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THE title of this edition of " the Poetry of George 
Wither" has been selected to indicate its contents 
as closely as possible. The satires Abuses Stript and 
Whipt and the Motto might fill a companion volume, 
but there is little of literary interest in the rest of 
Wither's voluminous works. 

If it be objected that the biography allots too much 
space to the consideration of the poet's early life, my 
defence must be that the poetry of Wither, with which 
this edition is concerned, was written before 1622 ; 
hence the apparent lack of proportion. 

The poet's name is spelled "Wither" throughout, 
that being the form for which there is most authority ; 
of this, " Wyther" is a mere alternative. The third 
form "Withers" seems, curiously enough, to have 
been used derogatorily, Johnson, Dryden, Swift, and 
Pope all mocking the poet under that title. 1 

1902, I find t " George Withers, a tramp," charged with " soli 
citing alms." History repeats itself. 


My best thanks are due in the first place to the 
Rev. R. F. Bigg- Wither, Rector of Wonston, Hants ; 
to Mr. Sidney Bates, the present owner of Manydown 
House ; the Rev. H. A. Wilson, Librarian of Mag 
dalen College, Oxford ; to Mr. Sidney Lee ; to Mr. 
C. W. Button, of the Manchester Free Library ; and 
last but not least, to Mr. A. H. Bullen, without 
whose encouragement the work would never have 
been undertaken. 

F. S. 



Biographical xiii 

Posthumous Reputation xl 

Portraits ... ... ... ... ... x lvi 

Bibliography xlvii 

List of Editions, Reprints, etc liv 


To the Reader 3 

Eclogue I g 

Eclogue II 21 

Eclogue III ^ 

Eclogue IV 46 

Eclogue V 65 

Postscript 76 


The Occasion, etc. (1615 edition) ... 83 
The Stationer to the Reader (1617 and 

'19 eds.) 9I 

Fidelia ... ... ... M 

The Author's Resolution in a Sonnet ... 138 

Inter Equitand : Palinod : 140 

Sonnet ... ... ... ... ... 14! 





To the Christian Readers 157 

Epithalamion ... ... ... ... ^8 

Epithalamion (" Valentine, good-morrow 

tothee") !6 9 

Certain Epigrams concerning Marriage 180 



I. 1588-1622 

THE home of the Withers from the time of Edward 
III. was at Manydown, near Wootton St. Lawrence 
in Hampshire, where in 1338 there existed a Manor 
House. 1 From papers long in the possession of the 
family manor rolls, accounts, etc. Dean G. W. 
Kitchin has compiled, for the Hampshire Record 
Society, a volume concerning this manor. Herein 
we find, dated 1338, 

In toto gardino de Manidoune 
yalcando, spargendo, et levanJo ijj. 

The manor contained then, as it still contains, some 
fine timber ; for early in the fifteenth century William 
of Wykeham made use of it to reconstruct the nave 
of his Cathedral Church at Winchester, and in 1459 
three huge oaks from Manydown were sent to the 

1 There still remains a red-brick four-sided court, two storeys 
high originally; the house has been added to by succeeding 


Prior of St. Swithun's for the roof of the great hall 
of the Priory, which still remains the chief part of 
the Deanery ; the oak timbers are to be seen to this 

A pedigree of the family of Wither, given in the 
Visitation Book of Hampshire (Harl. MS. 1473, 
f. 189), begins with a certain "Thomas Wither, of 
the County of Lancaster, Esquire." He had three 
sons, Thomas, Richard of Hunstarton in Cheshire, and 
Robert, who came to Manydown. There is a pedi 
gree of the descendants of Richard of Hunstarton, in 
cluding George Wither the Archdeacon of Colchester, 
in Harl. MS. 1541, f. 161. Robert's son Thomas of 
Manydown married Joan, daughter of Richard Mason 
of Sydmonton ; their sons were John of Manydown, 
who married Ann (or Agnes), daughter of John 
AylefTe of Skenes, 1 Thomas, and Richard of Syd 
monton. The sons of John and Ann Wither were 
John, who appears to have been disinherited, Richard 
of Manydown, William, and George, who married 
Avelyn, daughter of John Shank, and became the 
father of numerous children. 

Richard of Manydown, the grandfather of the poet, 
married Margaret, daughter of William Poynter of 
Whitchurch. For the subsequent generations, see 
pedigree on p. xv. 

The poet's mother was said by Sir Samuel Egerton 
Brydges to be a certain Ann Searle. I have not traced 
this information beyond him, and I conclude he obtained 

1 On a tombstone in Wootton St. Lawrence Church the name 
is given as Ayliffe of Sky res. 


it from the register at Wootton St. Lawrence, where 
the marriage of " Georgius Wither with Anna Serle" 
is recorded. If he did so, he was careless, for the 
date of that marriage is " I2th Feb. 1604," some 
sixteen years after the poet was born. Searle is a 
Hampshire name, and Anne Searle not an uncommon 
combination. In 1641 another George Wither (of 
Winchester) married another Anne Searle. Again, 
Ann, sister to Joan wife of John Wither (see pedigree) 
married Roger Searle of Odiham (Harl. MS. 1473). 
In any case the Wootton St. Lawrence marriage is a 
puzzle ; it may have been the second marriage l of 
the poet's father, or it may have been another George 

By the will of George Wither the elder it is proved 
that the Christian name of the poet's mother was 
Mary. 2 And in 1661, Wither himself writes, in A 
Sacrifice of Praise and Prayer, 

"The families from whom I was designed ^ 
To take my being, Thou hast now twice joined, 
And their two surnames, being joined together, 
Denominate my grandson Hunt L'Wither." 

I conclude from these two statements that the poet's 
mother was a Mary Hunt ; his son Robert married 
" Elizabeth, daughter of John Hunt of Fidding," and 
so "twice joined" the families Hunt and Wither. 
"Fidding," now Theddon, is a splendid grange, 

1 Anthony -a- Wood records that the poet was " the first son 
by a second venter " ; he may have known that the elder George 
Wither did marry twice, but inverted the order. 

2 The will was discovered by the Rev. R. F. Bigg- Wither in 
the Registry at Winchester. See Appendix C for a copy of it. 


standing on an eminence over Alton, close to Bent- 
worth, the poet's birthplace, and commanding a view 
as far as the hills of Farnham and Hindhead in 
Surrey. The name, too, was known at Bentworth, 
where in the church there still exists a most beautiful 
oak font-cover, pyramidal in shape, with the legend 
round three sides of the base, 

The proximity of Theddon to Bentworth is another 
link ; they are not two miles apart. Whether George 
the elder chose Bentworth for his home and there 
found a wife, or whether he went there to be near 
his wife's home, is of course unknown. At Bentworth, 1 
however, on June u, 1588, while the Great Armada 
was on its way to England, a son was born to George 
and Mary Wither, 2 and named after his father. 

Bentworth, some ten miles to the south-east of 
Manydown, and four to the west of Alton, stands 
high on a " chalky down," and its " beechy shadows " 
may still be enjoyed, though Scotch firs, elms, and 
oaks are also conspicuous. Larger elms the poet 
saw at Oxford, when he went to Magdalen, and an 
even grander yew than the one in Bentworth church 
yard, he no doubt saw in that of Selborne, afterwards 
described by Gilbert White ; but the whole effect of 
the Hampshire scenery must have helped the inclin 
ation to poetry of the young George Wither, from 

1 The registers are irregular till 1603. The date is from 

2 Their other children were two sons, James and Anthony, 
and four daughters, Mary, Anne, Jane, and Polyxena. 

VOL. I. b 


Bentworth's beeches to the Pool of Alresford, both 
of which he has effectively sung. 

If the young poet was fortunate in his natural 
surroundings, he was no less so in his circumstances. 
In the third canto of his Britain's Remembrancer he 
alludes to the ease and luxury of his early life under 
the paternal roof: 

"When daily I on change of dainties fed, 
Lodged night by night upon an easy bed 
In lordly chambers, and had wherewithal 
Attendants forwarder than I to call, 
Who brought me all things needful ; when at hand, 
Hounds, hawks, and horses were at my command." 

Nevertheless, he had to go to school. Wood 
tells us he was ' ' educated in grammatical learning 
under the noted schoolmaster of those parts called 
John Greaves of Colemore." This was the father of 
John Greaves, Savilian Professor of Astronomy at 
Oxford in 1643, and of Dr. Thomas Greaves, D.D., 
whom Wood calls a "man of great learning." That 
Wither remembered his early tutor with affection, is 
shown in one of the Epigrams (No. 16) attached to 
Abuses Stript and Whipt. 

Leaving this school, "no whit in grammar-rules to 
seek, in Lillie's Latin, nor in Camden's Greek," he 
entered Magdalen College, Oxford, in his fifteenth 
year, as he tells us. 

Assuming this to be 1603, it seems we must modify 
the statement of Wood, that he came under John 
Warner's tutorship, and that of Aubrey, who says 
" he was pupill to bishop Warner of Rochester : " if 
he was, it was not at the beginning of his university 



career. On this period the Rev. H. A. Wilson, of 
Magdalen College, Oxford, has kindly sent the sub 
joined notes : 

" There seems to be no reference to George Wither in the 
records of Magdalen. I have not come upon any : Mr. Macray, 
who has recently examined the accounts and other documents of 
the College for the early part of the seventeenth century, tells 
me that he has found no mention of his name ; and as Dr. 
Bloxam's MS. notes contain no reference to any such mention, 
I infer that he found none. But this is quite consistent with the 
possibility that Wither was in residence for some time as a non- 
foundationer. The College admission-registers of the time 
record only the admissions of Demies and Fellows : and it is 
very rarely that non-foundationers are mentioned in any of the 
College books of the seventeenth century. 

"Apparently Wither's name is not to be found in the Univer 
sity matriculation registers. But it is not impossible that he may 
have been admitted to the College and been in residence without 
being matriculated. The practice in the matter of matriculation 
was sometimes lax : and though Nicolas Bond, who was Presi 
dent at the time when Wither is said to have resided, was not so 
lax as his predecessor or his successor, he may have failed in 
some cases to observe the rule. It is, of course, also possible 
that the name may have been accidentally omitted. 

" Wood's statement that Wither was assigned as a pupil to 
John Warner, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, suggests a date 
later than 1604. For Warner only became Probationer Fellow 
in July 1604, and was not M.A. till June 1605. He is hardly 
likely to have been acting as a College Tutor so early as 1603 or 
1604, even under the rudimentary system of college tuition 
which was growing up under Bond.' Probably that system did 
not extend to commoners, who were regarded as being under the 
special care of the President : and it is not impossible that Bond 
might have committed Wither to the charge of Warner even 
before the latter became M.A. or actual Fellow. Warner was 
apparently regarded as a rather exceptional person, for the Col 
lege in 1604 petitioned the King to withdraw his recommend 
ation of a candidate for a Fellowship so as to allow them to elect 
Warner. But, on the whole, the alleged connection seems in 
favour of a date after July 1604, if not after June 1605." 

Of his career at Oxford, Wither himself has given 
an account at the beginning of his Abuses Stript and 
Whipt (1613). 


" I did, as other idle freshmen do, 
Long to go see the Bell of Osney too ; 
And yet for certainty I cannot tell 
That e'er I drank at Aristotle's Well : 
And that perhaps may be the reason why 
I know so little in Philosophy." 1 

From such pursuits, 2 and "the Tennis-ball," at 
which he " achieved some cunning," his tutor (whether 
Warner or some other) summoned him to work. 
Wood says he "made some proficiency with much 
ado in Academical learning." Wither tells us that at 
first he was "gravelled" by the terms and words 
employed in "the Logick Art"; but that, feeling 
ashamed to remain dumb while "other little dandi- 
prats " held disputation, he made an effort, and 

"perceived more 
In half an hour, than half a year before." 

But before he could "acquire the low'st degree," 
some cause perhaps a change in his father's pros 
peritycalled him home "to hold the plough." 
This, I take it, occurred about 1605 ; for " at thrice 
five years and three" (i.e. 1606) Wither went to 
London. Possibly he spent a year under "Bent- 
worth's beechy shadows " in the interval, and to this 
period is to be assigned the composition (or, at the 

1 The " Bell of Osney " is the famous "Big Tom " of ^Christ 
Church, originally at Osney Abbey. " Aristotle's Well," after 
wards called Brumann's, is, or was, a real well, now covered 
up, in Hayfield Road ; Willmott and other biographers have 
construed the expression metaphorically. There was also a 
" Plato's Well." 

2 The composition of the song " I loved a lass, a fair one," is 
.attributed, from internal evidence, to the period of Wither's 
'university career. See vol. i., p. 148 and notes thereon. 


least, an early draft) of his Fair Virtue ; towards the 
end of which the poet says, 

"Of summers I have seen twice three times three." 

It is also probable that he travelled in the British 
Isles at this period of his life. In a list of his books, 
given by himself at the end of Fides Anglicana (1660), 
the first four are 

" I. Iter Hibernicum. Verse. 

2. Iter Boreale, a Northern Journey. Verse. 

3. Patrick's Purgatory. Verse. 

4. Philarete's Complaint. Verse. 

These four last-mentioned were lost in manuscript.'* 

Wood, in recording these, adds "yet they were 
recovered and printed more than once. " There is no 
foundation for this ; probably he was confusing the 
second with one of the poems of that name actually 
extant, one by Robert Wild, another by Corbet. 

The titles of the first and third of these poems 
imply a journey to Ireland. This theory is further 
supported by his address to " Sir Thomas Ridgeway, 
Knight Baronet, Treasurer of Ireland," 

" Sir, you first graced and gratified my Muse 
Which ne'er durst try till then what she could do ; " 

and later in the same Epigram, 1 

" Now so you will think well of this my rhyme, 
I've such a mind yet to Saint Patrick's isle, 
That if my fate and fortunes give me time 
I hope for to re-visit you a while." 

1 Epigram No. n, attached to Abuses Stript and Whipt. 


Moreover, in the Catalogue of his Books, Wither 
includes A Discourse concerning the Plantations of 
Ulster, in Ireland. Wood affirms that this was 
printed ; but no copy is now extant, supposing Wood 
to be correct. 

The fourth in the above list is perhaps the early 
Fair Virtue, or possibly Fidelia, as the former could 
hardly be styled a ' ' Complaint. " No doubt, ' Phila- 
rete" really had a "mistress" who disdained him; 
in spite of the hint that " Fair Virtue " was perhaps 
only the abstract quality, we can imagine that ' ' the 
passionate heart of the poet was whirled into folly " 
in his youth. However, in 1606 or thereabout, 
Witherwent to London (sent, perhaps, by his friends) 
to seek his fortune ; and, as Wood says, he was 
<( sent to one of the Inns of Chancery." For the next 
five years, in which we hear nothing of him, he was 
no doubt engaged in cultivating friendships among a 
society which must have been much after his own heart ; 
in noticing the " abuses of the times" in preparation 
for satire perhaps in writing it ; in courting still the 
more peaceful Muse that inspired him to help his 
friend William Browne of Tavistock in the composi 
tion of the latter's Shepherd's Pipe (1614) ; J but I 
doubt whether the crabbed processes and intricacies 

1 For an account of William Browne, see the introduction in 
the Muses' Library edition. Here it suffices to say that he was 
a contemporary of Wither's, born in the same year, 1588 ; author 
of Britannia's Pastorals, The Shepherd's Pipe (which Wither 
states was " composed jointly by himself and Mr. W. Browne "), 
The Inner Temple Masque, etc.; a close friend both of Michael 
Drayton and Wither, as well as of the "learned Selden" ; he 
died about 1645. 


of the law claimed very much either of his time or his 
attention. It is likely that Fidelia and Fair Virttie 
were by this time in private circulation amongst the 
little band of friends, which included Michael Drayton, 
Christopher Brooke, and lesser though not less sweet 
voices of that generation. 

But in 1611 came his first publication, and with 
unpleasant results. No copy of Abuses Stript and 
Whipt with a title-page bearing the date 1611 is now 
known. Thomas Park, in his elaborate bibliography 
of Wither's works, published in the first volume of 
the British Bibliographer, gives " Abuses Stript and 
Whipt, 1611," with a note to this effect : 

"This date is given from Dalrymple, who said in 1785, 'Mr. 
Herbert has a copy of Abuses Stript and Whipt, wanting the 
title-page, with Wither's head, 1 1611, cetat. suce 21 + 15882= 
1609:' so that 1611 must refer to the publication and not to 
Wither's age." 

Holle's portrait was no doubt made when Wither 
was twenty-one, i.e. in 1609; and 1611 actually is 
the date of the first edition, though Park's hint has 
been either scorned or entirely neglected by subsequent 
bibliographers. Conclusive evidence is furnished by 
the fact of the " Satiricall Essayes " being mentioned 
in the Epithalamia, written for Princess Elizabeth, and 
published in 1612. Even without this, the constant 

1 William Holle's engraved portrait. Dalrymple, followed by 
Park in part, argued from the inscriptions ("G. W. AN". 
./ETATIS SV^E 21. 1611") that the poet was born in 1590. 
After collecting all the internal evidence from Wither's volu 
minous works, I find only two references, both, curiously 
enough, in connection with the death of Queen Elizabeth, which 
support the 1590 theory ; the rest, to the number of six or seven, 
more or less exactly confirm the statements of Aubrey and Wood. 
See Appendix A. 2 Misprinted 1581. 


references in Wither's later works would be enough 
to establish the claim. 1 

The publication was no doubt stopped by authority 
at once, and the author was even in danger of im 
prisonment. But he_had obtain ed J _sjaaaeho.w^or.Qjher , 
a powerful patroness in the Princess Elizabeth herself ; 
and she, it would appear, intervened. 2 In dedicating 
his Psalms of David translated into Lyric Verse ( 163^) 
to her, then Queen of Bohemia, Wither writes, " for 
I do hereby most humbly, and thanlcTulTy~acTcnowledge 
that, when my overforward Muse first fluttered out of 
her nest (!), she obtained the preservation of her 
endangered liberty by your gracious favour ; and 
perhaps escaped also thereby that pinioning which 
would have marred her flying forth for ever after." 
Exactly whatWither's previous claim upon her was, I 
do not know ; but afterwards he regarded her with a 
touching affection and respect. 

On November 6, 1612, Henry, Prince of Wales, 
died. ~Triat -his -~p"5pularity must haveBeeh x great 
is attested by the extraordinary outburst of elegiac 
poetry which bewai'ed his untimely death. Donne, 
Chapman, Campion, Webster, Heywood, Drummond 
and his friend Alexander, Browne, Drayton, Braith- 
wait, Bishops Hall and Henry King, Joshua Sylvester, 
Tourneur, and Lord Herbert of Cherbury ; all these 

1 For a collection of these, see Appendix B. 

2 In the Satyre to the King (1614) Wither says she 

" Deigned in her great good-nature to incline 
Her gentle ear to such a cause as mine ; 
And which is more, vouchsafed her word to clear 
Me from all dangers." 


well-known names form a list in which that of Wither 
may stand high for the affection and sincerity of his 
offering on this occasion. 

Next year, however, we find Wither's Muse in a 
more joyful strain, and again among a chorus of voices. 
"The noblest nymph of Thame," the young Eliza 
beth, was married amidst tremendous rejoicing to 
Frederick the Elector Palatine, on St. Valentine's 
Day, February 14, 1612-3. Had Wither's verse always 
remained so sweet, good-tempered, and smooth, 
nothing awkward would ever have resulted from any 
publication of his. 

The unquiet spirit would nevertheless not be 
appeased, and in 1613 the republication of Abuses 
Stript and Whipt brought retribution in the form of 
imprisonment. This may seem strange to a modern 
reader of these " Satirical Essays," but suspicion was 
rampant in those troubled times ; and it can easily 
be imagined that the gratuitous attack on the Lord 
Chancellor in the Scourge, appended to the Abuses, 
would arouse opposition. Offence, at any rate, was 
given, and the author committed to the Marshalsea. 
His book, however, must have been widely read, as at 
least five 1 editions were issued in 1613, and it was 
re-issued in 1614, 1615, 1617, and with \hz Juvenilia 
in 1622 and 1633. 

If Wither lost his liberty, the world of literature 
gained by his imprisonment. I have said above that 

1 See Bibliography. Mr. Sidney Lee, in ( the Diet. Nat. 
Biog., sa.ysf0ur editions j notes in A. H. Huth's Catalogue and 
that of the Rowfant Library say seven ; Hazlitt gives four 
variations, Collier "at least two." 


he assisted his friend William Browne in the composi 
tion of the latter's Shepherd's Pipe (1614), at the end 
of which appeared, with separate title-pages, Other 
Eglogues, by Mr. [Christopher] Brooke, Mr. Wither, 
and Mr. [John] Davies, and An Other Eclogue by 
Mr. George Wither. From the fact that the Shep 
herd's Pipe was reprinted in the pirated 1620 edition 
of Wither's Workes, Willmott and others have 
attributed it entirely to Wither. It is, nevertheless, 
undoubtedly Browne's work for the most part, though 
the sweetness and ease of some of the heptasyllabic 
lines, especially in the first eclogue, are strongly 
reminiscent of the author of the Shepherd's Himting 
and Fair Virtue. Browne introduces Wither into 
his poem under the pastoral name of "Roget," by 
which name Wither calls himself in the early editions 
of his own pastoral ; afterwards he altered it to 
" Philarete," which was perhaps the earlier choice. 1 

The Shepherd's Hunting, " written during the time 
of the Author's imprisonment in the Marshalsea," 
contains internal evidence that it was written in the 
spring of the year 1614 (Eclogue III, 1. 181). It 
contains five "Eclogues," of which the last two 
had been already printed as appendices to Browne's 
Shepherd's Pipe; they consist of conversations 
between four friends introduced under the pastoral 
names of Willie (Browne), Alexis (William Ferrar), 
Cuddy (Christopher Brooke), and Roget, afterwards 
Philarete, who of course represents Wither himself. 

1 On the assumption that Fair Virtue was an early piece of 


If the publication of this pastoral supported Wither 
in prison, it was, perhaps, his Satyre to the King 
which gained his release. This poem is an energetic 
deleTTcT~oT1Iis ""Satires, and contains a hint, which 
goes far to explain his incarceration, of an enemy at 
Court, who fitted Wither's general invectives to 
special individuals in high position. 1 

Once liberated, Wither was admitted to Lincoln's 
Inn, "at request of John Jeffreys, arm., now reader 
and bencher," on July 8, 1615. Another event of 
the same year was the printing of Fidelia for 
private circulation. Only one copy of this issue of 
1615 is now known; it is a dainty little volume, 
treasured in the Bodleian. 2 There is a certain delight 
in turning over the carefully-protected leaves till one 
lights upon the earliest appearance of the immortal 
lyric, " Shall I wasting in despair." The book also 
contains a long introduction, not without interest. 

The first published edition followed in 1617. Only 
two copies of this edition are now extant, and each is 
incomplete, but, as Hazlitt says, together they make 
a complete copy. One of these is now in the 
Bodleian ; the resting-place of the other I do not 

Wither's reputation was by this time considerable, 
but the times were not suitable to secular matters 

1 In Abuses Striptand WV>/ (Bookl., Satire 5, "Revenge"), 
Wither hints in no veiled language that he had an enemy of the 
name of Christmas, a piece of information which he conveys in 
a "riddle" not difficult to read. 

2 For an account of this interesting booklet, see Bibliography, 
p. L 


alone. The earliest question for James I. to decide 
was that of religious toleration, and with the com 
mencement of his reign began the Puritan Revolution. 
%jther, whom the late Professor (JaMBeY Jiistly 
called "neither a Laudiali nor a Puritan," assumed 
" an mterniddlam pUyllRJfl l , inclining HOW TBtS wa"y, 
now that ; but always with one object, however 
much he might overshadow it. He was full of what 
Lamb calls "a generous self-seeking," with the 
reservation, that "by self he sometimes means a 
great deal his friends, his principles, his country, 
the human race." 

For the sake of this " plain moral speaking," 
many religious works, in poetry and prose, came 
from his pen during his long and busy life. The first 
of these was a laborious work, called A Preparation 
t3 the Psalter, interesting for indications of good 
scholarship and wide reading. This was published, 
with a portrait of the author by Delaram, in 1619 ; 
and in the course of the next year there followed 
Exercises upon the First Psalm, an elaborate com 
mentary extending to over a hundred pages. 

That Wither's writings were acceptable to the 
public was at the same time proved in a peculiar 
way. In 1620 there appeared The Workes of Master 
George Wither, a surreptitious collection of his 
writings. It contains, besides the other authentic 
pieces, the Shepherd's Pipe, but not Abuses Stript and 
Whipt, nor Prince Henries Obsequies. It is carelessly 
printed ; yet some of the most obvious mistakes in it 
were repeated in the Juvenilia, issued presumably 


under Wither's own supervision. The book is dis 
claimed in John Marriott's note at the end of Fair 

In the next year Wither published a work which at 
once gained great popularity. Wither's Motto went 
through several editions in the first year of its publi 
cation, 1621 ; in his Fragmenta Prophetica (1669) 
Wither says thirty thousand copies were at once 
sold. We need not believe all this, especially as he 
dates it three years before the real publication, in 
1618. But there is no doubt that the book was 
extraordinarily popular, though not perhaps solely 
for its own merit. Again a hidden satire was dis^ 
covered by some enemy in a high position, and 
Wither was ordered to the Marshalsea once more. 1 

In his formal examination (June 27, 1621) at White 
hall, he gave the following evidence : "Wrote the 
book called Wither's Motto. Mr. Taverner refused 
him licence to print it, but others offering to print it, 
he sold them the copy for five pieces. Showed it 
to Mr. Drayton and several others before printing : 
thinks there is nothing in it contrary to the proclama 
tion restraining writing on matters of government." 
On July 10, John Marriott, the stationer, gave 
evidence to the effect that the book " was not called 
in question till the first impression was sold and the 
second preparing, which Mr. Taverner licensed after 
striking out certain passages." John Grismond, 
another stationer, " thought Wither's Motto was only 
questioned because printed without licence from the 
1 The warrant is dated June 27, 1621. 


Stationers' Company." Nicholas Oakes, the printer, 
examined two days later, said that he "printed 
Wither's Motto from a printed copy, not knowing it 
was unlicensed. Bought the title-page ready printed 
with Marriott's name upon it, and used it without his 

I have quoted this evidence to show not only the 
casual manner in which printing and publishing was 
then carried out, but also the origin of the ill-feeling 
between Wither and the Stationers' Company, which 
afterwards caused such annoyance to the poet. 

Wither was again liberated, without a formal trial, 
and the sale^f~his Motto was allowed to continue. 
The book has been so admirably summed up by 
Charles Lamb that it is needless to do more than 
refer the reader either to his essay or the work in 
question itself. 

With the issue (in 1622) of Fair Virtue , or the 
Mistress of Philarete, Wither closed the series of 
poems, of which he was always somewhat ashamed, 
but by which his name will always be gratefully 
remembered. In the same year he collected all his 
true poetry into one volume, of which the very title, 
Juvenilia, is an indication of his feeling towards its 
contents. The re-issue in 1633 of \hzjiivenilia is in 
most cases little more than a reprint. Never again, 
except perhaps in a few stray lines in his Halelujah 
(1641), did he "recapture the first fine careless 
rapture " ; perhaps he never attempted to do so. In 
the meantime the world of literature saw the rise of 
one who was destined to outdo all competitors John 


Milton ; yet it is no stretch of imagination to think 
that even he may have owed much to even borrowed 
much from the lowlier Muse of George Wither. 

II. 1623-1641. 

Wither's poetical reputation was now on the wane. 
In the masque Time Vindicated, presented at Court 
on Twelfth Night, 1622-3, Ben Jonson introduces 
a " Chronomastix," who represents no other than 
Wither himself. 1 From a contemporary letter we 
learn "Ben Jonson ... is like to hear of it on 
both sides of the head, for personating George 
Withers, a poet, or poetaster he terms him, as hunt 
ing after some, by being a chronomastix, or whipper 
of the time ; which is become so tender an argument, 
that it must not be admitted in jest or earnest." 
(Court and Times of James /., Jan. 25, 1622-3.) 

Further troubles were in store. Wither's imprison- 

financial resources to such an extent, that upon his 
liberation he had applied to no less a person than the 
King for restitution. James thereon issued a patent 
for a work which Wither had been preparing for some 
years. He says that he was "invited to collect and 
translate into lyric verse the hymns dispersed through- 

1 Chronomastix. Lo, I the man that hate the Time, 

That is, that love it not ; and though in rhyme, 
I here do speak it, with this whip you see 
Do lash the time, and am myself lash-free. 

Fame. Who's this? 

Ears. 'Tis Chronomastix the brave Satyr. 

Nose. The gentleman-like Satyr ; cares for nobody ; 

His forehead tipt with bays ; do you not know him ?' 


out the canonical Scriptures" (The Scholar's Purgatory, 
circ. 1624). He mentions further that he had been 
attracted to the work in his earliest youth, and 
latterly had spent three years in preparing himself 
for such a task. The book so prepared was called 
Hymns and Songs of the Church. 

The King's patent, 1 dated February 17. 1622-7. 
amounted to the grant of a monopoly for fifty-one 
years, the whole copyright of the "book being given 
to "Wither, his executors, and assigns." In ad 
dition, a further proclamation of Letters Patent, 2 
dated February 27, prohibited ' ' the binding up of 
any Psalm-book in metre, without a copy of the 
said work annexed." 

Naturally enough, the Stationers' Company, already 
at variance with Wither, objected to such an edict, 
and many of the booksellers refused to comply with 
k. The book was, however, published separately in 
several forms in 1623. Wither aired his grievances 
the next year in a long prose address to the Bishops 
in Convocation, entitled The Scholars Purgatory, 
which bears typographical evidence of having been 
printed abroad. Of Wither's prose, this is by far 
the most eloquent and spirited as it is the most 
interesting ; at times his righteous indignation pleads 
for freedom from the tyranny of the worshipful 
Company with an energy almost worthy of the 
author of Areopagitica. But it was all in vain ; 
although Wither declared that the Archbishop of 

1 Rymer's Faedera, xvii, 454. 

2 Calendar of State Papers, 1623. 


Canterbury had approved his Hymns, 1 requiring the 
alteration of only one word, the Stationers would 
have none of it. Ben Jonson makes great play with 
this quarrel in the masque already mentioned. 

In 1625 came the great plague, which Wither 
graphically described in Britain's Remembrancer, 
1628. This long poem he was forced to print " with 
his own hand " ; the Stationers of course would not 
help him, and the printers were afraid of the bold 
sentiments. Yet the picture drawn is vivid to the 
last degree ; the pestilences recorded by Thucydides, 
Defoe, and Boccaccio are scarcely better delineated. 
The plague visited Wither's own house, and he awoke 
one morning to find the signs of infection on his own 
breast and shoulders ; if it was really the plague, he 
had a marvellous escape. 

A poem published in 1631, The Tournament of 
Tottenham, issued by the Rev. William Bed well, 
appears to have been in Wither's possession, and by 
him handed over to the editor. It is a satirical 
attack on fourteenth-century chivalry. 

By this time, Wither had ready for publication The 
Psalms of David translated into Lyric Verse? which 
was printed in 1632 by a certain Cornelius Gerrits 
van Breughel in the Netherlands. Wither, finding 
publication still impossible in London, combined 

1 They were set to music by Orlando^Gibbons. 

' 2 EgertonMS. 2404 is a beautifully-written copy of this, differ 
ing a great deal from the published form. The signature at the 
end of the dedication is said to be Wither's autograph. It 
is, perhaps, the manuscript referred to in Gutch's sale (see 
Athenceiim, April 3, 1858). 

VOL. I. C 


business with pleasure, and carried his new work to 
the Court of his early patroness Elizabeth, now Queen 
of Bohemia, to whom he dedicated the book. In 
this dedication, from which I have already quoted 
(p. xxiv), he says : " Byjour Majesty's royal Father 
of blessed memory [James I.J^I was commanded to 
perfect a translation of the Psalms, which he under 
stood I had begun ; and ... I finished the same 
about the time of his translation to a better King 
dom ; " an unfortunate pun, one would have 
thought, and perhaps the only one Wither ever 
attempted except on his own name. 

In England the same quarrel with the Stationers 
arose again. Edward Rossingham, in a letter 1 to 
Sir Thomas Puckering dated January 23, 1633-4, 
relates how Wither obtained a second patent ordering 
his version to be bound up with all Bibles that were 
sold ; how the Stationers refused to sell them " the 
truth is, nobody would buy the Bible with such a 
clog at the end of it ; " how the matter was again 
brought to trial ; and how the Lords decreed that the 
translation should be sold only by itself. 

In i63JL Henry Taunton, a publisher, employed 
Wither to write verses tor a collection of emblem? 

cal and. allegorical engravings which had previously 
gained a certain popularity on the continent. The 
book was entitled A Collection of Emblems, Ancient 
and Modern, quickened with Metrical Illustrations, 
both Moral and Divine. They are chiefly interesting 
to the biographer of Wither as throwing a strong 
1 Court and Times of Charles /., 1634. 


light upon the religious standpoint which he assumed 
at the time, for he shows himself very far from . 1 
accepting Puritanical tenets, and still an energetic .*.: 
supporter of the Church, as well as of the Monarchy. t 

After a retirement of three years (1636-1639) to a 
cottage near Farnham in Surrey (driven there appar 
ently by poverty), during which time he translated a 
theological work of Nemesius, his life_as a soldier 
began. In 1639, he was " Captain of Horse in the 
expedition [of Charles I.] against the Scots [i.e., the 
Covenanters], and Quarter-Master General of the 
Regiment wherein he was Captain, viz. of that Regi 
ment of, or next under, the Earl of Arundel." 1 

Before the Civil War broke out, Wither found 
opportunity to publish his Haklujah, or Britain's 
Second Remembrancer (1641). It contains the best 
of his religious poetry, and is pleasant to read for the 
sake of the touching and outspoken record of his 
devotion to his wife, and of the affection for every 
thing which is simple and homelike. At times, 
especially in the four Hymns to the Seasons, he only 
falls just short of the lyrical power displayed in his 
youth : 

" Much is found where nothing was, 
Herds on every mountain go, 
In the meadows flowery grass 
Makes both milk and honey flow ; 
Now each orchard banquets giveth, 
Every hedge with fruit relieveth ; 
And on every shrub or tree 
Useful fruits or berries be." 

Hymn for Summer-Time. 

1 From Wood. 


But his own summer hereafter faded quickly into 
a dreary autumn. With the publication of the 
Halelujah true poetry failed him once for all. 

III. 1642-1667. 

I would willingly leave Wither at this point in his 
life, for the subsequent scenes are saddening, not only 
from the public and private embarrassments from 
which he suffered, but from the obstinacy with which, 
refusing to be content, he persisted in pouring out 
tHHi'ifj^afls rf joiy^ garrulity. Yet it is the 
biographer's duty to convey, however shortly, an 
account of the last twenty years of a long life. 

