Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BRITANNIA'S PASTORALS: BOOK 1. THE SECOND SONG, by WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)



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BRITANNIA'S PASTORALS: BOOK 1. THE SECOND SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oblivion's spring, and dory's love
Last Line: To tune mine oaten pipe for doridon.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Great Britain


THE ARGUMENT.

Oblivion's spring, and Dory's love,
With fair Marina's rape, first move
Mine oaten pipe, which after sings
The birth of two renowned springs.

Now till the sun shall leave us to our rest,
And Cynthia have her brother's place possess'd,
I shall go on: and first in diff ring stripe,
The flood-god's speech thus tune on oaten pipe.
Or mortal, or a power above,
Enrag'd by fury, or by love,
Or both, I know not; such a deed
Thou wouldst effected, that I bleed
To think thereon: alas! poor elf,
What, grown a traitor to thyself?
This face, this hair, this hand so pure
Were not ordain'd for nothing, sure.
Nor was it meant so sweet a breath
Should be expos'd by such a death;
But rather in some lover's breast
Be given up, the place that best
Befits a lover yield his soul.
Nor should those mortals e'er control
The gods, that in their wisdom sage
Appointed have what pilgrimage
Each one should run: and why should men
Abridge the journey set by them?
But much I wonder any wight
If he did turn his outward sight
Into his inward, dar'd to act
Her death, whose body is compact
Of all the beauties ever Nature
Laid up in store for earthly creature.
No savage beast can be so cruel
To rob the earth of such a jewel.
Rather the stately unicorn
Would in his breast enraged scorn,
That maids committed to his charge
By any beast in forest large
Should so be wronged. Satyrs rude
Durst not attempt, or e'er intrude
With such a mind the flow'ry balks
Where harmless virgins have their walks.
Would she be won with me to stay,
My waters should bring from the sea
The coral red, as tribute due,
And roundest pearls of Orient hue:
Or in the richer veins of ground
Should seek for her the diamond.
And whereas now unto my spring
They nothing else but gravel bring,
They should within a mine of gold
In piercing manner long time hold,
And having it to dust well wrought,
By them it hither should be brought;
With which I'll pave and overspread
My bottom, where her foot shall tread.
The best of fishes in my flood
Shall give themselves to be her food.
The trout, the dace, the pike, the bream,
The eel, that loves the troubled stream,
The miller's thumb, the hiding loach,
The perch, the ever-nibbling roach,
The shoats with whom is Tavy fraught,
The foolish gudgeon, quickly caught,
And last the little minnow-fish,
Whose chief delight in gravel is.
In right she cannot me despise
Because so low mine empire lies.
For I could tell how Nature's store
Of majesty appeareth more
In waters than in all the rest
Of elements. It seem'd her best
To give the waves most strength and power:
For they do swallow and devour
The earth; the waters quench and kill
The flames of fire: and mounting still
Up in the air, are seen to be
As challenging a seignorie
Within the heavens, and to be one
That should have like dominion.
They be a ceiling and a floor
Of clouds, caus'd by the vapours' store
Arising from them, vital spirit
By which all things their life inherit
From them is stopped, kept asunder.
And what's that reason else of thunder,
Of lightning's flashes all about,
That with such violence break out,
Causing such troubles and such jars,
As with itself the world had wars?
And can there anything appear
More wonderful than in the air
Congealed waters oft to spy
Continuing pendant in the sky?
Till falling down in hail or snow,
They make those mortal wights below
To run, and ever help desire
From his foe element the fire,
Which fearing then to come abroad,
Within doors maketh his abode;
Or falling down ofttime in rain,
Doth give green liveries to the plain,
Make[s] shepherds' lambs fit for the dish,
And giveth nutriment to fish;
Which nourisheth all things of worth
The earth produceth and brings forth;
And therefore well considering
The nature of it in each thing:
As when the teeming earth doth grow
So hard, that none can plough nor sow,
Her breast it doth so mollify,
That it not only comes to be
More easy for the share and ox,
But that in harvest times the shocks
Of Ceres' hanging eared corn
Doth fill the hovel and the barn.
To trees and plants I comfort give,
By me they fructify and live:
For first ascending from beneath
Into the sky, with lively breath,
I thence am furnish'd, and bestow
The same on herbs that are below.
So that by this each one may see
I cause them spring and multiply.
Who seeth this can do no less,
Than of his own accord confess,
That notwithstanding all the strength
The earth enjoys in breadth and length,
She is beholding to each stream,
And hath received all from them.
Her love to him she then must give
By whom herself doth chiefly live.
This being spoken by this water's god,
He straightway in his hand did take his rod,
And struck it on his bank, wherewith the flood
Did such a roaring make within the wood,
That straight the nymph who then sat on her shore,
Knew there was somewhat to be done in store:
And therefore hasting to her brother's spring
She spied what caus'd the waters' echoing.
Saw where fair Marine fast asleep did lie,
Whilst that the god still viewing her sat by:
Who when he saw his sister nymph draw near,
He thus'gan tune his voice unto her ear:
My fairest sister (for we come
Both from the swelling Thetis' womb)
The reason why of late I strook
My ruling wand upon my brook,
Was for this purpose: Late this maid
Which on my bank asleep is laid,
Was by herself or other wight
Cast in my spring, and did affright
With her late fall the fish that take
Their chiefest pleasure in my lake:
Of all the fry within my deep,
None durst out of their dwellings peep.
The trout within the weeds did scud,
The eel him hid within the mud.
Yea, from this fear I was not free:
For as I musing sat to see
How that the pretty pebbles round
Came with my spring from underground,
And how the waters issuing
Did make them dance about my spring;
The noise thereof did me appall:
That starting upward therewithal,
I in my arms her body caught,
And both to light and life her brought:
Then cast her in a sleep you see.
But, brother, to the cause (quoth she)
Why by your raging waters wild
Am I here called? Thetis' child,
Replied the god, for thee I sent,
That when her time of sleep is spent,
I may commit her to thy gage,
Since women best know women's rage.
Meanwhile, fair nymph, accompany
My spring with thy sweet harmony;
And we will make her soul to take
Some pleasure, which is said to wake,
Although the body hath his rest.
She gave consent, and each of them address'd
Unto their part. The wat'ry nymph did sing
In manner of a pretty questioning:
The god made answer to what she propounded,
Whilst from the spring a pleasant music sounded,
Making each shrub in silence to adore them,
Taking their subject from what lay before them.

