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Though to the Tuscans I the smoothness grant,
Our dialect no majesty doth want,
To set thy praises in as high a key,
As France, or Spain, or Germany, or they.
What day I quit the fore-land of fair Kent,
And that my ship her course for Flanders bent,
Yet think I with how many a heavy look
My leave of England and of thee I took,
And did intreat the tide (if it might be)
But to convey me one sigh back to thee.
Up to the deck a billow lightly skips,
Taking my sigh, and down again it slips,
Into the gulph itself it headlong throws,
And as a post to England-ward it goes.
As I sate wond'ring how the rough sea stirr'd,
I might far off perceive a little bird,
Which as she fain from shore to shore would fly,
Had lost herself in the broad vasty sky,
Her feeble wing beginning to deceive her,
The seas of life still gaping to bereave her:
Unto the ship she makes, which she discovers,
And there (poor fool!) a while for refuge hovers;
And when at length her flagging pinion fails,
Panting she hangs upon the rolling sails,
And being forc'd to loose her hold with pain,
Yet beaten off, she straight lights on again, [weather,
And toss'd with flaws, with storms, with wind, with
Yet still departing thence, still turneth thither:
Now with the poop, now with the prow doth bear,
Now on this side, now that, now here, now there.
Methinks these storms should be my sad depart,
The silly helpless bird is my poor heart,
The ship, to which for succour it repairs,
That is yourself, regardless of my cares.
Of every surge doth fall, or wave doth rise,
To some one thing I sit and moralize.
When for thy love I left the Belgic shore,
Divine Erasmus, and our famous More,
Whose happy presence gave me such delight,
As made a minute of a winter's night;
With whom a while I staid at Roterdame,
Now so renowned by Erasmus' name:
Yet every hour did seem a world of time,
Till I had seen that soul-reviving clime,
And thought the foggy Netherlands unfit,
A wat'ry soil to clog a fiery wit.
And as that wealthy Germany I past,
Coming unto the Emperor's court at last,
Great-learn'd Agrippa, so profound in art,
Who the infernal secrets doth impart,
When of thy health I did desire to know,
Me in a glass my Geraldine did show,
Sick in thy bed; and for thou could'st not sleep,
By a wax taper set the light to keep;
I do remember thou didst read that ode,
Sent back whilst I in Thanet made abode,
Where when thou cam'st unto that word of love,
Ev'n in thine eyes I saw how passion strove :
That snowy lawn which covered thy bed,
Methought look'd white, to see thy cheek so red;
Thy rosy cheek oft changing in my sight,
Yet still was red, to see the lawn so white:
The little taper which should give thee light,
Methought wax'd dim, to see thy eyes so bright;
Thine eye again supply'd the taper's turn,
And with his beams more brightly made it burn:
The shrugging air about thy temples hurls,
And wrapt thy breath in little clouded curls,
And as it did ascend, it straight did seize it,
And as it sunk it presently did raise it.
Canst thou by sickness banish beauty so,
Which if put from thee, knows not where to go
To make her shift, and for succour seek
To every rivel'd face, each bankrupt cheek?
"If health preserv'd, thou beauty still dost cherish;
If that neglected, beauty soon doth perish."
Care draws on care, woe comforts woe again,
Sorrow breeds sorrow, one grief brings forth twain.
If live or die, as thou do'st, so do I;
If live, I live; and if thou die, I die :
One heart, one love, one joy, one grief, one troth,
One good, one ill, one life, one death to both.
If Howard's blood thou hold'st as but too vile,
Or not esteem'st of Norfolk's princely stile;
If Scotland's coat no mark of fame can lend,
That lion plac'd in our bright silver bend,
Which as a trophy beautifies our shield,
Since Scottish blood discolour'd Floden field;
When the proud Cheviot our brave ensign bare,
As a rich jewel in a lady's hair,
And did fair Bramston's neighbouring vallies choke
With clouds of cannons fire-disgorged smoke;
If Surrey's earldom insuflicient be,
And not a dower so well contenting thee:
Yet I am one of great Apollo's heirs,
The sacred Muses challenge me for theirs.
