Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE WALNUT-TREE OF BOARSTELL: CANTO 3, by WILLIAM BASSE



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THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE WALNUT-TREE OF BOARSTELL: CANTO 3, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The mornings queene, to euery studious minde
Last Line: In hazle castles now to fence our ewes.
Subject(s): Friendship; Kindness; Love


THE Mornings Queene, to euery studious minde
A gentle freind, sollicits now the Trees
To put on mourning robes: but where to finde
(Vpon this suddaine), suiting their degrees,
Habits enough for such solemnities,
Was now a second care; wherein t'attend
Vppon the hearse of their deceased freind.

2.
The Muse, no lesse to dolours then delights
(So true be both) a freind and servant true,
Informes the Trees that of all funerall rites
The Cypresse was the queene; & that she knew
Where one hard by her Laurell mansion grew,
Where (if they pleas'd) she did not doubt to borrow
For euery one a garland for this sorrow.

3.
The Muses motion they all much commend,
But answer made, They all were first agreed
To haue the body opened; To which end
They sent the freindly Raven with all speed
To finde two rare Chirurgeons for this deed:
But he that word mistakeing (as is thought)
In stead of Surgeons two, two Sawyers brought.

4.
But they (now come) vpon their scaffold layd
The naked cors, and therevnto applyed
Th'indented razour, and by mutuall ayd
Of eithers hands th'anatomy divide;
Wherein the mourning standers-by descryed
No blemishes of age, nor surfeit found,
But heart & all intestines fayre & sound.

5.
And then, To see the ample forrest downe
That flourish'd had so many hundred yeare,
The Castle batter'd, and the neighbour-towne
And all that stood about him ruin'd were,
They all conclude, That either greife or feare
Were of the Wallnut's death th'occasion cheife.
And what more fatall is then feare or greife?

6.
But oh, what things't thou, Iasper? If a Tree
For want of neighbours, mates or freinds can dye,
Of what more wooden stupid molde are wee
That into teares dissolue not, thou and I,
To see the Church, the Sanctuary, lye
As flat as when our ancestors devoute
Measur'd her ancient scituation out!

7.
To see (nay, not to see) the Monuments
Of noble Nigell now depriu'd our sight,
The famous Ensignes of the long discents
Of Reade's and Dynham's once in windowes bright,
Almost all dash'd into Obliuions night,
But that when glasse & marble both expire
Fame's endles life is subiect to no fire.

Jasper 8.
Sad story (Ieff:) but comfort take, Though downe
The Chappell be, it may be built againe
And (as thou say'st) To infinite renowne
All finite earthly gloryes are but vayne:
So dost thou cure the sore thou dost complayne:
All liues, to life eternall, moments be.
And what becomes then of the Wallnut-tree?

Jefferye 9.
The freinds gaue order to the men that wrought,
His body sound in Wainscot to dissect,
And then the Lady of the place besought
Therewith to trim some gallery select,
And cause his limbes with pictures to be dect
Of the Nut-trees, the Raven, and the Muse,
Who did their parts herein so freindly vse.

10.
Which graunted was: And with no wonder more
But Muses still continued loue and power,
The Trees were plac'd againe as heretofore:
For though we may be jealous euery houre
Of things that chance, or time, or theft, devoure,
To marke, or minde, or misse, we neuer vse
The things we thinke vnpossible to loose.

Jasper 11.
Jeffe'ry, you haue a precious story sayd;
As strange as when the Rocks & Cedars tall
Did dance when Orpheus and Amphion playd:
But sure those fictions had true meanings all,
And therefore to accompt I must you call
To yeild some Morall meaning of your story;
Your story else will yeild you litle glory.

Jeffery 12.
Though (fellow Iasper) those that wiser be
Then thou and I, well satisfyed remaine,
And though my tale has wearyed them and me
(As well it may), I'le take a litle payne
(At thy request) my story to explaine.
He either wrongs or merits not his Muse
Who, with her words, her meaneing fayles to vse.

13.
In this so old and fruitfull Wallnut-tree
That flourish'd many ages and good dayes
In fruite so plesant, Moralliz'd is he
Who spends in fruitfull, free, and noble wayes
His precious tyme. And he that tells the prayse
And wayles the death of one that was so good,
Is in the gratefull Raven vnderstood.

14.
The gallants of the groues, Th'Elme long & lazie,
The wauering Aspe, the Popler as unstable,
The hungry Maple, brittle Ash and crazie,
The gosling Sallow, and the Boxe vnable,
Vayne Willow, and the like jnumerable,
A sort that yeild no fruite but proud neglect:
Who would no kindnesse shew, can none expect.

15.
The Nut-trees are the true and noble freinds,
Which are in all (thou mayst obserue) but fiue,
To shew how many liue to their owne ends,
And to doe others good how few that striue:
The Muse's charmes, Sweate motions that enliue
All good affections, teaching payne to please,
Make wonder feizible, and labour, ease.

16.
Braue Hercules (they say) made cleane a Stable
Wherein three thousand sordid beasts had layne;
And proud Egeus (though a prince well able)
Basely denyed the wages for his payne.
If this be fable, yet the meanings playne:
Though trifles did a mind jgnoble sway,
No rubbs could stand in an heroicall way.

17.
I haue once heard (and thinke it not vntrue)
That since our dayes a great man of this land
Remou'd a groue of ancient trees (that grew
Obscurely) in a plesant place to stand.
Great force has wisedome ioyn'd with willing hand:
And what seemes hard to sloth & comon sence,
Oft yeilds to strong desire and diligence.

18.
But that thou mayst no further question aske,
When proud and lazie negligence, jnclin'd
To no good act, will vndergoe no taske
Of worthy consequence; A noble minde
(Though it a world of difficulty finde)
To doe a vertuous deede through all will run:
Best honors are with hardest labours won.

19.
All breifly thus (my Iasper) I conclude;
Morall'd is Bounty in the Wallnut-tree,
In the jndustrious Raven, Gratitude,
In the fiue Nut-trees, freindly Charitie,
And in the Muses wond'rous Melodie,
The Mindes diuine encouragements to moue
Her earthly Mate to all good works of Loue.

20.
So (brother Swayne) I hope you vnderstand
I to my tale my morall haue expres'd.

Jasper
Thou hast (indeed): And therfore at my hand
Here take a kidskin, in his furre well dres'd
To keepe from cold thy old & honest brest.
For now the blinking twylight on me calls
To leade my cattell to their wonted stalls.

Jefferye 21.
I doe com¯end thee, that (though poore) art free;
And take thy will for guift, but guift not take,
Vnles thou wilt a lambe-skin take from me.
I haue not done this only for thy sake,
But greater freinds. But (as thou well hast spake)
Our freindly Starre warnes vs from falling dewes
In hazle castles now to fence our ewes.




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