Anthony-a-Wood says that wkgn the CiyJL. War 
broke out, Wither "sold his estate and raised a troop 
of horse for Parliament." There is no other evid 
ence for the sale of his estate, though it seems to be 
true that Wither did help to raise a troop of horse in 
his own neighbourhood "according to my fortune 
and my place" (Campo-Musce, 1643). Being "made 
Captain and then Major" (Wood) of this troop, 
he marched to Kent and took up his quarters at 
Maidstone. 1 

On October 14, 1642, he was appointed "Captain 
and Commander of Farnham Castle in the County of 
Surrey, and of such Foot as shall be put into your 
hands by Sir Richard Onslow, Knight, and Nicholas 
Stoughton, Esquire." After a few days' occupation 

1 On January 5, 1641-2, the House of Commons supplied 
32% 6s. "towards the payment of the arrears due to Captain 
Withers his troop." 


of the Castle with a small and insubordinate troop, 
he withdrew, acting, as he averred, under orders to 
march to London. 1 On the very day he went to 
London, his own house, "about four miles short of 
the Castle," was entered by Royalists and plundered. 
He lost thereby, he says, "above two thousand 
pounds"; on February 9, 1642-3, "Parliament 
ordered that he should have 2000 toward his 
repair out of the estates of John Denham, Esq., and 
other delinquents" (The Narrative of Geo. Wither, 
Esquire, 1658). He spent much time during the 
next eighteen years in trying to get the money. 

The "John Denham" mentioned above was Sir 
John Denham, who had been concerned in the pillage 
of his rival's house. After the capture of Wither by 
a troop of Royalists, 2 Denham is said to have pleaded 
Wither's cause with the King, "and desired his majesty 
not to hang him, for that whilest G. W. lived, he 
[Denham] should not be the worst poet in England." 3 

On July 25, 1643, tne House of Commons directed 
that an inquiry should be made into the amount 
received by Wither according to the order of February 
9. Wither's own account implies that he got no 
more than ^700 out of the ^"2000 awarded him, and 
that most of this he at once contributed to the public 
use, although at the time his house was plundered, 
his wife and children turned out by Sir John Denham 

1 Se Defendendo, 1643. 

2 Wither was present at the siege of Gloucester in August 
and September 1643, and at Naseby in 1645. 

3 Aubrey's Brief Lives ^ ed. Andrew Clark, vol. i., p. 221. 


to make room for the latter's wife, and his estate laid 

In 1646 Wither violently attacked Sir Richard 
Onslow, whom he considered the cause of his mis 
fortunes at Farnham Castle, in a pamphlet entitled 
fttsticiariusjustificatusy for which a fine of ^500 was 
imposed, but subsequently remitted. 

The rest of his life is one long story of poverty and 
discontent. Charles and the two Cromwells were in 
turn appealed to for money ; in 1650 the House of 
Commons acknowledged that nearly .4000 was due 
to Wither, and allowed him ^150 a year from Sir 
John Denham's lands. There is nothing to show 
that he ever got any of this. He sandwiched pane 
gyrics with pleas, and appeals with prophecies, in a 
never-ending stream ; but in vain. Sir John Birken- 
head ridiculed him by announcing, in a series of 
mock advertisements, Aristotle's Works in English 
Metre, by George Wither (Two Centuries of PauFs 
Churchyard, 1655). 

During the last days of the Commonwealth he 
lived out of London at a village called Hambledon 
in Hampshire, 1 until Cromwell ' ' gave him the Statute 
Office," the benefit oTwtiiclTTie Iost7~asnhe^nafveiy 
sa'ys, "by declaring unto him [Cromwell] those truths 
which he was not willing to hear of." At, the Restora 
tion, however, he welcomed the King, and returned to 
London, where he occupied a house in the Savoy till 
the day of his death. His return to London, coin- 

1 Not the Hambledon in Surrey, as Mr. Sidney Lee says in 
the Dictionary of National Biography. 


tiding with the advent of the new King, aroused 
suspicion. His room was forcibly entered, his papers 
searched, and among them was found a manuscript 
poem entitled Vox Vttlgi, 1 which offended the 
authorities. The usual result ensued ; on August 12, 
1661, to while away the time he wrote a poem to his 
friends "from Mr. Northrops, one of the King's 
Messengers in Westminster, where I am civilly 
used " ; on the 22nd he was removed to Newgate, 
where we find him still on March 22, 1662. 

While in prison, both his son Robert, in whose 
chambers in the Temple he had once "had harbour," 
and his daughter Elizabeth, were married ; Robert 
on September 4, 1661, to Elizabeth Hunt ; Elizabeth 
to Adrian Barry of London and Thame, Oxfordshire. 
Wither complains that neither could he see them 
married, nor give them suitable portions. 

Liberated for the last time in 1663, Wither still 
wrote untiringly. In 1665 he saw the great plague 
a second time, and moralized thereon. His last work 
was to collect from his prophetical works extracts 
which he published under the title of Fragmenta 
Prophetica. The book was re-issued posthumously 
under the supervision of his daughter, Elizabeth 

He died in his house in the Savoy on May 2, 1667. 
Just before his death he had expressed a desire 
to return "to the place of his nativity," but was 

1 The poem remained in manuscript till 1879, when it was 
printed and edited by W. D. Macray as Pt. ii. of Anecdota 


dissuaded by his friends. He was buried in the 
church of the Savoy Hospital in the Strand, within 
a short distance of his house, " in streaming London's 
central roar." 

A feature of his life on which it is pleasant to 
dwell is his affection and loyalty to his wife. In his 
darkest hour in prison he could write so tenderly 
of his "dear Betty" that 

" her modesty it so offended 
To find herself in such a strain commended." 

Aubrey records that "she was a great wit, and would 
write in verse too." She and her son Robert both 
died about ten years after the poet, Elizabeth Barry 
surviving till about 1709. Robert's eldest son, Hunt 
Wither, married an extraordinary character : x Hunt 
was her fourth husband, the first three having all been 
physicians. In 1709, Hunt Wither made an affidavit 
concerning his parents, grand- parents, and their re 
spective children, which, with a pedigree, he deposited 
at the College of Arms. Hence comes most of our 
knowledge of the poet's children. 


Wither's place in literature might have been a 
high one. Had he never published anything after 
Fair Virtue in 1622, he would be remembered as 
a lyric poet of great sweetness and purity, and a 
general satirist of no mean order. He would not, it 
is true, be entitled to consideration as a sacred poet 

1 See pedigree, p. xv. 


in that case ; but his sacred poems, while simple and 
sincere, cannot seriously affect an estimation of his 
literary quality. 

His early poems naturally gained him a consider 
able reputation in lyric verse. William Browne 
lauded him in Britannia's Pastorals; Braithwait 
wrote in 1615, 

"And long may England's Thespian streams be known 
By lovely Wither and by bonny Browne." 

Even Abuses Stript and Whipt had its admirers. 
In 1644 John Taylor the Water-poet, who was not 
always an enemy of Wither, wrote : ' ' He was a man 
that I have these thirty-five years loved and respected 
because I thought him simply honest." 

After his death Richard Baxter wrote (1681) : 
" Honest George Withers, though a rustic poet, hath 
been very acceptable, as to some for his prophecies, 
so to others for his plain country honesty." In 1687 
William Winstanley summed him up : " George 
Withers was one who loved to fish in troubled 
waters, being never more quiet than when in trouble ; 
of a restless spirit, and contradicting disposition ; 
gaining more by restraint than others could get by 
their freedom, which his ungoverned (not to say 
worse) pen often brought him unto, so that the 
Marshalsea and Newgate were no strangers to him." 
Butler in Hudibras coupled him with Prynne and 
Vicars, and mocked 

" The praises of the author penned 
By himself, or wit-ensuring friend ; 
The itch of picture in the front 
With bays and wicked rhyme upon "t," 


a direct hit at the Motto. Dryden compared him to 
Robert Wild ; Swift ranged him and Dryden together 
at the opposite pole to Tasso and Milton. Pope 
called him the literary ancestor of Defoe, and classed 
"wretched Withers" with " Ward and Gildon." 

For nearly a century thereafter he was forgotten. 
Johnson, while dilating on Sir John Denham, does 
not even mention Wither, and the anthologists of 
that period neglected him entirely. 

As the eighteenth century drew to its close, how 
ever, interest in Wither was revived. Bishop Percy 
printed the famous " Shall I wasting in despair" and 
a passage from Fair Virtue in his Reliques. Alex 
ander Dalrymple collected Wither's works, many of 
those now in the British Museum contain his manu 
script annotations, and issued Extracts from Juve 
nilia; and Ellis included him in Specimens of Early 
English Poetry. Thomas Park compiled an elaborate 
bibliography, which Sir Egerton Brydges printed in 
the British Bibliographer ; the latter also wrote a 
life of Wither for the same publication, and printed 
various extracts. But the most interesting period 
came when three friends combined to exploit the 
long-suppressed poems. These were Charles Lamb, 
John Matthew Gutch, and James Brook Pulham. 

In September 1805, Lamb wrote to Wordsworth, 
enclosing the manuscript of A Farewell to Tobacco ; 
"the ' Tobacco' being a little in the way of Wither 
(whom Southey so much likes), perhaps you will 
convey it to him with my kind remembrances." 
Whether Southey introduced Lamb to Wither's 


poetry, or vice versd, I do not know. But the effect 
of Wither upon Lamb is conspicuous in the latter's 
versification, where the heptasyllabic line is common. 
Southey spoke later (in the article on John Taylor 
the Water-poet in Lives of Uneducated Poets] of the 
"pedestrian strain" of Wither, and discovered in 
him, "when in his saner mind and better mood, a 
felicity of expression, a tenderness of feeling, and an 
elevation of mind, far above the Water-poet's pitch." 

Gutch says that his attention was first directed to 
Wither in 1809, and that subsequently Wither be 
came his "very great favourite poet." By 1810, 
Gutch had reprinted the Juvenilia and sent the proof- 
sheets, interleaved with thin paper, to Lamb. Lamb, 
in thanking him, said, " I never saw Philarete before 
judge of my pleasure. I could not forbear scrib 
bling certain critiques in pencil on the blank leaves " 
(Letter to J. M. Gutch, April 9, 1810). The anno 
tated proofs were then sent by Gutch to Dr. Nott, 
the editor of Surrey and Wyatt, who kindly com 
mentated Wither and Lamb. Again they were sent 
to Lamb, who annotated Dr. Nott's superfluous and 
fatuous commentary without neglecting the oppor 
tunities for punning afforded by the doctor's name. 
The precious book was then given to James Brook 
Pulham ; eventually it reached the hands of Mr. A. 
C. Swinburne, who has described it in an amusing 
and interesting paper, originally in the Nineteenth 
Century, now reprinted in his Miscellanies. 

Gutch's reprint, however, was never published. In 
1857 he explained the reason in a letter to Edward 


Farr, who was then engaged on editing the Halelujah 
(see Athenaum, April 17, 1858). "I wrote," says 
Gutch, " a life of the poet much upon the same plan 
as Mr. Willmott's. When I quitted Bristol, I left in 
the warehouse the sheets of all that I had printed, but 
on my inspection of the parcels, I found that many 
sheets had been either purloined or eaten by mice, 
so that if I had not preserved for my own private 
library sheets of all, I could not have made a perfect 
copy. This I have done, and it is the only one in 
existence." A few imperfect copies, however, were 
reconstructed out of the odd sheets, which were sold 
for waste-paper. The notes contain in embryo nearly 
the whole of the essay subsequently issued by Charles 
Lamb in his Works in 1818. Pulham, besides issuing 
a small reprint of commendatory verses on Wither, 
elaborately traced several of the rarer tracts from his 
pen, and also annotated them. 

Between 1871 and 1882 the Spenser Society of 
Manchester reprinted nearly the whole of Wither's 
works. For a reprint of the Juvenilia one might 
always be grateful, in spite of its being a typographical 
reproduction of the old spelling, punctuation, mis 
prints, etc. But nearly all the rest of Wither's many 
publications have so little interest for any but the 
curious historian, that it is difficult to see why they 
were not allowed to remain stored in the library. 

Few would care to supplement the criticism of 
Lamb on any subject. But Lamb's knowledge of 
Wither's works was confined, it seems, to Fair Virtue, 
the Motto, the Shepherd's Hunting, and Abuses Stript 


and Whipt. A reading of Fidelia would not have 
altered his final judgment ; but had he known, say, 
Vox Pacifica, a Stiddain Flash y Prosopopoeia Britan- 
nica, and the like, I fear it would have crushed much 
of his enthusiasm. 

It is impossible to deny that Wither's chief fault 
was scribendi cacoethes ; he never had the greatest art, 
the art to blot. Much could be cut out of every one 
of his poems without detracting from its intrinsic 
literary value ; and it is in that point that he fails to 
reach the level of the highest poetry. This prolixity 
is not actively objectionable in the early poems, but 
later it became the chief and abiding fault. Like 
Dryden's "Doeg," Elkanah Settle, 

" He was too warm on picking-work to dwell ; 
He faggoted his notions as they fell, 
And if they rhymed and rattled, all was well." 

Yet he wrote under hard conditions. Though -^ 
never, as he says, " absolutely for or against a King -^r 
or Commonwealth," he was badly treated by both. 
Poverty constantly assailed him, in spite of periods 
of affluence ; and sums of money promised him by 
Parliament were never paid. 

He has often been called a Puritan, but he was 
neitfier that nor a Laudian. In his religion, what 
ever class-name be assigned thereto, he was always 
sincere : so also in his politics, he assumed a position 
intermediate between the Parliamentarians and the 
Royalists, pleasing neither for long, eventually offend 
ing both ; until at the end of his life his name was the 
synonym for a prosing preacher, imperturbably persist- 


ent, notoriously ineffectual. His watchword, in the 
^leven different governments under which he lived, 
as he himself says, was ever against the tyranny of 
King or Parliament. In youth he supported the 
monarchy, and satirized its attendant circumstances ; 
in age he admired Cromwell, and at the same time 
"declared unto him those truths "which had been 
better left unspoken. 

His was a peculiarly irritating character ; in less 
troublous times he might have been great ; but a sense 
of self-importance led him to employ upon political 
and religious matters a power which would have 
carried him far, had he been content to use it simply 
for pure literature. But he would not take advice ; 
he was independent, and would follow his own line. 
"Nee habeo, nee careo, nee euro" "What care 
I ? " Yet of what he left, some is immortal, and for 
that we can be but grateful. 


Of these there are at least five. The best, accord 
ing to Granger, is that by John Payne, in the folio 
Emblems (1634-5). It is certainly the largest head ; 
the engraved surface is about six inches by seven and 
a half. Willmott prefixed a bad reproduction of it 
to his Lives of Sacred Poets. The legend round it 
is "Effigies Georgii Witheri Poetae." Folio. (See 
Frontispiece. ) 

The commonest portrait is that by William Holle 
(or Hole), originally prefixed to Abuses Stript and 


Whipt. It is an oval portrait ; round it are the words 
"I grow and wither both together. G.W. an setatis 
suse 21. 1611." Below are six lines of verse, signed 
"Sr. T. I." and a Latin elegiac couplet by "J.M." 
It was reproduced by Sir Egerton Brydges and the 
Spenser Society, and re-engraved by W. J. Alais for 
Edward Farr's editions. Octavo. 

Another is Roger Daniell's rare portrait, which was 
re-engraved by James Brook Pulham and issued by 
him privately in 1827, and in a published fragment in 
1834. Also an oval portrait ; above, Wither's motto; 
legend, " Viva Effigies Clarissimi Poetse Georgii 
Wither;" six doggerel lines beneath. Quarto. 

A fourth portrait is in Fragmenta Prophetica (1669). 
It represents Wither in armour, crowned with bays, 
facing to the right; legend, "Vera Effigies Georgei 
Wither Armiger Qui Obiit An 1667. ^Etat. Su. 
79 ; " six lines of verse below. Octavo. 

The Delaram portrait is in the Preparation to the 
Psalter (1619). Folio. 

A portrait in oils by Cornelius Jansen was sold at 
Gutch's sale in 1858 by Sotheby. 


[1611. ABUSES STRIPT AND WHIPT. Probably sup 
pressed : no copy known. See Introduction, 
p. xxiii]. 



DEATH : | With \ [picture of the funeral pro- 
cession] | A supposed Inter-loc^^t^on betweene the 
\ Ghost of Prince Henrie and Great | Brittaine. | 
By George Wyther. \ LONDON, | Printed by 
Ed. Allde, for Arthur lohnson, at the white | 
Horse neere unto the great North-doore of j 
Saint Paul. 1612. 

4to. Reprinted 1617, and in Juvenilia 1622 
and 1633. 



and Mightie Prince FREDERICK the | fifth t Count 
Palatine of the Rhein, Duke \ of Bauier, &c. | 

BETH, SOLE | Daughter to our dread Soueraigne, 
IAMES, by | the grace of God King of Great 
Britainc, \ France and Ireland, defender | of the 
HALL | the fourteenth of Februarie, | 1612. | 
Written by GEORGE WITHER. | [Device.] | AT 
LONDON, I Imprinted for Ed-ward Mar chant, 
and are to be sold | at his shop ouer against the 
Crosse in Pauls Church- | yeard. 1612. 

4to. Reprinted in the Workes 1620, and in 
Jiivenilia 1622 and 1633. 

| SATIRICAL ESSAIES, | Divided into two Bookes. 
| Also the Scourge. EPIGRAMS. | By GEORGE 
WITHER. | IToAAo/cal rol /col uwpbs avijp Ka.ra.Ka.}- 


. | Despise not this what ere I seeme in 
show, \ A foole to purpose speakes sometime you 
know. | [Burton's monogram.] | At London, | 
Printed by G. ELD, for FRANCIS | BVRTON, and 
are to be sold at his | shop in Pauls Churchyard, 
at the \ signe of the Green- Dragon. \ 1613. 

8vo. This is noted as the "first edition" in 
the copies in the Bodleian and British Museum 
(press-mark, 11623. aa - 44)- Ifc ma 7 be dis 
tinguished on the title-page by the spelling of 
the words "Essaies"and "Wither" both with 
"i" ; the other title-pages spell both with "y." 
There are four different 1613 editions in the British 
Museum, and a fifth in the Dyce Library, irre 
spective of title-pages. Some copies have a second 
title-page to Book 2. 

It was reprinted in 1614, 1615, 1617, and in 
Juvenilia, 1622 and 1633. 

| GEORGE WITHER, | Gentleman. | Rebus in 
aduersis Crescit. | [Device.] | LONDON \ Print 
ed for GEORGE NORTON | and are to be solde 
at the signe of | the red-Bull, neere Temple- 
barre. | 1614. 

Small 8vo. For "dedicated" some title-pages 
give "written." Reprinted 1615, 1616, in the 
Workes 1620 and in. Juvenilia, 1622 and 1633. 

1614. [Bound with William Browne's Shepherd's 


VOL. I. d 


M r WITHER | and M r DAVIES. | [Device.] | 
LONDON | Printed by N.O. for G, Norton | 

The second of these, "Thirsis and Alexis," 
afterwards appeared as Eclogue V. in the 
Shepherd's Hunting. 

GEORGE WITHER. | Dedicated to his truely 
louing | and worthy friend, M r | W. BROWNE. | 
[Device.] | LONDON | Printed for George 
Norton \ 1614. 

This afterwards became Eclogue IV. in the 
Shepherd's Hunting. 

1615. Fidelia. | [Device.] | LONDON | Printed by 

This is the privately-printed edition, of which 
only one copy is known. The unique copy is 
in the Bodleian Library, and perhaps deserves a 
short description. It is a thin volume, small 
I2mo., now bound in green morocco; but at 
the end are preserved the original vellum slip 
covers, on the exterior of which gold tooling is 
still faintly discernible. The insides of these, as 
well as the fly-leaves, are covered in contempor 
ary handwriting, which consists, where legible, 
of poetry written as prose, e.g. "but fate must 
unresisted stand, oh who can it oppose, necessity 
is a tyrant, & no meame in mischief knows ; 
else might my fairer love and I unsevered live, 
till one did die." [This is from Epigram 19 in 
Thomas Beedome's Poems Divine and Humane, 


164 1], On the verso of the title fly-leaf is written 
the name " Anthony Shepard." The pages of 
the text itself are now carefully covered with 
thin transparent material. Two pages have been 
misplaced in rebinding. There is a long intro 

Apparently it was first recorded by W. T 
Arnold in his article on Wither in T. H. Ward's 
English Poets. It was reprinted, with errors, in 
vol. vi. of Arber's English Garner, 1883. 
1615. THE | SHEPHERDS | Hunting: \ Being, | 
CERTAINE EGLOGS | written during the time 
of the | Authors Imprisonment in the J Marshal- 
sey. | B Y \ GEORGE WITHER, | Gentleman. | 
[Device.] | LONDON: \ Printed by THOMAS 
SNODHAM | for George Norton, and are to be 
sold | at the signe of the red-Bull, neere | 
Temple-barre. 1615. 

8vo. Another edition was issued in the same 
year with the same title-page. A third was 
printed by " W. White for George Norton," and 
bound up with Abuses Stript and Whipt and A 
Satyre to the King, both of 1615. It was re 
printed in the Workes 1620, in Juvenilia 1622 
and 1633 ; by Sir Egerton Brydgesin 1814; and 
by Southey in 1831. 

1617. Fidelia. | Written \ By G. W. of Lin- | 
colnes Inne, j Gentleman. \ [Device.] | LON 
DON, | Printed by NICHOLAS | OKES. 1617. 

I2mo. Hazlitt (Handbook, p. 665) mentions 
two copies, both imperfect, which together would 


make a complete copy. One, wanting 4 pp., is 
in the Bodleian. Lowndes mentions that one was 
in Sir M. Sykes' library. Reprinted, " newly 
corrected and augmented" 1619, in the Workes 
1620, in Juvenilia 1622 and 1633, and by Sir 
Egerton Brydges in 1815. 




v and Poems. 

Whereunto is annexed a Pa- | raphrase on the 
Creed and the | Lords Prayer. | LONDON, \ 
Printed by John Beale for Thomas Walkley, and 
are to | be sold at his shop at the Eagle and 
Child in | Brittanes Burse. 1620. 

8vo. It contains A Satyre to the King, Epitha- 
lamia, The Shepherds Pipe, Other Eglogues (only 
those by Brooke and Davies), The Shepherd's 
Hunting, and Fidelia. 

A pirated edition, disclaimed by Wither. It is 
carelessly printed. 

1621. (a) WITHER' S | MOTTO. | Nee habeo, nee 
Careo, nee Curo. \ Anno Domini. \ CIDIDXXI. 

(b) Engraved title-page : WI TH ER'S 
MOTTO. | Nee habeo, nee Careo, nee Curo." 
in a scroll at the head of the page ; in the left- 
hand bottom corner, " R.E. sculpsit." 


[Both these books are otherwise identical. 
Later editions of the same year have the en 
graved title-page alone, with this addition in 
serted at the foot of the engraving itself 
LONDON printed for lohn Marriott 1621.] 

8vo. Reprinted in Juvenilia 1622 and 1633, 
also by Sir PIgerton Brydges in Restituta, vol. i. 
p. 166, and at Birmingham in 1814. 
OF | PHW ARETE. \ Written by | GEO : 
WITHER. | Catul. Carm. xv. | nihilveremur \ 
IstoSy qui in platea, modo hue, modo illuc \ In re 
pretereunt sua occupati. \ LONDON, | Printed for 
lohn Grismand. \ CiD.lOC.xxil. 

8vo. A variation gives *' himself e" instead of 
Wither's name. Issued the same year bound with 
Juvenilia 1622 ; few copies now to be found are 
so complete. Reprinted in Jiivenilia 1633, by Sir 
Egerton Brydges in 1818, and in vol. iv. of 
Arber's English Garner, 1882. 
1622. Engraved title-page: | IVVENILIA. | A| 
Collection | of those | POEMES | which -were \ 
heretofore imprin- \ ted, and written by \ George 

[LONDON, printed for John Budge, in Paul's 
Churchyard at the sign of the green dragon, 1622. 

LONDON, printed for Robert Allott, in Paul's 
Churchyard at the sign of the greyhound, 1626 
(remainders of 1622 with a new date and name). 

LONDON, printed for Robert Allott, at the 
bear in Paul's Churchyard, 1633.] 


Note. The complete Juvenilia^ both of 1622 and 
1633, should contain the following, in order : 

To the Reader. 

Abuses Stript and Whipt. 

The Scourge. 


Prince Henries Obsequies. 

Satyre to the King. 


The Shepherd's Hunting. 

Fidelia (dated 1632 in the 1633 Juvenilia"). 

Metrical Paraphrase upon the Creed. 

,, ,, the Lord's Prayer. 

Wither's Motto (engraved title-page). 

Fair Virtue, or the Mistress of Philarete. 

A Miscellany of Epigrams, etc. 

The Stationer's Postscript. 

A complete 1622 Juvenilia is in the British Museum 
(press-mark 1076. c. 20), and a complete copy of 
the 1633 edition is in the Dyce Library. Some 
copies of the 1622 do not contain Fair Virtue, 
some have neither that nor the Motto. 


1765. Percy. Reliques of Ancient Poetry. 
1785. Dalrymple. Extracts from Juvenilia. 
1790. Ellis. Specimens of Early English Poetry. 

1814. Motto reprinted at Birmingham. 
,, Brydges. Shepherd's Hunting. 

1815. Select Lyrical Poems. 


1815. Brydges. Fidelia. 
,, ,, Hymns and Songs of the Church. 

1818. ,, Fair Virtue. 

1819. S\anford. Works of the British Poets, vol. 5. 

(Extracts. ) 

1820. Gutch. Juvenilia, etc., [not published]. 3 

vols. (or 4?) 
1827. Brook Pulham. Three commendatory poems 

by Wither, and a portrait redrawn 

from Daniell's by Pulham. 
1831. Southey. Select Works of British Poets. (The 

Shepherd's Hunting.) 
1846. Havergal. Selections from the Hymns and 

Songs of the CJmrch. Printed at 


1856. Farr. Hymns and Songs of the Church. 

1857. ,, Halelujah. 

l8 . 71 \ Spenser Society, Manchester. Works, nearly 
.88 2 J entire ' 

1882. Arber. English Garner, vol. iv. (Fair 


1883. Arber. English Garner^ vol. vi. (Fidelia}. 
1891. Morley. Companion Poets, vol. iii. (Selections). 

Besides introductions, etc., in the foregoing editions 

and reprints, the- following books, etc., will be found 

useful to the student of Wither's life and writings. 

General: Calendars of State and Clarendon 

Papers, Court and Times of James I. and 

Charles I., Historical MSS. Commission 


Reports, Hunter's Chorus Vatum (in the 
British Museum Addit. MSS., No. 24491, fol. 
49 et sqq. ), Journals of the House of Commons, 
Rymer's Fce.dera, Notes and Queries, passim. 
Special: William Winstanley's Lives of English 
Poets, 1687 ; John Aubrey's Brief Lives, ed. 
Andrew Clark, 1898; Anthony-a- Wood's 
Athena Oxonienses, 1721 ; article by Octavius 
Gilchrist in the Gentleman! s Magazine, vol. 
70, 1797 ; Beloe's Anecdotes of Literature and 
Scarce Books (1807-12), vol. 2, pp. 419 et 
sqq. ; Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges' Censura 
Literaria (1805-1809), esp.vols. 5, 6, 8, and 

10 ; his British Bibliographer (1810), vol. I, 
life by Brydges, p. I et sqq. ; bibliography by 
Thomas Park, pp. 179, 305, 417 ; vol. 2, pp. 
17, 28, and 378 ; William Hazlitt the elder's 
Lectures on the English Poets (1818) j Charles 
Lamb's Essay on the Poetical Works of George 
Wither (1818), and notes in Ainger's edition; 
Robert Aris Willmott's Lives of Sacred Poets, 
series I (1834), a long and excellent biography 
and criticism ; Thomas Corser's Collectanea 
Anglo-Poetica (1860-1883), esp. parts 3 and 

1 1 ; Mr. A. C. Swinburne's George Wither 
and Charles Lamb in Miscellanies (1886); 
Dean G. W. Kitchin's Manor of Manydown 
(Hampshire Record Society, 1895) ; Mr. Sid 
ney Lee's article in the Dictionary of National 
Biography, vol. 62. (1900), an admirable 

of tlioie - 


ore impn 
teianawrttten by 
(Jeorge wittier 

TITLE-PAGE TO Juvenilia, 1622. 



Hunting : 



written during the time of the 

Authors Imprisonment in the 

Mar shah ey. 







for George Norton, and are to be sold 
at the signe of the red-Bull, neere 
Temple-bar re. 1615. 


1615 (a) [= Brit. Museum. 1076. c. 10] has the signature at the 
end of the address "To the Reader" spelled " Geo. 
Wyther." The B. M. copy belonged to Dalrymple, 
and contains an autograph note, " Same edition as in 
Bodleian Library, 1787." 

1615 (3) [= B. M. 238. b. 29. (2), and copy in Dyce Library] 
varies slightly from 1615 (a), but has same title-page. 

Another edition of 1615 was printed by " W. White for George 
Norton" and issued with A buses Stript and Whipt and 
A Satyre to the King. 

1620. In The Workes of Master George Wither, Walkley's 
surreptitious issue. Like the rest of this edition, it is 
carelessly printed. 

1622. In Juvenilia ; revised throughout, and "Philarete" is 
substituted for " Roget." Printed by T[homas] Sfnod- 
ham] for John Budge. 

1633. In Juvenilia; an almost exact reprint of the previous 
Juvenilia. Printed by Richard Badger for Robert 

** The letters S. P. in the collations in the fourth and fifth 
Eclogues refer to the Shepherd's Pipe (1614) where 
these Eclogues first appeared. See Notes thereon. 

To those honoured, noble, and right virtuous 
friends, my visitants in the Marshalsea : 

And to all other my unknown favourers, who 

either privately or publicly wished me 

well in my imprisonment. 

NOBLE friends, you whose virtues made me first in 
love with virtue,, and whose worths made me be 
thought worthy of your loves, I have now at last (you 
see) by God's assistance, and your encouragement, run 
through the purgatory of imprisonment ; and by the 
worthy favour of a just Prince stand free again, with 
out the least touch of dejected baseness. Seeing 
therefore I was grown beyond my hope so fortunate 
(after acknowledgment of my Creator's love, together 
with the unequalled clemency of so gracious a Sove 
reign) I was troubled to think by what means I 
might express my thankfulness to so many well-deserv 
ing friends ; no way I found to my desire, neither 
yet ability to perform when I found it. But at length 
considering with myself what you were that is, such 
who favour honesty for no second reason but because 
you yourselves are good, and aim at no other reward 


but the witness of a sound conscience that you do 
well I found that thankfulness would prove the 
acceptablest present to suit with your dispositions ; 
and that, I imagined, could be no way better ex 
pressed than in manifesting your courtesies, and giving 
consent to your reasonable demands. For the first, I 
confess (with thanks to the Disposer of all things, and 
a true grateful heart towards you) so many were the 
unexpected visitations, and unhoped kindnesses re 
ceived, both from some among you of my acquaintance, 
and many other unknown well-willers of my cause, 
that I was persuaded to entertain a much better con 
ceit of the times than I lately conceived, and assured 
myself that virtue had far more followers than I 

Somewhat it disturbed me to behold our age's 
favourites, whilst they frowned on my honest enter 
prises, to take unto their protections the egregious't fop 
peries : yet much more was my contentment, in that I 
was respected by so many of you, amongst whom there 
are some who can and may as much disesteem these 
as they neglect me : nor could I fear their malice or 
contempt, whilst I enjoyed your favours, who (howso 
ever you are undervalued by fools for a time) shall 
leave unto your posterity so noble a memory, that 
your names shall be reverenced by kings, when many 
of these who now flourish with a show of usurped 
greatness, shall either wear out of being, or, despoiled 
of all their patched reputation, grow contemptible in 
the eyes of their beloved mistress the world. Your 
love it is, that, enabling me with patience to endure 


what is already past, hath made me also careful better 
to prepare myself for all future misadventures, by 
bringing to my consideration, what the passion of my 
just discontentments had almost quite banished from 
my remembrance. 

Further, to declare my thankfulness, in making 
apparent my willing mind to be commanded in any 
services of love which you shall think fit, though I 
want ability to perform great matters, yet I have 
according to some of your requests been contented to 
give way to the printing of these eclogues ; which though 
it to many seem a slight matter, yet being well con 
sidered of, may prove a strong argument of my readi 
ness to give you content in a greater matter : for they 
being (as you well know) begotten with little care, and 
preserved with less respect, gave sufficient evidence 
that I meant (rather than any way to deceive your trust) 
to give the world occasion of calling my discretion in 
question, as I now assure myself this will : and the 
sooner, because such expectations, I perceive, there 
are of I know not what inventions, as would have 
been frustrated, though I had employed the utmost 
and very best of my endeavours. 

Notwithstanding, for your sakes I have here adven 
tured once again to make trial oFthe world's censures: 
and what hath received being from your loves, I here 
re-dedicated to your worths, which if your noble dis 
positions will like well of, or if you will but reason 
ably respect what yourselves drew me unto, I shall be 
nothing displeased at others' cavils, but resting myself 
contented with your good opinions, scorn all the 


rabble of uncharitable detractors : for none, I know, 
will malign it, except those, who either particularly 
malice my person, or profess themselves enemies to 
my former books ; who (saving those that were in 
censed on others' speeches) as divers of you according 
to your protestations have observed, are either open 
enemies of our Church, men notoriously guilty of 
some particular abuses therein taxed, such malicious 
critics who have the repute of being judicious, by 
detracting -from others ; or at best, such gulls as 
never approve anything good or learned, but either 
that which their shallow apprehensions can apply to 
the soothing of their own opinions, or what, indeed 
rather, they understand not. 

Trust me, how ill soever it hath been rewarded, my 
love to my country is inviolate : my thankfulness to 
you unfeigned ; my endeavour to do every man good ; 
all my aim, content with honesty : and this my pains, 
if it may be so termed, more to avoid idleness, than 
for affectation of praise : and if notwithstanding all 
this, I must yet not only rest myself content that my 
innocency hath escaped with strict imprisonment (to 
the impairing of my state, and hindrance of my 
fortunes) but also be constrained to see my guiltless 
lines suffer the despite of ill tongues ; yet for my 
further encouragement, let me entreat the continuance 
of your first respect, wherein I shall find that comfort 
as will be sufficient to make me set light and so much 
contemn all the malice of my adversaries, that ready 
to burst with the venom of their own hearts, they 
shall see 


My mind enamoured on fair virtue's light, 
Transcends the limits of their bleared sight, 
And placed above their envy doth contemn, 
Nay, sit and laugh at, their disdain and them. 

But, noble friends, I make question neither of yours 
nor any honest man's respect, and therefore will no 
further urge it, nor trouble your patience : only this 
I'll say, that you may not think me too well conceited 
of myself; though the time were to blame, in ill- 
requiting my honest endeavours, which in the eyes of 
the world deserved better, yet somewhat I am assured 
there was in me worthy that punishment, which when 
God shall give me grace to see and amend, I doubt 
not but to find that regard as will be fitting for so 
much merit as my endeavours may justly challenge. 
^Meanwhile, the better to hold myself in esteem with 
you, and amend the world's opinion of virtue, I will 
study to amend myself, that I may be yet more worthy 
to be called 

Your friend, 





Willy leaves his flock awhile , 
To lament his friend's exile ; 
Where, though prison^ d y he doth find, 
He's still free thafsfree in mind: 
And that there is no defence 
Half so firm as innocence. 


WILLY, thou now full jolly tun'st thy reeds, 
Making the nymphs enamour' d on thy strains, 
And whilst thy harmless flock unscared feeds, 
Hast the contentment of hills, groves, and plains : 

Argument. 1. i. So 1615, etc. ' Flocks,' 1633. 