Nymph. What's that, compact of earth, infus'd with air;
A certain made full with uncertainties;
Sway'd by the motion of each several sphere;
Who's fed with nought but infelicities;
Endures nor heat nor cold; is like a swan,
That this hour sings, next dies?
God. It is a man.

Nymph. What's he, born to be sick, so always dying,
That's guided by inevitable fate;
That comes in weeping, and that goes out crying;
Whose calendar of woes is still in date;
Whose life's a bubble, and in length a span;
A concert still in discords?
God. 'Tis a man.

Nymph. What's he, whose thoughts are still quell'd in th' event,
Though ne'er so lawful, by an opposite,
Hath all things fleeting, nothing permanent,
And at his ears wears still a parasite:
Hath friends in wealth, or wealthy friends,who can
In want prove mere illusions?
God. 'Tis a man.

Nymph. What's he, that what he is not strives to seem;
That doth support an Atlas-weight of care;
That of an outward good doth best esteem,
And looketh not within how solid they are;
That doth not virtuous, but the richest scan,
Learning and worth by wealth?
God. It is a man.

Nymph. What's that possessor, which of good makes bad;
And what is worst, makes choice still for the best;
That grieveth most to think of what he had,
And of his chiefest loss accounteth least;
That doth not what he ought, but what he can;
Whose fancy's ever boundless?
God. 'Tis a man.

Nymph. But what is it wherein Dame Nature wrought
The best of works, the only frame of Heaven;
And having long to find a present sought,
Wherein the world's whole beauty might be given,
She did resolve in it all arts to summon,
To join with Nature's framing?
God. 'Tis this woman.

Nymph. If beauty be a thing to be admired,
And if admiring draw to it affection,
And what we do affect is most desired,
What wight is he to love denies subjection?
And can his thoughts within himself confine?

Marine that waking lay, said: Celandine.
He is the man that hates which some admire;
He is the wight that loathes whom most desire;
'Tis only he to love denies subjecting,
And but himself, thinks none is worth affecting.
Unhappy me the while, accurs'd my fate,
That Nature gives no love where she gave hate.
The wat'ry rulers then perceived plain,
Nipp'd with the winter of love's frost, disdain,
This nonpareil of beauty had been led
To do an act which Envy pitied:
Therefore in pity did confer together
What physic best might cure this burning fever.
At last found out that in a grove below,
Where shadowing sycamores past number grow,
A fountain takes his journey to the main,
Whose liquor's nature was so sovereign
(Like to the wondrous well and famous spring,
Which in Bœotia hath his issuing),
That whoso of it doth but only taste,
All former memory from him doth waste;
Not changing any other work of Nature,
But doth endow the drinker with a feature
More lovely. Fair Medea took from hence
Some of this water, by whose quintessence
Æson from age came back to youth. This known,
The god thus spake:

