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And tell me then, what hast thou ever seene HYMNE IV.
That to their beautie may compared bee,
Or can the sight that is most sharpe and keene
Endure their captains faming head to see?
And so much fairer, and much more then these,
For farre above these Heavens, which here we see, Whose wondrous beauty, breathing sweet delights, Not bounded, not corrupt, as these same bee,
Be others farre exceeding these in light,
But infinite in largenesse and in hight,
Unmoving, uncorrupt, and spotlesse bright, But feele my wits to faile, and tongue to fold.
That need no sunne t'illuminate their spheres, Vouchsafe then, O thou most Almightie Spright!
But their owne native light farre passing theirs. From whom all guifts of wit and knowledge flow, And as these Heavens still by degrees arize, To shed into my breast some sparkling light Until they come to their first movers bound, Of thine eternall truth, that I may show
That in his mightie compasse doth comprize, Some little beames to mortall eyes below
And carrie all the rest with him around; Of that immortall Beautie, there with thee,
So those likewise doe by degrees redound, Which in my weake distraughted mynd I see; And rise more faire, till they at last arive,
To the most faire, whereto they all do strive. That with the glorie of so goodly sight The hearts of men, which fondly here admyre Faire is the Heaven where happy soules have place Faire seeming shewes, and feed on vaine delight, In full enioyınent of felicitie, Transported with celestiall desyre
Whence they doe still behold the glorious face
And pure intelligences from God inspyred.
Yet fairer is that Heaven, in which do raine
The soveraigne powres and mightie potentates, To contemplation of th' immortall sky;
Which in their high protections doe containe Of the soare faulcon so I learne to flye,
All mortall princes and imperiall states; That flags a while her futtering wings beneath, And fayrer yet, whereas the royall seates Till she her selfe for stronger flight can breath.
And heavenly dominations are set,
From whom all earthly governance is fet. Then looke, who list thy gazefull eyes to feed With sight of that is faire, looke on the frame Yet farre more faire be those bright cherubins, Of this wyde universe, and therein reed
Which all with golden wings are overdight, The endlesse kinds of creatures which by name And those eternall burning seraphins, Thou canst not count, much less their patures aime; Which from their faces dart out fierie light; All which are made with wondrous wise respect,
Yet fairer then they both, and much more bright, And all with admirable beautie deckt.
Be th' angels and archangels, which attend
On Gods owne person, without rest or end.
These thus in faire each other farre excelling, Then th' aire still fitting, but yet firmely bounded As to the highest they approach more near, On everie side, with pyles of flaming brands,
Yet is that highest farre beyond all telling, Never consum’d, nor quencht with mortall hands; Fairer then all the rest which there appeare, And, last, that mightie shining cristall wall,
Though all their beauties joyn'd together were; Wherewith he bath encompassed this all.
How then can mortall tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse ? By view whereof it plainly may appeare, That still as every thing doth upward tend, Cease then, my tongue! and lend unto my mynd And further is from Earth, so still more cleare Leave to bethinke how great that beautie is, And faire it growes, till to his perfect end
Whose utmost parts so beautifull i fynd; Of purest beautie it at last ascend;
How much more those essentiall parts of his, Ayre more then water, fire much more then ayre, His truth, his love, his wisedome, and his blis, And Heaven then fire, appeares more pure and His grace, his doome, his mercy, and his might, fayre.
By which he lends us of himselfe a sight!
And shew himselfe in th' image of his grace,
As in a looking-glasse, through which he may All sowd with glistring stars more thickethen grasse, Be seene of all his creatures vile and base, Whereof each other doth in brightnesse passe, That are unable else to see his face, But those two most, which, ruling night and day, His glorious face ! which glistereth else so bright, As king and queene, the Heavens empire sway ; That th' angels selves can not endure bis sight.
But we, fraile wights! whose sight cannot sustaine | There in his bosome Sapience doth sit,
And all with gemmes and jewels gorgeously
Is set, in signe of highest soverainty ; Which he hath made in beauty excellent,
And in her hand a scepter she doth hold, And in the same, as in a brasen booke,
With which she rules the house of God on hy, To read enregistred in every nooke
And menageth the ever-moving sky,
Subiected to her powre imperiall.
