La queja de Rosamond
Out from the horror of infernall deepes,
My poore afflicted ghost comes heere to plaine it:
Attended with my shame that neuer sleepes,
The spot wherewith my kinde, and youth did staine it:
My body found a graue where to containe it,
A sheete could hide my face, but not my sin,
For Fame finds neuer tombe t'inclose it in.
And which is worse, my soule is nowe denied,
Her transport to the sweet Elisean rest,
The ioyfull blisse for ghosts repurified,
Th'euer springing Gardens of the blest,
Caron denies me waftage with the rest.
And sayes my soule can neuer passe that Riuer,
Till Louers sighes on earth shall it deliuer.
So shall I neuer passe; for how should I
Procure this sacrifice amongst the liuing?
Time hath long since worne out the memorie,
Both of my life, and liues vniust depriuing:
Sorrow for me is dead for aye reuiuing.
Rosamond hath little left her but her name,
And that disgrac'd, for time hath wrong'd the same.
No Muse suggests the pittie of my case,
Each penne dooth ouerpasse my iust complaint,
Whilst others are preferd, though farre more base:
Shores wife is grac'd, and passes for a Saint;
Her Legend iustifies her foule attaint;
Her well-told tale did such compassion finde,
That she is pass'd, and I am left behinde.
Which seene with griefe, my myserable ghost,
(Whilome inuested in so faire a vaile,
Which whilst it liu'd, was honoured of the most,
And being dead, giues matter to bewaile)
Comes to sollicit thee, since others faile,
To take this taske, and in thy wofull Song
To forme my case, and register my wrong.
Although I knowe thy iust lamenting Muse,
Toylde in th'affliction of thine owne distresse,
In others cares hath little time to vse,
And therefore maist esteeme of mine the lesse:
Yet as thy hopes attend happie redresse,
Thy ioyes depending on a womans grace,
So moue thy minde a wofull womans case.
Delia may happe to deynge to read our story,
And offer vp her sigh among the rest,
Whose merit would suffice for both our glorie,
Whereby thou might'st be grac'd, and I be blest,
That indulgence would profit me the best;
Such powre she hath by whom thy youth is lead,
To ioy the liuing and to blesse the dead.
So I through beautie made the wofull'st vvight,
By beautie might haue comfort after death:
That dying fayrest, by the fayrest might
Finde life aboue on earth, and rest beneath:
She that can blesse vs with one happy breath,
Giue comfort to thy Muse to doe her best.
That thereby thou maist ioy, and I might rest.
Thus saide: forthwith mou'd with a tender care
And pittie, which my selfe could neuer finde:
What she desir'd, my Muse deygn'd to declare,
And therefore will'd her boldly tell her minde:
And I more willing tooke this charge assignd,
Because her griefes were worthy to be knowne,
And telling hers, might hap forget mine owne.
Then write quoth shee the ruine of my youth,
Report the downe-fall of my slippry state:
Of all my life reueale the simple truth,
To teach to others, what I learnt too late:
Exemplifie my frailtie, tell howe Fate
Keepes in eternall darke our fortunes hidden,
And ere they come, to know them tis forbidden.
For whilst the sunn-shine of my fortune lasted,
I ioy'd the happiest warmth, the sweetest heat
That euer yet imperious beautie tasted,
I had what glory euer flesh could get:
But this faire morning had a shamefull set;
Disgrace darkt honor, sinne did clowde my brow,
As note the sequel, and Ile tell thee how.
The blood I staind was good and of the best,
My birth had honor, and my beautie fame:
Nature and Fortune ioyn'd to make me blest,
Had I had grace t'haue knowne to vse the same:
My education shew'd from whence I came,
And all concur'd to make me happy furst,
That so great hap might make me more accurst.
Happie liu'd I whilst Parents eye did guide,
The indiscretion of my feeble wayes:
And Country home kept me from being eyde,
Where best vnknowne I spent my sweetest dayes;
Till that my frindes mine honour sought to rayse,
To higher place, which greater credite yeeldes,
Deeming such beauty was vnfit for feeldes.
