3.5 AEMILIA LANYER
Little is known about Aemilia Lanyer’s childhood and early youth. She writes of having lived for a while in the household of Susan Bertie, Countess of Kent (b. 1554). As with most women of that time, Lanyer’s career was expected to be marriage. And she was married to Alfonso Lanyer, a musician and soldier, but only after having had an affair with Henry Cary, 1st Baron Hunsdon (1526-1596), a member of Elizabeth I’s court and patron of the arts. An ensuing pregnancy determined her future in her marriage to Alfonso Lanyer.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) would note that in a patriarchal society, all women but particularly those not of the aristocracy were destined to silence and obscurity. That did not prove to be entirely the case with Aemilia Lanyer because in 1611 she published a small volume of religious poetry entitled the Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum. It was successful enough to have had two editions, or impressions, printed. Of the few copies to survive, one was presented to Prince Henry, the other, to the Archbishop of Dublin, representatives of the two pillars of paternal authority in the seventeenth century, the Monarchy and the Church.
Image 3.5 | Aemilia Lanyer
Artist | Nicholas Hilliard
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | Public Domain
Lanyer, like most women up through the early twentieth century, gained fame as a relative being when A. L. Rowse (1903-1997) on dubious grounds claimed her as the “dark lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets, a claim he made in a modern edition of her own Salve . While her work is now gaining attention for its own sake, she nevertheless finds a place in a male-dominated canon that defines her genre and voice. Her work may converse with those of John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Andrew Marvell, but unlike the work of these male contemporaries, Lanyer’s poetry also converses with women writers, some of whom were also her contemporaries: Christine de Pizan (1364-1430), Mary Sidney Herbert (1561-1621), and Rachel Speght (b. 1597).
Lanyer’s Salve fits with religious poetry, a genre deemed acceptable for women, but it takes a different focus and attitude than conventional religious poetry. She defends Eve; she animates the tears of the Daughters of Jerusalem; she gives authentic voice to the Virgin Mary’s sorrow. And she exculpates women from Christ’s crucifixion. This focus may align with her intended audience, delineated in the verses dedicated to all virtuous ladies and gentlewomen, including Princess Elizabeth, Lady Arabella Stuart (1575-1615), and the Countesses of Cumberland (1560-1616) and of Kent (1582-1651). Lanyer exhorts her audience to speak well of all women and not to fall into the institutionalized—cultural and religious— misogyny of the age. This dedication and its implicit plea for patronage seems to be the first such written by a woman—the very word “patronage,” suggests male claims. And in her poetry, Lanyer works within the gendered hierarchical frame of her era but reverses values when she upholds not only herself but also Eve, Pilate’s wife, and other Biblical figures as true Christians and conveyers of Christ’s message.
In her own life, Lanyer strove for her rights independent of men. She inherited from her husband a hay and straw weighing patent. She passed this grant on to her two brothers-in-law, Innocent and Clement, in return for a grant of half the profits. When they did not honor their agreement, Lanyer sued them and won a partial settlement in 1634. For two years, Lanyer ran a school in a wealthy London suburb whose pupils were intended to come from diverse backgrounds. In her later years, she seems to have lived near the family of her son Henry and to have obtained the official status of pensioner, that is, someone with a steady income, or pension. She died in 1645 and was buried at Clerkenwell.
3.5.1 Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
To the Queenes most Excellent Majestie.
Renowned Empresse, and great Britaines Queene,
Most gratious Mother of succeeding Kings;
Vouchsafe to view that which is seldome seene,
A Womans writing of diuinest things:
Reade it faire Queene, though it defectiue be,
Your Excellence can grace both It and Mee.
For you haue rifled Nature of her store,
And all the Goddesses haue dispossest
Of those rich gifts which they enioy’d before,
But now great Queene, in you they all doe rest.
If now they striued for the golden Ball,
Paris would giue it you before them all.
From Iuno you haue State and Dignities,
From warlike Pallas, Wisdome, Fortitude;
And from faire Venus all her excellencies,
With their best parts your Highnesse is indu’d:
How much are we to honor those that springs
From such rare beauty, in the blood of Kings?
The Muses doe attend vpon your Throne,
With all the Artists at your becke and call;
The Syluane Gods, and Satyres euery one,
Before your faire triumphant Chariot fall:
And shining Cynthia with her nymphs attend
To honour you, whose Honour hath no end.
From your bright spheare of greatnes where you sit,
Reflecting light to all those glorious stars
That wait vpon your Throane; To virtue yet
Vouchsafe that splendor which my meannesse bars:
Be like faire Phoebe, who doth loue to grace
The darkest night with her most beauteous face.
Apollo’s beames doe comfort euery creature,
And shines vpon the meanest things that be;
Since in Estate and Virtue none is greater,
I humbly wish that yours may light on me:
That so these rude vnpollisht lines of mine,
Graced by you, may seeme the more diuine.
Looke in this Mirrour of a worthy Mind,
Where some of your faire Virtues will appeare:
Though all it is impossible to find,
Vnlesse my Glasse were chrystall, or more cleare:
Which is dym steele, yet full of spotlesse truth,
And for one looke from your faire eyes it su’th.
Here may your sacred Maistie behold
That mightie Monarch both of heau’n and earth,
He that all Nations of the world controld,
Yet tooke our flesh in base and meanest berth:
Whose daies were spent in pouerty and sorrow,
And yet all Kings their wealth of him do borrow.
For he is Crowne and Crowner of all Kings,
The hopeful hauen of the meaner sort,
It is he that all our ioyfull tidings brings
Of happie raigne within his royall Court:
It is he that in extremity can giue
Comfort to them that haue no time to liue.
And since my wealth within his Region stands,
And that his Crosse my chiefest comfort is,
Yea in his kingdome onely rests my lands,
Of honour there I hope I shall not misse:
Though I on earth doe liue vnfortunate,
Yet there I may attaine a better state.
In the meane time, accept most gratious Queene
This holy worke, Virtue presents to you,
In poore apparell, shaming to be seene,
Or once t’appeare in your iudiciall view:
But that faire Virtue, though in meane attire,
All Princes of the world doe most desire.
And sith all royall virtues are in you,
The Naturall, the Morall, and Diuine,
I hope how plaine soeuer, beeing true,
You will accept euen of the meanest line
Faire Virtue yeelds; by whose rare gifts you are
So highly grac’d, t’exceed the fairest faire.
Behold, great Queene, faire Eues Apologie,
Which I haue writ in honour of your sexe,
And doe referre vnto your Maiestie,
To iudge if it agree not with the Text:
And if it doe, why are poore Women blam’d,
Or by more faultie Men so much defam’d?
And this great Lady I haue here attired,
In all her richest ornaments of Honour,
That you faire Queene, of all the world admired,
May take the more delight to looke vpon her:
For she must entertaine you to this Feast,
To which your Highnesse is the welcom’st guest.
For here I haue prepar’d my Paschal Lambe,
The figure of that liuing Sacrifice;
Who dying, all th’Infernall powres oercame,
That we with him t’Eternitie might rise:
This pretious Passeouer feed vpon, O Queene,
Let your faire Virtues in my Glasse be seene.
The Lady ELIZABETHS Grace.
And she that is the patterne of all Beautie,
The very modell of your Maiestie,
Whose rarest parts enforceth Loue and Duty,
The perfect patterne of all Pietie:
O let my Booke by her faire eies be blest,
In whose pure thoughts all Innocency rests.
Then shall I think my Glasse a glorious Skie,
When two such glittring Suns at once appeare;
The one repleat with Sou’raigne Maiestie,
Both shining brighter than the clearest cleare:
And both reflecting comfort to my spirits,
To find their grace so much aboue my merits
Whose vntun’d voyce the dolefull notes doth sing
Of sad Affliction in an humble straine;
Much like vnto a Bird that wants a wing,
And cannot flie, but warbles forth her paine:
Or he that barred from the Suns bright light,
Wanting daies comfort, doth comend the night.
So I that liue clos’d vp in Sorrowes Cell,
Since greatElizaes fauour blest my youth;
And in the confines of all cares doe dwell,
Whose grieued eyes no pleasure euer view’th:
But in Christ’s suffrings, such sweet taste they haue,
As makes me praise pale Sorrow and the Graue.
And this great Ladie whom I loue and honour,
And from my very tender yeeres haue knowne,
This holy habite still to take vpon her,
Still to remaine the same, and still her owne:
And what our fortunes doe enforce vs to,
She of Deuotion and meere Zeale doth do.
Which makes me thinke our heauy burden light,
When such a one as she will help to beare it:
Treading the paths that make our way go right,
What garment is so faire but she may weare it;
Especially for her that entertaines
A Glorious Queene, in whome all woorth remains.
Whose powre may raise my sad deiected Muse,
From this lowe Mansion of a troubled mind;
Whose princely fauour may such grace infuse,
That I may spread Her Virtues in like kind:
But in the triall of my slender skill,
I wanted knowledge to performe my will.
For euen as they that doe behold the Starres,
Not with the eie of Learning, but of Sight,
To find their motions, want of knowledge barres
Although they see them in their brightest light:
So, though I see the glory of her State,
Its she that must instruct and eleuate.
My weake distempred braine and feeble spirits,
Which all vnleaned haue aduentur’d, this
To write of Christ, and of his sacred merits,
Desiring that this Booke Her hands may kisse:
And though I be vnworthy of that grace,
Yet let her blessed thoghts this book imbrace.
And pardon me (faire Queene) though I presume,
To doe that which so many better can;
Not that I Learning to my selfe assume,
Or that I would compare with any man:
But as they are Scholers, and by Art do write,
So Nature yeelds my Soule a sad delight.
And since all Arts at first from Nature came,
That goodly Creature, Mother of Perfection,
Whom Ioues almighty hand at first did frame,
Taking both her and hers in his protection:
Why should not She now grace my barren Muse,
And in a Woman all defects excuse.
So peerelesse Princesse humbly I desire,
That your great wisedome would vouchsafe t’omit
All faults; and pardon if my spirits retire,
Leauing to ayme at what they cannot hit:
To write your worth, which no pen can expresse,
Were but t’ecclipse your Fame, and make it lesse.
To the Lady ELIZABETHS Grace.
Most gratious Ladie, faire ELIZABETH ,
Whose Name and Virtues puts vs still in mind,
Of her, of whom we are depriu’d by death;
The Phœnix of her age, whose worth did bind
All worthy minds so long as they haue breath,
In linkes of Admiration, loue and zeale,
To that deare Mother of our Common-weale.
Euen you faire Princesse next our famous Queene,
I doe inuite vnto this wholesome feast,
Whose goodly wisedome, though your yeares be greene,
By such good workes may daily be increast,
Though your faire eyes farre better Bookes haue seene;
Yet being the first fruits of a womans wit,
Vouchsafe you[r] fauour in accepting it.
To all vertuous Ladies in generall.
Each blessed Lady that in Virtue spends
Your pretious time to beautifie your soules;
Come wait on her whom winged Fame attends
And in hir hand the Booke where she inroules
Those high deserts that Maiestie commends:
Let this faire Queene not vnattended bee,
When in my Glasse she daines her selfe to see.
Put on your wedding garments euery one,
The Bridegroome stayes to entertaine you all;
Let Virtue be your guide, for she alone
Can leade you right that you can neuer fall;
And make no stay for feare he should be gone:
But fill your Lamps with oyle of burning zeale,
That to your Faith he may his Truth reueale.
Let all your roabes be purple scarlet white,
Those perfit colours purest Virtue wore,
Come dekt with Lillies that did so delight
To be preferr’d in Beauty, farre before
Wise Salomon in all his glory dight:
Whose royall roabes did no such pleasure yield,
As did the beauteous Lilly of the field.
Adorne your temples with faire Daphnes crowne,
The neuer changing Laurel, alwaies greene;
Let constant hope all worldly pleasures drowne,
In wise Mineruaes paths be alwaies seene;
Or with bright Cynthia, thogh faire Venus frown:
With Esop crosse the posts of euery doore,
Where Sinne would riot, making Virtue poore.
And let the Muses your companions be,
Those sacred sisters that on Pallas wait;
Whose Virtues with the purest minds agree,
Whose godly labours doe auoyd the baite
Of worldly pleasures, liuing alwaies free
From sword, from violence, and from ill report,
To those nine Worthies all faire mindes resort.
Annoynt your haire with Aarons pretious oyle,
And bring your palmes of vict’ry in your hands,
To ouercome all thoughts that would defile
The earthly circuit of your soules faire lands;
Let no dimme shadowes your cleare eyes beguile:
Sweet odours, mirrhe, gum, aloes, frankincense,
Present that King who di’d for your offence.
Behold, bright Titans shining chariot staies,
All deckt with flowers of the freshest hew,
Attended on by Age, Houres, Nights, and Daies,
Which alters not your beauty, but giues you
Much more, and crownes you with eternall praise:
This golden chariot wherein you must ride,
Let simple Doues, and subtill serpents guide.
Come swifter than the motion of the Sunne,
To be transfigur’d with our louing Lord,
Lest Glory end what Grace in you begun,
Of heau’nly riches make your greatest hoord,
In Christ all honour, wealth, and beautie’s wonne:
By whose perfections you appeare more faire
Than Phœbus, if he seau’n times brighter were.
Gods holy Angels will direct your Doues,
And bring your Serpents to the fields of rest,
Where he doth stay that purchast all your loues
In bloody torments, when he di’d opprest,
There shall you find him in those pleasant groues
Of sweet Elizium, by the Well of Life,
Whose cristal springs do purge from worldly strife
Thus may you flie from dull and sensuall earth,
Whereof at first your bodies formed were,
That new regen’rate in a second berth,
Your blessed soules may liue without all feare,
Beeing immortall, subiect to no death:
But in the eie of heauen so highly placed,
That others by your virtues may be graced.
