Page images
PDF

That know the beasts and cattle feeding by,

Which for to slake their thirst do thither hie.

Nay, desert grounds the streams do not forsake,

But through the unknown ways their journey take:

The asses wild, that hide in wilderness,

Do thither come, their thirst for to refresh.

The shady trees along their banks do spring,

In which the birds do build, and sit, and sing;

Stroking the gentle air with pleasant notes,

Plaining, or chirping through their warbling throats.

The higher grounds, where waters cannot rise,

By rain and dews are watered from the skies;

Causing the earth put forth the grass for beasts,

And garden herbs, served at the greatest feasts;

And bread, that is all viands' firmament,

And gives a firm and solid nourishment;

And wine, man's spirits for to recreate;

And oil, his face for to exhilarate.

The sappy cedars, tall like stately towers,

High-tlying birds do harbour in their bowers:

The holy storks, that are the travellers,

Choose for to dwell and build within the firs;

The climbing goats hang on steep mountains' side;

The digging conies in the rocks do bide.

The moon, so constant in inconstancy,

Doth rule the monthly seasons orderly;

The sun, eye of the world, doth know his race,

And when to show, and when to hide his face.

Thou makest darkness, that it may be night,

When as the savage beasts, that fly the light,

As conscious of man's hatred, leave their den,

And range abroad, secured from sight of men.

Then do the forests ring of lions roaring,

That ask their meat of God, their strength restoring;

But when the day appears, they back do fly,

And in their dens again do lurking lie.

Then man goes forth to labour in the field,

Whereby his grounds more rich increase may yield.

0 Lord, thy providence sufficeth all;

Thy goodness, not restrained, by general

Over thy creatures: the whole earth doth flow

With thy great largess poured forth here below.

Nor is it earth alone exalts thy name,

But seas and streams likewise do spread the same.

The rolling seas unto the lot doth fall

Of beasts innumerable, great and small;

There do the stately ships plow up the floods,

The greater navies look like walking woods;

The fishes there far voyages do make,

To divers shores their journey they do take.

There hast thou set the great leviathan,

That makes the seas to seethe like boiling pan.

All these do ask of thee their meat to live,

Which in due season thou to them dost give.

Ope thou thy hand, and then they have good fare;

Shut thou thy hand, and then they troubled are.

All life and spirit from thy breath proceed,

Thy word doth all things generate and feed.

If thou withdrawest it, then they cease to be,

And straight return to dust and vanity;

But when thy breath thou dost send forth again,

Then all things do renew and spring amain;

So that the earth, but lately desolate,

Doth now return unto the former state.

The glorious majesty of God above

Shall ever reign in mercy and in love;

God shall rejoice all his fair works to see,

For as they come from him all perfect be.

The earth shall quake, if aught his wrath provoke;

Let him but touch the mountains they shall smoke.

As long as life doth last I hymns will sing,

With cheerful voice, to the eternal King;

As long as I have being, I will praise

The works of God, and all his wondrous ways.

I know that he my words will not despise,

Thanksgiving is to him a sacrifice.

But as for sinners they shall be destroyed

From off the earth, their places shall be void.

Let all his works praise him with one accord;

0 praise the Lord, my soul; praise ye the Lord!

THE TRANSLATION OF THE CXXVIth PSALM.

When God returned us graciously

Unto our native land,
We seemed as in a dream to be,

And in a maze to stand.

The heathen likewise they could say:

The God, that these men serve,
Hath done great things for them this day,

Their nation to preserve.

'Tis true; God hath poured out his grace

On us abundantly,
For which we yield him psalms and praise.

And thanks with jubile.

0 Lord, turn our captivity,

As winds, that blow at south, Do pour the tides with violence

Back to the rivers' mouth.

Who sows in tears shall reap in joy,

The Lord doth so ordain;
So that his seed be pure and good,

His harvest shall be gain.

THE TRANSLATION OF THE CXXXVIIth
PSALM.

