Vicissitudo rerum. (1600)
Note: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed by Risa S. Bear, December 2000, from the 1931 Shakespeare Association facsimile of the edition of 1600. The copy text is that of the British Museum (C. 71, bb. 2). 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 © 2000 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the Publisher.
the first Part.
Omnia tempore producuntur, mutantur,
Imprinted at London by Simon Stafford, dwel-
To the Right honora-
Inerua fained goddesse of best skill,
The Change of things, in slender verse I sing,
But when sterne Time eche thing created sees,
Thus Time by turnes, turnes all things out of
This mooues my Muse, erst silent, now to sing,
At your Honors command,
Yth Time applaudes to see Varieties,
And how Things past, rest now, as things forgot,
Yea, Things aloft of th'mouing Firmament,
The Elements and elementall things
And Man himselfe stands as a wauing Twig
As by this first part these are partly seene.
________Sic tempora verti
Cernimus, atque alias assumere robora gentes
Mar. lib. 9. Quid non longa dies: quia non consumitis anni?
Ome sing the Regall actes of worthy Kings,
Some of fell Warres, some of a publique State,
Some praise haut Beawty, some praise baser things.
Wittes haue their change: Will sta[n]ds in highest rate.
Will, yet, doth wauer, Pennes paint Loue & Mate.
Therfore my pen shal publish change in all:
One onely Essence standing firme from fall.
The Heauens in their peereles pryde may bost,
That they in their orbicular figure
Are farre the freest, and by change vntost,
Keeping by turne, their Reuolutions sure:
Though still reuoluing yet alike endure.
As Orbes and Circles figures perfectest,
Held by all Artistes to excell the rest,
The Heauens seeme of most admired might,
Fixed on nothing, yet stand firme and fast,
Prouidence Diuine them hath so set aright,
Worldes may not waue them, nor vnprop their bast
Who then essayes to prooue they will not last,
Syth from creating, they are as they were,
Not changed by chance, nor altere'd by their stere.
These Figures then form'd of most perfect mold
Shaped by Science farre exceeding Wit
If they haue change, how may the baser hold,
That haue their Vigors b'influence of it?
A powre more potent boue this Powre doth sit,
That giues and guides, and swayes all as it list,
In whome the Heauens and the rest consist.
And all the mouers, and the voluing sphere
He first created, and disposed so,
As to haue progresse, and againe reuere,
To tell the Times, and seasons as they go:
Mouing in Circles, daily to and fro,
Ginning and ending, as their Circles bee,
Greater or lesser, distinct by degree.
Ten Spheres in one, Astronomers do hold:
The tenth reuoluing in his fixed tide,
Twenty foure houres, and then his circle rold,
Againe reuolues, powers infinite her guide,
From East to West, still on the dexter side:
And by her course most swift and impetuous,
The rest she moueth, most miraculous.
For in the selfe same time she moues the rest,
Although their mouings contrary to her,
Be on sinister part from West to East.
And that the ninth Astrologers auerre,
Hath forty nine thousand yeeres thus to erre.
Thirty thousand to the eighth assign'd,
Againe, seuen thousand as the learned find.
The Sphere of Saturne in her thirty yeeres
Returnes; and Iupiter in twelue, they sayne,
Doth runne his race. Fell Mars in two appeares
To end his course: reuoluing backe againe.
Sol, Venus, Mercury, haue one yeere to raigne.
The Moone the lowest, soone her circle rounds,
Twice foureteene daies, & then againe rebounds.
This comely course, and order of this frame
May challenge most, if ilke Perfection be,
Or State not changing, but as still the same:
The Heauens yet, a body as wee see,
In all her parts from Change cannot be free,
Nor still perseuer, as they first were set,
Though none haue power, but Power diuine to let.
Let Time be testie in this cause of doubt,
That did begin when Heauens and Lights were made:
She was, and is, and shall remaine throughout,
But not alike, shee flourish'd, gins to fade:
Dayes, Weekes, and Months, and Yeeres she makes by trade:
All these doe change, none doth alike abide,
Summer, nor Winter, Autumne, or Spring-tide.
The dayly moouing of this Firmament,
Distinguyes frowning Nights from fawning Dayes,
And either by such entercourses pent,
As they ne passe due time, nor make delayes:
None checks the Sunne to shade or send her rayes
To banish Darkenes, and to fill with Light,
What was eclipsed with the shade of Night.
Yet neither Day nor Night continues one,
But by reciprocall exchange imparts
Each to the other Time, as Time is gone:
Time turnes the Yeere into his aptest parts,
And Yeere to yeere lends time likewise by arts,
Rising, and falling, changing by degree,
The present vnlike the preter yeere we see.
The first and greatest Mouer of the rest,
Imparts her moouing to the lesser Spheres,
To men and beasts, and creatures as the Test,
And tries the bodies that Nature vpreares,
Prouing their temper, and their temper steres.
Mong all the creatures that are earthly built,
Best temper'd stand, distemper'd soonest spilt.
Nay, Mindes inclines, and manners good and bad,
Proceede (some say) by moouings and aspects
Of Heauens Spheres, and Plannets wherewith clad,
That giue and take, and worke the sole effects
In Men and Beasts, and in all earthly sects:
All which beginne and end by influence,
That doth proceede by Heauens concurrence.
Vertues and vices, health and sicknesse too,
Long and short life, force, feeblenesse, and wit,
Yea, well and ill the Heauens egge to doo:
All earthly bodies subiect vnto it.
Humane affayres prayse-wothie and vnfit,
Depend on these, that of themselues are not,
But stand created, to their proper lot,
Though some prerogatiue aboue the rest
They haue. An instrumentall meane onely,
And not the cause efficient confest,
A fatall Law, or of necessitie,
None holds it so that hath fidelitie.
Let sacred Wisedome be our studies guide,
To stay on him that is, and will abide.
