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The Purple Island: Poeticall Miscellenies.

Phineas Fletcher.

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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.


This collection of lyrics reveals Fletcher’s flexibility as a poet, by turns as capable of densely compacted and redoubled metaphor (“To Thomalin”) and open, even playful, verse (the hymns). In nearly every instance, Fletcher puts forward a witty and weighty performance, with grace and gravity at once.
     If The Purple Island and “Elisa” are elaborate and extended experiments, these lyrics suggest in their diversity that Fletcher is an often brilliant poet by conventional standards, begging comparison to George Herbert, Donne, Jonson, and the early verse of Milton.



An Hymen at the Marriage of my most
deare Cousins Mr. W. and M. R.

    CHamus, that with thy yellow-sanded stream
    Slid'st softly down where thousand Muses dwell,
    Gracing their bowres, but thou more grac'd by them;
    Heark Chamus, from thy low-built greeny cell;
    Heark, how our Kentish woods with Hymen ring,
    While all the Nymphs, and all the shepherds sing,
Hymen, oh Hymen, here thy saffron garment bring.

    With him a shoal of goodly shepherd-swains;
    Yet he more goodly then the goodliest swain:
    With her a troop of fairest wood-nymphs trains;
    Yet she more fair then fairest of the train:
    And all in course their voice attempering,
    While the woods back their bounding Echo fling,
Hymen, come holy Hymen; Hymen lowd they sing.

    His high-built forehead almost maiden fair,
    Hath made an hundred Nymphs her chance envying:
    Her more then silver skin, and golden hair,
    Cause of a thousand shepherds forced dying.
    Where better could her love then here have nested?
    Or he his thoughts more daintily have feasted?
Hymen, come Hymen; here thy saffron coat is rested.

    His looks resembling humble Majesty,
    Rightly his fairest mothers grace befitteth:
    In her face blushing, fearfull modesty,
    The Queens of chastity and beauty, sitteth:
    There cheerfulnesse all sadnesse farre exileth:
    Here love with bow unbent all gently smileth.
Hymen come, Hymen come; no spot thy garment 'fileth.

    Love's bow in his bent eye-brows bended lies,
    And in her eyes a thousand darts of loving:
    Her shining starres, which (fools) we oft call eyes,
    As quick as heav'n it self in speedy moving;
    And this in both the onely difference being,
    Other starres blinde, these starres indu'd with seeing.
Hymen, come Hymen; all is for thy rites agreeing.

    His breast a shelf of purest alabaster,
    Where Love's self sailing often shipwrackt sitteth:
    Hers a twin-rock, unknown but to th'ship-master;
    Which though him safe receives, all other splitteth:
    Both Love's high-way, yet by Love's self unbeaten,
    Most like the milky path which crosses heaven.
Hymen, come Hymen; all their marriage joyes are even.

    And yet all these but as gilt covers be;
    Within, a book more fair we written finde:
    For Nature, framing th' Alls epitome,
    Set in the face the Index of the minde.
    Their bodies are but Temples, built for state,
    To shrine the Graces in their silver plate:
Come Hymen, Hymen come, these Temples consecrate.

    Hymen, the tier of hearts already tied;
    Hymen, the end of lovers never ending;
    Hymen, the cause of joyes, joyes never tried;
    Joyes never to be spent, yet ever spending:
    Hymen, that sow'st with men the desert sands;
    Come, bring with thee, come bring thy sacred bands:
Hymen, come Hymen, th' hearts are joyn'd, joyn thou the hands.

    Warrant of lovers, the true seal of loving,
    Sign'd with the face of joy; the holy knot,
    That bindes two hearts, and holds from slippery moving;
    A gainfull losse, a stain without a blot;
    That mak'st one soul as two, and two as one;
    Yoke lightning burdens; love's foundation:
Hymen, come Hymen, now untie the maiden zone.

    Thou that mad'st Man a brief of all thou mad'st,
    A little living world, and mad'st him twain,
    Dividing him whom first thou one creat'st,
    And by this bond mad'st one of two again,
    Bidding her cleave to him, and him to her,
    And leave their parents, when no parents were:
Hymen, send Hymen from thy sacred bosome here.

    See where he goes, how all the troop he cheereth,
    Clad with a saffron coat, in's hand a light;
    In all his brow not one sad cloud appeareth:
    His coat all pure, his torch all burning bright.
    Now chant we Hymen, shepherds; Hymen sing:
    See where he goes, as fresh as is the Spring.
Hymen, oh Hymen, Hymen, all the valleys ring.

    Oh happy pair, where nothing wants to either,
    Both having to content, and be contented;
    Fortune and nature being spare to neither!
    Ne're may this bond of holy love be rented,
    But like to parallels, run a level race,
    In just proportion, and in even space.
Hymen, thus Hymen will their spotlessse marriage grace.

    Live each other firmly lov’d, and loving;
    As farre from hate, as self-ill, jealousie:
    Moving like heav’n still in the self same moving;
    In motion ne’re forgetting constancy.
    Be all your dayes as this; no cause to plain:
    Free from satiety, or (but lovers) pain.
Hymen, so Hymen still their present joyes maintain.

To my beloved Cousin W. R. Esquire.
Calend. Januar.

    COusin, day-birds are silenc’t, and those fowl
    Yet onely sing, which late warm Phoebus light;
    Th’ unlucky Parrat, and death-boding Owl,
    Which ush’ring in to heav’n their mistresse Night,
Hollow their mates, triumphing o’re the quick-spent light.

    The wronged Philomel hath left to plan
    Tereus constraint and cruel ravishment:
    Seems the poore bird hath lost her tongue again.
    Progne long since is gone to banishment;
And the loud-tuned Thrush leaves all her merriment.

    All so my frozen Muse, hid in my breast,
    To come into the open aire refuses;
    And dragg’d at length from hence, doth oft protest,
    This is no time for Phoebus-loving Muses;
When the farre-distant sunne our frozen coast disuses.

    Then till the sunne, which yet in fishes hasks,
    Or watry urn, impounds his fainting head,
    ‘Twixt Taurus horns his warmer beam unmasks,
    And sooner rises, later goes to bed;
Calling back all the flowers, now to their mother fled:

    Till Philomel resumes her tongue again,
    And Progne fierce returns from long exiling;
    Till the shrill Blackbird chants his merry vein;
    And the day-birds the long-liv’d sunne beguiling,
Renew their mirth, and the yeares pleasant smiling:

    Here I must stay, in sullen study pent,
    Among our Cambridge fennes my time misspending;
    But then revisit our long-long’d-for Kent.
    Till then live happy, the time ever mending:
Happy the first o’ th’ yeare, thrice happy be the ending.