From Country then to Court I was preferr'd,
From calme to stormes, from shore into the deepes:
There where I perish'd, where my youth first err'd;
There where I lost the Flowre which honour keepes;
There where the worser thriues, the better weepes;
Ah me poore wench, on this vnhappy shelfe
I grounded me, and cast away my selfe.
For thither com'd, when yeeres had arm'd my youth,
With rarest proofe of beautie euer seene:
When my reuiuing eye had learnt the truth,
That it had powre to make the winter greene,
And flowre affections whereas none had beene:
Soone could I teach my browe to tyrannize.
And make the world do homage to mine eyes.
For age I saw, though yeeres with cold conceit,
Congeald theyr thoughts against a warme desire:
Yet sigh their want, and looke at such a baite,
I saw how youth was waxe before the fire:
I saw by stealth, I fram'd my looke a lire,
Yet well perceiu'd how Fortune made me then,
The enuy of my sexe, and wonder vnto men.
Looke how a Comet at the first appearing,
Drawes all mens eyes with wonder to behold it:
Or as the saddest tale at suddaine hearing,
Makes silent listning vnto him that told it:
So did my speech when rubies did vnfold it;
So did the blasing of my blush appeere,
Tamaze the world, that holds such sights so deere.
Ah beauty Syren, fayre enchaunting good,
Sweet silent rethorique of perswading eyes:
Dombe eloquence, whose powre doth moue the blood,
More then the words, or wisedome of the wise:
Still harmonie, whose diapason lyes
Within a brow, the key which passions moue,
To rauish sence, and play a world in loue.
What might I then not doe whose powre was such?
What cannot vvomen doe that know theyr powre?
What women knowes it not I feare too much,
How blisse or bale lyes in theyr laugh or lowre?
Whilst they enioy their happy blooming flowre,
Whilst nature decks her with her proper fayre
Which cheeres the worlde, ioyes each sight, sweetens th'ayre.
Such one was I, my beautie was mine owne,
No borrowed blush which banck-rot beauties seeke:
The newfound-shame, a sinne to vs vnknowne,
Th'adulterate beauty of a falsed cheeke:
Vild staine to honor and to women eeke,
Seeing that time our fading must detect,
Thus with defect to couer our defect.
Impiety of times, chastities abator,
Falshod, wherein thy selfe, thy selfe deniest:
Treason, to counterfeit the seale of nature,
The stampe of heauen, impresed by the hiest.
Disgrace vnto the world, to whom thou lyest,
Idol vnto thy selfe, shame to the wise,
And all that honors thee idolatrise.
Farre was that sinne from vs whose age was pure,
When simple beautie was accounted best,
The time when women had no other lure
But modestie, pure cheekes, a vertuous brest:
This was the pompe wherewith my youth was blest;
These were the weapons which mine honour wunne
In all the conflicts that mine eyes begunne.
Which were not small, I wrought on no meane obiect;
A Crowne was at my feete, Scepters obaide mee:
Whom Fortune made my King, Loue made my Subiect,
Who did commaund the Land, most humbly praid mee:
Henry the second, that so highly weigh'd mee,
Founde well by proofe the priuiledge of Beautie,
That it hath powre to counter-maund all duetie.
For after all his victories in Fraunce,
Tryumphing in the honour of his deedes:
Vnmatch'd by sword, vvas vanquisht by a glaunce,
And hotter warres within his bosome breedes:
Warres vvhom whole Legions of desires feedes,
Against all which my chastitiy opposes,
The fielde of honour, vertue neuer loses.
No armour might bee founde that coulde defend,
Transpearcing rayes of Christall-pointed eyes:
No Stratagem, no reason could amend,
No not his age; yet olde men should be wise:
B[u]t shewes deceiue, outward appearance lyes;
Let none for seeming so, thinke Saints of others,
For all are men, and all have suckt their Mothers.
Who would haue thought, a Monarch would haue euer
Obayed his handmaide, of so meane a state;
Vultur ambition feeding on his lyuer,
Age hauing worne his pleasures out of date:
But happe comes neuer or it comes too late,
For such a daintie which his youth found not,
Vnto his feeble age did chaunce allot.