Where worthy Ladies I will leaue you all,
Desiring you to grace this little Booke;
Yet some of you me thinkes I heare to call
Me by my name, and bid me better looke,
Lest vnawares I in an error fall:
In generall tearmes, to place you with the rest,
Whom Fame commends to be the very best.
Tis true, I must confesse (O noble Fame)
There are a number honoured by thee,
Of which, some few thou didst recite by name,
And willd my Muse they should remembred bee;
Wishing some would their glorious Trophies frame:
Which if I should presume to vndertake,
My tired Hand for very feare would quake.
Onely by name I will bid some of those,
That in true Honors seate haue long bin placed,
Yea euen such as thou hast chiefly chose,
By whom my Muse may be the better graced;
Therefore, vnwilling longer time to lose,
I will inuite some Ladies that I know,
But chiefly those as thou hast graced so.
To the Ladie Lucie, Countesse of Bedford.
Me thinkes I see faire Virtue readie stand,
T’vnlocke the closet of your louely breast,
Holding the key of Knowledge in her hand,
Key of that Cabbine where your selfe doth rest,
To let him in, by whom her youth was blest:
The true-loue of your soule, your hearts delight,
Fairer than all the world in your cleare sight.
He that descended from celestiall glory,
To taste of our infirmities and sorrowes,
Whose heauenly wisdom read the earthly storie
Of fraile Humanity, which his godhead borrows[;]
Loe here he coms all stuck with pale deaths arrows:
In whose most pretious wounds your soule may reade
Saluation, while he (dying Lord) doth bleed.
You whose cleare Iudgement farre exceeds my skil,
Vouchsafe to entertaine this dying louer,
The Ocean of true grace, whose streames doe fill
All those with Ioy, that can his loue recouer;
About this blessed Arke bright Angels houer:
Where your faire soule may sure and safely rest,
When he is sweetly seated in your brest.
There may your thoughts as seruaunts to your heart,
Giue true attendance on this louely guest,
While he doth to that blessed bowre impart
Flowres of fresh comforts, decke that bed of rest,
With such rich beauties as may make it blest:
And you in whom all raritie is found,
May be with his eternall glory crownd.
To the Ladie ANNE, Countesse of Dorset.
To you I dedicate this worke of Grace,
This frame of Glory which I haue erected,
For your faire mind I hold the fittest place,
Where virtue should be setled & protected;
If highest thoughts true honor do imbrace,
And holy Wisdom is of them respected:
Then in this Mirrour let your faire eyes looke,
To view your virtues in this blessed Booke.
Blest by our Sauiors merits, not my skil,
Which I acknowledge to be very small;
Yet if the least part of his blessed Will
I haue perform’d, I count I haue done all:
One sparke of grace sufficient is to fill
Our Lampes with oyle, ready when he doth call
To enter with the Bridegroome to the feast,
Where he that is the greatest may be least.
Greatnesse is no sure frame to build vpon,
No worldly treasure can assure that place;
God makes both euen, the Cottage with the Throne,
All worldly honours there are counted base,
Those he holds deare, and reckneth as his owne,
Whose virtuous deeds by his [especiall] grace
Haue gain’d his loue, his kingdome, and his crowne,
Whom in the booke of Life he hath set downe.
Titles of honour which the world bestowes,
To none but to the virtous belong;
As beauteous bowres where true worth should repose,
And where his dwellings should be built most strong:
But when they are bestow’d vpon her foes,
Poore virtues friends indure the greatest wrong:
For they must suffer all indignity,
Vntill in heau’n they better graced be.
What difference was there when the world began,
Was it not Virtue that distinguisht all?
All sprang but from one woman and one man,
Then how doth Gentry come to rise and fall?
Or who is he that very rightly can
Distinguish of his birth, or tell at all,
In what meane state his Ancestors haue bin,
Before some one of worth did honour win?
Whose successors, although they beare his name,
Possessing not the riches of his minde,
How doe we know they spring out of the same
True stocke of honour, beeing not of that kind?
It is faire virtue gets immortall fame,
Tis that doth all loue and duty bind:
If he that much enjoyes, doth little good,
We may suppose he comes not of that blood.
Nor is he fit for honour, or command,
If base affections ouer-rules his mind;
Or that selfe-will doth carry such a hand,
As worldly pleasures haue the powre to blind
So as he cannot see, nor vnderstand
How to discharge that place to him assign’d:
Gods Stewards must for all the poore prouide,
If in Gods house they purpose to abide.
To the Ladie Margaret Countesse Dowager of Cumberland.
Right honourable and excellent Lady I may say with Saint Peter, Siluer nor gold haue I none, but such as I haue, that giue I you: for hauing neither rich pearles of India, no fine gold of Arabia, nor diamonds of inestimable value; neither those rich treasures, Arramaticall Gums, incense, and sweet odours, which were presented by those Kingly Philosophers to the babe Iesus, I present vnto you euen our Lord Iesus himselfe, whose infinit value is not to be comprehended within the weake imagination or wit of man: and as Saint Peter gaue health to the body, so I deliuer you the health of the soule; which is this most pretious pearle of all perfection, this rich diamond of deuotion, this perfect gold growing in the veines of that excellent earth of the most blessed Paradice, wherein our second Adam had his restlesse habitation. The sweet incense, balsums, odours, and gummes that flowes from that beautifull tree of Life, sprung from the roote of Iessie, which is so super-excellent, that it giueth grace to the meanest & most vnworthy hand that will vndertake to write thereof; neither can it receiue any blemish thereby: for as a right diamond can loose no whit of his beautie by the blacke foyle vnderneath it, neither by beeing placed in the darke, but retaines his naturall beauty and brightnesse shining in greater perfection than before, so this most pretious diamond, for beauty and riches exceeding all the most pretious diamonds and rich jewels of the world, can receiue no blemish, nor impeachment, by my vnworhty hand writing; but wil with the Sunne retaine his owne brightnesse and most glorious lustre, though neuer so many blind eyes looke vpon him. Therefore good Madame, to the most perfect eyes of your vnderstanding, I deliuer the inestimable treasure of all elected soules, to bee perused at conuenient times; as also, the mirrour of your most worthy minde, which may remaine in the world many yeares longer than your Honour, or my selfe can liue, to be a light vnto those that come after, desiring to tread in the narrow path of virtue, that leads the way to heauen. In which way, I pray God send your Honour long to continue, that your light may so shine before men, that they may glorifie your father which is in Heauen: and that I and many others may follow you in the same tracke. So wishing you in this world all increase of health and honour, and in the world to come life euerlasting, I rest.
Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum.
Sith Cynthia is ascended to that rest
Of endlesse joy and true Eternitie,
That glorious place that cannot be exprest
By any wight clad in mortalitie,
In her almightie love so highly blest,
And crown’d with everlasting Sovraigntie;
Where Saints and Angells do attend her Throne,
And she gives glorie vnto God alone.
To thee great Countesse now I will applie
My Pen, to write thy never dying fame;
That when to Heav’n thy blessed Soul shall flie,
These lines on earth record thy reverend name:
And to this taske I meane my Muse to tie,
Though wanting skill I shall but purchase blame:
Pardon (deere Ladie) want of womens wit
To pen thy praise, when few can equall it.
And pardon (Madame) though I do not write
those praisefull lines of that delightfull place,
As you commaunded me in that faire night,
When shining Phœbe gave so great a grace,
Presenting Paradice to your sweet sight,
Vnfolding all the beauty of her face
With pleasant groues, hills, walks and stately trees,
Which pleasure with retired minds agrees,
Whose Eagles eyes behold the glorious Sunne
Of th’all-creating Providence, reflecting
His blessed beames on all by him, begunne;
Increasing, strengthning, guiding and directing
All worldly creatures their due course to runne,
Vnto His powrefull pleasure all subjecting:
And thou (deere Ladie) by his speciall grace,
In these his creatures dost behold his face.
Whose all-reviving beautie, yeelds such joyes
To thy sad Soule, plunged in waves of woe,
That worldly pleasures seemes to thee as toyes,
Onely thou seek’st Eternitie to know,
Respecting not the infinite annoyes
That Satan to thy well-staid mind can show;
Ne can he quench in thee, the Spirit of Grace,
Nor draw thee from beholding Heavens bright face.
Thy Mind so perfect by thy Maker fram’d,
No vaine delights can harbour in thy heart,
With his sweet loue, thou art so much inflam’d,
As of the world thou seem’st to have no part;
So, love him still, thou need’st not be asham’d,
Tis He that made thee, what thou wert, and art:
Tis He that dries all teares from Orphans eies,
And heares from heav’n the wofull widdows cries.
Tis He that doth behold thy inward cares,
And will regard the sorrowes of thy Soule;
Tis He that guides thy feet from Sathans snares,
And in his Wisedome, doth thy waies controule:
He through afflictions, still thy Minde prepares,
And all thy glorious Trialls will enroule:
That when darke daies of terror shall appeare,
Thou as the Sunne shalt shine; or much more cleare.
The Heav’ns shall perish as a garment olde,
Or as a vesture by the maker chang’d,
And shall depart, as when a skrowle is rolde;
Yet thou from him shalt neuer be estrang’d,
When He shall come in glory, that was solde
For all our sinnes; we happily are chang’d,
Who for our faults put on his righteousnesse,
Although full oft his Lawes we doe transgresse.
Long mai’st thou joy in this almightie love,
Long may thy Soule be pleasing in his sight,
Long mai’st thou have true comforts from above,
Long mai’st thou set on him thy whole delight,
And patiently endure when he doth proue,
Knowing that He will surely do thee right:
Thy patience, faith, long suffring, and thy love,
He will reward with comforts from above.
With Majestie and Honour is He clad,
And deck’d with lights as with a garment faire;
He joyes the Meeke, and makes the Mightie sad,
Pulls downe the Prowd, and doth the Humble reare:
Who sees this Bridegroome, never can be sad;
None lives that can his wondrous workes declare:
Yea, looke how farre the East is from the West,
So farre he sets our sinnes that have transgrest.
He rides vpon the wings of all the windes,
And spreads the heav’ns with his all powrefull hand;
Oh! who can loose when the Almightie bindes?
Or in his angry presence dares to stand?
He searcheth out the secrets of all mindes;
All those that feare him shall possesse the Land:
He is exceeding glorious to behold,
Auntient of Times; so faire and yet so old.
He of the watry Cloudes his Chariot frames,
And makes his blessed Angels powrefull Spirits,
His Ministers are fearefull fiery flames,
Rewarding all according to their merits;
The Righteous for an heritage he claimes,
And registers the wrongs of humble spirits:
Hills melt like wax, in presence of the Lord,
So do all sinners, in his sight abhorr’d.
He in the waters laies his chamber beames,
And cloudes of darkenesse compasse him about,
Consuming fire shall goe before in streames,
And burne vp all his en’mies round about:
Yet on these Iudgements [w]orldlings never dreames,
Nor of these daungers never stand in doubt:
While he shall rest within his holy Hill,
That lives and dies according to his Will.
But woe to them that double-hearted bee,
Who with their tongues the righteous Soules doe slay;
Bending their bowes to shoot at all they see,
With vpright hearts their Maker to obay;
And secretly doe let their arrowes flee,
To wound true hearted people any way:
The Lord wil roote them out that speake prowd things,
Deceitfull tongues are but false Slanders wings.
Froward are the vngodly from their berth,
No sooner borne, but they doe goe astray;
The Lord will roote them out from off the earth,
And give them to their en’mies for a pray,
As venemous as Serpents is their breath,
With poysned lies to hurt in what they may
The Innocent: who as a Dove shall flie
Vnto the Lord, that he his cause may trie.
The righteous Lord doth righteousnesse alow,
His countenance will behold the thing that’s just;
Vnto the Meane he makes the Mightie bow,
And raiseth vp the Poore out of the dust:
Yet makes no count to vs, nor when, nor how,
But powres his grace on all, that puts their trust
In him: that never will their hopes betray,
Nor lets them perish that for mercie pray.
He shall within his Tabernacle dwell,
Whose life is vncorrupt before the Lord,
Who no vntrueths of Innocents doth tell,
Nor wrongs his neighbour, nor in deed, nor word,
Nor in his malice seems to swell,
Nor whets his tongue more sharper than a sword,
To wound the reputation of the Iust;
Nor seekes to lay their glorie in the Dust.
That great Iehova King of heav’n and earth,
Will raine downe fire and brimstone from above,
Vpon the wicked monsters in their berth
That storme and rage at those whom he doth love:
Snares, stormes, and tempests he will raine, and death,
Because he will himselfe almightie prove:
And this shall be their portion they shall drinke,
That thinkes the Lord is blind when he doth winke.
Pardon (good Madame) though I have digrest
From what I doe intend to write of thee,
To set his glorie forth whom thou lov’st best,
Whose wondrous works no mortall eie can see;
His speciall care on those whom he hath blest
From wicked worldlings, how he sets them free:
And how such people he doth overthrow
In all their waies, that they his powre may know.
The meditation of this Monarchs love,
Drawes thee from caring what this world can yield;
Of joyes and griefes both equall thou dost prove,
They have no force, to force thee from the field:
Thy constant faith like to the Turtle Dove
Continues combat, and will never yield
To base affliction; or prowd pomps desire,
That sets the weakest mindes so much on fire.
Thou from the Court to the Countrie art retir’d,
Leaving the world, before the world leaves thee:
That great Enchantresse of weak mindes admir’d,
Whose all-bewitching charmes so pleasing be
To worldly wantons; and too much desir’d
Of those that care not for Eternitie:
But yeeld themselves as preys to Lust and Sinne,
Loosing their hopes of Heav’n Hell paines to winne.