By Princes my immortal lines are sung,
My flowing verses grac'd with ev'ry tongue:
The little children when they learn to go,
By painful mothers daded to and fro,
Are taught my sugar'd numbers to rehearse,
And have their sweet lips season'd with my verse.
When heav'n would strive to do the best it can,
And put an angel's spirit into man,
The utmost power it hath, it then doth spend,
When to the world a Poet it doth intend.
That little diff'rence 'twixt the gods and us,
(By them confirm'd) distinguish'd only thus:
Whom they in birth ordain to happy days,
The gods commit their glory to our praise;
T'eternal life when they dissolve their breath,
We likewise share a second pow'r by death.
When time shall turn those amber locks to gray,
My verse again shall gild and make them gay
And trick them up in knotted curls anew,
And to thy autumn give a summer's hue;
That sacred pow'r, that in my ink remains,
Shall put fresh blood into thy wither'd veins,
And on thy red decay'd, thy whiteness dead,
Shall set a white more white, a red more red:
When thy dim sight thy glass cannot descry,
Nor thy craz'd mirror can discern thine eye;
My verse, to tell th' one what the other was,
Shall represent them both, thine eye and glass;
Where both thy mirror and thine eye shall see, What once thou saw'st in that, that saw in thee; And to them both shall tell the simple truth, What that in pureness was, what thou in youth.
If Florence once should lose her old renown, As famous Athens, now a fisher-town; My lines for thee a Florence shall erect, Which great Apollo ever shall protect, And with the numbers from my pen that falls, Bring marble mines to re-erect those walls. Nor beauteous Stanhope, whom all tongues report To be the glory of the English court, Shall by our nation be so much admir'd, If ever Surrey truly were inspir'd.
And famous Wyat, who in numbers sings
To that enchanting Thracian harper's strings,
To whom Phœbus (the Poets' god) did drink
A bowl of nectar, fill'd up to the brink;
And sweet-tongu'd Bryan (whom the Muses kept,
And in his cradle rockt him whilst he slept)
In sacred verses (most divinely penn'd)
Upon thy praises ever shall attend.
What time I came into this famous town,
And made the cause of my arrival known,
Great Medices a list for triumphs built;
Within the which, upon a tree of gilt,
(Which was with sundry rare devices set)
I did erect thy lovely counterfeit,
To answer those Italian dames desire,
Which daily came thy beauty to admire;
By which, my lion in his gaping jaws
Held up my lance, and in his dreadful paws
Reacheth my gauntlet unto him that dare
A beauty with my Geraldine's compare.
Which, when each manly valiant arm assays,
After so many brave triumphant days,
The glorious prize upon my lance I bear,
By herald's voice proclaim'd to be thy share.
The shiver'd staves here for thy beauty broke,
With fierce encounters past at every shock,
When stormy courses answer cuff for cuff,
Denting proud bevers with the counter-buff,
Upon an altar, burnt with holy flame,
I sacrific'd, as incense to thy fame:
Where, as the phoenix from her spiced fume
Renews herself, in that she doth consume;
So from these sacred ashes live we both,
Ev'n as that one Arabian wonder doth.
Whose leaves still mutt'ring, as the air doth breathe,
With the sweet bubbling of the stream beneath,
Doth rock the senses (whilst the small birds sing)
Lulled asleep with gentle murmuring;
Where light-foot Fairies sport at prison-base,
(No doubt there is some pow'r frequents the place)
There the soft poplar and smooth beech do bear
Our names together carved every where,
And Gordian knots do curiously entwine
The names of Henry and Geraldine.
O let this grove, in happy times to come,
Be call'd the lover's bless'd Elyzium;
Whither my mistress wonted to resort,
In summer's heat, in those sweet shades to sport:
A thousand sundry names I have it given,
And call'd it Wonder-hider, Cover-heav'n,
The roof where beauty her rich court doth keep,
Under whose compass all the stars do sleep.
