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¶In praise of a gentlewoman who though she were
not verye fayre, yet was she as harde
favoured as might be.
IF men may credite give, to true reported fames,
Who doubtes but stately Rome had stoore of lustye loving Dames?
Whose eares have bene so deafe, as never yet heard tell,
Howe far the freshe Pompeia, for beautie dyd excel.
And golden Marcus he, that swaide the Romaine sword,
Bare witnesse of Boemia, by credite of his word.
What neede I mo rehearse? since all the world dyd know,
How high the floods of beauties blaze, within those walles dyd flowe.
And yet in all that choyse a worthy Romaine Knight,
Antonius who conquered prowde Egipt by his might,
Not al to please his eye, but most to ease his minde,
She was an Egiptian.
Chose Cleopatra for his love, and left the rest behind.
A wondrous thing to reade, in all his victorye,
He snapt but hir for his owne share, to please his fantasie.
She was not fayre God wot, the countreye breades none bright,
Well maye we judge hir skinne the foyle, because hyr teeth were white.
Percase hyr lovelye lookes, some prayses dyd deserve,
But browne I dare be bolde shee was, for so the soyle dyd serve.
And could Antonius forsake the fayre in Rome?
To love his nutbrowne Ladye best, was this an equall doome?
I dare well say dames there, did beare him deadly grudge,
His sentence had beene shortly sayde, if Faustine had bene judge.
For this I dare avow, (without vaunt be it spoke)
So brave a knight as Anthony, held al their necks in yoke:
I leave not Lucrece out, beleeve in hir who lyst,
I thinke she would have lik'd his lure, & stooped to his fist.
What mov'd the chieftain then, to lincke his liking thus?
I would some Romaine dame were here, the question to discusse.
But [I that] read her life, do finde therein by fame,
Howe cleare hir curtesie dyd shine, in honour of hir name.
Hir bountie did excell, hir trueth had never pere,
Hir lovely lokes, hir pleasant speech, hir lusty loving chere.
And all the worthy giftes, that ever yet were found,
Within this good Egiptian Queene, dyd seeme for to abound.
Wherefore he worthy was, to win the golden fleece,
Which scored the blasing starres in Rome, to conquere such a peece.
And shee to quite his love, in spite of dreadfull death,
Enshrinde with Snakes within his Tombe, did yeeld hir parting breath.
IF fortune favord him, then may that man rejoyce,
And thinke himself a happy man by hap of happy choice.
Who loves and is belov'd of one as good, as true,
As kind as Cleopatra was, and yet more bright of hewe.
Hir eyes as greye as glasse, hir teeth as white as mylke,
A ruddy lippe, a dimpled chyn, a skyn as smoth as silke.
A wight what could you more, that may content mannes minde,
And hath supplies for ev'ry want, that any man can finde.
And may him selfe assure, when hence his life shall passe,
She wil be stong to death with snakes, as Cleopatra was.
Si fortunatus inf■lix.
¶ The praise of Phillip Sparrowe.
OF all the byrdes that I doe know,
Phillip my Sparow hath no peare:
For sit she high or lye she lowe,
Be shee farre off, or be shee neare,
There is no byrde so fayre, so fine,
Nor yet so freshe as this of myne.
Come in a morning mer[ri]ly,
When Phillip hath bene lately fed,
Or in an evening soberlye,
When Phillip lyst to goe to bed:
It is a heaven to heare my Phippe,
Howe she can chirpe with chery lippe.
She never wanders farre abroade,
But is at hand when I doe call:
If I commaund shee layes on loade,
With lips, with teeth, with tongue and all.
She chants, she chirpes, she makes such cheere,
That I beleeve she hath no peere.
And yet besides all this good sport,
My Phillip can both sing and daunce:
With new found toyes of sundry sort,
My Phillip can both pricke and praunce:
As if you saye but fend cut phippe,
Lord how the peat will turne and skippe.
Hir fethers are so freshe of hewe,
And so well proyned everye daye:
She lackes none oyle, I warrant you:
To trimme hir tayle both tricke and gaye,
And though hir mouth be somewhat wide,
Hir tonge is sweet and short beside.
And for the rest I dare compare,
She is both tender, sweet and soft:
She never lacketh dainty fare,
But is well fed and feedeth oft:
For if my phip have lust to eate,
I warrant you phip lacks no meate.
