The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies.
Volume 1 of 2., by John Davies

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Title: The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Volume 1 of 2.

Author: John Davies

Editor: Alexander B. Grosart

Release Date: February 22, 2014 [EBook #44977]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Early English Poets.



Early English Poets.







Memorial-Introduction and Notes,






[Pg i]




I had the honour to place in your hands the complete Poems of Sir John Davies in the Fuller Worthies' Library. In now publishing these Poems for a wider circle of readers and students, I re-dedicate them to you.

That I should have wished (and wish) to inscribe the Works of a man famous as a prescient and practical Statesman, as a philosophic Thinker, as an Orator, as a Lawyer, and as a Poet, to you, is extremely natural; for in you, Sir,—in common with all Great Britain and Europe, and America,—I recognize his equal, and England's foremost living name, in nearly every department wherein the elder distinguished himself; while transfiguring and ennobling all, is your conscience-ruled and stainless Christian life. That you gave me permission so to do, with appreciative and kindly words, adds to my pleasure. Trusting that my fresh 'labour of love' (for which 'love of labour' has been necessary) on this Worthy may meet your continued approval,

I am, Sir,
With high regard and gratitude,
Yours faithfully and truly,

[Pg ii]

[Pg iii]


My edition of the Complete Poems of Sir John Davies in the Fuller Worthies' Library in 1869; since being followed up with a similarly complete collection of his much more extensive Prose, as Volumes II. and III. of his entire Works—met with so instant a Welcome, that very speedily I had to return the answer of 'out of print' to numerous applicants. Accordingly it was with no common satisfaction I agreed to the request of the Publishers that Sir John Davies' complete Poems should succeed Giles Fletcher's in their Early English Poets.

In the preparation of this new edition I have carefully re-collated the whole of the original and early editions, with the same advantage and for the same reasons, as in Giles Fletcher's. I have likewise been enabled to make some interesting additions, as will appear in the respective places.

I wish very cordially to re-thank various friends for their continued helpfulness. Several I must specify: To Dr. Brinsley Nicholson I am indebted for many suggestions, and spontaneous research towards elucidating the Poems. I would specially thank B. H. Beedham, Esq., Ashfield House, Kimbolton, for not only making a transcript of the holograph copy of the "Twelve Wonders" in Downing College Library, Cambridge, and of the Lines to the King in All Souls' College,[Pg iv] Oxford—both Colleges readily allowing this—but for his old-fashioned enthusiasm and carefulness of scrutiny of every available source, far and near. Biographical results will be utilized more fully elsewhere, viz. in the Memorial-Introduction to be prefixed to the Prose in the complete Works; but meantime and here I cannot sufficiently acknowledge Mr. Beedham's kindness or my obligation to him. To Colonel Chester, of Bermondsey, for ready and most useful help in family-Wills, &c., I am as often deeply obliged. His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, was good enough to allow me the leisurely use of his MS. of "Nosce Teipsum" at Alnwick Castle. Dr. David Laing, of Edinburgh, again entrusted me his Davies MSS. (See Note, Vol. II., p. 119.)

The Poetry of Sir John Davies, weighty and imperishable though it be, bears so small a proportion to his entire works and activities in many departments, that it would be out of keeping to give a lengthened Life herein. Still, in the present Memorial-Introduction will be found very much more of accurate detail than hitherto, and corrections of long-transmitted and accepted mistakes.[Pg v]

The discovery of extremely important MSS.—including State-Papers, and official and private Letters—in H.M. Public Record Office, the Bodleian, Oxford, the British Museum, etc., delays my completion of the Prose Works and the full Life; but within this year it is my hope and expectation to issue the whole to my constituents of the Fuller Worthies' Library. En passant—for the sake of others it may be stated that the complete Works (Verse and Prose: 3 vols.) will be readily accessible in all the leading public Libraries of the Kingdom, and of the United States.

I send forth this new edition of a great Poet assured that he has not yet gathered half his destined renown:—

"Ah! weak and foolish men are they Who lightly deem of Poet's lay, That turns e'en winter months to May, And makes the whole year warm: 'Tis this that brings back Paradise, Reveals its bowers by Art's device, Instructs the fool, delights the wise, And gives to Life its charm. (Stephen Jenner.) ALEXANDER B. GROSART.

St. George's Vestry,
Blackburn, Lancashire.[Pg vi]

[Pg vii]


Those marked with [*] are herein printed for the first time, or published for the first time among Davies' Poems.

Memorial-Introduction--i. Biographicalxi
Memorial-Introduction--ii. Criticallvii
Memorial-Introduction--iii. Postscriptcvi
Nosce Teipsum
Royal Dedication9
*Dedication of a Gift-Copy (in MS.) in the possession
of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, at Alnwick Castle
Of Humane Knowledge15
Of the Soule of Man and the Immortalitie thereof25
What the soule is29
That the soule is a thing subsisting by it selfe without the body29
That the soule is more then a perfection or reflection of the sense35
That the Soule is more then the Temperature of the Humors of the Body39
That the Soule is a Spirit41
That it cannot be a Body42
That the Soule is created immediately by God45
Erronious opinions of the Creation of Soules46
Objection:--That the Soule is Extraduce47
The Answere to the Obiection49
Reasons drawne from Nature49
Reasons drawne from Diuinity52
Why the Soule is United to the Body[Pg viii] 60
In what manner the Soule is united to the Body61
How the Soul doth exercise her Powers in the Body63
The Vegetatiue or quickening Power63
The power of Sense64
The Imagination or Common Sense70
The Fantasie71
The Sensitiue Memorie72
The Passions of Sense73
The Motion of Life74
The Locall Motion74
The intellectuall Powers of the Soule75
The Wit or Understanding75
Reason, Vnderstanding76
Opinion, Judgement76
The Power of Will78
The Relations betwixt Wit and Will78
The Intellectuall Memorie79
An Acclamation81
That the Soule is Immortal, and cannot Die82
Reason I--Drawne from the desire of Knowledge83
Reason II--Drawn from the Motion of the Soule85
The Soul compared to a Riuer85
Reason III--From Contempt of Death in the better Sort of Spirits90
Reason IV--From the Feare of Death in the Wicked Soules92
Reason V--From the generall Desire of Immortalitie93
[Pg ix] Reason VI--From the very Doubt and Disputation of Immortalitie95
That the Soule cannot be destroyed96
Her Cause ceaseth not96
She hath no Contrary96
Shee cannot Die for want of Food97
Violence cannot destroy her98
Time cannot destroy her98
Objections against the Immortalitie of the Soule99
Objection I100
Objection II104
Objection III106
Objection IV108
Objection V110
The Generall Consent of All111
Three Kinds of Life answerable to the three Powers of the Soule113
An Acclamation114
Appendix--Remarks prefixed to Nahum Tate's edition (1697) of 'Nosce Teipsum'118
Hymnes to Astraea125
Of Astraea129
To Astraea130
To the Spring131
To the Moneth of May132
To the Larke133
To the Nightingale134
To the Rose135
To all the Princes of Europe136
[Pg x] To Flora137
To the Moneth of September138
To the Sunne139
To her Picture140
Of her Minde141
Of the Sun-beames of her Mind142
Of her Wit143
Of her Will144
Of her Memorie145
Of her Phantasie146
Of the Organs of her Minde147
Of the Passions of her Heart148
Of the innumerable vertues of her Minde149
Of her Wisdome150
Of her Justice151
Of her Magnanimitie152
Of her Moderation153
To Enuy154
Orchestra, or a Poeme of Dauncing155
Dedications.--i. To his Very Friend, Ma. Rich. Martin159
Dedications.--ii. To the Prince160
Orchestra, or a Poeme of Dauncing161

[Pg xi]



As in other instances, the first thing to be done in any Life of our present Worthy, is to distinguish him from other two contemporary Sir John Davieses—non-attention to which has in many biographical and bibliographical works led to no little confusion. There was

I. Sir John Davis (or Davys or Davies) of Pangbourne, Berkshire, who 'sleeps well' under a chalk-stone monument in the parish church there. He was mixed up with the 'Plots' (alleged and semi-real), of the Elizabethan-Essex period. Many of his Letters—various very long and matterful and pathetic—are preserved at Hatfield among the Cecil-Salisbury MSS. The Blue-Book report of the "Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts" (3rd, 1872), makes a strange jumble of our Sir John and this Sir John's Letters (see Index, s. n.). He was Master of the Ordnance 31st January, 1598, and was knighted at Dublin 12th July, 1599. His Will is dated 6th April, 1625, and it was[Pg xii] proved at London ... May, 1626. Our Sir John was appointed one of his executors. Arms: Sable, a griffin, segt., or. He is supposed to have been of Shropshire descent.

II. Sir John Davies (or Davys or Davis) Knight-Marshal of Connaught and Thomond: temp. Elizabeth. He had large grants of lands in Roscommon. He is now represented by the family of Clonshanville (or Loyle) in Roscommon, who are of Shropshire descent (see Archdall's Peerage of Ireland.) His Will is dated 14th February, 1625. He died 13th April, 1626. His Will was not proved (at Dublin) until 17th November, 1628. Arms: Sable, on a chevron, argent, three trefoils slipped, vert.: crest; a dragon's head erased, vert.

According to Mr. J. Payne Collier, the following entry is found in the register of S. Mary, Aldermanbury: "Buried Sir John Davyes, Knight, May 28, 1624." (Bibliographical Account of Early English Literature, i., 193). If there be no mistake here, we have another contemporary Sir John Davies. Certainly it was not ours, and as certainly neither of the two preceding.[1]

[Pg xiii]

The spelling of the family name, which is now Davies, varies very much. I have found it as Dyve, Dayves, Davyes, Dauis, Davis, and Davies. Usually our Worthy signs 'Dauyes;' but in his books changes, e.g., in 'Nosce Teipsum' of 1599, to the verse-dedication to Elizabeth, it is 'Dauies;' in 1602 'Dauys,' and in 1608 'Davis,' and so diversely in his Prose.

Among the Carte Papers in the Bodleian are rough jottings by the Historian for a Memoir of our Sir John Davies, wherein it is stated that the family came originally from South Wales to Tisbury, Wiltshire. The words are: "His family had continued several generations in ye place, though descended from a family of that name in South Wales: but planted heere in England Temp. Hen. 7: accompanying at that time ye Earle of Pembrooke out of Wales.[2]

The 'estate' of the Davieses at Tisbury was named Chicksgrove (sometimes spelled Chisgrove.) Only a small fragment of the Manor-house remains "unto this[Pg xiv] day." The Tisbury parish registers, however, yield abundant entries of the family-names under the wonted three-fold 'Baptisms,' 'Marriages,' 'Burials;' and the church itself, in tablets and communion plate, and other memorials, possesses various evidences of their influential position for many generations, and in many lines of descent and local intermarriage. It must suffice here briefly to summarize the Pedigree, and to extract the entries immediately bearing on our present Life.

Confirming the Carte statement of a Welsh descent, one John Davys, of ... wyn, in Shropshire, temp. Henry VIII., recorded by Carney (1606) in the Visitation of Dublin in Ulster Office, and according to Chalmers settled at Tisbury, temp. Edward VI., came from Wales with the Earl of Pembroke, and was living in 1517 and 1541.[3] This John Davys married Matilda, daughter of ... Bridemore, who was buried as "Maud, Master Davys widow, 18 May, 1570." There was a numerous family of sons and daughters from this union.[4] We have only now to do with their eighth,[Pg xv] and youngest son, John, who was living in 1517 and 1541.[5] He was of 'New Inn,' London; and thus, like his more famous son, was brought up to the study of the Law. This will appear authoritatively onward; but at this point it is needful to correct and explain a long-continued error, originated by Anthony à-Wood "Athenæ," by Dr. Bliss, Vol. ii., p. 400) apparently, viz. that the father was "a wealthy tanner," and so Sir John, of "low extraction," etc., etc. I do not know that there should have been reason for shame had the paternal Davies been a 'tanner,' wealthy or otherwise, if otherwise he was that Christian gentleman which all reports represent. But the matter-of-fact is that through the premature deaths of his elder brothers, John Davyes, of Chisgrove, seems to have inherited the family possessions and wealth, and to have been in the front rank of the country gentry. The explanation of the mistake as to his having been a 'tanner,' is unexpectedly found in the Will of Thomas Bennett, brother (as we shall see) of Sir John Davies' mother. Among other things he leaves "a certain mess, or tent, in West Hatch now (1591) in the use of Edward Scannell, and all lands thereto belonging, [to] be held[Pg xvi] by John Bennett my son, Thomas Rose and Nicholas Graye as trustees to my own use for life, and after my decease to the use and behoof" of various relatives, of whom one is described as "Edward Davys of Tyssebury, tanner." This Edward Davys, tanner, was no doubt of the Chisgrove family; and hence the confusion. In all probability he was one of the younger sons, and so brother of our Sir John. When he came to make his Will (now before me), though engaged in trade, he asserts his gentility by styling himself 'gentleman.' So much in correction of a second important biographical mistake.

John Davyes, of Chisgrove, was married to Mary, daughter of John Bennett (alias Pitt) of Pitt House, Wilts., (Visitation of Wilts., 1563) by Agnes his wife, daughter of ........ Toppe, of Fenny Sutton, in Wilts. Hoare[6] and others, give ample proof of the almost lordly position of the Bennetts. Woolrych observes (1869) "The Bennetts of Pyt, have been well known in our own time. The struggles of Bennet and Astley for the representation of the county are remem[Pg xvii]bered as severe and costly."[7] Thus if Davyes of Chisgrove was of good blood in the county, he certainly advanced himself when he wooed and won a daughter of the house of Bennett (or Benett). They had at least three sons. The first was Matthew, who became D.D., Vicar of Writtle, Essex. Hoare (as before) calls him second son, and states that he died unmarried. Both are inaccuracies. The Tisbury Register shews that he was the eldest not the second son; and the Will of our Sir John remembers his family.[8] The second son was (probably) the Edward who became a "tanner." He was baptized at Tisbury 6th December, 1566. He too is named in our Sir John's Will. The third was the subject of our Memorial-Introduction. The following is his baptismal entry from (a) the paper or scroll-copy, (b) the parchment or extended register of Tisbury—literatim:

(a) Paper MS.: 1569 Aprill xvj. John the sonne of John Dauy was crysten'd.

[Pg xviii]

(b) Parchment MS.: Anno dni 1569 Aprill 16 John the sonne of John Davis bapt.[9]

There were two sisters, Edith and Maria. Master John was in his 11th year only when he lost his father, who died in 1580. The Carte MS. "Notes" (as before) tell us: "his father dyed when hee was very young and left him with his 2 brothers to his mother to bee educated. She therefore brought them vpp all to learning." The same "Notes" state "yt Iohn off whom we now write, being designed for a lawyer, neglected his learning, butt being first a scholar in Winchester Colledge, was afterwards removed to New Colledge in Oxford." According to Chalmers (History of Oxford: I. p. 105) he became in Michaelmas term 1585, a Commoner of Queen's College, Oxford. From thence he removed in 1587 (not 1588 as usually stated e.g. by Wood to George Chalmers and Woolrych). The Admission Register of the Middle Temple contains his entry, and it is interesting additionally as establishing that his father was of the New Inn, London, and so of the legal profession:

f. 193 D.
Teio Die februarij Ao 1587:

Mr Iohes Davius filius tertius Johis Davis de Tisburie[Pg xix] in Com Wiltes gen de nov hospitio gen admissus est in societate medij Templi et obligatr vna m ' mr is Lewes et Raynolde et dat p fine—xxs.[10]

This 'entry' renders null all speculations as to whether by 'New Inn' were not intended 'New Hall' Oxford, &c. &c.; and it is a third correction of important biographical errors hitherto.

It is to be regretted that other Records of New Inn commence only with the year 1674. So that we are without light on the residence in the Middle Temple.

In 1590 the saddest of all human losses came on the young law-student by the death of his mother, who was buried at Tisbury "XXVth of Marche, 1590." In this year he is again at the University of Oxford; for in the "Fasti" (by Bliss, Vol. ii., p. 250) he is entered under 1590 as taking the degree of Bachelor of Arts. I fear that with the death of his lady-mother there ensued a full plunge into the frivolities and gaities of the University and Inns of Court society. It was a 'fast' period; and while his after-books prove conclusively that he must have studied Law widely and laboriously, there[Pg xx] can be little doubt that there were outbursts of youthful extravagance and self-indulgence. None the less is it equally certain—rather is in harmony therewith—that very early he mingled with the poets and wits of the day. There is not a tittle of evidence warranting the ascription of "Sir Martin Mar People his Coller of Esses Workmanly wrought by Maister Simon Soothsaier, Goldsmith of London, and offered to sale upon great necessity by John Davies. Imprinted at London by Richard Ihones. 1590 (4to),"[11] to him; nor can any one really study "O Vtinam 1 For Queene Elizabeths securitie, 2 For hir Subiects prosperitie, 3 For a general conformitie, 4 And for Englands tranquilitie. Printed at London, by R. Yardley and P. Short, for Iohn Pennie, dwelling in Pater noster row, at the Grey hound. 1591 (16mo),"[12] and for a moment concede his hastily alleged authorship. But in 1593 his poem of "Orchestra, or a Poeme of Dauncing," was "licensed to Iohn Harison" the elder. No earlier edition than that of 1596 has been proved; but the "license" assures us that Harrison had negotiated for its publication in 1593. The title-page of the 1596 edition is followed by a dedicatory sonnet "To his very friend,[Pg xxi] Ma. Rich. Martin." The Reader may turn to it "an' it please" him (Vol. I. p. 159): and "thereby hangs a tale." The dedicatory sonnet, it will be seen, while characterizing "Orchestra" as "this dauncing Poem," this "suddaine, rash, half-capreol of my wit," informs us that his "very friend" Martin was the "first mouer and sole cause of it, and that he was the Poet's "owne selues better halfe," and "deerest friend." We have the time employed on it too:—

"You know the modest Sunne full fifteene times
Blushing did rise, and blushing did descend,
While I in making of these ill made rimes,
My golden howers unthriftily did spend:
Yet, if in friendship you these numbers prayse,
I will mispend another fifteene dayes."

