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The presse bath gathered into one, what fancie had scattered in many loose papers. To write this, love stole some houres from businesse, and my more serious study. For though poetry may challenge, if not priority, yet equality, with the best sciences, both for antiquity and worth ; I never set so high a rate upon it, as to give my selfe entirely up to its devotion. It hath too much ayre, and (if without offence to our next transmarine neighbour) wantons too much according to the French garbe. And when it is wholly imployed in the soft straines of love, his soule who entertaines it, loseth much of that strength which should confirme bim man. The nerves of judgement are weakened most by its dalliance; and when woman (I meane onely as she is externally faire) is the supreme object of wit, we soone degenerate into effeminacy. For the religion of fancie declines into a mad superstition, when it adores that idoll which is not secure from age and sicknesse. Of such heathens, our times afford us a pittyed multitude, who can give no nobler testimony of twenty yeares' imployment, than some loose coppies of lust happily exprest. Yet these the common people of wit blow up with their breath of praise, and honour with the sacred name of poets: to which, as I believe, they can never have any just claime, so shall I not dare by this essay to lay any title, since more sweate and oyle he must spend, who shall arrogate so excellent an attribute. Yet if the innocency of a chaste Muse shall bee more acceptable, and weigh heavier in the ballance of esteeme than a fame begot in adultery of study, I doubt I shall-leave them no hope of competition. For bow unhappie soever I may be in the elocution, I am sure the theame is worthy enough. In all those flames in which I burnt, I never felt a wanton heate; nor was my invention ever sinister from the straite way of chastity. And when love builds upon that rocke, it may safely contembe the battery of the waves and threatnings of the wind. Since time, that makes a mockery of the firmest structures, shall it selfe be ruinated, before that be demolisht. Thus was the foundation layd. And though my eye, in its survey, was satisfied, even to curiosity, yet did not my search rest there. The alabaster, ivory, porphir, iet, that lent an admirable beauty to the outward building, entertained me with but a balfe pleasure, since they stood there onely to make sport for ruine. But when my soule grew acquainted with the owner of that mansion, I found that Oratory was dombe when it began to speake her, and wonder (which must necessarily seize the best at that time) a lethargie, that dulled too much the faculties of the minde, onely fit to busie themselves in discoursing her perfections: Wisdome, I encountered there, that could not spend it selfe since it affected silence, attentive onely to instructions, as if all her sences had beene contracted into hearing: Innocencie, so not vitiated by conversation with the world, that the subtile witted of her sex,' would have tearm'd it ignorance: wit, which seated it selfe most in the apprehension, and if not inforc't by good manners, would scarce have gain'd the name of affability:. Modesty, so timorous, that it represented a besieged citty, standing watchfully upon her guard, strongest in the loyalty to her prince. In a word, all those vertues wbich should restore woman to her primitive state of beauty, fully adorned her. But I shall be censured, in labouring to come nigh the truth, guilty of an indiscreet rheroticke. However such I fancied her, for to say shee is, or was such, were to play the merchant, and boast too much the value of a jewell I possesse, but have no minde to part with. And though I appeare to strive against the streame of best wits, in erecting the selfe same altar, both to chastity and love; I will for once adventure to doe well, without a president. Nor if my rigid friend question superciliously the setting forth of thesc poems, will I excuse my selfe (though justly perhaps I might) that importunity prevailed, and cleere judgements advised. This onely I dare say, that if they are not strangled with envie of the present, they may happily live in the not dislike of future times. For then partiality ceaseth, and vertue is without the idolatry of ber clients, esteemed worthy bonour. Nothing new is free from detraction, and when princes alter customes even heavie to the sub
ject, best ordinances are interpreted innovations. Had I slept in the silence of my acquaintance, and effected no study beyond that which the chase or field allowes, poetry had then beene no scandall upon me, ad the love of learning no suspition of ill husbandry. But what malice, begot in the country upon ignorance, or in the city upon criticisme, shall prepare against me, I am armed to endure. For as the face of vertue lookes faire without the adultery of art, so fame needes no ayde from rumour to strengthen her selfe. If these lines want that courtship, (I will not say Aattery) which insinuates it selfe into the favour of great men, best; they partake of my modesty: If satyrr to win applause with the envious multitude; they expresse my content, which maliceth none the fruition of that, they esteeme happie. 'And if not too indulgent to what is my owne; I thinke even these verses will have that proportion in the world's opinion, that Heaven hath allotted me in fortune; not so high, as to be wondred at, nor so low as to be contemned.
TO RIO BEST FRIEND AND KINSMAN
Twrite not this in hope tincroach on fame, WILLIAM HABINGTON, ESQUIRE.
Or adde a greater lustre to your name, Not in the silence of content and store
Bright in it selfe enough. We two are knowne
To th' world, as to our selves, to be bnt one, Of private sweets ought thiy Muse charme no more in blood as study: and my carefull love Than thy Castara's eare. 'Twere wrong such gold, Did never action worth my name approve, Should not like mines, (poore nam'd to this) behold Which serv'd not thee. Nor did we ere contend, It selfe a publicke joy. Who her, restraine,
But who should be best patterne of a friend. Make a close prisner of a soveraigne.
Who read thee, praise thy fancie, and admire Inlarge her then to triumph. While we see
Thee burning with so high and pare a fire, Such worth in beauty, such desert in thee,
As reaches Heaven it selfe. But I who know Such mutuall fames betweene you both, as show
Thy soule religious to her ends, where grow How chastity, though yce, like love can glow,
No siones by art or custome, boldly can Yet stand a virgin : how that full content
Stile thee more than good poet, a good man. By:vertue is to soyles united, lent,
Then let thy temples shake off vulgar bayes, Which proves all wealth is poore, all honours are
Th' hast built an altar which enshrines thy praise: But empty titles, highest power but care,
And to the faith of after-time commends
Yee the best paire of lovers, us of friends.