The pleasing Sunne, with sweete resplending rayes,
Doth rise and set, and yeeldes such influence,
As earthly creatures glorie in the dayes,
Not in sad nights, that come by consequence,
The sunnie beames that comfort passed hence.
Men, birds, and beasts, trees, and the hearbes in field,
Bemone the lacke of what the day did yeeld.
Whereby wee see the Sunne is held a ghest,
That with his rayes filles all the fields with glee:
The plants, the hearbs, the blossoms, and the rest,
Vnfolde in token of gratuitie,
Preaching to men, the Sunnes benignitie.
That ayne reuiues their members, late neere dead
All creature ioy to see her beames espred.
The Sunnes ascent, and her descent renewes
The yeere with change, as she comes farre or neere,
Her course oblique, depriues, againe endewes,
The earthly bodies, and their powers arere
The Solstices and Equinoxes bere:
As on the wings of th'Zodiackes twelue signes,
The yeeres foure parts diuided by their lines.
The Winter with his siluer hayres beginnes,
When Capricorne receiues declining Sunne,
As she returnes from Autumne, where she lins:
And with his cold and moysture now begunne,
Depriues the bodyes of their pride late wonne:
And all the creatures that of yore grew gay,
By like degrees doe wither and decay.
The louely Spring, which liuely lends her skill,
To re'install these creatures in their pride,
Enters the Ram, and equalize she will
The Nights and Dayes. A moyst and hotter tyde,
Restoring greene what Winter had vndi'de,
And yeelds them vigor that were erst decayde:
All sects reioyce to bee thus re'arrayde.
Then comes the Summer with her gloomie rayes,
Imbracing Cancer, parching hote and drie,
Making short nights, and the longest dayes.
The Summer Solstice heaues the Sunne so hie,
That forthwith she falles and alters by and by
The surface of the Earth, and all earthly things.
Thus Time turnes the worlds glasse with silent wings.
Friendlesse Autumne vnclothes againe apace,
All that the Spring had clad so fayre before:
The Sunne in Libra with beclouded face,
Affords sad nights, longer then of yore,
Depriuing sap, and withers by her lore
All vegitables, and transformes the rest:
A necessarie, but vnwelcome ghest.
The Yeere thus parted in her qualities,
Yeeldes great effects vnto the Earths creatures,
Compounded, termed Elementaries,
As of elementall temperatures:
Grosse soone decay, the purest best endures:
Exceeding in one qualitie it dies:
Nought hath true meane that is below the skies.
The Moone hath secrets in her times effects,
She swayes the humors ouer which she raignes,
Increasing, decreasing, full, in aspects,
Still she disposeth Bodyes and their Vaines.
In her some mysterie, no doubt, remaines,
That worketh wonders by the meane of her,
Which some affirme so farre: in it they erre.
For shee a creature, can yeeld no Euent,
Compact, as other elementall things,
(Her vertue in Decrease and Increment)
But purer, and pure qualities she brings,
Soring her circuite by diuiner wings:
And through the force of her high qualities,
She works in Bodies sundrie faculties.
As in the Ebbes and flowing of the Deepe,
By course, and by reciprocall retreat,
Moou'd by the Moone, as she her course doth keepe:
The Ebbe makes emptie, Floud againe repleate:
The Moone in Forme, the Sea vnlike in Seate,
Their like concurrence and like changes shew,
The Moone and Sea alike to wane and grow.
The Starres that wander, and that fix'd remaine,
Do cause in ayre great changes, Cold and Heate,
Windes, Thunder, Tempests, and great gusts of Raine,
And their Aspects and Oppositions met,
Some strange presages of Euents beget,
Of Warre, of Death, of Famine, Drought and Pest,
Yet nought befalles, but by supernall hest.
Though some affirme that these mutations
Of changes, and of strange and rare euents,
Proceede of such like innouations,
As heauenly bodies and their concurrents
Worke in the like compuonded Elements,
And giue themmoouing, issue, and successe,
As if effects proceeded of the lesse.
The lesse, yet great, lesse in respect of one,
Who mooues the Moouer of these Moouers all:
He, he, the swayer of euents alone:
And sinne the cause that moues these to our thrall,
That moue and change, and cause men rise or fall:
Not as these will, but as the Powers aboue
Make them the meanes to checke for change of loue.
The greatest changes and most rare euents,
In States, in Kingdomes, and in greatest sects,
Are sayd to issue of the Spheres dissents
The eight and ninth, not by their ioynt aspects,
Their awkward moouings breede rarest effects,
Not by their natures inclination,
But by their motiue trepedation.
Besides coniunction of triplicities,
Of Saturne, Iupiter, and Mars aspecting,
Are held most powerfull principalities,
Greatest alterations effecting,
Their triplicities duely respecting:
Fierie, or ayrie, watrie, or earthly,
Th'euent correponds the triplicity.
Of such, some count seu'n since the world begunne,
(Fiue thousand, fiue hundred, sixtie two yeeres,)
The eight shall be when foure yeeres more are come,
By testie of the best Astrologers.
Presaged thus, it may well summon teares,
That he that rules may moderate his ire,
Lest World comsume with fearefull gusts of fire.
Seneca reports, Belus to foresee
The vniuersall deluge e're it came:
And when the conflagration should be,
To burne the masse, as water drown'd the same,
When of the Starres such opposition came,
As one right line might pierce their circles all
In Cancer signe: this last effect should fall.
The antique Poets in their Poems tel'd
Vnder their fondest Fables, mysteries:
By Phaeton, how heauens powers rebel'd
In fires force, and by the histories
Of Pirrha and Deucalion there lies,
The like of waters impetuitie,
In part concurring with diuinitie,
Which hath reueyl'd the Worlds destruction
By water past, her future fall by fire:
But holds the cause sinne, not coniunction
Of fire or waters selfe-reuenging ire:
The Powers diuine commoue them to conspire,
To make the earth and earthly bodies nought,
That doe defile, what he so pure hath wrought.
