WE prayse the plough, that makes the fruitelesse soyle
To bring forth corne, (through helpe of heavenly might)
And eke esteeme the simple wretches toyle,
Whose painefull handes doe labour day and night.
We prayse the ground, whereon the herbes do grow,
Which heale or helpe, our greeves and mortall paine,
Yea weedes have worth, wherein we vertue know,
For natures Art, nothing hath made in vaine.
We prayse those floures which please the secrete sense,
And do content, the tast or smell of man,
The Gardners paynes and worke we recompence,
That skilfull is, or aught in cunning can
But much more prayse to Gascoignes penne is due,
Whose learned hande doth here to thee present,
A Posie full of Hearbes, and Flowers newe,
To please all braynes, to wit or learning bent.
Howe much the minde doth passe the sense or smell,
So much these Floures all other do excell.
IN gladsome Spring, when sweete and pleasant shoures
Have well renued, what winters wrath hath torne,
And that we see, the wholesome smelling Floures,
Begin to laugh rough winters wracke to scorne:
If then by chaunce, or choyce of owners will,
We roame and walke in place of rare delightes,
And therein finde, what Arte or natures skill
Can well set forth, to feede our hungrie sightes:
Yea more, if then the owner of the soyle,
Doth licence yeelde to use all as our owne,
And gladly thinkes, the fruites of all his toyle,
To our behoofe to be well set and sowne.
It cannot be, but this so great desart
In basest breast doth breede this due regarde,
With worlde of thankes, to prayse this friendly part,
And wish that woorth mought pay a just rewarde.
Good Reader then, beholde what gallant spring
This booke brings forth, of fruites of finest sortes,
Be bolde to take, thy list of everie thing,
For so is meet. And for thy glad disportes
The paine was tane: therefore lo this I crave,
In his behalfe, that wrote this pleasant worke,
With care and cost, (and then most freely gave
His labours great, wherein great treasures lurke:
To thine avayle) let his desartes now binde thee,
In woorde and deede, he may still thankfull finde thee.
THe Beares blinde whelpes, which lacke both nayles and heare,
And lie like lumpes, in filthie farrowed wise,
Do (for a time) most ougly beastes appeare,
Till dammes deare tongue, do cleare their clozed eyes.
The gadde of steele, is likewise blunt and blacke,
Till file and fire, do frame it sharpe and bright:
Yea precious stones, their glorious grace do lacke,
Till curious hand do make them please the sight.
And so these floures, although the grounde were gay,
Whereon they grew, and they of gallant hew,
Yet till the badde were cullde and cast away,
The best became the worse by such a crew.
(For my part) then: I lyked not their smell,
But as they be, I like them pretly well.
THe pleasant plot wherein these Posies grew,
May represent Parnassus springs indeede.
Where Pallas with hir wise and learned crew,
Did plant great store, and sow much cunning seede.
That Goddesse then, on whom the Muses wayte,
To garde hir grounde from greedie gathrers spoyle,
Hath here ordeynde, by fine and close conceyte,
A greene knight chiefe, and master of the soyle.
Such badge beares he that beautified this booke
With glorious shew, of sundrie gallant flowers.
But since he first this labor undertooke,
He gleand thereout, (to make the profite ours)
A heape of Hearbes, a sort of fruitfull seedes,
A needefull salve, compound of needlesse weedes.
All these (with more) my freend here freely gives:
Nor naked wordes, nor streyne of straunge devise.
But Gowers minde, which now in Gascoigne lives,
Yeeldes heere in view, (by judgement of the wise)
His penne, his sworde, himselfe, and all his might,
To Pallas schoole, and Mars in Princes right.
THough goodnesse of the gold, needes no mans praise ye know,
(And every coyne is judgde and found, by weight, by stamp, or show)
Yet doth the prayse of men, give gold a double grace,
And makes both pearls and Jewels rich desirde in every place.
The horse full finely formde, whose pace and traine is true,
Is more esteemde for good report, than likte for shape and view.
