ITIt was the time, when rest soft sliding downe
From heauensheavens hight into mens heauyheavy eyes,
In the forgetfulnes of sleepe doth drowne
The carefull thoughts of mortall miseries:
Then did a Ghost before mine eyes appeare,
On that great riuersrivers banck, that runnes by Rome,
Which calling me by name, bad me to reare
My lookes to heauenheaven whence all good gifts do come,
And crying lowd, loe now beholde (quoth hee)
What vnderunder this great temple placed is:
Lo all is nought but flying vanitee.
So I that know this worlds inconstancies.
Sith onely God surmounts all times decay,
In God alone my confidence do stay.
On high hills top I saw a stately frame,
An hundred cubits high by iustjust assize,
With hundreth pillours fronting faire the same,
All wrought with Diamond after Dorick wize:
Nor brick, nor marble was the wall in view,
But shining Christall, which from top to base
Out of her womb a thousand rayons threw,
One hundred steps of Afrike golds enchase:
Golde was the parget, and the seeling bright
Did shine all scaly with great plates of
The floore of
and Emeraude was dight.
O worlds vainesse. Whiles thus I did behold,
An earthquake shooke the hill from lowest seat,
And ouerthrewoverthrew this frame with ruine great.
Then did a sharped spyre of Diamond bright,
Ten feete each way in square, appeare to mee,
IustlyJustly proportion’d vpup
vntounto his hight,
So far as Archer might his leuellevel see:
The top thereof a pot did seeme to beare,
Made of the mettall, which we most do honour,
And in this golden vessell couched weare
The ashes of a mightie Emperour:
VponUpon foure corners of the base were pight,
To beare the frame, foure great Lyons of gold;
A worthy tombe for such a worthy wight.
Alas this world doth nought but grieuancegrievance hold.
I saw a tempest from the heauenheaven descend,
Which this brauebrave monument with flash did rend.
I saw raysde vpup on yuorieyvorie pillowes tall,
Whose bases were of richest mettalls warke,
The chapters Alablaster, the fryses christall,
The double front of a triumphall Arke:
On each side purtraid was a Victorie,
Clad like a Nimph, that wings of siluersilver weares,
And in triumphant chayre was set on hie,
The auncient glory of the Romaine Peares.
No worke it seem’d of earthly craftsmans wit,
But rather wrought by his owne industry,
That thunder-dartes for
his syre doth fit.
Let me no more see faire thing vnderunder sky,
Sith that mine eyes hauehave seene so faire a sight
With sodain fall to dust consumed quight.
Then was the faire Dodonian tree far seene,
seauenseaven hills to spread his gladsome gleame,
And conquerours bedecked with his greene,
Along the bancks of the Ausonian streame:
There many an auncient Trophee was addrest.
And many a spoyle, and many a goodly show,
Which that brauebrave races greatnes did attest,
That whilome from the Troyan blood did flow.
RauishtRavishtI was so rare a thing to vew,
When lo a barbarous troupe of clownish fone
The honour of these noble boughs down threw,
VnderUnder the wedge I heard the tronck to grone;
And since I saw the roote in great disdaine
A twinne of forked trees send forth againe.
I saw a Wolfe vnderunder a rockie cauecave
Noursing two whelpes; I saw her litle ones
In wanton dalliance the teate to crauecrave,
While she her neck wreath’d from thẽthem for the nones’:
I saw her raunge abroad to seeke her food,
And roming through the field with greedie rage
T’embrew her teeth &and clawes with lukewarm blood
Of the small heards, her thirst for to asswage.
I saw a thousand huntsmen, which descended
Downe from the mountaines bordring Lombardie,
That with an hundred speares her flank wide rended.
I saw her on the plaine outstretched lie,
Throwing out thousand throbs in her owne soyle:
Soone on a tree vphang’duphang’d I saw her spoyle.
I saw the Bird that can the Sun endure,
With feeble wings assay to mount on hight.
By more and more she gan her wings t’ assure,
Following th’ ensample of her mothers sight:
I saw her rise, and with a larger flight
To pierce the cloudes, and with wide pinneons
To measure the most haughtie mountaines hight,
VntillUntill she raught the Gods owne mansions:
There was she lost, when suddaine I behelde,
Where tumbling through the ayre in firie fold;
All flaming downe she on the plaine was felde,
And soone her bodie turn’d to ashes colde.
I saw the foule that doth the light dispise,
Out of her dust like to a worme arise.
I saw a riuerriver swift, whose fomy billowes
Did wash the ground work of an old great wall;
I saw it couer’dcover’d
all with griesly shadowes,
That with black horror did the ayre appall:
Thereout a strange beast with seuenseven heads arose,
ThatThe townes and castles vnderunder her brest did coure,
And seem’d both milder beasts and fiercer foes
Alike with equall rauineravine to deuouredevoure.
