beauties so commixt in one,
That all delight were dead if she were gone.
Shepheards that in her cleare eyes did delight,
Whilst they were open never held it night:
And were they shut, although the morning gray
Call'd up the Sun, they hardly thought it day.
Or if they call'd it so, they did not passe
Withall to say that it eclipsed was.
The Roses on her cheekes, such as each turne
Phoebus might kisse, but had no powre to burne.
From her sweet lips distill sweets sweeter doe,
Then from a Cherry halfe way cut in two:
Whose yeelding touch would, as Promethian fire,
Lumps truly senslesse with a Muse inspire;
Who praysing her would youth's desire so stirre,
Each man in minde should be a ravisher.
Some say the nimble-witted Mercury
Went late disguis'd professing Palmistrie,
And Milke-maids fortunes told about the Land,
Onely to get a touch of her soft hand.
And that a Shepheard walking on the brim
Of a cleare streame where she did use to swim,
Saw her by chance, and thinking she had beene
Of Chastitie the pure and fairest Queene,
Stole thence dismaid, least he by her decree
Might undergoe Acteons destinie.
Did youths kinde heate inflame me (but the snow
Upon my head shewes it coold long agoe),
I then could give (fitting so faire a feature)
Right to her fame, and fame to such a creature.
When now much like a man the Palsie shakes
And spectacles befriend, yet undertakes
To lymbe a Lady, to whose red and white
Apelles curious hand would owe some right:
His too unsteady Pencell, shadowes here
Somewhat too much, and gives not over cleere;
His eye deceiv'd mingles his colours wrong,
There strikes too little, and here stayes too long,
Does and undoes, takes off, puts on (in vaine)
Now too much white, then too much red againe;
And thinking then to give some speciall grace,
He workes it ill, or so mistakes the place,
That shee which sits were better pay for nought,
Then have it ended, and so lamely wrought:
So doe I in this weake description erre;
And striving more to grace, more injure her.
For ever where true worth for praise doth call,
Hee rightly nothing gives that gives not all.
But as a Lad who learning to divide,
By one small misse the whole hath falsifide.
Caelia men call'd, and rightly call'd her so:
Whom Philocel (of all the Swaines I know
Most worthy) lov'd: alas! that love should be
Subject to fortunes mutabilitie!
What ever learned Bards to fore have sung,
Or on the Plaines Shepheards and Maydens young,
Of sad mishaps in love are set to tell,
Comes short to match the Fate of Philocel.
For as a Labourer toyling at a Bay
To force some cleere streame from his wonted way,
Working on this side sees the water run
Where hee wrought last, and thought it firmely done;
And that leake stopt, heares it come breaking out
Another where, in a farre greater spout,
Which mended to, and with a turfe made trim,
The brooke is ready to o'reflow the brim,
Or in the banke the water having got,
Some Mole-hole, runs where he expected not:
And when all's done, still feares, lest some great raine
Might bring a flood and throw all downe againe:
So in our Shepheards love: one hazard gone,
Another still as bad was comming on.
This danger past, another doth begin,
And one mishap thrust out lets twenty in.
For hee that loves, and in it hath no stay,
Limits his blisse seld' past the Marriage day.
But Philocels alas and Caelia's too
Must ne're attaine so farre as others doe.
Else Fortune in them from her course should swerue,
Who most afflicts those that most good deserve.
Twice had the glorious Sun run through the Signes,
And with his kindly heat improv'd the Mines,
(As such affirme with certaine hopes that try
The vaine and fruitlesse Art of Alchymie)
Since our Swaine lov'd: and twice had Phoebus bin
In horned Aries taking up his Inne,
Ere he of Caelia's heart possession wonne.
And since that time all his intentions done
Nothing, to bring her thence. All eyes upon her
Watchfull, as Vertues are on truest Honour.
Kept on the Ile as carefully of some,
As by the Trojans their Palladium.
But where's the Fortresse that can Love debarre?
The forces to oppose when he makes warre?
The Watch which he shall never finde asleepe?
The Spye that shall disclose his counsels deepe?
That Fort, that Force, that Watch, that Spye would be
A lasting stop to a fifth Emperie.
But wee as well may keepe the heat from fire
As sever hearts whom love hath made intyre.
In lovely May when Titans golden rayes
Make ods in houres betweene the nights and dayes;
And weigheth almost downe the once-even Scale
Where night and day, by th' Aequinoctiall
Were laid in ballance, as his powre hee bent
To banish Cynthia from her Regiment,
To Latmus stately Hill, and with his light
To rule the upper world both day and night,
Making the poore Antipodes to feare
A like coniunction 'twixt great Jupiter
And some Alc'mena new, or that the Sun
From their Horizon did obliquely run:
This time the Swaines and Maidens of the Ile
The day with sportive dances doe beguile,
And every Valley rings with shepherds songs,
And every Eccho each sweet noate prolongs,
And every River with unusuall pride
And dimpled cheeke rowles sleeping to the tyde,
And lesser springs, which ayrie-breeding Woods
Preferre as hand-maids to the mighty floods,
Scarce fill up halfe their channels, making haste
(In feare, as boyes) lest all the sport be past.
