Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GREAT BRITTAINES SUNNES-SET, by WILLIAM BASSE



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GREAT BRITTAINES SUNNES-SET, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A soule ore-laden with a greater summe
Last Line: My phœbus in his rest hath hid his heav'nly brow.
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Great Britain; Henry, Prince Of Wales (1584-1612); Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens


1.
A SOULE ore-laden with a greater Summe
Of ponderous sorrow then she can sustaine,
(Like a distressed sayle that labours home)
Some object seekes, whereto she may complaine:
Not that (poore Soule) hir object can draw from
Hir groaning breast th' occasion of hir paine;
But, over-charg'd with Teares, shee (widow-like) bestowes
Upon her best friends eares some children of her woes.

2.
Not (like as when some triviall discontents
First taught my raw and luckless youth to rue)
Doe I to Flockes, now, utter my laments,
Nor choose a tree, or streame, to mourn unto:
My waightier sorrow now (Deare Sir) presents
These hir afflicted features to your view,
Whose free and noble mind (were not this griefe your owne)
Would to my plaints be kind, if I complain'd alone.

3.
But such true arguments of inward woe
In your sad face I lately have beheld,
As if your teares (like floods that overflowe
Their liquid shores) alone would have excell'd
This generall Deluge of our eies, that so
Sea-like our earth-like cheekes hath over-swell'd:
As if your heart would send forth greatest lamentation,
Or striue to comprehend our universall passion.

4.
And as th' occasion (Sir) may justly moue
To maid-like sorrow the most man-like heart;
So may your griefe (to your beholders) proue
The justice of His grace, and your desart.
For teares and sighs are th' issues of true loue:
Our present woes our former joies imparte.
He loues the living best, who for the dead mournes most:
He merits not the rest, who not laments the lost.

5.
To you I therefore weepe: To you alone
I shew the image of your teares, in mine;
That mine (by shewing your teares) may be show'n
To be like yours, so faithfull, so divine:
Such, as more make the publique woe their owne,
Then their woe publique; such as not confine
Theselves to times, nor yet forms frõ examples borrow:
Where losse is infinit, there boundlesse is the sorrow.

6.
O let us (Muse) this heavynesse (that no
Just heart, vncleft, at one time can sustaine)
By fittes, and preparations vndergoe:
Let's feare, let's hope: tremble; and hope againe:
O, let us this dysastrous truth ne'er know;
But rather deafe and stupefied remaine:
For happier much it were the hearing sence to loose,
Then loose all sence to heare such an unhappy newes.

7.
Like to a changeling (in his sleepes) become
Rob'd of his sexe, by some prodigious cause;
I am turn'd woman: wat'rish feares benumbe
My Heate: my Masculine existence thawes
To teares, wherein I could againe entombe
His tombe, or penetrate hir marble jawes:
But, O, why should I twice entombe him! O what folly
Were it to pierce (with sighes) a monument so holy!

8.
Here then run forth thou River of my woes
In ceaselesse currents of complaining verse:
Here weepe (young Muse) while elder pens compose
More solemne Rites vnto his sacred Hearse.
And, as when happy earth did, here, enclose
His heav'nly minde, his Fame then Heav'n did pierce;
Now He in Heav'n doth rest, now let his Fame earth fill:
So both him then posses'd, so both possesse him still.

9.
Or like a Nymph distracted or undone
With blubber'd face, hands wrong, neglected haire,
Run through moist Valleys, through wide deserts run;
Let speech-lesse Eccho eccho thy dispaire.
Declare th' vntimely Set of Brittaines Sun
To sorrowing Shepheards: to sad Nymphes declare
That such a night of woes his Occident doth follow,
That Day in darknes clothes, and mourner makes Apollo.

10.
But of his partes thinke not t'expresse the least
Whom Nature did the best in all things forme.
First, borne a Prince (next to his FATHER) best;
Then, fram'd a Man, to be as he was borne:
Beauty his youth beyond all others blest,
Vertues did him beyond his youth adorne.
What Muse, what voice, what pen, cã give thee all thy duties?
O Prince of Princes, me: youth, wisdõ, deeds, and beauties.

11.
Fates, that so soone beheld his Fame enrould,
Put to his golden thred their envious sheeres:
Death fear'd his magnanimitie to behold,
And (in his sleepe) basely reveng'd his feares:
Time, looking on his wisdom, thought him old,
And laid his rash Sythe to his Primest yeares:
Stars, that (in loue) did long t'embrace so faire a myrrhour,
Wink'd at Fates envious wrong, Death's treason, and Times errour.

12.
O Fates, O Time, O Death, (But you must all
Act the dread will of your Immortal GUIDE)
O Fates, How much more life did you appaule,
When you his liuely texture did divide!
O Time, when by thy sythe this Flow'r did fall,
How many thousands did'st thou wound beside!
O Death, how many deathes is of that life compacted,
That, from all living breathes, his only death extracted!

13.
How many braue Deedes ha's the wounded wombe
Of Hope mis-carryed, now, before their time!
How many high designes have seene their doome
Before their birth, Or perish'd in their Prime!
How many beauties drown'd are in his tombe!
How many glories, with him, heav'ns do clime!
How many sad cheekes mourne, Him laid in Earth to see,
As they to earth would turne, his Sepulcher to be!

14.
Like a high Pyramis, in all his towers
Finish'd this morning, and laid prostrate soone;
Like as if Nighte's blacke and incestuous howers
Should force Apollo's beauty before Noone:
Like as some strange change in the heav'nly powers
Should in hir Full quench the refulgent Moone:
So HE, his daies, his light, and his life (here) expir'd,
New-built, most Su-like, bright Ful Mã, and most admir'd.

15.
But HEAV'NS, Disposers of all Life and Death,
That our pied pride, and wretched liues mislike,
Tooke Him that's gone (from vs) to better breath,
Vs that remaine with death (from him) to strike.
His flower-like youth here, there more flourisheth;
His graces then, are now more Angel-like.
Those glories, that in Him so shone, now shine much more;
Our glories now are dim, that shin'd in him before.

16.
And thou faire Ile, whose threefold beauties face
Enchants the Three-fork'd Scepter of thy Lover,
That with thine owne eies drown'st thy lap, the place
That his enamour'd armes and streames would cover;
Make true and twofold use of griefe, That grace
May with affliction now it selfe discouer.
These teares thou dost begin to shed for HENRYES sake,
Continue for thy sinne, which made Heav'n Henry take.

17.
That thy just JAMES, who hitherto hath sway'd
Thy Scepter Many-fold and ample Frame,
Many more ages yet may live obay'd
T'enlarge thy glories, and to yeeld the same
Divine examples vnto CHARLES that made
HENRY so noble, and so great in Fame.
For who but such a King as He can such another
In place of Henry bring? who match him but a BROTHER?

18.
And neighbour Lands, to whome our moanes we lent,
May to our greater losse now lend us theirs.
Florence hir old Duke mourn'd; but we lament
A greater then a Duke in flow'ring yeares.
Spaine for a Queene hir eyes sad moisture spent:
We for a Prince (and for a Man) shed teares.
But France, whose cheek's still wet, nearest our griefe hath smarted;
For she from Henry Great, wee from Great Henry, parted.

19.
And thus, as I haue seene an even showre
(When Phœbus to Joues other splendent heyres
Bequeath'd the Day) down from Olympus powre,
When Earth in teares of Trees, and Trees in teares
Of Mountaines wade; Like some neglected flowre
(Whose sorrow is scarce visible with theirs)
Downe to my silent brest my hidden face I bow:
My Phœbus in his Rest hath hid his heav'nly brow.





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