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Renascence Editions

The Purple Island. Cantos IV-VI.

Phineas Fletcher.

Table of Contents 

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

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


THe shepherds in the shade their hunger feasted
With simple cates, such as the countrey yeelds;
And while from scorching beams secure they rested,
The Nymphs disperst along the woody fields,
      Pull’d from their stalks the blushing strawberries,
      Which lurk close shrouded from high-looking eyes;
Shewing that sweetnesse oft both low and hidden lies.

But when the day had his meridian runne
Between his highest throne, and low declining;
Thirsil again his forced task begunne,
His wonted audience his sides entwining.
      The middle Province next this lower stands,
      Where th’ Isles Heart-city spreads his large comands,
Leagu’d to the neighbour towns with sure and friendly bands.

Such as that starre, which sets his glorious chair
In midst of heav’n, and to dead darknesse here
Gives light and life; such is this citie fair:
Their ends, place, office, state, so nearly neare,
      That those wise ancients from their natures sight,
      And likenesse, turn’d their names, and call’d aright
The sunne the great worlds heart, the heart the lesse worlds light.

1This middle coast to all the Isle dispends
All heat and life: hence it another Guard
(Beside those common to the first) defends;
Built whole of massie stone, cold, drie, and hard:
      Which stretching round about his circling arms,
      Warrants these parts from all exteriour harms;
Repelling angry force, securing all alar’ms.

But in the front 2two fair twin-bulwarks rise,
In th’ Arren built for strength, and ornament;
In Thelu of more use, and larger size;
For hence the young Isle draws his nourishment:
      Here lurking Cupid hides his bended bow;
      Here milkie springs in sugred rivers flow;
Which first gave th’ infant Isle to be, and then to grow.

3For when the lesser Island (still increasing
In Venus temple) to some greatnesse swells,
Now larger rooms and bigger spaces seizing,
It stops the Hepar rivers; backward reels
      The stream, and to these hills bears up his flight,
      And in these founts (by some strange hidden might)
Dies his fair rosie waves into a lily white.

So where fair Medway, down the Kentish dales
To many towns her plenteous waters dealing,
Lading her banks, into wide Thamis falls;
The big-grown main with fomie billows swelling,
      Stops there the sudding stream; her steddy race
      Staggers awhile, at length flies back apace,
And to the parent fount returns its fearfull pace.

4These two fair mounts are like two hemispheres,
Endow’d with goodly gifts and qualities;
Whose top two little purple hillocks reares,
Most like the poles in heavens Axletrees:
      And round about two circling altars gire,
      In blushing red; the rest in snowy tire
Like Thracian Haemus looks, which ne’re feels Phoebus fire.

That mighty hand in these dissected wreathes,
(Where moves our Sunne) his thrones fair picture gives;
The pattern breathlesse, but the picture breathes;
His highest heav’n is dead, our low heav’n lives:
      Nor scorns that loftie one thus low to dwell;
      Here his best starres he sets, and glorious cell;
And fills with saintly spirits, so turns to heav’n from hell.

About this Region round in compasse stands
A Guard, both for defence, and respiration,
5Of sixtie foure, parted in severall bands;
Half to let out the smokie exhalation,
      The other half to draw in fresher windes:
      Beside both these, a third of both their kindes,
That lets both out, & in; which no enforcement binds.

This third the merrie 6Diazome we call,
A border-citie these two coasts removing;
Which like a balk, with his crosse-builded wall,
Disparts the terms of anger, and of loving;
      Keeps from th’ Heart-citie fuming kitchin fires,
      And to his neighbours gentle windes inspires;
7Loose when he sucks in aire, contract when he expires.

8The Diazome of severall matter’s fram’d:
The first moist, soft; harder the next, and drier:
His fashion like the fish a Raia nam’d;
Fenc’d with two walls, one low, the other higher;
      By eight streams water’d; two from Hepar low,
      And from th’ Heart-town as many higher go;
But two twice told down from the Cephal mountain flow.

9Here sportfull Laughter dwells, here ever sitting,
Defies all lumpish griefs, and wrinkled care;
And twentie merrie-mates mirth causes fitting,
And smiles, which Laughters sonnes, yet infants are.
      But if this town be fir’d with burnings nigh,
      With selfsame flames high Cephals towers fry;
Such is their feeling love, and loving sympathie.

This coast stands girt with a 10peculiar wall,
The whole precinct, and every part defending:
11The chiefest Citie, and Imperiall,
Is fair Kerdia, farre his bounds extending;
      Which full to know were knowledge infinite:
      How then should my rude pen this wonder write,
Which thou, who onely mad’st it, onely know’st aright?

In middle of this middle Regiment
Kerdia seated lies, the centre deem’d
Of this whole Isle, and of this government:
If not the chiefest this, yet needfull’st seem’d,
      Therefore obtain’d an equall distant seat,
      More fitly hence to shed his life and heat,
And with his yellow streams the fruitfull Island wet.

12Flankt with two severall walls (for more defence)
Betwixt them ever flows a wheyish moat;
In whose soft waves, and circling profluence
This Citie, like an Isle, might safely float:
      In motion still (a motion fixt, not roving)
      Most like to heav’n in his most constant moving:
Hence most here plant the seat of sure and active loving.

Built of a substance like smooth porphyrie;
13His matter hid, and (like it self) unknown:
Two rivers of his own; another by,
That from the Hepar rises, like a crown,
      Infold the narrow part: for that great All
      This his works glory made pyramicall;
Then crown’d with triple wreath, & cloath’d in scarlet pall.

The Cities self in two 14partitions rest;
That on the right, thes on the other side;
15The right (made tributarie to the left)
Brings in his pension at his certain tide,
      A pension of liquours strangely wrought;
      Which first by Hepars streams are thither brought,
And here distill’d with art, beyond or words or thought.

16The grosser waves of these life-streams (which here
With much, yet much lesse labour is prepar’d)
A doubtfull chanel doth to Pneumon bear:
But to the left those labour’d extracts shar’d,
      As17 through a wall, with hidden passage slide;
      Where many secret gates (gates hardly spi’d)
With safe convoy give passage to the other side.

At each hand of the left 18two streets stand by,
Of severall stuffe, and severall working fram’d,
With hundred crooks, and deep-wrought cavitie:
Both like the eares in form, and so are nam’d.
      I’ th’ right hand street the tribute liquour sitteth:
      The left forc’t aire into his concave getteth;
Which subtile wrought, & thinne, for future workmen fitteth.

The Cities 19left side, (by some hid direction)
Of this thinne aire, and of that right sides rent,
(Compound together) makes a strange confection;
And in one vessel both together meynt,
      Stills them with equall never-quenched firing:
      Then in small streams (through all the Island wiring)
Sends it to every part, both heat and life inspiring.

20In this Heart-citie four main streams appeare;
One from the Hepar, where the tribute landeth,
Largely poures out his purple river here;
At whose wide mouth a band of Tritons standeth,
      (Three Tritons stand) who with their three-forkt mace
      Drive on, and speed the rivers flowing race,
But strongly stop the wave, if once it back repace.

21The second is that doubtfull chanel, lending
Some of this tribute to the Pneumon nigh;
Whose springs by carefull guards are watcht, that sending
From thence the waters, all regresse denie:
      The 22 third unlike to this, from Pneumon flowing,
      And his due ayer-tribute here bestowing,
Is kept by gates and barres, which stop all backward going.

23The last full spring out of this left side rises,
Where three fair Nymphs, like Cynthia’s self appearing,
Draw down the stream which all the Isle suffices;
But stop back-waies, some ill revolture fearing.
      This river still it self to lesse dividing,
      At length with thousand little brooks runes sliding,
His fellow course along with Hepar chanels guiding.

24Within this Citie is the palace fram’d,
Where life, and lifes companion, heat, abideth;
And their attendants, passions untam’d:
(Oft very hell in this strait room resideth)
      And did not neighboring hills, cold aires inspiring,
      Allay their rage and mutinous conspiring,
Heat all (it self and all) would burn with quenchlesse firing.

Yea that great Light, by whom all heaven shines
With borrow’d beams, oft leaves his loftie skies,
And to this lowly seat himself confines.
Fall then again, proud heart, now fall to rise:
      Cease earth, ah cease, proud Babel earth, to swell:
      Heav’n blast high towers, stoops to a low-rooft cell;
First heav’n must dwell in man, then man in heav’n shall dwell.