Now was the Lord and Lady of the May
Meeting the May-pole at the breake of day,
And Caelia as the fairest on the Greene,
Not without some Maids envy chosen Queene.
Now was the time com'n, when our gentle Swaine
Must inne his harvest or lose all againe.
Now must he plucke the Rose least other hands,
Or tempests, blemish what so fairely stands:
And therefore as they had before decreed,
Our shepherd gets a Boate, and with all speede
In night (that doth on Lovers actions smile)
Arrived safe on Mona's fruitfull Ile.
Betweene two rockes (immortall, without mother)
That stand as if out-facing one another,
There ran a Creeke up, intricate and blinde,
As if the waters hid them from the winde;
Which never wash'd but at a higher Tyde
The frizled coates which doe the mountaines hide;
Where never gale was longer knowne to stay
Then from the smooth wave it had swept away
The new divorced leaves, that from each side
Left the thicke boughes to dance out with the tyde.
At further end the Creeke, a stately Wood
Gave a kinde shadow (to the brackish Flood)
Made up of trees, not lesse kend by each skiffe
Then that sky-scaling Pike of Tenerife,
Upon whose tops the Herneshew bred her young,
And hoary mosse upon their branches hung:
Whose rugged ryndes sufficient were to show
Without their height, what time they gan to grow.
And if dry eld by wrinckled skin appeares,
None could allot them lesse then Nestor's yeares.
As under their command the thronged Creeke
Ran lessened up. Here did the Shepheard seeke
Where he his little Boate might safely hide,
Till it was fraught with what the world beside
Could not outvalew; nor give equall weight
Though in the time when Greece was at her height.
The ruddy Horses of the Rosie Morne
Out of the Easterne gates had newly borne
Their blushing Mistresse in her golden Chaire,
Spreading new light throughout our Hemispheare.
When fairest Caelia with a lovelyer crew
Of Damsels then brave Latmus ever knew
Came forth to meet the Younsters; who had here
Cut downe an Oake that long withouten peere
Bore his round head imperiously above
His other Mates there, consecrate to Jove.
The wished time drew on: and Caelia now
(That had the same for her white arched brow)
While all her lovely fellowes busied were
In picking off the Jems from Tellus haire,
Made tow'rds the Creeke, where Philocel unspide,
(Of Maid or Shepheard that their May-games plide)
Receiv'd his wish'd-for Caelia, and begun
To steere his Boate contrary to the Sun,
Who could have wish'd another in his place
To guide the Carre of light, or that his race
Were to have end (so he might blesse his hap)
In Caelia's bosome, not in Thetis lap.
The Boate oft danc'd for joy of what it held:
The hoyst-up Saile, not quicke but gently sweld,
And often shooke, as fearing what might fall,
Ere she deliver'd what she went withall.
Winged Argestes, faire Aurora's sonne,
Licenc'd that day to leave his Dungeon,
Meekely attended and did never erre
Till Caelia grac'd our Land and our Land her.
As through the waves their love-fraught Wherry ran,
A many Cupids, each set on his Swan,
Guided with reynes of gold and silver twist
The spotlesse Birds, about them, as they list,
Which would have sung a Song (ere they were gone),
Had unkinde Nature given them more then one;
Or in bestowing that had not done wrong,
And made their sweet lives forfaite, one sad song.
Yet that their happy Voyage might not be
Without Tymes shortner, Heaven-taught Melodie,
(Musicke that lent feet to the stable Woods,
And in their currents turn'd the mightie Floods,
Sorrowes sweet Nurse, yet keeping Joy alive,
Sad discontent's most welcome Corrasive,
The soule of Art, best lov'd when Loves are by,
The kinde inspirer of sweet Poesie,
Least thou should'st wanting be, when Swans would faine
Have sung one Song, and never sung againe)
The gentle Shepheard hasting to the shore
Began this Lay, and tym'd it with his Oare:
Never more let holy Dee
O're other Rivers brave,
Or boast how (in his jollitie)
Kings row'd upon his wave.
But silent be, and ever know
That Neptune for my Fare would row.
Those were Captives. If he say
That now I am no other,
Yet she that beares my prisons key
Is fairer then Loves Mother;
A God tooke me, those, one lesse high:
They wore their bonds, so doe not I.
Swell then, gently swell, yee Floods,
As proud of what yee beare,
And Nymphes, that in low corrall Woods
String Pearles upon your hayre,
Ascend: and tell if ere this day
A fairer prize was seene at Sea.
