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Renascence Editions

The Purple Island. Cantos X-XII.

Phineas Fletcher.

Table of Contents

I    II    III    IV    V    VI    VII    VIII    IX    X    XI    XII

This Renascence Editions text was transcribed by Daniel Gustav Anderson, July 2003, and reproduces the 1633 publication of The Purple Island, with the Piscatory Eclogues and Poeticall Miscellenie. It retains the spelling and punctuation of the original, silently amending obvious typographical errors such as missing periods at stanza ends. The long "s" and the vowel ligatures, also, are silently amended to the letters of the conventional keyboard. Any errors that have crept into the transcription are the fault of the present publisher. The text is in the public domain. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2003 the editor and the University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.


THe Shepherds to the woodie mount withdrew,
Where th’ hillock seats, shades yeeld a canopie;
Whose tops with violets di’d allin blue
Might seem to make an azure skie:
      And that round hill, which their weak heads maintain’d,
      A lesser Atlas seem’d, whose neck sustain’d
The weight of all the heav’ns, which sore his shoulders pain’d.

And here and there a sweet Primrose scattered,
Spangling the blue, fit constellations make:
Some broadly flaming their fair colours spread;
Some other winkt, as yet but half awake:
      Fit were they plac’t, and set in order due:
      Nature seem’d work by art, so lively true
A little heav’n on earth in narrow space she drew.

Upon this earthly heav’n the shepherds play,
The time beguiling, and the parching light;
Till the declining Sunne, and elder day
Abate their flaming heat, and youthfull might:
      The sheep had left the shades, to minde their meat;
      Then all returning to their former seat,
Thirsil again began his wearie song repeat.

Great power of Love! with what commanding fire
Dost thou enflame the worlds wide Regiment,
And kindely heat in every heart inspire!
Nothing is free from thy sweet government:
      Fish burn in seas; beasts, birds thy weapons prove;
      By thee dead elements and heavens move,
Which void of sense it self, yet are not void of love.

But those twinne Loves, which from thy seas of light
To us on earth derive their lesser streams,
Though in their force they shew thy wondrous might,
On thee reflecting back their glorious beams,
      Yet here encountred with so mightie foe,
      Had need both arm’d and surely guarded go:
But most thy help they need; do not thy help foreslow.

Next to the younger Love 1Irenus went,
Whose frostie head proclaim’d his winter age:
His spring in many battles had he spent,
But now all weapons chang’d for counsell sage.
      His heavie sword (the witnesse of his might)
      Upon a lopped tree he idlely pight;
There hid in quiet sheath, sleeps it in endlesse night.

Patience his shield had lent to ward his breast,
Whose golden plain three Olive-branches dresse:
The word in letters large was fair exprest,
Thrice happy authour of a happie peace.
      Rich plenty yeelds him power, power stores his will;
      Will ends in works, good works his treasures fill:
Earths slave, 2heav’ns heir he is; as God, payes good for ill.

By him 3Andreos pac’t, of middle age,
His minde as farre from rashnesse, as from fears;
Hating base thoughts as much as desperate rage:
The worlds loud thund’rings he unshaken heares;
      Nor will he death or life or seek or flie,
      Readie for both. He is as cowardly
That longer fears to live, as he that fears to die.

Worst was his civil warre, where deadly fought
He with himself, till Passion yeelds, or dies:
All heart and hand, no tongue; not grimme, but stout:
His flame had counsell in’t, his furie eyes;
      His rage well temper’d is: no fear can dant
      His reason; but cold bloud is valiant:
Well may he strength I death, but never courage want.

But like a mighty rock, whose unmov’d sides
The hostile sea assaults with furious wave,
And ‘gainst his head the boist’rous North-winde rides;
Both fight, and storm, and swell, and roar, and rave;
      Hoarse surges drum, loud blasts their trumpets strain:
      Th’ heroick cliffe laughs at their frustrate pain:
Waves scatter’d drop in tears, windes broken whining plain:

Such was this Knights undanted constancie;
No mischief weakens his resolved minde:
None fiercer to a stubborn enemie,
But to the yielding none more sweetly kinde.
      His shield an even-ballast ship embraves,
      Which dances light, while Neptune wildely raves:
His word was this, I fear but heav’n, nor windes, nor waves.

And next, 4Macrothumus, whose quiet face
No cloud of passion ever shadowed;
Nor could hot anger Reasons rule displace,
Purpling the scarlet cheek with firie red:
      Nor could revenge, clad in a deadly white,
      With hidden malice eat his vexed sprite:
For ill he good repay’d, and love exchang’d for spite.

Was never yet a more undanted spirit;
Yet most him deem’d a base and tim’rous swain:
But he well weighing his own strength and merit,
The greatest wrong could wisely entertain.
      Nothing resisted his commanding spear:
      Yeelding it self to him a winning were;
And though he di’d, yet dead he rose a conquerer.

His naturall force beyond all nature stretched:
Most strong he is, because he will be weak;
And happie most, because he can be wretched.
Then whole and sound, when he himself doth break;
      Rejoycing most when most he is tormented:
      In greatest discontents he rests contented:
By conquering himself all conquests he prevented.

His rockie arms of massie adamant
Safely could back rebut the hardest blade:
His skinne it self could any weapon dant,
Of such strange mold and temper was he made:
      Upon his shield a Palm-tree still increased,
      Though many weights his rising arms depressed:
His word was, Rising most, by being most oppressed.

Next him 5Androphilus, whose sweetest minde
‘Twixt mildenesse temper’d, and low courtesie,
Could leave as soon to be, as not be kinde:
Churlish despite ne’re lookt from his calm eye,
      Much lesse commanded in his gentle heart:
      To baser men fair looks he would impart;
Nor could he cloak ill thoughts in complementall art.

His enemies knew not how to discommend him,
All others dearely lov’d; fell ranc’rous Spite,
And vile Detraction fain would reprehend him;
And oft in vain his name they closely bite,
      As popular, and flatterer accusing:
      But he such slavish office much refusing,
Can eas’ly quit his name from their false tongues abusing.

His arms were fram’d into a glitt’ring night,
Whose sable gown with starres all spangled wide
Affords the weary traveller cheerfull light,
And to his home his erring footsteps guide:
      Upon his ancient shield the workman fine
      Had drawn the Sunne, whose eye did ne’re repine
To look on good, and ill: his word, To all I shine.

Fair Vertue, where stay’st thou in poore exile,
Leaving the Court from whence thou took’st thy name?
While in thy place is stept Disdaining vile,
And Flatterie, base sonne of Need and Shame;
      And with them surly Scorn, and hateful Pride;
      Whose artificiall face false colours di’d,
Which more display her shame, then loathsome foulnesse hide.

Late as thou livedst with a gentle Swain,
(As gentle Swain as ever lived there)
Who lodg’d thee in his heart, and all thy train,
Where hundred other Graces quarter’d were:
      But he (alas!) untimely dead and gone,
      Leaves us to rue his death, and thee to mone,
That few were ever such, & now those few are none.

By him the stout 6Encrates boldly went,
Assailed oft by mightie enemies,
Which all on him alone their spine misspent;
For he whole armies single bold defies:
      With him nor might, nor cunning slights prevail;
      All force on him they trie, all forces fail:
Yet still assail him fresh, yet vainly still assail.

