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THE LADIE COMPTON AND MOUNTEGLE.
MOST faire and vertuous Ladie; having often sought
opportunitie by some good meanes to make knowen to your Ladiship the humble affection and faithfull duetie, which I have alwaies professed, and am bound to beare to that House, from whence yee spring, I have at length found occasion to remember the same, by making a simple present to you of these my idle labours; which having long sithens composed in the raw conceipt of my youth, I lately amongst other papers lighted upon, and was by others, which liked the same, mooved to set them foorth. Simple is the device, and the composition meane, yet carrieth some delight, even the rather because of the simplicitie and meannesse thus personated. The same I beseech your Ladiship take in good part, as a pledge of that profession which I have made to you; and keepe with you untill, with some other more worthie labour, I do redeeme it out of your hands, and discharge my utmost dutie. Till then wishing your Ladiship all increase of honour and happinesse, I humblie take leave.
Your La ever humbly;
T was the month, in which the righteous Maide,
That for disdaine of sinfull worlds upbraide
Fled back to heaven, whence she was first conceived,
Into her silver bowre the Sunne received;
And the hot Syrian Dog on him awayting,
After the chafed Lyons cruell bayting,
Corrupted had th' ayre with his noysome breath,
And powr'd on th' earth plague, pestilence, and death.
Emongst the rest a wicked maladie
Raign'd emongst men, that manie did to die,
Depriv'd of sense and ordinarie reason;
That it to Leaches seemed strange and geason.
My fortune was, mongst manie others moe,
To be partaker of their common woe;
And my weake bodie, set on fire with griefe,
Was rob'd of rest and naturall reliefe.
In this ill plight, there came to visite mee
Some friends, who, sorie my sad case to see,
Began to comfort me in chearfull wise,
And meanes of gladsome solace to devise.
But seeing kindly sleep refuse to doe
His office, and my feeble eyes forgoe,
They sought my troubled sense how to deceave
With talke, that might unquiet fancies reave;
And, sitting all on seates about me round,
With pleasant tales (fit for that idle stound)
They cast in course to waste the wearie howres :
Some tolde of Ladies, and their Paramoures;
Some of brave Knights, and their renowned Squires;
Some of the Faeries and their strange attires;
And some of Giaunts, hard to be beleeved;
That the delight thereof me much releeved.
Amongst the rest a good old woman was,
Hight Mother Hubberd, who did farre surpas
The rest in honest mirth, that seem'd her well:
She, when her turne was come her tale to tell,
Tolde of a strange adventure, that betided
Betwixt the Foxe and th' Ape by him misguided;
The which for that my sense is greatly pleased,
All were my spirite heavie and diseased,
Ile write in termes, as she the same did say,
So well as I her words remember may.
No Muses aide me needes hereto to call;
Base is the style, and matter meane withall.
¶ Whilome (said she) before the world was civill,
The Foxe and th' Ape, disliking of their evill
And hard estate, determined to seeke
Their fortunes farre abroad, lyeke with his lyeke:
For both were craftie and unhappie witted;
Two fellowes might no where be better fitted.
The Foxe, that first this cause of griefe did finde,
Gan first thus plaine his case with words unkinde.
"Neighbour Ape, and my Goship eke beside,
(Both two sure bands in friendship to be tide,)
To whom may I more trustely complaine
The evill plight, that doth me sore constraine,
And hope thereof to finde due remedie?
Heare then my paine and inward agonie.
Thus manie yeares I now have spent and worne,
In meane regard, and basest fortunes scorne,
Dooing my Countrey service as I might,
No lesse I dare saie than the prowdest wight;
And still I hoped to be up advaunced,
For my good parts; but still it hath mischaunced.
Now therefore that no lenger hope I see,
But froward fortune still to follow mee,
And losels lifted high, where I did looke,
I meane to turne the next leafe of the booke.
Yet, ere that anie way I doo betake,
I meane my Gossip privie first to make."
"Ah! my deare Gossip, (answer'd then the Ape,)
Deeply doo your sad words my wits awhape,
Both for because your griefe doth great appeare,
And eke because my selfe am touched neare:
For I likewise have wasted much good time,
Still wayting to preferment up to clime,
Whilest others alwayes have before me stept,
And from my beard the fat away have swept ;
That now unto despaire I gin to growe,
And meane for better winde about to throwe.
Therefore to me, my trustie friend, aread
Thy councell: two is better than one head."
"Certes (said he) I meane me to disguize
In some straunge habit, after uncouth wize,
Or like a Pilgrim, or a Lymiter,
Or like a Gipsen, or a Juggeler,
And so to wander to the worldës ende,
To seeke my fortune, where I may it mend:
For worse than that I have I cannot meete.
Wide is the world I wote, and everie streete
Is full of fortunes, and adventures straunge,
Continuallie subject unto chaunge.
Say, my faire brother now, if this device
Doth like you, or may you to like entice."
"Surely (said th' Ape) it likes me wondrous well;
And, would ye not poore fellowship expell,
My selfe would offer you t' accompanie
In this adventures chauncefull jeopardie:
For, to wexe olde at home in idlenesse,
Is disadventrous, and quite fortunelesse ;
Abroad where change is, good may gotten bee."
The Foxe was glad, and quickly did agree:
So both resolv'd, the morrow next ensuing,