Close to Kerdia 25Pneumon takes his seat,
Built of a lighter frame, and spungie mold:
Hence rise fresh aires to fanne Kerdia’s heat;
Temp’ring those burning fumes with moderate cold:
      It self of largest size, distended wide,
      In divers streets and out-wayes multipli’d:
Yet in one Corporation all are jointly ti’d.

Fitly ‘t is cloath’d with hangings 26thinne and light,
Lest too much weight might hinder motion:
His chiefest use to frame the voice aright;
(The voice which publishes each hidden notion)
      And for that end 27a long pipe down descends,
      (Which here it self in many lesser spends)
Untill low at the foot of Cephal mount it ends.

This pipe was built for th’ aiers safe purveiance,
To fit each severall voice with perfect sound;
Therefore of divers matter the conveiance
Is finely fram’d; the first in circles round,
      In hundred circles bended, hard and drie,
      (For watrie softnesse is sounds enemie)
Not altogether close, yet meeting very nigh.

The seconds drith and hardnesse somewhat lesse,
But smooth and pliable made for extending,
Fills up the distant circles emptinesse;
All in one bodie joyntly comprehending:
      The 28 last most soft, which where the circles scanted
      Not fully met, supplies what they have wanted,
Not hurting tender parts, which next to this are planted.

29Upon the top there stands the pipes safe covering,
Made for the voices better modulation:
Above it foureteen carefull warders hovering,
Which shut and open it at all occasion:
      The cover in foure parts it self dividing,
      Of substance hard, fit for the voices guiding;
One still unmov’d (in Thelu double oft) residing.

30Close by this pipe runnes that great chanel down,
Which from high Cephals mount twice every day
Brings to Koilia due provision:
31Straight at whose mouth a floud-gate stops the way,
      Made like an Ivie leaf, broad-angle-fashion;
      Of matter hard, fitting his operation,
For swallowing soon to fall, and rise for inspiration.

But see, the smoak mounting in village nigh,
With folded wreaths steals through the quiet aire;
And mixt with duskie shades in Eastern skie,
Begins the night, and warns us home repair:
      Bright Vesper now hat chang’d his name and place,
      And twinkles in the heav’n with doubtfull face:
Home then my full-fed lambes; the night comes, home apace.

1 The heart is the seat of heat and life; therefore walled about with the ribs, for more safety.

2 The breasts, or paps, are given to men for strength, and ornament; to women, for milk and nurserie also.

3 When the infant grows big, he so oppresseth the vessls of bloud, that partly through the redinesse of the passage, but especially by the providence of God, the bloud turns back to the breast, & there by an innate but wonderfull facultie is turned into milk.

4 The breasts are in figure hemisphericall; whose tops are crowned with the teats, about which are reddish circles called (Areolae, or) little altars.

5 In the Thorax or breast, are sixty five muscles for respiration, or breathing, which is either free, or forced: The instruments of forced breathing are sixtie foure, whereof thirtie two distend, and as many contract it.

6 The instrument of the free breathing is the Diazome or Diaphragma, which we call the midriffe, as a wall parting the heart and liver: Plato affirms it a partition between the seats of desire, and anger: Aristotle, a barre to keep the noisome odour of the stomack from the heart.

7 The midriffe dilates it self when it draws in, contracts it self when it puffes out the aire.

8 The midriffe consists of two circles, one skinny, the other fleshie. It hath two tunicles, as many veins and arteries, and foure nerves.

9 Here most men have placed the seat of laughter: It hath much sympathie with the brain; so that if the midriffe be inflamed, present madness ensues it.

10 Within, the Pleura (or skinne which clotheh the ribs on the inside) compasses this middle region.

11 The chiefest part of this middle region is the Heart, placed in the midst of this province, and of the whole bodie: fitly was it placed in the midst of all, as being of all the most needful.

12 The Heart is immured partly by a membrane going round about it, (and thence receiving his name) and a peculiar tunicle; partly with an humour like whey or urine, as well as to cool the heart, as to lighten the body.

13 The flesh of the heart is proper and peculiar to it self, not like other muscles; of a figure pyramicall. The point of the heart is (as with a diademe) girt with two arteries, and a vein, called the crowns.

14 Though the heart be an entire body, yet it is severed into two partitions, the right, and left; of which the left is more excellent and noble.

15 The right receives into his hollownesse the bloud flowing from the liver, and concocts it.

16 This right side sends down to the lungs that part of this bloud with is lesse laboured, and thicker; but the thinner part of it sweats through a fleshie partition into the left side.

17 This fleshie partition severs the right side from the left; at first it seems thick, but if it be well viewed, we shall see it full of many pores, or passages.

18 Two skinny additions (from their likenesse called the eares) receive, the one the thicker bloud, (that called the right) the other (called the left) takes in the aire sent by the lungs.

19 The left side of the heart takes in this aire, and bloud; and concocting them both in his hollow bosome, sends them out by the great arterie into the whole body.

20 In the heart are foure great vessels: the first is the hollow vein bringing in the bloud from the liver; at whose mouth stand three little folding doores, with three forks giving passage, but no return to the bloud.

21 The second vessel is called the arterie-vein, which rising from the right side of the heart, carries down the bloud here prepared to the lungs for their nourishment. Here also is the three-folding doore, made like half-circles; giving passage from the heart, but not backward.

22 The third is called the Veiny arterie, rising from he left side, which hath two folds three-forked.

23 The fourth is the great arterie. This hath also a floudgate made of three semi-circular membranes, to give out load to the vital spirits, and stop their regresse.

24 The Heart is the fountain of life and heat to the whole bodie, and the seat of passions.

25 The Pneumon (or lungs) is nearest the heart, whose flesh is light, and spongie, very large. It is the instrument of breathing, and speaking, divided into many parcels, yet all united into one bodie.

26 The Lungs are covered with a light & very thinne tunicle, lest it might be an hindrance to the motion.

27 The winde-pipe, which is framed partly of cartilage, or grisly matter, because the voice is perfected with hard & smooth things; (these cartilages are compassed like a ring) partly of skin, which tie the grisles together.

28 And because the rights of the grisles do not wholly meet, this space is made up by muscles, that so the meat-pipe adjoyning might not be galled, or hurt.

29 The Larynx, or covering of the winde-pipe, is a grisly substance, parted into foure grisles of which the first is ever unmoved, and in women often double.

30 Adjoyning to it is the Oesophagus, or meat-pipe: conveying meats and drinks to the stomack.

31 At whose end is the Epiglottis, or cover of the throat, the principall instrument of tuning, and apting the voice; & therefore grisly, that it might sooner fall when we swallow, and rise when we breathe.


BY this the old nights head (grown hoary gray)
Foretold that her approaching end was neare;
And gladsome birth of young succeeding day
Lent a new glory to our Hemispheare:
      The early swains salute the infant ray;
      Then drove the dammes to feed, the lambes to play:
And Thirsil with nights death revives his morning lay.

The highest region in this little Isle
Is both the Islands and Creatours glorie:
Ah then, my creeping Muse, and rugged style,
How dare you pencil out this wondrous storie?
      Oh thou that mad’st this goodly regiment,
      So heav’nly fair, of basest element,
Make this inglorious verse thy glories instrument.

So shall my flagging Muse to heav’n aspire,
Where with thy self thy fellow-shepherd sits;
And warm her pineons at that heav’nly fire;
But (ah!) such height no earthly shepherd fits:
      Content we here low sing in this humble vale
      On slender reeds to sing a slender tale.
A little boat will need as little sail and gale.

1The third precinct, the best and chief of all,
Though least in compasse, and of narrow space,
Was therefore fram’d like heaven, sphericall,
Of largest figure, and of loveliest grace:
      Though shap’d at first the least of all the three;
      Yet highest set in place, as in degree,
And over all the rest bore rule and soveraigntie.

So of three parts fair Europe is the least,
In which this earthly Ball was first divided;
Yet stronger farre, and nobler then the rest,
Where victorie and learned arts resided,
      And by the Greek and Romane monarchie
      Swaid both the rest; now prest by slaverie
Of Mosco, and the big-swoln Turkish tyrannie.