See, the Salmons leape and bound
To please us as we passe,
Each Mermaid on the Rockes around,
Lets fall her brittle glasse,
As they their beauties did despize,
And lov'd no myrrour but your eyes.
Blow, but gently blow, fayre winde;
From the forsaken shore,
And be as to the Halcyon kinde,
Till we have ferry'd o're:
So maist thou still have leave to blow,
And fan the way where she shall goe.
Floods, and Nymphes, and Windes, and all
That see us both together,
Into a disputation fall,
And then resolve me, whether
The greatest kindnesse each can show,
Will quit our trust of you or no.
Thus as a merry Milke-maid neate and fine
Returning late from milking of her Kine,
Shortens the dew'd way which she treads along
With some selfe-pleasing-since-new-gotten Song,
The Shepheard did their passage well beguile.
And now the horned Flood bore to our Ile
His head more high then hee had us'd to doe,
Except by Cynthia's newnesse forced to.
Not Januaries snow dissolv'd in Floods
Makes Thamar more intrude on Blanchden Woods,
Nor the concourse of waters where they fleete
After a long Raine, and in Severne meete,
Rais'th her inraged head to roote faire Plants,
Or more affright her nigh inhabitants,
(When they behold the waters rufully,
And save the waters nothing else can see)
Then Neptune's subject now, more then of yore:
As loath to set his burden soone on shore.
O Neptune! hadst thou kept them still with thee,
Though both were lost to us and such as wee,
And with those beauteous birds which on thy brest
Get and bring up; afforded them a rest,
Delos, that long time wandring piece of earth
Had not beene fam'd more for Diana's birth;
Then those few planks that bore them on the Seas,
By the blest issue of two such as these.
But they were landed: so are not our woes,
Nor ever shall, whil'st from an eye there flowes
One drop of moysture; to these present times
We will relate, and some sad Shepheards rymes
To after ages may their Fates make knowne,
And in their depth of sorrow drowne his owne.
So our Relation and his mournfull Verse
Of teares shall force such tribute to their Herse,
That not a private griefe shall ever thrive
But in that deluge fall, yet this survive.
Two furlongs from the shore they had not gone,
When from a low-cast Valley (having on
Each hand a woody hill, whose boughes unlopt
Have not alone at all time sadly dropt,
And turn'd their stormes on her dejected brest,
But when the fire of heaven is ready prest
To warme and further what it should bring forth,
For lowly Dales mate Mountaines in their worth,
The Trees (as screenlike Greatnesse) shades his raye,
As it should shine on none but such as they)
Came (and full sadly came) a haplesse Wretch,
Whose walkes and pastures once were known to stretch
From East to West so farre that no dyke ran
For noted bounds, but where the Ocean
His wrathful billowes thrust, and grew as great
In sholes of fish as were the others Neate:
Who now dejected and depriv'd of all,
Longs (and hath done so long) for funerall.
For as with hanging head I have beheld
A widow Vine, stand in a naked field,
Unhusbanded, neglected, all-forlorne,
Brouz'd on by Deere, by Cattle cropt and torne:
Unpropt, unsuccoured by stake or tree,
From wreakfull stormes impetuous tyranny,
When, had a willing hand lent kinde redresse,
Her pregnant bunches might from out the Presse
Have sent a liquour both for taste and show
No lesse divine then those of Malligo:
Such was this wight, and such she might have beene.
Shee both th' extremes hath felt of Fortunes teene,
For never have we heard from times of yore,
One sometime envy'd and now pitty'd more.
Her object, as her state, is low as earth;
Privation her companion; thoughts of mirth
Irkesome; and in one selfe-same circle turning,
With sodaine sports brought to a house of mourning.
Of others good her best beliefe is still
And constant to her owne in nought but ill.
The onely enemy and friend she knowes
Is Death, who though deferres must end her woes;
Her contemplation frightfull as the night;
She never lookes on any living wight
Without comparison; and as the day
Gives us, but takes the Glowormes light away:
So the least ray of Blisse on others throwne
Deprives and blinds all knowledge of her owne.
Her comfort is (if for her any be)
That none can shew more cause of griefe then she.
Yet somewhat she of adverse Fate hath won,
Who had undone her were she not undone.
For those that on the Sea of Greatnesse ryde
Farre from the quiet shore, and where the tyde
In ebbs and floods is ghess'd, not truly knowne;
Expert of all estates except their owne;
Keeping their station at the Helme of State
Not by their Vertues but auspicious Fate:
Subject to calmes of favour stormes of rage,
Their actions noted as the common Stage,
Who, like a man borne blinde that cannot be
By demonstration shewne what 'tis to see,
Live still in Ignorance of what they want,
Till Misery become the Adamant,
And touch them for that poynt, to which, with speede,
None comes so sure as by the hand of Neede.