His body full of vigour, full of health;
His table feeds not lust, but strength, and need:
Full stor’d with plenty, not by heaping wealth,
But topping rank desires, which vain exceed:
      On’s shield an hand from heav’n an orchyard dressing,
      Pruning superfluous boughs the trees oppressing,
So adding fruit: his word, By lessening increasing.

His settled minde was written in his face:
For on his forehead cheerfull gravitie
False joyes and apish vanities doth chase;
And watchfull care did wake in either eye:
      His heritance he would not lavish sell,
      Nor yet his treasure hide by neighbouring hell:
But well he ever spent, what he had gotten well.

A lovely pair of twins clos’d either side:
Not those in heav’n, the flowrie Geminies,
Are half so lovely bright; the one his Bride,
7Agnia chaste, was joyn’d in Hymens ties,
      And love, as pure as heav’ns conjunction:
      Thus she was his, and he her flesh and bone:
So were they two in sight, in truth entirely one.

Upon her arched brow unarmed Love
Triumphing sat in peacefull victorie;
And in her eyes thousand chaste Graces move,
Checking vain thoughts with awfull majestie:
      Ten thousand moe her fairer breast contains;
      Where quiet meeknesse every ill restrains,
And humbly subject spirit by willing service reignes.

Her skie-like arms glitter’d in golden beams,
And brightly seem’d to flame with burning hearts:
The scalding ray with his reflected streams
Fire to their flames, but heav’nly fire, imparts:
      Upon her shield a pair of Turtles shone;
      A loving pair, still coupled, ne’re alone:
Her word, Though one when two, yet either two, or none.

With her, her sister went, a warlike Maid,
8Parthenia, all in steel, and gilded arms;
In needles stead a mighty spear she swayd,
With which in bloudy fields and fierce alarms
      The boldest champion she down would bear,
      And like a thunderbolt wide passage tear,
Flinging all to the earth with her enchanted spear.

Her goodly armour seem’d a garden green,
Where thousand spotlesse lilies freshly blew;
And on her shield the ‘lone bird might be seen,
Th’Arabian bird, shining in colours new:
      It self unto it self was onely mate;
      Ever the same, but new in newer date:
And underneath was writ, Such is chaste single state.

Thus hid in arms, she seem’d a goodly Knight,
And fit for any warlike exercise:
But when she list lay down her armour bright,
And back resume her peacefull Maidens guise;
      The fairest maid she was, that ever yet
      Prison’d her locks within a golden net,
Or let them waving hand, with roses fair beset.

Choice Nymph, the crown of chaste Diana’s train,
Thou beauties lilie, set in heav’nly earth;
Thy fairs unpattern’d all perfections stain:
Sure heav’n with curious pencil, at thy birth,
      In thy rare face her own full picture drew:
      It is a strong verse here to write but true:
Hyperboles in others are but half thy due.

Upon her forehead Love his trophies fits,
A thousand spoils in silver arch displaying;
And in the midst himself full proudly sits,
Himself in awfull majestie araying:
      Upon her brows lies his bent Ebon bow,
      And ready shafts: deadly those weapons show;
Yet sweet that death appear’d, lovely that deadly blow.

And at the foot of this celestiall frame
Two radiant starres, then starres yet better being,
Endu’d with living fire, and seeing flame;
Yet with heav’ns starres in this too neare agreeing;
      They timely warmth, themselves not warm, inspire;
      These kindle thousand hearts with hot desire,
And burning all they see, feel in themselves no fire.

Ye matchlesse starres, (yet each the others match)
Heav’ns richest diamonds, set on Ammel white,
From whose bright speares all grace the Graces catch,
And will not move but by your load-starres bright;
      How have you stoln, and stor’d your armourie
      With Loves and deaths strong shafts, and from your skie
Poure down thick showers of darts to force whole armies flie?

Above those Sunnes two Rainbows high aspire,
Not in light shews, but sadder liveries drest;
Fair Iris seem’d to mourn in sable tire;
Yet thus more sweet the greedie eye they feast:
      And but that wondrous face it well allow’d,
      Wondrous it seem’d, that two fair Rainbows show’d
Above their sparkling Sunnes, without or rain, or cloud.

A bed of lilies flower upon her cheek,
And in the midst was set a circling rose;
Whose sweet aspect would force Narcissus seek
New liveries, and fresher colours choose
      To deck his beauteous head in snowie tire;
      But all in vain: for who can hope t’ aspire
To such a fair, which none attain, but all admire?

Her rubie lips lock up from gazing sight
A troop of pearls, which march in goodly row:
But when she deignes those precious bones undight,
Soon heav’nly notes from those divisions flow,
      And with rare musick charm the ravisht eares,
      Danting bold thoughts, but cheering modest fears:
The spheres so onely sing, so onely charm the spheres.

Her daintie breasts, like to an Aprill rose
From green-silk fillets yet not all unbound,
Began their little rising heads disclose,
And fairly spread their silver circlets round:
      From those two bulwarks Love doth safely fight;
      Which swelling easily, may seem to sight
To be enwombed both of pleasure and delight.

Yet all these Starres which deck this beauteous skie,
By force of th’ inward Sunne both shine and move:
Thron’d in her heart sits Loves high majestie;
In highest majestie the highest Love.
      As when a taper shines in glassie frame,
      The sparkling crystall burns in glitt’ring flame:
So does that brightest Love brighten this lovely dame.

Thus, and much fairer, fair Parthenia
Glist’ring in arms, her self presents to sight;
As when th’ Amazon Queen, Hippolyta,
With Theseus entred lists in single fight,
      With equall arms her mighty foe opposing;
      Till now her bared head her face disclosing,
Conquer’d the conquerour, & wan the fight by losing.

A thousand Knights woo’d her with busie pain,
To thousand she her virgin grant deni’d;
Although her dear-sought love to entertain
They all their wit and all their strength appli’d:
      Yet in her heart Love close his scepter swayd,
      That to an heav’nly spouse her thoughts betraid,
Where she a maiden wife might live, and wifely maid.

Upon her steps a virgin Page attended,
Fair 9Erythre, whose often-blushing face
Sweetly her in-born shame-fac’t thoughts commended;
The faces change prov’d th’ hearts unchanged grace,
      Which she a shrine to puritie devotes:
      So when cleare ivorie vermeil fitly blots,
By stains it fairer grows, and lovelier by its spots.

Her golden hair, her silver forehead high,
Her teeth of solid, eyes of liquid pearl;
But neck and breast no man might bare descrie,
So sweetly modest was this bashfull girle:
      But that sweet paradise (ah!) could we see,
      On these white mountlets daintier apples be,
Then those we bought so deare on Edens tempting tree.

These noble Knights this treatned fort defend;
These, and a thousand moe heroick Swains,
That to this ‘stressed State their service lend,
To free from force, and save from captive chains.
      But now too late the battell to recite;
      For Hesperus heav’ns tapers ‘gins to light,
And warns each starre to wait upon their Mistres Night.

1 Peaceablenesse.

2 Matth. 5.9.

3 Fortitude.

4 Long-suffering.

5 Gentlenesse, or courtesie.

6 Temperance.

7 Chastitie in the married.

8 Chastitie in the single.

9 Modestie.


THe early Morn lets out the peeping day,
And strew’d his paths with golden Marygolds:
The Moon grows wanne, and starres flie all away,
Whom Lucifer locks up in wonted folds,
      Till light is quencht, and heav’n in seas hath flung
      The headlong day: to th’ hill the shepherds throng,
And Thirsil now began to end his task and song.

