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Visions of the worlds vanitie.


Ne day, whiles that my daylie cares did sleepe, My spirit, shaking off her earthly prison, Began to enter into meditation deepe Of things exceeding reach of common reason; Such as this age, in which all good is geason, And all that humble is and meane debaced, Hath brought forth in her last declining season, Griefe of good mindes, to see goodnesse disgraced. On which when as my thought was throghly placed,


Vnto my eyes strange showes presented were, Picturing that, which I in minde embraced, That yet those sights empassion me full nere. Such as they were (faire Ladie) take in worth, That when time serues, may bring things better forth.


In Summers day, when Phoebus fairly shone, I saw a Bull as white as driuen snowe,

With gilden hornes embowed like the Moone, In a fresh flowring meadow lying lowe:

Vp to his eares the verdant grasse did growe, And the gay floures did offer to be eaten ; 20 But he with fatnes so did ouerflowe,

That heallwallowed in the weedes downe beaten, Ne car'd with them his daintie lips to sweeten: Till that a Brize, a scorned little creature, Through his faire hide his angrie sting did


And vext so sore, that all his goodly feature, And all his plenteous pasture nought him pleased:

So by the small the great is oft diseased.



Beside the fruitfull shore of muddie Nile, Vpon a sunnie banke outstretched lay In monstrous length, a mightie Crocodile, That cram'd with guiltles blood, and greedie pray Of wretched people trauailing that way, Thought all things lesse than his disdainful pride.

I saw a little Bird, cal'd Tedula,

The least of thousands which on earth abide,

That forst this hideous beast to open wide The greisly gates of his deuouring hell, And let him feede, as Nature doth prouide, Vpon his iawes, that with blacke venime swell. Why then should greatest things the least disdaine,


Sith that so small so mightie can constraine ?


The kingly Bird, that beares Ioues thunderclap,

One day did scorne the simple Scarabee,
Proud of his highest seruice, and good hap,
That made all other Foules his thralls to bee:
The silly Flie, that no redresse did see,
Spide where the Eagle built his towring nest,
And kindling fire within the hollow tree,
Burnt vp his yong ones, and himselfe distrest;
Ne suffred him in anie place to rest,
But droue in Ioues owne lap his egs to lay ;
Where gathering also filth him to infest,
Forst with the filth his egs to fling away:


For which when as the Foule was wroth, said Ioue,

Lo how the least the greatest may reproue.


Toward the sea turning my troubled eye, I saw the fish (if fish I may it cleepe) And with his flaggie finnes doth seeme to sweepe That makes the sea before his face to flye, 59

The huge Leuiathan, dame Natures wonder, Making his sport, that manie makes to weep: A sword-fish small him from the rest did sunder,

The fomie waues out of the dreadfull deep,

That in his throat him pricking softly vnder, His wide Abysse him forced forth to spewe, That all the sea did roare like heauens thunder,

And all the waues were stain'd with filthie hewe. Hereby I learned haue, not to despise, What euer thing seemes small in common eyes.



An hideous Dragon, dreadfull to behold, Whose backe was arm'd against the dint of


With shields of brasse, that shone like burnisht golde,

And forkhed sting, that death in it did beare,
Stroue with a Spider his vnequall peare:
And bad defiance to his enemie.
The subtill vermin creeping closely neare,
Did in his drinke shed poyson priuilie;

Which through his entrailes spredding diuersly,

Made him to swell, that nigh his bowells brust,
And him enforst to yeeld the victorie,
That did so much in his owne greatnesse trust.
O how great vainnesse is it then to scorne
The weake, that hath the strong so oft for-

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Soone after this I saw an Elephant, Adorn'd with bells and bosses gorgeouslie, 100 That on his backe did beare (as batteilant) A gilden towre, which shone exceedinglie;

That he himselfe through foolish vanitie, Both for his rich attire, and goodly forme, Was puffed vp with passing surquedrie, And shortly gan all other beasts to scorne, Till that a little Ant, a silly worme, Into his nosthrils creeping, so him pained, That casting downe his towres, he did deforme Both borrowed pride, and natiue beautie stained.

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Of all the world, and florisht most in might, The nations gan their soueraigntie disdaine, And cast to quitt them from their bondage quight:

So when all shrouded were in silent night, The Galles were, by corrupting of a mayde, Possest nigh of the Capitol through slight, Had not a Goose the treachery bewrayde.

If then a Goose great Rome from ruine stayde, And Ioue himselfe, the patron of the place, Preserud from being to his foes betrayde, 151 Why do vaine men mean things so much deface, And in their might repose their most assur

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The Visions of Bellay.

T was the time, when rest soft sliding downe From heauens hight into mens heauy eyes, In the forgetfulnes of sleepe doth drowne The carefull thoughts of mortall miseries : Then did a Ghost before mine eyes appeare, On that great riuers banck, that runnes by Rome,

Which calling me by name, bad me to reare My lookes to heauen whence all good gifts do come,

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All wrought with Diamond after Dorick wize: Nor brick, nor marble was the wall in view, But shining Christall, which from top to base Out of her womb a thousand rayons threw, On hundred steps of Afrike golds enchase:

Golde was the parget, and the seeling bright Did shine all scaly with great plates of golde; The floore of Iasp and Emeraude was dight. O worlds vainesse. Whiles thus I did behold, An earthquake shooke the hill from lowest seat,

And ouerthrew this frame with ruine great. 3

Then did a sharped spyre of Diamond bright,

Ten feete each way in square, appeare to mee,
Iustly proportion'd vp vnto his hight,
So far as Archer might his leuel see:


The top thereof a pot did seeme to beare, Made of the mettall, which we most do honour, And in this golden vessell couched weare The ashes of a mightie Emperour:

Vpon foure corners of the base were pight, To beare the frame, foure great Lyons of gold; A worthy tombe for such a worthy wight. Alas this world doth nought but grieuance hold. 40

I saw a tempest from the heauen descend, Which this braue monument with flash did rend.


