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That he was such an one, as thou doest say,
And so religiously to be esteemed.

Well may it seeme, by this thy deep insight,
That of that God the Priest thou shouldest bee:
So well thou wot'st the mysterie of his might,
As if his godhead thou didst present see."

"Of Loves perfection perfectly to speake,
Or of his nature rightly to define,
Indeed (said Colin) passeth reasons reach,
And needs his priest t' expresse his powre
For long before the world he was y bore,
And bred above in Venus bosome deare:
For by his powre the world was made of yore,
And all that therein wondrous doth appeare.
For how should else things so far from attone,
And so great enemies as of them bee,
Be ever drawne together into one,

divine.

And taught in such accordance to agree?
Through him the cold began to covet heat,
And water fire; the light to mount on hie,
And th' heavie downe to peize; the hungry t' eat,
And voydnesse to seeke full satietie.

So, being former foes, they wexed friends,
And gan by litle learne to love each other:
So, being knit, they brought forth other kynds
Out of the fruitfull wombe of their great mother.
Then first gan heaven out of darknesse dread
For to appeare, and brought forth chearfull day:
Next gan the earth to shew her naked head,
Out of deep waters which her drownd alway:
And, shortly after, everie living wight
Crept forth like wormes out of her slimie nature.
Soone as on them the Suns life-giving light
Had powred kindly heat and formall feature,
Thenceforth they gan each one his like to love,
And like himselfe desire for to beget:
The Lyon chose his mate, the Turtle Dove
Her deare, the Dolphin his owne Dolphinet;

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But man, that had the sparke of reasons might
More then the rest to rule his passion,
Chose for his love the fairest in his sight,
Like as himselfe was fairest by creation:
For Beautie is the bayt which with delight
Doth man allure for to enlarge his kynd;
Beautie, the burning lamp of heavens light,
Darting her beames into each feeble mynd:
Against whose powre, nor God nor man can fynd
Defence, ne ward the daunger of the wound;
But, being hurt, seeke to be medicynd
Of her that first did stir that mortall stownd.

Then do they cry and call to Love apace,
With praiers lowd importuning the skie,
Whence he them heares; and, when he list shew grace,
Does graunt them grace that otherwise would die.
So Love is Lord of all the world by right,

And rules their creatures by his powrfull saw:
All being made the vassalls of his might,
Through secret sence which therto doth them draw.
Thus ought all lovers of their Lord to deeme;
And with chaste heart to honor him alway:
But who so else doth otherwise esteeme,
Are outlawes, and his lore do disobay.
For their desire is base, and doth not merit
The name of love, but of disloyall lust:
Ne mongst true lovers they shall place inherit,
But as Exuls out of his court be thrust."

So having said, Melissa spake at will;
"Colin, thou now full deeply hast divynd
Of Love and Beautie; and, with wondrous skill,
Hast Cupid selfe depainted in his kynd.
To thee are all true lovers greatly bound,
That doest their cause so mightily defend:
But most, all wemen are thy debtors found,
That doest their bountie still so much commend."

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"That ill (said Hobbinol) they him requite, For having loved ever one most deare:

He is repayd with scorne and foule despite,
That yrkes each gentle heart which it doth heare."
"Indeed (said Lucid) I have often heard
Faire Rosalind of divers fowly blamed

For being to that swaine too cruell hard;
That her bright glorie else hath much defamed.
But who can tell what cause had that faire Mayd
To use him so that loved her so well;

Or who with blame can justly her upbrayd,
For loving not? for who can love compell?
And, sooth to say, it is foolhardie thing,
Rashly to wyten creatures so divine;
For demigods they be and first did spring
From heaven, though graft in frailnesse feminine.
And well I wote, that oft I heard it spoken,
How one, that fairest Helene did revile,
Through judgement of the gods to been ywroken,
Lost both his eyes and so remaynd long while,
Till he recanted had his wicked rimes,
And made amends to her with treble praise.
Beware therefore, ye groomes, I read betimes,
How rashly blame of Rosalind ye raise."

“Ah! shepheards, (then said Colin) ye ne weet
How great a guilt upon your heads ye draw,
To make so bold a doome, with words unmeet,
Of thing celestiall which ye never saw.
For she is not like as the other crew

Of shepheards daughters which emongst you bee,
But of divine regard and heavenly hew,
Excelling all that ever ye did see.
Not then to her that scorned thing so base,
But to my selfe the blame that lookt so hie :
So hie her thoughts as she her selfe have place,
And loath each lowly thing with loftie eie.
Yet so much grace let her vouchsafe to grant
To simple swaine, sith her I may not love:
Yet that I may her honour paravant,
And praise her worth, though far my wit above.

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Such grace shall be some guerdon for the griefe,
And long affliction which I have endured:
Such grace sometimes shall give me some reliefe,
And ease of paine which cannot be recured.
And ye, my fellow Shepheards, which do see
And hear the languours of my too long dying,
Unto the world for ever witnesse bee,
That hers I die, nought to the world denying,
This simple trophe of her great conquest."-

So, having ended, he from ground did rise;
And after him uprose eke all the rest :
All loth to part, but that the glooming skies
Warnd them to draw their bleating flocks to rest.

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VIRGILS GNAT.

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