Sir Philip Sidney
ADEFENCE OF POESIE
When theright virtuous Edward Wotton and I were at theEmperor'scourt togetherwe gave ourselves to learn horsemanship ofGio.Pietro Pugliano; one thatwith great commendationhad theplace ofan esquire in his stable; and heaccording to thefertilenessof the Italian witdid not only afford us thedemonstrationof his practicebut sought to enrich our minds withthecontemplation thereinwhich he thought most precious. But withnoneIremembermine ears were at any time more ladenthan when(eitherangered with slow paymentor moved with our learner-likeadmiration)he exercised his speech in the praise of his faculty.
He saidsoldiers were the noblest estate of mankindand horsementhenoblest of soldiers. He saidthey were the masters of war andornamentsof peacespeedy goersand strong abiderstriumphersboth incamps and courts; nayto so unbelieved a point heproceededas that no earthly thing bred such wonder to a princeasto be agood horseman; skill of government was but a "pedanteria"incomparison. Then would he add certain praises by telling what apeerlessbeast the horse wasthe only serviceable courtierwithoutflatterythe beast of most beautyfaithfulnesscourageand suchmorethatif I had not been a piece of a logician before I came tohimIthink he would have persuaded me to have wished myself ahorse. But thus muchat leastwith his no few wordshe droveinto methat self love is better than any gildingto make thatseemgorgeous wherein ourselves be parties.
Whereinif Pugliano's strong affection and weak arguments will notsatisfyyouI will give you a nearer example of myselfwhoI knownot bywhat mischancein these my not old years and idlest timeshavingslipped into the title of a poetam provoked to saysomethingunto you in the defence of that my unelected vocation;which if Ihandle with more good will than good reasonsbear withmesincethe scholar is to be pardoned that followeth the steps ofhismaster.
And yet Imust saythat as I have more just cause to make a pitifuldefence ofpoor poetrywhichfrom almost the highest estimation oflearningis fallen to be the laughing-stock of children; so have Ineed tobring some more available proofssince the former is by noman barredof his deserved creditwhereas the silly latter hath hadeven thenames of philosophers used to the defacing of itwithgreatdanger of civil war among the Muses.
At firsttrulyto all them thatprofessing learninginveighagainstpoetrymay justly be objectedthat they go very near toungratefulnessto seek to deface that whichin the noblest nationsandlanguages that are knownhath been the first light-giver toignoranceand first nursewhose milk by little and little enabledthem tofeed afterwards of tougher knowledges. And will you playthehedgehogthat being received into the dendrove out his host?or ratherthe vipersthat with their birth kill their parents?
Letlearned Greecein any of her manifold sciencesbe able to showme onebook before MusaeusHomerand Hesiodall three nothingelse butpoets. Naylet any history he brought that can say anywriterswere there before themif they were not men of the sameskillasOrpheusLinusand some others are namedwho having beenthe firstof that country that made pens deliverers of theirknowledgeto posteritymay justly challenge to be called theirfathers inlearning. For not only in time they had this priority(althoughin itself antiquity be venerable) but went before them ascauses todraw with their charming sweetness the wild untamed witsto anadmiration of knowledge. So as Amphion was said to movestoneswith his poetry to build Thebesand Orpheus to be listenedto bybeastsindeedstony and beastly peopleso among the RomanswereLivius Andronicusand Ennius; so in the Italian languagethefirst thatmade it to aspire to be a treasure-house of sciencewerethe poetsDanteBoccaceand Petrarch; so in our English were GowerandChaucer; after whomencouraged and delighted with theirexcellentforegoingothers have followed to beautify our mothertongueaswell in the same kind as other arts.
Thisdid so notably show itself that the philosophers of Greecedurst nota long time appear to the world but under the mask ofpoets; soThalesEmpedoclesand Parmenides sang their naturalphilosophyin verses; so did Pythagoras and Phocylides their moralcounsels;so did Tyrtaeus in war matters; and Solon in matters ofpolicy; orrather theybeing poetsdid exercise their delightfulvein inthose points of highest knowledgewhich before them layhidden tothe world; for that wise Solon was directly a poet it ismanifesthaving written in verse the notable fable of the AtlanticIslandwhich was continued by Plato. AndtrulyevenPlatowhosoeverwell considereth shall find that in the body of his workthough theinside and strength were philosophythe skinas itwereandbeauty depended most of poetry. For all stands upondialogues;wherein he feigns many honest burgesses of Athensspeakingof such matters that if they had been set on the rack theywouldnever have confessed them; besideshis poetical describingthecircumstances of their meetingsas the well-ordering of abanquetthe delicacy of a walkwith interlacing mere tilesasGyges'sRingand others; whichwho knows not to be flowers ofpoetrydid never walk into Apollo's garden.
Andeven historiographersalthough their lips sound of thingsdoneandverity be written in their foreheadshave been glad toborrowboth fashion andperchanceweight of the poets; soHerodotusentitled the books of his history by the names of the NineMuses; andboth heand all the rest that followed himeither stoleorusurpedof poetrytheir passionate describing of passionsthemanyparticularities of battles which no man could affirm; orifthat bedenied melong orationsput in the months of great kingsandcaptainswhich it is certain they never pronounced.
So thattrulyneither philosopher nor historiographer couldatthe firsthave entered into the gates of popular judgmentsif theyhad nottaken a great disport of poetry; which in all nationsatthis daywhere learning flourisheth notis plain to be seen; inall whichthey have some feeling of poetry. In Turkeybesidestheirlawgiving divines they have no other writers but poets. Inourneighbour-country Irelandwheretoolearning goes very bareyet aretheir poets held in a devout reverence. Even among the mostbarbarousand simple Indianswhere no writing isyet have theytheirpoets who make and sing songswhich they call "Arentos"bothof theirancestor's deeds and praises of their gods. A sufficientprobabilitythat if ever learning comes among themit must be byhavingtheir hard dull wits softened and sharpened with the sweetdelight ofpoetry; for until they find a pleasure in the exercise ofthe mindgreat promises of much knowledge will little persuade themthat knownot the fruits of knowledge. In Walesthe true remnantof theancient Britonsas there are good authorities to show thelong timethey had poetswhich they called bardsso through alltheconquests of RomansSaxonsDanesand Normanssome of whomdid seekto ruin all memory of learning from among themyet dotheirpoetseven to this daylast; so as it is not more notable inthe soonbeginning than in long-continuing.
But sincethe authors of most of our sciences were the Romansandbeforethem the Greekslet usa littlestand upon theirauthorities;but even so faras to see what names they have givenunto thisnow scorned skill. Among the Romans a poet wascalled"vates"which is as much as a divinerforeseeror prophetas byhisconjoined words "vaticinium" and "vaticinari"is manifest; soheavenly atitle did that excellent people bestow upon this heart-ravishingknowledge! And so far were they carried into theadmirationthereofthat they thought in the changeable hitting uponany suchversesgreat foretokens of their following fortunes wereplaced. Whereupon grew the word of sortes Virgilianae; whenbysuddenopening Virgil's bookthey lighted upon some verseas it isreportedby manywhereof the histories of the Emperors' lives arefull. As of Albinusthe governor of our islandwhoin hischildhoodmet with this verse -
Armaamens capionec sat rationis in armis
and in hisage performed it. Although it were a very vain andgodlesssuperstition; as also it wasto think spirits werecommandedby such verses; whereupon this word charmsderived of"carmina"comethso yet serveth it to show the great reverencethose witswere held in; and altogether not without groundsinceboth theoracles of Delphi and the Sibyl's prophecies were whollydeliveredin verses; for that same exquisite observing of number andmeasure inthe wordsand that high-flying liberty of conceit properto thepoetdid seem to have some divine force in it.
Andmay not I presume a little farther to show thereasonablenessof this word "vates" and saythat the holy David'sPsalms area divine poem? If I doI shall not do it without thetestimonyof great learned menboth ancient and modern. But eventhe nameof Psalms will speak for mewhichbeing interpretedisnothingbut Songs; thenthat is fully written in metreas alllearnedHebricians agreealthough the rules be not yet fully found.Lastlyand principallyhis handling his prophecywhich is merelypoetical. For what else is the awaking his musical instruments; theoften andfree changing of persons; his notable prosopopoeiaswhenhe makethyouas it weresee God coming in His majesty; histelling ofthe beasts' joyfulnessand hills leaping; but a heavenlypoesywhereinalmosthe sheweth himself a passionate lover ofthatunspeakable and everlasting beautyto be seen by the eyes ofthe mindonly cleared by faith? But trulynowhaving named himI fear Iseem to profane that holy nameapplying it to poetrywhich isamong usthrown down to so ridiculous an estimation. Butthey thatwith quiet judgmentswill look a little deeper into itshall findthe end and working of it suchasbeing rightlyapplieddeserveth not to be scourged out of the church of God.
Butnow let us see how the Greeks have named itand how theydeemed ofit. The Greeks named him “a poet”which name hathas themost excellentgone through other languages; it cometh ofthis wordpoieinwhich is TO MAKE; whereinI know notwhether byluck or wisdomwe Englishmen have met with the Greeks incallinghim "a maker" which namehow high and incomparable atitleit isIhad rather were known by marking the scope of othersciencesthan by any partial allegation. There is no art delivereduntomankind that hath not the works of nature for his principalobjectwithout which they could not consistand on which they sodepend asthey become actors and playersas it wereof what naturewill haveset forth. So doth the astronomer look uponthestarsandby that he seeth set down what order nature hath takentherein. So doth the geometrician and arithmeticianin theirdiversesorts of quantities. So doth the musicianin timestellyou whichby nature agreewhich not. The natural philosopherthereonhath his name; and the moral philosopher standeth upon thenaturalvirtuesvicesor passions of man; and follow naturesaithhethereinand thou shalt not err. The lawyer saith what men havedetermined. The historianwhat men have done. The grammarianspeakethonly of the rules of speech; and the rhetorician andlogicianconsidering what in nature will soonest prove andpersuadethereon give artificial ruleswhich still are compassedwithin thecircle of a questionaccording to the proposed matter.Thephysician weigheth the nature of man's bodyand the nature ofthingshelpful and hurtful unto it. And the metaphysicthough itbe in thesecond and abstract notionsand therefore be countedsupernaturalyet doth heindeedbuild upon the depth of nature.Only thepoetdisdaining to be tied to any such subjectionliftedup withthe vigour of his own inventiondoth growin effectintoanothernature; in making things either better than nature bringethforthorquite anew; forms such as never were in natureas theheroesdemi-godsCyclopschimerasfuriesand such like; so ashe goethhand in hand with Naturenot enclosed within the narrowwarrant ofher giftsbut freely ranging within the zodiac of hisown wit.Nature never set forth the earth in so richtapestryas diverspoets have done; neither with so pleasant riversfruitfultreessweet-smelling flowersnor whatsoever else may make the too-much-lovedearth more lovely; her world is brazenthe poets onlydeliver agolden.
But letthose things aloneand go to man; for whom as theotherthings areso it seemeth in him her uttermost cunning isemployed;and knowwhether she have brought forth so true a loverasTheagenes; so constant a friend as Pylades; so valiant a man asOrlando;so right a prince as Xenophon's Cyrus; and so excellent aman everyway as Virgil's AEneas? Neither let this be jestinglyconceivedbecause the works of the one be essentialthe other inimitationor fiction; for every understanding knoweth the skill ofeachartificer standeth in that ideaor fore-conceit of the workand not inthe work itself. And that the poet hath that idea ismanifestby delivering them forth in such excellency as he hadimaginedthem; which delivering forthalsois not whollyimaginativeas we are wont to say by them that build castles in theair; butso far substantially it worketh not only to make a Cyruswhich hadbeen but a particular excellencyas nature might havedone; butto bestow a Cyrus upon the world to make many Cyruses; ifthey willlearn arightwhyand howthat maker made him. Neitherlet it bedeemed too saucy a comparison to balance the highest pointof man'swit with the efficacy of nature; but rather give righthonour tothe heavenly Maker of that makerwho having made man toHis ownlikenessset him beyond and over all the works of thatsecondnature; which in nothing he showeth so much as in poetry;whenwiththe force of a divine breathhe bringeth things forthsurpassingher doingswith no small arguments to the incredulous ofthat firstaccursed fall of Adam; since our erected wit maketh usknow whatperfection isand yet our infected will keepeth us fromreachingunto it. But these arguments will by few be understoodand byfewer granted; thus much I hope will be given methat theGreekswith some probability of reasongave him the name above allnames oflearning.
Nowlet us go to a more ordinary opening of himthat the truthmay be themore palpable; and soI hopethough we get not sounmatcheda praise as the etymology of his names will grantyet hisverydescriptionwhich no man will denyshall not justly be barredfrom aprincipal commendation.
Poesythereforeis an art of imitation; for so Aristotletermeth itin the word mimesis; that is to saya representingcounterfeitingor figuring forth: to speak metaphoricallyaspeakingpicturewith this endto teach and delight.
Ofthis have been three general kinds: the CHIEFboth inantiquityand excellencywhich they that did imitate theinconceivableexcellencies of God; such were David in the Psalms;Solomon inthe Song of Songsin his Ecclesiastesand Proverbs;Moses andDeborah in their hymns; and the writer of Job; whichbesideothersthe learned Emanuel Tremellius and Fr. Junius doentitlethe poetical part of the scripture; against these none willspeak thathath the Holy Ghost in due holy reverence. In this kindthough ina wrong divinitywere OrpheusAmphionHomer in hishymnsandmany othersboth Greeks and Romans. And this poesy mustbe used bywhosoever will follow St. Paul's counselin singingpsalmswhen they are merry; and I know is used with the fruit ofcomfort bysomewhenin sorrowful pangs of their death-bringingsinstheyfind the consolation of the never-leaving goodness.
The SECONDkind is of them that deal with matter philosophical;eithermoralas TyrtaeusPhocylidesCatoornaturalasLucretiusVirgil's Georgics; or astronomicalas ManiliusandPontanus;or historicalas Lucan; which who mislikethe fault isin theirjudgmentquite out of tasteand not in the sweet food ofsweetlyuttered knowledge.
Butbecause this second sort is wrapped within the fold of theproposedsubjectand takes not the free course of his owninvention;whether they properly be poets or nolet grammariansdisputeand go to the THIRDindeed right poetsof whomchieflythis question ariseth; betwixt whom and these second is sucha kind ofdifferenceas betwixt the meaner sort of painterswhocounterfeitonly such faces as are set before them; and the moreexcellentwho having no law but witbestow that in colours uponyou whichis fittest for the eye to see; as the constantthoughlamentinglook of Lucretiawhen she punished in herself another'sfault;wherein he painteth not Lucretiawhom he never sawbutpainteththe outward beauty of such a virtue. For these three bethey whichmost properly do imitate to teach and delight; and toimitateborrow nothing of what ishath beenor shall be; butrangeonlyreined with learned discretioninto the divineconsiderationof what may beand should be. These be theythatas thefirst and most noble sortmay justly be termed "vates;" sothese arewaited on in the excellentest languages and bestunderstandingswith the fore-described name of poets. For theseindeeddomerely make to imitateand imitate both to delight andteachanddelight to move men to take that goodness in handwhichwithoutdelight they would fly as from a stranger; and teach to makethem knowthat goodness whereunto they are moved; which being thenoblestscope to which ever any learning was directedyet wantthere notidle tongues to bark at them.
Thesebe subdivided into sundry more special denominations; themostnotable be the heroiclyrictragiccomicsatyriciambicelegiacpastoraland certain others; some of these being termedaccordingto the matter they deal with; some by the sort of versethey likebest to write in; forindeedthe greatest part of poetshaveapparelled their poetical inventions in that numerous kind ofwritingwhich is called verse. Indeedbut apparelied versebeingbut anornamentand no cause to poetrysince there have been manymostexcellent poets that never versifiedand now swarm manyversifiersthat need never answer to the name of poets. ForXenophonwho did imitate so excellently as to give us effigiemjustiimperiithe portraiture of a just of Cyrusas Cicero saithof himmade therein an absolute heroical poem. So did Heliodorusin hissugared invention of Theagenes and Chariclea; and yetboth thesewrote in prose; which I speak to showthat it is notrhymingand versing that maketh a poet (no more than a long gownmaketh anadvocatewhothough he pleaded in armour should be anadvocateand no soldier); but it is that feigning notable images ofvirtuesvicesor what elsewith that delightful teachingwhichmust bethe right describing note to know a poet by. Althoughindeedthe senate of poets have chosen verse as their fittestraiment;meaningas in matter they passed all in allso in mannerto gobeyond them; not speaking table-talk fashionor like men in adreamwords as they changeably fall from the mouthbut piecingeachsyllable of each word by just proportionaccording to thedignity ofthe subject.
