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With trembling steps and humble reverence
She cometh in before th' Almighty's view;
Of her, ye Virgins! learn obedience,
Whenso ye come into those holy places,
To humble your proud faces.
Bring her up to th' high altar, that she may
The sacred ceremonies there partake,
The which do endless matrimony make;
And let the roaring organs loudly play
The praises of the Lord, in lively notes,
The whiles with hollow throats
The choristers the joyous anthems sing,
That all the woods may answer, and their eccho ring.
"Behold, whiles she before the altar stands,
Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks,
And blesses her with his two happy hands,
How the red roses flush up in her cheeks!
And the pure snow, with goodly vermil stain,
Like crimson dy'd in grain,
That even the angels, which continually
About the sacred altar do remain,
Forget their service, and about her fly,
Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair
The more they on it stare :
But her sad eyes, still fastned on the ground,
Are governed with goodly modesty,
That suffers not one look to glaunce awry,
Which may let in a little thought unsound.
Why blush ye, Love! to give to me your hand,
The pledge of all your band?
Sing, ye sweet angels! Alleluya sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.
"Now all is done; bring home the bride again,
Bring home the triumph of our victory:
Bring home with you the glory of her gain,
With joyance bring her, and with jollity.
Never had man more joyful day than this,
Whom Heaven would heap with bliss.
Make feast, therefore, now all this live-long day,
This day for ever to me holy is;
Pour out the wine without restraint or stay,
Pour not by cups, but by the belly-full:
Pour out to all that wull,
And sprinkle all the posts and walls with wine,
That they may sweat and drunken be withal:
Crown ye god Bacchus with a coronal,
And Hymen also crown with wreaths of vine,
And let the Graces daunce unto the rest,
For they can do it best;
The whiles the maidens do their carol sing, [ring.
To which the woods shall answer, and their eccho
"Ring ye the bells, ye young men of the town,
And leave your wonted labours for this day;
This day is holy; do you write it down,
That ye for ever it remember may :
This day the sun is in its chiefest hight,
With Barnaby the bright;
From whence declining daily by degrees,
He somewhat loseth of his heat and light,
When once the Crab behind his back he sees:
But for this time it ill ordained was,
To chuse the longest day in all the year,
And shortest night, when longest fitter were;
Yet never day so long but late would pass.
Ring ye the bells to make it wear away,
And bonefires make all day,
And daunce about them, and about them sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.
"Ah! when will this long weary day have end,
And lend me leave to come unto my love?
How slowly do the hours their numbers spend?
How slowly doth sad Time his feathers move?
Haste thee, O fairest Planet! to thy home,
Within the western foame;
Thy tyred steeds long since have need of rest.
Long tho it be, at last I see it gloom,
And the bright evening-star with golden crest,
Appear out of the east.
Fair child of beauty, glorious lamp of love
That all the host of heaven in ranks dost lead,
And guidest lovers through the night's sad dread,
How chearfully thou lookest from above,
And seem'st to laugh atween thy twinkling light,
As joying in the sight
Of these glad many, which for joy do sing, [ring."
That all the woods them answer, and their eccho
Now cease, ye Damsels! your delights forepast,
Enough it is that all the day was yours;
Now day is done, and night is nighing fast,
Now bring the bride into the bridal bowres;
Now night is come, now soon her disarray,
And in her bed her lay;
Lay her in lillies and in violets,
And silken curtains over her display,
And odour'd sheets, and arras coverlets.
Behold how goodly my fair love does lie,
In proud humility;
Like unto Maia, whenas Jove her took
In Tempe, lying on the flowrie grass,
"Twixt sleep and wake, after she weary was
With bathing in the Acidalian brook :
Now it is night, ye damsels may be gone,
And leave my love alone,
And leave likewise your former lays to sing;
The woods no more shall answer, nor your eccho ring.
Now welcome night, thou night so long expected,
That long day's labour dost at length defray,
And all my cares, which cruel Love collected,
Hast summ'd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing over my love and me,
That no man may us see,
And in thy sable mantle us enwrap,
From fear of peril, and foul horror free;
Let no false treason seek us to entrap,
Nor any dread disquiet once annoy
The safety of our joy,
But let the night be calm and quietsome,
Without tempestuous storms or sad affray,
Like as when Jove with fair Alcmena lay,
When he begot the great Tirynthian groom;
Or like as when he with thy self did lie,
And begot Majesty;
And let the maids and young men cease to sing;
Ne let the woods them answer, nor their eccho ring.
