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Crept forth like wormes out of their slimie nature. 860
Soone as on them the Suns like giving light
Had powred kindly heat and formall feature,
Thenceforth they gan each one his like to love,
And like himselfe desire for to beget:
The Lyon chose his mate, the Turtle dove
Her deare, the Dolphin his owne Dolphinet;
But man, that had the sparke of reasons might
More than the rest to rule his passion,
Chose for his love the fairest in his sight,
Like as himselfe was fairest by creation :
For beautie is the bayt which with delight
Doth man allure for to enlarge his kynd;
Beautie, the burning lamp of heavens light,
Darting her beames into each feeble mynd:
Against whose powre nor God nor man can fynd
Defence, ne ward the daunger of the wound;
But, being hurt, seeke to be medicynd
Of her that first did stir that mortall stownd.
Then do they cry and call to love apace,
With praiers lowd importuning the skie,
Whence he them heares; and, when he list shew grace,
Does graunt them grace that otherwise would die. So love is Lord of all the world by right,
And rules their creatures by his powrfull saw,
All being made the vassals of his might,
Through secret sence which therto doth them draw.
Thus ought all lovers of their lord to deeme,
And with chaste heart to honor him alway;
But who so else doth otherwise esteeme,
Are outlawes, and his lore do disobay;
For their desire is base, and doth not merit
The name of love, but of disloyall lust :
Ne mongst true lovers they shall place inherit,
But as Exuls out of his court be thrust."
So having said, Melissa spake at will:
66 Colin, thou now full deeply hast divynd
Of love and beautie; and, with wondrous skill,
Hast Cupid selfe depainted in his kynd:
To thee are all true lovers greatly bound,
That doest their cause so mightily defend;
But most, all wemen are thy debtors found,
That doest their bountie still so much commend."
"That ill (said Hobbinol) they him requite;
For having loved ever one most deare,
He is repayd with scorne and foule despite,
That yrkes each gentle heart which it doth heare."
"Indeed (said Lucid) I have often heard
Faire Rosalind of divers fowly blamed
For being to that swaine too cruell hard;
That her bright glorie else hath much defamed. 910 But who can tell what cause had that faire Mayd
To use him so, that used her so well;
Or who with blame can justly her upbrayd,
For loving not; for who can love compell?
And, sooth to say, it is foolhardie thing,
Rashly to wyten creatures so divine;
For demigods they be, and first did spring
From heaven, though graft in frailnesse feminine.
And well I wote, that oft I heard it spoken,
How one, that fairest Helene did revile,
Through judgement of the Gods to been ywroken,
Lost both his eyes, and so remaynd long while,
Till he recanted had his wicked rimes,
And made amends to her with treble praise:
Beware therefore, ye groomes, I read betimes,
How rashly blame of Rosalind ye raise."
"Ah! shepheards, (then said Colin) ye ne weet
How great a guilt upon your heads ye draw,
To make so bold a doome, with words unmeet,
Of thing celestiall which ye never saw;
For she is not like as the other crew
Of shepheards daughters which emongst you bee,
But of divine regard and heavenly hew,
Excelling all that ever ye did see.
Not, then, to her that scorned thing so base,
But to my selfe the blame that lookt so hie:
So hie her thoughts as she her selfe have place,
And loath each lowly thing with loftie eie.
Yet so much grace let her vouchsafe to grant
To simple swaine, sith her I may not love,
Yet that I may her honour paravant,
And praise her worth, though far my wit above.
Such grace shall be some guerdon for the griefe,
And long affliction which I have endured:
Such grace sometimes shall give me some reliefe,
And ease of paine which cannot be recured.
And ye, my fellow shepheards, which do see
And hear the languours of my too long dying,
Unto the world for ever witnesse bee,
That hers I die, nought to the world denying
This simple trophe of her great conquest."-
So having ended, he from ground did rise;
And after him uprose eke all the rest:
All loth to part, but that the glooming skies
Warnd them to draw their bleating flocks to rest.
A PASTORALL ELEGIE UPON THE DEATH OF THE MOST NOBLE AND VALOROUS KNIGHT,
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.
Oft times to plaine your loves concealed
And with your piteous layes have learnd to
Compassion in a countrey lasses hart,
Hearken, ye gentle shepheards, to my song,
And place my dolefull plaint your plaints emong.
To you alone I sing this mournfull verse,
The mournfulst verse that ever man heard tell;
whose softened hearts it may empierse
With dolours dart for death of Astrophel :
you I sing and to none other wight,
For well I wot my rymes bene rudely dight.
Yet as they been, if any nycer wit
Shall hap to heare, or covet them to read,
Thinke he, that such are for such ones most fit,
Made not to please the living, but the dead:
And if in him found pity ever place,
Let him be moov'd to pity such a case.
GENTLE Shepheard, borne in Arcady,
Of gentlest race that ever shepheard bore,
About the grassie bancks of Hæmony,
Did keepe his sheep, his litle flock and
Full carefully he kept them, day and night,
In fairest fields; and Astrophel he hight.
Young Astrophel, the pride of shepheards praise,
Young Astrophel, the rusticke lasses love;
Far passing all the pastors of his daies,
In all that seemly shepheard might behove:
In one thing onely fayling of the best,
That he was not so happie as the rest.
For from the time that first the Nymph his mother
Him forth did bring, and taught her lambs to feed,
A sclender swaine, excelling far each other,
In comely shape, like her that did him breed,
He grew up fast in goodnesse and in grace,
And doubly faire woxe both in mynd and face.
Which daily more and more he did augment,
With gentle usage and demeanure myld,
That all mens hearts with secret ravishment
He stole away, and weetingly beguyld:
Ne spight it selfe, that all good things doth spill,
Found ought in him that she could say was ill.
His sports were faire, his joyance innocent,
Sweet without sowre, and honny without gall;
And he himselfe seemd made for meriment,
Merily masking both in bowre and hall.
There was no pleasure, nor delightfull play,
When Astrophel so ever was away.
For he could pipe, and daunce, and caroll sweet,
Emongst the shepheards in their shearing feast;