The Priests of Egypt gazing on the starres,
Are sayd to see the Worlds sad ruines past,
That had beted by fire and waters iarres:
And how the World inconstant and vnchast,
Assaylde by these, cannot alike stand fast.
Earthquakes and warres, famine, hate, and pest,
Bring perils to the earth, and mans vnrest.
We at the present see Times changing state,
And Natures fearefull alterations,
As if Time now did preach the Heauens debate,
And starres to band in dismall factions.
Strange signes are seene, diuine probations,
That some effect will follow of admire,
Too late, when come, to say it will retire.
The Sunne and Moone eclipsed ne're so much,
Comets and strange impressions in the ayre:
The tydes and swellingflouds were neuer such:
The earth doth tremble, Nature doth impayre,
Hid'ous monsters now possesse the chayre,
Where erst dame Natures true begotten seede
Sate truely graced in her proper weede.
Such changes neuer haue beene seene of yore,
In Countries and in Kingdomes, as of late,
Manners, and Lawes, and Religions lore,
Neuer were prized at so meane a rate:
Such are the changes of this earthes estate,
It may bee sayd, Times wings beginne to frie,
Now couching low, that erst did soare so hie.
Yea, now is proou'd the progresse of the Sunne
To differ farre from pristine gredience:
The Solstices and Equinoxes run,
As in pretended disobedience.
The Sunne obserued by Artes diligence,
Is found in foureteene hundred yeeres to fall,
Neere twelue Degrees towards the Center ball.
The Zodiack and all her partes and signes
Alter the course, that first they were assigned,
And all the orbe of Heauen so combines,
As she vnto her Period inclin'd.
Time past, farre greater then that is behind,
Doth prooue the Heauens in their greatest Pride,
Subiect to changes and to waue aside.
Some eke affirme the earthly Sphere to erre:
First set the Center of the concaue Spheres
Now start aside, (supposed not to sterre.)
If so, the Power that Earth and Heauen steres,
By it foreshowes the purpose that he beares,
That all the Creatures that he made so fast,
Shall by Degrees alter, weare and wast:
Yet all the Changes that succeed below,
Proceed of Mouing: Mouing double is:
The first and chiefe, moues, yet not moued so:
The other mouers mooue by force of this,
But to moue rightly, or to moue amis.
Without the first high Prouidence diuine,
They are vnable of their owne incline.
Guyded they yeeld such influence of force,
As notwithstanding alteration,
They seeme to shew by fatall course, remorce
To creatures in their generation:
And by successiue propagation,
Corrupted things renew, grow, and decay
Vncessantly, by natures fatall way.
The changes which successiuely accrew
Vnto the creatures of this lower part,
And bodies which the Elements endew
With habite, and which cunning Natures art
Contriues with ornaments, that in her mar[t]
Are had, proceede of contraries,
That in them breede such strange varieties.
For things compounded of the Elements,
Partake the like compounded faculties
Themselues vnlike, in vertue and contents
Make all their subiects contraries,
And mut'all discord in their offices,
producing fruits, and in them enmitie,
Whereby they change by fatall destinie.
The water thicked, doth resemble stone
Or earthie matter: vaporating, ayre:
The ayre enlightened, and her vertue gone,
Resembles fire: the fire extinct, comes ayre:
Ayre thicked, and by grosse impayre,
Gets cloudes and mistie vaporation.
All haue alternate variation.
So these that wee call Elements, are not,
But onely like, and not indeede the same:
As each one partaketh of the others lot,
Hath not selfe nature, but the fayned name,
Yet is it seene from whence each of them came,
Like to the thing that each resembles most.
From these corrupt comes al the earthly host.
Yet so prepared, as the Power aboue
Doth first decree to shape the lowest things,
Discrepant and divers, as it list, approue
Voyde of all forme. Hence formall bodie springs
In couert order, with concealed wings:
Nature her selfe flies to and fro vnseene:
Till things haue life, none sees where she hath beene.
Then viuall each thing wrayes his faculties,
And what in it hath chiefe Predominance,
Hot, cold drie, or moyst, meerely contraries,
All in one body haue like penetrance,
But farre vnlike in supreme gouernance:
The chiefe in force subdue the feeble sort,
And foyle in fine the body they support.
The Elements repugnant each to each,
Yet seeme they all each other to imbrace:
But each on other makes alternate breach,
As one growes potent, th'other in disgrace:
Their Powers vnequall, not their natures base
Doth winne or lose, and gaines contempt or prayse.
None seemes a coward, weakest giues essayes.
As when a Sparke that most partakes of Fire,
Contendes a while, as farre as Power permits,
To dry a Floud, Force fayleth, not Desire:
Likewise a Drop contendeth where it hittes,
To quench a Flame, that quenchles is by Wittes:
Such Feede they foster, not of equall Force:
That which preuayleth, yeedeth no Remorce.
The Earth a massie Lumpe, is lowest set:
The Water it surrounds, and lies diffuz'd
Through and about this Orbe as friendly met:
Yet do they striue as if eche were abuz'd,
Ballanced they pend, mut'ally confuz'd.
The Fire and Ayre, light, are surmounted hie:
Yet ech polluted with his Neigbour by.
The Fire, though highest and in purest place,
Betweene the Heauens and the ayrie Sphere,
Seemes not, yet hath, more then the Ayres disgrace:
For when she volueth, and reuolues arere,
She comes deformed by her often stere:
And forced downeward to the ayry cell,
Fals to the Earth, and so her Forces quell.
The Ayre that swayes the region next to Fire,
Is in the vpper part most absolute,
Most thin and pure, most like her first inspire:
Her lowest grosse, the middle meane acute:
She thus vnequall in her tryple sute,
Stands most corrupted here with vs beneath,
Corrupting bodies that by her do breath.