Who now (alas!) shall teach my humble vein,
That never yet durst peep from covert glade;
But softly learnt for fear to sigh and plain,
And vent her griefs to silent myrtils shade?
      Who now shall teach to change my oaten quill
      For trumpet ‘larms, or humble verses fill
With gracefull majestie, and loftie rising skill?

Ah thou dread Spirit, shed thy holy fire,
Thy holy flame into my frozen heart;
Teach thou my creeping measures to aspire,
And swell in bigger notes, and higher art:
      Teach my low Muse thy fierce alarums ring,
      And raise my soft strain to high thundering:
Tune thou my loftie song; thy battles must I sing.

Such as thou wert within the sacred breast
Of that thrice famous Poet-Shepherd-King;
And taught’st his heart to frame his Canto’s best
Of all that e’re thy glorious works did sing:
      Or as those holy Fishers once amongs
      Thou flamedst bright with sparkling parted tongues,
And brought’st down heav’n to earth in those all-conqu’ring songs.

These mighty Heroes, fill’d with justest rage
To be in narrow walls so closely pent,
Glitt’ring in arms, and goodly equipage,
Stood at the Castles gate, now ready bent
      To sally out, and meet the enemie:
      A hot disdain sparkled in every eye,
Breathing out hatefull warre, and deadly enmitie.

Thither repairs the carefull Intellect,
With his fair Spouse Voletta, heav’nly fair:
With both, their daughter; whose divine aspect,
Though now sad damps of sorrow much empair,
      Yet through those clouds did shine so glorious bright,
      That every eye did homage to the sight,
Yeelding their captive hearts to that commanding light.

But who may hope to paint such majestie,
Or shadow well such beautie, such a face,
Such beauteous face, unseen to mortall eye?
Whose powerfull looks, and more then mortall grace
      Loves self hath lov’d, leaving his heav’nly throne,
      With amorous sighs, and many a lovely mone
(Whom all the world woud wooe) woo’d her his onely one.

Farre be that boldnesse from thy humble swain,
Fairest Ectecta, to describe thy beautie,
And with unable skill thy glory stain,
Which ever he admires with humble dutie:
      But who to view such blaze of beautie longs,
      Go he to Sinah, th’ holy groves amongs;
Where that wise Shepherd chants her in his Song of songs.

The Islands King with sober countenance
Aggrates the Knights, who thus his right defended;
And with grave speech, and comely amenance
Himself, his State, his Spouse, to them commended:
      His lovely childe, that by him pensive stands,
      He last delivers to their valiant hands;
And her to thank the Knights, her Champions, he commands.

The God-like Maid a while all silent stood,
And down to th’ earth let fall her humble eyes;
While modest thoughts shot up the flaming bloud,
Which fir’d her scarlet cheek with rosie dies:
      But soon to quench the heat, that lordly reignes,
      From her fair eye a shower of crystall rains,
Which with his silver streams o’re-runs the beauteous plains.

As when the Sunne in midst of summers heat
Draws up thinne vapours with his potent ray,
Forcing dull waters from their native seat;
At length dimme clouds shadow the burning day:
      Till coldest aire, soon melted into showers,
      Upon the earth his welcome anger powres,
And heav’ns cleare forehead now wipes off her former lowres.

At length a little lifting up her eyes,
A renting sigh way for her sorrow brake,
Which from her heart ‘gan in her face to rise,
And first in th’ eye, then in the lip thus spake;
      Ah gentle Knights, how may a simple maid,
      With justest grief and wrong so ill apaid,
Give due reward for such your pains, and friendly aid?

But if my Princely Spouse do not delay
His timely presence in my greatest need,
He will for me your friendly love repay,
And well requite this your so gentle deed:
      Then let no fear your mighty hearts assail;
      His word’s himself; himself he cannot fail.
Long may he stay, yet sure he comes, and must prevail.

By this the long-shut gate was open laid;
Soon out they rush in order well arang’d:
And fastning in their eyes that heav’nly Maid,
How oft for fear her fairest colour chang’d!
      Her looks, her worth, her goodly grace, and state
      Comparing with her present wretched fate,
Pitie whets just revenge, and loves fire kindles hate.

Long at the gate the thoughtfull Intellect
Staid with his fearfull Queen, and daughter fair;
But when the Knights were past their dimme aspect,
They follow them with vowes, and many a prayer:
      At last they climbe up to the Castles height;
      From which they view’d the deeds of every Knight,
And markt the doubtfull end of this intestine fight.

As when a youth, bound for the Belgick warre,
Takes leave of friends upon the Kentish shore;
Now they are parted, and he sail’d so farre,
They see not now, and now are seen no more:
      Yet farre of viewing the white trembling sails,
      The tender mother soon plucks off her veils
And shaking them aloft, unto her sonne she hails.

Mean time these Champions march in fit aray,
Till both the armies now were come in sight:
A while each other boldly viewing stay,
With short delayes whetting fierce rage and spite.
      Sound now ye trumpets, sound alarums loud;
      Heark how their clamours whet their anger proud:
See, yonder are they met in midst of dustie cloud.

So oft the South with civil enmitie
Musters his watrie forces ‘gainst the West;
The rowling clouds come tumbling up the skie,
In dark folds wrapping up their angry guest:
      At length the flame breaks from th’ imprisoning cold,
      With horrid noise tearing the limber mold;
While down in liquid tears the broken vapours roll’d.

First did that warlike maid her self advance;
And riding from amidst her companie,
About her helmet wav’d her mighty lance,
Daring to fight the proudest enemie:
      Porneios soon his ready spear addrest,
      And kicking with his heel his hastie beast,
Bent his sharp-headed lance against her dainty breast.

In vain the broken staffe sought entrance there,
Where Love himself oft entrance sought in vain:
But much unlike the Martial Virgins spear,
Which low dismounts her foe on dustie plain,
      Broaching with bloudy point his breast before:
      Down from the wound trickled the bubbling gore,
And bid pale death come in at that red gaping doore.

There lies he cover’d now in lowly dust,
And foully wallowing in clutter’d bloud,
Breathing together out his life and lust,
Which from his breast swamme in the steaming floud:
      In maids his joy; now by a maid defi’d,
      His life he lost, and all his former pride:
With women he would live, now by a woman di’d.

Aselges, struck with such a heavie sight,
Greedie to venge his brothers sad decay,
Spurr’d forth is flying steed with fell despight,
And met the virgin in the middle way:
      His spear against her head he fiercely threw,
      Which to that face performing homage due,
Kissing her helmet, thence in thousand shivers flew.

The wanton boy had dreamt that latest night,
That he had learnt the liquid aire dispart,
And swimme along the heav’ns with pineons light;
Now that fair maid taught him this nimble art:
      For from his saddle farre away she sent,
      Flying along the emptie element;
That hardly yet he knew whither his course was bent.

The rest that saw with fear the ill successe
Of single fight, durst not like fortune trie;
But round beset her with their numerous presse:
Before, beside, behinde they on her flie,
      And every part with coward odds assail:
      But she redoubling strokes as thick as hail,
Drove farre their flying troops, & thresht with iron flail.

As when a gentle greyhound set around
With little curres, which dare his way molest,
Snapping behinde; soon as the angrie hound
Turning his course, hath caught the busiest,
      And shaking in his fangs hath welnigh slain;
      The rest fear’d with his crying, runne amain;
And standing all aloof whine, houl, and bark in vain.