But thou, the wonder of our wanton age
Leav’st all delights to serve a heav’nly King:
Who is more wise? or who can be more sage,
Than she that doth Affection subject bring;
Not forcing for the world, or Satans rage,
But shrowding vnder the Almighties wing;
Spending her yeares, moneths, daies, minutes, howres,
In doing service to the heav’nly powres.
Thou faire example, live without compare,
With Honours triumphs seated in thy breast;
Pale Envy never can thy name empaire,
When in thy heart thou harbour’st such a guest:
Malice must live for ever in dispaire;
There’s no revenge where Virtue still doth rest:
All hearts must needs do homage vnto thee,
In whom all eies such rare perfection see.
That outward Beautie which the world commends,
Is not the subject I will write vpon,
Whose date expir’d, that tyrant Time soone ends,
Those gawdie colours soone are spent and gone:
But those faire Virtues which on thee attends
Are alwaies fresh, they never are but one:
They make thy Beautie fairer to behold,
Than was that Queene for whom proud Troy was sold.
As for those matchlesse colours Red and White,
Or perfit features in a fading face,
Or due proportion pleasing to the sight;
All these doe draw but dangers and disgrace:
A mind enrich’d with Virtue, shines more bright,
Addes everlasting Beauty, gives true grace,
Frames an immortall Goddesse on the earth,
Who though she dies, yet Fame gives her new berth.
That pride of Nature which adornes the faire,
Like blasing Comets to allure all eies,
Is but the thred, that weaves their web of Care,
Who glories most, where most their danger lies;
For greatest perills do attend the faire,
When men do seeke, attempt, plot and devise,
How they may overthrow the chastest Dame,
Whose Beautie is the White whereat they aime.
Twas Beautie bred in Troy the ten yeares strife,
And carried Hellen from her lawfull Lord;
Twas Beautie made chaste Lucrece loose her life,
For which prowd Tarquins fact was so abhorr’d:
Beautie the cause Antonius wrong’d his wife,
Which could not be decided but by sword:
Great Cleopatraes Beautie and defects
Did worke Octaviaes wrongs, and his neglects.
What fruit did yeeld that faire forbidden tree,
But blood, dishonour, infamie, and shame?
Pore blinded Queene, could’st thou no better see,
But entertaine disgrace, instead of fame?
Doe these designes with Maiestie agree?
To staine thy blood, and blot thy royall name.
That heart that gave consent vnto this ill,
Did give consent that thou thy selfe should’st kill.
Faire Rosamund, the wonder of her time,
Had bin much fairer, had shee not bin faire;
Beautie betraid her thoughts, aloft to clime,
To build strong castles in vncertaine aire,
Where th’infection of a wanton crime
Did worke her falle, first poyson, then despaire,
With double death did kill her periur’d soule,
When heauenly Iustice did her sinne controule.
Holy Matilda in a haplesse houre
Was borne to sorrow and to discontent,
Beauty the cause that turn’d her Sweet to Sowre,
While Chastity sought Folly to preuent.
Lustfull King Iohn refus’d, did vse his powre,
By Fire and Sword, to compasse his content:
But Friends disgrace, nor Fathers banishment,
Nor Death it selfe, could purchase her consent.
Here Beauty in the height of all perfection,
Crown’d this faire Creatures euerlasting fame,
Whose noble minde did scorne the base subiection
Of Feares, or Fauours, to impaire her Name:
By heauenly grace, she had such true direction,
To die with Honour, not to liue in Shame;
And drinke that poyson with a cheerefull heart,
That could all Heavenly grace to her impart.
This Grace great Lady, doth possesse thy Soule,
And makes thee pleasing in thy Makers sight;
This Grace doth all imperfect Thoughts controule,
Directing thee to serue thy God aright;
Still reckoning him, the Husband of thy Soule,
Which is most pretious in his glorious sight:
Because the Worlds delights shee doth denie
For him, who for her sake vouchsaf’d to die.
And dying made her Dowager of all;
Nay more, Co-heire of that eternall blisse
That Angels lost, and We by Adams fall;
Meere Cast-awaies, rais’d by a Iudas kisse,
Christs bloody sweat, the Vinegar and Gall,
The Speare, Sponge, Nailes, his buffeting with Fists,
His bitter Passion, Agony, and Death,
Did gaine vs Heauen when He did loose his breath.
These high deserts inuites my lowely Muse
To write of Him, and pardon craue of thee,
For Time so spent, I need make no excuse,
Knowing it doth with thy faire Minde agree
So well, as thou no Labour wilt refuse,
That to thy holy Loue may pleasing be:
His Death and Passion I desire to write,
And thee to read, the blessed Soules delight.
But my deare Muse, now whither wouldst thou flie,
Aboue the pitch of thy appointed straine?
With Icarus, thou seekest now to trie,
Not waxen wings, but thy poore barren Braine,
Which farre too weake, these siely lines descrie;
Yet cannot this thy forward Mind restraine,
But thy poore Infant Verse must soare aloft,
Not fearing threatning dangers, happening oft.
Thinke when the eye of Wisdom shall discover
Thy weakling Muse to flie, that scarce could creepe,
And in the Ayre aboue the Clowdes to hover,
When better ’twere mued vp, and fast asleepe;
They’l thinke with Phaeton, thou canst ne’er recover,
But helplesse with that poore yong Lad to weepe:
The little World of thy weake Wit on fire,
Where thou wilt perish in thine owne desire.
But yet the Weaker thou dost seeme to be
In Sexe, or Sence, the more his Glory shines,
That doth infuze such powrefull Grace in thee,
To shew thy Love in these few humble Lines;
The Widowes Myte, with this may well agree,
Her litlle All more worth than golden mynes,
Beeing more deerer to our loving Lord,
Than all the wealth that Kingdoms could afford.
Therefore I humbly for his Grace will pray,
That he will give me Power and Strength to Write,
That what I haue begun, so end I may,
As his great Glory may appeare more bright;
Yea in these Lines I may no further stray,
Than his most holy Spirit shall giue me Light:
That blindest Weakenesse be not over-bold,
The manner of his Passion to vnfold.
In other Phrases than may well agree
With his pure Doctrine, and most holy Writ,
That Heavens cleare eye, and all the World may see,
I seeke his Glory, rather than to get
The Vulgars breath, the seed of Vanitie,
Nor Fames lowd Trumpet care I to admit;
But rather strive in plainest Words to showe,
The Matter which I seeke to vndergoe.
A Matter farre beyond my barren skill,
To shew with any Life this map of Death,
This Storie, that whole Worlds with Bookes would fill,
In these few Lines, will put me out of breath,
To run so swiftly vp this mightie Hill,
I may behold it with the eye of Faith;
But to present this pure vnspotted Lambe,
I must confesse, I farre vnworthy am.
Yet if he pleaseth t’illuminate my Spirit,
And giue me Wisdom from his holy Hill,
That I may Write part of his glorious Merit,
If he vouchsafe to guide my Hand and Quill,
To shew his Death, by which we doe inherit
Those endlesse Ioyes that all our hearts do fill;
Then will I tell of that sad blacke fac’d Night,
Whose mourning Mantle covered Heavenly Light.
That very Night our Saviour was betrayd,
Oh night! exceeding all the nights of sorrow,
When our most blessed Lord, although dismayd,
Yet would not he one Minutes respite borrow,
But to Mount Oliues went, though sore afraid,
To welcome Night, and entertaine the Morrow;
And as he oft vnto that place did goe,
So did he now, to meet his long nurst woe.
He told his deere Disciples, that they all
Should be offended by him that selfe night;
His Griefe was great, and theirs could not be small,
To part from him who was their sole Delight;
Saint Peter thought his Faith could neuer fall,
No mote could happen in so clear a sight:
Which made him say, Though all men were offended,
Yet would he never, though his life were ended.
But his deare Lord made answere, That before
The Cocke did crowe, he should deny him thrice;
This could not choose but grieue him very sore,
That his hot Loue should prooue more cold than Ice,
Denying him he did so much adore;
No imperfection in himselfe he spies,
But saith againe, with him hee’l surely die,
Rather than his deare Master once denie.
And all the rest (did likewise say the same)
Of his Disciples, at that instant time;
But yet poore Peter, he was most too blame,
That thought aboue them all; by Faith to clime;
His forward speech inflicted sinne and shame,
When Wisdoms eye did looke and checke his crime:
Who did foresee, and told him it before,
Yet would he needs auerre it more and more.
Now went our Lord vnto that holy place,
Sweet Gethsemaine hallowed by his presence,
That blessed Garden, which did now embrace
His holy corps, yet could make no defence
Against those Vipers, obiects of disgrace,
Which sought that pure eternall Loue to quench:
Here his Disciples willed he to stay,
Whilst he went further, where he meant to pray.
None were admitted with their Lord to goe,
But Peter, and the sonnes of Zebed’us,
To them good Iesus opened all his woe,
He gaue them leaue his sorrows to discusse,
His deepest griefes, he did not scorne to showe
These three deere friends, so much he did intrust:
Beeing sorrowfull, and ouercharg’d with griefe,
He told them, yet look’d for no reliefe.
Sweet Lord, how couldst thou thus to flesh and blood
Communicate thy griefe? tell of thy woes?
Thou knew’st they had no powre to doe thee good,
But were the cause thou must endure these blowes,
Beeing the Scorpions bred in Adams mud,
Whose poys’ned sinnes did worke among thy foes,
To re-ore-charge thy ouer-burd’ned soule,
Although the sorrowes now they doe condole.
Yet didst thou tell them of thy troubled state,
Of thy Soules heauinesse vnto the death,
So full of Loue, so free wert thou from hate,
To bid them stay, whose sinnes did stop thy breath.
When thou wert entring at so straite a gate,
Yea entring euen into the doore of Death,
Thou bidst them tarry there, and watch with thee,
Who from thy pretious blood-shed were not free.
Bidding them tarry, thou didst further goe,
To meet affliction in such gracefull sort,
As might mooue pitie both in friend and foe,
Thy sorrowes such, as none could them comport,
Such great Indurements who did euer know,
When to th’Almighty thou didst make resort?
And falling on thy face didst humbly pray,
If ’twere his Will that Cup might passe away.
Saying, Nor my will but thy will Lord be done.
When as thou prayedst an Angel did appeare
From Heauen, to comfort thee Gods onely Sonne,
That thou thy Suffrings might’st the better beare,
Beeing in an agony, thy glasse neere run.
Thou prayedst more earnestly, in so great feare,
That pretious sweat came trickling to the ground,
Like drops of blood thy sences to confound.
Loe here his Will, not thy will, Lord, was done,
And thou content to vndergoe all paines;
Sweet Lambe of God, his deare beloved Sonne,
By this great purchase, what to thee remaines?
Of Heaven and Earth thou hast a Kingdom wonne,
Thy Glory beeing equall with thy Gaines,
In ratifying Gods promise on th’earth,
Made many hundred yeares before thy berth.
But now returning to thy sleeping Friends,
That could not watch one houre for love of thee,
Even those three Friends, which on thy Grace depends,
Yet shut, those Eies that should their Maker see;
What colour, what excuse, or what amends
From thy Displeasure now can set them free?
Yet thy pure Pietie bids them Watch and Pray,
Lest in Temptation they be led away.
Although the Spirit was willing to obay,
Yet what great weaknesse in the Flesh was found!
They slept in Ease, whilst thou in Paine didst pray;
Loe, they in Sleepe, and thou in Sorow drown’d:
Yet Gods right Hand was vnto thee a stay,
When horror, griefe, and sorow did abound:
His Angel did appeare from Heaven to thee,
To yeeld thee comfort in Extremitie.
But what could comfort them thy troubled Minde,
When Heaven and Earth were both against thee bent?
And thou no hope, no ease, no rest could’st finde,
But must restore that Life, which was but lent;
Was ever Creature in the World so kinde,
But he that from Eternitie was sent?
To satisfie for many Worlds of Sinne,
Whose matchlesse Torments did but then begin.
If one Mans sinne doth challenge Death and Hell,
With all the Torments that belong thereto:
If for one sinne such Plagues on David fell,
As grieved him, and did his Seed vndoe:
If Salomon, for that he did not well,
Falling from Grace, did loose his Kingdome too:
Ten Tribes beeing taken from his wilfull Sonne,
And Sinne the Cause that they were all vndone.
What could thy Innocency now expect,
When all the Sinnes that ever were committed,
Were laid to thee, whom no man could detect?
Yet farre thou wert of Man from beeing pittied,
The Iudge so iust could yeeld thee no respect,
Nor would one jot of penance be remitted;
But greater horror to thy Soule must rise,
Than Heart can thinke, or any Wit devise.
Now drawes the houre of thy affliction neere,
And vgly Death presents himselfe before thee;
Thou now must leaue those Friends thou held’st so deere,
Yea those Disciples, who did most adore thee;
Yet in thy countenance doth no Wrath appeare,
Although betrayd to those that did abhorre thee:
Thou did’st vouchsafe to visit them againe,
Who had no apprehension of thy paine.
Their eyes were heavie, and their hearts asleepe,
Nor knew they well what answere then to make thee;
Yet thou as Watchman, had’st a care to keepe
Those few from sinne, that shortly would forsake thee;
But now thou bidst them henceforth Rest and Sleepe,
Thy houre is come, and they at hand to take thee:
The Sonne of God to Sinners made a pray,
Oh hatefull houre! oh blest! oh cursed day!
Loe here thy great Humility was found,
Beeing King of Heauen, and Monarch of the Earth,
Yet well content to haue thy Glory drownd,
By beeing counted of so meane a berth;
Grace, Loue, and Mercy did so much abound,
Thou entertaindst the Crosse, euen to the death:
And nam’dst thy selfe, the sonne of Man to be,
To purge our pride by thy Humilitie.
