Long since dedicated
To the most noble and excellent Lord,
the Earle of Leicester, late
Wrong’d, yet not daring to expresse my paine,
To you (great Lord) the causer of my care,
In clowdie teares my case I thus complaine
VntoUnto yourselfe, that onely priuieprivie are:
But if that any Oedipus
Shall chaunce, through power of some diuiningdivining spright,
To reade the secrete of this riddle rare,
And know the purporte of my euillevill plight,
Let him rest pleased with his owne insight,
Ne further seeke to glose vponupon the text:
For griefe enough it is to grieuedgrieved wight
To feele his fault, and not be further vext.
But what so by my selfe may not be showen,
May by this Gnatts complaint be easily knowen.
We now hauehave playde (Augustus) wantonly,
Tuning our song vntounto a tender Muse,
And like a cobweb weauingweaving slenderly,
HaueHave onely playde: let thus much then excuse
This Gnats small Poeme, that th’whole history
Is but a iestjest, though enuieenvie it abuse:
But who such sports and sweet delights doth blame,
Shall lighter seeme than this Gnats idle name.
Hereafter, when as season more secure
Shall bring forth fruit, this Muse shall speak to thee
In bigger notes, that may thy sense allure,
And for thy worth frame some fit Poesie,
The golden ofspring of Latona pure,
And ornament of great
Phœbus shall be the author of my song,
Playing on yuorieyvorie harp with siluersilver strong.
He shall inspire my verse with gentle mood
Of Poets Prince, whether he woon beside
Faire Xanthus sprincled with Chimæras blood;
Or in the woods of Astery abide;
Or whereas mount Parnasse, the Muses brood,
Doth his broad forhead like two hornes diuidedivide,
And the sweete waueswaves of sounding Castaly
With liquid foote doth slide downe easily.
Wherefore ye Sisters which the glorie bee
Of the Pierian streames, fayre Naiades,
Go too, and dauncing all in companie,
Adorne that God: and thou holie Pales,
To whome the honest care of husbandrie
Returneth by continuall successe,
HaueHave care for to pursue his footing light;
Throgh the wide woods, &and
grouesgroves, with green leauesleaves
Professing thee I lifted am aloft
Betwixt the forrest wide and starrie sky:
And thou most dread (
) which oft
To learned wits giuestgivest courage worthily,
O come (thou sacred childe) come sliding soft,
And fauourfavour my beginnings graciously:
For not these leauesleaves do sing that dreadfull stound,
When Giants bloud did staine Phlegræan ground.
Nor how th’halfe horsy people, Centaures hight,
Fought with the bloudie Lapithaes at bord,
Nor how the East with tyranous despight
Burnt th’Attick towres, and people slew with sword;
Nor how mount Athos through exceeding might
Was digged downe, nor yron bands abord
The Pontick sea by their huge NauyNavy cast,
My volume shall renowne, so long since past.
Nor Hellespont trampled with horses feete,
When flocking Persians did the Greeks affray;
But my soft Muse, as for her power more meete,
Delights (with Phœbus friendly leaueleave) to play
An easie running verse with tender feete.
And thou (dread sacred child) to thee alway,
Let euerlastingeverlasting lightsome glory striuestrive,
Through the worlds endles ages to suruiuesurvive.
And let an happie roome remaine for thee
Mongst heauenlyheavenly ranks, where blessed soules do rest;
And let long lasting life with ioyousjoyous glee,
As thy due meede that thou deseruestdeservest best,
Hereafter many yeares remembred be
Amongst good men, of whom thou oft are blest;
LiueLive thou for euerever in all happinesse:
But let vsus turne to our first businesse.
The fiery Sun was mounted now on hight
VpUp to the heauenlyheavenly towers, and shot each where
Out of his golden Charet glistering light;
And fayre Aurora with her rosie heare,
The hatefull darknes now had put to flight,
When as the shepheard seeing day appeare,
His little Goats gan driuedrive out of their stalls,
To feede abroad, where pasture best befalls.