And most inconstant of the rest she fares,
Most variable in her best estate,
Turn'd as the Place, whereon she lights prepares,
And as the Starres aspect and haue their Gate:
So she comes pure or of a grosser rate,
With Exhallations and with Vapors thicke,
That rise and fall, and in her Lymit sticke:
Whence grow the Clowdes, the Thunder, & the Windes,
Hayles, Frost and Snowe, and Changes manifold,
Which do afflict the Earth, and earthly kinds,
With Natures striuings, oft tweene Hot and Cold.
Descent oft forced, and Ascent controld,
Mooues Warres aboue in ayrie firmament,
Tweene water-clouds and others discontent.
Then fals the Rayne erst raysed by the Sunne,
Of watry vapors, flying from below,
Forc'd downe againe, like twist arere vnspun:
And thus the Clowdes by course do come and goe.
The Ayre now calme, forthwith fell winds do blow.
What more inconstant then the Ayre can be,
Whereby all Bodies breathe, and change we see?
And if Astrologers aucthority
May passe for proofe of th'issue of the winds,
The Sunne doth rayse the winds cal'd Easterly:
And Iupiter the Northern in their kinds.
The Southern Mars, the Moone the Wester bindes.
Some hold the Zodiacks triplicities,
To cause in th'windes such strange diuersities.
From East three signes of nature hot, and drie,
That are subiected to Equator line:
Then from the Pole Antarctick as they lie,
Three other [si]gnes the Southerne assigne,
The hot and moyst, three other then combine
In Occident, and in Septentrion,
The cold and moyst sway as the rest alone.
These foure are windes accounted principall,
That haue alternate chiefe preeminence.
These haue againe foure windes collaterall.
All eight intire, sway with high diligence,
Eight other halfe Windes of lesse efficience:
Betweene them each an equidistant part:
All thirtie two, which manage Nauticke art.
These yet inconstant, full of change do blow,
Their natures differ, and their properties,
And alter as the part from whence they grow,
And place whereon they light, hath qualities:
And moouing thus, breede strange diuersities
In earth, and earthie bodies, and the seas:
Which mou'd, no wit nor weapons them appease.
The water next, and most contiguous
Vnto the ayre, hath like varieties;
Now calme and quiet, now more impetuous,
Wherein the ships and mightie Argosies
Flote vnder sayle, making the voyages,
That feede one countrey with anothers fruit.
Perill makes not the greedie gainer mute.
Yet in his trafficke is alternate state.
Now golden gaine is guide vnto his ioy:
His ioy now alters, sorrow in like rate.
The seas are sullen, and the winds beene coy,
Their often combates coyners of annoy:
The windes, and seas, and element of ayre
Combining, bring stout hearts vnto despayre.
The waters that the highest Powers haue set
In secret celles, and vallies of the deepe,
Surround the earth, as if they had no let.
High powers their rage in limits fast doth keepe,
Taming the bellowes that do mount so steepe,
And suffers not the proudest wa[u]es to passe,
Nor to breede perill to the earthie masse.
The seas, a vniuersall powerfull band,
Linckt in the earth with veynes and concaue springs,
That serue as barres to enter-locke the land,
And which throughout, a needfull moysture brings,
Wherewith refresh'd all vegitable things
Do yeeld their branches, buds, and bloome, and fruit,
Selfe earth to drie, to decke them so in sute.
Meere reason may admire to see the seas,
Raging with waues, as if infirnall fire
Them boyl'd, or furies reft the earth of ease,
And by and by the tempest to retire
Of selfe accord, without ilke humane hyre,
And rest appeased, calme, in quiet case,
And as in loue, the earth againe imbrace.
Earth yeelds the seas, a seat to rest them on,
And waters all by nature ponderous:
Though misty Fogges, through exhalation
Ascend, they fall againe more humidous,
In droppes or mystes, sometimes contagious,
And fill the brookes and riuers of the land
Who hasten soone vnto the marine strand.
So as the Waters in earths bowels spred,
And Riuers that do runne as ornaments,
Vpon th'earths surface, are not in her bred,
But friendly lent, the Oceans excrements,
Rising and falling by swayde accidents
Salt from the Seas, by th'ayre refresh'd againe,
To shew what changes, earth and seas sustaine.
The earth the waters doth support and beare,
The Ocean hath tryple motions,
From East to West, from North to South arere.
Thirdly the ebbings, and the fluctions,
Sixe houres rising, sixe howers digressions:
So eke the sea term'd Mediterrany,
And other waters of that faculty.
The motiue causes who so seekes to know,
The first that moueth from the East to West,
The firmament is sayd to moue it so:
And that the spheres are moued and adrest,
To volue and reuolue by the higher hest.
Whereby the Waters their orders gate,
Not of selfe nature, but so destinate.
The fall from North to South is sayd to bee,
For that the waters in Septentrion,
Are full and farre the highest in degree,
Engendred most in that cold Region:
In South the sunnes hot exhalation,
Abates those Seas, to which the greater fall
By changing courses, yet perpetuall.
The third that maketh ebbes and flowing tydes,
Hath beene, and is the Moones volution,
Most changing, in one state she neuer bides,
Full, halfe full, and of bicorned fashion,
White, pale, & red, then cleere, then spotted on:
Sometimes apparent, sometime hidden so,
As none perceiueth where the Moone doth go.
Sometime shee shineth in the merkish night:
Sometime she riseth in the brightest day:
Sometimes eclipsed, cleane depriu'd of light:
Sometimes below, sometime in higher way:
Neuer at one, but euer in estray:
East, South, and West, her course vncertaine seene:
Artists best know, how all her courses beene.
The Moone thus changing, in her mouings make
Like changes in the vniuersall seas,
Whose ebbes and flouds like changes by her take,
And neither seemeth to haue constant ease:
No art or force their mouings may appease:
But as the Powers diuine of yore them set,
So they keepe course, vntill that power do let.
