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One onelie liues, her ages ornament, 571 A dolefull case desires a dolefull song, And myrrour of her Makers maiestie; Without vaine art or curious complements,

That with rich bountie and deare cherishment, And squallid Fortune into basenes flong, Supports the praise of noble Poësie : Doth scorne the pride of wonted ornaments. Ne onelie fauours them which it professe, Then fittest are these ragged rimes for mee,

But is her selfe a peereles Poëtresse. To tell my sorrowes that exceeding bee: Most peereles Prince, most peereles Poëtresse, For the sweet numbers and melodious measures, The true Pandora of all heauenly graces, With which I wont the winged words to tie,

Diuine Elisa, sacred Emperesse : And make a tunefull Diapase of pleasures, Liue she foz euer, and her royall P'laces 580 Now being let to runne at libertie 550

Be fild with praises of diuinest wits, By those which haue no skill to rule them right, That her eternize with their heauenlie writs. Haue now quite lost their naturall delight. Some few beside, this sacred skill esteme, Heapes of huge words vphoorded hideously, Admirers of her glorious excellence, With horrid sound though hauing little sence, which being lightned with her beawties beme, They thinke to be chiefe praise of Poëtry; Are thereby fild with happie influence: And thereby wanting due intelligence, And lifted vp aboue the worldes gaze, Haue mard the face of goodly Poësie, To sing with Angels her immortall praize. And made a monster of their fantasie :

But all the rest as borne of saluage brood, Whilom in ages past none might professe 559 And hauing beene with Acorns alwaies fed, But Princes and high Priests that secret skill, Can no whit fauour this celestiall food, 591 The sacred lawes therein they wont expresse, But with base thoughts are into blindnesse led, And with deepe Oracles their verses fill: And kept from looking on the lightsome day: Then was shee held in soueraigne dignitie, For whome I waile and weepe all that I may. And made the noursling of Nobilitie. Eftsoones such store of teares she forth did But now nor Prince nor Priest doth her main

powre, tayne,

As if shee all to water would haue gone; But suffer her prophaned for to bee

And all her sisters seeing her sad stowre, Of the base vulgar, that with hands vncleane Did weep and waile and made exceeding Dares to pollute her hidden mysterie.

mone, And treadeth vnder foote hir holie things, And all their learned instruments did breake, Which was the care of Kesars and of Kings. The rest, vntold, no louing tongue can speake.



Virgils Gnat.

Long since dedicated
To the most noble and excellent Lord,
the Earle of Leicester, late



Rong’d, yet not daring to expresse my To reade the secrete of this riddle rare,

And know the purporte of my euill plight,
To you (great Lord) the causer of my care,

Let him rest pleased with his owne insight, In clowdie teares my case I thus complaine Ne further seeke to glose upon the text : Vnto your selfe, that onely priuie are : For griefe enough it is to grieued wight But if that any Oedipus vnware

To feele his fault, and not be further vext. Shall chaunce, through power of some diuining But what so by my selfe may not be shower, spright,

May by this Gnatis complaint be easily knowen.

Virgils Gnat.

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Nor Hellespont trampled with horses feete, 49
When flocking Persians did the Greeks affray ;

my soft Muse, as for her power more meete, now haue playde (Augustus) wantonly, Delights (with Phæbus friendly leaue) to play Tuning our song vnto a tender Muse,

An easie running verse with tender feete. And like a cobweb weauing slenderly,

And thou (dread sacred child) to thee alway, Haue onely playde: let thus much then excuse Let euerlasting lightsome glory striue, This Gnats small Poeme, that th’whole history Through the worlds endles ages to suruiue. Is but a iest, though enuie it abuse : But whosuch sportsand sweet delights doth blame,

And let an happie roome remaine for thee Shall lighter seeme than this Gnats idle name. Mongst heauenly ranks, where blessed soules do

rest; Hereafter, when as season more secure Shall bring forth fruit, this Muse shall speak to As thy due meede that thou deseruest best, 60

And let long lasting life with ioyous glee, thee

Hereafter many yeares remembred be In bigger notes, that may thy sense allure,

Amongst good men, of whom thou oft are blest; And for thy worth frame some fit Poesie,

Liue thou for euer in all happinesse :
The golden offspring of Latona pure,

But let vs turne to our first businesse.
And ornament of great Ioues progenie,
Phæbus shall be the author of my song,

The fiery Sun was mounted now on hight Playing on yuorie harp with siluer strong.

