Page images

And let him feede, as Nature did provide,

Upon his jawes, that with blacke venime swell.
Why then should greatest things the least disdaine,
Siththat so small so mightie can constraine?


The kingly bird, that beares Ioves thunder-clap,
One day did scorne the simple scarabee,2
Proud of his highest service, 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 up his yong ones, and himselfe distrest;
Ne suffred him in anie place to rest,
But drove in loves 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 Iove,
"Lo! how the least the greatest may reprove."


Toward the sea turning my troubled eye,
I saw the fish (if fish I may it cleepe3)
That makes the sea before his face to flye,
And with his flaggie finnes doth seeme to sweepe
The fomie waves out of the dreadfull deep,
The huge Leviathan, dame Natures wonder,
Making his sport, that manie makes to weep:
A Sword-fish small him from the rest did sunder,
That, in his throat him pricking softly under,
His wide abysse him forced forth to spewe,

1 Sith, since. 2 Scarabee, beetle.




Cleepe, call.

That all the sea did roare like heavens thunder,
And all the waves were stain'd with filthie hewe.
Hereby I learned have not to despise

Whatever thing seemes small in common eyes.


An hideous Dragon, dreadfull to behold,

Whose backe was arm'd against the dint of speare
With shields of brasse that shone like burnisht golde,
And forkhed sting that death in it did beare,
Strove with a Spider his unequall peare;
And bad defiance to his enemie.

The subtill vermin, creeping closely neare,
Did in his drinke shed poyson privilie;
Which, through his entrailes spredding diversly,
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 forlorne!


High on a hill a goodly Cedar grewe,
Of wondrous length, and streight proportion,
That farre abroad her daintie odours threwe;
Mongst all the daughters of proud Libanon,
Her match in beautie was not anie one.
Shortly within her inmost pith there bred
A little wicked worme, perceiv'd of none,
That on her sap and vitall moysture fed:
Thenceforth her garland so much honoured
Began to die, (O great ruth for the same!)
And her faire lockes fell from her loftie head,
That shortly balde and bared she became.

I, which this sight beheld, was much dismayed, To see so goodly thing so soone decayed.


Soone after this I saw an Elephant,
Adorn'd with bells and bosses gorgeouslie,
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 up with passing surquedrie,1
And shortly gan all other beasts to scorne.
Till that a little Ant, a silly worme,
Into his nostrils creeping, so him pained,
That, casting downe his towres, he did deforme
Both borrowed pride, and native beautie stained.
Let therefore nought, that great is, therein glorie,
Sith so small thing his happines may varie.


Looking far foorth into the ocean wide,

A goodly ship with banners bravely dight,2
And flag in her top-gallant, I espide

Through the maine sea making her merry flight:
Faire blew the winde into her bosome right;

And th' heavens looked lovely all the while;
That she did seeme to daunce, as in delight,
And at her owne felicitie did sinile.

All sodainely there clove unto her keele

A little fish, that men call Remora,

Which stopt her course, and held her by the heele, That winde nor tide could move her thence away.

1 Surquedrie, pride.

Dight, adorned.

VIII. 3.— As batteilunt.] As if equipped for battle.

Straunge thing, me seemeth, that so small a thing
Should able be so great an one to wring.


A mighty Lyon, lord of all the wood,
Having his hunger throughly satisfide

With pray of beasts and spoyle of living blood,
Safe in his dreadles den him thought to hide :
His sternesse was his prayse, his strength his pride,
And all his glory in his cruell clawes.

I saw a Wasp, that fiercely him defide,

And bad him battaile even to his iawes;

Sore he him stong, that it the blood forth drawes,
And his proude heart is fild with fretting ire:
In vaine he threats his teeth, his tayle, his pawes,
And from his bloodie eyes doth sparkle fire;
That dead himselfe he wisheth for despight.
So weakest may anoy the most of might!


What time the Romaine Empire bore the raine
Of all the world, and florisht most in might,
The nations gan their soveraigntie 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 love himselfe, the patron of the place,
Preservd from being to his foes betrayde;
Why do vaine men mean things so much deface,
And in their might repose their most assurance,
Sith1 nought on earth can chalenge long endurance?

1 Sith, since.


When these sad sights were overpast and gone,
My spright was greatly moved in her rest,
With inward ruth and deare affection,

To see so great things by so small distrest:
Thenceforth I gan in my engrieved brest
To scorne all difference of great and small,
Siththat the greatest often are opprest,
And unawares doe into daunger fall.
And ye, that read these Ruines Tragicall,
Learne, by their losse, to love the low degree;
And, if that Fortune chaunce you up to call
To Honours seat, forget not what you be:
For he, that of himselfe is most secure,
Shall finde his state most fickle and unsure.

Sith, since.


« PreviousContinue »