Nymph, be thine own,
And after mine. This goddess here
(For she's no less) will bring thee where
Thou shalt acknowledge springs have do[n]e
As much for thee as any one.
Which ended, and thou gotten free,
If thou wilt come and live with me,
No shepherd's daughter, nor his wife,
Shall boast them of a better life.
Meanwhile I leave thy thoughts at large,
The body to my sister's charge;
Whilst I into my spring do dive
To see that they do not deprive
The meadows near, which much do thirst,
Thus heated by the sun. May first
(Quoth Marine) swains give lambs to thee;
And may thy flood have seignorie
Of all floods else, and to thy fame
Meet greater springs, yet keep thy name.
May never evet nor the toad
Within thy banks make their abode!
Taking thy journey from the sea,
May'st thou ne'er happen in thy way
On nitre or on brimstone mine,
To spoil thy taste! this spring of thine
Let it of nothing taste but earth,
And salt conceived, in their birth
Be ever fresh! Let no man dare
To spoil thy fish, make lock or ware;
But on thy margent still let dwell
Those flowers which have the sweetest smell.
And let the dust upon thy strand
Become like Tagus' golden sand.
Let as much good betide to thee,
As thou hast favour show'd to me.

Thus said, in gentle paces they remove,
And hasten'd onward to the shady grove,
Where both arriv'd; and having found the rock,
Saw how this precious water it did lock.
As he whom avarice possesseth most,
Drawn by necessity unto his cost,
Doth drop by piecemeal down his prison'd gold,
And seems unwilling to let go his hold:
So the strong rock the water long time stops,
And by degrees lets it fall down in drops.
Like hoarding housewives that do mould their food,
And keep from others what doth them no good.
The drops within a cistern fell of stone,
Which fram'd by Nature, Art had never one
Half part so curious. Many spells then using,
The water's nymph 'twixt Marine's lips infusing
Part of this water, she might straight perceive
How soon her troubled thoughts began to leave
Her love-swoll'n breast; and that her inward flame
Was clean assuaged, and the very name
Of Celandine forgotten; did scarce know
If there were such a thing as love or no.
And sighing, therewithal threw in the air
All former love, all sorrow, all despair;
And all the former causes of her moan
Did therewith bury in oblivion.
Then must'ring up her thoughts, grown vagabonds,
Press'd to relieve her inward bleeding wounds,
She had as quickly all things past forgotten,
As men do monarchs that in earth lie rotten.
As one new born she seem'd, so all-discerning,
"Though things long learn'd are the long'st unlearning."
Then walk'd they to a grove but near at hand,
Where fiery Titan had but small command,
Because the leaves, conspiring, kept his beams,
For fear of hurting (when he's in extremes)
The under-flowers, which did enrich the ground
With sweeter scents than in Arabia found.
The earth doth yield (which they through pores exhale)
Earth's best of odours, th'aromatical:
Like to that smell which oft our sense descries
Within a field which long unploughed lies,
Somewhat before the setting of the sun;
And where the rainbow in the horizon
Doth pitch her tips: or as when in the prime,
The earth being troubled with a drought long time,
The hand of Heaven his spongy clouds doth strain,
And throws into her lap a shower of rain:
She sendeth up (conceived from the sun)
A sweet perfume and exhalation.
Not all the ointments brought from Delos' Isle,
Nor from the confines of seven-headed Nile,
Nor that brought whence Phœnicians have abodes,
Nor Cyprus' wild vine-flowers, nor that of Rhodes,
Nor roses' oil from Naples, Capua,
Saffron confected in Cilicia,
Nor that of quinces, nor of marjoram,
That ever from the Isle of Coös came;
Nor these, nor any else, though ne'er so rare,
Could with this place for sweetest smells compare.
There stood the elm, whose shade so mildly dim
Doth nourish all that groweth under him;
Cypress that like pyramids run topping,
And hurt the least of any by their dropping;
The alder, whose fat shadow nourisheth,
Each plant set near to him long flourisheth;
The heavy-headed plane-tree, by whose shade
The grass grows thickest, men are fresher made;
The oak, that best endures the thunder-shocks;
The everlasting eben, cedar, box;
The olive that in wainscot never cleaves;
The amorous vine, which in the elm still weaves;
The lotus, juniper, where worms ne'er enter;
The pine, with whom men through the ocean venter;
The warlike yew, by which (more than the lance)
The strong-arm'd English spirits conquer'd France.
Amongst the rest the tamarisk there stood,
For housewives' besoms only known most good;
The cold-place-loving birch, and service-tree;
