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Epithalamion.
[1]
YEYe learned sisters which hauehave oftentimes
beene to me ayding, others to adorne:
Whom ye thought worthy of your gracefull rymes,
That eueneven the greatest did not greatly scorne
To heare theyr names sung in your simple layes,
But ioyedjoyed in theyr prayse.
And when ye list your owne mishaps to mourne,
Which death, or louelove, or fortunes wreck did rayse,
Your string could soone to sadder tenor turne,
And teach the woods and waters to lament
Your dolefull dreriment.
Now lay those sorrowfull complaints aside,
And hauinghaving all your heads with girland crownd,
Helpe me mine owne louesloves prayses to resound,
Ne let the same of any be enuideenvide,
So Orpheus did for his owne bride,
So I vntounto my selfe alone will sing,
The woods shall to me answer and my Eccho ring.
[2]
EArlyEarly before the worlds light giuinggiving lampe,
His golden beame vponupon the hils doth spred,
HauingHaving disperst the nights vnchearefullunchearefull dampe,
Doe ye awake and with fresh lusty hed,
Go to the bowre of my belouedbeloved louelove,
My truest turtle douedove
Bid her awake; for Hymen is awake,
And long since ready forth his maske to mouemove,
With his bright Tead that flames with many a flake,
And many a bachelor to waite on him,
In theyr fresh garments trim.
Bid her awake therefore and soone her dight,
For lo the wished day is come at last,
That shall for al the paynes and sorrowes past,
Pay to her vsuryusury of long delight,
And whylest she doth her dight,
Doe ye to her of ioyjoy and solace sing,
That all the woods may answer and your eccho ring.
[3]
BRingBring with you all the Nymphes that you can heare
both of the riuersrivers and the forrests greene:
And of the sea that neighbours to her neare,
Al with gay girlands goodly wel beseene.
And let them also with them bring in hand,
Another gay girland
For my fayre louelove of lillyes and of roses,
Bound truelouetruelove wize with a blew silke riband.
And let them make great store of bridale poses,
And let them eeke bring store of other flowers
To deck the bridale bowers.
And let the ground whereas her foot shall tread,
For feare the stones her tender foot should wrong
Be strewed with fragrant flowers all along,
And diapred lyke the discolored mead.
Which done, doe at her chamber dore awayt,
For she will waken strayt,
The whiles doe ye this song vntounto her sing,
The woods shall to you answer and your Eccho ring.
[4]
YEYe Nymphes of Mulla which with carefull heed,
The siluersilver scaly trouts doe tend full well,
and greedy pikes which vseuse therein to feed,
(Those trouts and pikes all others doo excell)
And ye likewise which keepe the rushy lake,
Where none doo fishes take.
Bynd vpup the locks the which hang scatterd light,
And in his waters which your mirror make,
Behold your faces as the christall bright,
That when you come whereas my louelove doth lie,
No blemish she may spie.
And eke ye lightfoot mayds which keepe the deredore,
That on the hoary mountayne vseuse to towre,
And the wylde wolueswolves which seeke them to deuouredevoure,
With your steele darts doo chace frófrom comming neer
Be also present heere,
To helpe to decke her and to help to sing,
That all the woods may answer and your eccho ring.
[5]
WAkeWake now my louelove, awake; for it is time,
The Rosy Morne long since left Tithones bed,
All ready to her siluersilver coche to clyme,
And Phœbus gins to shew his glorious hed.
Hark how the cheerefull birds do chaunt theyr laies
And carroll of louesloves praise.
The merry Larke hir mattins sings aloft,
The thrush replyes, the Mauis descant playes,
The Ouzell shrills, the Ruddock warbles soft,
So goodly all agree with sweet consent,
To this dayes merriment.
Ah my deere louelove why doe ye sleepe thus long,
When meeter were that ye should now awake,
T’awayt the comming of your ioyousjoyous make,
And hearken to the birds louelearnedlovelearned song,
The deawy leauesleaves among.
