| Musophilus. Samuel Daniel
Note on the e-text:
Editions text is based on the edition by Alexander Grosart as found in The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Samuel Daniel (4 vols.), Vol. I., privately printed, 1885. Transcribed by Risa S. Bear in January 2007.
The poem, says Grosart, appeared in
a 1601-dated folio edition of A/Defence of Rhyme/Against a Pamphlet
enti-/tuled/Obseruations in the Art of/Englishe Poesie, although
Campion's pamphlet appeared in 1602. Both these essays are present in
the RE collection.
Here is Grosart's note on his editorial decisions: "In the 4to of 1623 and elsewhere the placing of the stanzas is irregular (from p. 248, l. 717); all have been made uniform, i.e.,
8 lines each, with first line projecting and two lines; also l. 728 a
misprint 'temp'ring' corrected by 'tamp'ring.' G." Or corrected by tampering? I'm staying out of it. B.
The text is in the public
domain. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2007 The University of Oregon. For
nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to
the Publisher, rbear[at]uoregon.edu
To the right VVorthy and Iudicious
Fauorer of Vertue, Master
Doe not here vpon this hum'rous Stage,
Bring my transformed Verse, apparelled
With others passions, or with others rage;
With loues, with wounds, with factions furnished:
But here present thee, onely modelled
In this poore frame, the forme of mine owne heart:
Where, to reuiue my selfe, my Muse is led
With motions of her owne, t'act her owne part;
Striving to make her now contemned Art,
As faire t'her selfe as possibly she can;
Lest, seeming of no force, of no desert,
She might repent the course that she began;
And, with these times of dissolution, fall
From Goodnesse, Vertue, Glory, Fame and all.
A General Defence
Ond man Musophilus, that thus dost spend,
In an vngainefull Arte thy deerest dayes,
Tyring thy wits, and toyling to no end,
But to attaine that idle smoake of Praise:
Now when this busie world cannot attend
Th'vntimely Musicke of neglected layes.
Other delights then these, other desires
This wiser profit-seeking Age requires.
FRiend Philocosmus, I confesse indeede,
I loue this sacred Arte thou sett'st so light,
And though it neuer stand my life in steede,
It is enough, it giues my selfe delight;
The whiles my vnafflicted minde doth feede
On no vnholy thoughts for benefit.
Be it, that my vnseasonable Song
Come out of time; that fault is in the Time,
And I must not doe Vertue so much wrong,
As loue her aught the worse for others crime:
And yet I find some blessed spirits among,
That cherish me, and like, and grace my Rime.
Againe, that I doe more in Soule esteeme,
Then all the gaine of dust the world doth craue:
And, if I may attaine, but to redeeme
My name from Dissolution and the Graue;
I shall haue done enough, and better deeme
T'haue liu'd to be, then to haue dide to haue.
Short-breath'd Mortalitie would yet extend
That spanne of life so farre forth as it may,
And robbe her Fate; seeke to beguile her end
Of some few lingring dayes of after-stay,
That all this little All, might not descend
Into the darke, a vniuersall pray.
And giue our labours yet this poore delight,
That when our dales doe end, they are not done:
And though we die, we shall not perish quite,
But liue two liues, where other haue but one.
SIlly desires of selfe-abusing man,
Striuing to gaine th'inheritance of Aire,
That hauing done the vuttermost he can,
Leaues yet, perhaps, but beggarie to his heire:
All that great purchase of the breath he wan,
Feedes not his race, or makes his house more faire.
And what art thou the better, thus to leaue
A multitude of words to small effect,
Which other times may scorne, and so deceiue
Thy promis'd name, of what thou dost expect?
Besides, some viperous Criticke may bereaue
Th'opinion of thy worth for some defect;
And get more reputation of his wit,
By, but controlling of some word or sence,
Then thou shalt honour for contriuing it,
With all thy trauell, care and diligence;
Being Learning now enough to contradict,
And censure others with bold insolence.
Besides, so many so confusedly sing,
Whose diuerse discords haue the Musicke mar'd,
And in contempt that mysterie doth bring,
That he must sing alowd that will be heard:
And the receiu'd opinion of the thing,
For some vnhallowed string that vildely iar'd,
Hath so vnseason'd now the eares of men,
That who doth touch the tenour of that vaine,
Is held but vaine; and his vnreckened pen
The title but of Leuitie doth gaine.
A poore light gaine, to recompence their toyle,
That thought to get Eternitie the while.
And therefore, leaue the left and out-worne course
Of vnregarded wayes, and labour how
To fit the times with what is most in force;
Be new with mens affections that are new:
Striue not to runne an idle counter-course,
Out from the scent of humours, men allow.
For not discreetly to compose our partes
Vnto the frame of men (which we must be)
Is to put off our selues, and make our Artes
Rebels to Nature and Societie,
Whereby we come to burie our desarts,
In th'obscure graue of Singularitie.
DOe not prophane the worke of doing well,
Seduced man, that canst not looke so hie
From out that mist of earth, as thou canst tell
The wayes ot Right, which Vertue doth descrie;
That ouer-lookes the base contemptible,
And low-laid follies of Mortalitie:
Nor mete out Truth and right-discerning Praise,
By that wrong measure of Confusion,
The vulgar foote; that neuer takes his wayes
By Reason, but by Imitation,
Rowling on with the rest, and neuer weighs
The course which he should goe, but what is gone.