Till then the Moone moues with the Heauens Sphere:
Twentie foure howres she takes her turne to runne:
Two ebbes, two flowes, in seas she makes appeare:
Sixe houres she flowes, in sixe her ebbe is done:
In sixe doth each performe her taske begunne.
Increast and decreast, assignd and kept aright,
Approue the powers that guide them, of great might.
Yet still vnlike, shee doth increase and fall
Alternately, as time and place assigne:
Seu'n dayes th'increasing to her highest wall,
Seu'n dayes likewise, shee doth againe decline.
Sea-men the first, Spring-tydes aptly define:
The latter or decreasing streames they call
Nepe-tides, when seas grow to the low of all.
These tydes againe are of vnequall state:
That swelling high, this lower ayn by farre:
The next more higher, or of lower rate.
All other tydes haue like alternate Iarre,
Alwayes afflicted with intestine warre,
That makes the Mariners to sigh or sing,
Hur'd downe, or heau'd aloft by Neptunes wing.
The Moone North-east, doth make the sea at full:
South-east, low water. Thus the Moone doth guide
Not onely humours, making sharpe or dull.
Wittes, sences, bodyes (as some verifide)
But sea and land, as things vnto her tide.
And as she wauers, and oft changeth state,
So do the things by her thus destinate.
Oft doe some Riuers, and some fountaines drie:
Oft doth the earth yeeld forth new water-springs:
Oft doth reuiue, what seemed erst to die:
Oft doubtfull ginning, sweetest issue brings:
Oft greatest comfort growes by grieuous things,
Nothing the same, and as the same abides,
But God the guide, nought standeth firme besides.
Hee is that essence that beganne of nought:
Hee is that Moouer of the moouing skies:
Hee is the concord that true vnion wrought:
Hee is the meane by whom all destinies
Turne to the ends, that hee did first deuise.
Yet are the Heauens and the Earth maintain'd
By discord excellent, that hee ordain'd.
Can discord then (so much dispraysed) bee
The meane to keepe things by their contraries?
Can enmitie haue such equall degree,
As may make vnion in qualities?
Hath sad contention such sweete faculties,
As may support in true tranquillitie,
The bodyes wherein is disvnitie.
Then did Heraclitus conceiue it right,
Who did affirme the parents of all things
To be good concord in a discord pight.
And Homer said, Who blameth contendings,
Reprooueth Nature in distributings.
Empedocles did call that amitie,
That had and held concording enmitie.
Yet thus, this disagreement must bee set,
As in the discord bee no power to wrong:
For why? supremest haue no fatall let,
But will preuaile, as they become too strong.
Therefore such meane must them be set among,
As though things bee compact of contraryes,
They must by ballance, haue like quantities.
Or else sadde ruine will surprize the thing,
Wherein the Elements are at a iarre,
Where eke the principles diuided, bring
into the body, such internall warre,
As striues for victorie, to make or marre.
And sodainly the body pines or dies,
For that the strongest works most maladies.
The Heauens haue their moouings contrarie,
But equally disposed, vphold the rest:
Where, if they mou'd one way, their harmonie
All of one straine, of discord dispossest,
They soone would runne to ruine al opprest:
Like to a clocke, whose wheeles runne all one way,
Rash, of no vse, without a counterstay.
The Planets also in their faculties,
Are set by Prouidence, that did foresee,
That if they were without their contraries,
Among themselues some sodain change would be.
A meane therefore to keepe the Heauens free
From sodaine ruine, Power diuine hath set
(As moderator) termes, that none may let.
Milde Venus as a meane, is placed neere
Vnto fell Mars, to counterchecke his ire,
And helping Iupiter, next to the Sphere
Of malignant Saturne, lest they conspire,
And wrecke the Iurie of their fell desire
Vpon the rest: if they were not control'd,
Their wrath would worke the worlds ill manifold.
The world inferior, composed stands,
Of elements which are by nature foes:
And each with other, in his nature bands,
And each his force and malice doth disclose.
Yet are all bodies wholly fram'd of those:
And their due order and proportion
Conserueth long, discording vnion.
None must exceede in his extreme degree:
For all by nature, reft of mixtion,
Are so vnequall, nothing can bee
Formed of one, without destruction.
But of the foure, equall proportion
Is found the fountaine, whence doth flow the seed,
Whereof all creatures in the earth do breede.
For in this worldes great masse are found to lie,
Earth, Water, Ayre, and Fire, Sunne, Moone, and Starres,
Matter and forme, substance, and quantitie,
Simple, compound, actiue, and passi[u]e warres.
These of themselues haue such diurnall iarres,
As trie the body, yet preserue it so,
As discord seemes a friend, and not a foe.
In humane bodies is a discord set,
Choler and bloud, fleame and melancholie,
These foure the foure complections beget:
Among them Nature hath sent enmitie.
Yet stands the bodie of this contrarie,
Which could not liue, if one alone did raigne:
One too too strong, the other three complaine.
All other bodies are compos'd as this,
Not of a like, but of vnlike in kind.
As praysed body Oeconomick is,
Of husband, wife, and children them assign'd,
Lord and slaue, master and seruant wee find
To liue vnlike, yet in good harmonie,
If true concording discord beautifie.
A body politicke, or publike state,
Hath like dissents, which yet assenting stands:
The King, the subiect, and the magistrate,
Noble and base, rich, poore, peace, and warlike bands,
Law, religion, idle, working handes,
Old, yong, weake, strong, good men and euill bee
Dislike in parts, yet in consort agree.
All Arts haue discord, yet in vnitie
Concording, as in musicke, high and low,
Long and short, these compose the harmonie.
The paynter doth by contraries forth show
By liuely hand, what Nature doth bestow,
By colours, white, blacke, red, and greene and blew:
These contraries depaynt right Natures hew.
Nothing appeares, or can be sayd the thing,
Without the contrarie: darke from the light,
sicknesse from health, cold winter from the spring,
True peace from warre, sweete loue from foule despight,
Iust from vniust, truth from the thing vnright,
None can distinguish, but by qualities,
That are discouer'd by their contraries.