When as we sat, all sad and desolate,

By Babylon upon the river's side,
Eased from the tasks, which in our captive state
We were enforced daily to abide,

Our harps we had brought with us to the field,
Some solace to our heavy souls to yield.

But soon we found we failed of our account,

For when our minds some freedom did obtain, Straightways the memory of Sion Mount Did cause afresh our wounds to bleed again: So that with present griefs, and future fears, Our eyes burst forth into a stream of tears.

As for our harps, since sorrow struck them dumb, We hanged them on the willow-trees were near; Yet did our cruel masters to us come,

Asking of us some Hebrew songs to hear:
Taunting us rather in our misery,
Than much delighting in our melody.

Alas, said we, who can once force or frame
His grieved and oppressed heart to sing
The praises of Jehovah's glorious name,
In banishment, under a foreign king?
In Sion is his seat and dwelling-place,
Thence doth he show the brightness of his face.

Jerusalem, where God his throne hath set,

Shall any hour absent thee from my mind? Then let my right-hand quite her skill forget, Then let my voice and words no passage find; Nay, if I do not thee prefer in all, That in the compass of my thoughts can fall.

Remember thou, O Lord, the cruel cry

Of Edom's children, which did ring and sound,
Inciting the Chaldean's cruelty,
"Down with it, down with it, even unto the ground."
In that good day repay it unto them,
When thou shalt visit thy Jerusalem.

And thou, O Babylon, shalt have thy turn
By just revenge, and happy shall he be,

That thy proud walls and towers shall waste and bum,
And as thou didst by us, so do by thee.

Yea, happy he, that takes thy children's bones,
And dasheth them against the pavement stones.

THE TRANSLATION OF THE CXLIXth PSALM.

O Sing a new song to our God above,

Avoid profane ones, 'tis for holy quire: Let Israel sing songs of holy love

To him that made them, with their hearts on fire: Let Sion's sons lift up their voice and sing Carols and anthems to their heavenly King.

Let not your voice alone his praise forth tell,

But move withal, and praise him in the dance j
Cymbals and harps, let them be tuned well,
'Tis he that doth the poor's estate advance:
Do this not only on the solemn days,
But on your secret beds your spirits raise.

O let the saints bear in their mouth his praise,
And a two-edged sword drawn in their hand,
Therewith for to revenge the former days
Upon all nations that their zeal withstand;
To bind their kings in chains of iron strong,
And manacle their nobles for their wrong.

Expect the time, for 'tis decreed in heaven,
Such honour shall unto his saints be given.

[ocr errors]

WORKS POLITICAL.

OF THE

STATE OF EUROPE.

[WRITTEN ABOUT THE YEAR 1580.]

In the consideration of the present state of Christendom, depending on the inclinations and qualities of the princes, governors of the same, first the person of the pope, acknowledged for supreme of the princes catholic, may be brought forth.

Pope Gregory XIII. of the age of seventy

years, by surname Boncompagno, born in Bolonia of the meanest state of the people, his father a shoemaker by occupation: of no great learning nor understanding, busy rather in practice, than desirous of wars, and that rather to farther the advancement of his son and his house, a respect highly regarded of all the popes, than of any inclination of nature, the which, yet in these years, abhorreth not his secret pleasures. Howbeit, two things especially have set 60 sharp edge to him, whereby he doth bend himself so vehemently against religion. The one is a mere necessity, the other the solicitation of the king of Spain. For, if we consider duly the estate of the present time, we shall find he is not so much carried with the desire to suppress our religion, as driven with the fear of the downfall of his own, if in time it be not upheld and restored.

The reasons be these : he seeth the king of Spain already in years, and worn with labour and troubles, that there is little hope in him of long life. And he failing, there were likely to ensue great alterations of state in all his dominions, the which should be joined with the like in religion, especially in this divided time, and in Spain, already so forward, as the fury of the inquisition can scarce keep in.