Well were it with Mankinde, if what the most
Did like, were best: but Ignorance will liue
By others square, as by example lost:
And man to man must th'hand of Errour giue
That none can fall alone, at their owne cost;
And all because men judge not, but beleeue.
For what poore bounds haue they, whom but th'earth bounds;
What is their end whereto their care attaines,
When the thing got, relieues not, but confounds,
Hauing but trauell to succeede their paines?
What ioy hath he of liuing, that propounds
Affliction but his end, and Griefe his gaines?
Gath'ring, incroching, wresting, ioyning to,
Destroying, building, decking, furnishing,
Repayring, altring, and so much adoe,
To his soules toyle, and bodies trauellling:
And all this doth he, little knowing who
Fortune ordaines to haue th'inheriting.
And his faire house rais'd hie in Enuies eie,
Whose Pillars rear'd (perhaps) on bloud and wrong,
The spoyles and pillage of Iniquitie,
Who can assure it to continue long?
If Rage spar'd not the walles of Pietie,
Shall the prophanest pyles of sinne keepe strong?
How many proud aspiring Pallaces
Haue we knowne, made the prey of wrath and pride;
Leuell'd with th'earth, left to forgetfulnesse;
Whilst titlers their pretended rights decide,
Or ciuill tumults, or an orderlesse
Order, pretending change of some stronge side?
Then where is that proud Title of thy name,
Written in yce of melting vanitie?
Where is thine heir left to possesse the same?
Perhaps, not so well as in beggarie.
Something may rise to be beyond the shame
Of vile and vnregarded Pouertie.
Which I confesse, although I often striue
To clothe in the best habit of my skill,
In all the fairest colours I can giue:
Yet for all that, me thinkes she lookes but ill.
I cannot brooke that face, which dead-aliue
Shewes a quicke body, but a buried will.
Yet oft we see the barres of this restraint
Holdes goodnesse in, which loose wealth would let flie;
And fruitlesse riches barriner then want,
Brings forth small worth from idle Libertie:
Which when Disorders shall againe make scant,
It must refetch her state from Pouertie.
But yet in all this interchange of all,
Vertue we see, with her faire grace, stands fast:
For what high races hath there come to fall,
With low disgrace, quite vanished and past,
Since Chaucer liu'd, who yet liues, and yet shall,
Though (which I grieue to say) but in his last.
Yet what a time hath he wrested from Time,
And wonne vpon the mighty waste of dayes,
Vnto th'immortall honour of our clime!
That by his meanes came first adorn'd with Bayes;
Vnto the sacred Relickes of whose rime,
We yet are bound in zeale to offer praise?
And, could our lines, begotten in this age,
Obtaine but such a blessed hand of yeares,
And scape the fury of that threatning rage,
Which in confused cloudes gastly appeares;
Who would not straine his trauailes to ingage,
When such true glory should succeede his cares?
But whereas he came planted in the Spring,
And had the Sunne, before him, of Respect:
We, set in th'Autumne, in the withering
And sullen season of a cold defect,
Must taste those sowre distasts the times do bring
Vpon the fulnesse of a cloy'd Neglect,
Although the stronger constitutions shall
Weare out th' infection of distempred dayes,
And come with glory to out'-iue this fall:
Recou'ring of another springing of Praise,
Cleer'd from th'oppressing humours wherewithall
The Idle multitude surcharge their laies.
Whenas (perhaps) the words thou scornest now
May liue, the speaking picture of the minde;
The extract of the soule, that laboured how
To leaue the Image of herselfe behinde;
Wherein Posteritie, that loue to know
The iust proportion of our Spirits, may finde.
For these Lines are the veines, the arteries,
And vndecaying life-strings of those harts
That still shall pant, and still shall exercize
The motion, spirit and Nature both imparts,
And shall, with those aliue so sympathize,
As, nourisht with their powers, inioy their parts.
O blessed Letters, that combine in one,
All Ages past, and make one liue with all:
By you, we doe conferre with who are gone,
And the dead-liuing vnto Councell call:
By you, th'vnborne shall haue communion
Of what we feele, and what doth vs befall.
Soule of the world, Knowledge, without thee,
What hath the Earth, that truly glorious is?
Why should our pride make such a stirre to be,
To be forgot? What good is like to this,
To doe worthy the writing, and to write
Worthy the reading, and the worlds delight?
And let th'vnnaturall and wayward Race,
Borne of one wombe with vs, but to our shame,
That neuer read t'obserue, but to disgrace;
Raise all the tempest of their powre, to blame.
That puffe of folly neuer can deface,
The worke a happy Genius tooke to frame.
Yet why should ciuill Learning seeke to wound
And mangle her owne members with despight?
Prodigious wits, that study to confound
The life of wit, to seeme to know aright,
As if themselues had fortunately found
Some stand from off the earth beyond our sight,
Whence, ouer-looking all as from aboue,
Their grace is not to worke, but to reproue.
But how came they plac'd in so high degree
Aboue the reach and compasse of the rest?
Who hath admitted them onely to be
Free-denizons of skill, to iudge the best?
From whom the world as yet could neuer see
The warrant of their wit soundly exprest.