To Master W. C.

    WIlly my deare, that late by Haddam sitting,
    By little Haddam, in those private shades,
    Unto thy fancie thousand pleasures fitting,
    With dainty Nymphs in those retired glades,
    Didst spend thy time; (time that too quickly fades)
    Ah! much I fear, that those so pleasing toyes
Have too much lull’d thy sense and minde in slumbring joyes.

    Now art thou come to nearer Maddingly,
    Which with fresh sport and pleasure doth enthrall thee;
    There new delights withdraw thy eare, thy eye;
    Too much I fear, lest some ill chance befall thee:
    Heark, how the Cambridge Muses thence recall thee;
    Willy our dear, Willy his time abuses:
But sure thou hast forgot our Chame, and Cambridge Muses.

    Return now, Willy; now at length return thee:
    Here thou and I, under the sprouting vine,
    By yellow Chame, where no hot ray shall burn thee,
    Will sit, and sing among the Muses nine;
    And safely cover’d from the scalding shine,
    We’l read that Mantuan shepherds sweet complaining
Whom fair Alexis griev’d with his unjust disdaining:

    And when we list to lower notes descend,
    Heare Thirsil’s moan, and Fusca’s crueltie:
    He cares not now his ragged flock to tend;
    Fusca his care, but carelesse enemie:
    Hope oft he sees shine in her humble eye;
    But soon her angrie words of hope deprives him:
So often dies with love, but love as oft revives him.

To my ever honoured Cousin
W. R. Esquire.

    STrange power of home, with how strong-twisted arms
    And Gordian-twined knot dost thou enchain me!
    Never might fair Calisto’s doubled charms,
    Nor powerfull Circe’s whispring so detain me,
    Though all her art she spent to entertain me;
    Their presence could not force a weak desire:
But (oh!) thy powerfull absence breeds still-growing fire.

    By night thou try’st with strong imagination
    To force my sense ‘gainst reason to belie it:
    Me thinks I see the fast-imprinted fashion
    Of every place, and now I fully eye it;
    And though with fear, yet cannot well denie it,
    Till the morn bell awakes me; then for spite
I shut mine eyes again, and wish back such a night.

    But in the day, my never-slak’t desire
    Will cast to prove my welcome forgerie,
    That for my absence I am much the nigher;
    Seeking to please with soothing flatterie.
    Love’s wing is thought; and thought will soonest fly,
    Where it findes want: then as our love is dearer,
Absence yeelds presence; distance makes us nearer.

    Ah! might I in some humble Kentish dale
    For ever eas’ly spend my slow-pac’t houres;
    Much should I scorn fair Aeton’s pleasant vale,
    Or Windsor Tempe’s self, and proudest towers:
    There would I sit safe from the stormie showers,
    And laugh the troublous windes, and angrie skie.
Piping (ah!) might I live, and piping might I die!

    And would my luckie fortune so much grace me,
    As in low Cranebrook, or high Brenchly’s hill,
    Or in some cabin neare thy dwelling place me,
    There would I gladly sport, and sing my fill,
    And teach my tender Muse to raise her quill;
    And that high Mantuan shepherd self to dare;
If ought with that high Mantuan shepherd mought compare.

    There would I chant either thy Gemma’s praise,
    Or els my Fusca; (fairest shepherdesse)
    Or when me list my slender pipe to raise,
    Sing of Eliza’s fixed mournfulnesse,
    And much bewail such wofull heavinesse;
    Whil’st she a dear-lov’d Hart (ah lucklesse!) slew:
Whose fall she all too late, too soon, too much, did rue.

    But seeing now I am not as I would,
    But here among th’unhonour’d willows shade,
    The muddy Chame doth me enforced hold;
    Here I forsweare my merry piping trade:
    My little pipe of seven reeds ymade
    (Ah pleasing pipe!) I’le hang upon this bough.
Thou Chame, and Chamish Nymphs, bear witnesse of my vow.

To E. C. in Cambridge, my sonne
by the University.

WHen first my minde call’d it self in to think,
There fell a strife not easie for to end;
Which name should first crown the white papers brink,
An awing father, or an equall friend:
Fortune gives choice of either to my minde;
Both bonds to tie the soul, it never move;
That of commanding, this of easie love.

The lines of love, which from a fathers heart
Are draw’n down to the sonne; and from the sonne
Ascend to th’father, draw’n from every part,
Each other cut, and from the first transition
Still further wander with more wide partition:
But friends, like parallels, runne a level race,
In just proportion, and most even space.

Then since a double choice, double affection
Hath plac’t it self in my twice-loving breast;
No title then can adde to this perfection,
Nor better that, which is alreadie best:
So naming one, I must implie the rest;
The same a father, and a friend; or rather,
Both one; a father-friend, and a friend-father.

No marvel then the difference of the place
Makes in my minde at all no difference:
For love is not produc’d or penn’d in space,
Having i’ th’ soul his onely residence.
Love’s fire is thought; and thought is never thence,
Where it feels want: then where a love is deare,
The minde in farthest distance is most neare.

Me Kent holds fast with thousand sweet embraces;
(There mought I die with thee, there with thee live!)
All in the shades, the Nymphs and naked Graces
Fresh joyes and still-succeeding pleasures give;
So much we sport, we have no time to grieve:
Here do we sit, and laugh white-headed caring;
And know no sorrow simple pleasures marring.

A crown of wood-nymphs spread i’ th’ grassie plain
Sit round about, no niggards of their faces;
Nor do they cloud their fair with black disdain;
All to my self will they impart their graces:
Ah! not such joyes finde I in other places:
To them I often pipe, and often sing,
Sweet notes to sweeter voices tempering.

And now but late I sang the Hymen toyes
Of two fair lovers, (fairer were there never)
That in one bed coupled their spousall joyes;
Fortune and Nature being scant to neither:
What other dare not wish, was full in either.
Thrice happie bed, thrice happie lovers firing,
Where present blessings have out-stript desiring!

