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THE LADY GERALDINE TO HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY.
In Cupid's school I never read those books,
Whose lectures oft we practice in our looks,
Nor ever did suspicious rival eye
Yet lie in wait my favours to espy;
My virgin thoughts are innocent and meek,
As the chaste blushes sitting on my cheek :
As in a fever I do shiver yet,
Since first my pen was to the paper set,
My house from Florence I do not pretend,
Nor from those Geralds claim I to descend;
Nor hold those honours insufficient are,
That I receive from Desmond or Kildare :
Nor better air will ever boast to breathe,
Than that of Leinster, Munster, or of Meath ;
Nor crave I other foreign far allies,
Than Windsor's or Fitz-Gerald's families :
It is enough to leave unto my heirs,
If they but please t’acknowledge me for theirs.
To what place ever did the court remove,
But that the house gives matter to my love ?
At Windsor still I see thee sit and walk,
There mount thy courser, there devise, there talk,
The robes, the garter, and the state of kings,
Into my thoughts thy hoped greatness brings :
None-such, the name imports (methinks) so much,
None such as it, nor as my lord, none such:
In Hampton's great magnificence I find
The lively image of thy princely mind :
Fair Richmond's tow'rs like goodly trophies stand,
Reard by the pow'r of thy victorious hand;
White-Hall's triumphing galleries are yet
Adorn'd with rich devices of thy wit:
In Greenwich still, as in a glass, I view,
Where last thou bad’st thy Geraldine adieu.
With ev'ry little perling breath that blows, How are my thoughts confused with joys and woes! As through a gate, so through my longing ears Pass to my heart whole multitudes of fears. Oh, in a map that I might see thee show The place where now in danger thou dost go! Whilst we discourse, to travel with our eye Romania, Tuscan, and fair Lombardy; Or with thy pen exactly to set down The model of that temple or that town; And to relate at large where thou hast been, As there, and there, and what thou there hast seen; Expressing in a figure, by thy hand, How Naples lies, how Florence fair doth stand: Or as the Grecian's finger dipp'd in wine, Drawing a river in a little line, And with a drop, a gulf to figure out, To model Venice moated round about; Then adding more to counterfeit a sea, And draw the front of stately Genoa. These from thy lips were like harmonious tones, Which now do sound like mandrake's dreadful groans.
Some travel hence t' enrich their minds with skill, Leave here their good, and bring home others' ill; Which seem to like all countries but their own, Affecting most where they the least are known: Their leg, their arm, their back, their neck, their
As they had been in sev'ral countries bred;
In their attire, their gesture, and their gait,
Found in each one, all Italianate,
So well in all deformity in fashion;
Borrowing a limb of ev'ry sev'ral nation:
And nothing more than England hold in scorn,
So live as strangers whereas they were born;
But thy return in this I do not read,
Thou art a perfect gentleman indeed:
Oh God forbid that Howard's noble line
From ancient virtue should so far decline!
The Muses' train (whereof yourself are chief)
Only to me participate their grief:
To sooth their humours I do lend them ears.
“He gives a poet, that his verses hears."
Till thy return, by hope they only live;
Yet had they all, they all away would give :
The world and they so ill-according be,
That wealth and poets never can agree.
Few live in court that of their good have care,
The Muses' friends are everywhere so rare.
Some praise thy worth (that it did never know),
Only because the better sort do so,
Whose judgment never further doth extend,
Than it doth please the greatest to commend :
So great an ill upon desert doth chance,
When it doth pass by beastly ignorance.
Why art thou slack, whilst no man put his hand
To praise the mount where Surrey's towers must
Or who the groundsil of that work doth lay,
Whilst like a wand'rer thou abroad doth stray,
Clipp'd in the arms of some Italian dame,
When thou shouldst rear an Ilion to thy name?
When shall the Muses by fair Norwich dwell,
To be the city of the learned well ?
Or Phæbus' altars there with incense heap'd,
As once in Cyrrha or in Thebe kept ?
Or when shall that fair hoof-plow'd spring distil
From great Mount Surrey, out of Leonard's Hill ?
Till thou return, the court I will exchange
For some poor cottage or some country grange,
Where to our distaves, as we sit and spin,
My maid and I will tell what things have been.
Our lutes unstrung shall hang upon the wall,
Our lessons serve to wrap our tow withal,
And pass the night, whiles winter-tales we tell,
Of many things that long ago befell:
Or tune such homely carols as were sung
In country sport when we ourselves were young,
In pretty riddles to bewray our loves,
In questions, purpose, or in drawing gloves.
The noblest spirits, to virtue most inclined,
These here in court thy greatest want do find:
Others there be, on which we feed our eye,
Like arras-work, or such like imag'ry:
Many of us desire Queen Cath'rine's state
But very few her virtues imitate,
Then, as Ulysses' wife, write I to thee,
Make no reply, but come thyself to me.
How near I am now to a happiness
That earth exceeds not; not another like it.
The treasures of the deep are not so precious
As are the conceal'd comforts of a man
Lock'd up in woman's love. I scent the air
Of blessings when I come but near the house.
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth,
The violet bed's not sweeter! Happy wedlock
Is like a banqueting-house built in a garden,
On which the spring's chaste flowers take delight
To cast their modest odours
Now for a welcome
Able to draw men's envies upon man;
A kiss, now, that will hang upon my lip
As sweet as morning dew upon a rose,
And full as long.
BENJAMIN JONSON. 1574-1637.
FROM CYNTHIA'S REVELS.
QUEEN and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep;
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.
Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear, when day did close; Bless us then with wished sight, Goddess excellently bright.
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal-shining quiver; Give unto the flying heart
Space to breathe, how short soever: Thou that makest a day of night, Goddess excellently bright.
FROM THE SILENT WOMAN.
STILL to be neat, still to be dress'd,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd, still perfumed:
Lady, it is to be presumed,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all th' adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.