T'acquaint our times with that perfection
Of high conceipt, which onely they possesse;
That we might haue things exquisitely done,
Measur'd with all ther strict obseruances:
Such would (I know) scorne a Translation,
Or bring but others labours to the Presse:
Yet, oft these monster-breeding mountaines will
Bring forth small Mice of great expected skill.
Presumption euer fullest of defects,
Failes, in the doing, to performe her part:
And I haue knowne proude words and poore effects,
Of such indeede as doe condemne this Arte:
But let them rest, it euer hath beene knowne,
They others vertues scorne, that doubt their owne.
And for the diuers disagreeing cordes
Of inter-iangling Ignorance, that fill
The dainty eares, and leaue no roome for words,
The worthier mindes neglect, or pardon will:
Knowing the best he hath, he frankely foordes,
And scornes to be a niggard of his skill.
And that the rather, since this short-liu'd race,
Being fatally the sonnes but of one day;
That now with all their powre plie it apace,
To hold out with the greatest might they may,
Against Confusion, that hath all in chace,
To make of all, a vniuersall pray.
For now great Nature hath laid downe at last
That mighty birth, wherewith so long she went,
And ouer-went the times of ages past,
Here to lye in, vpon our soft content:
Where fruitfull she, hath multiplyed so fast,
That all she hath, on these times seem'd t'haue spent.
All that which might haue many ages grac'd,
Is borne in one, to make one cloy'd with all;
Where Plenty hath imprest a deepe distast,
Of best and worst, and all in generall:
That Goodnesse seemes Goodnesse to haue defac't,
And vertue hath to Vertue giuen the fall.
For Emulation, that proud nurse of Wit,
Scorning to stay below or come behinde,
Labours vpon that narrow top to sit
Of sole Perfection in the highest kinde:
Enuy and Wonder looking after it,
Thrust likewise, on the self same blisse to finde:
And so, long striuing, till they can no more,
Doe stuffe the place, or others hopes shut out;
Who, doubting to ouertake those gone before,
Giue vp their care, and cast no more about:
And so in scorne, leaue all as fore possest,
And will be none, where they may not be best.
Eu'n like some empty Creeke, that long hath laine,
Left or neglected of the Riuer by,
Whose searching sides, pleas'd with a wandring vaine,
Finding some little way that close did lie;
Steale in at first, then other streames againe
Second the first, then more then all supply;
Till all the mighty maine hath borne, at last,
The glory of his chiefest powre that way;
Plying this newfound pleasant roome so fast,
Till all be full, and all be at a stay:
And then about, and backe againe doth cast,
Leauing that full to fall another way:
So fares this hum'rous world, that euermore
Rapt with the current of a present course,
Runnes into that which lay contemn'd before:
Then glutted, leaues the same, and falles t'a worse:
Now Zeale holdes all, no life but to adore,
Then cold in spirit, and faith is of no force.
Strait, all that holy was, vnhallowed lies,
The scattred carcasses of ruin'd vowes:
Then Truth is false, and now hath Blindnesse eies,
Then Zeale trusts all, now scarcely what it knowes:
That euermore, to foolish or to wise,
It fatall is to be seduc'd with showes.
Sacred Religion, motner of Forme and Feare,
How gorgeously sometimes dost thou sit deckt?
What pompous vestures doe we make thee weare?
What stately piles we prodigall erect?
How sweet perfum'd thou art, how shining cleare?
How solemnely obseru'd, with what respect?
Another time, all plaine, and quite thread-bare,
Thou must haue all within, and nought without;
Sit poorely without light, disrob'd, no care
Of outward grace, to amuze the poore devout;
Powrelesse, vnfollowed, scarcely men can spare
The necessary rites to set thee out.
Either Truth, Goodnesse, Vertue are not still
The selfesame which they are, and alwayes one,
But alter to the proiect of our will,
Or we, our actions make them waite vpon,
Putting them in the liuery of our skill,
And cast tnem off againe when we haue done.
You mightie Lords, that with respected grace
Doe at the sterne of faire example stand,
And all the body of this populace
Guide with the onely turning of your hand;
Keepe a right course, beare vp from all disgrace,
Obserue the poynt of glory to our land:
Hold vp disgraced knowledge from the ground,
Keepe Vertue in request, giue Worth her due,
Let not Neglect with barbarous meanes confound
So faire a good, to bring in night anew.
Be not, O be not accessary found
Vnto her death, that must giue life to you.
Where will you haue your vertuous names safe laide?
In gorgeous Tombes, in sacred Cels secure?
Doe you not see those prostrate heapes betraide
Your fathers bones, and could not keep them sure?
And will you trust deceitfull stones faire laide,
And thinke they will be to your honour truer?
No, no, vnsparing Time will proudly send
A warrant vnto Wrath; that with one frowne
Will all these mock'ries of Vaine-glory rend,
And make them, as before, vngrac'd, vnknowne;
Poore idle honours that can ill defend
Your memories that cannot keepe their owne.
And whereto serue that wondrous Trophei now,
That on the goodly Plaine neere Wilton stands?
That huge dumbe heape, that cannot tell vs how,
Nor what, nor whence it is, nor with whose hands,
Nor for whose glory, it was set to shew
How much our pride mocks that of other lands?
