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Ay me! what thing on Earth that all thing breeds, , So shall succeeding ages have no light
Shall die in darknesse, and lie hid in slime !
Therefore I mourne with deep harts sorrowing, And pierce immortall breasts with mortall smarts? Because I nothing noble have to sing.– Vouchsafe ye then, whom onely it concernes,
With that she raynd such store of streaming teares, To me those secret causes to display;
That could have made a stonie heart to weep; For none but you, or who of you it learnes, And all her sisters rent their golden heares, Can rightfully aread so dolefull lay.
And their faire faces with salt humour steep. Begin, thou eldest sister of the crew,
So ended shee: and then the next anew, And let the rest in order thee ensew.
Began her grievous plaint as doth ensew.
Ne onely they that dwell in lowly dust,
Most miserable creature under sky The sonnes of darknes and of ignoraunce ;
Man without Understanding doth appeare ; But they, whom thou, great love, by doome uniust For all this worlds affliction he thereby, Didst to the type of honour earst advaunce; And Fortunes freakes, is wisely taught to beare: They now, puft up with sdrignfull insolence, Of wretched life the onely ioy shee is, Despise the brood of blessed sapience.
And th’ only comfort in calamities. The sectaries of my celestiall skill,
She armes the brest with constant patience That wont to be the worlds chiefe ornament, Against the bitter throwes of dolours darts : Aud learned impes that wont to shoote up still, She solaceth with rules of sapience And grow to height of kingdomes government, The gentle minds, in midst of worldly smarts: They underkeep, and with their spreading armes When he is sad, shee seeks to make him merie, Do beat their buds, that perish through their harmes. And doth refresh his sprights when they be werie. It ipost behoves the honorable race
But he that is of reasons skill bereft,
So is the man that wants intendiment.
Why doo they banish us, that patronize
The name of learning? Most unhappie wretches ! For God bimselfe for wisedome most is praised, The which lie drowned in deepe wretchednes, And men to God thereby are nighest raised. Yet doo not see their owne unhappiness. But they doo onely strive themselves to raise My part it is and my professed skill Through pompous pride, and foolish vanitie; The stage with tragick buskin to adorne, In th' eyes of people they put all their praise, And fill the scene with plaint and outcries shrill And onely boast of armes and auncestrie :
Of wretched persons, to misfortune borne : But vertuous deeds, which did those armes first give But none more tragick matter I can finde To their grandsyres, they care not to atchive. Then this, of men depriv'd of sense and minde. So I, that doo all noble feates professe
For all mans life me seemes a tragedy, To register, and sound in trump of goid ;
Full of sad sights and sore catastrophees; Through their bad dooings, or base slothfulnesse, First comming to the world with weeping eye, Finde nothing worthie to be writ, or told:
Where all his dayes, like dolorous trophees, For better farre it were to hide their names, Are heapt with spoyles of fortune and of feare, Then telling theiu to blazon out their blames, And he at last laid forth on balefull beare.
So all with rufull spectacles is fild,
So am I made the servant of the manie, Fit for Megera or Persephone ;
And laughing stocke of all that list to scorne, But I that in true tragedies am skild,
Not honoured nor cared for of anie; 'The flowre of wit, finde pought to busie me: But loath'd of losels as a thing forlorne : Therefore I mourne, and pitifully mone,
Therefore I mourne and sorrow with the rest, Because that mourning matter I have none.- Untill my cause of sorrow be redrest.Then gan she wofully to waile, and wring Therewith she lowdly did Jament and shrike, Her wretched hands in lamentable wise;
Pouring forth streames of teares abundantly ; And all her sisters, thereto answering,
And all her sisters, with compassion like, Threw forth lowd shrieks and drerie dolefull criesThe breaches of her singulfs did supply. So rested she : and then the next in rew
So rested shee: and then the next in rew
Faire Philomele, when Winters storm'e wrath
All places with our pleasant notes to fill, Is layd abed, and no where now to see;
Whilest favourable times did us afford And in her roome unseemly Sorrow sits,
Free libertie to chaunt our charmes at will; With hollow browes and greisly countenaunce, All comfortlesse upon the bared bow, Marring my ioyous gentle dalliaunce.
