TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE AND MOST VERTUOUS LADIES, THE LADIE MARGARET, COUNTESSE OF CUMBERLAND; AND THE LADIE MARIE*, COUNTESSE OF WARWICK.
Having, in the greener times of my youth, composed these former two Hymnes in the praise of love and beautie, and finding that the same too much pleased those of like age and disposition, which, being too vehemently carried with that kind of affection, do rather sucke out poyson to their strong passion, then honey to their honest delight, I was moved, by the one of you two most excellent Ladies, to call in the same; but being unable so to do, by reason that many copies thereof were formerly scattered abroad, I resolved at least to amend, and, by way of retraction, to reforme them, making (instead of those two Hymnes of earthly or naturall love and beautie) two others of heavenly and celestiall; the which I doe dedicate ioyntly unto you two honorable sisters, as to the most excellent and rare ornaments of all true love and beautie, both in the one and the other kind; humbly beseeching you to vouchsafe the patronage of them, and to accept this my humble service, in lieu of the great graces and honourable favours which ye dayly shew unto me, until such time as I may, by better meanes, yeeld you some more notable testimonie of my thankfull mind and dutifull devotion. And even so I pray for your happinesse. Greenwich, this first of September, 1596. Your Honors most bounden ever,
In all humble service,
[* The Countess of Warwick's name was Anne, not Mary. TODD.]
* * * * *
IN HONOUR OF LOVE.
Love, that long since hast to thy mighty powre
Perforce subdude my poor captived hart,
And raging now therein with restlesse stowre*,
Doest tyrannize in everie weaker part,
Faine would I seeke to ease my bitter smart
By any service I might do to thee,
Or ought that else might to thee pleasing bee.
[* Stowre, commotion.]
And now t'asswage the force of this new flame,
And make thee more propitious in my need,
I meane to sing the praises of thy name,
And thy victorious conquests to areed*,
By which thou madest many harts to bleed
Of mighty victors, with wide wounds embrewed,
And by thy cruell darts to thee subdewed.
[* Areed, set forth.]
Onely I fear my wits, enfeebled late
Through the sharp sorrowes which thou hast me bred,
Should faint, and words should faile me to relate
The wondrous triumphs of thy great god-hed:
But, if thou wouldst vouchsafe to overspred
Me with the shadow of thy gentle wing,
I should enabled be thy actes to sing.
Come, then, O come, thou mightie God of Love!
Out of thy silver bowres and secret blisse,
Where thou dost sit in Venus lap above,
Bathing thy wings in her ambrosial kisse,
That sweeter farre than any nectar is,
Come softly, and my feeble breast inspire
With gentle furie, kindled of thy fire.
And ye, sweet Muses! which have often proved
The piercing points of his avengefull darts,
And ye, fair Nimphs! which oftentimes have loved
The cruel worker of your kindly smarts,
Prepare yourselves, and open wide your harts
For to receive the triumph of your glorie,
That made you merie oft when ye were sorrie.
And ye, faire blossoms of youths wanton breed!
Which in the conquests of your beautie bost,
Wherewith your lovers feeble eyes you feed,
But sterve their harts, that needeth nourture most,
Prepare your selves to march amongst his host,
And all the way this sacred hymne do sing,
Made in the honor of your soveraigne king.
Great God of Might, that reignest in the mynd,
And all the bodie to thy hest doest frame,
Victor of gods, subduer of mankynd,
That doest the lions and fell tigers tame,
Making their cruell rage thy scornfull game,
And in their roring taking great delight,
Who can expresse the glorie of thy might?
Or who alive can perfectly declare
The wondrous cradle of thine infancie,
When thy great mother Venus first thee bare,
Begot of Plenty and of Penurie,
Though elder then thine own nativitie,
And yet a chyld, renewing still thy yeares,
And yet the eldest of the heavenly peares?
For ere this worlds still moving mightie masse
Out of great Chaos ugly prison crept,
In which his goodly face long hidden was
From heavens view, and in deep darknesse kept,
Love, that had now long time securely slept
In Venus lap, unarmed then and naked,
Gan reare his head, by Clotho being waked:
And taking to him wings of his own heat,
Kindled at first from heavens life-giving fyre,
He gan to move out of his idle seat;
Weakly at first, but after with desyre
Lifted aloft, he gan to mount up hyre*,
And, like fresh eagle, made his hardy flight
Thro all that great wide wast, yet wanting light.
[* Hyre, higher.]
Yet wanting light to guide his wandring way,
His own faire mother, for all creatures sake,
Did lend him light from her owne goodly ray;
Then through the world his way he gan to take,
The world, that was not till he did it make,
Whose sundrie parts he from themselves did sever.
The which before had lyen confused ever.
The earth, the ayre, the water, and the fyre,
Then gan to raunge themselves in huge array,
And with contráry forces to conspyre
Each against other by all meanes they may,
Threatning their owne confusion and decay:
Ayre hated earth, and water hated fyre,
Till Love relented their rebellious yre.
He then them tooke, and, tempering goodly well
Their contrary dislikes with loved meanes,
Did place them all in order, and compell
To keepe themselves within their sundrie raines*,
Together linkt with adamantine chaines;
Yet so as that in every living wight
They mix themselves, and shew their kindly might.
[* Raines, kingdoms.]
So ever since they firmely have remained,
And duly well observed his beheast;
Through which now all these things that are contained
Within this goodly cope, both most and least,
Their being have, and daily are increast
Through secret sparks of his infused fyre,
Which in the barraine cold he doth inspyre.
Thereby they all do live, and moved are
To multiply the likenesse of their kynd,
Whilest they seeke onely, without further care,
To quench the flame which they in burning fynd;
But man, that breathes a more immortall mynd,
Not for lusts sake, but for eternitie,
Seekes to enlarge his lasting progenie.
For having yet in his deducted spright
Some sparks remaining of that heavenly fyre,
He is enlumind with that goodly light,
Unto like goodly semblant to aspyre;
Therefore in choice of love he doth desyre
That seemes on earth most heavenly to embrace,
That same is Beautie, borne of heavenly race.
For sure, of all that in this mortall frame
Contained is, nought more divine doth seeme,
Or that resembleth more th'immortall flame
Of heavenly light, than Beauties glorious beam.
What wonder then, if with such rage extreme
Frail men, whose eyes seek heavenly things to see,
At sight thereof so much enravisht bee?
Which well perceiving, that imperious boy
Doth therewith tip his sharp empoisned darts,
Which glancing thro the eyes with* countenance coy
Kest not till they have pierst the trembling harts,
And kindled flame in all their inner parts,
Which suckes the blood, and drinketh up the lyfe,
Of carefull wretches with consuming griefe.