2Here all the senses dwell, and all the arts;
Here learned Muses by their silver spring:
The 3Citie sever’d in two divers parts,
Within the walls, and Suburbs neighbouring;
      The Suburbs girt but with a common fence,
      Founded with wondrous skill, and great expence;
And therefore beautie here keeps her chief residence.

And sure for ornament and buildings rare,
Lovely aspect, and ravishing delight,
Not all the Isle or the world with this compare;
But in the Thelu is the fairer sight:
      These Suburbs many call the Islands face;
      Whose charming beautie, and bewitching grace
Ofttimes the Prince himself enthralls in fetters base.

For as this Isle is a short summarie
Of all that in this All is wide dispread;
So th’ Islands face is th’ Isles Epitomie,
Where ev’n the Princes thoughts are often read:
      For when that All had finisht every kinde,
      And all his works would in lesse volume binde,
Fair on the face he wrote the Index of the minde.

Fair are the Suburbs; yet to clearer sight
The Cities self more fair and excellent:
A thick-grown wood, not pierced with any light,
Yeelds it some fence, and much more ornament:
      The divers-colour’d trees and fresh array
      Much grace the town, but most the Thelu gay:
Yet all in winter turn to snow, and soon decay.

Like to some stately work, whose queint devices,
And glitt’ring turrets with brave cunning dight,
The gazers eye still more and more entices
Of th’ inner rooms to get a fuller sight;
      Whose beautie much more winnes his ravisht heart,
      That now he onely thinks the outward part
To be a worthie cov’ring of so fair an art.

4Foure severall walls, beside the common guard,
For more defence the citie round embrace:
The first thick, soft; the second drie and hard;
As when soft earth before hard stone we place.
      The second all the Citie round enlaces,
      And like a rock with thicker sides embraces;
For here the Prince his court & standing palace places.

5The other two of matter thinne and light;
And yet the first much harder then the other;
Both cherish all the Citie: therefore right
They call that th’ hard, and this the tender mother.
      The 6 first with divers crooks and turnings wries,
      Cutting the town in four quaternities;
But both joyn to resist invading enemies.

Next these, the buildings yeeld themselves to sight;
The 7outward soft, and pale, like ashes look;
The inward parts more hard, and curdy white:
Their matter both from th’ Isles first matter took;
      Nor cold, nor hot: heats needful sleeps infest,
      Cold nummes the workmen: middle temper’s best;
When kindely warmth speeds work, & cool gives timely rest.

8Within the centre (as a market place)
Two caverns stand, made like the Moon half spent;
Of speciall use, for in their hollow space
All odours to he Judge themselves present:
      Here first are born the spirits animall,
      Whose matter, almost immateriall,
Resembles heavens matter quintessentiall.

9Hard by, an hundred nimble workmen stand,
These noble spirits readily preparing;
Lab’ring to make them thinne, and fit to hand,
With never ended work, and sleeplesse caring:
      Hereby two little hillocks joyntly rise,
      Where sit two Judges clad in seemly guise,
That cite all odours here, as to their just assise.

10Next these, a wall built all of saphires shining,
As fair, more precious; hence it takes his name;
11By which the third cave lies, his sides combining
To th’ other two, and from them hath his frame;
      (A meeting of those former cavities)
      Vaulted 12 by three fair arches safe it lies,
And no oppression fears, or falling tyrannies.

13By this third cave the humid citie drains
Base noisome streams the milkie streets annoying;
And through a wide-mouth’d tunnel duely strains,
Unto a bibbing substance down convoying;
      Which these foul dropping humours largely swills,
      Till all his swelling spunge he greedy fills,
And then through other sinks by little soft distills.

14Between this and the fourth cave, lies a vale,
(The fourth, the first in worth, in rank the last)
Where two round hills shit in this pleasant dale,
Through which the spirits thither safe are past;
      Those15 here refin’d their full perfection have;
      And therefore close by this fourth wondrous cave
Rises that silver well, scatt’ring his milkie wave.

Not that bright spring, where fair Hermaphrodite
Grew into one with wanton Salmacis,
Nor that where Biblis dropt, too fondly light,
Her tears and self, may dear compare with this;
      Which 16 here beginning down a lake descends,
      Whose rockie chanel these fair streams defends,
Till it the precious wave through all the Isle dispends.

17Many fair rivers take their heads from either,
(Both from the lake, and from the milkie well)
Which still in loving chanels runne together,
Each to his mate a neighbor parallel:
      Thus widely spread with friendly combination,
      They fling about their wondrous operation,
And give to every part both motion and sensation.

18This silver lake, first from th’ Head-citie springing,
To that bright fount foure little chanels sends;
Through which it thither plenteous water bringing,
Straight all again to every place dispends:
      Such is th’ Head-citie, such the Princes Hall;
      Such, and much more, which strangely liberall,
Though sense it never had, yet gives all sense to all.

Of other stuffe the Suburbs have their framing;
May seem soft marble, spotted red and white:
19First stands an Arch, pale Cynthia’s brightnes shaming,
The Cities forefront, cast in silver bright:
      At whose proud base are built two watching towers,
      Whence hate and love skirmish with equall powers;
Whence smiling gladnesse shines, and sullen sorrow showers.

20Here sits retir’d the silent reverence;
And when the Prince, incens’d with angers fire,
Thunders aloud, he darts his lightning hence;
Here dusky-reddish clouds foretell his ire:
      Of nothing can this Isle more boast aright:
      A twin-born Sunne, a double seeing light;
With much delight they see, are seen with much delight.

That 21Thracian shepherd call’d them Natures glasse;
Yet then a glass in this much worthier being:
Blinde glasses represent some neare-set face;
But this a living glasse, both seen and seeing:
      Like 22 heav’n in moving, like in heav’nly firing;
      Sweet heat and light, no burning flame inspiring:
Yet (ah!) too oft we find they scorch with hot desiring.

They mounted high, sit on a loftie hill;
(For they the Princes best intelligence,
And quickly warn of future good, or ill)
Here stands the palace of the noblest sense;
      Here Visus keeps, whose Court then crystal smoother,
      And clearer seems; he, though a younger brother,
Yet farre more 23noble is, farre fairer then the other.

24Six bands are set to stirre the moving tower:
The first the proud band call’d, that lifts it higher;
The next the humble band, that shoves it lower;
The bibbing third draws it together nigher;
      The fourth disdainfull, oft away is moving:
      The other two, helping the compasse roving,
Are call’d the circling trains, & wanton bands of loving.

25Above, two compasse groves, (Loves bended bows)
Which fence the towers from flouds of higher place:
26Before, a wall, deluding rushing foes,
That shuts and opens in a moments space:
      The low part fixt, the higher quick descending;
      Upon whose tops spearmen their pikes intending,
Watch there both night and day, the castles port defending.

27Three divers lakes within these bulwarks lie,
The noblest parts and instruments of sight:
The first, receiving forms of bodies nigh,
Conveys them to the next, and breaks the light,
      Danting his rash and forcible invasion;
      And with a clear and whitish inundation,
Restrains the nimble spirits from their too quick evasion.

28In midst of both is plac’t the Crystall pond;
Whose living water thick, and brightly shining,
Like Saphires, or the sparkling Diamond,
His inward beams with outward light combining,
      Alt’ring it self to every shapes aspect,
      The divers forms doth further still direct,
Till by the nimble past th’ are brought to th’ Intellect.

29The third, like molten glasse, all cleare and white:
Both round embrace the noble Crystalline.
30Six inward walls fence in this Tower of sight:
The first, most thick, doth all the frame inshrine,
      And girts the Castle with a close embrace,
      Save in the midst is left a circles space,
Where light and hundred shapes flock out & in apace.

31The second not so massie as the other,
Yet thicker then the rest, and tougher fram’d,
Takes his beginning from that harder mother:
The outward part like horn, and thence is nam’d;
      Through whose translucent sides much light is born
      Into the Tower, and much kept out by th’horn,
Makes it a pleasant light, much like the ruddie morn.

32The third, of softer mold, is like a grape,
Which all entwines with his encircling side:
In midst a window lets in every shape;
Which with a thought is narrow made, or wide:
      His inmost side more black then starrelesse night;
      But outward part (how like an hypocrite!)
As painted Iris looks, with various colours dight.