Like wofull calvers, doo sit wayling now. And him beside sits ugly Barbarisme,
For far more bitter storme than winters stowre And brutish Ignorance, yerept of late
The beautie of the world bath lately wasted,
A stonie coldnesse hath benumbd the sence
And dimd with darknesse their intelligence,
And fed with Furies milke for sustenaunce Was limned forth, are wholly now defaced ; Of his weake infancie, begot amisse And those sweete wits, which wont the like to frame, By yawning Sloth on his owne mother Night; Are now despizd, and made a laughing game. So hee bis sonnes both syre and brother hight. And he, the man whom Nature selfe had made He, armd with blindnesse and with boldnes stout, To mock her selfe, and Truth to imitate,
(For blind is bold) hath our fayre light defaced ; With kindly counter under mimick shade, And, gathering unto him a ragged rout Our pleasant Willy, ah! is dead of late:
Of Faunes and Satyres, hath oor dwellings raced ; With whom all ioy and iolly meriment
And our chast bowers, in which all vertue rained, Is also deaded, and in dolour drent.
With brutishnesse and beastlie filth hath stainech In stead thereof scoffing Scurrilitie,
The sacred springs of horsefoot Helicon, And scornfull Folly with Contempt is crept, So oft bedeawed with our learned layes, Rolling in rymes of shamelesse ribaudrie
And speaking streames of pure Castalion, Without regard, or due decorum kept;
The famous witnesse of our wonted praise, Each idle wit at will presumes to make,
They trampled have with their fowle footings trade, And doth the learneds taske upon him take. And like to troubled puddles have them made. But that same gentle spirit, from whose pen Our pleasant groves, which planted were with paines, Large streames of honnie and sweete nectar flowe, That with our musick wont so oft to ring, Scorning the boldnes of such base-borne men, And arbors sweet, in which the shepheards swaines Which dare their follies forth so rashlie throwe; Were wont so oft their pastoralls to sing, Doth rather choose to sit in idle cell,
They have cut downe, and all their pleasaunce mard, Than so bimselfe to mockerie to sell,
That now no pastorall is to bee hard.
In stead of them, fowle goblins and shriek-owles Nor anie one doth care to call us in,
Or once vouchsafeth us to entertaine,
And yeeld us some reliefe in this distresse;
So wander we all carefull comfortlesse, To teach the warbling pipe to sound aloft, Yet none doth care to comfort us at all; (My spirits now dismayd with sorrow dull)
So seeke we helpe our sorrow to redresse, Doo mone my miserie with silence soft.
Yet none vouchsafes to answere to our call; Therefore I mourne and waile incessantly,
Tberefore we mourne and pittilesse complaine, Till please the Heavens atsoord me remedy:-- Because none living pittieth our paine.Therewith shee wayled with exceeding woc,
With that she wept and wofullie waymented, And pitious lamentation did make;
That naught on Earth her griefe might pacifie; And all her sisters, seeing her doo soe,
And all the rest her dolefull din augmented With equall plaints her sorrowe did partake. With sbrikes, and groanes, and grievous agonic. So rested shee: and then the next in rew
So ended shee: and then the next in rew Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew.
Began her piteous plaint, as doch ensew.
Whoso hath in the lap of soft Delight
Ye gentle spirits! breathing from above, Been long time Juld, and fed with pleasures sweet, Where ye in Venus silver bowre were bred, Fearles through his own fault or Fortunes spight Thoughts halfe devine, full of the fire of love, To tumble into sorrow and regreet,
With beawt e kindled, and with pleasure fed, Yf chaunce him fall into calamitie,
Which ye now in securitie possesse, Finds greater burthen of his miserie.