In France, the state of that church seemeth to depend on the sole life of the king now reigning, being of a weak constitution, full of infirmities, not likely to have long life, and quite out of hope of any issue. Of the duke of Anjou he doth not assure himself; besides the opinion conceived of the weakness of the complexion of all that race, giving neither hope of length of life nor of children. And

the next to the succession make already profession of the reformed religion, besides the increase thereof daily in France: England and Scotland are already, God be thanked, quite reformed, with the better part of Germany. And because the queen's Majesty hath that reputation to be the defender of the true religion and faith; against her Majesty, as the head of the faithful, is the drift of all their mischiefs.

The king of Spain having erected, in his conceit, a monarchy, wherein seeking reputation in the protection of religion, this conjunction with the pope is as necessary to him for the furtherance of his purposes, as to the pope behoveful for the advancing of his house, and for his authority j the king of Spain having already bestowed on the pope's son, degree of title and of office, with great revenues. To encourage the pope herein, being head of the church, they set before him the analogy of the name Gregory, saying, that we were first under a Gregory brought to the faith, and by a Gregory are again to be reduced to the obedience of Rome.

A prophecy likewise is found out that foretelleth, "the dragon sitting in the chair of Peter, great things should be brought to pass."

Thus is the king of France solicited against those of the religion in France: the emperor against those in his dominions; divisions set in Germany; the Low Countries miserably oppressed; and daily attempts against her Majesty, both by force and practice; hereto serve the seminaries, where none are now admitted, but those who take the oath against her Majesty.

The sect of the Jesuits are special instruments to alienate the people from her Majesty, sow faction, and to absolve them of the oath of obedience, and prepare the way to rebellion and revolt

Besides, for confirmation of their own religion they have used some reformation of the clergy, and brought in catechising.

To go forth with the princes of Italy next in situation.

Duke of The great duke of Tuscany, Fran

Tuscany. cjsc0 de Medici, son to Cosmo, and the third duke of that family and province; of the age of forty years, of disposition severe and sad, rather than manly and grave; no princely port or behaviour more than a great justicer; inclined to peace, and gathering money. All Tuscany is subject unto him, wherein were divers commonwealths; whereof the chief were Florence, Siena, and Pisa, Prato, and Pistoia, saving Lucca, and certain forts on the seacoast, held by the king of Spain.

He retaineth in his service few, and they strangers, to whom he giveth pensions. In all his citadels he hath garrison of Spaniards, except at Siena: in housekeeping spendeth little, being as it were in pension, agreeing for so much the year with a citizen of Florence for his diet: he has a small guard of Swissers, and when he rideth abroad a guard of forty light horsemen. The militia of his country amounteth to forty thousand soldiers, to the which he granteth leave to wear their weapons on the holy days, and other immunities. Besides, he entertaineth certain men of arms, to the which he giveth seven crowns the month. He also maintaineth seven galleys, the which serve under his knights, erected by his father in Pisa, of the order of St. Stephano: of these galleys three go every year in chase.

His common exercise is in distillations, and in trying of conclusions, the which he doth exercise in a house called Cassino in Florence, where he spendeth the most part of the day; giving ear in the mean season to matters of affairs, and conferring with his chief officers. His revenues are esteemed to amount to a million and a half of crowns, of the which spending half a million, he layeth up yearly one million. But certainly he is the richest prince in all Europe of coin. The form of his government is absolute, depending only of his will and pleasure, though retaining in many things the ancient offices and show. But those magistrates resolve nothing without his express directions and pleasure. Privy council he useth none, but reposeth most his trust on sound secretaries, and conferreth chiefly with his wife, as his father did with one of his secretaries. For matter of examinations, one Corbolo hath the especial trust; he doth favour the people more than the nobility, because they do bear an old grudge to the gentlemen, and the people are the more in number, without whom the nobility can do nothing. One thing in him giveth great contentment to the subjects, that he vouchsafeth to receive and hear all their petitions himself. And in his absence from Florence, those that have suit do resort to the office, and there exhibit their bill indorsed; whereof within three days absolute answer is returned them, unless the matter be of great importance, then have they direction how to proceed. He is a great justicer; and for the ease of the people, and to have the better eye over justice, hath built hard by his

palace a fair row of houses for all offices together in one place.