The subtil Dragon, that from farre did view
The waste and spoil made by this maiden Knight,
Fell to his wonted guile; for well he knew
All force was vain against such wondrous might:
      A craftie swain well taught to cunning harms,
      Call’d false Delight, he chang’d with hellish charms;
That true Delight he seem’d, the self-same shape and arms.

The watchfull’st sight no difference could descrie;
The same his face, his voice, his gate the same:
Thereto his words he feign’d; and coming nigh
The Maid, that fierce pursues her martiall game,
      He whets her wrath with many a guilefull word,
      Till she lesse carefull did fit time afford:
Then up with both his hands he lifts his balefull sword.

You powerfull heav’ns! and thou their Governour!
With what eyes can you view this dolefull sight?
How can you see your fairest Conquerour
So nigh her end by so unmanly slight?
      The dreadfull weapon through the aire doth glide;
      But sure you turn’d the harmfull edge aside:
Else must she there have fall’n, and by that traitour di’d.

Yet in her side deep was the wound impight;
Her flowing life the shining armour stains:
From that wide spring long rivers took their flight,
With purple streams drowning the silver plains:
      Her cheerfull colour now grows wanne and pale,
      Which oft she strives with courage to recall,
And rouze her fainting head, which down as oft would fall.

All so a Lilie, prest with heavie rain,
Which fills her cup with showers up to the brinks;
The wearie stalk no longer can sustain
The head, but low beneath the burden sinks:
      Or as a virgin Rose her leaves displayes,
      Whom too hot scorching beams quite disarayes;
Down flags her double ruffe, and all her sweet decayes.

Th’ undanted Maid, feeling her feet denie
Their wonted dutie, to a tree retir’d;
Whom all the rout pursue with deadly crie:
As when a hunted Stag, now welnigh tir’d,
      Shor’d by an oak, ‘gins with his head to play;
      The fearfull hounds dare not his horns assay,
But running round about, with yelping voices bay.

And now perceiving all her strength was spent,
Lifting to listning heav’n her trembling eyes,
Thus whispring soft, her soul to heav’n she sent;
Thou chastest Love, that rul’st the wandring skies,
      More pure then purest heavens by thee moved;
      If thine own love in me thou sure hast proved;
If ever thou my self, my vows, my love hast loved.

Let not this Temple of thy spotlesse love
Be with foul hand and beastly rage defil’d:
But when my spirit shall his camp remove,
And to his home return, too long exil’d;
      Do thou protect it from the ravenous spoil
      Of ranc’rous enemies, that hourely toil
Thy humble votarie with loathsome spot to foil.

With this few drops fell from her fainting eyes,
To dew the fading roses of her cheek;
That much high Love seem’d passion’d with those cries;
Much more those streams his heart and patience break:
      Straight he the charge gives to a winged Swain,
      Quickly to step down to that bloudie plain,
And aid her wearie arms, and rightfull cause maintain.

Soon stoops the speedie Herauld through the aire,
Where chaste Agneia and Encrates fought:
See, see, he cries, where your Parthenia fair,
The flower of all your armie, hemm’d about
      With thousand enemies, now fainting stands,
      Readie to fall into their murdring hands:
Hie ye, oh hie ye fast; the highest Love commands.

They casting round about their angrie eye,
The wounded Virgin almost sinking spi’d:
They prick their steeds, which straight like lightning flie:
Their brother Continence runnes by their side;
      Fair Continence, that truly long before
      As his hearts liege, this Ladie did adore:
And now his faithfull love kindled his hate the more.

Encrates and his Spouse with flashing sword
Assail the scatter’d troops, that headlong flie;
While Continence a precious liquour pour’d
Into the wound, and suppled tenderly:
      Then binding up the gaping orifice,
      Reviv’d the spirits, that now she ‘gan to rise,
And with new life confront her heartlesse enemies.

So have I often seen a purple flower
Fainting through the heat, hang down her drooping head;
But soon refreshed with a welcome shower,
Begins again her lively beauties spread,
      And with new pride her silken leaves display;
      And while the Sunne doth now more gently play,
Lay out her swelling bosome to the smiling day.

Now rush they all into the flying trains;
Bloud fires their bloud, and slaughter kindles fight:
The wretched vulgar on the purple plains
Fall down as thick, as when a rustick wight
      From laden oaks the plenteous acorns poures,
      Or when the blubbring ayer sadly lowres,
And melts his sullen brow, and weeks sweet April showers.

The greedy Dragon, that aloof did spie
So ill successe of this renewed fray;
More vext with losse of certain victorie,
Depriv’d of so assur’d and wished prey,
      Gnashed his iron teeth for grief and spite:
      The burning sparks leap from his flaming sight,
And forth his smoking jawes steams out a smouldring night.

Straight thither sends he in a fresh supply,
The swelling band that drunken Methos led,
And all the rout his brother Gluttonie
Commands, in lawlesse bands disordered:
      So now they bold restore their broken fight,
      And fiercely turn again from shamefull flight;
While both with former losse sharpen their raging spite.

Freshly these Knights assault these fresher bands,
And with new battell all their strength renew:
Down fell Geloios by Encrates hands,
Agneia Moechus and Anagnus slew;
      And spying Methos fenc’t in’s iron vine,
      Pierc’t his swoln panch: there lies the grunting swine,
And spues his liquid soul out in his purple wine.

As when a greedy lion, long unfed,
Breaks in at length into the harmlesse folds;
(So hungry rage commands) with fearfull dread
He drags the silly beasts: nothing controlls
      The victour proud; he spoils, devours, and tears:
      In vain the keeper calls his shepherd peers:
Mean while the simple flock gaze on with silent fears:

Such was the slaughter of these three Champions made;
But most Encrates, whose unconquer’d hands
Sent thousand foes down to th’ infernall shade,
With uselesse limbes strewing the bloudie sands:
      Oft were they succourd fresh with new supplies,
      But fell as oft: the Dragon grown more wise
By former losse, began another way devise.

Soon to their aid the Cyprian band he sent,
For easie skirmish clad in armour light:
Their golden bowes in hand stood ready bent,
And painted quivers (furnisht well for fight)
      Stuck full of shafts, whose head foul poyson stains;
      Which dipt in Phlegethon by hellish swains,
Bring thousand painfull deaths, and thousand daily pains.

Thereto of substance strange, so thinne, and slight,
And wrought by subtil hand so cunningly,
That hardly were discern’d by weaker sight;
Sooner the heart did feel, they eye could see:
      Farre off they stood, and flung their darts around,
      Raining whole clouds of arrows on the ground;
So safely others hurt, and never wounded wound.

Much were the Knights encumbred with these foes;
For well they saw, and felt their enemies:
But when they back would turn the borrow’d blows,
The light-foot troop away more swiftly flies,
      Then do their winged arrows through the winde:
      And in their course oft would they turn behinde,
And wit their glancing darts their hot pursuers blinde.

As when by Russian Volgha’s frozen banks
The false-back Tartars fear with cunning feigne,
And poasting fast away in flying ranks,
Oft backward turn, and from their bowes down rain
      Whole storms of darts; so do they flying fight:
      And what by force they lose, they winne by slight;
Conquerd by standing out, and conquerours by flight:

Such was the craft of this false Cyprian crue:
Yet oft they seem’d to slack their fearfull pace,
And yeeld themselves to foes that fast pursue;
So would they deeper wound in nearer space:
      In such a fight he winnes, that fastest flies.
      Flie, flie, chaste Knights, such subtil enemies:
The vanquisht cannot live, and conqu’rour surely dies.