Vp to the heauenly towers, and shot each where

Out of his golden Charet glistering light; He shall inspire my verse with gentle mood Of Poets Prince, whether he woon beside

And fayre Aurora with her rosie heare, Faire Xanthus sprincled with Chimæras blood; When as the shepheard seeing day appeare, 70

The hatefull darknes now had put to flight, Or in the woods of Astery abide ; Or whereas mount Parnasse, the Muses brood, To feede abroad, where pasture best befalls.

His little Goats gan driue out of their stalls, Doth his broad forhead like two hornes diuide, And the sweete waues of sounding Castaly To an high mountaines top he with them went, With liquid foote doth slide downe easily. Where thickest grasse did cloath the open hills: Wherefore Sisters which the glorie bee

They now amongst the woods and thickets Of the Pierian streames, fayre Naiades,

ment, Go too, and dauncing all in companie,

Now in the valleies wandring at their wills, Adorne that God: and thou holie Pales,

Spread themselues farre abroad through each To whome the honest care of husbandrie

descent; Returneth by continuall successe,

Some on the soft greene grasse feeding their

30 Haue care for to pursue his footing light ;

fills; Throgh the wide woods, and groues, with green Nibble the bushie shrubs, which growe thereby.

Some clambring through the hollow cliffes on hy, leaues dight Professing thee I lifted am aloft

Others the vtmost boughs of trees doe crop, Betwixt the forrest wide and starrie sky:

And brouze the woodbine twigges, that freshly And thou most dread (Octauius) which oft


82 To learned wits giuest courage worthily,

This with full bit doth catch the vtmost top O come (thou sacred childe) come sliding soft, Of some soft Willow, or new growen stud; And fauour my beginnings graciously :

This with sharpe teeth the bramble leaues doth For not these leaues dosing that dreadfulJstound, lop, When Giants bloud did staine Phlegræan And chaw the tender prickles in her Cud; ground.

The whiles another high doth ouerlooke Nor how th’halfe horsy people, Centaures hight, Her owne like image in a christall brooke. Fought with the bloudie Lapithaes at bord, O the great happines, which shepheards haue, Nor how the East with tyranous despight Who so loathes not too much the poore estate, Burnt th’Attick towres, and people slew with With minde that ill vse doth before depraue, sword;

Ne measures all things by the costly rate 92 Nor how mount Athos through exceeding might Of riotise, and semblants outward braue ; Was digged downe, nor yron bands abord No such sad cares, as wont to macerate The Pontick sea by their huge Nauy cast, And rend the greedie mindes of couetous men, My volume shall renowne, so long since past. Do euer creepe into the shepheards den.




Ne cares he if the fleece, which him arayes, As that Ascræan bard, whose fame now rings Be not twice steeped in Assyrian dye, Through the wide world, and leads as ioyfulllife. Ne glistering of golde, which vnderlayes 99 Free from all troubles and from worldly toyle, The summer beames, doe blinde his gazing eye. In which fond men doe all their dayes turmoyle. Ne pictures beautie, nor the glauncing rayes In such delights whilst thus his carelesse time Of precious stones, whence nogood commeth by; This shepheard driues, vpleaning on his batt, Ne yet his cup embost with Imagery

And on shrill reedes chaunting his rustick rime, Of Bætus or of Alcons vanity.