And when me list to sadder tunes apply me,
Pasilia’s dirge, and Eupathus complaining;
And often while my pipe lies idle by me,
Read Fusca’s deep disdain, and Thirsil’s plaining;
Yet in that face is no room for disdaining;
Where cheerfull kindnesse smiles in either eye,
And beauty still kisses humilitie.

Then do not marvel Kentish strong delights
Stealing the time, do here so long detain me:
Not powerfull Circe with her Hecate rites,
Nor pleasing Lotos thus could entertain me,
As Kentish powerfull pleasures here enchain me.
Mean time, the Nymphs that in our Brenchly use,
Kindly salute your busy Cambridge Muse.

To my beloved Thenot in answer of his

    THenot my deare, how can a lofty hill
    To lowly shepherds thoughts be rightly fitting?
    An humble dale well fits with humble quill:
    There may I safely sing, all fearlesse sitting,
    My Fusca’s eyes, my Fusca’s beauty dittying;
    My loved lonenesse, and hid Muse enjoying:
    Yet should’st thou come, and see our simple toying,
Well would fair Thenot like our sweet retired joying.

    But if my Thenot love my humble vein,
    (Too lowly vein) ne’re let him Colin call me;
    He, while he was, was (ah!) the choicest swain,
    That ever grac’d a reed: what e’re befall me,
    Or Myrtil, (so’fore Fusca fair did thrall me,
    Most was I know’n) or now poore Thirsil name me,
    Thirsil, for so my Fusca pleases frame me:
But never mounting Colin; Colin’s high stile will shame me.

    Two shepherds I adore with humble love;
    The’ high-towring swain, that by slow Mincius waves
    His well-grown wings at first did lowly prove,
    Where Corydon’s sick love full sweetly raves;
    But after sung bold Turnus daring braves:
    And next our nearer Colin’s sweetest strain;
    Most, where he most his Rosalind doth plain.
Well may I after look, but follow all in vain.

    Why then speaks Thenot of the honour’d Bay?
    Apollo’s self, though fain, could not obtain her;
    She at his melting songs would scorn to stay,
    Though all his art he spent to entertain her:
    Wilde beasts he tam’d, yet never could detain her.
    Then sit we here within this willow glade:
    Here for my Thenot I a garland made
With purple violets, and lovely myrtil shade.

Upon the picture of Achmat the
Turkish tyrant.

SUch Achmat is, the Turks great Emperour,
Third sonne to Mahomet, whose youthly spring
But now with blossom’d cheek begins to flower;
Out of his face you well may read a King:
        Which who will throughly view, will eas’ly finde
        A perfect Index to his haughty minde.

Within his breast, as in a palace, lie
Wakefull ambition leagu’d with hastie pride;
Fiercenesse alli’d with Turkish Majestie;
Rests hate, in which his father living dy’d:
        Deep in his heart such Turkish vertue lies,
        And thus looks through the window of his eyes.

His pleasure (farre from pleasure) is to see
His navie spread her wings unto the winde:
In stead of gold, arms fill his treasurie,
Which (numberlesse) fill not his greedie minde.
        The sad Hungarian fears his tried might;
        And waning Persia trembles at his sight.

His greener youth, most with the heathen spent,
Gives Christian Princes justest cause to fear
His riper age, whose childhood thus is bent.
A thousand trophies will he shortly rear,
        Unlesse that God, who gave him first this rage,
        Binde his proud head in humble vassalage.

To Mr. Jo. Tomkins.

THomalin my lief, thy musick strains to heare,
More raps my soul, then when the swelling windes
On craggie rocks their whistling voices tear;
Or when the sea, if stopt his course he findes,
With broken murmures thinks weak shores to fear,
Scorning such sandie cords his proud head bindes:
        More then where rivers in the summers ray
        (Through covert glades cutting their shadie way)
Run tumbling down the lawns, & with the pebles play.

Thy strains to heare, old Chamus from his cell
Comes guarded with an hundred Nymphs around;
An hundred Nymphs, that in his rivers dwell,
About him flock with water-lilies crown’d:
For thee the Muses leave their silver well,
And marvel where thou all their art hast found:
        There sitting they admire thy dainty strains,
        And while thy sadder accent sweetly plains,
Feel thousand sugred joyes creep in their melting veins.

How oft have I, the Muses bower frequenting,
Miss’d them at home, and found them all with thee!
Whether thou sing’st sad Eupathus lamenting,
Or tunest notes to sacred harmonie,
The ravisht soul, with thy sweet songs consenting,
Scorning the earth, in heav’nly extasie
        Transcends the starres, and with the angels train
        Those courts survaies; and now come back again,
Findes yet another heav’n in thy delightfull strain.

Ah! could’st thou here thy humble minde content
Lowly with me to live in countrey cell,
And learn suspect the courts proud blandishment;
Here might we safe, here might we sweetly dwell.
Live Pallas in her towers and marble tent;
But (ah!) the countrey bowers please me as well:
        There with my Thomalin I safe would sing,
        And frame sweet ditties to thy sweeter string:
There would we laugh at spite and fortunes thundering.

No flattery, hate, or envy lodgeth there;
There no suspicion wall’d in proved steel,
Yet fearfull of the arms her self doth wear:
Pride is not there; no tirent there we feel;
No clamorous laws shall deaf thy musick eare:
They know no change, nor wanton fortunes wheel:
        Thousand fresh sports grown in those daintie places:
        Light Fawns & Nymphs dance in the woodie spaces,
And little Love himself plaies with the naked Graces.

But seeing fate my happie wish refuses,
Let me alone enjoy my low estate.
Of all the gifts that fair Parnassus uses,
Onely scorn’d povertie, and fortunes hate
Common I finde to me, and to the Muses:
But with the Muses welcome poorest fate.
        Safe in my humble cottage will I rest;
        And lifting up from my untainted breast
A quiet spirit to heav’n, securely live, and blest.

To thee I here bequeath the courtly joyes,
Seeing to court my Thomalin is bent:
Take from thy Thirsil these his idle toyes;
Here I will end my looser merriment:
And when thou sing’st them to the wanton boyes,
Among the courtly lasses blandishment,
        Think of thy Thirsil’s love that never spends;
        And softly say, his love still better mends:
Ah too unlike the love of court, or courtly friends!