Whereon, whenas the gazing passenger
Hath greedy lookt with admiration,
And faine would know his birth, and what he were,
How there erected, and how long agone:
Enqures, and askes his fellow traueller,
What he hath heard, and his opinion:
And he knowes nothing. Then he turnes againe,
And lookes, and sighs, and then admires afresh,
And in himselfe with sorrow doth complaine
The misery of darke Forgetfulnesse:
Angry with Time that nothing should remaine
Our greatest wonders wonder to expresse.
Then Ignorance, with fabulous discourse,
Robbing faire Arte and Cunning of their right,
Tels, how those stones were by the Deuils force,
From Affrike brought to Ireland in a night,
And thence, to Britannie, by Magicke course,
From Gyants hand redeem'd by Merlins sleight.
And then neere Ambri plac'd, in memorie
Of all those noble Britons murthered there,
By Hengist and his Saxon trecherie,
Comming to parlee in peace at vnaware.
With this old Legend then Credulitie
Holdes her content, and closes vp her care:
But is Antiquitie so great a lier?
Or, doe her yonger sonnes her age abuse,
Seeing after-commers still so apt t'admire
The graue authoritie that she doth vse,
That reuerence and Respect dares not require
Proofe of her deedes, or once her words refuse?
Yet wrong they did vs to presume so far,
Vpon our easie credit and delight:
For, once found false, they strait became to mar
Our faith, and their owne reputation quite,
That now her truths hardly beleeued are:
And though sh'auouch the right, she scarce hath right.
And as for thee, thou huge and mighty frame,
That stands corrupted so with times despight,
And giu'st false euidence, against their fame
That set thee there, to testifie their right;
And art become a Traitour to their name
That trusted thee with all the best they might.
Thou shalt stand still belide, and slaundered,
The only gazing-stocke of Ignorance;
And by thy guile, the wise admonished,
Shall neuer more desire such heapes t'aduance;
Nor trust their liuing glory with the dead
That cannot speake, but leaue their fame to Chance:
Considering in how small a roome doe lie,
And yet lie safe, as fresh as if aliue,
All those great worthies of antiquitie;
Which long foreliu'd thee, and shall long suruiue;
Who stronger tombes found for Eternitie,
Then could the powres of all the earth contriue.
Where they remaine these trifles to obraid
Out of the reach of Spoyle, and way of Rage;
Though Time with ail his power of yeeres hath laid
Long batterie, back'd with vndermining Age,
Yet they make head, onely with their owne aide
And warre, with his all-conquering forces, wage.
Pleading the Heau'ns prescription to be free,
And t'haue a grant, t'indure as long as hee.
BEholde how euery man, drawne with delight
Of what he doth, flatters him in his way;
Striuing to make his course seeme onely right
Doth his owne rest, and his owne thoughts betray:
Imagination bringing brauely dight,
Her pleasing Images in best aray,
With flattering glasses that must shew him faire,
And others foule: his skill and his wit best,
Others seduc'd, deceiu'd and wrong in their:
His knowledge right, all ignorant the rest.
Not seeing how these Minions in the aire
Present a face of things falsely exprest,
And that the glimmering of these errours showne,
Are but a light, to let him see his owne.
Alas poore Fame, in what a narrow roome,
As an incaged Parrot art thou pent
Here amongst vs, where, euen as good be dombe
As speake, and to be heard with no attent?
How can you promise of the time to come,
Whenas the present are so negligent?
Is this the walke of all your wide renowne,
This little Point, this scarce'discerned Ile,
Thrust from the world, with whom our speech vnknowne
Made neuer any traffike of our Stile?
And in this All, where all this care is showne,
T'inchant your fame to last so long a while?
And for that happier tongues haue wonne so much,
Thinke you to make your barbarous language such?
Poore narrow limits for so mightie paines,
That cannot promise any forraine vent:
And yet, if here, to all your wondrous vaines
Were generally knowne, it might content:
But loe, how many reades not, or disdaines
The labours of the chiefe and excellent?
How many thousands neuer heard the name
Of Sidney, or of Spencer, or their Bookes?
And yet braue fellowes, and presume of Fame,
And seeme to beare downe all the world with lookes?
What then shall they expect of meaner frame,
On whose indeuours few or none scarce lookes?
Doe you not see these Pamphlets, Libels and Rymes,
These strange confused tumults of the minde,
Are growne to be the sicknesse of these times,
The great disease inflicted on mankinde?
Your Vertues by your Follies made your crimes,
Haue issue with your indiscretion ioyn'd.
Schooles, Artes, Professions, all in so great store,
Passe the proportion of the present state;
Where, being as great a number as before,
And fewer roomes them to accommodate:
It cannot be but they must throng the more,
And kick, and thrust, and shoulder with Debate.
For when the greater wits canot attaine
Th'expected good, which they account their right,
And yet perceiue others to reape that gaine
Of farre inferiour vertues in their sight:
They present, with the sharpe of Enuie, straine
To wound them with reproches and despight:
And for these cannot haue as well as they,
They scorne their faith should deigne to looke that way.
Hence, discontented Sects and Schismes arise,
Hence interwounding Controuersies spring,
That feede the Simple, and offend the Wise,
Who know the consequence of cauelling
Disgrace, that these to others doe deuise:
Contempt and Scorne on all in th'end doth bring,
Like scolding wiues, reckning each others fault,
Make standers-by imagine both are naught.
