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[1]
CalmeCAlme was the day, and through the trembling ayre,
Sweete breathing Zephyrus did softly play
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titans beames, which then did glyster fayre:
When I whom sullein care,
Through discontent of my long fruitlesse stay
In Princes Court, and expectation vayne
Of idle hopes, which still doe fly away,
Like empty shaddowes, did aflict my brayne,
Walkt forth to ease my payne
Along the shoare of siluer streaming Themmes,
Whose rutty Bancke, the which his Riuer hemmes,
Was paynted all with variable flowers,
And all the meades adornd with daintie gemmes,
Fit to decke maydens bowres,
And crowne their Paramours,
Against the Brydale day, which is not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Song.
[2]
There, in a Meadow, by the RiuersRivers side,
A Flocke of Nymphes I chaunced to espy,
All louelylovely Daughters of the Flood thereby,
With goodly greenish locks all loose vntydeuntyde,
As each had bene a Bryde,
And each one had a little wicker basket,
Made of fine twigs entrayled curiously,
In which they gathered flowers to fill their flasket:
And with fine Fingers, cropt full feateously
The tender stalkes on hye.
Of eueryevery sort, which in that Meadow grew,
They gathered some; the Violet pallid blew,
The little Dazie, that at euening closes,
The virgin Lillie, and the Primrose trew,
With store of vermeil Roses,
To decke their Bridegromes posies,
Against the Brydale day, which was not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Song.
[3]
With that I saw two Swannes of goodly hewe,
Come softly swimming downe along the Lee;
Two fairer Birds I yet did neuernever see:
The snow which doth the top of Pindus strew,
Did neuernever whiter shew,
Nor JoueJove himselfe when he a Swan would be
For louelove of Leda, whiter did appeare:
Yet Leda was they say as white as he,
Yet not so white as these, nor nothing neare:
So purely white they were,
That eueneven the gentle streame, the which them bare,
Seem’d foule to them, and bad his billowes spare
To wet their silken feathers, least they might
Soyle their fayre plumes with water not so fayre,
And marre their beauties bright,
That shone as heauensheavens light,
Against their Brydale day, which was not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Song.
[4]
Eftsoones the Nymphes, which now had Flowers their fill,
Ran all in haste, to see that siluersilver brood,
As they came floating on the Christal Flood,
Whom when they sawe, they stood amazed still,
Their wondring eyes to fill,
Them seem’d they neuernever saw a sight so fayre,
Of Fowles so louelylovely, that they sure did deeme
Them heauenlyheavenly borne, or to be that same payre
Which through the Skie draw Venus siluersilver Teeme,
For sure they did not seeme
To be begot of any earthly Seede,
But rather Angels or of Angels breede:
Yet were they bred of Somers-heat they say,
In sweetest Season, when each Flower and weede
The earth did fresh aray,
So fresh they seem’d as day,
EuenEven as their Brydale day, which was not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly till I end my Song.
[5]
Then forth they all out of their baskets drew,
Great store of Flowers, the honour of the field,
That to the sense did fragrant odours yeild,
All which vponupon those goodly Birds they threw,
And all the WauesWaves did strew,
That like old Peneus Waters they did seeme,
When downe along by pleasant Tempes shore
Scattred with Flowres, through Thessaly they streeme,
That they appeare through Lillies plenteous store,
Like a Brydes Chamber flore:
Two of those Nymphes, meane while, two Garlands bound,
Of freshest Flowres which in that Mead they found,
The which presenting all in trim Array,
Their snowie Foreheads therewithall they crownd,
Whil’st one did sing this Lay,
Prepar’d against that Day,
Against their Brydale day, which was not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly till I end my Song.
[6]
Ye gentle Birdes, the worlds faire ornament,
And heauensheavens glorie, whom this happie hower
Doth leade vntounto your louerslovers blisfull bower,
IoyJoy may you haue and gentle hearts content
Of your louesloves couplement:
And let faire Venus, that is Queene of louelove,
With her heart-quelling Sonne vponupon you smile,
Whose smile they say, hath vertue to remoueremove
All LouesLoves dislike, and friendships faultie guile
For euerever to assoile.
Let endlesse Peace your steadfast hearts accord,
And blessed Plentie wait vponupon you bord,
And let your bed with pleasures chast abound,
That fruitfull issue may to you afford,
Which may your foes confound,
And make your ioyesjoyes redound,