Two years sithence he married la Signora Bianca his concubine, a Venetian of Casa Capelli, whereby he entered straiter amity with the Venetians: with the pope he had good intelligence, and some affinity by the marriage of Signor Jacomo, the pope's son, in Casa Sforza.

To the emperor he is allied, his first wife being the emperor Maximilian's sister.

With Spain he is in strait league, and his mother was of the house of Toledo; his brother likewise, D. Pietro, married in the same house. With France hestandeth at this present in some misliking.

With Ferrara always at jar, as with all the dukes of Italy for the preseance in some controversy.

All his revenues arise of taxes and customs; his domains are very small.

He hath by his first wife one son, of the age of four or five years, and four daughters; he hath a base child by this woman, and a base brother, D. Joanni, sixteen years of age, of great expectation.

Two brothers, D. Pietro, and the cardinal.

The duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d'Este, Ferrara the fifth duke, now about forty years of age; his first wife Lucretia, daughter to Cosmo de Medici, whom they say he poisoned; his second, daughter to Ferdinand the emperor; his third wife now living, Anne daughter to the duke of Mantua. He hath no child. The chief cities of his state are Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio: he is rich in money, growing as the most of Italy, of exactions; of all the princes of Italy alone inclineth to the French; with the pope hath some jar about the passage of a river. The Venetians and he fall in great hatred; with Florence hath enmity j with Lucca little skirmishes every year for a castle he buildeth on their confines, to raise a great toll in a strait passage, by reason of his mother a Guise.

William of the house of Gonsaga, the third duke of Mantua; his wife MantuIL Barbara daughter to the emperor Ferdinand, by whom he hath a son of twenty-two years of age, and a daughter. His son is called Vincentio, his daughter Anne married of late to the duke of Ferrara; his son likewise married a year sithence to the prince of Parma's daughter. The duke his self very deformed and crook-backed, well in years. Montferrat likewise appertaineth to him. Divers of his house have pension always, and serve the king of Spain; his brother the duke of Nevers remaineth in France. He only seeketh to maintain his estate and enrich himself; his greatest pleasure is in horses and building.

The duke of Urbin, Francesco Maria, of the house of Rovere, the second of that name, a prince of good behaviour and witty. In his state are seven reasonable fair cities: Pesaro, Augubio, Sinigaglia, Fossombrone, Sanleo, Cagli, Urbino; Pesaro and Sinigaglia are fortresses on the sea-side, Urbin and Sanleo on the Apennine, well fortified. He holdeth three provinces, Montefeltro, Massa Trebaria, and Vicariato di Mondavio.

There have been good princes and valiant of that house, not so great exactors as the rest of Italy, therefore better beloved of their subjects, which love restored their house, being displaced by pope Leo X.

His wife Leonora, sister to the duke of Ferrara, by whom he hath no children, and now is divorced. He hath two sisters, the one married to the duke of Gravina, the other to the prince Bisignano, and a third is to marry, whose name is Lavinia.

Ottaviano, first duke of Castro, then Parma. Qf camerjn0i and afler of Parma and Piacenza, with great trouble restored to his estate; now is aged and liveth quietly: his wife Marguerite daughter to Charles the fifth, first wife to Alexander de Medici first duke of Florence. He hath one son called Alexander, now general for the king of Spain in the Low Countries; his daughter Vittoria was mother to the duke of Urbin.

The cardinal Famese his uncle, of great credit in that college, long time hath aspired to be pope, but withstood by the king of Spain; on whom though now that house depend, yet forgetteth not, as he thinketh, the death of Pier Luigi, and the loss of Parma and Piacenza, restored to their house by the French.