Nowthereforeit shall not be amissfirstto weight thislattersort of poetry by his WORKSand then by his PARTS; and if inneither ofthese anatomies he be commendableI hope we shallreceive amore favourable sentence. This purifying of witthisenrichingof memoryenabling of judgmentand enlarging of conceitwhichcommonly we call learning under what name soever it comeforthorto what immediate end soever it be directed; the final endistolead and draw us to as high a perfection as our degeneratesoulsmade worse bytheir clay lodgingscan becapable of.Thisaccording to the inclination of manbred many formedimpressions;for some that thought this felicity principally to begotten byknowledgeand no knowledge to be so high or heavenly asto beacquainted with the starsgave themselves to astronomy;otherspersuading themselves to be demi-godsif they knew thecauses ofthingsbecame natural and supernatural philosophers.Some anadmirable delight drew to musicand some the certainty ofdemonstrationsto the mathematics; but allone and otherhavingthis scopeto knowand by knowledge to lift up the mind from thedungeon ofthe body to the enjoying his own divine essence. Butwhenbythe balance of experienceit was found that theastronomerlooking to the starsmight fall in a ditch; that theenquiringphilosopher might be blind in himself; and themathematicianmight draw forth a straight line with a crooked heart;then lo!did proofthe over-ruler of opinionsmake manifest thatall theseare but serving scienceswhichas they have a privateend inthemselvesso yet are they all directed to the highest endof themistress knowledgeby the Greeks called [Greek text]whichstandsasI thinkin the knowledge of a man's self; in the ethicandpolitic considerationwith the end of well doingand not ofwellknowing only; even as the saddler's next end is to make a goodsaddlebut his farther end to serve a nobler facultywhich ishorsemanship;so the horseman's to soldiery; and the soldier notonly tohave the skillbut to perform the practice of a soldier.So thatthe ending end of all earthly learning being virtuousactionthose skills that most serve to bring forth that have a mostjust titleto be princes over all the rest; whereinif we can showitrightlythe poet is worthy to have it before any othercompetitors.
Amongwhom principally to challenge itstep forth the moralphilosophers;whommethinksI see coming toward me with a sullengravity(as though they could not abide vice by daylight)rudelyclothedfor to witness outwardly their contempt of outward thingswith booksin their hands against glorywhereto they set theirnames;sophistically speaking against subtletyand angry with anyman inwhom they see the foul fault of anger. These mencastinglargessesas they goof definitionsdivisionsand distinctionswith ascornful interrogative do soberly ask: Whether it bepossibleto find any path so ready to lead a man to virtueas thatwhichteacheth what virtue is; and teacheth it not only bydeliveringforth his very beinghis causes and effects; but also bymakingknown his enemyvicewhich must be destroyed; and hiscumbersomeservantpassionwhich must be masteredby showing thegeneralitiesthat contain itand the specialities that are derivedfrom it;lastlyby plain setting down how it extends itself out ofthe limitsof a man's own little worldto the government offamiliesand maintaining of public societies?
Thehistorian scarcely gives leisure to themoralist to say somuchbutthat he (laden with old mouse-eaten recordsauthorizinghimselffor the most partupon other historieswhosegreatestauthorities are built upon the notable foundation ofhearsayhaving much ado to accord differing writersand to picktruth outof partiality; better acquainted with a thousand years agothan withthe present ageand yet better knowing how this worldgoes thanhow his own wit runs; curious for antiquitiesandinquisitiveof noveltiesa wonder to young folksand a tyrant intable-talk)deniethin a great chafethat any man for teaching ofvirtue andvirtuous actionsis comparable to him. I am "Testistemporumlux veritatisvita memoriaemagistra vitaenunciavetustatis."The philosophersaith heteacheth a disputativevirtuebut I do an active; his virtue is excellent in thedangerlessacademy of Platobut mine showeth forth her honourableface inthe battles of MarathonPharsaliaPoictiersandAgincourt: he teacheth virtue by certain abstract considerations;but I onlybid you follow the footing of them that have gone beforeyou: old-aged experience goeth beyond the fine-witted philosopher;but I givethe experience of many ages. Lastlyif he make the songbookIput the learner's hand to the lute; and if he be the guideI am thelight. Then would he allege you innumerable examplesconfirmingstory by storieshow much the wisest senators andprinceshave been directed by the credit of historyas BrutusAlphonsusof Aragon (and who not? if need be). At lengththe longline oftheir disputation makes a point in thisthat the one giveththepreceptand the other the example.
Nowwhom shall we findsince the question standeth for thehighestform in the school of learningto be moderator? Trulyasmeseemeththe poet; and if not a moderatoreven the man thatought tocarry the title from them bothand much more from allotherserving sciences. Therefore compare we the poet with thehistorianand with the moral philosopher; and if he go beyond thembothnoother human skill can match him; for as for the Divinewith allreverencehe is ever to be exceptednot only for havinghis scopeas far beyond any of theseas eternity exceedeth amomentbut even for passing each of these in themselves; and forthelawyerthough "Jus" be the daughter of Justicethe chiefofvirtuesyet because he seeks to make men good rather "formidinepoenae"than "virtutis amore" orto say righterdoth notendeavourto make men goodbut that their evil hurt not othershaving nocareso he be a good citizenhow bad a man he be:thereforeas our wickedness maketh him necessaryand necessitymaketh himhonourableso is he not in the deepest truth to stand inrank withthesewho all endeavour to take naughtiness awayandplantgoodness even in the secretest cabinet of our souls. Andthese fourare all that any way deal in the consideration of men'smannerswhich being the supreme knowledgethey that best breed itdeservethe best commendation.
Thephilosopherthereforeand the historian are they which wouldwin thegoalthe one by preceptthe other by example; but bothnot havingbothdo both halt. For the philosophersetting downwiththorny arguments the bare ruleis so hard of utteranceand somisty tobe conceivedthat one that hath no other guide but himshall wadein him until he be oldbefore he shall find sufficientcause tobe honest. For his knowledge standeth so upon the abstractandgeneralthat happy is that man who may understand himand morehappy thatcan apply what he doth understand. On the other side thehistorianwanting the preceptis so tiednot to what should bebut towhat is; to the particular truth of thingsand not to thegeneralreason of things; that his example draweth no necessaryconsequenceand therefore a less fruitful doctrine.
Now doththe peerless poet perform both; forwhatsoever thephilosophersaith should be donehe giveth a perfect picture of itby someone by whom he pre-supposeth it was doneso as he coupleththegeneral notion with the particular example. A perfect pictureI say; forhe yieldeth to the powers of the mind an image of thatwhereofthe philosopher bestoweth but a wordish descriptionwhichdothneither strikepiercenor possess the sight of the soulsomuch asthat other doth. For asin outward thingsto a man thathad neverseen an elephantor a rhinoceroswho should tell himmostexquisitely all their shapecolourbignessand particularmarks? orof a gorgeous palacean architectwhodeclaring thefullbeautiesmight well make the hearer able to repeatas itwerebyroteall he had heardyet should never satisfy his inwardconceitwith being witness to itself of a true living knowledge;but thesame manas soon as he might see those beasts well paintedor thathouse well in modelshould straightway growwithout needof anydescriptionto a judicial comprehending of them; sonodoubtthephilosopherwith his learned definitionsbe it ofvirtue orvicesmatters of public policy or private governmentreplenisheththe memory with many infallible grounds of wisdomwhichnotwithstandinglie dark before the imaginative and judgingpowerifthey be not illuminated or figured forth by the speakingpicture ofpoesy.
Tullytaketh much painsand many times not without poetical helpto make usknow the force love of our country hath in us. Let usbut hearold Anchisesspeaking in the midst of Troy's flamesorseeUlyssesin the fulness of all Calypso's delightsbewail hisabsencefrom barren and beggarly Ithaca. Angerthe Stoics saidwas ashort madness; let but Sophocles bring you Ajax on a stagekilling orwhipping sheep and oxenthinking them the army ofGreekswith their chieftains Agamemnon and Menelaus; and tell meif youhave not a more familiar insight into angerthan finding intheschoolmen his genus and difference? See whether wisdom andtemperancein Ulysses and Diomedesvalour in Achillesfriendshipin Nisusand Euryaluseven to an ignorant mancarry not anapparentshining; andcontrarilythe remorse of conscience inOEdipus;the soon-repenting pride in Agamemnon; the self-devouringcruelty inhis father Atreus; the violence of ambition in the twoThebanbrothers; the sour sweetness of revenge in Medea; andtofalllowerthe Terentian Gnathoand our Chaucer's Pandarsoexpressedthat we now use their names to signify their trades; andfinallyall virtuesvicesand passions so in their own naturalstateslaid to the viewthat we seem not to hear of thembutclearly tosee through them?
But evenin the most excellent determination of goodnesswhatphilosopher'scounsel can so readily direct a prince as the feignedCyrus inXenophon? Or a virtuous man in all fortunesas AEneas inVirgil? Or a whole commonwealthas the way of Sir Thomas More'sUtopia? I say the waybecause where Sir Thomas More erredit wasthe faultof the manand not of the poet; for that way ofpatterninga commonwealth was most absolutethough heperchancehath notso absolutely performed it. For the question iswhetherthefeigned image of poetryor the regular instruction ofphilosophyhath the more force in teaching. Whereinif thephilosophershave more rightly showed themselves philosophersthanthe poetshave attained to the high top of their profession(as intruth
Non Dinon hominesnon concessere columnae" )
it isIsay againnot the fault of the artbut that by few menthat artcan be accomplished. Certainlyeven our Saviour Christcould aswell have given the moral common-placesofuncharitablenessand humblenessas the divine narration of DivesandLazarus; or of disobedience and mercyas the heavenly discourseof thelost child and the gracious father; but that his thoroughsearchingwisdom knew the estate of Dives burning in helland ofLazarus inAbraham's bosomwould more constantlyas it wereinhabitboth the memory and judgment. Trulyfor myself (me seems)I seebefore mine eyes the lost child's disdainful prodigalityturned toenvy a swine's dinner; whichby the learned divinesarethoughtnot historical actsbut instructing parables.
ForconclusionI say the philosopher teachethbut he teachethobscurelyso as the learned only can understand him; that is tosayheteacheth them that are already taught. But the poet is thefood forthe tenderest stomachs; the poet isindeedthe rightpopularphilosopher. Whereof AEsop's tales give good proof; whoseprettyallegoriesstealing under the formal tales of beastsmakemanymorebeastly than beastsbegin to hear the sound of virtuefrom thosedumb speakers.
But nowmay it be allegedthat if this managing of matters be sofit forthe imaginationthen must the historian needs surpasswhobrings youimages of true matterssuch asindeedwere doneandnot suchas fantastically or falsely may be suggested to have beendone. TrulyAristotle himselfin his Discourse of Poesyplainlydetermineththis questionsayingthat poetry is [Greek text]thatis to sayit is more philosophical and more ingenious than history.His reasonisbecause poesy dealeth with [Greek text]that is tosaywiththe universal considerationand the history [Greek text]theparticular. "Now" saith he"the universalweighs what is fitto be saidor doneeither in likelihood or necessity; which thepoesyconsidereth in his imposed names; and the particular onlymarkswhether Alcibiades didor sufferedthis or that:" thus farAristotle.Which reason of hisas all hisis most full ofreason. Forindeedif the question werewhether it were betterto have aparticular act truly or falsely set down? there is nodoubtwhich is to be chosenno more than whether you had ratherhaveVespasian's picture right as he wasorat the painter'spleasurenothing resembling? But if the question befor your ownuse andlearningwhether it be better to have it set down as itshould beor as it was? thencertainlyis more doctrinable thefeignedCyrus in Xenophonthan the true Cyrus in Justin;andthefeigned AEneas in Virgilthan the right AEneas in DaresPhrygius;as to a lady that desired to fashion her countenanceto thebest gracea painter should more benefit herto portrait amost sweetfacewriting Canidia upon itthan to paint Canidia asshe waswhoHorace swearethwas full ill-favoured. If the poetdo hispart arighthe will show you in TantalusAtreusand suchlikenothing that is not to be shunned; in CyrusAEneasUlysseseach thingto be followed; where the historianbound to tell thingsas thingswerecannot be liberalwithout he will be poeticalof aperfectpattern; butas in Alexanderor Scipio himselfshowdoingssome to be likedsome to be misliked; and then how will youdiscernwhat to followbut by your own discretionwhich you hadwithoutreading Q. Curtius? And whereasa manmay saythoughinuniversal consideration of doctrinethe poet prevailethyetthat thehistoryin his saying such a thing was donedoth warranta man morein that he shall follow; the answer is manifest: that ifhe standupon that WASas if he should arguebecause it rainedyesterdaytherefore it should rain to-day; thenindeedhath itsomeadvantage to a gross conceit. But if he know an example onlyenforms aconjectured likelihoodand so go by reasonthe poet dothso farexceed himas he is to frame his example to that which ismostreasonablebe it in warlikepoliticor private matters;where thehistorian in his bare WAS hath many times that which wecallfortune to overrule the best wisdom. Many times he must telleventswhereof he can yield no cause; or if he doit must bepoetically.
Forthata feigned example bath as much force to teach as a trueexample(for as for to moveit is clearsince the feigned may betuned tothe highest key of passion)let us take one examplewherein anhistorian and a poet did concur. Herodotus and Justin dobothtestifythat ZopyrusKing Darius's faithful servantseeinghis masterlong resisted by the rebellious Babyloniansfeignedhimself inextreme disgrace of his King; for verifying of which hecaused hisown nose and ears to be cut offand so flying to theBabylonianswas received; andfor his known valourso farcreditedthat he did find means to deliver them over to Darius.Much-likematters doth Livy record of Tarquinius and his son.Xenophonexcellently feigned such another stratagemperformed byAbradatusin Cyrus's behalf. Now would I fain knowif occasion bepresentedunto you to serve your prince by such an honestdissimulationwhy do you not as well learn it of Xenophon's fictionas of theother's verity? andtrulyso much the betteras youshall saveyour nose by the bargain; for Abradatus did notcounterfeitso far. Sothenthe best of the historians is subjectto thepoet; forwhatsoever action or factionwhatsoever counselpolicyorwar stratagem the historian is bound to recitethat maythe poetif he listwith his imitationmake his ownbeautifyingit bothfor farther teachingand more delightingas it please him:havingallfrom Dante's heaven to his hellunder the authority ofhis pen. Which if I be askedWhat poets have done so? as I mightwell namesomeso yetsay Iand say againI speak of the artand not ofthe artificer.
Nowtothat which commonly is attributed to the praise of historyin respectof the notable learning which is got by marking thesuccessas though therein a man should see virtue exaltedand vicepunished: trulythat commendation is peculiar to poetryand faroff fromhistory; forindeedpoetry ever sets virtue so out in herbestcoloursmaking fortune her well-waiting handmaidthat onemust needsbe enamoured of her. Well may you see Ulysses in astormandin other hard plights; but they are but exercises ofpatienceand magnanimityto make them shine the more in the nearfollowingprosperity. Andon the contrary partif evil men cometo thestagethey ever go out (as the tragedy writer answered toone thatmisliked the show of such persons) so manacledas theylittleanimate folks to follow them. But history being captive tothe truthof a foolish worldin many times a terror from well-doingandan encouragement to unbridled wickedness. For see we notvaliantMiltiades rot in his fetters? the just Phocion and theaccomplishedSocrates put to death like traitors? the cruel Severusliveprosperously? the excellent Severus miserably murdered? Syllaand Mariusdying in their beds? Pompey and Cicero slain then whenthey wouldhave thought exile a happiness? See we not virtuous Catodriven tokill himselfand rebel Caesar so advancedthat his nameyetaftersixteen hundred yearslasteth in the highest honour?And markbut even Caesar's own words of the forenamed Sylla(who inthat onlydid honestlyto put down his dishonest tyranny)"literasnescivit:"as if want of learning caused him to do well. He meantit not bypoetrywhichnot content with earthly plaguesdevisethnewpunishment in hell for tyrants: nor yet by philosophywhichteacheth"occidentes esse:" butno doubtby skill in history; forthatindeedcan afford you CypselusPerianderPhalarisDionysiusand I know not how many more of the same kennelthatspeed wellenough in their abominable injustice of usurpation.
