Page images

In which the birds sang many, a lovely lay
Of God's high praise, and of their sweet loves !

As it an earthly paradise had been;
In whose enclosed shadow there was pight
A fair pavilion, scarcely to be seen,
The which was all within most richly dight,
That greatest princes living it mote well delight.

Thither they brought that wounded squire, and laid

couch his feeble limbs to rest :
He rested him a while, and then the maid
His ready wound with better salves new drest;
Daily she dressed him, and did the best
His grievous hurt to guarish ? that she might,
That shortly he his dolour had redrest,
And his foul sore reduced to fair plight;
It she reduced, but himself destroyed quite.

O foolish physic, and unfruitful pain,
That heals up one, and makes another wound;
She his hurt thigh to him recur'd again,
But hurt his heart, the which before was sound,
Through an unwary dart, which did rebound
From her fair eyes and gracious countenance :
What boots it him from death to be unbound,
To be captived in endeless durànce
Of sorrow and despair without allegiance ?

1 Sorrow. Heal:

Thus warred he long time against his will,
Till that through weakness he was forced at last
To yield himself unto the mighty ill,
Which as a victor proud 'gan ransack fast
His inward parts, and all his entrails waste,
That neither blood in face, nor life in heart,
It left, but both did quite dry up and blast,
As piercing levin, which the inner part
Of every thing consumes, and calcineth by art.

Which seeing, fair Belphebe 'gan to fear
Least that his wound were inly well not heal’d,
Or that the wicked steel empoison'd were ;
Little she ween'd that love he close conceal'd;
Yet still he wasted as the snow congeald,
When the bright sun his beams thereon doth beat;
Yet never he his heart to her reveal’d,
But rather chose to die for sorrow great,
Than with dishonourable terms her to entreat.






Since I did leave the presence of my love,
Many long weary days I have outworn,
And many nights that slowly seem'd to move
Their sad protract from evening until morn.
For, where as day the heaven doth adorn,

I wish that night the noyous day would end;
And when as night hath us of light forlorn,
I wish that day would shortly reascend.
Thus I the time with expectation spend,
And fain my grief with changes to beguile,
That further seems his term still to extend,
And maketh every minute seem a mile.
So sorrow still doth seem too long to last,
But joyous hours do fly away too fast.


LIKE as the culver, on the bared bough,
Sits mourning for the absence of her mate,
And in her songs sends many a wishful vow
For his return that seems to linger late ;
So I alone, now left disconsolate,
Mourn to myself the absence of my love,
And, wand'ring here and there, all desolate,
Seek with my plaints to match that mournful dove:
Ne joy of aught that under heaven doth hove,
Can comfort me but her own joyous sight,
Whose sweet aspect both God and man can move,
In her unspotted pleasures to delight.
Dark is my day, whiles her fair light I miss,
And dead my life, that wants such lively bliss.






to be

This bold and spirited poem has been ascribed to several authors, but to none on satisfactory authority. It can be traced to MS. of a date as early as 1593, when Francis Davison, who published it in his Poetical Rhapsody, was too young supposed, with much probability, to have written it; and as Davison's work was a compilation, his claims to it must be very doubtful. Sir Egerton Brydges has published it among Sir Walter Raleigh's poems, but without a tittle of evidence to shew that it was the production of that great man. Mr. Ellis gives it to Joshua Sylvester, evidently by mistake. Whoever looks at the folio vol. of Sylvester's poems, will see that Joshua uses the beautiful original merely as a text, and has the conscience to print his own stuff in a way that shews it to be interpolated. Among those additions there occur some such execrable stanzas as the following:

Say, soldiers are the sink
Of sin to all the realm,

Giv'n all to whore and drink,
To quarrel and blaspheme.

Tell townsmen, that because that
They prank their brides so proud,

times it draws that Which makes them beetle-brow'd.

Ohe jam satis !

Too many


Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand,
Fear not to touch the best,
The truth shall be thy warrant;
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.

Go, tell the Court it glows,
And shines like rotten wood;
Go, tell the Church it shews
What's good and doth no good,
If Church and Court reply,
Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates they live,
Acting by others actions,
Not lov'd, unless they give,
Not strong but by their factions ;
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.

« PreviousContinue »