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WHAT wrath of gods, or wicked influence
Of starres conspiring wretched men t" afflict,
Hath powrd'on earth this noyous pestilence,
That mortall mindes doth inwardly infect
With love of blindneffe and of ignorance, , 485,
To dwell in darkneffe without lovenance ?

What difference twixt man and beast is left,

th' heavenlie light of Knowledge is put ...:

And th' ornaments of Wisdome are bereft?
Then wandreth he in error and in doubt,
Unweeting of the danger hee is in,
Through fleshes frailtie, and deceipt of fin.


In this wide world in which they wretches stray,
It is the onelie comfort which they have,
It is their light, their loadstarre, and their day;
But hell, and darknesse, and the grillie grave,
Is Ignorance, the enemy of Grace,
That mindes of men borne heavenlie doth de-



Ver. 486.

Sovenance ?]' Fr. Jouvenance, remembrance. All the editions indeed read" foverance, a word without meaning. I have therefore ventured' to print what I suppose the poet intended; for fovenance conveys a distinct and solemn sentiment, “ in darkness without remembrance, i. e.. where all things are forgotten." TODD.

Through Knowledge we behould the worlds

creation, How 'in his cradle first he fostred was ; 500 And iudge of Natures cunning operation, How things the formed of a formleffe mas: By Knowledge wee do learne our felves to

knowe, And what to man, and what to God, wee owe.

From hence wee mount aloft unto the skie, 505
And looke into the christall firmament;
There we behold the heavens great Hierarchie,
The Starres pure light, the Spheres swift movë-

ment, The Spirites and Intelligences fayre, And Angels waighting on th’Almighties chayrë.

And there, with humble minde and high infight,

sii Th' Eternall Makers maiestie wee viewe, His love, his truth, his glorie, and his might, And mercie more then mortall men can vew. O foveraigne Lord, O foveraigne happinesse, To see thee, and thy mercie measurelesle! 516

Such happines have they, that do embrace
The precepts of my heavenlie discipline;
But shame and forrow and accurfed cafe


Have they, that scorne the schoole of Arts

divine, And banish me, which do professe the skill To make men heavenly wise through humbled


However yet they mee despise and spight,
I feede on sweet contentment of my thought,
And, please my felfe with mine owne felfe-

In contemplation of things heavenlie wrought:
So, loathing earth, I looke up to the sky,
And, being driven hence, I thether fly.



Thence I behold the miserie of men,
Which want the bliss that Wisedom would them

And like brute beasts doo lie in loathsome den
Of ghostly darknes, and of gastlie dreed:
For whom I mourne, and for my felfe com-

plaine, And for

my Sisters eake whom they disdaine.

With that thee wept and waild fo pityouslie, 535
As if her eyes had beene two springing wells ;
And all the reft, her forrow to supplie,
Did throw forth shriekes and cries and dreery


So ended shee; and then the next in rew Began her mournfull plaint, as doth ensew. 540

POLYHYMNI A. A DOLEFULL case defires a dolefull fong, Without vaine art or curious complements ; And squallid Fortune, into basenes flong, Doth scorne the pride of wonted ornaments. Then fittest are these ragged rimes for mee, 545 To tell

my forrowes that exceeding bee.

For the sweet numbers and melodious measures,
With which I wont the winged words to tie,
And make a tunefull Diapase of pleasures,
Now being let to runne at libertie
By those which have no skill to rule them right,
Have now quite lost their naturall delight.


Heapes of huge words uphoorded hideously,
With horrid found though having little fence,
They thinke to be chiefe praise of Poëtry ; 555
And, thereby wanting due intelligence,
Have mard the face of goodly Poësie,
And made a monster of their fantasie.

Ver. 545.

these ragged rimes] See the note on the Epistle to the Shep. Cal. vol. i. and F. Q. i. xii. 23.

TODD. Ver. 548.

winged words] Homer's iTea slepórta. TODD. VOL. VII.

А а

Whilom in ages past none might professe
But Princes and high Priests that secret skill;
The facred lawes therein they wont expresse, 561
And with deepe Oracles their verses fill:
Then was shee held in foveraigne dignitie,
And made the noursling of Nobilitie.

But now nor Prince nor Priest doth her maintayne,

565 But suffer her prophaned for to bee Of the base vulgar, that with hands uncleane Dares to pollute her hidden mysterie ; And treadeth under foote hir holie things, Which was the care of Kefars and of Kings. 570

One onelie lives, her ages ornament,
And myrrour of her Makers maiestie,
That with rich bountie, and deare cherishment,
Supports the praise of noble Poësie;
Ne onelie favours them which it profeffe,
But is her selfe a peereles Poëteffe.


Most peereles Prince, most peereles Poëteffe,
The true Pandora of all heavenly graces,
Divine Elisa, sacred Emperesse !
Live she for ever, and her royall p'laces 580

Ver. 580.

- p'laces] That is, palaces. The word is printed in the original edition with the elifion, as I have printed it. Moderu editions read places. TODD.

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