Barnabe Barnes

Parthenophil and Parthenophe

Sonnets, Madrigals, Elegies and Odes.

A miniature by Isaac Oliver, c. 1610.

To the Learned Gentlemen Readers,

the Printer


These labours following, being come of late into my hands barely, without title or subscription; partly moved by certain of my dear friends, but especially by the worth and excellency of the Work, I thought it well deserving my labour, to participate them to your judicial views: where, both for variety of conceits, and sweet Poesy, you shall doubtless find that which shall be most commendable, and worth your reading.

The Author, though at the first unknown (yet has been enforced to accord to certain of his friends' importunancy herein, to publish them, by their means, and for their sakes) is unwilling, as it seemeth, to acknowledge them, for their levity; till he have redeemed them, with some more excellent work hereafter. Till when, he requesteth your favourable and indifferent censures of these his ever-youthful Poems; submitting them to your friendly patronages.

Farewell ! this --- of May, 1593.

Go, bastard Orphan! Pack thee hence!
  And seek some stranger for defence!
  Now gins thy baseness to be known!
  Nor dare I take thee for mine own;
Thy levity shall be descried!
  But if that any have espied,
And questioned with thee of thy Sire;
Or Mistress of his vain Desire;
Or ask the Place from whence thou came:
Deny thy Sire! Love! Place! And Name!
  And if I chance un'wares to meet thee,
Neither acknowledge me, nor greet me!
Admit I blush (perchance, I shall),
Pass by! Regard me not at all!
Be secret, wise, and circumspect!
And modesty sometimes affect!
  Some good man, that shall think thee witty,
Will be thy Patron! And take pity;
And when some men shall call thee base
He, for thy sake, shall them disgrace!
Then, with his countenance backed, thou shalt
Excuse the nature of thy fault.
Then, if some lads, when thou go by,
Thee, "Bastard!" call; give them the lie!
  So, get thee packing! And take heed!
And, though thou go in beggar's weed,
Hereafter (when I better may)
I'll send relief, some other day!


Mistress! Behold, in this true speaking glass,
Thy beauty's graces! Of all women rarest!
Where thou may'st find how largely they surpass
And stain in glorious loveliness, the rarest.
But read, sweet Mistress! And behold it nearer!
Pond'ring my sorrow's outrage with some pity.
Then shalt thou find no worldly creature dearer,
Than thou to me, thyself, in each love ditty.
But, in this mirror, equally compare
Thy matchless beauty, with mine endless grief!
There, like thyself none can be found so fair;
Of chiefest pains, there, are my pains the chief.
    Betwixt these both, this one doubt shalt thou find!
    Whether are, here, extremest, in their kind?


Whiles with strong chains of hardy tempered steel
I bound my thoughts, still gadding fast and faster;
When they, through time, the differences did feel,
Betwixt a Mistress' service and a Master.
Keeping in bondage, jealously enthralled,
In prisons of neglect, his nature's mildness;
Him I with solitary studies walled
By thraldom, choking his outrageous wildness.
On whom, my careful thoughts I set to watch,
Guarding him closely, lest he should out issue
To seek thee, LAYA! Who still wrought to catch
And train my tender boy, that could not miss you
    (So you bewitched him once! when he did kiss you),
    That, by such sights as never were found out,
    To serve your turn, he daily went about.


He, when continual vigil moved my Watch
Some deal, by chance, with careful guard to slumber:
The prison's keys from them did slowly snatch;
Which, of the five, were only three in number.
The first was Sight, by which he searched the wards;
The next was Hearing, quickly to perceive,
Lest that the watchmen heard, which were his guards;
Third, Touch, which VULCAN's cunning could deceive.
These, though the springs, wards, bolts, or gimbols were
The miracles of VULCAN's forgery),
Laid open all for his escape. Now, there,
The watchmen grinned for his impiety.
What crosses bred this contrariety,
    That by these keys my thoughts in chains be left;
    And by these keys I of mine heart bereft?


LAYA, soon founding out his nature throughly,
Found that he was a lovely virgin boy.
Causeless, why did thou then deal with him roughly?
Not yet content with him, sometimes, to toy;
But jealously kept, lest he should run from thee!
Whom, if thou kindly meant to love, 'twas needless!
Doubtless lest that he should run back to me!
If of him, any deal, thou didst stand heedless.
Thou coop'st him in thy closet's secret corners;
And then, thy heart's dear playfellow didst make him!
Whom thou in person guardest! (lest suborners
Should work his freelege, or in secret take him),
And to this instant, never would forsake him!
    Since for soft service slavish bonds be changed,
    Why didst thou from thy jealous master range?


It chanced, after, that a youthful Squire,
Such as, in courting, could the grafty guise,
Beheld light LAYA. She, with fresh desire,
Hoping th'achievement of some richer prize,
Drew to the Courtier; who, with tender kiss,
    (As are their guileful fashions which dissemble)
First him saluted; then (with forgèd bliss
Of doubtless hope) sweet words, by pause, did tremble.
So whiles she slightly glosed with her new prey,
My heart's eye, (tending his false mistress' train)
Unyoked himself, and closely 'scaped away;
And to PARTHENOPHE did post amain,
For liberal pardon; which he did obtain.
        "And judge! PARTHENOPHE! (for thou canst tell!)
    That his escape from LAYA pleased me well."