For when to these rare dainties, time admits
All commers, all complexions, all that will,
Where none should be let in but choisest wits,
Whose milde discretion could comport with skill,
For when the place their humour neither fits,
Nor they the place, who can expect but ill?
For being vnapt for what they tooke in hand,
And for aught else whereto they shall b'addrest,
They eu'n become th'incumbrance of the land,
As out of ranke, disordring all the rest:
This grace of theirs, to seeme to vnderstand,
Marres all their grace, to doe, without their rest.
Men finde, that action is another thing,
Then what they in discoursing papers reade:
The worlds affaires require in managing,
More Artes then those wherein you Clerkes proceede:
Whilst timorous Knowledge stands considering,
Audacious Ignorance hath done the deede;
For who knowes most, the more he knowes to doubt,
The least discourse is commonly most stout.
This sweet inchaunting Knowledge turnes you cleene
Out from the fields of naturall delight,
And makes you hide, vnwilling to be seene
In th'open concourse of a publike sight:
This skill, wherewith you haue so cunning beene,
Vnsinues all your powres, vnmans you quite.
Publike societie and commerce of men
Require another grace, another port:
This Eloquence, these Rymes, these Phrases then,
Begot in shades, doe serue vs in no sort;
Th'vnmateriall swellings of your Pen
Touch not the spirit that action doth import:
A manly stile, fitted to manly eares
Best grees with wit; not that which goes so gay,
And commonly the gawdy liu'ry weares
Of nice Corruptions, which the times doe sway,
And waites on th'humour of his pulse that beares
His passions set to such a pleasing kay:
Such dainties serue onely for stomackes weake;
For men doe fowlest, when they finest speake.
Yet doe I not dislike that in some wise
Be sung, the great heroicall deserts,
Of braue renowned spirits; whose exercise
Of worthy deeds may call vp others hearts,
And serue a modell for posterities,
To fashion them fit for like glorious parts:
But so, that all our spirits may tend hereto,
To make it, not our grace, to say, but do.
MVch thou hast said, and willingly I heare,
As one that am not so possest with Loue
Of what I doe, but that I rather beare
An eare to learne, then a tongue to disproue:
I know men must, as carried in their spheare,
According to their proper motions, moue.
And that course likes them best which they are on,
Yet Truth hath certaine bounds, but Falshood none.
I doe confesse our limits are but small,
Compar'd with all the whole vaste earth beside;
All which, againe, rated to that great All,
Is likewise as a poynt, scarcely descride:
So that in these respects, we may this call,
A poynt but of a poynt, where we abide.
But if we shall descend from that high stand
Of ouer-looking Contemplation,
And cast our thought, but to, and not beyond
This spacious circuit which we tread vpon;
We then may estimate our mighty land,
A world within a world standing alone.
Where, if our fame confind cannot get out,
What, shall we then imagine it is pen'd,
That hath so great a world to walke about,
Whose bounds, with her reports haue both one end?
Why shall we not rather esteeme her stout,
That farther then her owne scorne to extend?
Where being so large a roome, both to doe well,
And eke to heare th'applause of things well done,
That farther, if men shall our vertues tell,
We haue more mouthes, but not more merit won;
It doth not greater make that which is laudable,
The flame is bigger blowne, the fire all one.
And for the few that onely lend their eare,
That few, is all the world; which with a few
Doe euer liue, and moue, and worke, and stirre.
This is the heart doth feele, and onely know
The rest of all, that onely bodies beare,
Rowle vp and downe, and fill but vp the row.
And serue as others members, not their owne,
The instruments of those that doe direct.
Then what disgrace is this, not to be knowne
To those know not to giue themselues respect?
And though they swell with pompe of folly blowne,
They liue vngrac'd, and die but in Neglect.
And for my part, if onely one allow
The care my labouring spirits take in this,
He is to me a Theater large enow,
And his applause onely sufficient is:
All my respect is bent but to his brow,
That is my All; and all I am, is his.
And if some worthy spirits be pleased too,
It shall more comfort breede, but not more will.
But what if none? It cannot yet vndoo
The loue I beare vnto this holy skill:
This is the thing that I was borne to doo,
This is my Scene, this part must I fulfill.
Let those that know not breath, esteeme of winde,
And set t'a vulgar ayre their seruile song;
Rating their goodnesse by the praise they find,
Making their worth on others fits belong;
As Vertue were the hireling of the minde,
And could not liue if Fame had ne'r a tong.
Hath that all'knowing powre that holdes within
The goodly prospectiue of all this frame,
(Where, whatsoeuer is, or what hath bin,
Reflects a certaine image of the same)
No inward pleasures to delight her in,
But she must gad to seeke an almes of Fame?
Must she, like to a wanton Curtezan,
Open her brests for shew, to winne her praise;
And blaze her faire bright beauty vnto man
As if she were enamour'd of his wayes,
And knew not Weakenesse, nor could rightly scan
To what defects his hum'rous breath obayes?
She that can tell, how proud Ambition
Is but a Beggar, and hath nought at all,
But what is giu'n of meere Deuotion:
For which, how much it sweats, how much it's thrall?
What toyle it takes, and yet, when all is done,
Th'endes in expectation neuer fall;
Shall she ioyne hands with such a seruile mate,
And prostrate her faire body, to commit
Folly with earth, and to defile that state
Of cleerenesse, for so grosse a benefit?
