Slike strani

So I, whose star, that wont with her bright ray
Me to direct, with clouds is overcast,
Do wander now in darkness and dismay,
Through hidden perils round about me placed.


Yet hope I well, that when this storm is past,
My Helicé, the lodestar of my life,
Will shine again, and look on me at last,
With lovely light to clear my cloudy grief;
Till then I wander careful, comfortless,
In secret sorrow and sad pensiveness.


Men call you fair, and you do credit it,
For that yourself ye daily such do see;
But the true fair, that is the gentle wit


And virtuous mind, is much more praised of me:

For all the rest, however fair it be,


Shall turn to nought and lose that glorious hue; c

But only that is permanent and free

From frail corruption that doth flesh ensue.

That is true beauty; that doth argue you e

To be divine, and born of heavenly seed;
Derived from that fair Spirit from whom all true
And perfect beauty did at first proceed:


He only fair, and what he fair hath made;
All other fair, like flowers, untimely fade.

(From Prothalamion)

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 towres,
The which on Themmes brode aged backe doe ryde,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers,









There whylome wont the Templer Knights to byde,
Till they decayd through pride:

Next whereunto there standes a stately place,
Where oft I gayned 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 not well

Olde woes, but joyes to tell,

Against the bridale daye, which is not long:

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

Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer,

Greet Englands glory and the worlds wide wonder,

Whose dreadfull name late through all Spaine did thunder,
And Hercules two pillors standing neere

Did make to quake and feare.

Faire branch of honor, flower of chevalrie,

That fillest England with thy triumphes 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 armes
Thy country may be freed from forraine harmes;
And great Elisaes glorious name may ring

Through al the world, fil'd with thy wide alarmes,
Which some brave Muse may sing

To ages following,

Upon the brydale day, 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 bathed fayre,
Descended to the rivers open vewing,
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 bauldricke of the heavens bright.
They two, forth pacing to the rivers side,
Received those two faire brides, 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.



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It was a high speech of Seneca (after the manner of the Stoics), that the good things which belong to prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired. Bona rerum secundarum optabilia; adversarum mirabilia. Certainly if miracles be the command over 5 nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet a higher speech of his than the other (much too high for a heathen), It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man, and the security of a God. Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei. This would have done better in poesy, 10 where transcendences are more allowed. And the poets indeed have been busy with it; for it is in effect the thing which is figured in that strange fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not to be without mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the state of a Christian; that Hercules, 15 when he went to unbind Prometheus (by whom human nature is represented), sailed the length of the great ocean in an earthen pot or pitcher; lively describing Christian resolution, that

saileth in the frail bark of the flesh through the waves of the 20 world.

But to speak in a mean. The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of 25 the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favor. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of 30 Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needleworks and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy 35 work upon a lightsome ground; judge therefore of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.


He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the un5 married or childless men, which both in affection and means have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times; unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are, who though 10 they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with them

selves, and account future times impertinences. Nay, there

are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges.

Nay more, there are some foolish rich covetous men that take a pride in having no children, because they may 15 be thought so much the richer. For perhaps they have heard some talk, Such a one is a great rich man, and another except to it, Yea, but he hath a great charge of children; as if it were an abatement to his riches. But the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty; especially in certain self- 20 pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants, but not always best subjects; for they are light to run away; and almost all fugitives are 25 of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen; for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals 30 commonly in their hortatives put men in mind of their wives and children; and I think the despising of marriage amongst the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base.

Certainly wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they be many times more 35 charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hard-hearted (good to make severe inquisitors), because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands; as was said of 40 Ulysses, vetulam suam prætulit immortalitati. Chaste women are often proud and forward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds both of chastity and obedience in the wife, if she think her husband wise; which she will never do if she find him jealous. Wives are 45

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