Iconcludethereforethat he excelleth historynot only infurnishingthe mind with knowledgebut in setting it forward tothat whichdeserves to be called and accounted good: which settingforwardand moving to well-doingindeedsetteth the laurel crownsupon thepoets as victorious; not only of the historianbut overthephilosopherhowsoeverin teachingit may be questionable.Forsuppose it be grantedthat which I supposewith great reasonmay bedeniedthat the philosopherin respect of his methodicalproceedingteach more perfectly than the poetyet do I thinkthatno man isso much [Greek text]as to compare the philosopher inmovingwith the poet. And that moving is of a higher degree thanteachingit may by this appearthat it is well nigh both the causeand effectof teaching; for who will be taughtif he be not movedwithdesire to be taught? And what so much good doth that teachingbringforth (I speak still of moral doctrine) as that it moveth oneto do thatwhich it doth teach. Foras Aristotle saithit is not[Greektext] but [Greek text] must be the fruit: and how[Greektext] can bewithout being moved to practiseit is no hardmatter toconsider. The philosopher showeth you the wayheinformethyou of the particularitiesas well of the tediousness ofthe wayand of the pleasant lodging you shall have when your journeyis endedas of the many by-turnings that may divert you from yourway; butthis is to no manbut to him that will read himand readhim withattentivestudious painfulness; which constant desirewhosoeverhath in himhath already passed half the hardness of thewayandtherefore is beholden to the philosopher but for the otherhalf. Naytrulylearned men have learnedly thoughtthat whereoncereason hath so much over-mastered passionas that the mindhath afree desire to do wellthe inward light each mind hath initself isas good as a philosopher's book: since in nature we knowit is wellto do welland what is well and what is evilalthoughnot in thewords of art which philosophers bestow upon us; for outof naturalconceit the philosophers drew it; but to be moved to dothat whichwe knowor to be moved with desire to know"hoc opushic laborest."
Nowthereinof all sciences (I speak still of human andaccordingto the human conceit)is our poet the monarch. For hedoth notonly show the waybut giveth so sweet a prospect into thewayaswill entice any man to enter into it; nayhe dothas ifyourjourney should lie through a fair vineyardat the very firstgive you acluster of grapesthat full of that taste you may longto passfarther. He beginneth not with obscure definitionswhichmust blurthe margin with interpretationsand load the memory withdoubtfulnessbut he cometh to you with words set in delightfulproportioneither accompanied withor prepared forthe well-enchantingskill of music; and with a taleforsoothhe cometh untoyou with atale which holdeth children from playand old men fromthechimney-corner; andpretending no moredothintend thewinning ofthe mind from wickedness to virtue; even as the child isoftenbrought to take most wholesome thingsby hiding them in suchother ashave a pleasant taste; whichif one should begin to tellthem thenature of the aloes or rhubarbarum they should receivewouldsooner take their physic at their ears than at their mouth; soit is inmen (most of them are childish in the best thingstillthey becradled in their graves); glad they will be to hear thetales ofHerculesAchillesCyrusAEneas; and hearing themmustneeds hearthe right description of wisdomvalourand justice;whichifthey had been barely (that is to sayphilosophically) setouttheywould swear they be brought to school again. Thatimitationwhereof poetry ishath the most conveniency to nature ofall other;insomuch thatas Aristotle saiththose things which inthemselvesare horribleas cruel battlesunnatural monstersaremadeinpoetical imitationdelightful. TrulyI have known menthat evenwith reading Amadis de GaulewhichGod knowethwantethmuch of aperfect poesyhave found their hearts moved to theexerciseof courtesyliberalityand especially courage. WhoreadethAEneas carrying old Anchises on his backthat wisheth notit werehis fortune to perform so excellent an act? Whom doth notthosewords of Turnus move (the tale of Turnus having planted hisimage inthe imagination)
"--fugientemhaec terra videbit?
Usqueadeone mori miserum est?"
Where thephilosophers (as they think) scorn to delightso muchthey becontent little to movesaving wrangling whether "virtus"bethe chiefor the only good; whether the contemplative or the activelife doexcel; which Plato and Boetius well knew; and therefore mademistressPhilosophy very often borrow the masking raiment of poesy.For eventhose hard-hearted evil menwho think virtue a school-nameandknow no other good but "indulgere genio" and thereforedespisethe austere admonitions of the philosopherand feel not theinwardreason they stand upon; yet will be content to be delightedwhich isall the good-fellow poet seems to promise; and so steal tosee theform of goodnesswhich seenthey cannot but loveerethemselvesbe awareas if they took a medicine of cherries.
Infiniteproofs of the strange effects of this poeticalinventionmight be alleged; only two shall servewhich are so oftenrememberedasI thinkall men know them. The one of MeneniusAgrippawhowhen the whole people of Rome had resolutely dividedthemselvesfrom the senatewith apparent show of utter ruinthoughhe werefor that timean excellent oratorcame not among themupontrusteither of figurative speechesor cunning insinuationsand muchless with far-fetched maxims of philosophywhichespeciallyif they were Platonicthey must have learned geometrybeforethey could have conceived; butforsoothhe behaveth himselflike ahomely and familiar poet. He telleth them a talethat therewas a timewhen all the parts of the body made a mutinous conspiracyagainstthe bellywhich they thought devoured the fruits of eachother'slabour; they concluded they would let so unprofitable aspenderstarve. In the endto be short (for the tale is notoriousand asnotorious that it was a tale)with punishing the belly theyplaguedthemselves. Thisapplied by himwrought such effect inthe peopleas I never read that only words brought forth; but thenso suddenand so good an alterationfor upon reasonable conditionsa perfectreconcilement ensued.
The otheris of Nathan the prophetwhowhen the holy David had sofarforsaken Godas to confirm adultery with murderwhen he was todo thetenderest office of a friendin laying his own shame beforehis eyesbeing sent by God to call again so chosen a servanthowdoth heit? but by telling of a man whose beloved lamb wasungratefullytaken from his bosom. The application most divinelytruebutthe discourse itself feigned; which made David (I speak ofthe secondand instrumental cause) as in a glass see his ownfilthinessas that heavenly psalm of mercy well testifieth.
By thesethereforeexamples and reasonsI think it may bemanifestthat the poetwith that same hand of delightdoth drawthe mindmore effectually than any other art doth. And so aconclusionnot unfitly ensues; that as virtue is the most excellentresting-placefor all worldly learning to make his end ofsopoetrybeing the most familiar to teach itand most princely tomovetowards itin the most excellent work is the most excellentworkman.
But I amcontent not only to decipher him by his works (althoughworks incommendation and dispraise must ever hold a highauthority)but more narrowly will examine his parts; so that (as ina man)though all together may carry a presence full of majesty andbeautyperchance in some one defectious piece wemay findblemish.
Nowinhis partskindsor speciesas you list toterm themit is tobe noted that some poesies have coupled together two orthreekinds; as the tragical and comicalwhereupon is risen thetragi-comical;somein the mannerhave mingled prose and verseasSannazaroand Boetius; some have mingled matters heroical andpastoral;but that cometh all to one in this question; forifseveredthey be goodthe conjunction cannot be hurtful. Thereforeperchanceforgetting someand leaving some as needless to berememberedit shall not be amissin a wordto cite the specialkindstosee what faults may be found in the right use of them.
Is itthenthe pastoral poem which is misliked?Forperchancewhere the hedge is lowestthey will soonest leap over.Is thepoor pipe disdainedwhich sometimesout of Melibaeus'smouthcanshow the misery of people under hard lords and raveningsoldiers? And againby Tityruswhat blessedness is derived tothem thatlie lowest from the goodness of them that sit highest?Sometimesunder the pretty tales of wolves and sheepcan includethe wholeconsiderations of wrong doing and patience; sometimesshowthatcontentions for trifles can get but a trifling victory;whereperchancea man may see that even Alexander and Dariuswhentheystrove who should be cock of this world's dunghillthe benefitthey gotwasthat the after-livers may say
"Haecmeminiet victum frustra contendere Thyrsim.
Ex illoCorydonCorydon est tempore nobis."
Or is itthe lamenting elegiacwhichin a kind heartwouldmoverather pity than blame; who bewailethwith the greatphilosopherHeraclitusthe weakness of mankindand thewretchednessof the world; whosurelyis to be praisedeither forcompassionatelyaccompanying just causes of lamentationsor forrightlypointing out how weak be the passions of wofulness?
Is it thebitterbut wholesome iambicwho rubs thegalledmindmaking shame the trumpet of villanywith bold and open cryingoutagainst naughtiness?
Or thesatiric? who
"Omnevafer vitium ridenti tangit amico;"
whosportingly never leavethuntil he make a man laugh at follyandatlengthashamed to laugh at himselfwhich he cannot avoidwithoutavoiding the folly; whowhile "circum praecordia ludit"giveth usto feel how many headaches a passionate life bringeth usto; whowhen all is done
"EstUlubrisanimus si nos non deficit aequus."
Noperchanceit is the comic; whom naughtyplay-makers andstage-keepershave justly made odious. To the arguments of abuse Iwill afteranswer; only thus much now is to be saidthat the comedyis animitation of the common errors of our lifewhich herepresentethin the most ridiculous and scornful sort that may be;so as itis impossible that any beholder can be content to be such aone. Nowas in geometrythe oblique must be known as well as therightandin arithmeticthe odd as well as the even; so in theactions ofour lifewho seeth not the filthiness of evilwanteth agreat foilto perceive the beauty of virtue. This doth the comedyhandle soin our private and domestical mattersaswith hearingitwegetas it werean experience of what is to be looked forof aniggardly Demeaof a crafty Davusof a flattering Gnathoofavain-glorious Thraso; and not only to know what effects are to beexpectedbut to know who be suchby the signifying badge giventhem bythe comedian. And little reason hath any man to saythatmen learnthe evil by seeing it so set out; sinceas I said beforethere isno man livingbut by the force truth hath in naturenosoonerseeth these men play their partsbut wisheth them in"pistrinum;"althoughperchancethe sack of his own faultslie sobehind his backthat he seeth not himself to dance in thesamemeasurewhereto yet nothing can more open his eyes than to seehis ownactions contemptibly set forth; so that the right use ofcomedywillI thinkby nobody be blamed.
And muchless of the high and excellent tragedythatopeneththegreatest woundsand showeth forth the ulcers that are coveredwithtissue; that maketh kings fear to be tyrantsand tyrants tomanifesttheir tyrannical humours; that with stirring the effects ofadmirationand commiserationteacheth the uncertainty of thisworldandupon how weak foundations gilded roofs are builded; thatmaketh usknow"qui sceptra saevos duro imperio regittimettimentesmetus in authorem redit." But how much it can movePlutarchyielded a notable testimony of the abominable tyrantAlexanderPheraeus; from whose eyes a tragedywell made andrepresenteddrew abundance of tearswho without all pity hadmurderedinfinite numbersand some of his own blood; so as he thatwas notashamed to make matters for tragediesyet could not resistthe sweetviolence of a tragedy. And if it wrought no farther goodin himitwas that hein despite of himselfwithdrew himself fromhearkeningto that which might mollify his hardened heart. But itis not thetragedy they do dislikefor it were too absurd to castout soexcellent a representation of whatsoever is most worthy to belearned.
Is it thelyric that most displeasethwho with his tuned lyre andwell-accordedvoicegiveth praisethe reward of virtuetovirtuousacts? who giveth moral precepts and natural problems? whosometimesraiseth up his voice to the height of the heavensinsingingthe lauds of the immortal God? CertainlyI must confessmine ownbarbarousness; I never heard the old song of Percy andDouglasthat I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet;and yet itis sung but by some blind crowderwith no roughervoice thanrude style; which being so evil apparelled in the dustand cobwebof that uncivil agewhat would it worktrimmed in thegorgeouseloquence of Pindar? In Hungary I have seen it the mannerat allfeastsand all other such-like meetingsto have songs oftheirancestors' valourwhich that right soldier-like nation thinkone of thechiefest kindlers of brave courage. The incomparableLacedaemoniansdid not only carry that kind of music ever with themto thefieldbut even at homeas such songs were madeso werethey allcontent to be singers of them; when the lusty men were totell whatthey didthe old men what they had doneand the youngwhat theywould do. And where a man may say that Pindar many timespraisethhighly victories of small momentrather matters of sportthanvirtue; as it may be answeredit was the fault of the poetand not ofthe poetrysoindeedthe chief fault was in the timeand customof the Greekswho set those toys at so high a pricethatPhilip of Macedon reckoned a horse-race won at Olympus amongthreefearful felicities. But as the inimitable Pindar often didso is thatkind most capableand most fitto awake the thoughtsfrom thesleep of idlenessto embrace honourable enterprises.
Thererests the heroicalwhose very nameI thinkshoulddaunt allbackbiters. For by what conceit can a tongue be directedto speakevil of that which draweth with him no less champions thanAchillesCyrusAEneasTurusTydeusRinaldo? who doth not onlyteach andmove to truthbut teacheth and moveth to the most highandexcellent truth: who maketh magnanimity and justice shinethroughall misty fearfulness and foggy desires? whoif the sayingof Platoand Tully be truethat who could see virtuewould bewonderfullyravished with the love of her beauty; this man settethher out tomake her more lovelyin her holiday apparelto the eyeof anythat will deign not to disdain until they understand. But ifany thingbe already said in the defence of sweet poetryallconcurrethto the maintaining the heroicalwhich is not only akindbutthe best and most accomplished kindof poetry. Forasthe imageof each action stirreth and instructeth the mindso theloftyimage of such worthies most inflameth the mind with desire tobe worthyand informs with counsel how to be worthy. Only letAEneas beworn in the tablet of your memoryhow he governethhimself inthe ruin of his country; in the preserving his oldfatherand carrying away his religious ceremonies; in obeying God'scommandmentsto leave Didothough not only passionate kindnessbut eventhe human consideration of virtuous gratefulnesswouldhavecraved other of him; how in stormshow in sportshow in warhow inpeacehow a fugitivehow victorioushow besiegedhowbesieginghow to strangershow to allieshow to enemies; how tohis ownlastlyhow in his inward selfand how in his outwardgovernment;and I thinkin a mind most prejudiced with aprejudicatinghumourhe will be found in excellency fruitful. Yeaas Horacesaith"Melius Chrysippo et Crantore:"buttrulyIimagine itfalleth out with these poet-whippers as with some goodwomen whooften are sickbut in faith they cannot tell where. Sothe nameof poetry is odious to thembut neither his cause noreffectsneither the sum that contains himnor the particularitiesdescendingfrom himgive any fast handle to their carpingdispraise.
Sincethenpoetry is of all human learnings themost ancientand ofmost fatherly antiquityas from whence other learnings havetakentheir beginnings; since it is so universal that no learnednationdoth despise itnor barbarous nation is without it; sinceboth Romanand Greek gave such divine names unto itthe one ofprophesyingthe other of makingand that indeed that name ofmaking isfit for himconsideringthat where all other arts retainthemselveswithin their subjectand receiveas it weretheirbeing fromitthe poet onlyonly bringeth his own stuffand dothnot learna conceit out of a matterbut maketh matter for aconceit;since neither his description nor end containeth any evilthe thingdescribed cannot be evil; since his effects be so good asto teachgoodnessand delight the learners of it; since therein(namelyin moral doctrinethe chief of all knowledges) he doth notonly farpass the historianbutfor instructingis well nighcomparableto the philosopher; for movingleaveth him behind him;since theHoly Scripture (wherein there is no uncleanness) hathwholeparts in it poeticaland that even our Saviour Christvouchsafedto use the flowers of it; since all his kinds are notonly intheir united formsbut in their severed dissections fullycommendable;I thinkand think I think rightlythe laurel crownappointedfor triumphant captainsdoth worthilyof all otherlearningshonour the poet's triumph.
Butbecause we have ears as well as tonguesand that thelightestreasons that may bewill seem to weigh greatlyif nothingbe put inthe counterbalancelet us hearandas well as we canponderwhat objections be made against this artwhich may be worthyeither ofyielding or answering.
FirsttrulyI notenot only in these [Greek text]poet-hatersbut in allthat kind of people who seek a praise by dispraisingothersthat they do prodigally spend a great many wandering wordsin quipsand scoffscarping and taunting at each thingwhichbystirringthe spleenmay stay the brain from a thorough beholdingtheworthiness of the subject. Those kind of objectionsas theyare fullof a very idle uneasiness (since there is nothing of sosacred amajestybut that an itching tongue may rub itself uponit)sodeserve they no other answerbutinstead of laughing atthe jestto laugh at the jester. We know a playing wit can praisethediscretion of an assthe comfortableness of being in debtandthe jollycommodities of being sick of the plague; soof thecontrarysideif we will turn Ovid's verse
"Utlateat virtus proximitate mali."
