Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, URANIA; THE WOMAN IN THE MOON: THIS STORY MORALIZED, by WILLIAM BASSE



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URANIA; THE WOMAN IN THE MOON: THIS STORY MORALIZED, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A freind that heard and not beleeu'd this story
Last Line: As a darke foyle best sets a diamond forth.
Subject(s): Morality; Ethics


A FREIND that heard and not beleeu'd this story
(As he might chuse) demands some Allegory.
Fictions that yeild no morall are (sayd he)
Meere fables, those that doe are Poesie.
I sayd I could not tell. I had it told
As from Vrania I it heard of old;
Who is most like therof account to make.
And being thereto jntreated: Thus she spake.

Vice, masqu'd in vertuous shew, yeilds morall none;
But vertue, masqu'd in vanytie, yeilds one.
You may perceiue, This woman's way t'entice
Though wanton seem'd, was without actuall vice:
Which shews, She did all her allurements vse
Her minde to please, not body to abuse.
And there she rightly representeth Minde,
In a terrestriall frame so vnconfin'd
That no adventure dreads herselfe to rayse
Vnto celestiall knowledge: And that's prayse.
But when (by freinds) she compas'd hath her ends,
As she outstrips, so she neglects, her freinds;
And that's jngratitude: which was her stayne.
What action's without blemish that's humane?
A light behaviour may (sometimes) be sound,
As in darke frownes lightnes is sometimes found.
The youthfull dietyes shew how farre aboue
All other passions & respects is Loue:
And in their negligence of heau'enly dutye,
The strong enchantments of an earthly beautye,
That such seducements hath as into folly
Has power (almost) t'infatuate the holy:
And he that shun so strong enchantments can
Seemes to haue something in him more then man.
The Senate of the Gods declares how hard
It is for age to mend what Youth hath mar'd:
Yet when of no help humane fancye dreames,
How heauenly wisdome moderates extreames.
To be vnknowne in heauen only teaches
The rareness of the minde that thither reaches.
And murmuring Fates are those jgnoble spirits
That envye those who rise by vent'rous merits.
The glistring Chariot of the Moone to climbe
Was more her doome then her ambitious crime:

Yet with her Mistres there may share some woe
In seeking more to know then she would shew.
Her too much boldnes there To satisfie
(If that could be) her curiositie.
Belowe the Moone, All bodyes fullnes finde:
All jn, and vnder, her fill not one minde;
Although she were (as some great wits suppose)
Another world, but I am none of those.
Cynthia sets forth a Lady of such strayne
As is more vertuous then the other vayne;
Not only chast, but of a disposition
So noble as exempt from all suspition:
Some talke of her Endimion: more deny
That lewd report; and one of those am I.
Her changes, her eclipses, her aspects
In frowning manner, represent th'effects
Of her owne troubled patience: wherein she
The only sufferer is, the warned wee.
Where from her jnfluence succeeds some ill
To any, 'tis their faults and not her will.
And where 'tis sayd she favours doth bestow,
Tis their good natures help to make it so.
For as the Bee and Spider from one flower
Honey and poyson sayd are to devoure,
Her guifts all prove according to the frame
Of those capacities receiue the same.
She being jll with jll, and good with good,
No harm can doe: and would not if she cou'd.

Herewith my freind was pleas'd; & did excuse
As you (I hope) doe my well meaning Muse,
Who doth (though she of amorous dietyes sings
And fayned Gods) acknowledge no such things;
But only vse their names to shew the mayne
Distance betweene the vertuous and the vayne.
Weake eyes that cannot (like the Eagle) brooke
The brightnes of the Sun, through lawne must looke,
As Indian gold in Christian vse we spend,
So we vayne fictions vse to vertuous end;
And being not able heauenly workes t'expresse
In their owne greatnes, striue in what is lesse.
Through shadowes dim most shines a reall worth,
As a darke foyle best sets a diamond forth.





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