Hauing Reward dwelling within her gate,
And Glory of her owne to furnish it:
Her selfe, a recompence sufficient
Vnto her selfe, to giue her owne content.
Is't not enough, that she hath rais'd so hie,
Those that be hers, that they may sit and see
The earth below them, and this All to lie
Vnder their view, taking the true degree
Of the iust height of swolne Mortalitie,
Right as it is, not as it seemes to be?
And vndeceiued with the Paralax
Of a mistaking eye of passion, know
By these mask'd outsides what the inward lackes;
Meas'ring man by himselfe, not by his show,
Wondering not at their rich and golden backes,
That haue poore mindes, and little else to shew:
Nor taking that for them, which well they see
Is not of them, but rather is their loade:
The lies of Fortune, wherewithall men be
Deemed within, when they be all abroade:
Whose ground, whose grasse, whose earth haue cap and knee,
Which they suppose, is on themselues bestow'd.
And thinke like Isis Asse, all Honours are
Giuen vnto them alone, the which are done
Vnto the painted Idoll which they beare,
That onely makes them to be gazed on:
For take away their packe, and shew them bare,
And see what beast this Honour rides vpon.
Hath Knowledge lent to hers the priuy kay,
To let them in vnto the highest Stage
Of Causes, Secrets, Counsels, to suruay
The wits of men, thek heats, their colds, their rage,
That build, destroy, praise, hate, say and gainesay,
Beleeue and vnbeleeue, all in one age.
And shall we trust goodnesse as it proceedes
From that vnconstant mouth, which with one breath
Will make it bad againe, vnlesse it feedes
The present humour that it fauoureth?
Shall we esteeme and reckon how it heedes
Our workes, that his owne vowes vnhalloweth?
Then whereto serues it to haue bin inlarg'd
With this free manumission of the mind,
If for all that, we still continue charg'd
With those discou'red errors which we finde?
As if our knowledge onely were discharg'd,
we our selues staid in a seruile kinde.
That Vertue must be out of countenance,
If this grosse spirit, or that weake shallow braine,
Or this nice wit, or that distemperance,
Neglect, distaste, vncomprehend, disdaine;
When such sicke eyes can neuer cast a glance,
But through the colours of their proper staine.
Though, I must needes confess, the small respect,
That these great-seeming best of men doe giue,
(Whose brow begets th'inferior sorts neglect,)
Might moue the weake irresolute to grieve:
But stronger, see how justly this defect
Hath ouertooke the times wherein we liue:
That Learning needs must runne the common fate
Of all things else, thrust on by her owne weight,
Comporting not her selfe in her estate
Vnder this burthen of a selfe conceit:
Our owne dissentious hands opening the gate
Vnto Contempt, that on our quarrels wake,
Discou'red haue our inward gouernement,
And let in hard opinion to Disgrace
The generall, for some weake impotent
That beare out their disease with a stolne face;
Who (silly soules) the more wit they haue spent,
The lesse they shew'd, not bettring their bad case.
And see how soone this rowling world can take
Aduantage for her dissolution,
Faine to get loose from this withholding stake
Of ciuill Science and Discretion:
How glad it would runne wilde, that it might make
One formelesse forme of one confusion?
Like tyrant Ottomans blindefolded state,
Which must know nothing more, but to obay:
For this, seekes greedy Ignorance t'abate
Our number, order, liuing, forme and sway:
For this, it practises to dissipate
Th'vnsheltred troupes, till all be made away.
For, since our Fathers sinnes pull'd first to ground
The pale of their disseuered dignitie,
And ouerthrew that holy reuerent bound
That parted learning and the Laiety,
And laid all flat in common, to confound
The honour and respect of Pietie:
It did so much invile the estimate
Of th'opened and inuulgar'd mysteries,
Which now reduc'd vnto the basest rate,
Must waite vpon the Norman subtilties,
Who (being mounted vp into their state)
Doe best with wrangling rudenesse sympathize.
And yet, though now set quite behind the traine
Of vulger sway (and light of powre weigh'd light)
Yet would this giddy innouation faine
Downe with it lower, to abase it quite:
And those poore remnants that doe yet remaine
The spoyled markes of their diuided right:
They wholly would deface to leaue no face
Of reuerent Distinction and Degree,
As if they weigh'd no diffrence in this case,
Betwixt Religions Age and Infancie:
Where th'one must creepe, th'other stand with grace,
Lest turn'd to a child it ouerturned be.
Though to pull backe th'on-running state of things,
(Gath'ring corruption, as it gathers dayes)
Vnto the forme of their first orderings,
Is the best meanes that dissolution stayes,
And to goe forward, backward, right, men brings,
T'obserue the line from whence they tooke their wayes.
Yet being once gone wide, and the right way
Not leuell to the times condition:
To alter course, may bring men more astray:
And leauing what was knowne to light on none;
Since eu'ry change the reuerence doth decay,
Of that which alway should continue one.
For this is that close kept Palladium,
Which once remoou'd, brings ruine euermore:
This stir'd, makes men fore-setled, to become
Curious to know what was beleeu'd before:
Whilst Faith disputes that vsed to be dombe,
And more men striue to talke, then to adore.
For neuer head-strong Reformation will
Rest, till to th'extreame opposite it runne,
And ouer-runne the meane distrusted still,
As being too neare of kinne, to that men shunne:
For good, and bad, and all, must be one ill,
When once there is another truth begunne.