To an high mountaines top he with them went,
Where thickest grasse did cloath the open hills:
They now amongst the woods and thickets ment,
Now in the valleies wandring at their wills,
Spread themseluesthemselves farre abroad through each descent;
Some on the soft greene grasse feeding their fills;
Some clambring through the hollow cliffes on hy,
Nibble the bushie shrubs, which growe thereby.
Others the vtmostutmost boughs of trees doe crop,
And brouze the woodbine twigges, that freshly bud;
This with full bit doth catch the vtmostutmost top
Of some soft Willow, or new growen stud;
This with sharpe teeth the bramble leauesleaves doth lop,
And chaw the tender prickles in her Cud;
The whiles another high doth ouerlookeoverlooke
Her owne like image in a christall brooke.
O the great happines, which shepheards hauehave,
Who so loathes not too much the poore estate,
With minde that ill vseuse doth before deprauedeprave,
Ne measures all things by the costly rate
Of riotise, and semblants outward brauebrave;
No such sad cares, as wont to macerate
And rend the greedie mindes of couetouscovetous men,
Do euerever creepe into the shepheards den.
Ne cares he if the fleece, which him arayes,
Be not twice steeped in Assyrian dye,
Ne glistering of golde, which vnderlayesunderlayes
The summer beames, doe blinde his gazing eye.
Ne pictures beautie, nor the glauncing rayes
Of precious stones, whence no good commeth by;
Ne yet his cup embost with Imagery
Of Bætus or of Alcons vanity.
Ne ought the whelky pearles esteemeth hee,
Which are from Indian seas brought far away:
But with pure brest from carefull sorrow free,
On the soft grasse his limbs doth oft display,
In sweete spring time, when flowres varietie
With sundrie colours paints the sprincled lay;
There lying all at ease, from guile or spight,
With pype of fennie reedes doth him delight.
There he, Lord of himselfe, with palme bedight,
His looser locks doth wrap in wreath of vine:
There his milk dropping Goats be his delight,
And fruitefull Pales, and the forrest greene,
And darkesome cauescaves in pleasaunt vallies pight,
Wheras continuall shade is to be seene,
And where fresh springing wells, as christall neate,
Do alwayes flow, to quench his thirstie heate.
O who can lead then a more happie life,
Than he, that with cleane minde and hear sincere,
No greedy riches knowes nor bloudie strife,
No deadly fight of warlick fleete doth feare,
Ne runs in perill of foes cruell knife,
That in the sacred temples he may reare,
A trophee of his glittering spoyles and treasure,
Or may abound in riches aboueabove measure.
Of him his God is worshipt with his sythe,
And not with skill of craftsman polished:
He ioyesjoyes in grouesgroves, and makes himselfe full blythe,
With sundrie flowers in wilde fieldes gathered;
Ne frankincens he from Panchæa buyth,
Sweete quiet harbours in his harmeles head,
And perfect pleasure buildes her ioyousjoyous bowre,
Free from sad cares, that rich mens hearts deuowredevowre.
This all his care, this all his wholeindeuourindevour,
To this his minde and senses he doth bend,
How he may flow in quiets matchles treasour,
Content with any food that God doth send;
And how his limbs, resolu’dresolv’d through idle leisour,
VntoUnto sweete sleepe he may securely lend,
In some coole shadow from the scorching heat,
The whiles his flock their chawed cuds do eate,
O flocks, O Faunes, and O ye pleasaunt springs
Of Tempe, where the countrey Nymphs are rife,
Through whose not costly care each shepheard sings
As merrie notes vponupon his rusticke Fife,
As that Astræan bard, whose fame now rings
Through the wide world, and leads as ioyfulljoyfull life.
Free from all troubles and from worldly toyle,
In which fond men doe all their dayes turmoyle.
In such delights whilst thus his carelesse time
This shepheard driuesdrives, vpleaningupleaning on his batt,
And on shrill reedes chaunting his rustick rime,
Hyperion throwing foorth his beames full hott,
Into the highest top of heauenheaven gan clime,
And the world parting by an equall lott,
Did shed his whirling flames on either side,
As the great Ocean doth himselfe diuidedivide.