Yea sure, ech man himselfe, for all his wit and skill,
If world bestow no lawde on him) may sleepe in silence still.
Fame shewes the value first, of everie precious thing,
And winnes with lyking all the brute, that doth the credit bring.
And fame makes way before, to workes that are unknowne,
And peoples love is caried ther, where fame hir trump hath blown.
A cunning workman fine, in Cloyster close may sit,
And carve or paint a thousand things, and use both art and wit,
Yet wanting worldes renowne, may scape unsought or scene:
It is but fame that outruns all, and gets the goall I weene.
The learned Doctors lewd, that heales where other harmes,
By common prayse of peoples voyce, brings pacients in by swarmes.
A goodly stately house, hath seldome any fame,
Till world behold the buildings through, and people see the same.
The Flowers and Posies sweete, in better price are held,
When those have praysde their vertues rare, that have their odor smeld.
So by these foresayd proofes, I have a pardon free,
To speake, to write, and make discourse, of any worke I see,
That worthie is of prayse: for prayse is all we get.
Present the worlde with labors great, the world is in your det,
It never yeeldes rewarde, nor scarce just prayse will give:
Then studie out to stand on fame, and strive by fame to live.
Our olde forefathers wise, saw long before these dayes,
How sone faint world would fail deserts, and cold would wax our prayse.
And knowing that disdeyne, for toyle did rather rise,
Than right renowne (whose golden buds, growes up to starry skies)
Betooke their labors long, and every act they did,
Unto the Gods, from whose deepe sight, no secret can be hid.
And these good gracious Gods, sent downe from heavens hie,
(For noble minds) an endlesse fame, that throw the world doth flie.
Which fame is due to those, that seeke by new device,
To honor learning every way, and Vertue bring in price.
From Knowledge gardeyn gay, where science sowes hir seedes,
A pretie Posie gathered is, of Flowers, Hearbes, and Weedes.
The Flowers by smel are found, the hearbs their goodnes showes,
The Weedes amid both hearbs & flowers, in decent order growes
The soft and tender nose, that can no weedes abide,
May make his choise of holesome hearties, whose vertues well are bide.
The fine and flowing wittes, that feede on straunge delites,
May test (for seasning daintie mouthes) the bitter weede that bites:
The well disposed minde, and honest meaning man,
Shall finde (in floures) proude Peacoks plumes, and feathers of the Swan.
The curst and crabbed Carle, that Posies flings away,
By this (perhaps) may find some cause, with prettie floures to play.
The kinde and loving worme, that woulde his ladle please,
M[a]y light on some such medcin here, shal do them both much ease.
The Lad that lykes the schoole, and will good warning take:
May snatch some rules oute of this booke, that may him doctor make.
The hastie travayling head, that flies to foreyne place,
May wey by this what home is woorth, and stay his roving race.
The manly courage stoute, that seeketh fame full farre,
Shall find by this how sweete is peace, and see how soure is warre.
This Posie is so pickt, and choysely sorted throw,
There is no Flower, Herbe, nor Weede, but serves some purpose now.
Then since it freely comes, to you for little cost,
Take well in worth these paynes of him, that thinkes no labor lost:
To do his countrie good, as many others have,
Who for their toyles a good report, of worlde did onely crave.
Grudge not to yeeld some fame, for fruites that you receyve,
Make some exchaunge for franke good will, some signe or token leave,
To shew your thankfull harts. For if you love to take,
And have a conscience growne so great, you can no gift forsake,
And cannot give againe, that men deserve to reape,
Adieu we leave you in the hedge, and ore the stile we leape.
And yet some stile or verse, we after shape in ryme,
That may by arte shewe you a Glasse, to see your selves in tyme.
Thus wish I men their right: and you that judge amisse,
To mend your minds, or frame your Muse, to make the like of this.
REader rewarde nought else, but onely good report,
For all these pleasant Posies here, bound up in sundrie sort.