All this receives tragi-comical illumination from the fact that this same "very friend" and "better halfe," and he who so sang of him, had soon a deadly quarrel and estrangement. Richard Martin became Recorder of London, and one memorial of him is a Speech to the King which, if it partakes of the oddities of Euphues, must also be allowed to contain weighty and bravely-outspoken counsel: and thus he has come down to posterity as a grave and potent seignior. Moreover, he became Reader of his Society,[Pg xxii] and M.P. for first Barnstaple, and later for Cirencester. He appears, too, as the associate of Ben Jonson, John Selden, and others of the foremost.[13]

But as a youthful law-student he was 'wild.' He fell under the lash of the Benchers, having been expelled from the Middle Temple in February, 1591, for the part he took in a riot at the prohibited festival of the Lord of Misrule. He was fast of tongue and ribald of wit, with a dash of provocative sarcasm. Evidently he was one of those men who would rather (as the saying puts it) lose his friend than his joke (however poor the joke and rich the friend). A consideration of the whole facts seems to show that again restored to the Middle Temple he had let loose his probably wine-charged sarcasms at his friend Davies. Whether it was so or not, he was ignobly punished. For against all "good manners" not to speak of the "law" and discipline of the Court, Master Davies came into the Hall with his hat on, armed with a dagger, and attended by two persons with swords. Master Martin was[Pg xxiii] seated at dinner at the Barristers' Table. Davies pulling a bastinado or cudgel from under his gown, went up to his insulter and struck him repeatedly over the head. The chastisement must have been given with a will; for the bastinado was shivered to pieces—arguing either its softness or the head's asinine thickness. Having "avenged" himself, Davies returned to the bottom of the Hall, drew one of the swords belonging to his attendants, and flourished it repeatedly over his head, turning his face towards Martin, and then hurrying down the water-steps of the Temple, threw himself into a boat.[14] This extraordinary occurrence happened at the close of 1597 or January of 1598. In 1595 he had been called to the bar; but in February 1598 Davies was expelled by a unanimous sentence; "disbarred" and deprived for ever of all authority to speak or consult in law.[15] These "outbreaks" and expulsions were familiar incidents; and make us exclaim with Othello: "O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil"—"O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their[Pg xxiv] brains! that we should with joy, pleasure, revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts" (ii. 3). This is the all-too-plain solution of these "high jinks." It was a disaster of the most ominous kind. Nevertheless the dark cloud that thus fell across the noon of the full-and-hot-blooded young Barrister folded in it a "bright light:" or—if we may fetch an illustration from Holy Scripture, as Moses the great Lawgiver of ancient Israel through the slaying of the Egyptian was compelled to be a fugitive in the wilderness and therein to master his native impulsiveness and passion, so was the "offender" in the Hall of the Middle Temple through the disgrace and penalties incurred forced into retirement and introspection. It was a costly price to pay. But it is to be doubted whether if the enforced return to Oxford and the self-scrutiny and penitence that calm reflection wrought there had not arrested him, he ever would have given our literature "Nosce Teipsum." His great poem bears witness to very poignant self-accusation and humiliation. Towards the close you seem to catch the echo of sobs and the glistening of tears; nor is it "preaching" to recognize a diviner element still—his unrest and burden alike laid on Him Who alone can sustain and help a "wounded spirit" in its trouble. Besides the hazardous as disastrous incident with[Pg xxv] Martin, his "Epigrams" by their abandon and general allusiveness reveal that he was the associate of the "young gallants" of the city and lived "fast"; and so give significance and interpretation to his later passionate regrets, self-accusations and self-rebuke. How abased and yet in touches how noble is this!

"O ignorant poor man! what dost thou beare
Lockt vp within the casket of thy brest?
What iewels and what riches hast thou there!
What heauenly treasure in so weake a chest!
Looke in thy soule, and thou shalt beauties find,
Like those which drownd Narcissus in the flood:
Honour and Pleasure both are in thy mind,
And all that in the world is counted good.
Thinke of her worth, and think that God did meane,
This worthy mind should worthy things imbrace;
Blast not her beauties with thy thoughts vnclean,
Nor her dishonour with thy passions base:
Kill not her quickning powers with surfettings,
Mar not her sense with sensualitie;
Cast not her serious wit on idle things:
Make not her free-will, slaue to vanitie.
And when thou think'st of her eternitie,
Thinke not that death against her nature is,
Thinke it a birth; and when thou goest to die,
Sing like a swan, as if thou went'st to blisse.

[Pg xxvi]

Take heed of over-weening, and compare
Thy peacock's feet with thy gay peacock's traine;
Study the best and highest things that are,
But of thyselfe an humble thought retaine."[16]

"Expelled" and "disbarred," he retired to Oxford and there "followed his studies, although he wore a cloak." (Wood's Athenæ, as before, ii. 401). To lighten severer studies he now leisurely composed that "Nosce Teipsum" from which has just been quoted the remarkable close. His vein must have been a "flowing" one; for it was published within a year of his disgrace, viz. in 1599.[17] It was dedicated to the "great Queen;" without[Pg xxvii] the all-too-common contemporary hyperbole of laudation, yet showing the strange magnetism of her influence to win allegiance from the greatest, even in her old age:—

"Loadstone to hearts and loadstone to all eyes."

The Carte "Notes" (as before) thus tell the whole story and ratify Anthony-a-Wood:—"Vpon a quarrell between him and Mr. Martin before ye Judges, where he strooke Mr. Martin hee was confined and made a prisoner: after wch in discontentment he retired to ye countrye, and writt yt excellent poeme of his Nosce Teipsum, wch was so well aprooved of by the Lord Mountioy after Lord Deputy of Ireland and Earle of Devonshire, that by his aduise he publisht it and dedicated it to Queen Elizabeth, to whom hee presented it, being introduced by ye aforesaide Lord his pattron, and ye first essay of his pen was so well relisht yt ye Queen encouraged him in his studdys, promising him prefer[Pg xxviii]ment, and had him sworn her servant in ordinary." "Nosce Teipsum" was not his "first essay" so that perchance the meaning is that its verse-dedication was his "first essay" in addressing the Queen—his second being the Hymns to Astræa. The "Hymns to Astræa" appeared in quick succession to "Nosce Teipsum" in the same year 1599. They are dainty trifles; but from all we know of Elizabeth would be received as "sweet incense." If they seem to us to-day flattering not to say adulatory, it must be remembered that such was the mode. Much later, Epistles-dedicatory from Bacon and others of the mighties, and not to Elizabeth but to James—are infinitely fulsome compared with the ideal praises of an ideal Elizabeth—that Elizabeth who had stirred the nation's pulses through her great patriotic words when "The Armada" threatened—in the most superlative of these "Hymnes." Their workmanship is as of diamond-facets. The "bright light" of olden promise was now "lining" the dark cloud. The discipline of his retirement to Oxford did him life-long good. Speedily outward events dove-tailed with the deepened ethical experience and resultant character.

For despair and disgrace there came hope and help. For a career that seemed arrested, a higher, and wider, and nobler opened out in inspiriting perspective. In[Pg xxix] 1599-1600 he was in all men's mouths as a Poet. The "Poetical Rhapsody" of Davison of these years would have been rendered incomplete without contributions from "I. D.;" and so there went to it those Minor Poems, that are read still with pleasure. So early as 1595 George Chapman had printed his "Ovid's Banquet of Sence," with lines from "I. D." More important still, "Secretary Cecil" became his friend and patron. "By desire" he prepared certain dialogues and scenes for entertainments to the Queen. Three of these remain. The first is "A Dialogue between a Gentleman Usher and a Poet."[18] The second is "A Contention betwixt a Wife, a Widdow, and a Maide."[19] The third is "A Lottery: presented (as the heading states) before the late Queene's Maiesty at the Lord Chancelor's House, 1601."[20] These indicate that the recluse of Oxford was once more restored to society, and that the supremest. The favour of the aged Queen was capricious; but the "Lottery" that formed part of the entertainment at the Lord Chancellor's marked the turning of the tide, in flood not ebb. Through Elles[Pg xxx]mere steps were taken to cancel the "expulsion" and "disbarring." He addressed a respectful and manly Petition to "his Society." It was considered at a "Parliament of the Society, held on the 30th October 1601." He had "presented" it in Trinity Term; but it was adjourned until now. In the interval he had attended "the Commons" and in November after making the admission and satisfaction required by four Benches, it was unanimously agreed that he should be "restored to his position at the bar and his seniority." He publicly pronounced his "repentance" in due form on the feast of All Saints. This was done in the Hall in the presence of Chief Iustice Popham, Chief Baron Periam, Judge Fenner, Baron Savil, Sergeant Harris, Sergeant Williams, and the Masters of the Bench." The legal or ceremonial part being completed, and the Apology read in English, Davies turned to "Mr. Martin," then present, and as he could offer no sufficient satisfaction to him, entreated his forgiveness, promising sincere love and affection in all good offices towards him for the future." "Mr. Martin" accepted the tender thus made, and the re-instatement was completed.[21] That the reconciliation between Davies and[Pg xxxi] Martin was formal rather than real has been too hastily assumed. True, that when in 1622 Davies collected his Poems, the Sonnet to Martin was withdrawn and a hiatus left towards the close of "Orchestra." But both these things are otherwise explainable. Both Elizabeth and Martin were now dead—the latter in 1618. Besides, it was only natural that the living friend should be willing to remove all memory of the quarrel. The name should only have revived it. This, and not a many-yeared carrying of an unclosed wound is my judgment in charity. The restored 'Barrister' never forgot his indebtedness to the Lord Chancellor. His dedication of his great "Reports" of Irish Law Cases and their correspondence remain to attest this—remain too to attest the reciprocal admiration, if a tenderer word were not fitter, of Ellesmere.[22] His words in the 'Reports' dedication are more than respectful.

It would appear from the MS. dedication of a corrected MS. of "Nosce Teipsum" to "the right noble, valorous, and learned Prince Henry, Earle of Northumberland" that he must have joined in the intercession for restoration, e.g.

"Then to what spirit shall I these noates commend,
But unto that which doth them best expresse;
[Pg xxxii]
Who will to them more kind protection lend,
Than Hee which did protect me in distresse."[23]

Contemporaneous with his full Restoration to his privileges at the Bar, the student-lawyer—through influence that has not come down to us—found his way into Parliament as M.P. for Corfe Castle. The House 'sat' for "barely two months"—October 27th to[Pg xxxiii] December 29th" (1601). It was the last Parliament of Elizabeth. The records of it are meagre and unsatisfying, but sufficient is preserved to inform us that untried and inexperienced in Parliament as he was, the member for Corfe Castle at once came to the front. A long-continued warfare on the part of the Commons against monopolies found in him a vehement defender of the privileges of the House. The wary Queen, who always knew when to give way, withdrew certain "patents" that had been granted and led to grievous abuses; and Davies was appointed one of the "Grand Committee" to thank her Majesty[24]. He had spoken stoutly for procedure by "bill" and not by "petition." Richard Martin supported the monopolies.

In 1602 a second edition "newly corrected and amended" of "Nosce Teipsum" appeared. Still prefixed to it—and to his honour continued in the third edition of 1608 when she was gone—was the verse-dedication to the Queen. But it was now "the beginning of the end" with her. Somewhat cloudily and thundrously[Pg xxxiv] was the great orb westering. She died on 24th March 1603. It argues that Davies had advanced in various ways that he accompanied Lord Hunsdon to Scotland when that nobleman went with the formal announcement of James' accession to the throne. A pleasant anecdote has survived that when "in the presence" Lord Hunsdon announced John Davies, the King—who if a fool was a learned one and capable of discerning genius—straightway asked "whether he were 'Nosce Teipsum'" and on finding he was its author, "embraced him and conceived a considerable liking for him."[25] That his position was regarded as a potential one with the new King is incidentally confirmed by letters to him from no less than Bacon, who addressing him in Scotland sought his good influences in his behalf, using in one a sphinx-like expression of "concealed poets" that it is a marvel Delia Bacon did not lay hold of to buttress her egregious argument on the Baconian authorship of Shakespeare's Plays.

Accompanying the King southward, Davies held his own at the English court. The royal 'liking' grew: and the royal brain—small no doubt yet alert and in a sense animated with patriotic feeling—was in earnest study of what has till to-day proved England's difficulty[Pg xxxv]—Ireland. Mountjoy (later Earl of Devonshire and husband of Sidney's "Stella"[26]) was sent as Lord-Deputy, and Davies accompanied him as Solicitor-General for Ireland, for which office the "patent" is dated 25th November, 1603. Immediately almost on his arrival at Dublin, viz. on 18th December, 1603, he was knighted. The date hitherto given has been "at Theobald's 11th February 1607," but the records of the Ulster King of Arms make it certain that the knighthood was conferred on 18th December, 1603. On the same occasion his "crest" is described as "On a mount vert, a Pegasus, or, winged, gules."[27]

I know no more noble story than the Work of Sir John Davies in and for Ireland. Our collection of his Prose Works, wherein his State Papers and Correspondence will appear in extenso—from H. M. Public Record Office and other sources—will make it clear as day that beyond all comparison he was the foremost man in the Government. With the sheer hard toil of humblest attorney slaving for his daily bread, there was a breadth of view, a self-denying resoluteness of pur[Pg xxxvi]pose to benefit his adopted country, a prescience of outlook into the future combined with fearless and magnanimous dealing with contemporary problems, a high-hearted resistance in the face of manifold temptations to slacken effort, and a fecundity of resource and fulness of knowledge and vigilance of observation, that ought to be written on a white page of our national history. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the consuming labours and the actual and solid results of Davies' almost ubiquitory activities in Ireland. In my full Life of him I hope to make good to the uttermost this high praise. Here and now a few outward facts alone can be stated. In 1606, by patents dated successively 29th May, 1606, and 29th May, 1609,[28] he was promoted to be Attorney-General for Ireland, and was also created Sergeant-at-Arms.[29] He went as "Judge of Assize." His Reports and State Papers, and "Pleadings" and Letters, from 1603 onward, demonstrate how firm was his grasp of circumstance, and how statesmanly he marked out his plans, while his forensic[Pg xxxvii] appearances astonish with the omniverousness of his legal reading and knowledge of precedents. Throughout he was 'backed' and cheered by his superiors in Ireland and by the King and his ministers. So early as 9th September, 1604, the Lord Chancellor thus wrote to Davies:—

Yr lettr written at Cavan the |13 of Julij Last I receyude the 28 of August. I am gladde to heare of yor [illegible] & wysh yor seruice & successe therein may be aunswerable to yor owne expectations & best hopes. You maye haue comfort that you serue so gracious a soueraigne, so religious & replete wth all Royall virtues, and so redy & wyllinge to acknowledge & remunerate the services & dueties of his meanest servantes farre beyonde their desertes. I doubt not but yor diligence & care will be such as wyll be very acceptable to his Matie. In the Discourse wch you haue sent me, I fynde not only a very lovinge respcte wch you have towardes me (for wch I owe you heartie thankes). But also a very wyse & judicious obseruacon of the state of this wasted kingdome & the condicon of the people. God staye his hande from further afflictinge them. They haue alreadye fealte the scourge of Warre & oppresion & now are vnder the grevous scourge of famine & pestilence. God gyue them his grace and make them imprest as true Christians ought. To become truly Religious towarde God, Loyall and faythfull to their Soueraigne, constantly obedient to his lawes & to the effecting thereof. I euer wysh & praye that they may haue religious virtuous & godly magistrates [Pg xxxviii]sette ouer them. To yor selfe I wish all happines, and wherein you shall haue occasion to vse mee, you shall alwayes finde me redy & wyllinge to stande you in the best stede I can. And so wth my very swete comendacons I comitt you to the Almightye. And rest yor very assured Loving frende

T. Ellesmere, Canc.

9 Septembris 1604.

To the right wor my very Loving frende, Sr. John Davis Knight, his Maties Solict. generall in his Realme of Ireland.[30]

A few years later—1608—one Letter in full—like all our MSS., now for the first time printed,—from the Lord Deputy—the noble Chichester—must suffice as a specimen of many kindred.

