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Prepares for sweetest rest, while silvans greet her,
And longingly the down-bed swells to meet her:
So by degrees his shape all brutish wild
Fell from him as loose skin from some young child
In lieu whereof a man-like shape appears,
And gallant youth scarce skilled in twenty years,
So fair, so fresh, so young, so admirable
In every part, that since I am not able
In words to shew his picture, gentle swains,
Recall the praises in my former strains;
And know if they have graced any limb,
I only lent it those, but stole 't from him.
BOOK I. SONG 5.
The poet's ambition.
A truer love the Muses never sung,
Nor happier names e'er graced a golden tongue :
O! they are better fitting his sweet stripe,
Who' on the banks of Ancor tuned his pipe:
Or rather for that learned swain 2, whose lays
Divinest Homer crowned with deathless bays;
Or any one sent from the sacred well
Inheriting the soul of Astrophell3:
These, these in golden lines might write this story,
And make these loves their own eternal glory :
Whilst I, a swain, as weak in years as skill,
Should in the valley hear them on the hill.
Yet when my sheep have at the cistern been
And I have brought them back to shear the green,
To miss an idle hour, and not for meed,
With choicest relish shall mine oaten reed
Record their worths: and though in accents rare
I miss the glory of a charming air,
My Muse may one day make the courtly swains
Enamoured on the music of the plains,
And as upon a hill she bravely sings
Teach humble dales to weep in crystal springs.
All their pipes were still,
And Colin Clout began to tune his quill
With such deep art that every one was given
To think Apollo, newly slid from Heaven,
Had ta'en a human shape to win his love,
Or with the western swains for glory strove.
He sung th' heroic knights of Faiery-land
In lines so elegant, of such command,
That had the Thracian played but half so well,
He had not left Eurydice in Hell.
But ere he ended his melodious song
An host of angels flew the clouds among,
And rapt this swan from his attentive mates,
To make him one of their associates
In Heaven's fair quire: where now he sings the praise
Of Him that is the first and last of days
Divinèst Spenser, heaven-bred, happy Muse!
Would any power into my brain infuse
Thy worth, or all that poets had before,
I could not praise till thou deserv'st no morc.
BOOK II. SONG I.
A lament for his friend.
Glide soft, ye silver floods,
And every spring.
Within the shady woods
Let no bird sing!
Nor from the grove a turtle dove
Be seen to couple with her love.
But silence on each dale and mountain dwell,
Whilst Willy bids his friend and joy farewell.
But of great Thetis' train
Ye mermaids fair
That on the shores do plain
Your sea-green hair,
As ye in trammels knit your locks
Weep ye; and so enforce the rocks
In heavy murmurs through the broad shores tell, How Willy bade his friend and joy farewell.
Cease, cease, ye murmuring winds,
To move a wave;
But if with troubled minds
You seek his grave,
Know 'tis as various as yourselves
Now in the deep, then on the shelves, His coffin tossed by fish and surges fell, Whilst Willy weeps, and bids all joy farewell
Had he, Arion like
Been judged to drown,
He on his lute could strike
So rare a sown,
A thousand dolphins would have come And jointly strive to bring him home. But he on shipboard died, by sickness fell, Since when his Willy paid all joy farewell.
'Great Neptune, hear a swain!
His coffin take,
And with a golden chain
For pity make
It fast unto a rock near land!
Where ev'ry calmy morn I'll stand,
And ere one sheep out of my fold I tell,
Sad Willy's pipe shall bid his friend farewell.
BOOK II. SONG 2.
The praise of Sydney.
Ere their arrival Astrophell had done
His shepherd's lay, yet equalized of none.
The admired mirror, glory of our isle,
Thou far far more than mortal man, whose style
Struck more men dumb to hearken to thy song
Than Orpheus' harp, or Tully's golden tongue.
To him, as right, for wit's deep quintessence,
For honour, valour, virtue, excellence,
Be all the garlands, crown his tomb with bay,
Who spake as much as e'er our tongue can say.
He sweetly touchèd what I harshly hit,
Yet thus I glory in what I have writ;
Sidney began, and,—if a wit so mean
May taste with him the dews of Hippocrene,—
I sung the pastoral next; his Muse my mover;
And on the plains full many a pensive lover
Shall sing us to their loves, and praising be
My humble lines the more for praising thee.
Thus we shall live with them, by rocks, by springs,
As well as Homer by the deaths of kings.
BOOK II. SONG 3.
A colour passage.
As in the rainbow's many-coloured hue,
Here see we watchet deepened with a blue;
There a dark tawny with a purple mixt,
Yellow and flame, with streaks of green betwixt,
A bloody stream into a blushing run,
And ends still with the colour which begun ;
Drawing the deeper to a lighter stain,
Bringing the lightest to the deep'st again,
With such rare art each mingleth with his fellow,
The blue with watchet, green and red with yellow;
Like to the changes which we daily see
About the dove's neck with variety,
Where none can say, though he it strict attends,
Here one begins, and there the other ends:
So did the maidens with their various flowers
Deck up their windows, and make neat their bowers; Using such cunning as they did dispose
The ruddy piny with the lighter rose,
The monk's-hoods with the bugloss, and entwine
The white, the blue, the flesh-like columbine
With pinks, sweet-williams: that far off the eye
Could not the manner of their mixtures spy.
BOOK II. SONG 3.
The description of Walla.
A green silk frock her comely shoulders clad,
And took delight that such a seat it had,
Which at her middle gathered up in pleats
A love-knot girdle willing bondage threats.
Nor Venus' ceston held a braver piece,
Nor that which girt the fairest flower of Greece.
Down to her waist her mantle loose did fall
Which Zephyr, as afraid, still played withal,
And then tuck'd up somewhat below the knee
Showed searching eyes where Cupid's columns be.
The inside lined with rich carnation silk,
And in the midst of both lawn white as milk,
Which white beneath the red did seem to shroud,
As Cynthia's beauty through a blushing cloud.
About the edges curious to behold
A deep fringe hung of rich and twisted gold;
So on the green marge of a crystal brook
A thousand yellow flowers at fishes look,
And such the beams are of the glorious sun
That through a tuft of grass dispersed run.
Upon her leg a pair of buskins white
Studded with orient pearl and chrysolite,