1. 2. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. read : 

'Visits Roget in exile.' See note. 
1. 5. So 1622, '33. 1615, '20 read 'And in trouble 

no defence.' 

1. 4. 'thy,' for 'the,' is given by 1615 (b) and 1620. 'hills,' 
1615, '20, '22. ' hill,' 1633. 



Trust me, I joy thou and thy Muse so speeds 
In such an age, where so much mischief reigns : 
And to my care it some redress will be, 
Fortune hath so much grace to smile on thee. 


To smile on me? I ne'er yet knew her smile, 
Unless 'twere when she purposed to deceive me ; io 
Many a train, and many a painted wile 
She casts, in hope of freedom to bereave me : 
Yet now, because she sees I scorn her guile 
To fawn on fools, she for my Muse doth leave me. 
And here of late, her wonted spite doth tend 
To work me care, by frowning on my friend. 


Why then I see her copper coin's no starling, 
'Twill not be current still, for all the gilding, 
A knave or fool must ever be her darling, 
For they have minds to all occasions yielding : 20 
If we get anything by all our parling, 
It seems an apple, but it proves a wilding : 
But let that pass : sweet shepherd, tell me this, 
For what beloved friend thy sorrow is ? 


Art thou, Philarete, in durance here, 
And dost thou ask me for what friend I grieve ? 

11. 25, 26. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. read : 

' Wrong me not, Roget ; dost thou suffer here 
And ask me for what friend it is I grieve ? ' 


Can I suppose thy love to me is dear, 

Or this thy joy for my content believe? 

When thou think'st thy cares touch not me as near : 

Or that I pin thy sorrows at my sleeve ? 30 

I have in thee reposed so much trust, 
I never thought to find thee so unjust. 

Why, Willy? 


Prithee do not ask me why. 
Doth it diminish any of thy care, 
That I in freedom maken melody ; 
And think'st I cannot as well somewhat spare 
From my delight, to moan thy misery ? 
'Tis time our loves should these suspects forbear : 
Thou art that friend, which thou unnamed should' st 

And not have drawn my love in question so. 40 


Forgive me, and I'll pardon thy mistake, 
And so let this thy gentle anger cease ; 
I never of thy love will question make 
Whilst that the number of our days increase, 
Yet to myself I much might seem to take, 
And something near unto presumption prease, 

1. 31. So 1622, '33. 1615, ' Roget, my faith in thee hath had 
that trust.' So also 1620, with ' such ' for ' that.' 

1.33. So 1615. 1620, 'Why, Willy, Willy: Prithee...' 
1622, ' Wil, why Willy? Prithee . . .' ^33, ' Philarete. Why? 
Willy. Prithee . . .' So Brydges. 


To think me worthy love from such a spirit, 
But that I know thy kindness past my merit. 

Besides, methought thou spak'st now of a friend, 
That seem'd more grievous discontents to bear, 50 
Some things I find that do in show offend, 
Which to my patience little trouble are, 
And they ere long I hope will have an end ; 
Or though they have not, much I do not care : 

So this it was made me that question move. 

And not suspect of honest Willy's love. 


Alas, thou art exiled from thy flock, 
And, quite beyond the deserts here confined, 
Hast nothing to converse with but a rock, 
Or at least outlaws in their caves half pined : 60 
And dost thou at thy own misfortune mock, 
Making thyself too to thyself unkind ? 

When heretofore we talk'd we did embrace ; 

But now I scarce can come to see thy face. 


Yet all that, Willy, is not worth thy sorrow, 
For I have mirth here thou would'st not believe ; 
From deepest cares the highest joys I borrow. 
If ought chance out this day may make me grieve, 
I'll learn to mend, or scorn it by to-morrow. 
This barren place yields somewhat to relieve : 70 
For, I have found sufficient to content me, 
And more true bliss than ever freedom lent me. 


Are prisons then grown places of delight ? 


'Tis as the conscience of the prisoner is ; 
The very grates are able to affright 
The guilty man, that knows his deeds amiss ; 
All outward pleasures are exiled quite, 
And it is nothing (of itself) but this : 

Abhorred loneness, darkness, sadness, pains 
Numb cold, sharp hunger, scorching thirst, and 
chains. 80 

And these are nothing ? 


Nothing yet to me. 

Only my friends' restraint is all my pain. 
And since I truly find my conscience free, 
From that my loneness too I reap some gain. 


But grant in this no discontentment be, 

It doth thy wished liberty restrain : 

And to thy soul I think there's nothing nearer, 
For I could never hear thee prize ought dearer. 


True, I did ever set it at a rate 
Too dear for any mortal's worth to buy, 90 


'Tis not our greatest shepherd's whole estate 

Shall purchase from me my least liberty : 

But I am subject to the powers of fate, 

And to obey them is no slavery : 
They may do much, but when they have done all, 
Only my body they may bring in thrall. 

And 'tis not that, my Willy, 'tis my mind ; 
My mind's more precious freedom I so weigh, 
A thousand ways they may my body bind 
In thousand thralls, but ne'er my mind betray : zoo 
And thence it is that I contentment find, 
And bear with patience this my load away : 
I'm still myself, and that I'd rather be, 
Than to be lord of all these downs in fee. 


Nobly resolved, and I do joy to hear 't, 
For 'tis the mind of man indeed that's all ; 
There's nought so hard but a brave heart will bear 't ; 
The guiltless men count great afflictions small, 
They'll look on death and torment, yet not fear ; t, 
Because they know 'tis rising so to fall : 1 10 

Tyrants may boast they to much power are born, 
Yet he hath more than tyrannies can scorn. 


'Tis right, but I no tyrannies endure, 

Nor have I suffered ought worth name of care. 



Whate'er thou'lt call 't, thou may'st, but I am sure, 
Many more pine that much less pained are : 
Thy look methinks doth say thy meaning's pure 
And by this past I find what thou dost dare : 
But I could never yet the reason know, 
Why thou art lodged in this house of woe. 120 


Nor I, by Pan, nor never hope to do, 
But thus it pleases some ; and I do guess 
Partly a cause that moves them thereunto, 
Which neither will avail me to express, 
Nor thee to hear, and therefore let it go ; 
We must not say, they do so that oppress : 
Yet I shall ne'er, to soothe them or the times, 
Injure myself by bearing others' crimes. 


Then now thou may'st speak freely, there's none hears, 
But he, whom I do hope thou dost not doubt. 130 


True : but if doors and walls have gotten ears, 
And closet-whisperings may be spread about, 
Do not blame him that in such causes fears 
W 7 hat in his passion he may blunder out, 

In such a place, and such strict times as these, 
Where what we speak is took as others please. 


But yet to-morrow, if thou come this way, 

I'll tell thee all my story to the end ; 

'Tis long, and now I fear thou canst not stay, 

Because thy flock must watered be and penned, 140 

And night begins to muffle up the day, 

Which to inform thee how alone I spend, 

I'll only sing a sorry prisoner's lay 

I framed this morn, which though it suits not fields, 
Is such as fits me, and sad thraldom yields. 


Well, I will set my kit another string, 
And play unto it whilst that thou dost sing. 



Now that my body dead-alive, 
Bereaved of comfort, lies in thrall, 
Do thou, my soul, begin to thrive, 150 

And unto honey turn this gall ; 

So shall we both through outward woe, 

The way to inward comfort know. 

As to the flesh we food do give, 
To keep in us this^nortal breath : 

1.144. 801615. Later eds. 'no.' 

1. 154, 5. So 1622, '33. 1615 (a) 1620 : ^ 

' For as that food my flesh I give, 
Doth keep me in this . . .' 
1615 (b), ' Doth keep in me this . . .' 


So souls on meditations live 

And shun thereby immortal death ; 
Nor art thou ever nearer rest, 
Than when thou find'st me most opprest. 

First think, my soul, if I have foes 160 

That take a pleasure in my care, 
And to procure these outward woes, 
Have thus entrapped me unaware ; 

Thou should'st by much more careful be. 

Since greater foes lay wait for thee. 

Then when mew'd up in grates of steel, 
Minding those joys mine eyes do miss, 
Thou find'st no torment thou dost feel, 
So grievous as privation is ; 

Muse how the damn'd, in flames that glow, 170 

Pine in the loss of bliss they know. 

Thou seest there's given so great might 

To some that are but clay as I ; 

Their very anger can affright, 

Which, if in any thou espy, 

Thus think ; if mortals' frowns strike fear, 
How dreadful will God's wrath appear ? 

By my late hopes that now are crost, 

Consider those that firmer be : 

And make the freedom I have lost, 180 

A means that may remember thee : 
Had Christ not thy redeemer bin, 
What horrid thrall thou had'st been in. 

VOL. I. 2 


These iron chains, these bolts of steel, 
Which other poor offenders grind, 
The wants and cares which they do feel, 
May bring some greater thing to mind ; 

For by their grief thou shalt do well, 

To think upon the pains of hell. 

Or, when through me thou seest a man 190 

Condemn'd unto a mortal death, 

How sad he looks, how pale, how wan, 

Drawing with fear his panting breath ; 

Think, if in that such grief thou see, 

How sad will ' Go, ye cursed,' be. 

Again, when he that fear'd to die 

Past hope doth see his pardon brought, 

Read but the joy that's in his eye, 

And then convey it to thy thought ; 

There think, betwixt thy heart and thee, 200 

How sweet will ' Come, ye blessed,' be. 

Thus if thou do, though closed here, 
My bondage I shall deem the less, 
I neither shall have cause to fear, 
Nor yet bewail my sad distress ; 

For whether live, or pine, or die, 

We shall have bliss eternally. 


Trust me I see the cage doth some birds good, 
And, if they do not suffer too much wrong, 

L 184. So 1622, '33. ' the bolts,' 1615, '20. 


Will teach them sweeter descants than the wood: 210 
Believe 't, I like the subject of thy song, 
It shows thou art in no distempered mood : 
But 'cause to hear the residue I long, 
My sheep to-morrow I will nearer bring, 
And spend the day to hear thee talk and sing. 

Yet ere we part, Philarete, arede, 

Of whom thou learn'dst to make such songs as these, 

I never yet heard any shepherd's reed 

Tune in mishap a strain that more could please ; 

Surely thou dost invoke at this thy need 220 

Some power that we neglect in other lays : 

For here's a name and words that but few swains 
Have mention'd at their meeting on the plains. 


Indeed 'tis true ; and they are sore to blame, 
They do so much neglect it in their songs, 
For thence proceedeth such a worthy fame, 
As is not subject unto envy's wrongs : 
That is the most to be respected name 
Of our true Pan, whose worth sits on all tongues ; 

And the most ancient shepherds use to praise 230 

In sacred anthems, sung on holy days. 

He that first taught his music such a strain 
Was that sweet shepherd, who, until a king, 

1. 216. Early eds. '. . . Roget, to me areed.' 

1.230. 801615, >2 - Eds. 1622, '33 read 'And what the 
ancient . . .' 

1. 231. So 1615, '20. Eds. 1622, "33 read ' . . . anthems upon 
holy days.' 


Kept sheep upon the honey-milky plain, 

That is enrich'd by Jordan's watering ; 

He in his troubles eased the body's pain 

By measures raised to the soul's ravishing : 
And his sweet numbers only most divine 
Gave the first being to this song of mine. 


Let his good spirit ever with thee dwell, 240 

That I might hear such music every day. 


Thanks, swains : but hark, thy wether rings his bell. 
And, swains, to fold, or homeward drive away. 


And yon goes Cuddy ; therefore fare thou well ; 
I'll make his sheep for me a little stay ; 
And, if thou think it fit, I'll bring him too 
Next morning hither. 

Prithee, Willy, do. 

1. 236. So 1633. Earlier eds. ' pains.' 

1. 239. So 1615, '20. Eds. 1622, '33 read 'Gave first the 

1. 242, 3. So 1622, '33. Eds. 1615, "20 read : 

' Thanks ; but would now it pleased thee to play. 
Yet sure 'tis late ; thy wether . . .' 




Ctiddy here relates, how all 
Pity Philaretfs thrall; 
Who, req^lested> doth relate 
The true cause of his estate ; 
Which broke off, because 'twas long^ 
They begin a three-man song. 



Lo, Philaret, thy old friend here, and I, 
Are come to visit thee in these thy bands, 
Whilst both our flocks in an enclosure by 
Do pick the thin grass from the fallowed lands. 
He tells me thy restraint of liberty 
Each one throughout the country understands, 
And there is not a gentle-natured lad 
On all these downs, but for thy sake is sad. 

Argument. 11. i, 2. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. read : 
' Cuddy tells how all the swains 
Pity Roget on the plains.' 

1. 6. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. ' three-mans song. 
1. i. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. 'Roget, thy old friend 
Cuddy here and I." 



Not thy acquaintance and thy friends alone 
Pity thy close restraint, as friends should do, 10 
But some, that have but seen thee, for thee moan ; 
Yea, many that did never see thee too. 
Some deem thee in a fault, and most in none ; 
So divers ways do divers rumours go ; 
And at all meetings where our shepherds be, 
Now the main news that's extant is of thee. 


Why, this is somewhat yet : had I but kept 

Sheep on the mountains till the day of doom, 

My name should in obscurity have slept 

In brakes, in briars, shrubbed furze and broom ; 20 

Into the world's wide ear it had not crept, 

Nor in so many men's thoughts found a room : 

But what cause of my suffering do they know ? 

Good Cuddy, tell me, how doth rumour go? 


Faith, 'tis uncertain ; some speak this, some that : 
Some dare say nought, yet seem to think a cause, 
And many a one, prating he knows not what, 
Comes out with proverbs and old ancient saws, 
As if he thought thee guiltless, and yet not : 
Then doth he speak half sentences, then pause : 30 

That what the most would say, we may suppose; 

But what to say the rumour is, none knows. 



Nor care I greatly, for it skills not much 
What the unsteady common-people deems ; 
His conscience doth not always feel least touch 
That blameless in the sight of others seems : 
My cause is honest, and because 'tis such, 
I hold it so, and not for men's esteems : 

If they speak justly well of me, I'm glad ; 

If falsely evil, it ne'er makes me sad. 4.0 


I like that mind : but, shepherd, you are quite 
Beside the matter that I long to hear : 
Remember what you promised yester-night, 
You'd put us off with other talk, I fear ; 
Thou know'st that honest Cuddy's heart's upright, 
And none but he, except myself, is near : 
Come, therefore, and betwixt us two relate 
The true occasion of thy present state. 


My friends, I will ; you know I am a swain, 
That keep a poor flock on a barren plain : 50 

Who, though it seems I could do nothing less, 
Can make a song, and woo a shepherdess. 

1. 41. ' Shepherd ' substituted in 1622, '33 eds. for the 
' Roget ' of the earlier eds. 
1. 50. So 1633. Other eds. read : 

' That kept a poor flock here upon this plain.' (1615.) 

' That keep,' etc. as 1615. (1620.) 

' That kept a poor flock on a barren plain.' (1622.') 


* And not alone the fairest where I live, 

Have heard me sing, and favours deigned to give : 

But, though I say 't, the noblest nymph of Thame 

Hath graced my verse, unto my greater fame. 

Yet, being young, and not much seeking praise, 

I was not noted out for shepherds' lays 

Nor feeding flocks, as, you know, others be : 

For the delight that most possessed me 60 

Was hunting foxes, wolves, and beasts of prey 

That spoil our folds, and bear our lambs away. 

For this, as also for the love I bear 

Unto my country, I laid by all care 

Of gain, or of preferment, with desire 

Only to keep that state I had entire, 

And like a true-grown huntsman sought to speed 

Myself with hounds of rare and choicest breed, 

Whose names and natures, ere I further go, 

Because you are my friends I'll let you know. 70 

My first-esteemed dog that I did find, 

Was by descent of old Actseon's kind ; 

A brach, which if I do not aim amiss, 

For all the world is just like one of his : 

She's named Love, and scarce yet knows her duty ; 

Her dam's my lady's pretty beagle, Beauty. 

I bred her up myself with wondrous charge, 

Until she grew to be exceeding large, 

And wax'd so wanton, that I did abhor it, 

And put her out amongst my neighbours for it. 80 

1. 59. So 1615 (b), '20, '22, '33. 1615 (a) reads' Nor feeding, 
flockes, yea known as others be.' 


The next is Lust, a hound that's kept abroad 

'Mongst some of mine acquaintance ; but a toad 

Is not more loathsome : 'tis a cur will range 

Extremely, and is ever full of mange : 

And 'cause it is infectious, she's not wont 

To come among the rest, but when they hunt. 

Hate is the third, a hound both deep and long : 

His sire is true, or else supposed, Wrong. 

He'll have a snap at all that pass him by, 

And yet pursues his game most eagerly. 90 

With him goes Envy coupled, a lean cur, 

And yet she'll hold out, hunt we ne'er so far : 

She pineth much, and feedeth little too, 

Yet stands and snarleth at the rest that do. 

Then there's Revenge, a wondrous deep-mouthed 


So fleet I'm fain to hunt him with a clog, 
Yet many times he'll much outstrip his bounds, 
And hunts not closely with the other hounds : 
He'll venture on a lion in his ire : 
Curst Choler was his dam, and Wrong his sire. 100 
Tliis Choler is a brach that's very old, 
And spends her mouth too much to have it hold : 
She's very testy ; an unpleasing cur, 
That bites the very stones, if they but stir : 
Or when that ought but her displeasure moves, 
She'll bite and snap at any one she loves. 
But my quick-scented'st dog is Jealousy ; 
The truest of this breed's in Italy. 
The dam of mine would hardly fill a glove, 
It was a lady's little dog, called Love : 1 10 


The sire, a poor deformed cur, named Fear, 

As shagged and as rough as is a bear : 

And yet the whelp turn'd after neither kind, 

For he is very large, and near-hand blind. 

Far off, he seemeth of a pretty colour, 

But doth not prove so when you view him fuller. 

A vile suspicious beast, whose looks are bad, 

And I do fear in time he will grow mad. 

To him I couple Avarice, still poor, 

Yet she devours as much as twenty more ; 120 

A thousand horse she in her paunch can put, 

Yet whine as if she had an empty gut ; 

And having gorged what might a land have found, 

She'll catch for more, and hide it in the ground. 

Ambition is a hound as greedy full, 

But he for all the daintiest bits doth cull ; 

He scorns to lick up crumbs beneath the table, 

He'll fetch 't from boards and shelves, if he be able ; 

Nay, he can climb, if need be ; and for that 

With him I hunt the marten and the cat : 130 

And yet sometimes in mounting, he's so quick 

He fetches falls are like to break his neck. 

Fear is well-mouthed, but subject to distrust ; 

A stranger cannot make him take a crust : 

A little thing will soon his courage quail, 

And 'twixt his legs he ever claps his tail. 

With him Despair now often coupled goes, 

1. 115. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. ' At the first sight, he hath 
a pretty colour.' 

1. 116. 'prove,' 1622, '33. Earlier eds. 'seem.' 

1. 117. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. 'his looks are bad. 

1. 137. 'Now 1 WAS omitted in 1615 (a) ed. 


Which by his roaring mouth each huntsman knows. 

None hath a better mind unto the game ; 

But he gives off, and always seemeth lame. 140 

My bloodhound Cruelty, as swift as wind, 

Hunts to the death, and never comes behind ; 

Who, but she's strapp'd and muzzled too withal, 

Would eat her fellows and the prey and all. 

And yet she cares not much for any food 

Unless it be the purest harmless blood. 

All these are kept abroad at charge of many ; 
They do not cost me in a year a penny. 
But there's two couple of a middling size, 
That seldom pass the sight of my own eyes. 150 

Hope, on whose head I've laid my life to pawn ; 
Compassion, that on every one will fawn. 
This would, when 'twas a whelp, with rabbits play 
Or lambs, and let them go unhurt away : 
Nay, now she is of growth, she'll now and then 
Catch you a hare, and let her go again. 
The two last, Joy and Sorrow, make me wonder, 
For they can ne'er agree, nor bide asunder. 
Joy's ever wanton, and no order knows, 
She'll run at larks, or stand and bark at crows. 160 
Sorrow goes by her, and ne'er moves his eye : 
Yet both do serve to help make up the cry : 
Then comes behind all these to bear the base, 

1. 151. So 1615 (b), '22, '33. 1615 (a), 1620, ' I've led my 
life to pawn.' 
1. 157, 8. So 1622, '33. 1615 and 1620 read : 

' . . . 'tis a wonder, 
Can ne'er agree, nor ne'er bide far asunder.' 


Two couple more of a far larger race, 

Such wide-mouth'd trollops, that 'twould do you 


To hear their loud-loud echoes tear the wood : 
There's Vanity, who by her gaudy hide 
May far away from all the rest be spied, 
Though huge, yet quick, for she's now here, now 

there ; 

Nay, look about you, and she's everywhere : 170 
Yet ever with the rest, and still in chase, 
Right so, Inconstancy fills every place ; 
And yet so strange a fickle-natured hound, 
Look for her, and she's nowhere to be found. 
Weakness is no fair dog unto the eye, 
And yet she hath her proper quality. 
But there's Presumption ; when he heat hath got, 
He drowns the thunder, and the cannon-shot : 
And when at start he his full roaring makes, 
The earth doth tremble, and the heaven shakes : 180 
These were my dogs, ten couple just in all, 
Whom by the name of Satyrs I do call : 
Mad curs they be, and I can ne'er come nigh them, 
But I'm in danger to be bitten by them. 
Much pains I took, and spent days not a few, 
To make them keep together, and hunt true : 
Which yet I do suppose had never bin, 
But that I had a Scourge to keep them in. 

1. 164. ' Far,' omitted in 1615 (a) ed., first in 1615 (b). 
1. 166. Ed. 1615 (a) reads ' loud land.' 
1. 167. 'Vanity' is masculine throughout in ed. 1615 (a). 
1. 172, 5. ' Inconstancy' and ' Weakness ' are also both mas 
culine in ed. 1615 (a). 


Now when that I this kennel first had got, 

Out of mine own demesnes I hunted not, 190 

Save on these downs, or among yonder rocks, 

After those beasts that spoiled our parish flocks : 

Nor during that time was I ever wont 

With all my kennel in one day to hunt : 

Nor had done yet, but that this other year, 

Some beasts of prey that haunt the deserts here 

Did not alone for many nights together 

Devour, sometime a lamb, sometime a wether, 

And so disquiet many a poor man's herd, 

But that of losing all they were afeared. 200 

Yea, I among the rest did fare as bad, 

Or rather worse ; for the best ewes I had, 

Whose breed should be my means of life and gain, 

Were in one evening by these monsters slain : 

Which mischief I resolved to repay, 

Or else grow desperate and hunt all away. 

For in a fury such as you shall see 

Huntsmen in missing of their sport will be, 

I vowed a monster should not lurk about 

In all this province, but I'd find him out ; 2IO 

And thereupon, without respect or care 

How lame, how full, or how unfit they were, 

In haste unkennell'd all my roaring crew, 

Who were as mad, as if my mind they knew ; 

And ere they trail'd a flight-shot, the fierce curs, 

1. 196. So 1622, "33. Earlier eds. 'haunts.' 

1. 200. So 1615, '20. Other eds. read : 
' But thereof losing all were much afeard.' (1622 and Gutch.) 
'But there of losing all they were afeard.' (1633 and Brydges.) 


Had roused a hart, and through brakes, briars, and 


Follow'd at gaze so close, that Love and Fear 
Got in together, and had surely there 
Quite overthrown him, but that Hope thrust in 
'Twixt both, and saved the pinching of his skin. 220 
Whereby he 'scaped, till coursing overthwart, 
Despair came in, and gripp'd him to the heart. 
I halloed in the res'due to the fall, 
And for an entrance there I flesh'd them all : 
Which having done, I dipp'd my staff in blood, 
And onward led my thunder to the wood ; 
Where what they did, I'll tell you out anon ; 
My keeper calls me, and I must be gone. 
Go, if you please, awhile attend your flocks, 
And when the sun is over yonder rocks, 230 

Come to this cave again, where I will be, 
If that my guardian so much favour me. 
Yet, if you please, let us three sing a strain, 
Before you turn your sheep into the plain. 

I am content. 

As well content am I. 

1. 216. So 1622, '33. 1615 (a), "20, ' Had roused a hart, and 
through brakes and furze,' where 'through' is dissyllabic. It is 
spelled so in 1615 (b). 

1. 218. 'and' 1622, '33. Eds. 1615, '20 read 'so.' 
1. 233, 4. So eds. 1620, '22, "33. Ed. 1615 (a) reads : 
' But ere we part, let each one sing a strain, 
And then go turn your sheep in.o the plain.' 


Then Will begin, and we'll the rest supply. 



SHEPHERD, would these gates were ope ; 
Thou might'st take with us thy fortune. 


No, I'll make this narrow scope, 
Since my fate doth so importune, 240 

Means unto a wider hope. 


Would thy shepherdess were here, 
Who beloved loves thee so dearly. 


Not for both your flocks, I swear, 
And the gain they yield you yearly, 
Would I so much wrong my dear 

Yet to me, nor to this place, 
Would she now be long a stranger . 
She would hold it no disgrace, 
If she fear'd not more my danger, 250 

Where I am to show her face. 

1. 238. Ed. 1622 reads ' fortunes.' 

1. 243. So 1615. Ed. 1620 makes a question of this line ; eds. 
1622, 1633, omit ' thee.' 
1. 249. Ed. 1622 reads ' in disgrace.' 



Shepherd, we would wish no harms, 
But something that might content thee. 


Wish me then within her arms, 
And that wish will ne'er repent me, 
If your wishes might prove charms. 


Be thy prison her embrace, 
Be thy air her sweetest breathing. 


Be thy prospect her sweet face, 
For each look a kiss bequeathing, 260 

And appoint thyself the place. 


Nay pray, hold there, for I should scantly then 
Come meet you here this afternoon again ; 
But fare you well, since wishes have no power, 
Let us depart and keep the pointed hour. 

1. 265. So 1615 '20, and '22. Ed. 1633 reads ' th' appointed,' 
which was printed by Gutch and Brydges. 




Philaret with his three friends ; 
Here his htmting story ends. 
Kind Alexis with much ruth 
Wails the banish 'd shepherd's youth . 
But he slighteth fortune' 's stings, 
And in spite of thraldom sings. 



So, now I see y' are shepherds of your word, 
Thus were you wont to promise, and to do. 


More than our promise is, we can afford ; 
We come ourselves, and bring another too, 
Alexis, whom thou know'st well is no foe, 

Who loves thee much ; and I do know that he 
Would fain a hearer of thy hunting be. 


Alexis, you are welcome, for you know 
You cannot be but welcome where I am ; 

Argument. 1. i. So 1622. '33. Earlier eds. read 'Rogetsel 

with his three friends.' 
VOL. I. 3 


You ever were a friend of mine in show, IO 

And I have found you are indeed the same : 
Upon my first restraint you hither came, 
And proffered me more tokens of your love, 
Than it were fit my small deserts should prove. 


'Tis still your use to underprize your merit ; 
Be not so coy to take my proffered love, 
'Twill neither unbeseem your worth nor spirit. 
To offer court' sy doth thy friend behove : 
And which are so, this is a place to prove. 

Then once again I say, if cause there be, 2C 

First make a trial, if thou please, of me. 


Thanks, good Alexis ; sit down by me here, 
I have a task, these shepherds know, to do ; 
A tale already told this morn well near, 
With which I very fain would forward go, 
And am as willing thou should'st hear it too : 
But thou canst never understand this last, 
Till I have also told thee what is past. 


It shall not need, for I so much presumed, 
I on your mutual friendships might be bold, 30 

That I a freedom to myself assumed 

1. 29-31. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. read : 

' Roget, it shall not need, for I presumed, 
Your loves to each were firm, and was so bold, 
That so much on myself I have assumed . . .' 


To make him know what is already told. 

If I have done amiss, then you may scold. 
But in my telling I prevised this, 
He knew not whose, nor to what end it is. 


Well, now he may, for here my tale goes on : 
My eager dogs and I to wood are gone, 
Where, beating through the coverts, every hound 
A several game had in a moment found : 
I rated them, but they pursued their prey, 40 

And as it fell (by hap) took all one way. 
Then I began with quicker speed to follow, 
And teased them on^with a more cheerful hollo, 
That soon we passed many weary miles, 
Tracing the subtle game through all their wiles. 
These doubled, those redoubled on the scent, 
Still keeping in full chase where'er they went, 
Up hills, down cliffs, through bogs, and over plains, 
Stretching their music to the highest strains. 
That when some thicket hid them from mine eye, 50 
My ear was ravish'd with their melody. 
Nor cross' d we only ditches, hedges, furrows, 
But hamlets, tithings, parishes, and boroughs : 
They followed wheresoe'er the game did go, 
Through kitchen, parlour, hall, and chamber too. 
And, as they pass'd the city, and the court, 
My prince look'd out, and deigned to view my sport ; 

L 38. Eds. 1620, '22 carelessly print ' converts.' 

1. 45. ' their wiles,' 1622, '33. ' these wiles,' 1615, '20. 

1. 46. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. ' they redoubled.' 


Which then, although I suffer for it now, 

If some say true he liking did allow ; 

And so much, had I had but wit to stay, 60 

I might myself perhaps have heard him say. 

But I, that time, as much as any daring, 

More for my pleasure than my safety caring ; 

Seeing fresh game from every covert rise, 

Crossing by thousands still before their eyes, 

After I rush'd, and following close my hounds, 

Some beasts I found lie dead, some full of wounds, 

Among the willows, scarce with strength to move : 

One I found here, another there, whom Love 

Had gripp'd to death : and, in the self-same state, 70 

Lay one devoured by Envy, one by Hate ; 

Lust had bit some, but I soon passed beside them, 

Their fester'd wounds so stunk, none could abide 


Choler hurt divers, but Revenge kill'd more : 
Fear frightened all, behind him and before. 
Despair drave on a huge and mighty heap, 
Forcing some down from rocks and hills to leap, 
Some into water, some into the fire ; 
So on themselves he made them wreak his ire. 
But I remember, as I pass'd that way, 80 

Where the great king and prince of shepherds lay, 
About the walls were hid some, once more known, 
That my fell cur Ambition had o'erthrown : 

1.64. 'covert,' 1622, '33. Eds. 1615, '20 read 'loop-hole.' 
1. 66. So 1615, '20. Eds. 1622, '33 read ' Rush'd in, and then 
following close my hounds.' 

1. 73. 'them' omitted in eds. 1615 (a), '20. 
1.76. Early eds. 'drove.' 


Many I heard, pursued by Pity, cry ; 
And oft I saw my blood-hound, Cruelty, 
Eating her passage even to the heart, 
Whither once gotten, she is loth to part. 
All plied it well, and made so loud a cry, 
'Twas heard beyond the shores of Britany. 
Some rated them, some storm'd, some liked the 
game, 90 

Some thought me worthy praise, some worthy blame. 
But I, not fearing th' one, mis-'steeming t' other, 
Both in shrill hallooes and loud yearnings smother. 
Yea, the strong mettled and my long-breath' d crew, 
Seeing the game increasing in their view, 
Grew the more frolic, and the course's length 
Gave better breath, and added to their strength. 
Which Jove perceiving, for Jove heard their cries 
Rumbling amongst the spheres' concavities, 
He mark'd their course, and courage's increase, IOO 
Saying, 'twere pity such a chase should cease. 
And therewith swore their mouths should never waste, 
But hunt as long 's mortality did last. 
Soon did they feel the power of his great gift, 
And I began to find their pace more swift : 
I follow'd, and I rated, but in vain 
Strived to o'ertake, or take them up again. 
They never stayed since, nor nights nor days, 

1. 88, 9. So 1622, '33. Eds. 1615, '20, read : 
' ... so loud a plea 

'Twas heard through Britain, and beyond the sea.' 
1. 108. So 1622, '33. Ed. 1615 reads 'They never stay'd 
since, neither nights nor days.' Ed. 1620 the same, with 'or' 
for ' nor.' 


But to and fro still run a thousand ways : 

Yea, often to this place where now I lie, no 

They'll wheel about to cheer me with their cry ; 

And one day in good time will vengeance take 

On some offenders, for their master's sake : 

For know, my friends, my freedom in this sort 

For them I lose, and making myself sport. 

Why, was there any harm at all in this ? 

No, Willy, and I hope yet none there is. 

How comes it then? 


Note, and I'll tell thee how. 
Thou know'st that truth and innocency now, 
If placed with meanness, suffers more despite 120 
Than villainies accompanied with might. 
But thus it fell, while that my hounds pursued 
Their noisome prey, and every field lay strew'd 
With monsters, hurt and slain, upon a beast 
More subtle and more noisome than the rest, 

1. 116. So 1622, '33. Early eds. 'Why, Roget, was there 
any harm in this ? ' 

1. 118. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' How comes this then ? ' 
1. 123. 1622, 'laid strewed.' 
1. 124-6. So 1622, '33. Early eds. read : 

'. . . 'mongst many a beast, 
Some viler and more subtle than the rest, 
On whom the bitch called Envy hapt to light.' 


My lean-flank'd bitch, call'd Envy, hapt to light ; 

And, as her wont is, did so surely bite 

That, though she left behind small outward smart, 

The wounds were deep, and rankled to the heart. 

This, joining to some other, that of late 130 

Were very eagerly pursued by Hate, 

To fit their purpose having taken leisure, 

Did thus conspire to work me a displeasure. 

For imitation far surpassing apes, 

They laid aside their fox and wolfish shapes, 

And shrouded in the skins of harmless sheep 

Into by-ways and open paths did creep ; 

Where they, as hardly drawing breath, did lie, 

Showing their wounds to every passer by, 

To make them think that they were sheep so foil'd, 140 

And by my dogs, in their late hunting, spoil'd. 

Beside, some other that envied my game, 

And, for their pastime, kept such monsters tame 

As, you do know, there's many for their pleasure 

Keep foxes, bears, and wolves, as some great treasure 

Yea, many get their living by them too, 

And so did store of these, I speak of, do 

Who, seeing that my kennel had affrighted, 

Or hurt some vermin wherein they delighted, 

And finding their own power by much too weak 150 

Their malice on my innocence to wreak, 

Swoll'n with the deepest rancour of despite 

Some of our greatest shepherds' folds by night 

They closely entered ; and there having stain'd 

1. 128, 9. ' smarts,' ' their hearts,' 1613, '20. 


Their hands in villainy, of me they plain'd 

Affirming, without shame or honesty, 

I and my dogs had done it purposely. 

Whereat they storm'd, and call'd me to a trial, 

Where innocence prevails not, nor denial : 

But for that cause here in this place I lie, 160 

Where none so merry as my dogs and I. 


Believe it, here's a tale will suiten well, 
For shepherds in another age to tell. 


And thou shalt be remember'd with delight 

By this hereafter, many a winter's night ; 

For of this sport another age will ring ; 

Yea, nymphs that are unborn thereof shall sing, 
And not a beauty on our greens shall play 
That hath not heard of this thy hunting day. 


It may be so, for if that gentle swain 1 70 

Who woos by Tavy on the western plain, 
Would make the song, such life his verse can give, 
Then I do know my name might ever live. 


But tell me, are our plains and nymphs forgot, 
And canst thou frolic in thy trouble be ? 

1. 164. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' And Roget shall be thought 
on with delight, For this . . .' 

