An Excerpt from
Betwixt two Ladies came a goodly Knight,
As newly brought from some distresfull place,
Itseem'd to mee he was some noble wight,
Though his attyre were miserable and base,
And care made furrowes in his manly face :
And though cold age had frosted his faire haires,
It rather seem'd for sorrow then for yeares.
The one a princely Lady did support
This feeble Image which coulde scarcly stand :
The other, fleering in disdainfull sort,
With scornefull jesture drew him by the hand,
Who being blind, yet bound with many a band.
At length, I found this proude disdainefull Dame
Was F O R TU N E, and the other, glorious F A M E.
F A M E on his right hand, in a robe of gold,
Whose stately trayne, Time as her Page did beare,
On which, for rich embrawdery was enrold,
The deedes of all the Worthies ever were,
So strongly wrought, as wrong could not empeire,
Whose large memorialls shee did still rehearse,
In Poets man-immortalizing verse.
Two Tables on her goodly breast shee bore,
The one of Christall, th'other Ebony,
Engrav'd with names of all that liv'd before
That ; the faire booke of heavenly memory,
Th'other, the black scrowle of infamy :
One stuffd with Poets, Saints, & Conquerers,
Th 'other with Atheists, Tyrants, Usurers.
And in her words appeared as a wonder,
Her during force, and never-failing might,
Which softly spake, farre of were as a thunder,
And round about the world wold take their flight,
And bring the most obscurest things to light ;
That still the farther of, the greater still
Did ever sound our good, or make our ill.
Fortune, as blinde as he whom she doth leade,
Her feature chang'd each minute of the hower,
Her riggish feet fantastickly would tread,
Now would shee smile, & suddainly would lower,
And with one breth, her words were sweet & sower.
Upon her foes, she amorously would glaunce,
And on her followers, coylie looke a scaunce.
About her necke, (it seem'd as for a chaine)
Some Princes crownes & broken scepters hong,
Upon her arme a lazie youth did leane,
Which scornfully unto the ground shee flong ;
And with a wanton grace passing along,
Great bags of gold from out her bosome drew,
And to base Pesants and fond Ideots threw.
A dusky vaile which hid her sightles eyes,
Like clowds, which cover our uncertaine lives,
Painted about with bloody Tragedies,
Fooles wearing crownes, & wisemen clogd in gives,
Now, how she gives, againe, how she deprives ;
In this black Map thus shee her might discovers,
In Campes, and Courts, on soldiers, kings, & lovers.
An easie rysing little banck there was,
The seate fayre F L O R A somtime sat upon,
Curling her locks in lovely Isis glasse,
To revell in the Springs pavilion,
Here was her court, and this her princely throne ;
Here set they downe this poore distressed man,
And in this sort proude Fortune first began.
Drayton, Michael. The Works of Michael Drayton. Volume I.
J. William Hebel, ed. Oxford: Shakespeare Head Press, 1931. 255-257.
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Created by Anniina Jokinen on November 7, 1998. Last updated on March 6, 2007.