A Mirrour strange she in her right hand bore,
By which her friends from flatterers heretofore
She could distinguish well; and by her side,
(As in her full of happinesse) untyde,
Unforc'd, and uncompell'd, did sadly goe
(As if partaker of his Mistresse woe)
A loving Spanyell, from whose rugged backe
(The onely thing (but death) she moanes to lacke)
She pluckes the hayre, and working them in pleats
Furthers the suite which Modestie intreates.
Men call her Athliot: who cannot be
More wretched made by infelicitie,
Unlesse she here had an immortall breath,
Or living thus, liv'd timorous of death.
Out of her lowly and forsaken dell
Shee running came, and cryde to Philocel,
Helpe! helpe! kinde shepherd helpe! see yonder, where
A lovely Lady hung up by the hayre,
Struggles, but mildly struggles with the Fates,
Whose thread of life, spun to a thread that mates
Dame Natures in her haire, stayes them to wonder
While too fine twisting makes it breake in sunder.
So shrinkes the Rose that with the flames doth meet;
So gently bowes the Virgin parchment sheet;
So rowle the waves up and fall out againe,
As all her beautious parts, and all in vaine.
Farre, farre, above my helpe or hope in trying,
Unknowne, and so more miserably dying,
Smothring her torments in her panting brest,
She meekly waits the time of her long rest.
Hasten! O hasten then! kinde Shepheard, haste.
He went with her, And Caelia (that had grac'd
Him past the world besides) seeing the way
He had to goe, not farre, rests on the lay.
'Twas neere the place where Pans transformed Love
Her guilded leaves displaid, and boldly strove
For lustre with the Sun: a sacred tree
(Pal'd round) and kept from violation free:
Whose smallest spray rent off, we never prize
At lesse then life. Here, though her heavenly eyes
From him she lov'd could scarce afford a sight,
(As if for him they onely had their light)
Those kinde and brighter Starres were knowne to erre
And to all misery betrayed her.
For turning them aside, she (haplesse) spies
The holy Tree, and (as all novelties
In tempting women have small labour lost
Whether for value nought, or of more cost)
Led by the hand of uncontroll'd desire
She rose, and thither went. A wrested Bryre
Onely kept close the gate which led into it,
(Easie for any all times to undoe it,
That with a pious hand hung on the tree
Garlands or raptures of sweet Poesie)
Which by her opened, with unweeting hand
A little spray she pluckt, whose rich leaves fan'd
And chatter'd with the ayre, as who should say
Doe not for once, O doe not this bewray!
Nor give sound to a tongue for that intent!
"Who ignorantly sinnes, dies innocent."
By this was Philocel returning backe,
And in his hand the Lady; for whose wrack
Nature had cleane forsworne to frame a wight
So wholly pure, so truely exquisite:
But more deform'd and from a rough-hewne mold,
Since what is best lives seldome to be old.
Within their sight was fayrest Caelia now;
Who drawing neere, the life-priz'd golden bough
Her Love beheld. And as a Mother kinde
What time the new-cloath'd trees by gusts of winde
Unmov'd, stand wistly listning to those layes
The feather'd Quiristers upon their sprayes
Chaunt to the merry Spring, and in the Even
She with her little sonne for pleasure given,
To tread the fring'd bankes of an amorous flood,
That with her musicke courts a sullen wood,
Where ever talking with her onely blisse
That now before and then behinde her is,
Shee stoopes for flowres the choisest may be had,
And bringing them to please her prittie Lad,
Spyes in his hand some banefull flowre or weed,
Whereon he gins to smell, perhaps to feede,
With a more earnest haste she runs unto him,
And puls that from him which might else undoe him:
So to his Caelia hastned Philocel,
And raught the bough away: Hid it: and fell
To question if shee broke it, or if then
An eye beheld her? Of the race of men
(Replide she), when I tooke it from the tree
Assure your selfe was none to testifie,
But what hath past since in your hand, behold,
A fellow running yonder o're the Wold
Is well inform'd of. Can there (Love) insue,
Tell me! oh tell me! any wrong to you
By what my hand hath ignorantly done?
(Quoth fearefull Caelia) Philocel! be wonne
By these unfained teares, as I by thine,
To make thy greatest sorrowes partly mine!
Cleere up these showres (my Sun), quoth Philocel,
The ground it needes not. Nought is so from Well
But that reward and kinde intreaties may
Make smooth the front of wrath, and this allay.
Thus wisely he supprest his height of woe,
And did resolve, since none but they did know
Truly who rent it: And the hatefull Swaine
That lately past by them upon the Plaine
(Whom well hee knew did beare to him a hate,
Though undeserved, so inveterate
That to his utmost powre he would assay
To make his life have ended with that day.)
Except in his had seene it in no hand,
That hee against all throes of Fate would stand,
Acknowledge it his deede, and so afford
A passage to his heart for Justice sword,
Rather then by her losse the world should be
Despiz'd and scorn'd for losing such as she.