1. 167. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Yea, nymphs unborn now 
of the same shall sing, When not a beauty . . .' 

1. 169. this ' thy,' 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Roget' s". 



Can I, Alexis, say'st thou ? Can I not, 
That am resolved to scorn more misery ? 


Oh, but thy youth's yet green, and young blood hot, 
And liberty must needs be sweet to thee, 

But now most sweet, whilst every bushy vale 180 
And grove and hill rings of the nightingale. 

Methinks, when thou rememberest those sweet lays 
Which thou would'st lead thy shepherdess to hear 
Each evening-tide among the leafy sprays, 
The thought of that should make thy freedom dear ; 
For now, whilst every nymph on holidays 
Sports with some jolly lad, and maketh cheer, 
Thine sighs for thee, and mew'd up from resort. 
Will neither play herself, nor see their sport. 

Those shepherds that were many a morning wont 190 
Unto their boys to leave the tender herd, 
And bear thee company when thou didst hunt 
Methinks the sport thou hast so gladly shared 
Among those swains should make thee think upon 't, 
For 't seems all vain now, that was once endear'd. 

1. 178. So 1615, '20. Eds. 1622, '33 read 'Oh, but that 

youth's ..." 

1. 184. ' Each evening forth,' 1615, '20. 

1 190. So 1622, '33. 'There's shepherds that. . .' 1615, '20. 
! J 93~S' So 1622, '33. Early eds : 

' Cannot their songs thou hast so gladly heard 
Nor thy missed pleasure make thee think upon 't, 
But seems all vain ..." 


It cannot be, since I could make relation 

How for less cause thou hast been deep in passion. 


'Tis true : my tender heart was ever yet 

Too capable of such conceits as these ; 

I never saw that object, but from it 200 

The passions of my love I could increase. 

Those things which move not other men a whit, 

I can and do make use of, if I please : 
When I am sad, to sadness I apply 
Each bird, and tree, and flower that I pass by. 

So, when I will be merry, I as well 
Something for mirth from everything can draw, 
From misery, from prisons, nay, from hell : 
And as, when to my mind grief gives a flaw, 
Best comforts do but make my woes more fell, 210 
So when I'm bent to mirth, from mischiefs paw, 
Though seized upon me, I would something cull, 
That spite of care should make my joys more full. 

I feel those wants, Alexis, thou dost name, 
Which spite of youth's affections I sustain ; 
Or else, for what is 't I have gotten fame, 
And am more known than many an elder swain, 
If such desires I had not learn'd to tame, 
Since many pipe much better on this plain ? 

But tune your reeds, and I will in a song 220 

Express my care, and how I take this wrong. 



I THAT erstwhile the world's sweet air did draw 
Graced by the fairest ever mortal saw, 
Now closely pent with walls of ruthless stone, 
Consume my days and nights and all alone. * 

When I was wont to sing of shepherds' loves, 

My walks were fields, and downs, and hills, and 

groves : 

But now, alas ! so strict is my hard doom, 
Fields, downs, hills, groves, and all's but one poor 


Each morn, as soon as daylight did appear, 230 

With nature's music birds would charm mine ear ; 
Which now, instead of their melodious strains, 
Hear rattling shackles, gyves, and bolts, and chains. 

But though that all the world's delight forsake me, 
I have a Muse, and she shall music make me ; 
Whose airy notes, in spite of closest cages, 
Shall give content to me, and after ages. 

Nor do I pass for all this outward ill, 

My heart's the same, and undejected still ; 

And, which is more than some in freedom win, 240 

I have true rest, and peace, and joy within. 

And then my mind, that spite of prison's free, 
Whene'er she pleases anywhere can be ; 
She's in an hour in France, Rome, Turkey, Spain, 
In earth, in hell, in heaven, and here again. 


Yet there's another comfort in my woe ; 
My cause is spread, and all the world may know 
My fault's no more but speaking truth and reason ; 
Nor debt, nor theft, nor murder, rape, or treason. 

Nor shay my foes, with all their might and power, 250 
Wipe out their shame, nor yet this fame of our : 
Which when they find, they shall my fate envy, 
Till they grow lean, and sick, and mad, and die. 

Then though my body here in prison rot, 
And my wrong'd satires seem awhile forgot : 
Yet when both fame and life hath left those men, 
My verse and I'll revive, and live again. 

So thus enclosed I bear affliction's load, 
But with more true content than some abroad ; 
For whilst their thoughts do feel my scourge's 
sting, 260 

In bands I'll leap, and dance, and laugh, and sing. 


Why now I see thou droop'st not with thy care, 
Neither exclaim'st thou on thy hunting day, 
But dost with unchanged resolution bear 
The heavy burthen of exile away. 
All that did truly know thee, did conceive 
Thy actions with thy spirit still agreed ; 
Their good conceit thou dost no whit bereave, 
But shew'st that thou art still thyself indeed. 

1. 247. So 1622, '33. ' doth know,' 1615, '20. 

1. 249. So 1615. Other eds. ' No debt . . .' 

1. 255. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' my poor satires.' 


If that thy mind to baseness now descends, 270 
Thou'lt injure virtue, and deceive thy friends. 


Alexis, he will injure virtue much, 
But more his friends, and most of all himself ; 
If on that common bar his mind but touch, 
It wracks his fame upon disgrace's shelf. 
Whereas if thou steer on that happy course, 
Which in thy just adventure is begun, 
No thwarting tide nor adverse blast shall force 
Thy bark without the channel's bounds to run. 
Thou art the same thou wert, for ought I see, 280 
When thou didst freely on the mountains hunt ; 
In nothing changed yet, unless it be 
More merrily disposed than thou wert wont. 
Still keep thee thus, so other men shall know, 
Virtue can give content in midst of woe ; 
And see, though mightiness with frowns doth threat, 
That, to be innocent, is to be great. 
Thrive and farewell. 


In this thy trouble flourish. 
While those that wish thee ill, fret, pine, and perish. 

1. 276. So 1622, "33. Early eds. read 'Yet, Roget, if thou 
steer but on the course, That . . .' 

1. 284. ' Men ' omitted in eds. 1622, '33. 

1.286. So 1615 (b). 'And he...' 1615 (a), '20. 'And 

she . . .' 1622, '33. 

1. 287. 801622, '33. Early eds. ' To be yet innocent . .' 

1. 289. Ed. 1633 attributes this line to ' Willy.' 



To his truely beloved loving 


of the Inner Temple. 


Philaret on Willy calls, 

To sing out his pastorals, 

Warrants fame shall grace his rhymes 

Spite of envy and the times ; 

And shows how in care he uses 

To take comfort from his Muses. 



PRITHEE, Willy, tell me this, 
What new accident there is, 
That thou, once the blithest lad, 
Art become so wondrous sad, 
And so careless of thy quill, 
As if thou had'st lost thy skill ? 
Thou wert wont to charm thy flocks, 
And among the massy rocks 

Argument. 1- i. So 1622, "33. Early eds. ' Roget here on 

Willy calls.' 
1. 8. So 1622, '33. Early eds. 'these rudest rocks.' 


Hast so cheer'd me with thy song, 

That I have forgot my wrong. 10 

Something hath thee surely crost, 

That thy old wont thou hast lost. 

Tell me, have I ought mis-said 

That hath made thee ill-a-paid ? 

Hath some churl done thee a spite ? 

Dost thou miss a lamb to-night ? 

Frowns thy fairest shepherd's lass? 

Or how comes this ill to pass ? 

Is there any discontent 

Worse than this my banishment ? 20 


Why, doth that so evil seem 
That thou nothing worse dost deem ? 
Shepherd, there full many be, 
That will change contents with thee. 
Those that choose their walks at will, 
On the valley or the hill, 
Or those pleasures boast of can, 
Groves or fields may yield to man, 
Never come to know the rest, 
Wherewithal thy mind is blest. 30 

Many a one that oft resorts 
To make up the troop at sports, 
And in company some while, 
Happens to strain forth a smile, 

1. 22. So S. P., 1615, '20. Later eds. 'nothing worst.' 
1. 23. So S. P., 1615, '20. Later eds. Shepherds there full 
many be.' 


Feels more want, more outward smart, 

And more inward grief of heart, 

Than this place can bring to thee, 

While thy mind remaineth free. 

Thou bewail'st my want of mirth, 

But what find'st thou in this earth, 40 

Wherein ought may be believed 

Worth to make me joy'd or grieved ? 

And yet feel I, natheless, 

Part of both, I must confess. 

Sometime I of mirth do borrow, 

Other while as much of sorrow ; 

But my present state is such, 

As nor joy nor grieve I much. 


Why hath Willy then so long 

Thus forborne his wonted song ? 50 

Wherefore doth he now let fall 

His well-tuned pastoral, 

And my ears that music bar, 

Which I more long after far 

Than the liberty I want ? 

1. 35. So S. P., 1615. Other eds. ' more want, and outward 

1. 39. So 1622, "33. S. P. and 1615 give ' condemn'st ' ; 1620, 

1. 48. So 1622, '33. 1615 (a) gives ' I'm nor joy'd, nor grieved 
much." 1615 (b), '20 read ' I am not joy'd, nor grieved much.' 

1. 53. 'eares,' S. P., 1622, '33. Misprinted 'cares' in 1615 
and '20 editions. 



That were very much to grant. 
But doth this hold alway, lad, 
Those that sing not must be sad ? 
Did'st thou ever that bird hear 
Sing well, that sings all the year ? 60 

Tom the Piper doth not play 
Till he wears his pipe away : 
There's a time to slack the string, 
And a time to leave to sing. 


Yea, but no man now is still, 
That can sing or tune a quill. 
Now to chant it were but reason ; 
Song and music are in season. 
Now in this sweet jolly tide, 
Is the earth in all her pride : 70 

The fair Lady of the May, 
Trimm'd up in her best array, 
Hath invited all the swains 
With the lasses of the plains, 
To attend upon her sport 
At the places of resort. 
Corydon with his bold rout 
Hath already been about 
For the elder shepherds' dole, 
And fetch'd in the summer-pole : 80 

Whilst the rest have built a bower, 
VOL. I. 4 


To defend them from a shower, 
Ciel'd so close, with boughs all green, 
Titan cannot pry between. 
Now the dairy-wenches dream 
Of their strawberries and cream, 
And each doth herself advance 
To be taken in to dance ; 
Every one that knows to sing, 
Fits him for his carolling ; 90 

So do those that hope for meed, 
Either by the pipe or reed : 
And though I am kept away, 
I do hear this very day 
1 Many learned grooms do wend 
For the garlands to contend, 
Which a nymph that hight Desart, 
Long a stranger in this part, 
With her own fair hand hath wrought 
A rare work, they say, past thought, 100 
As appeareth by the name, 
For she calls them wreaths of fame. 
She hath set in their due place 
Every flower that may grace ; 
And among a thousand mo, 
Whereof some but serve for show, 
She hath wove in Daphne's tree, 
That they may not blasted be. 
Which with thyme she edged about, 
Lest the work should ravel out. 1 10 

And that it might wither never, 


Intermix'd it with live-ever. 

These are to be shared among, 

Those that do excel for song, 

Or their passions can rehearse 

In the smooth'st and sweetest verse. 

Then for those among the rest 

That can play and pipe the best, 

There's a kidling with the dam, 

A fat wether, and a lamb. 120 

And for those that leapen far, 

Wrestle, run, and throw the bar, 

There's appointed guerdons too : 

He that best the first can do, 

Shall, for his reward, be paid 

With a sheep-hook, fair inlaid 

With fine bone, of a strange beast 

That men bring from out the West : 

For the next, a scrip of red, 

Tassell'd with fine coloured thread : 130 

There's prepared for their meed 

That in running make most speed, 

Or the cunning measures foot, 

Cups of turned maple-root, 

Whereupon the skilful man 

Hath engraved the loves of Pan : 

And the last hath for his due, 

A fine napkin wrought with blue. 

1. 112. So S. P. and 1615. In the 1620 ed. this became 
' lintermixt . . .' (sic), which 1622 copied, separating the two 
words, and 1633 changed to ' I intermix it . . .' 

1. 128. So S. P. and 1615. Later eds. ' out of the West.' 
1. 131. So 1615 (b), '22, '33. 1615 (a), '20, 'for their need.' 


Then, my Willy, why art thou 

Careless of thy merit now ? 140 

What dost thou here with a wight 

That is shut up from delight 

In a solitary den, 

As not fit to live with men ? 

Go, my Willy, get thee gone, 

Leave me in exile alone ; 

Hie thee to that merry throng, 

And amaze them with thy song. 

Thou art young, yet such a lay 

Never graced the month of May, 150 

As, if they provoke thy skill, 

Thou canst fit unto thy quill ; 

I with wonder heard thee sing, 

At our last year's revelling. 

Then I with the rest was free, 

When unknown I noted thee, 

And perceived the ruder swains 

Envy thy far sweeter strains. 

Yea, I saw the lasses cling 

Round about thee in a ring, 160 

As if each one jealous were 

Any but herself should hear. 

And I know they yet do long 

For the res'due of thy song. 

Haste thee then to sing it forth ; 

Take the benefit of worth, 

And Desert will sure bequeathe 

I. 141. ' thou ' omitted in 1615 (a), '20 eds. 


Fame's fair garland for thy wreath ; 
Hie thee, Willy, hie away. 


Phila, rather let me stay, 170 

And be desolate with thee, 
Than at those their revels be ; 
Nought such is my skill, I wis, 
As indeed thou deem'st it is. 
But whate'er it be, I must 
Be content, and shall, I trust. 
For a song I do not pass 
'Mong'st my friends, but what, alas ! 
Should I have to do with them 
That my music do contemn ? 180 

Some there are, as well I wot, 
That the same yet favour not ; 
Yet I cannot well avow 
They my carols disallow ; 
But such malice I have spied, 
'Tis as much as if they did. 


Willy, what may those men be 
Are so ill to malice thee? 


Some are worthy, well-esteem'd, 
Some without worth are so deem'd. 190 

L 170. Early eds. ' Roget, rather let me stay.' 


Others of so base a spirit, 

They have nor esteem, nor merit. 

What's the wrong ? 


A slight offence, 
Wherewithal I can dispense ; 
But hereafter for their sake 
To myself I'll music make. 


What, because some clown offends, 
Wilt thou punish all thy friends ? 


Do not, Phil, misunderstand me, 
Those that love me may command me ; 200 
But, thou know'st, I am but young, 
And the pastoral I sung, 
Is by some supposed to be 
By a strain too high for me : 
So they kindly let me gain 
Not my labour for my pain. 
Trust me, I do wonder why 
They should me my own deny. 
Though I'm young, I scorn to flit 
On the wings of borrowed wit. 210 

1. 199. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Honest Roget, understand 


I'll make my own feathers rear me 
Whither others cannot bear me. 
Yet I'll keep my skill in store, 
Till I've seen some winters more. 


But, in earnest, mean'st thou so ? 
Then thou art not wise, I trow : 
Better shall advise thee Pan, 
For thou dost not rightly than ; 
That's the ready way to blot 
All the credit thou hast got. 22O 

Rather in thy age's prime, 
Get another start of Time, 
And make those that so fond be, 
Spite of their own dulness see 
That the sacred Muses can 
Make a child in years a man. 
It is known what thou canst do, 
For it is not long ago, 
When that Cuddy, thou, and I, 
Each the others' skill to try, 230 

At Saint Dunstan's charmed well, 
As some present there can tell, 
Sang upon a sudden theme, 
Sitting by the crimson stream ; 
Where if thou didst well or no, 
Yet remains the song to show. 
Much experience more I've had, 

1. 234. ' by a crimson stream/ 1633. 


Of thy skill, thou happy lad, 

And would make the world to know it, 

But that time will further show it. 240 

Envy makes their tongues now run 

More than doubt of what is done. 

For that needs must be thy own, 

Or to be some other's known : 

But how then will 't suit unto 

What thou shalt hereafter do ? 

Or, I wonder, where is he 

Would with that song part to thee ? 

Nay, were there so mad a swain, 

Could such glory sell for gain, 250 

Phoebus would not have combined 

That gift with so base a mind. 

Never did the Nine impart 

The sweet secrets of their art 

Unto any that did scorn 

We should see their favours worn. 

Therefore unto those that say, 

Were they pleased to sing a lay, 

They could do 't, and will not tho', 

This I speak, for this I know ; 

None e'er drunk the Thespian spring, 260 

And knew how, but he did sing. 

For that once infused in man 

Makes him show 't, do what he can. 

Nay, those that do only sip, 

Or but ev'n their fingers dip 

In that sacred fount, poor elves, 

Of that brood will show themselves. 


Yea, in hope to get them fame, 

They will speak, though to their shame. 270 

Let those then at thee repine 

That by their wits measure thine ; 

Needs those songs must be thine own, 

And that one day will be known. 

That poor imputation too, 

I myself do undergo ; 

But it will appear ere long, 

That 'twas envy sought our wrong, 

Who at twice-ten have sung more 

Than some will do at fourscore. 280 

Cheer thee, honest Willy, then, 

And begin thy song again. 


Fain I would, but I do fear 
When again my lines they hear, 
If they yield they are my rhymes, 
They will fain some other crimes ; 
And 'tis no safe vent'ring by 
Where we see detraction lie. 
For do what I can, I doubt 
She will pick some quarrel out ; 290 

And I oft have heard defended, 
Little said is soon amended. 

1. 275. So 1622, "33. Early eds. 'The same imputation too.' 

1. 278. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' I'm abused, and thou hast 

1. 279. Early eds. 'hast sung more,' to suit the previous 

1. 292. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Little said, and soon 



Seest thou not in clearest days 
Oft thick fogs cloud heaven's rays, 
And that vapours which do breathe 
From the earth's gross womb beneath, 
Seem not to us with black steams 
To pollute the sun's bright beams, 
And yet vanish into air, 
Leaving it unblemish'd fair ? 300 

So, my Willy, shall it be 
With detraction's breath and thee. 
It shall never rise so high 
As to stain thy poesy. 
As that sun doth oft exhale 
Vapours from each rotten vale, 
Poesy so sometime drains 
Gross conceits from muddy brains, 
Mists of envy, fogs of spite, 
'Twixt men's judgments and her light : 310 
But so much her power may do, 
That she can dissolve them too. 
If thy verse do bravely tower, 
As she makes wing, she gets power : 
Yet the higher she doth soar, 
She's affronted still the more : 
Till she to the high'st hath past, 

1. 295. 1615 (a), '20, 'And the vapours which ..." S. P. and 
1615 (b), ' And the vapours that . . .' 

1. 297. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Seem they not with their 
black steams.' (' their' omitted in 1620 ed.) 

1. 302. So S. P. and 1615. Later eds. 'on thee.' 


Then she rests with fame at last. 

Let nought therefore thee affright, 

But make forward in thy flight ; 320 

For if I could match thy rhyme, 

To the very stars I'd climb, 

There begin again, and fly 

Till I reach'd eternity. 

But, alas, my Muse is slow ; 

For thy pace she flags too low : 

Yea, the more's her hapless fate, 

Her short wings were clipp'd of late, 

And poor I, her fortune ruing, 

Am myself put up a-mewing. 330 

But if I my cage can rid, 

I'll fly where I never did. 

And though for her sake I'm crost, 

Though my best hopes I have lost, 

And knew she would make my trouble 

Ten times more than ten times double, 

I would love and keep her too 

Spite of all the world could do. 

For though banish'd from my flocks, 

And, confined within these rocks, 340 

Here I waste away the light 

And consume the sullen night, 

She doth for my comfort stay, 

And keeps many cares away. 

Though I miss the flow'ry fields, 

1. 326. So S. P. and 1615. Later eds. read 'place,' which 
was accepted by Dalryraple, Brydges, and Gutch. 

L 337. So S. P. and 1615. Later eds. ' I should love." 


With those sweets the springtide yields, 

Though I may not see those groves, 

Where the shepherds chant their loves, 

And the lasses more excel 

Than the sweet-voiced Philomel, 350 

Though of all those pleasures past 

Nothing now remains at last, 

But remembrance, poor relief, 

That more makes than mends my grief; 

She's my mind's companion still, 

Maugre envy's evil will, 

Whence she should be driven too, 

Were 't in mortal's power to do. 

She doth tell me where to borrow 

Comfort in the midst of sorrow, 360 

Makes the desolatest place 

To her presence be a grace, 

And the blackest discontents 

To be pleasing ornaments. 

In my former days of bliss, 

Her divine skill taught me this, 

That from everything I saw 

I could some invention draw, 

And raise pleasure to her height, 

Through the meanest object's sight. 370 

By the murmur of a spring, 

Or the least bough's rusteling ; 

By a daisy whose leaves spread 

Shut when Titan goes to bed, 

L 364. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Be her fairest ornaments. 


Or a shady bush or tree, 

She could more infuse in me 

Than all Nature's beauties can 

In some other wiser man. 

By her help I also now 

Make this churlish place allow 380 

Some things that may sweeten gladness 

In the very gall of sadness. 

The dull loneness, the black shade 

That these hanging vaults have made. 

The strange music of the waves 

Beating on these hollow caves, 

This black den which rocks emboss 

Overgrown with eldest moss, 

The rude portals that give light 

More to terror than delight, 390 

This my chamber of neglect, 

Wall'd about with disrespect ; 

From all these and this dull air, 

A fit object for. despair, 

She hath taught me by her might 

To draw comfort and delight. 

Therefore, thou best earthly bliss, 

I will cherish thee for this. 

Poesy, thou sweet'st content 

That e'er heav'n to mortals lent, 400 

Though they as a trifle leave thee 

Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive thee, 

Though thou be to them a scorn 

That to nought but earth are born, 

Let my life no longer be 


Than I am in love with thee. 

Though our wise ones call thee madness, 

Let me never taste of gladness 

If I love not thy mad'st fits, 

More than all their greatest wits. 410 

And though some too seeming holy 

Do account thy raptures folly, 

Thou dost teach me to contemn 

What makes knaves and fools of them 

Oh, high power ! that oft doth carry 

Men above 


Good Philarete, tarry, 
I do fear thou wilt be gone 
Quite above my reach anon. 
The kind flames of poesy 
Have now borne thy thoughts so high, 420 
That they up in heaven be, 
And have quite forgotten me. 
Call thyself to mind again ; 
Are these raptures for a swain 
That attends on lowly sheep, 
And with simple herds doth keep ? 


Thanks, my Willy ; I had run 
Till that time had lodged the sun, 

1. 408. Ed. 1620 reads 'sadness' for 'gladness.' 
1. 410. So 1622, "33. Early eds. 'Above all . . .* 
1. 416. Early eds. ' Good Roget, tarry.' 


If thou had'st not made me stay ; 

But thy pardon here I pray. 430 

Loved Apollo's sacred sire 

Had raised up my spirits higher, 

Through the love of poesy, 

Than indeed they use to fly. 

But as I said, I say still, 

If that I had Willy's skill, 

Envy nor detraction's tongue 

Should e'er make me leave my song, 

But I'd sing it every day 

Till they pined themselves away. 440 

Be thou then advised in this 

Which both just and fitting is ; 

Finish what thou hast begun, 

Or at least still forward run. 

Hail and thunder ill he'll bear 

That a blast of wind doth fear : 

And if words will thus affray thee, 

Prithee how will deeds dismay thee ? 

Do not think so rathe a song 

Can pass through the vulgar throng, 450 

And escape without a touch, 

Or that they can hurt it much : 

Frosts we see do nip that thing 

Which is forward's! in the spring : 

Yet at last for all such lets 

Somewhat of the rest it gets. 

1. 454- So S. P., 1622, '33. Other eds. 'Which is for 
ward's . . .' 


And I'm sure that so may'st thou. 

Therefore, my kind Willy, now, 

Since thy folding time draws on 

And I see thou must be gone, 460 

Thee I earnestly beseech 

To remember this my speech, 

And some little counsel take 

For Philarete his sake : 

And I more of this will say, 

If thou come next holiday. 

1. 464. Early eds. ' For thy poor friend Roget's sake.' 



To Master W. F. of the 
Middle Temple. 


Philaret Alexis moves, 
To embrace the Muses' loves ; 
Bids him never careful seem, 
Of another's disesteem ; 
Since to them it may suffice, 
They themselves can justly prize. 



ALEXIS, if thy worth do not disdain 
The humble friendship of a meaner swain, 
Or some more needful business of the day, 
Urge thee to be too hasty on thy way ; 
Come, gentle shepherd, rest thee here by me, 
Beneath the shadow of this broad-leaved tree : 
For though I seem a stranger, yet mine eye 
Observes in thee the marks of courtesy, 

Argument, 1. i. Early eds. ' Roget here Alexis mores.' 

1.6. 'They,' 1622, '33. 1615, '20 read That.' 
1. 6. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Under the shadow.' 
VOL. I. 5 


And if my judgment err not, noted too 

More than in those that more would seem to do ; 10 

Such virtues thy rare modesty doth hide, 

Which by their proper lustre I espied ; 

And though long mask'd in silence they have been, 

I have a wisdom through that silence seen, 

Yea, I have learned knowledge from thy tongue, 

And heard when thou hast in concealment sung, 

Which me the bolder and more willing made 

Thus to invite thee to this homely shade; 

And though it may be thou could'st never spy 

Such worth in me, I might be known thereby, 20 

In thee I do, for here my neighbouring sheep 

Upon the border of these downs I keep : 

Where often thou at pastorals and plays, 

Hast graced our wakes on summer holidays ; 

And many a time with thee at this cold spring 

Met I, to hear your learned shepherds sing, 

Saw them disporting in the shady groves, 

And in chaste sonnets woo their chaster loves : 

When I, endued with the meanest skill, 

'Mongst others have been urged to tune my quill. 30 

But, 'cause but little cunning I had got, 

Perhaps thou saw'st me, though thou knew'st me not. 


Yes, Philaret, I know thee, and thy name. 
Nor is my knowledge grounded all on fame : 

1. 31. ' But,' 1622, '33. 1613, '20 give ' Where.' 
L 33. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Yes, Roget, I do know 


Art thou not he that but this other year 

Scared'st all the wolves and foxes in the shire ? 

And, in a match at football lately tried, 

Having scarce twenty satyrs on thy side, 

Held'st play, and though assailed kept'st thy stand 

'Gainst all the best-tried ruffians in the land ? 40- 

Didst thou not then in doleful sonnets moan, 

When the beloved of great Pan was gone ? 

And at the wedding of fair Thame and Rhine, 

Sing of their glories to thy valentine ? 

I know it, and I must confess that long 

In one thing I did do thy nature wrong : 

For, till I mark'd the aim thy satyrs had, 

I thought them over-bold, and thee half mad. 

But since I did more nearly on thee look, 

I soon perceived that I had all mistook ; 50 

I saw that of a cynic thou mad'st show, 

Where since I find that thou wert nothing so, 

And that of many thou much blame had'st got, 

Whenas thy innocence deserved it not. 

But that too good opinion thou hast seem'd 

To have of me, not so to be esteem'd, 

Prevails not ought to stay him who doth fear 

He rather should reproofs than praises hear. 

'Tis true, I found thee plain and honest too, 

Which made me like, then love, as now I do ; 60 


And, Phila, though a stranger, this I'll say, 
Where I do love, I am not coy to stay. 


Thanks, gentle swain, that dost so soon unfold 
What I to thee as gladly would have told, 
And thus thy wonted courtesy exprest 
In kindly entertaining this request. 
Sure, I should injury my own content 
Or wrong thy love to stand on compliment, 
Who hast acquaintance in one word begun, 
As well as I could in an age have done. 70 

Or by an overweening slowness mar 
What thy more wisdom hath brought on so far. 
Then sit thou down, and I'll my mind declare, 
As freely as if we familiars were; 
And if thou wilt but deign to give me ear, 
Something thou may'st for thy more profit hear. 

Philarete, I willingly obey. 


Then know, Alexis, from that very day, 
Whenas I saw thee at that shepherd's cote, 

1. 61. ' Phila,' 1622, '33. ' Roget,' 1615, '20. Eds. 1622, '33 
give ' this to thee I'll say.' 
1. 67. So S. P. and 1615. The 1620 ed. changed this to 

1 Sure I should injure my own content.' 
1622 and 1633 added 'much ' to complete the line : 

' Sure I should injure much my own content.' 
1. 77. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Willingly, Roget, I thy 
wish obey." 

1. 79. ' that,' early eds. 1622, '33 read ' thy.' 


Where each I think of other took first note ; 80 

I mean that pastor who by Tavy's springs 

Chaste shepherds' loves in sweetest numbers sings, 

And with his music, to his greater fame, 

Hath late made proud the fairest nymphs of Thame ; 

E'en then, methought, I did espy in thee 

Some unperceived and hidden worth to be, 

Which in thy more apparent virtues shined ; 

And, among many, I in thought divined, 

By something my conceit had understood, 

That thou wert mark'd one of the Muses' brood. 90 

That made me love thee, and that love I bear 

Begat a pity, and that pity, care : 

Pity I had to see good parts conceal'd, 

Care I had how to have that good reveal'd, 

Since 'tis a fault admitteth no excuse, 

To possess much, and yet put nought in use. 

Hereon I vow'd if we two ever met 

The first request that I would strive to get 

Should be but this, that thou would'st show thy skill, 

How thou could'st tune thy verses to thy quill, loo 

And teach thy Muse in some well-framed song, 

To show the art thou hast suppressed so long : 

Which if my new acquaintance may obtain, 

I will for ever honour this day's gain. 


Alas ! my small experience scarce can tell 
So much as where those nymphs the Muses dwell, 

1. 104. ' I will for ever,' 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Roget will 
ever . . .' 


Nor, though my slow conceit still travels on, 

Shall I e'er reach to drink of Helicon. 

Or, if I might so favour'd be to taste 

What those sweet streams but overflow in waste, 1 10 

And touch Parnassus, where it low'st doth lie, 

I fear my skill would hardly flag so high. 


Despair not, man, the gods have prized nought 
So dear that may not be with labour bought : 
Nor need thy pain be great, since Fate and Heaven 
That, as a blessing, at thy birth have given. 

Why, say they had ? 


Then use their gifts thou must, 
Or be ungrateful, and so be unjust : 
For if it cannot truly be denied, 
Ingratitude men's benefits do hide ; 120 

Then more ungrateful must he be by odds, 
Who doth conceal the bounty of the gods. 


That's true indeed, but Envy haunteth those 
Who, seeking fame, their hidden skill disclose, 
Where else they might, obscured from her espying, 
Escape the blasts and danger of envying. 

1. 123. From here to 1. 182, the 1615 editions give the speeches 
of Alexis to Roget, and vice vers&. The error was corrected in 
the 1620 and subsequent editions. 


Critics will censure our best strains of wit, 

And purblind ignorance misconster it. 

All which is bad ; yet worse than this doth follow, 

Most hate the Muses and contemn Apollo. 130 


So let them : why should we their hate esteem ? 
Is \ not enough we of ourselves can deem ? 
'Tis more to their disgrace that we scorn them, 
Than unto us that they our art contemn. 
Can we have better pastime than to see 
Their gross heads may so much deceived be 
As to allow those doings best, where wholly 
We scoff them to their face and flout their folly ? 
Or to behold black Envy in her prime 
Die self-consumed, whilst we vie lives with time, 140 
And, in despite of her, more fame attain 
Than all her malice can wipe out again ? 


Yea, but if I applied me to those strains, 
Who should drive forth my flocks unto the plains, 
Which, whilst the Muses rest and leisure crave, 
Must watering, folding, and attendance have ? 
For if I leave with wonted care to cherish 
Those tender herds, both I and they should perish. 


Alexis, now I see thou dost mistake, 
There is no meaning thou thy charge forsake ; 150 

1. 129. So S. P. and 1615. Other eds. ' And which ..." So 
Gutch. Brydges follows 1633 ed., which reads : 

' And, which is bad, yet worse than that doth follow.' 


Nor would I wish thee so thyself abuse 

As to neglect thy calling for thy Muse, 

But let these two so each of other borrow, 

That they may season mirth, and lessen sorrow. 

Thy flock will help thy charges to defray, 

Thy Muse to pass the long and tedious day : 

Or whilst thou tun'st sweet measures to thy reed, 

Thy sheep, to listen, will more near thee feed ; 

The wolves will shun them, birds above thee sing, 

And lambkins dance about thee in a ring. 160 

Nay, which is more, in this thy low estate, 

Thou in contentment shalt with monarchs mate ; 

For mighty Pan and Ceres to us grants, 

Our fields and flocks shall help our outward wants: 

The Muses teach us songs to put off cares, 

Graced with as rare and sweet conceits as theirs : 

And we can think our lasses on the greens 

As fair or fairer than the fairest queens : 

Or, what is more than most of them shall do, 

We'll make their juster fames last longer too, 170 

And have our lines by greatest princes graced 

When both their name and memory's defaced. 

Therefore, Alexis, though that some disdain 

The heavenly music of the rural plain, 

What is 't to us, if they o'erseen contemn 

The dainties which were ne'er ordain'd for them ? 

And though that there be other-some envy 

The praises due to sacred Poesy, 

Let them disdain, and fret till they are weary, 

1. 171. ' And have,' 1622, '33. ' Having,' S. P. and 1615, '20. 


We in ourselves have that shall make us merry: 180 
Which he that wants, and had the power to know it, 
Would give his life that he might die a poet. 

A brave persuasion. 


Here thou seest me pent 
Within the jaws of strict imprisonment ; 
A forlorn shepherd, void of all the means 
Whereon man's common hope in danger leans : 
Weak in myself, exposed to the hate 
Of those whose envies are insatiate : 
Shut from my friends, banish'd from all delights, 
Nay, worse, excluded from the sacred rites. 190 

Here I do live 'mongst outlaws mark'd for death, 
As one unfit to draw the common breath, 
Where those who to be good did never know 
Are barred from the means should make them so. 
I suffer, 'cause I wish'd my country well ; 
And what I more must bear I cannot tell. 
I'm sure they give my body little scope, 
And would allow my mind as little hope : 
I waste my means, which of itself is slender, 
Consume my time, perhaps my fortunes hinder, 200 
And many crosses have, which those that can 
Conceive no wrong that hurts another man, 
Will not take note of; though if half so much 

1. 183-234 were not in the Shepherds Pipe eclogue. 


Should light on them, or their own person touch, 

Some that themselves, I fear, most worthy think, 

With all their helps would into baseness shrink. 

But, spite of hate, and all that spite can do, 

I can be patient yet, and merry too. 

That slender Muse of mine, by which my name, 

Though scarce deserved, hath gain'd a little fame, 2IO 

Hath made me unto such a fortune born, 

That all misfortunes I know how to scorn, 

Yea, midst these bands can slight the great'st that be, 

As much as their disdain mis'steems of me. 

This cave, whose very presence some affrights, 

I have oft made to echo forth delights, 

And hope to turn, if any justice be, 

Both shame and care on those that wish'd it me. 

For while the world rank villainies affords, 

I will not spare to paint them out in words ; 220 

Although I still should into troubles run, 

I knew what man could act, ere I begun ; 

And I'll fulfil what my Muse draws me to, 

Maugre all jails, and purgatories too. 

For whilst she sets me honest tasks about, 

Virtue or she I know will bear me out: 

And if, by fate, th' abused power of some 

Must, in the world's-eye, leave me overcome, 

They shall find one fort yet so fenced, I trow, 

It cannot fear a mortal's overthrow. 230 

This hope and trust that great power did infuse, 

1. 221. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Because I thus into these 
troubles run.' 
1. 230. 'fear,' 1622, '33. Early eds. 'feel.' 