Go little pipe; for ever I must leave thee,
My little little pipe, but sweetest ever:
Go, go; for I have vow’d to see thee never,
Never, (ah!) never must I more receive thee;
But he in better love will still persever:
        Go little pipe, for I must have a new:
        Farewell ye Norfolk maids, and Ida crue:
Thirsil will play no more; for ever now adieu.

To Thomalin.

THomalin, since Thirsil nothing ha’s to leave thee,
And leave thee must; pardon me (gentle friend)
If nothing but my love I onely give thee;
Yet see how great this Nothing is, I send:
        For though this love of thine I sweetest prove,
        Nothing’s more sweet then is this sweetest love.

The souldier Nothing like his prey esteems;
Nothing toss’d sailers equall to the shore:
Nothing before his health the sick man deems;
The pilgrim hugges his countrey; Nothing more:
        The miser hoording up his golden wares,
        This Nothing with his precious wealth compares.

Our thoughts ambition onely Nothing ends;
Nothing fills up the golden-dropsied minde:
The prodigall, that all so lavish spends,
Yet Nothing cannot; Nothing stayes behinde:
        The King, that with his life a kingdome buyes,
        Then life or crown doth Nothing higher prize.

Who all enjoyes, yet Nothing now desires;
Nothing is greater then the highest Jove:
Who dwells in heav’n, (then) Nothing more requires;
Love, more then honey; Nothing is more sweet then love:
        Nothing is onely better then the best;
        Nothing is sure: Nothing is ever blest.

I love my health, my life, my books, my friends,
Thee; (dearest Thomalin) Nothing above thee:
For when my books, friends, health, life, fainting ends,
When thy love fails, yet Nothing still will love me:
        When heav’n, and aire, the earth, and floating mains
        Are gone, yet Nothing still untoucht remains.

Since then to other streams I must betake me,
And spitefull Chame of all ha’s quite bereft me;
Since Muses selves (false Muses) will forsake me,
And but this Nothing, nothing els is left me;
        Take thou my love, and keep it still in store:
        That given, Nothing now remaineth more.

Against a rich man despising

IF well thou view’st us with no squinted eye,
No partiall judgement, thou wilt quickly rate
Thy wealth no richer then my povertie;
My want no poorer then thy rich estate:
        Our ends and births alike; in this, as I;
        Poore thou wert born, and poore again shalt die.

My little fills my little-wishing minde;
Thou having more then much, yet seekest more:
Who seeks, still wishes what he seeks, to finde;
Who wishes, wants; and who so wants, is poore:
        Then this must follow of necessitie;
        Poore are thy riches, rich my povertie.

Though still thou gett’st, yet is thy want not spent,
But as thy wealth, so growes thy wealthy itch:
But with my little I have much content;
Content hath all; and who hath all, is rich:
        Then this in reason thou must needs confesse,
        If I have little, yet that thou hast lesse.

What ever man possesses, God hath lent,
And to his audit liable is ever,
To reckon, how, and where, and when he spent:
Then this thou bragg’st, thou art a great receiver:
        Little is my debt, when little is my store:
        The more thou hast, thy debt still growes the more.

But seeing God himself descended down
T’ enrich the poore by his rich povertie;
His meat, his house, his grave, were not his own,
Yet all is his from all eternitie:
        Let me be like my head, whom I adore:
        Be thou great, wealthie, I still base and poore.


COntinuall burning, yet no fire or fuel,
Chill icie frosts in midst of summers frying,
A hell most pleasing, and a heav’n most cruel,
A death still living, and a life still dying,
        And whatsoever pains poore hearts can prove,
        I feel, and utter in one word, I LOVE.

Two fires, of love and grief, each upon either,
And both upon one poore heart ever feeding;
Chill cold despair, most cold, yet cooling neither,
In midst of fires his ycie frosts is breeding:
        So fires and frosts, to make a perfect hell,
        Meet in one breast, in one house friendly dwell.

Tir’d in this toylsome way (my deep affection)
I ever forward runne, and never ease me:
I dare not swerve, her eye is my direction:
A heavie grief, and weighty love oppresse me.
        Desire and hope, two spurres, that forth compell’d me;
        But awfull fear, a bridle, still withheld me.

Twice have I plung’d, and flung, and strove to cast
This double burden from my weary heart:
Fast though I runne, and stop, they sit as fast:
Her looks my bait, which she doth seld’ impart.
        Thus fainting, still some inne I wish and crave;
        Either her maiden bosome, or my grave.

A vow.

BY hope and fear, by grief and joy opprest,
With deadly hate, more deadly love infected;
Without, within, in body, soul, distrest;
Little by all, least by my self respected,
But most, most there, where most I lov’d, neglected;
        Hated, and hating life, to death I call;
        Who scorns to take what is refus’d by all.

Whither, ah, whither then wilt thou betake thee,
Despised wretch, of friends, of all forlorn,
Since hope, and love, and life, and death forsake thee?
Poore soul, thy own tormenter, others scorn!
Whither, poore soul, ah, whither wilt thou turn?
        What inne, what host (scorn’d wretch) wilt thou now chuse thee?
        The common host, and inne, death, grave, refuse thee.

To thee, great Love, to thee I prostrate fall,
That right’st in love the heart in false love swerved:
On thee, true Love, on thee I weeping call;
I, who am scorn’d, where with all truth I served,
Oh thee, so wrong’d, where thou hast so deserved:
        Disdain’d, where most I lov’d, to thee I plain me,
        Who truly lovest those, who (fools) disdain thee.

Thou never-erring Way, in thee direct me;
Thou Death of death, oh, in thy death engrave me:
Thou hated Love, with thy firm love respect me;
Thou freest Servant, from this yoke unslave me:
Glorious Salvation, for thy glory save me.
        So neither love, nor hate, scorn, death, shall move me;
        But with thy love, great Love, I still shall love thee.

On womens lightnesse.

WHo sowes the sand? or ploughs the easie shore?
Or strives in nets to prison in the wind?
Yet I, (fond I) more fond, and senselesse more,
Thought in sure love a womans thoughts to binde.
        Fond, too fond thoughts, that thought in love to tie
        One more inconstant then inconstancie!

Look as it is with some true April day,
Whose various weather stores the world with flowers;
The sunne his glorious beams doth fair display,
Then rains, and shines again, and straight it lowres,
        And twenty changes in one houre doth prove;
        So, and more changing is a womans love.