"Thatgood lies hid in nearness of the evil" Agrippa will be asmerry inthe showing the Vanity of Scienceas Erasmus was in thecommendingof Folly; neither shall any man or matter escapesome touchof these smiling railers. But for Erasmus and Agrippathey hadanother foundation than the superficial part would promise.Marrythese other pleasant fault-finderswho will correct the verbbeforethey understand the nounand confute others' knowledgebeforethey confirm their own; I would have them only rememberthatscoffingcometh not of wisdom; so as the best title in true Englishthey getwith their merrimentsis to be called good fools; for sohave ourgrave forefathers ever termed that humorous kind ofjesters.
But thatwhich giveth greatest scope to their scorning humourisrhymingand versing. It is already saidandas Ithinktrulysaidit is not rhyming and versing that maketh poesy; one maybe a poetwithout versingand a versifier without poetry. But yetpresupposeit were inseparableas indeedit seemeth Scaligerjudgethtrulyit were an inseparable commendation; for if "oratio"next to"ratio" speech next to reasonbe the greatest giftbestowedupon mortalitythat cannot be praiseless which doth mostpolishthat blessing of speech; which considereth each wordnotonly as aman may say by his forcible qualitybut by his bestmeasuredquantity; carrying even in themselves a harmony; withoutperchancenumbermeasureorderproportion be in our time grownodious.
But layaside the just praise it hathby being the only fit speechformusic--musicI saythe most divine striker of the senses; thusmuch isundoubtedly truethat if reading be foolish withoutrememberingmemory being the only treasure of knowledgethosewordswhich are fittest for memoryare likewise most convenient forknowledge. Nowthat verse far exceedeth prose in the knitting upof thememorythe reason is manifest: the wordsbesides theirdelightwhich hath a great affinity to memorybeing so set as onecannot belostbut the whole work fails: which accusing itselfcalleththe remembrance back to itselfand so most stronglyconfirmethit. Besidesone word soas it werebegetting anotherasbe itin rhyme or measured verseby the former a man shall havea nearguess to the follower. Lastlyeven they that have taughtthe art ofmemoryhave showed nothing so apt for it as a certainroomdivided into many placeswell and thoroughly known; now thathath theverse in effect perfectlyevery word having his naturalseatwhich seat must needs make the word remembered. But whatneeds morein a thing so known to all men? Who is it that ever wasa scholarthat doth not carry away some verses of VirgilHoraceorCatowhich in his youth he learnedand even to his old age servehim forhourly lessons? as
"Percontatoremfugito: nam garrulus idem est.
Dumsibi quisque placet credula turba sumus."
But thefitness it hath for memory is notably proved by all deliveryof artswhereinfor the most partfrom grammar to logicmathematicsphysicand the restthe rules chiefly necessary to beborne awayare compiled in verses. So that verse being in itselfsweet andorderlyand being best for memorythe only handle ofknowledgeit must be in jest that any man can speak against it.
Nowthen go we to the most important imputations laid to thepoorpoets; for aught I can yet learnthey are these.
Firstthat there being many other more fruitful knowledgesa manmightbetter spend his time in them than in this.
Secondlythat it is the mother of lies.
Thirdlythat it is the nurse of abuseinfecting us with manypestilentdesireswith a syren sweetnessdrawing the mind to theserpent'stail of sinful fancies; and hereinespeciallycomediesgive thelargest field to earas Chaucer saith; howboth in othernationsand oursbefore poets did soften uswe were full ofcouragegiven to martial exercisesthe pillars of manlike libertyand notlulled asleep in shady idleness with poets' pastimes.
And lastlyand chieflythey cry out with open mouthas if they hadovershotRobin Hoodthat Plato banished them out of hiscommonwealth. Truly this is muchif there be much truth in it.
Firstto the firstthat a man might better spend his timeisa reasonindeed; but it dothas they saybut "petere principium."For if itbeas I affirmthat no learning is so good as thatwhichteacheth and moveth to virtueand that none can both teachand movethereto so much as poesythen is the conclusion manifestthat inkand paper cannot be to a more profitable purpose employed.Andcertainlythough a man should grant their first assumptionitshouldfollowmethinksvery unwillinglythat good is not goodbecausebetter is better. But I still and utterly deny that thereis sprungout of earth a more fruitful knowledge.
To thesecondthereforethat they should be theprincipalliarsIanswer paradoxicallybut trulyI think trulythat of allwritersunder the sunthe poet is the least liar; and though hewouldasa poetcan scarcely be a liar. The astronomerwith hiscousin thegeometriciancan hardly escape when they take upon themto measurethe height of the stars. How oftenthink youdo thephysiciansliewhen they aver things good for sicknesseswhichafterwardssend Charon a great number of souls drowned in a potionbeforethey come to his ferry. And no less of the rest which takeupon themto affirm. Now for the poethe nothing affirmethandthereforenever lieth; foras I take itto lie is to affirm thatto be truewhich is false: so as the other artistsand especiallythehistorianaffirmeth many thingscanin the cloudy knowledgeofmankindhardly escape from many lies: but the poetas I saidbeforenever affirmeth; the poet never maketh any circles aboutyourimaginationto conjure you to believe for true what hewriteth: he citeth not authorities of other historiesbut even forhis entrycalleth the sweet Muses to inspire into him a goodinvention;in trothnot labouring to tell you what is or is notbut whatshould or should not be. Andthereforethough he recountthings nottrueyet because he telleth them not for true he liethnot;without we will say that Nathan lied in his speechbeforeallegedto David; whichas a wicked man durst scarce sayso thinkI none sosimple would saythat AEsop lied in the tales of hisbeasts;for who thinketh that AEsop wrote it for actually truewerewellworthy to have his name chronicled among the beasts he writethof. What child is there that cometh to a playand seeing Thebeswritten ingreat letters upon an old doordoth believe that it isThebes? If then a man can arrive to the child's ageto know thatthe poet'spersons and doings are but pictures what should beandnotstories what have beenthey will never give the lie to thingsnotaffirmativelybut allegorically and figuratively written; andthereforeas in historylooking for truththey may go away fullfraughtwith falsehoodso in poesylooking but for fictiontheyshall usethe narration but as an imaginative ground-plot of aprofitableinvention.
But heretois repliedthat the poets give names to men they writeofwhichargueth a conceit of an actual truthand sonot beingtrueproveth a falsehood. And doth the lawyer lie thenwhenunder thenames of John of the Stileand John of the Nokesheputtethhis case? But that is easily answeredtheir naming of menis but tomake their picture the more livelyand not to build anyhistory. Painting menthey cannot leave men nameless; we see wecannotplay at chess but that we must give names to our chess-men:and yetmethinkshe were a very partial champion of truth thatwould saywe lied for giving a piece of wood the reverend title of abishop. The poet nameth Cyrus and AEneas no other way than to showwhat menof their famesfortunesand estates should do.
Theirthird ishow much it abuseth men's wittraining it to awantonsinfulness and lustful love. Forindeedthat is theprincipalif not only abuse I can hear alleged. They say thecomediesrather teachthan reprehendamorous conceits; they saythe lyricis larded with passionate sonnets; the elegiac weeps thewant ofhis mistress; and that even to the heroical Cupid hathambitiouslyclimbed. Alas! LoveI would thou couldst as welldefendthyselfas thou canst offend others! I would those on whomthou dostattendcould either put thee away or yield good reasonwhy theykeep thee! But grant love of beauty to be a beastly faultalthoughit be very hardsince only manand no beasthath thatgift todiscern beauty; grant that lovely name of love to deserveallhateful reproachesalthough even some of my masters thephilosophersspent a good deal of their lamp-oil in setting forththeexcellency of it; grantI saywhat they will have grantedthat notonly lovebut lustbut vanitybutif they listscurrilitypossess many leaves of the poets' books; yetthink Iwhen thisis grantedthey will find their sentence maywith goodmannersput the last words foremost; and not say that poetryabusethman's witbut that man's wit abuseth poetry. For I willnot denybut that man's wit may make poesywhich should be [Greektext]which some learned have definedfiguring forth good thingsto be[Greek text]which doth contrariwise infect the fancy withunworthyobjects; as the painterwho should give to the eye eithersomeexcellent perspectiveor some fine picture fit for building orfortificationor containing in it some notable exampleas Abrahamsacrificinghis son IsaacJudith killing HolofernesDavid fightingwithGoliathmay leave thoseand please an ill-pleased eye withwantonshows of better-hidden matters.
Butwhat!shall the abuse of a thing make the right use odious?Naytrulythough I yield that poesy may not only be abusedbutthat beingabusedby the reason of his sweet charming forceit cando morehurt than any other army of wordsyet shall it be so farfromconcludingthat the abuse shall give reproach to the abusedthatcontrariwiseit is a good reasonthat whatsoever beingabuseddoth most harmbeing rightly used (and upon the right useeach thingreceives his title) doth most good. Do we not see skillof physicthe best rampire to our often-assaultedbodiesbeingabusedteach poisonthe most violent destroyer? Doth notknowledgeof lawwhose end is to even and right all thingsbeingabusedgrow the crooked fosterer of horrible injuries? Doth not(to go inthe highest) God's word abused breed heresyand His nameabusedbecome blasphemy? Trulya needle cannot do much hurtandas truly(with leave of ladies be it spoken) it cannot do much good.With asword thou mayest kill thy fatherand with a sword thoumayestdefend thy prince and country; so thatas in their callingpoetsfathers of liesthey said nothingso in this their argumentof abusethey prove the commendation.
Theyallege herewiththat before poets began to be in priceournation hadset their heart's delight upon actionand notimagination;rather doing things worthy to be writtenthan writingthings fitto be done. What that before time wasI think scarcelySphynx cantell; since no memory is so ancient that gives not theprecedenceto poetry. And certain it isthatin our plainesthomelinessyet never was the Albion nation without poetry. Marrythisargumentthough it be levelled against poetryyet it isindeed achain-shot against all learning or bookishnessas theycommonlyterm it. Of such mind were certain Gothsof whom it iswrittenthat having in the spoil of a famous city taken a fairlibraryone hangmanbelike fit to execute the fruits of theirwitswhohad murdered a great number of bodieswould have set firein it. "No" said anothervery gravely"take heed what youdofor whilethey are busy about those toyswe shall with more leisureconquertheir countries." Thisindeedis the ordinary doctrineofignoranceand many words sometimes I have heard spent in it; butbecausethis reason is generally against all learning as well aspoetryorrather all learning but poetry; because it were too largeadigression to handle itor at least too superfluoussince it ismanifestthat all government of action is to be gotten by knowledgeandknowledge best by gathering many knowledgeswhich is reading;I only saywith Horaceto him that is of that opinion
"Jubeostultum esse libenter--"
for as forpoetry itselfit is the freest from thisobjectionforpoetry isthe companion of camps. I dare undertakeOrlandoFuriosoor honest King Arthurwill never displease a soldier: butthequiddity of "ens" and "prima materia" will hardlyagree with acorslet. Andthereforeas I said in the beginningeven Turks andTartarsare delighted with poets. Homera Greekflourished beforeGreeceflourished; and if to a slight conjecture a conjecture may beopposedtruly it may seemthat as by him their learned men tookalmosttheir first light of knowledgeso their active men receivetheirfirst notions of courage. Only Alexander's example may servewho byPlutarch is accounted of such virtue that fortune was not hisguide buthis footstool; whose acts speak for himthough Plutarchdid not;indeedthe phoenix of warlike princes. This Alexanderleft hisschoolmasterliving Aristotlebehind himbut took deadHomer withhim. He put the philosopher Callisthenes to deathforhisseeming philosophicalindeed mutinousstubbornness; but thechiefthing he was ever heard to wish for was that Homer had beenalive. He well found he received more bravery of mind by thepattern ofAchillesthan by hearing the definition of fortitude.Andthereforeif Cato misliked Fulvius for carrying Ennius withhim to thefieldit may be answered that if Cato misliked it thenobleFulvius liked itor else he had not done it; for it was nottheexcellent Cato Uticensis whose authority I would much more havereverencedbut it was the formerin truth a bitter punisher offaultsbut else a man that had never sacrificed to the Graces. Hemislikedand cried out againstall Greek learningand yetbeingfourscoreyears oldbegan to learn itbelike fearing that Plutounderstoodnot Latin. Indeedthe Roman laws allowed no person tobe carriedto the wars but he that was in the soldiers' roll. Andthereforethough Cato misliked his unmustered personhe mislikednot hiswork. And if he hadScipio Nasica (judged by commonconsentthe best Roman) loved him: both the other Scipio brotherswho had bytheir virtues no less surnames than of Asia and Africsoloved himthat they caused his body to be buried in their sepulture.SoasCato's authority being but against his personand thatansweredwith so far greater than himselfis herein of no validity.
Butnowindeedmy burthen is greatthat Plato's name is laidupon mewhomI must confessof all philosophers I have everesteemedmost worthy of reverence; and with good reasonsince ofallphilosophers he is the most poetical; yet if he will defile thefountainout of which his flowing streams have proceededlet usboldlyexamine with what reason he did it.
Firsttrulya man might maliciously object that Platobeing aphilosopherwas a natural enemy of poets. Forindeedafter thephilosophershad picked out of the sweet mysteries of poetry therightdiscerning of true points of knowledgethey forthwithputting itin methodand making a school of art of that which thepoets didonly teach by a divine delightfulnessbeginning to spurnat theirguideslike ungrateful apprenticeswere not content toset upshop for themselvesbut sought by all means to discredittheirmasters; whichby the force of delight being barred themtheless theycould overthrow themthe more they hated them. Forindeedthey found for Homer seven cities strove who should have himfor theircitizenwhere many cities banished philosophers as notfitmembers to live among them. For only repeating certain ofEuripides'verses many Athenians had their lives saved of theSyracusanswhere the Athenians themselves thought many of thephilosophersunworthy to live. Certain poetsas Simonides andPindarhad so prevailed with Hiero the Firstthat of a tyrant theymade him ajust king; where Plato could do so little with Dionysiusthat hehimselfof a philosopherwas made a slave. But who shoulddo thusIconfessshould requite the objections raised againstpoets withlike cavillations against philosophers; as likewise oneshould dothat should bid one read Phaedrus or Symposium in Platoor thediscourse of Love in Plutarchand see whether any poet doauthoriseabominable filthiness as they do.
Againaman might askout of what Commonwealth Plato doth banishthem? In sooththence where he himself alloweth community ofwomen. Soas belike this banishment grew not for effeminatewantonnesssince little should poetical sonnets be hurtfulwhen aman mighthave what woman he listed. But I honour philosophicalinstructionsand bless the wits which bred themso as they be notabusedwhich is likewise stretched to poetry. Saint Paul himselfsets awatchword upon philosophyindeed upon the abuse. So dothPlato uponthe abusenot upon poetry. Plato found fault that thepoets ofhis time filled the world with wrong opinions of the godsmakinglight tales of that unspotted essenceand therefore wouldnot havethe youth depraved with such opinions. Herein may much besaid; letthis suffice: the poets did not induce such opinionsbutdidimitate those opinions already induced. For all the Greekstoriescan well testify that the very religion of that time stoodupon manyand many-fashioned gods; not taught so by poetsbutfollowedaccording to their nature of imitation. Who list may readinPlutarch the discourses of Isis and Osirisof the cause whyoraclesceasedof the Divine providenceand see whether thetheologyof that nation stood not upon such dreamswhich the poetsindeedsuperstitiously observed; and trulysince they had not thelight ofChristdid much better in it than the philosopherswhoshakingoff superstitionbrought in atheism.
Platothereforewhose authority I had much rather justly construethanunjustly resistmeant not in general of poetsin those wordsof whichJulius Scaliger saith"qua authoritatebarbari quidamatqueinsipidiabuti velint ad poetas e republica exigendos:"but onlymeant to drive out those wrong opinions of the Deitywhereofnowwithout farther lawChristianity hath taken away allthehurtful beliefperchance as he thought nourished by thenesteemedpoets. And a man need go no farther than to Plato himselfto knowhis meaning; whoin his dialogue called "Ion"givethhighandrightlydivine commendation unto poetry. So as Platobanishingthe abusenot the thingnot banishing itbut giving duehonour toitshall be our patronand not our adversary. ForindeedIhad much rathersince truly I may do itshow theirmistakingof Platounder whose lion's skin they would make an ass-likebraying against poesythan go about to overthrow hisauthority;whomthe wiser a man isthe more just cause he shallfind tohave in admiration; especially since he attributeth untopoesy morethan myself donamelyto be a very inspiring of adivineforcefar above man's witas in the fore-named dialogue isapparent.