VponUpon your Brydale day, which is not long:
Sweete Themmes run softlie, till I end my Song.
[7]
So ended she; and all the rest around
To her redoubled that her vndersongundersong,
Which said, their bridale daye should not be long.
And gentle Eccho from the neighbour ground,
Their accents did resound.
So forth, those ioyousjoyous Birdes did passe along,
Adowne the Lee, that to them murmurde low,
As he would speake, but that he lackt a tong
Yeat did by signes his glad affection show,
Making his streame run slow.
And all the foule which in his flood did dwell
Gan flock about these twaine, that did excell
The rest, so far, as Cynthia doth shend
The lesser starres. So they enranged well,
Did on those two attend,
And their best seruiceservice lend,
Against their wedding day, which was not long:
Sweete Themmes run softly, till I end my song.
[8]
At length they all to mery London came,
To mery London, my most kyndly Nurse,
That to me gauegave, this Lifes first natiuenative sourse:
Though from another place I take my name,
An house of auncient fame.
There when they came, whereas those bricky towres,
The which on Themmes brode aged backe doe ryde,
Where now the studious Lawyers hauehave their bowers
There whylome wont the Templer Knights to byde,
Till they decayd through pride:
Next whereunto there standes a stately place,
Where oft I gayned giftes and goodly grace
Of that great Lord, which therein wont to dwell,
Whose want too well, now feeles my freendles case:
But Ah here fits not well
Olde woes but ioyesjoyes to tell
Against the bridale daye which is not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly till I end my Song.
[9]
Yet therein now doth lodge a noble Peer,
Great Englands glory and the Worlds wide wonder,
Whose dreadfull name, late through all Spaine did thunder.
And Hercules two pillors standing neere,
Did make to quake and feare:
Faire branch of Honor, flower of CheualrieChevalrie,
That fillest England with thy triumphes fame,
Ioy hauehave thou of thy noble victorie,
And endlesse happinesse of thine owne name
That promiseth the same:
That through thy prowesse and victorious armes,
Thy country may be freed from forraine harmes:
And great Elisaes glorious name may ring
Through al the world, fil’d with thy wide Alarmes,
Which some braue muse may sing
To ages following,
VponUpon the Brydale day, which is not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly till I end my Song.
[10]
From those high Towers, this noble Lord issuing,
Like Radiant Hesper when his golden hayre
In th’ Ocean billowes he hath Bathed fayre,
Descended to the RiuersRivers open vewing,
With a great traine ensuing.
AboueAbove the rest were goodly to bee seene
Two gentle Knights of louelylovely face and feature
Beseeming well the bower of anie Queene,
With gifts of wit and ornaments of nature,
Fit for so goodly stature:
That like the twins of IoueJove they seem’d in sight,
Which decke the Bauldricke of the HeauensHeavens bright,
They two forth pacing to the RiuersRivers side,
ReceiuedReceived those two faire Brides, their LouesLoves delight,
Which at th’appointed tyde,
Each one did make his Bryde,
Against their Brydale day, which is not long:
Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Song.
FINIS.
1. Calme] this edn.; CAlme 1595
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Off: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, (blest. And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely (FQ I.ii.18.8-9) On: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely blest.

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Off: Sweet slõbring deaw, the which to sleep them biddes: (FQ I.i.36.4)

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Off: And all the world in their subiection held, Till that infernall feend with foule vprore (FQ I.i.5.6-7) On: And all the world in their subjection held, Till that infernall feend with foule uprore

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Off: But wander too and fro in waies vnknowne (FQ I.i.10.5) On: But wander to and fro in waies vnknowne.

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Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine (FQ I.i.14.9) 14.9. Most lothsom] this edn.; Mostlothsom 1590

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Apparatus

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And shall thee well rewarde to shew the place, (FQ I.i.31.5) 5. thee] 1590; you 15961609

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To my long approoved and singular good frende, Master G.H. (Letters I.1) 1. long aprooved: tried and true, found trustworthy over a long period