Or as the hairs on which deck their wanton heads,
Which loosely fly, and play with every winde,
And with each blast turn round their golden threads;
Such as their hair, such is their looser minde:
        The difference this, their hair is often bound;
        But never bonds a woman might impound.

False is their flattering colour, false and fading;
False is their flattering tongue; false every part:
Their hair is forg’d, their silver foreheads shading;
False are their eyes, but falsest is their heart:
        Then this in consequence must needs ensue;
        All must be false, when every part’s untrue.

Fond then my thoughts, which thought a thing so vain!
Fond hopes, that anchour on so false a ground!
Fond love, to love what could not love again!
Fond heart, thus fir’d with love, in hope thus drown’d!
        Fond thoughts, fond heart, fond hope; but fondest I,
        To grasp the winde, and love inconstancie!

A reply upon the fair M. S.

A Daintie maid, that drawes her double name
From bitter sweetnesse, (with sweet bitternesse)
Did late my skill and faulty verses blame,
And to her loving friend did plain confesse,
That I my former credit foul did shame,
And might no more a poets name professe:
        The cause that with my verse she was offended,
        For womens levitie I discommended.

Too true you said, that poet I was never,
And I confesse it (fair) if that content ye,
That then I playd the poet lesse then ever;
Not, for such a verse I now repent me,
(Poets to feigne, and make fine lies endeavour)
But I tell the truth, truth (ah!) too certain sent ye:
        Then that I am no poet I denie not;
        For when their lightnesse I condemne, I ly not.

But if my verse had ly’d against the minde,
And praised that which truth cannot approve,
And falsely said, they were as fair as kinde,
As true as sweet, their faith could never move,
But sure is linkt where constant love they finde,
That with sweet braving they vie truth and love;
        If thus I write, it cannot be deni’d
        But I a poet were, so foul I ly’d.

But give me leave to write as I have found:
Like ruddy apples are their outsides bright,
Whose skin is fair, the core or heart unsound;
Whose cherry-cheek the eye doth much delight,
But inward rottennesse the taste doth wound:
Ah! were the taste so good as is the sight,
        To pluck such apples (lost with self-same price)
        Would back restore us part of paradise.

But truth has said it, (truth who dare denie?)
Men seldome are, more seldome women sure:
But if (fair-sweet) thy truth and constancie
To better faith thy thoughts and minde procure,
If thy firm truth could give firm truth the lie,
If thy first love will first and last endure;
        Thou more then woman art, if time so proves thee,
        And he more then a man, that loved loves thee.

An Apologie for the premises to the
Ladie Culpepper.

WHo with a bridle strives to curb the waves?
Or in a cypresse chest locks flaming fires?
So when love angred in thy bosome raves,
And grief with love a double flame inspires,
        By silence thou mayst adde, but never lesse it:
        The way is by expressing to represse it.

Who then will blame affection not respected,
To vent in grief the grief that so torments him?
Passion will speak in passion, if neglected:
Love that so soon will chide, as soon repents him;
        And therefore boyish Love’s too like a boy,
        With a toy pleas’d, displeased with a toy.

Have you not seen, when you have chid or fought,
That lively picture of your lovely beauty,
Your pretty childe, at first to lowre or pout,
But soon again reclaim’d to love and duty;
        Forgets the rod, and all her anger ends,
        Playes on your lap, or on your neck depends:

Too like that pretty childe is childish Love,
That when in anger he is wrong’d, or beat,
Will rave and chide, and every passion prove,
But soon to smiles and fawns turns all his heat,
        And prayes, and swears he never more will do it;
        Such one is Love: alas that women know it!

But if so just excuse will not content ye,
But still you blame the words of angry Love;
Here I recant, and of those words repent me:
In signe hereof I offer now to prove,
        That changing womens love is constant ever,
        And men, though ever firm, are constant never.

For men that to one fair their passions binde,
Must ever change, as do those changing fairs;
So as she alters, alters still their minde,
And with their fading Loves their love impairs:
        Therefore still moving, as thee fair they loved,
        Most do they move, by being most unmoved.

But women, when their lovers change their graces,
What first in them they lov’d, love now in others,
Affecting still the same in divers places;
So never change their love, but change their lovers:
        Therefore their minde is firm and constant prov’d,
        Seeing they ever love what first they lov’d.

Their love ty’d to some vertue, cannot stray,
Shifting the outside oft, the inside never:
But men (when now their Loves dissolv’d to clay
Indeed are nothing) still in love persever:
        How then can such fond men be constant made,
        That nothing love, or but (a nothing) shade?

What fool commends a stone for never moving?
Or blames the speedie heav’ns for ever ranging?
Cease then, fond men, to blaze your constant loving;
Love’s firie, winged, light, and therefore changing:
        Fond man, that thinks such fire and air to fetter!
        All change; men for the worse, women for better.

To my onely chosen Valentine and wife,

THink not (fair love) that Chance my hand directed
To make my choice my chance; blinde Chance & hands
Could never see what most my minde affected;
But heav’n (that ever with chaste true love stands)
Lent eyes to see what most my heart respected:
Then do not thou resist what heav’n commands;
        But yeeld thee his, who must be ever thine:
        My heart thy altar is, my breast thy shrine;
Thy name forever is, My brests chaste Valentine.

A translation of Boethius, the third book
and last verse.

HAppie man, whose perfect sight
Views the over-flowing light!
Happie man, that canst unbinde
Th’ earth-barres pounding up the minde!
Once his wives quick fate lamenting
Orpheus sat, his hair all renting,
While the speedie woods came running,
And rivers stood to heare his cunning;
And the lion with the hart
Joyn’d side to side to heare his art:
Hares ran with the dogs along,
Not from dogs, but to his song.
But when all his verses turning
Onely fann’d his poore hearts burning,
And his grief came but the faster,
(His verse all easing, but his master)
Of the higher powers complaining,
Down he went to hell disdaining:
There his silver lute-strings hitting,
And his potent verses fitting,
All the sweets that e’re he took
From his sacred mothers brook,
What his double sorrow gives him,
And love, that doubly-double grieves him,
There he spends to move deaf hell,
Charming divels with his spell,
And with sweetest asking leave
Does he lords of ghosts deceive.
The dog, whose never quiet yell
Affrights sad souls in night that dwell,
Pricks up now his thrice two eares;
To howl, or bark, or whine he fears:
Struck with dumbe wonder at those songs,
He wisht more eares, and fewer tongues.
Charon amaz’d his oare foreslowes,
While the boat the sculler rowes.
Tantal might have eaten now
The fruit as still as is the bough;
But he (fool!) no hunger fearing,
Starv’d his taste, to feed his hearing.
Ixion, though his wheel stood still,
Still was rapt with musicks skill.
At length the Judge of souls with pitie
Yeelds, as conquer’d with his dittie;
Let’s give back his spouses herse,
Purchas’d with so pleasing verse:
Yet this law shall binde our gift,
He turn not, till ha’s Tartar left.
Who to laws can lovers draw?
Love in love is onely law:
Now almost he left the night,
When he first turn’d back his sight;
And at once, while her he ey’d,
His Love he saw, and lost, and dy’d.
So, who strives out of the night
To bring his soul to joy in light,
Yet again turns back his eye
To view left hells deformitie;
Though he seems enlightned more,
Yet is blacker then afore.

