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Lets none shoot up that nigh him planted bee.
O let the man, of whom the Muse is scorned,
Nor alive nor dead be of the Muse adorned!

"O vile worlds trust! that with such vaine illusion Hath so wise men bewitcht, and overkest,

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That they see not the way of their confusion:

O vainesse! to be added to the rest,

That do my soule with inward griefe infest :
Let them behold the piteous fall of mee,

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And in my case their owne ensample see.

"And who so els that sits in highest seate Of this worlds glorie, worshipped of all,

Ne feareth change of time, nor fortunes threate,

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Let him behold the horror of my fall,
And his owne end unto remembrance call;

That of like ruine he may warned bee,

And in himselfe be moov'd to pittie mee."

Thus having ended all her piteous plaint,

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With dolefull shrikes shee vanished away,

That I through inward sorrowe wexen faint,

And all astonished with deepe dismay

For her departure, had no word to say;

But sate long time in sencelesse sad affright,
Looking still, if I might of her have sight.

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Which when I missed, having looked long,
My thought returned greeved home againe,
Renewing her complaint with passion strong,
For ruth of that same womans piteous paine;
Whose wordes recording in my troubled braine,

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I felt such anguish wound my feeble heart,
That frosen horror ran through everie part.

So inlie greeving in my groning brest,

And deepelie muzing at her doubtfull speach,

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Whose meaning much I labored foorth to wreste,
Being above my slender reasons reach;
At length, by demonstration me to teach,
Before mine eies strange sights presented were,
Like tragicke Pageants seeming to appeare.

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1.

I SAW an Image, all of massie gold,

Placed on high upon an Altare faire,

That all, which did the same from farre beholde,
Might worship it, and fall on lowest staire.

Not that great Idoll might with this compaire,

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To which th' Assyrian Tyrant would have made

The holie brethren falslie to have praid.

But th' Altare, on the which this Image staid,

Was (O great pitie!) built of brickle1 clay,

That shortly the foundation decaid,

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With showres of heaven and tempests worne away;

Then downe it fell, and low in ashes lay,

Scorned of everie one, which by it went;

That I, it seeing, dearelie did lament.

II.

Next unto this a statelie Towre appeared,

Built all of richest stone that might bee found,

1 Brickle, brittle.

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Ver. 497. The holie brethren, &c.] See the third chapter of the book of Daniel.

And nigh unto the Heavens in height upreared,
But placed on a plot of sandie ground:

Not that great Towre, which is so much renownd
For tongues confusion in Holie Writ,

King Ninus worke, might be compar'd to it.
But O vaine labours of terrestriall wit,
That buildes so stronglie on so frayle a soyle,
As with each storme does fall away, and flit,
And gives the fruit of all your travailes toyle,
To be the pray of Tyme, and Fortunes spoyle!
I saw this Towre fall sodainelie to dust,

That nigh with griefe thereof my heart was brust.

III.

Then did I see a pleasant Paradize,

Full of sweete flowres and daintiest delights,
Such as on earth man could not more devize,

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With pleasures choyce to feed his cheerefull sprights:
Not that, which Merlin by his magicke slights

Made for the gentle Squire, to entertaine
His fayre Belphoebe, could this gardine staine.
But O short pleasure bought with lasting paine!
Why will hereafter anie flesh delight
In earthlie blis, and ioy in pleasures vaine,
Since that I sawe this gardine wasted quite,
That where it was scarce seemed anie sight?
That I, which once that beautie did beholde,
Could not from teares my melting eyes with-holde.

IV.

Soone after this a Giaunt came in place,

Of wondrous powre, and of exceeding stature,
That none durst vewe the horror of his face,

Yet was he milde of speach, and meeke of nature:
Not he, which in despight of his Creatour

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With railing tearmes defied the Iewish hoast,
Might with this mightie one in hugenes boast;
For from the one he could to th' other coast

Stretch his strong thighes, and th' ocean overstride,
And reatch his hand into his enemies hoast.
But see the end of pompe and fleshlie pride!
One of his feete unwares from him did slide,
That downe hee fell into the deepe abisse,
Where drownd with him is all his earthlie blisse.

V.

Then did I see a Bridge, made all of golde,
Over the sea from one to other side,
Withouten prop or pillour it t' upholde,

But like the coloured rainbowe arched wide:
Not that great Arche, which Traian edifide,1
To be a wonder to all age ensuing,
Was matchable to this in equall vewing.
But (ah!) what bootes it to see earthlie thing
In glorie or in greatnes to excell,

Sith 2 time doth greatest things to ruine bring?
This goodlie Bridge, one foote not fastned well,
Gan faile, and all the rest downe shortlie fell,
Ne of so brave a building ought remained,
That griefe thereof my spirite greatly pained.

VI.

I saw two Beares, as white as anie milke,
Lying together in a mightie cave,
Of milde aspect, and haire as soft as silke,
That salvage nature seemed not to have,
Nor after greedie spoyle of bloud to crave:
Two fairer beasts might not elswhere be found,

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Although the compast world were sought around.
But what can long abide above this ground

In state of blis, or stedfast happinesse?

The Cave, in which these Beares lay sleeping sound, Was but of earth, and with her weightinesse

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Upon them fell, and did unwares oppresse;

That, for great sorrow of their sudden fate,
Henceforth all worlds felicitie I hate.

¶ Much was I troubled in my heavie spright,
At sight of these sad spectacles forepast,
That all my senses were bereaved quight,
And I in minde remained sore agast,
Distraught1twixt feare and pitie; when at last
I heard a voyce, which loudly to me called,
That with the suddein shrill I was appalled.

Behold (said it) and by ensample see,
That all is vanitie and griefe of minde,
Ne other comfort in this world can be,

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But hope of heaven, and heart to God inclinde;

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For all the rest must needs be left behinde:

With that it bad me, to the other side

To cast mine eye, where other sights I spide.

I.

UPON that famous Rivers further shore,

There stood a snowie Swan of heavenly hiew,

And gentle kinde, as ever Fowle afore;

A fairer one in all the goodlie criew

1 Distraught, distracted. 2 Shrill, shrill sound.

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