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With trembling steps and humble reverence When once the Crab behind his back he sees: She cometh in before th’ Almighty's view;
But for this time it ill ordained was, Of her, ye Virgins ! learn obedience,
To chuse the longest day in all the year, Whenso ye come into those holy places,
And shortest night, when longest fitter were ; To humble your proud faces.
Yet never day so long but late would pass. Bring her up to th' high altar, that she may
Ring ye the bells to make it wear away, The sacred ceremonies there partake,
And bonefires make all day, The which do endless matrimony make;
And daunce about them, and about them sing, And let the roaring organs loudly play
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring. The praises of the Lord, in lively notes, The whiles with hollow throats
“ Ah! when will this long weary day have end, The choristers the joyous anthems sing,
And lend me leave to come unto my love? That all the woods may answer, and theireccho ring. How slowly do the hours their numbers spend?
How slowly doth sad Time his feathers move? “ Behold, whiles she before the altar stands,
Haste thee, O fairest Planet! to thy home, Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks,
Within the western foame; And blesses her with his two happy hands,
Thy tyred steeds long since have need of rest. How the red roses flush up in her cheeks !
Long tho it be, at last I see it gloom, And the pure snow, with goodly vermil stain, And the bright evening-star with golden crest, Like crimson dy'd in grain,
Appear out of the east. That even the angels, which continually
Fair child of beauty, glorious lamp of love About the sacred altar do remain,
That all the host of heaven in ranks dost lead, Forget their service, and about her fly,
And guidest lovers through the night's sad dread, Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair How chearfully thou lookest from above, The more they on it stare :
And seem'st to laugh atween thy twinkling light, But her sad eyes, still fastned on the ground, As joying in the sight Are governed with goodly modesty,
Of these glad many, which for joy do sing, (ring.” That suffers not one look to glaunce awry,
That all the woods them answer, and their eccho Which may let in a little thought unsound. Why blush ye, Love! to give to me your hand, Now cease, ye Damsels! your delights fore past, The pledge of all your band ?
Enough it is that all the day was yours; Sing, ye sweet angels! Alleluya sing,
Now day is done, and night is nighing fast, That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring. Now bring the bride into the bridal bowres;
Now night is come, now soon her disarray, “ Now all is done; bring home the bride again,
And in her bed her lay; Bring home the triumph of our victory :
Lay her in lillies and in violets, Bring home with you the glory of her gain,
And silken curtains over her display, With joyance bring her, and with jollity.
And odour'd sheets, and arras coverlets. Never had man more joyful day than this,
Behold how goodly my fair love does lie, Whom Heaven would heap with bliss.
In proud humility; Make feast, therefore, now all this live-long day,
Like unto Maia, whenas Jove her took This day for ever to me holy is;
In Tempe, lying on the flowrie grass, Pour out the wine without restraint or stay,
'Twixt sleep and wake, after she weary was Pour not by cups, but by the belly-full:
With bathing in the Acidalian brook :
Now it is night, ye damsels may be gone,
former lays to sing ; Crown ye god Bacchus with a coronal,
The woods no more shall answer, nor your ecchorings And Hymen also crown with wreaths of vine, And let the Graces daunce unto the rest,
Now welcome night, thou night so long expected, For they can do it best;
That long day's labour dost at length defray, The whiles the maidens do their carol sing, (ring. And all my cares, which cruel Love collected, To which the woods shall answer, and their eccho Hast summ'd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing over my love and me, « Ring ye the bells, ye young men of the town, That no man may us see, And leave your wonted labours for this day; And in thy sable mantle us enwrap, This day is holy; do you write it down,
From fear of peril, and foul horror free; That ye for ever it remember may:
Let no false treason seek us to entrap, This day the sun is in its chiefest hight,
Nor any dread disquiet once annoy With Barnaby the bright;
The safety of our joy, From whence declining daily by degrees,
But let the night be calm and quietsome, He somewhat loseth of his heat and light,
Without tem ous storms or sad affray,
Like as when Jove with fair Alcmena lay,
The Latmian shepherd once unto thee brought, When he begot the great Tirynthian groom;
His pleasures with thee wrought:
Therefore to us be favourable now,
And sith of women's labours thou hast charge, And let the maids and young men cease to sing ;
And generation goodly dost enlarge,
Encline thy will t' effect our wishful vow,
That may our comfort breed;
Till which we cease our hopeful hap to sing,
Ne let the woods us answer, nor our eccho ring. Break gentle sleep with misconceived doubt:
And thou, great Juno! which with awful might Let no deluding dreams, nor dreadful sights,
The laws of wedlock still dost patronize, Make sudden sad affrights;
And the religion of the faith first plight, Ne let house-fires, nor lightnings, helpless harms,
With sacred rights hast taught to solemnize, Ne let the ponk, nor other evil sprights,
And eke for comfort often called art Ne let mischievous witches with their charms,
Of women in their smart, Ne let hob-goblins, names whose sense we see not,
Eternally bind thou this lovely band, Fray us with things that be not:
And all thy blessing unto us impart. Let not the scriech-owl nor the stork be heard,
And thou, glad Genius ! in whose gentle hand Nor the night-raven, that still deadly yells,
The bridal bower and genial bed remain, Nor damned ghosts, call d up with mighty spells,
Without blemish or stain, Nor griesly vultures, make us once affeard:
And the sweet pleasures of their love's delight Ne let th' unpleasant quire of frogs still croking,
With secret aid dost succour and supply, Make us to wish their choking ;
Till they bring forth the fruitful progeny, Let none of these their drery accents sing,
Send us the timely fruit of this same night, Ne let the woods them answer, nor their eccho ring.