That first inspired into my breast a Muse, 

By whom I do, and ever will, contemn 

All these ill haps, my foes despite, and them. 


Th' hast so well, young Philaret, played thy part, 
I am almost in love with that sweet art, 
And if some power will but inspire my song, 
Alexis will not be obscured long. 


Enough, kind pastor : but oh ! yonder see 
Two honest shepherds walking hither be ; 240 

Cuddy and Willy, that so dearly love, 
Who are repairing unto yonder grove : 
Let's follow them, for never braver swains 
Made music to their flocks upon these plains. 
They are more worthy, and can better tell 
What rare contents do with a poet dwell. 
Then whiles our sheep the short sweet grass do shear, 
And till the long shade of the hills appear, 
We'll hear them sing, for though the one be young, 
Never was any that more sweetly sung. 250 

1.234. 'these,' 1615. Later eds. 'those.' 

1. 235. So 1622, '33. Early eds. ' Thou hast so well, young 
Roget, played thy part.' 

1. 241. Eds. 1615 gives 'Cutty,' as it is- spelled in Browne's 
Shepherds Pipe. 

to the Reader. 

IF you have read this, and received any content, 
I am glad, though it be not so much as I could wish 
you ; if you think it idle, why then I see we are not 
likely to fall out, for I am just of your minds ; yet 
weigh it well before you run too far in your censures, 
lest this prove less barren of wit, than you of 
courtesy. It is very true (I know not by what 
chance) that I have of late been so highly beholding to 
Opinion, that I wonder how I crept so much into her 
favour ; and, if I did think it worthy the fearing, I 
should be afraid that she, having so undeservedly 
befriended me beyond my hope or expectation, will, 
upon as little cause, ere long again pick some 
quarrel against me, and, it may be, means to make 
use of this, which I know must needs come far short 
of their expectation, who by their earnest desire of it 
seemed to be fore-possessed with a far better conceit 
than I can believe it proves worthy of. So much at 
least I doubted ; and therefore, loth to deceive the 
world (though it often beguile me) I kept it to myself, 
indeed, not dreaming ever to see it published. But 
now, by the overmuch persuasion of some friends, I 


have been constrained to expose it to the general 
view. Which seeing I have done, some things I 
desire thee to take notice of. First, that I am he, 
who, to pleasure my friend, have framed myself a con 
tent out of that which would otherwise discontent 
me. Secondly, that I have coveted more to effect 
what I think truly honest in itself, than by a seeming 
show of art to catch the vain blasts of uncertain 
opinion. This that I have here written was no part 
of my study, but only a recreation in imprisonment 
and a trifle, neither in my conceit fitting, nor by me 
intended to be made common ; yet some, who it 
should seem esteemed it worthy more respect than I 
did, took pains to copy it out, unknown to me, and 
in my absence got it both authorized and prepared 
for the press ; so that if I had not hindered it, last 
Michaelmas term had been troubled with it. I was 
much blamed by some friends for withstanding it, to 
whose request I should more easily have consented, 
but that I thought, as indeed I yet do, I should 
thereby more disparage myself than content them. 
For I doubt I shall be supposed one of those who, 
out of their arrogant desire of a little preposterous 
fame, thrust into the world every unseasoned trifle 
that drops out of their unsettled brains ; whose base 
ness how much I hate, those that know me can 
witness, for if I were so affected, I might perhaps 
present the world with as many several poems as I 
have seen years, and justly make myself appear to be 
the author of some things that others have shamefully 
usurped and made use of as their own. But I will be 


content other men should own some of those issues of 
the brain, for I would be loth to confess all that 
might in that kind call me father. Neither shall any 
more of them, by my consent, in haste again trouble 
the world, unless I know which way to benefit it with 
less prejudice to my own estate. And, therefore, if 
any of those less serious poems which are already 
dispersed into my friends' hands, come amongst you, 
let not their publication be imputed to me, nor their 
lightness be any disparagement to what hath been 
since more serious written, seeing it is but such stuff 
as riper judgments have in their far elder years been 
much more guilty of. 

I know an indifferent critic may find many faults, 
as well in the slightness of this present subject, as in 
the erring from the true nature of an eclogue ; more 
over, it altogether concerns myself, which divers may 
dislike. But neither can be done on just cause : the 
first hath been answered already; the last might 
consider that I was there where my own estate was 
chiefly to be looked unto, and all the comfort I could 
minister unto myself, little enough. 

If any man deem it worthy his reading I shall be 
glad; if he think his pains ill-bestowed, let him 
blame himself for meddling with that concerned him 
not ; I neither commended it to him, neither cared 
whether he read it or no ; because I know those that 
were desirous of it, will esteem the same as much as I 
expect they should. 

But it is not unlikely some will think I have in 
divers places been more wanton, as they take it, than 


befitting a satirist ; yet their severity I fear not, be 
cause, I am assured, all that I ever yet did was free 
from obscenity : neither am I so cynical, but that I 
think a modest expression of such amorous conceits 
as suit with reason, will yet very well become my 
years ; in which not to have feeling of the power of 
love, were as great an argument of much stupidity 
as an over-sottish affection were of extreme folly. 
Lastly, if you think it hath not well answered the 
title of the Shepherd's Hunting, go quarrel with 
the stationer, who bid himself god-father, and im 
posed the name according to his own liking ; and if 
you, or he, find any faults, pray mend them. 


L ND N, 

Printed by NICHOLAS 

OKES. 1615. 

VOL. I. 


1615. The private edition ; only one copy known, which is in the 
Bodleian Library at Oxford. For an account of this ses 
Bibliography. Printed by Nicholas Oakes. 

1617. First published edition, printed by Nicholas Oakes. 
Supports the 1615 ed. in nearly every point. 

1619. " Newly corrected and augmented," printed by E. G. for 

Thomas Walkley ; follows the 1615 ed. fairly closely. 

1620. In the surreptitious Workes, printed by John Beale for 

Thomas Walkley ; careless. 

1622. In Juvenilia ; follows 1620 in many cases ; but many 
alterations are also introduced. See Bibliography. 

jc5s3. I D Juvenilia : except in two or three places, a reprint of 
the 1622 Juvenilia. See Bibliography. 

The Occasion of the Private Impression of 

this Elegy. 1 
Omnibus ad quos pervenerit. 

To prevent those that would else be inquisitive 
after my intent in the dispersing of this Elegy among 
my private friends, I have left this preface to inform 
them, that, after my liberty seemed to add a period to 
my troubles, and I, thinking the worst past, had 
afresh settled myself to some serious study, wanting 
consideration to foresee at first what was expedient 
for him to be furnished withal, that would compass so 
a great business as my phantasy had begun, I was 
forced to wrestle with so many lets and discourage 
ments in my fortune that, with all my endeavours, 
the best forwardness I could bring it unto was that I 
had gotten together a confused heap of some materials, 
necessary for such a structure as I had already fashioned 
in my brain. Yet despairing not, but comforting 
myself with hope, that I should notwithstanding all 
disadvantages one day be able to set together in an 
uniform building what my invention had yet drawn to 
nothing but an undigested pile of different matters, I 
still added something more to that chaos of conceits, 
such as I deemed necessary either to strengthen or 

Which whilst I was so busied about that I almost 

1 This preface is found only in the 1615 edition. 

8 4 


seemed wholly to forget the looking to my estate, 
Providence, a friend that I was never yet well ac 
quainted withal, whispered such doubts, provisos, and 
considerations into my ears, as half-startled my Muse, 
and so distempered the whole frame of my studies that 
I could no sooner bend my invention to any intended 
piece, but it was presently confounded by the intrusion 
of some molested thoughts, ofttimes even in the very 
height of conceit. 

Wherewith, as it were, awakened, I began to fore 
see my future and weigh my present estate. And 
having noted the general condition of man, with the 
uncertainty of this world's favours} and how soon for 
the most part the want of outward fortunes or a little 
trouble will make the best friends weary of their dearest 
familiars, if they become but a little chargeable, I saw 
reason enough to doubt that, if I should by neglecting 
my worthy friends to apply me wholly to my studies 
wear myself out of their respect and acquaintance, 
perhaps hereafter, when I had with my youth wasted 
my fortunes and by much labour brought to pass some 
what for others' contentments, one mighty fool or 
other, incensed by some great villain, might for all my 
pains pick an unjust quarrel, and cause me to be shut 
where, despised of the world, forgotten of my friends, 
and beggared in my estate, I may lie and hear myself 
pitied only by a few good natures that were not able 
to help me. 

And for the present, I perceived my late troubles 
had already not only wasted my time with the hin- 
derance of my fortunes, but also brought me so far 


behind that I was fain to engage my credit further 
than ever I thought in that kind to do, which though 
I should forfeit but a day, and that never so much 
against my will, many I see would be ready to take 
that advantage to my disgrace, whilst few or none 
are of so good-nature or noble disposition as to excuse 
me, by considering the troubles I had passed and the 
many unlooked-for occasions that might force me to 
such an inconvenience. 

Hereupon I resolved, before I would busy my head 
with any more inventions than for recreation only, to 
try if by any means I might first either recover my 
former hinderances, or suit my mind with such an 
estate as might make me hereafter able of myself, 
without relying on any others' friendships, to bear out 
the brunt of ensuing misadventures. 

Once I was determined, since most men deemed 
me a prisoner at his Majesty's charge, to petition that 
it would please him to make me as happy in deed as I 
was in opinion ; but when I remembered how little I 
had in me to deserve it, and understood how far my 
Sovereign was from being so much as acquainted with 
my endurance till his justice delivered me, and withal 
knowing how many, that had nothing but begging to 
live by, depended on his royal bounty, I was loth to 
rob them of their occupation. And in truth I feared 
also lest if aught were granted me, I should have been 
fain, after twelve months' dancing attendance, to part 
with three moieties to get one, and perhaps to some 
under-officer, to whom the being beholding would be 
worse to me than three years' close imprisonment. 



But knowing somewhat was suddenly to be deter 
mined of, to prevent loss of time ; and seeing the best 
men, with their noblest actions, obscured by poverty, 
while wealth made the owners thereof esteemed of 
those that once scorned them, and the base means by 
which they obtained it quite forgotten ; when I per 
ceived also the greatest men thought nothing base that 
might increase their profit, and that this was no age 
to stand on curious terms ; I found small reason why 
I should think scorn to undertake any course, so it 
were honest, that might bring me any such reasonable 
benefit, whereby I might be enabled to keep even 
with the world, and to go forward with what I in 
tended, as well for the good of others as mine own 

Therefore finding how helpful a little travel with 
some commodity might prove to my intended studies, 
at first I purposing a voyage meant to put out some 
what among my friends to be repaid me again with 
reasonable advantage at my return. 

But having many well-willers that, outwardly pro 
fessing me more than an ordinary love, seemed desir 
ous of occasion to show it, I was advised by divers of 
my best friends to imprint this Elegy, and to put it out 
for an adventure amongst my acquaintance upon a 
certain consideration ; yet I thought it fit, before I 
presumed too much upon them, to make trial how 
they stood affected to such a project. And indeed 
no sooner had I discovered my intent but I found 
every man in whom I had any confidence so volun 
tarily ready to accept it that I have now set it on foot, 


and hope thereby to make myself able to compass that 
which shall make both me and them gainers by the 

Yet I trust no man will imagine that I am driven 
to use this as my ultimum refugium ; for let this fail, 
and the worst that can betide me, yet I am verily per 
suaded God will so provide for me that I shall ever 
find an estate, or sure a mind at least, as shall make 
me content. 

And therefore I have undertaken this not altogether 
in hope of profit, but being an honest enterprise I rather 
attempt it, partly to make trial who are my friends, and 
partly to show this great world that the little world 
of my mind is not so barren but it can out of itself 
spare somewhat wherewithal to make traffic for others' 
best commodities. In which my comfort is, if I have 
an ill voyage, none but I myself shall be in danger to 
lose anything, whereas if I make a prosperous return 
many are like to gain, and perhaps, too, more than 
they had ever hope of. 

Now this (among other poems in my hand, long 
since penned, whereof some might peradventure have 
been thought fitter for such a purpose) for two reasons 
I have made use of. First, for that it pleased sundry of 
my friends to make choice hereof. Secondly, I know 
ing how jealous these times are of my writings, and 
how ready some would be to take occasion of hurting 
me, though they everlastingly disgraced themselves, 
thought it good policy to take such a piece as I was 
certain would be free from the least exception ; where 
as else, when I shall look to have the liberty of the 


whole world to wander in, I may chance once again 
to be scarce allowed two rooms to walk in. The 
subject is but light, yet those I know that desire to do 
me good will no less accept thereof, than if it were a 
jewel of some greater value. 

Example of such undertakings we daily see in 
gentlemen, both of good birth and reasonable fortunes ; 
only this difference there is, they put out their money, 
and I, not only that which some will more esteem, 
but what without me no money can purchase. They 
seek their own commodity, and I, with my particular 
profit, to be able to do my friends and country good. 

By this means also I shall be sure to be beholding 
to none but those that love virtue or me, and pre 
serve the unequalled happiness of a free spirit. 
Whereas else, being forced to accept of some particu 
lar bounties, it may be blinded by seeming courtesies, 
I might fall into the common baseness incident to 
flatterers, and so at length become like those great 
clergymen of our times, who dare not upbraid all sins 
for fear they should seem so saucy as to reprehend 
their patrons. 

Yet the best is, I see few apt to corrupt any with 
their liberality ; though I make no question there be 
such, and some PHILIPS too, that if they knew the 
danger of a flatterer would think themselves as much 
honoured by that boy who should every day remember 
them, They were but men, as ALEXANDER could be 
by his sly courtiers, who hourly proclaimed him the 
son of JUPITER. 

But I do not greatly doubt any such alteration ; 


for, whatever my fortunes be, so far is my mind in love 
with her own liberty that with more contentment 
could I die in poverty than live in abundance subjected 
to baseness. For I cannot admire any one because he 
is rich, nor believe a man aught the wiser for his 
titles ; I shall never praise my lord's running-horse, 
that is a jade, to please him ; nor fashion myself to 
humour his follies for his revenues ; I cannot laugh 
when he doth, unless I see some occasion ; nor be sad 
when he is so, unless I love him. Nor shall I ever 
need to do so, if my friends continue but so much love 
as they have now begun to make show of. For some 
of my acquaintance, out of their own worth only, 
others, merely moved by their good-will towards me, 
have freely proffered more than ever I could of myself 
have requested ; yea, many in a sort strangers (partly 
in consideration of the good they seemed to have 
received from my former pains, and partly in hope to 
make me able to perform some greater matter) have 
both by their promises and persuasions so encouraged 
me, as I have resolved to make trial of the world's 
fair shows of new-professed friendship. 

If it take effect, I shall thereby find means to free 
myself from those cares which might else much abate 
the vigour of my spirit, trouble my inventions, and 
consume my youth, before I could be fit to settle my 
self about that, which, if I may live to effect according 
to my intent, will require, besides an undistempered 
mind, all the best assistances of Nature with the 
utmost of my endeavours. 

And if I fail in my hopes it shall never discontent me, 


for my greatest loss will be but a little labour, which 
will be another way very well recompensed, for when I 
shall perceive the no-trust that is to be reposed on 
this world's love, I shall ever after be so far from 
flattering myself again with any such confidence, or 
troubling my mind with studying after others' satisfac 
tions, as I will persuade myself all my former deter 
minations were but impossible Ideas, and with less 
charge and pain enjoy alone that delight and content 
ment which with dis-easing myself I should but share 
amongst an unthankful multitude. 

But I make no question I shall find as good success 
in this as I do or can justly expect, and the sooner, 
because as the project is honest, so it is unhurtful to 
all. And my comfort is, if any should in their foolish 
imagination deem me aught disparaged thereby, it 
were but their weakness to think so ; for in respect of 
those base courses, suits, and enterprises, by which 
some men now of great account have increased and 
raised their fortunes out of the dung-hill, I hold this 
honourable, seeing I shall receive willingly with love 
what they against men's wills have either defrauded 
by subtleties or extorted by violence. 

But what mean I ? My intent is by this time suffi 
ciently understood, and there needs no more apologies 
to my friends, because they will approve or hold it in 
different, and, questionless, to their power further it. 
Now, as for others, they shall by my will never come 
to the honour or credit to be acquainted with a 



The Stationer to the Reader. 1 

THIS Epistle intituled Fidelia was long since 
imprinted to the use of the Author, who by the 
entreaty of some of his acquaintance was content to 
bestow it on such as had voluntarily requested it in 
way of an adventure. But having dispersed many, 
and remembering how far it would be from his dis 
position to lay claim to proffered gratuities, he wholly 
repented himself of what indeed he never well 
approved of, and how ; justly soever he might have 
challenged, more than many would have lost ; yet 
instead of being beholding, is resolved rather to make 
those that have received any of his books a little 
beholding to him, in freely forgiving them their un- 
urged promises. And forasmuch as he perceives that 
it hath delighted some, and is never likely to prejudice 
any, it hath pleased him that I should publish it to my 
own benefit, so long as I shall in the imprinting thereof 
carefully respect his credit, which as I never intend to 
fail of, on my part, so (hoping you that shall read it 
will on your behalfs censure it with as little ill-meaning 
to him as he had malice towards you in the composing 
thereof) I commit it to your discretions, and wish I 
could as well present you with all he hath been 
Author of. 



1 From the editions of 1617 and 1619. 

An Elegiacal Epistle of 

to her unconstant friend. 


This Elegiacal Epistle, being a fragment of some 
greater poem , discovers the modest affections of a discreet 
and constant woman, shadowed under the name of 
Fidelia; wherein you may perceive the height of their 
passions, so far as they seem to agree with reason, and 
keep within such decent bounds as beseemeth their sex ; 
butfitrther it meddles not. The occasion seems to pro 
ceed from some mutability in her friend, whose objec 
tions she here presupposing confuteth, and in the person 
of him justly upbraideth all that are subject to the like 
change or fickleness in mind. Among the rest, some 
more weighty arguments than are, perhaps, expected in 
such a subject, are briefly , and yet somewhat serious // 

OFT I heard tell, and now for truth I find, 
Once o,ut of sight, and quickly out of mind. 
And that it hath been rightly said of old, 
Love that's soon'st hot, is ever soonest cold. 

1. i. So 1615, '17, '19. 'Oft I have heard tell,' 1620, '22, '33, 



Or else my tears at this time had not stain'd 

The spotless paper, nor my lines complain'd. 

I had not now been forced to have sent 

These for the nuncios of my discontent, 

Or thus exchanged so unhappily 

My songs of mirth, to write an elegy. 10 

But now I must ; and since I must do so, 

Let me but crave thou wilt not flout my woe, 

Nor entertain my sorrows with a scoff, 

But at least read them, ere thou cast them off. 

And, though thy heart's too hard to have compassion. 

If thou'lt not pity, do not blame my passion ; 

For well thou know'st (alas, that e'er 'twas known) 

There was a time, although that time be gone, 

I, that for this scarce dare a beggar be, 

Presumed for more to have commanded thee. 20 

Yea, the day was (but see how things may change) 

When thou and I have not been half so strange, 

But oft embraced with a gentle greeting, 

And no worse words than ' turtle-dove ' or ' sweeting.' 

Yea, had thy meaning and those vows of thine 

Proved but as faithful and as true as mine, 

It still had been so ; for (I do not feign) 

1. 8. So 1615, '17, "19, '20. 1622 reads ' These lines for 
nuncios', 1633 'Those . . .' 

1. 9. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. ' Nor thus,' 1622, '33. 

1. 14. So 1615, '17, 19. 1620, '. .. ere thou put them off.' 
1622, '33, ' But read at least before thou cast them off.' 

1. 16. So 1615, '17, '19, '20, 1622, '33 read ' Oh blame 
not, if thou pity not, my passion.' 

1. 23. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read ' But oft em 
braced each other, gently greeting.' 

1. 24. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read 'With such 
kind words as . . .' 


I should rejoice it might be so again. 
But, sith thy love grows cold, and thou unkind, 
Be not displeas'd I somewhat breathe my mind ; 30 
I am in hope my words may prove a mirror, 
Whereon thou looking may'st behold thine error. 
And yet the heaven and my sad heart doth know 
How griev'd I am, and with what feeling woe 
My mind is tortured, to think that I 
Should be the brand of thy disloyalty, 
Or live to be the author of a line 
That shall be tainted with a fault of thine ; 
Since if that thou but slightly touched be, 
Deep wounds of grief and shame it strikes in me ; 40 
And yet I must ; ill hap compels me to 
What I ne'er thought to have had cause to do. 
And therefore, seeing that some angry Fate 
Imposes on me what I so much hate, 
Or since it is so, that the powers divine 
Me miserable to such cares assign, 
Oh that Love's patron, or some sacred Muse, 
Amongst my passions would such art infuse, 
My well-framed words and airy sighs might prove 
The happy blasts to re-inflame thy love. 50 

Or at least touch thee with thy fault so near, 
That thoumight'st see thou wrong'st who held thee dear, 
Seeing, confess the same, and so abhor it, 
Abhorring, pity, and repent thee for it. 
But, dear, I hope that I may call thee so, 

1. 38. So 1615, '19. 1620, '22, '33 read 'printed' for 
' tainted.' 
1. 42. ' had ' omitted in 1619, '20. 

9 6 


For thou art dear to me, although a foe 

Tell me, is 't true that I do hear of thee, 

And by thy absence now so seems to be ? 

Can such abuse be in thy court of Love, 

False and inconstant now, thou he should'st prove, 60 

He, that so woeful and so pensive sate 

Vowing his service at my feet of late ? 

Art thou that quondam lover, whose sad eye 

I never saw yet in my presence dry, 

And from whose gentle-seeming tongue I know 

So many pity-moving words could flow ? 

Was 't thou so soughtst my love, so seeking that 

As if it had been all th' hadst aimed at, 

Making me think thy passion without stain, 

And gently quite thee with my love again ? 70 

With this persuasion I so fairly placed it, 

Nor Time nor Envy should have e'er defaced it. 

Is 't so ? have I done thus much ? and art thou 

So overcloyed with my favours now ? 

Art wearied since with loving, and estranged 

So far ? Is thy affection so much changed, 

That I of all my hopes must be deceived, 

And all good thoughts of thee be quite bereaved ? 

Then I find true, which long before this day 
I fear'd myself, and heard some wiser say, 80 

That there is nought on earth so sweet that can 
Long relish with the curious taste of man. 

1. 58. So 1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read 'And by thy absence 
true appears to be.' 

1. 59. So 1615, '19, '20. So 1622, '33 read ' the court of Love.' 
1. 64. So 1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33, ' I seldom saw yet . . .' 
1. 79. So 1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33, 'Then true I find.' 


Happy was I ; yea, well it was with me, 
Before I came to be bewitch'd by thee. 
I joy'd the sweet'st content that ever maid 
Possessed yet ; and truly well-a-paid, 
Made to myself alone as pleasant mirth 
As ever any virgin did on earth. 
The melody I used was free, and such 
As that bird makes whom never hand did touch ; 90 
But, unallured with fowlers' whistling, flies 
Above the reach of human treacheries. 

And, well I do remember, often then 
Could I read o'er the policies of men, 
Discover what uncertainties they were, 
How they would sigh, look sad, protest, and 

swear ; 

Nay, feign to die, when they did never prove 
The slend'rest touch of a right worthy love, 
But had chilled hearts, whose dulness understood 
No more of passion than they did of good. 100 

All which I noted well, and in my mind, 
A general humour amongst womenkind, 
This vow I made, thinking to keep it than, 
That never the fair tongue of any man, 
Nor his complaint, though never so much grieved, 
Should move my heart to liking whilst I lived. 

But, who can say, what she shall live to do ? 
I have believed, and let in liking too, 
And that so far, I cannot yet see how 
I may so much as hope to help it now ; no 

Which makes me think, whate'er we women say, 
Another mind will come another day ; 
VOL. I. 7 


And that men may to things unhoped for climb, 
Who watch but opportunity and time. 

For 'tis well known we were not made of clay, 
Or such coarse and ill-temper'd stuff as they. 
For He that framed us of their flesh, did deign 
When 'twas at best, to new refine 't again. 
Which makes us ever since the kinder creatures, 
Of far more flexible and yielding natures. 120 

And as we oft excel in outward parts, 
So we have nobler and more gentle hearts ; 
Which you well knowing, daily do devise 
How to imprint on them your cruelties. 

But do I find my cause thus bad indeed ? 
Or else on things imaginary feed ? 
Am I the lass that late so truly jolly 
Made myself merry oft, at others' folly ? 
Am I the nymph that Cupid's fancies blamed, 
That was so cold, so hard to be inflamed? 130 

Am I myself? or is myself that she 
Who from this thraldom or such falsehoods free, 
Late own'd mine own heart, and full merry then, 
Did forewarn others to beware of men ? 
And could not, having taught them what to do, 
Now learn myself to take heed of you too ? 
Fool that I am, I fear my guerdon's just, 
In that I knew this, and presumed to trust. 
And yet, alas, for ought that I could tell, 
One spark of goodness in the world might dwell : 140 
And then I thought, if such a thing might be, 
Why might not that one spark remain in thee ? 
For thy fair outside, and thy fairer tongue, 


Promised much, although thy years were young. 
And Virtue, wheresoever she be now, 
Seem'd then to sit enthroned upon thy brow. 
Yea, sure it was : but, whether 'twere or no, 
Certain I am, I was persuaded so : 
Which made me loth to think that words of fashion, 
Could be so framed, so overlaid with passion, 150 
Or sighs so feeling feign'd from any breast. 
Nay, say thou hadst been false in all the rest, 
Yet from thy eye, my heart such notice took, 
Methought, guile could not feign so sad a look. 
But now I've tried, my bought experience knows, 
They are oft worse that make the fairest shows. 
And howsoe'er men feign an outward grieving, 
'Tis neither worth respecting, nor believing : 
For, she that doth one to her mercy take, 
Warms in her bosom but a frozen snake, 160 

Which, heated with her favours, gathers sense, 
And stings her to the heart in recompense. - 
But tell me why, and for what secret spite 
You in poor women's miseries delight ? 
For so it seems ; else why d'ye labour for 
That which, when 'tis obtain'd, you do abhor ? 
Or to what end do you endure such pain 
To win our love, and cast it off again ? 
Oh ! that we either your hard hearts could borrow, 
Or else your strengths, to help us bear our sorrow. 1 70 

1. 144. So 1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33, ' Did promise.' 
1. 148. So 1615, '19. 1620, '22, '33, ' Certain I am, and was 
persuaded so.' 

1. 156. So 1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33, ' They oft are worst.' 
1. 166. So 1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33, . . . obtained, you abhor.* 



But we are cause of all this grief and shame, 
And we have none but our own selves to blame : 
For still we see your falsehoods for our learning, 
Yet never can have power to take 't for warning ; 
But, as if born to be deluded by you, 
We know you trustless, and yet still we try you. 

Alas, what wrong was in my power to do thee ? 
Or what despite have I e'er done unto the? 
That thou shouldst choose me, above all the rest, 
To be thy scorn, and thus be made a jest ? 180 

Must men's ill natures such true villains prove them, 
To make them only wrong those most that love them ? 
Couldst thou find none in country, town, or court, 
But only me, to make thy fool, thy sport ? 
Thou know'st I have no wanton courses run, 
Nor seemed easy unto lewdness won ; 
And, though I cannot boast me of much wit, 
Thou saw'st no sign of fondness in me yet ; 
Nor did ill nature ever so o'ersway me, 
To flout at any that did woo or pray me. 190 

But grant I had been guilty of abusage, 
Of thee I'm sure I ne'er deserved such usage. 
But thou wert grieved to behold my smilings, 
"When I was free from love and thy beguilings, 
Or to what purpose else didst thou bestow 
Thy time and study to delude me so ? 
Hast thou good parts ? and dost thou bend them all 
To bring those that ne'er hated thee in thrall ? 

1.173. 'Falsehoods' _. 

1. 182. So 1615, 19. 1620 omits ' only. 1622, 33 read To 
make them wrong those most that most do love them.' 

1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33, 'falsehood.' 


Prithee take heed, although thou yet enjoy'st them, 
They'll be took from thee, if thou so employ'st 
them. 200 

For though I wish not the least harm to thee, 
I fear, the just heavens will revenged be. 

Oh ! what of me by this time had become, 
If nry desires with thine had happed to roam, 
Or I unwisely had consented to 
What, shameless, once thou didst attempt to do ? 
I might have fall'n by those immodest tricks, 
Had not some power been stronger than my sex ; 
And if I should have so been drawn to folly, 
I saw thee apt enough to be unholy ; 210 

Or if my weakness had been prone to sin, 
I poorly by thy strength had succour'd bin. 
You men make us believe you do but try ; 
And that's your part, you say ; ours to deny. 
Yet I much fear, if we through frailty stray, 
There's few of you within your bounds will stay, 
But, maugre all your seeming virtue, be 
As ready to forget yourselves as we. 

I might have fear'd thy part of love not strong, 
When thou didst offer me so base a wrong ; 220 

And that I after loath'd thee not, did prove 
In me some extra-ordinary love. 
For sure had any other but in thought 
Presum'd unworthily what thou hast sought, 
Might it appear, I should do thus much for him, 
With a scarce reconciled hate abhor him. 

My young experience never yet did know 
Whether desire might range so far, or no, 



To make true lovers carelessly request, 

What rash enjoying makes them most unblest, 230 

Or blindly thorough frailty give consenting 

To that, which done brings nothing but repenting. 

But in my judgment it doth rather prove 

That thou art fired with lust, than warm'd with love. 

And if it be for proof men so proceed, 

It shows a doubt ; else what do trials need ? 

And where is that man living ever knew 

That false distrust could be with love that's true ? 

Since the mere cause of that unblamed effect, 

Such an opinion is, that hates suspect. 240 

And yet, I will thee and thy love excuse, 

If thou wilt neither me nor mine abuse. 

For I'll suppose thy passion made thee proffer 

That unto me thou to none else wouldst offer. 

And so, think thou, if I have thee denied, 

Whom I more loved than all men else beside, 

What hope have they such favours to obtain 

That never half so much respect could gain ? 

Such was my love, that I did value thee 
Above all things below eternity. 250 

Nothing on earth unto my heart was nearer, 
No joy so prized, nor no jewel dearer. 
Nay, I do fear I did idolatrize ; 
For which heaven's wrath inflicts these miseries, 

1. 230. So 1615, '19, and '33. 1620 and '22 give ' enjoyning.' 

1. 234. So 1615, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read ' That they are 
fired . . .' 

1. 240. 1615, '17 give 'as hates suspect." 

1. 241. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read 'And yet 
thee and thy love I will excuse.' 

1. 247. 1615, '17, '19 give 'favours.' 1620, 22, '33, 'favour.' 


And makes the things which it for blessings sent, 

To be renewers of my discontent. 

Where was there any of the Naiades, 

The Dryads, or the Hamadryades ? 

Which of the British shires can yield again 

A mistress of the springs, or wood, or plain ? 260 

Whose eye enjoyed more sweet contents than mine, 

Till I received my overthrow by thine ? 

Where's she did more delight in springs and rills ? 

Where's she that walk'd more groves, or downs, or 

hills ? 

Or could by such fair artless prospects, more 
Add by conceit to her contentment's store 
Than I, whilst thou wert true, and with thy graces 
Didst give a pleasing presence to those places ? 
But now what is, what was hath overthrown, 
My rose-deck'd alleys now with rue are strown ; 270 
And from those flowers that honeyed use to be, 
I suck nought now but juice to poison me. 

For ev'n as she, whose gentle spirit can rise 
To apprehend Love's noble mysteries, 
Spying a precious jewel richly set 
Shine in some corner of her cabinet, 
Taketh delight at first to gaze upon 
The pretty lustre of the sparkling stone, 
And pleased in mind, by that doth seem to see 
How virtue shines through base obscurity, 280 

But prying nearer, seeing it doth prove 
Some relic of her dear deceased love, 

1. 255. So 1615, '17, '19. 1620 'is' for ( it.' 1622, '33, 
... which were for blessings lent/ 



Which to her sad remembrance doth lay ope 
What she most sought and sees most far from hope, 
Fainting almost beneath her passion's weight, 
And quite forgetful of her first conceit, 
Looking upon 't again, from thence she borrows 
Sad melancholy thoughts to feed her sorrows : 

So I, beholding Nature's curious bowers, 
Ciel'd, strow'd, and trimm'd up with leaves, herbs, 
and flowers, 290 

Walk pleased on a while, and do devise 
How on each object I may moralize. 
But ere I pace on many steps, I see 
There stands a hawthorn that was trimm'd by thee : 
Here thou didst once slip off the virgin sprays 
To crown me with a wreath of living bays. 
On such a bank I see how thou didst lie, 
When, viewing of a shady mulberry, 
The hard mishap thou didst to me discuss 
Of loving Thisbe and young Pyramus : 300 

And oh, think I, how pleasing was it then, 
Or would be yet, might he return again. 
But if some neighbouring row do draw me to 
Those arbours, where the shadows seem to woo 
The weary lovesick passenger to sit 
And view the beauties Nature strows on it ; 
How fair, think I, would this sweet place appear 
If he I love were sporting with me here ! 
Nay, every several object that I see 
Doth severally, methinks, remember thee. 310 

1. 308. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 give 'present' 
for 'sporting.' 


But the delight I used from it to gather, 

I now exchange for cares, and seek them rather. 

But those whose dull and gross affections can 
Extend but only to desire a man, 
Cannot the depth of these rare passions know, 
For their imaginations flag too low. 
And 'cause their base conceits do apprehend 
Nothing but that whereto the flesh doth tend ; 
In Love's embraces they ne'er reach unto 
More of content than the brute creatures do. 320 

Neither can any judge of this, but such 
Whose braver minds for braver thoughts do touch 
And having spirits of a nobler frame, 
Feel the true heat of Love's unquenched flame ; 
They may conceive aright what smarting sting 
To their remembrances the place will bring, 
Where they did once enjoy, and then do miss, 
What to their souls most dear and precious is. 
With me 'tis so ; for those walks that once seem'd 
Pleasing, when I of thee was more esteem'd, 330 
To me appear most desolate and lonely, 
And are the places now of torment only. 
Where I the highest of contents did borrow, 
There am I paid it home with treble sorrow. 

Unto one place, I do remember well, 
We walk'd the evenings to hear Philomel ; 
And that seems now to want the light it had ; 
The shadow of the grove's more dull and sad, 

I. 311. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read '. . . from 
thence to gather.' 
1. 334. ' treble,' 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 give ' deepest.' 



As if it were a place but fit for fowls 

That screech ill-luck ; as melancholy owls, 340 

Or fatal ravens that, seld boding good, 

Croak their black auguries from some dark wood. 

Then if from thence I half-despairing go, 
Another place begins another woe : 
For thus unto my thought it seems to say, 
" Hither thou saw'st him riding once that way 
Thither to meet him thou didst nimbly haste thee, 
Yond he alighted, and ev'n there embraced thee : " 
Which whilst I sighing wish to do again, 
Another object brings another pain. 350 

For passing by that green, which, could it speak, 
Would tell it saw us run at barley-break, 
There I beheld what on a thin-rind tree 
Thou hadst engraven for the love of me, 
When we two all alone in heat of day 
With chaste embraces drave swift hours away. 
Then I remember too, unto my smart, 
How loth we were when time compell'd to part; 
How cunningly thy passions thou couldst feign 
In taking leave, and coming back again 360 

So oft, until, as seeming to forget 
We were departing, down again we set, 
And freshly in that sweet discourse went on, 
Which now I almost faint to think upon. 