And then if that hir meat be good,
And such as like do love alway:
She will lay lips theron by the rood,
And see that none be cast away:
For when she once hath felt a fitte,
Phillip will crie still, yit, yit, yit.
And to tell trueth he were to blame,
Which had so fine a Byrde as she,
To make him all this goodly game,
Without suspect or jellousie:
He were a churle and knewe no good,
Would see hir faynt for lacke of food.
Wherfore I sing and ever shall,
To prayse as I have often prov'd
There is no byrd amongst them all,
So worthy for to be belov'd.
Let other prayse what byrd they will,
Sweet Phillip shalbe my byrd still.
Si fortunatus inf■lix.
¶ Farewell with a mischeife, written by a lover being disdaynefullye abjected by a dame of highe calling, Who had chosen (in his place) a playe fellow of baser condition: & therfore he determined to step a side, and before his departure giveth hir this farwell in verse.
THy byrth, thy beautie, nor thy brave attyre,
(Disdaynfull Dame, which doest me double wrong)
Thy hygh estate, which sets thy harte on fire,
Or newe found choyse, which cannot serve thee long
Shall make me dread, with pen for to reherse,
Thy skittish deedes, in this my parting verse.
For why thou knowest, and I my selfe can tell,
By many vowes, how thou to me wert bound:
And how for joye, thy hart did seeme to swell,
And in delight, how thy desires were drownd.
When of thy will, the walles I did assayle,
Wherin fond fancie, fought for mine avayle.
And though my mind, have small delight to vaunt,
Yet must I vowe, my hart to thee was true:
My hand was alwayes able for to daunt,
Thy slaundrous fooes, and kepe theyr tongues in mew.
My head (though dull) was yet of such devise,
As might have kept thy name alwayes in price.
And for the rest my body was not brave,
But able yet, of substaunce to allaye,
The raging lust, wherein thy limbes did rave,
And quench the coales, which kindled thee to playe.
Such one I was, and such alwayes wyl be,
For worthy Dames, but then I meane not thee.
For thou hast caught a proper paragon,
A theefe, a cowarde, and a Peacocke foole:
An Ase, a milkesop, and a minion,
Which hath no oyle, thy furyous flames to coole,
Such on he is, a pheare for thee most fit,
A wandring gest, to please thy wavering wit.
A theefe I counte him for he robbes us both,
Thee of thy name, and me of my delight:
A coward is he noted where he goeth,
Since every child is match to him in might.
And for his pride no more, but marke his plumes,
The which to princke, he dayes and nights consumes.
The rest thy selfe, in secret sorte can judge,
He rides not me, thou knowest his sadell best:
And though these tricks of thine, mought make me grudg,
And kindle wrath, in my revenging brest
Yet of my selfe, and not to please thy mind,
I stand content, my rage in rule to binde.
And farre from thee now must I take my flight,
Where tongues maye tell, (and I not see) thy fall:
Where I maye drinke these druggs of thy dispite,
To purge my Melancholike mind with all.
In secrete so, my stomacke will I sterve,
Wishing thee better than thou doest deserve.
Spræta tamen vivunt.
The doale of disdaine written by a lover disdain-
fully rejected contrary to former promise.
THe deadly dropes of darke disdayne,
Which dayly fall on my deserte,
The lingring sute long spent in vayne,
Wherof I feele no frute but smart:
Enforce me now th[ese] wordes to write:
Not all for love but more for spite.
The which to the I must rehearse,
Whom I dyd honour, serve and trust,
And though the musicke of my verse,
Be plainsong tune both true and just:
Content thee yet to here my song,
For els thou doest me doobble wrong.
I must alledge, and thou canst tell
How faithfully I vowed to serve,
And howe thou seemest to like me well:
And how thou saydest I did deserve,
To be thy Lord, thy Knight, thy King.
And how much more I list not sing.
And canst thou now (thou cruell one)
Condemne desert to deepe dispayre?
Is all thy promise past and gone?
Is fayth so fled into the ayre?
If that be so, what rests for me?
But thus in song to saye to thee.
If Cressydes name were not so knowen,
And written wide on every wall:
If brute of pryde were not so blowen,
Angelica refusing the most famous knights in the whole worlde, chose at last Medoro a poore serving man.