The walnut loving vales, and mulberry;
The maple, ash, that do delight in fountains
Which have their currents by the sides of mountains;
The laurel, myrtle, ivy, date, which hold
Their leaves all winter, be it ne'er so cold;
The fir, that oftentimes doth rosin drop;
The beech, that scales the welkin with his top;
All these, and thousand more within this grove,
By all the industry of Nature strove
To frame an harbour that might keep within it
The best of beauties that the world hath in it.
Here ent'ring, at the entrance of which shroud,
The sun, half angry, hid him in a cloud,
As raging that a grove should from his sight
Lock up a beauty whence himself had light,
The flowers pull'd in their heads as being 'sham'd
Their beauties by the others were defam'd.
Near to this wood there lay a pleasant mead,
Where fairies often did their measures tread,
Which in the meadow made such circles g[r]een,
As if with garlands it had crowned been,
Or like the circle where the signs we track,
And learned shepherds call't the Zodiac:
Within one of these rounds was to be seen
A hillock rise, where oft the fairy-queen
At twilight sat, and did command her elves
To pinch those maids that had not swept their shelves;
And further, if by maidens' oversight
Within doors water were not brought at night;
Or if they spread no table, set no bread,
They should have nips from toe unto the head;
And for the maid that had perform'd each thing,
She in the water-pail bade leave a ring.
Upon this hill there sat a lovely swain,
As if that Nature thought it great disdain
That he should (so through her his genius told him)
Take equal place with swains, since she did hold him
Her chiefest work, and therefore thought it fit
That with inferiors he should never sit.
Narcissus' change sure Ovid clean mistook,
He died not looking in a crystal brook,
But (as those which in emulation gaze)
He pin'd to death by looking on this face.
When he stood fishing by some river's brim,
The fish would leap, more for a sight for him
Than for the fly. The eagle, highest bred,
Was taking him once up for Ganymede.
The shag-hair'd satyrs, and the tripping fawns,
With all the troop that frolic on the lawns,
Would come and gaze on him, as who should say
They had not seen his like this many a day.
Yea, Venus knew no difference 'twixt these twain,
Save Adon was a hunter, this a swain.
The wood's sweet quiristers from spray to spray
Would hop them nearer him, and then there stay:
Each joying greatly from his little heart
That they with his sweet reed might bear a part.
This was the boy (the poets did mistake)
To whom bright Cynthia so much love did make;
And promis'd for his love no scornful eyes
Should ever see her more in horned guise:
But she at his command would as of duty
Become as full of light as he of beauty.
Lucina at his birth for midwife stuck;
And Cytherea nurs'd and gave him suck,
Who to that end, once dove-drawn from the sea,
Her full paps dropp'd, whence came the milky-way.
And as when Plato did i' th' cradle thrive,
Bees to his lips brought honey from their hive:
So to this boy they came, I know not whether
They brought, or from his lips did honey gather.
The wood-nymphs oftentimes would busied be,
And pluck for him the blushing strawberry,
Making of them a bracelet on a bent,
Which for a favour to this swain they sent.
Sitting in shades, the sun would oft by skips
Steal through the boughs, and seize upon his lips.
The chiefest cause the sun did condescend
To Phaeton's request was to this end,
That whilst the other did his horses rein,
He might slide from his sphere and court this swain,
Whose sparkling eyes vied lustre with the stars,
The truest centre of all circulars.
In brief, if any man in skill were able
To finish up Apelles' half-done table,
This boy (the man left out) were fittest sure
To be the pattern of that portraiture.
Piping he sat, as merry as his look,
And by him lay his bottle and his hook.
His buskins (edg'd with silver) were of silk,
Which held a leg more white than morning's milk.
Those buskins he had got and brought away
For dancing best upon the revel day.
His oaten reed did yield forth such sweet notes,
Joined in concert with the birds' shrill throats,
That equaliz'd the harmony of spheres,
A music that would ravish choicest ears.
Long look'd they on, (who would not long look on,
That such an object had to look upon?)
Till at the last the nymph did Marine send
To ask the nearest way whereby to wend
To those fair walks where sprung Marina's ill,
Whilst she would stay: Marine obey'd her will,
And hasten'd towards him (who would not do so,
That such a pretty journey had to go?)
Sweetly she came, and with a modest blush,