A translation of Boethius,
book 2 verse 7.

WHo onely honour seeks with prone affection,
And thinks that glory is his greatest blisse;
First let him view the heav’ns wide-stretched section,
Then in some mappe the earths short narrownesse:
        Well may he blush to see his name not able
        To fill one quarter of so brief a table.

Why then should high-grow’n mindes so much rejoice
To draw their stubborn necks from mans subjection?
For though loud fame stretch high her pratling voice
To blaze abroad their vertues great pefection;
        Though goodly titles of their house adorn them
        With ancient Heraldrie, yet death doth scorn them:
        The high and base lie in the self same grave;
        No difference there between a King and slave.

Where now are true Fabricius bones remaining?
Who knowes where Brutus, or rough Cato lives?
Onely a weak report, their names sustaining,
In records old a slender knowledge gives:
        Yet when we reade the deeds of men inhumed,
        Can we by that know them, long since consumed?

Now therefore lie you buried and forgotten;
Nor can report frustrate encroaching death:
Or if you think when you are dead, and rotten,
You live again by fame, and vulgar breath;
        When with times shadows this false glory wanes,
        You die again: but this your glorie gains.

Upon my brother, Mr G. F. his book entituled
Christs Victorie and Triumph.

FOnd lads, that spend so fast your posting time,
(Too posting time, that spends your time as fast)
To chant light toyes, or frame some wanton rhyme,
Where idle boyes may glut their lustfull taste;
Or else with praise to clothe some fleshly slime
With virgin roses, and fair lilies chaste:
        While itching blouds, and youthfull eares adore it;
But wiser men, and once your selves will most abhorre it.

But thou, (most neare, most deare) in this of thine
Hast prov’d the Muses not to Venus bound;
Such as thy matter, such thy Muse, divine:
Or hast thou such grace with Mercie’s self hast found,
That she her self deignes in thy leaves to shine;
Or stoll’n from heav’n, thou brought’st this verse to ground,
        Which frights the nummed soul with fearfull thunder,
And soon with honeyed dews thawes it ‘twixt joy and wonder.

Then do not thou malicious tongues esteem;
(The glasse, through which an envious eye doth gaze,
Can eas’ly make a mole-hill mountain seem)
His praise dispraises; his dispraises praise;
Enough, if best men best thy labours deem,
And to the highest pitch thy merit raise;
        While all the Muses to thy song decree
Victorious Triumph, Triumphant Victorie.

Upon the B. of Exon. Doct. Hall
his Meditations.

    MOst wretched soul, that here carowsing pleasure,
    Hath all his heav’n on earth; and ne’re distressed
    Enjoyes these fond delights without all measure,
    And freely living thus, is thus deceased!
    Ah greatest curse, so to be ever blessed!
    For where to live is heav’n, ‘tis hell to die.
Ah wretch, that here begins hells miserie!

    Most bessed soul, that lifted up with wings
    Of faith and love, leaves this base habitation,
    And scorning sluggish earth, to heav’n up springs;
    On earth, yet still in heav’n by meditation;
    With the souls eye foreseeing th’ heav’nly station:
    Then ‘gins his life, when he’s of life bereaven.
Ah blessed soul, that here begins his heaven!

Upon the Contemplations of the B. of Excester,
given to the Ladie E. W. at New-yeares-tide.

THis little worlds two little starres are eyes;
And he that all eyes framed, fram’d all others
Downward to fall, but these to climbe the skies,
There to acquaint them with their starrie brothers;
       Planets fixt in the head (their speare of sense)
       Yet wandring still through heav’ns circumference,
       The Intellect being their Intelligence.

Dull then that heavie soul, which ever bent
On earth and earthly toyes, his heav’n neglects;
Content with that which cannot give content:
What thy foot scorning kicks, thy soul respects.
       Fond soul! thy eye will up to heav’n erect thee;
       Thou it direct’st, and must it now direct thee?
       Dull, heavie soul! thy scholar must correct thee.

Thrice happie soul, that guided by thine eyes,
Art mounted up unto that starrie nation;
And leaving there thy sense, entrest the skies,
Enshrin’d and sainted there by contemplation!
       Heav’n thou enjoy’st on earth, and now bereaven
       Of life, a new life to thy soul is given.
       Thrice happie soul, that hast a double heaven!

That sacred hand, which to this yeare hath brought you
Perfect your yeares, and with your yeares, his graces;
And when his will unto his will hath wrought you,
Conduct your soul unto those happie places,
       Where thousand joyes, and pleasures ever new,
       And blessings thicker then the morning dew
       With endlesse sweets rain on that heav’nly crue.

These Asclepiads of Mr. H. S. translated
and enlarged.

Ne Verbum mihi sit mortua Litera,
Nec Christi Meritum Gratia vanida;
Sed Verbum fatuo sola Scientia,
Et Christus misero sola Redemptio.

UNletter’d Word, which never eare could heare;
Unwritten Word, which never eye could see,
Yet syllabled in flesh-spell’d character,
That so to senses thou might’st subject be;
       Since thou in bread art stampt, in print art read,
       Let not thy print-stampt Word to me be dead.

Thou all-contriving, all-deserving Siprit,
Made flesh to die, that so thou might’st be mine,
That thou in us, and we in thee might merit,
We thine, thou ours; thou humane, we divine;
       Let not my dead lifes merit, my dead heart,
       Forfeit so deare a purchas’d deaths desert.