Ah Fortune neuer absolutely good,
For that some crosse still counterchecks our luck:
As heere beholde th'incompatible blood,
Of age and youth was that whereon we stuck:
Whose loathing, we from natures brests do suck,
As opposit to what our blood requires;
For equall age doth equall like desires.
But mightie men in highest honor sitting,
Nought but applause and pleasure can behold:
Sooth'd in their liking, carelesse what is fitting,
May not be suffred once to thinke the'are old:
Not trusting what they see, but what is told.
Miserable fortune to forget so farre,
The state of flesh, and what our frailties are.
Yet must I needes excuse so great defect,
For drinking of the Lethe of myne eyes:
H'is forc'd forget himselfe, and all respect
Of maiestie whereon his state relyes:
And now of loues, and pleasures must deuise.
For thus reuiu'd againe, he serues and su'th,
And seekes all meanes to vndermine my youth.
Which neuer by assault he could recouer,
So well incamp'd in strength of chaste desires:
My cleane-arm'd thoughts repell'd an vnchast louer,
The Crowne that could commaund what it requires,
I lesser priz'd then chastities attires,
Th'vnstained vaile, which innocents adornes,
Th'vngathred Rose, defended with the thornes.
And safe mine honor stoode till that in truth,
One of my Sexe, of place, and nature bad:
Was set in ambush to intrap my youth,
One in the habit of like frailtie clad,
One who the liu'ry of like weakenes had.
A seeming Matrone, yet a sinfull monster,
As by her words the chaster sort may conster.
Shee set vpon me with the smoothest speech,
That Court and age could cunningly deuise:
Th'one autentique made her fit to teach,
The other learnt her how to subtelise:
Both were enough to circumuent the wise.
A document that well may teach the sage,
That there's no trust in youth, nor hope in age.
Daughter (saith she) behold thy happy chaunce,
That hast the lot cast downe into thy lap,
VVhereby thou maist thy honor great aduaunce,
VVhilst thou (vnhappy) wilt not see thy hap:
Such fond respect thy youth doth so inwrap,
T'oppose thy selfe against thine owne good fortune,
That points thee out, and seemes thee to importune.
Doost thou not see how that thy King thy Ioue,
Lightens foorth glory on thy darke estate:
And showres downe golde and treasure from aboue,
Whilst thou doost shutte thy lappe against thy fate:
Fye fondling fye, thou wilt repent too late
The error of thy youth; that canst not see
What is the fortune that dooth followe thee.
Thou must not thinke thy flowre can alwayes florish,
And that thy beautie will be still admired:
But that those rayes which all these flames doe nourish,
Canceld with Time, will haue their date expyred,
And men will scorne what now is so desired:
Our frailtyes doome is written in the flowers,
Which florish now and fade ere many howers.
Reade in my face the ruines of my youth,
The wracke of yeeres vpon my aged brow:
I haue beene faire, I must confesse the trueth,
And stoode vppon as nice respects as thow;
I lost my time, and I repent it now;
But were I to beginne my youth againe,
I would redeeme the time I spent in vayne.
But thou hast yeeres and priuiledge to vse them,
Thy priuiledge doth beare beauties great seale:
Besides, the law of nature doth excuse them,
To whom thy youth may haue a iust appeale:
Esteeme not fame more then thou doost thy weale,
Fame, wherof the world seemes to make such choyce:
Is but an Eccho, and an idle voyce.
Then why should thys respect of honor bound vs,
In th'imaginary lists of reputation?
Titles which cold seueritie hath found vs,
Breath of the vulgar, foe to recreation:
Melancholies opinion, customs relation;
Pleasures plague, beauties scourge, hell to the fayre,
To leaue the sweete for Castles in the ayre.
Pleasure is felt, opinion but conceau'd,
Honor, a thing without vs, not our owne:
Whereof we see how many are bereau'd,
Which should haue rep'd the glory they had sowne,
And many haue it, yet vnworthy knowne.
So breathes his blasts this many-headed beast,
Whereof the wisest haue esteemed least.
The subtile Citty-women better learned,
Esteeme them chast ynough that best seeme so:
Who though they sport, it shall not be discerned,
Their face bewraies not what their bodies doe;
Tis warie walking that doth safliest goe.