So hard it is an euen hand to beare,
In tamp'ring with such maladies as these;
Lest that our forward passions launce too neare,
And make the cure proue worse then the disease:
For with the worst we will not spare the best,
Because it growes with that which doth displease:
And faults are easier lookt in, then redrest:
Men running with such eager violence,
At the first view of errours fresh in quest,
As they, to rid an inconuenience
Sticke not to raise a mischiefe in the steed,
Which after mocks their weake improuidence:
And therefore doe make not your owne sides bleed
To pricke at others: you that would amend
By pulling downe, and thinke you can proceed,
By going backe vnto the farther end,
Let stand that little Couert left behinde,
Whereon your succours and respects depend.
And bring not downe the prizes of the minde,
With vnder-rating of your selues so base:
You that the mighties doores doe crooching find,
To sell your selues to buy a little grace,
Or wake whole months to out-bid Symonie,
For that, which being got, is not your place:
For if it were, what needed you to buy
What was your due; your thirsting shewes your shift,
And little worth that seekes iniuriously
A worthier from his lawfull roome to lift?
We cannot say, that you were then prefer'd,
But that your money was, or some worse gift.
O scattring gath'rers, that without regard
Of times to come, will to be made, vndo:
As if you were the last of men, prepar'd
To bury in your graues all other to.
Dare you prophane that holy portion
Which neuer sacrilegious hands durst do?
Did forme-establishing Deuotion,
To maintaine a respectiue reuerence
Extend her bountifull prouision,
With such a charitable prouidence,
For your deforming hands to dissipate,
And make Gods due, your impious expence?
No maruell then, though th'ouerpestred State
Want roome for goodnesse, if our little hold
Be lesned vnto such a narrow rate,
That Reuerence cannot sit, fit as it should:
And yet what neede we thus for roomes complaine,
That shall not want voyde roome if this course hold?
And more then will be fill'd, for who will straine
To get an empty tide, to betray
His hopes and trauell for an honour vaine,
And gaine a Port, without support or stay?
What neede hath Enuy to maligne their state,
That will themselues, so kind, giue it away?
This makes indeede our number passe the rate
Of our prouisions: which, if dealt aright,
Would yeeld sufficient roome t'accommodate,
More then we haue in places requisite.
The ill disposing onely doth vs set
In disaray, and out of order quite.
Whiles other guifts then of the minde shall get
Vnder our colours, that which is our dues,
And to our trauels, neither benefit,
Nor grace, nor honour, nor respect accrewes:
The sicknesse of the States soule, Learning, then
The bodies great distemprature insues.
For if that Learning roomes to learned men
Were as their heretage distributed,
All this disordred thrust would cease: for when
The fit were call'd, th'vnworthy frustrated,
These would b'asham'd to seeke, those to b'vnsought,
And stay'ng their turne, were sure they should be sped.
Then would our drooping Academies, brought
Againe in heart, regaine that reuerend hand
Of lost Opinion, and no more be thought,
Th'vnnecessary furnish of the land,
Nor disincourag'd with their small esteeme,
Confus'd, irresolute, and wauering stand:
Caring not to become profound, but seeme
Contented with a superficiall skill;
Which for a sleight reward enough they deeme,
When th'one succeedes as well as th'other will:
Seeing shorter wayes leade sooner to their end,
And others longer trauailes thriue so ill.
Then would they onely labour to extend
Their now vnsearching spirits beyond these bounds
Of others powres; wherein they must be pend,
As if there were besides, no other grounds:
And set their bolde Plus vltra farre without
The pillers of those Axioms Age propounds:
Discou'ring daily more and more about,
In that immense and boundlesse Ocean
Of Natures riches, neuer yet found out,
Nor fore-clos'd, with the wit of any man.
So farre beyond the ordinary course
That other vnindustrious Ages ran,
That these more curious times, they might diuorce
From the opinion they are linckt vnto
Of our disable and vnactive force,
To shew true knowledge can both speake and do:
Arm'd for the sharpe, which in these dayes they finde,
With all prouisions that belong thereto:
That their Experience may not come behinde
The times conceipt, but leading in their place,
May make men see the weapons of the minde
Are States best strengths, and kingdomes chiefest grace;
And roomes of charge, charg'd full with worth and praise,
Makes Maiestie appeare with her full face,
Shining with all her beames, with all her raies,
Vnscanted of her parts, vnshadowed
In any darkened poynt, which still bewrayes
The wane of Powre, when powr's vnfurnished,
And hath not all those intire complements
Wherewith the State should for her state be sped.
And though the fortune of some age consents
Vnto a thousand errours grossely wrought,
Which, flourisht ouer with their faire euents,
Haue past for currant, and good courses thought:
The least whereof, in other times againe
Most dang'rous inconueniences haue brought,
Whilst to the times, not to mens wits pertaine,
The good successes of ill manag'd deedes:
Though th'ignorant deceiu[']d with colours vaine,
Misse of the causes whence this lucke proceedes.
Forraine defects giuing home-faults the way,
Make eu'n that weakenesse sometimes well succeedes.