But now thy friends whom thou didst call to goe,
Heauy Spectators of thy haplesse case,
See thy Betrayer, whom too well they knowe,
One of the twelue, now object of disgrace,
A trothlesse traytor, and a mortall foe,
With fained kindnesse seekes thee to imbrace;
And giues a kisse, whereby he may deceiue thee,
That in the hands of Sinners he might leaue thee.
Now muster forth with Swords, with Staues, with Bils,
High Priests and Scribes, and Elders of the Land,
Seeking by force to haue their wicked Wils,
Which thou didst neuer purpose to withstand;
Now thou mak’st haste vnto the worst of Ils,
And who they seeke, thou gently doest demand;
This didst thou Lord, t’amaze these Fooles the more,
T’inquire of that, thou knew’st so well before.
When loe these Monsters did not shame to tell,
His name, they sought, and found, yet could not know
Iesus of Nazareth, at whose feet they fell,
When Heauenly Wisdome did descend so lowe
To speake to them: they knew they did not well,
Their great amazement made them backeward goe:
Nay, though he said vnto them, I am he,
They could not know him, whom their eyes did see.
How blinde were they could not discerne the Light!
How dull! if not to vnderstand the truth,
How weake! if meekenesse overcame their might;
How stony hearted, if not mov’d to ruth:
How void of Pitie, and how full of Spight,
Gainst him that was the Lord of Light and Truth:
Here insolent Boldnesse checkt by Love and Grace,
Retires, and falls before our Makers face.
For when he spake to this accursed crew,
And mildely made them know that it was he:
Presents himselfe, that they might take a view;
And what they doubted they might cleerely see;
Nay more, to re-assure that it was true,
He said: I say vnto you, I am hee.
If him they sought, he’s willing to obay,
Onely desires the rest might goe their way.
Thus with a heart prepared to endure
The greatest wrongs Impietie could devise,
He was content to stoope vnto their Lure,
Although his Greatnesse might doe otherwise:
Here Grace was seised on with hands impure,
And Virtue now must be supprest by Vice,
Pure Innocencie made a prey to Sinne,
Thus did his Torments and our Ioyes beginne.
Here faire Obedience shined in his breast,
And did suppresse all feare of future paine;
Love was his Leader vnto this vnrest,
Whil’st Righteousnesse doth carry vp his Traine;
Mercy made way to make vs highly blest,
When Patience beat downe Sorrow, Feare and Paine:
Iustice sate looking with an angry brow,
On blessed misery appeering now.
More glorious than all the Conquerors
That euer liu’d within this Earthly round,
More powrefull than all Kings, or Gouernours
That euer yet within this World were found;
More valiant than the greatest Souldiers
That euer fought, to haue their glory crown’d:
For which of them, that euer yet tooke breath,
Sought t’indure the doome of Heauen and Earth?
But our sweet Sauoiur whom these Iewes did name;
Yet could their learned Ignorance apprehend
No light of grace, to free themselues from blame:
Zeale, Lawes, Religion, now they doe pretend
Against the truth, vntruths they seeke to frame:
Now al their powres, their wits, their strengths, they bend
Against one siely, weake, vnarmed man,
Who no resistance makes, though much he can,
To free himselfe from these vnlearned men,
Who call’d him Sauiour in his blessed name;
Yet farre from knowing him their Sauoir then,
That came to saue both them and theirs from blame;
Though they retire and fall, they come agen
To make a surer purchase of their shame:
With lights and torches now they find the way,
To take the Shepheard whilst the sheep doe stray.
Why should vnlawfull actions vse the Light?
Inniquitie in Darknesse seekes to dwell:
Sinne rides his circuit in the dead of Night,
Teaching all soules the ready waies to hell;
Sathan comes arm’d with all the powres of Spight,
Heartens his Champions, makes them rude and fell;
Like rau’ning wolues, to shed his guiltlesse blood,
Who thought no harme, but di’d to doe them good.
Here Falshood beares the shew of formall Right,
Base Treacherie hath gote a guard of men;
Tyranny attends, with all his strength and might,
To leade this siely Lamb to Lyons denne;
Yet he vnmoou’d in this most wretched plight,
Goes on to meete them, knowes the houre, and when:
The powre of darkenesse must expresse Gods ire,
Therefore to saue these few was his desire.
These few that wait on Pouerty and Shame,
And offer to be sharers in his Ils;
These few that will be spreaders of his Fame,
He will not leaue to Tyrants wicked wils;
But still desires to free them from all blame,
Yet Feare goes forward, Anger Patience kils:
A Saint is mooued to reuenge a wrong,
And Mildnesse doth what doth to Wrath belong.
For Peter grieu’d at what might then befall,
Yet knew not what to doe, nor what to thinke,
Thought something must be done; now, if at all,
To free his Master, that he might not drinke
This poys’ned draught, farre bitterer than gall,
For now he sees him at the very brinke
Of griesly Death, who gins to shew his face,
Clad in all colours of a deepe disgrace.
And now those hands, that neuer vs’d to fight,
Or drawe a weapon in his owne defence,
Too forward is, to doe his Master right,
Since of his wrongs, hee feeles to true a sence:
But ah poore Peter now thou wantest might,
And hee’s resolu’d, with them he will goe hence:
To draw thy sword in such a helplesse cause,
Offends thy Lord, and is against the Lawes.
So much he hates Revenge, so farre from Hate,
That he vouchsafes to heale, whom thou dost wound;
His paths are Peace, with none he holdes Debate,
His Patience stands vpon so sure a ground,
To counsell thee, although it comes too late:
Nay, to his foes, his mercies so abound,
That he in pitty doth thy will restraine,
And heales the hurt, and takes away the paine.
For willingly he will endure this wrong,
Although his pray’rs might have obtain’d such grace,
As to dissolve their plots though ne’er so strong,
And bring these wicked Actors in worse case
Than Ægypts King on whom Gods plagues did throng,
But that foregoing Scriptures must take place:
If God by prayers had an army sent
Of powrefull Angels, who could them prevent?
Yet mighty IE S V S meekely ask’d, Why they
With Swords and Staves doe come as to a Thiefe?
Hee teaching in the Temple day by day
None did offend, or give him cause of griefe.
Now all are forward, glad is he that may
Give most offence, and yeeld him least reliefe:
His hatefull foes are ready now to take him,
And all his deere Disciples do forsake him.
Those deare Disciples that he most did love,
And were attendant at his becke and call,
When triall of affliction came to prove,
They first left him, who now must leave them all:
For they were earth, and he came from above,
Which made them apt to flie, and fit to fall:
Though they protest they never will forsake him,
They do like men, when dangers overtake them.
And he alone is bound to loose vs all,
Whom with vnhallowed hands they led along,
To wicked Caiphas in the Iudgement Hall,
Who studies onely hope to doe him wrong;
High Priests and Elders, People great and small,
With all reprochfull words about him throng:
False Witnesses are now call’d in apace,
Whose trothlesse tongues must make pale death imbrace
The beauty of the World, Heauens chiefest Glory;
The mirrour of Martyrs, Crowne of holy Saints;
Loue of th’Almighty, blessed Angels story;
Water of Life, which none that drinks it, faints;
Guide of the Iust, where all our Light we borrow;
Mercy of Mercies; Hearer of Complaints;
Triumpher ouer Death; Ransomer of Sinne;
Falsly accused: now his paines begin.
Their tongues doe serue him as a Passing bell,
For what they say is certainly beleeued;
So sound a tale vnto the Iudge they tell,
That he of Life must shortly be bereaued;
Their share of Heauen, they doe not care to sell,
So his afflicted Heart be throughly grieued:
They tell his Words, though farre from his intent,
And what his Speeches were, not what he meant.
That he Gods holy Temple could destroy,
And in three daies could build it vp againe;
This seem’d to them a vaine and idle toy,
It would not sinke into their sinful braine:
Christs blessed body, al true Christians joy,
Should die, and in three dayes reuiue againe:
This did the Lord of Heauen and earth endure,
Vniustly to be charg’d by tongues impure.
And now they all doe giue attentiue eare,
To heare the answere, which he will not make;
The people wonder how he can forbeare,
And these great wrongs so patiently can take;
But yet he answers not, nor doth he care,
Much more he will endure for our sake:
Nor can their wisdoms any way discouer,
Who he should be that proou’d so true a Louer.
To entertaine the sharpest pangs of death,
And fight a combate in the depth of hell,
For wretched Worldlings made of dust and earth,
Whose hard’ned hearts, with pride and mallice swell;
In midst of bloody sweat, and dying breath,
He had compassion on these tyrants fell:
And purchast them a place in Heau’n for euer,
When they his Soule and Body sought to seuer.
Sinnes vgly mists, so blinded had their eyes,
That at Noone dayes they could discerne no Light:
These were those fooles, that thought themselues so wise.
The Iewish wolues, that did our Sauiour bite;
For now they vse all meanes they can deuise,
To beate downe truth, and goe against all right:
Yea now they take Gods holy name in vaine,
To know the truth, which truth they doe prophane.
The chiefest Hel-hounds of this hatefull crew,
Rose vp to aske what answere he could make,
Against those false accusers in his view;
That by his speech, they might aduantage take:
He held his peace, yet knew they said not true,
No answere would his holy wisdome make,
Till he was charged in his glorious name,
Whose pleasure ’twas he should endure this shame.
Then with so mild a Maiestie he spake,
As they might easly know from whence he came,
His harmlesse tongue doth no exceptions take,
Nor Priests, nor People, meanes he now to blame;
But answers Folly, for true Wisdomes sake,
Beeing charged deeply by his powrefull name,
To tell if Christ the Sonne of God he be,
Who for our sinnes must die, to set vs free.
To thee O Caiphas doth he answere giue,
That thou hast said, what thou desir’st to know,
And yet thy malice will not let him liue,
So much thou art vnto thy selfe a foe;
He speaketh truth, but thou wilt not beleeue,
Nor canst thou apprehend it to be so:
Though he expresse his Glory vnto thee,
Thy Owly eies are blind, and cannot see.
Thou rend’st thy cloathes in stead of thy false heart,
And on the guiltlesse lai’st thy guilty crime;
For thou blasphem’st, and he must feele the smart:
To sentence death, thou think’st it now high time;
No witnesse now thou need’st, for this fowle part,
Thou to the height of wickednesse canst clime:
And giue occasion to the ruder sort,
To make afflictions, sorrows, follies sport.
Now when the dawne of day gins to appeare,
And all your wicked counsels haue an end,
To end his Life, that holds you all so deere,
For to that purpose did your studies bend;
Proud Pontius Pilate must the matter heare,
To your vntroths his eares he now must lend:
Sweet Iesus bound, to him you led away,
Of his most pretious blood to make your pray.
Which, when that wicked Caytife did perceiue,
By whose lewd meanes he came to this distresse;
He brought the price of blood he did receiue,
Thinking thereby to make his fault seeme lesse,
And with these Priests and Elders did it leaue,
Confest his fault, wherein he did transgresse:
But when he saw Repentance vnrespected,
He hang’d himselfe; of God and Man reiected.
By this Example, what can be expected
From wicked Man, which on the Earth doth liue?
But faithlesse dealing, feare of God neglected;
Who for their priuate gaine cares not to sell
The Innocent Blood of Gods most deere elected,
As did that caytife wretch, now damn’d in Hell:
If in Christs Schoole, he tooke so great a fall,
What will they doe, that come there not at all.
Now Pontius Pilate is to judge the Cause
Of faultlesse Iesus, who before him stands;
Who neither hath offended Prince, nor Lawes,
Although he now be brought in woefull bands:
O noble Gouernour, make thou yet a pause,
Doe not in innocent blood imbrue thy hands;
But heare the words of thy most worthy wife,
Who sends to thee, to beg her Sauiours life.
Let barb’rous crueltie farre depart from thee,
And in true Iustice take afflictions part;
Open thine eies, that thou the truth mai’st see,
Doe not the thing that goes against thy heart;
Condemne not him that must thy Sauiour be;
But view his holy Life, his good desert:
Let not vs Women glory in Mens fall,
Who had power giuen to ouer-rule vs all.
Till now your indiscretion sets vs free,
And makes our former fault much lesse appeare;
Our Mother Eue, who tasted of the Tree,
Giuing to Adam what she held most deare,
Was simply good, and had no powre to see,
The after-comming harme did not appeare:
The subtile Serpent that our Sex betraide,
Before our fall so sure a plot had laide.
That vndiscerning Ignorance perceau’d
No guile, or craft that was by him intended;
For, had she knowne of what we were bereauid,
To his request she had not condiscended.
But she (poore soule) by cunning was deceau’d,
No hurt therein her harmlesse Heart intended:
For she alleadg’d Gods word, which he denies
That they should die, but euen as Gods, be wise.
But surely Adam cannot be excus’d,
Her fault, though great, yet he was most too blame;
What Weaknesse offred Strength might haue refus’d,
Being Lord of all the greater was his shame:
Although the Serpents craft had her abus’d,
Gods holy word ought all his actions frame:
For he was Lord and King of al the earth,
Before poore Eue had either life or breath.
Who being fram’d by Gods eternall hand,
The perfect’st man that euer breath’d on earth,
And from Gods mouth receiu’d that strait command,
The breach whereof he knew was present death:
Yea hauing powre to rule both Sea and Land,
Yet with one Apple wonne to loose that breath,
Which God hath breathed in his beauteous face,
Bringing vs all in danger and disgrace.
And then to lay the fault on Patience backe,
That we (poore women) must endure it all;
We know right well he did discretion lacke,
Beeing not perswaded thereunto at all;
If Eue did erre, it was for knowledge sake,
The fruit beeing faire perswaded him to fall:
No subtill Serpents falshood did betray him,
If he would eate it, who had powre to stay him?