The Knights opprest with wounds and travel past,
Began retire, and now were neare to fainting:
With that a winged Poast him speeded fast,
The Generall with these heavy newes acquainting:
      He soon refresht their hearts that ‘gan to tire.
      But let our weary Muse a while respire:
Shade we our scorched heads from Phoebus parching fire.


THe shepherds guarded from the sparkling heat

Of blazing aire, upon the flowrie banks,
(Where various flowers damask the fragrant seat,
And all the grove perfume) in wonted ranks
      Securely sit them down, and sweetly play:
      At length thus Thirsil ends his broken lay,
Lest that the stealing night his later song might stay.

Thrice, oh thrice happie shepherds life and state,
When Courts are happinesse unhappie pawns!
His cottage low, and safely humble gate
Shuts out proud fortune, with her scorns, and fawns:
      No feared treason breaks his quiet sleep:
      Singing all day, his flocks he learns to keep;
Himself as innocent as are his simple sheep.

No Serian worms he knows, that with their threed
Draw out their silken lives; nor silken pride:
His lambes warm fleece well fits his little need,
Not in that proud Sidonian tincture di’d:
      No emptie hopes, no courtly fears him fright;
      No begging wants his middle fortune bite:
But sweet content exiles both miserie and spite.

In stead of musick and base flattering tongues,
Which wait to first-salute my Lords uprise;
The cheerfull lark wakes him with early songs,
And birds sweet whistling notes unlock his eyes:
      In countrey playes is all the strife he uses,
      Or sing, or dance unto the rurall Muses;
And but in musicks sports, all difference refuses.

His certain life, that never can deceive him,
Is full of thousand sweets, and rich content:
The smooth-leav’d beeches in the field receive him
With coolest shades, till noon-tides rage is spent:
      His life is neither tost in boist’rous seas
      Of troublous world, nor lost in slothfull ease:
Pleas’d & full blest he lives, when he his God can please.

His bed of wool yeelds safe and quiet sleeps,
While by his side his faithfull spouse hath place:
His little sonne into his bosome creeps,
The lively picture of the fathers face:
      Never had his humble house or state torment him;
      Lesse would he like, if lesse his God had sent him:
And when he dies, green turfs with grassie tombe content him.

The worlds Light his lowly state hath blest,
And left his heav’n to be a shepherd base:
Thousand sweet songs he to his pipe addrest:
Swift rivers stood; beasts, trees, stones ranne apace,
      And serpents flew to heare his softest strains:
      He fed his flock, where rolling Jordan reignes;
There took our rags, gave us his robes, and bore our pains.

Then thou high Light, whom shepherds low adore,
Teach me, oh do thou teach thy humble swain
To raise my creeping song from earthly floor:
Fill thou my empty breast with loftie strain;
      That singing of thy warres and dreadfull fight,
      My notes may thunder out thy conqu’ring might,
And ‘twixt the golden starres cut out her towring flight.

The mightie Generall moved with the news
Of those foure famous Knights so neare decay,
With hastie speed the conquering foe pursues;
At last he spies where they were led away,
      Forc’t to obey the Victours proud commands:
      Soon did he rush into the middle bands,
And cut the slavish cords from their captived hands.

And for the Knights were faint, he quickly sent
To Penitence, whom Phoebus taught his art;
Which she had eakt with long experiment:
For many a soul, and many a wounded heart
      Had she restor’d, and brought to life again
      The broken spirit, with grief and horrour slain;
That oft reviv’d, yet di’d as oft with smarting pain.

For she in severall baths their wounds did steep;
The first of Rue which purg’d the foul infection,
And cur’d the deepest wound, by wounding deep:
Then would she make another strange confection,
      And mix it with Nepenthe soveraigne;
      Wherewith she quickly swag’d the rankling pain:
Thus she the Knights recur’d, and washt from sinfull stain.

Mean time the fight now fiercer grows then ever:
(For all his troops the Dragon hither drew)
The two Twin-Loves, whom no place mought dissever,
And Knowledge with his train begins anew
      To strike fresh summons up, and hot alarms:
      In midst great Fido, clad in sunne-like arms,
With his unmatcht force repairs all former harms.

So when the Sunne shines in bright Taurus head,
Returning tempests all with winter fill;
And still successive storms fresh mustered
The timely yeare in his first springings kill:
      And oft it breathes a while, then straight again
      Doubly powres out his spite in smoking rain:
The countreys vows & hopes swimme on the drowned plain.

The lovely Twinnes ride ‘gainst the Cyprian bands,
Chasing their troops now with no feigned flight:
Their broken shafts lie scatter’d on the sands,
Themselves for fear quite vanisht out of sight:
      Against these conquerours Hypocrisie,
      And Cosmo’s hated bands, with Echthros slie,
And all that rout do march, & bold the Twinnes defie.

Elpinus mightie enemies assail;
But Doubt of all the other most infested;
That oft his fainting courage ‘gan to fail,
More by his craft then ods of force molested:
      For oft the treachour chang’d his weapon light,
      And sudden alter’d his first kinde of fight,
And oft himself and shape transform’d with cunning slight.

So that great river, with Alcides striving
In Oeneus court for the Aetolian Maid,
To divers shapes his fluent limbes contriving,
From manly form in serpents frame he staid,
      Sweeping with speckled breast the dustie land;
      Then like a bull with horns did armed stand:
His hanging dewlap trail’d along the golden sand.

Such shapes and changing fashions much dismaid him,
That of the stagger’d with unwonted fright;
And but his brother Fido oft did aid him,
There had he fell in unacquainted fight:
      But he would still his wavering strength maintain,
      And chase that Monster through the sandie plain;
Which from him fled apace, but oft return’d again.

Yet him more strong and cunning foes withstand,
Whom he with greater skill and strength defi’d:
Foul Ignorance, with all her owl-ey’d band;
Oft-starting Fear, Distrust, ne’re satisfi’d,
      And fond Suspect, and thousand other foes;
      Whom farre he drives with his unequall blows,
And with his flaming sword their fainting armie mows.

As when bloud-guilty earth for vengeance cries,
(If greatest things with lesse we may compare)
The mighty Thunderer through the ayer flies,
While snatching whirlwinds open waies prepare:
      Dark clouds spread out their sable curtains o’re him;
      And Angels on their flaming wings up bore him:
Mean time the guilty heav’ns for fear flie fast before him.

There while he on the windes proud pineons rides,
Down with his fire some lofty mount he throwes,
And fills the low vale with his ruin’d sides;
Or on some church his three-forkt dart bestowes;
      (Which yet his sacred worship foul mistakes)
      Down falls the spire, the body fearfull quakes;
Nor sure to fall, or stand, with doubtfull trembling shakes.

With Fido Knowledge went, who order’d right
His mighty hands: so now his scatter’d troops
Make head again, filling their broken fight;
While with new change the Dragons armie droops,
      And from the following victours headlong runne:
      Yet still the Dragon frustrates what is done;
And eas’ly makes them lose what they so hardly wonne.

Out of his gorge a hellish smoke he drew,
That all the field with foggie mist enwraps;
As when Tiphoeus from his panch doth spew
Black smothering flames, roll’d in loud thunder-claps:
      The pitchie vapours choke the shining ray,
      And bring dull night upon the smiling day;
The wavering Aetna shakes, and fain would runne away.