The flowers fayre and fresh, were set with painefull toyle,
Of late in Gascoignes Garden plot, a passing pleasant soyle.
Now weedes of little worth, are culde from out the rest,
Which he with double paine, did work, to gleane the bad from best.
The state is very straunge, and fortune rare in use,
Whose heavie happe he neither helpes, nor blazeth their abuse.
In thundring verse he wrayes, where highest mindes be thrall,
Where mischeefe seekes to rayse it selfe, by force of others fall.
He pluckes the visour of, from maskes of peevish pride,
And wrayes what sowre (in sweet pretence) the coustly corts can hide.
In everie gallant flower, he setteth forth to show,
Of Venus thralles, the hap, the harme, the want, the weale, the woe.
He finely findes their faultes, whose welth doth foster wrong,
Who toucheth sinne (without offence) must plainly sing his song
His loftie vaine in verse, his stately stile in prose,
Foretelles that Pallas ment by him, for to defende hir foes
Wherwith to Mars his might, his lustie limmes are knit,
(A sight most rare) that Hectors mind, should match with Pallas wit.
By proofe of late appeared (how so reportes here ran)
That he in field was formost still, in spoyle the hynmost man.
No backward blastes could bruse the valour of his thought,
Although slie hap, forestoode his hope, in that he credite sought.
In fortunes spight he strave, by vertues to aspire,
Resolvde when due deserts might mount, then he should have his hire.
Thus late with Mars in field, a lustie Souldiour shewde,
And now with peace in Pallas schoole, he freendly hath bestowde,
On thee this heape of flowers, the fruites of all his toyle,
Whereof if some but simple seeme, consider well the soyle.
They grew not all at home, some came from forreyne fieldes,
The which (percase) set here againe, no pleasant savour yeeldes.
Yet who mislyketh most, the worst will hardly mend,
And he were best not write at all, which no man will offend.
GAynst good deserts, both pride and envie swell,
As neede repines, to see his neighbour ritche:
And slaunder chafes, where vertues prosper well,
As sicke men thinke, all others health to mitch:
Such filthie faultes, mens harts ofttymes inflame,
That spight presumes, to stayne the worthies name.
Are brutall things, transferred so to men?
Or men become more savage than the beast?
We see the dogge, that kenelles in his den,
(For onely foode) obeyes his Lordes behest:
Yea more than that, remembers so reliefe,
As (in his kinde) he mournes at masters griefe.
If thou perceyve, whereto my tale intendes,
Then (slaunder) cease to wrong a frendly wight,
Who for his countreys good, his travayle spendes,
Sometime where blowes are given in bloudie fight:
And other tymes he frames with skilfull pen,
Such verse, as may content eche moulde of men.
As nowe beholde, he here presentes to thee,
The blossoms fayre, of three well sorted seedes.
The first he feynes, fresh Flowers for to bee:
The second Herbes, the last he termeth Weedes.
All these, the soyle of his well fallowed brayne,
(With Pallas droppes bedewde) yeeldes for thy gaine.
The Hearbes to grave conceyt, and skilfull age,
The fragrant Flowers to sent of yonger smell:
The worthlesse Weedes, to rule the wanton rage
Of recklesse heades, he gives: then use them well:
And gather (friend) but neyther spight nor spoyle,
These Posies made, by his long painfull toyle.
I Praysed once a booke (whereby I purchast blame)
And venturde for to write a verse, before I knewe the same.
So that I was deceyvde, for when it came to light,
The booke deserved no such worde, as I therein did wright.
Thus lept I ere I lookt, and wandred ere I wist,
Which gives (me haggard) warning since, to trust no falkners fist.
And yet the booke was good, (by hap and not my skill)
But not a Booke of such contentes, as might my wordes fulfill
Well now I neede not feare, these Posies here to prayse,
Bicause I knew them every flower, and where they grew alwayes.
And sure for my conceyt, even when they bloomed first,
Me thought they smelt not much amisse, no not the very worst.