There is one tree, which now I call to mind,
Doth bear these verses carved in the rind:
"When Geraldine shall sit in thy fair shade,
Fan her fair tresses with perfumed air,
Let thy large boughs a canopy be made,
To keep the sun from gazing on my fair:
And when thy spreading branched arms be sunk,
And thou no sap nor pith shalt more retain,
Ev'n from the dust of thy unwieldy trunk
I will renew thee, phoenix-like, again,
And from thy dry decayed root will bring
A new-born stem, another Æson's spring."
I find no cause, nor judge I reason why,
My country should give place to Lombardy.
As goodly flow'rs on Thamesis do grow,
As beautify the banks of wanton Po;
When to my chamber I myself retire, Burnt with the sparks that kindled all this fire, Thinking of England, which my hope contains, The happy isle where Geraldine remains: Of Hunsdon, where those sweet celestial eyne At first did pierce this tender breast of mine: Of Hampton-Court and Windsor, where abound All pleasures that in Paradise were found: Near that fair castle is a little grove, With hanging rocks all cover'd from above, Which on the bank of goodly Thames doth stand, Clipt by the water from the other land, Whose bushy top doth bid the sun forbear, And checks his proud beams that would enter there;
As many nymphs as haunt rich Arnus' strand,
By silver Severn tripping hand in hand:
Our shade's as sweet, though not to us so dear,
Because the sun hath greater power here.
This distant place doth give me greater woe;
Far off, my sighs the farther have to go.
Ah, absence! why thus should'st thou seem so long?
Or wherefore should'st thou offer time such wrong,
Summer so soon to steal on winter's cold,
Or winter blasts so soon make summer old?
Love did us both with one self-arrow strike,
Our wounds both one, our cure should be the like;
Except thou hast found out some mean by art,
Some pow'rful medicine to withdraw the dart;
But mine is fixt, and absence being proved,
It sticks too fast, it cannot be removed.
Adieu, adieu, from Florence when I go, By my next letters Geraldine shall know, Which if good fortune shall my course direct, From Venice by some messenger expect; Till when, I leave thee to thy heart's desire, By him that lives thy virtues to admire.
THE LADY GERALDINE TO HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY. Such greeting as the noble Surrey sends, The like to thee thy Geraldine commends;
A maiden's thoughts do check my trembling hand,
On other terms or compliments to stand,
Which (might my speech be as my heart affords)
Should come attired in far richer words:
But all is one, my faith as firm shall prove,
As her's that makes the greatest shew of love.
In Cupid's school I never read those books,
Whose lectures oft we practise in our looks,
Nor ever did suspicious rival eye
Yet lie in wait my favours to espy;
My virgin thoughts are innocent and meek,
As the chaste blushes sitting on my cheek:
As in a fever I do shiver yet,
Since first my pen was to the paper set.
If I do err, you know my sex is weak,
Fear proves a fault where maids are forc'd to speak.
Do I not ill? Ah, sooth me not herein;
Or, if I do, reprove me of my sin:
Chide me in faith, or if my fault you hide,
My tongue will teach myself, myself to chide.
Nay, noble Surrey, blot it if thou wilt,
Then too much boldness should return my guilt:
For that should be ev'n from ourselves conceal'd,
Which is disclos'd, if to our thoughts reveal'd;
For the least motion, more the smallest breath,
That may impeach our modesty, is death.
The page that brought thy letters to my hand,
(Methinks) should marvel at my strange demand:
For till he blush'd, I did not yet espy
The nakedness of my immodesty,
Which in my face he greater might have seen,
But that my fan I quickly put between;
Yet scarcely that my inward guilt could hide,
"Fear seeing all, fears it of all is spy'd."
Like to a taper burning bright,
But wanting matter to maintain his light,
The blaze ascending, forced by the smoke,
Living by that which seeks the same to choke;
The flame still hanging in the air, doth burn,
Until drawn down, it back again return: [closeth,
Then clear, then dim, then spreadeth, and then
Now getteth strength, and now his brightness loseth;
As well the best discerning eye may doubt,
Whether it be yet in, or whether out:
Thus in my cheek my sundry passions shew'd,
Now ashy pale, and now again it glow'd.