Him when I caught, what chains had I provided!
What fetters had I framed! What locks of Reason!
What Keys of Continence had I devised
    (Impatient of the breach) 'gainst any treason!
But fair PARTHENOPHE did urge me still
To liberal pardon, for his former fault;
Which, out alas! prevailèd with my will.
Yet moved I bonds, lest he should make default:
Which willingly she seemed to undertake,
And said "As I am virgin! I will be
His bail for this offence; and if he make
Another such vagary, take of me
A pawn, for more assurance unto thee!"
        "Your love to me", quoth I, "your pawn shall make!
    So that, for his default, I forfeit take."


Her love to me she forthwith did impawn,
And was content to set at liberty
My trembling heart; which straight began to fawn
Upon his Mistress' kindly courtesy.
Not many days were past, when (like a wanton)
He secretly did practise to depart;
And to PARTHENOPHE did send a canton,
Where, with sighs' accents, he did loves impart.
And for because she deigned him that great sign
Of gentle favours, in her kind release;
He did conclude, all duty to resign
To fair PARTHENOPHE: which doth increase
These woes, nor shall my restless Muses cease!
    For by her, of mine heart am I deprived;
    And by her, my first sorrows' heat revived.


Then to PARTHENOPHE, with all post haste
    (As full assurèd of the pawn fore-pledged),
I made; and, with these words disordered placed,
Smooth (though with fury's sharp outrages edged):
Quoth I, "Fair Mistress! Did I set mine heart
At liberty, and for that, made him free;
That you should arm him for another start,
Whose certain bail you promisèd to be!"
    "Tush!" quoth PARTHENOPHE, "before he go,
I'll be his bail at last, and doubt it not!"
    "Why then," said I, "that Mortgage must I show
Of your true love, which at your hands I got."
Ay me! She was, and is his bail, I wot:
    But when the Mortgage should have cured the sore
    She passed it off, by Deed of Gift before.


So did PARTHENOPHE release mine heart!
So did she rob me of mine heart's rich treasure!
Thus shall she be his bail before they part!
Thus in her love she made me such hard measure!
Ay me! Nor hope of mutual love by leisure,
Nor any type of my poor heart's release
Remains to me. How shall I take the seizure
Of her love's forfeiture? Which took such peace
Combinèd with a former love. Then cease
To vex with sorrows, and thy griefs increase:
    'Tis for PARTHENOPHE! thou suffer'st smart.
Wild Nature's wound's not curable by Art.
    Then cease, with choking sighs and heart-swoll'n throbs,
    To draw thy breath, broke off with sorrow's sobs!


Yet give me leave, since all my joys be perished,
  Heart-less, to moan for my poor heart's departure!
Nor should I mourn for him if he were cherished.
  Ah no! She keeps him like a slavish martyr.
  Ah me! Since merciless she made that charter,
Sealed with the wax of steadfast continence,
Signed with those hands which never can unwrite it,
Writ with that pen, which (by preeminence)
  Too sure confirms whats'ever was indightit:
  What skills to wear thy girdle, or thy garter,
  When other arms shall thy small arms embrace?
How great a waste of mind and body's weal!
  Now melts my soul! I to thine eyes appeal!
  If they, thy tyrant champions, owe me grace.


Why didst thou, then, in such disfigured guise,
  Figure the portrait of mine overthrow?
Why, man-like, didst thou mean to tyrannize?
  No man, but woman would have sinnèd so!
Why, then, inhuman, and my secret foe!
  Didst thou betray me? Yet would be a woman!
  From my chief wealth, outweaving me this woe,
  Leaving thy love in pawn, till time did come on
When that thy trustless bonds were to be tried!
  And when, through thy default, I thee did summon
  Into the court of Steadfast Love, then cried,
    "As it was promised, here stands his heart's bail!
  And if, in bonds to thee, my love be tied,
  Then by those bonds, take Forfeit of the Sale!"


O Powers Celestial! With what sophistry
    Took she delight to blank my heart by sorrow!
    And in such riddles, act my tragedy:
    Making this day for him; for me, tomorrow!
  Where shall I

SONNETs borrow?
        Where shall I find breasts, sides, and tongue,
  Which my great wrongs might to the world dispense?
        Where my defence?
  My physic where? For how can I live long,
That have foregone my heart? I'll steal from hence,
  From restless souls, mine hymns! From seas, my tears!
  From winds, my sides! From concave rocks and steel
  My sides and voice's echo! Reeds which feel
Calm blasts, still moving, which the shepherd bears
        For wailful plaints, my tongue shall be!
    The land unknown to rest and comfort me.


Might not this be for man's more certainty,
    By Nature's laws enactit,
  That those which do true meaning falsify,
  Making such bargains as were precontractit, Should forfeit freelege of love's tenancy
      To th' plaintiff grieved, if he exact it.
Think on my love, thy faith! Yet hast thou cracked it.
  For Nature, reason, Love, nor Faith can make thee
  To pity me! My prisoned heart to pity,
  Sighs, no fit incense, nor my plaints can wake thee!
Thy nose from savour, and thine ears from sound
      Stopped and obdurate, nought could shake thee!
  Think on when thou such pleasure found
  To read my lines! and reading termed them witty!
Whiles lines, for love, and brains, for beauty witless;
  I for thee, fever scorched; yet thou still fitless!


Vext with th'assaults of thy conceivèd beauty,
  I restless on thy favours meditate!
  And though despairfull love, sometimes, my suit tie
  Unto these faggots (figures of my state),
Which bound with endless line, by leisure wait
  That happy moment of your heart's reply!
  Yet by those lines I hope to find the gate
  Which, through love's labyrinth shall guide me right.
Whiles (unacquainted exercise!) I try
  Sweet solitude, I shun my life's chief light!
  And all because I would forget thee quite.
And (working that) methinks, its such a sin
      (As I take pen and paper for to write)
  Thee to forget; that leaving, I begin!