Gave him the day, and then accosted thus:
Fairest of men, that (whilst thy flock doth feed)
Sitt'st sweetly piping on thine oaten reed
Upon this little berry (some ycleep
A hillock) void of care, as are thy sheep
Devoid of spots, and sure on all this green
A fairer flock as yet was never seen:
Do me this favour (men should favour maids)
That whatsoever path directly leads,
And void of danger, thou to me do show,
That by it to the Marish I might go.
Marriage! (quoth he) mistaking what she said,
Nature's perfection: thou most fairest maid,
(If any fairer than the fairest may be)
Come sit thee down by me; know, lovely lady,
Love is the readiest way: if ta'en aright,
You may attain thereto full long ere night.
The maiden thinking he of marish spoke,
And not of marriage, straightway did invoke,
And pray'd the shepherds' god might always keep
Him from all danger, and from wolves his sheep.
Wishing withal that in the prime of spring
Each sheep he had two lambs might yearly bring.
But yet (quoth she) arede, good gentle swain,
If in the dale below, or on yond plain;
Or is the village situate in a grove,
Through which my way lies, and ycleeped Love?
Nor on yond plain, nor in this neighbouring wood;
Nor in the dale where glides the silver flood;
But like a beacon on a hill so high,
That every one may see't which passeth by,
Is Love yplac'd: there's nothing can it hide,
Although of you as yet'tis unespied.
But on which hill (quoth she) pray tell me true?
Why here (quoth he) it sits and talks to you.
And are you Love (quoth she?) fond swain, adieu,
You guide me wrong, my way lies not by you.
Though not your way, yet you may lie by me:
Nymph, with a shepherd thou as merrily
May'st love and live, as with the greatest lord.
"Greatness doth never most content afford."
I love thee only, not affect world's pelf;
"She is not lov'd that's lov'd not for herself."
How many shepherds' daughters, who in duty
To griping fathers have enthrall'd their beauty,
To wait upon the gout, to walk when pleases
Old January halt. O that diseases
Should link with youth! She that hath such a mate
Is like two twins born both incorporate:
Th' one living, th' other dead: the living twin
Must needs be slain through noisomeness of him
He carrieth with him: such are their estates,
Who merely marry wealth and not their mates.
As ebbing waters freely slide away
To pay their tribute to the raging sea;
When meeting with the flood they jostle stout,
Whether the one shall in, or th' other out:
Till the strong flood new power of waves doth bring,
And drives the river back into his spring:
So Marine's words off'ring to take their course,
By Love then ent'ring, were kept back, and force
To it, his sweet face, eyes, and tongue assign'd,
And threw them back again into her mind.
"How hard it is to leave and not to do
That which by nature we are prone unto!
We hardly can (alas why not?) discuss,
When Nature hath decreed it must be thus.
It is a maxim held of all, known plain:
Thrust Nature off with forks, she'll turn again."
Blithe Doridon (so men this shepherd hight)
Seeing his goddess in a silent plight,
("Love often makes the speech's organs mute,")
Began again thus to renew his suit:
If by my words your silence hath been such,
Faith I am sorry I have spoke so much.
Bar I those lips? fit to be th' utt'rers when
The heavens would parley with the chief of men;
Fit to direct (a tongue all hearts convinces)
When best of scribes writes to the best of princes.
Were mine like yours, of choicest words completest,
"I'd show how grief's a thing weighs down the greatest;
The best of forms (who knows not) grief doth taint it,
The skilfull'st pencil never yet could paint it;"
And reason good, since no man yet could find
What figure represents a grieved mind.
Methinks a troubled thought is thus express'd,
To be a chaos rude and indigest:
Where all do rule, and yet none bears chief sway:
Check'd only by a power that's more than they.
This do I speak, since to this every lover
That thus doth love, is thus still given over.
If that you say you will not, cannot love:
Oh heavens! for what cause then do you here move?
Are you not fram'd of that expertest mould
For whom all in this round concordance hold?
Or are you framed of some other fashion,
And have a form and heart, but yet no passion?
It cannot be: for then unto what end
Did the best workman this great work intend?
Not that by minds' commerce, and joint estate,
The world's continuers still should propagate?
Yea, if that Reason (regent of the senses)
Have but a part amongst your excellences,
She'll tell you what you call Virginity,
Is fitly liken'd to a barren tree;
Which when the gard'ner on it pains bestows,