Much was I mazde, to see this monsters kinde
In hundred formes to change his fearefull hew,
When as at length I saw the wrathfull winde,
Which blows cold storms, burst out of Scithian mew
That sperst these cloudes, and in so short as thought,
This dreadfull shape was vanished to nought.
Then all astoined with this mighty ghoast,
An hideous bodie big and strong I sawe,
With side long beard, and locks down hanging loast,
Sterne face, and front full of Saturnlike awe;
Who leaning on the belly of a pot.
Pourd foorth a water, whose out gushing flood
Ran bathing all the creakie shore aflot,
Whereon the Troyan prince spilt Turnus blood;
And at his feete a bitch wolfe suck did yeeld
To two young babes: his left the Palme tree stout,
His right hand did the peacefull
And head with Lawrell garnisht was about.
Sudden both Palme and
And faire greene Lawrell branch did quite decay.
Hard by a riuersrivers side a virgin faire,
Folding her armes to heauenheaven with thousand throbs,
And outraging her cheekes and golden haire,
To falling riuersrivers sound thus tun’d her sobs.
Where is (quoth she) this whilom honoured face?
Where the great glorie and the auncient praise,
In which all worlds felicitie had place,
When Gods and men my honour vpup did raise?
Suffisd it not that ciuillcivill warres me made
The whole worlds spoile, but that this Hydra new,
Of hundred Hercules to be assaide,
With seuenseven heads, budding monstrous crimes anew,
So many Neroes and Caligulaes
Out of these crooked shores must dayly rayse.
VponUpon an hill a bright flame I did see,
WauingWaving aloft with triple point to skie,
Which like incense of precious Cedar tree,
With balmie odours fil’d th’ayre farre and nie.
A Bird all white, well feathered on each wing,
Hereout vpup to the throne of Gods did flie,
And all the way most pleasant notes did sing,
Whilst in the smoake she vntounto
heauenheaven did stie.
Of this faire fire the scattered rayes forth threw
On euerieeverie side a thousand shining beames:
When sudden dropping of a siluersilver dew
(O grieuousgrievous chance) gan quẽchquenchthose precious flames;
That it which earst so pleasant sent did yeld,
Of nothing now but noyous sulphure smeld.
I saw a spring out of a rocke forth rayle,
As cleare as Christall gainst the Sunnie beames,
The bottome yeallow, like the golden grayle
That bright Pactolus washeth with his streames;
It seem’d that Art and Nature had assembled
All pleasure there, for which mans hart could long;
And there a noyse alluring sleepe soft trembled,
Of manie accords more sweete than Mermaids song:
The seates and benches shone as yuorieyvorie,
And hundred Nymphes sate side by side about;
When from nigh hills with hideous outcrie,
A troupe of Satyres in the place did rout,
Which with their villeine feete the streame did ray,
Threw down the seats, &and
drouedrove the Nymphs away.
Much richer then that vessell seem’d to bee,
Which did to that sad Florentine appeare,
Casting mine eyes farre off, I chaunst to see,
VponUpon the Latine Coast herselfe to reare:
But suddenly arose a tempest great,
Bearing close enuieenvie to these riches rare,
Which gan assaile this ship with dreadfull threat,
This ship, to which none other might compare.
And finally the storme impetuous
Sunke vpup these riches, second vntounto none,
Within the gulfe of greedie Nereus.
I saw both ship and mariners each one,
And all that treasure drowned in the maine:
But I the ship saw after raisd’againe.
Long hauinghaving deeply gron’d these visions sad,
I saw a Citie like vntounto that same,
Which saw the messenger of tidings glad;
But that on sand was built the goodly frame:
It seem’d her top the firmament did rayse,
And no lesse rich than faire, right worthie sure
(If ought here worthie) of immortall dayes,
Or if ought vnderunder
heauenheaven might firme endure.
Much wondred I to see so faire a wall:
When from the Northerne coast a storme arose,
Which breathing furie from his inward gall
On all, which did against his course oppose,
Into a clowde of dust sperst in the aire
The weake foundations of this Citie faire.
At length, eueneven at the time, when Morpheus
Most trulie doth vntounto our eyes appeare,
Wearie to see the heauensheavens still waueringwavering thus,
I saw Typhæus sister comming neare;
Whose head full brauelybravely with a morion hidd,
Did seeme to match the Gods in MaiestieMajestie.
She by a riuersrivers bancke that swift downe slidd,
OuerOver all the world did raise a Trophee hie;
An hundred vanquisht Kings vnderunder her lay,
With armes bound at their backs in shamefull wize;
Whilst I thus mazed was with great affray,
I saw the heauensheavens in warre against her rize:
Then downe she stricken fell with clap of thonder,
That with great noyse I wakte in sudden wonder.