When none of these my sorrows would allege,
I sought to find the means how I might hate thee!
Then hateful Curiousness I did in-wedge
Within my thoughts, which ever did await thee!
I framed mine eyes for an unjust controlment;
And mine unbridled Thoughts, (because I dare not
Seek to compel) did pray them, take enrolment
Of Nature's fault in her! And, equal, spare not!
They searched and found " her eyes were sharp and fiery,
A mole upon her forehead coloured pale,
Her hair disordered, brown, and crispèd wiry,
Her cheeks thin speckled with a summer's male."
This told, men weened it was a pleasing tale
    Her to disgrace, and make my follies fade.
    And please it did! But her more gracious made.


Once in an arbour was my Mistress sleeping,
    With rose and woodbine woven,
    Whose person thousand graces had in keeping,
    Where for mine heart, her heart's hard flint was cloven
To keep him safe. Behind, stood pertly peeping
    Poor CUPID, softly creeping.
  And drave poor birds out of the myrtle bushes,
        Scared with his arrows, who sat cheeping
On every sprig; whom CUPID calls and hushes
  From branch to branch: whiles, I poor soul! sate weeping
    To see her breathe (not knowing)
  Incense into the clouds, and bless with breath
  The winds and air; whiles CUPID, underneath,
  With birds, with songs, nor any posies throwing,
    Could her awake.
Each noise sweet lullaby was, for her sake!


There, had my ZEUXIS place and time, to draw
  My Mistress' portrait; which on platane table,
      (With Nature matching colours), as he saw
  Her leaning on her elbow; though not able,
    He 'gan with vermil, gold, white, and sable
  To shadow forth; and with a skilful knuckle
    Lively set out my fortunes' fable.
  On lips, a rose; on hand, a honeysuckle.
For Nature framed that arbour in such orders
    That roses did with woodbines buckle;
  Whose shadow trembling on her lovely face
  He left unshadowed. There Art lost his grace!
  And that white lily leaf, with fringèd borders
    Of angels' gold, veiled the skies
  Of mine heaven's hierarchy, which closed her eyes.


Then him controlling, that he left undone,
Her eyes' bright circle thus did answer make:
    "Rest's mist, with silver cloud, had closed her sun,
Nor could he draw them till she were awake."
    "Why then," quoth I, "were not those leaves' dark shade
Upon her cheeks depainted as you see them?"
    "Shape of a shadow cannot well be made!"
Was answered "for shade's shadows, none can eye them!"
This reason proves sure argument for me
That my grief's image I can not set out;
Which might with lively colours blazèd be.
Wherefore since nought can bring the means about,
That thou, my sorrow's cause, should view throughout;
    Thou wilt not pity me! But this was it!
    ZEUXIS had neither skill nor colours fit.


Where, or to whom, then, shall I make complaint?
By guileful wiles, of mine heart's guide deprived!
With right's injustice, and unkind constraint:
Barred from her loves, which my deserts achieved!
This, though thou sought to choke, far more revived
Within mine restless heart, left almost senseless.
O make exchange! Surrender thine for mine!
Lest that my body, void of guide, be fenceless.
So shalt thou pawn to me, sign for a sign
Of thy sweet conscience; when I shall resign
Thy love's large Charter, and thy Bonds again.
O, but I fear mine hopes be void or menceless!
    No course is left which might thy loves attain,
    Whether with sighs I sue, or tears complain!


Yea, that accursèd Deed, before unsealed,
Is argument of thy first constancy!
Which if thou hadst to me before revealed,
I had not pleaded in such fervency.
Yet this delights, and makes me triumph much,
That mine heart in her body lies imprisoned!
For, 'mongst all bay-crowned conquerors, no such
Can make the slavish captive boast him conquered,
Except PARTHENOPHE; whose fiery gleams
Like JOVE's swift lightning raging, which rocks pierceth
Heating them inly with his sudden beams,
And secret golden mines with melting searseth,
Eftsoons with cannon his dread rage rehearseth;
    Yet nought seems scorched in apparent sight.
    So first she secret burnt; then did affright!


How then succeedeth that, amid this woe,
    (Where Reason's sense doth from my soul divide)
By these vain lines, my fits be specified;
Which from their endless ocean daily flow?
Where was it born? Whence did this humour grow,
Which, long obscured with melancholy's mist,
Inspires my giddy brains unpurified,
So lively, with sound reasons, to persist
In framing tuneful Elegies, and Hymns
For her, whose names my

SONNETs' note so trims;
That nought but her chaste name so could assist?
And my Muse in first tricking out her limbs,
    Found in her lifeless Shadow such delight,
    That yet She shadows her, when as I write.


Write! write! help! help, sweet Muse! and never cease!
  In endless labours pens and paper tire!
  Until I purchase my long wished desire,
Brains, with my reason, never rest in peace!
  Waste, breathless words! and breathful sighs increase!
  Till of my woes remorseful you espy her;
Till she with me be burnt in equal fire,
  I never will from labour wits release!
  My senses never shall in quiet rest
  Till thou be pitiful and love alike!
And if thou never pity my distresses,
  Thy cruelty with endless force shall strike
  Upon my wits, to ceaseless writs addrest!
  My cares, in hope of some revenge, this lesses.