Yet could his bat-ey’d legions eas’ly see
In this dark Chaos; they the seed of night:
But these not so, who night and darknesse flee;
For they the sonnes of day, and joy in light:
      But Knowledge soon began a way devise,
      To bring again the day, and cleare their eyes:
So open’d Fido’s shield, and golden veil unties.

Of one pure diamond, celestial fair,
That heav’nly shield by cunning hand was made;
Whose light divine, spred through the mistie aire,
To brightest morn would turn the Western shade,
      And lightsome day beget before his time;
      Framed in heav’n without all earthly crime;
Dipt in the firy Sunne, which burnt the baser slime.

As when from fennie moors the lumpish clouds
With rising steams damp the bright mornings face;
At length the piercing Sunne his team unshrouds,
And with his arrows th’ idle fogge doth chase:
      The broken mist lies melted all in tears:
      So this bright shield the stinking darknesse teares,
And giving back the day, dissolves their former fears.

Which when afarre the firie Dragon spies,
His slights deluded with so little pain;
To his last refuge now at length he flies:
Long time his pois’nous gorge he seem’d to strain;
      At length with loathly sight he up doth spue
      From stinking panch a most deformed crue,
That heav’n it self did flie from their most ugly view.

The first that crept from his detested maw,
Was 1Hamartia, foul deformed wight;
More foul, deform’d, the Sunne yet never saw;
Therefore she hates the all-betraying light:
      A woman seem’d she in her upper part;
      To which she could such lying glosse impart,
That thousands she had slain with her deceiving art.

The rest (though hid) in serpents form arayd,
With iron scales, like to a plaited mail:
Over her back her knotty tail displaid,
Along the empty aire did lofty sail:
      The end was pointed with a double sting,
      Which with such dreaded might she wont to fling,
That nought could help the wound, but bloud of heav’nly King.

Of that first woman her the Dragon got,
(The foulest bastard of so fair a mother)
Whom when she saw so fil’d with monstrous spot,
She cast her hidden shame and birth to smother;
      But she welnigh her mothers self had slain:
      And all that dare her kindely entertain;
Some parts of her damme, more of her sire remain.

Her viperous locks hung loose about her eares;
Yet with a monstrous snake she them restrains,
Which like a border on her head she wears:
About her neck hang down long adder chains,
      In thousand knots, and wreaths infolded round;
      Which in her anger lightly she unbound,
And darting farre away would sure and deadly wound.

Yet fair and lovely seems to fools dimme eyes;
But hell more lovely, Pluto’s self more fair
Appears, when her true form true light descries:
Her loathsome face, blancht skinne, and snakie hair,
      Her shapelesse shape, dead life, her carrion smell,
      The devils dung, the childe and damme of hell,
Is chaffer fit for fools their precious souls to sell.

The second in this rank was black Despair,
Bred in the dark wombe of eternall Night:
His looks fast nail’d to Sinne, long sootie hair
Fill’d up his lank cheeks with wide-staring fright:
      His leaden eyes, retir’d into his head,
      Light, heav’n, and earth, himself, and all things fled:
A breathing coarse he seem’d, wrapt up in living lead.

His bodie all was fram’d of earthly paste,
And heavie mold; yet earth could not content him:
Heav’n fast he flies, and heav’n fled him as fast;
Though ‘kin to hell, yet hell did much torment him:
      His very soul was nought but ghastly fright:
      With him went many a fiend, and ugly sprite,
Armed with ropes and knives, all instruments of spite.

In stead of feathers, on his dangling crest
A lucklesse Raven spred her blackest wings;
And to her croaking throat gave never rest,
But deathfull verses and sad dirges sings:
      His hellish arms were all with fiends embost,
      Who damned souls with endlesse torments roast,
And thousand wayes devise to vex the tortur’d ghost.

Two weapons sharp as death he ever bore;
Strict Judgment, which from farre he deadly darts;
Sinne at his side, a two-edg’d sword, he wore,
With which he soon appalls the stoutest hearts:
      Upon his shield Alecto with a wreath
      Of snakie whips the damn’d souls tortureth:
And round about was wrote, Reward of sinne is death.

The last two brethren were farre different,
Onely in common name of death agreeing;
The first arm’d with a sithe still mowing went;
Yet whom, and when he murder’d, never seeing;
      Born deaf, and blinde: nothing might stop his way:
      No prayers, no vows his keenest sithe could stay;
Nor Beauties self his pitie, nor Vertues self allay.

No state, no age, no sex may hope to move him;
Down falls the young, and old, the boy, and maid:
No begger can intreat, nor King reprove him;
All are his slaves in’s cloth of flesh araid:
      The bride he snatches from the bridegrooms arms,
      And horrour brings, in midst of loves alarms:
Too well we know his power by long experience’t harms.

A dead mans skull suppli’d his helmets place,
A bone his club, his armour sheets of lead:
Some more, some lesse fear his all-frighting face;
But most who sleep in downie pleasures bed:
      But who in life have daily learnt to die,
      And dead to this, live to a life more high;
Sweetly in death they sleep, and slumbring quiet lie.

The second farre more foul in every part,
Burnt with blue fire, and bubbling sulphure streams;
Which creeping round about him, fill’d with smart
His cursed limbes, that direly he blasphemes:
      Most strange it seems, that burning thus for ever,
      No rest, no time, no place these flames may sever:
Yet death in thousand deaths without death dieth never.

Soon as these hellish monsters came in sight,
The Sunne his eye in jettie vapours drown’d,
Scar’d at such hell-hounds view; heav’ns ‘mazed light
Sets in an early evening; earth astound,
      Bids dogs with houls give warning: at which sound
      The fearfull ayer starts, seas break their bound,
And frighted fled away; no sands might them impound.

The palsied troop first (like asps shaken) fare;
Till now their heart, congeal’d in icie bloud,
Candied the ghastly face; locks stand and stare:
Thus charm’d, in ranks of stone they marshall’d stood:
      Their uselesse swords fell idlely on the plain,
      And now the triumph sounds in loftie strain;
So conqu’ring Dragon bindes the Knights with slavish chain.

As when proud Phineus in his brothers feast
Fill’d all with tumult, and intestine broil;
Wise Perseus, with such multitudes opprest,
Before him bore the snakie Gorgons spoil:
      The vulgar rude stood all in marble chang’d,
      And in vain ranks and rockie order rang’d
Were now more quiet guests, from former rage estrang’d.

The fair Eclecta, who with grief had stood,
Viewing th’ oft changes of this doubtfull fight,
Saw now the field swimme in her Champions bloud,
And from her heart, rent with deep passion, sigh’d;
      Limming true sorrow in sad silent art.
      Light grief floats on the tongue; but heavie smart
Sinks down, and deeply lies in centre of the heart.

What Daedal art such griefs can truly shew,
Broke heart, deep sighs, thick sobs, & burning prayers,
Baptizing ever limbe in weeping dew?
Whose swoln eyes, pickled up in brinie tears,
      Crystalline rocks, corall the lid appeares,
      Compast about with tides of grief and fears;
Where grief stores fear with sighs, and fear stores grief with tears.

At length sad Sorrow, mounted on the wings
Of loud-breath’d sighs, his leaden weight uprears;
And vents it self in softest whisperings,
Follow’d with deadly grones, usher’d by tears:
      While her fair hands, and watrie shining eyes
      Were upward bent upon the mourning skies,
Which seem’d with cloudie brow her grief to sympathize.