Now (with a vow of secrecy from both)
Inforcing mirth, he with them homewards go'th;
And by the time the shades of mighty woods
Began to turne them to the Easterne Floods,
They thither got: where with undaunted heart
He welcomes both, and freely doth impart
Such dainties as a Shepheards cottage yeelds,
Tane from the fruitfull woods and fertile fields:
No way distracted nor disturb'd at all.
And to prevent what likely might befall
His truest Caelia, in his apprehending
Thus to all future care gave finall ending:
Into their cup (wherein for such sweet Girles
Nature would Myriades of richest Pearles
Dissolve, and by her powrefull simples strive
To keepe them still on earth, and still alive)
Our Swaine infus'd a powder which they dranke:
And to a pleasant roome (set on a banke
Neere to his Coate, where he did often use
At vacant houres to entertaine his Muse)
Brought them and seated on a curious bed,
Till what he gave in operation sped,
And rob'd them of his sight, and him of theirs,
Whose new inlightning will be quench'd with teares.
The Glasse of Time had well-nye spent the Sand
It had to run, ere with impartiall hand
Justice must to her upright Ballance take him:
Which he (afraid it might too soone forsake him)
Began to use as quickly as perceive,
And of his Love thus tooke his latest leave:
Caelia! thou fairest creature ever eye
Beheld, or yet put on mortalitie!
Caelia that hast but just so much of earth,
As makes thee capable of death! Thou birth
Of every Vertue, life of every good!
Whose chastest sports and daily taking food
Is imitation of the highest powres
Who to the earth lend seasonable showres,
That it may beare, we to their Altars bring
Things worthy their accept, our offering.
I the most wretched creature ever eye
Beheld, or yet put on mortalitie,
Unhappy Philocel, that have of earth
Too much to give my sorrowes endlesse birth,
The spring of sad misfortunes; in whom lyes
No blisse that with thy worth can sympathize,
Clouded with woe that hence will never flit,
Till deaths eternall night grow one with it:
I as a dying Swan that sadly sings
Her moanfull Dirge unto the silver springs,
Which carelesse of her Song glide sleeping by
Without one murmure of kinde Elegie,
Now stand by thee; and as a Turtles mate,
With lamentations inarticulate,
The neere departure from her love bemones,
Spend these my bootlesse sighes and killing grones.
Here as a man (by Justice doome) exilde
To Coasts unknowne, to Desarts rough and wilde,
Stand I to take my latest leave of thee:
Whose happy and heaven-making company
Might I enjoy in Libia's Continent,
Were blest fruition and not banishment.
First of those Eyes that have already tane
Their leave of mee: Lamps fitting for the Phane
Of heavens most powre, and which might ne're expire
But be as sacred as the Vestall fire:
Then of those plots, where halfe-Ros'd Lillies be,
Not one by Art but Natures industry,
From which I goe as one excluded from
The taintlesse flowres of blest Elizium:
Next from those Lips I part, and may there be
No one that shall hereafter second mee!
Guiltlesse of any kisses but their owne,
Their sweets but to themselves to all unknowne:
For should our Swaines divulge what sweets there be
Within the Sea-clipt bounds of Britanie,
We should not from invasions be exempted,
But with that prize would all the world be tempted.
Then from her hart: O no! let that be never,
For if I part from thence I dye for ever.
Be that the Record of my love and name!
Be that to me as is the Phoenix flame!
Creating still anew what Justice doome
Must yeeld to dust and a forgotten toombe.
Let thy chaste love to me (as shadowes run
In full extent unto the setting Sun)
Meet with my fall; and when that I am gone,
Backe to thy selfe retyre, and there grow one.
If to a second light thy shadow be,
Let him still have his ray of love from mee;
And if, as I, that likewise doe decline,
Be mine or his, or else be his and mine.
But know no other, nor againe be sped,
"She dyes a virgin that but knowes one bed."
And now from all at once my leave I take
With this petition, that when thou shalt wake,
My teares already spent may serve for thine,
And all thy sorrowes be excus'd by mine!
Yea, rather then my losse should draw on hers,
(Heare, Heaven, the suit which my sad soule preferres!)
Let this her slumber, like Oblivions streame,
Make her beleeve our love was but a dreame!
Let me be dead in her as to the earth,
Ere Nature lose the grace of such a birth.
Sleepe thou sweet soule from all disquiet free,
And since I now beguile thy destiny,
Let after patience in thy brest arise,
To give his name a life who for thee dyes.
He dyes for thee that worthy is to dye,
Since now in leaving that sweet harmonie
Which Nature wrought in thee, hee drawes not to him
Enough of sorrow that might streight undoe him.
And have for meanes of death his parting hence,
So keeping Justice still in Innocence.
Here staid his tongue, and teares anew began.
"Parting knowes more of griefe then absence can."
And with a backward pace and lingring eye
Left, and for ever left, their company.