Perhappes some daintie nose, no Batchlers button lykes,
And some at Pimpernell and Pinkes, a slender quarell pykes.
Some thinke that Gillyflowers, do yeeld a gelous smell,
And some (which like none herbe but Sage) say Finkell tastes not well.
Yet Finkell is of force, and Gillyflowers are good,
And Pinks please some, and Pimpernell doth serve to steynch the blood:
And Batchlers buttons be, the bravest to beholde,
But sure that flower were best not grow, which can abide no colde.
For slaunder blowes so shrill, with easterne envious windes,
And frosts of frumps so nip the rootes, of vertuous meaning minds
That few good flowers can thrive, unlesse they be protected,
Or yarded from suspitious blastes, or with some proppes erected.
So seemeth by the wight, which gardened this grounde,
And set such flowers on every bed, that Posies here abounde.
Yet some tongues cannot well, affoorde him worthie prayse,
And by our Lorde they do him wrong, for I have sene his wayes,
And marked all his moodes, and have had proofe likewise,
That he can do as well in field, as pen can here devise.
Not many Monthes yet past, I saw his doughtie deedes,
And since (to heare what slaunder sayes) my heavie hart it bleedes.
Yet Reader graunt but this, to trie before thou trust,
So shalt thou find his flowers and him, both gallant, good and just.
THe saverie sappes in Gascoignes Flowers that are,
Which strayned were by loftie learnings lore:
Could not content the surly for their share,
Ne cause them once, to yeeld him thankes therefore:
Such was his hap, when first in hande he tooke,
By labor long, to bring to light this Booke.
Yet hath he not (for all this) seemde to cease,
Those Flowers fresh againe in ground to set,
And yeeld them earth to bring forth their increase,
With other slippes from forraine soyle yfet.
Which he hath gaynde by hazarde of his life,
In bloudie broyles, where pouldred shot was rife.
This endlesse toyle, contented well his minde,
Hope helde the helme, his Fame on shore to set:
His deepe desire, was friendship for to finde,
At readers handes, he nought else sought to get:
Wherefore (doubtlesse) they did him double wrong,
Which F. and J. mysconstrued have so long.
Yet least I should passe from the golden ground,
Of Gascoignes plat, wherein those Posies grew,
I list to tell what Flowers there I found,
And paint by penne, the honour to him dew:
Since that his toyle doth well deserve the same,
And sacred skill hath so advaunst his name.
First did I finde the Flower of Fetters frute,
Whereof my selfe have tasted to my paine:
Then might I see the Greene knight touch the Lute,
Whose cordes were coucht on frettes of deepe disdaine:
And likewise there, I might perceyve full well,
That fragrant Flower which Fansie bad farewell.
In fine I found the flowre that Bellum hight,
Sweete unto those, of sillie simple sense,
Yet sharpe and sowre, to those that do delight
In martiall martes, for gaine of pevish pense.
Such buddes full brave, good Gascoignes Garden
To all estates, which list the same to have.
Wherefore (good friend) flie envies yrkesome yre,
And tred the trace, which Reasons rule hath wrought,
Yeeld not disdeyne to Gascoigne for his hyre,
Whose brused braine for thee these flowers hath sought.
Least if thou do, the blame on thee do light,
Such friendly paynes to recompence with spight.
IF Virgill how to till the Earth,to every man doth tell,
And Galen he in Phisicks arte doth many men excell,
If Poets olde deserven prayse, by paynting out aright,
The frutes of vice, as Ovid doth, and many mo that wright,
By learned skill of many things: If such exalt their name,
And for their hyre, deserved prayse by trumpe of Ladie Fame:
Why should the Authour of this booke then leese his due desart,
Sith he so freendly here to us, hath shewed his skilfull arte?
The healthsome herbs and flowers sweet, from weedes he hath divided,
The fruits of Gives in prison strong he hath right wel decided.