Upon Angelica withall:
For hault disdayne thou mightst be she,
Or Cresside for inconstancie.
And in reward of thy desert,
I hope at last to see thee payd:
With deepe repentaunce for thy part,
Which thou hast now so lewedly playd.
Medoro hee must bee thy make,
Since thou Orlando doest for sake.
Such is the fruite that groweth alwaies,
Upon the roote of ripe disdaine:
Such kindly wages Cupide payes,
Where constant hearts cannot remaine,
I hope to see thee in such bandes,
When I may laugh and clappe my handes.
But yet for thee I must protest,
[That] sure the faulte is none of thine,
Thou art as true as is the best,
That ever came of Cressedes lyne:
For constant yet was never none,
But in unconstancie alone.
Meritum petere, grave.
¶ Mars in despite of Vulcane written for an absent
lover (parted from his Lady by Sea.)
BOth deepe and dreadfull were the Seas,
Which held Leander from his love,
Yet could no doubtes his mind appease,
Nor save his life for hir behove:
But guiltlesse bloud it selfe would spill,
To please the waves and worke his wyll.
O greedye gulfe, O wretched waves,
O cruell floods, O sinke of shames,
You holde true lovers bound like slaves,
And keepe them from their worthy Dames:
Your open mouth gapes evermore,
Tyll one or both be drowned therefore.
For proofe whereof my selfe maye sing,
And shrich to pearce the loftye skies,
Whose Lady left me languishing,
Uppon the shoare in woofull wise.
And cross the Seas out of my sight,
Wherby I lost my chiefe delight.
She sayd that no such trustlesse flood,
Should keepe our loves (long time) in twayne:
She sware no bread shoulde doe hyr good,
Till she migh[t] see my selfe agayne.
She sayd and swore these wordes and mo,
But now I finde them nothing so.
What resteth then for me to doo,
Thou salte sea foome come saye thy mind?
Should I come drowne within thee to,
That am of true Leanders kind?
And headlong cast this corpes of mine,
Into th[ose] greedy guttes of thine.
No cruel, but in spite of thee,
I will make Seas where earst were none,
My teares shall flowe in full degree,
Tyll all my myrth may ebbe to mone.
Into such droppes I meane to melt,
And in such Seas my selfe to swelt.
¶ Yet you deere Dame for whome I fade,
Thus starving still in wretched state:
Remember once your promise made,
Performe it now though all to late.
Come home to Mars who may you please,
Let Vulcane bide beyond the Seas.
Meritum petere, grave.
¶Patience perforce, wherein an absent lover doth
thus encourage his Lady to con-
COntent thy selfe with patience perforce:
And quenche no love with droppes of darcke mistrust:
Let absence have no power to divorce,
Thy faithfull friend which meaneth to be just.
Beare but a while thy constance to declare,
For when I come one ynche shall breake no square.
I must confesse that promise dyd me binde,
For to have sene thy seemely selfe ere now:
And if thou knewest what griefes did gaule my minde,
Bicause I coulde not keepe that faithfull vowe,
My just excuse, I can my selfe assure,
With lytle paine thy pardon might procure.
But call to minde how long Ulisses was,
In lingring absence, from his loving make:
And howe she deigned then hir dayes to passe,
In solitary silence for his sake.
Be thou a true Penelope to me,
And thou shalt sone thine owne Ulisses see.
What sayd I? sone? yea sone I saye againe,
I wyll conne sone and soner if I maye:
Beleeve me nowe it is a pinching payne,
To thinke of love, when lovers are awaye.
Such thoughts I have, and when I thinke on thee,
My thoughtes are there, whereas my bones would bee.
The longing lust which Priames sonne of Troye,
Had for to see his Cresside come againe:
Could not exceede the depth of mine anoye,
Nor seeme to passe the patterne of my payne.
I fryse in hope, I thaw in hote desire,
Farre from the flame, and yet I burne like fire.
Wherfore deare friend, thinke on the pleasures past.
And let my teares, for both our paines suffise:
The lingring joyes, when as they come at last,
Are bet then those, which passe in posting wise.
And I my selfe, to prove this tale is true,
In hast, post hast, thy comfort will renew.
Meritum petere, grave.
¶ A letter devised for a yong lover.
REceive you worthy Dame, this rude & ragged verse,
Lend wylling eare unto the tale, which I shall nowe rehearse.