Let no lamenting cries nor doleful tears
Be heard all night within, nor yet without;
Ne let false whispers, breeding hidden fears,
Break gentle sleep with misconceived doubt:
Let no deluding dreams, nor dreadful sights,
Make sudden sad affrights;
Ne let house-fires, nor lightnings, helpless harms,
Ne let the ponk, nor other evil sprights,
Ne let mischievous witches with their charms,
Ne let hob-goblins, names whose sense we see not,
Fray us with things that be not:
Let not the scriech-owl nor the stork be heard,
Nor the night-raven, that still deadly yells,
Nor damned ghosts, call'd up with mighty spells,
Nor griesly vultures, make us once affeard:
Ne let th' unpleasant quire of frogs still croking,
Make us to wish their choking;
Let none of these their drery accents sing,
Ne let the woods them answer, nor their eccho ring.
But let still Silence true night-watches keep,
That sacred Peace may in assurance reign,
And timely Sleep, when it is time to sleep,
May pour his limbs forth on your pleasant plain;
The whiles an hundred little winged Loves,
Like divers-fethered doves,
Shall fly and flutter round about your bed,
And in the secret dark, that none reproves,
Their pretty stealths shall work, and snares shall
To filch away sweet snatches of delight,
Conceal'd through covert night.
Ye sons of Venus! play your sports at will,
For greedy Pleasure, careless of your toyes,
Thinks more upon her Paradise of joyes
Than what you do, all be it good or ill.
All night, therefore, attend your merry play,
For it will soon be day:
Now none doth hinder you that say or sing,
Ne will the woods now answer, nor your eccho ring.
The Latmian shepherd once unto thee brought,
His pleasures with thee wrought:
Therefore to us be favourable now,
And sith of women's labours thou hast charge,
And generation goodly dost enlarge,
Encline thy will t' effect our wishful vow,
And the chaste womb inform with timely seed,
That may our comfort breed;
Till which we cease our hopeful hap to sing, Ne let the woods us answer, nor our eccho ring.
And thou, great Juno! which with awful might
The laws of wedlock still dost patronize,
And the religion of the faith first plight,
With sacred rights hast taught to solemnize,
And eke for comfort often called art
Of women in their smart,
Eternally bind thou this lovely band,
And all thy blessing unto us impart.
And thou, glad Genius! in whose gentle hand
The bridal bower and genial bed remain,
Without blemish or stain,
And the sweet pleasures of their love's delight
With secret aid dost succour and supply,
Till they bring forth the fruitful progeny,
Send us the timely fruit of this same night,
And thou, fair Hebe! and thou, Hymen free,
Grant that it so may be.
Till which we cease your further praise to sing, Ne woods shall answer, nor your eccho ring. any
And ye, high Heavens! the temple of the gods,
In which a thousand torches flaming bright
Do burn, that to us wretched earthly clods
In dreadful darkness lend desired light;
And all ye Powers which in the same remain,
More than we men can feign,
Pour out your blessing on us plenteously,
And happy influence upon us rain,
That we may rise a large posterity,
Which from the earth, which they may long possess
With lasting happiness,
Up to your haughty palaces may mount,
And for the guerdon of your glorious merit
May heavenly tabernacles there inherit,
Of blessed saints for to increase the count:
So let us rest, sweet Love! in hope of this
And cease till then our timely joys to sing,
The woods no more us answer, nor our eccho ring.
Song made in lieu of many ornaments
With which my love should duly have been deckt, Which cutting off through hasty accidents,
Ye would not stay your due time to expect,
But promis'd both to recompence,
But unto her a goodly ornament,
And for short time an endless monument.
SONNETS, BY SIR PHILIP SIDNEY-A.D. 1554-84.
Because I oft in dark abstracted guise
Seem most alone in greatest company,
With dearth of words, or answers quite awry
To them that would make speech of speech arise,
They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies,
That poison foul of bubbling Pride doth lie
So in my swelling breast, that only I
Fawn on myself, and others do despise.