Long while the silent passion, wanting vent,
Made flowing tears her words, and eyes her tongue;
Till Faith, Experience, Hope assistance lent
To shut both floud-gates up with patience strong:
      The streams well ebb’d, new hopes some comforts borrow
      From firmest truth; then glimpst the hopefull morrow:
So spring some dawns of joy, so sets the night of sorrow.

Ah dearest Lord, my hearts sole Soveraigne,
Who sitt’st high mounted on thy burning throne;
Heark from thy heav’ns, where thou dost safely reigne,
Cloth’d with the golden Sunne, and silver Moon:
      Cast down a while thy sweet and gracious eye,
      And low avail that flaming Majestie,
Deigning thy gentle sight on our sad miserie.

To thee, deare Lord, I lift this watrie eye,
This eye which thou so oft in love 2hast prais’d;
This eye with which thou 3wounded oft wouldst die;
To thee (deare Lord) these suppliant hands are rais’d:
      These to be lilies thou hast often told me;
      Which if but once again may ever hold thee,
Will never let thee lose, will never more unfold thee.

Seest how thy foes despitefull trophies reare,
Too confident in thy prolong’d delayes?
Come then, oh quickly come, my dearest deare:
When shall I see thee crown’d with conqu’ring bayes,
      And all thy foes trod down, and spred as clay?
      When shall I see thy face, and glories ray?
Too long thou stay’st, my Love; come Love, no longer stay.

Hast thou forgot thy former word and love,
Or lockt thy sweetnesse up in fierce disdain?
In vain didst thou those thousand mischiefs prove?
Are all those griefs, thy birth, life, death in vain?
      Oh no; of ill thou onely dost repent thee,
      And in thy dainty mercies most content thee:
Then why with stay so long so long dost thou torment me?

Reviving Cordiall of my dying sprite,
The best Elixar for souls drooping pain;
Ah now unshade thy face, uncloud thy sight;
See, every way’s a trap, each path’s a train:
      Hells troops my soul beleaguer; bow thine eares,
      And hear my cries pierce through my grones & fears:
Sweet Spouse, see not my sinnes, but through my plaints and tears.

Let frailty favour, sorrow succour move;
Anchour my life in thy calm streams of bloud:
Be thou my rock, though I poore changeling rove,
Tost up and down in waves of worldly floud:
      Whil’st I in vale of tears at anchour ride,
      Where windes of earthly thoughts my sails misguide,
Harbour my fleshly bark safe in thy wounded side.

Take, take my contrite heart, thy sacrifice,
Washt in her eyes that swimmes and sinks in woes:
See, see, as seas with windes high working rise,
So storm, so rage, so gape thy boasting foes.
      Deare Spouse, unlesse thy right hand even steers,
      Oh if thou anchour not these threatening fears;
Thy ark will sail as deep in bloud, as now in tears.

With that a thundering noise seem’d shake the skie,
As when with iron wheels through stonie plain
A thousand chariots to the battell flie;
Or when with boistrous rage the swelling main,
      Puft up with mighty windes, does hoarsly roar;
      And beating with his waves the trembling shore,
His sandie girdle scorns, & breaks earths ramperd doore.

And straight 4an Angel full of heav’nly might,
(Three severall crowns circled his roayall head)
From Northern coast heaving his blazing light,
Through all the earth his glorious beams dispread,
      And open laies the Beasts and Dragons shame:
      For to this end th’ Almighty did him frame,
And therefore from supplanting gave his ominous name.

A silver trumpet oft he loudly blew,
Frighting the guiltie earth with thundering knell;
And oft proclaim’d, as through the world he flew,
Babel, great Babel lies as low as hell:
      Let every Angel loud his trumpet sound,
      Her heav’n-exalted towers in dust are drown’d:
Babel, proud Babel’s fall’n, and lies as low as ground.

The broken heav’ns dispart with fearfull noise,
And from the breach out shoots a suddain light;
Straight shrilling tumpets with loud sounding voice
Give echoing summons to new bloudy fight:
      Well knew the Dragon that all-quelling blast,
      And soon perceiv’d that day must be his last;
Which strook his frighted heart, & all his troops aghast.

Yet full of malice and of stubborn pride,
Though oft had strove, and had been foild as oft,
Boldly his death and certain fate defi’d:
And mounted on his flaggie sails aloft,
      With boundlesse spite he long’d to try again
      A second losse, and new death; glad and fain
To shew his pois’nous hate, though ever shew’d in vain.

So up he rose upon his stretched sails,
Fearlesse expecting his approaching death:
So up he rose, that th’ ayer starts, and fails,
And over-pressed sinks his load beneath:
      So up he rose, as does a thunder-cloud,
      Which all the earth with shadows black does shroud:
So up he rose, and through the weary ayer row’d.

Now his Almighty foe farre off he spies;
Whose Sun-like arms daz’d the eclipsed day,
Confounding with their beams lesse-glitt’ring skies,
Firing the aire with more then heav’nly ray;
      Like thousand Sunnes in one: such is their light;
      A subject onely for immortall sprite,
Which never can be seen, but by immortall sight.

His treatning eyes shine like that dreadfull flame,
With which the Thunderer arms his angry hand:
Himself had fairly wrote his wondrous name,
Which neither earth nor heav’n cound understand:
      A hundred crowns, like towers, beset around
      His conqu’ring head: well may they there abound,
When all his limbes and troops with gold are richly crown’d.

His armour all was dy’d in purple bloud;
(In purple bloud of thousand rebell Kings)
In vain their stubborn powers his arm withstood:
Their proud necks chain’d he now in triumph brings,
      And breaks their spears, & cracks their traitour swords
      Upon whose arms and thigh, in golden words
Was fairly writ, The KING of Kings, & LORD of Lords.

His snow-white steed was born of heav’nly kinde,
Begot by Boreas on the Thracian hills;
More strong and speedy then his parent Winde:
And (which his foes with fear and horrour fills)
      Out from his mouth a two-edg’d sword he darts;
      Whose sharpest steel the bone and marrow parts,
And with his keenest point unbreasts the naked hearts.

The Dragon, wounded with this flaming brand,
They take, and in strong bonds and fetters tie:
Short was the fight, nor could he long withstand
Him, whose appearance is his victorie.
      So now he’s bound in adamantine chain;
      He storms, he roars, he yells for high disdain:
His net is broke, the fowl go free, the fowler ta’ne.

Thence by a mighty Swain he soon was led
Unto a thousand thousand torturings:
His tail, whose folds were wont the starres to shed,
Now stretcht at length, close to his belly clings:
      Soon as the pit he sees, he back retires,
      And battel new, but all in vain, respires:
So there he deeply lies, flaming in icie fires.

As when Alcides from forc’t hell had drawn
The three-head dog, and master’d all his pride;
Basely the fiend did on his Victour fawn,
With serpent tail clapping his hollow side:
      At length arriv’d upon the brink of light,
      He shuts the day out of his dullard sight,
And swelling all in vain renews unhappie fight.

Soon as this sight the Knights revive again,
As fresh as when the flowers from winter tombe
(When now the Sunne brings back his nearer wain)
Peep out again from their fresh mothers wombe:
      The primrose lighted new, her flame displayes,
      And frights the neighbour hedge with firie rayes:
And all the world renew their mirth & sportive playes.