[* Qu. from? WARTON.]
Thenceforth they playne, and make full piteous mone
Unto the author of their balefull bane:
The daies they waste, the nights they grieve and grone,
Their lives they loath, and heavens light disdaine;
No light but that whose lampe doth yet remaine
Fresh burning in the image of their eye,
They deigne to see, and seeing it still dye.
The whylst thou, tyrant Love, doest laugh and scorne
At their complaints, making their paine thy play;
Whylest they lye languishing like thrals forlorne,
The whyles thou doest triumph in their decay;
And otherwhyles, their dying to delay,
Thou doest emmarble the proud hart of her
Whose love before their life they doe prefer.
So hast thou often done (ay me the more!)
To me thy vassall, whose yet bleeding hart
With thousand wounds thou mangled hast so sore,
That whole remaines scarse any little part;
Yet to augment the anguish of my smart,
Thou hast enfrosen her disdainefull brest,
That no one drop of pitie there doth rest.
Why then do I this honor unto thee,
Thus to ennoble thy victorious name,
Sith thou doest shew no favour unto mee,
Ne once move ruth in that rebellious dame,
Somewhat to slacke the rigour of my flame?
Certes small glory doest thou winne hereby,
To let her live thus free, and me to dy.
But if thou be indeede, as men thee call,
The worlds great parent, the most kind preserver
Of living wights, the soveraine lord of all,
How falles it then that with thy furious fervour
Thou doest afflict as well the not-deserver,
As him that doeth thy lovely heasts despize,
And on thy subiects most doth tyrannize?
Yet herein eke thy glory seemeth more,
By so hard handling those which best thee serve,
That, ere thou doest them unto grace restore,
Thou mayest well trie if they will ever swerve,
And mayest them make it better to deserve,
And, having got it, may it more esteeme;
For things hard gotten men more dearely deeme.
So hard those heavenly beauties be enfyred,
As things divine least passions doe impresse;
The more of stedfast mynds to be admyred,
The more they stayed be on stedfastnesse;
But baseborne minds such lamps regard the lesse,
Which at first blowing take not hastie fyre;
Such fancies feele no love, but loose desyre.
For Love is lord of truth and loialtie,
Lifting himself out of the lowly dust
On golden plumes up to the purest skie,
Above the reach of loathly sinfull lust,
Whose base affect*, through cowardly distrust
Of his weake wings, dare not to heaven fly,
But like a moldwarpe** in the earth doth ly.
[* Affect, affection, passion.]
[** Moldwarpe, mole.]
His dunghill thoughts, which do themselves enure
To dirtie drosse, no higher dare aspyre;
Ne can his feeble earthly eyes endure
The flaming light of that celestiall fyre
Which kindleth love in generous desyre,
And makes him mount above the native might
Of heavie earth, up to the heavens hight.
Such is the powre of that sweet passion,
That it all sordid basenesse doth expell,
And the refyned mynd doth newly fashion
Unto a fairer forme, which now doth dwell
In his high thought, that would it selfe excell;
Which he beholding still with constant sight,
Admires the mirrour of so heavenly light.
Whose image printing in his deepest wit,
He thereon feeds his hungrie fantasy,
Still full, yet never satisfyde with it;
Like Tantale, that in store doth sterved ly,
So doth he pine in most satiety;
For nought may quench his infinite desyre,
Once kindled through that first conceived fyre.
Thereon his mynd affixed wholly is,
Ne thinks on ought but how it to attaine;
His care, his ioy, his hope, is all on this,
That seemes in it all blisses to containe,
In sight whereof all other blisse seemes vaine:
Thrice happie man, might he the same possesse,
He faines himselfe, and doth his fortune blesse.
And though he do not win his wish to end,
Yet thus farre happie he himselfe doth weene,
That heavens such happie grace did to him lend
As thing on earth so heavenly to have seene,
His harts enshrined saint, his heavens queene,
Fairer then fairest in his fayning eye,
Whose sole aspect he counts felicitye.
Then forth he casts in his unquiet thought,
What he may do her favour to obtaine;
What brave exploit, what perill hardly wrought,
What puissant conquest, what adventurous paine,
May please her best, and grace unto him gaine;
He dreads no danger, nor misfortune feares,
His faith, his fortune, in his breast he beares.
Thou art his god, thou art his mightie guyde,
Thou, being blind, letst him not see his feares,
But carriest him to that which he had eyde,
Through seas, through flames, through thousand swords and speares; *
Ne ought so strong that may his force withstand,
With which thou armest his resistlesse hand.
[* The fifth verse of this stanza appears to have dropped out. C.]
Witnesse Leander in the Euxine waves,
And stout Aeneas in the Troiane fyre,
Achilles preassing through the Phrygian glaives*,
And Orpheus, daring to provoke the yre
Of damned fiends, to get his love retyre;
For both through heaven and hell thou makest way,
To win them worship which to thee obay.
[* Glaives, swords.]
And if by all these perils and these paynes
He may but purchase lyking in her eye,
What heavens of ioy then to himselfe he faynes!
Eftsoones he wypes quite out of memory
Whatever ill before he did aby*:
Had it beene death, yet would he die againe,
To live thus happie as her grace to gaine.
[* Aby, abide.]
Yet when he hath found favour to his will,
He nathëmore can so contented rest,
But forceth further on, and striveth still
T'approch more neare, till in her inmost brest
He may embosomd bee and loved best;
And yet not best, but to be lov'd alone;
For love cannot endure a paragone*.
[* Paragone, competitor.]
The fear whereof, O how doth it torment
His troubled mynd with more then hellish paine!
And to his fayning fansie represent
Sights never seene, and thousand shadowes vaine,
To breake his sleepe and waste his ydle braine:
Thou that hast never lov'd canst not beleeve
Least part of th'evils which poore lovers greeve.
The gnawing envie, the hart-fretting feare,
The vaine surmizes, the distrustfull showes,
The false reports that flying tales doe beare,
The doubts, the daungers, the delayes, the woes,
The fayned friends, the unassured foes,
With thousands more then any tongue can tell,
Doe make a lovers life a wretches hell.
Yet is there one more cursed then they all,
That cancker-worme, that monster, Gelosie,
Which eates the heart and feedes upon the gall,
Turning all Loves delight to miserie,
Through feare of losing his felicitie.
Ah, gods! that ever ye that monster placed
In gentle Love, that all his ioyes defaced!