With shew of vertue, as the cunning knowes,
Babes are beguild with sweetes, and men with showes.
Then vse thy tallent, youth shall be thy warrant,
And let not honor from thy sports detract:
Thou must not fondly thinke thy selfe transparent,
That those who see thy face can iudge the fact;
Let her haue shame that cannot closely act.
And seeme the chast, which is the the cheefest arte,
For what we seeme each sees, none knowes our harte.
The mightie who can with such sinnes dispence,
In steed of shame doe honors great bestow:
A worthie author doth redeeme th'offence,
And makes the scarelet sinne as white as snow.
The Maiestie that doth descend so low,
Is not defilde, but pure remaines therein:
And being sacred, sanctifies the sin.
What, doost thou stand on thys, that he is olde,
Thy beauty hath the more to worke vppon:
Thy pleasures want shal be supply'd with gold,
Cold age dotes most when the heate of youth is gone:
Enticing words preuaile with such a one,
Alluring shewes most deepe impression strikes,
For age is prone to credite what it likes.
Heere interupt she leaues me in a doubt,
When loe began the combat in my blood:
Seeing my youth inuirond round about,
The ground vncertaine where my reasons stood;
Small my defence to make my party good,
Against such powers which were so surely layde,
To ouerthrow a poore vnskilful mayde.
Treason was in my bones my selfe conspyring,
To sell my selfe to lust, my soule to sinne:
Pure-blushing shame was in retiring,
Leauing the sacred hold it glory'd in.
Honor lay prostrate for my flesh to win,
When cleaner thoughts my weakenes can vpbray
Against my selfe, and shame did force me say.
Ah Rosamond, what doth thy flesh prepare,
Destruction to thy dayes, death to thy fame:
Wilt thou betray that honor held with care,
T'intombe with blacke reproch a spotted name,
Leauing thy blush the collours of thy shame.
Opening thy feete to sinne, thy soule to lust,
Gracelesse to lay thy glorie in the dust.
Nay first let th'earth gape wide to swallow thee,
And shut thee vp in bosome with her dead:
Ere Serpent tempt thee taste forbidden tree,
Or feele the warmth of an vnlawfull bed:
Suffring thy selfe by lust to be misled;
So to disgrace thy selfe and grieue thine heires,
That Cliffords race should scorne thee one of theyrs.
Neuer wish longer to inioy the ayre,
Then that thou breath'st the breath of chastitie:
Longer then thou preseru'st thy soule as faire
As is thy face, free from impuritie:
Thy face that makes th'admired in euery eye:
Where natures care such rarities inroule,
Which vs'd amisse, may serue to damne thy soule.
But what? he is my King and may constraine me,
Whether I yeelde or not I liue defamed:
The world will thinke authority did gaine me,
I shal be iudg'd hys loue, and so be shamed:
We see the fayre condemn'd, that neuer gamed.
And if I yeeld, tis honorable shame,
If not, I liue disgrac'd, yet thought the same.
What way is left thee then vnhappy mayde,
Whereby thy spotlesse foote may wander out
Thys dreadfull danger, which thou seest is layd,
Wherein thy shame doth compasse thee about?
Thy simple yeeres cannot resolue this doubt.
Thy youth can neuer guide thy foote so euen,
But in despight some scandall will be giuen.
Thus stood I ballanc'd equallie precize,
Till my fraile flesh did weigh me downe to sinne:
Till vvorld and pleasure made me partialize,
And glittering pompe my vanitie did winne;
When to excuse my fault my lusts beginne,
And impious thoughts alledg'd this wanton clause,
That though I sinn'd, my sinne had honest cause.
So well the golden balles cast downe before me,
Could entertaine my course, hinder my way:
Whereat my rechlesse youth stooping to store me,
Lost me the gole, the glory, and the day.
Pleasure had set my wel-skoold thoughts to play,
And bade me vse the vertue of mine eyes,
For sweetly it fits the fayre to wantonise.
Thus wrought to sinne, soone was I traind from Court,
To a solitarie Grange there to attend:
The time the King should thether make resort,
Where he loues long desired-work should end.