Imperious JOVE, with sweet lipped MERCURY;
Learned MINERVA; PHOEBUS, God of Light;
Vein swelling BACCHUS; VENUS, Queen of Beauty;
With light foot PHOEBE, Lamp of Silent Night:
These have, with divers deities beside,
Borrowed the shapes of many a mortal creature;
But fair PARTHENOPHE, graced with the pride
Of each of these, sweet Queen of lovely feature!
As though she were, with pearl of all their skill,
By heaven's chief nature garnished. She knits
In wrath, JOVE's forehead; with sweet noting quill
She matcheth MERCURY, MINERVA's wits;
In goldy locks, bright TITAN; BACCHUS sits
    In her hands conduit pipes; sweet VENUS' face;
    DIANA's leg the Tyrian buskins grace.


These Eyes (thy Beauty's Tenants!) pay due tears
For occupation of mine Heart, thy Freehold,
In Tenure of Love's service! If thou behold
With what exaction it is held through fears;
And yet thy Rents, extorted daily, bears.
Thou would not, thus, consume my quiet's gold!
And yet, though covetous thou be to make
Thy beauty rich, with renting me so roughly,
And at such sums: thou never thought dost take,
But still consumes me! Then thou dost misguide all!
Spending in sport for which I wrought so toughly!
When I had felt all torture, and had tried all;
    And spent my Stock, through 'strain of thy extortion;
    On that I had but good hopes for my portion.


Yea, but uncertain hopes are Anchors feeble,
When such faint-hearted pilots guide my ships,
Of all my fortune's Ballast with hard pebble,
Whose doubtful voyage proves not worth two chips.
If when but one dark cloud shall dim the sky,
The Cables of hope's happiness be cut;
When bark, with thoughts-drowned mariners shall lie,
Prest for the whirlpool of grief's endless glut.
If well thou mean, PARTHENOPHE! then ravish
Mine heart, with doubtless hope of mutual love!
If otherwise, then let thy tongue run lavish!
For this, or that, am I resolved to prove!
And both, or either ecstasy shall move
    Me ! ravished, end with surfeit of relief;
    Or senseless, daunted, die with sudden grief.


From thy heart's ever burning Vestal fire,
The torchlight of two suns is nourished still;
Which, in mild compass, still surmounting higher,
Their orbs, which circled harmony fulfil;
Whose rolling wheels run on meridian's line,
And turning, they turn back the misty night.
Report of which clear wonder did incline
Mine eyes to gaze upon that uncouth light.
On it till I was sunburnt did I gaze!
Which with a fervent agony possessed me;
Then did I sweat, and swelt; mine eyes daze
Till that a burning fever had oppressed me:
Which made me faint. No physic hath repressed me;
    For I try all! yet, for to make me sound,
    Ay me! no grass nor physic may be found.


When, with the dawning of my first delight,
The daylight of love's delicacy moved me;
Then from heaven's disdainful starry light,
The moonlight of her Chastity reproved me.
Her forehead's threatful clouds from hope removed me,
Till midnight reared on the mid-noctial line;
Her heart whiles Pity's slight had undershoved me,
Then did I force her downward to decline
Till dawning daylight cheerfully did shine;
And by such happy revolution drew
Her morning's blush to joyful smiles incline.
And now meridian heat dries up my dew;
    There rest, fair Planets! Stay, bright orbs of day!
    Still smiling at my dial, next eleven!
    (The final line appears to be corrupt).


These, mine heart-eating eyes do never gaze
Upon thy sun's harmonious marble wheels
But from these eyes, through force of thy sun's blaze,
Rain tears continual, whiles my faith's true steels,
Tempered on anvil of thine heart's cold flint,
Strike marrow-melting fire into mine eyes;
The tinder, whence my passions do not stint
As matches to those sparkles which arise.
Which, when the taper of mine heart is lighted,
Like salamanders, nourish in the flame:
And all the loves, with my new torch delighted,
Awhile, like gnats, did flourish in the same;
But burnt their wings, nor any way could frame
    To fly from thence, sice JOVE's proud bird (that bears
    His thunder) viewed my sun; but shed down tears.


Then count it not disgrace ! if any view me
Sometime to shower down rivers of salt tears,
From tempest of my sigh's despairful fears.
Then scorn me not, alas, sweet friends ! but rue me !
Ah, pity ! pity me ! For if you knew me!
How, with her looks, mine heart amends and wears;
Now calm, now ragious, as my passion bears;
You would lament with me ! and She which slew me,
She which (Ay me!) She which did deadly wound me,
And with her beauty's balm, though dead, keeps lively
My lifeless body: and by charms hath bound me,
For thankless meed, to serve her: if she vively
    Could see my sorrow's maze, which none can tread,
    She would be soft and light, though flint and lead!


When lovely wrath my Mistress' heart assaileth,
LOVE's golden darts take aim from her bright eyes;
And PSYCHE, VENUS' rosy couch empaleth,
Placed in her cheeks, with lilies, where she lies !
And when She smiles, from her sweet looks and cheerful,
Like PHOEBUS, when through sudden clouds he starteth
    (After stern tempests, showers, and thunder fearful) ;
So She, my world's delight, with her smiles hearteth !
AURORA yellow looks when my Love blushes,
Wearing her hair's bright colour in her face !
And from love's ruby portal lovely rushes,
For every word she speaks, an angel's grace !
If She be silent, every man in place
    With silence wonders her ! and if She sleep,
    Air doth, with her breath's murmur, music keep.


Why do I draw this cool relieving air,
And breathe it out in scalding sighs as fast?
Since all my hopes die buried in despair;
In which hard soil mine endless knots be cast.
Where, when I come to walk, be sundry Mazes
With Beauty's skilful finger linèd out;
And knots, whose borders set with double daisies,
Doubles my dazèd Muse with endless doubt.
How to find easy passage through the time,
With which my Mazes are so long beset,
That I can never pass, but fall and climb
According to my passions (which forget
The place where they with Love's Guide should have met) :
    But when, faint-wearied, all, methinks, is past;
    The maze returning makes me turn as fast.