Then gan the shepheard gather into one
His stragling Goates, and drauedrave them to a foord,
Whose cærule streame, rombling in Pible stone,
Crept vnderunder mosse as greene as any goord.
Now had the Sun halfe heauenheaven
When he his heard back from that water foord,
DraueDrave from the force of Phœbus boyling ray,
Into thick shadowes, there themseluesthemselves to lay.
Soone as he them plac’d in thy sacred wood
(O Delian Goddesse) saw, to which of yore
Came the bad daughter of old Cadmus brood,
, flying vengeance sore
Of king Nictileus for the guiltie blood,
Which she with cursed hands had shed before;
There she halfe frantick hauinghaving slaine her sonne,
Did shrowd her selfe like punishment to shonne.
Here also playing on the grassy greene,
Woodgods, and Satyres, and swift Dryades,
With many Fairies oft were dauncing seene.
Not so much did Dan Orpheus represse,
The streames of Hebrus with his songs I weene,
As that faire troupe of woodie Goddesses
Staied thee, (O Peneus) powring foorth to thee,
From cheereful lookes great mirth &and gladsome glee.
The verie nature of the place, resounding
With gentle murmure of the breathing ayre,
A pleasant bowre with all delight abounding
In the fresh shadowe did for them prepayre,
To rest their limbs with wearines redounding.
For first the high Palme trees with braunches faire,
Out of the lowly vallies did arise,
And high shoote vpup their heads into the skyes.
And them amongst the wicked Lotos grew,
Wicked, for holding guilefully away
men, whom rapt with sweetenes new,
Taking to hoste, it quite from him did stay,
And eke those trees, in whose transformed hew
The Sunnes sad daughters waylde the rash decay
Of Phaeton, whose limbs with lightening rent,
They gathering vpup, with sweete teares did lament.
And that same tree, in which Demophoon,
By his disloyalty lamented sore,
Eternall hurte left vntounto many one:
Whom als accompanied the Oke, of yore
Through fatall charmes transformd to such an one:
The Oke, whose Acornes were our foode, before
That Ceres seede of mortall men were knowne,
Which first Triptoleme taught how to be sowne.
Here also grow the rougher rinded Pine,
The great Argoan ships brauebrave ornament
Whom golden Fleece did make an heauenlyheavenly signe;
Which couetingcoveting, with his high tops extent,
To make the mountaines touch the starres diuinedivine,
Decks all the forrest with embellishment,
And the blacke Holme that louesloves the watrie vale,
And the sweete Cypresse signe of deadly bale.
Emongst the rest the clambring Yuie grew,
Knitting his wanton armes with grasping hold,
Least that the Poplar happely should rew
Her brothers strokes, whose boughes she doth enfold
With her lythe twigs, till they the top survew,
And paint with pallid greene her buds of gold.
Next did the Myrtle tree to her approach,
Not yet vnmindfullunmindfull of her olde reproach.
But the small Birds in their wide boughs embowring,
Chaunted their sundrie tunes with sweete consent,
And vnderunder them a siluersilver Spring forth powring
His trickling streames, a gentle murmure sent;
Thereto the frogs, bred in the slimie scowring
Of the moist moores, their iarringjarring voyces bent;
And shrill grashoppers chirped them around:
All which the ayrie Echo did resound.
In this so pleasant place this Speheards flocke
Lay euerieeverie where, their wearie limbs to rest,
On euerieeverie bush, and euerieeverie hollow rocke
Where breathe on thẽthem the whistling wind mote best;
The whiles the Shepheard self tending his stocke,
Sate by the fountaine side, in shade to rest,
Where gentle slumbring sleep oppressed him,
Displaid on ground, and seized euerieeverie lim.
Of trecherie or traines nought tooke he keep,
But looslie on the grassie greene dispredd,
His dearest life did trust to careles sleep;
Which weighing down his drouping drowsie hedd,
In quiet rest his molten heart did steep,
DeuoidDevoid of care, and feare of all falshedd:
Had not inconstant fortune, bent to ill,
Bid strange mischance his quietnes to spill.