Not Eue, whose fault was onely too much loue,
Which made her giue this present to her Deare,
That which shee tasted, he likewise might proue,
Whereby his knowledge might become more cleare;
He neuer sought her weakenesse to reproue,
With those sharpe words wich he of God did heare:
Yet Men will boast of Knowledge, which he tooke
From Eues faire hand, as from a learned Booke.
If any Euill did in her remaine,
Beeing made of him, he was the ground of all;
If one of many Worlds could lay a staine
Vpon our Sexe, and worke so great a fall
To wretched Man, by Satans subtill traine;
What will so fowle a fault amongst you all?
Her weakenesse did the Serpents word obay,
But you in malice Gods deare Sonne betray.
Whom, if vniustly you condemne to die,
Her sinne was small, to what you doe commit;
All mortall sinnes that doe for vengeance crie,
Are not to be compared vnto it:
If many worlds would altogether trie,
By all their sinnes the wrath of God to get;
This sinne of yours, surmounts them all as farre
As doth the Sunne, another little starre.
Then let us haue our Libertie againe,
And challendge to your selues no Sou’raigntie;
You came not in the world without our paine,
Make that a barre against your crueltie;
Your fault beeing greater, why should you disdaine
Our beeing your equals, free from tyranny?
If one weake woman simply did offend,
This sinne of yours hath no excuse, nor end.
To which (poore soules) we neuer gaue consent,
Witnesse thy wife (O Pilate) speakes for all;
Who did but dreame, and yet a message sent,
That thou should’st haue nothing to doe at all
With that iust man, which, if thy heart relent,
Why wilt thou be a reprobate with Saul?
To seeke the death of him that is so good,
For thy soules health to shed his dearest blood.
Yea, so thou mai’st these sinful people please,
Thou art content against all truth and right,
To seale this act, that may procure thine ease
With blood, and wrong, with tyrannie, and might;
The multitude thou seekest to appease,
By base deiection of this heauenly Light:
Demanding which of these that thou shouldst loose,
Whether the Thiefe, or Christ King of the Jewes.
Base Barrabas the Thiefe they all desire
And thou more base than he, perform’st their will;
Yet when thy thoughts backe to themselues retire,
Thou art vnwilling to commit this ill:
Oh that thou couldst vnto such grace aspire,
That thy polluted lips might neuer kill
That Honour, which right Iudgement euer graceth,
To purchase shame, which all true worth defaceth.
Art thou a Iudge, and askest, What to doe
With One, in whom no fault there can be found?
The death of Christ wilt thou consent vnto
Finding no cause, no reason, nor no ground?
Shall he be scour’d and crucified too?
And must his miseries by thy meanes abound?
Yet not asham’d to aske what he hath done,
When thine owne conscience seeks this sin to shunne.
Three times thou askest, What euill hath he done?
And saist, thou find’st in him no cause of death,
Yet wilt thou chasten Gods beloued Sonne.
Although to thee no word of ill he saith:
For wrath must end, what Malice hath begunne,
And thou must yeeld to stop his guiltlesse breath:
This rude tumultous rout doth presse so sore,
That thou condemnest him thou should’st adore.
Yet Pilate, this can yeeld thee no content,
To exercise thine owne authoritie,
But vnto Herod he must needs be sent,
To reconcile thy selfe by tyrannie,
Was this the greatest good in Iustice meant
When thou perceiu’st no fault in him to be?
If thou must make thy peace by Virtues fall,
Much better ’twere not to be friends at all.
Yet neither thy sterne browe, nor his great place,
Can draw an answer from the Holy One:
His false accusers, nor his great disgrace,
Nor Herods scoffes, to him they are all one:
He neither cares, nor feares his owne ill case,
Though being despis’d and mockt of euery one:
King Herods gladnesse giues him little ease,
Neither his anger seekes he to appease.
Yet this is strange, that base Impietie
Should yeeld those robes of honour which were due;
Pure white, to shew his great Integritie,
His Innocency, that all the world might view,
Perfections height in lowest penurie,
Such glorious pouerty as they neuer knew:
Purple and Scarlet well might him beseeme,
Whose pretious blood must all the world redeeme.
And that Imperiall Crowne of Thornes he wore,
Was much more pretious than the Diademe
Of any king that euer liu’d before,
Or since his time, their honour’s but a dreame,
To his eternall glorie, being so poore,
To make a purchase of that heauenly Realme,
Where God with all his Angells liues in peace,
No griefes, nor sorrowes, but all joyes increase.
Those royall robes, which they in scorne did giue,
To make him odious to the common sort,
Yeeld light of grace to those whose soules shall liue
Within the harbour of this heauenly port;
Much doe they joy, and much more do they grieue,
His death, their life, should make his foes such sport:
With sharpest thornes to pricke his blessed face,
Our joyfull sorrow, and his greater grace.
Three feares at once possessed Pilates heart;
The first, Christs Innocencie, which so plaine appeares:
The next, that he which now must feele this smart,
If Gods deare Sonne, for any thing he heares:
But that which proou’d the deepest wounding dart,
Is peoples threatnings, which he so much feares:
That he to Cæ,sar could not be a friend,
Vnlesse he sent sweet I E S V S to his end.
Now Pilate thou art proou’d a painted wall,
A golden Sepucher with rotten bones;
From right to wrong, from equitie to fall:
If none vpbraid thee, yet the very stones
Will rise against thee, and in question call
His blood, his teares, his sighes, his bitter groanes:
All these will witnesse at the latter day,
When water cannot wash thy sinne away.
Canst thou be innocent, that gainst all right,
Wilt yeeld to what thy conscience doth withstand?
Beeing a man of knowledge, powre, and might,
To let the wicked carrie such a hand,
Before thy face to blindfold Heau’ns bright light,
And thou to yeeld to what they did demand?
Washing thy hands, thy conscience cannot cleare,
But to all worlds this staine must needs appeare.
For loe, the Guiltie doth accuse the Iust,
And faultie Iudge condemnes the Innocent;
And wilfull Iewes to exercise their lust,
With whips and taunts against their Lord are bent;
He basely vs’d, blasphemed, scorn’d and curst,
Our heauenly King to death for vs they sent:
Reproches, slanders, spittings in his face,
Spight doing all her worst in his disgrace.
And now this long expected houre drawes neere,
When blessed Saints with Angels doe condole;
His holy march, soft pace, and heauy cheere,
In humble sort yeeld his glorious soule,
By his deserts the fowlest sinnes to cleare;
And in th’eternall booke of heauen to enroule
A satisfaction till the generall doome,
Of all sinnes past, and all that are to come.
They that had seene this pitifull Procession,
From Pilates Palace to Mount Caluarie,
Might thinke he answer’d for some great transgression,
Beeing in odious sort condemn’d to die;
He plainely shewed that his owne profession
Was virtue, patience, grace, loue, piety;
And how by suffering he could conquer more
Than all the Kings that euer liu’d before.
First went the Crier with open mouth proclayming
The heauy sentence of Iniquitie,
The Hangman next, by his base office clayming
His right in Hell, where sinners neuer die,
Carrying the nayles, the people still blaspheming
Their maker, vsing all impiety;
The Thieues attending him on either side,
The Serjeants watching while the women cri’d.
Thrice happy women that obtaind such grace
From him whose worth the world could not containe;
Immediately to turne about his face,
As not remembring his great griefe and paine,
To comfort you, whose teares powr’d forth apace
On Flora’s bankes, like shewers of April raine:
Your cries inforced mercie, grace, and loue
From him, whom greatest Princes could not mooue
To speake on[e] word, nor once to lift his eyes
Vnto proud Pilate, no nor Herod, king,
By all the Questions that they could deuise,
Could make him answer to no manner of thing;
Yet these poore women, by their piteous cries
Did mooue their Lord, their Louer, and their King,
To take compassion, turne about, and speake
To them whose hearts were ready now to breake.
Most blessed Daughters of Ierusalem,
Who found such fauor in your Sauiours sight,
To turne his face when you did pitie him;
Your tearefull eyes beheld his eyes more bright;
Your Faith and Loue vnto such grace did clime,
To haue reflection from this Heau’nly light:
Your Eagles eies did gaze against this Sunne,
Your hearts did thinke, he dead, the world were done.
When spitefull men with torments did oppresse
Th’afflicted body of this innocent Doue,
Poore women seeing how much they did transgresse,
By teares, by sighs, by cries, intreate, nay proue,
What may be done among the thickest presse,
They labour still these tyrants hearts to moue:
In pitie and compassion to forbeare
Their whipping, spurning, tearing of his haire,
But all in vaine, their malice hath no end,
Their hearts more hard than flint, or marble stone;
Now to his griefe, his greatnesse they attend,
When he (God knowes) had rather be alone;
They are his guard, yet seeke all meanes t’offend;
Well may he grieue, well may he sigh and groane;
Vnder the burden of a heauy crosse
He faintly goes to make their gaine his losse.
His wofull Mother waiting on her Sonne,
All comfortelesse in depth of sorrow drownd;
Her griefes extreame, although but new begunne,
To see his bleeding Body oft she swouned:
How could she choose but thinke her selfe vndone,
He dying, with whose glory she was crowned?
None euer lost so great a losse as shee,
Being Sonne, and Father of Eternitie.
Her teares did wash away his pretious blood,
That sinners might not tread in vnder feet
To worship him, and that it did her good
Vpon her knees, although in open street,
Knowing he was the Iessie floure and bud,
That must be gath’red when it smell’d most sweet:
Her Sonne, her Husband, Father, Saviour, King,
Whose death killd Death, and tooke away his sting.
Most blessed Virgin, in whose faultlesse fruit,
All Nations of the earth must needes reioyce,
No Creature hauing sence though ne’r so brute,
But ioyes and trembles when they heare his voyce;
His wisedome strikes the wisest persons mute,
Faire chosen vessell, happy in his choyce:
Deere mother of our Lord, whose reuerend name,
All people Blessed call, and spread thy fame.
For the Almightie magnified thee,
And looked downe vpon thy meane estate;
Thy lowly mind, and vnstain’d Chastitie,
Did pleade for Loue at great Iehouaes gate,
Who sending swift-wing’d Gabriel vnto thee,
His holy will and pleasure to relate;
To thee most beauteous Queene of Woman-kind,
The Angell did vnfold his Makers mind.
He thus beganne, Haile Mary full of grace,
Thou freely art beloued of the Lord,
He is with thee, behold thy happy case;
What endlesse comfort did these words afford
To thee that saw’st an Angell in the place
Proclaime thy Virtues worth, and to record
Thee blessed among women: that thy praise
Should last so many worlds beyond thy daies.
Loe, this high message to thy troubled spirit,
He doth deliuer in the plainest sence;
Sayes, Thou shouldst beare a Sonne that shal inherit
His Father Davids throne, free from offence,
Call’s him that Holy thing, by whose pure merit
We must be sau’d, tels what he is, of whence;
His worth, his greatnesse, what his name must be,
Who should be call’d the Sonne of the most High.
He cheeres thy troubled soule, bids thee not feare;
When thy pure thoughts could hardly apprehend
This salutation, when he did appeare;
Nor couldst thou judge, whereto those words did tend;
His pure aspect did mooue thy modest cheere
To muse, yet joy that God vouchsaf’d to send
His glorious Angel; who did thee assure
To beare a child, although a Virgin pure.
Nay more, thy Sonne should Rule and Raigne for euer;
Yea, of his Kingdom there should be no end;
Ouer the house of Iacob, Heauens great Giuer
Would giue him powre, and to that end did send
His faithfull seruant Gabriel to deliuer
To thy chast cares no word that might offend:
But that this blessed Infant borne of thee,
Thy Sonne, The onely Sonne of God should be.
When on the knees of thy submissiue heart
Thou humbly didst demand, How that should be?
Thy virgin thoughts did thinke, none could impart
This great good hap, and blessing vnto thee;
Farre from the desire of any man thou art,
Knowing not one, thou art from all men free:
When he, to answere this thy chaste desire,
Giues thee more cause to wonder and admire.
That thou a blessed Virgin shouldst remaine,
Yea that the holy Ghost should come on thee
A maiden Mother, subiect to no paine,
For highest powre should ouershadow thee:
Could thy faire eyes from teares of joy refraine,
When God look’d downe vpon thy poore degree?
Making thee Seruant, Mother, Wife, and Nurse
To Heauens bright King, that freed vs from the curse.
Thus being crown’d with glory from aboue,
Grace and Perfection, resting in thy breast,
Thy humble answer doth approoue thy Loue,
And all these sayings in thy heart doe rest:
Thy Child a Lambe, and thou a Turtle doue,
Aboue all other women highly blest;
To find such fauour in his glorious sight,
In whom thy heart and soule doe most delight.
What wonder in the world more strange could seeme,
Than that a Virgin could conceiue and beare
Within her wombe a Sonne, That should redeeme
All Nations on the earth, and should repaire
Our old decaies: who in such high esteeme,
Should prize all mortals, liuing in his feare;
As not to shun Death, Pouertie, and Shame,
To saue their soules, and spread his glorious Name.
And partly to fulfil his Fathers pleasure,
Whose powrefull hand allowes it not so strange,
If he vouchsafe the riches of his treasure,
Pure Righteousnesse to take such il exchange;
On all Iniquitie to make a seisure,
Giuing his snow-white Weed for ours in change;
Our mortall garments in a scarlet Die,
Too base a roabe for Immortalitie.