Viewing again those other walks and groves 

1.348. 'Yond,' 1615; 'Yon,' 1617, '19, '20, '22. 1633 gives 
' Yea.' 

1. 355. 'all alone,' 1615, '17, 19. 1620, '22, '33, 'all 


That have been witnesses of our chaste loves, 
When I beheld those trees whose tender skin 
Hath that cut out which still cuts me within, 
Or come, by chance, unto that pretty rill 
Where thou wouldst sit, and teach the neighbour 
ing hill 370 
To answer, in an echo, unto those 
Rare problems which thou often didst propose ; 
When I come there, think I, if these could take 
That use of words and speech which we partake, 
They might unfold a thousand pleasures then 
Which I shall never live to taste again. 
And thereupon, remembrance doth so rack 
My thoughts, with representing what I lack, 
That in my mind those clerks do argue well, 
Which hold privation the great'st plague of hell. 380 
For there's no torment gripes me half so bad, 
As the remembrance of those joys I had. 

Oh, hast thou quite forgot, when sitting by 
The banks of Thame, beholding how the fry 
Play'd on the silver-wavesthere where I first 
Granted to make my fortune thus accurst ; 
There where thy too-too earnest suit compelled 
My over-soon believing heart to yield 
One favour first, which then another drew 
To get another, till, alas, I rue 390 

That day and hour, thinking I ne'er should need, 
As now, to grieve for doing such a deed : 
So freely I my courtesies bestow'd, 
That whose I was unwarily I show'd, 
And to my heart such passage made for thee 



Thou canst not to this day removed be ; 

And what breast could resist it, having seen 

How true thy love had in appearance been ? 

For, I shall ne'er forget, when thou hadst there 

Laid open every discontent and care 400 

Wherewith thou deeply seem'dst to me opprest 

When thou, as much as any could protest, 

Hadst vow'd and sworn, and yet perceived'st no sign 

Of pity moving in this breast of mine, 

"Well, love," said'st thou, "since neither sigh nor 


Nor any service may prevail me now : 
Since neither the recital of my smart, 
Nor those strong passions that assail my heart, 
Nor anything may move thee to belief 
Of these my sufferings, or to grant relief; 410 

Since there's no comfort, nor desert, that may 
Get me so much as hope of what I pray ; 
Sweet love, farewell ; farewell, fair beauty's light, 
And every pleasing object of the sight ; 
My poor despairing heart here biddeth you 
And all content for evermore adieu." 

Then ev'n as thou seem'dst ready to depart, 
Reaching that hand, which after gave my heart, 
And thinking this sad "Farewell" did proceed 
From a sound breast, but truly moved indeed, 420 
I stayed thy departing from me so, 
Whilst I stood mute with sorrow, thou for show. 
And the meanwhile, as I beheld thy look, 

1. 406. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33, 'avail.' 


My eye the impression of such pity took, 

That, with the strength of passion overcome, 

A deep-fetch'd sigh my heart came breathing 

from : 

Whereat thou, ever wisely using this 
To take advantage when it offered is, 
Renew'dst thy suit to me, who did afford 
Consent, in silence first, and then in word. 430 

So for that yielding thou may'st thank thy wit ; 
And yet whenever I remember it, 
Trust me, I muse, and often, wond'ring, think 
Thorough what cranny or what secret chink 
That love, unwares, so like a sly close elf, 
Did to my heart insinuate itself. 

Gallants I had, before thou cam'st to woo, 
Could as much love, and as well court me too ; 
And, though they had not learned so the fashion 
Of acting such well-counterfeited passion, 440 

In wit and person they did equal thee, 
And worthier seem'd, unless thou'lt faithful be. 
Yet still unmov'd, unconquer'd I remained ; 
No, not one thought of love was entertained ; 
Nor could they brag of the least favour to them, 
Save what mere courtesy enjoin'd to do them. 
Hard was my heart, but would 't had harder bin, 
And then, perhaps, I had not let thee in ; 
Thou, tyrant, that art so imperious there, 
And only tak'st delight to domineer. 450 

But held I out such strong, such oft assailing, 

1. 431. So 1615, '17. All other editions, ' So that for 
yielding . . .' 



And ever kept the honour of prevailing ? 

Was this poor breast from love's allurings free ? 

Cruel to all and gentle unto thee ? 

Did I unlock that strong affection's door, 

That never could be broken ope before, 

Only to thee ? and, at thy intercession, 

So freely give up all my heart's possession, 

That to myself I left not one poor vein, 

Nor power, nor will, to put thee from 't again? 460 

Did I do this ? and all on thy bare vow ? 

And wilt thou thus requite my kindness now ? 

Oh, that thou either hadst not learn'd to feign, 

Or I had power to cast thee off again ! 

How is it that thou art become so rude 

And over-blinded by ingratitude ? 

Swar'st thou so deeply that thou wouldst persever, 

That I might thus be cast away for ever? 

Well, then 'tis true, that lovers' perjuries 

Among some men are thought no injuries, 470 

And that she only hath least cause of grief 

Who of your words hath small'st, or no belief. 

Had I the wooer been, or fondly woon, 
This had been more though than thou couldst have 

done ; 

But, neither being so, what reason is 
On thy side that should make thee offer this ? 

I know, had I been false, or my faith fail'd, 
Thou wouldst at women's fickleness have rail'd ; 
And if in me it had an error bin, 
In thee shall the same fault be thought no sin ? 480 
Rather I hold that which is bad in me 


Will be a greater blemish unto thee, 

Because by Nature thou art made more strong, 

And therefore abler to endure a wrong. 

But 'tis our fortune, you'll have all the power, 

Only the care and burden must be our. 

Nor can you be content a wrong to do, 

Unless you lay the blame upon us too. 

Oh, that there were some gentle-minded poet 

That knew my heart, as well as now I know it, 490 

And would endear me to his love so much, 

To give the world though but a slender touch 

Of that sad passion which now clogs my heart, 

And show my truth and thee how false thou art, 

That all might know, what is believed by no man, 

There's fickleness in men and faith in woman. 

Thou saw'st I first let pity in, then liking, 
And lastly, that which was thy only seeking : 
And, when I might have scorn'd that love of thine, 
As now ungently thou despisest mine, 500 

Among the inmost angles of my breast, 
To lodge it by my heart I thought it best : 
Which thou hast stol'n too, like a thankless mate, 
And left me nothing but a black self-hate. 
What canst thou say for this, to stand contending ? 
What colour hast thou left for thy offending ? 
That wit, perhaps, hath some excuse in store, 
Or an evasion to escape a sore. 
But well I know, if thou excuse this treason, 

11. 507, 8. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 give : 
' Thy wit, perhaps, can some excuse devise 
And feign a colour for those injuries. 1 


It must be by some greater thing than reason. 510 

Are any of those virtues yet defaced, 
On which thy first affection seemed placed ? 
Hath any secret foe my true faith wronged, 
To rob the bliss that to my heart belonged ? 
What then? shall I condemned be unheard 
Before thou knowest how I may be clear'd ? 
Thou art acquainted with the times' condition, 
Know'st it is full of envy and suspicion, 
So that the wariest in thought, word, and action, 
Shall be most injured by foul-mouth'd detraction : 520 
And therefore thou, methinks, shouldst wisely pause 
Before thou credit rumours without cause. 
But I have gotten such a confidence 
In thy opinion of my innocence, 
It is not that, I know, withholds thee now ; 
Sweet, tell me then, is it some sacred vow ? 
Hast thou resolved not to join thy hand 
With any one in Hymen's holy band ? 
Thou shouldst have done it then, when thou wert free, 
Before thou hadst bequeath'd thyself to me. 530 

What vow dost deem more pleasing unto heaven 
Than what is by unfeigned lovers given? 
If any be, yet sure it frowneth at 
Those that are made for contradicting that. 
But, if thou wouldst live chastely all thy life, 
That thou may'st do, though we be man and wife ; 
Or, if thou long'st a virgin death to die, 

1. 520. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33, 'Shall oft be 
injured . . .' 


Why, if it be thy pleasure, so do I. 

Make me but thine, and I'll contented be 

A virgin still, yet live and lie with thee. 540 

Then let not thy inventing brain essay 

To mock, and still delude me every way, 

But call to mind how thou hast deeply sworn 

Not to neglect nor leave me thus forlorn. 

And if thou wilt not be to me as when 

We first did love, do but come see me then ; 

Vouchsafe that I may sometime with thee walk, 

Or sit and look on thee or hear thee talk ; 

And I that most content once aimed at 

Will think there is a world of bliss in that. 550 

Dost thou suppose that my desire denies 
With thy affections well to sympathize ? 
Or such perverseness hast thou found in me, 
May make our natures disagreeing be ? 
Thou know'st when thou didst wake I could not 


And if thou wert but sad, that I should weep. 
Yet, even when the tears my cheek did stain, 
If thou didst smile, why I could smile again. 
I never did contrary thee in ought ; 
Nay, thou canst tell, I oft have spake thy thought. 560 
Waking, the self-same course with thee I run, 
And sleeping, oftentimes our dreams were one. 

The dial-needle, though it sense doth want, 
Still bends to the beloved adamant ; 
Lift the one up, the other upward tends ; 
If this fall down, that presently descends : 
Turn but about the stone, the steel turns too ; 

VOL. i. 8 


Then straight returns, if but the other do ; 

And, if it stay, with trembling keeps one place, 

As if it, panting, long'd for an embrace. 570 

So was 't with me : for, if thou merry wert, 

That mirth of thine mo^ed joy within my heart : 

I sighed too, when thou didst sigh or frown ; 

When thou wert sick, thou hast perceived me swoun ; 

And being sad have oft, with forced delight, 

Striv'd to give thee content beyond my might. 

When thou wouldst talk, then have I talk'd with thee, 

And silent been when thou wouldst silent be. 

If thou abroad didst go, with joy I went ; 

If home thou lov'dst. at home was my content : 580 

Yea, what did to my nature disagree 

I could make pleasing, 'cause it pleased thee. 

But, if 't be either my weak sex, or youth, 
Makes thee misdoubt my undistained truth, 
Know this ; as none, till that unhappy hour 
When I was first made thine, had ever power 
To move my heart by vows, or tears' expense, 
No more, I swear, could any creature since. 
No looks but thine, though aim'd with passion's art, 
Could pierce so deep to penetrate my heart. 590 

No name but thine was welcome to my ear ; 
No word did I so soon so gladly hear : 
Nor ever could my eyes behold or see, 
What I was since delighted in, but thee. 

And sure thou wouldst believe it to be so 
If I could tell, or words might make thee know, 

1. 568. 'If but,' 1615, '17, '19, '20. 'If so,' 1622, '33. 


How many a weary night my tumbled bed 

Hath known me sleepless, what salt tears I've shed ; 

What scalding sighs, the marks of souls opprest, 

Have hourly breathed from my careful breast. 600 

Nor wouldst thou deem those waking sorrows feign'd, 

If thou might'st see how sleeping I am pain'd. 

For if sometimes I chance to take a slumber, 

Unwelcome dreams my broken rest doth cumber ; 

Which dreaming makes me start, starting with fears 

Wakes ; and so waking I renew my cares, 

Until my eyes o'er-tired with watch and weeping, 

Drown'd in their own floods fall again to sleeping. 

Oh ! that thou couldst but think, when last we parted, 

How much I, grieving for thy absence, smarted : 610 

My very soul fell sick, my heart to aching, 

As if they had their last farewells been taking, 

Or feared by some secret divination 

This thy revolt and causeless alteration. 

Didst thou not feel how loth that hand of mine 

Was to let go the hold it had of thine ? 

And with what heavy, what unwilling look 

I leave of thee, and then of comfort took ? 

I know thou didst ; and though now thus thou do, 

I am deceived but then it grieved thee too. 620 

Then if I so with love's fell passion vext 
For thy departure only was perplext, 
When I had left to strengthen me some trust, 
And hope that thou wouldst ne'er have proved un 

1.6o6. So 1615, '17, '19. 1620 omits 'I.' 1622, '33 read 
'Wakes, and so by waking ..." 


What was my torture then and hard endurance 
When of thy falsehood I received assurance ? 

Alas, my tongue awhile with grief was dumb, 
And a cold shuddering did my joints benumb, 
Amazement seized my thought, and so prevailed, 
I found me ill, but knew not what I ailed. 630 

Nor can I yet tell, since my suffering then 
Was more than could be shown by poet's pen, 
Or well conceived by any other heart 
Than that which in such care hath borne a part. 

Oh me, how loth was I to have believed 
That to be true, for which so much I grieved ? 
How gladly would I have persuaded bin 
There had been no such matter, no such sin. 
I would have had my heart think that I knew 
To be the very truth, not to be true. 640 

Why may not this, thought I, some vision be, 
Some sleeping dream or waking phantasy 
Begotten by my over-blinded folly, 
Or else engendered through my melancholy? 
But finding it so real, thought I then, 
Must I be cast from all my hopes again ? 
What are become of all those fading blisses, 
Which late my hope had, and now so much misses ? 
Where is that future fickle happiness 
Which I so long expected to possess ? 650 

And, thought I too, where are his dying passions, 
His honeyed words, his bitter lamentations ? 
To what end were his sonnets, epigrams, 
His pretty posies, witty anagrams ? 
J could not think all that might have been feign'd, 


Nor any faith I thought so firm been stain'd. 

Nay, I do sure and confidently know 

It is not possible it should be so, 

If that rare art and passion was thine own 

Which in my presence thou hast often shown. 660 

But, since thy change, my much-presaging heart 

Is half afraid thou some impostor wert ; 

Or that thou didst but, player-like addrest, 

Act that which flow'd from some more gentle breast. 

Thy puffed invention, with worse matter swollen, 

Those thy conceits from better wits hath stolen : 

Or else I know it could not be that thou 

Shouldst be so over-cold as thou art now ; 

Since those, who have that feelingly their own, 

Ever possess more worth conceal'd than known. 670 

And if Love ever any mortals touch, 

To make a brave impression, 'tis in such, 

Who, sworn love's chaplains, will not violate 

That whereunto themselves they consecrate. 

But oh, you noble brood, on whom the world 
The slighted burthen of neglect hath hurl'd, 
Because your thoughts, for higher objects born, 
Their grovelling humours and affection scorn, 
You, whom the gods, to hear your strains, will follow, 
Whilst you do court the sisters of Apollo, 680 

You, whom there's none that's worthy can neglect, 
Or any that unworthy is affect ; 
Do not let those that seek to do you shame 
Bewitch us with those songs they cannot frame : 

1. 683. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33, ' Oh, let not those . . . .* 


The noblest of our sex, and fairest too, 

Do ever love and honour such as you. 

Then wrong us not so much to give your passion 

To those that have it but in imitation, 

And in their dull breasts never feel the power 

Of such deep thoughts as sweetly move in your. 690 

As well as you, they us thereby abuse, 

For, many times, when we our lovers choose, 

Where we think Nature that rich jewel sets 

Which shines in you, we light on counterfeits. 

But see, see whither discontentment bears me, 
And to what uncouth strains my passion rears me : 
Yet, pardon me, I here again repent 
If I have erred through that discontent. 
Be what thou wilt, be counterfeit or right, 
Be constant, serious, or be vain, or light, 700 

My love remains inviolate the same : 
Thou canst be nothing that can quench this flame, 
But it will burn as long as thou hast breath 
To keep it kindled, if not after death. 
Ne'er was there one more true than I to thee, 
And though my faith must now despised be, 
Unpriz'd, unvalued at the lowest rate, 
Yet this I'll tell thee ; 'tis not all thy state, 
Nor all that better-seeming worth of thine, 
Can buy thee such another love as mine : 7 IQ 

Liking it may, but oh, there's as much odds, 
'Twixt love and that, as between men and gods, 
And 'tis a purchase not procured with treasure, 
As some fools think, nor to be gain'd at pleasure ; 

1.713. 'And 'tis,' 1615, '17, '19, '20. ' It is,' 1622, '33. 


For were it so, and any could assure it, 
What would not some men part with to procure it ? 
But though thou weigh 't not as thou ought'st to do, 
Thou know'st I love, and once didst love me too. 
Then where's the cause of this dislike in thee ? 
Survey thyself, I hope there's none in me. 7 2 

Yet look on her from whom thou art estranged ; 
See, is my person or my beauty changed ? 
Once thou didst praise it, prithee view 't again, 
And mark if 't be not still the same 'twas then. 
No false vermilion dye my cheek distains, 
'Tis the poor blood dispersed through pores and veins, 
Which thou hast oft seen through my forehead flushing, 
To show no dauby colour hid my blushing, 
Nor never shall ; Virtue, I hope, will save me, 
Contented with that beauty Nature gave me. 730 
Or, if 't seem less, for that grief's veil hath hid it, 
Thou threw'st it on me, 'twas not I that did it, 
And canst again restore what may repair 
All that's decay'd, and make me far more fair. 
Which if thou do, I'll be more wary than, 
To keep 't for thee unblemish'd, what I can ; 
And 'cause at best 'twill want much of perfection, 
The rest shall be supplied with true affection. 

But I do fear it is some other's riches, 
Whose more abundance that thy mind bewitches; 740 
So that base object, that too general aim, 
Makes thee my lesser fortune to disclaim. 

1. 731. So 1615, '17, '19. 1620, '22, "33, 'had hid it.' 
1. 741. ' So that base object,' 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 
read ' That baser object.' 



Fie, canst thou so degenerate in spirit, 
As to prefer the means before the merit ? 
Although I cannot say it is in me, 
Such worth sometimes with poverty may be 
To equalize the match she takes upon her, 
Tho' th* other vaunt of birth, wealth, beauty, honour : 
And many a one that did for greatness wed, 
Would gladly change it for a meaner bed. 750 

Yet are my fortunes known indifferent, 
Not basely mean, but such as may content ; 
And though I yield the better to be thine, 
I may be bold to say thus much for mine ; 
That if thou couldst of them and me esteem, 
Neither thy state nor birth would misbeseem ; 
Or if it did, how can I help 't, alas, 
Thou, not alone, before knew'st what it was. 
But I, although not fearing so to speed, 
Did also disenable 't more than need, 760 

And yet thou woo'dst, and wooing didst persever 
As if thou hadst intended love for ever : 
Yea, thy account of wealth thou mad'st so small, 
Thou hadst not any question of 't at all ; 
But hating much that peasant-like condition, 
Didst seem displeas'd I held it in suspicion. 
Whereby I think, if nothing else do thwart us, 
It cannot be the want of that will part us. 
Yea, I do rather doubt indeed, that this 
The needless fear of friends' displeasure is. 770 

That is the bar which stops out my delight, 

1. 771. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read 'Yes, that's 
the bar . . . ' 


And all my hope and joy confoundeth quite. 

But bears there any in thy heart such sway 

To shut me thence, and wipe thy love away ? 

Can there be any friend that hath the power 

To disunite hearts so conjoin'd as our? 

Ere I would have so done by thee, I'd rather 

Have parted with one dearer than my father. 

For though the will of our Creator binds 

Each child to learn and know his parents' minds, 780 

Yet sure I am so just a Deity 

Commandeth nothing against piety ; 

Nor doth that band of duty give them leave 

To violate their faith or to deceive. 

And though that parents have authority 

To rule their children in minority, 

Yet they are never granted such power on them 

That will allow to tyrannize upon them, 

Or use them under their command so ill, 

To force them, without reason, to their will. 790 

For who hath read in all the Sacred Writ 
Of any one compelFd to marriage yet ? 
What father so unkind, thereto required, 
Denied his child the match that he desired, 
So that he found the laws did not forbid it ? 
I think those gentler ages no men did it. 
In those days therefore for them to have bin 
Contracted without licence had been sin, 
Since there was more good-nature among men, 
And every one more truly loving then. 800 

But now, although we stand obliged still 
To labour for their liking and good-will, 



There is no duty whereby they may tie us 

From ought which without reason they deny 

us : 

For I do think it is not only meant 
Children should ask, but parents should consent ; 
And that they err, their duty as much breaking 
For not consenting as we not for speaking : 
"It is no marvel many matches be 
Concluded now without their privity ; 810 

Since they, through greedy avarice misled, 
Their interest in that have forfeited." 
For some, respectless of all care, do marry 
Hot youthful May to cold old January. 
Some, for a greedy end, do basely tie 
The sweetest fair to foul deformity, 
Forcing a love from where 'twas placed late, 
To re-ingraff it where it turns to hate. 
It seems no cause of hindrance in their eyes 
Though manners nor affections sympathize ; 820 

And two religions by their rules of state 
They may in one made body tolerate, 
As if they did desire that double stem 
Should fruitful bear but neuters like to them. 
Alas, how many numbers of both kinds, 
By that, have ever discontented minds, 
And live, though seeming unto others well, 
In the next torments unto those of hell ? 
How many, desperate grown by this their sin, 
Have both undone themselves and all their kin ? 830 
Many a one, we see, it makes to fall 
With the too-late repenting prodigal. 


Thousands, though else by Nature gentler given, 

To act the horrid'st murthers oft are driven ; 

And, which is worse, there's many a careless elf, 

Unless heaven pity, kills and damns himself. 

Oh, what hard heart, or what unpitying eyes, 

Could hold from -tears to see those tragedies, 

Parents, by their neglect in this, have hurl'd 

Upon the stage of this respectless world? 840 

'Tis not one man, one family, one kin, 

No, nor one country that hath ruin'd bin 

By such their folly, which the cause hath proved 

That foreign, oft, and civil wars were moved. 

By such beginnings many a city lies 

Now in the dust, whose turrets braved the skies : 

And divers monarchs by such fortunes crost, 

Have seen their kingdoms fired, and spoil'd, and lost. 

Yet all this while, thou seest, I mention not 
The ruin shame and chastity hath got ; 850 

For 'tis a task too infinite to tell 
How many thousands that would have done well, 
Do, by the means of this, suffer desires 
To kindle in their hearts unlawful fires : 
Nay, some, in whose cold breast ne'er flame had bin, 
Have only for mere vengeance fall'n to sin. 
Myself have seen, and my heart bled to see 't, 
A witless clown enjoy a match unmeet. 
She was a lass that had a look to move 
The heart of cold Diogenes to love : 860 

Her eye was such, whose every glance did know 
To kindle flames upon the hills of snow ; 
And by her powerful piercings could imprint 



Or sparkle fire into a heart of flint : 

And yet, unless I much deceived be, 

In very thought did hate immodesty. 

And, had sh' enjoy'd the man she could have loved, 

Might to this day have lived unreproved : 

But being forced, perforce, by seeming friends, 

With her consent she her contentment ends, 870 

In that, compell'd, herself to him she gave, 

Whose bed she rather could have wish'd her grave ; 

And since I hear, what I much fear is true, 

That she hath bidden shame and fame adieu. 

Such are the causes now that parents quite 
Are put beside much of their ancient right ; 
The fear of this makes children to withhold 
From giving them those dues which else they would ; 
And these thou seest are the too-fruitful ills 
Which daily spring from their unbridled wills. 880 
Yet they, forsooth, will have it understood, 
That all their study is their children's good. 
A seeming love shall cover all they do, 
When, if the matter were well look'd into, 
Their careful reach is chiefly to fulfil 
Their own foul, greedy, and insatiate will : 
Who, quite forgetting they were ever young, 
Would have their children dote, with them, on dung. 

Grant, betwixt two there be true love, content, 
Birth not mis-seeming, wealth sufficient, 890 

Equality in years, an honest fame, 

1. 877. 'The fear,' 1615. 1617 and '19 print 'There fear/ 
which in 1620, '22, and '33 becomes 'Their fear.' 

1. 888. 'their' : so 1615, '17. Later editions, 'the.' 


In every side the person without blame, 
And they obedient too, what can you gather 
Of Love, or of affection, in that father 
That, but a little to augment his treasure, 
Perhaps no more but only for his pleasure, 
Shall force his child to one he doth abhor, 
From her he loves and justly seeketh for ; 
Compelling him, for such misfortune grieved, 
To die with care, that might with joy have lived ? 900 
This you may say is Love, and swear as well 
There's pains in Heaven and delights in Hell j 
Or, that the devil's fury and austerity 
Proceeds out of his care of our prosperity. 
Would parents, in this age, have us begin 
To take by their eyes our affections in ? 
Or do they think we bear them in our fist, 
That we may still remove them as they list ? 
It is impossible it should be thus, 
For we are ruled by love, not love by us : 910 

And so our power so much ne'er reacheth to, 
To know where we shall love, until we do. 
And when it comes, hide it awhile we may, 
But it is not in our strengths to drive 't away. 
Either mine own eye should my chooser be, 
Or I would ne'er wear Hymen's livery. 
For who is he so near my heart doth rest, 
To know what 'tis that mine approveth best ? 

1.904. So 1615, '17, '19. 1 620 carelessly gives 'posperitjr 
(sic), which was altered to ' posterity ' in 1622 and 1633 editions. 

1. 908. '. . . as they list.' So 1615, '17, '19. 1622, '22, '33, 
'as we list.' 

1. 911. 'reacheth,' 1615, '17, '19. 1620, '22, '33, 'reached.' 

1. 918. 'approveth,' 1615, '17, '19. 1620, '22, '33, 'approved.' 



I have myself beheld those men, whose frame 

And outward personages had nought of blame ; 920 

They had, what might their good proportion grace, 

The much more moving part, a comely face, 

With many of those complements, which we 

In common men of the best breeding see ; 

They had discourse, and wit enough to carry 

Themselves in fashion at an ordinary ; 

Gallants they were, loved company and sport, 

Wore favours, and had mistresses in court ; 

And every way were such that they might seem 

Worthy of note, respect, and such esteem ; 930 

Yet hath my eye more cause of liking seen 

Where nought perhaps by some hath noted been : 

And I have there found more content by far 

Where some of these perfections wanting are ; 

Yea, so much that their beauties were a blot 

To them, methought, because he had them not. 

There some peculiar thing innated is, 
That bears an uncontrolled sway in this ; 
And nothing but itself knows how to fit 
The mind with that which best shall suit with it. 940 

Then why should parents thrust themselves into 
What they want warrant for, and power to do ? 
How is it they are so forgetful grown 
Of those conditions that were once their own ? 
Do they so dote amidst their wits' perfection, 

1.929. So 1615. 1617, '19, 'such that now.' 1620, 'such 

as now. 1 1622, '33, 'such as well.' 

1. 930. ' such,' 1615, '17, '19, "20. 1622, '33 give ' much.' 

1. 937. The last word, 'is,' was omitted by 1620, '22, '33. 


To think that age and youth hath like affection, 

When they do see 'mong those of equal years, 

One hateth what another most endears ? 

Or do they think their wisdoms can invent 

A thing to give that's greater than content ? 950 

No, neither shall they wrap us in such blindness, 

To make us think the spite they do a kindness. 

For as I would advise no child to stray 

From the least duty that he ought to pay, 

So would I also have him wisely know 

How much that duty is which he doth owe ; 

That, knowing what doth unto both belong, 

He may do them their right, himself no wrong. 

For if my parents him I loathe should choose, 

'Tis lawful, yea, my duty, to refuse ; 960 

Else how shall I lead so upright a life 

As is enjoined to the man and wife ? 

Since that we see sometime there are repentings, 

Ev'n where there are the most and best contentings. 

What, though that by our parents first we live, 

Is not life misery enough to give ? 

Which at their births the children doth undo, 

Unless they add some other mischief too. 

'Cause they gave being to this flesh of our, 

Must we be therefore slaves unto their power ? 970 

We ne'er desired it, for how could we tell, 

Not being, but that not-to-be was well? 

Nor know they whom they profit by it, seeing 

Happy were some, if they had had no being. 

1. 952. 'a kindness,' 1615, '17, '19. Later eds., c is kindness." 



Indeed, had they produced us without sin, 

Had all our duty to have pleased them bin ? 

Of the next life could they assure the state, 

And both beget us and regenerate, 

There were no reason then we should withstand 

To undergo their tyrannous't command, 980 

In hope that either for our hard endurance, 

We should, at last, have comfort in assurance ; 

Or, if in our endeavours we mis-sped, 

At least feel nothing when we should be dead. 

But what's the reason for 't that we shall be 
Enthrall'd so much unto mortality, 
Our souls on will of any men to tie 
Unto an everlasting misery ? 
So far, perhaps too, from the good of either, 
We ruin them, ourselves, and all together. 990 

Children owe much, I must confess 'tis true, 
And a great debt is to the parents due : 
Yet if they have not so much power to crave 
But in their own defence the lives they gave, 
How much less then should they become so cruel 
As to take from them the high-prized jewel 
Of liberty in choice, whereon depends 
The main contentment that the heaven here lends ? 
Worth life or wealth, nay, far more worth than either, 
Or twenty thousand lives put all together. 1000 

Then howsoever some, severer bent, 
May deem of my opinion or intent, 
With that which follows thus conclude I do, 

1. 990. 'all together,' 1615, '17, '19, '33- ^o, '22, 'al 


And I have reason for 't, and conscience too : 
No parent may his child's just suit deny 
On his bare will, without a reason why ; 
Nor he so used be disobedient thought, 
If unapproved he take the match he sought. 

So then if that thy faith uncrazed be, 
Thy friends' dislike shall be no stop to me ; IOIO 

For, if their will be not of force to do it, 
They shall have no cause else to drive them to it. 
Let them bring all forth that they can allege ; 
We are both young and of the fittest age, 
If thou dissembledst not, both love, and both 
To admit hindrance in our loves were loth. 
'Tis prejudicial unto none that lives ; 
And God's and human law our warrant gives ; 
Nor are we much unequal in degree ; 
Perhaps our fortunes somewhat different be, IO2O 
But say that little means, which is, were not, 
The want of wealth may not dissolve this knot. 
For though some such preposterous courses wend, 
Prescribing to themselves no other end, 
Marriage was not ordained t' enrich men by, 
Unless it were in their posterity ; 
And he that doth for other causes wed 
Ne'er knows the true sweets of a marriage bed : 
Nor shall he, by my will, for 'tis unfit 
He should have bliss that never aim'd at it. 1030 

11. 1013, 4. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. Editions 1622 and '33 
give : 

' What is it they against us can allege ? 
Both young we are, and of the fittest age.' 
1. 1016. 'were.' So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 'are,' 1622, '33. 
VOL. I. Q 



Though that bewitching gold the rabble blinds, 
And is the object of the vulgar minds ; 
Yet those, methinks, that graced seem to be 
With so much good as doth appear in thee, 
Should scorn their better taught desires to tie 
To that which fools do get their honour by. 
I can like of the wealth, I must confess, 
Yet more I prize the man, though moneyless. 
I am not of their humour yet that can 
For title OF estate affect a man ; 1040 

Or of myself one body deign to make 
With him I loathe, for his possessions' sake. 
Nor wish I ever to have that mind bred 
In me, that is in those who, when they wed, 
Think it enough they do attain the grace 
Of some new honour, to fare well, take place, 
Wear costly clothes, in others' sights agree, 
Or happy in opinion seem to be. 

I weigh not this : for were I sure before 
Of Spencer's wealth, or our rich Sutton's store ; 1050 
Had I therewith a man whom Nature lent 
Person enough to give the eye content ; 
If I no outward due nor right did want, 
Which the best husbands in appearance grant ; 
Nay, though alone we had no private jars, 
But merry lived from all domestic cares ; 
Unless I thought his nature so incline 
That it might also sympathize with mine, 
And yield such correspondence with my mind, 

L 1032. 'of the, 1 1615, 17, '19, '20. 'of all,' 1622, '33. 


Our souls might mutually contentment find, 1060 

By adding unto these which went before 

Some certain unexpressed pleasures more, 

Such as exceed the straight and curb'd dimensions 

Of common minds and vulgar apprehensions, 

I would not care for such a match, but tarry 

In this estate I am, and never marry. 

Such were the sweets I hoped to have possest, 
When fortune should with thee have made me 


My heart could hardly think of that content 
To apprehend it without ravishment. 1070 

Each word of thine, methought, was to my ears 
More pleasing than that music which the spheres, 
They say, do make the gods, when in their chime 
Their motions diapason with the time. 
In my conceit the opening of thine eye 
Seem'd to give light to every object by, 
And shed a kind of life unto my shew, 
On everything that was within it view. 
More joy I've felt to have thee but in place 
Than many do in the most close embrace 1080 

Of their beloved'st friend, which well doth prove 
Not to thy body only tends my love ; 
But, mounting a true height, grows so divine, 
It makes my soul to fall in love with thine. 

And sure now, whatsoe'er thy body do, 
Thy soul loves mine, and oft they visit too. 
For late I dreamed they -went I know not whither, 
Unless to heaven, and there play'd together ; 
And to this day I ne'er could know or see 



'Twixt them or us the least antipathy. 1090 

Then what should make thee keep thy person hence, 

Or leave to love, or hold it in suspense ? 

If to offend thee I unwares was driven, 

Is 't such a fault as may not be forgiven ? 

Or if by frowns of fate I have been checked, 

So that I seem not worth thy first respect, 

Shall I be therefore blamed and upbraided 

With what could not be holpen or avoided ? 

'Tis not my fault, yet 'cause my fortunes do 

Wilt thou be so unkind to wrong me too? noo 

Not unto thine, but thee, I set my heart, 

So nought can wipe my love out while thou art : 

Though thou wert poorer both of house and meat 

Than he that knows not where to sleep or eat ; 

Though thou wert sunk into obscurity, 

Become an abject in the world's proud eye ; 

Though by perverseness of thy fortune crost 

Thou wert deformed, or some limb hadst lost, 

That love which admiration first begot, 

Pity would strengthen, that it failed not ; mo 

Yea, I should love thee still, and without blame, 

As long as thou couldst keep thy mind the same, 

Which is of virtues so compact, I take it, 

No mortal change shall have the power to shake it. 

This may, and will, I know, seem strange to those 

That cannot the abyss of love disclose, 

Nor must they think, whom but the outside moves, 

Ever to apprehend such noble loves, 

1. 1093. 'unwares,' 1615, '17, '19. 1620, '22, '33, 'unawares. 


Or more conjecture their unfounded measure 

Than can we mortals of immortal pleasure. 1120 

Then let not those dull unconceiving brains, 
Who shall hereafter come to read these strains, 
Suppose that no love's fire can be so great 
Because it gives not their cold clime such heat, 
Or think m' invention could have reached here 
Unto such thoughts, unless such love there were ; 
For then they shall but show their knowledge weak, 
And injure me that feel of what I speak. 