Of warres also, and warriours to, even like a Martiall knight,
He hath discourst, and shewed the lottes, that thereupon do light:
Virgill is dead, and Galen gone, with Poets many more:
Yet workes of theirs be still alive, and with us kept in store.
This Authour lives, and Gascoigne hights, yet once to die most sure,
Alas the while that worthie wightes may not alwayes endure,
But workes of his among the best, for ever more shall rest,
When he in heaven shall take a place prepared for the blest.
CHawcer by writing purchast fame,
And Gower got a worthie name:
Sweete Surrey, suckt Parnassus springs,
And Wiat wrote of wondrous things:
Olde Rochfort clambe the stately Throne,
Which Muses horde, in Hellicone.
Then thither let, good Gascoigne go,
For sure his verse, deserveth so.
COnciosia la cosa che a'l bono vino, non ci bisogna la ghirlanda niente di meno l'opere virtuose meritano sempremai ogni laude, honore, & mercede. Tanto per essersi (nella natura loro, & di se stesse) piacevole, grate, & piene d'ogni contento, come per dare stimoli ad altrui d'imitar' i loro vestigii. In tanto Io stimo l'opera presente un'essempio chiaro & raro della gloria Ing[l]ese. Quando vi si truovano non solamente Sonetti, Rime, Canzoni, & altre cose infinitamente piacevole, ma con cio non vi mancano discorse tragiche, moderne, & phylosophichæ, della Guerra, delli stati, & della vera Sapienza. Tutte procedute d'un tal I[n]chiostro, che Io (sendo forastiero) lo truovo un' Immitatore di Petrarcha, Amico d'Ariosto, & Parangon di Bocaccio, Aretino, & ogni altro Poéta quanto sia piu famoso & eccellente dell' etá nostra.
CEux qui voiront les Rymes de Gascoigne,
(Estants Francois) se plaindront nuicts & jours
Que la Beauté & l'odeur de ces fl■urs,
A cest heur (de France) par Gascoign, tant s'esloigne.
SI iam vena viris eadem, quæ vatibus olim,
Ingenioque, pari possunt disponere partas
Materias, pedibus si incedunt Carmina certis,
Claudunturque, suis numeris: Si turba sororum
Supplicibus potis est priscos inflare furores,
Sed si quod magis est, nostri sua themata texant,
Consona scripturis sacris, nec dissona rectis
Moribus: amænos sed quæ cognoscere flores
Virtutis, quæ docent dulces colligere fructus:
Si fictas fabulas, falsique Cupidinis artes
Cum Venere excludunt, (ut docta indigna poesi)
Cur non censemus celebrandos iure Coronis
Æquales virtute viros æqualibus esse?
O ingrata tuis non reddere tanta peritis
Præmia, quanta suis dignarunt prima Poetis
Sæcula. num laudes tantas licet addere lingu[æ]
Romanæ primum, (quæ nil tamen attulit ultra
Utile) germanas ut fas sit spernere gemmas?
Sed vitium hoc patriæ est & peculiariter Anglis
Convenit, externis quæcunque, feruntur ab oris,
Anteferre suis. Age si sic sapitis, Ecce,
Anglia quos profert flores Gasconia pressit.
MEns generosa solet generosos edere flores
Incassumque, suos non sinit ire dies:
Hæc tua Gasconi laus est. mercede remota
Hac, friget virtus, hæc tibi sufficiat.
Hæc tibi (seu Belgas repetas, Martemque, ferocem,
Seu patriam & Musas) inviolata Comes.
VIderat huius: [F]. I. Titulum nomenque Poæta,
Lætaque, vix potuit dic[e]re lingua, bene est:
Mox ubi quæ voluit, libro non vidit in illo,
Magnaque, quæ, fuerat, pars ibi parva fuit,
Quàm male, ait, socio Martem secrevit [A]more!
Qui bene amat pugnat, qui bene pugnat amat.