Thether he daily messages doth send,
With costly iewels orators of loue:
Which (ah too well men know) doe women moue.
The day before the night of my defeature,
He greets me with a Casket richly wrought:
So rare, that arte did seeme to striue with nature,
T'expresse the cunning work-mans curious thought;
The mistery whereof I prying sought.
And found engrauen on the lidde aboue,
Amymone how she with Neptune stroue.
Amymone old Danaus fayrest daughter,
As she was fetching water all alone
At Lerna: whereas Neptune came and caught her,
From whom she striu'd and strugled to be gone,
Beating the ayre with cryes and pittious mone.
But all in vaine, with him sh'is forc'd to goe:
Tis shame that men should vse poore maydens so.
There might I see described how she lay,
At those proude feete, not satisfied with prayer:
Wailing her heauie hap, cursing the day,
In act so pittious to expresse dispaire:
And by how much more greeu'd, so much more fayre;
Her teares vpon her cheekes poore carefull gerle,
Did seeme against the sunne cristall and perle.
Whose pure cleere streames, which loe so faire appeares,
Wrought hotter flames, O myracle of loue,
That kindles fire in water, heate in teares,
And makes neglected beautie mightier proue:
Teaching afflicted affects to moue;
To shew that nothing ill becomes the fayre,
But crueltie, that yeeldes vnto no prayer.
This hauing viewd and therewith something moued,
Figured I found within the other squares:
Transformed Io, Ioves deerely loued,
In her affliction how she strangely fares,
Strangelie distress'd, (O beautie borne to cares)
Turn'd to a Heiffer, kept vvith iealous eyes,
Alwaies in danger of her hatefull spyes.
These presidents presented to my vievv,
Wherein the presage of my fall was showne:
Might haue fore-vvarn'd me well what would ensue,
And others harmes haue made me shunne mine owne;
But fate is not preuented though fore-knowne.
For that must hap decreed by heauenly powers,
Who worke our fall, yet make the fault still ours.
Witnes the world, wherein is nothing rifer,
Then miseries vnkend before they come:
Who can the characters of chaunce discipher,
Written in clowdes of our concealed dome?
Which though perhaps haue beene reueald to some,
Yet that so doubtfull as successe did proue them,
That men must know they haue the heauens aboue them.
I sawe the sinne wherein my foote was entring,
I sawe how that dishonour did attend it,
I sawe the shame whereon my flesh was ventring,
Yet had I had not the powre for to defende it;
So weake is sence when error hath condemn'd it:
We see what's good, and thereto we consent vs;
But yet we choose the worst, and soone repent vs.
And now I come to tell the worst of ilnes,
Now drawes the date of mine affliction neere:
Now when the darke had wrapt vp all in stilnes,
And dreadfull blacke, had dispossess'd the cleere:
Com'd was the night, mother of sleepe and feare,
Who with he sable mantle friendly couers,
The sweet-stolne sports, of ioyfull meeting Louers.
When loe I ioyde my Louer not my Loue,
And felt the hand of lust most vndesired:
Enforc'd th'vnprooued bitter sweete to proue,
Which yeeldes no mutuall pleasure when tis hired.
Loue's not constrain'd, nor yet of due required,
Iudge they who are vnfortunately wed,
What tis to come vnto a loathed bed.
But soone his age receiu'd his short contenting,
And sleepe seald vp his languishing desires:
When he turnes to his rest, I to repenting,
Into my selfe my waking thought retires:
My nakednes had prou'd my sences liers.
Now opned were mine eyes to looke therein,
For first we taste the fruite, then see our sin.
Now did I find my selfe vnparadis'd,
From those pure fieldes of my so cleane beginning:
Now I perceiu'd how ill I was aduis'd,
My flesh gan loathe the new-felt touch of sinning:
Shame leaues vs by degrees, not at first winning.
For nature checks a new offence with lothing:
But vse of sinne doth make it seeme as nothing.
And vse of sinne did worke in me a boldnes,
And loue in him, incorporates such zeale:
That iealosie increas'd with ages coldnes,
Fearing to loose the ioy of all his weale.
