Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE AUTHORS DREAME TO THE LADY MARIE, COUNTESSE DOWAGER OF PEMBROOKE, by AEMILIA (BASSANO) LANYER



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THE AUTHORS DREAME TO THE LADY MARIE, COUNTESSE DOWAGER OF PEMBROOKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Me thought I pass'd through th' edalyan groves
Last Line: They all are purg'd by his divinity.
Alternate Author Name(s): Lanier, Emilia
Subject(s): Dreams; Herbert, Mary Sidney (1561-1621); Nightmares; Pembroke, Countess Of; Sidney, Mary (1561-1621); Dudley, Mary


Me thought I pass'd through th'Edalyan Groves,
And askt the Graces, if they could direct
Me to a Lady whom Minerva chose,
To live with her in height of all respect.

Yet looking backe into my thoughts againe,
The eie of Reason did behold her there
Fast ti'd unto them in a golden Chaine,
They stood, but she was set in Honors chaire.

And nine faire Virgins sate upon the ground,
With Harps and Vialls in their lilly hands;
Whose harmony had all my sences drown'd,
But that before mine eyes an object stands,

Whose Beauty shin'd like Titons cleerest raies,
She blew a brasen Trumpet, which did sound
Throgh al the world that worthy Ladies praise,
And by Eternall Fame I saw her crown'd.

Yet studying, if I were awake, or no,
God Morphy came and tooke me by the hand,
And wil'd me not from Slumbers bowre to go,
Till I the summe of all did understand.

When presently the Welkin that before
Look'd bright and cleere, me thought, was overcast,
And duskie clouds, with boyst'rous winds great store,
Foretold of violent stormes which could not last.

And gazing up into the troubled skie,
Me thought a Chariot did from thence descend,
Where one did sit repleat with Majestie,
Drawne by foure fierie Dragons, which did bend

Their course where this most noble Lady sate,
Whom all these virgins with due reverence
Did entertaine, according to that state
Which did belong unto her Excellence.

When bright Bellona, so they did her call,
Whom these faire Nymphs so humbly did receive,
A manly mayd which was both faire and tall,
Her borrowed Charret by a spring did leave.

With speare, and shield, and currat on her breast,
And on her head a helmet wondrous bright,
With myrtle, bayes, and olive branches drest,
Wherein me thought I tooke no small delight.

To see how all the Graces sought grace here,
And in what meeke, yet princely sort shee came;
How this most noble Lady did imbrace her,
And all humors unto hers did frame.

Now fair Dictina by the breake of Day,
With all her Damsels round about her came,
Ranging the woods to hunt, yet made a stay,
When harkning to the pleasing sound of Fame;

Her Ivory bowe and silver shaftes shee gave
Unto the fairest nymphe of all her traine;
And wondring who it was that in so grave,
Yet gallant fashion did her beauty staine:

Shee deckt her selfe with all the borrowed light
That Phoebus would afford from his faire face,
And made her Virgins to appeare so bright,
That all the hils and vales received grace.

Then pressing where this beauteous troupe did stand,
They all received her most willingly,
And unto her the Lady gave her hand,
That shee should keepe with them continually.

Aurora rising from her rosie bedde,
First blusht, then wept, to see faire Phoebe grac'd,
And unto Lady Maie these wordes shee sed,
Come, let us goe, we will not be out-fac'd.

I will unto Apolloes Waggoner,
A bidde him bring his Master presently,
That his bright beames may all her Beauty marre,
Gracing us with the luster of his eie.

Come, come, sweet Maie, and fill their laps with floures,
And I will give a greater light than she:
So all these Ladies favours shall be ours,
None shall be more esteem'd than we shall be.

Thus did Aurora dimme faire Phoebus light,
And was receiv'd in bright Cynthiaes place,
While Flora all with fragrant floures dight,
Pressed to shew the beauty of her face.

Though these, me thought, were verie pleasing sights,
Yet now these Worthies did agree to go,
Unto a place full of all rare delights,
A place that yet Minerva did not know.

That sacred Spring where Art and Nature striv'd
Which should remaine as Sov'raigne of the place;
Whose antient quarrell being new reviv'd,
Added fresh Beauty, gave farre greater Grace.

To which as umpiers now these Ladies go,
Judging with pleasure their delightfull case;
Whose ravisht sences made them quickely know,
T'would be offensive either to displace.

And therefore will'd they should for ever dwell,
In perfit unity by this matchlesse Spring:
Since 'twas impossible either should excell,
Or her faire fellow in subjection bring.

But here in equall sov'raigntie to live,
Equall in state, equall in dignitie,
That unto others they might comfort give,
Rejoycing all with their sweet unitie.

And now me thought I long to heare her name,
Whom wise Minerva honoured so much,
Shee whom I saw was crownd by noble Fame,
Whom Envy sought to sting, yet could not tuch.