For at his wonted time in that same place
An huge great Serpent all with speckles pide,
To drench himselfe in moorish slime did trace,
There from the boyling heate himselfe to hide:
He passing by with rolling wreathed pace,
With brandisht tongue the emptie aire did gride,
And wrapt his scalie boughts with fell despight,
That all things seem’d appalled at his sight.
Now more and more hauinghaving himselfe enrolde,
His glittering breast he lifteth vpup on hie,
And with proud vaunt his head aloft doth holde;
His creste aboueabove spotted with purple die,
On euerieeverie side did shine like scalie golde,
And his bright eyes glauncing full dreadfullie,
Did seeme to flame out flakes of flashing fyre,
And with sterne lookes to threaten kindled yre.
Thus wise long time he did himselfe dispace
There round about, when as at last he spide
Lying along before him in that place,
That flocks grand Captaine, and most trustie guide:
Eftsoones more fierce in visage, and in pace,
Throwing his firie eyes on euerieeverie side,
He commeth on, and all things in his way
Full stearnly rends, that might his passage stay.
Much he disdaines, that anie one should dare
To come vntounto his haunt; for which intent
He inly burns, and gins straight to prepare
The weapons, which Nature to him hath lent;
Fellie he hisseth, and doth fiercely stare,
And hath his iawesjawes with angrie spirits rent,
That all his tract with bloudie drops is stained,
And all his foldes are now in length outstrained.
Whom thus at point prepared, to preuentprevent,
A litle noursling of the humid ayre,
A Gnat vntounto the sleepie Shepheard went,
And marking where his ey-lids twinckling rare,
Shewd the two pearles, which sight vntounto him lent,
Through their thin coueringscoverings appearing fayre,
His little needle there infixing deep,
Warnd him awake, from death himselfe to keep.
Wherewith enrag’d, he fiercely gan vpstartupstart,
And with his hand him rashly bruzing, slewe
As in auengementavengement of his heedles smart,
That streight the spirite out of his senses flew,
And life out of his members did depart:
When suddenly casting aside his vew,
He spide his foe with felonous intent,
And feruentfervent eyes to his destruction bent.
All suddenly dismaid, and hartles quight,
He fled abacke, and catching hastie holde
Of a yong alder hard beside him pight,
It rent, and streight about him gan beholde,
What God or Fortune would assist his might.
But whether God or Fortune made him bold
Its hard to read: yet hardie will he had
To ouercomeovercome, that made him lesse adrad.
The scalie backe of that most hideous snake
Enwrapped round, oft faining to retire,
And oft him to assaile, he fiercely strake
Whereas his temples did his creast front-tyre;
And for he was but slowe, did slowth off shake,
And gazing ghastly on (for feare and yre
Had blent so much his sense, that lesse he
Yet when he saw him slaine, himselfe he cheard.
By this the night forth from the darksome bowre
Of Herebus her teemed steedes gan call,
And laesie Vesper in his timely howre
From golden Oeta gan proceede withall;
Whenas the Shepheard after this sharpe stowre,
Seing the doubled shadowes low to fall,
Gathering his straying flocke, does homeward fare,
And vntounto rest his wearie ioyntsjoynts prepare.
Into whose sense so soone as lighter sleepe
Was entered, and now loosing euerieeverie lim,
Sweete slumbring deaw in carelesnesse did steepe,
The Image of that Gnat appeard to him,
And in sad tearmes gan sorrowfully weepe,
With greislie countenaunce and visage grim,
Wailing the wrong which he had done of late,
In steed of good hastning his cruell fate.
Said he, what hauehave I wretch deseru’ddeserv’d, that thus
Into this bitter bale I am outcast,
Whilest that thy life more deare and precious
Was than mine owne, so long as it did last?
I now in lieu of paines so gracious,
Am tost in th’ayre with euerieeverie windie blast:
Thou safe deliuereddelivered from sad decay,
Thy careles limbs in loose sleep dost display.