Who can discourse of griefe, that neuer grieu'd?
Who speakes of colours, that could neuer see?
Who preacheth ioyes, that is of ioy bereau'd?
Who thinkes of freedome, that was neuer free?
Some contraries accord, some disagree.
Yet perfit is Dame Natures art in things:
For by dissent, she true assenting brings.
Yet hath not Nature made that earthly thing,
But made to it some thing the contrarie:
And each to each extends a fatall sting:
Birdes, beasts and plants, haue all antipathy:
Tweene God and good men, onely sympathie,
Whose sacred sprit by his sweete inspire,
Seasons our soules with sacred sweete desire.
Yet man is not free from his fatall foe,
That first supplanted Adam, antique sire,
And works to wrecke on Adams line, like woe:
Beleeuers onely make this foe retire.
Sacred Messiah payde that deathfull hire,
Whereby wee liue, and haue eternitie,
Though here beclowded with the contrary.
What passionate inconstancie haue men,
Which shew affections so contrarie?
No creature to a creature worse hath ben,
Then man to man, who in hot enmitie,
Hath wrought each other deadly destinie.
Yea, some that deerely lou'd before, comes foes,
And foes come friends: some work themselues their woes.
Nay, man within himselfe hath selfe debate,
His soule and body are at deadly feede,
Yet man himselfe is as a publike state,
And reason Prince seemes so to sway that steede,
As foule concupiscence that sowes her seed
In fleshie furrowes to corrupt the soule,
Should not preuaile, but haue her due controule.
No maruaile then, if brutish creatures beene
In priuate warre, the Millet and the Pike,
The Cocke and Foxe, the Eagle and the Wren,
The Kite, and Crow, the Tode and Spider like,
That doe each other of selfe-nature strike:
Which makes each sect to stand in feare to fall,
Sith each hath foes, and foes are full of gall.
What makes a Kingdome to continue long,
But feare of foes, that breedes preuenting mindes,
And mindes forbidding to do neighbours wrong,
Lest Iustice punish, where deseruing binds?
Nought but securitie a kingdome blindes.
But when it sees apparent enemies,
It then takes heede, they are her contraries.
The Lacedemons made stout Athens feare.
The Romanes rouzed Carthage, then secure.
The Saxon furies did the Brytens weare.
All states haue foes, and yet they may endure:
Though peace to pietie should best allure,
Yet is it seene where is no feare of thrall,
That state soone stumbles, and hath sorest fall.
For pride pricks people that are free from foes.
And riches rauish mindes, dipt in desires,
To clime aloft. And pleasantly hee rowes,
That hath no winde nor tyde to check aspires:
When he but seemes to rowe, indeede retires.
All haue their ends, and all are borne to change,
Cros'd, or at quiet, all like race do range.
And though the Elements distributed,
As may be thought, in true proportion:
And bodies feele them not distempered,
Fit lineaments and due coniunction:
There will in fine be yet confusion.
For what so is compact of contraries,
By combates fall to mortall maladyes.
Then is it seene that earth, and earthly things,
Conserued long by Heauens influence,
And Elements, the foure pretended kings,
That keepe all creatures in obedience:
Although they haue most due ingredience,
Their discord seeming most sweete concordance,
In fine they perish by distemperance.
Now let vs see the earth, and all her parts,
Her places, and her strange diuersities,
And how the Heauens aspects are found by arts
To worke in men, and things antipathyes,
Or by consent of Clymats, simpathies,
How plants and fruites, how birds and fishes fare,
That all throughout the orbe dispersed are.
The Heauens and earth diuided by the Zones,
Appeare to haue fiue fit partitions,
Two cold, one hote, and two temperate ones,
Some seeke to proue by strong assertions,
The cold and hote, of these diuisions,
Were not, nor may at all be habited:
Two only are, that are well tempered.
The Zones, they say, beneath the poles, are cold,
And so exceede, in that extreame they kill
The creatures that in them doe couet hold.
The middle Zone, neath Equinoxe as ill,
That burnes the creatures subiect to her will:
And onely two, that lie on either side,
Do foster men and creatures vndenide.
Yet is it found by due experience,
That all haue people and commodious things,
And Natures might and sweete beneficence,
So swayes the Clymats, and such issue brings
Vnto this orbe of earth, and earthly things,
As all her parts and limits are beset
With men and fruite, that Nature daignes to get.
Yea, in the North, vnder the coldest clime,
Dwell sundrie people, and great Nations,
Long since, and some found in this latter time,
Diuers in tongues and habitations,
In Lawes, Religions, and in fashions.
And though the cold ingenderIce andSnow,
Men trauaile, traffick, plant, warre, arye, and sow.
As they that dwell in Lythuania,
Lyuonia, Sweden, andEstoteland,
Perima, Condora, Noua, Zembla,
In Norway, Muscouia, and Finland,
In Iseland, Freyland, and in Lappen-land.
These and farre more, lie in Septentrion,
Though a distempered and cold Region.
Yet when tne Sunne brings to them wished light,
And thawes the waters, erst congeal'd with cold,
Then doth retire their long and wearie night,
And fruits, and plants, and trees them then vnfold,
And make the earth more sweeter to behold.
And men that erst in couert caues did dwell,
Like winter sleepers, rouze them from their cell.
For as all Regions are found to lie
On th'one, or th'other side th'equator line:
Their distance farre, or their propinquitie,
Doe shew how much or little they decline,
Which doth the length of nights and dayes define.
And as the Sunne comes neere, the dayes do grow,
And as shee passeth from, the nights doe so.
The limites that do bound the world about,
Are South, and North, East, and West opposited:
The first two, firme and stable seeme throughout.
Tow last moue, as Sunne comes low or hight'ned
In the Zodiacke, and signes obliqued.
Which makes the East and West to alter so,
(Some hold) as Sunne is seene to come and go.