Of theother sidewho would show the honours have been by the bestsort ofjudgments granted thema whole sea of examples wouldpresentthemselves; AlexandersCaesarsScipiosall favourers ofpoets;Laeliuscalled the Roman Socrateshimself a poet; so aspart ofHeautontimeroumenosin Terencewas supposed to be made byhim. And even the Greek Socrateswhom Apollo confirmed to be theonly wisemanis said to have spent part of his old time in puttingAEsop'sFables into verse; andthereforefull evil should itbecome hisscholar Plato to put such words in his master's mouthagainstpoets. But what needs more? Aristotle writes the "Art ofPoesy;"and whyif it should not be written? Plutarch teacheth theuse to begathered of them; and howif they should not be read?And whoreads Plutarch's either history or philosophyshall find hetrimmethboth their garments with guards of poesy.
But I listnot to defend poesy with the help of his underlinghistoriographer. Let it suffice to have showed it is a fit soil forpraise todwell upon; and what dispraise may be set upon it iseithereasily overcomeor transformed into just commendation. Sothat sincethe excellences of it may be so easily and so justlyconfirmedand the low creeping objections so soon trodden down;it notbeing an art of liesbut of true doctrine; not ofeffeminatenessbut of notable stirring of courage; not of abusingman's witbut of strengthening man's wit; not banishedbuthonouredby Plato; let us rather plant more laurels for to ingarlandthe poets'heads (which honour of being laureateas besides themonlytriumphant captains wereis a sufficient authority to show theprice theyought to be held in) than suffer the ill-favoured breathof suchwrong speakers once to blow upon the clear springs of poesy.
Butsince I have run so long a career in this mattermethinksbefore Igive my pen a full stopit shall be but a little more losttime toinquirewhy Englandthe mother of excellent mindsshouldbe grownso hard a step-mother to poetswho certainly in wit oughtto passall otherssince all only proceeds from their witbeingindeedmakers of themselvesnot takers of others. How can I butexclaim
"Musamihi causas memoraquo numine laeso?"
Sweetpoesy! that hath anciently had kingsemperorssenatorsgreatcaptainssuch asbesides a thousand othersDavidAdrianSophoclesGermanicusnot only to favour poetsbut to be poets;and of ournearer times can present for her patronsa RobertKingof Sicily;the great King Francis of France; King James of Scotland;suchcardinals as Bembus and Bibiena; such famous preachers andteachersas Beza and Melancthon; so learned philosophers asFracastoriusand Scaliger; so great orators as Pontanus and Muretus;sopiercing wits as George Buchanan; so grave councillors asbesidesmanybut before allthat Hospital ofFrancethanwhomIthinkthat realm never brought forth a more accomplishedjudgmentmore firmly builded upon virtue; I say thesewith numbersof othersnot only to read others' poesiesbut to poetise forothers'reading: that poesythus embraced in all other placesshouldonly find in our time a hard welcome in EnglandI think thevery earthlaments itand therefore decks our soil with fewerlaurelsthan it was accustomed. For heretofore poets have inEnglandalso flourished; andwhich is to be notedeven in thosetimes whenthe trumpet of Mars did sound loudest. And now that anover-faintquietness should seem to strew the house for poetstheyare almostin as good reputation as the mountebanks at Venice.Trulyeven thatas of the one side it giveth great praise topoesywhichlike Venus (but to better purpose)had rather betroubledin the net with Marsthan enjoy the homely quiet ofVulcan; soserveth it for a piece of a reason why they are lessgratefulto idle Englandwhich now can scarce endure the pain of apen. Upon this necessarily followeth that base men with servilewitsundertake itwho think it enough if they can be rewarded oftheprinter; and so as Epaminondas is saidwith the honour of hisvirtuetohave made an office by his exercising itwhich beforewascontemptibleto become highly respected; so these menno morebutsetting their names to itby their own disgracefulnessdisgracethe most graceful poesy. For nowas if all the Muses weregot withchildto bring forth bastard poetswithout anycommissionthey do post over the banks of Heliconuntil they maketheirreaders more weary than post-horses; whilein the meantimethey
"Queismeliore luto finxit praecordia Titan"
are bettercontent to suppress the outflowings of their witthan bypublishingthem to be accounted knights of the same order.
But Ithatbefore ever I durst aspire unto the dignityam admittedinto thecompany of the paper-blurrersdo find the very true causeof ourwanting estimation is want of deserttaking upon us to bepoets indespite of Pallas. Nowwherein we want desertwere athankworthylabour to express. But if I knewI should have mendedmyself;but as I never desired the title so have I neglected themeans tocome by it; onlyovermastered by some thoughtsI yieldedan inkytribute unto them. Marrythey that delight in poesyitselfshould seek to know what they doand how they doespeciallylook themselves in an unflattering glass of reasonifthey beinclinable unto it.
For poesymust not be drawn by the earsit must be gently ledorrather itmust lead; which was partly the cause that made theancientlearned affirm it was a divineand no human skillsinceall otherknowledges lie ready for any that have strength of wit; apoet noindustry can makeif his own genius be not carried into it.Andtherefore is an old proverb"Orator fitpoeta nascitur."Yetconfess I alwaysthat as the fertilest ground must be manuredso mustthe highest flying wit have a Daedalus to guide him. ThatDaedalusthey sayboth in this and in otherhath three wings tobearitself up into the air of due commendation; that is artimitationand exercise. But theseneither artificial rulesnorimitativepatternswe much cumber ourselves withal. Exerciseindeedwedobut that very forebackwardly; for where we shouldexerciseto knowwe exercise as having known; and so is our braindeliveredof much matter which never was begotten by knowledge. Fortherebeing two principal partsmatter to be expressed by wordsand wordsto express the matterin neither we use art or imitationrightly. Our matter is "quodlibet" indeedalthough wronglyperformingOvid's verse
"Quicquidconabor dicereversus erit;"
nevermarshalling it into any assured rankthat almost the readerscannottell where to find themselves.
Chaucerundoubtedlydid excellently in his Troilus and Cressida;of whomtrulyI know not whether to marvel moreeither that he inthat mistytime could see so clearlyor that we in this clear agego sostumblingly after him. Yet had he great wantsfit to beforgivenin so reverend antiquity. I account the Mirror ofMagistratesmeetly furnished of beautiful parts. And in the Earl ofSurrey'sLyricsmany things tasting of a noble birthand worthy ofa noblemind. The "Shepherds' Kalendar" hath much poesy inhisecloguesindeedworthy the readingif I be not deceived. Thatsameframing of his style to an old rustic languageIdare notallow;since neither Theocritus in GreekVirgil in LatinnorSannazaroin Italiandid affect it. Besides theseI do notrememberto have seen but few (to speak boldly) printed that havepoeticalsinews in them. For proof whereoflet but most of theverses beput in proseand then ask the meaningand it will befound thatone verse did but beget anotherwithout ordering at thefirst whatshould be at the last; which becomes a confused mass ofwordswith a tinkling sound of rhymebarely accompanied withreason.
Ourtragedies and comediesnot without causeare cried outagainstobserving rules neither of honest civility nor skilfulpoetry. Excepting Gorboduc (again I say of those that I have seen)whichnotwithstandingas it is full of stately speechesand well-soundingphrasesclimbing to the height of Seneca his styleand asfull ofnotable moralitywhich it does most delightfully teachandso obtainthe very end of poesy; yetin truthit is verydefectuousin the circumstanceswhich grieves mebecause it mightnot remainas an exact model of all tragedies. For it is faultyboth inplace and timethe two necessary companions of all corporalactions. For where the stage should always represent but one place;and theuttermost time presupposed in it should beboth byAristotle'spreceptand common reasonbut one day; there is bothmany daysand many places inartificially imagined.
But if itbe so in Gorboduchow much more in all the rest? whereyou shallhave Asia of the one sideand Afric of the otherand somany otherunder kingdomsthat the playerwhen he comes inmustever beginwith telling where he isor else the talewill notbeconceived. Now shall you have three ladies walk to gatherflowersand then we must believe the stage to be a garden. By andbywehear news of shipwreck in the same placethen we are toblame ifwe accept it not for a rock. Upon the back of that comesout ahideous monster with fire and smokeand then the miserablebeholdersare bound to take it for a cave; whilein the meantimetwo armiesfly inrepresented with four swords and bucklersandthenwhathard heart will not receive it for a pitched field?
Now oftime they are much more liberal; for ordinary it isthat twoyoungprinces fall in love; after many traverses she is got withchild;delivered of a fair boy; he is lostgroweth a manfallethin loveand is ready to get another child; and all this in twohours'space; whichhow absurd it is in senseeven sense mayimagine;and art hath taught and all ancient examples justifiedandat thisday the ordinary players in Italy will not err in. Yet willsome bringin an example of the Eunuch in Terencethat containethmatter oftwo daysyet far short of twenty years. True it isandso was itto be played in two daysand so fitted to the time it setforth. And though Plautus have in one place done amisslet us hitit withhimand not miss with him. But they will sayHow thenshall weset forth a story which contains both many places and manytimes? And do they not knowthat a tragedy is tied to the laws ofpoesyandnot of history; not bound to follow the storybut havinglibertyeither to feign a quite new matteror to frame the historyto themost tragical convenience? Againmany things may be toldwhichcannot be showed: if they know the difference betwixtreportingand representing. As for exampleI may speakthough Iam hereof Peruand in speech digress from that to the descriptionofCalicut; but in action I cannot represent it without Pacolet'shorse. And so was the manner the ancients took by some "Nuntius"to recountthings done in former timeor other place.
Lastlyifthey will represent an historythey must notas Horacesaithbegin "ab ovo" but they must come tothe principalpoint ofthat one action which they will represent. By example thiswill bebest expressed; I have a story of young Polydorusdeliveredfor safety's sakewith great richesby his fatherPriamus toPolymnestorKing of Thracein the Trojan war time. Heafter someyearshearing of the overthrow of Priamusfor to makethetreasure his ownmurdereth the child; the body of the child istaken up;Hecubashethe same dayfindeth a sleight to berevengedmost cruelly of the tyrant. Wherenowwould one of ourtragedy-writersbeginbut with the delivery of the child? Thenshould hesail over into Thraceand so spend I know not how manyyearsandtravel numbers of places. But where doth Euripides?Even withthe finding of the body; leaving the rest to be told bythe spiritof Polydorus. This needs no farther to be enlarged; thedullestwit may conceive it.
Butbesides these gross absurditieshow all their plays be neitherrighttragedies nor right comediesmingling kings and clownsnotbecausethe matter so carrieth itbut thrust in the clown by headandshoulders to play a part in majestical matterswith neitherdecencynor discretion; so as neither the admiration andcommiserationnor the right sportfulnessis by their mongreltragi-comedyobtained. I know Apuleius did somewhat sobut that isa thingrecounted with space of timenot represented in one moment:and I knowthe ancients have one or two examples of tragi-comediesas Plautushath Amphytrio. Butif we mark them wellwe shallfindthatthey neveror very daintilymatch horn-pipes andfunerals. So falleth it outthat having indeed no right comedy inthatcomical part of our tragedywe have nothing but scurrilityunworthyof any chaste ears; or some extreme show of doltishnessindeed fitto lift up a loud laughterand nothing else; where thewholetract of a comedy should be full of delight; as the tragedyshould bestill maintained in a well-raised admiration.
But ourcomedians think there is no delight without laughterwhichis verywrong; for though laughter may come with delightyet comethit not ofdelightas though delight should be the cause oflaughter;but well may one thing breed both together. Nayinthemselvesthey haveas it werea kind of contrariety. Fordelight wescarcely dobut in things that have a conveniency toourselvesor to the general nature. Laughter almost ever cometh ofthingsmost disproportioned to ourselves and nature: delight hath ajoy in iteither permanent or present; laughter hath only a scornfultickling. For example: we are ravished with delight to see a fairwomanandyet are far from being moved to laughter; we laugh atdeformedcreatureswherein certainly we cannot delight; we delightin goodchances; we laugh at mischances; we delight to hear thehappinessof our friends and countryat which he were worthy to belaughed atthat would laugh: we shallcontrarilysometimes laughto find amatter quite mistakenand go down the hill against thebiasin the mouth of some such menas for the respect ofthemoneshall be heartily sorrow he cannot choose but laughandso israther pained than delighted with laughter. Yet deny I notbut thatthey may go well together; foras in Alexander's picturewell setoutwe delight without laughterand in twenty mad anticswe laughwithout delight: so in Herculespainted with his greatbeard andfurious countenancein a woman's attirespinning atOmphale'scommandmentit breeds both delight and laughter; for therepresentingof so strange a power in love procures delightand thescornfulnessof the action stirreth laughter.
But Ispeak to this purposethat all the end of the comical part benot uponsuch scornful matters as stir laughter onlybut mix withit thatdelightful teaching which is the end of poesy. And thegreatfaulteven in that point of laughterand forbidden plainlybyAristotleisthat they stir laughter in sinful thingswhichare ratherexecrable than ridiculous; or in miserablewhich arerather tobe pitied than scorned. For what is it to make folks gapeat awretched beggarand a beggarly clown; or against the law ofhospitalityto jest at strangersbecause they speak not English sowell as wedo? what do we learnsince it is certain
"Nilhabet infelix pauperatas durius in se
Quamqnod ridiculoshomines facit."
But rathera busy loving courtierand a heartless threateningThraso; aself-wise seeming school-master; a wry-transformedtraveller: theseif we saw walk in stage nameswhich we playnaturallytherein were delightful laughterand teachingdelightfulness: as in the otherthe tragedies of Buchanan dojustlybring forth a divine admiration.
But I havelavished out too many words of this play matter; I do itbecauseas they are excelling parts of poesyso is there none somuch usedin Englandand none can be more pitifully abused; whichlike anunmannerly daughtershowing a bad educationcauseth hermotherPoesy's honesty to be called in question.
Othersorts of poetryalmosthave we nonebut that lyricalkind ofsongs and sonnetswhichif the Lord gave us so good mindshow wellit might be employedand with how heavenly fruitsbothprivateand publicin singing the praises of the immortal beautytheimmortal goodness of that Godwho giveth us hands to writeandwits toconceive; of which we might well want wordsbut nevermatter; ofwhich we could turn our eyes to nothingbut we shouldever havenew budding occasions.
Buttrulymany of such writings as come under the banner ofunresistibleloveif I were a mistresswould never persuade methey werein love; so coldly they apply fiery speechesas men thathad ratherread lover's writingsand so caught up certain swellingphraseswhich hang together like a man that once told me"the windwas atnorth-west and by south" because he would be sure to namewindsenough; than thatin truththey feel those passionswhicheasilyasI thinkmay be bewrayed by the same forciblenessor"energia"(as the Greeks call it)of the writer. But let this be asufficientthough short notethat we miss the right use of thematerialpoint of poesy.
Nowfor the outside of itwhich is wordsor (as I may termit)dictionit is even well worse; so is that honey-flowing matroneloquenceapparelledor rather disguisedin a courtesan-likepaintedaffectation. One time with so far-fetched wordsthat manyseemmonstersbut most seem strangers to any poor Englishman:anothertime with coursing of a letteras if they were bound tofollow themethod of a dictionary: another time with figures andflowersextremely winter-starved.
But Iwould this fault were only peculiar to versifiersand had notas largepossession among prose printers: andwhich is to bemarvelledamong many scholarsandwhich is to be pitiedamongsomepreachers. TrulyI could wish (if at least I might be so boldto wishin a thing beyond the reach of my capacity) the diligentimitatorsof Tully and Demosthenesmost worthy to be imitateddidnot somuch keep Nizolian paper-books of theirfigures andphrasesas by attentive translationas it weredevour them wholeand makethem wholly theirs. For now they cast sugar and spice uponevery dishthat is served at the table: like those Indiansnotcontent towear ear-rings at the fit and natural place of the earsbut theywill thrust jewels through their nose and lipsbecausethey willbe sure to be fine.