And thou, fair Hebe ! and thou, Hymen free,
Grant that it so may be. But let still Silence true night-watches keep,
Till which we cease your further praise to sing, That sacred Peace may in assurance reign,
Ne any woods shall answer, nor your eccho ring. And timely Sleep, when it is time to sleep, May pour his limbs forth on your pleasant plain ;
And ye, high Heavens! the temple of the gods, The whiles an hundred little winged Loves,
In which a thousand torches flaming bright Like divers-fethered doves,
Do burn, that to us wretched earthly clods Shall fly and flutter round about your bed,
In dreadful darkness lend desired light; And in the secret dark, that none reproves,
And all ye Powers which in the same remain, Their pretty stealths shall work, and snares shall
More than we men can feign, spread,
Pour out your blessing on us plenteously, To filch away sweet snatches of delight,
And happy influence upon us rain, Conceal'd through covert night.
That we may rise a large posterity, Ye sons of Venus! play your sports at will,
Which from the earth, which they may long possess For greedy Pleasure, careless of your toyes, With lasting happiness, Thinks more upon her Paradise of joyes
Up to your haughty palaces may mount, Than what you do, all be it good or ill.
And for the guerdon of your glorious merit All night, therefore, attend your merry play,
May heavenly tabernacles there inherit, For it will soon be day:
Of blessed saints for to increase the count: Now none doth hinder you that say or sing,
So let us rest, sweet Love! in hope of this Ne will the woods now answer, nor your eccho ring.
And cease till then our timely joys to sing,
The woods no more us answer, nor our eccho ring. Who is the same which at my window peeps ? Or whose is that fair face which shines so bright?
Song made in lieu of many ornaments Is it not Cynthia, she that never sleeps,
With which my love should duly have been deckt, But walks about high heaven all the night?
Which cutting off through hasty accidents, O! Fairest Goddess! do thou not envy
Ye would not stay your due time to expect, My love with me to spy;
But promis’d both to recompence, For thou likewise didst love, though now unthought, But unto her a goodly ornament, And for a fleece of wool, which privily
And for short time an endless monument.
SONNETS, BY SIR PHILIP SIDNEY-A.D. 1554-84.
Because I oft in dark abstracted guise
In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
ROSAMOND TO KING HENRY.
(FROM ENGLAND'S HEROICAL EPISTLES.) Henry the Second keepeth (with much care) Lord Clifford's daughter, Rosamond the fair; And whilst his sons do Normandy invade, He forc'd to France, with wond'rous cost hath made A labyrinth in Woodstock, where unseen His love might lodge safe from his jealous queen: Yet when he stay'd beyond his time abroad, Her pensive breast, his darling to unload, In this epistle doth her grief complain ; And his rescription tells her his again.