For they of ioyjoy and pleasance to you sing,
That all the woods them answer &and theyr eccho ring.
[6]
MYMy louelove is now awake out of her dreame,
and her fayre eyes like stars that dimmed were
With darksome cloud, now shew theyr goodly beams
More bright then Hesperus his head doth rere.
Come now ye damzels, daughters of delight,
Helpe quickly her to dight,
But first come ye fayre houres which were begot
In IouesJoves sweet paradice, of Day and Night,
Which doe the seasons of the yeare allot,
And al that euerever in this world is fayre
Doe make and still repayre.
And ye three handmayds of the Cyprian Queene,
The which doe still adorne her beauties pride,
Helpe to addorne my beautifullest bride
And as ye her array, still throw betweene
Some graces to be seene,
And as ye vseuse to Venus, to her sing,
The whiles the woods shal answer &and your eccho ring
[7]
NOwNow is my louelove all ready forth to come,
Let all the virgins therefore well awayt,
And ye fresh boyes that tend vponupon her groome
Prepare your seluesselves; for he is comming strayt.
Set all your things in seemely good aray
Fit for so ioyfulljoyfull day,
The ioyfulstjoyfulst day that euerever sunne did see
Faire Sun, shew forth thy fauourablefavourable ray,
And let thy lifull heat not feruentfervent be
For feare of burning her sunshyny face,
Her beauty to disgrace.
O fayrest Phœbus, father of the Muse,
If euerever I did honour thee aright,
Or sing the thing, that mote thy mind delight,
Doe not thy seruantsservants simple boone refuse,
But let this day let this one day be myne,
Let all the rest be thine.
Then I thy soueraynesoverayne prayses loud wil sing,
That all the woods shal answer and theyr eccho ring.
[8]
HArkeHarke how the Minstrels gin to shrill aloud,
Their merry Musick that resounds from far,
The pipe, the tabor, and the trembling Croud,
That well agree withouten breach or iarjar.
But most of all the Damzels doe delite,
When they their tymbrels smyte,
And thereunto doe daunce and carrol sweet,
That all the sences they doe rauishravish quite,
The whyles the boyes run vpup and downe the street,
Crying aloud with strong confused noyce,
As if it were one voyce.
Hymen iojo Hymen, Hymen they do shout,
That eueneven to the heauensheavens theyr shouting shrill
Doth reach, and all the firmament doth fill,
To which the people standing all about,
As in approuanceapprovance doe thereto applaud
And loud aduaunceadvaunce her laud,
And euermoreevermore they Hymen Hymen sing,
that al the woods them answer and theyr eccho ring.
[9]
LOeLoe where she comes along with portly pace,
Lyke Phœbe from her chamber of the East,
Arysing forth to run her mighty race,
Clad all in white, that seemes a virgin best.
So well it her beseemes that ye would weene
Some angell she had beene.
Her long loose yellow locks lyke golden wyre,
Sprinckled with perle, and perling flowres a tweene,
Doe lyke a golden mantle her attyre,
And being crowned with a girland greene,
Seeme lyke some mayden Queene,
Her modest eyes abashed to behold
So many gazers, as on her do stare,
VponUpon the lowly ground affixed are.
Ne dare lift vpup her countenance too bold,
But blush to heare her prayses sung so loud,
So farre from being proud.
Nathlesse doe ye still loud her prayses sing,
That all the woods may answer and your eccho ring.
[10]
TEllTell me ye merchants daughters did ye see
So fayre a creature in your towne before,
So sweet, so louelylovely, and so mild as she,
Adornd with beautyes grace and vertues store,
Her goodly eyes lyke Saphyres shining bright,
Her forehead yuoryyvory white,
Her cheekes lyke apples which the sun hath rudded,
Her lips lyke cherryes charming men to byte,
Her brest like to a bowle of creame vncruddeduncrudded,
Her paps lyke lyllies budded,
Her snowie necke lyke to a marble towre,
And all her body like a pallace fayre,
Ascending vppeuppe with many a stately stayre,
To honors seat and chastities sweet bowre.
Why stand ye still ye virgins in amaze,