So be my labours endless in their turns.
  Turn ! turn ! PARTHENOPHE ! Turn and relent !
  Hard is thine heart, and never will repent !
  See how this heart within my body burns !
Thou see'st it not ! and therefore thou rejournes
  My pleasures ! Ill my days been overspent.
  When I beg grace, thou mine entreaty spurns;
  Mine heart, with hope upheld, with fear returns.
Betwixt these passions, endless is my fit.
  Then if thou be but human, grant some pity !
  Or if a Saint? sweet mercies are their meeds !
Fair, lovely, chaste, sweet spoken, learned, witty;
  These make thee Saint-like ! and these Saints befit:
  But thine hard heart makes all these graces weeds !


Bless still the myrrh tree, VENUS ! for thy meed !
For to the weeping myrrh my tears be due.
Contentious winds, which did from TITAN breed !
The shaking Aspen tree belongs to you:
To th'Aspen I bequeath my ceaseless tongue !
And PHOEBUS, let thy laurels ever flourish !
To still-green laurel my Loves do belong.
Let mighty JOVE his oaks' large branches nourish !
For to strong oak mine heart is consecrate.
Let dreadful PLUTO bless black heben tree !
To th' Heben my despair is dedicate.
And Naiads, let your willows lovèd be !
To them my Fortunes will removèd be.
    So shall my tears, tongue, passions, never cease;
    Nor heart decay, nor my despair decrease.


So this continual fountain of my tears,
  From that hard rock of her sweet beauty trickling;
  So shall my tongue on her sweet beauty tickling;
  So shall my passions, fed with hopes and fears;
So shall mine heart, which wearing, never wears,
  But soft, is hardened with her beauty's prickling;
  On which, despair, my vulture seized, stands pickling,
  Yet never thence his maw full gorgèd bears;
Right so, my tears, tongue, passions, heart, despair
  With floods, complaints, sighs, throbs, and endless sorrow,
  In seas, in volumes, winds, earthquakes, and hell,
Shall float, chant, breathe, break, and dark mansion borrow !
  And I in them be blessèd for my Fair,
  That in these torments, for her sake I dwell.


I burn, yet am I cold! I am a cold, yet burn !
In pleasing, discontent ! in discontentment pleased !
Diseased, I am in health ! and healthful, am diseased !
In turning back, proceed ! proceeding, I return !
In mourning, I rejoice ! and in rejoicing, mourn !
In pressing, I step back ! in stepping back, I pressed !
In gaining, still I lose ! and in my losses, gain !
Grounded, I waver still ! and wavering, still am grounded !
Unwounded, yet not sound ! and being sound, am wounded !
Slain, yet am I alive ! and yet alive, am slain !
Hounded, my heart rests still ! still resting, is it hounded !
In pain, I feel no grief ! yet void of grief, in pain !
  Unmoved, I vex myself ! unvexed, yet am I moved !
  Beloved, She loves me not; yet is She my beloved.
A series of twelve

SONNETs follows (32 - 44),
each devoted to a sign of the Zodiac.
Aries, the Ram.


Scarce seven times had PHOEBUS' wagon wheel
  Obliquely wandered through the Zodiac's line,
  Since Nature first to OPS did me resign,
  When in mine youthful vein I well could feel
A lustful rage, which Reason's chains of steel
      (With headstrong force of Lust) did still untwine.
  To wanton Fancies I did then incline;
  Whilst mine unbridled PHÆTON did reel
With heedless rage, till that his chariot came
  To take, in fold, his resting with the Ram.
  But bootless all ! For such was his unrest
That in no limits he could be contained !
  To lawless sports and pleasures ever prest;
  And his swift wheels with their sweet oil distained !
Taurus, the Bull.


Next, when the boundless fury of my sun
  Began in higher climates to take fire;
  And with it, somewhat kindled my Desire.
  Then, lest I should have wholly been undone,
    (For now mine age have thrice seven winters run)
  With studies and with labours did I tire
  Mine itching Fancies! which did still aspire.
  Then, from those objects (which their force begun,
Through wandering fury, to possess mine heart),
  Mine eyes, their vain seducers, I did fix
  On PALLAS, and on MARS ! home, and in field !
And armèd strongly (lest my better part
  To milder objects should itself inmix)
  I vowed "I never would to Beauty yield !"
Gemini, the Twins.


But when, in May, my world's bright fiery sun
Had past in Zodiac, with his golden team,
To place his beams, which in the Twins begun,
The blazing twin stars of my world's bright beam,
My Mistress' eyes ! mine heaven's bright Sun and Moon !
The stars by which, poor Shepherd I, am warned
To pin in late, and put my flocks out soon;
My flocks of Fancies, as the signs me learned:
Then did my love's first Spring begin to sprout,
So long as my sun's heat in these signs reigned.
But wandering all the Zodiac throughout,
From her May's twins, my sun such heat constrained,
That where, at first, I little had complained,
    From Sign to Sign, in such course he now posteth !
    Which daily me with hotter flaming toasteth.
Cancer, the Crab.