The Prince, who saw his long imprisonment
Now end in never-ending libertie;
To meet the Victour, from his castle went,
And falling down, clasping his royall knee,
      Poures out deserved thanks in gratefull praise:
      But him the heav’nly Saviour soon doth raise,
And bids him spend in joy his never spending dayes.

The fair Eclecta, that with widowed brow
Her absent Lord long mourn’d in sad aray,
Now 5silken linnen cloth’d like frozen snow,
Whose silver spanglets sparkle ‘gainst the day:
      This shining robe her Lord himself had wrought,
      While he her love with hundred presents sought,
And it with many a wound, & many a torment bought.

And thus arayd, her heav’nly beauties shin’d
(Drawing their beams from his most glorious face)
Like to a precious 6Jasper, pure refin’d;
Which with a Crystall mixt, much mends his grace:
      The golden starres a garland fair did frame,
      To crown her locks; the Sunne lay hid for shame,
And yeelded all his beams to her more glorious flame.

Ah who that flame can tell? ah who can see?
Enough is me with silence to admire;
While bolder joy, and humb[l]e majestie
In either cheek had kindled gracefull fire:
      Long silent stood she, while her former fears
      And griefs ran all away in sliding tears;
That like a watrie Sunne her gladsome face appeares.

At length when joyes had left her closer heart,
To seat themselves upon her thankfull tongue;
First in her eyes they sudden flashes dart,
Then forth i' th’ musick of her voice they throng;
      My Hope, my Love, my Joy, my Life, my Blisse,
      (Whom to enjoy is heav’n, but hell to misse)
What are the worlds false joyes, what heav’ns true joyes to this?

Ah dearest Lord! does my rapt soul behold thee?
Am I awake? and sure I do not dream?
Do these thrice blessed arms again infold thee?
Too much delight makes true things feigned seem.
      Thee, thee I see; thou, thou, thus unfolded art:
      For deep thy stamp is printed in my heart,
And thousand ne’re-felt joyes stream in each melting part.

Thus with glad sorrow did she sweetly plain her,
Upon his neck a welcome load depending;
While he with equall joy did entertain her,
Her self, her Champions, highly all commending:
      So all in triumph to his palace went,
      Whose work in narrow words may not be pent;
For boundlesse thought is lesse then is that glorious tent.

There sweet delights, which know nor end, nor measure;
No chance is there, nor eating times succeeding:
No wastfull spending can empair their treasure;
Pleasure full grown, yet ever freshly breeding:
      Fulnesse of sweets excludes not more receiving:
      The soul still big of joy, yet still conceiving;
Beyond slow tongues report, beyond quick thoughts perceiving.

There are they gone, there will they ever bide;
Swimming in waves of joyes, and heav’nly loves:
He still a Bridegroom, she a gladsome Bride;
Their hearts in love, like spheres still constant moving:
      No change, no grief, no age can them befall:
      Their bridal bed is in that heav’nly hall,
Where all dayes are but one, and onely one is all.

And as in state they thus in triumph ride,
The boyes and damsels their just praises chaunt;
The boyes and Bridegroom sing, the maids the Bride,
While all the hills glad Hymens loudly vaunt:
      Heav’ns winged shoals, greeting this glorious spring,
      Attune their higher notes, and Hymens sing:
Each thought to passe, & each did passe thoughts loftiest wing.

Upon his lightning brow Love proudly sitting
Flames out in power, shines out in majestie;
There all his loftie spoils and trophies fitting,
Displayes the marks of highest Deitie:
      There full of strength in lordly arms he stands,
      And every heart, and every soul commands:
No heart, no soul his strength and lordly force withstands.

Upon her forehead thousand cheerfull Graces,
Seated in thrones of spotlesse ivorie;
There gentle Love his armed hand unbraces,
His bow unbent disclaims all tyrannie:
      There by his play a thousand souls beguiles,
      Perswading more by simple modest smiles,
Then ever he could force by arms, or craftie wiles.

Upon her cheek doth Beauties self implant
The freshest garden of her choicest flowers;
On which if Envie might but glance ascant,
Her eyes would swell, and burst, and melt in showers:
      There fairer both then ever fairest ey’d.
      Heav’n never such a Bridegroom yet descri’d;
Nor ever earth so fair, so undefil’d a Bride.

Full of his Father shines his glorious face,
As farre the Sunne surpassing in his light,
As doth the Sunne the earth with flaming blaze:
Sweet influence streams from his quickning sight:
      His beams from nought did all this All display;
      And when to lesse then nought they fell away,
He soon restor’d again by his new orient ray.

All heav’n shines forth in her sweet faces frame:
Her seeing Starres (which we miscall bright eyes)
More bright then is the mornings brightest flame,
More fruitfull then the May-time Geminies:
      These back restore the timely summers fire;
      Those springing thoughts in winter hearts inspire,
Inspiriting dead souls, and quickning warm desire.

These two fair Sunnes in heav’nly sphere are plac’t,
Where in the centre Joy triumphing sits:
Thus in all high perfections fully grac’t,
Her mid-day blisse no future night admits;
      But in the mirrours of her Spouses eyes
      Her fairest self she dresses; there where lies
All sweets, a glorious beautie to emparadize.

His locks like ravens plumes, or shining jet,
Fall down in curls along his ivory neck;
Within their circlets hundred Graces set,
And with love-knots their comely hangings deck:
      His mighty shoulders, like that Giant Swain,
      All heav’n and earth, and all in both sustain;
Yet knows no wearinesse, nor feels oppressing pain.

Her amber hair, like to the sunnie ray,
With gold enamels fair the silver white;
There heav’nly loves their prettie sportings play,
Firing their darts in that wide flaming light:
      Her daintie neck, spread with that silver mold,
      Where double beautie doth it self unfold,
In th’ own fair silver shines, and fairer borrow’d gold.

His breast a rock of purest alabaster,
Where Loves self saling shipwrackt often sitteth;
Hers a twinne-rock, unknown, but to th’ ship-master;
Which harbours him alone, all other splitteth.
      Where better could her love then here have nested?
      Or he his thoughts then here more sweetly feasted?
Then both their love & thoughts in each are ever rested.

Runne now you shepherd-swains; ah run you thither,
Where this fair Bridegrom leads the blessed way:
And haste you lovely maids, haste you together
With this sweet Bride; while yet the sunne-shine day
      Guides your blinde steps, while yet loud summons call,
      That every wood & hill resounds withall,
Come Hymen, Hymen come, drest in thy golden pall.

The sounding Echo back the musick flung,
While heav’nly spheres unto the voices playd.
But see, the day is ended with my song,
And sporting bathes with that fair Ocean Maid:
      Stoop now thy wing, my Muse, now stoop thee low:
      Hence mayst thou freely play, and rest thee now;
While here I hang my pipe upon the willow bough.

So up they rose, while all the shepherds throng
With their loud pipes a countrey triumph blew,
And led their Thirsil home with joyfull song:
Mean time the lovely Nymphs with garlands new
      His locks in Bay and honour’d Palm-tree bound,
      With Lilies set, and Hyacinths around;
And Lord of all the yeare, and their May-sportings crown’d.


<printer’s mark>

1 Sinne.

2 Cant. 1. 25.

3 Cant. 4.9.

4 Our late most learned Soveraigne in his remonstrance and comment upon the Apocal.

5 Revel. 19.8.

6 Revel. 21.11.


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