I saw raysde vp on yuorie pilloures tall, Whose bases were of richest mettalls warke, The chapters Alablaster, the fryses christall, The double front of a triumphall Arke:

On each side purtraid was a Victorie, Clad like a Nimph, that wings of siluer weares, And in triumphant chayre was set on hie, The auncient glory of the Romaine Peares. 50

No worke it seem'd of earthly craftsmans wit, But rather wrought by his owne industry, That thunder-dartes for Ioue his syre doth fit. Let me no more see faire thing vnder sky,

Sith that mine eyes haue seene so faire a sight With sodain fall to dust consumed quight.


Then was the faire Dodonian tree far seene, Vpon seauen hills to spread his gladsome gleame,

And conquerours bedecked with his greene, Along the bancks of the Ausonian streame:

There many an auncient Trophee was addrest,

61 And many a spoyle, and many a goodly show, Which that braue races greatnes did attest, That whilome from the Troyan blood did flow. Rauisht I was so rare a thing to vew, When lo a barbarous troupe of clownish fone The honour of these noble boughs down threw, Vnder the wedge I heard the tronck to grone; And since I saw the roote in great disdaine A twinne of forked trees send forth againe. 6

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I saw the Bird that can the Sun endure,
With feeble wings assay to mount on hight,
By more and more she gan her wings t'assure,
Following th'ensample of her mothers sight:
I saw her rise, and with a larger flight
To pierce the cloudes, and with wide pinneons
To measure the most haughtie mountaines

Vntill she raught the Gods owne mansions:
There was she lost, when suddaine I behelde,
Where tumbling through the ayre in firie fold;
All flaming downe she on the plaine was felde,
And soone her bodie turn'd to ashes colde.

I saw the foule that doth the light dispise,
Out of her dust like to a worme arise.

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Then all astonied with this mighty ghoast,
An hideous bodie big and strong I sawe,
With side long beard, and locks down hanging

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I saw a spring out of a rocke forth rayle,
As cleare as Christall gainst the Sunnie beames,
The bottome yeallow, like the golden grayle
That bright Pactolus washeth with his streames;

It seem'd that Art and Nature had assembled All pleasure there, for which mans hart could long;


Sterne face, and front full of Saturnlike awe;
Who leaning on the belly of a pot,
Pourd foorth a water, whose out gushing flood And there a noyse alluring sleepe soft trembled,
Ran bathing all the creakie shore aflot, 119 Of manie accords more sweete than Mermaids
Whereon the Troyan prince spilt Turnus blood;
And at his feete a bitch wolfe suck did yeeld
To two young babes: his left the Palme tree


His right hand did the peacefull Oliue wield,
And head with Lawrell garnisht was about.
Sudden both Palme and Oliue fell away,
And faire greene Lawrell branch did quite

The seates and benches shone as yuorie,
And hundred Nymphes sate side by side about;
When from nigh hills with hideous outcrie,
A troupe of Satyres in the place did rout,

Which with their villeine feete the streame

did ray,

Threw down the seats, and droue the Nymphs



Much richer then that vessell seem'd to bee, Which did to that sad Florentine appeare, 170 Casting mine eyes farre off, I chaunst to see, Vpon the Latine Coast herselfe to reare:

But suddenly arose a tempest great,
Bearing close enuie to these riches rare,
Which gan assaile this ship with dreadfull

This ship, to which none other might compare.
And finally the storme impetuous
Sunke vp these riches, second vnto none,
Within the gulfe of greedie Nereus.
I saw both ship and mariners each one,
And all that treasure drowned in the

But I the ship saw after raisd' againe.



Long hauing deeply gron'd these visions sad, I saw a Citie like vnto that same, Which saw the messenger of tidings glad; But that on sand was built the goodly frame:

It seem'd her top the firmament did rayse, And no lesse rich than faire, right worthie


(If ought here worthie) of immortall dayes, Or if ought vnder heauen might firme endure.

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That with great noyse I wakte in sudden wonder.


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As much it grieueth me to thinke thereon.
At my right hand a Hynde appear'd to mee,
So faire as mote the greatest God delite;
Two eager dogs did her pursue in chace,
Of which the one was blacke, the other

With deadly force so in their cruell race

They pincht the haunches of that gentle beast,

That at the last, and in short time I spide, 10
Vnder a Rocke where she alas opprest,
Fell to the ground, and there vntimely dide.
Cruell death vanquishing so noble beautie,
Oft makes me wayle so hard a destenie.


After at sea a tall ship did appeare, Made all of Heben and white Yuorie, The sailes of golde, of silke the tackle were, Milde was the winde, calme seem'd the sea to bee,

The skie eachwhere did show full bright and faire ;

With rich treasures this gay ship fraighted

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