Or doubting time his stealth might els reueale,
H'is driuen to deuise some subtile way,
How he might safeliest keepe so rich a pray.
A stately Pallace he foorthwith did buylde,
Whose intricate innumerable wayes,
With such confused errors so beguil'd
Th'vnguided entrers with vncertaine strayes,
And doubtfull turnings kept them in delayes,
With bootlesse labor leading them about,
Able to finde no way, nor in, nor out.
Within the closed bosome of which frame,
That seru'd a Center to that goodly round:
Were lodgings, with a garden to the same,
With sweetest flowers that eu'r adorn'd the ground.
And all the pleasures that delight hath found,
T'entertaine the sence of wanton eyes,
Fuell of loue, from whence lusts flames arise.
Heere I inclos'd from all the world a sunder,
The Minotaure of shame kept for disgrace:
The monster of fortune, and the worlds wonder,
Liu'd cloystred in so desolate a case:
None but the King might come into the place.
With certaine maides that did attend my neede,
And he himselfe came guided by a threed.
O Iealousie, daughter of enuy' and loue
Most wayward issue of a gentle Syer;
Fostred with feares, thy Fathers ioyes t'improue,
Myrth-marring Monster, borne a subtile lyer;
Hatefull vnto thy selfe, flying thine owne desier:
Feeding vpon suspect that dooth renue thee,
Happie were Louers if they neuer knewe thee.
Thou hast a thousand gates thou enterest by,
Conducting trembling passions to our hart:
Hundred eyed Argos, euer waking Spye,
Pale hagge, infernall fury, pleasures smart,
Enuious Obseruer, prying in euery part;
Suspicious, fearefull, gazing still about thee,
O would to God that loue could be without thee.
Thou didst depriue (through false suggesting feare)
Him of content, and me of libertie:
The onely good that women holde so deare,
And turnst my freedome to captiuitie,
First made a Prisoner, ere an enemy:
Enioynd the raunsome of my bodies shame,
Which though I paide could not redeeme the same.
What greater torment euer could haue beene,
Then to inforce the fayre to liue retired?
For what is Beautie if it be not seene,
Or what is't to be seene vnlesse admired?
And though admyred, vnlesse in loue desired?
Neuer were cheekes of Roses, locks of Amber,
Ordayn'd to liue imprisond in a Chamber.
Nature created Beautie for the view,
Like as the fire for heate, the Sunne for light:
The Faire doe holde this priuiledge as due,
By auncient Charter, to liue most in sight,
And she that is debarr'd it, hath not right.
In vaine our friends in this vse their dehorting,
For Beautie will be where is most resorting.
Witnest the fayrest streetes that Thames doth visit,
The wondrous concourse of the glittering Faire:
For what rare women deckt with Beautie is it,
That thither couets not to make repaire.
The solitary Country may not stay her,
Heere is the center of all beauties best,
Excepting Delia, left to adorne the West.
Heere doth the curious with iudiciall eyes,
Contemplate beauty gloriously attired:
And heerein all our cheefest glory lyes,
To liue where we are prais'd and most desired.
O how we ioy to see our selues admired,
Whilst niggardly our fauours we discouer,
We loue to be belou'd, yet scorne the Louer.
Yet would to God my foote had neuer moued
From Countrey safety, from the fields of rest:
To know the danger to be highly loued,
And lyue in pompe to braue among the best,
Happy for me, better had I beene blest;
If I vnluckely had neuer strayde:
But liu'd at home a happy Country mayde.
Whose vnaffected innocencie thinks
No guilefull fraude, as doth the Courtly liuer:
Sh's deckt with trueth, the Riuer where she drinks
Doth serue her for her glasse, her counsell giuer:
She loues sincerely, and is loued euer.
Her dayes are peace, and so she ends her breath,
True life that knowes not what's to die till death.
So should I neuer haue beene registred,
In the blacke booke of the vnfortunate:
Nor had my name enrold with Maydes misled,
Which bought theyr pleasures at so hie a rate.
Nor had I taught through my vnhappy fate,
This lesson which my selfe learnt with expence,
How most it hurts that most delights the sence.