By these, O Love! thou doest thy entrance make
Unto thy heaven, and doest the more endeere
Thy pleasures unto those which them partake,
As after stormes, when clouds begin to cleare,
The sunne more bright and glorious doth appeare;
So thou thy folke, through paines of Purgatorie,
Dost beare unto thy blisse, and heavens glorie.
There thou them placest in a paradize
Of all delight and ioyous happy rest,
Where they doe feede on nectar heavenly-wize,
With Hercules and Hebe, and the rest
Of Venus dearlings, through her bountie blest;
And lie like gods in yvory beds arayd,
With rose and lillies over them displayd.
There with thy daughter Pleasure they doe play
Their hurtlesse sports, without rebuke or blame,
And in her snowy bosome boldly lay
Their quiet heads, devoyd of guilty shame,
After full ioyance of their gentle game;
Then her they crowne their goddesse and their queene,
And decke with floures thy altars well beseene.
Ay me! deare Lord, that ever I might hope,
For all the paines and woes that I endure,
To come at length unto the wished scope
Of my desire, or might myselfe assure
That happie port for ever to recure*!
Then would I thinke these paines no paines at all,
And all my woes to be but penance small.
[* Recure, recover, gain.]
Then would I sing of thine immortal praise
An heavenly hymne such as the angels sing,
And thy triumphant name then would I raise
Bove all the gods, thee only honoring;
My guide, my god, my victor, and my king:
Till then, drad Lord! vouchsafe to take of me
This simple song, thus fram'd in praise of thee.
IN HONOUR OF BEAUTIE.
Ah! whither, Love! wilt thou now carry mee?
What wontlesse fury dost thou now inspire
Into my feeble breast, too full of thee?
Whylest seeking to aslake thy raging fyre,
Thou in me kindlest much more great desyre,
And up aloft above my strength doth rayse
The wondrous matter of my fire to praise.
That as I earst in praise of thine owne name,
So now in honour of thy mother deare
An honourable hymne I eke should frame,
And, with the brightnesse of her beautie cleare,
The ravisht hearts of gazefull men might reare
To admiration of that heavenly light,
From whence proceeds such soule-enchanting might.
Therto do thou, great Goddesse! Queene of Beauty,
Mother of Love and of all worlds delight,
Without whose soverayne grace and kindly dewty
Nothing on earth seems fayre to fleshly sight,
Doe thou vouchsafe with thy love-kindling light
T'illuminate my dim and dulled eyne,
And beautifie this sacred hymne of thyne:
That both to thee, to whom I meane it most,
And eke to her whose faire immortall beame
Hath darted fyre into my feeble ghost,
That now it wasted is with woes extreame,
It may so please, that she at length will streame
Some deaw of grace into my withered hart,
After long sorrow and consuming smart.
WHAT TIME THIS WORLDS GREAT WORKMAISTER did cast
To make al things such as we now behold,
It seems that he before his eyes had plast
A goodly paterne, to whose perfect mould
He fashiond them as comely as he could,
That now so faire and seemely they appeare
As nought may be amended any wheare.
That wondrous paterne, wheresoere it bee,
Whether in earth layd up in secret store,
Or else in heaven, that no man may it see
With sinfull eyes, for feare it do deflore,
Is perfect Beautie, which all men adore;
Whose face and feature doth so much excell
All mortal sence, that none the same may tell.
Thereof as every earthly thing partakes
Or more or lesse, by influence divine,
So it more faire accordingly it makes,
And the grosse matter of this earthly myne
Which closeth it thereafter doth refyne,
Doing away the drosse which dims the light
Of that faire beame which therein is empight*.
[* Empight, placed.]
For, through infusion of celestiall powre,
The duller earth it quickneth with delight,
And life-full spirits privily doth powre
Through all the parts, that to the lookers sight
They seeme to please; that is thy soveraine might,
O Cyprian queene! which, flowing from the beame
Of thy bright starre, thou into them doest streame.
That is the thing which giveth pleasant grace
To all things faire, that kindleth lively fyre;
Light of thy lampe; which, shyning in the face,
Thence to the soule darts amorous desyre,
And robs the harts of those which it admyre;
Therewith thou pointest thy sons poysned arrow,
That wounds the life and wastes the inmost marrow.
How vainely then do ydle wits invent
That Beautie is nought else but mixture made
Of colours faire, and goodly temp'rament
Of pure complexions, that shall quickly fade
And passe away, like to a sommers shade;
Or that it is but comely composition
Of parts well measurd, with meet disposition!
Hath white and red in it such wondrous powre,
That it can pierce through th'eyes unto the hart,
And therein stirre such rage and restlesse stowre*,
As nought but death can stint his dolours smart?
Or can proportion of the outward part
Move such affection in the inward mynd,
That it can rob both sense, and reason blynd?
[* Stowre, commotion.]
Why doe not then the blossomes of the field,
Which are arayd with much more orient hew,
And to the sense most daintie odours yield,
Worke like impression in the lookers vew?
Or why doe not faire pictures like powre shew,
In which oft-times we Nature see of Art
Exceld, in perfect limming every part?
But ah! beleeve me there is more then so,
That workes such wonders in the minds of men;
I, that have often prov'd, too well it know,
And who so list the like assayes to ken
Shall find by trial, and confesse it then,
That Beautie is not, as fond men misdeeme,
An outward shew of things that onely seeme.
For that same goodly hew of white and red
With which the cheekes are sprinckled, shall decay,
And those sweete rosy leaves, so fairly spred
Upon the lips, shall fade and fall away
To that they were, even to corrupted clay:
That golden wyre, those sparckling stars so bright,
Shall turne to dust, and lose their goodly light.
But that faire lampe, from whose celestiall ray
That light proceedes which kindleth lovers fire,
Shall never be extinguisht nor decay;
But, when the vitall spirits doe espyre,
Unto her native planet shall retyre;
For it is heavenly borne, and cannot die,
Being a parcell of the purest skie.
For when the soule, the which derived was,
At first, out of that great immortall Spright,
By whom all live to love, whilome did pas
Down from the top of purest heavens hight
To be embodied here, it then tooke light
And lively spirits from that fayrest starre
Which lights the world forth from his firie carre.
Which powre retayning still, or more or lesse,
When she in fleshly seede is eft* enraced**,
Through every part she doth the same impresse,
According as the heavens have her graced,
And frames her house, in which she will be placed,
Fit for her selfe, adorning it with spoyle
Of th'heavenly riches which she robd erewhyle.
[* Eft, afterwards.]
[** Enraced, implanted.]