Yet Pride I think doth not my soul possess,
Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass;
But one worse fault Ambition I confess,
That makes me oft my best friends overpass,
Unseen, unheard, while thought to highest place
Bends all his powers, even unto Stella's grace.
In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
And yet to break more staves did me address;
While with the people's shouts, I must confess,
Youth, luck, and praise, even fill'd my veins with
When Cupid, having me (his slave) descried [pride.
In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
Sir Fool," said he," I would no less.
"Look here, I say." I look'd, and Stella spied,
Who hard by made a window send forth light.
My heart then quaked, then dazzled were my eyes;
One hand forgot to rule, th' other to fight;
Nor trumpet's sound I heard, nor friendly cries;
My foe came on, and beat the air for me,
Till that her blush taught me my shame to see.
With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies,
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What! may it be, that even in heavenly place
That busy Archer his sharp arrows tries?
Sure, if that long with love acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case;
I read it in thy looks, thy languish'd grace
To me that feel the like thy state descries.
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?
Come, Sleep, O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
The indifferent judge between the high and low.
With shield of proof shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts, Despair at me doth throw;
O make in me those civil wars to cease:
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed;
A chamber, deaf to noise, and blind to light;
A rosy garland, and a weary head.
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me
Livelier than elsewhere Stella's image see.
Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
Guided so well, that I obtain'd the prize,
Both by the judgment of the English eyes,
And of some sent from that sweet enemy France;
Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance;
Townsfolk my strength; a daintier judge applies
His praise to sleight which from good use doth rise;
Some lucky wits impute it but to chance;
Others, because of both sides I do take
My bloud from them who did excel in this,
Think nature me a man of arms did make.
How far they shot awry! the true cause is,
Stella look'd on, and from her heavenly face
Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.
Of all the kings that ever here did reign,
Edward named Fourth as first in praise I name;
Not for his fair outside, nor well-lined brain,
Although less gifts imp feathers oft on Fame:
Nor that he could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame
His sire's revenge, join'd with a kingdom's gain,
And, gain'd by Mars, could yet mad Mars so tame,
That Balance weigh'd what Sword did late obtain:
Nor that he made the Flower-de-luce so fraid,
Though strongly hedg'd of bloody Lion's paws,
That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid.
Nor this, nor that, nor any such small cause-
But only for this worthy knight durst prove
To lose his crown, rather than fail his love.
High-way, since you my chief Parnassus be,
And that my Muse (to some ears not unsweet)
Tempers her words to trampling horses' feet
More oft than to a chamber melody:
Now blessed you bear onward blessed me
To her, where I my heart safe left shall meet,
My Muse and I must you of duty greet
With thanks and wishes, wishing thankfully.
Be you still fair, honor'd by public heed,
By no encroachment wrong'd, nor time forgot;
Nor blamed for blood, nor shamed for sinful deed:
And that you know, I envy you no lot
Of highest wish, I wish you so much bliss,
Hundreds of years you Stella's feet may kiss.
O happy Thames, that did'st my Stella bear!
I saw thyself with many a smiling line
Upon thy chearful face joy's livery wear,
While those fair planets on thy streams did shine.
The boat for joy could not to dance forbear;
While wanton winds, with beauties so divine
Ravish'd, staid not, till in her golden hair
They did themselves (O sweetest prison) twine:
And fain those Eol's youth there would their stay
Have made; but, forced by Nature still to fly,
First did with puffing kiss those locks display.
She, so dischevill'd, blush'd. From window I,
With sight thereof, cried out, " O fair disgrace;
Let Honor's self to thee grant highest place."
ROSAMOND TO KING HENRY. (FROM ENGLAND'S HEROICAL EPISTLES.) Henry the Second keepeth (with much care) Lord Clifford's daughter, Rosamond the fair; And whilst his sons do Normandy invade,
He forc'd to France, with wond'rous cost hath made
A labyrinth in Woodstock, where unseen
His love might lodge safe from his jealous queen:
Yet when he stay'd beyond his time abroad,
Her pensive breast, his darling to unload,
In this epistle doth her grief complain;
And his rescription tells her his again.
If yet thine eyes (Great Henry) may endure
These tainted lines, drawn with a hand impure,
(Which fain would blush, but fear keeps blushes
And therefore suted in despairing black)
Let me for Love's sake their acceptance crave.