By this the curs'd Informer of the deede
With wings of mischiefe (and those have most speede)
Unto the Priests of Pan had made it knowne;
And (though with griefe enough) were thither flowne
With strict command the Officers that be
As hands of Justice in her each decree.
Those unto judgement brought him: where, accus'd
That with unhappy hand he had abus'd
The holy Tree, and by the oath of him
Whose eye beheld the separated limb,
All doubts dissolv'd, quicke judgement was awarded,
(And but last night) that hither strongly guarded
This morne he should be brought, and from yond rocke,
(Where every houre new store of mourners flocke)
He should be head-long throwne (too hard a doome)
To be depriv'd of life, and dead, of toombe.
This is the cause faire Goddesse that appeares
Before you now clad in an old mans teares,
Which willingly flow out, and shall doe more
Then many Winters have seene heretofore.
But Father (quoth she), let me understand
How you are sure that it was Caelia's hand
Which rent the branch; and then (if you can) tell
What Nymph it was which neere the lonely Dell
Your shepherd succour'd. Quoth the good old man:
The last time in her Orbe pale Cynthia ran,
I to the prison went, and from him knew
(Upon my vow) what now is knowne to you.
And that the Lady which he found distrest,
Is Fida call'd, a Maid not meanly blest
By heavens endowments, and, alas! but see,
Kinde Philocel, ingirt with miserie
More strong then by his bonds, is drawing nigh
The place appointed for his tragedie:
You may walke thither and behold his fall;
While I come neere enough, yet not at all.
Nor shall it need I to my sorrow knit
The griefe of knowing with beholding it.
The Goddesse went: (but ere she came did shrowde
Her selfe from every eye within a cloud)
Where shee beheld the Shepheard on his way,
Much like a Bridegroome on his marriage-day,
Increasing not his miserie with feare:
Others for him, but he shed not a teare.
His knitting sinewes did not tremble ought,
Nor to unusuall palpitation brought
Was or his heart or lyver: nor his eye,
Nor tongue, nor colour shew'd a dread to dye.
His resolution keeping with his spirit,
(Both worthy him that did them both inherit)
Held in subjection every thought of feare,
Scorning so base an executioner.
Some time he spent in speech, and then began
Submissely prayer to the name of Pan,
When sodainly this cry came from the Plaines:
From guiltlesse blood be free, ye Brittish Swaines!
Mine be those bonds, and mine the death appoynted!
Let me be head-long thrown, these limbes disjoynted!
Or if you needs must hurle him from that brim,
Except I dye there dyes but part of him.
Doe then right, Justice, and performe your oath,
Which cannot be without the death of both!
Wonder drew thitherward their drowned eyes,
And Sorrow Philocels. Where he espyes,
What he did onely feare, the beautious Maide,
His wofull Caelia, whom (ere night arraid
Last time the world in suit of mournfull blacke,
More darke then use, as to bemone their wracke)
He at his cottage left in sleepes soft armes
By powre of simples and the force of charmes,
Which time had now dissolv'd, and made her know
For what intent her Love had left her so.
Shee staid not to awake her mate in sleepe,
Nor to bemone her Fate. She scorn'd to weepe,
Or have the passion that within her lyes
So distant from her heart as in her eyes.
But rending of her haire, her throbbing brest
Beating with ruthlesse strokes, she onward prest
As an inraged furious Lionesse,
Through uncouth treadings of the wildernesse,
In hote pursuit of her late missed broode.
The name of Philocel speakes every wood,
And she begins to still and still her pace:
Her face deckt anger, anger deckt her face.
So ran distracted Hecuba along
The streets of Troy. So did the people throng
With helplesse hands and heavy hearts to see
Their wofull ruine in her progenie.
And harmlesse flocks of sheepe that neerely fed
Upon the open plaines wide scattered,
Ran all afront, and gaz'd with earnest eye
(Not without teares) while thus shee passed by.
Springs that long time before had held no drop,
Now welled forth and over-went the top:
Birds left to pay the Spring their wonted vowes,
And all forlorne sate drooping on the boughes:
Sheep, Springs and Birds, nay trees unwonted grones
Bewail'd her chance, and forc'd it from the stones.
Thus came she to the place (where aged men,
Maidens, and wives, and youth and childeren
That had but newly learnt their Mothers name,
Had almost spent their teares before shee came.)
And those her earnest and related words
Threw from her brest; and unto them affords
These as the meanes to further her pretence:
Receive not on your soules, by Innocence
Wrong'd, lasting staines which from a sluce the Sea
May still wash o're, but never wash away.
Turne all your wraths on mee: for here behold
The hand that tore your sacred Tree of gold;
These are the feete that led to that intent
Mine was th' offence, be mine the punishment.
Long hath he liv'd among you, and he knew
The danger imminent that would insue;
His vertuous life speakes for him, heare it then!
And cast not hence the miracle of men!
What now he doth is through some discontent,
Mine was the fact, be mine the punishment!