Tullywhen he was to drive out Catilineas it were with athunderboltof eloquenceoften useth the figure of repetitionas"vivitet vincitimo in senatum venitimo in senatum venit" &c.Indeedinflamed with a well-grounded ragehe would have hiswordsasit weredouble out of his mouth; and so do thatartificiallywhich we see men in choler do naturally. And wehavingnoted the grace of those wordshale them in sometimes to afamiliarepistlewhen it were too much choler to be choleric.
How wellstore of "similiter cadences" doth sound with the gravityof thepulpitI would but invoke Demosthenes' soul to tellwhowith arare daintiness useth them. Trulythey have made me thinkof thesophisterthat with too much subtlety would prove two eggsthreeandthough he may be counted a sophisterhad none for hislabour. So these men bringing in such a kind of eloquencewell maytheyobtain an opinion of a seeming finenessbut persuade fewwhichshould be the end of their fineness.
Now forsimilitudes in certain printed discoursesI think allherbalistsall stories of beastsfowlsand fishes are rifled upthat theymay come in multitudes to wait upon any of our conceitswhichcertainly is as absurd a surfeit to the ears as is possible.For theforce of a similitude not being to prove anything to acontrarydisputerbut only to explain to a willing hearer: whenthat isdonethe rest is a most tedious prattlingratheroverswayingthe memory from the purpose whereto they were appliedthan anywhit informing the judgmentalready either satisfiedorbysimilitudes not to be satisfied.
For mypartI do not doubtwhen Antonius and Crassusthe greatforefathersof Cicero in eloquence; the one (as Cicero testifieth ofthem)pretended not to know artthe other not to set by itbecausewith aplain sensibleness they might win credit of popular earswhichcredit is the nearest step to persuasion (which persuasion isthe chiefmark of oratory); I do not doubtI saybut that theyused theseknacks very sparingly; which who doth generally useanyman mayseedoth dance to his own music; and so to he noted by theaudiencemore careful to speak curiously than truly. Undoubtedly(at leastto my opinion undoubtedly) I have found in divers small-learnedcourtiers a more sound style than in some professors oflearning;of which I can guess no other causebut that the courtierfollowingthat which by practice he findeth fittest to naturetherein(though he know it not) doth according to artthough not byart: where the otherusing art to show artand not hide art (asin thesecases he should do)flieth from natureand indeed abusethart.
But what!methinks I deserve to be pounded for strayingfrompoetry tooratory: but both have such an affinity in the wordishconsiderationsthat I think this digression will make my meaningreceivethe fuller understanding: which is not to take upon me toteachpoets how they should dobut only finding myself sick amongthe restto allow sonic one or two spots of the common infectiongrownamong the most part of writers; thatacknowledging ourselvessomewhatawrywe may bend to the right use both of matter andmanner: whereto our language giveth us great occasionbeingindeedcapable of any excellent exercising of it. Iknow somewill sayit is a mingled language: and why not so much the bettertaking thebest of both the other? Another will sayit wantethgrammar. Naytrulyit hath that praisethat it wants notgrammar;for grammar it might havebut needs it not; being so easyin itselfand so void of those cumbersome differences of casesgendersmoodsand tenses; whichI thinkwas a piece of the towerofBabylon's cursethat a man should be put to school to learn hismothertongue. But for the uttering sweetly and properly theconceit ofthe mindwhich is the end of speechthat hath itequallywith any other tongue in the worldand is particularlyhappy incompositions of two or three words togethernear theGreekfarbeyond the Latin; which is one of the greatest beautiescan be ina language.
Nowof versifying there are two sortsthe one ancienttheothermodern; the ancient marked the quantity of each syllableandaccordingto that framed his verse; the modernobserving onlynumberwith some regard of the accentthe chief life of itstandethin that like sounding of the wordswhich we call rhyme.Whether ofthese be the more excellentwould bear many speeches;theancientno doubt more fit for musicboth words and timeobservingquantity; and more fit lively to express divers passionsby the lowor lofty sound of the well-weighed syllable. The latterlikewisewith his rhyme striketh a certain music to the ear; andin finesince it doth delightthough by another wayit obtaineththe samepurpose; there being in eithersweetnessand wanting inneithermajesty. Truly the Englishbefore any vulgar language Iknowisfit for both sorts; forfor the ancientthe Italian is sofull ofvowelsthat it must ever be cumbered with elisions. TheDutch soof the other sidewith consonantsthat they cannot yieldthe sweetsliding fit for a verse. The Frenchin his wholelanguagehath not one word that hath his accent in the lastsyllablesaving twocalled antepenultima; and little morehaththeSpanishand therefore very gracelessly may they use dactiles.TheEnglish is subject to none of these defects.
Now forrhymethough we do not observe quantitywe observe theaccentvery preciselywhich other languages either cannot doorwill notdo so absolutely. That "caesura" or breathing-placeinthe midstof the verseneither Italian nor Spanish havethe Frenchand wenever almost fail of. Lastlyeven the very rhyme itself theItaliancannot put in the last syllableby the French named themasculinerhymebut still in the next to the lastwhich the Frenchcall thefemale; or the next before thatwhich the Italian calls"sdrucciola:"the example of the former is"buono" "suono;"of thesdrucciolais"femina" "semina." The Frenchof theother sidehath boththe maleas "bon" "son" and the femaleas"plaise""taise;"but the "sdrucciola" he hath not; where the English hathall threeas "due" "true" "father" "rather""motion" "potion;"with muchmore which might be saidbut that already I find thetriflingof this discourse is much too much enlarged.
Sothat since the ever praiseworthy poesy is full of virtuebreedingdelightfulnessand void of no gift that ought to be in thenoble nameof learning; since the blames laid against it are eitherfalse orfeeble; since the cause why it is not esteemed in Englandis thefault of poet-apesnot poets; sincelastlyour tongue ismost fitto honour poesyand to be honoured by poesy; I conjure youall thathave had the evil luck to read this ink-wasting toy ofmineevenin the name of the Nine Musesno more to scorn thesacredmysteries of poesy; no more to laugh at the name of poetsasthoughthey were next inheritors to fools; no more to jest at thereverendtitle of "a rhymer;" but to believewith Aristotlethatthey werethe ancient treasurers of the Grecian's divinity; tobelievewith Bembusthat they were the first bringers in of allcivility;to believewith Scaligerthat no philosopher's preceptscan soonermake you an honest manthan the reading of Virgil; tobelievewith Clauserusthe translator of Cornutusthat it pleasedtheheavenly deity by Hesiod and Homerunder the veil of fablestogive usall knowledgelogicrhetoricphilosophy natural andmoraland"quid non?" to believewith methat there are manymysteriescontained in poetrywhich of purpose were written darklylest byprofane wits it should be abused; to believewith Landinthat theyare so beloved of the gods that whatsoever they writeproceedsof a divine fury. Lastlyto believe themselveswhen theytell youthey will make you immortal by their verses.
Thusdoingyour names shall flourish in the printers' shops: thusdoingyoushall be of kin to many a poetical preface: thus doingyou shallbe most fairmost richmost wisemost all: you shalldwell uponsuperlatives: thus doingthough you be "Libertino patrenatus"you shall suddenly grow "Herculea proles"
"Siquid mea Carmina possunt:"
thusdoingyour soul shall be placed with Dante's BeatrixorVirgil'sAnchisis.
But if(fie of such a but!) you be born so near the dull-makingcataractof Nilusthat you cannot hear the planet-like music ofpoetry; ifyou have so earth-creeping a mindthat it cannot liftitself upto look to the sky of poetryor ratherby a certainrusticaldisdainwill become such a Momeas to be a Momus ofpoetry;thenthough I will not wish unto you the ass's ears ofMidasnorto be driven by a poet's versesas Bubonax wasto hanghimself;nor to be rhymed to deathas is said to be done inIreland;yet thus much curse I must send you in the behalf of allpoets;that while you liveyou live in loveand never get favourforlacking skill of a sonnet; and when you dieyour memory diefrom theearth for want of an epitaph.
POEM: TWO PASTORALS
Made bySir Philip Sidneyupon his meeting with his two worthyfriendsand fellow poetsSir Edward Dyer and M. Fulke Greville.
Join matesin mirth to meGrantpleasure to our meeting;Let Panour good godseeHowgrateful is our greeting.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
Ye hymnsand singing skillOf godApollo's givingBe pressedour reeds to fillWith soundof music living.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
SweetOrpheus' harpwhose soundThestedfast mountains movedLet therethy skill aboundTo joinsweet friends beloved.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
My two andI be metA happyblessed trinityAs threemore jointly setIn firmestband of unity.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
Welcome mytwo to meThe numberbest belovedWithin myheart you beInfriendship unremoved.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
Give leaveyour flocks to rangeLet us thewhile be playing;Within theelmy grangeYourflocks will not be straying.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
Cause allthe mirth you canSince I amnow come hitherWho neverjoybut whenI am withyou together.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
Likelovers do their loveSo joy Iin you seeing:Letnothing me removeFromalways with you being.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
And as theturtle doveTo matewith whom he livethSuchcomfort fervent loveOf you tomy heart giveth.Joinhearts and handsso let it beMake butone mind in bodies three.
Now joinedbe our handsLet thembe ne'er asunderBut link'din binding bandsBymetamorphosed wonder.So shouldour severed bodies threeAs one forever joined be.
POEM: DISPRAISE OF A COURTLY LIFE
Walking inbright Phoebus' blazeWhere withheat oppressed I wasI got to ashady woodWheregreen leaves did newly bud;And ofgrass was plenty dwellingDeckedwith pied flowers sweetly smelling.
In thiswood a man I metOnlamenting wholly set;Ruingchange of wonted stateWhence hewas transformed lateOnce toshepherds' God retainingNow inservile court remaining.
There hewand'ring malecontentUp anddown perplexed wentDaring notto tell to meSpake untoa senseless treeOne amongthe rest electingThese samewordsor this affecting:
"Myold mates I grieve to seeVoid of mein field to beWhere weonce our lovely sheepLovinglylike friends did keep;Oft eachother's friendship provingNeverstrivingbut in loving.
"Butmay love abiding beIn poorshepherds' base degree?It belongsto such aloneTo whomart of love is known:Seelyshepherds are not wittingWhat inart of love is fitting.
"Naywhat need the art to thoseTo whom weour love disclose?It is tobe used thenWhen we dobut flatter men:Friendshiptruein heart assuredIs byNature's gifts procured.
"Thereforeshepherdswanting skillCan Love'sduties best fulfil;Since theyknow not how to feignNor withlove to cloak disdainLike thewiser sortwhose learningHidestheir inward will of harming.
"Wellwas Iwhile under shadeOatenreeds me music madeStrivingwith my mates in song;Mixingmirth our songs among.Greaterwas the shepherd's treasureThan thisfalsefinecourtly pleasure.
"Wherehow many creatures beSo manypuffed in mind I see;Like toJuno's birds of prideScarceeach other can abide:Friendslike to black swans appearingSoonerthese than those in hearing.
"ThereforePanif thou may'st beMade tolisten unto meGrantIsayif seely manMay maketreaty to god PanThat Iwithout thy denyingMay bestill to thee relying.
"Onlyfor my two loves' sakeIn whoselove I pleasure take;Only twodo me delightWith theirever-pleasing sight;Of all mento thee retainingGrant mewith those two remaining.
"Soshall I to thee alwaysWith myreeds sound mighty praise:And firstlamb that shall befallYearlydeck thine altar shallIf itplease thee to be reflectedAnd I fromthee not rejected."
So I lefthim in that placeTakingpity on his case;Learningthis among the restThat themean estate is best;Betterfilled with contentingVoid ofwishing and repenting.
Ring outyour bellslet mourning shows be spreadFor Loveis dead:All Loveis deadinfectedWithplague of deep disdain:Worthasnought worthrejectedAnd faithfair scorn doth gain.From soungrateful fancy;From sucha female frenzy;From themthat use men thusGood Lorddeliver us.
Weepneighboursweepdo you not hear it saidThat Loveis dead:Hisdeath-bedpeacock's folly:Hiswinding-sheet is shame;His willfalse-seeming holyHis soleexecutorblame.From soungrateful fancy;From sucha female frenzy;From themthat use men thusGood Lorddeliver us.
Let dirgebe sungand trentals rightly readFor Loveis dead:Sir Wronghis tomb ordainethMymistress' marble heart;Whichepitaph containeth"Hereyes were once his dart."From soungrateful fancy;From sucha female frenzy;From themthat use men thusGood Lorddeliver us.
Alas! Ilie: rage hath this error bred;Love isnot deadLove isnot deadbut sleepethIn herunmatched mind:Where shehis counsel keepethTill duedeserts she find.Thereforefrom so vile fancyTo callsuch wit a frenzy:Who Lovecan temper thusGood Lorddeliver us.
POEM: STANZAS TO LOVE
AhpoorLovewhy dost thou liveThus tosee thy service lost;If shewill no comfort giveMake anendyield up the ghost!
That shemayat lengthapproveThat shehardly long believedThat theheart will die for loveThat isnot in time relieved.
Ohthatever I was bornService soto be refused;Faithfullove to be forborn!Never lovewas so abused.
ButsweetLovebe still awhile;She thathurt theeLovemay heal thee;Sweet! I see within her smileMore thanreason can reveal thee.
Forthough she be rich and fairYet she isboth wise and kindAndthereforedo thou not despairBut thyfaith may fancy find.
Yetalthough she be a queenThat maysuch a snake despiseYetwithsilence all unseenRunandhide thee in her eyes:
Where ifshe will let thee dieYet atlatest gasp of breathSay thatin a lady's eyeLove bothtook his life and death.
POEM: A REMEDY FOR LOVE
Philocleaand Pamela sweetBy chancein one great house did meet;Andmeetingdid so join in heartThat th'one from th' other could not part:And whoindeed (not made of stones)Wouldseparate such lovely ones?The one isbeautifuland fairAs orientpearls and rubies are;And sweetasafter gentle showersThe breathis of some thousand flowers:For dueproportionsuch an airCirclesthe otherand so fairThat ither brownness beautifiesAnd dothenchant the wisest eyes.
Have younot seenon some great dayTwo goodlyhorseswhite and bayWhich wereso beauteous in their prideYou knewnot which to choose or ride?Such arethese two; you scarce can tellWhich isthe daintier bonny belle;And theyare suchasby my trothI had beensick with love of bothAnd mighthave sadly said'Good-nightDiscretionand good fortune quite;'But thatyoung Cupidmy old masterPresentedme a sovereign plaster:Mopsa!ev'n Mopsa! (precious pet)Whose lipsof marbleteeth of jetAre spellsand charms of strong defenceTo conjuredown concupiscence.
How ofthave I been reft of senseBy gazingon their excellenceButmeeting Mopsa in my wayAndlooking on her face of clayBeenhealedand curedand made as soundAs thoughI ne'er had had a wound?And whenin tables of my heartLovewrought such things as bred my smartMopsawould comewith face of cloutAnd in aninstant wipe them out.And whentheir faces made me sickMopsawould comewith face of brickA littleheated in the fireAnd breakthe neck of my desire.Now fromtheir face I turn mine eyesBut (cruelpanthers!) they surpriseMe withtheir breaththat incense sweetWhich onlyfor the gods is meetAndjointly from them doth respireLike boththe Indies set on fire:
Which soo'ercomes man's ravished senseThatsoulsto follow itfly hence.Nosuch-like smell you if you rangeTo th'Stocksor Cornhill's square Exchange;Therestood I still as any stockTillMopsawith her puddle dockHercompound or electuaryMade ofold ling and young canaryBloat-herringcheeseand voided physicBeingsomewhat troubled with a phthisicDid coughand fetch a sigh so deepAs did hervery bottom sweep:Whereby toall she did impartHow lovelay rankling at her heart:Whichwhen I smeltdesire was slainAnd theybreathed forth perfumes in vain.Theirangel voice surprised me now;But Mopsaher Too-whitToo-whooDescendingthrough her oboe noseDid thatdistemper soon compose.
AndthereforeO thou precious owlThe wiseMinerva's only fowl;Whatatthy shrineshall I deviseTo offerup a sacrifice?HangAEsculapiusand ApolloAnd Ovidwith his precious shallow.Mopsa islove's best medicineTrue waterto a lover's wine.Nayshe'sthe yellow antidoteBoth bredand born to cut Love's throat:Be but mysecondand stand byMopsaandI'll them both defy;And allelse of those gallant racesWho wearinfection in their faces;For thyface (that Medusa's shield!)Will bringme safe out of the field.
To thetune of the Spanish song"Si tu senora no ducles de mi."