So liuestlivest thou, but my poore wretched ghost
Is forst to ferrie ouerover
And spoyld of Charon too and fro am tost.
Seest thou, how all places quake and quiuerquiver
Lightned with deadly lamps on euerieeverie post?
Tisiphone each where doth shake and shiuershiver
Her flaming fire brond, encountring me,
Whose lockes vncombeduncombed cruell adders be.
And Cerberus, whose many mouthes doo bay,
And barke out flames, as if on fire he fed;
Adowne whose necke in terrible array,
Ten thousand snakes cralling about his hed
Doo hang in heapes, that horribly affray,
And bloodie eyes doo glister firie red;
He oftentimes me dreadfullie doth threaten,
With painfull torments to be sorely beaten.
Ay me, that thankes so much should faile of meed,
For that I thee restor’d to life againe,
EuenEven from the doore of death and deadlie dreed.
Where then is now the guerdon of my paine?
Where the reward of my so piteous deed?
The praise of pitie vanisht is in vaine,
And th’antique faith of IusticeJustice long agone
Out of the land is fled away and gone.
I saw anothers fate approaching fast,
And left mine owne his safetie to tender;
Into the same mishap I now am cast,
And shun’d destruction doth destruction render:
Not vntounto him that neuernever hath trespast,
But punishment is due to the offender.
Yet let destruction be the punishment,
So long as thankfull will may it relent,
I carried am into waste wildernesse,
Waste wildernes, amongst Cymerian shades,
Where endles paines and hideous heauinesseheavinesse
Is round about me heapt in darksome glades.
For there huge Othos sits in sad distresse,
Fast bound with serpents that him oft inuadesinvades;
Far of beholding Ephialtes tide,
Which once assai’d to burne this world so wide.
And there is mournfull Tityus mindefull yet
Of thy displeasure, O Latona faire;
Displeasure too implacable was it,
That made him meat for wild foules of the ayre:
Much do I feare among such fiends to sit;
Much do I feare back to them to repayre,
To the black shadowes of the Stygian shore,
Where wretched ghosts sit wailing euermoreevermore.
There next the vtmostutmost brinck doth he abide,
That did the bankets of the Gods bewray,
Whose threat through thirst to nought nigh being dride
His sense to seeke for ease turnes eueryevery way:
And he that in auengementavengement of his pride,
For scorning to the sacred Gods to pray,
Against a mountaine rolls a mightie stone,
Calling in vaine for rest, and can hauehave none.
Go ye with them, go cursed damosells,
Whose bridale torches foule Erynnis tynde,
And Hymen at your Spousalls sad, foretells
Tydings of death and massacre vnkindeunkinde:
With them that cruell Colchid mother dwells,
The which conceiu’dconceiv’d in her reuengefullrevengefull minde,
With bitter woundes her owne deere babes to slay,
And murdred troupes vponupon great heapes to lay.
There also those two Pandionian maides,
Calling on Itis, Itis
Whom wretched boy they slew with guiltie blades;
For whome the Thracian king lamenting sore,
Turn’d to a Lapwing, fowlie them vpbraydesupbraydes,
And flattering round about them still does sore:
There now they all eternally complaine
Of others wrong, and suffer endles paine.
But the two brethren borne of Cadmus blood,
Whilst each does for the SoueraigntySoveraignty contend,
Blinde through ambition, and with vengeance wood
Each doth against the others bodie bend
His cursed steele, of neither well withstood,
And with wide wounds their carcases doth rend;
That yet they both doe mortall foes remaine,
Sith each with brothers bloudie hand was slaine.
Ah (waladay) there is no end of paine,
Nor chaunge of labour may intreated bee:
Yet I beyond all these am carried faine,
Where other powers farre different I see,
And must passe ouerover to th’Elisian plaine:
There grim Persephone encountring mee,
Doth vrgeurge her fellow Furies earnestlie,
With their bright firebronds me to terrifie.
There chast Alceste
Free from all care, for that her husbands daies
She did prolong by changing fate for fate,
Lo there liueslives also the immortall praise
Of womankinde, most faithfull to her mate,
Penelope: and from her farre awayes
A rulesse rout of yongmen, which her woo’d
All slaine with darts, lie wallowed in their blood.