Next, when my sun by progress took his hold
In Cancer, of my Mistress' crafty mind;
How retrograde seemed She ! when as I told
That "in his claws such torches I did find,
Which if She did not to my tears lay plain
That they might quenchèd be from their outrage,
My love's hot June should be consumed in pain,
Unless her pity make my grief assuage."
O, how She frowns ! and like the Crab back turns !
When I request her put her beams apart.
Yet with her beams, my soul's delight, She burns !
She pities not to think upon my smart !
Nor from her Cancer's claws can I depart :
    For there, the torch of my red-hot Desire
    Grieves and relieves me with continual fire.
Leo, the Lion.


And thus continuing with outrageous fire,
My sun, proceeding forward (to my sorrow !),
Took up his Court; but willing to retire
Within the Lion's den, his rage did borrow.
But whiles within that Mansion he remained
How cruel was PARTHENOPHE to me !
And when of my great sorrows I complained,
She, Lion-like, wished "they might tenfold be !"
Then did I rage, and in unkindly passions
I rent mine hair, and razed my tender skin;
And raving in such frantic fashions
That with such cruelty she did begin
To feed the fire which I was burnèd in.
    Can woman brook to deal so sore with men?
    She, man's woe ! learned it in the Lion's den.
Virgo, the Virgin.


But pity, which sometimes doth lions move,
Removed my sun from moody Lion's cave;
And into Virgo's bower did next remove
His fiery wheels. But when She answer gave
That "She was all vowed to virginity !"
Yet said, "'Bove all men, she would most affect me !"
Fie, Delian goddess ! In thy company
She learned with honest colour to neglect me !
And underneath chaste veils of single life
She shrouds her crafty claws and lion's heart !
Which, with my senses now do mingle strife
    'Twixt loves and virtues, which provoke my smart.
Yet from these Passions can I never part,
    But still I make my suits importunate
    To thee ! which makes my case unfortunate.
Libra, the Scales.


When thine heart-piercing answers could not hinder
Mine heart's hot hammer on thy steel to batter;
Nor could excuses cold quench out that cinder
Which in me kindled was; She weighed the matter,
And turning my sun's chariot, did him place
In Libra's equal Mansion, taking pause,
And casting with deep judgement to disgrace
My love, with cruel dealing in the cause.
She, busily, with earnest care devised
How She might make her beauty tyrannous,
And I, for ever, to her yoke surprised :
The means found out, with cunning perilous,
She turned the wheels with force impetuous,
    And armed with woman-like contagion
    My sun She lodgèd in the Scorpion.
Scorpio, the Scorpion.


Then (from her Venus, and bright Mercury,
My heaven's clear planets), did She shoot such blazes
As did infuse, with heat's extremity,
Mine heart, which on despair's bare pasture grazes.
Then, like the Scorpion, did she deadly sting me !
And with a pleasing poison piercèd me !
Which to these utmost sobs of death did bring me,
And, through my soul's faint sinews searchèd me.
Yet might She cure me with the Scorpion's Oil !
If that She were so kind as beautiful.
But, in my bale, She joys to see me boil;
Though be my Passions dear and dutiful,
Yet She, remorseless and unmerciful.
    But when my thought of her is such a thing
    To strike me dead; judge, if herself can sting !
Sagittarius, the Archer


But ah, my plague, through time's outrage, increased !
For when my sun his task had finishèd
Within the Scorpion's Mansion, he not ceased,
Nor yet his heat's extremes diminishèd,
Till that dead-aiming Archer 'dressed his quiver,
In which he closely couchèd, at the last !
That Archer, which does pierce both heart and liver,
With hot gold-pointed shafts, which rankle fast !
That proud, commanding, and swift-shooting Archer,
Far-shooting PHOEBUS which doth overshoot !
And, more than PHOEBUS is an inward parcher !
That with thy notes harmonious and songs soot
Allured my sun to fire mine heart's soft root !
    And with thine ever-wounding golden arrow,
    First pricked my soul, then pierced my body's marrow !
Capricorn, the Goat


When my sun, CUPID, took his next abiding,
      'Mongst craggy rocks and mountains, with the Goat;
  Ah then, on beauty did my senses dote !
  Then had each Fair regard, my fancies guiding !
Then more than blessed was I if one tiding
  Of female favour set mine heart afloat !
  Then to mine eyes each Maid was made a mote !
  My fickle thoughts, with divers fancies sliding,
With wanton rage of lust so me did tickle !
  Mine heart, each Beauty's captived vassal !
  Nor vanquished then (as now) but with love's prickle !
Nor deeply moved (till love's beams did discover
  That lovely nymph, PARTHENOPHE !), no lover !
  Stop there for fear ! Love's privilege doth pass all !
Aquarius, the Water Carrier.


Pass all ! Ah no ! No jot will be omitted,
  Now though my sun within the water rest;
  Yet doth his scalding fury still infest
  Into this sign. While that my Phoebus flitted,
Thou moved these streams; whose courses thou committed
  To me, thy Water-man bound ! and addrest
  To pour out endless drops upon that soil
  Which withers most when it is watered best !
Cease floods, and to your channels make recoil !
  Strange floods, which on my fire burn like oil !
  Thus whiles mine endless furies higher ran,
Thou ! thou, PARTHENOPHE ! my rage begun,
  Sending thy beams to heat my fiery sun.
  Thus am I Water-man, and Fire-man !
Pisces, the Fishes


Now in my Zodiac's last extremest sign,
  My luckless sun his hapless Mansion made;
  And in the water, willing more to wade,
  To Pisces did his chariot wheels incline:
For me (poor Fish !) he, with his golden line
  Baited with beauties, all the river lade,
      (For who of such sweet baits would stand afraid ?)
  There, nibbling for such food as made me pine,
LOVE's golden hook on me took sudden hold,
  And I down swallowed that impoisoned gold.
  Since then, devise what any wisher can
Of fiercest torments ! since, all joys devise !
  Worse griefs, more joys, did my true heart comprise !
  Such were LOVE's baits ! my crafty Fisherman.