To graft an imp thereon, in time it grows
To such perfection that it yearly brings
As goodly fruit as any tree that springs.
Believe me, maiden, vow no chastity:
For maidens but imperfect creatures be.
Alas, poor boy (quoth Marine), have the Fates
Exempted no degrees? are no estates
Free from Love's rage? Be rul'd, unhappy swain;
Call back thy spirits, and recollect again
Thy vagrant wits. I tell thee for a truth
"Love is a siren that doth shipwreck youth."
Be well advis'd; thou entertain'st a guest
That is the harbinger of all unrest:
Which like the viper's young, that lick the earth,
Eat out the breeder's womb to get a birth.
Faith (quoth the boy), I know there cannot be
Danger in loving or enjoying thee.
For what cause were things made and called good,
But to be loved? If you understood
The birds that prattle here, you would know then,
As birds woo birds, maids should be woo'd of men.
But I want power to woo, since what was mine
Is fled, and lie as vassals at your shrine:
And since what's mine is yours, let that same move,
Although in me you see nought worthy love.
Marine about to speak, forth of a sling
(Fortune to all misfortunes plies her wing
More quick and speedy) came a sharpen'd flint,
Which in the fair boy's neck made such a dint,
That crimson blood came streaming from the wound,
And he fell down into a deadly swound.
The blood ran all along where it did fall,
And could not find a place of burial:
But where it came, it there congealed stood,
As if the Earth loath'd to drink guiltless blood.
Gold-hair'd Apollo, Muses' sacred king,
Whose praise in Delphos' Isle doth ever ring,
Physic's first founder, whose art's excellence
Extracted Nature's chiefest quintessence,
Unwilling that a thing of such a worth
Should so be lost, straight sent a dragon forth
To fetch this blood, and he perform'd the same:
And now apothecaries give it name,
From him that fetch'd it—(doctors know it good
In physic's use)—and call it dragon's blood.
Some of the blood by chance did downward fall,
And by a vein got to a mineral,
Whence came a red: decayed dames infuse it
With Venice ceruse, and for painting use it.
Marine astonish'd (most unhappy maid),
O'ercome with fear, and at the view afraid,
Fell down into a trance, eyes lost their sight,
Which being open made all darkness light.
Her blood ran to her heart, or life to feed,
Or loathing to behold so vile a deed.
And as when winter doth the earth array
In silver suit, and when the night and day
Are in dissension, night locks up the ground,
Which by the help of day is oft unbound,
A shepherd's boy with bow and shafts address'd,
Ranging the fields, having once pierc'd the breast
Of some poor fowl, doth with the blow straight rush
To catch the bird lies panting in the bush:
So rush'd this striker in, up Marine took,
And hasten'd with her to a near-hand brook.
Old shepherds sain (old shepherds sooth have sain)
Two rivers took their issue from the main,
Both near together, and each bent his race,
Which of them both should first behold the face
Of radiant Phœbus: one of them in gliding
Chanc'd on a vein where nitre had abiding:
The other, loathing that her purer wave
Should be defil'd with that the nitre gave.
Fled fast away, the other follow'd fast,
Till both been in a rock ymet at last.
As seemed best, the rock did first deliver
Out of his hollow sides the purer river,
(As if it taught those men in honour clad
To help the virtuous and suppress the bad,)
Which gotten loose, did softly glide away.
As men from earth, to earth; from sea, to sea;
So rivers run: and that from whence both came
Takes what she gave: waves, earth: but leaves a name.
As waters have their course, and in their place
Succeeding streams will out, so is man's race:
The name doth still survive, and cannot die,
Until the channels stop, or spring grow dry.
As I have seen upon a bridal day
Full many maids clad in their best array,
In honour of the bride come with their flaskets
Fill'd full with flowers: others in wicker-baskets
Bring from the marish rushes to o'erspread
The ground whereon to church the lovers tread;
Whilst that the quaintest youth of all the plain
Ushers their way with many a piping strain:
So, as in joy, at this fair river's birth,
Triton came up a channel with his mirth,
And call'd the neighb'ring nymphs each in her turn
To pour their pretty rivulets from their urn.
To wait upon this new-deliver'd spring,
Some running through the meadows, with them bring
Cowslip and mint: and 'tis another's lot
To light upon some gard'ner's curious knot,
Whence she upon her breast (love's sweet repose)
Doth bring the queen of flowers, the English rose.
Some from the fen bring reeds, wild-thyme from downs;