Thereof it comes that these faire soules which have
The most resemblance of that heavenly light
Frame to themselves most beautifull and brave
Their fleshly bowre, most fit for their delight,
And the grosse matter by a soveraine might
Temper so trim, that it may well be seene
A pallace fit for such a virgin queene.
So every spirit, as it is most pure,
And hath in it the more of heavenly light,
So it the fairer bodie doth procure
To habit in, and it more fairely dight*
With chearfull grace and amiable sight:
For of the soule the bodie forme doth take;
For soule is forme, and doth the bodie make.
[* Dight, adorn.]
Therefore, where-ever that thou doest behold
A comely corpse*, with beautie faire endewed,
Know this for certaine, that the same doth hold
A beauteous soule with fair conditions thewed**,
Fit to receive the seede of vertue strewed;
For all that faire is, is by nature good;
That is a sign to know the gentle blood.
[* Corpse, body.]
[** i.e. endowed with fair qualities.]
Yet oft it falles that many a gentle mynd
Dwels in deformed tabernacle drownd,
Either by chaunce, against the course of kynd*,
Or through unaptnesse in the substance fownd,
Which it assumed of some stubborne grownd,
That will not yield unto her formes direction,
But is deform'd with some foule imperfection.
[* Kynd, nature.]
And oft it falles, (ay me, the more to rew!)
That goodly Beautie, albe heavenly borne,
Is foule abusd, and that celestiall hew,
Which doth the world with her delight adorne,
Made but the bait of sinne, and sinners scorne,
Whilest every one doth seeke and sew to have it,
But every one doth seeke but to deprave it.
Yet nathëmore is that faire Beauties blame,
But theirs that do abuse it unto ill:
Nothing so good, but that through guilty shame
May be corrupt*, and wrested unto will.
Nathelesse the soule is faire and beauteous still,
However fleshes fault it filthy make;
For things immortall no corruption take.
[* Corrupt, corrupted.]
But ye, faire Dames! the worlds deare ornaments,
And lively images of heavens light,
Let not your beames with such disparagements
Be dimd, and your bright glorie darkned quight;
But mindfull still of your first countries sight,
Doe still preserve your first informed grace,
Whose shadow yet shynes in your beauteous face.
Loath that foule blot, that hellish fiërbrand,
Disloiall lust, fair Beauties foulest blame,
That base affections, which your eares would bland*,
Commend to you by loves abused name,
But is indeede the bondslave of defame;
Which will the garland of your glorie marre,
And quench the light of your brightshyning starre.
[* Bland, blandish.]
But gentle Love, that loiall is and trew,
Wil more illumine your resplendent ray,
And add more brightnesse to your goodly hew
From light of his pure fire; which, by like way
Kindled of yours, your likenesse doth display;
Like as two mirrours, by opposd reflection,
Doe both expresse the faces first impression.
Therefore, to make your beautie more appeare,
It you behoves to love, and forth to lay
That heavenly riches which in you ye beare,
That men the more admyre their fountaine may;
For else what booteth that celestiall ray,
If it in darknesse be enshrined ever,
That it of loving eyes be vewed never?
But, in your choice of loves, this well advize,
That likest to your selves ye them select,
The which your forms first sourse may sympathize,
And with like beauties parts be inly deckt;
For if you loosely love without respect,
It is not love, but a discordant warre,
Whose unlike parts amongst themselves do iarre.
For love is a celestiall harmonie
Of likely* harts composd of** starres concent,
Which ioyne together in sweete sympathie,
To work each others ioy and true content,
Which they have harbourd since their first descent
Out of their heavenly bowres, where they did see
And know ech other here belov'd to bee.
[* Likely, similar.]
[** Composd of, combined by.]
Then wrong it were that any other twaine
Should in Loves gentle band combyned bee,
But those whom Heaven did at first ordaine,
And made out of one mould the more t'agree;
For all that like the beautie which they see
Straight do not love; for Love is not so light
As straight to burne at first beholders sight.
But they which love indeede looke otherwise,
With pure regard and spotlesse true intent,
Drawing out of the obiect of their eyes
A more refyned form, which they present
Unto their mind, voide of all blemishment;
Which it reducing to her first perfection,
Beholdeth free from fleshes frayle infection.
And then conforming it unto the light
Which in it selfe it hath remaining still,
Of that first sunne, yet sparckling in his sight,
Thereof he fashions in his higher skill
An heavenly beautie to his fancies will;
And it embracing in his mind entyre,
The mirrour of his owne thought doth admyre.
Which seeing now so inly faire to be,
As outward it appeareth to the eye,
And with his spirits proportion to agree,
He thereon fixeth all his fantasie,
And fully setteth his felicitie;
Counting it fairer then it is indeede,
And yet indeede her fairnesse doth exeede.
For lovers eyes more sharply sighted bee
Then other mens, and in deare loves delight
See more then any other eyes can see,
Through mutuall receipt of beamës bright,
Which carrie privie message to the spright,
And to their eyes that inmost faire display,
As plaine as light discovers dawning day.
Therein they see, through amorous eye-glaunces,
Annies of Loves still flying too and fro,
Which dart at them their litle fierie launces;
Whom having wounded, back againe they go,
Carrying compassion to their lovely foe;
Who, seeing her faire eyes so sharp effect,
Cures all their sorrowes with one sweete aspect.
In which how many wonders doe they reede
To their conceipt, that others never see!
Now of her smiles, with which their soules they feede,
Like gods with nectar in their bankets free;
Now of her lookes, which like to cordials bee;
But when her words embássade* forth she sends,
Lord, how sweete musicke that unto them lends!
[* Embássade, embassy.]
Sometimes upon her forhead they behold
A thousand graces masking in delight;
Sometimes within her eye-lids they unfold
Ten thousand sweet belgards*, which to their sight
Doe seeme like twinckling starres in frostie night;
But on her lips, like rosy buds in May,
So many millions of chaste pleasures play.
[* Belgards, fair looks.]
All those, O Cytherea! and thousands more,
Thy handmaides be, which do on thee attend,
To decke thy beautie with their dainties store,
That may it more to mortall eyes commend,
And make it more admyr'd of foe and frend;
That in mans harts thou mayst thy throne enstall, 265
And spred thy lovely kingdome over all.
Then Iö, tryumph! O great Beauties Queene,
Advance the banner of thy conquest hie,
That all this world, the which thy vassels beene,
May draw to thee, and with dew fëaltie
Adore the powre of thy great maiestie,
Singing this hymne in honour of thy name,
Compyld by me, which thy poor liegeman am!