And sad Eurydice thence now no more
Must turne to life, but there detained bee,
For looking back, being forbid before:
Yet was the guilt thereof, Orpheus, in thee.
Bold sure he was, and worthie spirite bore,
That durst those lowest shadowes goe to see,
And could beleeuebeleeve that anie thing could please
Fell Cerberus, or Stygian powres appease.
Ne feard the burning waueswaves of Phlegeton,
Nor those same mournfull kingdomes, compassed
With rustie horrour and fowle fashion,
And deep digd vawtes, and Tartar coueredcovered
With bloodie night, and darke confusion,
And iudgementjudgement seates, whose IudgeJudge is deadlie dred,
A iudgejudge, that after death doth punish sore
The faults, which life hath trespassed before.
But valiant fortune made Dan Orpheus bolde:
For the swift running riuersrivers still did stand,
And the wilde beasts their furie did withhold,
To follow Orpheus musicke through the land:
And th’Okes deep grounded in the earthly molde
Did mouemove, as if they could him vnderstandunderstand;
And the shrill woods, which were of sense bereau’dbereav’d,
Through their hard barke his siluersilver sound receau’dreceav’d.
And eke the Moone her hastie steedes did stay,
Drawing in teemes along the starrie skie,
And didst (ô monthly Virgin) thou delay
Thy nightly course, to heare his melodie?
The same was able with like louelylovely lay
The Queene of hell to mouemove as easily,
To yeeld Eurydice
vntounto her fere,
Backe to be borne, though it vnlawfullunlawfull were.
She (Ladie) hauinghaving well before approouedapprooved,
The feends to be too cruell and seueresevere,
Obseru’dObserv’d th’appointed way, as her behoouedbehooved,
Ne euerever did her ey-sight turne arere,
Ne euerever spake, ne cause of speaking moouedmooved:
But cruell Orpheus, thou much crueller,
Seeking to kisse her, brok’st the Gods decree,
And thereby mad’st her euerever damn’d to be.
Ah but sweete louelove of pardon worthie is,
And doth deseruedeserve to hauehave small faults remitted;
If Hell at least things lightly done amis
Knew how to pardon, when ought is omitted:
Yet are ye both receiuedreceived into blis,
And to the seates of happie soules admitted.
And you, beside the honourable band
Of great Heroës doo in order stand.
There be the two stout sonnes of Aeacus,
Fierce Peleus, and the hardie Telamon,
Both seeming now full glad and ioyeousjoyeous
Through their Syres dreadfull iurisdictionjurisdiction,
Being the IudgeJudge of all that horrid hous:
And both of them by strange occasion,
Renown’d in choyce of happie marriage
Through Venus grace, and vertues cariage.
For th’one was rauishtravisht of his owne bondmaide,
The faire Ixione
captiu’dcaptiv’d from Troy:
But th’other was with Thetis
Great Nereus his daughter, and his ioyjoy.
On this side them there is a yongman layd,
Their match in glorie, mightie, fierce and coy;
That from th’Argolick ships, with furious yre,
Bett back the furie of the TroianTrojan fyre.
O who would not recount the strong diuorcesdivorces
Of that great warre, which TroianesTrojanesoft behelde,
And oft beheld the warlike Greekish forces,
When Teucrian soyle with bloodie riuersrivers swelde,
And wide Sigæan shores were spred with corses,
And Simois and Xanthus blood outwelde,
Whilst Hector raged with outragious minde,
Flames, weapõsweapons, woũdswounds in Greeks fleete to hauehave tynde.
For Ida selfe, in ayde of that fierce fight,
Out of her mountaines ministred supplies,
And like a kindly nourse, did yeeld (for spight)
Store of firebronds out of her nourseries,
VntoUnto her foster children, that they might
Inflame the NauieNavieof their enemies,
And all the Rhetæan shore to ashes turne,
Where lay the ships, which they did seeke to burne.
