« PreviousContinue »
But they, whom thou, great love, by doome uniust
Didst to the type of honour earst advaunce;
They now, puft up with sdeignfull insolence,
Despise the brood of blessed Sapience.
The sectaries of my celestiall skill,
That wont to be the worlds chiefe ornament,
And learned Impes that wont to shoote up still,
And grow to height of kingdomes government,
They underkeep, and with their spreading armes
Do beat their buds, that perish through their harmes.
It most behoves the honorable race
Of mightie Peeres true wisedome to sustaine,
And with their noble countenaunce to grace
The learned forheads, without gifts or gaine:
Or rather learnd themselves behoves to bee;
That is the girlond of Nobilitie.
But (ah!) all otherwise they doo esteeme
Of th' heavenly gift of wisdomes influence,
And to be learned it a base thing deeme:
Base minded they that want intelligence;
For God himselfe for wisedome most is praised,
And men to God thereby are nighest raised.
But they doo onely strive themselves to raise
Through pompous pride, and foolish vanitie;
In th' eyes of people they put all their praise,
And onely boast of Armes and Auncestrie:
But vertuous deeds, which did those armes first give
To their grandsyres, they care not to atchive.
So I, that doo all noble feates professe
To register, and sound in trump of gold;
Through their bad dooings, or base slothfulnesse,
Finde nothing worthie to be writ, or told:
For better farre it were to hide their names,
Then telling them to blazon out their blames.
So shall succeeding ages have no light
Of things forepast, nor moniments of time;
And all that in this world is worthie hight
Shall die in darknesse, and lie hid in slime!
Therefore I mourne with deep harts sorrowing,
Because I nothing noble have to sing.-
With that she raynd such store of streaming teares,
That could have made a stonie heart to weep;
And all her Sisters rent their golden heares,
And their faire faces with salt humour steep.
So ended shee: and then the next in rew 1
Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew.
O! WHO shall powre into my swollen eyes
A sea of teares that never may be dryde,
A brasen voice that may with shrilling cryes
Pierce the dull heavens and fill the ayer wide,
And yron sides that sighing may endure,
To waile the wretchednes of world impure?
Ah! wretched world, the den of wickednesse,
Deformd with filth and fowle iniquitie;
Ah! wretched world, the house of heavinesse,
Fild with the wreaks of mortall miserie;
Ah! wretched world, and all that is therein,
The vassals of Gods wrath, and slaves to sin.
Most miserable creature under sky
Man without Understanding doth appeare;
For all this worlds affliction he thereby,
And Fortunes freakes, is wisely taught to beare:
Of wretched life the onely ioy Shee is,
And th' only comfort in calamities.
She armes the brest with constant patience
Against the bitter throwes of Dolours darts:
She solaceth with rules of Sapience
The gentle minds, in midst of worldly smarts:
When he is sad, shee seeks to make him merie,
And doth refresh his sprights when they be werie.
But he that is of reasons skill bereft,
And wants the staffe of wisedome him to stay,
Is like a ship in midst of tempest left
Withouten helme or pilot her to sway :
Full sad and dreadfull is that ships event;
So is the man that wants intendiment.1
1 Intendiment, understanding.
Why then doo foolish men so much despize
The precious store of this celestiall riches?
Why doo they banish us, that patronize
The name of learning? Most unhappie wretches!
The which lie drowned in deep wretchednes,
Yet doo not see their owne unhappiness.
My part it is and my professed skill
The Stage with Tragick Buskin to adorne,
And fill the Scene with plaint and outcries shrill
Of wretched persons, to misfortune borne:
But none more tragick matter I can finde
Then this, of men depriv'd of sense and minde.
For all mans life me seemes a tragedy,
Full of sad sights and sore catastrophees;
First comming to the world with weeping eye,
Where all his dayes, like dolorous trophees,
Are heapt with spoyles of fortune and of feare,
And he at last laid forth on balefull beare.
So all with rufull spectacles is fild,
Fit for Megera or Persephone;
But I that in true Tragedies am skild,
The flowre of wit, finde nought to busie me:
So rested she: and then the next in rew
Began her grievous plaint, as doth ensew.
WHERE be the sweete delights of learnings treasure,
That wont with Comick sock to beautefie
The painted Theaters, and fill with pleasure
The listners eyes and eares with melodie;
In which I late was wont to raine as Queene,
And maske in mirth with Graces well beseene?
O! all is gone; and all that goodly glee,
Which wont to be the glorie of gay wits,
Is layd abed, and no where now to see;
And in her roome unseemly Sorrow sits,
With hollow browes and greisly countenaunce,
Marring my ioyous gentle dalliaunce.
And him beside sits ugly Barbarisme,
And brutish Ignorance, ycrept of late
Out of dredd darknes of the deepe abysme,
Where being bredd, he light and heaven does hate:
They in the mindes of men now tyrannize,
And the faire scene with rudenes foule disguize.
All places they with follie have possest,
And with vaine toyes the vulgar entertaine;
But me have banished, with all the rest
That whilome1 wont to wait upon my traine,