And though the countreyes in extremities
Of hot and cold, seeme much distempered:
They yeeld of precious things varieties,
Wherewith all other parts are plenished.
For Nature sweetely hath distributed
Her friendly fruites to all that all may see,
That good, and great, and full of fruites is she.
She hath ordain'd the Indies of the East,
With Pearle of price, with stones of highest deeme,
The Emerald, the Ruby, and the rest,
Which potent Princes hold in such esteeme:
As in respect, the purest gold doth seeme
More base then these, yet these more base then it,
Tride by the Test, the Quintessence of Wit.
Thence comes the Elephant, a beast of might,
Of maiestie, and humane courtesie:
And the *Rinoceros with vertues dight:
Whose bloud, bones flesh, and skin, haue secrecie,
As Phisicke rules hold most salutarie.
There is also the loftie Palme, a tree,
That beares a fruit, whereof good wine may bee.
And thence the silke, high Honours ornament,
Or rather Sirick, comes from Sirrick steede,
In great esteeme, yet but wormes excrement,
That liues and dyes, and dying leaues a seede,
That dieth not, but of it other breede.
High Peeres beholden to this silly beast,
Deck them with that, which it esteemeth least.
Arabia South, not of lesse consequence,
Yeeldes forth her talent, sable Ibony,
Finest Cottons, Mirrhe, and sweetest incense,
And Iewrie, which of yore had dignitie,
Affords the loftie Cedar, and sweete Balsamy
So much imbraced for her vertues might,
In healing hurts of wounded men in fight.
Moluccaes in the farthest part of West,
Yeelds Pepper, Cloues, Mace, Cinamon, and spice,
Ginger, Nutmegs, and Phisick drugs the best.
Yea, from the South comes many things of price.
Else where are found by nauticke arts deuice,
Sweete Ciuet, and the finest Cassia,
That Marchants bring from Aethiopia.
In Callicute the ayre most temperate,
The countrey neuer touch'd with pest:
All trees and plants are still in greene estate,
Yeelding each month new fruites, then in request:
Fayre, sweete, and pleasant: diuers yet in test.
Which eke doe differ from all other frutes,
In colour, forme, and in their diuers sutes.
In Syria, where stood fayre Paradise,
As antique writers doe the place assigne,
About Damascus, Natures benedice,
Appreares in corne, in flesh, in fruit, in wine,
Quinces, Pomegranets, and fruits of that line,
Oliues and Almonds, and the fragrant Rose,
Sing sundrie prayses by their sweete disclose[.]
But contrarie this blessing is deni'de
To many people fell and barbarous:
To them that in Tartara abide,
And in Arabia, robustious,
That follow cattel, liuing beastious,
Moouing by troupes, feeding on milke and grasse,
Seldome returning, as they erst did passe.
But in the countreyes of Ciuilitie,
Where Lawes do leade, and where Religion guides,
The people there, liue well and decently,
And plant, and sow, reape, and what besides
May yeeld supplie, fit for all wants and tydes.
These changing courses, shew dame Nature may
Giue, or depriue: none countermaundes her way.
Her vertues streames, and bountie richly flow,
From parts and Clymates best etempered,
Where ayre and waters holsomely bestow
Health and fertilitie, things gloried
Of men and beasts, that bee well qualified,
In vigor, colour, and complection,
But in extreames ill constitution.
The Ethiopians neere to the sunne,
With parching beames, that on them doe reflect,
Their colours blacke, some tawnie, some are dunne,
The head and beard are frisled of that sect,
Their bodies drier by the same effect,
Sharp witted, fierce, sterne, and of warlike minds,
And differ much from them of colder kindes.
The people in Septentrionall parts,
In countries cold, and Icie regiments,
Haue softer skinne and white, yet brutish hearts:
For these extreames breede seele good rudiments:
Yet in them both natures habiliments.
Their stature tall, their courage cruell set,
As heate and moysture their extreames beget.
Like difference in other things is found,
In herbes, in trees, and things inamimate,
They grow or wither as they like the ground:
Things of one kind stand not in like estate,
Too hot or cold, too drie or humidate.
All vegitables doe proue best in land,
Where ayre is sharpe, yet not too sharpe at hand.
Some plants applaude, (yet as their nature willes)
On driest ground, some on the moyster steede:
Some on the valyes, some aloft the hilles.
Pine trees and Cedars, and the Firre agreed,
To choose high mountaines for their better breed.
The Oke and Beech, the Ashe and Hazell tree,
In lower land and Forrests best agree.
The Alder, Popler, and the Willow loue
To liue below, where rilles of water runne.
Each creature seekes (by nature) best behoue:
Their Will perseuers, as it first begunne.
Art yet may alter, and it may be wonne,
To like the place which was not first assign'd,
Yet not, if nature do it counterbind.
For if the Orange and the Lemon trees,
Be brought from Spaine, and set in English soyle,
They grow perchance, their nature yet they leese:
And he that plants them, lendes a fruitlesse toyle:
As wash a Moore (blacke still) Art hath the foyle.
Nature preuaileth, maugre industrie,
In things where Nature will haue dignitie.
The Vine and Figge tree do refuse to grow
In Babylon, yet found a fertill land.
And Indie Occident, doth seeme a foe
To Oliue trees, there planted, will not stand
But fruitlesse, none therefore doth take in hand,
To sowe or set, the kernelles root none take:
They loose their labour that doe triall make.
No place is yet of that sterrilite,
But yeeldes a portion and beneuolence
To man, a subiect who hath soueraigntie
Ouer all creatures. Natures efficence
Begets and leaues them to mans diligence:
And diligence discreete obtaines the lot
Of life and libertie, which sloth hath not.
For gold and siluer, lead, and tynne lie dead,
And sundrie precious things, in minerals:
None find the celles wherein these things bee bred,
But such as diue into the earths entrals,
Which art and labour find out by trials.
For Nature giueth men hands, feete, and eyes,
To worke, to walke, to see, hearts to deuise.