But now my lines grow tedious, like my wrong, 
And as I thought that, thou think'st this too 
long. 1130 

Or some may deem I thrust myself into 
More than beseemeth modesty to do. 
But of the difference I am not unwitting, 
Betwixt a peevish coyness and things unfitting ; 
Nothing respect I who pries o'er my doing, 
For here's no vain allurements nor fond wooing, 
To train some wanton stranger to my lure, ' 
But with a thought that's honest, chaste, and pure, 
I make my cause unto thy conscience known, 
Suing for that which is by right my own. 1 140 

In which complaint, if thou do hap to find 
Any such word as seems to be unkind, 
Mistake me not, it but from passion sprung, 
And not from an intent to do thee wrong. 
Or if among these doubts my sad thoughts breed. 
Some, peradventure, may be more than need, 

1. 1134. So 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33 read 'things fitting/ 



They are to let thee know, might we dispute, 
There's no objections but I could refute ; 
And spite of envy such defences make, 
Thou shouldst embrace that love thou dost for 
sake. 1150 
Then do not, oh, forgetful man, now deem 
That 'tis ought less than I have made it seem ; 
Or that I am unto this passion moved, 
Because I cannot elsewhere be beloved ; 
Or that it is thy state whose greatness known 
Makes me become a suitor for my own. 
Suppose not so ; for know this day there be 
Some that woo hard for what I offer thee ; 
And I have ever yet contented bin 
With that estate I first was placed in. 1160 
Banish those thoughts and turn thee to my heart ; 
Come once again and be what once thou wert. 
Revive me by those wonted joys repairing, 
That am nigh dead with sorrows and despairing : 
So shall the memory of this annoy, 
But add more sweetness to my future joy ; 
Yea, make me think thou meant'st not to deny me, 
But only wert estranged thus, to try me. 
And lastly, for that love's sake thou once bar'st me, 
By that right hand thou gav'st, that oath thou swar'st 
me, 1170 
By all the passions, and, if any be, 
For her dear sake that makes thee injure me, 
I here conjure thee no, entreat and sue, 
That if these lines do overreach thy view, 
Thou wouldst afford me so much favour for them 


As to accept, or at least not abhor them. 

So though thou wholly cloak not thy disdain, 
I shall have somewhat the less cause to plain : 
Or if thou needs must scoff at this, or me, 
Do 't by thyself, that none may witness be. 1 180 

Not that I fear 'twill bring me any blame, 
Only I'm loth the world should know thy shame. 
For all that shall this plaint with reason view 
Will judge me faithful, and thee most untrue. 
But if oblivion, that thy love bereft, 
Hath not so much good-nature in thee left 
But that thou must, as most of you men do 
When you have conquer'd, tyrannize it too, 
Know this before, that it is praise to no man 
To wrong so frail a creature as a woman, 1190 

And to insult o'er one so much made thine, 
Will more be thy disparagement than mine. 

But oh I pray that it portend no harms 
A, cheering heat my chilled senses warms : 
Just now I flashing feel into my breast 
A sudden comfort, not to be exprest, 
Which, to my thinking, doth again begin 
To warm my heart, to let some hope come in ; 
It tells me 'tis impossible that thou 
Shouldst live not to be mine ; it whispers how 1200 
My former fears and doubts have been in vain, 
And that thou mean'st yet to return again. 
It says thy absence from some cause did grow, 

1. 1182. 1615 and 1617 give ' thy shame* : all other editions, 
'my shame.' 
1. 1198. 'warm,' 1615, '17, '19, "20. 1622, '33, 'warn.' 



Which or I should not or I could not know. 
It tells me now that all those proofs, whereby 
I seem'd assured of thy disloyalty, 
May be but treacherous plots of some base foes 
That in thy absence sought our overthrows. 

Which if it prove, as yet methinks it may, 
Oh, what a burden shall I cast away ! 1 210 

What cares shall I lay by, and to what height 
Tower in my new ascension to delight ! 
Sure, ere the full of it I come to try, 
I shall ev'n surfeit in my joy and die. 
But such a loss might well be call'd a thriving, 
Since more is got by dying so than living. 

Come kill me then, my dear, if thou think fit, 
With that which never killed woman yet : 
Or write to me before, so shalt thou give 
Content more moderate that I may live ; 1220 

And when I see my staff of trust unbroken 
I will unspeak again what is mis-spoken. 
What I have written in dispraise of men 
I will recant, and praise as much again ; 
In recompense I'll add unto their stories 
Encomiastic lines to imp their glories. 
And for those wrongs my love to thee hath done, 
Both I and it unto thy pity run : 
In whom, if the least guilt thou find to be, 
For ever let thy arms imprison me. 1230 

Meanwhile I'll try if misery will spare 
Me so much respite to take truce with care, 

1. 1230. 'thy,' 1615, '17, '19, '20. 1622, '33, 'thine.' 


And patiently await the doubtful doom 

Which I expect from thee should shortly come ; 

Much longing that I one way may be sped, 

And not still linger 'twixt alive and dead. 

For I can neither live yet as I should, 

Because I least enjoy of that I would ; 

Nor quiet die, because, indeed, I first 

Would see some better days, or know the worst. 1240 

Then hasten, dear ; if to my end it be, 
It shall be welcome, 'cause it comes from thee ; 
If to renew my comfort ought be sent, 
Let me not lose a minute of content. 
The precious time is short and will away, 
Let us enjoy each other while we may. 
Cares thrive, age creepeth on, men are but shades, 
Joys lessen, youth decays, and beauty fades ; 
New turns come on, the old returneth never, 
If we let our go past, 'tis past for ever. 1250 


(1615 edition.) 

SHALL I wasting in despair 

Die because a woman's fair ? 

Or make pale my cheeks with care 

'Cause another's rosy are ? 

Be she fairer than the day, 

Or the flowery meads in May, 
If she think not well of me, 
What care I how fair she be ? 

Shall my seely heart be pined 

'Cause I see a woman kind ? 

Or a well-disposed nature 

Joined with a lovely feature ? 

Be she meeker, kinder than 

Turtle-dove or pelican, 
If she be not so to me 
What care I how kind she be ? 

Shall a woman's virtues move 
Me to perish for her love ? 

Variations in 1619 and 1620 editions : 

1. 3. ' Or my cheeks make pale . . . 

1. 6. ' . . . meads of May.' 

1. 7. ' If she be not so to me.' 

1. 9. ' . . . my foolish heart . . .' 

1. 10. ' . . . a woman's kind.' 

I. 12. ' . . . a comely feature.' 

1. 13. ' Be she kind or meeker than. 

II. 17, 18. ' . . . make, . . . sake.' 



Or her well-deservings known 

Make me quite forget mine own ? 20 

Be she with that goodness blest 

Which may merit name of best, 
If she be not such to me 
What care I how good she be ? 

'Cause her fortune seems too high, 25 

Shall I play the fool and die ? 
She that bears a noble mind, 
If not outward helps she find, 
Thinks what with them he would do 
That without them dares her woo ; 30 

And unless that mind I see 
What care I how great she be ? 

Great, or good, or kind, or fair, 

I will ne'er the more despair ; 

If she love me, this believe, 35 

I will die, ere she shall grieve : 

If she slight me when I woo 

I can scorn and let her go, 

For if she be not for me 

What care I for whom she be ? 40 


1. 20. 

Or her merit's value known.' 
my own." 

1. 22. That may merit . . .' 

1. 23. If she seem not so to me." 

1. 26. Should I play . . .' 

1. 27, ff. 'He that bears a noble mind, 
If not outward help he find, 
Think, what with them he would do 
That without them dares to woo.' 

1. 35. ' . . . then believe.' 

I. 38. ' I can slight, and bid her go. 1 

II. 39, 40. ' If she be not fit for me 

What care I how others be?' 


(1615, '17, '19, '20 editions. ) 

MY Genius, say what thoughts these pantings move ? 

Thy thoughts of Love. 
What flames are these that set my heart on fire ? 

Flames of Desire. 
What are the means that these two underprop ? 5 

Thy earnest Hope. 

Then yet I'm happy in my sweet friend's choice, 
For they in depth of passion may rejoice 
Whose thoughts and flames and means have such blest 

They may at once both Love, Desire, and Hope. 10 

But tell, what fruit at last my love shall gain ? 

Hidden Disdain. 
What will that hope prove, which yet faith keeps fair ? 

Hopeless Despair. 
What end will run my passions out of breath ? 15 

Untimely Death. 

Oh me ! that passion, joined with faith and love, 
Should with my fortunes so ungracious prove 
That she'll no fruit, nor hope, nor end bequeath, 
But cruellest Disdain, Despair, and Death ! 20 

To what new study shall I now apply ? 
Study to Die. 

I. 21. So 1613. 1617, '19, '20, ' Then what . . . 


How might I end my care, and die content ? 

. Care to Repent. 

And what good thoughts may make my end more 
holy? 25 

Think on thy Folly. 
Well, so I will, and since my fate may give 
Nothing but discontents whilst here I live, 
My studies, cares, and thoughts I'll all apply 
To weigh my Folly well, Repent, and Die. 30 


HENCE away, thou Siren, leave me ; 

Pish, unclasp your wanton arms ; 

Sugared words can ne'er deceive me 

Though thou prove a thousand charms. 

Fie, fie, forbear ; no common snare 5 

Can ever my affection chain ; 

Thy sugared baits of love-deceits 

Are all bestowed on me in vain. 

I have elsewhere vowed a duty : 

Turn away thy tempting eye ; 10 

Show not me thy painted beauty ; 

These impostures I defy. 

My spirit loathes where gaudy clothes 

And feigned oaths may love obtain ; 

I love her so whose look swears "no," 15 

That all thy labour will be vain. 

L 15. 1620 omits 'so.' 


I'm no slave to such as you be ; 

Nor shall that soft snowy breast, 

Rolling eye, nor lip of ruby 

Ever rob me of my rest. 20 

Go, go display thy beauty's ray 

To some more-soon enamoured swain ; 

Thy forced wiles of sighs and smiles 

Are all bestowed on me in vain. 

Can he prize the tainted posies 25 

That on other's breast are worn, 

Which may pluck the virgin roses 

From the never-touched thorn ? 

I can go rest on her sweet breast 

That is the pride of Cynthia's train : 30 

Then stay thy tongue ; thy mermaid's song 

Is all bestowed on me in vain. 

He's a fool that basely dallies 

Where each peasant mates with him. 

Shall I haunt the thronged valleys 35 

When there's noble hills to climb ? 

No, no ; though clowns are scared with frowns, 

I know the best can but disdain ; 

Then those I'll prove, so will your love 

Be all bestowed on me in vain. 40 

Yet I would not deign embraces 
With the fairest queens that be, 

L 19. So 1619. 1620, ' . . . and lip of ruby. 1 
1. 36. So 1619. 1620, 'Where there's . . . 


If another shared those graces 

Which they had bestowed on me. 

I'll grant that one my love, where none 45 

Shall come to rob me of my gain ; 

The fickle heart makes tears, and art, 

And all, bestowed on me in vain. 

I do scorn to vow a duty 

Where each lustful lad may woo ; 50 

Give me her whose sun-like beauty 

Buzzards dare not soar unto. 

She it is affords that bliss 

For which I would refuse no pain, 

But such as you, fond fools, adieu ! 55 

You seek to captive me in vain. 

She that's proud in the beginning 

And disdains each looker-on, 

Is a harpy in the winning, 

But a turtle being won. 60 

Whate'er betide she'll ne'er divide 

The favour she to one doth deign 

But fondlings' loves uncertain proves ; 

All, all that trust in them are vain. 

Therefore know, when I enjoy one, 65 

And for love employ my breath, 
She I court shall be a coy one, 
Though I purchase 't with my death. 

1.68. 1619 gives 'purchast,' 1620 'purchase. 



The pleasures there few aim at dare ; 

But if perhaps a lover plain 70 

She is not won, nor I undone, 

By placing of my love in vain. 

Leave me, then, thou Siren, leave me ; 

Take away these charmed arms ; 

Craft thou seest can ne'er deceive me ; 75 

I am proof 'gainst women's charms. 

Oft fools essay to lead astray 

The heart that constant must remain ; 

But I the while do sit and smile 

To see them spend their love in vain. 80 




SHALL I wasting in despair 
Die because a woman's fair, 
Or my cheeks make pale with care 
'Cause another's rosy are ? 
Be she fairer than the day, 
Or the flowery meads in May, 

If she be not so to me, 

What care I how fair she be ? 


Shall I mine affections slack 

'Cause I see a woman's black, 10 

Or myself with care cast down 

'Cause I see a woman brown ? 

Be she blacker than the night, 

Or the blackest jet in sight, 
If she be not so to me, 
What care I how black she be? 


Shall my foolish heart be pined, 
'Cause I see a woman's kind, 
Or a well-disposed nature 
Joined in a comely feature ? 20 

Be she kind or meeker than 
Turtle-dove or pelican, 
If she be not so to me, 
What care I how kind she be ? 
VOL. i. 10 



Shall my foolish heart be brust 

'Cause I see a woman's curst, 

Or a thwarting hoggish nature 

Joined in as bad a feature ? 

Be she curst or fiercer then 

Brutish beast or savage men, 30 

If she [be] not so to me, 
What care I how curst she be ? 


Shall a woman's virtues make 
Me to perish for her sake, 
Or her merit's value known 
Make me quite forget mine own ? 
Be she with that goodness blest 
That may merit name of best, 

If she seem not so to me, 

What care I how good she be ? 40 


Shall a woman's vices make 
Me her vices quite forsake, 
Or her faults to me made known 
Make me think that I have none ? 
Be she of the most accurst, 
And deserve the name of worst, 
If she be not so to me, 
What care I how bad she be ? 



'Cause her fortunes seem too high, 
Should I play the fool and die ? 5 

He that bears a noble mind 
If not outward help he find, - 
Think what with them he would do 
That without them dares to woo. 
And unless that mind I see, 
What care I how great she be ? 


'Cause her fortunes seem too low, 

Shall I therefore let her go ? 

He that bears an humble mind, 

And with riches can be kind, 60 

Think how kind a heart he'd have 

If he were some servile slave. 
And if that same mind I see, 
What care I how poor she be ? 


Great, or good, or kind, or fair, 

I will ne'er the more despair ; 

If she love me, then believe 

I will die, ere she shall grieve. 

If she slight me when I woo, 

I can slight and bid her go : 70 

If she be not fit for me, 
What care I for whom she be ? 




Poor, or bad, or curst, or black, 
I will ne'er the more be slack, 
If she hate me, then believe, 
She shall die ere I will grieve : 
If she like me when I woo, 
I can like and love her too : 
If that she be fit for me, 
What care I what others be ? 



I LOVED a lass, a fair one, 

As fair as e'er was seen ; 
She was indeed a rare one, 

Another Sheba queen. 
But fool as then I was, 

I thought she loved me too ; 
But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 

Her hair like gold did glister, 

Each eye was like a star ; 
She did surpass her sister, 

Which passed all others far. 
She would me honey call ; 

She'd, O she'd kiss me too ; 
But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 



In summer time to Medley, 

My love and I would go ; 
The boatmen there stood ready, 

My love and I to row. 20 

For cream there would we call, 

For cakes, and for prunes too ; 
But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 

Many a merry meeting 

My love and I have had ; 
She was my only sweeting, 

She made my heart full glad. 
The tears stood in her eyes, 

Like to the morning dew ; 30 

But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 

And as abroad we walked, 

As lovers' fashion is, 
Oft [as] we sweetly talked 

The sun should steal a kiss. 
The wind upon her lips 

Likewise most sweetly blew ; 
But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 40 


Her cheeks were like the cherry. 

Her skin as white as snow ; 
When she was blithe and merry, 

She angel-like did show. 
Her waist exceeding small, 

The fives did fit her shoe; 
But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 

In summer time or winter 

She had her heart's desire ; 50 

I still did scorn to stint her 

From sugar, sack, or fire. 
The world went round about, 

No cares we ever knew ; 
But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 

As we walked home together 

At midnight through the town, 
To keep away the weather 

O'er her I'd cast my gown. 60 

No cold my love should feel, 

Whate'er the heavens could do ; 
But now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 


Like doves we would be billing, 

And clip and kiss so fast ; 
Yet she would be unwilling 

That I should kiss the last. 
They're Judas-kisses now, 

Since that they proved untrue ; 70 

For now, alas ! sh' 'as left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 

To maidens' vows and swearing 

Henceforth no credit give ; 
You may give them the hearing, 

But never them believe. 
They are as false as fair, 

Unconstant, frail, untrue ; 
For mine, alas ! has left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 80 

'Twas I that paid for all things, 

'Twas others drank the wine ; 
I cannot now recall things, 

Live but a fool to pine. 
'Twas I that beat the bush, 

The bird to others flew ; 
For she, alas ! hath left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 


If ever that dame Nature, 

For this false lover's sake, 
Another pleasing creature 

Like unto her would make, 
Let her remember this, 

To make the other true ; 
For this, alas ! hath left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 


No riches now can raise me, 

No want make me despair ; 
No misery amaze me, 

Nor yet for want I care. 
I have lost a world itself, 

My earthly heaven, adieu, 
Since she, alas ! hath left me, 

Falero, lero, loo. 







the High and Mightie Prince FREDERICK the 

ffth, Count Palatine of the Rhein, Duke 

of Hauler, &c. 

Daughter to our dread Soueraign, IAMES, by 
the grace of God King of Great Britame^ 
France and Ireland, defender 
of the faith, &*c. 


the fourteenth of Februarie 

Written by George Wither. 


Imprinted for Edward Marchant, and are to be sold 

at his shop ouer against the Crosse in Pauls Church- 

yeard. i6iz. 


1612. First edition, in quarto. Printed for Edward Marchant. 
1620. In the Workes of Master George Wither. 
1622. \njuvenilia. 

1633. In Juvenilia. This contains some variations from all the 
former editions. 



Elizabeth, sole daughter to our dread 

Soueraigne, lames by the grace of 

God, King of Great Britaine, 

France and Ireland, 




the fifth, Count Palatine of the Rhein, Duke 

of Bauier, &c. Elector, and Arch-sewer to 

the sacred Roman Empire, during 

the vacancy Vicar of the same, 

and Knight of the most hono 
rable Order of the 

George Wither wisheth all the Health ; 

loyes, Honours, and Felicities of this World, 

in this life-) and the perfections of eternity 

in the World to come. 


To the Christian Readers. 

READERS, for that in my book of Satirical 
Essays I have been deemed over-cynical, to show 
that I am not wholly inclined to that vein, but, 
indeed, especially out of the love which in duty I owe 
to those incomparable Princes, I have in honour of 
their royal solemnities published these short Epi- 
thalamias. By which you may perceive, however the 
world think of me, I am not of such a churlish con 
stitution, but I can afford virtue her deserved honour, 
and have as well an affable look to encourage 
honesty, as a stern frown to cast on villainy. If the 
times would suffer me, I could be as pleasing as 
others ; and perhaps ere long I will make you amends 
for my former rigour. Meanwhile I commit this unto 
your censures, and bid you farewell. 

G. W. 



BRIGHT northern star, and fair Minerva's 


Sweet lady of this day, Great Britain's dear, 
Lo, thy poor vassal that was erst so rude 
With his most rustic Satyrs to intrude, 
Once more like a poor sylvan now draws near, 
And in thy sacred presence dares appear. 
Oh, let not that sweet bow, thy brow, be bent 
To scare him with a shaft of discontent : 
One look with anger, nay, thy gentlest frown, 
Is twice enough to cast a greater down. 10 
My will is ever, never to offend 
These that are good ; and what I here intend . 
Your worth compels me to. For lately grieved 
More than can be expressed or well believed 
Minding for ever to abandon sport, 
And live exiled from places of resort ; 
Careless of all, I yielding to security, 
Thought to shut up my Muse in dark obs 
curity : 

And in content the better to repose, 
A lonely grove upon a mountain chose, 20 
East from Caer Winn, midway 'twixt Arle and 

Two springs where Britain's true Arcadia is. 

1. i. So 1612. Later eds. ' great Minerva's peer.' 
1. 12. ' These,' 1612, '20, '22. 1633, ' Those.' 
L 22. So 1612. Later eds. ' True springs.' 


But ere I entered my intended course, 

Great ^Eolus began to offer force. 

The boisterous king was grown so mad with 

rage, describes the 

That all the earth was but his fury's stage ; which was so 
Fire, air, earth, sea, were intermixed in one ; t^^stuous 
Yet fire, through water, earth and air shone, and windy. 
The sea, as if she meant to whelm them under, 
Beat on the cliffs, and raged more loud than 

thunder : 30 

And whilst the vales she with salt waves did 


The air shower'd floods that drench'd our high 
est hill ; 
And the proud trees, that would no duty 


Lay overturned, twenties in a row. 
Yea, every man for fear fell to devotion, 
Lest the whole isle should have been drench'd 

in th' ocean. 

Which I, perceiving, conjured up my Muse, 
The spirit whose good help I sometimes use, 
And though I meant to break her rest no more, 
I was then fain her aid for to implore ; 40 
And by her help indeed I came to know 
Why both the air and seas were troubled so ; 
For having urged her that she would unfold 
What cause she knew, thus much at last she 


34. So 1612, '20, '22. 1633, 'twenty. 


Of late, quoth she, there is by powers divine 
A match concluded, 'twixt great Thame and 

Rhine ; 

Two famous rivers, equal both to Nile : 
The one, the pride of Europe's greatest isle ; 
Th' other, disdaining to be closely pent, 
Washes a great part of the Continent, 50 

Yet with abundance doth the wants supply 
Of the still-thirsting sea, that's never dry. 
And now these, being not alone endear'd 
To mighty Neptune and his watery herd, 
x But also to the great and dreadful Jove 

With all his sacred companies above, 
/Both have assented by their loves' inviting, 
To grace with their own presence this uniting. 
Jove called a summons, to the world's great 

ofthcHte ra" 'Twas that we heard of late, which we thought 

pestuous thunder. 60 


A thousand legions he intends to send them, 

Of cherubins and angels to attend them : 
And those strong winds that did such bluster 
ing keep 

Were but the Tritons sounding in the deep, 
To warn each river, petty stream, and spring 
Their aid unto their sovereign to bring. 
The floods and showers that came so plenteous 


And lay entrench'd in every field and town, 
Were but retainers to the nobler sort 
That owe their homage at the watery court : 70 


Or else the streams, not pleased with their own 

To grace the Thames, their mistress, borrowed 

Exacting from their neighbouring dales and 


But by consent all, nought against their wills. 
Yet now, since in this stir are brought to 


Many fair buildings, many hundreds drown'd, 
And daily found of broken ships great store, 
That lie dismembered upon every shore, 
With divers other mischiefs known to all, 
This is the cause that those great harms be 

fall. 80 

Whilst other things in readiness did make, 
Hell's hateful hags from out their prisons The cause of 

hrakp all such dan- 

~ e gersasfell 

And spiting at this hopeful match, began out during 

To wreak their wrath on air, earth, sea, and perature^f 

man. the air- 

Some, having shapes of Romish shavelings got, 
Spew'd out their venom, and began to plot 
Which way to thwart it ; others made their way 
With much distraction thorough land and sea 
Extremely raging. But almighty Jove 
Perceives their hate and envy from above ; 90 
He'll check their fury, and in irons chain'd 
Their liberty abus'd shall be restrain'd : 

1.73. 'from, 1622, '33. 1612, '20 give 'for.' 


He'll shut them up from coming to molest 
The merriments of Hymen's holy feast, 
Where shall be knit that sacred Gordian knot 
Which in no age to come shall be forgot ; 
Which policy nor force shall ne'er untie, 
But must continue to eternity ; 
Which for the whole world's good was fore- 

With hope expected long, now come in 
deed ; 100 
And of whose future glory, worth, and merit, 
Much I could speak with a prophetic spirit. 

Thus by my Muse's dear assistance finding 
The cause of this disturbance, with more 


My countiy's welfare than my own content, 
And longing to behold this tale's event, 
My lonely life I suddenly forsook, 
And to the court again my journey took. 

Henoteth Meanwhile I saw the furious winds were 

the most ad- loirl 


ationofthe The risings of the swelling waters stay'd. no 

while before The winter 'gan to change in everything, 
these nup- And seem 'cl to borrow mildness of the spring. 
The violet and primrose fresh did grow, 
And as in April trimm'd both copse and row. 
The city, that I left in mourning clad, 
Drooping, as if it would have still been sad, 

1. 106. So 1622, '33. 1612, '20, '. . . longing for to 
see . . .' 


I found deck'd up in robes so neat and trim, 
Fair Iris would have look'd but stale and 


In her best colours, had she there appear'd. 
The sorrows of the court I found well 

clear'd, 120 

Their woeful habits quite cast off, and tired 
In such a glorious fashion, I admired. The glorious 

All her chief peers and choicest beauties too, [JptB^f. 11 

In greater pomp than mortals use to do, enmity, the 

_. . _ , state where- 

Wait as attendants. J uno s come to see, O f is here 

Because she hears that this solemnity 
Exceeds fair Hippodamia's, where the strife 
'Twixt her, Minerva, and lame Vulcan's wife 
Did first arise, and with her leads along 
A noble, stately, and a mighty throng. 130 
Venus, attended with her rarest features, 
Sweet lovely-smiling and heart-moving crea 

The very fairest jewels of her treasure, 
Able to move the senseless stones to pleasure, 
Of all her sweetest saints hath robbed their 


And brings them for the courtiers' valentines. 
Nor doth dame Pallas from these triumphs 


Her noblest wits she freely sets on work. 
Of late she summoned them unto this place 
To do your masques and revels better grace. 140 

1.135. ' their shrines." So 1612, '20, '22. 1633, 'the shrines." 



the sea- 
fight, and the 
taking of the 
castle on the 
water, which 
was most 

The fire 
works he 
alludeth to 
those exhala 

Here Mars himself, too, clad in armour bright, 
Hath shown his fury in a bloodless fight ; 
And both on land and water, sternly drest, 
Acted his bloody stratagems in jest : 
Which, to the people frighted by their error, 
With seeming wounds and death did add more 

terror ; 

Besides, to give the greater cause of wonder, 
Jove did vouchsafe a rattling peal of thunder : 
Comets and meteors by the stars exhaled 
Were from the middle region lately called, 150 
And to a place appointed made repair, 
To show their fiery friscols in the air, 
People innumerable do resort, 
As if all Europe here would keep one court : 
Yea, Hymen in his saffron-coloured weed 
To celebrate his rites is full agreed. 
All this I see : which seeing, makes me borrow 
Some of their mirth awhile, and lay down 


And yet not this, but rather the delight 
My heart doth take in the much-hoped sight! 60 
Of these thy glories, long already due ; 
And this sweet comfort, that my eyes do view 
Thy happy bridegroom, Prince Count Palatine, 
Now thy best friend and truest valentine ; 
Upon whose brow my mind doth read the 


Of mighty fame, and a true future glory. 
Methinks I do foresee already how 
Princes and monarchs at his stirrup bow : 


I see him shine in steel, the bloody fields 
Already won, and how his proud foe yields. 1 70 
God hath ordain'd him happiness great store, 
And yet in nothing is he happy more 
Than in thy love, fair Princess ; for, unless 
Heaven, like to man, be prone to fickleness, 
Thy fortunes must be greater in effect 
Than time makes show of, or men can expect. 
Yet, notwithstanding all those goods of fate, 
Thy mind shall ever be above thy state : 
For, over and beside thy proper merit, 
Our last Eliza grants her noble spirit 180 

To be redoubled on thee ; and your names 
Being both one shall give you both one fames. 
Oh, blessed thou and they to whom thou 


The leave to be attendants where thou liv'st : 
And hapless we that must of force let go 
The matchless treasure we esteem of so. 
But yet we trust 'tis for our good and thine, 
Or else thou shouldst not change thy Thame 

for Rhine. 

We hope that this will the uniting prove 
Of countries and of nations by your love, 190 
And that from out your blessed loins shall 

Another terror to the whore of Rome, 

1. 172. So 1612, 20, '22. 1633, 'he is.' 
1. 184. So 1633. 1612 and 1620 read : 

'The leave for to attend thee where thou liv'st.' 
1622, ' The leave for to be attendants,' etc. 


And such a stout Achilles as shall make 
Her tottering walls and weak foundation shake ; 
For Thetis-like thy fortunes do require 
Thy issue should be greater than his sire. 
But, gracious Princess, now since thus it fares, 
And God so well for you and us prepares ; 
Since He hath deign'd such honours for to do 


And shown Himself so favourable to you ; 200 
Since He hath changed your sorrows and your 


Into such great and unexpected gladness ; 
Oh, now remember you to be at leisure 
Sometime to think on Him amidst your plea 
sure : 

Let not these glories of the world deceive you, 
Nor her vain favours of yourself bereave you. 
Consider yet for all this jollity 
Y' are mortal, and must feel mortality ; 
And that God can in midst of all your joys 
Quite dash this pomp, and fill you with 
annoys. 2 JO 

Triumphs are fit for princes, yet we find 
They ought not wholly to take up the mind, 
Nor yet to be let past as things in vain ; 
For out of all things wit will knowledge gain, 
Music may teach of difference in degree, 
The best-tuned Common- weals will framed be : 

1. 203. So 1622, '33. Earlier eds. 'for to be at leisure.' 

\. 204. So 1612, '20, '22. 1633, ' Sometimes.' 

1.213. So 1612. Later eds. 'let pass.' 
1. 216. 1633, 'Common-wealths.' 

when we 


And that he moves and lives with greatest 


That unto time and measure ties his pace. 
Then let these things be emblems to present He de- 
Your mind with a more lasting true content. 220 
When you behold the infinite resort, madeof these 

The glory and the splendour of the court, triumphs, 

What wondrous favours God doth here be- and ,7 r ^ t 

queath you, the mind 

How many hundred thousands are beneath * 

YOU, w ^ 

behold them. 
And view with admiration your great bliss, 

Then with yourself you may imagine this : 
'Tis but a blast or transitory shade, 
Which in the turning of a hand may fade : 
Honours, which you yourself did never win, 
And might, had God been pleased, another's 

bin : 230 

And think, if shadows have such majesty, 
What are the glories of eternity ! 

Then by this image of a fight on sea, 
Wherein you heard the thund'ring cannons 

And saw flames breaking from their murthering 


Which in true skirmish fling resistless shots, 
Your wisdom may, and will, no doubt, begin 
To cast what peril a poor soldier's in : 
You will conceive his miseries and cares, 
How many dangers, deaths, and wounds he 

shares : 240 


Then, though the most pass 't over and neglect 


That rhetoric will move you to respect them. 
And if hereafter you should hap to see 
Such mimic apes that courts' disgraces be 
I mean such chamber-combatants, who never 
Wear other helmet than a hat of beaver, 
Or ne'er board pinnace but in silken sail, 
And in the stead of boisterous shirts of mail 
Go arm'd in cambric if that such a kite, 
I say, should scorn an eagle in your sight, 250 
Your wisdom judge, by this experience, can, 
Which hath most worth, hermaphrodite or 

Fireworks. The night's strange prospects, made to feed 

the eyes 

With artful fires mounted in the skies, 
Graced with horrid claps of sulphury thunders, 
May make you mind th' Almighty's greater 


Nor is there anything but you may thence 
Reap inward gain, as well as please the sense. 
But pardon me, oh fairest, that am bold 
My heart thus freely, plainly to unfold. 260 
What though I know you knew all this 

My love this shows, and that is something 


I. 241. So 1612, "20, '22. 1633, 'pass over.' 
L 243. So 1612, "20, '22. 1633, ' shall hap.' 
1.256. So 1622, '33. 1612, '20, 'Jehovah's greater 


Do not my honest service here disdain, 
I am a faithful though an humble swain. 
I'm none of those that have the means or place 
With shows of cost to do your nuptials grace ; 
But, only master of mine own desire, 
Am hither come with others to admire. 
I am not of those Heliconian wits, 
Whose pleasing strains the court's known 
humour fits, 270 

But a poor rural shepherd, that for need 
Can make sheep music on an oaten reed : 
Yet for my love, I'll this be bold to boast, 
It is as much to you as his that's most. 
Which, since I no way else can now explain, 
If you'll in midst of all these glories deign 
To lend your ears unto my Muse so long, 
She shall declare it in a wedding song. 


VALENTINE, good-morrow to thee, The marri- 

Love and service both I owe thee, 280 sfvalln? Q 

And would wait upon thy pleasure, t j ne>s day > 

the Author 
But I cannot be at leisure ; shows it by 

For I owe this day as debtor wlflTthe^ 

To a thousand times thy better. salutation of 

a supposed 

1. 280. So 1622, "33. 1612, '20 read : 

'Good I wish though none I do thee.' 
1. 281. 1612, '20, 'I would wait . . .' 


Hymen now will have effected 

What hath been so long expected : 

Thame, thy mistress, now unwedded, 

Soon must with a prince be bedded. 

If thou'lt see her virgin ever, 

Come and do it now or never. 290 

Where art thou, oh fair Aurora ? 
Call in Ver and lady Flora : 
And, you daughters of the morning, 
In your neat'st and feat'st adorning, 
Clear your foreheads and be sprightful 
That this day may seem delightful. 

All you nymphs that use the mountains, 

Or delight in groves and fountains : 

Shepherdesses, you that dally 

Either upon hill or valley : 300 

And you daughters of the bower, 

That acknowledge Vesta's power, 

Oh, you sleep too long ; awake ye, 
See how Time doth overtake ye. 
Hark, the lark is up and singeth, 
And the house with echoes ringeth. 
Precious hours, why neglect ye, 
Whilst affairs thus expect ye? 

Come away, upon my blessing ; 
The bride-chamber lies to dressing : 310 

Strow the ways with leaves of roses, 
Some make garlands, some make posies : 


'Tis a favour, and 't may joy you. 
That your mistress will employ you, 

Where's a Sabrina with her daughters " Severn. 

That do sport about her waters, 

Those that with their locks of amber 

Haunt the fruitful hills of *> Camber ? * Wales. 

We must have to fill the number 

All the nymphs of Trent and Humber. 320 

Fie, your haste is scarce sufficing, 
For the bride's awake and rising. 
Enter, beauties, and attend her, 
All your helps and service lend her ; 
With your quaint'st and new'st devices 
Trim your lady, fair Thamisis. 

See, she's ready ; with joys greet her ; 

Lads, go bid the bridegroom meet her ; 

But from rash approach advise him, 

Lest a too much joy surprise him : 330 

None I e'er knew yet that dared 

View an angel unprepared. 

Now unto the church she hies her ; 
Envy bursts, if she espies her : 
In her gestures as she paces 
Are united all the graces, 
Which who sees and hath his senses 
Loves in spite of all defences. 

1. 313. 1633, ' and may joy you. 


O most true majestic creature ! 

Nobles, did you note her feature ? 340 

Felt you not an inward motion 

Tempting love to yield devotion, 

And as you were e'en desiring 

Something check you for aspiring ? 

That's her virtue, which still tameth 

Loose desires and bad thoughts blameth ; 

For whilst others were unruly, 

She observed Diana truly : 

And hath by that means obtained 

Gifts of her that none have gained. 350 

Yon's the bridegroom, d'ye not spy him ? 
See how all the ladies eye him. 
Venus his perfection findeth, 
And no more Adonis mindeth. 
Much of him my heart divineth, 
On whose brow all virtue shineth. 

Two such creatures Nature would not 

Let one place long keep she should not: 

One she'll have, she cares not whether, 

But our loves can spare her neither. 360 

Therefore, ere we'll so be spited, 

They in one shall be united. 

Nature's self is well contented 
By that means to be prevented. 
And behold they are retired, 
So conjoin'd, as we desired ; 


Hand in hand not only fixed, 
But their hearts are intermixed. 

Happy they and we that see it, 
For the good of Europe be it. 370 

And hear, heaven, my devotion, 
Make this Rhine and Thame an ocean, 
That it may with might and wonder which run- 

Whelm the pride of a Tiber under. Rome. 