Forgetfull of your former heavinesse: So wee that earst in ioyance did abound,
Now change the tenor of your ioyous layes, And in the bosome of all blis did sit,
With which ye use your loves to deifie, Like virgin queenes, with laurell garlands cround, And blazon foorth an earthlie beanties praise For vertues meed and ornament of wit;
Above the compasse of the arched skie: Sith Ignorance our kingdome did confound, Now change your praises into piteous cries, Be now become most wretched wightes on ground. And eulogies turne into elegies. And in our royall thrones, which lately stood Such as ye wont, whenas those bitter stounds In th' hearts of men to rule them carefully, Of raging love first gan you to torment, He now hath placed his accursed brood,
Ind launch your hearts with lamentable wounds By him begotten of fowle Infamy;
Of secret sorrow and sad languishment,
And the devicefull matter of my song;
, Out of th’ Almighties bosome, where he nests ;
But riine at riot, and doo rage in love; , And fill their bookes with discipline of vice. Yet little wote what doth thereto behove. So every where they rule, and tyrannize, Faire Cytheree, the mother of Delight, For their usurped kingdomes maintenaunce, And queene of beautie, now thou maist go pack; The wbiles we silly maides, whom they dispize For lo! thy kingdome is defaced quight, And with reprochfull scorne discountenaunce, Thy scepter rent, and power put to wrack; From our owne native heritage exilde,
And thy gay sonne, the winged god of love, Walk through the world of every one revilde. May now goe prune his plumes like ruffed dove,
And ye three twins, to light by Venus brought, But now I will my golden clarion rend,
For noble peeres, whom I was wont to raise,
Now onely seeke for pleasure, nought for praise. For neither you nor we shall anie more
Their great revenues all in sumptuous pride Find entertainment or in court or schoole: They spend, that nought to learning they may spare; For that, which was accounted heretofore
And the rich fee, which poets wont divide, The learneds meede, is now lent to the foole ; Now parasites and sycophants doo share: He sings of love, and maketh loving layes, Therefore I mourne and endlesse sorrow make, And they him heare, and they him highly prayse. Both for my selfe and for my sisters sake.With that she powred foorth a brackish flood With that she lowdly gan to waile and shrike, Of bitter teares, and made exceeding mone; And from her eyes a sea of teares did powre; And all her sisters, seeing her sad mood,
And all her sisters, with compassion like, With lowd laments ber answered all at one. Did more increase the sharpnes of her showre. So ended she: and then the next in rew
So ended she: and then the next in rew Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew.
Began her plaint, as doth herein ensew.
Of starres conspiring wretched men t'afflict,
Hath powrd on Earth this noyous pestilence, Or deignes to pitie a perplexed hart;
That mortall mindes doth inwardly infect But rather seekes my sorrow to augment
With love of blindnesse and of ignorance, With fowle reproach, and cruell banishment? To dwell in darknesse without sovenance ? For they, to whom I used to applie
What difference twixt man and beast is left, The faithfull service of my learned skill,
When th'heavenlie light of knowledge is put out, The goodly off-spring of loves progenie,
And th' ornaments of wisdome are bereft? That wont the world with famous acts to fill; Then wandreth he in error and in doubt, Whose living praises in heroick style,
Unweeting of the danger hee is in, It is my chiefe profession to compyle;
Through fleshes frailtie, and deceipt of sin. They, all corrupted through the rust of time, In this wide world in which they wretches stray, That doth all fairest things on Earth deface, It is the onelie, comfort which they have, Or through unnoble sloth, or sinfull crime, It is their hight, their loadstarre, and their day; That doth degenerate the noble race;
But Hell, and darknesse, and the grislie grave, Have both desire of worthje deeds forlorne, Is Ignorance, the enemy of Grace, And name of learning utterly doo scorne.