Noble Mr. Attornie,

Since your departure hence I haue received two ioynt letters from you, and Sr. James Ley, and one from your selfe alone, for wch I am not your debter vnlesse it be in the matter, wch I confesse bringes more life wth it comming freshe out of the stoorehouse of neewes and noveltie, for I have written as manie and more vnto you both.

Albeyt I expect you wth the first passage (for so the lordes haue promised by their letters) yet can I not leaue you vnremembred, assuringe you thoe you have greater friendes, none respects you better then my selfe, nor can be more readie to make demonstration therof accordinge to the meanes I haue. I praye bringe wth you the lordes directions for Sr. Neale Odonnell, and the rest of the prisoners. Sr. Neale[Pg xxxix] and Ocatiance [O'Sullivan?] had contriued their escape and woulde haue as desperately attempted it, had I not preuented it within these sixe nightes by a discoverie made vnto me, albeyt I keep 20 men euerie neight for the guarde of the Castle ouer and aboue the warde of the same, whereof two or three lye in each of their chambers. Their horses were come to the towne, and all thinges else in readines. Sure these men doe goe beyond all nations in the worlde for desperate escapes, Shane Granie Ocarratan [O'Sullivan?] after he was acquited of three indictments, and as most men conceiued free from all danger of the lawe, did on fridaye the 27th of Januarie cast himselfe out of a wyndow in the topp of the Castle by the heelpe of a peece of rotten match, and his mantell wch brake before he was halfe waye downe, and thoe he were presently discovered yet he escaped about supper tyme.

When I had written thus far worde was brought me that a passadge [sic] was come from Hollyheade wch made me to pause for a tyme hopinge you or some other wth letters, or other directions, was arriued, but beinge advertised that the Recorder of this Cyttie only wth a fewe other passengers had in this fayre weather wrought out a passage by longe lyeinge att sea, although the wyndes were contrarie, and that they came from London before Christmas and had no written letters or message but in theise particulars, I fell to you againe.

And do now praye you to geue your best assystance and furtherance to such matters tuchinge my perticulare as John Strowd or Annesley shall acquaint you wth all, for wch you shall finde me verie thankfull vnto you.

I haue written to the lordes in the behalfe of the howse[Pg xl] servitors here, that they maye be remembered vpon the deuysion and plantation of the scheated lands in Ulster. I am discreadited amonge them if they should be forgotten, and sure the plantation woulde be weake wth out them, for they must be the pyllers to support it. Those that shall come from thence wyll not affect it in that kynde as these do, to make it a settlement for them and theirs; and in respect of their wourthier deserts and paynfull labors, and that I haue vpon my promise to speake effectually for them preuayled so farre as to staye them from resortinge thither, wch they woulde doe in great multitudes if I woulde haue given way to their desire. I wysh that an honorable consideration maye be had of them before the diuision be concluded. I knowe that worke is of great moment and on it dependes much of the prosperitie, and good estate of the whole kingdome. I haue sayd enough to one that vnderstandes so well: And so beinge called vpon sooner then I expected I must end wth the page, but wyll euer be found

Your trewe affected friend

Arthur Chichester.

Att Dublyn Castle the 7th of
februarie 1608.

I send here wth the proceedinge of the Court of Kinges bench in the cause of the Carrolans wch was violently prosecuted by the l. of Howth. I send them by reason it is thought by the Judges that the Baron will exclaime of their proceedinges here.

To my verie wourthie friend Sr John Davis Knight his

Maties Attornie in the Realme of Irelande.[31]

Two short letters from Bacon—not before printed,[Pg xli] having escaped even Mr. Spedding's Argus-eyes—in the same Carte MSS.—show Davies's pleasant relations with his great contemporary. They are as follow:—

(I. Carte MS. Vol. 62, ff. 317-18.)

Good Sr Jh. Davies yor mistaking shall not be imputed to you (for the difference is not much). Yor gratulacons for my marrige I take kyndly. And as I was all waies delighted wth the fruites of yor [illegible] so I would be gladde of yor [illegible] so as you plant not yor self to[o] farre of[f]. For I had rather you should be a laborer than a plant in that State. You giue me no occasion to wryte longer in that you impart not by yor lrs any occurrence of yrs. And so wth my very lovg considn towards you

I remayne
Yor assured friend
Fr. Bacon.

from Graies Inn,
this 26th of Dec. 1606.

To my very good Frend Sr Jh. Davis Knt Attorny g'rall to his M. in Ireland.

(II. Ibid ff, 328-9.)

Mr. Atturny,

I thanke you for yor lre and the discourse you sent of this mere accident, as thinges then appeared. I see manifestly the begynnyng of better or woorse. But me thinketh it is first a tender of the better, and woorse foloweth but vpon refusall or default. I would haue been gladd to see you hear, but I hope occasion restreineth or meeting for a vacation when we may haue more fruite of conference. To requite [Pg xlii]yor proclamacon (wch in my judgment is wysely and seriously penned) I send you [illegible] wh [illegible] wch happened to be in my hands when yos came.

I would be gladde to hear oft from you and to be advertized how [illegible] passe whereby to haue some occasion to thinke some good thoughts though I can doe lyttell. At least it wilbe a contynuance in exercise of or frendshippe wch on my part remayneth increased by that I hear of yor service and the good respects I find towards my self. And so in extreme hast I remayne

Yor very [illegible] frend
Fr. Bacon.

from Graies Inn this
23th of Oct. 1607.

To the R. W. his verie Lovinge frende Sr Iohn Dauys
Knight, his Maties Atturnye in Irelande.

During one of his 'circuits' in Ireland, he met Eleanor, daughter of Lord Audley (afterwards Earl of Castlehaven) and was married to her—though the date has not been traced. Her later years were darkened with insanity of a strangely voluble type. It is to be feared she was an ill "help-meet" for her husband. There is pathos, if also inevitable comedy, in her career—not here to be entered on.[32]

While intensely occupied with his official duties, Sir John Davies did not neglect his literary gift. He was making history every year—so fundamental and per[Pg xliii]manent was the part he filled in Ireland—but the Past was gone back on that he might fetch from it monition for the Present, and hope for the Future. His imperishable book: "A Discourse of the true reasons why Ireland has neuer been entirely subdued till the beginning of His Majesty's reign," (4to)[33] will reward the most prolonged study to-day. It was published in 1612. In the same year he was made King's Sergeant and also elected M.P. for Fermanagh, being the first representative for that county in the Irish House of Parliament. He was likewise chosen to be Speaker of the House; but not without a characteristically violent struggle between the Catholics and Protestants.[34] He delivered a notable speech "to the House" on its opening in 1613.[35] In 1614 he appears in the House of Commons in England as M.P. for Newcastle-under-Lyne:[36] and his attendance in England was preparatory to final retirement from Ireland. "Grants of lands" there from the "forfeitures,"—which, if ever any righteously acquired, he did[37]—gave him a special interest[Pg xliv] in Ireland as a proprietor; but after all, for such a man, at such a time, to be limited to Ireland, was but a splendid exile. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that having practically achieved all, and more than all, he had been given to do, or himself originated, he sought to return. It is usually stated (e.g. Chalmers, Woolrych, &c., &c.) that he so returned in 1616; but it was not until 1619 that he did so finally and absolutely; for in a letter under date "21 June, 1619," to Buckingham, he is found still only pleading for retirement and for the transference of his office to a relative.[38] It is one of the treasures of the Fortescue MSS, in the Bodleian,[39] and is as follows:

My most honored Lord,

I præsent my most humble Thanks to yr Lp for præsenting mee to his Maty the last Day, at Wansted; & for yr noble favour in furthering the suit I then made, as well for mine owne stay in England, as for my recommending a fitt man to my place of service in Ireland.

The Gentleman to whom I wish this place now, is much obliged to yr Lp already, & well worthy of yr Lps favours, & besides his owne worthines (hee being a Reader & Judge of a circuit, of wch degree & quality never any before[Pg xlv] was sent out of England to supply that place), hee is of neere alliance vnto mee. So as, where there is concurrence of meritt & kinred, yr Lp may conjecture that I deale wth him like a gentleman & a friend, & not like a marchent. [Pg xlvi]Albeit I will leave a good place there, wthout any præsent præferment heer (whereof none of my profession have failed at their return out of Ireland) I might, perhaps wth some reason expect some Retribution, to recompence the charge of Transporting my famely from thence, & of setling it heer in this Kingdome, where I am become almost an Alien by reason of my long absence.

For this particular favour of transferring my place to so well deserving a successor, I doo wholly depend vppon yr Lp as I shall euer doo vpon all other occasions, while I live, as one that have separated my self from all other dependancies, beeing entirely devoted to doo yr Lp all humble & faythful service

Jo: Dauys.

21 Junij 1619.

if my long service may induce favour, yr Lp may bee pleased to looke vppon the noate enclosed.

To the right honorable my very good lord
my lord the Marques of Buckingham, &c.

It is to be regretted that the "noate" of the postscript has not been preserved. It probably enumerated his public services.

Sir William Ryves succeeded as Attorney-General for Ireland by Patent dated 30th October, 1619.[40] From 1619 onward, Sir John Davies is found in the House of Commons (still for Newcastle-under-Lyne)[Pg xlvii] and "on circuit" as a Judge. His "Charges"—to be given in his Prose Works—as "one of the Justices of Assize for the Northerne Circute"—are very characteristic, being full of legal 'precedents,' and noticeable in their tracing up the verdict sought to abiding principles. He took part in the memorable "case" of Frances, Countess of Somerset, for the poison-murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. In the House of Commons he spoke seldom; but when anything that concerned Irish interests came up he never failed to contend in behalf of Ireland.[41]

Lightening his legal employments were a large correspondence and 'fellowship' with his most eminent contemporaries, and the collection of his Poetical Works, in so far as he wished them to go down to posterity. Of the former I select one undated letter to the illustrious Sir Robert Cotton, with whom he had been early acquainted, and associated in 1614, in re-establishing the Society of Antiquaries, originally founded in 1590. One of these is a sprightly and pleasant letter, and all the more welcome that most of his correspondence that remains is official and grave. The lighter letter is as follows, from MSS. Cotton: Julius C. III., p. 14: now paged 133, British Museum:

[Pg xlviii]

Sweet Robin, for a few sweet words, a client of mine hath presented me wth sweet meates, to what end I know not except it be, as Chaucer speakes,

To make mine English sweet uppon my tongue, that I may pleade the better for him to morrow at the Seale.

Not wth standing, the best vse that I can make of it, is to preesent you wth it, especially at this time when you ar in Physick, that you may sweeten your tast after the Rhewbarb. I have been a little distracted wth vnexpected busines these two or three last dayes, that I cold not performe my officious promise to visit you in this voluntary sicknes of yours; but [erased] now I am faine to make my hands to excuse my feet from travayling vnto you, because being the servant of the multitude I am not mine owne man. Make much of your self, & make yr self speedily well, that I may have your company towards Cambridge, from whence I will go wth you to see the ancient Seat of Robt. le Bruis; so wishing you a prosperous operation of your Phisick, at least that you may Imagine so, for it is the Imagination that doth good, & not the Physick, wch I ever thought a meere imposture; I cease to troble you least the intention of to much Reading hinder the working of those vertuous drugs.

Yrs all & ever
J. Dauis.

(Endorsed) To my worthy friend
Rob: Cotton esquier.

A second letter runs thus, from MSS. Cotton: Julius C. III., p. 32:—

[Pg xlix]

Noble Sr Robert: the ordinary subject of letters is, newes, whereof this kingdome since the warres, hath been very barren; therefore I must write vnto you that wch is no newes, that is, that I love you, & hold a kind & dear memory of you.

according to my promise to yr self & Mr. Solliciter of England who is now, I hear, a Judge, I have caused this bearer to draw some Mapps of or principal Cittyes of Ireland; & he having occasion to go for England, I have thought fitt to direct him vnto you. he is an honest ingenuous yong mā & of yr owne Name. I hear not yet of ye Antiquities out of Cumberland; if they be brought hither I will take care to transmitt thā to London, & so in speciall hast, being ready to go my circuit ovr all Munster I leave you to ye divine p'servation.

Ys to do you Service,
Io: Dauys.

Dublin 4 Martij 1607.
I desire to be affectionately remembred to Mr.
Justice Doddridge & Mr. Clarencieux.

His Poems, as finally collected by him, appeared in a thin octavo in 1622. His Prose Works he never collected, but allowed them to be re-published separately. His "True Cause" passed through several editions during his own life-time. One of his most important prose-books after the "True Cause" brings us to the closing event of his busy and various-coloured life.[Pg l] It is entitled in the first issue, which was posthumous[42]—"The Question concerning Impositions, Tonnage, Poundage, Prizage, Customs, &c. Fully stated and argued, from Reason, Law, and Policy. Dedicated to King James in the latter end of his Reign." (1656.)

This historically-memorable treatise has already been reproduced in the Prose Works.[43] Elsewhere I examine it critically.[44] It must suffice here to state that later the King (Charles I.), having an impoverished exchequer, had recourse to forced loans of various amounts. Hating the control of Parliament, he persisted in substituting his will for law, his "proclamation" for statute. Feeling the treacherousness of his standing-ground of prerogative, the Judges were applied to, and with loyalty to the monarch rather than to their country, they somewhat favoured the King's 'demands.' Charles deemed their "opinion" to have a somewhat "uncertain sound," and presented to the Judges a paper for their signature, recognising the legality of the collection. This was refused. One of the victims of the sovereign's wrath was Chief-Justice Crew, who was "discharged" on the 9th of November, 1626 (Foss's[Pg li] Judges, vi., p. 291). Sir John Davies was appointed as his successor; and one cannot help recognising that the opinions revealed in his "Jus Imponendi" contributed to the succession. For one, I should rather have found Sir John Davies on the other side, spite of his great array of "precedents" and ingenious applications to the then circumstances and exigencies, and necessarily ignorant of the lengths Charles as distinguished from James, was to proceed. Technically, there had been "precedents" no doubt; but long "use and wont" had rendered so-called regal rights obsolete, and it was insanity to revive them, as Charles I.,—who inherited James's high notions of regal authority,—found out when too late. But, passing to Davies, the "lean fellow" called Death was nearer the Knight than was the Chief-Justiceship. Purple and ermine robes were actually bought, but they were not to be donned. He had told a Mr. Mead that he was at supper with the Lord Keeper on the 7th of December,[45] and that he fully expected the great promotion. The air was thick with "reports" to the same effect. He was found dead in his bed on the morning of the 8th December, cut down, it has been supposed, by apoplexy. Three days[Pg lii] after, he was interred in S. Martin's Church, London. Later a double inscription for himself and his widow (who was re-married to Sir Archibald Douglas,) long hung on the third pillar, near the grave. The original Latin, with our translation, are as follow:[46]

D. O. M. S.

Johannes Davys Equestris ordinis quondam Attornati
Regii Generalis amplissima prudentiâ in regno
Hyberniæ functus, inde in patriam revocatus
inter servientes Domini Regis ad Legem primum
Locum obtinuit; post varia in utrone munere præ
clare gesta ad ampliora jam designatus, repente
spem suorum destituit suam implevit ab humanis
honoribus ad cœlestem gloriam evocatus
Ætatis anno 57.o
Vir ingenio compto, rarâ facundiâ
Oratione cum solutâ tum numeris restrictâ
Juridicam severitatem morum elegantiâ et ameniore eruditione temperavit.
Iudex incorruptus; Patronus fidus
Ingenuæ pietatis amore et anxiæ superstitionis contemptu
Iuxta insignis.
Plebeiarum animarum in religionis negotio
Pervicacem μἱκροψυχιαν ex edito despiciebet
Fastidium leniente miseratione.
Ipse magnanimè probus, religiosus, liber, et cœlo admotus
Uxorem habuit Dominam Eleanoram Honoratissimi
Comitis de Castlehaven Baronis Audley filiam
Unicam ex eâ prolem superstitem hæredem reliquit
Luciam illustrissimo Ferdinando Baroni
Hastings Huntingdoniæ Comiti nuptam.
Diem Supremam obiit 8o idus Decembris
Anno Domini 1626.
Apud nos exemplum relinquens, hic resurrectionem justorum expectat.
Accubat dignissimo marito incomparabilis uxor
Quæ illustre genus
Et generi pares animos
Christianâ mansuetudine temperavit
Erudita super sexum
Mitis infra sortem
Plurimis Major
Quia humilior
In eximiâ formâ sublime ingenium
In venustâ comitate singularem modestiam
In femineo corpore viriles animos
In rebus adversissimis serenam mentem
In impio sæculo pietatem et rectitudinem inconcussam
Non illi robustam animam aut res lauta laxavit, aut
Angusta contraxit, sed utramque sortem pari vultu
Animoque non excepit modo sed rexit
Quippe Dei plena cui plenitudini
Mundus nec benignus addere
Nec malignus detrahere potuisset
Satis Deum jamdudum spirans et sursum aspirans sui
Ante et Reip. fati præsaga, salutisque æternæ certissima
Ingente latoque ardore in Servatoris dilectissimi sinum
Ipsius sanguine lotam animam efflavit
Rebus humanis exempta immortalitatem induit
III. Non. Quintilis Anno Salutis 1652.
Ps. 16. 9.
Etiam caro mea habitat securè quà non es
Derelicturus animam meam in sepulchro.