Which well is seene among men qualifi'd
In sacred gifts, learning to liue aright:
They onely rule, they onely rectifi'd,
Doe onely polish Nature with Arts light,
Disposing creatures pleasing to the sight:
As plants and trees, gardens and Orchyards fayre,
Fraught with fayre fruites in the holsom'st ayre.
In this doth Europe farre excell the rest.
Spaine, Italy, France, high, low Germany,
And England Northmost, equall with the best,
The first most famous for sterrillitie:
The last hath fame for sweete fertilitie.
They haue the art that nature beautifies,
And nature giues the rest their dignities.
Thus prouidence diuine distributes things
To men and people, and to Nations
Peculiar. Most bountifull shee brings
Vnto them all change of conditions.
Land lendes to Land such contributions,
As may supplie each others needfulnesse.
That land wants most, that wants Truths heedfulnesse.
Yet in the barreynest, where truth is not,
And where true light lends not releeuing rayes,
There yet haue beene, and are some gifts by lot,
That sauour, some, (as blemish'd) of disprayes,
And some of vertue, all grow by essayes.
Essayes breede vse, vse, custome, custome, arts,
Arts ayding Nature, perfit both their parts.
The parts of Nature, yet most absolute,
Not subiect to the Art, for Art shee breedes:
If shee denie, Arts all stand dumbe and mute,
Art onely growes from Natures working deedes,
Which first did sowe in Aristotle seedes,
That grew to branches, others brake the same
And planted in their braines, thence Logicke came.
Auicen and Gallen, and the most of skill,
That first did find the simples Nature out,
Were not first helpers, but at first did kill.
Nature gaue wit, wit held the thing in doubt:
Doubt then made proofe. proofe brought the thing about,
And found the hearbs, fit Phisick for vnsound:
Phisicke minerals Paracelsus found.
Geometrie the mother of all Arts,
Was not at first found by a former Art:
Nature did first delineate those parts,
That Wits and Willes might come vnto her mart
And buy by practise (to adorne the heart)
The principles of Art, as Archimedes did,
Archytas too, and other, to some hid.
Art in Astrologie grew by degree,
The Babylonians excel'd therein:
Imperfect first, til Nature gaue to see:
Anaximandes did the art begin:
Since many famous in the same haue bin.
But if high Nature did forbid the skill,
None comes to Art, vsing what meanes he will.
Yet some by nature haue such apt incline
To this or that, as holpen by Arts light,
Doe see the secrets of that Art (for signe)
To which if they attribute meanest might,
They soone attaine, when others not so dight,
May striue and struggle to acheiue the same,
But yet in vaine, Nature, not will, to blame.
To some yet, are some common faculties,
And people of some lands haue priuate skill,
In some peculiar trades and mysteries,
Which doe preuaile by Nature more then will,
As if the soyle did learne them what they nill:
But there it seemes Nature and vse agrees:
And willing minds seldome their labour leese.
The Scythians did will, and vse to ride:
They grew so excellent, they gained fame,
Their horses and good horsemanship their pride.
By Bowes the Parths and Medes gat greatest name:
And English Archers famous for the same.
But now of late, by course they leaue the thing
That got them fame, and glorie to their King.
The Irishmen strong and robustious,
Vse for offensiue weapons, armed darts,
Their armes are actiue, bodies valerous,
Casting by force, assisted by their arts:
No people equalize them in these parts.
Their natures and their educations one,
Makes them most famous in these arts alone.
Although of yore the Sarmates and the Getes,
Cretens, Armaspi, and the Perses were
Admired most excelling in these fetes,
Th'Irish soyles most dreadful darters rere,
Who in the skirmish skip them here and there,
Ouer the bogges, that tremble as they runne:
The bullet vnborne, darts and arrowes wonne.
But men their manners and their properties
Doe alter so, that all things alter too,
Subiect to them, and to their faculties:
As time doth men, so men inuention woo,
And things do follow as the founders doo.
Man onely erreth from right reasons way,
Fed by fond fancie, guide vnto estray.
Who doth not see the state of fickle man,
His changing courses and his diuers turnes,
Tweene aged yeeres, and time he first began,
How time his termes from time to time adiurnes?
Time tries him still, to triumph him he wurnes,
And will not let him glorie long in blisse,
In this short progresse where no glorie is.
Before his birth hee lies as in a caue,
Inclos'd with gore, an vgly shape he beares:
Then by degrees hee gins some forme to haue,
And represents what after hee appeares,
A humane bodye then hee comes with teares
From cell of darkenesse, and partakes the light,
A silly creature, and of silly might.
Then he forthwith liues, and forthwith he dies,
Though liuing long, he lingers and decayes
From youth to age, hee pining, mortifies,
Although hee seeme to glorie in his dayes,
His day to die comes stealing, though it stayes.
And when he seemeth to haue constant state,
A change chops in, of more inconstant rate.
Man neuer standeth, but like wauing tyde,
That comes and goes, now calme, then full of ire:
Now sings he sweete, all sorrowes layd aside,
Then groweth griefe, welcome to no desire,
Heau'd vp, hurl'd downe, dismay'd, or in aspire:
Grac'd now, then in disdaine, now in the sunne
Of sweetest fauour: then eclips'd, vndonne.
Th'inconstant state of man inconstant, mooues
My constant Muse to mourne and pause a while,
Sad and in silence, as my state approues,
Beset with sorrowes, comforts in exile,
Fed with imperfect promise (wounding smile.)
Reft of releefe, the worlds change I sing.
This first approou'd, a second part I bring.
Wherein the changes of mans glorie seene,
Of Cities, Kingdomes, tongues, and Nations,
Shall well approoue, Time strong, a checklesse Queene,
Yeeldes not to idle allegations,
That fruitlesse fancie frames for fashions,
To colour sinne, and gloze fond vanitie,
With fayned habite of sweete pietie.