If in your verse there be a pow'r to move,
It's you alone, who are the cause I love,
It's you bewitch my bosom by mine ear;
Unto that end I did not place you there:
Airs to asswage the bloody soldier's mind,
Poor women, we are naturally kind.
Perhaps you'll think, that I these terms enforce,
For that in court this kindness is of course:
Or that it is that honey-steeped gall,
We oft are said to bait our loves withal;
That in one eye we carry strong desire,
In th' other drops, which quickly quench that fire;
Ah, what so false can envy speak of us,
But it shall find some vainly credulous?
I do not so, and to add proof thereto,
I love in faith, in faith, sweet Lord, I do:
Nor let the envy of envenom'd tongues,
Which still is grounded on poor ladies' wrongs,
Thy noble breast disasterly possess,
By any doubt to make my love the less.
My house from Florence I do not pretend, Nor from those Geralds claim I to descend; Nor hold those honours insufficient are, That I receive from Desmond, or Kildare: Nor better air will ever boast to breathe, Than that of Lemster, Munster, or of Meath: Nor crave I other foreign far allies, Than Windsor's or Fitz-Gerald's families: It is enough to leave unto my heirs,
If they but please t' acknowledge me for theirs.
To what place ever did the court remove,
But that the house gives matter to my love?
At Windsor still I see thee sit, and walk,
There mount thy courser, there devise, there talk,
The robes, the garter, and the state of Kings,
Into my thoughts thy hoped greatness brings:
None-such, the name imports (methinks) so much,
None such as it, nor as my Lord, none such:
In Hampton's great magnificence I find
The lively image of thy princely mind:
Fair Richmond's tow'rs like goodly trophies stand
Rear'd by the pow'r of thy victorious hand:
White-Hall's triumphing galleries are yet
Adorn'd with rich devices of thy wit:
In Greenwich still, as in a glass, I view,
Where last thou bad'st thy Geraldine adieu.
With ev'ry little perling breath that blows,
How are my thoughts confus'd with joys and woes!
As through a gate, so through my longing ears
Pass to my heart whole multitudes of fears.
O, in a map that I might see thee show
The place where now in danger thou do'st go!
Whilst we discourse, to travel with our eye
Romania, Tuscan, and fair Lombardy;
Or with thy pen exactly to set down
The model of that temple, or that town;
And to relate at large where thou hast been,
As there, and there, and what thou there hast seen;
Expressing in a figure, by thy hand,
How Naples lies, how Florence fair doth stand:
Or as the Grecian's finger dip'd in wine,
Drawing a river in a little line,
And with a drop, a gulf to figure out,
To model Venice moated round about;
Then adding more to counterfeit a sea,
And draw the front of stately Genoa.
These from thy lips were like harmonious tones,
Which now do sound like mandrakes dreadful
Some travel hence, t'enrich their minds with skill, Leave here their good, and bring home others ill; Which seem to like all countries but their own, Affecting most, where they the least are known: Their leg, their thigh, their back, their neck, their head,
As they had been in sev'ral countries bred;
In their attire, their gesture, and their gate,
Found in each one, all Italianate,
So well in all deformity in fashion,
Borrowing a limb of ev'ry sev'ral nation ;
And nothing more than England hold in scorn,
So live as strangers whereas they were born;
But thy return in this I do not read,
Thou art a perfect gentleman indeed:
O God forbid that Howard's noble line,
From ancient virtue should so far decline!
The Muses' train (whereof yourself are chief)
Only to me participate their grief:
To sooth their humours, I do lend them ears.
"He gives a Poet, that his verses hears."
Till thy return, by hope they only live;
Yet had they all they all away would give:
The world and they so ill-according be,
That wealth and Poets never can agree.
Few live in court that of their good have care,
The Muses' friends are every where so rare.
Some praise thy worth (that it did never know),
Only because the better sort do so,
Whose judgment never further doth extend,
Than it doth please the greatest to commend;
So great an ill upon desert doth chance,
When it doth pass by beastly ignorance.