VponUpon her so to gaze,
Whiles ye forget your former lay to sing,
To which the woods did answer and your eccho ring
[11]
BVtBvtBUtBut if ye saw that which no eyes can see,
The inward beauty of her liuelylively spright,
Garnisht with heauenlyheavenly guifts of high degree,
Much more then would ye wonder at that sight,
And stand astonisht lyke to those which red
Medusaes mazeful hed.
There dwels sweet louelove and constant chastity,
VnspottedUnspotted fayth and comely womanhood,
Regard of honour and mild modesty,
There vertue raynes as Queene in royal throne,
And giuethgiveth lawes alone.
The which the base affections doe obay,
And yeeld theyr seruicesservices vntounto her will,
Ne thought of thing vncomelyuncomely euerever may
Thereto approch to tempt her mind to ill.
Had ye once seene these her celestial threasures,
And vnreuealedunrevealed pleasures,
Then would ye wonder and her prayses sing,
That al the woods should answer and your echo ring.
[12]
OPenOpen the temple gates vntounto my louelove,
Open them wide that she may enter in,
And all the postes adorne as doth behouebehove,
And all the pillours deck with girlands trim,
For to recyuerecyve this Saynt with honour dew,
That commeth in to you,
With trembling steps and humble reuerencereverence,
She commeth in, before th’almighties vew,
Of her ye virgins learne obedience,
When so ye come into those holy places,
To humble your proud faces
Bring her vpup to th’high altar that she may,
The sacred ceremonies there partake,
The which do endlesse matrimony make,
And let the roring Organs loudly play;
The praises of the Lord in liuelylively notes,
The whiles with hollow throates.
The Choristers the ioyousjoyous Antheme sing,
That al the woods may answere and their eccho ring
[13]
Behold whiles she before the altar stands
Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes
And blesseth her with his two happy hands,
How the red roses flush vpup in her cheekes,
And the pure snow with goodly vermill stayne,
Like crimsin dyde in grayne,
That eueneven th’Angels which continually,
About the sacred Altare doe remaine,
Forget their seruiceservice and about her fly,
Ofte peeping in her face that seemes more fayre,
The more they on it stare.
But her sad eyes still fastened on the ground,
Are gouernedgoverned with goodly modesty,
That suffers not one looke to glaunce awry,
Which may let in a little thought vnsowndunsownd,
Why blush ye louelove to giuegive to me your hand,
The pledge of all our band,
Sing ye sweet Angels Alleluya sing,
That all the woods may answere and your eccho ring
[14]
NOwNoww al is done; bring home the bride againe,
bring home the triumph of our victory,
Bring home with you the glory of her gaine,
With ioyancejoyance bring her and with iollityjollity.
NeuerNever had man more ioyfulljoyfull day then this,
Whom heauenheaven would heape with blis.
Make feast therefore now all this liuelive long day,
This day for euerever to me holy is,
Poure out the wine without restraint or stay,
Poure not by cups, but by the belly full,
Poure out to all that wull,
And sprinkle all the postes and wals with wine,
That they may sweat, and drunken be withall.
Crowne ye God Bacchus with a coronall,
And Hymen also crowne with wreathes of vine,
And let the Graces daunce vntounto the rest;
For they can doo it best:
The whiles the maydens doe theyr carroll sing,
To which the woods shal answer &and theyr eccho ring.
[15]
RIngRing ye the bels, ye yong men of the towne,
And leaueleave your wonted labors for this day:
This day is holy; doe ye write it dovvnedowne,
that ye for euerever it remember may.
This day the sunne is in his chiefest hight,
With Barnaby the bright,
From whence declining daily by degrees,
He somewhat loseth of his heat and light,
When once the Crab behind his back he sees.
But for this time it ill ordained was,
To chose the longest day in all the yeare,
And shortest night, when longest fitter weare:
Yet neuernever day so long, but late would passe.
