Page images
PDF
EPUB

16

THE LOVER LIKE TO A SHIP TOSSED ON THE SEA

My galley charged with forgetfulness

Thorough sharp seas, in winter nights doth pass,
'Tween rock and rock; and eke my foe, alas,
That is my lord, steereth with cruelness;
And every oar, a thought in readiness,
As though that death were light in such a case.
An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
Of forced sighs, and trusty fearfulness.
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain
Hath done the wearied cords great hinderance,
Wreathed with error, and with ignorance.
The stars be hid that led me to this pain;

Drowned is reason that should be my comfort,
And I remain, despairing of the port.

HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY

(1517?-1547]

SPRING
THE LOVER ONLY IS SORROWFUL
The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
With green hath clad the hill, and eke the vale.
The nightingale with feathers new she sings;
The turtle to her makeo hath told her tale.
Summer is come, for every ‘spray now springs:
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale;
The buck in brake his winter coat he slings;
The fishes flete with new repaired scale;
The adder all her slough away she slings;
The swift swallow pursueth the flies smale;
The busy bee her honey now she mings;*
Winter is worn, that was the flowers' bale.

And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs!
I sweet.

3 float.

4 mixes.

2 mate.

18

THE MEANS TO ATTAIN HAPPY LIFE

MARTIAL, the things that do attain

The happy life be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain;

The fruitful ground, the quiet mind;
The equal friend, no grudge, no strife;

No charge of rule nor governance;
Without disease, the healthful life;

The household of continuance.
The mean' diet, no delicate fare;

True wisdom joined with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,

Where wine the wit may not oppress;
The faithful wife, without debate;

Such sleeps as may beguile the night:
Contented with thine own estate,

Ne wish for death, ne fear his might.

GEORGE GASCOIGNE [1525?-1577]

THE ARRAIGNMENT OF A LOVER

Ar Beauty's bar as I did stand,
When false Suspect accused me,
“George,” quoth the Judge, “hold up thy hand,
Thou art arraigned of flattery:
Tell therefore how thou wilt be tried:
Whose judgment here wilt thou abide?”

"My Lord,” quoth I, “this Lady here,
Whom I esteem above the rest,
Doth know my guilt if any were:
Wherefore her doom shall please me best.
Let her be Judge and Juror both,
To try me, guiltless, by mine oath!”

i moderate.

Quoth Beauty, “No, it fitteth not
A prince herself to judge the cause:
Will is our Justice, well you wot,
Appointed to discuss our laws:
If you will guiltless seem to go,
God and your country quit you so.”

Then Craft the crier called a quest,
Of whom was Falsehood foremost fere,
A pack of pickthanks were the rest,
Which came false witness for to bear;
The jury such, the judge unjust:
Sentence was said I should be trussed.

Jealous the jailer bound me fast,
To hear the verdict of the bill,
“George,” quoth the Judge, “now thou art cast,
Thou must go hence to Heavy Hill,
And there be hanged all but the head,
God rest thy soul when thou art dead.”

Down fell I then upon my knee,
All flat before Dame Beauty's face,
And cried, “Good Lady, pardon me,
Which here appeal unto your grace,
You know if I have been untrue,
It was in too much praising you.

“And though this Judge do make such haste
To shed with shame my guiltless blood,
Yet let your pity first be placed
To save the man that meant you good,
So shall you show yourself a Queen,
And I may be your servant seen."

Quoth Beauty, “Well: because I guess,
What thou dost mean henceforth to be,
Although thy faults deserve no less
Than Justice here hath judged thee,

Wilt thou be bound to stint all strife
And be true prisoner all thy life ?”

“Yea madam,” quoth I, “that I shall,
Lo, Faith and Truth my sureties.”
“Why then," quoth she, "come when I call,
I ask no better warrantise.”
Thus am I Beauty's bounden thrall,
At her command when she doth call.

THOMAS SACKVILLE, LORD BUCKHURST

[1536–1608]

20 THE GODDESS OF SORROW SHOWETH

THE POET HELL

An hideous hole all vast, withouten shape,
Of endless depth, o'erwhelmed with ragged stone,
With ugly mouth, and grisly jaws doth gape,
And to our sight confounds itself in one:
Here entered we, and yeding' forth, anon
An horrible loathly lake we might discern,
As black as pitch, that clepèd is Avern:

A deadly gulf, where naught but rubbish grows,
With foul black swelth in thickened lumps that lies,
Which up in th' air such stinking vapors throws,
That over there may fly no fowl but dies
Choked with the pestilent savours that arise:
Hither we come; whence forth we still did pace,
In dreadful fear amid the dreadful place:

And first, within the porch and jaws of Hell,
Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent
With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and cursing never stent
To sob and sigh; but ever thus lament,

going.

With thoughtful care, as she that, all in vain,
Would wear, and waste continually in pain.

Her eyes unsteadfast, rolling here and there,
Whirled on each place, as place that vengeance brought,
So was her mind continually in fear,
Tossed and tormented with the tedious thought
Of those detested crimes which she had wrought;
With dreadful cheer, and looks thrown to the sky,
Wishing for death, and yet she could not die.

And next, within the entry of this lake,
Sat fell Revenge, gnashing her teeth for ire,
Devising means how she may vengeance take,
Never in rest, till she have her desire:
But frets within so far forth with the fire
Of wreaking flames, that now determines she
To die by death, or venged by death to be.

When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence
Had showed herself, as next in order set,
With trembling limbs we softly parted thence,
Till in our eyes another sight we met:
When from my heart a sigh forthwith I fet,
Ruing, alas! upon the woeful plight
Of Misery, that next appeared in sight.

His face was lean, and somedeal pined away,
And eke his hands consumed to the bone,
But what his body was, I cannot say,
For on his carcass raiment had he none,
Save clouts and patches, piecèd one by one;
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast,
His chief defence against the winter's blast.

His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree,
Unless sometimes some crumbs fell to his share,
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,

« PreviousContinue »