Most happy news, that euer yet was brought,
When Pouerty and Riches met together,
The wealth of Heauen, in our fraile clothing wrought
Saluation by his happy comming hither:
Mighty Messias, who so deerely bought
Vs Slaues to sinne, farre lighter than a feather:
Toss’d to and fro with euery wicked wind,
The world, the flesh, or Deuill giues to blind.
Who on his shoulders our blacke sinnes doth beare
To that most blessed, yet accursed Crosse;
Where fastning them, he rids vs of our feare,
Yea for our gaine he is content with losse,
Our ragged clothing scornes he not to weare,
Though foule, rent, torne, disgracefull rough and grosse,
Spunne by that monster Sinne, and weav’d by Shame,
Which grace it selfe, disgrac’d with impure blame.
How can’st thou choose (faire Virgin) then but mourne,
When this sweet of-spring of thy body dies,
When thy faire eies beholds his bodie torne,
The peoples fury, heares the womens cries;
His holy name prophan’d, He made a scorne,
Abusde with all their hatefull slaunderous lies:
Bleeding and fainting in such wondrous sort,
As scarce his feeble limbes can him support.
Now Simon of Cyrene passeth them by,
Whom they compell sweet I E S V S Crosse to beare
To Golgotha, there doe they meane to trie
All cruell meanes to worke in him dispaire:
That odious place, where dead mens skulls did lie,
There must our Lord for present death prepare:
His sacred blood must grace that loathsome field,
To purge more filth, than that foule place could yield.
For now arriu’d vnto this hatefull place,
In which his Crosse erected needes must bee,
False hearts, and willing hands come on apace,
All prest to ill, and all desire to see:
Gracelesse themselues, still seeking to disgrace;
Bidding him, If the Sonne of God he bee,
To saue himselfe, if he could others saue,
With all th’opprobrious words that might depraue.
His harmlesse hands vnto the Crosse they nailde,
And feet that neuer trode in sinners trace,
Betweene two thieues, vnpitied, vnbewailde,
Saue of some few possessors of his grace,
With sharpest pangs and terrors thus appailde,
Sterne Death makes way, that Life might giue him place:
His eyes with teares, his body full of wounds,
Death last of paines his sorrows all confounds.
His joynts dis-joynted, and his legges hang downe,
His alablaster breast, his bloody side,
His members torne, and on his head a Crowne
Of sharpest Thorns, to satisfie for pride:
Anguish and Paine doe all his Sences drowne,
While they his holy garments do diuide:
His bowels drie, his heart full fraught with griefe,
Crying to him that yeelds him no reliefe.
This with the eie of Faith thou maist behold,
Deere Spouse of Christ, and more than I can write;
And here both Griefe and Ioy thou maist vnfold,
To view thy Loue in this most heauy plight,
Bowing his head, his bloodlesse body cold;
Those eies waxe dimme that gaue vs all our light,
His count’nance pale, yet still continues sweet,
His blessed blood watring his pierced feet.
O glorious miracle without compare!
Last, but not least which was by him effected;
Vniting death, life, misery, joy and care,
By his sharpe passion in his deere elected:
Who doth the Badges of like Liueries weare,
Shall find how deere they are of him respected.
No joy, griefe, paine, life, death, was like to his,
Whose infinite dolours wrought eternall blisse.
What creature on the earth did then remaine,
On whom the horror of this shamefull deed
Did not inflict some violent touch, or straine,
To see the Lord of all the world to bleed?
His dying breath did rend huge rockes in twaine,
The heauens betooke them to their mourning weed:
The Sunne grew darke, and scorn’d to giue them light,
Who durst ecclipse a glory farre more bright.
The Moone and Starres did hide themselues for shame,
The earth did [t]remble in her loyall feare,
The Temple vaile did rent to spread his fame,
The Monuments did open euery where;
Dead Saints did rise forth of their graues, and came
To diuers people that remained there
Within that holy City; whose offence,
Did put their Maker to this large expence.
Things reasonable, and reasonlesse possest
The terrible impression of this fact;
For his oppression made them all opprest,
When with his blood he seal’d so faire an act,
In restlesse miserie to procure our rest;
His glorious deedes that dreadfull prison sackt:
When Death, Hell, Diuells, vsing all their powre,
Were ouercome in that most blessed houre.
Being dead, he killed Death, and did suruiue
That prowd insulting Tyrant: in whose place
He sends bright Immortalitie to reuiue
Those whom his yron armes did long embrace;
Who from their loathsome graues brings them aliue
In glory to behold their Sauiours face:
Who tooke the keys of all Deaths powre away,
Opening to those that would his name obay.
O wonder, more than man can comprehend,
Our Ioy and Griefe both at one instant fram’d,
Compounded: Contrarieties contend
Each to exceed, yet neither to be blam’d.
Our Griefe to see our Sauiours wretched end,
Our Ioy to know both Death and Hell he tam’d:
That we may say, O Death, where is thy sting?
Hell, yeeld thy victory to thy conq’ring King.
Can stony hearts refraine from shedding teares,
To view the life and death of this sweet Saint?
His austere course in yong and tender yeares,
When great indurements could not make him faint:
His wants, his paines, his torments, and his feares,
All which he vndertooke without constraint,
To shew that infinite Goodnesse must restore,
What infinite Iustice looked for, and more.
Yet, had he beene but of a meane degree,
His suffrings had beene small to what they were;
Meane minds will shew of what meane mouldes they bee;
Small griefes seeme great, yet Vse doth make them beare:
B[u]t ah! tis hard to stirre a sturdy tree;
Great dangers hardly puts great minds in feare:
They will conceale their griefes which mightie grow
In their stout hearts vntill they ouerflow.
If then an earthly Prince may ill endure
The least of those afflictions which he bare,
How could this all-commaunding King procure
Such grieuous torments with his mind to square,
Legions of Angells being at his Lure?
He might haue liu’d in pleasure without care:
None can conceiue the bitter paines he felt,
When God and man must suffer without guilt.
Take all the Suffrings Thoughts can thinke vpon,
In eu’ry man that this huge world hath bred;
Let all those Paines and Suffrings meet in one,
Yet are they not a Mite to that he did
Endure for vs: Oh let vs thinke thereon,
That God should haue his pretious blood so shed:
His Greatnesse clothed in our fraile attire,
And pay so deare a ransome for the hire.
Loe, here was glorie, miserie, life and death,
An vnion of contraries did accord;
Gladnesse and sadnesse here had one berth,
This wonder wrought the Passion of our Lord,
He suffring for all the sinnes of all th’earth,
No satisfaction could the world afford:
But this rich Iewell, which from God was sent,
To call all those that would in time repent.
Which I present (deare Lady) to your view,
Vpon the Crosse depriu’d of life or breath,
To judge if euer Louer were so true,
To yeeld himselfe vnto such shamefull death:
Now blessed Ioseph doth both beg and sue,
To haue his body who possest his faith,
And thinkes, if he this small request obtaines,
He wins more wealth than in the world remaines.
Thus honourable Ioseph is possest,
Of what his heart and soule so much desired,
And now he goes to giue that body rest,
That all his life, with griefes and paines was tired;
He finds a Tombe, a Tombe most rarely blest,
In which was neuer creature yet interred;
There this most pretious body he incloses,
Inbalmd and deckt with Lillies and with Roses.
Loe here the Beautie of Heau’n and Earth is laid,
The purest coulers vnderneath the Sunne,
But in this place he cannot long be staid,
Glory must end what horror hath begun;
For he the furie of the Heauens obay’d,
And now he must possesse what he hath wonne:
The Maries doe with pretious balmes attend,
But beeing come, they find it to no end.
For he is rize from Death t’Eternall Life,
And now those pretious oyntments he desires
Are brought vnto him, by his faithfull Wife
The holy Church; who in those rich attires,
Of Patience, Loue, Long suffring, Voide of strife,
Humbly presents those oyntments he requires:
The oyles of Mercie, Charitie, and Faith,
Shee onely giues that which no other hath.
These pretious balmes doe heale his grieuous wounds,
And water of Compunction washeth cleane
The soares of sinnes, which in our Soules abounds;
So faire, no skarre is euer seene;
Yet all the glory vnto Christ redounds,
His pretious blood is that which must redeeme;
Those well may make vs louely in his sight,
But cannot saue without his powrefull might.
This is that Bridegroome that appeares so faire,
So sweet, so louely in his Spouses sight,
That vnto Snowe we may his face compare,
His cheekes like skarlet, and his eyes so bright
As purest Doues that in the riuers are,
Washed with milke, to giue the more delight;
His head is likened to the finest gold,
His curled lockes so beauteous to behold;
Blacke as a Raven in her blackest hew;
His lips like skarlet threeds, yet much more sweet
Than is the sweetest hony dropping dew,
Or hony combes, where all the Bees do meet;
Yea, he is constant, and his words are true,
His cheekes are beds of spices, flowers sweet;
His lips like Lillies, dropping downe pure mirthe,
Whose loue, before all worlds we doe preferre.
Ah! giue me leaue (good Lady) now to leaue
This taske of Beauty which I tooke in hand,
I cannot wade so deepe, I may deceaue
My selfe, before I can attaine the land;
Therefore (good Madame) in your heart I leaue
His perfect picture, where it still shall stand,
Deepely engraued in that holy shrine,
Enuironed with Loue and Thoughts diuine.
There may you see him as a God in glory,
And as a man in miserable case;
There may you reade his true and perfect storie,
His bleeding body there you may embrace,
And kisse his dying cheekes with teares of sorrow,
With ioyfull griefe, you may intreat for grace;
And all your prayers, and your almes-deeds
May bring to stop his cruell wounds that bleeds.
Oft times hath he made triall of your loue,
And in your Faith hath tooke no small delight,
By Crosses and Afflictions he doth proue,
Yet still your heart remaineth firme and right;
Your loue so strong, as nothing can remoue,
Your thoughts beeing placed on him both day and night,
Your constant soule doth lodge beweene her brests,
This Sweet of sweets, in which all glory rests.
Sometime h’appeares to thee in Shepheards weed,
And so presents himselfe before thine eyes,
A good old man, that goes his flocke to feed;
Thy colour changes, and thy heart doth rise;
Thou call’st, he comes, thou find’st tis he indeed,
Thy Soule conceaues that he is truely wise:
Nay more, desires that he may be the Booke,
Whereon thine eyes continually may looke.
Sometime imprison’d, naked, poore, and bare,
Full of diseases, impotent, and lame,
Blind, deafe, and dumbe, he comes vnto his faire,
To see if yet shee will remaine the same;
Nay sicke and wounded, now thou do’st prepare
To cherish him in thy deare Louers name:
Yea thou bestow’st all paines, all cost, all care,
That may relieue him, and his health repaire.
These workes of mercy are so sweet, so deare
To him that is the Lord of Life and Loue,
That all thy prayers he vouchsafes to heare,
And sends his holy Spirit from aboue;
Thy eyes are op’ned, and thou seest so cleare,
No worldly thing can thy faire mind remoue;
Thy faith, thy prayers, and his speciall grace
Doth open Heau’n, where thou behold’st his face.
These are those Keyes Saint Peter did possesse,
Which with a Spirituall powre are giu’n to thee,
To heale the soules of those that doe transgresse,
By thy faire virtues; which, if once they see,
Vnto the like they doe their minds addresse,
Such as thou art, such they desire to be:
If they be blind, thou giu’st to them their sight;
If deafe or lame, they heare, and goe vpright.
Yea, if possest with any euill spirits,
Such powre thy faire examples haue obtain’d
To cast them out, applying Christs pure merits,
By which they are bound, and of all hurt restrain’d:
If strangely taken, wanting sence or wits,
Thy faith appli’d vnto their soules so pain’d,
Healeth all griefes, and makes them grow so strong,
As no defects can hang vpon them long.
Thou beeing thus rich, no riches do’st respect,
Nor do’st thou care for any outward showe;
The proud that faire Virtues rules neglect,
Desiring place, thou fittest them belowe:
All wealth and honour thou do’st quite reiect,
If thou perceiu’st that once it prooues a foe
To virtue, learning, and the powres diuine,
Thou mai’st conuert, but neuer wilt incline
To fowle disorder, or licentiousnesse,
But in thy modest vaile do’st sweetly couer
The staines of other sinnes, to make themselues,
That by this meanes thou mai’st in time recouer
Those weake lost sheepe that did so long transgresse,
Presenting them vnto thy deerest Louer;
That when he brings them back vnto his fold,
In their conuersation then he may behold
Thy beauty shining brighter than the Sunne,
Thine honour more than euer Monarke gaind,
Thy wealth exceeding his that Kingdomes wonne,
Thy Loue vnto his Spouse, thy Faith vnfaind,
Thy Constancy in what thou hast begun,
Till thou his heauenly Kingdom haue obtaind;
Respecting worldly wealth to be but drosse,
Which, if abuz’d, doth prooue the owners losse.
Great Cleopatra’s loue to Anthony,
Can no way be compared vnto thine;
Shee left her Loue in his extremitie,
When greatest need should cause her to combine
Her force with his, to get the Victory:
Her Loue was earthly, and thy Loue Diuine;
Her Loue was onely to support her pride,
Humilitie thy Loue and Thee doth guide.
That glorious part of Death, which last she plai’d,
T’appease the ghost of her deceased Loue,
Had neuer needed, if shee could haue stai’d
When his extreames made triall, and did proue
Her leaden loue vnconstant, and afraid:
Their wicked warres the wrath of God might moue
To take reuenge for chast Octavia’s wrongs,
Because shee enjoyes what vnto her belongs.
No Cleopatra, though thou wert as faire
As any Creature in Antonius eyes;
Yea though thou wert as rich, as wise, as rare,
As any Pen could write, or Wit deuise;
Yet with this Lady canst thou not compare,
Whose inward virtues all thy worth denies:
Yet thou a blacke Egyptian do’st appeare;
Thou false, shee true; and to her Loue more deere.