Some from a grove the bay that poets crowns;
Some from an aged rock the moss hath torn,
And leaves him naked unto winter's storm;
Another from her banks (in mere goodwill)
Brings nutriment for fish, the camomile.
Thus all bring somewhat, and do overspread
The way the spring unto the sea doth tread.
This while the flood which yet the rock up-pent,
And suffer'd not with jocund merriment
To tread rounds in his spring, came rushing forth,
As angry that his waves (he thought) of worth
Should not have liberty, nor help the prime.
And as some ruder swain composing rhyme,
Spends many a grey goose-quill unto the handle,
Buries within his socket many a candle,
Blots paper by the quire, and dries up ink,
As Xerxes' army did whole rivers drink,
Hoping thereby his name his work should raise
That it should live until the last of days:
Which finished, he boldly doth address
Him and his works to undergo the press;
When lo (O Fate !) his work not seeming fit
To walk in equipage with better wit,
Is kept from light, there gnawn by moths and worms,
At which he frets: right so this river storms:
But broken forth; as Tavy creeps upon
The western vales of fertile Albion,
Here dashes roughly on an aged rock,
That his intended passage doth up-lock;
There intricately 'mongst the woods doth wander,
Losing himself in many a wry meander:
Here amorously bent, clips some fair mead;
And then dispers'd in rills, doth measures tread
Upon her bosom 'mongst her flow'ry ranks:
There in another place bears down the banks
Of some day-labouring wretch: here meets a rill,
And with their forces join'd cuts out a mill
Into an island, then in jocund guise
Surveys his conquest, lauds his enterprise:
Here digs a cave at some high mountain's foot:
There undermines an oak, tears up his root:
Thence rushing to some country-farm at hand,
Breaks o'er the yeoman's mounds, sweeps from his land
His harvest hope of wheat, of rye, or pease:
And makes that channel which was shepherd's lease:
Here, as our wicked age doth sacrilege,
Helps down an abbey, then a natural bridge
By creeping underground he frameth out,
As who should say he either went about
To right the wrong he did, or hid his face,
For having done a deed so vile and base:
So ran this river on, and did bestir
Himself to find his fellow-traveller.
But th'other fearing lest her noise might show
What path she took, which way her streams did flow:
As some wayfaring man strays thro' a wood,
Where beasts of prey, thirsting for human blood,
Lurk in their dens, he softly list'ning goes,
Not trusting to his heels, treads on his toes;
Dreads every noise he hears, thinks each small bush
To be a beast that would upon him rush;
Feareth to die, and yet his wind doth smother;
Now leaves this path, takes that, then to another:
Such was her course. This feared to be found,
The other not to find, swells o'er each mound,
Roars, rages, foams, against a mountain dashes,
And in recoil makes meadows standing plashes:
Yet finds not what he seeks in all his way,
But in despair runs headlong to the sea.
This was the cause them by tradition taught,
Why one flood ran so fast, th' other so soft,
Both from one head. Unto the rougher stream,
(Crown'd by that meadow's flow'ry diadem,
Where Doridon lay hurt) the cruel swain
Hurries the shepherdess, where having lain
Her in a boat like the cannows of Inde,
Some silly trough of wood, or some tree's rind,
Puts from the shore, and leaves the weeping strand,
Intends an act by water, which the land
Abhorr'd to bolster; yea, the guiltless earth
Loath'd to be midwife to so vile a birth:
Which to relate I am enforc'd to wrong
The modest blushes of my maiden-song.
Then each fair nymph whom Nature doth endow
With beauty's cheek, crown'd with a shamefast brow;
Whose well-tun'd ears, chaste-object-loving eyne
Ne'er heard nor saw the works of Aretine;
Who ne'er came on the Cytherean shelf,
But is as true as Chastity itself;
Where hated Impudence ne'er set her seed;
Where lust lies not veil'd in a virgin's weed:
Let her withdraw. Let each young shepherdling
Walk by, or stop his ear, the whilst I sing.
But ye, whose blood, like kids upon a plain,
Doth skip and dance lavoltas in each vein;
Whose breasts are swoll'n with the venerean game,
And warm yourselves at lust's alluring flame;
Who dare to act as much as men dare think,
And wallowing lie within a sensual sink;
Whose feigned gestures do entrap our youth
With an apparency of simple truth;
Insatiate gulfs, in your defective part
By Art help Nature, and by Nature, Art:
Lend me your ears, and I will touch a string
Shall lull your sense asleep the while I sing.
But stay: methinks I hear something in me
That bids me keep the bounds of modesty;