GEORGE TALBOT. May be a prouder, not a happier fate.
THE FIRST PART.
Carmina non prius Audita, Musarum sacerdos virginibus.
Is the fairest treasure, the avarice of Love can
covet; and the onely white, at which he shootes his arrowes, nor while his aime is noble, can he ever hit upon repentance. She is chaste, for the devill enters the idoll and gives the oracle, when wantonnesse possesseth beauty, and wit maintaines it lawfull. She is as faire as Nature intended her, helpt perhaps to a more pleasing grace by the sweetnesse of education, not by the slight of art. She is young, for a woman past the delicacie of her spring, may well move by vertue to respect, never by beauty to affection. Shee is innocent even from the knowledge of sinne, for vice is too strong to be wrastled with, and gives her frailty the foyle. She is not proude, though the amorous youth interpret her modestie to that sence; but in her vertue weares so much majestie, lust dares not rebell, por though masqued, under the pretence of love, capitulate with her. She entertaines not every parley offer'd, although the articles pretended to her advantage: advice and her owne feares restraine her, and woman never owed ruine to too much caution. She glories not in the plurality of servants, a multitude of adorers Heaven can onely challeng; and it is impietie in her weakenesse to desire superstition from many. She is deafe to the whispers of love, and even on the marriage boure can breake off,
without the least suspition of scandall, to the former liberty of her carriage. She avoydes a too deere conversation with man, and like the Parthian overcomes by flight. Her language is not copious but apposit, and she had rather suffer the reproach of being dull company, than have the title of witty, with that of bold and wanton. In her carriage she is sober, and thinkes her youth expresseth life enough, without the giddy motion, fashion of late hath taken up. She danceth to the best applause but doates not on the vanity of it, nor licenceth an irregular meeting to vaunt the levity of her skill. She sings, but not perpetually, for she knowes, silence in woman is the most perswading oratory. She never arrived to so much familiarity with man as to know the demunitive of his name, and call him by it; and she can show a competent favour: without yeelding her hand to his gripe. Shee never understood the language of a kisse, but at salutation, nor dares the courtier use so much of bis practised impudence as to offer the rape of it from her: because chastity hath write it unlawfull, and her behaviour proclaimes it unwelcome. She is never sad, and yet not jiggish; her conscience is cleere from guilt, and that secures her from
She is not passionately in love with poetry, because it softens the heart too much to love : but she likes the harmony in the composition; and the brave examples of vertue celebrated by it, she proposeth to her imitation. She is not vaine in the history of her gay kindred or acquaintance: since vertue is often tenant to a cottage, and familiarity with greatnesse (if worth be not transcendant above the title) is but a glorious servitude, fooles onely are willing to suffer. She is not ambitious to be praised, and yet vallues death beneath infamy. And Ile conclude, (though the next sinod of ladies condemne this character as ap heresie broacht by a precision) that onely she who
hath as great a share in vertue as in beauty, deserves a noble love to serve her, and a free poesie to speake her.
A SACRIFICE, Let the chaste phoenix from the flowry East, Bring the sweete treasure of her perfum'd nest, As incense to this altar where the name Of my Castara's grav'd by th' hand of Fame. Let purer virgins, to redeeme the aire From loose infection, bring their zealous prayer, T" assist at this great feast. where they shall see, What rites Love offers up to Chastity. Let all the amorous youth, whose faire desire Felt never warmth but from a noble fire, Bring hither their bright fames : which here sball As tapers fixt about Castara's shrine. [shine
While I the priest, my untapı'd heart, surprise, And in this temple mak't her sacrifice.
By those chaste lamps which yeeld a silent light,
Thus my bright Muse in a new orbe shall more,
I saw Castara pray, and from the skie,
shall move, Best subject of my pen, queene of my love.
OF HIS BEING IN LOVE.
behold the seasons of the yeare,
If then Castara I in Heaven nor more,
ROSES IN THE BOSOME OF CASTARA. YEE blushing virgins happie are In the chaste nunn'ry of her brests, For bee'd prophane so chaste a faire, Who ere shall call them Cupid's nests, Transplanter thus how bright yee grow, How rich a perfume doe yee yeeld ? In some close garden, cowslips so Are sweeter than i'th' open field. In those white cloysters live secure From the rude blasts of wanton breath, Each houre more inuocent and pure, Till you shall wither into death. Then that which living gave you roome, Your glorious scpulcher shall bc. There wants no marble for a tombe, Whose brest hath marble beene to me.
TO MY HONOURED FRIEND,
MR. ENDYMION PORTER. Not still i'th' shine of kings. Thou dost retire Sometime to th' holy shade, where the chaste quire Of Muses doth the stubborne panther awe, And give the wildenesse of his nature law. The wind his chariot stops: th' attentive rocke The rigor doth of its creation mocke, And gently melts away: Argus to heare The musicke, turnes each eye into an eare. To welcoine thee, Endymion, glorious they Triumph to force these creatures disobey What Nature hath enacted. But no charme The Muses have these monsters can disarme Of their innated rage: no spell can tame The North-wind's fury, but Castara's name. Climbe yonder forked hill, and see if there I'th' barke of every Daphne, not appeare Castara written ; and so markt by me, How great a prophet growes each virgin tree? Lie downe, and listen what the sacred spring In her larmonious murmures, strives to sing To th’ neighb'ring banke, ere her loose waters erre Through common channels; sings she not of ber? Behold yond' violet, which such honour gaines, That growing but to emulate her veines,