Me thought the meager elfe did seeke bie waies
To come unto her, but it would not be;
Her venime purifi'd by virtues raies,
Shee pin'd and starv'd like an Anotomie:

While beauteous Pallas with this Lady faire,
Attended by these Nymphs of noble fame,
Beheld those woods, those groves, those bowers rare,
By which Pergusa, for so hight the name

Of that faire spring, his dwelling place and ground;
And throgh those fields with sundry flowers clad,
Of sev'rall colours, to adorne the ground,
And please the sences ev'n of the most sad:

He trayld along the woods in wanton wise,
With sweet delight to entertaine them all;
Inviting them to sit and to devise
On holy hymnes; at last to mind they call

Those rare sweet songs which Israels King did frame
Unto the Father of Eternitie;
Before his holy wisedom tooke the name
Of great Messias, Lord of unitie.

Those holy Sonnets they did all agree,
With this most lovely Lady here to sing;
That by her noble breasts sweet harmony,
Their musicke might in eares of Angels ring.

While saints like Swans about this silver brook
Should Hallalu-jah sing continually,
Writing her praises in th'eternall booke
Of endlesse honour, true fames memorie.

Thus I in sleep the heavenli'st musicke hard,
That ever earthly eares did entertaine;
And durst not wake, for feare to be debard
Of what my sences sought still to retaine.

Yet sleeping, praied dull Slumber to unfold
Her noble name, who was of all admired;
When presently in drowsie tearmes he told
Not onely that, but more than I desired.

This nymph, quoth he, great Penbrooke hight by name,
Sister to valiant Sidney, whose cleere light
Gives light to all that tread true paths of Fame,
Who in the globe of heav'n doth shine so bright;

That beeing dead, his fame doth him survive,
Still living in the hearts of worthy men;
Pale Death is dead, but he remaines alive,
Whose dying wounds restor'd him life agen.

And this faire earthly goddesse which you see,
Bellona and her virgins doe attend;
In virtuous studies of Divinitie,
Her pretious time continually doth spend.

So that a Sister well shee may be deemd,
To him that liv'd and di'd so nobly;
And farre before him is to be esteemd
For virtue, wisdome, learning, dignity.

Whose beauteous soule hath gain'd a double life,
Both here on earth, and in the heav'ns above,
Till dissolution end all worldly strife:
Her blessed spirit remaines, of holy love,

Directing all by her immortall light,
In this huge sea of sorrowes, griefes, and feares;
With contemplation of God's powrefull might,
Shee fils the eies, the hearts, the tongues, the eares

Of after-comming ages, which shall reade
Her love, her zeale, her faith, and pietie;
The faire impression of whose worthy deed,
Seales her pure soule unto the Deitie.

That both in Heav'n and Earth it may remaine,
Crownd with her Makers glory and his love;
And this did Father Slumber tell with paine,
Whose dulnesse scarce could suffer him to move.

When I awaking left him and his bowre,
Much grieved that I could no longer stay;
Sencelesse was sleepe, not to admit me powre,
As I had spent the night to spend the day:

Then had God Morphie shew'd the end of all,
And what my heart desir'd, mine eies had seene;
For as I wak'd me thought I heard one call
For that bright Charet lent by Joves faire Queene.

But thou, base cunning thiefe, that robs our sprits
Of halfe that span of life which yeares doth give;
And yet no praise unto thy selfe it merits,
To make a seeming death in those that live.

Yea wickedly thou doest consent to death,
Within thy restfull bed to rob our soules;
In Slumbers bowre thou steal'st away our breath,
Yet none there is that thy base stealths controules.

If poore and sickly creatures would imbrace thee,
Or they to whom thou giv'st a taste of pleasure,
Thou fli'st as if Acteons hounds did chase thee,
Or that to stay with them thou hadst no leasure.

But though thou hast depriv'd me of delight,
By stealing from me ere I was aware;
I know I shall enjoy the selfe same sight,
Thou hast no powre my waking sprites to barre.

For to this Lady now I will repaire,
Presenting her the fruits of idle houres;
Thogh many Books she writes that are more rare,
Yet there is hony in the meanest flowres:

Which is both wholesome, and delights the taste:
Though sugar be more finer, higher priz'd,
Yet is the painefull Bee no whit disgrac'd,
Nor her faire wax, on hony more despiz'd.

And though that learned damsell and the rest,
Have in a higher style her Trophic fram'd;
Yet these unlearned lines beeing my best,
Of her great wisedom can no whit be blam'd.

And therefore, first I here present my Dreame,
And next, invite her Honour to my feast;
For my cleare reason sees her by that streame,
Where her rare virtues daily are increast.

So craving pardon for this bold attempt,
I here present my mirrour to her view,
Whose noble virtues cannot be exempt,
My Glasse beeing steele, declares them to be true.

And Madame, if you will vouchsafe that grace,
To grace those flowers that springs from virtues ground;
Though your faire mind on worthier workes is plac'd,
On workes that are more deepe, and more profound;

Yet is it no disparagement to you,
To see your Saviour in a Shepheards weed,
Unworthily presented in your viewe,
Whose worthinesse will grace each line you reade.

Receive him here by my unworthy hand,
And reade his paths of faire humility;
Who though our sinnes in number passe the sand,
They all are purg'd by his Divinity.





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