QUi quondam grave Martis opus, sub gente nefanda,
Militiamque tuli, non uno nomine duram,
Arma quibus lætabar Ego, Tritonia Pallas,
Pallas, ego trado arma tibi, & nunc per iuga Cynthi
Per sacrum te Hellicona tuus, per Thessala Tempe
Insequor, æternumque sequar, dum sydera mundum,
Dum deus æternos certo moderamine C■los
Dirigat, æthereasque, animas & sydera C■li.
O quæ felices c■lesti nectare mentes
Perfundis, Divûmque doces nos dicere Cantus,
Quales Aonias inter cel[e]berrima turbas
Calliopæa canit, vel gestis Clio loquendis
Nata, (Novenarum pars ingens Clio sororum,)
Da, Regina, tuis adytis antrisque, recepto
Cantari vates inter dicique, Britannos.
SUnt quorum mentes tenebræ, Caligoque, turpis
Infuscant, vates qui tetigisse timent.
Tu pete florentem, facunde Poëta, Corollam,
Excultis pateat versibus iste locus.
QUisquis es hac nostri qui gaudes parte laboris,
Iudicio nobis, ca[u]tus adesto precor.
Perlege scripta prius, quàm pergas scripta probare,
Et bene perlectis, inde videbis opus.
Nam nihil in titulum iuvat inspexisse libelli,
Si vis materiæ sit tibi nota minus.
Non etenim prima veniunt fundamina rerum,
Sed sunt in variis inspicienda locis.
Perge igitur quo sit pergendum, fine reperto,
In tenebris tum quæ d[e]lituêre proba.
SI quam Romani laudem m[e]ruêre Poëtaæ
Sique fuit Graiis debitus ullus honos,
Græcia si quondam vatem suspexit Homerum,
Si domitrix magni Roma Maronis opus,
Cur non Gasconii facunda poëmata laudat
Anglia? & ad c■li sydera summa ferat?
Carmina nam cum re sic consentire videntur,
Egregium & præstans ut videatur opus.
Dixerit has aliquis Musas nimis esse iocosas,
Et iuvenum facile posse nocere animis.
Non ita, ni forsan veldt iisdem lector abuti:
Non obsunt, pura si modò mente legas.
WHat neede I speake my self, since other say so much?
Who seme to praise these poesies so, as if ther wer none such?
But sure my silly self, do find therein no smell,
Which may deserve such passing prayse, or seeme to taste so well.
This boone I onely crave, that Readers yet will deigne
(If any weede herein do seeme, his fellow flowres to stayne)
Then reade but others workes, and marke if that they finde,
No toyes therein which may dislike, some modest readers minde?
Reade Virgills Pryapus, or Ovids wanton verse
Which he about Corinnaes couche, so clerkly can rehearse.
Reade Faustoes filthy tale, in Ariostoes ryme,
And let not Marots Alyx passe, without impeach of crime.
These things considred well, I trust they will excuse
This muze of mine, although she seem, such toyes somtimes to use.
Beleeve me Lordings all, it is a Poetes parte,
To handle eche thing in his kinde, for therein lieth his arte:
Lucillius ledde the daunce, and Horace made the lawe,
That poetes by Aucthoritie, may call (A dawe) A Dawe,
And eke (a hore) A Hore, but yet in cleanly wordes,
So that the vice may be rebukt, as though it were in bourdes:
This phrase sometimes I use, which (if it be a faute)
Condempne not all the rest therfore, that here in verse is taught,
Smell every poesie right, and you therein shall finde,
Fresh flowres, good hearbes, & holsome weedes, to please a skilfull minde.
FINIS. Tam Marti, quàm Mercurio.
KInde Erato, and wanton Thalia,
(Whose name my muze, devoutly did invoke)
Adieu deare dames, Caliope sings alia,
Which are more worth, and smell not of the smoke.
And if blinde Cupide, chaunce to stryke a stroke,
I vowe my verse, Apocrypha shalbe,
In silence shutte, that none (but you) may see.