33The fourth of finest work, more slight, and thinne,
Then or Arachne, (which in silken twine
With Pallas strove) or Pallas self could spinne:
This round enwraps the fountain Crystalline.
      The 34 next is made out of that milkie spring,
      That from the Cephal mount his waves doth fling,
Like to a curious net his substance scattering.

His substance as the Head-spring, perfect white;
Here thousand nimble spies are round dispread:
The forms caught in this net, are brought to sight,
And to his eye are lively pourtrayed.
      The 35 last the glassie wall (that round encasing
      The moat of glasse, is nam’d from that enlacing)
The white & glassy wells parts with his strict embracing.

Thus then is fram’d the noble Visus bower;
The outward light by th’ first walls circle sending
His beams and hundred forms into the tower,
The wall of horn, and that black gate transcending,
      Is lightned by the brightest Crystalline,
      And fully view’d in that white nettie shine,
From thence with speedy haste is poasted to the minde.

Much as an one-ey’d room, hung all with night,
(Onely that side, which adverse to his eye
Gives but one narrow passage to the light,
Is spread with some white shining tapestrie)
      An hundred shapes that through flit ayers stray,
      Shove boldly in, crouding that narrow way,
And on that bright-fac’d wall obscurely dancing play.

36Two pair of rivers from the Head-spring flow
To these two Towers: the first in their mid-race
(The spies conveying) twisted joyntly go,
Strength’ning each other with a firm embrace.
      The 37 other pair these walking Towers are moving;
      At first but one, then in two chanels roving:
And therefore both agree in standing, or removing.

38Auditus, second of the Pemptarchie,
Is next, not all so noble as his brother;
Yet of more need, and more commoditie:
His seat is plac’d somewhat below the other:
      Of each side of the mount a double cave;
      Both which a goodly Portall doth embrave,
And winding entrance, like Maeanders erring wave.

39The Portall hard and drie, all hung around
With silken, thinne, carnation tapestrie:
Whose open gate drags in each voice and sound,
That through the shaken ayer passes by:
      The entrance winding; lest some violence
      Might fright the Judge with sudden influence,
Or some unwelcome guest might vex the busie sense.

40This caves first part fram’d with a steep ascent
(For in foure parts ‘tis fitly severed)
Makes th’ entrance hard, but easie the descent:
Where stands a braced drumme, whose sounding head
      (Obliquely plac’d) stook by the circling aire,
      Gives instant warning of each sounds repair,
Which soon is thence convey’d unto the Judgement chair.

41The drumme is made of substance hard and thinne;
Which if some falling moisture chance to wet,
The loudest sound is hardly heard within:
But if it once grows thick, with stubborn let
      It barres all passage to the inner room;
      No sounding voice unto his seat may come:
The lazie sense still sleeps, unsummon’d with his drum.

42This drumme divides the first and second part,
In which three hearing instruments reside;
Three instruments compact by wondrous art,
With slender string knit to th’ drummes inner side:
      Their native temper being hard and drie,
      Fitting the sound with their firm qualitie,
Continue still the same in age and infancie.

43The first an Hammer call’d, whose out-grown sides
Lie on the drumme; but with his swelling end
Fixt on the hollow Stithe, there fast abides:
The Stithes short foot doth on the drumme depend,
      His longer in the Stirrup surely plac’t;
      The Stirrups sharp side by the Stithe embrac’t,
But his broad base ti’d to a little window fast.

44Two little windows ever open lie,
The sound unto the caves third part convaying;
And slender pipe, whose narrow cavitie
Doth purge the in-born aire, that idle staying
      Would els corrupt, and still supplies the spending:
      The caves third part in twentie by-wayes bending,
Is call’d the Labyrinth, in hundred crooks ascending.

Such whilome was that eye-deceiving frame,
Which crafty Daedal with a cunning hand
Built to empound the Cretan Princes shame:
Such was that Woodstock cave, where Rosamand,
      Fair Rosamand, fled jealous Ellenore;
      Whom late a shepherd taught to weep so sore,
That woods and hardest rocks her harder fate deplore.

The third part with his narrow rockie straits
Perfects the sound, and gives more sharp accenting;
Then sends it to the 45fourth; where ready waits
A nimble poast, who ne’re his haste relenting,
      Flings to the judgement-seat with speedy flight:
      There th’ equall Judge attending day and night,
Receives the entring sounds, & dooms each voice aright.

As when a stone, troubling the quiet waters,
Prints in the angry stream a wrinkle round,
Which soon another and another scatters,
Till all the lake with circles now is crown’d:
      All so the aire struck with some violence nigh,
      Begets a world of circles in the skie;
All which infected move with sounding qualitie.

These at Auditus palace soon arriving,
Enter the gate, and strike the warning drumme;
To those three instruments fit motion giving,
Which every voice discern: then that third room
      Sharpens each sound, and quick conveys it thence;
      Till by the flying poast ‘tis hurri’d hence,
And in an instant brought unto the judging sense.

This sense is made the Master of request,
Prefers petitions to the Princes eare;
Admits what best he likes, shuts out the rest;
And sometimes cannot, sometimes will not heare:
      Ofttimes he lets in anger-stirring lies,
      Oft melts the Prince with oylie flatteries.
Ill mought he thrive, that loves his Masters enemies!

‘Twixt Visus double court a Tower stands,
Plac’t in the Suburbs centre; whose high top,
And loftie raised ridge the rest commands:
Low at his foot a double doore stands ope,
      Admitting passage to the aires ascending;
      And divers odours to the Citie sending,
Revives the heavie town, his liberall sweets dispending.

This vaulted Tower’s half built of massie stone,
The other half of stuffe lesse hard and drie,
Fit for distending, or compression:
The outward wall may seem all porphyrie.
      Olfactus46 dwells within this lofty fort;
      But in the citie is his chief resort,
Where ‘twixt two little hils he keeps his judging court.

By two great caves are plac’t these 47little hills,
Most like the nipples of a virgins breast;
By which the aire that th’ hollow Tower fills,
Into the Citie passeth: with the rest
      The odours pressing in are here all staid;
      Till by the sense impartially weigh’d,
Unto the common Judge they are with speed conveyd.

At each side of that Tower stand two fair plains,
More fair then that which in rich Thessalie
Was once frequented by the Muses trains:
Here ever sits sweet-blushing Modestie;
      Here in two colours Beautie shining bright,
      Dressing her white with red, her red with white,
With pleasing chain enthralls, & binds her loose wandering sight.

Below, a cave rooft with an 48heav’n-like plaister,
And under strew’d with purple tapestrie,
Where Gustus dwells, the Isles and Princes Taster,
Koilia’s Steward, one of th’ Pemptarchie;
      Whom 49 Tactus (so some say) got of his mother:
      For by their nearest likeness one to th’ other,
Tactus may eas’ly seem his father, and his brother.

50Tactus the last, but yet the eldest brother;
(Whose office meanest, yet of all the race
The first and last, more needful then the other)
Hath his abode in none, yet every place:
      Through all the Isle distended is his dwelling;
      He rules the streams that from the Cephal swelling
Runne all along the Isle, both sence & motion dealing.

With Gustus Lingua dwells, his pratling wife,
Indu’d with strange and adverse qualities;
The nurse of hate and love, of peace and strife,
Mother of fairest truth, and foulest lies:
      Or best, or worst; no mean: made all of fire,
      Which sometimes hell, & sometimes heav’ns inspire;
By whom oft Truth self speaks, oft that first murth’ring liar.

The idle Sunne stood at her command,
Breathing his firie steeds in Gibeon:
And pale-fac’d Cynthia at her word made stand,
Resting her coach in the vales of Aialon.
      Her voice oft open breaks the stubborn skies,
      And holds th’ Almighties hands with suppliant cries:
Her voice tears open hell with horrid blasphemies.

Therefore that great Creatour, well foreseeing
To what a monster she would soon be changing,
(Though lovely once, perfect and glorious being)
Curb’d her with iron 51bit, and held from ranging;
      And with strong bonds her looser steps enchaining,
      Bridled her course, too many words refraining,
And doubled all his guards, bold libertie restraining.

52For close within he sets twice sixteen guarders,
Whose hardned temper could not soon be mov’d:
Without the gate he plac’d two other warders,
To shut and ope the doore, as it behov’d:
      But such strange force hat her enchanting art,
      That she hath made her keepers of her part,
And they to all her slights all furtherance impart.