Shame followes sinne, disgrace is duly giuen,
Impietie will out, neuer so closely doone:
No walles can hide vs from the eyes of heauen,
For shame must end what wickednesse begun:
Forth breakes reproch when we least thinke thereon.
And thys is euer propper vnto Courts:
That nothing can be doone but Fame reports.
Fame doth explore what lyes most secrete hidden,
Entring the closet of the Pallace dweller:
Abroade reuealing what is most forbidden,
Of trueth and falshood both an equall teller:
Tis not a guarde can serue for to expell her,
The sword of iustice cannot cutte her wings,
Nor stop her mouth from vtt'ring secrete things.
And this our stealth she could not long conceale,
From her whom such a forfeit most concerned:
The wronged Queene, who could so closely deale:
That she the whole of all our practice learned,
And watcht a time when least it was discerned,
In absence of the King, to wreake her wrong,
With such reuenge as she desired long.
The Laberinth she entred by that threed
That seru'd a conduct to my absent Lord:
Left there by chaunce, reseru'd for such a deede,
Where she surpriz'd me whom she so abhord.
Enrag'd with madnes, scarce she speakes a word,
But flyes with eger fury to my face,
Offring me most vnwomanly disgrace.
Looke how a Tygresse that hath lost her whelpe,
Runs fearcely raging through the woods astray:
And seeing her selfe depriu'd of hope or helpe,
Furiously assaults what's in her way,
To satisfie her wrath, not for a pray:
So fell she on me in outragious wise,
As could Disdaine and Iealousie deuise.
And after all her vile reproches vsed,
She forc'd me take the poyson she had brought:
To end the lyfe that had her so abused,
And free her feares, and ease her iealous thought.
No crueltie her wrath would leaue vnwrought,
No spightfull act that to reuenge is common:
For no beast fearcer than a iealous woman.
Those handes that beauties ministers had bin,
Must now gyue death, that me adorn'd of late:
That mouth that newly gaue consent to sin,
Must now receiue destruction in thereat.
That body which my lusts did violate,
Must sacrifice it selfe t'appease the wrong,
So short is pleasure, glory lasts not long.
The poysoon soone disperc'd through all my vaines,
Had dispossess'd my liuing sences quite:
When naught respecting, death the last of paines,
Plac'd his pale collours, the 'nsigne of his might,
Vpon hys new-got spoyle before his right;
Thence chac'd my soule, setting my day ere noone,
When I least thought my ioyes could end so soone.
And as conuaid t'vntimely funerals,
My scarce colde corse not suffred longer stay:
Behold the King (by chance) returning, falls
T'incounter with the same vpon the way,
As he repaird to see his deerest ioy.
Not thinking such a meeting could haue beene,
To see his loue, and seeing beene vnseene.
Iudge those whom chaunce depriues of sweetest treasure,
What tis to lose a thing we hold so deare:
The best delight, wherein our soule takes pleasure,
The sweet of life, that penetrates so neare.
What passions feeles that hart, inforc'd to beare
The deepe impression of so strange a sight?
Tongue, pen, nor art, can neuer shew a right.
Amaz'd he standes, nor voyce nor body steares,
Words had no passage, teares no issue found:
For sorrow shut vp words, wrath kept in teares,
Confus'd affects each other doe confounde:
Oppress'd with griefe his passions had no bounde:
Striuing to tell his woes, wordes would not come;
For light cares speake, when mightie griefes are dombe.
At length extremitie breakes out away,
Through which th'imprisoned voice with teares attended,
Wayles out a sound that sorrowes doe bewray:
With armes a crosse and eyes to heauen bended,
Vauporing out sighes that to the skyes ascended.
Sighes, the poore ease calamitie affords,
Which serue for speech when sorrow wanteth words.
O heauens (quoth he) why doe myne eyes behold,
The hatefull rayes of this vnhappy sonne?
Why have I light to see my sinnes controld,
With blood of mine owne shame thus vildly donne?
How can my sight endure to looke thereon?
Why doth not blacke eternall darknes hide,
That from myne eyes my hart cannot abide?
What saw my life, wherein my soule might ioy?
What had my dayes, whom troubles still afflicted?