In lieu whereof graunt, O great soveraine!
That she whose conquering beauty doth captíve 275
My trembling hart in her eternall chaine,
One drop of grace at length will to me give,
That I her bounden thrall by her may live,
And this same life, which first fro me she reaved,
May owe to her, of whom I it receaved.
And you, faire Venus dearling, my dear dread!
Fresh flowre of grace, great goddesse of my life,
When your faire eyes these fearfull lines shall read,
Deigne to let fall one drop of dew reliefe,
That may recure my harts long pyning griefe,
And shew what wondrous powre your beauty hath,
That can restore a damned wight from death.
OF HEAVENLY LOVE*.
[* See the sixth canto of the third book of the Faerie Queene,
especially the second and the thirty-second stanzas; which, with his
Hymnes of Heavenly Love and Heavenly Beauty, are evident proofs of
Spenser's attachment to the Platonic school. WARTON.]
Love, lift me up upon thy golden wings
From this base world unto thy heavens hight,
Where I may see those admirable things
Which there thou workest by thy soveraine might,
Farre above feeble reach of earthly sight,
That I thereof an heavenly hymne may sing
Unto the God of Love, high heavens king.
Many lewd layes (ah! woe is me the more!)
In praise of that mad fit which fooles call Love,
I have in th'heat of youth made heretofore,
That in light wits did loose affection move;
But all those follies now I do reprove,
And turned have the tenor of my string,
The heavenly prayses of true Love to sing.
And ye that wont with greedy vaine desire
To reade my fault, and, wondring at my flame,
To warme your selves at my wide sparckling fire,
Sith now that heat is quenched, quench my blame,
And in her ashes shrowd my dying shame;
For who my passed follies now pursewes,
Beginnes his owne, and my old fault renewes.
BEFORE THIS WORLDS GREAT FRAME, in which al things
Are now containd, found any being-place,
Ere flitting Time could wag* his eyas** wings
About that mightie bound which doth embrace
The rolling spheres, and parts their houres by space,
That high eternall Powre, which now doth move
In all these things, mov'd in it selfe by love.
[* Wag, move.]
[** Eyas, unfledged.]
It lovd it selfe, because it selfe was faire;
(For fair is lov'd;) and of it self begot
Like to it selfe his eldest Sonne and Heire,
Eternall, pure, and voide of sinfull blot,
The firstling of his ioy, in whom no iot
Of loves dislike or pride was to be found,
Whom he therefore with equall honour crownd.
With him he raignd, before all time prescribed,
In endlesse glorie and immortall might,
Together with that Third from them derived,
Most wise, most holy, most almightie Spright!
Whose kingdomes throne no thoughts of earthly wight
Can comprehend, much lesse my trembling verse
With equall words can hope it to reherse.
Yet, O most blessed Spirit! pure lampe of light,
Eternall spring of grace and wisedom trew,
Vouchsafe to shed into my barren spright
Some little drop of thy celestiall dew,
That may my rymes with sweet infuse* embrew,
And give me words equall unto my thought,
To tell the marveiles by thy mercie wrought.
[* Infuse, infusion]
Yet being pregnant still with powrefull grace,
And full of fruitfull Love, that loves to get
Things like himselfe and to enlarge his race,
His second brood, though not of powre so great,
Yet full of beautie, next he did beget,
An infinite increase of angels bright,
All glistring glorious in their Makers light.
To them the heavens illimitable hight
(Not this round heaven which we from hence behold,
Adornd with thousand lamps of burning light,
And with ten thousand gemmes of shyning gold)
He gave as their inheritance to hold,
That they might serve him in eternall blis,
And be partakers of those ioyes of his.
There they in their trinall triplicities
About him wait, and on his will depend,
Either with nimble wings to cut the skies,
When he them on his messages doth send,
Or on his owne dread presence to attend,
Where they behold the glorie of his light,
And caroll hymnes of love both day and night.
[Ver. 64.--Trinall triplicities. See the Faerie Queene, Book I.
Canto XII. 39. H.]
Both day and night is unto them all one;
For he his beames doth unto them extend,
That darknesse there appeareth never none;
Ne hath their day, ne hath their blisse, an end,
But there their termelesse time in pleasure spend;
Ne ever should their happinesse decay,
Had not they dar'd their Lord to disobay.
But pride, impatient of long resting peace,
Did puffe them up with greedy bold ambition,
That they gan cast their state how to increase
Above the fortune of their first condition,
And sit in Gods own seat without commission:
The brightest angel, even the Child of Light*,
Drew millions more against their God to fight.
[* I.e. Lucifer.]
Th'Almighty, seeing their so bold assay,
Kindled the flame of his consuming yre,
And with his onely breath them blew away
From heavens hight, to which they did aspyre,
To deepest hell, and lake of damned fyre,
Where they in darknesse and dread horror dwell,
Hating the happie light from which they fell.
So that next off-spring of the Makers love,
Next to himselfe in glorious degree,
Degendering* to hate, fell from above
Through pride; (for pride and love may ill agree;)
And now of sinne to all ensample bee:
How then can sinfull flesh it selfe assure,
Sith purest angels fell to be impure?
[* Degendering, degenerating.]
But that Eternall Fount of love and grace,
Still flowing forth his goodnesse unto all,
Now seeing left a waste and emptie place
In his wyde pallace through those angels fall,
Cast to supply the same, and to enstall
A new unknowen colony therein,
Whose root from earths base groundworke should begin.
Therefore of clay, base, vile, and nest to nought,
Yet form'd by wondrous skill, and by his might
According to an heavenly patterne wrought,
Which he had fashiond in his wise foresight,
He man did make, and breathd a living spright
Into his face, most beautifull and fayre,
Endewd with wisedomes riches, heavenly, rare.
Such he him made, that he resemble might
Himselfe, as mortall thing immortall could;
Him to be lord of every living wight
He made by love out of his owne like mould,
In whom he might his mightie selfe behould;
For Love doth love the thing belov'd to see,
That like it selfe in lovely shape may bee.
But man, forgetfull of his Makers grace
No lesse than angels, whom he did ensew,
Fell from the hope of promist heavenly place,
Into the mouth of Death, to sinners dew,
And all his off-spring into thraldome threw,
Where they for ever should in bonds remaine
Of never-dead, yet ever-dying paine;
Till that great Lord of Love, which him at first
Made of meere love, and after liked well,
Seeing him lie like creature long accurst
In that deep horor of despeyred hell,
Him, wretch, in doole* would let no lenger dwell,
But cast** out of that bondage to redeeme,
And pay the price, all@ were his debt extreeme.