Gainst which the noble sonne of Telamon
Opposd’ himselfe, and thwarting his huge shield,
Them battell bad, gainst whom appeard anon
Hector, the glorie of the
Both fierce and furious in contention
Encountred, that their mightie strokes so shrild,
As the great clap of thunder, which doth ryueryve
The ratling heauensheavens, and cloudes asunder dryuedryve.
So th’one with fire and weapons did contend
To cut the ships, from turning home againe
To Argos, th’other strouestrove for to defend
The force of Vulcane with his might and maine.
Thus th’one Aeacide did his fame extend:
But th’other ioy’djoy’d, that on the Phrygian playne
HauingHaving the blood of vanquisht Hector shedd,
He compast Troy thrice with his bodie dedd.
Againe great dole on either partie grewe,
That him to death vnfaithfullunfaithfull
And also him that false
Drawne into danger through close ambushment:
Therefore from him Laërtes sonne his vewe
Doth turne aside, and boasts his good euentevent
In working of Strymonian Rhæsus fall,
And efte in Dolons slye surprysall.
Againe the dreadfull Cycones him dismay,
And blacke Læstrigones, a people stout:
Then greedie Scilla, vnderunder whom there bay
Manie great bandogs, which her gird about:
Then doo the Aetnean Cyclops him affray,
And deep Charybdis gulphing in and out:
Lastly the squalid lakes of Tartarie,
And griesly Feends of hell him terrifie.
There also goodly Agamemnon bosts,
The glorie of the stock of Tantalus,
And famous light of all the Greekish hosts,
VnderUnder whose conduct most victorious,
The Dorick flames consum’d the Iliack posts.
Ah but the Greekes
themseluesthemselves more dolorous,
To thee, ô Troy, paid penaunce for thy fall,
In th’Hellespont being nigh drowned all.
Well may appeare by proofe of their mischaunce,
The chaungfull turning of mens slipperie state,
That none, whom fortune freely doth aduaunceadvaunce,
Himselfe therefore to heauenheaven should eleuateelevate:
For loftie type of honour through the glaunce
Of enuiesenvies dart, is downe in dust prostrate;
And all that vaunts in worldly vanitie,
Shall fall through fortunes mutabilitie.
Th’Argolicke power returning home againe,
Enricht with spoyles of th’Ericthonian towre,
Did happie winde and weather entertaine,
And with good speed the fomie billowes scowre:
No signe of storme, no feare of future paine,
Which soone ensued them with heauieheavie stowre.
Nereïs to the Seas a token gauegave,
The whiles their crooked keeles the surges claueclave.
Suddenly, whether through the Gods decree,
Or haplesse rising of some froward starre,
The heauensheavens on euerieeverie side enclowded bee:
Black stormes and fogs are blowen vpup from farre,
That now the Pylote can no loadstarre see,
But skies and seas doo make most dreadfull warre;
The billowe striuingstriving to the heauensheavens to reach,
striuingstriving them for to impeach.
And in auengementavengement of their bold attempt,
Both Sun and starres and all the heauenlyheavenly powres
Conspire in one to wreake their rash contempt,
And downe on them to fall from highest towres:
The skie in pieces seeming to be rent,
Throwes lightning forth, &and haile, &and harmful showres
That death on euerieeverie side to them appeares
In thousand formes, to worke more ghastly feares.
Some in the greedie flouds are sunke and drent,
Some on the rocks of Caphareus are throwne;
Some on th’Euboick Cliffs in pieces rent;
Some scattred on the Hercæan shores vnknowneunknowne;
And manie lost, of whom no moniment
Remaines, nor memorie is to be showne:
Whilst all the purchase of the Phrigian pray
Tost on salt billowes, round about doth stray.
Here manie other like Heroës bee,
Equall in honour to the former crue,
Whom ye in goodly seates may placed see,
Descended all from Rome by linage due,
From Rome, that holds the world in souereigntiesovereigntie,
And doth all Nations vntounto her subdue:
Here Fabij and Decij doo dwell,
Horatij that in vertue did excell.