The fairnesse of her face no tongue can tell; Before the footestoole of his Maiestie
For she the daughters of all wemens race,
Sparkled on her from Gods owne glorious face, On the dred face of that Great Deity,
And more increast by her owne goodly grace, For feare, lest if he chaunce to look on thee, That it doth farre exceed all humane thought, Thou turne to nought, and quite confounded be. Ne can on Earth compared be to ought. But lowly fall before his mercie seate,
Ne could that painter (had he lived yet) Close covered with the Lambes integrity
Which pictured Venus with so curious quill, From the iust wrath of his avengefull threate That all posteritie admyred it, That sits upon the righteous throne on hy; Have purtray'd this, for all his maistring skill; His throne is built upon eternity,
Ne she her selfe had she remained still, More firme and durable then steele or brasse, And were as faire as fabling wits do fayne, Or the hard diamond, which them both doth passe. Could once come neare this beauty soverayve. His scepter is the rod of Righteousnesse,
But had those wits, the wonders of their dayes, With which he bruseth all bis foes to dust, Or that sweete Teian poet, which did spend And the great dragon strongly doth represse, His plenteous vaine in setting forth her praise, Under the rigour of bis iudgment iust;
Seen but a glims of this which I pretend, His seate is Truth, to which the faithfull trust, How wondrously would be her face commend, From whence proceed her beames so pure and bright, Above that idole of his fayning thought, That all about him sheddeth glorious light: That all the world should with his rimes be fraught!
Light, farre exceeding that bright blazing sparke How then dare I, the novice of his art,
And darkes the Earth with shadow of her sight? Of mortall wits, that it doth much amaze
Ah, gentle Muse! thou art too weake and faint The greatest wisards which thereon do gaze. The pourtraict of so heavenly hew to paint. But that immortall light, which there doth shine, Let angels, which her goodly face behold Is many thousand times more bright, more cleare, And see at will, her soveraigne praises sing, More excellent, more glorious, more divine, And those most sacred mysteries unfold Through which to God all mortall actions here, Of that faire love of mightie Heaveus King; And even the thoughts of men, do plaine appeare; Enough is me t'admyre so heavenly thing, For from th'Eternall Truth it doth proceed, [breed. And, being thus with her huge love possest, Through heavenly vertue which her beames doe In th' only wonder of her selfe to rest. With the great glorie of that wondrous light But whoso may, thrise happie man him hold, His throne is all encompassed around,
Of all on Earth whom God so much doth grace, And þid in his owne brightnesse from the sight And lets his owne beloved to behold; Of all that looke thereon with eyes unsound; For in the view of her celestiall face And underneath his feet are to be found
All joy, all blisse, all happinesse, hare place; Thunder, and lightning, and tempestuous fyre, Ne ought on Earth can want unto the wight The instruments of his avenging yre.
Who of her selfe can win the wishfull sight.
For she, out of her secret threasury,
“ BRITTAIN'S IDA', Even heavenly riches, which there hidden ly
WRITTEN BY THAT RENOWNED POET,
LONDON: PRINTED FOR THOMAS WALKLEY, AND ARE TO
BE SOLD AT HIS SHOP AT THE EAGLE AND CHILD IN And to all those which thereof worthy bee.
BRITTAINES BURSSE. 1628." 12mo.
TO THE RIGHT NOBLE LADY MARY,
DAUGHTER TO THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE, GEORGE, And them transport from flesh into the spright.
DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. In which they see such admirable things,
Most noble lady! I have presumed to present As carries them into an extasy,
this poëm to your honourable hand, encouraged And heare such beavenly notes and carolings
onely by the worth of the famous author, (for I Of Gods bigh praise, that filles the brasen sky; And feele such joy and pleasure inwardly,
am certainely assured, by the ablest and most That maketh them all worldly cares forget, knowing men, that it must be a worke of SpenAnd onely thinke on that before them set.
cers, of whom it were pitty that any thing should Ne from thenceforth doth any fleshly sense,
bee lost) and doubting not but your lady-ship will Or idle thought of earthly things, remaine; graciously accept, though from a meane hand, this But all that earst seemd 'sweet seemes now offense, humble present, since the man that offers it is a And all that pleased earst now seemes to paine:
true honourer and observer of your selfe and your Their ioy, their comfort, their desire, their gaine, Is fixed all on that which now they see;
princely family, and shall ever remaine All other sights but fayned shadowes bee.
the humblest of your devoted servants,
Accipe facundi Culicem studiose Maronis, Seemes to them basenesse, and all riches drosse, Ne nugis positis, arma virûmque canas. And all mirth saddesse, and all lucre losse.
See here that stately Muse, that erst could raise
In lasting numbers great Elizaes praise, So full their eyes are of that glorious sight,
And dresse fair Vertue in so rich attire, And senses fraught with such satietie,
That even her foes were forced to admire That in nought else on Earth they can delight,
And court her heavenly beauty! Shee that taught But in th' aspect of that felicitie,
The Graces grace, and made the Vertues thought Which they have written in theyr inward ey;
More vertuous than before, is pleased here On which they feed, and in theyr fastened mynd
To slacke her serious fight, and feed your eare All happie ioy and full contentment fynd.