Now yon b hall their persons shroudeth, b Whitehall 

Whither all this people crowdeth: 

There they feasted are with plenty, 

Sweet ambrosia is no dainty. 

Grooms quaff nectar ; for there's meeter, 

Yea, more costly wines and sweeter. 380 

Young men all, for joy go ring ye, 
And your merriest carols sing ye. 
Here's of damsels many choices, 
Let them tune their sweetest voices. 
Fet the Muses, too, to cheer them ; 
They can ravish all that hear them. 

Ladies, 'tis their highness' pleasures 

To behold you foot the measures ; 

Lovely gestures addeth graces, 

To your bright and angel faces. 390 

Give your active minds the bridle: 

Nothing worse than to be idle. 

1. 388. So 1622, '33. 1612, "20, ' For to see you . . .' 



Semel in 
anno ridet 

a Abuses 
stript and 

He noteth 
the mildness 
of the winter 
which, ex 
cepting that 
the begin 
ning was 
very windy, 
was as tem 
perate as the 

Worthies, your affairs forbear ye, 
For the state awhile may spare ye : 
Time was that you loved sporting 
Have you quite forgot your courting ? 
Joy the heart of cares beguileth: 
Once a year Apollo smileth. 

Fellow shepherds, how I pray you 

Can your flocks at this time stay you ? 

Let us also hie us thither, 

Let's lay all our wits together, 

And some pastoral invent them 

That may show the love we meant them. 

I myself though meanest stated, 
And in court now almost hated, 
Will knit up my a Scourge, and venter 
In the midst of them to enter ; 
For I know there's no disdaining 
Where I look for entertaining. 

See, methinks the very season, 

As if capable of reason, 

Hath lain by her native rigour, 

The fair sunbeams have more vigour ; 

They are ^Eol's most endeared, 

For the air's still'd and cleared. 

Fawns and lambs and kids do play, 
In the honour of this day ; 


1. 404. So 1622, '33. 1612, '20, ' For to show ..." 



The shrill blackbird and the thrush 

Hops about in every bush ; 420 

And among the tender twigs 

Chant their sweet harmonious jigs. 

Yea, and moved by this example 
They do make each grove a temple 
Where their time the best way using, 
They their summer loves are choosing. 
And, unless some churl do wrong them, 
There's not an odd bird among them. 

Yet I heard as I was walking 

Groves and hills by echoes talking ; 430 

Reeds unto the small brooks whistling, 

Whilst they danced with pretty rushling. 

Then for us to sleep 'twere pity, 

Since dumb creatures are so witty. 

But oh, Titan, thou dost dally, 

Hie thee to thy western valley ; 

Let this night one hour borrow, 

She shall pay 't again to-morrow ; 

And if thou'lt that favour do them, 

Send thy sister Phoebe to them. 440 

But she's come herself unasked, 
And brings a gods and heroes masked. 
None yet saw or heard in story 
Such immortal mortal glory. 
View not without preparation, 
Lest you faint in admiration. 

Most men 
are of 

opinion that 
this day 
every bird 
doth choose 
her mate for 
that year. 

a By these 
he means the 
two mas 
ques, one of 
them being 
presented by 
the Lords, 
the other by 
the Gentry. 


Say, my lords, and speak truth barely, 

Moved they not exceeding rarely ? 

Did they not such praises merit 

As if flesh had all been spirit ? 450 

True indeed, yet I must tell them 

There was one did far excel them. 

But, alas ! this is ill dealing, 
Night unwares away is stealing : 
Their delay the poor bed wrongeth 
That for bride with bridegroom longeth, 
And above all other places 
Must be blest with their embraces. 

Revellers, then now forbear ye, 

And unto your rests prepare ye : 460 

Let's awhile your absence borrow, 

Sleep to-night and dance to-morrow. 

We could well allow your courting, 

But 'twill hinder better sporting. 

They are gone, and night all lonely 

Leaves the bride with bridegroom only. 

Muse, now tell, for thou hast power 

To fly through wall or tower, 

What contentments their hearts cheereth, 

And how lovely she appeareth. 470 

And yet do not ; tell it no man, 
Rare conceits may so grow common : 

1. 454. 1622, 'unawares.' 


Do not to the vulgar show them, 
'Tis enough that thou dost know them. 
Their ill hearts are but the centre, 
Where all misconceivings enter. 

But thou, Luna, that dost lightly 

Haunt our downs and forests nightly ; 

Thou that favour'st generation, 

And art help to procreation ; 480 

See their issue thou so cherish, 

I may live to see it flourish. 

And you planets, in whose power 
Doth consist these lives of our, 
You that teach us divinations, 
Help with all your constellations, 
How to frame in her a creature 
Blest in fortune, wit, and feature. 

Lastly, oh, you angels, ward them, 

Set your sacred spells to guard them ; 490 

Chase away such fears or terrors 

As not being seem through errors ; 

Yea, let not a dream's molesting 

Make them start when they are resting. 

But Thou chiefly, most adored, 
That shouldst only be implored ; 
Thou to whom my meaning tendeth, 
Whither e'er in show it bendeth ; 
Let them rest to-night from sorrow 
And awake wilh joy to-morrow. 500 

VOL. I. 12 



Oh, to my request be heedful, 

Grant them that and all things needful. 

Let not these my strains of folly 

Make true prayer be unholy ; 

But if I have here offended, 

Help, forgive, and see it mended. 

Deign me this ; and if my Muse's 

Hasty issue she peruses, 

Make it unto her seem grateful, 5 IQ 

Though to all the world else hateful. 

But howe'er yet, soul, persever 

Thus to wish her good for ever. 

Thus ends the day together with my song, 

Oh, may the joys thereof continue long ! 

Let heaven's just, all-seeing, sacred power 

Favour this happy marriage day of your ; 

And bless you in your chaste embraces so, 

We Britons may behold before you go 

The hopeful issue we shall count so dear, 

And whom, unborn, his foes already fear. 520 

Yea, I desire that all your sorrows may 

Never be more than they have been to-day. 

Which hoping, for acceptance now I sue, 

And humbly bid your grace and court adieu. 

I saw the sight I came for, which I know 

Was more than all the world beside could show 

But if amongst Apollo's lays you can 

Be pleased to lend a gentle ear to Pan, 

1. 516. So 1622, '33. Early eds. give 'Jubile*' for 'mar 


Or think your country shepherd loves as dear 

As if he were a courtier or a peer, 530 

Then T, that else must to my cell of pain, 

Will joyful turn unto my flock again, 

And there unto my fellow shepherds tell 

Why you are lov'd, wherein you do excel. 

And when we drive our flocks afield to graze them. 

So chant your praises that it shall amaze them : 

And think that fate hath new recall'd from death 

Their still-lamented sweet Elizabeth. 

For though they see the court but now and then, 

They know desert as well as greater men : 540 

And honoured fame in them doth live or die, 

As well as in the mouth of majesty. 

But taking granted what I here entreat, 

At heaven for you my devotions beat ; 

And though I fear fate will not suffer me 

To do you service where your fortunes be, 

Howe'er my skill hath yet despised seem'd, 

And my unripen'd wit been mis-esteem'd, 

When all this costly show away shall flit, 

And not one live that doth remember it, 550 

If envy's trouble let not to persever, 

I'll find a means to make it known for ever. 

1.551. 1633, 'troubles.' 



Epigram i. 

'Tis said, in marriage above all the rest 
The children of a king find comforts least, 
Because without respect of love or hate 
They must, and oft be, ruled by the State ; 
But if contented love, religion's care, 
Equality in state, and years declare 
A happy match, as I suppose no less, 
Then rare and great's Eliza's happiness. 

Epigram 2. 

God was the first that marriage did ordain, 
By making one, two ; and two, one again, 

Epigram 3. 

Soldier, of thee I ask, for thou canst best, 
Having known sorrow, judge of joy and rest ; 
What greater bliss than after all thy harms 
To have a wife that's fair and lawful thine, 
And lying prison'd 'twixt her ivory arms, 
There tell what thou hast 'scaped by powers divine ? 
How many round thee thou hast murthered seen, 
How oft thy soul hath been near-hand expiring, 
How many times thy flesh hath wounded been : 
Whilst she thy fortune and thy worth admiring, 10 
With joy of health and pity of thy pain, 
Doth weep and kiss, and kiss and weep again. 


Epigram 4. 

Fair Helen having stain'd her husband's bed, 
And mortal hatred 'twixt two kingdoms bred, 
Had still remaining in her so much good 
That heroes for her lost their dearest blood : 
Then if with all that ill such worth may last, 
Oh, what is she worth that's as fair and chaste ! 

Epigram 5. 

Old Orpheus knew a good wife's worth so well 

That when his died he followed her to hell, 

And for her loss at the Elysian grove 

He did not only ghosts to pity move, 

But the sad poet breath'd his sighs so deep, 

'Tis said, the devils could not choose but weep. 

Epigram 6. 

Long did I wonder, and I wonder much, 
Rome's Church should from her clergy take that due : 
Thought I, why should she that contentment grutch ? 
What, doth she all with continence endue ? 
No ; but why then are they debarr'd that state ? 
Is she become a foe unto her own ? 
Doth she the members of her body hate, 
Or is it for some other cause unshown ? 
Oh yes, they find a woman's lips so dainty, 
They tie themselves from one 'cause they'll have 



Epigram 7. 

Women, as some men say, unconstant be ; 
'Tis like enough, and so no doubt are men : 
Nay, if their scapes we could so plainly see, 
I fear that scarce there will be one for ten. 
Men have but their own lusts that tempt to ill : 
Women have lusts and men's allurements too : 
Alas, if their strengths cannot curb their will, 
What should poor women, that are weaker, do ? 
O, they had need be chaste and look about them, 
That strive 'gainst lust within and knaves without 


Comments followed by "[A. C. S.]" are extracted 
from Mr. A. C. Swinburne's essay, "George 
Wither and Charles Lamb," in Miscellanies, 




WITHER'S pastoral name ' Roget,' given him by Browne 
in the Shepherd's Pipe, and used in the early editions of 
this poem, was changed in the Juvenilia (1622 and 1633) 
to 'Philarete.' 

1. 17. " starling "= sterling. I have retained the 
spelling for the sake of the rhyme. 

1. 22. "a wilding," a crab-apple. See Fair Virtue, 
L 63, 'a fair wilding-tree." Cp. Jonson, Sad Shepherd 
(ii. 2), ' A choice dish of wildings.' 

1. 35. "maken melody." Cp. Chaucer, Prologue to 
Canterbury Tales, 1. 9, "And smale fowles maken 
melodye." See also Eclogue III., 1. 162 ; IV., 1. 121. 

1. 46. "prease "=press, or crowd. 

1. 146. "kit," a small fiddle. Cp. Jonson, Sad 
Shepherd (i. 2), ' Each did dance, some to the kit.' 

1. 216. "arede." A Chaucerian verb, meaning to 
explain, counsel, or interpret. Here it is equivalent to 
"disclose." Cp. Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, Book 
II., 1. 1504, 5 : 

' But wel wot I, thou art now in a drede, 
And what it is, I leye [wager] I can arede.' 

1. 233. "that sweet shepherd " is David. 
1.244. "Cuddy" is Christopher Brooke. He was 

1 86 NOTES 

the son of Robert Brooke, twice Lord Mayor of York, 
and brother of Samuel Brooke who was elected Master 
of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1629. He went to 
Lincoln's Inn. In 1609 he was put in prison with his 
brother, for having witnessed John Donne's secret mar 
riage to the daughter of Sir George More, lieutenant of 
the Tower. In 1613 he collaborated with William 
Browne in an elegy on the death of Prince Henry ; and 
one of the Eclogues at the end of the Shepherds Pipe is 
by him. 


1. 55. " the noblest nymph of Thame" is the young 
princess, Elizabeth. 

1. 60 ff. The poet here gives an account of his satires, 
Abuses Stript and Whipt, and their reception by the 

1. 73. " brach," a bitch-hound. 

1. 114. " near-hand," almost. Cp. the use of this 
word in Wither' s Satire to the King, 1. 580. 

1.125. That is, " fully as greedy. " 

1. 166. "loud-loud." Wither is somewhat fond of 
these reduplicated adjectives. This one is used again in 
his pamphlet Salt upon Salt (1658), 1. 1438 : 

' The loud-loud cries of those who are opprest.' 
Cp. also 1. 801 of Prince Henry s Obsequies : 

1 The wide-wide mouth of the blasphemer.' 

1. 182. " Satyrs." There is a play on the word here 
and in Eclogue V. , 11. 38 and 47, and in Epithalamia, 
1. 4. 

1. 188. "a Scourge." This is the name of a supple 
mentary satire to the Abuses. 

1. 202. " ewes." Wither notes in the margin that by 
this word he means his hopes. 


1. 5. "Alexis" is William Ferrar, to whom the fifth 
Eclogue is dedicated. See note there. 


1. 89. " Britany," Britain. Cp. Fair Virtue, 1. 96. 

1. 92. "mis'steeming," mis-esteeming. It means to 
underrate. Cp. Eclogue V., 1. 214. Wither also uses 
" dis-esteem " ; cp. Argument to Eel. V., 1. 4. 

1. 162. "suiten." See note on Eel. I., 1. 35. 

1. 170. "that gentle swain, who wons by Tavy," is 
William Browne of Tavistock. See Introduction, p. xx., 
note. For " wons," Brydges printed " once " ! 

1. 181. This line seems to point to the fact that Wither's 
imprisonment extended at least over April and May in 

1. 188. "mewed up." See note on Eel. IV., 1. 330. 

I. 222. It is, perhaps, not unlikely that Colonel Love 
lace had this "sonnet" in his thoughts, when he wrote 
of "minds innocent and quiet" in prison, in the Gate- 
House at Westminster, in 1642. 

II. 250 i. The rhyme "power, our," is common in 
Wither ; cp. Epithalamia, 11. 483 4. Even more com 
mon is the rhyme "power, your"; see Fair Virtue, 
11. 37980, and note. 


This Eclogue appeared first in 1614, at the end of 
William Browne's Shepherds Pipe, with a separate title- 
page (see Bibliography). The more important variations 
are included in the following notes ; they are too cum 
brous to be included with the rest at the foot of the text, 
where lesser variations are noted with " S.P." 

1L 2, 3. 1614, " What new thing late happen'd is, 
Thou that wert the blithest lad." 

1. 6. 1614, " As if thou hadst had no skill." 

I. 8. For "massy" Lamb suggested " mossy," which 
suggestion may be supported by comparing 1. 388 of this 
Eclogue. But the reading of the early editions, " these 
rudest rocks," argues for the other word. 

II. 13, 14. 1614, "But what is 't? Have I ought said, 

That hath made thee mis-a-paid? " 

11. 45 8. 1614 gives as two lines : 

i83 NOTES 

" Seld yet for such causes small, 
But I grieve not now at all." 

1. 80. *'. e. , a Maypole. 

1.97. "Desart," i.e., Desert, or Merit. The old 
spelling is retained for the sake of the rhyme. 
1. 99. 1614, " hands" for hand. 
1. 107. " Daphne's tree," the laurel. 

I. no. 1614, " That it might not shatter out." 

II. 131 4. 1614 contracts these into two lines : 

" Then for him that's quick'st of foot, 
A cup of a maple-root." 

11. 139 40. 1614, " Then, my Willy, what moves thee 
Thus forgetful now to be ? " 

1. 141. 1614, " What mak'st thou here." 
1. 185. "spied" . . . "did." For this rhyme, cp. 
Fair Virtue, I. 1295 6, "spied" . . . "unhid." 

I. 218. " than " = then, but I retain it for the rhyme. 
The use is constant. 

II. 225 6. ' Against this couplet Lamb pencilled, 
" Good motto for a life of Chatterton." " By a Chatter- 
tonian," subjoins the too sarcastic Nott.' [A. C. S."j 
Gutch, however, printed Lamb's remark as a foot-note. 

1.231. "Saint Dunstan's charmed well." On this 
line Lamb wrote as follows : " The Devil Tavern, Fleet 
Street, where Child's Place now stands, and where a sign 
hung in my memory within 18 years, of the Devil and St. 
Dunstan. Ben Jonson made this a famous place of 
resort for poets by drawing up a set of Leges Convivales 
which were engraven in marble on the chimney-piece in 
the room called Apollo. One of Drayton's poems is 
called the Sacrifice to Apollo ; it is addrest to the priests 
or Wits of Apollo, and is a kind of poetical paraphrase of 
the Leges Convivales. This Tavern to the very last kept 
up a room with that name. C. L." [A. C. S.] 

The whole of this note was printed, almost word for 
word, by Gutch, without acknowledgment. 

Pepys notes (April 22, 1661) that " Wadlow, the vintner 
at the Devil in Fleet Street, did lead a fine company of 
soldiers " in the procession of the King from the Tower 
to Whitehall, on the day before his coronation : and in 


the Ashmolean MSS. (No. 38, f. 179) there is an epigram 
" Uppon Simon Wadlowe Vintner dwelling atyesigneof 
ye Deviil and St. Dunstan." 

The well of St. Dunstan 5s also referred to in some 
commendatory verses signed B. N. [perhaps Nicholas 
Breton] prefixed to Browne's Britannia's Pastorals (see 
Muses' Library, William Browne, ed. Gordon Goodwin, 
vol. ii., p. 338), where the editor says: "St. Dunstan's 
Well was in Tottenham Wood, Middlesex. (Robinson, 
History of Tottenham, i. 19.) There is another well 
dedicated to the Saint at Mayfield Palace, Sussex." 

I. 256. 1614, "To have their fair badge seen worn." 
The rhythm at least was improved later ! 

II. 312 3. Against these lines Lamb wrote : " A long 
line is a line we are long [in] repeating. Mark .the time 
which it takes to repeat these [lines] properly. What 
slow movements] could Alexandrines express more than 
this ? ' As she makes wing she gets power.' One makes 
a foot of every syllable. [Wither was certainly a perfect 
master in this species of verse.] " [A. C. S.] 

This was all printed by Gutch with the additions and 
alterations given above in square brackets. Compare the 
note written subsequently by Lamb, at the end of his 
essay on Wither. 

1. 326. " For thy pace she flags too low." 

This expression seems to be Wither 's own. Cp. 
Eclogue V., 1. 112, " I fear my skill would hardly flag so 
high," and Fidelia, 1. 316, "For their imaginations flag 
too low." 

The contemporary use of the verb "flag" seems to 
mean a slow flapping of wings; cp. Jonson, "croaking 
ravens flagged up and down more slowly." Wither 
appears to use it as merely equal to " fly." But in this 
line, the reading I have adopted, "pace" for "place," 
would seem to help the under-meaning of " drooping " or 
" failing." 

1. 330. " put up a-mewing "; i. e., am mewed up. Cp. 
Eclogue III., 1. 188. A " mewe " was properly a coop for 
hawks when moulting. Next, "in mewe " was equiva 
lent to "cooped up." Cp. Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, 
Book IV., 1. 496, "O where hastow ben hid so longe in 
mewe ? " The phrase, which is in constant use in Shake- 

190 NOTES 

speare, is almost always "to mew ?//"; but cp. Midsum 
mer Night's Dream, Act I. sc. i. 1. 71, "For aye to be 
in shady cloister mewed." 
1. 366. 1614, " Her divine thoughts." 

lable, cp. A Miscellany of Epigrams, No. 12, 1. 4, and 
Herrick, Hesperides, No. 9, 11. 9, 10 : 

" For health on Julia's cheek hath shed 
Claret and cream commingled," 

where the pronunciation is " commingle-ed." 

This practice is ridiculed in Ford's Love's Sacrifice^ 

Act II. sc. i. 
1. 393 ff. Gutch compares Drayton's verses at the 

conclusion of his Ode written in the Peak : 

" In places far or near, 

Or famous or obscure, 
Where wholesome is the air, 

Or where the most impure, 
All times and everywhere 

The Muse is still in ure." 

I. 407. 1614, " Though our wise ones call it madness." 
1.408. "gladness." Lamb suggested "sadness;" 

(*. e., sobriety or sanity) opposed to madness : gladness 
is quite unantithetical and meaningless." [A. C. S.J But 
the only textual authority for this reading is the careless 
1620 edition, which Lamb had read (see note on 1. 372 
above) ; and the meaning is obvious as it stands. In 
Lamb's essay on the Sanity of True Genius he refers to, 
and quotes from, this passage. 

II. 461 6. Omitted in 1614, which concludes thus : 

" I no more of this will say, 
Till we meet next holiday." 


This Eclogue appeared first under the title "Thirsis 
and Alexis" as the second of " Other | Eclogues | by \ 
Mr. Brooke, Mr. Wither | and Mr. Davies. | London j 


Printed by N.O. for G. Norton | 1614," at the end of 
Browne's Shepherd's Pipe. The differences between this 
and the later text are very slight. 

In the 1615 edition this Eclogue is dedicated "To 
Master W. F. of the Middle Temple." W. F., or 
"Alexis," who also appears in the third Eclogue, was 
William Ferrar, son of Nicholas Ferrar, a rich London 
merchant, and brother to the well-known Nicholas 
Ferrar, who attended the young Princess Elizabeth to 
Holland after her marriage, in 1613. William Ferrar 
entered the Middle Temple on the loth of May, 1610. 
He has commendatory verses prefixed to the Britannia's 
Pastorals of his friend William Browne. He died young 
at sea, and Browne wrote a graceful tribute to his 
memory (see Brit. Past., Book II., 11. 242 ff., "Glide 
soft, ye silver floods"). 

N.B. 1614 gives " Thirsis" all through for the 
" Roget" of 1615, etc. 

1. 38. "Satyrs." I retain this spelling here and in 

47 for th< 
Eel. II., 1. 182. 

1. 43. "Thame and Rhine," Princess Elizabeth and 
Frederick the Elector Palatine. See Epithalamia and 

1.48. 1614, ". . and Thirsis mad. " 

1.57. "prevails," avails. Cp. Fidelia, 1. 406, and A 
Miscellany of Epigrams , No. 14, 1. 113. 

1. 81. "that pastor," William Browne. Cp. Eclogue 
III., 1. 171, " that gentle swain who wons by Tavy," and 
note on that line. This passage seems to indicate that 
Browne introduced Wither to William Ferrar. 

1. 112. "flag so high." See note on Eel. IV., 1. 326. 

1. 214. " mis'steems. " See note on Eel. III., 1. 92. 

1. 240. 1614, "Two shepherds walking on the lay- 
bank be." 

1. 250. Perhaps a somewhat abrupt ending, especially 
where a song at least might have been expected. How 
ever, the " Postcript to the Reader " is not without interest. 


p. 79. " neither am I so cynical ..." 

" In illustration of this simple and dignified sentence 
Lamb cites the following most apt and admirable parallel. 

" ' Nor blame it, readers, in those years to propose to 
themselves such a reward, as the noblest dispositions 
above other things in this life have sometimes preferred ; 
whereof not to be sensible, when good and fair in one 
person meet, argues both a gross and shallow judgment, 
and withall an ungentle and swainish breast.' Milton, 
Apology for Smectymnuus." [A. C. S.] 

For the subsequent remarks and counter-remarks on 
the bearing of this quotation, the reader must turn to 
Mr. Swinburne's essay. 



I. 8. " nuncios," messengers. Cp. Shakespeare, 
Twelfth Night, Act I. sc. iv. 1. 28. 

1.86. "well-a-paid." Cp. ill-a-paid, Shepherds Hunt 
ing, IV., 1. 14. 

1. 160. Reference is made to the fable of ^sop. 

11. 257 8. " Naiades, "nymphs of the water, "Dryads," 
of the woods, " Hamadryades," of trees. 

1. 290. "Ciel'd." Cp. Shepherd's Hunting, Eel. IV., 
1. 83. "... a bower . . . Ciel'd so close." 

I. 316. "flag too low." Cp. Shepherd's Hunting, 
Eel. IV., 1. 326, "For thy pace she flags too low." See 
note there. 

II. 340 2. For these unlucky birds, cp. Sylvester's 
Du Bartas' Devine Weekes, Week i, Day 5 : 

' The Skritch-Owl, used in falling towers to lodge, 
Th* unlucky Night-Raven,' 

and Milton, I' Allegro, 11. 57. 

' seld,' seldom. 

1.352. "barley-break." A poetical description of this 
country game may be found in the song of Lamon, in 
the first book of Sidney's Arcadia: 

' Then couples three he straight allotted there ; 

They of both ends the middle two do fly ; 
The two that in midspace Hell called were 

Must strive with waiting foot and watching eye 
To catch of them, and them to Hell to bear, 

That they, as well as they, may Hell supply.' 
VOL. I 13 



(Theophilus, in Massinger's Virgin Martyr, Act V. 
sc. i. says, "He is at Barley-break, and the last couple 
are now in Hell.") 

Sir John Suckling also has a fanciful poem on a game 
played between Love and Folly, Reason and Fancy, and 
Hate and Pride. 

A similar game is still played in America, the burden 
of the doggerel chant being ' ' Marlow bright, marlow 
bright," which is doubtless a corrupted form of " Barley- 

1. 406. " prevail "= avail, to which a change was made 
in later editions. See critical note. For the use cp. 
Shepherd's Hunting, Eclogue V. , 1. 57. 

1. 584. "undistained." To distain meant at first to 
discolour, as perhaps it does in 1. 725 of this poem. 
Here "undistained" means "undefiled," or "un- 

1. 645. "real," a dissyllable, which use remained to 
comparatively recent days. Cp. Fair Virtue, 1. 2576. 

1.725. "distains." See above, 1. 584, note. 

1. 814. "youthful May . . . cold old January." A 
reference to Chaucer's The Marchantes Tale. 

1. 1050. "Spencer's wealth, or our rich Sutton's 
store." The former of these is Robert, first Lord Spencer 
of Wormleighton At the accession of James I. he was 
reputed to be the richest man in England. His wealth 
was in part inherited, and in part derived from his 
success as a breeder of sheep. He died in 1627. 

Thomas Sutton, founder of the Charterhouse, was 
born in 1532. He was the first to note the abundance of 
coal in Durham, and his wealth was largely derived 
thence. He increased his fortunes by marrying Eliza 
beth, widow of a wealthy land-owner, John Dudley of 
Stoke Newington. His real estate was computed at 
5ooo/. per annum, with a personalty of some 6o,ooo/. 
As he died in 1611, this reference to him, apparently as 
a living person, points to an early date for the composi 
tion of Fidelia. 

1. 1074. "diapason." This use of the word, as a 
verb, seems to be unique. Murray's New Dictionary 
explains it as meaning " to maintain accord with." The 
word is used in music to mean the octave or interval 
which includes all the notes of the scale. 


1.1078. "it"=its. Cp. Fair Virtue, 1. 1962. 

1. 1134. In spite of the scansion, I have retained the 
reading of the early editions, which seem to give the 
better sense. 

1. 1152. From this line onwards the Bodleian 1619 
copy is wanting. 

1. 1218. Lamb (or Nott) thought there was here an 
"allusion to [Thomas Hey wood's] A Woman Killed 
with Kindness. " [A. C. S. ] 

* # * At the end of Fidelia (1615) there follow the two 
songs (pp. 138 40), "Shall I wasting in despair" (the 
earliest form of this famous lyric) and " Inter Equitand. 
Palinod.," in that order. In the 1617 edition the latter 
alone was printed. In the 1619 and 1620 editions, 
"Inter Equitand. Palinod." was printed first; then 
came an early draft of a song afterwards incorporated 
(though presumably written some time before) in Fair 
Virtue (11. 2395 2494), " Hence away, thou Siren, leave 
me " ; and finally, " Shall I wasting in despair." 


This song is the best-known of all Wither's writings, 
and has deservedly been printed time and again in many 
song-books and anthologies. Bishop Percy incorporated it 
in his Reliques, but in Wither's own day it appeared in 
one form or another in various collections. 

In a rare song-book, The Golden Garland of Princely 
Pleasures and Delicate Delight, in Two Parts (third 
edition, 1620, "enlarged and corrected by Richard 
Johnson"), appears a version entitled "the Shepherd's 
Resolution, to the Tune of the Young-man's Opinion." 
This consists of verses i, 3, and 5, from the 1615 edition 
(with slight variations), and five additional verses, prob 
ably by the editor, of a far inferior character. 

One parody is in Thomas Beedome's Poems Divine 
and Humane, 1641. This was reprinted in Henry 
Bold's Wit a Sporting in a Pleasant Grove of New 
Fancies, 1657. A second and more pleasant parody is 
in Book VI. (Erato) of Thomas Heywood's TvvaiKiiov, 

I 9 6 


For this artificial style of composition, compare an. 
elaborate poem, "A Meditation upon Death," at the 
end of Amanda (1635), by Thomas Cranley, the friend 
of Wither. The ^refrain is, ' ' Nothing more sure than 
death, for all must die " ; these nine words form the 
initial words of the first four lines of nine six-line stanzas, 
one after the other. Cranley was "a Prisoner in the 
King's-bench " at the time of publication. 


" Hence away, thou Siren, leave me." 
.This was incorporated, with certain alterations, in 
Fair Virtue, 11. 2395 2494. 



This parody, often supposed to be by Ben Jonson, 
may almost certainly be attributed to Richard Johnson 
(1573 1659), the editor of the Golden Garland (see note 
on the Author's Resolution, p. 196) ; it is taken from a 
very rare song-book 

A | DESCRIPTION | OF LOVE. | With certaine { 
Epigrams \ Elegies \ and | Sonnets. \ AND \ Also Mast. 
IOHNSONS | Answere to Master | WITHERS. | With the 
Crie of Ludgate, and | the SONG of the | Begger. 

There is only a copy of the sixth edition of 1629 in the 
British Museum. The first appeared in 1620, a ninth in 
1638. Ritson reprinted the parody in Ancient Songs 
and Ballads. 


This is also from "A Description of Love." In 
Warton's Companion to the Oxford Guide it is attributed 
to John Taylor the Water-poet. The chief authority 
for attributing it to Wither is Hearne, who quoted the 
third stanza as Wither's. 

Granted that the poem was written by Wither, the 
reference to " Medley" in 1. 17, and the word " gown" 
in 1. 60, would imply that it was probably written at 
Oxford. Medley was the name of "a large house 
between Godstow and Oxford," long since removed ; but 
the name remains attached to the weir on the Thames 
just above the city. 




1. i. "My book of Satirical Essays," i. e., Abuses 
Stript and Whipt. This is a conclusive proof that an 
edition of Abuses appeared before the date of Epi- 
thalamia, the first edition of which is dated 1612, which 
date, however, implies early in 1613 according to modern 
computation, as the marriage which the poem celebrates 
took place on the i4th of February, 1612 3, and Epi- 
thalamia was written after the marriage. 


1. 21. I have not been able to discover where " Caer 
Winn" is. " Arle " is presumably the river from which 
Alresford takes its name (see Fair Virtue, 1. 33, and 
note). " Dis " is a further difficulty. 

1. 24. The winter of 1612 13 was very severe. 
Amongst other things, we hear that Dover pier was 
destroyed ( Court and Times of James I., vol. i., p. 219). 

1. 28. "air" is dissyllabic. Cp. 1. 416. 

1. 86. There was much Papistical objection to the 

1. 106. Notice from the collations that between the 
1620 and 1622 editions Wither changed "for to see" 
into "to behold." For this change cp. also 11. 184, 203, 
388, 404. 

1. 121. "tired In such a glorious fashion." "The 

200 NOTES 

Lady Wotton had a gown that cost fifty pounds a yard 
the embroidery" (Court and Times of James I., vol. L, 
p. 226). 

1. 127. Wither is confusing the marriage of Pirithous 
and Hippodamia, where Mars sowed dissension, with 
that of Peleus and Thetis, at which the goddess of 
Discord, displeased at not being invited, threw into the 
assembly of the gods the famous golden apple, which 
was the prize awarded to Venus at the judgment of Paris. 
" Her " in 1. 128 refers of course to Juno. 

1. 141. The fireworks took place on the night of the 
Thursday (Feb. n) before the marriage, the mock sea- 
fight on the Saturday (Feb. 13). The fireworks con 
sisted chiefly of rockets, with set-pieces of St. George and 
the Dragon and a stag-hunt. "Thundering echoes" 
were more prevalent in ancient fireworks than now. The 
cost exceeded 5ooo/. 

The sea-fight was conducted between "a Venetian 
man-of-war, a ship called a carvell, and seventeen 
Turkish galleys." The Turkish boats were success 
ful and convoyed their prizes to a castle built on 
" the Lambeth side" ; next came a Spanish fleet, which 
was also beaten; finally "fifteen sail of the King's 
pinnaces," representing England, had a tough struggle 
with the Turkish vessels, but, of course, eventually beat 
them and burned the " castle." Nine thousand pounds 
were expended on this ; and the carping John Chamber 
lain records several accidents, losses of hands and eyes 
(for longer accounts, see Nichols' Progresses of James /., 
and The Court and Times of James I. , passim). 

1. 152. "friscols," friskings. 

1. 182. "fames." The plural is used apparently for 
the sake of the rhyme. 

1. 195. It was foretold that Thetis was destined to 
bear a son who should become greater than his father. 

1. 213. "to be let past." Cp. last line of Fidelia, 
" If we let our go past, 'tis past for ever." 

1. 217. "And that" depends on "we find," 1. 211, 
11. 214 6 being parenthetical. 

1. 233 ff. See notes above on 1. 141. 

1.308. " affairs," trisyllabic. Cp. the dissyllable " air," 
1. 28 above. 


1. 315 ff. Cp. Milton, Comus, 1. 859 ff. : 
" Sabrina fair, 

Listen where thou art sitting 
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave, 

In twisted braids of lilies knitting 
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair." 

It is, perhaps, not too much to suppose that Milton 
had read this passage in Wither. 

! 3^5- " Fet," fetch, though it usually signifies 

1.398. " Once a year Apollo smileth." This and its 
Latin counterpart are used elsewhere in contemporary 
literature (see Heywood's Pleasant Dialogues and 
Dramma's(i6yj), Dialogue between Apollo and Daphne, 
fin.), but I do not know their origin. 

1. 405 ff. The ' ' Scourge " is the supplementary satire 
appended to the Abuses Stript and Whipt, and contains 
a direct reference to the " Bishops' Chancellor," Lord 
Ellesmere, which was sufficient to make Wither "almost 
hated in Court." 

1. 416. "air," dissyllabic. Cp. 1. 28 above. 

I. 442. The Lords' Masque was by Thomas Campion, 
presented on the wedding night ; on the Monday night 
the Masque of the Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn 
was produced by George Chapman. Later in the week, 
after a postponement, a third Masque was exhibited, 
written by Francis Beaumont for the Inner Temple and 
Gray's Inn. 

II. 4812. Withers wish was fulfilled. At the battle 
of Naseby he and Prince Rupert were both present, 
though on opposite sides. Even more striking, as uncon 
scious prophecy, is 1. 520., 


No. 3, 1. 8. "near-hand," nearly. Cp. Shepherds 
Hunting, Eclogue II., 1. 114 and note. 

No. 5, 11. 4, 6. A confusion of Hell with Hades, and 
the devils of one with the ghosts of the other. A parallel 
confusion is that in Fair Virtue, 1. 608, between Heaven 
and Olympus, " angels " and "Jove." 


Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, London & Bungay. 


PR Wither, George 
2390 The poetry