[* Doole, pain.]
[** Cast, devised.]
[@ All, although.]
Out of the bosome of eternall blisse,
In which he reigned with his glorious Syre,
He downe descended, like a most demisse*
And abiect thrall, in fleshes fraile attyre,
That he for him might pay sinnes deadly hyre,
And him restore unto that happie state
In which he stood before his haplesse fate.
[* Demisse, humble.]
In flesh at first the guilt committed was,
Therefore in flesh it must be satisfyde;
Nor spirit, nor angel, though they man surpas,
Could make amends to God for mans misguyde,
But onely man himselfe, who selfe did slyde:
So, taking flesh of sacred virgins wombe,
For mans deare sake he did a man become.
And that most blessed bodie, which was borne
Without all blemish or reprochfull blame,
He freely gave to be both rent and torne
Of cruell hands, who with despightfull shame
Revyling him, (that them most vile became,)
At length him nayled on a gallow-tree,
And slew the iust by most uniust decree.
O huge and most unspeakeable impression
Of Loves deep wound, that pierst the piteous hart
Of that deare Lord with so entyre affection,
And, sharply launcing every inner part,
Dolours of death into his soule did dart,
Doing him die that never it deserved,
To free his foes, that from his heast* had swerved!
[* Heast, command.]
What hart can feel least touch of so sore launch,
Or thought can think the depth of so deare wound?
Whose bleeding sourse their streames yet never staunch,
But stil do flow, and freshly still redownd*,
To heale the sores of sinfull soules unsound,
And clense the guilt of that infected cryme,
Which was enrooted in all fleshly slyme.
[* Redownd, overflow.]
O blessed Well of Love! O Floure of Grace!
O glorious Morning-Starre! O Lampe of Light!
Most lively image of thy Fathers face,
Eternal King of Glorie, Lord of Might,
Meeke Lambe of God, before all worlds behight*,
How can we thee requite for all this good?
Or what can prize** that thy most precious blood?
[* Behight, named.]
[** Prize, price.]
Yet nought thou ask'st in lieu of all this love
But love of us, for guerdon of thy paine:
Ay me! what can us lesse than that behove?
Had he required life for us againe,
Had it beene wrong to ask his owne with game?
He gave us life, he it restored lost;
Then life were least, that us so little cost.
But he our life hath left unto us free,
Free that was thrall, and blessed that was band*;
Ne ought demaunds but that we loving bee,
As he himselfe hath lov'd us afore-hand,
And bound therto with an eternall band;
Him first to love that was so dearely bought,
And next our brethren, to his image wrought.
[* Band, cursed.]
Him first to love great right and reason is,
Who first to us our life and being gave,
And after, when we fared* had amisse,
Us wretches from the second death did save;
And last, the food of life, which now we have,
Even he himselfe, in his dear sacrament,
To feede our hungry soules, unto us lent.
[* Fared, gone.]
Then next, to love our brethren, that were made
Of that selfe* mould and that self Maker's hand
That we, and to the same againe shall fade,
Where they shall have like heritage of land,
However here on higher steps we stand,
Which also were with selfe-same price redeemed
That we, however of us light esteemed.
[* Selfe, same.]
And were they not, yet since that loving Lord
Commaunded us to love them for his sake,
Even for his sake, and for his sacred word
Which in his last bequest he to us spake,
We should them love, and with their needs partake;
Knowing that whatsoere to them we give
We give to him by whom we all doe live.
Such mercy he by his most holy reede*
Unto us taught, and, to approve it trew,
Ensampled it by his most righteous deede,
Shewing us mercie, miserable crew!
That we the like should to the wretches shew,
And love our brethren; thereby to approve
How much himselfe that loved us we love.
[* Reede, precept.]
Then rouze thy selfe, O Earth! out of thy soyle*,
In which thou wallowest like to filthy swyne,
And doest thy mynd in durty pleasures moyle**,
Unmindfull of that dearest Lord of thyne;
Lift up to him thy heavie clouded eyne,
That thou this soveraine bountie mayst behold,
And read, through love, his mercies manifold.
[* Soyle, mire.]
[** Moyle, defile.]
Beginne from first, where he encradled was
In simple cratch*, wrapt in a wad of hay,
Betweene the toylfull oxe and humble asse,
And in what rags, and in how base aray,
The glory of our heavenly riches lay,
When him the silly shepheards came to see,
Whom greatest princes sought on lowest knee.
[* Cratch, manger.]
From thence reade on the storie of his life,
His humble carriage, his unfaulty wayes,
His cancred foes, his fights, his toyle, his strife,
His paines, his povertie, his sharpe assayes,
Through which he past his miserable dayes,
Offending none, and doing good to all,
Yet being malist* both by great and small.
[* Malist, regarded with ill-will.]
And look at last, how of most wretched wights
He taken was, betrayd, and false accused;
How with most scornfull taunts and fell despights,
He was revyld, disgrast, and foule abused;
How scourgd, how crownd, how buffeted, how brused;
And, lastly, how twixt robbers crucifyde,
With bitter wounds through hands, through feet, and syde!
Then let thy flinty hart, that feeles no paine,
Empierced he with pittifull remorse,
And let thy bowels bleede in every vaine,
At sight of his most sacred heavenly corse,
So torne and mangled with malicious forse;
And let thy soule, whose sins his sorrows wrought,
Melt into teares, and grone in grieved thought.
With sence whereof whilest so thy softened spirit
Is inly toucht, and humbled with meeke zeale
Through meditation of his endlesse merit,
Lift up thy mind to th'author of thy weale,
And to his soveraine mercie doe appeale;
Learne him to love that loved thee so deare,
And in thy brest his blessed image beare.
With all thy hart, with all thy soule and mind,
Thou must him love, and his beheasts embrace;
All other loves, with which the world doth blind
Weake fancies, and stirre up affections base,
Thou must renounce and utterly displace,
And give thy self unto him full and free,
That full and freely gave himselfe to thee.
Then shalt thou feele thy spirit so possest,
And ravisht with devouring great desire
Of his dear selfe, that shall thy feeble brest
Inflame with love, and set thee all on fire
With burning zeale, through every part entire*,
That in no earthly thing thou shalt delight,
But in his sweet and amiable sight.
[* Entire, inward.]
Thenceforth all worlds desire will in thee dye,
And all earthes glorie, on which men do gaze,
Seeme durt and drosse in thy pure-sighted eye,
Compar'd to that celestiall beauties blaze,
Whose glorious beames all fleshly sense doth daze
With admiration of their passing light,
Blinding the eyes, and lumining the spright.