Thus (with their help) by her the sacred Muses
Refresh the Prince dull’d with much businesse;
By her the Prince unto his Prince oft uses
In Heav’nly throne from hell to find accesse.
      She heav’n to earth in music often brings,
      And earth to heaven: but oh how sweet she sings,
When in rich graces key she tunes poor natures strings!

Thus Orpheus wanne his lost Eurydice;
Whom some deaf snake, that could no musick heare,
Or some blinde neut, that could no beautie see,
Thinking to kisse, kill’d with his forked spear:
      He, when his plaints on earth were vainly spent,
      Down to Avernus river boldly went,
And charm’d the meager ghosts with mournfull blandishment.

There what his mother, fair Calliope,
From Phoebus harp and Muses spring had brought him,
What sharpest grief for his Eurydice,
And love redoubling grief had newly taught him,
      He lavisht out, and with his potent spell
      Bent all the rigorous powers of stubborn hell:
He first brought pitie down with rigid ghosts to dwell.

Th’ amazed shades came flocking round about,
Nor car’d they now to pass the Stygian ford:
All hell came running there, (an hideous rout)
And dropt a silent tear for every word:
      The aged Ferrieman shov’d out his boat;
      But that without his help did thither float;
And having ta’ne him in, came dancing on the moat.

The hungry Tantal might have fill’d him now,
And with large draughts swill’d in the standing pool:
The fruit hung listning on the wondring bough,
Forgetting hells command; but he (ah fool!)
      Forgot his starved taste, his eares to fill.
      Ixions turning wheel unmov’d stood still;
But he was rapt as much with powerfull musicks skill.

Tir’d Sisyphus sat on his resting stone,
And hop’d at length his labour done for ever:
The vulture feeding on his pleasing mone,
Glutted with music, scorn’d grown Tityus liver:
      The Furies flung their snakie whips away,
      And molt in tears at his enchanting lay,
No shrieches now were heard; all hell kept holy-day.

That treble Dog, whose voice ne’re quiet fears
All that in endlesse nights sad kingdome dwell,
Stood pricking up his thrice two listning eares,
With greedy joy drinking the sacred spell;
      And softly whining, piti’d much his wrongs;
      And now first silent at those dainty songs,
Oft wisht himself more ears, & fewer mouths & tongues.

At length return’d with his Eurydice,
But with this law, not to return his eyes,
Till he was past the laws of Tartarie;
(Alas! Who gives love laws in miseries?
      Love is love’s law; love but to love is ti’d)
      Now when the dawns of neighbour day he spi’d,
Ah wretch! Eurydice he saw, and lost, and di’d.

All so who strives from grave of hellish night
To bring his dead soul to the joyfull skie;
If when he comes in view of heav’nly light,
He turns again to hell his yeelding eye,
      And longs to see what he had left; his sore
      Grows desp’rate, deeper, deadlier then afore:
His helps and hopes much lesse, his crime & judgement more.

But why do I enlarge my tedious song,
And tire my flagging Muse with wearie flight?
Ah! much I fear I hold you much too long.
The outward parts be plain to every sight:
      But to describe the people of this Isle,
      And that great Prince, these reeds are all too vile:
Some higher verse may fit, and some more lofty style.

See, Phlegon drenched in the hizzing main,
Allayes his thirst, and cools the flaming carre;
Vesper fair Cynthia ushers, and her train:
See, th’ apish earth hath lighted many a starre,
      Sparkling in dewie globes: all home invite:
      Home then my flocks, home shepherds, home; ‘tis night:
My song with day is done; my Muse is set with light.

By this the gentle boyes had framed well
A myrtle garland mixt with conqu’ring bay,
From whose fit match issu’d a pleasing smell,
And all enamel’d it with roses gay;
      With which they crown their honour’d Thirsils head:
      Ah blessed shepherd-swain! ah happy meed!
While all his fellows chaunt on slender pipes of reed.

1 The head of these three regions is the least, but noblest in frame, and office: most like to heaven as well in site, being highest in this little world, as also in figure, being round.

2 The Brain is the seat of the minde, and senses.

3 The head is divided into the Citie, and Suburbs; the brain within the wall of the skull, and the face without.

4 Beside the common tunicles of the whole body, the brain is covered first with the bone of the skull, secondly with the Pericranium, or the skin covering the skull, & thirdly with two inward skinnes.

5 These two are called the hard, and tender mother.

6 The whole substance of the brain is divided into foure parts by divers folds of the inward skinne.

7 The outside of the brain is softer, and of ashie colour; the inward part white, and harder, framed of seed.

8 Almost in the midst of the brain are two hollow places, like half moons, of much use for preparing the spirits, emptying rheughme, receiving odours, &c.

9 Here is a knot of veins and arteries weaved together; by which the animall spirits are concocted, thinned and fitted for service: and close by are two little bunches like teats, the instruments of smelling.

10 Next is that Septum lucidum, or bright wall, severing these hollow caverns.

11 The third cavitie is nothing else but a meeting of the two former.

12 It lies under (corpus Cameratum or) chamber-substance, which with three arches bears up the whole weight of the brain.

13 By the third cavitie are two passages; and at the end of the first is the (Infindibulum or) tunnell, under which is (Glans Pituitaria or) the Rheugm-kernell, as a spunge sucking the rheugms, & distilling them into the palate.

14 The other passage reaches to the fourth cavitie, which yields a safe way for the spirits.

15 The fourth cavitie is most noble, where all the spirits are perfected. By it is the pith, or marrow, the fountain of these spirits.

16 This pith, or marrow, springing in the brain flows down through the back bone.

17 All the nerves imparting all sense and motion to the whole body have their root partly from the brain, and partly from the back bone.

18 The pith of the back bone springeth from the brain, whence by foure passages it is conveyed into the back; and there all foure joyn in one, and again are thence divided into divers others.

19 The first part of the face is the forehead, at whose base are the eyes.

20 The eyes are the index of the minde, discovering every affection.

21 Orpheus called the eyes the looking glasse of nature.

22 Plato affirmed them lighted up with heavenly fire not burning, but shining.

23 Visus, or the Sight, is the most noble above all the senses.

24 There are six muscles moving the eye, thus termed by Anatomists.

25 Above are the eyebrows keeping off the sweat that it fall not into the eyes.

26 The eyelids shutting the eye are two; the lower ever unmoved in man: and hairs keeping off dust, flies, &c.

27 There are three humours in the eye: the first the Watrie, breaking the too vehement light, and stopping the spirits from going out too fast.

28 The second is the Crystalline, and most noble, seated and compast between the other two, and being altered by the entering shapes, is the chief instrument of sight.

29 The third from the likenesse is called the glassie humour.

30 There are six tunicles belonging to the eye: the first called the conjunctive, solid, thick, compassing the whole eye, but onely the black window.

31 The second is Cornea, or hornie tunicle, transparent, and made of the hard mother.

32 The third is (Uvea or) grapie; made of the tender mother, thinne, and pervious by a little and round window: it is diversly coloured without, but exceeding black within.

33 The fourth is more thinne then any cobweb (and thence so called) immediately compassing the Crystalline humour.

34 The fift, Reticularis, netty tunicle, framed of the substance of the brain: this diffuseth the visil spirits, and perceives the alteration of the Crystalline; and here is the mean of sight.

35 The Sixt is calld the glassie tunicle, clasping in the glassie humour.

36 The eye hath two nerves, the Optick or seeing nerve, and moving. The optick, separate in their root, in the midst of their progresse meet, and strengthen one the other.

37 The moving, rising from the same stemme, are at length severed; therefore as one moves, so moves the other.

38 Hearing is the second sense, lesse noble then the eye, more needful.

39 The outward eare is of a grisly matter, covered with the common tunicle. It is framed with many crooks, lest the aire should enter too forcibly.

40 The inward eare consists of foure passages: the first is steepie, lest any thing should creep in.

41 If the Drum be wet with falling of rheugm, we are hard of hearing; but if it grow thick, we are irrecoverably deaf.

42 The Drumme parteth the first and second passage. To it are joined three little bones, the instruments of hearing, which never grow, or decrease in childehood or age: they are all in the second passage.

43 The first of these bones is called the Hammer, the second the Stithe, the third the Stirrup; all taking their names from their likeness: all tied to the Drumme by a little string.