The young princes of Mirandola, in the government of their mother Fulvia Correggio, and under the protection of the king of France, who maintaineth there a garrison.

The duke of Savoy, Carlo Emanuel, bav°y- a young prince of twenty-one years, very little of stature, but well brought up and disposed. His territory is (he greatest of any duke of Italy, having Piemont beyond the Alps, and Savoy on this side; divers fair towns and strong holds, richly left of his father, who was accounted a very wise prince. This duke, as is thought, is advised to remain always indifferent between Spain and France, being neighbour to them both, unless some accident do counsel him to declare himself in behalf of either. Therefore both those princes go about by marriage to have him nearer allied to Ihem. His mother was sister to king Francis the Great; his father being expulsed his dominions by the French, was restored by the king of Spain, with whom while he lived he had strait intelligence. As yet his inclination doth not appear ; he retaineth his father's alliances with Venice, especially in Italy, and with the emperor. With Florence he hath question for pre-eminence.

His revenues are judged to be a million of crowns yearly; now he is in arms against Geneva, and guarded against Bern.

Of free estates, Lucca the least, is under the protection of the king of Spain: small in territory; the city itself well fortified and provided, because of the doubt they have of (he duke of Florence.

Genoa. Genoa is recommended to the king of Spain, their galleys serve under him, and the chiefest of their city are at his devotion. Though there is a faction for the French, whereto he doth hearken so weakly, that the Spaniard is there all in all; by whom that state in few years hath made a marvellous gain, and the king of Spain

Lucca.

hath great need of their friendship, for their ports, where embark and land all men, and whatsoever is sent between Spain and Milan.

They hold Corsica an island, and Savona a fair city, and the goodliest haven.in Italy, until it was destroyed by the Genevois; the which now make no profession but of merchandise.

There is a dangerous faction amongst them, between the ancient houses and the new, which were admitted into the ancient families.

St. George is their treasure-house and receiver, as at Venice St. Mark.

Venice retaining still the ancient form of government, is always for itself Venl«. in like estate and all one; at this time between the Turk and the king of Spain, in continual watch, seeming to make more account of France, not so much in hope of any great affiance at this present to be had in him, but for the reputation of that nation, and the amity always they have had with the same, and behoving them so to do. They use it with good foresight and speedy preventing, sparing for no charge to meet as they may with every accident. Of late they have had some jar with the pope, as well about the inquisition as title of land. With Ferrara and the Venetians is ancient enmity, specially because he rec^iveth all their banished and fugitives. They make most account of the duke of Savoy amongst the princes of Italy. They maintain divers ambassadors abroad, with the Turk, the emperor, France, Spain, and at Rome: with them is an ambassador of France and Savoy, always resident, and an agent of Spain, because they gave the preseance to France.

In this it seemeth all the potentates of Italy do agree to let all private grudges give place to foreign invasion, more for doubt of alteration in religion, than for any other civil cause.

There is none amongst them at this day in any likelihood to grow to any greatness. For Venice is bridled by the Turk and Spain. The duke of Tuscany seeketh rather title than territory, otherwise than by purchasing.

Savoy is yet young; the rest of no great force of themselves. France hath greatly lost the reputation they had in Italy, by neglecting the occasions offered, and suffering the king of Spain to settle himself.

The emperor Adolphe of the house Emperor of Austriche, son to Maximilian, about thirty years of age; no strong constitution of body, and greatly weakened by immoderate pleasure; no great quickness of spirit. In fashion and apparel all Spanish, where he had his education in his youth. He was most governed by his mother while she remained with him; and yet altogether by his steward Dyetristan, and his great chamberlain Romphe, both pensionaries of Spain, and there with him maintained.

Of the empire he hath by the last imperial diet one million of dollars towards the maintenance of the garrisons of Hungary; and, besides, his guards are paid of the empire.

To the Turk he payeth yearly tribute for Hun

« PreviousContinue »