Such strange effect wrought by thought-wounding CUPID,
    In changing me to fish, his baits to swallow;
    With poison choking me, unless that you bid
    Him to my stomach give some antidote !
    Fly, little god, with wings of swallow !
    Or if thy feathers fast float,
    That antidote from my heart's empress bring !
    My feeble senses to revive,
    Lest (if thou wave it with an eagle's wing)
Too late thou come, and find me not alive !


O why love I? For love to purchase hatred !
    Or wherefore hates She? But that I should love her !
    Why were those cheeks with tears bewaterèd?
    Because my tears might quench those sparks
    Which with heat's pity move her !
    Her cloudy frown with mist her beauty darks,
    To make it seem obscurèd at my smiles.
    In dark true diamonds will shine !
    Her hate my love; her heat my tears beguiles !
Fear makes her doubtful, yet her heart is mine !


Youth's wanton Spring, when in the raging Bull
      My sun was lodged, gave store of flowers,
      With leaves of pleasure, stalks of hours;
  Which soon shaked off the leaves, when they were full
  Of pleasures, beauty dewed with April showers.
  My summer love, whose buds were beautiful,
  Youthful desires, with heats unmerciful
  Parched; whose seeds, when harvest time was come,
    Were cares, against my suits obdurate.
  With sheaves of corn bound up, which benumb
  Mine heart with grief; yet made her heart indurate.
  O chaste desires, which held her heart immurate
    In walls of adamant unfoiled !
  My Winter spent in showers of sorrow's tears !
    Hailstones of hatred ! Frosts of fears !
My branches bared of pleasure, and despoiled !


Why am I thus in mind and body wounded?
    O mind and body mortal and divine !
    On what sure rock is your fort grounded?
    On death? Ah no ! For at it you repine !
    Nay, both entombèd in her beauty's shrine
    Will live, though shadow-like; that men astounded
    At their anatomies, when they shall view it,
    May pitifully rue it.
    Yea, but her murdering beauty doth so shine,
        (O yet much merciless !)
    That heart desires to live with her that slew it !
    And though she still rest pitiless,
    Yet at her beauty will I wonder !
  Though sweet graces (past repeat)
  Never appear, but when they threat,
Firing my secret heart with dart and thunder.


O dart and thunder ! whose fierce violence
  Surmounting Rhetoric's dart and thunder bolts,
  Can never be set out in eloquence !
  Whose might all metals' mass asunder moults !
Where be the famous Prophets of old Greece ?
  Those ancient Roman poets of account ?
  MUSÆUS, who went for the Golden Fleece
  With JASON, and did HERO's love recount !
And thou, sweet NASO, with thy golden verse;
  Whose lovely spirit ravished CAESAR'S daughter !
  And that sweet Tuscan, PETRARCH, which did pierce
  His LAURA with love

SONNETs when he sought her !
Where be all these ? that all these might have taught her
  That Saints divine are known Saints by their mercy !
  And Saint-like beauty should not rage with pierce eye !


Sweet Beauty's rose ! in whose fair purple leaves,
LOVE's Queen in richest ornament doth lie;
Whose graces, were they not too sweet and high,
Might here be seen, but since their sight bereaves
All senses; he (that endless bottom weaves,
Which did PENELOPE) who that shall try,
Then wonder, and in admiration die
At Nature passing Nature's holy frame !
Her beauty thee revives ! Thy Muse upheaves
To draw celestial spirit from the skies !
To praise the Work and Worker whence it came !
This spirit, drawn from heaven of thy fair eyes !
    Whose gilded cognizance, left in mine heart,
    Shows me the faithful servant, to my smart !


Ah PIERCE-EYE piercing eye, and blazing light !
Of thunder, thundr blazes burning up !
O sun, sun melting ! blind and dazing sight !
Ah, heart ! down-driving heart, and turning up !
O matchless beauty, Beauty's beauty staining !
Sweet damask rosebud ! VENUS' rose of roses !
Ah, front imperious, duty's duty gaining !
Yet threatful clouds did still inclose and closes.
O lily leaves, when JUNO lily's leaves
In wond'ring at her colours grain distained !
Voice, which rock's voice and mountain hilly cleaves
In sunder, at my loves with pain complained !
Eye, lightning sun ! Heart, beauty's bane unfeigned !
    O damask rose ! proud forehead ! lily ! voice !
    Ah, partial fortune ! sore chance ! silly choice !


Give me my Heart ! For no man liveth heartless !
  And now deprived of heart I am but dead,
      ( And since thou hast it, in his tables read !
  Whether he rest at ease, in joys and smartless ?
Whether beholding him thine eyes were dartless ?
  Or to what bondage his enthralment leads ?)
  Return, dear Heart ! and me to mine restore !
  Ah, let me thee possess ! Return to me !
I find no means, devoid of skill and artless.
  Thither return, where thou triumphed before !
  Let me of him but repossessor be !
And when thou gives to me mine heart again
  Thyself thou dost bestow ! For thou art She !
  Whom I call Heart ! and of whom I complain.


I wish no rich refined Arabian gold !
  Nor orient Indian pearl, rare Nature's wonder !
  No diamonds, th'Egyptian surges under !
  No rubies of America, dear sold !
Nor saphires, which rich Afric sands enfold !
      (Treasures far distant, from this isle asunder)
  Barbarian ivories in contempt I hold !
  But only this; this only, VENUS, grant !
That I my sweet PARTHENOPHE may get !
  Her hairs, no grace of golden wires want,
  Pure pearls, with perfect rubines are inset;
True diamonds, in eyes; saphires, in veins;
  Nor can I that soft ivory skin forget !
  England, in one small subject, such contains.