44 These are two small passages, admitting the sounds into the head, and cleansing the aire.

45 The last passage is called the Cochlea, snail, or Periwincle; where the nerves of hearing plainly appeare.

46 The sense of smelling.

47 These are two little bunches like paps, or teats, spoken of in the 15 Stanz. Of this Cant.

48 Gustus, or the taste is in the palate, which in the Greek is called the heaven.

49 Taste is a kinde of touch, nor can it exist but by touching.

50 Tactus, or the sense of touching.

51 The Tongue is held in place with a ligament, ordinarily called the bridle.

52 The Tongue is guarded with thirtie two teeth, and with the lips; all which do not a little help the speech, and sweeten the voice.


THe houres had unlockt the gate of day,
When fair Aurora leaves her frosty bed,
Hasting with youthfull Cephalus to play,
Unmaskt her face, and rosie beauties spread:
      Tithonus silver age was much despis’d.
      Ah! who in love that cruel law devis’d,
That old love’s little worth, and new too highly priz’d?

The gentle shepherds on an hillock plac’d,
(Whose shadie head a beechie garland crown’d)
View’d all their flocks that on the pastures graz’d:
Then down they sit, while Thenot ‘gins the round;
      Thenot! was never fairer boy among
      The gentle lads, that in the Muses throng
By Chamus yellow streams learn tune their pipe & song.

See, Thirsil, see the shepherds expectation;
Why then, (ah!) why sitt’st thou so silent there?
We long to know that Islands happy nation:
Oh! do not leave thy Isle unpeopled here.
      Tell us who brought, and whence these colonies;
      Who is their king, what foes, and what allies;
What laws maintain their peace, what warres & victories.

Thenot, my deare, that simple fisher-swain,
Whose little boat in some small river strayes;
Yet fondly lanches in the swelling main,
Soon, yet too late, repents his foolish playes.
      How dare I then forsake my well-set bounds,
      Whose new-cut pipe as yet but harshly sounds?
A narrow compasse best my ungrown Muse impounds.

Two shepherds most I love with just adoring;
That Mantuan swain, who chang’d his slender reed
To trumpets martiall voice, and warres loud roaring,
From Corydon to Turnus derring-deed;
      And next our home-bred Colins sweetest firing;
      Their steps not following close, but farre admiring:
To lackey one of these is all my prides aspiring.

Then you my peers, whose quiet expectation
Seemeth my backward tale would fain invite;
Deigne gently heare this purple Islands nation,
A people never seen, yet still in sight;
      Our daily guests, and natives, yet unknown;
      Our servants born, but now commanders grown;
Our friends, and enemies; aliens, yet still our own.

Not like those Heroes, who in better times
This happy Island first inhabited
In joy and peace; when no rebellious crimes
That God-like nation yet dispeop’led:
      Those claim’d their birth from that eternal Light,
      Held th’ Isle, and rul’d it in their fathers right,
And in their faces bore their parents image bright.

For when that Isle that main would fond forsake,
In which at first it found a happy place,
And deep was plung’d in that dead hellish lake;
Back to their father flew this heav’nly race,
      And left the Isle forlorn, and desolate,
      That now with fear, and wishes all too late,
Sought in that blackest wave to hide his blacker fate.

How shall a worm, on dust that crawls and feeds,
Climbe to th’ empyreall court, where these states reign,
And there take view of what heav’ns self exceeds?
The Sunne lesse starres, these lights the Sunne distain:
      Their beams divine, and beauties do excel
      What here on earth, in aire, or heav’n do dwell:
Such never eye yet saw, such never tongue can tell.

Soon as these Saints the treach’rous Isle forsook,
Rusht in a false, foul, fiend-like companie,
And every fort, and every castle took;
All to this rabble yeeld the soveraigntie:
      The goodly temples which those Heroes plac’t,
      By this foul rout were utterly defac’t,
And all their fences strong, and all their bulwarks raz’d.

So where the neatest Badger most abides,
Deep in the earth she frames her prettie cell,
And into halls and closulets divides:
But when the stinking fox with loathsome smell
      Infects her pleasant cave, the cleanly beast
      So hates her inmate and rank-smelling guest,
That farre away she flies, and leaves her loathed nest.

But when those Graces (at their fathers throne
Arriv’d) in heav’ns high Court to Justice plain’d,
How they were wrong’d, and forced from their own,
And what foul people in their dwellings reign’d;
      How th’ earth much waxt in ill, much wan’d in good,
      So full-ripe vice, how blasted virtues bud,
Begging such vicious weeds might sink in vengefull floud:

Forth stept the just Dicaea, full of rage;
(The first-born daughter of th’ Almighty King)
Ah sacred maid, thy kindled ire asswage;
Who dare abide thy dreadfull thundering?
      Soon as her voice but Father onely spake,
      The faultlesse heav’ns, like leaves in Autumne, shake;
And all that glorious throng with horrid palsies quake.

Heard you not 1late, with what loud trumpet sound
Her breath awak’d her fathers sleeping ire?
The heav’nly armies flam’d, earth shook, heav’n frown’d,
And heav’ns dread King call’d for his three-forkt fire.
      Heark now how the powerfull words strike through the eare;
      The frighted sense shoots up the staring hair,
And shakes the trembling soul with fright & shudd’ring fear.

So have I seen the earth strong windes detaining
In prison close; they scorning to be under
Her dull subjection, and her power disdaining,
With horrid struglings tear their bonds in sunder:
      Mean while the wounded earth, that forc’d their stay,
      With terrour reels, the hils runne farre away;
And frighted world fears hell breaks out upon the day.

But see how ‘twixt her sister and her sire,
Soft-hearted Mercy sweetly interposing,
Settles her panting brest against his fire,
Pleading for grace, and chains of death unlosing:
      Heark, from her lips the melting hony flowes;
      The striking Thunderer recals his blowes,
And every armed souldier down his weapon throwes.

So when the day, wrapt in a cloudie night,
Puts out the Sunne, anon the rattling hail
On earth poures down his shot with fell despight:
His powder spent, the Sunne puts off his vail,
      And fair his flaming beauties now unsteeps;
      The plough-man from his bushes gladly peeps,
And hidded traveller out of his covert creeps.

Ah fairest maid, best essence of thy father,
Equall unto thy never equall’d sire;
How in low verse shall thy poore shepherd gather,
What all the world can ne’re enough admire?
      When thy sweet eyes sparkle in chearfull light,
      The brightest day grows pale as leaden night,
And heav’ns bright burning eye loses his blinded sight.

Who then those sugred strains can understand,
Which calm’d thy father, and our desp’rate fears;
And charm’d the nimble lightning in his hand,
That all unwares it dropt in melting tears?
      Then thou deare 2swain, thy heav’nly load unfraught;
      For she her self hath thee her speeches taught;
So neare her heav’n they be, so farre from humane thought.

But let my lighter skiffe return again
Unto that little Isle which late it left,
Nor dare to enter in that boundlesse main,
Or tell the nation from this Island reft;
      But sing that civil strife, and home dissension,
      ‘Twixt two strong factions with like fierce contention;
Where never peace is heard, nor ever peaces mention.

For that foul rout, which from the Stygian brook
(Where first they dwelt in midst of death and night)
By force the left and emptie Island took,
Claim hence full conquest, and possessions right:
      But that fair band, which Mercie sent anew,
      The ashes of that first heroick crue,
From their forefathers claim their right, & Islands due.

In their fair look their parents grace appears,
Yet their renowned sires were much more glorious;
For what decaies not with decaying yeares?
All night, and all the day, with toil laborious,
      (In losse and conquest angrie) fresh they fight:
      Nor can the other cease or day or night,
While th’ Isle is doubly rent with endlesse warre and fright.

As when the Britain and Iberian fleet
With resolute and fearlesse expectation
On trembling seas with equall fury meet,
The shore resounds with diverse acclamation;
      Till now at length Spains firie Dons ‘gin shrink:
      Down with their ships, hope, life, and courage sink:
Courage, life, hope, and ships the gaping surges drink.

But who (alas!) shall teach my ruder breast
The names and deeds of these heroick Kings?
Or downy Muse, which now but left the nest,
Mount from her bush to heav’n with new-born wings?
      Thou sacred maid, which from fair Palestine
      Through all the world hast spread thy brightest shine
Kindle thy shepherd-swain with thy light flaming eyn.