With Love's delightsome toys: doe not refuse
These harmlesse sports; 'tis learned Spencer's Muse; Ah, then, my hungry soule! which long hast fed
But think his loosest poëms worthier then
The serious follies of vnskillfull men.
The youthly shepheards wonning bere,
And beauties rare displayd, appeare;
Wbat exercise hee chiefe affects,
His name and scornefull love neglects.
In Ida vale (who knowes not Ida vale?)
· The printer's assertion is the only authority on which this poem has been admitted into the edi
Gave winges unto the times too speedy hast :
Among the rest, that all the rest excel'd,
Diones garden of delight
With wonder holds Anchises sight; His nimph-like face nere felt the nimble sheeres,
-While from the bower such musique sounds, Youth's downy blossome through his cheeke ap
As all his senses neere confounds. peares; His lovely limbes (but love he quite discarded) Were made for play (but he no play regarded) One day it chanc't as hee the deere persude, And fit love to reward, and with love be rewarded. Tyred with sport, and faint with weary play,
Faire Venus grove not farre away he view'd, High was his fore-head, arch't with silver mould,
Whose trembling leaves invite him there to stay, (Where never anger churlish rinkle dighted) Aud in their shades his sweating limbes display; His auburne lockes hung like darke threds of gold, There in the cooling glade he softly paces, That wanton aires (with their faire length incited) and much delighted with their even spaces, To play among their wanton curles delighted ;
What in himselfe he scorn'd, hee prais'd their kind His smiling eyes with simple truth were stord:
imbraces. Ah! how should truth in those thiefe eyes be stord, Which thousand loves had stol'n, and pever one re- The woode with Paphian myrtles peöpled, stor'd?
(Whose springing youth felt never winters spiting)
To laurels sweete were sweetely married, His lilly-cheeke might seeme an ivory plaine, Doubling their pleasing smels in their uniting; More purely white than frozen Apenine,
When single much, much more when mixt, deWhere lovely Bashfulnesse did sweetly raine,
lighting: In blushing scarlet cloth'd and purple fine. No foot of beaste durst touch this hallowed place, A hundred hearts had this delightfull shrine
And many a boy that long'd the woods to trace, (Still cold it selfe) inflam'd with hot desire, Entred with feare, but soone turn'd back his frighted That well the face might seem, in divers tire,
face. To be a burning snow, or else a freezing fire.
The thicke-lockt boughs shut out the tell-tale Sunne, His cheerfull lookes and merry face would proove (For Venus bated his all-blabbing light, (If eyes the index be where thoughts are read) Since her knowne fault, which oft she wisht undon) A dainty play-fellow for naked Love;
And scattered rayes did make a doubtfull sight, Of all the other parts enough is sed,
Like to the first of day or last of night : That they were fit twins for so fayre a head! The fittest light for lovers gentle play: Thousand boyes for him, thousand maidens dy'de; Such light best shewes the wandring lovers way, Dye they that list, for such his rigorous pride, And guides his erring hand : night is Love's hollyHe thousand boyes (ah, foole!) and thousand maids day. deni'd.
So farre in this sweet labyrinth he stray'd His ioy was not in musiques sweete delight, That now he views the garden of Delight, (Though well his hand had learnt that cunning arte) Whose breast, with thousand painted flowers array'd, Or dainty songs to daintier eases indite,
With divers joy captiv'd his wandring sight; But through the plaines to chace the nible hart
But soon the eyes rendered the eares their right; With well-tun'd hounds; or with his certaine dart For such strange harmony he seem'd to heare, The tusked boare or savage beare to wound; That all his senses flockt into his eare, Meane time his heart with monsters doth abound; | And every faculty wisht to be seated there. Ah, foole ! to seeke so farre what neerer might be found !
From a close bower this dainty musique flow'd,
A bower appareld round with divers roses, His name (well knowne unto those woody shades,
Both red and white, which by their liveries show'd Where unrewarded lovers oft complaine them)
Their mistris faire, that there her selfe reposes; Anchises was; Anchises oft the glades
Seem'd that would strive with those rare musique And mountains heard, Anchises had disdain'd them;
clozes, Not all their love one gentle looke had gain'd them, By spreading their faire bosomes to the light, That rockey hills, with eccboing noyse consenting, which the distracted sepse should most delight; Anchises plain'd; but he no whit relenting, Harder then rocky hils, laught at their vaine la- That, raps the melted eare; this, both the smel
and sight. menting.