Cool ! cool in waves thy beams intolerable,
  O sun ! No son, but most unkind stepfather !
  By law, nor Nature, Sire; but rebel rather !
  Fool ! fool ! these labours are inextricable;
A burden whose weight is importable;
  A siren, which within thy breast doth bathe her;
  A Fiend which doth in Graces garments grath her;
  A fortress whose force is impregnable;
From my love's 'lembic, still 'stilled tears. O tears !
  Quench ! quench mine heat ! or, with your sovereignty,
  Like NIOBE, convert mine heart to marble !
Or with fast flowing pine my body dry,
  And rid me from Despair's chilled fears ! O fears,
  Which on mine heben harp's heartstrings do warble !


So warble out your tragic notes of sorrow,
  Black harp of liver-pining Melancholy !
  Black humour, patron of my Fancy's folly !
  Mere follies, which from Fancy's fire borrow
Hot fire, which burns day, night, midnight, and morrow.
  Long morning which prolongs my sorrows solely,
  And ever overrules my Passions wholly;
  So that my fortune, where it first made sorrow,
Shall there remain, and ever shall it plow
  The bowels of mine heart; mine heart's hot bowels !
  And in their furrows, sow the Seeds of Love;
Which thou didst sow and newly spring up now
  And make me write vain words: no words, but vowels !
  For nought to me good consonant would prove.


Lame consonants, of member-vowels robbed !
  What perfect sounding words can you compose,
  Wherein you might my sorrow's flame disclose ?
  Can you frame maimèd words, as you had throbbed ?
Can you with sighs make signs of passions sobbed ?
  Or can your characters make sorrow's shows ?
  Can liquids make them? I, with tears, make those !
  But for my tears with taunts and frumps are bobbed.
Could mutes procure good words, mute would I be !
  But then who should my sorrow's image paint ?
  No consonants, or mutes, or liquids will
Set out my sorrows; though with grief I faint.
  If with no letter, but one vowel should be,
  An A with H my

SONNET would fulfil.


Methought CALLIOPE did from heaven descend
To sing, fair Mistress, thy sweet beauty's praise.
Thy sweet enchanting voice did ORPHEUS raise,
Who, with his harp (which down the gods did send)
Celestial concord to the voice did lend.
His music all wild beasts did so amaze
That they, submissive to thy looks, did bend.
Hills, trees, towns, bridges, from their places wend,
Hopping and dancing. All the winds be still
And listen; while the nightingales fulfil,
With larks and thrushes, all defects of pleasure.
Springs sang thy praises in a murmur shrill.
    Whiles I, enraged by music, out of trance,
    Like BACCHUS's priest, did in thy presence dance.


For glory, pleasure, and fair flourishing;
    Sweet singing, courtly dancing, curious love,
    A rich remembrance; virtue's nourishing;
    For sacred care of heavenly things;
For voice's sweetness, music's notes above,
    When she divinely speaks or sings:
  CLIO dismount ! EUTERPE silent be !
  THALIA, for thy purple put on sackcloth !
  Sing hoarse, MELPOMENE ! with JOVE's Harpies three !
TERPSICHORE, break off thy galliard dances !
  Leave, ERATO, thy dalliance ! court in black cloth !
  Thy praises, POLYHYMNIA, She enhances !
  For heavenly zeal URANIA she outreacheth.
  Plead not CALLIOPE ! Sing not to thy lute !
    JOVE and MNEMOSINE both be mute !
  While my PARTHENOPHE your daughters teacheth.


Thou scaled my fort, blind Captain of Conceit !
    But you, sweet Mistress, entered at the breach !
    There you made havoc of my heart !
    There, you to triumph did my tyrant teach !
  Beware ! He knows to win you by deceit !
  Those ivory Walls cannot endure his dart !
    That Turret, framed with heaven's rare art,
  Immured with whitest porphyry and inset
  With roses, checking Nature's pride of ruby !
  Those two true diamonds which their Windows fret,
Arched with pure gold, yet mourn in sable shade !
    Warn not these, that in danger you be ?
  Vanquish her, little tyrant ! I will true be !
    And though She will not yield to me,
Yet none could thrall my heart but She !


Thine Eyes, mine heaven ! (which harbour lovely rest
    And with their beams all creatures cheer )
    Stole from mine eyes their clear,
  And made mine eyes dim mirrolds of unrest.
  And from her lily Forehead, smooth and plain,
    My front his withered furrows took,
    And through her grace his grace forsook.
    From soft Cheeks, rosy red,
  My cheeks their leanness, and this pallid stain.
    The Golden Pen of Nature's book,
        (From her Tongue, that task undertook !)
  Which to the Graces' Secretory led,
  And sweetest Muses, with sweet music fed,
Inforced my Muse in tragic tones to sing:
    But from her heart's hard frozen string
  Mine heart his tenderness and heat possest.


Like to the Mountains are mine high desires;
    Level to thy love's highest point:
  Grounded on faith, which thy sweet grace requires.
    For Springs, tears rise in endless source;
  For Summer's flowers, Love's fancies I appoint.
    The Trees, with storms tossed out of course,
  Figure my thoughts, still blasted with Despair.
    Thunder, lightning, and hail
  Make his trees mourn : thy frowns make me bewail !
This only difference ! Here, fire, there, snows are !