I grant, that some vnlettred practique may
(Leauing beyond the Alpes, Faith and Respect
To God and man) with impious cunning, sway
The courses fore-begunne with like effect,
And without stop, maintaine the turning on,
And haue his errours deem'd without defect:
But when some powrefull opposition,
Shall, with a sound incountring shocke, disioynt
The fore-contriued frame, and thereupon,
Th'experience of the present disappoynt,
And other stirring spirits, and other hearts
Built-huge, for action, meeting in a poynt:
Shall driue the world to sommon all their Artes,
And all too little for so reall might,
When no aduantages of weaker parts
Shall beare out shallow councels from the light:
And this sence-opening action (which doth hate
Vnmanly craft) shall looke to haue her right.
Who then holdes vp the glory of the State
(Which lettred armes, and armed letters won)
Who shall be fittest to negotiate,
Contemn'd Iustinian, or else Littleton?
When it shall not be held wisedome to be
Priuately made, and publickely vndone:
But sound designes that iudgement shall decree
Out of a true discerne, of the cleere wayes
That lie direct, with safe-going Equitie;
Imbroyling not their owne and others dayes.
Extending forth their prouidence, beyond
The circuit of their owne particular:
That eu'n the ignorant may vnderstand,
How that deceit is but a cauillar,
And true vnto it selfe can neuer stand,
But still must with her owne conclusions warre.
Can Truth and Honestie, wherein consists
The right, repose on earth? the surest ground
Of Trust, come weaker arm'd into the lists,
Then Fraud or Vice, that doth it selfe confound?
Or shall Presumption that doth what it lists,
Not what it ought, carry her courses sound?
Then, what safe place out of confusion
Hath plaine proceeding Honestie to dwell?
What sute of grace hath Vertue to put on,
If Vice shall weare as good, and doe as well?
If Wrong, if Craft, if Indiscretion,
Act as faire parts, with ends as laudable?
Which all this mighty volume of euents,
The world, the vniuersall map of deedes
Strongly controwles, and proues from all discents,
That the directest courses best succeedes
When Craft, wrapt still in many comberments
With all her cunning thriues not, though it speedes.
For, should not graue and learn'd Experience
That lookes with th'eyes of all the world beside,
And with all ages holdes intelligence,
Goe safer then Deceit without a guide?
Which in the by-paths of her diffidence
Crossing the waies of Right, still runs more wide:
Who will not grant? and therefore this obserue,
No state stands sure, but on the grounds of Right,
Of Vertue, Knowledge, Iudgement to preserue,
And all the powres of Learnings requisite:
Though other shifts a present turne may serue,
Yet in the tryall they will weigh too light.
And doe not thou contemne this swelling tide
And streame of words, that now doth rise so hie
Aboue the vsuall bankes, and spreads so wide
Over the borders of Antiquitie:
Which I confesse comes euer amplifide
With th'abounding humours that doe multiplie:
And is with that same hand of happinesse
Inlarg'd, as vices are out of their bands:
Yet so, as if let out but to redresse,
And calme, and sway th'affections it commands:
Which as it stirres, it doth againe represse
And brings in, th'out-gone malice that withstands.
Powre aboue powres, O heauenly Eloquence,
That with the strong reine of commanding words,
Dost manage, guide, and master th'eminence
Of mens affections, more then all their swords:
Shall we not offer to thy Excellence,
The richest treasure that our wit affords?
Thou that canst doe much more with one poore pen
Then all the powres of Princes can effect:
And draw, diuert, dispose, and fashion men
Better then force or rigour can direct:
Should we this ornament of Glory then
As th'vnmateriall fruits of shades, neglect?
Or should we carelesse, come behinde the rest
In powre of words, that goe before in worth,
Whenas our accents equall to the best,
Is able greater wonders to bring forth:
When all that euer hotter spirits exprest,
Comes bettred by the patience of the North.
And who, in time, knowes whither we may vent
The treasure of our tongue, to what strange shores
This gaine of our best glory shall be sent,
T'inrich vnknowing Nations with our stores?
What worlds in th'yet vnformed Occident
May come refin'd with th'accents that are ours?
Or, who can tell for what great worke in hand
The greatnesse of our stile is now ordain'd?
What powrs it shall bring in, what spirits command,
What thoughts let out, what humours keepe restrain'd,
What mischiefe it may powrefully withstand,
And what faire ends may thereby be attain'd.
And as for Poesie (mother of this force)
That breedes, brings forth, and nourishes this might,
Teaching it in a loose, yet measured course,
With comely motions how to goe vpright:
And fostring it with bountifull discourse,
Adornes it thus in fashions of delight,
What should I say? since it is well approu'd
The speech of heauen, with whom they haue commerce,
That onely seeme out of themselues remou'd,
And doe with more then humane skills conuerse:
Those numbers wherewith heau'n and earth are mou'd,
Shew, weakenesse speakes in Prose, but powre in Verse.
Wherein thou likewise seemest to allow,
That th'acts of worthy men should be preseru'd:
As in the holiest Tombes we can bestow
Vpon their glory that haue well deseru'd,
Wherein thou dost no other Vertue show,
Then what most barbrous Countries haue obseru'd:
When all the happiest Nations hitherto
Did with no lesser glory speake, then do.
Now to what else thy malice shall obiect,
For Schooles, and Artes, and their necessitie:
When from my Lord, whose iudgement must direct,
And forme, and fashion my abilitie,
I shall haue got more strength; thou shalt expect
Out of my better leasure, my reply.