That mindes of men borne heavenlie doth debace. Ne doo they care to have the auncestrie
Through knowledge we behould the worlds creation, Of th' old heroës memorizde anew;
How in his cradle first he fostred was; Ne doo they care that late posteritie
And judge of Natures cunning operation, Should know their names, or speak their praises dew, How things she formed of a formlesse mas: But die forgot from whence at first they sprong, By knowledge wee do learne our selves to knowe, As they themselves shal be forgot ere long. And what to man, and what to God, wee owe. What bootes it then to come from glorious From hence wee mount aloft unto the skie, Forefathers, or to have been nobly bredd ? And looke into the cbristall firmament; What oddes twixt Irus and old Inachus,
There we behold the Heavens great hierarchie, Twixt best and worst, when both alike are dedd ; The starres pure light, the spheres swift movëment, If none of neither mention should make,
The spirites and intelligences fayre, Nor out of dust their memories awake?
And angels waighting on th' Almighties chayre. Or who would ever care to doo brave deed, And there, with humble minde and high insight, Or strive in vertue others to excell;
Th' Eternall Makers maiestie wee viewe,
The precepts of my heavenlie discipline ;
Have they, that scorne the schoole of arts divine, Bacchus and Hercules I raisd to Heaven,
And banish me, which do professe the skill And Charlemaine amongst the starris seaven. To make men heavenly wise through bumbled will.
However yet they mee despise and spight, Some few beside this sacred skill esteme,
Admirers of her glorious excellence;
And lifted up above the worldës gaze,
To sing with angels her immortall praize.
But with base thoughts are into blindnesse led,
And ait her sisters, seeing her sad stowre, Did throw forth shriekes and cries and dreery yells.
Did weep and waile, and made exceeding mone, So ended shee; and then the next in rew
And all their learned instruments did breake: Began her mournfull plaint, as doth ensew.
The rest untold no living tongue can speake.
LONG SINCE DEDICATED.
A dolefull case desires a dolefull song,
TO THE MOST NOBLE AND EXCELLENT LORD,
THE EARLE OF LEICESTER, And make a tunefull diapase of pleasures,
LATE DECEASED. Now being let to runne at libertie By those which have no skill to rule them right, WRONG'p, yet not daring to expresse my paine, Have now quite lost their naturall delight.
To you (great lord) the causer of my care, Heapes of huge words uphoorded hideously,
In clowdie teares my case I thus complaine With horrid sound though having little sence,
Unto your selfe, that onely privie are. They thinke to be chiefe praise of poetry;
But if that any (Edipns unware [spright, And, thereby wanting due intelligence,
Shall chaunce, through power of some divining Have mard the face of goodly poësie, And made a monster of their fantasie.
To reade the secrete of this riddle rare,
And know the purporte of my evill plight;
Let him rest pleased with his owne insight,
Ne further seeke to glose upon the text:
For griefe enough it is to grieved wight Then was shee held in soveraigne dignitic,
Te feele his fault, and not be further vext. And made the noursling of nobilitie.
But what so by my selfe may not be showen, But now nor prince nor priest doth her maintayne, May by this Gnatts complaint be easily knonen. But suffer her prophaned for to bee Of the base vulgar, that with hands uncleane Dares to pollute her hidden mysterie ;
e now have playde, Augustus, wantonly, And treadeth under foote hir holie things,
Tuning our song unto a tender Muse, Which was the care of Kesars and of kings. And, like a cobweb weaving slenderly,
Have onely playde: let thus much then excuse One onelie lives, her ages ornament,
This Gnats small poëme, that th' whole historie And myrrour of her Makers maiestie,
Is but a jest, though envie it abuse: That with rich bountie, and deare cherishment, But who such sports, and sweet delights doth blame, Supports the praise of noble poësie;
Shall lighter seeme then this Gnats idle name. Ne onelie favours them which it professe, But is her selfe a peereles poëtesse.
Hereafter, when as season more secure
Shall bring forth fruit, this Muse shall speak to thee Most peereles prince, most peereles poëtesse, In bigger notes, that may thy sense allure, The true Pandora of all heavenly graces,
And for thy worth frame some fit poesie: Divine Elisa, sacred emperesse !
The golden ofspring of Latona pure, - Live she for ever, and her royall p'laces
And ornament of great loves progenie, Be fild with praises of divinest wits,
Phæbus, shall be the author of my song, That her eternize with their heavenlie writs! Playing on ivorie harp with silver strong.