D(eo) O(ptimo) M(aximo) S(acrum)

To God the Best and Greatest: Sacred.
John Davys of knightly rank, having formerly
discharged with prudence the highest duties of
King's Attorney General in the realm of Ireland:
thence having been recalled to his own country,
secured the first place among the servants
of his lord the King, at the Law. After various
services nobly rendered in each office, being now
nominated to more distinguished (appointments)
he suddenly frustrated the hope of his friends
but fulfilled his own—being called away
from human honours to celestial glory,
in the year of his age 57.
A man for accomplished genius, for uncommon
eloquence, for language whether free or bound
in verse,
Most happy.
Judicial sternness with elegance of manners
and more pleasant learning
he tempered.
An uncorrupt Judge, a faithful Patron
For love of free-born piety and contempt of fretting superstition
alike remarkable.
He looked down from on high on the obstinate narrowness
of plebeian souls in the matter of religion,
pity softening his disdain.
Himself magnanimously just, religious, free, and moved by heaven,
Had for wife the Lady Eleanor of the Right Honble.
Earl of Castlehaven, Baron Audley, daughter:
His only surviving offspring by her he left as heiress,
Lucy, to the most illustrious Ferdinand Baron
Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, married.
He spent his last day the 8th December
In the year of our Lord 1626.
With us leaving an example: here for the resurrection
of the Just, he waits.

[Pg lv]

Near to her most worthy husband lies his incomparable Wife:
Who her illustrious birth
And spirit equal to her race
With Christian mildness tempered.
Learned above her sex,
Meek below her rank,
Than most people greater
Because more humble,
In eminent beauty She possessed a lofty mind,
In pleasing affability, singular modesty:
In a woman's body a man's spirit,
In most adverse circumstances a serene mind,
In a wicked age unshaken piety and uprightness.
Not for her did Luxury relax her strong soul, or
Poverty narrow it: but each lot with equal countenance
And mind, she not only took but ruled.
Nay she was full of God, to which fulness
Neither a smiling world could have added,
Nor from it a frowning world have taken away.
Now for a long time sufficiently breathing of God
and aspiring above, of her own
And the Commonwealth's fate divining beforehand,
And most sure of Eternal Salvation
With a mighty and huge ardour into her Beloved Saviour's
breast, She breathed forth her soul washed in His own blood.
Taken away from things human she put on immortality
on the fifth of July, in the year of Salvation, 1652.
Ps. 16. 9.
My flesh also dwells securely because Thou wilt not
leave my soul in the sepulchre.

One is willing to accept the "golden lies" of these Epitaphs in either case.

Sir John Davies had several children. One, who was semi-idiotic, was drowned in Ireland. Others alleged to have been born, have not been traced. His daughter Lucy, of the Inscriptions, and by whom, no doubt, they were procured, became famous in her generation as Countess of Huntingdon. We have to deplore that while we have a fine portrait of her, none, as yet, has been found of her Father. His Will and Charities, and their singular after-history, will be given in my fuller Life (as before). Pass we now to

[Pg lvii]


I shall limit myself in this second half of the Memorial-Introduction to a brief statement and examination of certain characteristics of the Poetry of Sir John Davies—the limitation being imposed by the contents of the present volumes.[47] There are Poets whose truest and most certain fame rests on so-called minor poems; and yet commonly their bulkier productions have over-shadowed these. From Milton to Wordsworth it is to be lamented that to the many they should be represented by "Paradise Lost" and "The Excursion"; or to descend, that Thomas Campbell and Samuel Rogers should have so hidden behind their "Pleasures of Hope" and "Pleasures of Memory" their rare and real faculty as Poets—for while in the larger poems of Milton and Wordsworth there is of the imperishable stuff that only genius of a lofty type weaves, it is rather (meo judicio) in "purple patches" than in the web as a whole. In Milton and Wordsworth you do not read them at their highest in their Epics but in their[Pg lviii] shorter poems; while Campbell and Rogers should long since have died out of men's hearts had they left nothing behind them save the smooth and prize-poem-like common-places of their "Pleasures." In Milton the remark requires modification, for only in "Paradise Lost" has he put forth to uttermost daring his Imagination—than which no writer of all time has approached him for grandeur of vision and splendour of utterance. But substantially I think that those capable of discernment will agree with me that if Time may shut and leave unread except by an elect few, many pages of the 'great' and volume-filling poems, the lesser will assuredly draw more and more homage, and abide the regalia of our Literature.

It is different with Sir John Davies. His "Orchestra" and "Hymnes to Astræa" and Minor Poems, preceded considerably his "Nosce Teipsum," but it was his "Nosce Teipsum" that made King James I. prick up his ears on hearing his name, and it is "Nosce Teipsum" that is the poem that will secure immortality to Sir John Davies. His other poetry has special remarkablenesses—as will appear—but in "Nosce Teipsum" alone have we the inspiration and spontaneity, the insight and speculation, the subtlety and yet definiteness, the "burden" (in the prophetic sense) and the melody[Pg lix] of the Poet as distinguished from the versifier or verse-Rhetorician.

I value "Nosce Teipsum" as a first thing for its deep and original thinking, i.e. for its intellectual strength—all the more remarkable that as the former part of the Memorial-Introduction shows, he was only in his 28th-29th year when he composed it. Of its art I shall have somewhat to say anon: but regarding it as a "philosophical poem" and as a contribution to metaphysic, I place foremost the THOUGHT in it, as at once a characteristic and a merit (if merit be not too poor a word). Davies (along with Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke and Donne) simply as Thinker on the profoundest problems of nature and human nature, seems to me to stand out pre-eminently, and in saying this, I regard it as sheer nonsense to exalt the workmanship at the expense of the material—to ask me to recognize in a bit of tin ingeniously and painstakingly etched into a kind of miracle of execution something co-equal with a solid bar of gold as it gleams i' the face of the sun in its purged and massive simpleness; or to put it unmetaphorically, I must pronounce judgment on the rank of a Poet qua a Poet fundamentally on the kind and quality of the thought on higher and deeper things that he puts into his verse and that he strikes out in[Pg lx] others. Your mere artist-Poet is surely third-rate and must even go beneath the music-composer of to-day.

"Nosce Teipsum" as it was practically the earliest so it remains the most remarkable example of deep reflective-meditative thinking in verse in our language or in any language. The student of this great poem will very soon discover that within sometimes homeliest metaphors there is folded a long process of uncommon thought on the every-day facts of our mysterious existence. I call the thinking deep, because "Nosce Teipsum" reveals more than eyes that looked on the surface—reveals penetrative and bold descent to the roots of our being and reachings upward to the Highest. Your mere realistic word-painter of what he sees, is shallow beside a Poet who passes beneath the surface and circumstance and fetches up from sunless depths or down from radiant altitudes fact and facts—each contributory to that ultimate philosophy which while it shall accept every proved fact, will not rush off hysterically shouting "eureka," with ribald accusations of all that generations have held to be venerable and sustaining. I call the thinking original, for there is evidence everywhere in "Nosce Teipsum" that the penitent recluse of Oxford made his own self his study—as really if not as avowedly as Wordsworth.

[Pg lxi]

I am aware in claiming originality for Davies that in that huge waste-basket of our Literature—Nichols' Literary Illustrations (Vol. IV. pp. 549-50) there is a letter from an Alexander Dalrymple, Esq., who is designated "the great hydrographer" to "Mr. Herbert" (the Bibliographer I opine) wherein he takes different ground. We must traverse his charge. He thus writes:—"Dear Sir, I have lately purchased the following old books" (he enumerates several).... "I have also got 'Wither's translation of Nemesius de Naturâ hominis' by which I find Sir John Davies's poem on the Immortality of the Soul is chiefly taken from Nemesius" ... "I have picked up a tract in 4to. by Thomas Jenner, with some very good plates, the marginal notes of which seem to be what the heads of Tate's edition of Sir John Davies's are taken from."

Were this true it would utterly take from "Nosce Teipsum" the first characteristic and merit I claim for it—deep and original thought. But it is absolutely untrue, an utter delusion, as any one will find who takes the pains that I have done to read, either the original Nemesius, or what this sapient book-buyer mentions, Wither's translation. With my mind and memory full of "Nosce Teipsum" and the poem itself beside me, I have read and re-read every page, sentence and[Pg lxii] word of Nemesius and Wither (and there is a good deal of Wither in his translation: 1636) and I have not come upon a single metaphor or (as the old margin-notes called them) "similies," or even observation in "Nosce Teipsum" drawn from Nemesius or Wither. The only element in common is that necessarily Nemesius adduces and discusses the opinions of the Heathen Philosophers on the many matters handled by him, and Sir John Davies does the same with equal inevitableness. But to base a charge of plagiarism against "Nosce Teipsum" on this, is to reason on the connection between Tenterden Steeple and Goodwin Sands (if the well-worn folly be a permissible reference). The following is the title-page of the quaint old tome and as it is by no means scarce, any reader can cross-question our witness: "The Nature of Man. A learned and useful Tract written in Greek by Nemesius, surnamed the Philosopher; sometime Bishop of a City in Phœnecia, and one of the most ancient Fathers of the Church. Englyshed, and divided into Sections, with briefs of their principle contents by Geo. Wither. London: Printed by M. F. for Henry Taunton in St. Duncan's Churchyard in Fleetstreet. 1636." (12o 21 leaves and pp. 661.) Chronologically—Wither's translation was not published until 1636, while "Nosce[Pg lxiii] Teipsum" was published in 1599; but Nemesius' own book no more than Wither's warrants any such preposterous statements as this Alexander Dalrymple makes. Even in the treatment of the "opinions" of the Heathen Philosophers which come up in Nemesius, and in "Nosce Teipsum," the latter while 'intermedling' with the same returns wholly distinct answers in refutation. The "opinions" themselves as being derived of necessity from the same sources are identical; but neither their statement nor refutation. Nemesius is ingenious and well-learned, but heavy and prosaic. Sir John Davies is light of touch and a light of poetic glory lies on the lamest "opinion." The "Father of the Church" goes forth to war with encumbering armour: the Poet naked and unarmed beyond the spear wherewith he 'pierces' everything, viz. human consciousness. Jenner's forgotten book had perhaps been read by Tate, but that concerns Tate not Sir John Davies. I pronounce it a hallucination to write "Sir John Davies' poem on the immortality of the Soul is chiefly taken from Nemesius." Not one line was taken from Nemesius.

Before passing on it may be well to illustrate here from the "contents" of two chapters (representative of the whole) in Wither's Nemesius, the merely super[Pg lxiv]ficial agreement between them and "Nosce Teipsum." In the Poem under "The Soule of Man and the Immortalitie thereof" various opinions of its 'nature' are thus summarized:

"One thinks the Soule is aire; another fire;
Another blood, diffus'd about the heart;
Another saith, the elements conspire,
And to her essence each doth giue a part.
Musicians thinke our Soules are harmonies,
Phisicians hold that they complexions bee;
Epicures make them swarmes of atomies,
Which doe by chance into our bodies flee." (p. 26.)

In Nemesius, c. 2. § I, the 'headings' are: "I. The severall and different Opinions of the Ancients concerning the Sovl, as whether it be a Substance; whether corporeall, or incoporeall, whether mortal or immortal P. II. The confutation of those who affirme in general that the Sovl is a corporeall-substance. III. Confutations of their particular Arguments, who affirme that the Sovl is Blood, Water, or Aire." These are all common-places of ancient 'opinion' and of the subject; and anything less poetical than Nemesius' treatment of them is scarcely imaginable. Here if anywhere Davies' indebtedness must have been revealed; but not one scintilla of obligation suggests itself to the Reader.[Pg lxv] Again in the Poem, after a subtle and very remarkable 'confutation' of the notion that the Soul is a thing of 'Sense' only, there comes proof "That the Soule is more than the Temperature of the humours of the Body;" and nowhere does Davies show a more cunning hand than in his statement of the 'false opinion.' Turning once more to Nemesius c. II. § 3, these are its 'headings:'—"I. It is here declared, that the Soul is not (as Galen implicitly affirmeth) a Temperature in general. II. It is here proved also, that the Soul is no particular temperature or quality. III. And it is likewise demonstrated that the Soul is rather governesse of the temperatures of the Body, both ordering them, and subduing the vices which arise from the bodily tempers." Here again we would have expected some resemblances or suggestions; but again there is not a jot or tittle of either. Thus is it throughout. One might as well turn up the words used in "Nosce Teipsum" in a quotation-illustrated Dictionary of the English Language (such as Richardson's) and argue 'plagiarism' because of necessarily agreeing definitions, as from a few scattered places in "Nosce Teipsum" discussing the same topics, allege appropriation of Nemesius. Your mere readers of title-pages[Pg lxvi] and contents, or glancers over indices are constantly blundering after this fashion. Dalrymple was one of these.

The headings of the successive sections—removed in our text from the margins to their several places—suffice to inform us of the original lines of thought and research and illustration pursued in "Nosce Teipsum" and thither I refer the Reader. The merest glance will show that in "Nosce Teipsum" you have the whole breadth of the field traversed—and that for the first time in Verse. I can only very imperfectly illustrate either the depth or the originality of the poem. Almost as at the opening of the book, take these uniting both:—

"And yet alas, when all our lamps are burnd,
Our bodyes wasted, and our spirits spent;
When we haue all the learnèd Volumes turn'd,
Which yeeld mens wits both help and ornament:
What can we know? or what can we discerne?
When Error chokes the windowes of the minde,
The diuers formes of things, how can we learne,
That haue been euer from our birth-day blind?
When Reasone's lampe, which (like the sunne in skie)
Throughout Man's little world her beames did spread;
Is now become a sparkle, which doth lie
Vnder the ashes, halfe extinct, and dead:
[Pg lxvii]
How can we hope, that through the eye and eare,
This dying sparkle, in this cloudy place,
Can recollect these beames of knowledge cleere,
Which were infus'd in the first minds by grace?
So might the heire whose father hath in play
Wasted a thousand pound of ancient rent;
By painefull earning of a groate a day,
Hope to restore the patrimony spent.
The wits that diu'd most deepe and soar'd most hie
Seeking Man's pow'rs, haue found his weaknesse such:
"Skill comes so slow, and life so fast doth flie,
"We learne so little and forget so much.
For this the wisest of all morall men
Said, 'He knew nought, but that he nought did know';
And the great mocking-Master mockt not then,
When he said, 'Truth was buried deepe below.'
For how may we to others' things attaine,
When none of vs his owne soule vnderstands?
For which the Diuell mockes our curious braine,
When, 'Know thy selfe' his oracle commands.
For why should wee the busie Soule beleeue,
When boldly she concludes of that and this;
When of her selfe she can no iudgement giue,
Nor how, nor whence, nor where, nor what she is?
All things without, which round about we see,
We seeke to knowe, and how therewith to doe;
[Pg lxviii] But that whereby we reason, liue and be,
Within our selues, we strangers are thereto.
We seeke to know the mouing of each spheare,
And the strange cause of th' ebs and flouds of Nile;
But of that clock, within our breasts we beare,
The subtill motions we forget the while.
We that acquaint our selues with euery Zoane
And passe both Tropikes and behold the Poles,
When we come home, are to our selues vnknown,
And vnacquainted still with our owne Soules.
We study Speech but others we perswade;
We leech-craft learne, but others cure with it;
We interpret lawes, which other men haue made,
But reade not those which in our hearts are writ." (pp. 18-20.)


In what manner the Soule is united to the Body.

But how shall we this union well expresse?
Nought ties the soule; her subtiltie is such
She moues the bodie, which she doth possesse,
Yet no part toucheth, but by Vertue's touch.
Then dwels shee not therein as in a tent,
Nor as a pilot in his ship doth sit;
Nor as the spider in his web is pent;
Nor as the waxe retaines the print in it;
[Pg lxix]
Nor as a vessell water doth containe;
Nor as one liquor in another shed;
Nor as the heat doth in the fire remaine;
Nor as a voice throughout the ayre is spread:
But as the faire and cheerfull Morning light,
Doth here and there her siluer beames impart,
And in an instant doth herselfe vnite
To the transparent ayre, in all, and part:
Still resting whole, when blowes th' ayre diuide:
Abiding pure, when th' ayre is most corrupted;
Throughout the ayre, her beams dispersing wide,
And when the ayre is tost, not interrupted:
So doth the piercing Soule the body fill,
Being all in all, and all in part diffus'd;
Indiuisible, incorruptible still,
Not forc't, encountred, troubled or confus'd.
And as the sunne aboue, the light doth bring,
Though we behold it in the ayre below;
So from th' Eternall Light the Soule doth spring,
Though in the body she her powers doe show. (pp. 61-2.)

Further, "An Acclamation":—

An Acclamation.

O! what is Man (great Maker of mankind!)
That Thou to him so great respect dost beare!
That Thou adornst him with so bright a mind,
Mak'st him a king, and euen an angel's peere!
[Pg lxx]
O! what a liuely life, what heauenly power,
What spreading vertue, what a sparkling fire!
How great, how plentifull, how rich a dower
Dost Thou within this dying flesh inspire!
Thou leau'st Thy print in other works of Thine,
But Thy whole image Thou in Man hast writ;
There cannot be a creature more diuine,
Except (like Thee) it should be infinit.
But it exceeds man's thought, to thinke how hie
God hath raisd Man, since God a man became;
The angels doe admire this Misterie,
And are astonisht when they view the same. (pp. 81-2.)