The boy 'twixt fearefull hope, and wishing feare, tions of Spenser's works, since its first publication Crept all along (for much he long'd to see in 1628. The critics agree in believing that it The bower, much more the guest so lodged there;) was not written by Spenser. It is rather remark- And, as he goes, he marks how well agree able also that the poem, if it had been Spenser's, Nature and Arte in discord unity, should have been unknown to the editor of his Each striving who should best performe his part, works in 1611, whom I believe to be Gabriel Har- Yet Arte now helping Nature, Nature Arte; vey, his particular friend. Todd.
While from his eares a voyce thus stole his heart.
« Fond men! whose wretched care the life soone end- Her full large eye, in jetty-blacke array'd,
The whitest white, set by her silver cheeke, “ Love is lifes end ; (an end, but never ending ;)
Grew pale and wan, like unto heavy lead; All joyes, all sweetes, all happinesse, awarding ;
The freshest purple fresher dyes must seeke, Love is life's wealth (nere spent, but ever spending) On these Cupido winged armies led
That dares compare with them his fainting red: More rich by giving, taking by discarding ; Love's lifes reward, rewarded in rewarding :
Of little Loves that, with bold wanton traine Then from thy wretched heart fond care remoove;
Under those colours, marching on the plaine, Ah! shouldst thou live but once loves sweetes to
Force every heart, and to low vasselage constraine. proove,
Her lips, most happy each in other's kisses, Thou wilt not love to live, unlesse thou live to love." From their so wisht imbracements seldome parted,
Yet seem'd to blush at such their wanton blisses; To this sweet voyce a dainty musique fitted But, when sweet words theirioyning sweet disparted, It's well-tun'd strings, and to her notes consorted, To th'eare a dainty musique they imparted : And while with skilfull voyce the song she dittied, Upon them fitly sate, delightfull smiling, The blabbing Echo had her words retorted; A thousand soules with pleasing stealth beguiling: That now the boy, beyond his soule transported, Ah! that such shews of ioyes should be all ioyes Through all his limbes feeles run a pleasant shaking, exiling. And, twixt a hope and feare, suspects mistaking, And doubts he sleeping dreames, and broad awake So sweet a lodge; but when she once intended
The breath came slowly thence, unwilling leaving feares waking.
To feast the aire with words, the heart deceiving,
And at each word a hundred Loves attended,
Playing i' th' breath, more sweete than is that firing
Where that Arabian onely bird, expiring, (spiring. CANTO III.
Lives by her death, by losse of breath more fresh re
Her chin, like to a stone in gold inchased,
Seem'd a fair iewell wrought with cunning hand,
And, being double, doubly the face graced :
This goodly frame on her round necke did stand;
Such pillar well such curious work sustain'd;
And, on his top the heavenly spheare np-rearing,
A lesse but better Atlas, that faire Heaven bearing,
Lower two breasts stand, all their beauties bearing, Faire Venus, that within halfe naked lyes;
Two breasts as smooth and soft; but, ah, alas! And straight amaz’d (so glorious beauty shin'd)
Their smoothest softnes farre exceedes comparing; Would not returne the message to the minde;
More smooth and soft, but naught that ever was, But, full of feare and superstitious awe,
Where they are first, deserves the second place; Could not retire, or backe their beams withdraw,
Yet each as soft and each as smooth as other; So fixt on too much seeing made they nothing saw.
And when thou first tri'st one, and then the other,
Each softer seemes then each, and each then each Her goodly length stretcht on a lilly-bed,
seemes smoother. (A bright foyle of a beauty farre more bright)
Lowly betweene their dainty hemisphæres, Few roses round about were scattered,
(Their hemisphæres the heav'nly globes excelling) As if the lillies learnt to blush, for spight
A path more white than is the name it beares, To see a skinne much more then lilly-white :
The lacteal path, conducts to the sweet dwelling The bed sanke with delight so to be pressed, And knew not which to thinke a chance more blessed, where hundred sweetes, and still fresh ioyes attend
Where best Delight all ioyes sits freely dealing ; Both blessed so to kisse, and so agayne be kissed. Receive in giving; and, still love dispending, sing,
Grow richer by their losse, and wealthy by expending. Her spacious fore-head, like the clearest Moone, Whose full-growne orbe begins now to be spent, But stay, bold shepheard ! here thy footing stay, Largely display'd in native silver shone,
Nor trust too much unto thy new-borne quill, Giving wide room to Beauty's regiment,
As farther to those dainty limbs to stray, Which on the plaine with Love tryumphing went; Or hope to paint that vale or beautious hill Her golden haire a rope of pearle imbraced, Which past the finest hand or choycest skill: Which, with their dainty threds oft-times enlaced, But were thy verse and song as finely fram'd Made the eie think the pearle was there in gold in- As are those parts, yet should it soone be blam'd, chased.
For now the shameles world of best things is asbam'd.