But that sweet name vile I profaned have;
Punish my fault, or pity mine estate;
Read them for love, if not for love, for hate.
If with my shame thine eyes thou fain would'st
Here let them surfeit of my shame to read. [feed,
This scribbled paper which I send to thee,
If noted rightly, doth resemble me :
As this pure ground, whereon these letters stand,
So pure was I, ere stained by thy hand;
Ere I was blotted with this foul offence,
So clear and spotless was mine innocence:
Now, like these marks which taint this hateful scroul,
Such the black sins which spot my leprous soul.
What by this conquest canst thou hope to win,
Where thy best spoil is but the act of sin ?
Why on my name this slander dost thou bring,
To make my fault renowned by a king?
"Fame never stoops to things but mean and poor,
The more our greatness, our fault is the more;
Lights on the ground themselves do lessen far
But in the air each small spark seems a star."
Why on my woman-frailty should'st thou lay
So strong a plot mine honour to betray?
Or thy unlawful pleasure should'st thou buy,
Both with thine own shame and my infamy?
"Twas not my mind consented to this ill,
Then had I been transported by my will;
For what my body was inforc'd to do,
(Heav'n knows) my soul yet ne'er consented to:
For through mine eyes had she her liking seen,
Such as my love, such had my lover been.
"True love is simple, like his mother truth,
Kindly affection, youth to love with youth;
No greater cor'sive to our blooming years,
Than the cold badge of winter-blasted hairs.
Thy kingly power makes to withstand thy foes,
But cannot keep back age, with time it grows:
Though honour our ambitious sex doth please,
Yet, in that honour, age a foul disease:
Nature hath her free course in all, and then
Age is alike in kings and other men."
Which all the world will to my shame impute,
That I myself did basely prostitute;
And say, that gold was fuel to the fire,
Gray hairs in youth not kindling green desire.
O no, that wicked woman wrought by thee,
My tempter was to that forbidden tree;
That subtle serpent, that seducing devil,
Which bade me taste the fruit of good and evil :
That Circe, by whose magic I was charm'd,
And to this monstrous shape am thus transform'd:
That vip'rous hag, the foe to her own kind,
That dev'lish spirit, to damn the weaker mind,
Our frailty's plague, our sex's only curse,
Hell's deep'st damnation, the worst evil's worse.
But Henry, how canst thou affect me thus,
T'whom thy remembrance now is odious?
My hapless name, with Henry's name I found
Cut in the glass with Henry's diamond;
That glass from thence fain would I take away,
But then I fear the air would me betray:
Then do I strive to wash it out with tears,
But then the same more evident appears.
Then do I cover it with my guilty hand,
Which that name's witness doth against me stand:
Once did I sin, which memory doth cherish,
Once I offended, but I for ever perish.
"What grief can be, but time doth make it less?
But infamy time never can suppress."
Sometimes, to pass the tedious irksome hours, I climb the top of Woodstock's mounting tow'rs, Where in a turret secretly I lie,
To view from far such as do travel by:
Whither, methinks, all cast their eyes at me,
As through the stones my shame did make them see;
And with such hate the harmless walls do view,
As ev'n to death their eyes would me pursue.
The married women curse my hateful life,
Wronging a fair queen and a virtuous wife:
The maidens wish I buried quick may die,
And from each place near my abode do flie.
Well knew'st thou what a monster I would be,
When thou didst build this labyrinth for me,
Whose strange meanders turning ev'ry way,
Be like the course wherein my youth did stray:
Only a clue doth guide me out and in,
But yet still walk I circular in sin.
As in the gallery this other day,
I and my woman past the time away,
'Mongst many pictures which were hanging by,
The silly girl at length hapt to espy
Chaste Lucrece' image, and desires to know
What she should be, herself that murder'd so?
Why, girl (quoth I) this is that Roman dame—
Not able then to tell the rest for shame,
My tongue doth mine own guiltiness betray;
With that I sent the prattling wench away,
Lest when my lisping guilty tongue should halt,
My lips might prove the index to my fault.
As that life-blood which from the heart is sent,
In beauty's field pitching his crimson tent,
In lovely sanguine sutes the lily cheek,
Whilst it but for a resting place doth seek;
And changing oftentimes with sweet delight,
Converts the white to red, the red to white:
The blush with paleness for the place doth strive,
The paleness thence the blush would gladly drive:
Thus in my breast a thousand thoughts I carry,
Which in my passion diversly do vary.