Thou Sunne of wisdome, knowledge infinite,
Made folly to the wise, night to prophane;
Be I thy Moon, oh let thy sacred light
Increase to th’ full, and never, never wane:
       Wise folly set in me, fond wisdome rise,
       Make me renounce my wisdome, to be wise.

Thou Life eternall, purest blessednesse,
Made mortal, wretched, sinne it self for me;
Shew me my death, my sin, my wretchednesse,
That I may flourish, shine, and life in thee:
       So I with praise shall sing thy live, deaths storie,
       O thou my Merit, Life, my Wisdome, Glorie.

Certain of the royal Prophets
Psalmes metaphrased.

Psalm 42. which agrees with the tune of
Like the Hermite poore.

LOok as an hart with sweat and bloud embrued,
Chas’d and embost, thirsts in the soil to be;
So my poore soul with eager foes pursued,
Looks, longs, O Lord, pines, pants, and faints for thee:
       When, O my God, when shall I come in place
       To see thy light, and view thy glorious face?

I dine and sup with sighs, with grones and teares,
While all thy foes mine eares with taunting load;
Who now thy cries, who now thy prayer heares?
Where is, say they, where is thy boasted God?
       My molted heart deep plung’d in sad despairs
       Runnes forth to thee in streams of teares and prayers.

With grief I think on those sweet now past dayes,
When to thy house my troops with joy I led:
We sang, we danc’d, we chanted sacred layes;
No men so haste to wine, no bride to bed.
       Why droop’st, my soul? why faint’st thou in my breast?
       Wait still with praise; his presence is thy rest.

My famisht soul driv’n from thy sweetest word,
(From Hermon hill, and Jordans swelling brook)
To thee laments, sighs deep to thee, O Lord,
To thee sends back her hungrie longing look:
       Flouds of thy wrath breed flouds of grief and fears;
       And flouds of grief breed flouds of plaints and teares.

His early light with morn these clouds shall clear,
These drearie clouds, and storms of sad despairs:
Sure am I in the night his songs to heare,
Sweet songs of joy, as well as he my prayers.
       I’le say, My God, why slight’st thou my distresse,
       While all my foes my wearie soul oppresse?

My cruel foes both thee and me upbraid;
They cut my heart, they vant that bitter word,
Where is thy trust? where is thy hope? they said;
Where is thy God? where is thy boasted Lord?
       Why droop’st, my soul? why faint’st thou in my breast?
       Wait still with praise; his presence is thy rest.

Psal. 63. which may be sung, as
The widow, or mock-widow.

              O Lord, before the morning
              Gives heav’n warning
              To let out the day,
              My wakefull eyes
              Look for thy rise,
       And wait to let in thy joyfull ray.
Lank hunger here peoples the desert cells,
       Here thirst fills up the emptie wells:
How longs my flesh for that bread without leaven!
       How thirsts my soul for that wine of heaven!
Such (oh!) to taste thy ravishing grace!
Such in thy house to view thy glorious face!

       Thy love, thy light, thy faces
              Bright-shining graces,
              (Whose unchanged ray
              Knows nor morns dawn,
              Nor evenings wane)
       How farre surmount they lifes winter day!
My heart to thy glorie tunes all his strings;
       My tongue thy praises cheerly sings:
And till I slumber, and death shall undresse me,
       Thus will I sing, thus will I blesse thee.
Fill me with love, oh fill me with praise;
So shall I vent due thanks in joyfull layes.

       When night all eyes hath quenched,
              And thoughts lie drenched
              In silence and rest;
              Then will I all
              Thy waies recall,
       And look on thy light in darknesse best.
When my poore soul wounded had lost the field,
       Thou was my fort, thou wast my shield.
Safe in thy trenches I boldly will vant me,
       There will I sing, there will I chant thee;
There I’le triumphe in thy banner of grace,
My conqu’ring arms shall be thy arms embrace.
       My foes from deeps ascending,
              In rage transcending,
              Assaulting me sore,
              Into their hell
              Are headlong fell;
       There shall they lie, there howl, and roare:
There let deserv’d torments their spirits tear;
       Feel they worst ills, and worse yet fear.
But with his spouse thine anointed in pleasure
       Shall reigne, and joy past time or measure:
There new delights, new pleasures shall spring:
Haste there, oh haste, my soul, to dance and sing.

PSAL. 127.
To the tune of that Psalme.

IF God build not the house, and lay
The ground-work sure; who ever build,
It cannot stand one stormie day:
If God be not the cities shield,
       If he be not their barres and wall;
       If vain is watch-tower, men, and all.

Though then thou wak’st when others rest,
Though rising thou prevent’st the Sunne;
Though with lean care thou daily feast,
Thy labour’s lost, and thou undone:
       But God his childe will feed and keep,
       And draw the curtains to his sleep.

Though th’ hast a wife fit, young, and fair,
An heritage heires to advance;
Yet canst thou not command an heir;
For heirs are Gods inheritance:
       He gives the seed, the bud, the bloom;
       He gives the harvest to the wombe.

And look as arrows, by strong arm
In a strong bow drawn to the head,
Where they are meant, will surely harm,
And if they hit, wound deep and dead;
       Children of youth are even so;
       As harmfull, deadly, to a foe.

That man shall live in blisse and peace,
Who fills his quiver with such shot:
Whose garners swell with such increase,
Terrour and shame assail him not;
       And though his foes deep hatred bear,
       Thus arm’d, he shall not need to fear.

PSAL. 137
To be sung as, See the building.

       WHere Perah’s flowers
       Perfume proud Babels bowers,
       And paint her wall;
There we laid asteeping
Our eyes in endlesse weeping,
       For Sions fall.
Our feasts and songs we laid aside;
       On forlorn willows
       (By Perah’s billows)
We hung our harps, and mirth and joy defi’d,
That Sions ruines should build foul Babels pride.

Our conqu’rours vaunting
With bitter scoffes and taunting,
       Thus proudly jest;
Take down your harps, and string them,
Recall your songs, & sing them,
       For Sions feast.
Were our harps well tun’d in every string,
       Our heart-strings broken,
       Throats drown’d, and soken
With tears and sighs, how can we praise and sing
The King of heav’n under an heathen king?