O fair! Osweet! when I do look on theeIn whomall joys so well agreeHeart andsoul do sing in me.This youhear is not my tongueWhich oncesaid what I conceived;For it wasof use bereavedWith acruel answer stung.No! thoughtongue to roof be cleavedFearinglest he chastised beHeart andsoul do sing in me.
O fair! Osweet! when I do look on theeIn whomall joys so well agreeJustaccord all music makes;In theejust accord excellethWhere eachpart in such peace dwellethOne ofother beauty takes.Since thentruth to all minds tellethThat inthee lives harmonyHeart andsoul do sing in me.
O fair! Osweet! when I do look on theeIn whomall joys so well agreeThey thatheaven have known do sayThat whosothat grace obtainethTo seewhat fair sight there reignethForced areto sing alway:So thensince that heaven remainethIn thyfaceI plainly seeHeart andsoul do sing in me.
O fair! Osweet! when I do look on theeIn whomall joys so well agreeSweetthink not I am at easeForbecause my chief part singeth;This songfrom death's sorrow springeth:As to swanin last disease:For nodumbnessnor deathbringethStay totrue love's melody:Heart andsoul do sing in me.
FromHoraceBook II. Ode X.beginning "Rectius vivesLicini"&c.
You bettersure shall livenot evermoreTryinghigh seas; norwhile sea's rage you fleePressingtoo much upon ill-harboured shore.
The goldenmean who loveslives safely freeFrom filthof foreworn houseand quiet livesReleasedfrom courtwhere envy needs must be.
The windmost oft the hugest pine tree grieves:Thestately towers come down with greater fall:Thehighest hills the bolt of thunder cleaves.
Evil hapsdo fill with hopegood haps appallWith fearof changethe courage well prepared:Foulwintersas they comeaway they shall.
Thoughpresent timesand pastwith evils be snaredThey shallnot last: with cithern silent MuseApollowakesand bow hath sometime spared.
In hardestatewith stout showsvalour useThe sameman stillin whom wisdom prevails;In toofull wind draw in thy swelling sails.
POEM: A SONNET BY SIR EDWARD DYER
Prometheuswhen first from heaven highHe broughtdown firetill then on earth not seen;Fond ofdelighta satyrstanding byGave it akissas it like sweet had been.
Feelingforthwith the other burning powerWood withthe smartwith shouts and shrieking shrillHe soughthis ease in riverfieldand bower;Butforthe timehis grief went with him still.
So sillyIwith that unwonted sightIn humanshape an angel from aboveFeedingmine eyesth' impression there did light;That sinceI run and rest as pleaseth love:Thedifference isthe satyr's lipsmy heartHe for awhileI evermorehave smart.
POEM: SIR PHILIP SIDNEY'S SONNET IN REPLY
A satyronce did run away for dreadWith soundof horn which he himself did blow:Fearingand fearedthus from himself he fledDeemingstrange evil in that he did not know.
Suchcauseless fears when coward minds do takeIt makesthem fly that which they fain would have;As thispoor beastwho did his rest forsakeThinkingnot whybut howhimself to save.
Ev'n thusmight Ifor doubts which I conceiveOf mineown wordsmy own good hap betray;And thusmight Ifor fear of may beleaveThe sweetpursuit of my desired prey.Betterlike I thy satyrdearest DyerWho burnthis lips to kiss fair shining fire.
POEM: MUST LOVE LAMENT?
Mymistress lowersand saith I do not love:I doprotestand seek with service dueIn humbleminda constant faith to prove;But forall thisI cannot her removeFrom deepvain thought that I may not be true.
If oathsmight serveev'n by the Stygian lakeWhichpoets say the gods themselves do fearI neverdid my vowed word forsake:For whyshould Iwhom free choice slave doth makeElse-whatin facethan in my fancy bear?
My Musethereforefor only thou canst tellTell methe cause of this my causeless woe?Tellhowill thought disgraced my doing well?Tellhowmy joys and hopes thus foully fellTo so lowebb that wonted were to flow?
O this itisthe knotted straw is found;In tenderheartssmall things engender hate:A horse'sworth laid waste the Trojan ground;Athree-foot stool in Greece made trumpets sound;An ass'sshade e'er now hath bred debate.
If Greeksthemselves were moved with so small causeTo twistthose broilswhich hardly would untwine:Shouldladies fair be tied to such hard lawsAs intheir moods to take a ling'ring pause?I would itnottheir metal is too fine.
My handdoth not bear witness with my heartShe saithbecause I make no woeful laysTo paintmy living death and endless smart:And sofor one that felt god Cupid's dartShe thinksI lead and live too merry days.
Are poetsthen the only lovers trueWhosehearts are set on measuring a verse?Who thinkthemselves well blestif they renewSome goodold dump that Chaucer's mistress knew;And usebut you for matters to rehearse.
ThengoodApollodo away thy bow:Take harpand sing in this our versing timeAnd in mybrain some sacred humour flowThat allthe earth my woessighstears may know;And seeyou not that I fall low to rhyme.
As for mymirthhow could I but be gladWhilstthat methought I justly made my boastThat onlyI the only mistress had?But nowif e'er my face with joy be cladThinkHannibal did laugh when Carthage lost.
Sweetladyas for those whose sullen cheerComparedto memade me in lightness sound;Whostoic-likein cloudy hue appear;Whosilence force to make their words more dear;Whose eyesseem chastebecause they look on ground:
Believethem notfor physic true doth findCholeradust is joyed in woman-kind.
POEM: A DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO SHEPHERDS
Uttered ina Pastoral Show at Wilton.
WILL. Dicksince we cannot dancecomelet a cheerful voiceShow thatwe do not grudge at all when others do rejoice.
DICK. Ah Willthough I grudge notI count it feeble gleeWith sightmade dim with daily tears another's sport to see.Whoeverlambkins sawyet lambkins love to playTo playwhen that their loved dams are stolen or gone astray?If this inthem be trueas true in men think IA lustlesssong forsooth thinks he that hath more lust to cry.
WILL. A time there is for allmy mother often saysWhen shewith skirts tucked very highwith girls at football playsWhen thouhast mind to weepseek out some smoky room:Now letthose lightsome sights we see thy darkness overcome.
DICK. What joy the joyful sun gives unto bleared eyes;Thatcomfort in these sports you likemy mind his comfort tries.
WILL. What? Is thy bagpipe brokeor are thy lambs miswent;Thy walletor thy tar-box lost; or thy new raiment-rent?
DICK. I would it were but thusfor thus it were too well.
WILL. Thou see'st my ears do itch at it: good Dick thy sorrowtell.
DICK. Hear thenand learn to sigh: a mistress I do serveWhosewages make me beg the morewho feeds me till I starve;Whoselivery is suchas most I freeze apparelled mostAnd looksso near unto my curethat I must needs be lost.
WILL. What? These are riddles sure: art thou then bound to her?
DICK. Bound as I neither power havenor would have powerto stir.
WILL. Who bound thee?
DICK. Lovemy lord.
WILL. What witnesses thereto?
DICK. Faith in myselfand Worth in herwhich no proof can undo.
WILL. What seal?
DICK. My heart deep graven.
WILL. Who made the band so fast?
DICK. Wonder thatby two so black eyes the glitt'ring stars bepast.
WILL. What keepeth safe thy band?
DICK. Remembrance is the chestLock'dfast with knowing that she is of worldly things the best.
WILL. Thou late of wages plain'dst: what wages may'sh thou have?
DICK. Her heavenly lookswhich more and more do give me cause tocrave.
WILL. If wages make you wantwhat food is that she gives?
DICK. Tear's drinksorrow's meatwherewith not Ibut in me mydeathlives.
WILL. What living get you then?
DICK. Disdain; but just disdain;So have Icause myself to plainbut no cause to complain.
WILL. What care takes she for thee?
DICK. Her care is to preventMyfreedomwith show of her beamswith virtuemy content.
WILL. God shield us from such dames! If so our dames be spedTheshepherds will grow lean I trowtheir sheep will be ill-fed.But Dickmy counsel mark: run from the place of woo:The arrowbeing shot from far doth give the smaller blow.
DICK. Good WillI cannot take thy good advice; beforeThat foxesleave to stealthey find they die therefore.
WILL. ThenDicklet us go hence lest we great folks annoy:Fornothing can more tedious be than plaint in time of joy.
DICK. Oh hence! O cruel word! which even dogs do hate:But henceeven henceI must needs go; such is my dogged fate.
To thetune of "Wilhelmus van Nassau" &c.
Who hathhis fancy pleasedWithfruits of happy sightLet herehis eyes be raisedOnNature's sweetest light;A lightwhich doth disseverAnd yetunite the eyes;A lightwhichdyingneverIs causethe looker dies.
She neverdiesbut lastethIn life oflover's heart;He everdies that wastethIn lovehis chiefest part.Thus isher life still guardedIn neverdying faith;Thus ishis death rewardedSince shelives in his death.
Look thenand diethe pleasureDothanswer well the pain;Small lossof mortal treasureWho mayimmortal gain.Immortalbe her gracesImmortalis her mind;Theyfitfor heavenly placesThisheaven in it doth bind.
But eyesthese beauties see notNor sensethat grace descries;Yet eyesdeprived be notFrom sightof her fair eyes:Whichasof inward gloryThey arethe outward sealSo maythey live still sorryWhich dienot in that weal.
But whohath fancies pleasedWithfruits of happy sightLet herehis eyes be raisedOnNature's sweetest light.
POEM: THE SMOKES OF MELANCHOLY
Who hathe'er felt the change of loveAnd knownthose pangs that losers proveMay paintmy face without seeing meAnd writethe state how my fancies beTheloathsome buds grown on Sorrow's tree.
But who byhearsay speaksand hath not fully feltWhat kindof fires they be in which those spirits meltShallguessand failwhat doth displeaseFeeling mypulsemiss my disease.
O no! O no! trial only showsThe bitterjuice of forsaken woes;Whereformer blisspresent evils do stain;Nayformer bliss adds to present painWhileremembrance doth both states contain.Comelearnersthen to methe model of mishapIngulphedin despairslid down from Fortune's lap;Andasyou like my double lotTread inmy stepsor follow not.
For mealas! I am full resolvedThosebandsalas! shall not be dissolved;Nor breakmy wordthough reward come late;Nor failmy faith in my failing fate;Nor changein changethough change change my state:
But alwaysown myselfwith eagle-eyed Truthto flyUp to thesunalthough the sun my wings do fry;For ifthose flames burn my desireYet shallI die in Phoenix' fire.
Whentomy deadly pleasureWhen to mylively tormentLadymineeyes remainedJoinedalas! to your beams.
Withviolence of heavenlyBeautytied to virtue;Reasonabashed retired;Gladly mysenses yielded.
Gladly mysenses yieldingThus tobetray my heart's fortLeft medevoid of all life.
They tothe beamy suns wentWherebythe death of all deathsFind towhat harm they hastened.
Like tothe silly SylvanBurned bythe light he best likedWhen witha fire he first met.
Yetyeta life to their deathLady youhave reserved;Lady thelife of all love.
For thoughmy sense be from meAnd I bedeadwho want senseYet do weboth live in you.
Turnedanewby your meansUnto theflower that aye turnsAs youalas! my sun bends.
Thus do Ifall to rise thus;Thus do Idie to live thus;Changed toa changeI change not.
Thus may Inot be from you;Thus be mysenses on you;Thus whatI think is of you;Thus whatI seek is in you;All what Iamit is you.
To thetune of a Neapolitan songwhich beginneth"Nononono."
NonononoI cannot hate my foeAlthoughwith cruel fireFirstthrown on my desireShe sacksmy rendered sprite;For sofair a flame embracesAll theplacesWhere thatheat of all heats springethThat itbringethTo mydying heart some pleasureSince histreasureBurnethbright in fairest light. Nononono.
NonononoI cannot hate my foeAlthoughwith cruel fireFirstthrown on my desireShe sacksmy rendered sprite;Since ourlives be not immortalBut tomortalFetterstieddo wait the hourOf death'spowerThey haveno cause to be sorryWho withgloryEnd thewaywhere all men stay. Nononono.
NonononoI cannot hate my foeAlthoughwith cruel fireFirstthrown on my desireShe sacksmy rendered sprite;No mandoubtswhom beauty killethFair deathfeelethAnd inwhom fair death proceedethGlorybreedeth:So that Iin her beams dyingGlorytryingThough inpaincannot complain. Nononono.
To thetune of a Neapolitan Villanel.
All mysense thy sweetness gained;Thy fairhair my heart enchained;My poorreason thy words movedSo thattheelike heavenI loved.
Falalaleridandandandanderidan:Dandandanderidanderidandei:While tomy mind the outside stoodFormessenger of inward good.
Nor thysweetness sour is deemed;Thy hairnot worth a hair esteemed;Reasonhath thy words removedFindingthat but words they proved.
FalalaleridandandandanderidanDandandanderidanderidandei:For nofair sign can credit winIf thatthe substance fail within.
No more inthy sweetness gloryFor thyknitting hair be sorry;Use thywords but to bewail theeThat nomore thy beams avail thee;DandanDandanLay notthy colours more to viewWithoutthe picture be found true.
Woe to mealasshe weepeth!Fool! inme what folly creepeth?Was I toblaspheme enragedWhere mysoul I have engaged?DandanDandanAndwretched I must yield to this;The faultI blame her chasteness is.
Sweetness!sweetly pardon folly;Tie mehairyour captive wholly:Words! O words of heavenly knowledge!Knowmywords their faults acknowledge;DandanDandanAnd all mylife I will confessThe less IloveI live the less.
From "LaDiana de Monte-Mayor" in Spanish: where Sirenoashepherdwhose mistress Diana had utterly forsaken himpulling outa littleof her hairwrapped about with green silkto the hair hethusbewailed himself.
Whatchanges hereO hairI seesince I saw you!How illfits you this green to wearFor hopethe colour due!IndeedIwell did hopeThoughhope were mixed with fearNo othershepherd should have scopeOnce toapproach this hair.
Ah hair!how many daysMy Dianmade me showWiththousand pretty childish playsIf I wareyou or no:Alashowoft with tears-O tears ofguileful breast! -She seemedfull of jealous fearsWhereat Idid but jest.
Tell meOhair of goldIf I thenfaulty beThat trustthose killing eyes I wouldSince theydid warrant me?Have younot seen her moodWhatstreams of tears she spent'Till thatI sware my faith so stoodAs herwords had it bent?
Who hathsuch beauty seenIn onethat changeth so?Or whereone's love so constant beenWho eversaw such woe?Ahhair!are you not grievedTo comefrom whence you beSeeing howonce you saw I livedTo see meas you see?
On sandybank of lateI saw thiswoman sit;Where"Sooner die than change my state"She withher finger writ:Thus mybelief was staidBeholdLove's mighty handOn thingswere by a woman saidAndwritten in the sand.
The sameSireno in "Monte-Mayor" holding his mistress's glassbeforeherand looking upon her while she viewed herselfthussang:-
Of thishigh gracewith bliss conjoinedNo fartherdebt on me is laidSince thatin self-same metal coinedSweetladyyou remain well paid;
For if myplace give me great pleasureHavingbefore my nature's treasureIn faceand eyes unmatched beingYou havethe same in my handsseeingWhat inyour face mine eyes do measure.
Nor thinkthe match unevenly madeThat ofthose beams in you do tarryThe glassto you but gives a shadeTo me mineeyes the true shape carry;For such athought most highly prizedWhich everhath Love's yoke despisedBetterthan one captived perceivethThough hethe lively form receivethThe othersees it but disguised.
The dartthe beamsthe stingso strong I proveWhich mychief part doth pass throughparchand tieThat ofthe strokethe heatand knot of loveWoundedinflamedknit to the deathI die.
Hardenedand coldfar from affection's snareWas oncemy mindmy temperand my life;While Ithat sightdesireand vow forbareWhich toavoidquenchlosenought boasted strife.
Yet willnot I griefashesthraldom changeForothers' easetheir fruitor free estate;So brave ashotdear fireand beauty strangeBid mepierceburnand bindlong time and lateAnd in mywoundsmy flamesand bondsI findA salvefresh airand bright contented mind.
* * *
Virtuebeautyand speechdid strikewoundcharmMy hearteyesearswith wonderlovedelightFirstsecondlastdid bindenforceand armHis worksshowssuitswith witgraceand vows' might
Thushonourlikingtrustmuchfarand deepHeldpiercedpossessedmy judgmentsenseand willTillwrongscontemptdeceitdid growstealcreepBandsfavourfaithto breakdefileand kill
ThengriefunkindnessprooftookkindledtaughtWell-groundednobleduespiteragedisdain:But ahalas! in vain my mindsightthoughtDoth himhis facehis wordsleaveshunrefrain.Fornothingtimenor placecan loosequencheaseMine ownembracedsoughtknotfiredisease.