Why art thou slack, whilst no man put his hand
To praise the mount where Surrey's towers must
Or who the groundsil of that work doth lay, [stand?
Whilst like a wand'rer thou abroad do'st stray,
Clip'd in the arms of some lascivious dame,
When thou should'st rear an Ilion to thy name?
When shall the Muses by fair Norwich dwell,
To be the city of the learned well?
Or Phoebus' altars there with incense heap'd,
As once in Cyrrha, or in Thebe kept?
Or when shall that fair hoof-plow'd spring distil
From great Mount-Surrey, out of Leonard's-hill?
Till thou return, the court I will exchange
For some poor cottage, or some country grange
Where to our distaves, as we sit and spin,
My maid and I will tell what things have been.
Our lutes unstrung shall hang upon the wall,
Our lessons serve to wrap our tow withall,
And pass the night, whiles winter-tales we tell,
Of many things, that long ago befell:
Or tune such homely carrols as were sung
In country sport, when we ourselves were young,
In pretty riddles to bewray our loves,
In questions, purpose, or in drawing gloves.
The noblest spirits, to virtue most inclined,
These here in court thy greatest want do find:
Others there be, on which we feed our eye,
Like arras-work, or such like imag'ry:
Many of us desire Queen Cath'rine's state,
But very few her virtues imitate,
Then, as Ulysses' wife, write I to thee,
Make no reply, but come thyself to me.
POLYOLBION.-THE XV. SONG.
The guests here to the bride-house hie.
The goodly vale of Aylsbury
Sets her son (Tame) forth, brave as May,
Upon the joyful wedding day:
Who, deckt up, tow'rds his bride is
So lovely Isis coming on,
At Oxford all the Muses meet her,
And with a Prothalamion greet her.
The nymphs are in the bridal bow'rs,
Some strowing sweets, some sorting flow'rs;
Where lusty Charwel himself raises,
And sings of rivers, and their praises.
Then Tame his way tow'rd Windsor tends.
Thus, with the song, the marriage ends.
Now fame had through this isle divulg'd in every The long-expected day of marriage to be near, [ear, That Isis, Cotswold's heir, long woo'd was lastly [son. And instantly should wed with Tame, old Chiltern's And now that wood-man's wife, the mother of the flood,
The rich and goodly vale of Aylsbury, that stood So much upon her Tame, was busied in her bowers, Preparing for her son as many suits of flowers, As Cotswold for the bride, his Isis lately made; Who for the lovely Tame, her bridegroom only staid. Whilst every crystal flood is to this business prest, The cause of their great speed and many thus request; [blow, O! whither go ye, floods? what sudden wind doth [flow;
Than other of your kind, that you so fast should What business in hand, that spurs you thus away? Fair Windrush, let me hear; I pray thee, Charwel
They suddenly reply,' What lets you should not see That for this nuptial feast we all prepared be? "Therefore this idle chat our ears doth but offend: Our leisure serves not now these trifles to attend.' But whilst things are in hand, old Chiltern (for his life)
From prodigal expence can noway keep his wife; Who feeds her Tame with marle, in cordial-wise prepar'd,
And thinks all idly spent, that now she only spar'd, In setting forth her son: nor can she think it well, Unless her lavish charge do Cotswolds far excel. For, Aylesbury's a vale that walloweth in her wealth, And (by her wholesome air continually in health) Is lusty, firm, and fat, and holds her youthful strength. [length, Besides her fruitful earth, her mighty breadth and Doth Chiltern fitly match; which mountainously And being very long, so likewise she doth lie [high, From the Bedfordian fields, where first she doth begin, [doth win To fashion like a vale, to th' place where Tame His Isis' wished bed; her soil throughout so sure, For goodness of her glebe, and for her pasture pure, That as her grain and grass, so she her sheep doth breed,
For burthen and for bone all other that exceed:
And she, which thus in wealth abundantly doth flow,
[stow: Now cares not on her child what cost she do beWhich when wise Chiltern saw (the world who long had try'd,
And now at last had laid all garish pomp aside; Whose hoar and chalky head descry'd him to be old, His beechen woods bereft, that kept him from the cold)
Would fain persuade the vale to hold a steady rate; And with his curious wife, thus wisely doth debate: Quoth he, you might allow what needeth, to [cost? But whereas less will serve, what means this idle Too much, a surfeit breeds, and may our child annoy: [cloy. These fat and luscious meats do but our stomachs The modest comely mien, in all things likes the Apparel often shews us womanish precise. [wise, And what will Cotswold think when he shall hear of this?