That the Soule is Immortal, and cannot Die.

Nor hath he giuen these blessings for a day,
Nor made them on the bodie's life depend;
The Soule though made in time, suruives for aye,
And though it hath beginning, sees no end.
Her onely end, is neuer-ending blisse;
Which is, th' eternall face of God to see;
Who Last of Ends, and First of Causes, is:
And to doe this, she must eternall bee.
How senselesse then, and dead a soule hath hee,
Which thinks his soule doth with his body die!
Or thinkes not so, but so would haue it bee,
That he might sinne with more securitie.
[Pg lxxi]
For though these light and vicious persons say,
Our Soule is but a smoake, or ayrie blast;
Which, during life, doth in our nostrils play,
And when we die, doth turne to wind at last:
Although they say, 'Come let us eat and drinke';
Our life is but a sparke, which quickly dies;
Though thus they say, they know not what to think,
But in their minds ten thousand doubts arise.
Therefore no heretikes desire to spread
Their light opinions, like these Epicures:
For so the staggering thoughts are comfortèd,
And other men's assent their doubt assures.
Yet though these men against their conscience striue,
There are some sparkles in their flintie breasts
Which cannot be extinct, but still reuiue;
That though they would, they cannot quite bee beasts;
But who so makes a mirror of his mind,
And doth with patience view himselfe therein,
His Soule's eternitie shall clearely find,
Though th' other beauties be defac't with sin. (pp. 82-3.)

Further, "An Acclamation":—

An Acclamation.

O ignorant poor man! what dost thou beare
Lockt vp within the casket of thy brest?
What iewels, and what riches hast thou there!
What heauenly treasure in so weak a chest!
[Pg lxxii]
Looke in thy soule, and thou shalt beauties find,
Like those which drownd Narcissus in the flood:
Honour and Pleasure both are in thy mind,
And all that in the world is counted Good.
Thinke of her worth, and thinke that God did meane.
This worthy mind should worthy things imbrace;
Blot not her beauties with thy thoughts vnclean,
Nor her dishonour with thy passions base;
Kill not her quickning power with surfettings,
Mar not her Sense with sensualitie;
Cast not her serious wit on idle things:
Make not her free-will, slaue to vanitie.
And when thou think'st of her eternitie,
Thinke not that Death against her nature is;
Thinke it a birth; and when thou goest to die,
Sing like a swan, as if thou went'st to blisse.
And if thou, like a child, didst feare before,
Being in the darke, where thou didst nothing see:
Now I haue broght thee torch-light, feare no more;
Now when thou diest, thou canst not hud-winkt be.
And thou, my Soule, which turn'st thy curious eye,
To view the beames of thine owne forme diuine;
Know, that thou canst know nothing perfectly,
While thou art clouded with this flesh of mine.
Take heed of ouer-weening, and compare
Thy peacock's feet with thy gay peacock's traine;
[Pg lxxiii] Study the best, and highest things, that are,
But of thy selfe, an humble thought retaine.
Cast down thy selfe, and onely striue to raise
The glory of thy Maker's sacred Name;
Vse all thy powers, that Blessed Power to praise,
Which giues the power to bee, and use the same. (pp. 114-16.)

Finally, here is a simile well-wrought in itself and accidentally to be for ever associated with a celebrated criticism:—

The Motion of the Soule.

.... how can shee but immortall bee?
When with the motions of both Will and Wit,
She still aspireth to eternitie,
And neuer rests, till she attaine to it?
Water in conduit pipes, can rise no higher
Then the wel-head, from whence it first doth spring:
Then sith to eternall God shee doth aspire,
Shee cannot be but an eternall thing. (p. 85.)

The second stanza contains a metaphor that was stolen and murdered as well, by Robert Montgomery. Concerning his use of it Macaulay thus wrote in his merciless review:—"We would not be understood, however, to say that Mr. Robert Montgomery cannot make similitudes for himself. A very few lines further on we find[Pg lxxiv] one which has every mark of originality and on which we will be bound, none of the poets whom he has plundered will ever think of making reprisal:—

'The soul aspiring, pants its source to mount,
As streams meander level with their fount.'

"We take this to be on the whole the worst similitude in the world. In the first place, no stream meanders, or can possibly meander level with its fount. In the next place, if streams did meander level with their fount, no two motions can be less like each other than that of meandering level and that of mounting upwards." True; but none the less is the original 'spoiled' and despoiled metaphor, accurate and vivid.

If the Reader will surrender himself to the task, he will be rewarded for studying and re-studying the entire poem of "Nosce Teipsum;" and, unless I very much mistake, will then regard Hallam's judgment on it as inadequate rather than exaggerate, as (with intercalated remarks), thus: "A more remarkable poem [than Drayton's and Daniel's] is that of Sir John Davies, afterwards Chief Justice of Ireland [a mistake], entitled, 'Nosce Teipsum,' published in 1599, usually, though rather inaccurately, called 'On the Immortality of the Soul.' Perhaps no language can produce a poem, extending to[Pg lxxv] so great a length, of more condensation of thought, or in which fewer languid verses will be found. Yet, according to some definitions [of poetry] the 'Nosce Teipsum' is wholly unpoetical, inasmuch as it shows no passion [a greater blunder still] and little fancy [a third mistake]. If it reaches the heart at all, it is through the reason. But since strong argument in terse and correct style fails not to give us pleasure in prose, it seems strange that it should lose its effect when it gains the aid of regular metre to gratify the ear and assist the memory. Lines there are in Davies which far out-weigh much of the descriptive and imaginative poetry of the last two centuries, whether we estimate them by the pleasure they impart to us, or by the intellectual vigour they display. Experience has shown that the faculties familiarly deemed poetical are frequently exhibited in a considerable degree, but very few have been able to preserve a perspicuous beauty without stiffness or pedantry (allowance made for the subject and the times), in metaphysical reasoning, so successfully as Sir John Davies."[48] The alleged "no passion" is contradicted by the various pathetic autobiographic introspections and confessions brought out in this Memorial-[Pg lxxvi]Introduction, and not less so by the outbursts of adoration and praise that thunder up like the hosannahs before the great White Throne. The similarly alleged "little fancy" is one of manifold proofs that the critic was the most superficial of all imaginable readers with so much pretention. "Nosce Teipsum" is radiant as the dew-bedabbled grass with delicacies of fancy, not a few of the "fancies" being as exquisitely touched as divine work.

Campbell in his "Essay on English Poetry" (prefixed to his "Specimens") may be read with interest after Hallam. Accepting from Johnson as Johnson from Dryden the name of "metaphysical poets," he observes:—"The term of metaphysical poetry would apply with much more justice to the quatrains of Sir John Davies and those of Sir Fulke Greville, writers who, at a later period, found imitators in Sir Thomas Overbury and Sir William Davenant. Davies's poem on the Immortality of the Soul, entitled "Nosce teipsum," will convey a much more favourable idea of metaphysical poetry than the wittiest effusions of Donne and his followers. Davies carried abstract reasoning into verse with an acuteness and felicity which have seldom been equalled. He reasons undoubtedly with too much labour, formality, and subtlety, to afford uniform poetical pleasure.[Pg lxxvii] The generality of his stanzas exhibit hard arguments interwoven with the pliant materials of fancy so closely, that we may compare them to a texture of cloth and metallic threads, which is cold and stiff, while it is splendidly curious. There is this difference, however, between Davies and the commonly-styled metaphysical poets, that he argues like a hard thinker, and they, for the most part, like madmen. If we conquer the drier parts of Davies' poem, and bestow a little attention on thoughts which were meant, not to gratify the indolence, but to challenge the activity of the mind, we shall find in the entire essay fresh beauties at every perusal: for in the happier parts we come to logical truths so well illustrated by ingenious similes, that we know not whether to call the thoughts more poetically or philosophically just. The judgment and fancy are reconciled, and the imagery of the poems seems to start more vividly from the surrounding shades of abstraction."

The 'coldness' of 'cloth and metallic threads' which the critic applies to the 'hard arguments' of Nosce Teipsum is a mere imagination. But besides, the 'metallic threads' are not for warmth but for splendour. The lining of the 'splendidly curious' garment is to be looked for for warmth. Similarly the 'hard argu[Pg lxxviii]ments' would have been unpoetical as unphilosophical had they been 'warm' with the warmth of the 'clothing' in similes and fancies. The 'hardness' is where it ought to be—in the thinking: but it is a hardness like the bough that is green with leafage and radiant with bloom and odorous with 'sweet scent' and pliant to every lightest touch of the breeze. The leaf and bloom start from the 'hard' bough rightly, fittingly 'hard' to its utmost twig. The alleged 'too much labour' is singularly uncharacteristic. As for the 'madness' I can but exclaim—Oh for more of such 'fine lunacy' as in Donne is condemned! His and compeers' 'madness' is worth cart-loads of most men's sanity.

In our own day Dr. George Macdonald has spoken more wisely if still somewhat superficially of "Nosce Teipsum" in his charming "England's Antiphon." Having explained that by "Immortality of the Soul" is intended "the spiritual nature of the soul, resulting in continuity of existence," he proceeds:—"It [Nosce Teipsum] is a wonderful instance of what can be done for metaphysics in verse, and by means of imaginative or poetic embodiment generally. Argumentation cannot of course naturally belong to the region of poetry, however well it may comport itself when there natural[Pg lxxix]ized; and consequently, although there are most poetic no less than profound passages in the treatise, a light scruple arises whether its constituent matter can properly be called poetry. At all events, however, certain of the more prosaic measures and stanzas lend themselves readily, and with much favour, to some of the more complex of logical necessities. And it must be remembered that in human speech, as in the human mind, there are no absolute divisions: power shades off into feeling; and the driest logic may find the heroic couplet render it good service." (pp. 105-6). The 'scruple' must be 'light' indeed that has to decide whether the 'reasoning' of "Nosce Teipsum" be or be not 'poetry.' It is astounding that at this time o' day any should attempt to exclude the highest region of the intellect and its noblest occupation from poetry. Poetry I must hold absolutely is poetry, whatever be its matter and form if the thinking be glorified by imagination or tremulous with emotion. It is sheer folly to refuse to the Poet any material within the compass of the universe. Especially deplorable is it to have to argue for possibilities of poetry in the greatest of all thinking, viz., metaphysics, in the face of such actualities of achievement as in Davies and Lord Brooke and Donne.

[Pg lxxx]

A second characteristic of "Nosce Teipsum" that calls for notice is its perfection of workmanship shown in the mastery of an extremely difficult stanza, as well as its solidity of material. Here unquestionably Sir John Davies far excels Lord Brooke and Donne, and later, Sir William Davenant in "Gondibert." The two former are occasionally (it must be granted) semi-inarticulate, and the last is very often monotonous and trying. "Nosce Teipsum" is throughout articulate and unmistakeable, and never flags. You have a fear o' times that a metaphor will prove grotesque or mean: or a vein of thought pinch and go out from ore to bare limestone. But invariably an imaginative touch, or a colour-like epithet, or a thrill of emotion, lifts up the mean into a transfiguring atmosphere as of sun-set purples and crysolites, and gives to grotesquest gargoyles (as of cathedrals) a strange fitness. Then when a thought or illustration seems about to end, debasedly, another forward-carrying and ennobling, swiftly succeeds.

There is more than dexterity, there is consummate art—the art of a conscious master—in the inter-weaving of the lines and stanzas of "Nosce Teipsum." Professor Craik recognised the difficulty and the triumph, but fails by ultra-ingenuity in accounting for either the[Pg lxxxi] selection of the measure or the miracle of its continuous success. His criticism is worth recalling, thus:—"A remarkable poem of this age ... is the 'Nosce Teipsum' of Sir John Davies ... a philosophical poem, the earliest of the kind in the language. It is written in rhyme, in the common heroic ten-syllable verse, but disposed in quatrains, like the early play of Misogonus, already mentioned, and other poetry of the same era, or like Sir Thomas Overbury's poem of 'The Wife,' the 'Gondibert' of Sir William Davenant, and the 'Annus Mirabilis' of Dryden, at a later period. No one of these writers has managed this difficult stanza so successfully as Davies: it has the disadvantage of requiring the sense to be in general closed at certain regularly and quickly-recurring turns, which yet are very ill adapted for an effective pause; and even all the skill of Dryden has been unable to free it from a certain air of monotony and languor,—a circumstance of which that poet may be supposed to have been himself sensible, since he wholly abandoned it after one or two early attempts. Davies, however, has conquered its difficulty; and, as has been observed, 'perhaps no language can produce a poem, extending to so great a length, of more condensation of thought, or in which[Pg lxxxii] fewer languid verses will be found.' (Hallam, as before.) In fact, it is by this condensation and sententious brevity, so carefully filed and elaborated, however, as to involve no sacrifice of perspicuity or fulness of expression, that he has attained his end. Every quatrain is a pointed expression of a separate thought, like one of Rochefoucault's maxims; each thought being, by great skill and painstaking in the packing, made exactly to fit and to fill the same case. It may be doubted, however, whether Davies would not have produced a still better poem if he had chosen a measure which would have allowed him greater freedom and real variety; unless, indeed, his poetical talent was of a sort that required the suggestive aid and guidance of such artificial restraints as he had to cope with in this; and what would have been a bondage to a more fiery and teeming imagination, was rather a support to his."[49]

Most of this must be read cum grano salis. Davies elected his measure and stanza with evidently entire spontaneity; and it is an odd reversal of the simple matter of fact to ascribe the 'artificial restraints' chosen, to an absence 'of a fiery and teeming imagination,' when, as all observation demonstrates, the more[Pg lxxxiii] fiery and fecund the imagination of a Poet, the more exquisitely obedient is he to the subtlest and most intricate movements of his measure—just as the bluest-blooded race-horse is a law to itself whereas your stolid dray-cart or plough-drawer needs the "artificial restraints" of all kinds of gear, and the constraint of whip and blow and vociferation. I can well suppose that but for the "Fairy Queen" Sir John Davies might have chosen its stanza, but just as to-day "In Memoriam" has taken to itself its form and music to the exclusion of every other—though a very ancient English measure—so Spenser's immortal poem precluded "Nosce Teipsum" following in the same. I cannot admit "artificial restraints" in the sense of needed restraints or aid. There was the stanza, and the genius of Sir John Davies appropriated it—since Spenser's, in all worship, could not be taken—and, like a great Vine, clad its natural slenderness and poorness of build with wealth of bright green leafage and clustered fruitage. The nicety and daintiness of workmanship, the involute and nevertheless firmly-completed and manifested imagery of "Nosce Teipsum" wherewith this nicety and daintiness are wrought, place Sir John Davies artistically among the finest of our Poets. Southey wrote decisively on this:—"Sir John Davies and[Pg lxxxiv] Sir William Davenant, avoiding equally the opposite faults of too artificial and too careless a style, wrote in numbers which, for precision and clearness, and felicity and strength, have never been surpassed." For 'felicity' I should have said 'flexibility.'[50]

Again our examples of the mastery and perfection of workmanship must be brief; but take these:—

"Nor can her wide imbracements fillèd bee;
For they that most, and greatest things embrace,
Inlarge thereby their minds' capacitie,
As streames inlarg'd, inlarge the channel's space.
All things receiu'd, doe such proportion take,
As those things haue, wherein they are receiu'd:
So little glasses little faces make,
And narrow webs on narrow frames be weau'd;
Then what vast body must we make the mind
Wherin are men, beasts, trees, towns, seas, and lands;
And yet each thing a proper place doth find,
And each thing in the true proportion stands?
[Pg lxxxv]
Doubtlesse this could not bee, but that she turnes
Bodies to spirits, by sublimation strange;
As fire conuerts to fire the things it burnes
As we our meats into our nature change.
From their grosse matter she abstracts the formes,
And draws a kind of quintessence from things;
Which to her proper nature she transformes,
To bear them light on her celestiall wings:
This doth she, when, from things particular,
She doth abstract the universall kinds;
Which bodilesse and immateriall are,
And can be lodg'd but onely in our minds:
And thus from diuers accidents and acts,
Which doe within her obseruation fall,
She goddesses, and powers diuine, abstracts:
As Nature, Fortune, and the Vertues all." (pp. 42-44.)