Ring ye the bels, to make it weare away,
And bonefiers make all day,
And daunce about them, and about them sing:
that all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.
[16]
AHAh when will this long vvearyweary day hauehave end,
and lende me leaueleave to come vntounto my louelove?
HovvHow slovvlyslowly do the houres theyr numbers spend?
How slowly does sad Time his feathers mouemove?
Hast thee O fayrest Planet to thy home
Within the Westerne fome:
Thy tyred steedes long since hauehave need of rest.
Long though it be, at last I see it gloome,
And the bright eueningevening star with golden creast
Appeare out of the East.
Fayre childe of beauty, glorious lampe of louelove
That all the host of heauenheaven in rankes doost lead,
And guydest louerslovers through the nights dread,
How chearefully thou lookest from aboueabove,
And seemst to laugh atweene thy twinkling light
As ioyingjoying in the sight
Of these glad many which for ioyjoy doe sing,
That all the woods them answer and their echo ring.
[17]
Now ceasse ye damsels your delights forepast;
Enough is it, that all the day was youres:
Now day is doen, and night is nighing fast:
Now bring the Bryde into the brydall boures.
Now night is come, now soone her disaray,
And in her bed her lay;
Lay her in lillies and in violets,
And silken courteins ouerover her display,
And odourd sheetes, and Arras couerletscoverlets,
Behold how goodly my faire louelove does ly
In proud humility;
Like vntounto Maia, when as IoueJove her tooke,
In Tempe, lying on the flowry gras,
Twixt sleepe and wake, after she weary was,
With bathing in the Acidalian brooke
Now it is night, ye damsels may be gon,
And leaueleave my louelove alone,
And leaueleave likewise your former lay to sing:
The woods no more shal answere, nor your echo ring
[18]
NOwNow welcome night, thou night so long expected,
that long daies labour doest at last defray,
And all my cares, which cruell louelove collected,
Hast sumd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing ouerover my louelove and me,
that no man may vsus see,
And in thy sable mantle vsus enwrap,
From feare of perrill and foule horror free.
Let no false treason seeke vsus to entrap,
Nor any dread disquiet once annoy
the safety of our ioyjoy:
But let the night be calme and quietsome,
Without tempestuous storms or sad afray:
Lyke as when IoueJove with fayre Alcmena lay,
When he begot the great Tirynthian groome:
Or lyke as when he with thy selfe did lie,
And begot MaiestyMajesty.
And let the mayds and yongmen cease to sing:
Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.
[19]
LEtLet no lamenting cryes, nor dolefull teares,
Be heard all night within nor yet without:
Ne let false whispers breeding hidden feares,
Breake gentle sleepe with misconceiuedmisconceived dout.
Let no deluding dreames, nor dreadful sights
Make sudden sad affrights;
Ne let housefyres, nor lightnings helpelesse harmes,
Ne let the Ponke, nor other euillevill sprights,
Ne let mischiuousmischivous witches with theyr charmes,
Ne let hob Goblins, names whose sence we see not,
Fray vsus with things that be not.
Let not the shriech Oule, nor the Storke be heard:
Nor the night RauenRaven that still deadly yels,
Nor damned ghosts cald vpup with mighty spels,
Nor griesly vultures make vsus once affeard:
Ne let th’unpleasant Quyre of Frogs still croking
Make vsus to wish theyr choking.
Let none of these theyr drery accents sing;
Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.
[20]
B Vtvtut let stil Silence trew night watches keepe,
That sacred peace may in assurance rayne,
And tymely sleep, when it is tyme to sleepe,
May poureponre his limbs forth on your pleasant playne,
The whiles an hundred little winged louesloves,
Like diuersdivers fethered douesdoves,
Shall fly and flutter round about your bed,
And in the secret darke, that none reprouesreproves,
Their prety stealthes shal worke, &and snares shal spread
To filch away sweet snatches of delight,