Hyperion throwing foorth his beames full hott, Ne ought the whelky pearles esteemeth hee, Into the highest top of heauen gan clime, Which are from Indian seas brought far away: And the world parting by an equall lott, But with pure brest from carefull sorrow free, Did shed his whirling flames on either side, On the soft grasse his limbs doth oft display, As the great Ocean doth himselfe diuide. 160 In sweete spring time, when flowres varietie

Then gan the shepheard gather into one With sundrie colours paints the sprincled lay; His stragling Goates,and draue them to a foord, There lying all at ease, from guile or spight, 111 Whose cærule streame, rombling in Pible stone, With pype

of fennie reedes doth him delight. Crept vnder mosse as greene as any goord. There he, Lord of himselfe, with palme bedight, Now had the Sun halfe heauen ouergone, His looser locks doth wrap in wreath of vine : When he his heard back from that water foord, There his milk dropping Goats be his delight, Draue from the force of Phæbus boyling ray, And fruitefull Pales, and the forrest greene, Into thick shadowes, there themselues to lay. And darkesome caues in pleasaunt vallies pight, Soone as he them plac'd in thy sacred wood Whereas continuall shade is to be seene, (O Delian Goddesse) saw, to which of yore And where freshspringing wells, as christallneate, Came the bad daughter of old Cadmus brood, Do alwayes flow, to quench his thirstie heate. Cruell Agaue, flying vengeance sore 172 O who can lead then a more happie life, 121 Of king Nictileus for the guiltie blood, Than he, that with cleaneminde and heartsincere, which she with cursed hands had shed before ; No greedy riches knowes nor bloudie strife, There she halfe frantick hauing slaine hersonne, No deadly fight of warlick fleete doth feare, Did shrowd her selfe like punishment to shonne. Ne runs in perill of foes cruell knife,

Here also playing on the grassy greene, That in the sacred temples he may reare Woodgods, and Satyres, and swist Dryades, A trophee of his glittering spoyles and treasure, With many Fairies oft were dauncing seene. Or may abound in riches aboue measure. Not so much did Dan Orpheus represse, 180 Of him his God is worshipt with his sythe, The streames of Hebrus with his songs I weene, And not with skill of craftsman polished : 130 As that faire troupe of woodie Goddesses He ioyes in groues, and makes himselfe full Staied thee, (O Peneus) powring foorth to thee, blythe,

From cheereful lookes, great mirth and gladWith sundrie flowers in wilde fieldes gathered ;

some glee. Ne frankincens he from Panchea buyth, The verie nature of the place, resounding Sweete quiet harbours in his harmeles head, With gentle murmure of the breathing ayre, And perfect pleasure buildes her ioyous bowre, A pleasant bowre with all delight abounding Free from sad cares, that rich mens hearts In the fresh shadowe did for them prepayre, deuowre.

To rest their limbs with wearines redounding. This all his care, this all his whole indeuour For first the high Palme trees with braunches To this his minde and senses he doth bend, faire,

190 How he may flow in quiets matchles treasour, Out of the lowly vallies did arise, Content with any food that God doth send ; And high shoote vp their heads into the skyes. And how his limbs, resolu'd through idle leisour, And them amongst the wicked Lotos grew, Vnto sweete sleepe he may securely lend, 142 Wicked, for holding guilefully away In some coole shadow from the scorching heat, Vlysses men, whom rapt with sweetenes new, The whiles his flock their chawed cuds do eate. Taking to hoste, it quite from him did stay, O flocks, O Faunes, and 0 ye pleasaunt springs And eke those trees, in whose transformed hew Of Tempe, where the countrey Nymphs are rife, The Sunnes sad daughterswaylde the rash decay Through whose not costly care each shepheard Of Phaeton, whose limbs with lightening rent, sings

They gathering vp, with sweete teares did As merrie notes vpon his rusticke Fife,


200 one:


And that same tree, in which Demophoon, To drench himselfe in moorish slime did trace, By his disloyalty lamented sore,

There from the boyling heate himselfe to hide : Eternall hurte left vnto many one:

He passing by with rolling wreathed pace, Whom als accompanied the Oke, of yore With brandisht tongue the emptieaire didgride, Through fatall charmes transformd to such an Andwrapt hisscalie boughts with fell despight,