Faintamoristwhatdost thou thinkTo tasteLove's honeyand not drinkOne dramof gall? or to devourA world ofsweetand taste no sour?Dost thouever think to enterTh'Elysian fieldsthat dar'st not ventureInCharon's barge? a lover's mindMust useto sail with every wind.He thatloves and fears to tryLearns hismistress to deny.Doth shechide thee? 'tis to show itThat thycoldness makes her do it:Is shesilent? is she mute?Silencefully grants thy suit:Doth shepoutand leave the room?Then shegoes to bid thee come:Is shesick? why then be sureSheinvites thee to the cure:Doth shecross thy suit with "No?"Tushsheloves to hear thee woo:Doth shecall the faith of manInquestion? Nayshe loves thee than;And ife'er she makes a blotShe's lostif that thou hit'st her not.He thatafter ten denialsDaresattempt no farther trialsHath nowarrant to acquireThedainties of his chaste desire.
Sinceshunning painI ease can never find;Sincebashful dread seeks where he knows me harmed;Since willis wonand stopped ears are charmed;Sinceforce doth faintand sight doth make me blind;Sinceloosing longthe faster still I bind;Sincenaked sense can conquer reason armed;Sinceheartin chilling fearwith ice is warmed;In finesince strife of thought but mars the mindI yieldOLoveunto thy loathed yokeYetcraving law of armswhose rule doth teachThathardly usedwho ever prison brokeIn justicequitof honour made no breach:Whereasif I a grateful guardian haveThou artmy lordand I thy vowed slave.
When Lovepuffed up with rage of high disdainResolvedto make me pattern of his mightLike foewhose wits inclined to deadly spiteWouldoften killto breed more feeling pain;He wouldnotarmed with beautyonly reignOn thoseaffects which easily yield to sight;But virtuesets so highthat reason's lightFor allhis strife can only bondage gain:So that Ilive to pay a mortal feeDeadpalsy-sick of all my chiefest partsLike thosewhom dreams make ugly monsters seeAnd cancry help with naught but groans and starts:Longing tohavehaving no wit to wishTostarving minds such is god Cupid's dish.
To thetune of "Non credo gia che piu infelice amante."
Thenightingaleas soon as April bringethUnto herrested sense a perfect wakingWhile latebare earthproud of new clothingspringethSings outher woesa thorn her song-book making;Andmournfully bewailingHer throatin tunes expressethWhat griefher breast oppressethForTereus' force on her chaste will prevailing.OPhilomela fair! O take some gladnessThat hereis juster cause of plaintful sadness:Thineearth now springsmine fadeth;Thy thornwithoutmy thorn my heart invadeth.
Alas! shehath no other cause of anguishButTereus' loveon her by strong hand wrokenWhereinshe sufferingall her spirits languishFullwomanlikecomplains her will was brokenBut Iwhodaily cravingCannothave to content meHave morecause to lament meSincewanting is more woe than too much having.OPhilomela fair! O take some gladnessThat hereis juster cause of plaintful sadness:Thineearth now springsmine fadeth;Thy thornwithoutmy thorn my heart invadeth.
To thetune of "Basciami vita mia."
Sleepbaby mineDesire's nurseBeautysingeth;Thy criesO babyset mine head on aching:The babecries"'Waythy love doth keep me waking."
Lullylullymy babeHope cradle bringethUnto mychildren alway good rest taking:The babecries"Waythy love doth keep me waking."
Sincebaby minefrom me thy watching springethSleep thena littlepap Content is making;The babecries"Nayfor that abide I waking."
Thescourge of lifeand death's extreme disgrace;The smokeof hellthe monster called Pain:Longshamed to be accursed in every placeBy themwho of his rude resort complain;Likecrafty wretchby time and travel taughtHis uglyevil in others' good to hide;Lateharbours in her facewhom Nature wroughtAstreasure-house where her best gifts do bide;And so byprivilege of sacred seatA seatwhere beauty shines and virtue reignsHe hopesfor some small praisesince she hath greatWithin herbeams wrapping his cruel stains.AhsaucyPainlet not thy terror lastMoreloving eyes she drawsmore hate thou hast.
Woe! woeto meon me return the smart:My burningtongue hath bred my mistress pain?For oft inpainto pain my painful heartWith herdue praise did of my state complain.I praisedher eyeswhom never chance doth move;Herbreathwhich makes a sour answer sweet;Her milkenbreaststhe nurse of child-like love;Her legsO legs! her aye well-stepping feet:Pain heardher praiseand full of inward fire(Firstsealing up my heart as prey of his)He fliesto herandboldened with desireHer facethis age's praisethe thief doth kiss.O Pain! I now recant the praise I gaveAnd swearshe is not worthy thee to have.
Thou painthe only guest of loathed Constraint;The childof Curseman's weakness foster-child;Brother toWoeand father of Complaint:Thou Painthou hated Painfrom heaven exiledHowhold'st thou her whose eyes constraint doth fearWhomcursed do bless; whose weakness virtues arm;Whoothers' woes and plaints can chastely bear:In whosesweet heaven angels of high thoughts swarm?Whatcourage strange hath caught thy caitiff heart?Fear'stnot a face that oft whole hearts devours?Or artthou from above bid play this partAnd so nohelp 'gainst envy of those powers?If thusalasyet while those parts have woe;So stayher tonguethat she no more say"O."
And have Iheard her say"O cruel pain!"And dothshe know what mould her beauty bears?Mourns shein truthand thinks that others feign?Fears sheto feeland feels not others' fears?Or dothshe think all pain the mind forbears?That heavyearthnot fiery spiritsmay plain?That eyesweep worse than heart in bloody tears?That sensefeels more than what doth sense contain?Nonoshe is too wiseshe knows her faceHath notsuch pain as it makes others have:She knowsthe sickness of that perfect placeHath yetsuch healthas it my life can save.But thisshe thinksour pain high cause excusethWhere herwho should rule painfalse pain abuseth.
* * *
Like asthe dovewhich seeled up doth flyIs neitherfreednor yet to service bound;But hopesto gain some help by mounting highTill wantof force do force her fall to ground:Right somy mindcaught by his guiding eyeAnd thencecast off where his sweet hurt he foundHathneither leave to livenor doom to die;Nor heldin evilnor suffered to be sound.But withhis wings of fancies up he goesTo highconceitswhose fruits are oft but small;Tillwoundedblindand wearied spiritloseBoth forceto flyand knowledge where to fall:O happydoveif she no bondage tried!More happyImight I in bondage bide!
* * *
In wontedwalkssince wonted fancies changeSome causethere iswhich of strange cause doth rise:For ineach thing whereto mine eye doth rangePart of mypainme-seemsengraved lies.The rockswhich were of constant mind the markInclimbing steepnow hard refusal show;Theshading woods seem now my sun to darkAndstately hills disdain to look so low.Therestful caves now restless visions give;In dales Isee each way a hard ascent:Likelate-mown meadslate cut from joy I live;Alassweet brooks do in my tears augment:Rockswoodshillscavesdalesmeadsbrooksanswer me;Infectedminds infect each thing they see.If I couldthink how these my thoughts to leaveOrthinking stillmy thoughts might have good end;If rebelsense would reason's law receive;Or reasonfoiledwould not in vain contend:Then mightI think what thoughts were best to think:Then mightI wisely swimor gladly sink.
If eitheryou would change your cruel heartOrcruelstilltime did your beauties stain:If from mysoul this love would once departOr for mylove some love I might obtain;Then mightI hope a changeor ease of mindBy yourgood helpor in myselfto find.
But sincemy thoughts in thinking still are spent.Withreason's strifeby senses overthrown;You fairerstilland still more cruel bentI lovingstill a love that loveth none:I yieldand striveI kiss and curse the painThoughtreasonsensetimeYouand Imaintain.
POEM: A FAREWELL
Oft have Imusedbut now at length I findWhy thosethat diemen saythey do depart:Depart: a word so gentle to my mindWeakly didseem to paint Death's ugly dart.
But nowthe starswith their strange coursedo bindMe one toleavewith whom I leave my heart;I hear acry of spirits faint and blindThatparting thusmy chiefest part I part.
Part of mylifethe loathed part to meLives toimpart my weary clay some breath;But thatgood part wherein all comforts beNow deaddoth show departure is a death:
Yeaworsethan deathdeath parts both woe and joyFrom joy Ipartstill living in annoy.
* * *
Findingthose beamswhich I must ever loveTo mar mymindand with my hurt to pleaseI deemedit bestsome absence for to proveIf fartherplace might further me to ease.
My eyesthence drawnwhere lived all their lightBlindedforthwith in dark despair did lieLike tothe molewith want of guiding sightDeepplunged in earthdeprived of the sky.
In absenceblindand wearied with that woeTo greaterwoesby presenceI return;Even asthe flywhich to the flame doth goPleasedwith the lightthat his small corse doth burn:
Fairchoice I haveeither to live or dieA blindedmoleor else a burned fly.
POEM: THE SEVEN WONDERS OF ENGLAND
NearWilton sweethuge heaps of stones are foundBut soconfusedthat neither any eyeCan countthem justnor Reason reason tryWhat forcebrought them to so unlikely ground.
Tostranger weights my mind's waste soil is boundOfpassion-hillsreaching to Reason's skyFromFancy's earthpassing all number's boundPassingall guesswhence into me should flySo mazed amass; orif in me it growsA simplesoul should breed so mixed woes.
TheBruertons have a lakewhichwhen the sunApproachingwarmsnot elsedead logs up sendsFromhideous depth; which tributewhen it endsSore signit is the lord's last thread is spun.
My lake isSensewhose still streams never runBut whenmy sun her shining twins there bends;Then fromhis depth with force in her begunLongdrowned hopes to watery eyes it lends;But whenthat fails my dead hopes up to takeTheirmaster is fair warned his will to make.
We have afishby strangers much admiredWhichcaughtto cruel search yields his chief part:With gallcut outclosed up again by artYet livesuntil his life be new required.
A strangerfish myselfnot yet expiredTho'raptwith Beauty's hookI did impartMyselfunto th' anatomy desiredInstead ofgallleaving to her my heart:Yet livewith thoughts closed up'till that she willByconquest's rightinstead of searchingkill.
Peak hatha cavewhose narrow entries findLargerooms within where drops distil amain:Till knitwith coldthough there unknown remainDeck thatpoor place with alabaster lined.
Mine eyesthe straitthe roomy cavemy mind;Whosecloudy thoughts let fall an inward rainOfsorrow's dropstill colder reason bindTheirrunning fall into a constant veinOf truthfar more than alabaster pureWhichthough despisedyet still doth truth endure.
A fieldthere iswhereif a stake oe prestDeep inthe earthwhat hath in earth receiptIs changedto stone in hardnesscoldand weightThe woodabove doth soon consuming rest.
The earthher ears; the stake is my request;Of whichhow much may pierce to that sweet seatTo honourturneddoth dwell in honour's nestKeepingthat formthough void of wonted heat;But allthe restwhich fear durst not applyFailingthemselveswith withered conscience die.
Of shipsby shipwreck cast on Albion's coastWhichrotting on the rockstheir death to die:Fromwooden bones and blood of pitch doth flyA birdwhich gets more life than ship had lost.
My shipDesirewith wind of Lust long tostBrake onfair cliffs of constant Chastity;Whereplagued for rash attemptgives up his ghost;So deep inseas of virtuebeauties lie:But ofthis death flies up the purest loveWhichseeming lessyet nobler life doth move.
Thesewonders England breeds; the last remains -A ladyindespite of NaturechasteOn whomall lovein whom no love is placedWhereFairness yields to Wisdom's shortest reins.
A humblepridea scorn that favour stains;A woman'smouldbut like an angel graced;An angel'smindbut in a woman cased;A heavenon earthor earth that heaven contains:Now thusthis wonder to myself I frame;She is thecause that all the rest I am.
* * *
Thou blindman's mark; thou fool's self-chosen snareFondfancy's scumand dregs of scattered thought:Band ofall evils; cradle of causeless care;Thou webof willwhose end is never wrought:
Desire!Desire! I have too dearly boughtWith priceof mangled mindthy worthless ware;Too longtoo longasleep thou hast me broughtWhoshouldst my mind to higher things prepare;
But yet invain thou hast my ruin sought;In vainthou mad'st me to vain things aspire;In vainthou kindlest all thy smoky fire:For Virtuehath this better lesson taughtWithinmyself to seek my only hireDesiringnought but how to kill Desire.
POEM: FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN
Leave meO love! which reachest but to dust;And thoumy mindaspire to higher things:Grow richin that which never taketh rust;Whateverfadesbut fading pleasure brings.
Draw inthy beamsand humble all thy mightTo thatsweet yoke where lasting freedoms beWhichbreaks the cloudsand opens forth the lightThat dothboth shineand give us sight to see.
O takefast hold! let that light be thy guideIn thissmall course which birth draws out to deathAnd thinkhow evil becometh him to slideWhoseeketh heavenand comes from heavenly breath.Thenfarewellworldthy uttermost I seeEternalLovemaintain thy life in me.
SPLENDIDISLONGUM VALEDICO NUGIS
"Suchharmony is in immortal souls;
Butwhilst this muddy vesture of decay
Dothgrossly close it inwe cannot hear it."(Shakespeare"Merchant of Venice" act v.sc. 1)
"Whichhis fair tongue--conceit's expositor -
Deliversin such apt and gracious words
Thataged ears play truant at his tables
Andyounger hearings are quite ravished
Sosweet and voluble is his discourse."
"Andshall this ground fainthearted dastard
Is itso vile a thing to die?"(Phaer'sTranslation .)
"Omnevafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
Tangitet admissus circum praecordia ludit" &c.
ShrewdFlaccus touches each vice in his laughing friend. Drydenthustranslated the whole passage:-
"Unlikein methodwith concealed design
Didcrafty Horace his low numbers join;
Andwith a sly insinuating grace
Laughedat his friendand looked him in the face:
Wouldraise a blush where secret vice he found;
Andticklewhile he gently probed the wound;
Withseeming innocence the crowd beguiled
Butmade the desperate passes while he smiled."
"Coelumnon animum mutantqui trans mare currunt
Strenuanos exercet inertia; navibus atque
Quadrigispetimus bene vivere. Quod petishic est
EstUlubrisanimus si te non deficit aequus."
Theychange their skies but not their mind who run across the seas;We toil inlaboured idlenessand seek to live at easeWith forceof ships and four horse teams. That which you seek ishereAtUlubraeunless your mind fail to be calm and clear.
"AtUlubrae" was equivalent to saying in the dullest corner of theworldoranywhere. Ulubrae was a little town probably in Campaniaa RomanLittle Pedlington. Thomas Carlyle may have had this passagein mindwhen he gave to the same thought a grander form in SartorResartus: "May we not say that the hour of spiritualenfranchisementis even this? When your ideal worldwherein thewhole manhas been dimly struggling and inexpressibly languishing toworkbecomes revealed and thrown openand you discover withamazementenoughlike the Lothario in Wilhelm Meisterthat yourAmerica ishere or nowhere. The situation that has not its dutyits idealwas never occupied by man. Yesherein this poormiserablehampered actual wherein thou even now standesthere ornowhereis thy Ideal: work it out therefrombelieveliveand befree. Fool! the Ideal is in thyselfthe impediment too is inthyself. Thy condition is but the stuff thou art to shape that sameIdeal outof. What matter whether such stuff be of this sort orthatsothe form thou give it be heroicbe poetic? O thou thatpinest inthe imprisonment of the actualand criest bitterly to thegods for akingdom wherein to rule and createknow this of a truththe thingthou seekest is already with theehere or nowherecouldestthou only see."
"Consciamens recti famae mendacia risit:
Sed nosin vitium credula turba sumus."
A mindconscious of right laughs at the falsehoods of fame buttowardsvice we are a credulous crowd.
"Somesonsindeedsome very fewwe see
Whokeep themselves from this infection free
Whomgracious Heaven for nobler ends designed
Theirlooks erectedand their clay refined."
"Spontesua carmen numeros veniebat ad aptos
Et quodtemptabam dicereversus erat."
"Ofall the griefs that harass the distrest
Surethe most bitter is a scornful jest."