Conceald through couertcovert night.
Ye sonnes of Venus, play your sports at will,
For greedy pleasure, carelesse of your toyes,
Thinks more vponupon her paradise of ioyesjoyes,
Then what ye do, albe it good or ill.
All night therefore attend your merry play,
For it will soone be day:
Now none doth hinder you, that say or sing,
Ne will the woods now answer, nor your Eccho ring.
[21]
WHoWho is the same, which at my window peepes?
Or whose is that faire face, that shines so bright,
Is it not Cinthia, she that neuernever sleepes,
But walkes about high heauenheaven al the night?
O fayrest goddesse, do thou not enuyenvy
My louelove with me to spy:
For thou likewise didst louelove, though now vnthoughtunthought,
And for a fleece of woll, which priuilyprivily,
The Latmian shephard once vntounto thee brought,
His pleasures with thee wrought.
Therefore to vsus be fauorablefavorable now;
And sith of wemens labours thou hast charge,
And generation goodly dost enlarge,
Encline thythey will t’effect our wishfull vow,
And the chast wombe informe with timely seed,
That may our comfort breed:
Till which we cease our hopefull hap to sing,
Ne let the woods vsus answere, nor our Eccho ring.
[22]
ANdAnd thou great IunoJuno, which with awful might
the lawes of wedlock still dost patronize,
And the religion of the faith first plight
With sacred rites hast taught to solemnize:
and eeke for comfort often called art
Of women in their smart,
Eternally bind thou this louelylovely band,
And all thy blessings vntounto vsus impart.
And thou glad Genius, in whose gentle hand,
The bridale bowre and geniall bed remaine,
Without blemish or staine,
And the sweet pleasures of theyr louesloves delight
With secret ayde doest succour and supply,
Till they bring forth the fruitfull progeny,
Send vsus the timely fruit of this same night.
And thou fayre Hebe, and thou Hymen free,
Grant that it may so be.
Til which we cease your further prayse to sing,
Ne any woods shal answer, nor your Eccho ring.
[23]
ANdAnd ye high heauensheavens, the temple of the gods,
In which a thousand torches flaming bright
Doe burne, that to vsus wretched earthly clods:
In dreadful darknesse lend desired light;
And all ye powers which in the same remayne,
More then we men can fayne,
Poure out your blessing on vsus plentiously,
And happy influence vponupon vsus raine,
That we may raise a large posterity,
Which from the earth, which they may long possesse,
With lasting happinesse,
VpUp to your haughty pallaces may mount,
And for the guerdon of theyr glorious merit
May heauenlyheavenly tabernacles there inherit,
Of blessed Saints for to increase the count.
So let vsus rest, sweet louelove, in hope of this,
And cease till then our tymely ioyesjoyes to sing,
The woods no more vsus answer, nor our eccho ring.
[24]
SOngSong made in lieu of many ornaments,
With which my louelove should duly hauehave bene dect,
Which cutting off through hasty accidents,
Ye would not stay your dew time to expect,
But promist both to recompens,
Be vntounto her a goodly ornament,
And for short time an endlesse moniment.
FINIS
67. dere] Grossart; dore 1595
356. poure] this edn.; ponre 1595
385. thy] 1611; they 1595
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Introduction

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Textual Changes

The vagaries of early modern printing often required that lines or words be broken. Toggling Modern Lineation on will reunite divided words and set errant words in their lines.

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

(The text of 1590 reads Mostlothsom, while the editors’ emendation reads Most lothsom.)

Apparatus

Toggling Collation Notes on will highlight words that differ among printings.

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

(The text of 1590 reads thee, while the texts of 1596 and 1609 read you.)

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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