He'll rather blame your waste, than praise your cost, I wiss.'
But women wilful be, and she her will must have; Nor cares how Chiltern chides, so that her Tame be brave.
Alone which tow'ds his love she eas'ly doth convey: For the Oxonian Ouze was lately sent away [feet; From Buckingham, where first he finds his nimbler Tow'ds Whittlewood then takes; where, past the
From Whichwood, to await the bright and god-like
So, Bernwood did bequeath his satyrs to the Tame,
For sticklers in those stirs that at the feast should be.
These preparations great, when Charwell comes to
To Oxford got before, to entertain the flood, [see,
Apollo's aid he begs, with all his sacred brood,
To that most learned place to welcome her repair.
Who in her coming on, was wax'd so wondrous fair,
That meeting, strife arose betwixt them, whether
Her beauty should extol, or she admire their bay.
On whom their several gifts (to amplify her dow'r)
The Muses there bestow; which ever have the pow'r
Immortal her to make. And as she past along,
Those modest Thespian maids thus to their Isis sung;
'Ye daughters of the hills, come down from every side,
And due attendance give upon the lovely bride: Go, strew the paths with flowers, by which she is to pass.
For be ye thus assur'd, in Albion never was
A beauty (yet) like hers: where have you ever seen
So absolute a nymph in all things, for a queen ?
Give instantly in charge the day be wondrous fair,
That no disorder'd blast attempt her braided hair.
Go, see her state prepar'd, and every thing be fit.
The bride-chamber adorn'd with all beseeming it.
And for the princely groom, who ever yet could
A flood that is so fit for Isis as the Tame? [name
Ye both so lovely are, that knowledge scarce can
For feature whether he, or beauty she excel:
That ravished with joy each other to behold,
When as your crystal waists you closely do enfold,
Betwixt your beauteous selves you shall beget a son,
That when your lives shall end, in him shall be
The pleasant Surryan shores shall in that flood de-
And Kent esteem herself most happy in his sight.
The shire that London loves, shall only him prefer,
And give full many a gift to hold him near to her.
The Scheldt, the goodly Meuse, the rich and viny
Shall come to meet the Thames in Neptune's wat'ry And all the Belgian streams and neighbouring floods of Gaul,
Of him shall stand in awe his tributaries all.'
As of fair Isis thus the learned virgins spake, A shrill and sudden bruit this Prothalamion brake; That White-horse, for the love she bare to her ally, And honoured sister vale, the bounteous Aylsbury, Sent presents to the Tame by Ock her only flood, Which for his mother vale so much on greatness stood.
From Oxford, Isis hastes more speedily, to see That river like his birth might entertained be: For that ambitious vale, still striving to command, And using for her place continually to stand, Proud White-horse to persuade, much business there hath been [queen.
T' acknowledge that great vale of Eusham for her
And but that Eusham is so opulent and great,
That thereby she herself holds in the sovereign seat,
This White-horse all the vales of Britain would o'er-
And absolutely sit in the imperial chair; [bear,
And boasts as goodly herbs, and numerous flocks to
To have as soft a glebe, as good increase of seed;
As pure and fresh an air upon her face to flow,
As Eusham for her life; and from her steed doth
Her lusty rising downs, as fair a prospect take [show,
As that imperious Wold; which her great queen
So wond'rously admir'd, and her so far extend,
But to the marriage hence, industrious Muse descend.
The Naiads and the nymphs extremely over-joy'd, And on the winding banks all busily employ'd,