Sacred Thespio, which in Sinaies grove
First took’st thy off-spring from the highest Jove,
Yet deign’dst to dwell with mortalls here beneath,
      With vilest earth, and men more vile residing;
      Come holy Virgin in my bosom sliding,
With thy glad Angel light my blindfold footsteps guiding.

And thou dread Spirit, which at first didst spread
On those dark waters thy all-opening light;
Thou who of late (of thy great bounty head)
This nest of hellish fogges and Stygian night
      With thy bright orient Sunne hast fair renew’d
      And with unwonted day hast it endu’d,
Which late both day & thee, and most it self eschew’d:

Dread Spirit, do thou those severall bands unfold,
Both which thou sent’st a needfull supplement
To this lost Isle, and which with courage bold
Hourely assail thy rightfull regiment;
      And now with strong hand oppresse & keep them under:
      Raise now my humble vein to lofty thunder,
That heav’n and earth may sound, resound thy praises wonder.

The Islands Prince, of frame more then celestiall,
Is rightly call’d th’ all-seeing Intellect;
All glorious bright, such nothing is terrestriall;
Whose Sun-like face, and most divine aspect
      No humane sight may ever hope descrie:
      For when himself on’s self reflects his eye,
Dull or amaz’d he stands at so bright majestie.

Look as the Sunne, whose ray and searching light
Here, there, and every where it self displayes,
No nook or corner flies his piercing sight;
Yet on himself when he reflects his rayes,
      Soon back he flings the too bold vent’ring gleam;
      Down to the earth the flames all broken stream:
Such is this famous Prince, such his unpierced beam.

His strangest body is not bodily,
But matter without matter; never fill’d,
Nor filling; though within his compasse high
All heav’n and earth, and all in both are held;
      Yet thousand thousand heav’ns he could contain,
      And still as empty as at first remain;
And when he takes in most, readi’st to take again.

Though travelling all places, changing none
Bid him soar up to heav’n, and thence down throwing
The centre search, and Dis dark realm; he’s gone,
Returns, arrives, before thou saw’st him going:
      And while his weary kingdome safely sleeps,
      All restlesse night he watch and warding keeps,
Never his carefull head on resting pillow steeps.

In every quarter of this blessed Isle
Himself both present is, and President;
Nor once retires, (ah happy realm the while,
That by no Officers lewd lavishment,
      With greedie lust, and wrong consumed art!)
      He all in all, and all in every part,
Does share to each his due, and equall dole impart.

He knows nor death, nor yeares, nor feeble age;
But as his time, his strength and vigour grows:
And when his kingdome by intestine rage
Lies broke and wasted, open to his foes,
      And batter’d sconce now flat and even lies;
      Sooner then thought to that great Judge he flies,
Who weighs him just reward of good, or injuries.

For he the Judges Viceroy here is plac’t;
Where if he live, as knowing he may die,
He never dies, but with fresh pleasures grac’t,
Bathes his crown’d head in soft eternitie;
      Where thousand joyes, and pleasures ever new,
      And blessings thicker then the morning dew,
With endlesse sweets rain down on that immortall crue.

There golden starres set in the crystal snow;
There daintie joyes laugh at white-headed caring:
There day no night, delight no end shall know;
Sweets without surfet, fulnesse without sparing,
      And by its spending growing happinesse:
      There God himself in glories lavishnesse
Diffus’d in all, to all, is all full blesednesse.

But if he here neglect his Masters law,
And with those traitours ‘gainst his Lord rebells;
Down to the deeps ten thousand fiends him draw,
Deeps, where night, death, despair, and horrour dwells;
      And in worst ills, still worse expecting fears:
      Where fell despite for spite his bowels tears,
And still increasing grief, and torment never wears.

Prayers there are idle, death is woo’d in vain;
In midst of death poore wretches long to die:
Night without day or rest, still doubling pain;
Woes spending still, yet still their end lesse nigh:
      The soul there restlesse, helplesse, hopelesse lies;
      The body frying roars, and roaring fries:
There’s life that never lives, there’s death that never dies.

Hence while unsettled here he fighting reignes,
Shut in a Tower where thousand enemies
Assault the fort, with wary care and pains
He guards all entrance, and by divers spies
      Searches into his foes and friends designes:
      For most he fears his subjects wavering mindes.
This Tower then onely falls, when treason undermines.

Therefore while yet he lurks in earthly tent,
Disguis’d in worthlesse robes and poore attire,
Trie we to view his glories wonderment,
And get a sight of what we so admire:
      For when away from this sad place he flies,
      And in the skies abides, more bright then skies,
Too glorious is his sight for our dimme mortall eyes.

So curl’d-head Thetis, waters feared Queen,
But bound in cauls of sand, yields not to sight;
And planets glorious King may best be seen,
When some thinne cloud dimmes his too piercing light,
      And neither none, nor all his face discloses:
      For when his bright eye full our eye opposes,
None gains his glorious sight, but his own sight he loses.

Within the Castle sit eight Counsellers,
That help him in this tent to govern well:
Each in his room a severall office bears;
Three of his inmost private counsell deal
      In great affairs: five of lesse dignitie
      Have outward Courts, and in all actions prie,
But still referre the doom to Courts more fit and high.

Those 3five fair brethren which I sung of late,
For their just number call’d the Pemptarchie;
The other three, three pillars of the state:
The 4first in midst of that high Tower doth lie,
      (The chiefest mansion of this glorious King)
      The judge and Arbiter of every thing,
Which those five brethrens poasts in to his office bring.

Of middle yeares, and seemly personage,
Father of the laws, the rule of wrong and right;
Fountain of judgement, therefore wondrous sage,
Discreet, and wise, of quick and nimble sight:
      Not those seven Sages might him parrallel,
      Nor he whom Pythian Maid did whilome tell
To be the wisest man that then on earth did dwell.

As Neptunes cestern sucks in tribute tides
(Yet never full) which every chanel brings,
And thirstie drinks, and drinking thirstie bides;
For by some hidden way back to the springs
      It sends the streams in erring conduits spread,
      Which with a circling dutie still are led;
So ever feeding them, is by them ever fed:

Ev’n so the first of these three Counsellers
Gives to the five the power of all-descrying;
Which back to him with mutuall dutie bears
All their informings, and the causes trying:
      For through strait waies the nimble Poast ascends
      Unto his hall; there up his message sends,
Which to the next well scann’d he straightway recommends.

The 5next that in the Castles front is plac’t,
Phantastes hight; his yeares are fresh and green,
His visage old, his face too much defac’t
With ashes pale, his eyes deep sunken been
      With often thoughts, and never slackt intention:
      Yet he the fount of speedy apprehension,
Father of wit, the well of arts, and quick invention.

But in his private thoughts and busy brain
Thousand thinne forms, and idle fancies flit;
The three-shap’t Sphinx, and direfull Harpyes train,
Which in the world had never being yet:
      Oft dreams of fire and water, loose delight;
      And oft arrested by some ghastly sprite,
Nor can he think, nor speak, nor move for great affright.

Phantastes from the first all shapes deriving,
In new abiliments can quickly dight;
Of all materiall and grosse parts depriving,
Fits them unto the noble Princes sight;
      Which soon as he hath view’d with searching eye,
      He straight commits them to his Treasurie,
Which old Eumnestes keeps, Father of memorie.

Eumnestes old, who in his living screen
(His mindefull breast) the rolls and records bears
Of all the deeds, and men, which he hath seen,
And keeps lockt up in faithfull Registers:
      Well he recalls Nimrods first tyrannie,
      And Babels pride daring the loftie skie;
Well he recalls the earths twice-growing infancie.

Therefore his body weak, his eyes half blinde,
But minde more fresh, and strong; (ah better fate!)
And as his carcase, so his house declin’d;
Yet were the walls of firm and able state:
      Onely on him a nimble Page attends,
      Who when for ought the aged Grandsire sends,
With swift, yet backward steps, his helping aidance lends.

But let my song passe from these worthy Sages
Unto this Islands highest 6Soveraigne,
And those hard warres which all the yeare he wages:
For these three late a gentle shepherd-swain
      Most sweetly sung, as he before had seen
      In Alma’s house: his memorie yet green
Lives in his well-tun’d songs, whose leaves immortall been.