And though my witlesse woordes might moove you for to smile,
Yet trust to that which I shal tel, & never marke my stile.
Amongst five hundreth Dames, presented to my view,
I find most cause by due desert, to like the best of you.
I see your beautie such, as seemeth to suffice,
To binde my heart in linckes of love, by judgement of myne eyes.
And but your bounty quench, the coales of quicke desire,
I feare that face of yours wyll set, ten thousand hearts on fire.
But bounty so aboundes, above al my desert,
As that I quake and shrinke for feare, to shewe you of my smart.
Yet since mine eye made choice, my hart shal not repent,
But yeeld it self unto your wyl, & therwith stand content.
God knowth I am not great, my power it is not much,
The greater glorye shall you gaine, to shew your favour suche.
And what I am or have, all that I yeeld to you,
My hande and sworde shall serve alwayes, to prove my tongue is true.
Then take me for your owne, and so I wyl be still,
Beleeve me nowe, I make this vowe, in hope of your good wyll.
Which if I may obtaine, God leave me when I change,
This is the tale I meant to tell, good Lady be not strange.
Meritum petere, grave.
¶ Davids salutacions to Berzabe wherein are three son ets in sequence, written uppon this occation. The deviser hereof amongst other friendes had named a gentlewoman his Berzabe, and she was content to call him hir David. The man presented his Lady with a booke of the Golden Asse, written by Lucius Apuleius, and in the beginning of the booke wrote this sequence. You must conferre it with the Historye of Apuleius, for else it wyll have small grace.
THis Apuleius was in Affricke borne,
And tooke delight to travaile Thessaly,
As one that helde his native soyle in skorne,
In foraine coastes to feede his fantasie.
And such againe as wandring wits find out,
This yonker wonne by wyll and weary toyle,
A youth mispent, a doting age in doubt,
A body brusd with many a beastly broyle,
A presaunt pleasure passing on a pace,
And paynting plaine the path of penitence,
A frollicke favour foyld with fowle disgrace,
When hoary heares should claime their reverence.
Such is the fruite that growes on gadding trees,
Such kynd of mell most moveth busie Bees.
For Lucius he,
Esteeming more one ounce of present sport,
Than elders doe a pound of perfect wit:
First to the bowre of beautie doth resorte,
And there in pleasure passed many a fitte,
His worthie race he (recklesse) doth forget,
With small regarde in great affaires he reeles,
No counsell grave, nor good advise can set
His braynes in brake that whirled still on wheeles.
For if Byrhena coulde have helde him backe,
From Venus court where he nowe nusled was,
His lustie limmes had never founde the lacke
Of manlie shape: the figure of an Asse,
Had not bene blazed on his bloud and bones,
To wound his will with torments all attones.
But Fotis she,
Who sawe this Lording whitled with the cup
Of vaine delight, wherof he gan to tast:
Pourde out apace, and fillde the Mazor up,
With drunken dole: yea after that in hast,
She greazde this guest with sause of Sorcerie,
And fedde his minde with knacks both queint and strange:
Lo here the treazon and the trecherie
Of gadding girles, when they delight to range.
For Lucius thinking to become a foule,
Became a foole, yea more than that, an Asse,
A bobbing blocke, a beating stocke, an owle,
Well woondred at in place where he did passe:
And spent his time, his travaile and his cost,
To purchase payne and all his labor lost.
Yet I pore I,
Who make of thee my Fotys and my frende,
In like delight my youthfull yeares to spend:
Do hope thou wilt from such soure sause defend,
David thy King.
Meritum petere grave.
Soone acquainted, soone forgotten,
As appeareth here by an uncourteous farewell
to an inconstant Dame.
IF what you want, you (wanton) had at will,
A stedfast minde, a faythfull loving heart:
If what you speake you woulde performe it still,
If from your worde your deede did not reverte:
If youthfull yeares your thoughtes did not so rule,
As elder dayes may scorne your friendship fraile,
Your doubled fansie would not thus recule,
For peevish pryde which nowe I must bewaile.
For Cresside faire did Troilus never love,
More deare than I esteemde your freamed cheare,
Whose wavering wayes (since nowe I do them prove)
By true reporte this witnesse with me beare:
That if your friendship be not to deare bought,
The price is great that nothing gives for nought.
Meritum petere grave.