In all my mourning,
Jerusalem, thy burning
       If I forget;
Forget thy running,
My hand, and all thy cunning
       To th’harp set:
Let thy mouth, my tongue, be still thy grave;
       Lie there asleeping,
       For Sion weeping:
Oh let mine eyes in tears thy office have;
Nor rise, nor set, but in their brinie wave.

Proud Edoms raging,
Their hate with bloud asswaging,
       And vengefull sword,
Their cursed joying
In Sions walls destroying
       Remember, Lord:
Forget not, Lord, their spightfull cry,
       Fire and deface it,
       Destroy and raze it;
Oh let the name of Sion ever die:
Thus did they roare, and us and thee defie.

So shall thy towers
And all thy princely bowers,
       Proud Babel, fall:
Him ever blessed,
Who th’ oppressour hath oppressed,
       Shall all men call:
Thrice blest, that turns thy mirth to grones;
       That burns to ashes
       Thy towers, and dashes
Thy brats ‘gainst rocks, to wash thy bloudie stones
With thine own bloud, and pave thee with thy bones.


BLessed, who walk’st not in the worldlings way;
Blessed, who with foul sinners wilt not stand:
Blessed, who with proud mockers dar’st not stay;
Nor sit thee down amongst that scornfull band.
       Thrice blessed man, who in that heav’nly light
       Walk’st, stand’st, and sitt’st, rejoycing day and night.

Look as a thirstie Palm full Jordan drinks,
(Whose leaf and fruit still live, when winter dies)
With conqu’ring branches crowns the rivers brinks;
And summers fires, and winters frosts defies:
       All so the soul, whom that clear light revives,
       Still springs, buds, grows, and dying time survives.

But as the dust of chaffe, cast in the aire,
Sinks in the dirt, and turns to dung and mire;
So sinners driv’n to hell by fierce despair,
Shall frie in ice, and freez in hellish fire:
       For he, whose flaming eyes all actions turn,
       Sees both; to light the one, the other burn.

PSAL. 130.

FRom the deeps of grief and fear,
O Lord, to thee my soul repairs:
From thy heav’n bow down thine eare;
Let thy mercie meet my prayers.
       Oh if thou mark’st
              what’s done amisse,
       What soul so pure,
              can see thy blisse?

But with thee sweet mercie stands,
Sealing pardons, working fear:
Wait my soul, wait on his hands;
Wait mine eye, oh wait mine eare:
       If he his eye
              or tongue affords,
       Watch all his looks,
              catch all his words.

As a watchman waits for day,
And looks for light, and looks again;
When the night growns old and gray,
To be relieve’d he calls amain:
       So look, so wait,
              so long mine eyes,
       To see my Lord,
              my Sunne, arise.

Wait ye saints, wait on our Lord;
For from his tongue sweet mercie flows:
Wait on his crosse, wait on his word;
Upon that tree redemption grows:
       He will redeem
              his Israel
       From sinne and wrath,
              from death and hell.


WAke, O my soul; awake, and raise
Up every part to sing his praise,
Who from his spheare of glorie fell,
To raise thee up from death and hell:
See how much his soul, vext for thy sinne,
Weeps bloud without, feels hell within:
       See where he hangs;
              heark how he cries:
       Oh bitter pangs!
              Now, now he dies.

Wake, O mine eyes; awake, and view
Those two twin-lights, whence heavens drew
Their glorious beams, whose gracious sight
Fills you with joy, with life, and light:
See how with clouds of sorrow drown’d,
They wash with tears thy sinfull wound;
       See how with streams
              of spit th’are drencht;
       See how with their beams
              with death are quencht.

Wake, O mine eare; awake, and heare
That powerfull voice, which stills thy fear,
And brings from ehav’n those joyfull news,
Which heav’n commands, which hell subdues;
Heark how his eares (heav’ns mercie-seat)
Foul slanders with reproaches beat:
       Heark how the knocks
              our ears resound;
       Heark how their mocks
              his hearing wound.

Wake O my heart; tune every string:
Wake O my tongue; awake, and sing:
Think not a thought in all thy layes,
Speak not a word, but of his praise:
Tell how his sweetest tongue they drownd
With gall; think how his heart they wound:
       That bloudie spout
              gagg’d for thy sinne,
       His life lets out,
              thy death lets in.


       DRop, drop, slow tears,
              and bathe those beauteous feet,
       Which brought from heav’n
              the news and Prince of peace:
       Cease not, wet eyes,
              his mercies to intreat;
       To crie for vengeance
              sinne doth never cease:
       In your deep flouds
              drown all my faults and fears;
       Nor let his eye
              see sinne, but through my tears.

On my friends picture, who died in travel.

THough now to heav’n thy travels are confin’d,
Thy wealth, friends, life, and countrey, all are lost;
Yet in this picture we thee living finde;
And thou with lesser travel, lesser cost,
Hast found new life, friends, wealth, and better coast:
       So by thy death thou liv’st, by losse thou gain’st,
       And in thy absence present still remain’st.

Upon Doctor Playfer.

WHo lives with death, by death in death is lying;
But he who living dies, best lives by dying:
Who life to truth, who death to errour gives,
In life may die, by death more surely lives.
       My soul in heaven breathes, in schools my fame:
       Then on my tombe write nothing but my name.

Upon my brothers book called, The grounds,
labour, and reward of faith.

THis lamp fill’d up, and fir’d by that blest Spirit,
Spent his last oyl in this pure heav’nly flame;
Laying the grounds, walls, roof of faith: this frame
With life he ends; and now doth there inherit
What here he built, crown’d with his laurel merit:
       Whose palms and triumphs once he loudly rang,
       There now enjoyes what here he sweetly sang.

This is his monument, on which he drew
His spirits image, that can never die;
But breathes in these ‘live words, and speaks to th’ eye:
In these his winding-sheets he dead doth shew
To buried souls the way to live anew,
       And in his grave more powerfully now preacheth.
       Who will not learn, when that a dead man teacheth?

Upon Mr. Perkins his printed sermons.

PErkins (our wonder) living, though long dead,
In this white paper, as a winding-sheet,
And in this velome lies enveloped:
Yet still he lives, guiding the erring feet,
Speaking now to our eyes, though buried.
       If once so well, much better now he teacheth.
       Who will not heare, when a live-dead man preacheth?


The Purple Island
Piscatory Eclogues
RE Logotype for Renascence Editions
Renascence Editions