And here the antique fame of stout Camill
liuelive, and constant Curtius,
Who stifly bent his vowed life to spill
For Countreyes health, a gulph most hideous
Amidst the Towne with his owne corps did fill,
T’appease the powers; and prudent Mutius,
Who in his flesh endur’d the scorching flame,
To daunt his foe by ensample of the same.
And here wise Curius, companion
Of noble vertues, liueslives in endles rest;
And stout Flaminius, whose deuotiondevotion
Taught him the fires scorn’d furie to detest;
And here the praise of either Seipion
Abides in highest place aboueabove the best,
To whom the ruin’d walls of Carthage vow’d,
Trembling their forces, sound their praises lowd.
LiueLive they for euerever through their lasting praise:
But I poore wretch am forced to retourne
To the sad lakes, that Phœbus sunnie rayes
Doo neuernever see, where soules doo alwaies mourne,
And by the wayling shores to waste my dayes,
Where Phlegeton with quenchles flames doth burne;
By which iustjust
Minos righteous soules doth seuersever
From wicked ones, to liuelive in blisse for euerever.
Me therefore thus the cruell fiends of hell
Girt with long snakes, and thousand yron chaynes,
Through doome of that their cruell IudgeJudge, compell
With bitter torture and impatient paines,
Cause of my death, and iustjust complaint to tell.
For thou art he, whom my poore ghost complaines
To be the author of her ill vnwaresunwares,
That careles hear’st my intollerable cares.
Them therefore as bequeathing to the winde,
I now depart, returning to thee neuernever,
And leaueleave this lamentable plaint behinde.
But doo thou haunt the soft downe rolling riuerriver,
And wilde greene woods, and fruitful pastures minde,
And let the flitting aire my vaine words seuersever.
Thus hauinghaving said, he heauilyheavily departed
With piteous crie, that anie would hauehave smarted.
Now, when the sloathfull fit of lifes sweete rest
Had left the heauieheavie Shepheard, wondrous cares
His inly grieuedgrieved minde full sore opprest;
That balefull sorrow he no longer beares,
For that Gnats death, which deeply was imprest:
But bends what euerever power his aged yeares
Him lent, yet being such, as through their might
He lately slue his dreadfull foe in fight.
By that same RiuerRiver lurking vnderunder greene,
Eftsoones he gins to fashion forth a place,
And squaring it in compasse well beseene,
There plotteth out a tombe by measured space:
His yron headed spade tho making cleene,
To dig vpup sods out of the flowrie grasse,
His worke he shortly to good purpose brought,
Like as he had conceiu’dconceiv’d it in his thought.
An heape of earth he hoorded vpup on hie,
Enclosing it with banks on euerieeverie side,
And thereupon did raise full busily
A little mount, of greene turffs edifide;
And on the top of all, that passers by
Might it behold, the toomb he did prouideprovide
Of smoothest marble stone in order set,
That neuernever might his luckie scape forget.
And round about he taught sweete flowres to growe,
The Rose engrained in pure scarlet die,
The Lilly fresh, and Violet belowe,
The Marigolde, and cherefull Rosemarie,
The Spartan Mirtle, whence sweet gumb does flowe,
The purple Hyacinthe, and fresh Costmarie,
And Saffron sought for in Cilician soyle,
And Lawrell th’ornament of Phœbus toyle.
Fresh Rhododaphne, and the Sabine flowre
Matching the wealth of th’auncient Frankincence.
And pallid YuieYvie building his owne bowre,
And Box yet mindfull of his olde offence,
Red Amaranthus, lucklesse Paramour,
Oxeye still greene, and bitter Patience;
Ne wants there pale Narcisse, that in a well
Seeing his beautie, in louelove with it fell,
And whatsoeuerwhatsoever other flowre of worth,
And whatso other hearb of louelylovely hew
The ioyousjoyous Spring out of the ground brings forth,
To cloath her selfe in colours fresh and new;
He planted there, and reard a mount of earth,
In whose high front was writ as doth ensue.
To thee, small Gnat, in lieu of his life sauedsaved,
The Shepheard hath thy deaths record engrauedengraved.