Says, "Each man's voice to that is quickly mov'd
Which of himself is best of all belov'd;
By utt'ring what thou know'st less glory's got,
Than by concealing what thou knowest not."
If so, I yield to it, and set my rest
Rather to lose the bad than wrong the best.
My maiden-Muse flies the lascivious swains,
And scorns to soil her lines with lustful strains;
Will not dilate (nor on her forehead bear
Immodesty's abhorred character)
His shameless pryings, his undecent doings,
His curious searches, his respectless wooings;
How that he saw—But what? I dare not break it,
You safer may conceive than I dare speak it.
Yet verily had he not thought her dead,
Sh'ad lost, ne'er to be found, her maidenhead.
The rougher stream, loathing a thing compacted
Of so great shame should on his flood be acted,
(According to our times not well allow'd
In others what he in himself avow'd)
Bent hard his forehead, furrow'd up his face,
And danger led the way the boat did trace.
And as within a landskip that doth stand
Wrought by the pencil of some curious hand,
We may descry, here meadow, there a wood;
Here standing ponds, and there a running flood;
Here on some mount a house of pleasure vanted,
Where once the roaring cannon had been planted;
There on a hill a swain pipes out the day,
Out-braving all the quiristers of May;
A huntsman here follows his cry of hounds,
Driving the hare along the fallow grounds,
Whilst one at hand seeming the sport t' allow,
Follows the hounds and careless leaves the plough;
There in another place some high-rais'd land,
In pride bears out her breasts unto the strand;
Here stands a bridge, and there a conduit head;
Here round a Maypole some the measures tread;
There boys the truant play and leave their book;
Here stands an angler with a baited hook;
There for a stag one lurks within a bough;
Here sits a maiden milking of her cow;
There on a goodly plain (by time thrown down)
Lies buried in his dust some ancient town),
Who now invillaged there's only seen
In his vast ruins what his state had been;
And of all these in shadows so express'd
Make the beholders' eyes to take no rest:
So for the swain the flood did mean to him
To show in Nature (not by Art to limn)
A tempest's rage: his furious waters threat,
Some on this shore, some on the other beat.
Here stands a mountain where was once a dale;
There where a mountain stood is now a vale.
Here flow a billow, there another meets;
Each, on each side the skiff, unkindly greets.
The waters underneath 'gan upward move,
Wond'ring what stratagems were wrought above:
Billows that miss'd the boat still onward thrust,
And on the cliffs, as swoll'n with anger, burst.
All these, and more, in substance so express'd,
Made the beholder's thoughts to take no rest.
Horror in triumph rid upon the waves;
And all the Furies from their gloomy caves
Came hovering o'er the boat, summon'd each sense
Before the fearful bar of conscience;
Were guilty all, and all condemned were
To undergo their horrors with despair.
What Muse? what Power? or what thrice sacred herse,
That lives immortal in a well-tun'd verse,
Can lend me such a sight that I might see
A guilty conscience' true anatomy;
That well-kept register wherein is writ
All ills men do, all goodness they omit?
His pallid fears, his sorrows, his affrightings;
His late-wish'd had-I-wists, remorseful bitings;
His many tortures, his heartrending pain;
How were his griefs composed in one chain,
And he by it let down into the seas,
Or through the centre to th' Antipodes?
He might change climates, or be barr'd Heaven's face;
Yet find no salve, nor ever change his case.
Fears, sorrows, tortures, and affrights, nor any,
Like to the conscience sting, though thrice as many;
Yet all these torments by the swain were borne,
Whilst Death's grim visage lay upon the storm.
But as when some kind nurse doth long time keep
Her pretty baby at suck, whom fall'n asleep
She lays down in his cradle, stints his cry
With many a sweet and pleasing lullaby;
Whilst the sweet child, not troubled with the shock,
As sweetly slumbers, as his nurse doth rock:
So lay the maid, th' amazed swain sat weeping,
And Death in her was dispossess'd by sleeping.
The roaring voice of winds, the billows' raves,
Nor all the mutt'ring of the sullen waves
Could once disquiet, or her slumber stir;
But lull'd her more asleep than waken'd her.
Such are their states whose souls from foul offence
Enthroned sit in spotless innocence.
Where rest my Muse ; till (jolly shepherds' swains)
Next morn with pearls of dew bedecks our plains
We'll fold our flocks, then in fit time go on
To tune mine oaten pipe for Doridon.





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