Shee sacrificeth to her deerest Loue,
With flowres of Faith, and garlands of Good deeds;
Shee flies not from him when afflictions proue,
Shee beares his crosse, and stops his wounds that bleeds;
Shee loues and liues chaste as the Turtle doue,
Shee attends vpon him, and his flocke shee feeds;
Yea for one touch of death which thou did’st trie,
A thousand deaths shee euery day doth die.
Her virtuo[u]s life exceeds thy worthy death,
Yea, she hath richer ornaments of state,
Shining more glorious than in dying breath
Thou didst; when either pride, or cruell fate,
Did worke thee to preuent a double death;
To stay the malice, scorne and cruell hate
Of Rome; that joy’d to see thy pride pull’d downe,
Whose Beauty wrought the hazard of her Crowne.
Good Madame, though your modestie be such,
Not to acknowledge what we know and find;
And that you think these prayses ouermuch,
Which doe expresse the beautie of your mind;
Yet pardon me although I giue a touch
Vnto their eyes, that else would be so blind,
As not to see thy store, and their owne wants,
From whose faire seeds of Virtue spring these plants.
And knowe, when first into this world I came,
This charge was giu’n me by th’Eternall powres,
Th’euerlasting Trophie of thy fame,
To build and decke it with the sweetest flowres
That virtue yeelds; Then Madame, doe not blame
Me, when I shew the World but what is yours,
Ad decke you with that crowne which is your due,
That of Heau’ns beauty Earth may take a view.
Though famous women elder times haue knowne,
Whose glorious actions did appeare so bright,
That powrefull men by them were ouerthrowne,
And all their armies ouercome in fight;
The Scythian women by their powre alone,
Put king Darius vnto shamefull flight:
All Asia yeelded to their conq’ring hand,
Great Alexander could not their powre withstand.
Whose worth, though writ in lines of blood and fire,
Is not to be compared vnto thine;
Their powre was small to ouercome Desire,
Or to direct their wayes by Virtues line:
Were they aliue, they would thy Life admire,
And vnto thee their honours would resigne:
For thou a greater conquest do’st obtaine,
Than they who haue so many thousands slaine.
Wise Deborah that judged Israel,
Nor valiant Iudeth cannot equall thee,
Vnto the first, God did his will reueale,
And gaue her powre to set his people free;
Yea Iudeth had the powre likewise to queale
Proud Holifernes, that the just might see
What small defence vaine pride and greatnesse hath
Against the weapons of Gods word and faith.
But thou farre greater warre do’st still maintaine,
Against that many headed monster Sinne,
Whose mortall sting hath many thousand slaine,
And euery day fresh combates doe begin;
Yet cannot all his venome lay one staine
Vpon thy Soule, thou do’st the conquest winne,
Though all the world he daily doth deuoure,
Yet ouer thee he neuer could get powre.
For that one worthy deed by Deb’rah done,
Thou hast performed many in thy time;
For that one Conquest that faire Iudeth wonne,
By which she did the steps of honour clime,
Thou hast the Conquest of all Conquests wonne,
When to thy Conscience Hell can lay no crime:
For that one head that Iudeth bare away,
Thou tak’st from Sinne a hundred heads a day.
Though virtuous Hester fasted three dayes space,
And spent her time in prayers all that while,
That by Gods powre shee might obtaine such grace,
That shee and hers might not become a spoyle
To wicked Hamon, in whose crabbed face
Was seene the map of malice, enuie, guile;
Her glorious garments though shee put apart,
So to present a pure and single heart
To God, in Sack-cloth, ashes, and with teares;
Yet must faire Hester needs giue place to thee,
Who hath continu’d dayes, weekes, months, and yeares,
In Gods true seruice, yet thy heart beeing free
From doubt of death, or any other feares:
Fasting from sinne, thou pray’st thine eyes may see
Him that hath possession of thine heart,
From whose sweet loue thy Soule can neuer part.
His loue, not Feare, makes thee to fast and pray,
No kinsmans counsell needs thee to aduise;
The sack-cloth thou do’st weare both night and day
Is worldly troubles, which thy rest denies;
The ashes are the Vanities that play
Ouer thy head, and steale before thine eyes;
Which thou shak’st off when mourning time is past,
That royall roabes thou may’st put on at last.
Ioachims wife, that faire and constant Dame,
Who rather chose a cruel death to die,
Than yeeld to those two Elders voide of shame,
When both at once her chastitie did trie,
Whose Innocencie bare away the blame,
Vntill th’Almighty Lord had heard her crie;
And rais’d the spirit of a Child to speake,
Making the powrefull judged of the weake.
Although her virtue doe deserue to be
Writ by that hand that neuer purchas’d blame;
In holy Writ, where all the world may see
Her perfit life, and euer honoured name:
Yet was she not to be compar’d to thee,
Whose many virtues doe increase thy fame:
For shee oppos’d against old doting Lust,
Who with life danger she did feare to trust.
But your chaste breast guarded with strength of mind,
Hates the imbracements of vnchaste desires;
You louing God, liue in your selfe confind
From vnpure Loue, your purest thoughts retires,
Your perfit sight could neuer be so blind,
To entertaine the old or yong desires
Of idle louers; which the world presents,
Whose base abuses worthy minds preuents.
Euen as the constant Lawrell, alwayes greene,
No parching heate of Summer can deface,
Nor pinching Winter euer yet was seene,
Whose nipping frosts could wither, or disgrace:
So you (deere Ladie) still remaine as Queene,
Subduing all affections that are base,
Vnalterable by the change of times,
Not following, but lamenting others crimes,
No feare of death, or dread of open shame,
Hinders your perfect heart to giue consent;
Nor loathsome age, whom Time could neuer tame
From ill designes, whereto their youth was bent;
But loue of God, care to preserue your fame,
And spend that pretious time that God hath sent,
In all good exercises of the minde,
Whereto your noble nature is inclin’d.
That Ethyopian Queene did gaine great fame,
Who from the Southerne world, did come to see
Great Salomon; the glory of whose name
Had spread it selfe ore all the earth, to be
So great, that all the Princes thither came,
To be spectators of his royaltie:
And this faire Queene of Sheba came from farre,
To reuerence this new appearing starre.
From th’vtmost part of all the Earth shee came,
To heare the Wisdom of this worthy King;
To trie if Wonder did agree with Fame,
And many faire rich presents did she bring:
Yea many strange hard questions did shee frame,
All which were answer’d by this famous King:
Nothing was hid that in her heart did rest,
And all to prooue this King so highly blest.
Here Maiestie with Maiestie did meete;
Wisdome to Wisdome yeelded true content,
One Beauty did another Beauty greet,
Bounty to Bountie neuer could repent;
Here all distaste is troden vnder feet,
No losse of time, where time was so well spent
In virtuous exercises of the minde,
In which this Queene did much contentment finde.
Spirits affect where they doe sympathize,
Wisdome desires Wisdome to embrace,
Virtue couets her like, and doth deuize
How she her friends may entertaine with grace;
Beauty sometime is pleas’d to feed her eyes,
With viewing Beautie in anothers face:
Both good and bad in this point doe agree,
That each desireth with his like to be.
And this Desire did worke a strange effect,
To drawe a Queene forth of her natiue Land,
Not yeelding to the nicenesse and respect
Of woman-kind; shee past both sea and land,
All feare of dangers shee did quite neglect,
Onely to see, to heare, and vnderstand
That beauty, wisedome, maiestie, and glorie,
That in her heart imprest his perfect storie.
Yet this faire map of maiestie and might,
Was but a figure of thy deerest Loue,
Borne t’expresse that true and heauenly light,
That doth all other joyes imperfect proue;
If this faire Earthly starre did shine so bright,
What doth that glorious Sonne that is aboue?
Who weares th’imperiall crowne of heauen and earth,
And made all Christians blessed in his berth.
If that small sparke could yeeld so great a fire,
As to inflame the hearts of many Kings
To come to see, to heare, and to admire
His wisdome, tending but to worldly things;
Then much more reason haue we to desire
That heau’nly wisedome, which saluation brings;
The Sonne of righteousnesse, that giues true joyes,
When all they sought for, were but Earthly toyes.
No trauels ought th’affected soule to shunne,
That this faire heauenly Light desires to see:
This King of kings to whom we all should runne,
To view his Glory and his Majestie;
He without whom we had all beene vndone,
He that from Sinne and Death hath set vs free,
And ouercome Satan, the world, and sinne,
That by his merits we those joyes might winne.
Prepar’d by him, whose euerlasting throne
Is plac’d in heauen, aboue the starrie skies,
Where he that sate, was like the Iasper stone,
Who rightly knowes him shall be truely wise,
A Rainebow round about his glorious throne;
Nay more, those winged beasts so full of eies,
That neuer cease to glorifie his Name,
Who was, and will be, and is now the same.
This is that great almightie Lord that made
Both heauen and earth, and liues for euermore;
By him the worlds foundation first was laid:
He fram’d the things that neuer were before:
The Sea within his bounds by him is staid,
He judgeth all alike, both rich and poore:
All might, all majestie, all loue, all lawe
Remaines in him that keepes all worlds in awe.
From his eternall throne the lightning came,
Thundrings and Voyces did from thence proceede;
And all the creatures glorifi’d his name,
In heauen, in earth, and seas, they all agreed,
When loe that spotlesse Lambe so voyd of blame,
That for vs di’d, whose sinnes did make him bleed:
That true Physition that so many heales,
Opened the Booke, and did vndoe the Seales.
He onely worthy to vndoe the Booke
Of our charg’d soules, full of iniquitie,
Where with the eyes of mercy he doth looke
Vpon our weaknesse and infirmitie;
This is that corner stone that was forsooke,
Who leaues it, trusts but to vncertaintie:
This is Gods Sonne, in whom he is well pleased,
His deere beloued, that his wrath appeased.
He that had powre to open all the Seales,
And summon vp our sinnes of blood and wrong,
He vnto whom the righteous soules appeales,
That haue bin martyrd, and doe thinke it long,
To whom in mercie he his will reueales,
That they should rest a little in their wrong,
Vntill their fellow seruants should be killed,
Euen as they were, and that they were fulfilled.
Pure thoughted Lady, blessed be thy choyce
Of this Almightie, euerlasting King;
In thee his Saints and Angels doe reioyce,
And to their Heau’nly Lord doe daily sing
Thy perfect praises in their lowdest voyce;
And all their harpes and golden vials bring
Full of sweet odours, euen thy holy prayers
Vnto that spotlesse Lambe, that all repaires.
Of whom that Heathen queene obtain’d such grace,
By honouring but the shadow of his Loue,
That great Iudiciall day to haue a place,
Condemning those that doe vnfaithfull proue;
Among the haplesse, happie is her case,
That her deere Sauiour spake for her behoue;
And that her memorable Act should be
Writ by the hand of true Eternitie.
Yet this rare Phœnix of that worne-out age,
This great maiesticke Queene comes short of thee,
Who to an earthly Prince did then ingage
Her hearts desires, her loue, her libertie,
Acting her glorious part vpon a Stage
Of weaknesse, frailtie, and infirmity:
Giuing all honour to a Creature, due
To her Creator, whom shee neuer knew.
But loe, a greater thou hast sought and found
Than Salomon in all his royaltie:
And vnto him thy faith most firmely bound
To serue and honour him continually;
That glorious God, whose terror doth confound
All sinfull workers of iniquitie:
Him hast thou truely serued all thy life,
And for his loue, liu’d with the world at strife.
To this great Lord, thou onely art affected,
Yet came he not in pompe or royaltie,
But in an humble habit, base, deiected;
A King, a God, clad in mortalitie,
He hath thy loue, thou art by him directed,
His perfect path was faire humilitie:
Who being Monarke of heau’n, earth, and seas,
Indur’d all wrongs, yet no man did displease.
Then how much more art thou to be commended,
That seek’st thy loue in lowly shepheards weed?
A seeming Trades-mans sonne, of none attended,
Saue of a few in pouertie and need;
Poore Fishermen that on his loue attended,
His loue that makes so many thousands bleed:
Thus did he come, to trie our faiths the more,
Possessing worlds, yet seeming extreame poore.
The Pilgrimes trauels, and the Shepheards cares,
He tooke vpon him to enlarge our soules,
What pride hath lost, humilitie repaires,
For by his glorious death he vs in roules
In deepe Characters, writ with blood and teares,
Vpon those blessed Euerlasting scroules;
His hands, his feete, his body, and his face,
Whence freely flow’d the riuers of his grace.
Sweet holy riuers, pure celestiall springs,
Proceeding from the fountaine of our life;
Swift sugred currents that saluation brings,
Cleare christall streames, purging all sinne and strife,
Faire floods, where souls do bathe their snow-white wings,
Before they flie to true eter[nall] life:
Sweet Nectar and Ambrosia, food of Saints,
Which, whoso tasteth, neuer after faints.
This hony dropping dew of holy loue,
Sweet milke, wherewith we weaklings are restored,
Who drinkes thereof, a world can neuer moue,
All earthly pleasures are of them abhorred;
This loue made Martyrs many deaths to proue,
To taste his sweetnesse, whom they so adored:
Sweetnesse that makes our flesh a burthen to vs,
Knowing it serues but onely to vndoe vs.
His sweetnesse sweet’ned all the sowre of death,
To faithfull Stephen his appointed Saint;
Who by the riuer stones did loose his breath,
When paines nor terrors could not make him faint:
So was this blessed Martyr turn’d to earth,
To glorifie his soule by deaths attaint:
This holy Saint was humbled and cast downe,
To winne in heauen an euerlasting crowne.
