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Beholding one in shining armes appeare
These dreadfull armes I beare no warfare bring
To your sweet toile, nor those sweet tunes you sing. But father, since this land, these townes and towres, Destroied are with sword, with fire and spoile, How may it be, unhurt that you and yours In safetie thus, applie your harmelesse toile? My sonne (quoth he) this pore estate of ours Is euer safe from storm of warlike broile;
This wildernesse doth vs in saftie keepe,
No thundring drum, no trumpet breakes our sleepe, Haply iust heau'ns defence and shield of right, Doth loue the innocence of simple swains, The thunderbolts on highest mountains light, And seld or neuer strike the lower plaines : So kings have cause to feare Bellonaes might, Not they whose sweat and toile their dinner gaines,
Nor euer greedie soldier was entised
By pouertie, neglected and despised.
These little flocks of sheepe and tender goates
Gjue milke for food, and wool to make us coates. We little wish, we need but little wealth, From cold and hunger vs to cloath and feed; These are my somes, their care preserues from stealth Their father's flocks, nor servants moe I need : Amid these groues I walke oft for my health, And to the fishes, birds, and beastes giue heed,
How they are fed, in forrest, spring, and lake,
And their contentment for ensample take.
And though I but a simple gardner weare,
Entised on with hope of future gaine,
I bod the court farewell, and with content
While thus he spake, Erminia, husht and still,
Till fortune should occasion new afford,
To turne her home to her desired lord.
Within these pleasant groues perchance my hart,
Of her discomforts, may vnload some part.
Part of her sad misfortunes than she told,
And wept, and with her wept that shepherd old. With speeches kinde, he gan the virgin deare Towards his cottage gently home to guide; His aged wife there made her homely cheare, Yet welcomde her, and plast her by her side. The princesse dond a poore pastoraes geare, A kerchiefe course vpon her head she tide;
But yet her gestures and her lookes (I gesse)
Were such, as ill beseem'd a shepherdesse. Not those rude garments could obscure and hide The heau'nly beautie of her angels face, Nor was her princely ofspring damnifide, Or ought disparag'de, by those labours bace; Her little flocks to pasture would she guide, And milke her goates, and in their folds them place,
Both cheese and butter could she make, and frame Her selfe to please the shepherd and his dame.
MY LADY ***
Your commands for the gathering these sticks into a faggot had sooner been obeyed; but, intending to present you with my whole vintage, I stayed till the latest grapes were ripe: for here your ladyship has not only all I have done, but all I ever mean to do of this kind. Not but that I may defend the attempt I have made upon poetry, by the examples (not to trouble you with history) of many wise and worthy persons of our own times; as sir Philip Sidney, sir Francis Bacon, cardinal Perron, (the ablest of his countrymen) and the former pope ; who, they say, instead of the triple crown, wore sometimes the poet's ivy, as an ornament, perhaps, of lesser weight and trouble. But, madam, these nightingales sung only in the spring; it was the diversion of their youth ; as ladies learn to sing, and play, when they are children, what they forget when they are women. The resemblance holds further; for as you quit the lute the sooner, because the posture is suspected to draw the body awry ; so this is not always practised without some villany to the mind, wresting it from present occasions, and accustoming us to a style somewhat removed from common use. But, that you may not think his case deplorable who had made verses, we are told, that Tully (the greatest wit among the Romans) was once sick of this disease, and yet recovered so well, that, of almost as bad a poet as your servant, he became the most perfect orator in the world. So that, not so much to have made verses, as not to give over in time, leaves a man without excuse: the former presenting us with an opportunity at least of doing wisely, that is, to conceal those we have made; which I shall yet do, if my humble request may be of as much force with your ladyship, as your commands have been with me. Madam, I only whisper these in your ear; if you publish them, they are your own: and therefore, as you apprehend the reproach of a wit and a poet, cast them into the fire: or, if they come where green boughs are in the chimney, with the help of your fair friends, (for, thus bound, it will be too hard a task for your hands alone) tear them in pieces, wherein you will honour me with the fate of Orpheus ; for so his Poems, whereof we only hear the form, (not his limbs, as the story will have it) I suppose were scattered by the Thracian dames. Here, madam, I might take an opportunity to celebrate your virtues, and to instruct you how unhappy you are, in that you know not who you are: how much you excel the most excellent of your own, and how much you amaze the least inclined to wonder, of our sex. But as they will be apt to take your ladyship’s for a Roman name, so would they believe, that I endeavoured the character of a perfect nymph, worshipped an image of my own making, and dedicated this to the lady of the brain, not of the heart, of