If yet thine eyes (Great Henry) may endure
If with my shame thine eyes thou fain would'st
What by this conquest canst thou hope to win, Where thy best spoil is but the act of sin ? Why on my name this slander dost thou bring, To make my fault renowned by a king? “ Fame never stoops to things but mean and poor, The more our greatness, our fault is the more ; Lights on the ground themselves do lessen far But in the air each small spark seems a star." Why on my woman-frailty should’st thou lay So strong a plot mine honour to betray? Or thy unlawful pleasure should’st thou buy, Both with thine own shame and my infamy? 'Twas not my mind consented to this ill, Then had I been transported by my will; For what my body was inforc'd to do, (Heav'n knows) my soul yet ne'er consented to: For through mine eyes had she her liking seen, Such as my love, such had my lover been. * True love is simple, like his mother truth, Kindly affection, youth to love with youth ; No greater cor’sive to our blooming years, Than the cold badge of winter-blasted hairs. Thy kingly power makes to withstand thy foes, Bat cannot keep back age, with time it grows:
Though honour our ambitious sex doth please,
But Henry, how canst thou affect me thus,
Sometimes, to pass the tedious irksome hours, I climb the top of Woodstock's mounting tow'rs, Where in a turret secretly Ilie, To view from far such as do travel by: Whither, methinks, all cast their eyes at me, As through the stones my shame did make them see; And with such hate the harmless walls do view, As ev'n to death their eyes would me pursue. The married women curse my hateful life, Wronging a fair queen and a virtuous wife: The maidens wish I buried quick may die, And from each place near my abode do flie. Well knew'st thou what a monster I would be, When thou didst build this labyrinth for me, Whose strange meanders turning ev'ry way, Be like the course wherein my youth did stray: Only a clue doth guide me out and in, But yet still walk I circular in sin.
As in the gallery this other day, I and my woman past the time away, 'Mongst many pictures which were hanging by, The silly girl at length hapt to espy Chaste Lucrece' image, and desires to know What she should be, herself that murder'd so?
Why, girl (quoth I) this is that Roman dame- And to declare for what intent it came,
Lest I therein should ever keep my shame.
And in this casket (ill I see it now)
That Jove's love, lo, turn’d into a cow;
So wakeful still be Juno's jealousies :
By this I well might have forwarned been, In beauty's field pitching his crimson tent,
T' have clear'd myself to thy suspecting Queen, In lovely sanguine sutes the lily cheek,
Who with more hundred eyes
attendeth me, Whilst it but for a resting place doth seek;
Than had poor Argus single eyes to see. And changing oftentimes with sweet delight, In this thou rightly imitatest Jove, Converts the white to red, the red to white:
Into a beast thou hast transform’d thy love; The blush with paleness for the place doth strive,
Nay, worser far (beyond their beastly kind)
A monster both in body and in mind.
With the dull vap'ry dimness mocks my sight, When as the sun hales tow'rds the western slade,
As tho' the damp, which hinders the clear flame, And the trees shadows hath much taller made, Came from my breath in that night of my shame : Forth go I to a little current near,
When as it look'd with a dark lowering eye,
And if a star but by the glass appear,
I straight intreat it not to look in here: With fearful nibbling fly th’inticing gin,
I am already hateful to the light, By nature taught what davger lies therein.
And will it too betray me to the night? Things reasonless thus warn’d by nature be,
Then sith my shame so much belongs to thee, Yet I devour'd the bait was laid for me :
Rid me of that, by only murd’ring me;
Thou shalt not need by circumstance t'accuse me ; I should pollute that native purity.
If I deny it, let the heavens refuse me.
In this shew mercy, as I ever lov'd thee.
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY,
TO THE LADY GERALDINE. Nor will a strumpet shall their name abuse.
The Earl of Surrey, that renowned lord, Here in the garden, wrought by curious hands, Th' old English glory bravely that restor’d, Naked Diana in the fountain stands,
That prince and poet (a name more divine) With all her nymphs got round about to hide her, Falling in love with beauteous Geraldine, As when Acteon had by chance espy'd her:
Of the Geraldi, which derive their name This sacred image I no sooner view'd,
From Florence: whither to advance her fame, But as that metamorphos'd man pursu'd
He travels, and in public jousts maintain'd By his own hounds, so by my thoughts am I, Her beauty peerless, which by arms he gain d: Which chase me still, which way soe'er I fly. By staying long, fair Italy to see, Touching the grass, the honey-dropping dew, To let her know him constant still to be, Which falls in tears before my limber shoe,
From Tuscany this letter to her writes;
Which her rescription instantly invites.
From learned Florence (long time rich in fame) But every thing doth give me cause of wo.
From whence thy race, thy noble grandsires came In that fair casket of such wond'rous cost,
To famous England, that kind nurse of mine, Thou sent'st the night before mine honour lost, Thy Surrey sends to heav'nly Geraldine. Amimone was wrought, a harmless maid,
Yet let not Tuscan think I do it wrong, By Neptune that adult'rous God betray'd;
That I from thence write in my native tongue ; She prostrate at his feet, begging with pray’rs, That in these harsh-tun'd cadences I sing, Wringing her hands, her eyes swoln up with tears: Sitting so near the muses’ sacred spring; This was not an entrapping bait from thee,
But rather think it self adorn'd thereby, But by thy virtue gently warning me,
That England reads the praise of Italy.