That all things seem'd appalled at his sight. The Oke, whose Acornes were our foode, before Now more and more hauing himselfe enrolde, That Ceres seede of mortall men were knowne, His glittering breast he lifteth vp on hie, Which first Triptoleme taught how to be sowne. And with proud vaunt his head aloft doth holde; Here also grew the rougher rinded Pine, His creste aboue spotted with purple die, 260 The great Argoan ships braue ornament 210 On euerie side did shine like scalie golde, Whomgolden Fleecedid makean heauenly signe: And his bright eyes glauncing full dreadfullie, Which coueting, with his high tops extent, Did seeme to flame out flakes of flashing fyre, To make the mountaines touch thestarres diuine, And with sterne lookes to threaten kindled yre. Decks all the forrest with embellishment, Thus wise long time he did himselfe dispace And the blacke Holme that loues the watrievale, There round about, when as at last he spide And the sweete Cypresse, signe of deadly bale. Lying along before him in that place, Emongst the rest the clambring Yuie

grew, That flocks grand Captaine, and most trustie Knitting his wanton armes with grasping hold, guide: Least that the Poplar happely should rew Eftsoones more fierce in visage, and in pace, Her brothers strokes, whose boughes she doth Throwing his firie eyes on euerie side, enfold

220 He commeth on, and all things in his way With her lythe twigs, till they the top survew, Full stearnly rends, that might his passage stay. And paint with pallid greene her buds of gold. Much he disdaines, that anie one should dare Next did the Myrtle tree to her approach, To come vnto his haunt; for which intent Not yet vnmindfull of her olde reproach. He inly burns, and gins straight to prepare But the small Birds in their wide boughs em- The weapons, which Nature to him hath lent; bowring,

Fellie he hisseth, and doth fiercely stare, Chaunted their sundrie tunes with sweete con. And hath his iawes with angrie spirits rent, sent,

That all his tract with bloudie drops is stained, And vnder them a siluer Spring forth powring And all his foldes are now in length outstrained. His trickling streames, a gentle murmure sent; Whom thus at point prepared, to preuent, Thereto the frogs, bred in the slimie scowring A litle noursling of the humid ayre,

282 Of the moist moores, their iarring voyces bent : A Gnat vnto the sleepie Shepheard went, And shrill grashoppers chirped them around : And marking where his ey-lids twinckling rare, All which the ayrie Echo did resound. 232 Shewd thetwopearles, which sight vntohim lent, In this so pleasant place this Shepheards flocke Through their thin couerings appearing fayre, Lay euerie where, their wearie limbs to rest, His little needle there infixing deep, On euerie bush, and euerie hollow rocke Warnd him awake,from death himselfe to keep. Where breathe on them the whistling wind Wherewith enrag'd, he fiercely gan vpstart, mote best;

And with his hand him rashly bruzing, slewe The whiles the Shepheard self tending hisstocke, As in auengement of his heedles smart, 291 Sate by the fountaine side, in shade to rest, That streight the spirite out of his senses flew, Where gentle slumbring sleep oppressed him, And life out of his members did depart: Displaid on ground, and seized euerie lim. 240 When suddenly casting aside his vew, Of trecherie or traines nought tooke he keep, He spide his foe with felonous intent, But looslie on the grassie greene dispredd, And feruent eyes to his destruction bent. His dearest life did trust to careles sleep; All suddenly dismaid, and hartles quight, Which weighing down his droupingdrowsie hedd, He fled abacke, and catching hastie holde In quiet rest his molten heart did steep, Of a yong alder hard beside him pight, 299 Deuoid of care, and feare of all falshedd:

It rent, and streight about him gan beholde, Had not inconstant fortune, bent to ill, What God or Fortune would assist his might. Bid strange mischance his quietnes to spill. But whether God or Fortune made him bold For at his wonted time in that same place 249 Its hard to read : yet hardie will he had An huge great Serpent all with speckles pide, To ouercome, that made him lesse adrad.