Nor can I guesse, whether his Muse divine
Or gives to those, or takes from them his grace;
Therefore Eumnestes in his lasting shrine
Hath justly him enroll’d in second place:
      Next to our Mantuan poet doth he rest;
      There shall our Colin live for ever blest,
Spite of those thousand spites, which living him opprest.

The Prince his time in double office spends:
For first those forms and fancies he admits,
Which to his court busie Phantastes sends,
And for the easier discerning fits:
      For shedding round about his sparkling light,
      He cleares their duskie shades, and cloudy night,
Producing like himself their shapes all shining bright.

As when the Sunne restores the glitt’ring day,
The world late cloath’d in nights black livery,
Doth now a thousand colours fair display,
And paints it self in choice varietie,
      Which late one colour hid, the eye deceiving;
      All so this Prince those shapes obscure receiving,
With his suffused light makes ready to conceiving.

The first is call’d the Active Facultie,
Which to an higher power the object leaves:
That takes it in it self, and cunningly
Changing it self, the object soon perceives:
      For straight it self in self same shape adorning,
      Becomes the same with quick & strange transforming;
So is all things it self, to all it self conforming.

Thus when the eye through Visus jettie ports
Lets in the wandring shapes, the crystall strange
Quickly it self to every sort consorts,
So is what e’re it sees by wondrous change:
      Thrice happy then, when on that 7mirrour bright
      He ever fastens his unmoved sight,
So is what there he views; divine, full, glorious light.

Soon as the Prince these forms hath clearely seen,
Parting the false from true, the wrong from right,
He straight presents them to his beauteous Queen,
Whose Courts are lower, yet of equall might;
      Voletta8 fair, who with him lives, and reignes;
      Whom neither man, nor fiend, nor God constrains:
Oft good, oft ill, oft both; yet ever free remains.

Not that great Soveraigne of the Fayrie land,
Whom late our Colin hath eternized,
(Though Graces decking her with plenteous hand,
Themselves of grace have all unfurnished;
      Though in her breast she Vertues temple bare,
      The fairest temple of a guest so fair)
Not that great Glorians self with this might e’re compare.

Her radiant beautie, daz’ling mortall eye,
Strikes blinde the daring sense; her sparkling face
Her husbands self now cannot well descrie:
With such strange brightnesse, such immortall grace,
      Hath that great parent in her cradle made,
      That Cynthia’s silver cheek would quickly fade,
And light it self to her would seem a painted shade.

But (ah!) entic’t by her own worth and pride,
She stain’d her beautie with most loathsome spot;
Her Lords fixt law, and spouses light deni’d,
So fill’d her spouse and self with leprous blot:
      And now all dark is their first morning ray.
      What verse might then their former light display,
When yet their darkest night outshines the brightest day?

On her a royall damsell still attends,
And faithfull Counseller, 9Synteresis:
For though Voletta ever good intends,
Yet by fair ills she oft deceived is;
      By ills so fairly drest with cunning slight,
      That Vertues self they well may seem to sight,
But that bright Vertues self oft seems not half so bright.

Therefore Synteresis of nimble sight,
Oft helps her doubtfull hand, and erring eye;
Els mought she ever stumbling in this night
Fall down as deepest Tartarie:
      Nay thence a sad-fair maid, Repentance, rears,
      And in her arms her fainting Lady bears,
Washing her often stains with ever-falling tears.

Thereto she addes a water soveraigne,
Of wondrous force, and skilfull composition:
For first she pricks the heart in tender vein,
Then from those precious drops, and deep contrition,
      With lips confession, and with pickled cries,
      Still’d in a broken spirit, sad vapours rise,
Exhal’d by sacred fires, and drop through melting eyes.

These cordiall drops, these spirit-healing balms
Cure all her sinfull bruises, cleare her eyes,
Unlock her ears, recover fainting qualms:
And now grown fresh and strong, she makes her rise,
      And glasse of unmaskt sinne she bright displaies,
      Whereby she sees, loathes, mends her former waies;
So soon repairs her light, trebling her new-born raies.

But (ah!) why do we (simple as we been)
With curious labour, dimme and vailed sight,
Prie into the nature of this King and Queen,
Groping in darknesse for so cleare a light?
      A light which once could not be thought or told,
      But now with blackest clouds is thick enroll’d,
Prest down in captive chains, and pent in earthly mold.

Rather lament we this their wretched fate,
(Ah wretched fate, and fatal wretchednesse!)
Unlike those former dayes, and first estate,
When he espous’d with melting happinesse
      To fair Voletta, both their lights conspiring,
      He saw what e’re was fit for her requiring,
And she to his cleare sight would temper her desiring.

When both replenisht with celestiall light,
All coming evils could foresee and flie;
When both with clearest eye, and perfect sight
Could every natures difference descrie:
      Whose pictures now they scarcely see with pain,
      Obscure and dark, like to those shadows vain,
Which thinne and emptie glide along Avernus plain.

The flowers that frighted with sharp winters dread,
Retire into their mother Tellus wombe,
Yet in the Spring in troups new mustered
Peep out again from their unfrozen tombe:
      The early Violet will fresh arise,
      And spreading his flour’d purple to the skies,
Boldly the little elf the winters spite defies.

The hedge green Sattin pinkt and cut arayes,
The Heliotrope to cloth of gold aspires;
In hundred-colour’d silks the Tulip playes,
Th’ Imperiall flower his neck with pearl attires,
      The Lily high her silver Grogram reares,
      The Pansie her wrought Velvet garmet bears;
The red Rose Scarlet, and the Provence Damask wears.

How falls it then that such an heav’nly light,
As this great Kings, should sink so wondrous low,
That scarce he can suspect his former height?
Can one eclipse so dark his shining brow,
      And steal away his beautie glittering fair?
      One onely blot so great a light empair,
That never could he hope his waning to repair?

Ah! never could he hope once to repair
So great a wane, should not that new-born Sun
Adopt him both his brother and his heir;
Who through base life, and death, and hell would run,
      To seat him in his lost, now surer cell.
      That he may mount to heav’n, he sunk to hell;
That he might live, he di’d; that he might rise, he fell.

A perfect Virgin breeds and bears a Sonne,
Th’ immortall father of his mortall mother;
Earth, heav’n, flesh, spirit, man, God, are met in one:
His younger brothers childe, his childrens brother,
      Eternitie, who yet was born and di’d;
      His own creatour, earths scorn, heavens pride;
Who th’ dietie inflesht, and mans flesh deifi’d.

Thou uncreated Sunne, heav’ns glory bright,
Whom we with knees and hearts low bent adore;
At rising, perfect, and now falling, light;
Ah what reward, what thanks shall we restore?
      Thou wretched wast, that we might happy be:
      Oh all the good we hope, and all we see,
That we thee know and love, comes from thy love, and thee.

Receive, which can only back return,
(Yet that we may return, thou first must give)
A heart, which fain would smoke, which fain would burn
In praise; for thee, to thee would onely live:
      And thou (who sat’st in night to give us day)
      Light and enflame us with thy glorious ray,
That we may back reflect, and borrow’d light repay.

So we beholding with immortall eye
The glorious picture of thy heav’nly face,
In his first beautie and true Majestie,
May shake from our dull souls these fetters base;
      And mounting up to that bright crystal sphere,
      Whence thou strik’st all the world with shudd’ring fear,
May not be held by earth, nor hold vile earth so deare.

Then should thy shepherd (poorest shepherd) sing
A thousand Canto’s in thy heav’nly praise,
And rouze his flagging Muse, and flutt’ring wing,
To chant thy wonders in immortall laies,
      (Which once thou wrought’st, when Nilus slimie shore,
      Or Jordans banks thy mighty hand adore)
Thy judgements, & thy mercies; but thy mercies more.

But see, the stealing night with softly pace,
To flie the Western Sunne, creeps up the East;
Cold Hesper ‘gins unmask his evening face,
And calls the winking starres from drouzie rest:
      Home then my lambes; the falling drops eschew:
      To morrow shall ye feast in pastures new,
And with the rising Sunne banquet on pearled dew.

1 See that sweet poem entituled Christs victorie and triumph. part. I. stan. 18.

2 A book entituled Christs victorie and triumph.

3 The five senses.

4 The common sense.

5 The fancie.

6 The understanding.

7 2. Cor. 3.18.

8 The will.

9 Conscience.


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