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TO THE RIGHT NOBLE AND BEAUTIFULL LADIE,
THE LA: MARIE,
COUNTESSE OF PEMBROOKE.
MOST Honourable and bountifull Ladie, there bee long sithens deepe sowed in my brest the seedes of most entire love and humble affection unto that most brave Knight, your noble brother* deceased; which, taking roote, began in his life time somewhat to bud forth, and to shew themselves to him, as then in the weaknes of their first spring; and would in their riper strength (had it pleased High God till then to drawe out his daies) spired forth 2 fruit of more perfection. But since God hath disdeigned the world of that most noble Spirit, which was the hope of all learned men, and the Patron of my young Muses; together with him both their hope of anie further fruit was cut off, and also the tender delight of those their first blossoms nipped and quite dead. Yet, sithens my late cumming into England, some frends of mine, (which might much prevaile with me, and indeede commaund me,) knowing with howe straight bandes of duetie I was tied to him, as also bound unto that noble House, (of which the
1 Sithens, since.
2 Spired forth, produced.
* Sir Philip Sidney.
chiefe hope then rested in him,) have sought to revive them by upbraiding me, for that I have not shewed anie thankefull remembrance towards him or any of them; but suffer their names to sleep in silence and forgetfulnesse. Whome chieflie to satisfie, or els to avoide that fowle blot of unthankefulnesse, I have conceived this small Poeme, intituled by a generall name of The Worlds Ruines; yet speciallie intended to the renowming of that noble Race, from which both you and he sprong, and to the eternizing of some of the chiefe of them late deceased. The which I dedicate unto your La. as whome it most specially concerneth; and to whome I acknowledge my selfe bounden by many singular favours and great graces. I pray for your Honourable happinesse: and so humbly kisse your hands.
Your Ladiships ever humblie at commaund,
RUINES OF TIME.*
IT chaunced me on1 day beside the shore
By which the travailer, that fares that way,
1 On, one.
Ver. 3.- Verlame.] Verolamium, or Verulam, was a Roman town, near the present city of St. Albanз, in Hertfordshire. Some remains of its walls are still perceptible.
"The piece entitled the Ruines of Time discloses its subject in its name. Its principal feature is the lamentation of the city of Verulam, under the emblematical representation of a female, over the decay of her towers and palaces, in the course of which, the lady takes occasion to moralize on the transitory nature of human things, and afterwards adverts to the death of the Earl of Leicester. To the commendation of this nobleman and his family, the poem is, in fact, especially devoted. The general subject is undoubtedly a fine but the poet has made but little of it; the poem containing neither grandeur, sublimity, nor pathos. His reflections on the instability of human affairs are not to be compared to the eloquent and imaginative moralizations of Jeremy Taylor in his Holy Dying.”— Retrospective Review, vol. xii. p. 154.
There, on the other side, I did behold
And streames of teares from her faire eyes forth railing1:
Whether she were one of that Rivers Nymphes,
I (to her calling) askt what her so vexed.
"Ah! what delight (quoth she) in earthlie thing, Or comfort can I, wretched creature, have?
Whose happines the heavens envying,
From highest staire to lowest step me drave,
And have in mine owne bowels made my grave,
The worlds sad spectacle, and fortunes scorne."
Much was I mooved at her piteous plaint,
1 Railing, rolling, flowing.
2 Brent, burnt.
"I was that Citie, which the garland wore
By Romane Victors, which it wonne of yore;
"O vaine worlds glorie, and unstedfast state
"Why then dooth flesh, a bubble-glas of breath,
"Looke backe, who list, unto the former ages,
1 Sith, since.
2 Ingate, entrance, beginning.