The scalie backe of that most hideous snake Where the reward of my so piteous deed ?
Enwrapped round, oft faining to retire, The praise of pitie vanisht is in vaine,
And oft him to assaile, he fiercely strake And th’antique faith of Iustice long agone
Whereas his temples did his creast-front tyre; Out of the land is fled away and gone. 360
And for he was but slowe, did slowth off shake, I saw anothers fate approaching fast,
And gazing ghastly on (for feare and yre 310 And left mine owne his safetie to tender ;
Had blentso much his sense, that lesse he feard;) Into the same mishap I now am cast,
Yet when he saw him slaine, himselfe he cheard. And shun'd destruction doth destruction render:
By this the night forth from the darksome bowre Not vnto him that neuer hath trespast,
Of Herebus her teemed steedes gan call, But punishment is due to the offender.
And laesie Vesper in his timely howre Yet let destruction be the punishment,
From golden Oeta gan proceede withall; So long as thankfull will may it relent.
Whenas the Shepheard after this sharpe stowre, I carried am into waste wildernesse, 369
Seing the doubled shadowes low to fall,

Waste wildernes, amongst Cymerian shades, Gathering his straying flocke, does homeward Where endles paines and hideous heauinesse fare,

Is round about me heapt in darksome glades. And vnto rest his wearie ioynts prepare. 320 For there huge Othos sits in sad distresse, Into whose sense so soone as lighter sleepe Fast bound with serpents that him oft inuades: Was entered, and now loosing euerie lim, Far of beholding Ephialtes tide, Sweete slumbring deaw in carelesnesse did Which once assai'd to burne this world so wide. steepe,

And there is mournfull Tilyus mindefull yet The Image of that Gnat appeard to him,

Of thy displeasure, 0 Latona faire ; And in sad tearmes gan sorrowfully weepe, Displeasure too implacable was it, With greislie countenaunce and visage grim, That made him meat for wild foules of the ayre: Wailing the wrong which he had done of late, Much do I feare among such fiends to sit; 381 In steed of good hastning his cruell fate. Much do I feare back to them to repayre, Said he, what haue I wretch deseru'd, that thus To the black shadowes of the Stygian shore, Into this bitter bale I am outcast, 330 Where wretched ghosts sit wailing euermore. Whilest that thy life more deare and precious There next the vtmost brinck doth he abide, Was than mine owne, so long as it did last?

That did the bankets of the Gods bewray, I now in lieu of paines so gracious,

Whose throat through thirst to nought nigh Am tost in th’ayre with euerie windie blast :

being dride Thou safe deliuered from sad decay,

His sense to seeke for ease turnes euery way: Thy careles limbs in loose sleep dost display. And he that in auengement of his pride, So liuest thou, but my poore wretched ghost For scorning to the sacred Gods to pray, 390 Is forst to ferrie ouer Lethes Riuer,

Against a mountaine rolls a mightie stone, And spoyld of Charon too and fro am tost. Calling in vaine for rest, and can haue none. Seest thou, how all places quake and quiuer 340 Go ye with them, go cursed damosells, Lightned with deadly lamps on euerie post ? Whose bridale torches foule Erynnis tynde, Tisiphone each where doth shake and shiuer

And Hymen at your Spousalls sad, foretells Her flaming fire brond, encountring me,

Tydings of death and massacre vnkinde: Whose lockes vncombed cruell adders be.

With them that cruell Colchid mother dwells, And Cerberus, whose many mouthes doo bay, The which conceiu'd in her reuengefull minde, And barke out flames, as if on fire he fed ; With bitter woundes her owne deere babes to Adowne whose necke in terrible array,

slay, Ten thousand snakes cralling about his hed And murdred troupes vpon great heapes to lay. Doo hang in heapes, that horribly affray, There also those two Pandionian maides, 401 And bloodie eyes doo glister firie red; 350 Calling on Itis, Itis euermore, He oftentimes me dreadfullie doth threaten,

Whom wretched boy they slew withguiltie blades; With painfull torments to be sorely beaten. For whome the Thracian king lamenting sore, Ay me, that thankes so much should faileofmeed, Turn’d to a Lapwing, fowlie them vpbraydes, For that I thee restor'd to life againe,

And fluttering round about them still does sore: Euen from the doore of death and deadlie dreed. There now they all eternally complaine Where then is now the guerdon of my paine ? Of others wrong, and suffer endles paine.


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