But onely this, to counterpoize annoy,
This ioy, this hope, which death hath interdicted:
This sweete, whose losse hath all distresse afflicted.
This that did season all my sowre of life,
Vext still at home with broyles, abroade in strife.
Vext styll at home with broyles, abrode in strife,
Dissention in my blood, iarres in my bed:
Distrust at boord, suspecting still my life,
Spending the night in horror, dayes in dred;
Such life hath tyrants, and thys lyfe I led.
These myseries goe mask'd in glittering showes,
Which wisemen see, the vulgar little knowes.
Thus as these passions doe him ouer-whelme,
He drawes him neere my bodie to behold it:
And as the Vine maried vnto the Elme
With strict imbraces, so doth he infold it;
And as he in hys carefull armes doth hold it,
Viewing the face that euen death commends,
On sencelesse lips, millions of kysses spends.
Pittifull mouth (quoth he) that liuing gauest
The sweetest comfort that my soule could wish:
O be it lawfull now, that dead thou hauest,
Thys sorrowing farewell of a dying kisse.
And you fayre eyes, containers of my blisse,
Motiues of loue, borne to be matched neuer:
Entomb'd in your sweet circles sleepe for euer.
Ah how me thinks I see death dallying seekes,
To entertaine it selfe in loues sweet place:
Decayed Roses of discoloured cheekes,
Doe yet retaine deere notes of former grace:
And ougly death sits faire within her face;
Sweet remnants resting of vermilion red,
That death it selfe, doubts whether she be dead.
Wonder of beautie, oh receiue these plaints,
The obsequies, the last that I shall make thee:
For loe my soule that now already faints,
(That lou'd thee lyuing, dead will not forsake thee),
Hastens her speedy course to ouer-take thee.
Ile meete my death, and free my selfe thereby,
For ah what can he doe that cannot die?
Yet ere I die, thus much my soule doth vow,
Reuenge shall sweeten death with ease of minde:
And I will cause posterity shall know,
How faire thou wert aboue all women kind.
And after ages monuments shall find,
Shewing thy beauties title not thy name,
Rose of the world that sweetned so the same.
This said, though more desirous yet to say,
(For sorrow is vnwilling to giue ouer)
He doth represse what griefe would els bewray,
Least that too much his passions might discouer:
And yet respect scarce bridles such a Louer.
So farre transported that he knowes not whether,
For loue and Maiestie dwell ill together.
Then were my funerals not long deferred,
But doone with all the rites pompe could deuise:
At Godstow, where my body was interred,
And richly tomb'd in honorable wise.
Where yet as now scarce any note descries
Vnto these times, the memory of me,
Marble and Brasse so little lasting be.
For those walles which the credulous deuout,
And apt-beleeuing ignorant did found:
With willing zeale that neuer call'd in doubt,
That time theyr works should euer so confound,
Lye like confused heapes as vnder-ground.
And what their ignorance esteem'd so holy,
The wiser ages doe account as folly.
And were it not thy fauourable lynes,
Reedified the wracke of my decayes:
And that thy accents willingly assignes,
Some farther date, and giue me longer daies,
Fevve in this age had knowne my beauties praise.
But thus renewd by fame, redeemes some time,
Till other ages shall neglect thy rime.
Then when confusion in her course shall bring,
Sad desolation on the times to come:
When myrth-lesse Thames shall haue no Swan to sing,
All Musique silent, and the Muses dombe.
And yet euen then it must be known to some,
That once they florisht, though not cherisht so,
And Thames had Swannes as well as ever Po.
But heere an end, I may no longer stay thee,
I must returne t'attend at Stigian flood:
Yet ere I goe, thys one word more I pray thee,
Tell Delia now her sigh may doe me good,
And will her note the frailtie of our blood.
And if I passe vnto those happy banks,
Then she must haue her praise, thy pen her thanks.
So vanisht shee, and left me to returne,
To prosecute the tenor of my woes:
Eternall matter for my Muse to mourne,
But ah the worlde hath heard too much of those,
My youth such errors must no more disclose.
Ile hide the rest, and greeue for what hath beene,
Who made me knowne, must make me liue vnseene.