Whose face repleat with Maiestie and Sweetnesse,
Did as an Angel vnto them appeare,
That sate in Counsell hearing his discreetenesse,
Seeing no change, or any signe of [feare;]
But with a constant browe did there confesse
Christs high deserts, which were to him so deare:
Yea when these Tyrants stormes did most oppresse,
Christ did appeare to make his griefe the lesse.
For beeing filled with the holy Ghost,
Vp vnto Heau’n he look’d with stedfast eies,
Where God appeared with his heauenly hoste
In glory to this Saint before he dies;
Although he could no Earthly pleasures boast,
At Gods right hand sweet I E S V S he espies;
Bids them behold Heauens open, he doth see
The Sonne of Man at Gods right hand to be.
Whose sweetnesse sweet’ned that short sowre of Life,
Making all bitternesse delight his taste,
Yeelding sweet quietnesse in bitter strife,
And most contentment when he di’d disgrac’d;
Heaping vp joyes where sorrows were most rife;
Such sweetnesse could not choose but be imbrac’d:
The food of Soules, the Spirits onely treasure,
The Paradise of our celestiall pleasure.
This lambe of God, who di’d, and was aliue,
Presenting vs the bread of life Eternall,
His bruised body powrefull to reuiue
Our sinking soules, out of the pit infernall;
For by this blessed food he did contriue
A worke of grace, by this his gift externall,
With heau’nly Manna, food of his elected,
To feed their soules, of whom he is respected.
This wheate of Heauen the blessed Angells bread,
Wherewith he feedes his deere adopted Heires;
Sweet foode of life that doth reuiue the dead,
And from the liuing takes away all cares;
To taste this sweet Saint Laurence did not dread,
The broyling gridyorne cool’d with holy teares:
Yeelding his naked body to the fire,
To taste this sweetnesse, such was his desire.
Nay, what great sweetnesse did th’Apostles taste,
Condemn’d by Counsell, when they did returne;
Rejoycing that for him they di’d disgrac’d,
Whose sweetnes made their hearts and soules so burne
With holy zeale and loue most pure and chaste;
For him they sought from whome they might not turne:
Whose loue made Andrew goe most joyfully,
Vnto the Crosse, on which he meant to die.
The Princes of th’Apostles were so filled
With the delicious sweetnes of his grace,
That willingly they yeelded to be killed,
Receiuing deaths that were most vile and base,
For his names sake; that all might be fulfilled.
They with great joy all torments did imbrace:
The vgli’st face that Death could euer yeeld,
Could neuer feare these Champions from the field.
They still continued in their glorious fight,
Against the enemies of flesh and blood;
And in Gods law did set their whole delight,
Suppressing euill, and erecting good:
Not sparing Kings in what they did not right;
Their noble Actes they seal’d with deerest blood:
One chose the Gallowes, that vnseemely death,
The other by the Sword did loose his breath.
His Head did pay the dearest rate of sin,
Yeelding it joyfully vnto the Sword,
To be cut off as he had neuer bin,
For speaking truth according to Gods word,
Telling king Herod of incestuous sin,
That hatefull crime of God and man abhorr’d:
His brothers wife, that prowd licentious Dame,
Cut off his Head to take away his shame.
Loe Madame, heere you take a view of those,
Whose worthy steps you doe desire to tread,
Deckt in those colours which our Sauiour chose;
The purest colours both of White and Red,
Their freshest beauties would I faine disclose,
By which our Sauiour most was honoured:
But my weake Muse desireth now to rest,
Folding vp all their Beauties in your breast.
Whose excellence hath rais’d my sprites to write,
Of what my thoughts could hardly apprehend;
Your rarest Virtues did my soule delight,
Great Ladie of my heart: I must commend
You that appeare so faire in all mens sight:
On your Deserts my Muses doe attend;
You are the Articke Starre that guides my hand,
All what I am, I rest at your command.
F I N I S.
The Description of Cooke-ham.
Farewell (sweet Cooke-ham) where I first obtain’d
Grace from that Grace where perfit Grace remain’d;
And where the Muses gaue their full consent,
I should haue powre the virtuous to content:
Where princely Palate will’d me to indite,
The sacred Storie of the Soules delight.
Farewell (sweet Place) where Virtue then did rest,
And all delights did harbour in her breast:
Neuer shall my sad eies againe behold
Those pleasures which my thoughts did then vnfold:
Yet you (great Lady) Mistris of that Place,
From whose desires did spring this worke of Grace;
Vouchsafe to thinke vpon those pleasures past,
As fleeting worldly Ioyes that could not last:
Or, as dimme shadowes of celestiall pleasures,
Which are desir’d aboue all earthly treasures.
Oh how (me thought) against you thither came,
Each part did seeme some new delight to frame!
The House receiu’d all ornaments to grace it,
And would indure no foulenesse to deface it.
The Walkes put on their summer Liueries,
And all things else did hold like similies:
The Trees with leaues, with fruits, with flowers clad,
Embrac’d each other, seeming to be glad,
Turning themselues to beauteous Canopies,
To shade the bright Sunne from your brighter eies:
The cristall Streames with siluer spangles graced,
While by the glorious Sunne they were embraced:
The little Birds in chirping notes did sing,
To entetaine both You and that sweet Spring.
And Philomela with her sundry layes,
Both You and that delightfull Place did praise.
Oh how me thought each plant, each floure, each tree
Set forth their beauties then to welcome thee!
The very Hills right humbly did descend,
When you to tread vpon them did intend.
And as you set your feete, they still did rise,
Glad that they could receiue so rich a prise.
The gentle Windes did take delight to bee
Among those woods that were so grac’d by thee.
And in sad murmure vtterd pleasing sound,
That Pleasure in that place might more abound:
The swelling Bankes deliuer’d all their pride,
When such a Phoenix once they had espide.
Each Arbor, Banke, each Seate, each stately Tree,
Thought themselues honor’d i[n] supporting thee,
The pretty Birds would oft come to attend thee,
Yet flie away for feare they should offend thee:
The little creatures in the Burrough by
Would come abroad to sport them in your eye;
Yet fearefull of the Bowe in your faire Hand,
Would runne away when you did make a stand.
Now let me come vnto that stately Tree,
Wherein such goodly Prospects you did see;
That Oake that did in height his fellowes passe,
As much as lofty trees, low growing grasse:
Much like a comely Cedar streight and tall,
Whose beauteous stature farre exceeded all:
How often did you visite this faire tree,
Which seeming joyfull in receiuing thee,
Would like a Palme tree spread his armes abroad,
Desirous that you there should make abode:
Whose faire greene leaues much like a comely vaile,
Defended Phebus when he would assaile:
Whose pleasing boughes did yeeld a coole fresh ayre,
Ioying his happinesse when you were there.
Where beeing seated, you might plainely see,
Hills, vales, and woods, as if on bended knee
They had appeard, your honour to salute,
Or to preferre some strange vnlook’d for sute:
All interlac’d with brookes and christall springs,
A Prospect fit to please the eyes of Kings:
And thirteene shires appear’d all in your sight,
Europe could not affoard much more delight.
What was there then but gaue you all content,
While you the time in meditation spent,
Of their Creators powre, which there you saw,
In all his Creatures held a perfit Law;
And in their beauties did you plaine descrie,
His beauty, wisdome, grace, loue, maiestie.
In these sweet woods how often did you walke,
With Christ and his Apostles there to talke;
Placing his holy Writ in some faire tree,
To meditate what you therein did see:
With Moyses you did mount his holy Hill,
To knowe his pleasure, and performe his Will.
With louely Dauid you did often sing,
His holy Hymnes to Heauens Eternall King.
And in sweet musicke did your soule delight,
To sound his prayses, morning, noone, and night.
With blessed Ioseph you did often feed
Your pined brethren, when they stood in need.
And that sweet Lady sprung from Cliffords race,
Of noble Bedfords blood, faire streame of Grace;
To honourable Dorset now espows’d,
In whose faire breast true virtue then was hous’d:
Oh what delight did my weake spirits find
In those pure parts of her well framed mind:
And yet it grieues me that I cannot be
Neere vnto her, whose virtues did agree
With those faire ornaments of outward beauty,
Which did enforce from all both loue and dutie.
Vnconstant Fortune, thou art most too blame,
Who casts vs downe into so lowe a frame:
Where our great friends we cannot dayly see,
So great a diffrence is there in degree.
Many are placed in those Orbes of state,
Partners in honour, so ordain’d by Fate;
Neerer in show, yet farther off in loue,
In which, the lowest alwayes are aboue.
But whither am I carried in conceit?
My Wit too weake to conster of the great.
Why not? although we are but borne of earth,
We may behold the Heauens, despising death;
And louing heauen that is so farre aboue,
May in the end vouchsafe vs entire loue.
Therefore sweet Memorie, doe thou retaine
Those pleasures past, which will not turne againe:
Remember beauteous Dorsets former sports,
So farre from beeing toucht by ill reports;
Wherein my selfe did alwaies beare a part,
While reuerend Loue presented my true heart:
Those recreations let me beare in mind,
Which her sweet youth and noble thoughts did finde:
Whereof depriu’d, I euermore must grieue,
Hating blind Fortune, carelesse to releiue.
And you sweet Cooke-ham, whom these Ladies leaue,
I now must tell the griefe you did conceaue
At their departure; when they went away,
How euery thing retaind a sad dismay:
Nay long before, when one an inkeling came,
Me thought each thing did vnto sorrow frame:
The trees that were so glorious in our view,
Forsooke both flowres and fruit, when once they knew
Of your depart, their very leaues did wither,
Changing their colours as they grewe together.
But when they saw this had no powre to stay you,
They often wept, though speechlesse, could not pray you;
Letting their teares in your faire bosoms fall,
As if they said, Why will ye leaue vs all?
This being vaine, they cast their leaues away,
Hoping that pitie would haue made you stay:
Their frozen tops, like Ages hoarie haires,
Showes their disasters, languishing in feares:
A swarthy riueld ryne all ouer spread,
Their dying bodies halfe aliue, halfe dead.
But your occasions call’d you so away,
That nothing there had power to make you stay:
Yet did I see a noble gratefull minde,
Requiting each according to their kind;
Forgetting not to turne and take your leaue
Of these sad creatures, powrelesse to receiue
Your fauour, when with griefe you did depart,
Placing their former pleasures in your heart;
Giuing great charge to noble Memory,
There to preserue their loue continually:
But specially the loue of that faire tree,
That first and last you did vouchsafe to see:
In which it pleas’d you oft to take the ayre,
With noble Dorset, then a virgin faire:
Where many a learned Booke was read and skand
To this faire tree, taking me by the hand,
You did repeat the pleasures which had past,
Seeming to grieue they could no longer last.
And with a chaste, yet louing kisse tooke leaue,
Of which sweet kisse I did it soone bereaue:
Scorning a sencelesse creature should possesse
So rare a fauour, so great happinesse.
No other kisse it could receiue from me,
For feare to giue backe what it tooke of thee:
So I ingratefull Creature did deceiue it,
Of that which you vouchsaft in loue to leaue it.
And though it oft had giu’n me much content,
Yet this great wrong I neuer could repent:
But of the happiest made it most forlorne,
To shew that nothing’s free from Fortune’s scorne,
While all the rest with this most beauteous tree,
Made their sad consort Sorrowes harmony.
The Floures that o[n] the banks and walkes did grow,
Crept in the ground, the Grasse did weepe for woe.
The Windes and Waters seem’d to chide together,
Because you went away they knew not whither:
And those sweet Brookes that ranne so faire and cleare,
With griefe and trouble wrinckled did appeare.
Those pretty Birds that wonted were to sing,
Now neither sing, nor chirp, nor vse their wing;
But with their tender feet on some bare spray,
Warble forth sorrow, and their owne dismay.
Faire Philomela leaues her mournefull Ditty,
Drownd in dead sleepe, yet can procure no pittie:
Each arbour, banke, each seate, each stately tree,
Lookes bare and desolate now for want of thee;
Turning greene tresses into frostie gray,
While in cold griefe they wither all away.
The Sunne grew weake, his beames no comfort gaue,
While all greene things did make the earth their graue:
Each brier, each bramble, when you went away,
Caught fast your clothes, thinking to make you stay:
Delightfull Eccho wonted to reply
To our last words, did now for sorrow die:
The house cast off each garment that might grace it,
Putting on Dust and Cobwebs to deface it.
All desolation then there did appeare,
When you were going whom they held so deare.
This last farewell to Cooke-ham here I giue,
When I am dead thy name in this may liue,
Wherein I haue perform’d her noble hest,
Whose virtues lodge in my vnworthy breast,
And euer shall, so long as life remaines,
Tying my heart to her by those rich chaines.
F I N I S.
To the doubtfull Reader.
Gentle Reader, if thou desire to be resolued, why I giue this Title, Salue Deus Rex Iudæorum, know for certaine, that it was deliuered vnto me in sleepe many yeares before I had any intent to write in this maner, and was quite out of my memory, vntill I had written the Passion of Christ, when immediately it came into my remembrance, what I had dreamed long before; and thinking it a significant token, that I was appointed to performe this worke, I gaue the very same words I receiued in sleepe as the fittest Title I could deuise for this Booke.
3.5.2 Reading and Review Questions
How, if at all, does Lanyer authoritatively lay claim to the role of poet? How, if at all, does she negotiate this claim within the parameters that then defined women, that is, as wives and mothers? How does her negotiation compare with Elizabeth I’s or the Countess of Pembroke’s?
In “The Description of Cookeham,” what alternative to Paradise does Lanyer present, and why?
How, why, and to what effect, if any, does Lanyer claim women as agents of (Christian) redemption?
How, if at all, does Salve comment on her own age, particularly the corruption of the court of James I?
What comments, if any, does Salve make on the institution of marriage and female desire, and why?