What certaine death could never make him doe
(With Caelia's losse), her presence forc'd him to.
She that could cleere his greatest clouds of woes,
Some part of woman made him now disclose,
And shew'd him all in teares: And for a while
Out of his heart unable to exile
His troubling thoughts in words to be conceiv'd;
But weighing what the world should be bereav'd,
He of his sighes and throbs some license wan,
And to the sad spectators thus began:
Hasten! O haste! the houre's already gone,
Doe not deferre the execution!
Nor make my patience suffer ought of wrong!
'Tis nought to dye, but to be dying long!
Some fit of Frenzie hath possest the Maid:
She could not doe it; though she had assaid,
No bough growes in her reach; nor hath the tree
A spray so weake to yeeld to such as shee.
To winne her love I broke it, but unknowne
And undesir'd of her; Then let her owne
No touch of prejudice without consent,
Mine was the fact be mine the punishment!
O! who did ever such contention see
Where death stood for the prize of victory?
Where love and strife were firme and truly knowne,
And where the victor must be overthrowne?
Where both pursude, and both held equall strife
That life should further death, death further life.
Amazement strucke the multitude. And now
They knew not which way to performe their vow.
If onely one should be depriv'd of breath,
They were not certaine of th' offenders death;
If both of them should dye for that offence
They certainely should murder Innocence;
If none did suffer for it, then there ran
Upon their heads the wrath and curse of Pan.
This much perplex'd and made them to deferre
The deadly hand of th' Executioner,
Till they had sent an Officer to know
The Judges wils: (and those with Fates doe goe)
Who backe return'd, and thus with teares began:
The Substitutes on earth of mighty Pan
Have thus decreed (although the one be free)
To cleare themselves from all impunitie,
If, who the offender is, no meanes procure,
Th' offence is certaine, be their death as sure.
This is their doome (which may all plagues prevent)
To have the guilty, kill the innocent.
Looke as two little Lads (their parents treasure)
Under a Tutor strictly kept from pleasure,
While they their new-given lesson closely scan,
Heare of a message by their fathers man,
That one of them, but which he hath forgot,
Must come along and walke to some faire plot;
Both have a hope: their carefull Tutor loth
To hinder eyther, or to license both;
Sends backe the Messenger that he may know
His Masters pleasure which of them must goe:
While both his Schollers stand alike in feare
Both of their freedome and abiding there,
The Servant comes and sayes that for that day
Their Father wils to have them both away:
Such was the feare these loving soules were in
That time the messenger had absent bin.
But farre more was their joy twixt one another,
In hearing neither should out-live the other.
Now both intwinde, because no conquest won,
Yet either ruinde, Philocel begun
To arme his Love for death: a roabe unfit
Till Hymens saffron'd weed had usher'd it.
My fayrest Caelia! come; let thou and I,
That long have learn'd to love, now learne to dye;
It is a lesson hard if we discerne it,
Yet none is borne so soone as bound to learne it.
Unpartiall Fate layes ope the Booke to us,
And let us con it still imbracing thus;
We may it perfect have, and goe before
Those that have longer time to read it o're;
And we had neede begin and not delay,
For 'tis our turne to read it first to day.
Helpe when I misse, and when thou art in doubt
Ile be thy prompter, and will helpe thee out.
But see how much I erre: vaine Metaphor
And elocution Destinies abhorre.
Could death be staid with words, or wonne with teares,
Or mov'd with beauty, or with unripe yeeres,
Sure thou could'st doe't; this Rose, this Sun-like eye
Should not so soone be quell'd, so quickly dye.
But we must dye, my Love; not thou alone,
Nor onely I, but both; and yet but one.
Nor let us grieve; for we are marryed thus,
And have by death what life denyed us.
It is a comfort from him more then due;
"Death severs many, but he couples few."
Life is a Flood that keepes us from our blisse,
The Ferriman to waft us thither, is
Death, and none else; the sooner we get o're
Should we not thanke the Ferriman the more?
Others intreat him for a passage hence,
And groane beneath their griefes and impotence,
Yet (mercilesse) he lets those longer stay,
And sooner takes the happy man away.
Some little happinesse have thou and I,
Since we shall dye before we wish to dye.
Should we here longer live, and have our dayes
As full in number as the most of these,
And in them meet all pleasures may betide,
We gladly might have liv'd and patient dyde.
When now our fewer yeeres made long by cares
(That without age can snow downe silver haires)
Make all affirme (which doe our griefes discry)
We patiently did live, and gladly dye.
The difference (my Love) that doth appeare
Betwixt our Fates and theirs that see us here,
Is onely this: the high-all knowing powre
Conceales from them, but tels us our last houre.
For which to Heaven we far-farre more are bound,
Since in the houre of death we may be found
(By its prescience) ready for the hand
That shall conduct us to the Holy-land.
