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The earth did fresh aray;
So fresh they seemd as day,
Even as their brydale day, which was not long:

Sweete Themmes, runne softly, till I end my song.

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 yield,
All which upon those goodly birds they threw,
And all the waves 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.

“Ye gentle birdes, the worlds faire ornament,
And heavens glorie, whom this happie hower
Doth leade unto your lovers blissfull bower,
Joy may you have and gentle hearts content
Of your loves couplement:
And let faire Venus, that is Queene of Love,
With her heart-quelling sonne upon you smile,
Whose smile, they say, hath vertue to remove
All loves dislike, and friendships faultie guile
For ever to assoile.
Let endlesse peace your steadfast hearts accord,
And blessèd plentie wait upon your bord;
And let your bed with pleasures chast abound,
That fruitfull issue may to you afford,
Which may your foes confound,
And make your joyes redound,

Upon your brydale day, which is not long;

Sweete Themmes, runne softlie, till I end my song."

So ended she; and all the rest around
To her redoubled that, her undersong,
Which said, their bridale daye should not be long.
And gentle Eccho from the neighbour ground
Their accents did resound.
So forth those joyous 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, enrangèd well,
Did on those two attend,
And their best service lend, .
Against their wedding day, which was not long:

Sweete Themmes, runne softly, till I end my song.

· At length they all to mery London came,
To mery London, my most kyndly nurse,
That to me gave this lifes first native sourse:
Though from another place I take my name,
An house of auncient fame.
There when they came whereas those bricky towers
The which on Themmes brode agèd backe doe ryde,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers,
There whylome wont the Templar Knights to byde,
Till they decayd through pride:
Next whereunto there standes a stately place,
Where oft I gained 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 now well
Olde woes, but joyes to tell,
Against the brydale daye, which is not long:

Sweete Themmes, runne softly, till I end my song.

3/

Yet therein, now doth lodge a noble peer,
Great Englands glory and the worlds wide wonder,
Whose dreadful name through all Spaine did thunder,
And Hercules two pillars standing neere
Did make to quake and feare.
Faire branch of honour, flower of chevalrie,
That fillest England with thy triumphs fame,
Joy have thou of thy noble victorie,
And endlesse happinesse of thine owne name
That promiseth the same:
That through thy prowesse and victorious arms
Thy country may be freed from forraigne harms;
And great Elisaes glorious name may ring
Through al the world, filled with thy wide alarmes,
Which some brave Muse may sing
To ages following:
Upon the brydale daye, which is not long:

Sweete Themmes, runne softly, till I end my song.

From those high towers this noble lord issuing,
Like radiant Hesper when his golden hayre
In th' ocean billows he hath bathèd fayre,
Descended to the rivers open viewing,
With a great traine ensuing.
Above the rest were goodly to bee seene
Two gentle knights of lovely 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 Jove they seem'd in sight,
Which decke the hauldricke of the heavens bright.
They two, forth pacing to the rivers side,
Received those two fair brydes, their loves 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.

SONNETS

2

MORE then most faire, full of the living fire
Kindled above unto the Maker neere:
No eies, but joyes, in which al powers conspire,
That to the world naught else be counted deare:
Thrugh your bright beams doth not the blinded guest
Shoot out his darts to base affections wound;
But angels come, to lead fraile mindes to rest
In chast desires, on heavenly beauty bound.
You frame my thoughts, and fashion me within,
You stop my toung, and teach my hart to speake,
You calme the storme that passion did begin,
Strong thrugh your cause, but by your vertue weak.

Dark is the world where your light shinèd never;
Well is he borne that may behold you ever.

LYKE as a ship, that through the ocean wyde,
By conduct of some star, doth make her way;
Whenas a storme hath dimd her trusty guyde,
Out of her course doth wander far astray;
So I, whose star, that wont with her bright ray
Me to direct, with cloudes is overcast,
Doe wander now, in darknesse and dismay,
Through hidden perils round about me plast.
Yet hope I well, that when this storme is past,
My Helice, the lodestar of my lyfe,
Will shine again, and looke on me at last,
With lovely light to cleare my cloudy grief,

Till then I wander carefull, comfortlesse,
In secret sorow, and sad pensivenesse.

34

MEN call you fayre, and you doe credit it,
For that your selfe ye dayly such doe see:
But the trew fayre, that is the gentle wit
And vertuous Mind, is much more praysd of me.
For all the rest, how ever fayre it be,
Shall turne to nought and loose that glorious hew:

But onely that is permanent, and free
From frayle corruption, that doth flesh ensew.
That is true Beautie: that doth argue you
To be divine, and borne of heavenly seed,
Derived from that fayre spirit from whom al true
And perfect beauty did at first proceed.

He onely fayre, and what he fayre hath made;
All other fayre, lyke flowers, untymely fade.

(From AMORETTI.)

35 LUCIFERA RIDETH FORTH FROM THE HOUSE

OF PRIDE

A STATELY pallace built of squarèd bricke,
Which cunningly was without morter laid,
Whose wals were high, but nothing strong, nor thick,
And golden foile all over them displaid,
That purest skye with brightnesse they dismaid:
High lifted up were many loftie towres,
And goodly galleries farre over laid,

Full of faire windowes and delightful bowres;
And on the top a diall told the timely howres.

It was a goodly heape for to behould,
And spake the praises of the workmans witt;
But full great pittie, that so faire a mould
Did on so weake foundation ever sitt:
For on a sandie hill, that still did flitt
And fall away, it mounted was full hie,
That every breath of heaven shakèd itt:

And all the hinder parts, that few could spie,
Were ruinous and old, but painted cunningly.

Arrived there, they passed in forth right;

For still to all the gates stood open wide:
Yet charge of them was to a porter hight
Cald Malvenù; who entrance none denide:
Thence to the hall, which was on every side

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