Then shall thy ravisht soul inspired bee
With heavenly thoughts, farre above humane skil,
And thy bright radiant eyes shall plainely see
Th'idee of his pure glorie present still
Before thy face, that all thy spirits shall fill
With sweete enragement of celestiall love,
Kindled through sight of those faire things above.
OF HEAVENLY BEAUTIE.
Rapt with the rage of mine own ravisht thought,
Through contemplation of those goodly sights
And glorious images in heaven wrought,
Whose wondrous beauty, breathing sweet delights,
Do kindle love in high conceipted sprights,
I faine* to tell the things that I behold,
But feele my wits to faile and tongue to fold.
[* Faine, long.]
Vouchsafe then, O Thou most Almightie Spright!
From whom all guifts of wit and knowledge flow,
To shed into my breast some sparkling light
Of thine eternall truth, that I may show
Some little beames to mortall eyes below
Of that immortall Beautie there with Thee,
Which in my weake distraughted mynd I see;
That with the glorie of so goodly sight
The hearts of men, which fondly here admyre
Faire seeming shewes, and feed on vaine delight,
Transported with celestiall desyre
Of those faire formes, may lift themselves up hyer,
And learne to love, with zealous humble dewty,
Th'Eternall Fountaine of that heavenly Beauty.
Beginning then below, with th'easie vew
Of this base world, subiect to fleshly eye,
From thence to mount aloft, by order dew,
To contemplation of th'immortall sky;
Of the soare faulcon* so I learne to flye.
That flags a while her fluttering wings beneath,
Till she her selfe for stronger flight can breath.
[* Soare faulcon, a young falcon; a hawk that has not shed its first
feathers, which are sorrel.]
Then looke, who list thy gazefull eyes to feed
With sight of that is faire, looke on the frame
Of this wyde universe, and therein reed
The endlesse kinds of creatures which by name
Thou canst not count, much less their natures aime;
All which are made with wondrous wise respect,
And all with admirable beautie deckt.
First, th'Earth, on adamantine pillers founded
Amid the Sea, engirt with brasen bands;
Then th'Aire, still flitting, but yet firmely bounded
On everie side with pyles of flaming brands,
Never consum'd, nor quencht with mortall hands;
And last, that mightie shining cristall wall,
Wherewith he hath encompassed this all.
By view whereof it plainly may appeare,
That still as every thing doth upward tend
And further is from earth, so still more cleare
And faire it growes, till to his perfect end
Of purest Beautie it at last ascend;
Ayre more then water, fire much more then ayre,
And heaven then fire, appeares more pure and fayre.
Looke thou no further, but affixe thine eye
On that bright shynie round still moving masse,
The house of blessed God, which men call Skye,
All sowd with glistring stars more thicke then grasse,
Whereof each other doth in brightnesse passe,
But those two most, which, ruling night and day,
As king and queene the heavens empire sway;
And tell me then, what hast thou ever seene
That to their beautie may compared bee?
Or can the sight that is most sharpe and keene
Endure their captains flaming head to see?
How much lesse those, much higher in degree,
And so much fairer, and much more then these,
As these are fairer then the land and seas?
For farre above these heavens which here we see,
Be others farre exceeding these in light,
Not bounded, not corrupt, as these same bee,
But infinite in largenesse and in hight,
Unmoving, uncorrupt, and spotlesse bright,
That need no sunne t'illuminate their spheres,
But their owne native light farre passing theirs.
And as these heavens still by degrees arize,
Until they come to their first movers* bound,
That in his mightie compasse doth comprize
And came all the rest with him around,
So those likewise doe by degrees redound**,
And rise more faire, till they at last arive
To the most faire, whereto they all do strive.
[* I.e. the primum mobile.]
[** I.e. exceed the one the other.]
Faire is the heaven where happy soules have place,
In full enioyment of felicitie,
Whence they doe still behold the glorious face
Of the Divine Eternall Maiestie;
More faire is that where those Idees on hie
Enraunged be, which Plato so admyred,
And pure Intelligences from God inspyred.
Yet fairer is that heaven in which do raine
The soveraigne Powres and mightie Potentates,
Which in their high protections doe containe
All mortall princes and imperiall states;
And fayrer yet whereas the royall Seates
And heavenly Dominations are set,
From whom all earthly governance is fet*.
[* Fet, fetched, derived.]
Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins,
Which all with golden wings are overdight,
And those eternall burning Seraphins,
Which from their faces dart out fierie light;
Yet fairer then they both, and much more bright,
Be th'Angels and Archangels, which attend
On Gods owne person, without rest or end.
These thus in faire each other farre excelling,
As to the Highest they approach more near,
Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling,
Fairer then all the rest which there appeare,
Though all their beauties ioyn'd together were;
How then can mortall tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse?
Cease then, my tongue! and lend unto my mynd
Leave to bethinke how great that Beautie is,
Whose utmost* parts so beautifull I fynd;
How much more those essentiall parts of His,
His truth, his love, his wisedome, and his blis,
His grace, his doome**, his mercy, and his might,
By which he lends us of himselfe a sight!
[* Utmost, outmost.]
[** Doome, judgment.]
Those unto all he daily doth display,
And shew himselfe in th'image of his grace,
As in a looking-glasse, through which he may
Be seene of all his creatures vile and base,
That are unable else to see his face;
His glorious face! which glistereth else so bright,
That th'angels selves can not endure his sight.
But we, fraile wights! whose sight cannot sustaine
The suns bright beames when he on us doth shyne,
But* that their points rebutted** backe againe
Are duld, how can we see with feeble eyne
The glorie of that Maiestie Divine,
In sight of whom both sun and moone are darke,
Compared to his least resplendent sparke?
[* But, unless.]
[** Rebutted, reflected.]
The meanes, therefore, which unto us is lent
Him to behold, is on his workes to looke.
Which he hath made in beauty excellent,
And in the same, as in a brasen booke,
To read enregistred in every nooke
His goodnesse, which his beautie doth declare;
For all thats good is beautifull and faire.
Thence gathering plumes of perfect speculation
To impe* the wings of thy high flying mynd,
Mount up aloft through heavenly contemplation
From this darke world, whose damps the soule do blynd,
And, like the native brood of eagles kynd,
On that bright Sunne of Glorie fixe thine eyes,
Clear'd from grosse mists of fraile infirmities.
[* Impe, mend, strengthen.]