When those, from whom that houre conceal'd is, may
Even in their height of Sinne be tane away.
Besides, to us Justice a friend is knowne,
Which neither lets us dye nor live alone.
That we are forc'd to it cannot be held;
"Who feares not Death, denies to be compell'd."
O that thou wert no Actor in this Play,
My sweetest Caelia! or divorc'd away
From me in this: O Nature! I confesse
I cannot looke upon her heavinesse
Without betraying that infirmitie
Which at my birth thy hand bestow'd on mee.
Would I had dyde when I receiv'd my birth!
Or knowne the grave before I knew the earth!
Heavens! I but one life did receive from you,
And must so short a loane be paid with two?
Cannot I dye but like that brutish stem
Which have their best belov'd to dye with them?
O let her live! some blest powre heare my cry!
Let Caelia live and I contented dye.
My Philocel (quoth she) neglect these throes!
Aske not for mee, nor adde not to my woes!
Can there be any life when thou art gone?
Nay, can there be but desolation?
Art thou so cruell as to wish my stay,
To waite a passage at an unknowne day?
Or have me dwell within this Vale of woe
Excluded from those joyes which thou shalt know?
Envy not me that blisse! I will assay it,
My love deserves it, and thou canst not stay it.
Justice! then take thy doome; for we intend,
Except both live, no life: one love, one end.
Thus with imbraces, and exhorting other,
With teare-dew'd kisses that had powre to smother;
Their soft and ruddy lips close joyn'd with eyther,
That in their deaths their soules might meet together.
With prayers as hopefull as sincerely good,
Expecting death they on the Cliffes edge stood,
And lastly were (by one oft forcing breath)
Throwne from the Rocke into the armes of death.
Faire Thetis whose command the waves obey,
Loathing the losse of so much worth as they,
Was gone before their fall; and by her powre
The Billowes (mercilesse, us'd to devoure,
And not to save) she made to swell up high,
Even at the instant when the tragedy
Of those kinde soules should end: so to receive them,
And keepe what crueltie would faine bereave them.
Her hest was soone perform'd: and now they lay
Imbracing on the surface of the Sea,
Voyd of all sense; a spectacle so sad
That Thetis, nor no Nymph which there she had,
Touch'd with their woes, could for a while refraine
But from their heavenly eyes did sadly raine
Such showres of teares (so powrefull, since divine)
That ever since the Sea doth taste of Bryne.
With teares, thus to make good her first intent,
She both the Lovers to her Chariot hent:
Recalling Life that had not cleerely tane
Full leave of his or her more curious Phane,
And with her praise sung by these thankfull paire
Steer'd on her Coursers (swift as fleeting ayre)
Towards her pallace built beneath the Seas,
Proud of her journey, but more proud of these.
By that time Night had newly spred her robe
Over our halfe-part of this massie Globe,
She wonne that famous Ile which Jove did please
To honour with the holy Druydes.
And as the Westerne side shee stript along,
Heard (and so staid to heare) this heavy Song:
O Heaven! what may I hope for in this Cave? A Grave.
But who to me this last of helpes shall retch? A Wretch.
Shall none be by pittying so sad a wight? Yes: Night.
Small comfort can befall in heavy plight
To mee poore Maid, in whose distresses be
Nor hope, nor helpe, nor one to pittie mee,
But a cold Grave, a Wretch, and darksome Night.
To digge that Grave what fatall thing appeares? Thy Teares.
What Bell shall ring me to that bed of ease? Rough Seas.
And who for Mourners hath my Fate assign'd? Each Winde.
Can any be debarr'd from such I finde?
When to my last Rites Gods no other send
To make my Grave, for Knell, or mourning friend,
Then mine own Teares, rough Seas, and gusts of Winde.
Teares must my grave dig: but who bringeth those? Thy Woes.
What Monument will Heaven my body spare? The Ayre.
And what the Epitaph when I am gone? Oblivion.
Most miserable I, and like me none
Both dying, and in death, to whom is lent
Nor Spade, nor Epitaph, nor Monument,
Excepting Woes, Ayre and Oblivion.
The end of this gave life unto a grone,
As if her life and it had beene but one;
Yet shee as carelesse of reserving eyther,
If possible would leave them both together.
It was the faire Marina, almost spent
With griefe and feare of future famishment.
For (haplesse chance) but the last rosie morne
The willing Redbrest flying through a Thorne,
Against a prickle gor'd his tender side,
And in an instant so, poore creature, dyde.
Thetis much mov'd with those sad notes shee heard,
Her freeing thence to Triton soone referr'd;
Who found the Cave as soone as set on shore,
And by his strength removing from the doore
A weighty stone, brought forth the fearefull Mayde,
Which kindly led where his faire Mistresse staid
Was entertain'd as well became her sort,
And with the rest steer'd on to Thetis Court,
For whose release from imminent decay
My Muse awhile will here keepe Holy-day.