Are they not sencelesse then, that thinke the Soule
Nought but a fine perfection of the Sense;
Or of the formes which fancie doth enroule,
A quicke resulting, and a consequence?
What is it then that doth the Sense accuse,
Both of false judgements, and fond appetites?
What makes vs do what Sense doth most refuse?
Which oft in torment of the Sense delights?
[Pg lxxxvi]
Sense thinkes the planets, spheares not much asunder;
What tels vs then their distance is so farre?
Sense thinks the lightning borne before the thunder;
What tels vs then they both together are?
When men seem crows far off vpon a towre,
Sense saith, th'are crows; what makes vs think them men?
When we in agues, thinke all sweete things sowre,
What makes vs know our tongue's false iudgement then?
What power was that, whereby Medea saw,
And well approu'd, and prais'd the better course,
When her rebellious Sense did so withdraw
Her feeble powers, as she pursu'd the worse?
Did Sense perswade Vlisses not to heare
The mermaid's songs, which so his men did please;
As they were all perswaded, through the eare
To quit the ship, and leape into the seas?
Could any power of Sense the Romane moue,
To burn his own right hand with courage stout?
Could Sense make Marius sit vnbound, and proue
The cruell lancing of the knotty gout?
Doubtlesse in Man there is a nature found,
Beside the Senses, and aboue them farre;
'Though most men being in sensuall pleasures drownd,
'It seems their Soules but in their Senses are.'
If we had nought but Sense, then onely they
Should haue sound minds, which haue their Senses sound;
[Pg lxxxvii] But Wisdome growes, when Senses doe decay,
And Folly most in quickest Sense is found.
If we had nought but Sense, each liuing wight,
Which we call brute, would be more sharp then we;
As hauing Sense's apprehensiue might,
In a more cleere, and excellent degree.
But they doe want that quicke discoursing power,
Which doth in vs the erring Sense correct;
Therefore the bee did sucke the painted flower,
And birds, of grapes, the cunning shadow, peckt.
Sense outsides knows; the Soule throgh al things sees;
Sense, circumstance; she, doth the substance view;
Sense sees the barke, but she, the life of trees;
Sense heares the sounds, but she, the concords true. (pp. 35-38.)

Once more:—

I know my bodie's of so fraile a kind,
As force without, feauers within can kill;
I know the heauenly nature of my minde,
But 'tis corrupted both in wit and will:
I know my Soule hath power to know all things,
Yet is she blinde and ignorant in all;
I know I am one of Nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.
I know my life's a paine and but a span,
I know my Sense is mockt with euery thing:
And to conclude, I know my selfe a MAN,
Which is a proud, and yet a wretched thing. (p. 24.)
[Pg lxxxviii]
If the pathos and grandeur of Pascal be anticipated in
these lines, Pope has certainly appropriated Davies'
favourite metaphor of the 'spider.' Witness the Sense
of Feeling illustrated:—
Much like a subtill spider, which doth sit
In middle of her web, which spreadeth wide;
If ought doe touch the vtmost thred of it,
Shee feeles it instantly on euery side. (p. 70).

So in the Essay of Man:—

"The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine,
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line."

Another now familiar 'metaphor' also occurs in "Nosce Teipsum":—

"Heere Sense's apprehension, end doth take;
As when a stone is into water cast,
One circle doth another circle make,
Till the last circle touch the banke at last." (p. 72.)

These two characteristics, viz., (1) deep and original thinking, (2) perfection of workmanship, or mastery of an extremely difficult stanza—embrace that in "Nosce Teipsum," regarded broadly, which I am anxious to have the Reader recognize and 'prove' for himself. Subsidiary to them is one other thing—not shared with many of [Pg lxxxix]our Poets and therefore demanding specific statement—viz. its condensation throughout. Hallam and Craik have called attention to this; and the student cannot fail to be struck with it. It is not simply that the stanzas are as so many rings of gold each complete in itself—much as Proverbs are—but that whether it be idea or opinion or metaphor there is no beating of it out, as though yards of gold-leaf or tin-foil were more valuable than the relatively small solid ore that has been so manipulated: or the common mistake of imagining that a pound of feathers is heavier than a pound of lead. From Dean Donne until now "comparisons are odious." Nevertheless when one recalls the attenuated thought and the blatant verbiage of not a few of our Poets, this resolute sifting out of everything extraneous is not less noticeable than commendable. It assures us that the Poet was conscious of his resources—of his unused wealth of thought and imagination and fancies. He who compacts his carbon into a Koh-i-noor has infinite supplies of it. Similarly a Poet who could and did so lavishly add great thought to great thought and vivid metaphor to vivid metaphor, and still go on adding in smallest possible compass, declares his intellect to be of the highest. I take two stanzas as illustrative equally of condensed thought and condensed metaphor concerning our [Pg xc]First Parents:—

When their reasons eye was sharpe and cleare,
And (as an eagle can behold the sunne)
Could haue approcht th' Eternall Light as neare,
As the intellectuall angels could haue done:
Euen then to them the Spirit of Lyes suggests
That they were blind, because they saw not ill;
And breathes into their incorrupted brests
A curious wish, which did corrupt their will.

Your Rhetorician-poet would have expatiated on his 'Eagle' through a hundred lines. Your mere Metaphysician would have entangled himself with distinctions between 'wish' and 'will' endlessly. Similarly how succinctly memorable is this of man's un-willinghood to know himself—every stanza a perfect circle but all the circles interlinked:—

We study Speech but others we perswade;
We leech-craft learne, but others cure with it;
We interpret lawes, which other men haue made,
But reade not those which in our hearts are writ.
Is it because the minde is like the eye,
Through which it gathers knowledge by degrees—
Whose rayes reflect not, but spread outwardly:
Not seeing it selfe when other things it sees?
No, doubtlesse; for the mind can backward cast
Vpon her selfe, her vnderstanding light;
But she is so corrupt, and so defac't,
As her owne image doth her selfe affright.
[Pg xci]
As in the fable of the Lady faire,
Which for her lust was turnd into a cow;
When thirstie to a streame she did repaire,
And saw her selfe transform'd she wist not how:
At first she startles, then she stands amaz'd,
At last with terror she from thence doth flye;
And loathes the watry glasse wherein she gaz'd,
And shunnes it still, though she for thirst doe die:
Euen so Man's Soule which did God's image beare,
And was at first faire, good, and spotlesse pure;
Since with her sinnes her beauties blotted were,
Doth of all sights her owne sight least endure:
For euen at first reflection she espies,
Such strange chimeraes, and such monsters there;
Such toyes, such antikes, and such vanities,
As she retires, and shrinkes for shame and feare.
And as the man loues least at home to bee,
That hath a sluttish house haunted with spirits;
So she impatient her owne faults to see,
Turnes from her selfe and in strange things delites.
For this few know themselues: for merchants broke
View their estate with discontent and paine;
And seas are troubled, when they doe reuoke
Their flowing waues into themselues againe. (pp. 20-22.)

[Pg xcii]How daintily-put and how divinely ennobled by the sacred reference is this of the soul's yearning after that higher ideal that is ever receding horizon-like to our vision:—

Then as a bee which among weeds doth fall,
Which seeme sweet flowers, with lustre fresh and gay;
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none, doth rise, and soare away;
So, when the Soule finds here no true content,
And, like Noah's doue, can no sure footing take;
She doth returne from whence she first was sent,
And flies to Him that first her wings did make. (p. 87)

For condensed and close-packed thought and imagery the 'Reasons' for the 'Immortalitie of the Soule' (pp. 83-99) are not to be equalled anywhere.

We may not linger over "Nosce Teipsum." Passing to the "Hymnes to Astræa" and "Orchestra, or a Poeme of Dauncing" while they have the same characteristics with "Nosce Teipsum," they yet suggest another characteristic in Davies as a Poet—unexpectedness of brilliant and great things. You count on the Lark's up-springing and the Lark's idyllic song, if you are traversing its bladed or daisied possession; but you are startled if it rise from the mired or dusty street or the inodorous slum. You look for the eagle when you have climbed [Pg xciii]Shehallion and other Highland mountain fastnesses; but suppose it were to flap out upon you as you paced into your semi-suburban villa. So in "Nosce Teipsum," as seen, deep thought perfectly worked is what knowing the Poet you look for therein; but even in "Hymnes to Astræa" and "Orchestra" you very soon discover that it is still the Poet of "Nosce Teipsum" who sings. The moods of thought are airier and more vivacious substantively, but the thinking and shaping and colouring of imagination is the same; and 'unexpected' is really the word that seems to me to express the out-flashing of the higher faculty. Turning to the "Hymnes to Astræa," how exquisite are the fancy and the flattery of Hymne V., "To the Larke," as she is wooed by the Poet-Courtier to be his minstrel to 'sing' of Elizabeth. You do not for a moment feel the 'artificial restraint' of the margin-letters that go to form Elizabetha Regina:—

Earley, cheerfull, mounting Larke,
Light's gentle vsher, Morning's clark,
In merry notes delighting;
Stint awhile thy song, and harke,
And learn my new inditing.
Beare vp this hymne, to heau'n it beare,
Euen vp to heau'n, and sing it there,
To heau'n each morning beare it;
Haue it set to some sweet sphere,
And let the Angels heare it.
[Pg xciv] Renownd Astræa, that great name,
Exceeding great in worth and fame,
Great worth hath so renownd it;
It is Astræa's name I praise,
Now then, sweet Larke, do thou it raise,
And in high Heauen resound it. (p. 133.)

Meet companion to this is Hymne VII., "To the Rose:"—

Eye of the Garden, Queene of flowres,
Love's cup wherein he nectar powres,
Ingendered first of nectar;
Sweet nurse-child of the Spring's young howres,
And Beautie's faire character.
Best iewell that the Earth doth weare,
Euen when the braue young sunne draws neare,
To her hot Loue pretending;
Himselfe likewise like forme doth beare,
At rising and descending.
Rose of the Queene of Loue belou'd;
England's great Kings diuinely mou'd,
Gave Roses in their banner;
It shewed that Beautie's Rose indeed,
Now in this age should them succeed,
And raigne in more sweet manner. (p. 135.)

That the large and intense homage of Davies (among his illustrious contemporaries), in these "Hymnes" was genuine not simulated, [Pg xcv]spontaneous not mercenary, the apostrophe to Envy protests. With an echo of the old 'exegi monumentum' or reminiscence of Shakespeare's then not long published Sonnets, he thus writes:—

Enuy, goe weepe; my Muse and I
Laugh thee to scorne; thy feeble eye
Is dazeled with the glory
Shining in this gay poesie,
And little golden story.
Behold how my proud quill doth shed
Eternall nectar on her head;
The pompe of coronation
Hath not such power her fame to spread,
As this my admiration.
Respect my pen as free and franke
Expecting not reward nor thanke,
Great wonder onely moues it;
I never made it mercenary,
Nor should my Muse this burthen carrie
As hyr'd, but that she loues it. (p. 154.)

Then in "Orchestra" you are again and again reminded that, mere sport of wit though it be, "suddaine, rash, half-capreol of my wit," as he himself calls it to Martin (p. 159), it is a man of rare genius who sports. So much so that ever and anon you perceive, as Cleopatra of her [Pg xcvi]Anthony:

———"his delights
Were dolphin-like; they show'd his tack above
The element they lived in." (v. 2.)

That is, even among the trivialities about 'Dauncing' and the frivolities of laudation, you are re-called to grander things—as in the Summer one sees breaks of blue in the over-arching sky above some miserable Pick-nick party desecrating some glorious forest-dell. I cull two out of manifold examples of the unexpectedness that I now wish to point out—as thus of the antiquity yet vitality of 'Dauncing':—

"Thus doth it equall age with age inioy,
And yet in lustie youth for euer flowers;
Like loue his sire, whom Paynters make a boy,
Yet is the eldest of the heau'nly powers;
Or like his brother Time, whose wingèd howers
Going and comming will not let him dye,
But still preserve him in his infancie." (p. 169.)

That is 'brilliant' but this is 'great,' indeed magnificent, of the Sea:—

"Loe the Sea that fleets about the Land,
And like a girdle clips her solide waist,
Musicke and measure both doth vnderstand;
For his great chrystall eye is always cast
Vp to the Moone, and on her fixèd fast;
And as she daunceth in her pallid spheere,
So daunceth he about her Center heere." (p. 179.)

[Pg xcvii] I know not where, outside of Milton, to match that personification of the Sea, with its "great chrystall eye"; and 'palid' is as tenderly delicate as the other is grand. Coleridge must have carried it in his omniverous memory, for surely one of the most memorable of the stanzas in his "Ancient Mariner" drew its inspiration thence, as thus:—

"Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the Moon is cast—
If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him." (Pt. VI.)

At this point it may interest some to read Sir John Harington's welcome to the Poet on the publication of 'Orchestra', thus:—

Of Master John Dauies Booke of Dancing. To Himselfe.

While you the Planets all doe set to dancing,
Beware such hap, as to the Fryer was chancing:
Who preaching in a Pulpit old and rotten,
Among some notes, most fit to be forgotten:
Vnto his Auditory thus he vaunts,
To make all Saints after his pype to dance:
[Pg xcviii] It speaking, which as he himselfe aduances,
To act his speech with gestures, lo, it chances,
Downe fals the Pulpit, sore the man is brusèd,
Neuer was Fryer and Pulpit more abusèd.
Then beare with me, though yet to you a stranger,
To warne you of the like, nay greater danger.
For though none feare the falling of those sparkes,
(And when they fall, t'will be good catching Larkes)
Yet this may fall, that while you dance and skip,
With female Planets, sore your foote may trip,
That in your lofty Caprioll and turne
Their motion may make your dimension burne." (Epigrams, Book II. 67.)

I am tempted to further critical examination of this very remarkable Poetry; but feel constrained by already transgressed limits to withhold them for the present. But I must say something on the Epigrams and Minor Poems. I have 'compunctious visitings' in re-publishing them, even though they have been included by Dyce and by Colonel Cunningham in their successive editions of Marlowe. In my Note (Vol. II., pp. 3-6), I give bibliographical and other details concerning these Epigrams; and I correct a mis-assignation of certain by Dyce to Davies that belong to Henry Hutton. It must be conceded that the Epigrams have dashes of the roughness, even coarseness, of the age. [Pg xcix]They self-drevealingly belong to the wild-oats sowing of the Poet's youthful period. Nevertheless, I have ventured their reproduction in integrity for four reasons:—

(a) These Epigrams, from their subjects and style, are valuable, as expressing the tone of society at the time.

(b) It would be suppressio veri to withhold them, toward an accurate estimate of their Author. They furnish elements of judgment.

(c) They were what gained the Poet 'a name': even when tartly spoken of by Guilpin he is called the 'English Martial' from them.

(d) These Epigrams belong to a section of our early Literature that contemporaneously was abundant; and it were advantageous if characteristics of particular periods were more recognised in literary criticism.

Besides Guilpin, a very rare volume of early Verse by Ashmore, furnishes a hitherto overlooked Epigram, wherein "Nosce Teipsum" and the Epigrams, are noticed with well-put praise. I am fortunate enough to be able to give it, which I do in its English form only, the Latin being poor and inaccurate. It is inscribed "Ad D. Io. Davies, Milite [Pg c]Iudicem Itinerium" and thus runs:—

"If Plato lived and saw those heaven-breathed Lines
Where thou the Essence of the Soule confines;
Or merry Martiale read thy Epigrammes,
Where sportingly, these looser times thou blames:
Though both excel, yet (in their severall wayes)
They both ore-come, would yeeld to thee the Prise."[51]

His name-sake, John Davies of Hereford similarly saluted him. His 'Lines' with others, will appear more fitly in the fuller 'Life.' Meanwhile, as carrying within it, perhaps the most memorable circumstance appertaining to these 'Epigrams,' I must ask attention here, to one of Wordsworth's finest minor poems—his

[Pg ci]


An Orpheus! an Orpheus! yes, Faith may grow bold,
And take to herself all the wonders of old;—
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same,
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.
His station is there; and he works on the crowd,
He sways them with harmony merry and loud;
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim—
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him?
What an eager assembly! what an empire is this!
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss;
The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest;
And the guilt-burthened soul is no longer opprest.
As the Moon brightens round her the clouds of the night,
So He, where he stands, is a centre of light;
It gleams on the face, there, of the dusky-browed Jack,
And the pale-visaged Baker's, with basket on back.
That errand-bound 'Prentice was passing in haste—
What matter! he's caught—and his time runs to waste;
The Newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret;
And the half-breathless Lamp-lighter—he's in the net!
The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store;—
If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;
She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees!
He stands, backed by the wall; he abates not his din;
His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,
[Pg cii] From the old and the young, from the poorest; and there!
The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare.
O blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band;
I am glad for him, blind as he is!—all the while
If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a smile.
That tall Man, a giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would? oh, not he!
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.
Mark that Cripple who leans on his crutch; like a tower
That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour!—
That Mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound,
While she dandles the Babe in her arms to the sound.
Now, coaches and chariots! roar on like a stream;
Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream:
They are deaf to your murmurs—they care not for you,
Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue!

What is this but a glorified version of a portion of Epigram 38? Here it is:—

"As doth the Ballad-singer's auditory,
Which hath at Temple-barre his standing chose,
And to the vulgar sings an Ale-house story:
First stands a Porter: then, an Oyster-wife
Doth stint her cry, and stay her steps to heare him;
Then comes a Cut-purse ready with a knife,
And then a Countrey-clyent passeth neare him;
[Pg ciii] There stands the Constable, there stands the whore,
And, listening to the Song, heed not each other;
There by the Serjeant stands the debitor,
And doth no more mistrust him than his brother:
Thus Orpheus to such hearers giveth musick
And Philo to such patients giveth physic."

Any charge of plagiarism were an outrage on Genius: but the coincidence is remarkable. It is just possible that the later Poet may have found the 'Epigrams' in his bookish friend Southey's library, and that the rough lines lingered semi-unconsciously in his memory. The earlier is to the later, as a photograph of the actual coarse street-group to the idealizations of the Artist: nevertheless it has its own interest and value, neither are the Characters ill-chosen, nor without humour.

