« PreviousContinue »
VERSES WRITTEN UNDER A PICTURE OF VENUS,
HOLDING THE BALL THAT BROUGHT TROY TO RUIN.
When Nature forg'd the fair unhappy mould,
Wherein proud beauty took her matchless shape,
She over-slipp'd her cunning and her skill,
And aim'd too fair, but drew beyond the mark;
For thinking to have made a heavenly bliss,
For wanton gods to dally with in heaven,
And to have fram'd a precious gem for men,
To solace all their dumpish thoughts with glee,
She wrought a plague, a poison, and a hell :
For gods, for men, thus no way wrought she well.
Venus was fair, fair was the queen of love,
Fairer than Pallas, or the wife of Jove;
Yet did the giglot's beauty grieve the smith,
For that she brav’d the creeple* with a horn.
Mars said, her beauty was the star of heaven,
Yet did her beauty stain him with disgrace.
Paris, for fair, t gave her the golden ball,
And bought his and his father's ruin so.
Thus Nature making what should far excell,
Lent gods and men a poison and a hell.
WRITTEN UNDER A PICTURE OF A PEACOCK.
The bird of Juno glories in his plumes;
Pride makes the fowl to prune his feathers so.
His spotted train, fetch'd from old Argus' head,
With golden rays like to the brightest sun,
Inserteth self-love in a silly bird,
Till, midst his hot and glorious fumes,
He spies his feet, and then lets fall his plumes.
Beauty breeds pride, pride hatcheth forth disdain,
Disdain gets hate, and hate calls for revenge,
Revenge with bitter prayers urgeth still ;
Thus self love, nursing up the pomp of pride,
Makes beauty wrack against an ebbing tide.
WRITTEN UNDER A CARVING OF MERCURY, THROWING
FEATHERS UNTO THE WIND. The richest gift the wealthy heaven affords, The pearl of price sent from immortal Jove, The shape wherein we most resemble gods, The fire Prometheus stole from lofty skies ; This gift, this pearl, this shape, this fire is it, Which makes us men bold by the name of wit. By wit we search divine aspect above, By wit we learn what secret science yields, By wit we speak, by wit the mind is rul'd, By wit we govern all our actions : Wit is the load-star of each human thought, Wit is the tool by which all things are wrought.
The brightest jacinth hot becometh dark,
Of little 'steem is crystal being crack’d,
Fine heads that can conceit no good but ill,
Forge oft that breedeth ruin to themselves :
Ripe wits abus'd that build on bad desire,
Do burn themselves, like flies within the fire.
WRITTEN UNDER A CARVING OF CUPID, BLOWING BLADDERS
IN THE AIR.
Love is a lock that linketh noble minds,
Faith is the key that shuts the spring of love,
Lightness a wrest that wringeth all awry,
Lightness a plague that fancy cannot brook :
Lightness in love so bad and base a thing,
As foul disgrace to greatest states do bring.
VERSES WRITTEN ON TWO TABLES AT A TOMB.
ON THE FIRST TABLE.
The Graces in their glory never gave
A rich or greater good to womankind,
That more impales their honours with the palm
Of high renown, than matchless constancy.
Beauty is vain, accounted but a flower,
Whose painted hue fades with the summer sun;
Wit oft hath wrack by self-conceit of pride ;
Riches are * trash that fortune boasteth on.
Constant in love who tries a woman's mind,
Wealth, beauty, wit, and all in her doth find.
*are] The 4to. “ is."
The fairest gem, oft blemish'd with a crack,
Loseth his beauty and his virtue too;
The fairest flower, nipt with the winter's frost,
In shew seems worser than the basest weed ;
Virtues are oft far over-stain'd with faults.
Were she as fair as Phæbe in her sphere,
Or brighter than the paramour of Mars,
Wiser than Pallas, daughter unto Jove,
Of greater majesty than Juno was,
More chaste than Vesta, goddess of the maids,
Of greater faith than fair Lucretia ;
Be she a blab, and tattles what she hears,
Want to be secret gives far greater stains
Than virtue's glory which in her remains.
Rest thee, desire, gaze not at such a star;
Sweet fancy, sleep; love, take a nap awhile; My busy thoughts that reach and roam so far,
With pleasant dreams the length of time beguile; Fair Venus, cool my over-heated breast, And let my fancy take her wonted rest.
Cupid abroad was lated in the night,
His wings were wet with ranging in the rain ; Harbour he sought, to me he took his flight,
To dry his plumes : I heard the boy complain ; My door I op'd, to grant him his desire, And rose myself to make the wag a fire.
* The three last stanzas of this madrigal are in the Orpharion, with some variations : see p. 310.
Looking more narrow by the fire's flame,
I spied his quiver hanging at his back:
I fear’d the child might my misfortune frame,
I would have gone for fear of further wrack;
And what I drad (poor man) did me betide,
For forth he drew an arrow from his side.
He pierc'd the quick, that I began to start;
The wound was sweet, but that it was too high, And yet the pleasure had a pleasing smart:
This done, he flies away, his wings were dry,
But left his arrow still within my breast,
That now I grieve I welcom'd such a guest.
FRAGMENTS QUOTED IN ENGLAND'S
(1600.) He that will stop the brook, must then begin When summer's heat hath dried up the spring And when his pittering streams are low and thin ; For let the winter aid unto them bring, He grows to be of watery floods the king; And though you dam him up with lofty ranks, Yet will he quickly overflow his banks.
It was the month, in which the righteous maid,
That for disdain of sinful world's upbraid,
Fled back to heaven, where she was first conceiv'd,
Into her silver bower the sun receiv'd;