Humbled with feare and awfull reverence,
Before the footestoole of his Maiestie
Throw thy selfe downe, with trembling innocence,
Ne dare looke up with córruptible eye
On the dred face of that great Deity,
For feare lest, if he chaunce to look on thee,
Thou turne to nought, and quite confounded be.
But lowly fall before his mercie seate,
Close covered with the Lambes integrity
From the iust wrath of His avengefull threate
That sits upon the righteous throne on hy;
His throne is built upon Eternity,
More firme and durable then steele or brasse,
Or the hard diamond, which them both doth passe.
His scepter is the rod of Righteousnesse,
With which he bruseth all his foes to dust,
And the great Dragon strongly doth represse
Under the rigour of his iudgment iust;
His seate is Truth, to which the faithfull trust,
From whence proceed her beames so pure and bright,
That all about him sheddeth glorious light:
Light farre exceeding that bright blazing sparke
Which darted is from Titans flaming head,
That with his beames enlumineth the darke
And dampish air, wherby al things are red*;
Whose nature yet so much is marvelled
Of mortall wits, that it doth much amaze
The greatest wisards** which thereon do gaze.
[* Red, perceived.]
[** Wisards, wise men, savants.]
But that immortall light which there doth shine
Is many thousand times more bright, more cleare,
More excellent, more glorious, more divine;
Through which to God all mortall actions here,
And even the thoughts of men, do plaine appeare;
For from th'Eternall Truth it doth proceed,
Through heavenly vertue which her beames doe breed.
With the great glorie of that wondrous light
His throne is all encompassed around,
And hid in his owne brightnesse from the sight
Of all that looke thereon with eyes unsound;
And underneath his feet are to be found
Thunder, and lightning, and tempestuous fyre,
The instruments of his avenging yre.
There in his bosome Sapience doth sit,
The soveraine dearling of the Deity,
Clad like a queene in royall robes, most fit
For so great powre and peerelesse maiesty,
And all with gemmes and iewels gorgeously
Adornd, that brighter then the starres appeare,
And make her native brightnes seem more cleare.
And on her head a crown of purest gold
Is set, in signe of highest soverainty;
And in her hand a scepter she doth hold,
With which she rules the house of God on hy,
And menageth the ever-moving sky,
And in the same these lower creatures all
Subiected to her powre imperiall.
Both heaven and earth obey unto her will,
And all the creatures which they both containe;
For of her fulnesse, which the world doth fill,
They all partake, and do in state remaine
As their great Maker did at first ordaine,
Through observation of her high beheast,
By which they first were made, and still increast.
The fairnesse of her face no tongue can tell;
For she the daughters of all wemens race,
And angels eke, in beautie doth excell,
Sparkled on her from Gods owne glorious face,
And more increast by her owne goodly grace,
That it doth farre exceed all humane thought,
Ne can on earth compared be to ought.
Ne could that painter (had he lived yet)
Which pictured Venus with so curious quill
That all posteritie admyred it,
Have purtray'd this, for all his maistring* skill;
Ne she her selfe, had she remained still,
And were as faire as fabling wits do fayne,
Could once come neare this Beauty soverayne.
[* Maistring, superior.]
But had those wits, the wonders of their dayes,
Or that sweete Teian poet*, which did spend
His plenteous vaine in setting forth her praise,
Seen but a glims of this which I pretend**,
How wondrously would he her face commend,
Above that idole of his fayning thought,
That all the world should with his rimes be fraught!
[* I.e. Anacreon.]
[** Pretend, set forth, (or, simply) intend.]
How then dare I, the novice of his art,
Presume to picture so divine a wight,
Or hope t'expresse her least perfections part,
Whose beautie filles the heavens with her light,
And darkes the earth with shadow of her sight?
Ah, gentle Muse! thou art too weake and faint
The pourtraict of so heavenly hew to paint.
Let angels, which her goodly face behold,
And see at will, her soveraigne praises sing,
And those most sacred mysteries unfold
Of that faire love of mightie Heavens King;
Enough is me t'admyre so heavenly thing,
And being thus with her huge love possest,
In th'only wonder of her selfe to rest.
But whoso may, thrise happie man him hold
Of all on earth, whom God so much doth grace,
And lets his owne Beloved to behold;
For in the view of her celestiall face
All ioy, all blisse, all happinesse, have place;
Ne ought on earth can want unto the wight
Who of her selfe can win the wishfull sight.
For she out of her secret threasury
Plentie of riches forth on him will powre,
Even heavenly riches, which there hidden ly
Within the closet of her chastest bowre,
Th'eternall portion of her precious dowre,
Which Mighty God hath given to her free,
And to all those which thereof worthy bee.
None thereof worthy be, but those whom shee
Vouchsafeth to her presence to receave,
And letteth them her lovely face to see,
Wherof such wondrous pleasures they conceave,
And sweete contentment, that it doth bereave
Their soul of sense, through infinite delight,
And them transport from flesh into the spright.
In which they see such admirable things,
As carries them into an extasy;
And heare such heavenly notes and carolings
Of Gods high praise, that filles the brasen sky;
And feele such ioy and pleasure inwardly,
That maketh them all worldly cares forget,
And onely thinke on that before them set.
Ne from thenceforth doth any fleshly sense,
Or idle thought of earthly things, remaine;
But all that earst seemd sweet seemes now offence,
And all that pleased earst now seemes to paine:
Their ioy, their comfort, their desire, their game,
Is fixed all on that which now they see;
All other sights but fayned shadowes bee.
And that faire lampe which useth to enflame
The hearts of men with selfe-consuming fyre,
Thenceforth seemes fowle, and full of sinfull blame
And all that pompe to which proud minds aspyre
By name of Honor, and so much desyre,
Seemes to them basenesse, and all riches drosse,
And all mirth sadnesse, and all lucre losse.
So full their eyes are of that glorious sight,
And senses fraught with such satietie.
That in nought else on earth they can delight,
But in th'aspect of that felicitie
Which they have written in theyr inward ey;
On which they feed, and in theyr fastened mynd
All happie ioy and full contentment fynd.
Ah, then, my hungry soule! which long hast fed
On idle fancies of thy foolish thought,
And, with false Beauties flattring bait misled,
Hast after vaine deceiptfull shadowes sought,
Which all are fled, and now have left thee nought
But late repentance, through thy follies prief,
Ah! ceasse to gaze on matter of thy grief:
And looke at last up to that Soveraine Light,
From whose pure beams al perfect Beauty springs,
That kindleth love in every godly spright,
Even the love of God; which loathing brings
Of this vile world and these gay-seeming things;
With whose sweet pleasures being so possest,
Thy straying thoughts henceforth for ever rest.