But on the other hand Davies, in his 47th Epigram, was no doubt influenced by a remembrance of Sidney's 30th Stella sonnet. The likeness as to the countries mentioned is remarkable.[52]

One flagrant appropriater of Davies' Epigrams must be nailed-up, in the person of William Winstanley in his "The Muses Cabinet stored with variety of Poems, both pleasant and profitable. London 1655." Thus we read "On Rembombo":—

[Pg civ]

"Rembombo having spent all his estate
Went to the wars to prove more fortunate.
Being return'd, he speaks such warlike words,
No dictionary half the like affords:
He talks of flankers, gabions and scalados,
Of curtneys, parapets & palizados,
Retreats & triumphs & of carnisadoes,
Of sallies, halfe moones & of ambuscadoes:
I to requite the fustian termes he uses,
Reply with words belonging to the Muses;
As Spondes, Dactiles & Hexameters,
Stops, commas, accents, types, tropes, & pentameters,
Madrigalls, Epicediums, elegies,
Satyres, Iambicks, & Apostrophes,
Acrosticks, Aquiuoques, & epigrams:
Thus talking and being understood by neither,
We part wise as when we came together." (p. 43)

Let the Reader compare this with Davies' Epigram (Vol. II., p. 23-4). Various others are similarly transmogrified; and John Heath also is 'spoiled' (in a double sense). Yet has Winstanley the impudence to close his volume bitingly thus:—

"Cease Muse, here comes a criticke, close thy page,
These lines are not strong enough for this age;
The nice new-fangled readers of these times
Will scarcely relish thy plain country rimes."

The Minor Poems, not hitherto collected, will reward critical perusal. Some of them are noticeable:[Pg cv] quaint fancies, glances of wit and wisdom, felicitous epithet, racy similes, aphoristic sayings, bird-like notes of genuine music, and now and then, powerful sarcasm, will meet the studious reader. The Hitherto Unpublished MSS., which include, besides secular poems, his long vainly-sought Metaphrase of certain Psalms, speak for themselves. And so I leave the Reader to raise the lid of the casket of gems now put into his hands. It demands robustness of brain and sensibilities of spirit to appreciate adequately Sir John Davies as a Poet; but if, in all humility of receptiveness and open-eyedness, these volumes be read, no one competent can go away unimpressed. Whether as Thinker or Singer he must be placed among the rare few who have enriched our highest Literature.


[Pg cvi]



There are several things relative to the Minor Poems of Sir John Davies that require statement and elucidation; and I deem it well to give such.

I. The Ten Sonnets to Philomel and Hymn to Music.

II. The Entertainment to Elizabeth at Harefield by the Countess of Derby.

III. The Poem to King James 1st.

IV. Dacus not Samuel Daniel.

V. Marston and "Orchestra," &c.

VI. Hymnes to Astræa.

I. The Ten Sonnets to Philomel and Hymn to Music. In my Fuller Worthies' Library edition of Davies, I admitted "Canzonet: a Hymne in praise of Musick" among his Poems (pp. 297-9) because in the "Rhapsody" it bore his initials I. D. precisely as his other accepted pieces therein did. But I excluded the 'Ten Sonnets to Philomel' from their having the signature originally of "Melophilus," and I. D. only subsequently. I too hastily agreed with Sir Egerton Brydges (in his edition of the "Rhapsody" 2 Vols., 1826) in assigning[Pg cvii] them to Dean Donne. I could not discern Donne's manner in the 'Canzonet,' and so had no difficulty in rejecting Brydges' alleged 'internal evidence' in respect of it, initialled as it was. Neither did I find the 'internal evidence' in the 'Ten Sonnets' for its Donne authorship, but, in addition to the early signature "Melophilus," there was a note of "Manuscripts to get" by Davison, from Donne, that has seemed to warrant the "Ten Sonnets" being regarded as his contribution, and the later I. D. as representing J[ohn] D[onne], and not Sir John Davies. My friend Dr. Brinsley Nicholson has satisfied me that Davison's List of MSS. to be received could not refer to his "Rhapsody," but to some other intended work or private collection; and so the one point in favour of Donne falls to the ground. The evidence as communicated to myself, and since, in a lengthy communication to the Athenæum (January 22d, 1876), may be thus summarized, (1) There is nothing in Davison's notings which even hints that he was thinking of the "Rhapsody." (2) The greater number of the MSS. mentioned never appeared even by a specimen in the "Rhapsody." (3) The second entry is of

"Sports, Masks, and Entertainments to ye{ late Queen
{ the King," &c.

Therefore it was written in or after 1603. But the[Pg cviii] first edition of the "Rhapsody" containing the "Hymn to Music" signed I. D., and the "Ten Sonnets" signed "Melophilus," and in the subsequent editions I. D., was published in 1602, (4) There is not in the subsequent editions a single piece by any of these memorandum-noted authors that is not in the first—so shewing further that the memorandum had no reference to the "Rhapsody." Of Donne and Constable there are in the editions 1608, 1611, 1621, only those given in 1602, and in no edition at all is there a single specimen of Ben Jonson, Hodgson, Harington, Joseph Hall, &c., &c. There remains thus only (5). The I. D. evidence, e.g.:

HymnI. D.I. D.I. D.Unsigned.
Sonnets Melophilus.I. D.I. D.I. D.
12 Wonders}NotJohn DauisSir John DauisSir John Davies
Lottery}inI. D.I. D.Sir I. D.
Contention}1st edn.Jonn DauisSir John Dauis.Unsigned.

Absence hear this my protestation. Unsigned in all four editions.

That two are unsigned in the 1621 edition is probably due to omission made during the thorough re-distribution of the pieces into books of Odes, &c., &c. Further (6) the "Hymn to Music" and the "Ten Sonnets" follow consecutively, and are the very first among the "pieces by sundry others." So in editions of 1608 and 1611 the "Twelve Wonders," "Lottery," and "Contention" are the first of[Pg cix] the new pieces, in fact, open the book and follow one another successively in a group of three—John Dauis—I. D.—John Davies. (7) We gather from inspection of the "Table" that (a) the "Lottery," I. D., is John Davies; (b) that Davison put I. D. after the "Lottery," knowing that he had already appropriated I. D. to the author of the "Hymne;" and what is more, he chose to put I. D. to the "Lottery" just when he associated the "Ten Sonnets" with I. D. and John Davies' poems by altering Melophilus to I. D.; (c) at the same time he left "Absence hear," &c., unsigned; (d) what has been said under (5) and (6) suggests that Davies was a personal friend of Davison's, and this is strengthened by there being no MS. of Davies noted as "to get." If so, Davison was still less likely to use ambiguous initials for anything by Davies. Once more (8) When we add to this that the "Hymne" must go with the "Ten Sonnets" and that it is clearly by the author of "Orchestra"; and that neither the "Hymne" nor the "Ten Sonnets" appear in any collection of Donne's poems printed or in MS. the external evidence in favour of Sir John Davies as author of the work is as strong as it well can be. Internally the student of "Orchestra" and the "Hymnes to Astræa" will readily see the "fine Roman hand" that wrote them in the "Hymne to[Pg cx] Music" and related "Ten Sonnets to Philomel." There is none of the style, or conceits, or wording, or rhythm of Donne. I add finally (9) If the "Ten Sonnets to Philomel" were based on real love experiences, we can understand how at first at any rate the disguise of "Melophilus" might be preferred to I. D. It does not seem probable that they were addressed to her who became his wife. In accord with all this both the "Hymne to Music" and the "Ten Sonnets to Philomel" are now included among Sir John Davies's Poems (Vol. ii. pp. 96-106.)

II. The Entertainment to Elizabeth at Harefield by the Countess of Derby. In the foot-notes to the "Lottery," (Vol. II., pp. 87-94) several variations from Manningham's "Diary" are accepted as decided improvements, especially those in VII., XIX., and XXI., which were probably taken from a revised or autograph MS. That Manningham had full information on the "Lottery" is proved by the list he gives of the persons to whom the 'lots' went, viz., I., To hir Mtie. III. La[dy] Scroope. XXVII. La[dy] Scudamore. VI. Lady Francis. VII. Earle of Darby's countes. VIII. Lady Southwell, II. Countess of Darby dowager: [the Lord Keeper's wife]. XII. Countess of Kildare. XIII. La[dy] Effingham. XIX. La[dy] Newton. XXI. Not named.[Pg cxi] XXII. La[dy] Warwike. XXV. La[dy] Dorothy. XXXIII. La[dy] Susan ... XXXII. La[dy] Kidderminster. XXXI. Blank. But there remains an interesting question to be settled, viz., the date of this "Lottery." Nichols, apparently on the sole authority of the "Rhapsody," gives it to a visit to the Lord Keeper's town-house [York House] in 1601; and assigns it to York House because Sir Thomas Egerton did not buy Harefield till 1602, and clearly by the speeches in the "Entertainment" the Queen had never been there before August, 1602. But the "Rhapsody" date is a slip of Davison's pen or of his printer for 1602, and the "Lottery" took place at Harefield as part of the "Entertainment." Notices in the "Lottery" itself guide us to this conclusion, e.g., it was about August, for in Lot 22 we read:—

"'Tis Summer yet,...
But 'twill be winter one day, doubt you not."

and the visit to Harefield was in August. Then there is this to be noted that the masquer is "A Mariner ... supposed to come from the Carrick." Let 'the' be marked 'the Carrick.' The allusion is historical. The Queen sent out Sir Richard Levison (or Lawson) and Sir William Morrison on 19th and 26th March, 1602 to intercept the plate fleet and do any other damage along the Spanish coast. They did not get the[Pg cxii] Fleet and were wholly unsuccessful till 1st June, when they came upon an immense 'carrick' from the East Indies of 1,600 tons flanked on one side by a castle and on the other by eleven Spanish and Portugese galleys. On the 2nd the admirals with five men of war and two merchantmen Easterlings, beat the gallies and silenced the castle, and on the 3rd the carrick surrendered with a cargo estimated by the Portugese at a million of ducats. Our killed in this brilliant exploit was six seamen (see Camden's Annals and Monson's Naval Tracts). This proves that the Verses were vers d'occasion. We have 'the carrick' and Cynthia who sent forth Fortune to the sea, and many a "jewel and a gem" brought, and Fortune so commanded

———"as makes me now to sing
There is no fishing to the sea, no service to the King."

Further, the Queen writing to Lord Mountjoy (Deputy to Ireland) 15th July 1602 says "... first to assure you that we have sent a fleet to the coast of Spain, notwithstanding our former fleet returned with the Carrick," which shows two things (1) That Lawson and Monson had returned prior to the 15th of July (2) that the Queen had sent out another fleet at once; and thus Davies' verses were the more appropriate as being not[Pg cxiii] only a remembrance of good luck but an anticipation of continued good fortune.

These proofs of date which require no confirmation are confirmed by this, that Manningham after the "Lottery," and on the same leaf, gives a "dialogue betweene the bayly and a dairy mayd" before "her Mtis coming to the house," quoting a sentence from it as found in the "Entertainment." This leads me to state why I have given the entire "Entertainment" to Sir John Davies. It certainly is contrary to natural expectation that the "Lottery" verses are not introduced into the "Entertainment," and but for other considerations the inference might have been that only the "Lottery" was by Davies, and the rest by some other. But there is this explanation of the absence of the "Lottery" verses, that evidently they formed part of the amusement of one of the rainy days—for it was a wet St. Swithin—when the speeches and other things of the "Entertainment" took place without doors, and distinct from the "Lottery." Then on reading the "Entertainment" itself, there are manifold marks that the whole came from one pen, and that pen Davies's; for throughout there is likeness of style and thought to his avowed writings. Take these few examples: (1) "If[Pg cxiv] thou knewest the cause, thou wouldst not wonder; for I stay to entertaine the Wonder of this time," &c. ("Entertainment," &c., Vol. II., pp. 249-50.) Cf. this with "Orchestra" st. 120, "wonder of posteritie" (i.e., of her own time): (2) "The Guest that wee are to entertaine doth fill all places with her divine vertues, as the Sunne fills the World with the light of his beames." (Ibid, p. 250). Cf. Hymnes to Astræa, XIV., stanza 2:—

"Behold her in her vertues' beames,
Extending sun-like to all realities."

Again, XV., st. 1:—

"Eye of that mind most quicke and cleere,—
Like Heaven's eye, which from his spheare
Into all things prieth;
Sees through all things euery where,
And all their natures trieth."

(3) "Though her selfe shall eclipse her soe much, as to suffer her brightness to bee shadowed in this obscuere and narrow Place, yet the sunne beames that follow her, the traine I meane that attends vpon her, must, by the necessitie of this Place, be deuided from her." (Ibid, p. 251). Cf. XIX., st. 1:—

"Eclipsed she is, and her bright rayes,
Lie under vailes, yet many wayes
Is her faire forme reuealed."

[Pg cxv]

'Beams' and 'sunbeams' are favourite words with Davies: so too 'mirror.' (4) "Time weare very vngratefull, if it should not euer stand still, to serue and preserue, cherish and delight her, that is the glory of her time, and makes the Time happy wherein she liueth" (Ibid p. 251). Cf. II. st. 3, ll. 1-3.

"Right glad am I that now I live:
Even in these days whereto you give
Great happiness and glory."

(5) "What if she make thee a contynewell holy-day, she makes me [Place] a perpetuall sanctuary" (Ibid p. 251). Cf. IV., st. 1:—

"Each day of time, sweet moneth of May,
Love makes a solemne holy-day."

(6) "Doth not the presence of a Prince make a Cottage a Court, and the presence of the Gods make euery place Heaven?" (Ibid pp. 251-2). Cf. Dedication of "Nosce Teipsum":—

"Stay long (sweet spirit) ere thou to Heauen depart,
Which makest each place a heauen wherein thou art."

In the Verse (pp. 253-4) there are abundant parallels. I must content myself with references. With the 1st stanza

"Beauties rose, and vertues booke, &c."

[Pg cxvi]

compare Hymnes to Astræa VII., st. 3: XVII., st. 2-3 and the "Contention" (ad. fin.) and XIII. st. 2: XV. st. 2. Also IV. last 2 lines: VII. st. 3. ll. 1-3: X. last 4 lines. Similar results are found on a comparison of the "Entertainment" with the "Dialogue between a Gentleman Usher and a Poet" (Fuller Worthies' Library edn. of Davies' Poems: pp. 15-21.)

I have accordingly given the whole "Entertainment" as belonging to Sir John Davies. It is to be regretted that the Satyrs Verses are unaccompanied by the rest of the Masque to which apparently they belong. Harefield has the further light of glory on it of having been the scene of Milton's "Arcades" and of the famous elm-aisle celebrated by him in imperishable verse. The Countess of Derby, afterwards the Lord Keeper's third wife, was the early friend of Spenser and of Milton, and of all her eminent literary contemporaries.[53]

[Pg cxvii]

III. "Yet other Twelve Wonders of the World." In foot-note (Vol. II., p. 67) I promise an account of an autograph MS. of this characteristic set of verses. It finds more fitting place here than in the Preface. The MS. is preserved at Downing College, Cambridge, and having been described on p. 325 of the "Third Report of the Historical MSS. Commissioners," Mr. Beedham,[Pg cxviii] (as before) was kind enough to make a literatim transcript for me (with the permission of the College authorities). The MS. is headed "Verses giuen to the L. Treasurer vpon Newyeares day vpon a dosen of Trenchers by Mr. Davis." In the margin against "The Lawyer," in the same handwriting as the Verses, is this: "This is misplaced, it should be before the physisn," and similarly against "The Country Gentleman," also in the same handwriting, is: "This is misplaced, in the original it is before the mr chant." There is nothing to give any clue as to the precise New Year's day upon which the Verses were furnished to the Lord Treasurer; but unless I very much mistake, they were the "cobweb" of his "inuention" enclosed in that letter which Mr. J. Payne Collier supposed to have gone with a gift-copy of "Nosce Teipsum." The letter speaks for itself:—

"Mr. Hicks. I have sent you heer inclosed that cobweb of my invention which I promised before Christmas: I pray you present it, commend it, and grace it, as well for your owne sake as mine: bycause by your nominacion I was first put to this taske, for which I acknowledge my self beholding to you in good earnest, though the imployment be light and trifling, because I am glad of any occasion of being made knowne to that noble gentl. whom I honore and admire exceedingly. If ought be to be added, or[Pg cxix] alter'd; lett me heare from you. I shall willingly attend to doo it, the more speedily if it be before the terme. So in haste I commend my best service to you. Chancery Lane, 20 Jan. 1600. Yours to do you service very willingly, Jo. Davys." (Bibl. Account, V. I., pp. 193-4; no specification of source beyond S. P. O.)

