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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Philip and Mary Sixpence, 1554




Imprinted at London by William Ryddell.

The eagle's bird1 hath spread his wings,
And from far off hath taken flight,
In which mean way by no leverings2
On bough or branch this bird would light;
Till on the rose, both red and white,3
He 'lighteth now most lovingly,
And thereto most behovingly.

The month ensuing next to June,4
This bird this flower for perch doth take,
Rejoicingly himself to prune,5
He rouseth ripely to awake
Upon this perch to those his make:6
Concluding straight, for ripe right rest,
In the lion's bower7 to build his nest.

A bird, a beast, to make,8 to choose,
Namely, the beast most furious,
It may seem strange, and so it does,
And to this bird injurious;
It seemeth a case right curious
To make construction in such sense,
As may stand for this bird's defence.

But mark, this lion so by name,
Is properly a lamb t'assign,
No lion wild, a lion tame,
No rampant lion masculine,
The lamb-like lion feminine,
Whose mild meek property allureth
This bird to light, and him assureth.

The eagle's bird, the eagle's heir,
All other birds far surmounting,
The crowned lion matcheth fair,
Crown unto crown this bird doth bring;
A queenly queen, a kingly king.
Thus, like to like here matchèd is—
What match may match more meet9 than this?

So meet a match in parentage,
So meet a match in dignity,
So meet a match in patronage,
So meet match in benignity,
So matched from all malignity,
As, (thanks to God given for the same),
Seldom hath been seen; thus sayeth the fame.

This meet-met match, at first meeting,
In their approach together near,
Lowly,10 lovely, lively greeting,
In each to other did so appear,
That lookers-on, all must grant clear,
Their usage of such humane reach,
As all might learn, but none could teach.

Thou,11 in conjoining of these twain,
Such sacred solemn solemnity,
Such fare in feast to entertain,
Such notable nobility,
Such honour with such honesty,
Such joy, all these to plat in plot,12
Plat them who can, for I cannot.

But here one dainty president,
Number so great in place so small,
Nations so many, so different,
So suddenly met; so agree all,
Without offensive word let fall;
Save sight of twain, for whom all met,
No one sight there, like this to get.

This lamb-like lion and lamb-like bird,
To show effect as cause affords,
For that they lamb-like be concurred,
The lamb of lambs, the lord of lords;
Let us like lambs, as most accords,13
Most meekly thank in humble wise,14
As humble heart may most devise.

Which thanks full given most thankfully,
To prayer fall we on our knees,
That it may like that Lord on high
In health and wealth to prosper these,
As faith for their most high degree:
And that all we, their subjects, may
Them and their laws love and obey.

And that between these twain and one.
The three and one,15 one once to send.16
In one to knit us everyone,
And to that one such mo17 at end,
As his will only shall extend.
Grant this, good God! adding thy grace,
To make us meet to obtain this case.


[AJ Notes:]
* Queen Mary married Philip II of Spain on 25 July, 1554.
1. Philip, symbolized by the Spanish imperial eagle.
2. Use of force.
3. Mary I, symbolized by the Tudor rose.
4. July.
5. Groom.
6. Mate.
7. The lion symbolizing the English sovereign, Mary.
8. For a mate.
9. Befitting; equal.
10. Humbly; meekly.
11. i.e., God.
12. Plait in a pattern.
13. Befits.
14. Style.
15. i.e., God who is at once a trinity and one entity.
16. i.e., send one heir.
17. More.

Farmer, John S., ed. The Proverbs, Epigrams, and Miscellanies of John Heywood.
London: Early English Drama Society, 1906. 315-318.

Back to Works of John Heywood

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This page created by Anniina Jokinen on November 19, 2010. Last updated December 16, 2018.


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Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
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Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR

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