When as the sun hales tow'rds the western slade,
And the trees shadows hath much taller made,
Forth go I to a little current near,
Which like a wanton trail creeps here and there,
Where with mine angle casting in my bait,
The little fishes (dreading the deceit)
With fearful nibbling fly th' inticing gin,
By nature taught what danger lies therein.
Things reasonless thus warn'd by nature be,
Yet I devour'd the bait was laid for me:
Thinking thereon, and breaking into groans,
The bubbling spring, which trips upon the stones,
Chides me away, lest sitting but too nigh,
I should pollute that native purity.
Rose of the World, so doth import my name,
Shame of the World, my life hath made the same:
And to th' unchaste this name shall given be
Of Rosamond, deriv'd from sin and me.
The Cliffords take from me that name of theirs,
Which hath been famous for so many years:
They blot my birth with hateful bastardy,
That I sprang not from their nobility;
They my alliance utterly refuse,
Nor will a strumpet shall their name abuse.
Here in the garden, wrought by curious hands, Naked Diana in the fountain stands, With all her nymphs got round about to hide her, As when Acteon had by chance espy'd her: This sacred image I no sooner view'd, But as that metamorphos'd man pursu'd By his own hounds, so by my thoughts am I, Which chase me still, which way soe'er I fly. Touching the grass, the honey-dropping dew, Which falls in tears before my limber shoe, Upon my foot consumes in weeping still, As it would say, Why went'st thou to this ill? Thus to no place in safety can I go, But every thing doth give me cause of wo.
In that fair casket of such wond'rous cost, Thou sent'st the night before mine honour lost, Amimone was wrought, a harmless maid, By Neptune that adult'rous God betray'd; She prostrate at his feet, begging with pray'rs, Wringing her hands, her eyes swoln up with tears: This was not an entrapping bait from thee, But by thy virtue gently warning me,
And to declare for what intent it came,
Lest I therein should ever keep my shame.
And in this casket (ill I see it now)
That Jove's love, lo, turn'd into a cow;
Yet was she kept with Argus' hundred eyes,
So wakeful still be Juno's jealousies:
By this I well might have forwarned been,
T' have clear'd myself to thy suspecting Queen,
Who with more hundred eyes attendeth me,
Than had poor Argus single eyes to see.
In this thou rightly imitatest Jove,
Into a beast thou hast transform'd thy love;
Nay, worser far (beyond their beastly kind)
A monster both in body and in mind.
The waxen taper which I burn by night,
With the dull vap'ry dimness mocks my sight,
As tho' the damp, which hinders the clear flame,
Came from my breath in that night of my shame :
When as it look'd with a dark lowering eye,
To see the loss of my virginity.
And if a star but by the glass appear,
I straight intreat it not to look in here:
I am already hateful to the light,
And will it too betray me to the night?
Then sith my shame so much belongs to thee,
Rid me of that, by only murd'ring me;
And let it justly to my charge be laid,
That I thy person meant to have betray'd:
Thou shalt not need by circumstance t' accuse me ;
If I deny it, let the heavens refuse me.
My life's a blemish, which doth cloud thy name,
Take it away, and clear shall shine thy fame:
Yield to my suit, if ever pity mov'd thee;
In this shew mercy, as I ever lov'd thee.
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY, TO THE LADY GERALDINE.
The Earl of Surrey, that renowned lord,
Th' old English glory bravely that restor❜d,
That prince and poet (a name more divine)
Falling in love with beauteous Geraldine,
Of the Geraldi, which derive their name
From Florence: whither to advance her fame,
He travels, and in public jousts maintain'd
Her beauty peerless, which by arms he gain'd:
By staying long, fair Italy to see,
To let her know him constant still to be,
From Tuscany this letter to her writes;
Which her rescription instantly invites.
From learned Florence (long time rich in fame)
From whence thy race, thy noble grandsires came
To famous England, that kind nurse of mine,
Thy Surrey sends to heav'nly Geraldine.
Yet let not Tuscan think I do it wrong,
That I from thence write in my native tongue;
That in these harsh-tun'd cadences I sing,
Sitting so near the muses' sacred spring;
But rather think it self adorn'd thereby,
That England reads the praise of Italy.