The handwriting of the copy in Downing College belongs to the close of the 16th or to the earliest years of the 17th century. The second marginal note above would seem to show that the transcript was made from the original, then perhaps being circulated from hand to hand. Specimens of variations may interest. In "The Courtier," l. 1, for 'liu'd' the MS. reads 'serued': l. 4, "from them that fall" for "such as fall": l. 5, "my" for "a rich array": in the "Divine," l. 1, "one cure doth me contente" for "and I from God am sent": l. 3, "true kinde" for "kind true": l. 5, "Nor followe princes' Courts" for "Much wealth I will not seeke ": "The Souldier," l. 6, "brag" for "boast": "The Physitian," l. 1, "prolonge" for "vphold" and "life" for "state": l. 2, "I" for "me" (bis): l. 6, "time & youth" for "youth and time": "The Lawyer," l. 1, "My practice is the law" for "the Law my calling is": ll. 5-6,

[Pg cxx]

"Some say I haue good gifts, and love where I doe take Yet never tooke I fee, but I advisd or spake," for "Nor counsell did bewray, nor of both parties take, Nor euer tooke I fee for which I neuer spake."

"The Merchant" l. 2, "vnknowne worlds ... kingdomes doth" for "unknowne coasts ... countries to": "The Married Man," l. 4, "choise" for "chance": "The Wife," l. 1, "my" for "our": l. 2, "Thither am I ... where firste" for "I thither am ... from whence": l. 3,

"I goe not maskd abroad to visit, when I do My secrets I bewray to none but one or two," for "I doe not visite oft, nor many, when I doe, I tell my mind to few, and that in counsell too."

"The Widowe" l. 1, "dyinge" is inserted here before "husband": l. 3, "love" for "haue": l. 6, "Nor richer then I am, nor younger would I seeme" for "Nor younger then I am, nor richer will I seeme": "The Maide," l. 4, "of" for "on": l. 5, "but" for "yet." These embrace all save orthographical and other slight variants. As derived from an authentic autograph MS. the Downing College copy is interesting and its variants serve further to illustrate the letter to Hicks wherein Davies expresses his willingness to make[Pg cxxi] any changes—which alone might have led Mr. Collier to see that he could not possibly refer to "Nosce Teipsum," which was then published.

IV. Dacus not Samuel Daniel. Turning to Epigrams 30 and 45 (pp. 30, 45) the reader will find in Dyce's note to the latter that he identified 'Dacus' with Daniel, and the passage whereon he based the identification. I passed his note though not at all satisfied with the parallel of "dumb eloquence" to the Epigram's "silent eloquence." Epigram 30 points rather to a rhymster of the John Taylor Water-Poet type, and if one had patience to make the search "silent eloquence" should doubtless be found in one or other of his many books—clumsily appropriated from Sir Philip Sidney. Then the "dumb eloquence" of the Complaint of Rosamond which Dyce quotes, was to the King not "to his Mistress"—even if it were what the Epigram hints "silent eloquence." En passant the phrases and variants on it was one of the aped phrases of the gallants and poetasters of the day. Jonson who disliked Daniel, ridicules the stanza in a way that informs us it was affected by them. Griffin in his Fidessa also has it in his "dumb message of my hidden grief." Further: Davies of Hereford in his "Scourge of Folly" who must have known his namesake's use of[Pg cxxii] Dacus calls him Dacus the pot-poet and speaks as much against his character as our Davies does against his rhymes—all of which was curiously inapplicable to Samuel Daniel. At the time Davies of Hereford wrote Daniel was a gentleman of the Queen's bed-chamber. Lastly—and conclusively—Sir John Davies praises three English poets in his "Orchestra" (Elizabethan edn.) of whom one is Daniel:—

"O that I could old Gefferie's Muse awake
Or borrow Colin's fayre heroike stile,
Or smooth my rimes with Delia's servant's file."

(Vol. I. p. 212). It is a pleasure to be able to vindicate Sir John Davies from abuse of so genuine a Poet-contemporary as Daniel, and Daniel from so weighty an adverse judgment, had it really been Davies's. To the same good friend who has so helped me elsewhere—Dr. Brinsley Nicholson—I owe thanks for these too-long-delayed corrections.

V. Marston and 'Orchestra.' But if Harrington and Davies of Hereford praised, there were others who had their jeers at Orchestra, e.g. John Marston in his 11th Satire of his Scourge of Villanie, in ridiculing the gallant who thinks of nothing but dancing, as he afterwards does Luscus, who talks of nothing but Plays, and vents only play-scraps, says (1599).

[Pg cxxiii]

"Who ever heard spruce skipping Curio
Ere prate of ought but of the whirle on toe.

Praise but Orchestra, and the skipping art,
You shall command him, faith you have his hart
Even capring in your fist."

Then there follows (meo judicio) a reminiscence or two of the poem itself, and a laugh at the "worthy poet." Thus in 'Orchestra,' st. 59, we have

"According to the musicke of the spheres,"

and st. 60,

"And imitate the starres cælestiall."

and st. 71, speaking of Castor and Pollux:

"Where both are carried with an equall pace
Together iumping in their turning race,"

and where, though 'iumping' is of course used in the sense not of our 'jumping' (leaping) but in that of equal or agreeing, as in "jump where may find Cassio," or as where the folio (I. 1) has "just as this same hour" the 4o Hamlet has "jump at this dead hour"; yet it has for the context an unlucky sound and association. Hence Marston wickedly and waggishly continues:

"A hall, a hall
Roome for the spheres, the orbs celestiall
Will daunce Kemps jigge; they'le revel with neate jumps;
A worthy poet hath put on their pumps.
[Pg cxxiv] O wits quick traverse but sance ceo's slowe,
Good faith 'tis hard for nimble Curio.
Ye gracious orbes, keepe the old measuring
All's spoilde if once yee fall to capering."

VI. Hymnes to Astræa. I adhere to Sir John Davies' own form of Astraea in the collective edition of 1621. Doubtless he and the Printer meant it for "æ' not 'œ' inasmuch as besides Astraea's mythological reign in the golden age over a people that became too wicked for her, she became the constellation Virgo, as celebrated, among others, by Barnfield in his Cynthia.[54] The whole of Hy. I. shows this, where the flattery was specially apt to the subject on account of making Astraea the daughter of Aurora: and so Hy. V. of the Lark: and Hy. XXI.

A. B. G.

[Pg 1]






[Pg 2]


[Pg 3]

'Nosce Teipsum' was originally published in 1599 (4to). The following is its title-page and collation:

Nosce teipsum

This Oracle expounded in two

1. Of Humane knowledge.

2. Of the Soule of Man, and the immortalitie

[Wood-engraving of an anchor within a
border and the motto Anchora Spei.]

Printed by Richard Field for Iohn Standish,
1599. [4to.]

Title-page—Dedication pp. 2—Of humane Knowledge pp. 1-8—Of the soule of man and the immortalitie thereof pp. 9-101. A second edition appeared in 1602, whereof the following are title-page and collation:—

Nosce teipsum,

This Oracle expounded in two

1. Of Humane knowledge.

2. Of the Soule of Man, and the immortalitie

Newly corrected and amended.

Printed by Richard Field for Iohn Standish.
1602. [4to.]
Title-page—Dedication pp. 2, signed 'Dauys':
poem pp. 101.

[Pg 4]

A third edition was issued in 1608. I give its title-page also:

Nosce teipsum

This Oracle expounded in two

1. Of Humane Knowledge.

2. Of the Soule of Man and the immortalitie

Written by Sir Iohn Davis, his Maiesties
Atturney generall in Ireland

Printed by Henry Ballard for
Iohn Standish. 1608. [4to.]

Collation same with the others, supra.

The next edition known to me, bears the date of 1618, along with Orchestra and Hymnes to Astræa: and the last during the life-time of the Author, was in the sm. 8vo of 1622, which volume contained the same Poems with that of 1618.

Our text is a faithful reproduction, including the significant and suggestive italics, of the last edition published by Sir John Davies, viz., that of 1622, with the few various readings from the first and subsequent editions. The following is the title-page and collation of 1622 edn.

[Pg 5]

Nosce Teipsum

This Oracle expounded in two

1. Of Humane Knowledge.

2. Of the Soule of Man, and the immortalitie

Hymnes of Astræa in
Acrosticke Verse.



A Poeme of Dauncing.

In a Dialogue betweene Penelope
and one of her Wooers.

Not finished.


Printed by Augustine Mathewes for Richard
Hawkins, and are to be sold at his Shop in
Chancery Lane, neere Serieants
Inne. 1622. [8vo.]

Title-page—Dedicn pp 2—Of Humane Knowledge pp 1-8—Of the Soule of Man and the Immortalitie thereof pp 9-81. Hymnes pp 20 [unpaged]—Orchestra pp 47 [unpaged].

In my first edition of Sir John Davies' Poems in the Fuller Worthies' Library, I printed, perhaps with too hasty decision, at the bottom of each page, certain slight MS. notes written by the famous Bp. Hacket, in his copy of Nosce Teipsum (1599). When it was too late to stop progress, the mere curiosity of the jottings was perceived. I do not[Pg 6] deem it expedient to reproduce them here; but a specimen may be acceptable, and here and there in the places, a few. I limit myself to the Dedication:

Heading, 'soveraigne': Emmanuel [but Elizabeth was meant].

L. 1, 'maiestie': Elizabetha: and near it [meaningless] Richar[d] Yeorck.

L. 1, 'North': Scotland [but erased], and so against 'sunne' (l. 2) James, but erased.

L. 3, 'heauenly worth': Shewes for thy glory.

L. 5, 'alone': Supported by none but God.

L. 6, 'great States': Great affaires.

L. 8, 'the Almightie's hand': Per me reges regnant et dixi dii estis.

L. 10, 'Nature's dowre': Arte's excellence the gift of nature.

L. 13, 'Great Spirit': Deus.

L. 16, 'Cynthia': Luna.

L. 30, 'angell': Angellus Pommi.

L. 32, 'angell': [Αγ]γελλος Φὡτος.

L. 33, 'Heauen': Superior: to the higher heauen.

L. 34, 'heauen': Inferior.

These suffice to show how carefully, if not always accurately, the good Bishop read the poem, but also how unimportant his notes are. On the title-page opposite the words "This Oracle," &c., is written "written in the temple of Apollo, letters commendatory." On verso of the title-page, is this memorandum by a former owner: "This Edition is extremely scarce. Vide Smith's Catgue. Iron Bridge,[Pg 7] 1822. Pr. O. 16. O. This Book came out of Mr. Hacket's Library, a Descendant of Bp. Hacket, whose Book it was, and the MS. notes are by him." The book is now in the library of my excellent fellow-collector, G. W. Napier, Esq., of Merchiston House, Alderley Edge, Manchester, to whom I owe its re-use, as well as of other early editions of Davies. G.

[Pg 8]

I. Royal Dedication

[Pg 9]


To that cleere maiestie which in the North
Doth, like another Sunne in glory rise;
Which standeth fixt, yet spreads[55] her heauenly worth;
Loadstone to hearts, and loadstarre to all eyes.
Like Heau'n in all; like th' Earth in this alone,
That though[56] great States by her support doe stand,
Yet she herselfe supported is of none,
But by the finger of the Almightie's hand:
To the diuinest and the richest minde,
Both by Art's purchase and by Nature's dowre,
That euer was from Heau'n to Earth confin'd,
To shew the vtmost of a creature's power:
[Pg 10]
To that great Spirit,[57] which doth great kingdomes mooue,
The sacred spring whence right and honor streames,
Distilling Vertue, shedding Peace and Loue,
In euery place, as Cynthia sheds her beames:
I offer up some sparkles of that fire,
Whereby wee reason, liue, and moue, and be;
These sparkes by nature euermore aspire,
Which makes them to so high an highnesse flee.
Faire Soule, since to the fairest body knit,[58]
You giue such liuely life, such quickning power,
Such sweet celestiall influences to it,[59]
As keepes it still in youth's immortall flower:
(As where the sunne is present all the yeere,
And neuer doth retire his golden ray,
Needs must the Spring bee euerlasting there,
And euery season like the month of May.)
[Pg 11]
O! many, many yeeres may you remaine,
A happy angell to this happy Land;
Long, long may you on Earth our empresse raigne,
Ere you in Heauen a glorious angell stand.
Stay long (sweet spirit) ere thou to Heauen depart,
Which mak'st each place a heauen wherein thou art.

Her Maiestie's least and vnworthiest Subiect[60]


[Pg 12]

II. Another Dedication of a Gift-Copy (in MS.) in the possession of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, at Alnwick Castle.[62]

To the right noble, valorous, and learned Prince Henry, Earle of Northumberland:

The strongest and the noblest argument
To proue the soule immortall, rests in this:
That in no mortall thing it finds content,
But seekes an object that æternall is.
If any soule hath this immortall signe,
(As every soule doth show it, more or lesse),
It is your spirit, heröick and diuine;
Which this true noate most liuely doth expresse;
For being a prince, and hauing princely blood,
The noblest of all Europe in your vaines;
Having youth, wealth, pleasure, and every good,
Which all the world doth seek, with endlesse paynes.
[Pg 13]
Yet can you never fixe yr thoughts on these,
These cannot with your heavenly mind agree;
These momentary objects cannot please,
Your wingèd spirit, which more aloft doth flee.
It only longs to learne and know the truth,
The truth of every thing, which never dies;
The nectar which præserves the soule in youth;
The manna which doth minds immortalize.
These noble studdies, more ennoble you,
And bring more honor to your race and name
Than Hotspur's fier, which did the Scots subdew,
Then Brabant's scion, or great Charles his name.
Then to what spirit shall I these noates commend,
But unto that which doth them best expresse;
Who will to them more kind protection lend,
Then Hee which did protect me in distresse?

[Pg 14]

Of Humane Knowledge.

[Pg 15]

Why did my parents send me to the Schooles,
That I with knowledge might enrich my mind?
Since the desire to know first made men fools,
And did corrupt the root of all mankind:
For when God's hand had written in the hearts
Of the first Parents, all the rules of good,
So that their skill infusde did passe all arts
That euer were, before, or since the Flood;
And when their reason's eye was sharpe and cleere,
And (as an eagle can behold the sunne)
Could haue approcht th' Eternall Light as neere,
As the intellectuall angels could haue done:
Euen then to them the Spirit of Lyes suggests
That they were blind, because they saw not ill;
[Pg 16] And breathes into their incorrupted brests
A curious wish, which did corrupt their will.
For that same ill they straight desir'd to know;
Which ill, being nought but a defect of good,
In[63] all God's works the Diuell could not show
While Man their lord in his perfection stood.
So that themselues were first to doe the ill,
Ere they thereof the knowledge could attaine;
Like him that knew not poison's power to kill,
Vntill (by tasting it) himselfe was slaine.
Euen so by tasting of that fruite forbid,
Where they sought knowledge, they did error find;
Ill they desir'd to know, and ill they did;
And to giue Passion eyes, made Reason blind.
For then their minds did first in Passion see
Those wretched shapes of Miserie and Woe,
Of Nakednesse, of Shame, of Pouertie,
Which then their owne experience made them know.
But then grew Reason darke, that she no more,
Could the faire formes of Good[64] and Truth discern;
[Pg 17] Battes they became, that eagles were before:
And this they got by their desire to learne.
But we their wretched of-spring, what doe we?
Doe not we still taste of the fruit forbid
Whiles with fond[65] fruitlesse curiositie,
In bookes prophane we seeke for knowledge hid?
What is this knowledge but the sky-stolne fire,
For which the thiefe[66] still chain'd in ice doth sit?
And which the poore rude Satyre did admire,
And needs would kisse but burnt his lips with it.[67]
What is it? but the cloud of emptie raine,
Which when Ioue's guest imbrac't, hee monsters got?[68]
Or the false payles[69] which oft being fild with paine[70],
Receiv'd the water, but retain'd it not!
Shortly, what is it but the firie coach
Which the Youth sought, and sought his death withal?[71]
[Pg 18] Or the boye's wings, which when he did approch
The sunne's hot beames, did melt and let him fall?[72]
And yet alas, when all our lamps are burnd,
Our bodyes wasted, and our spirits spent;
When we haue all the learnèd Volumes turn'd,
Which yeeld mens wits both help and ornament:
What can we know? or what can we discerne?
When Error chokes the windowes of the minde,
The diuers formes of things, how can we learne,
That haue been euer from our birth-day blind?[73]
When Reasone's lampe, which (like the sunne in skie)
Throughout Man's little world her beames did spread;
Is now become a sparkle, which doth lie
Vnder the ashes, halfe extinct, and dead:
How can we hope, that through the eye and eare,
This dying sparkle, in this cloudy place,
Can recollect these beames of knowledge cleere,
Which were infus'd in the first minds by grace?
So might the heire whose father hath in play
Wasted a thousand pound of ancient rent;
[Pg 19] By painefull earning of a[74] groate a day,
Hope to restore the patrimony spent.
The wits that diu'd most deepe and soar'd most hie
Seeking Man's pow'rs, haue found his weaknesse such:
"Skill comes so slow, and life so fast doth flie,
"We learne so little and forget so much.
For this the wisest of all morall[75] men
Said, 'He knew nought, but that he nought did know';
And the great mocking-Master mockt not then,
When he said, 'Truth was buried deepe[76] below.'
For how may we to others' things attaine,
When none of vs his owne soule vnderstands?
For which the Diuell mockes our curious braine,
When, 'Know thy selfe' his oracle commands.[77]
For why should wee the busie Soule beleeue,
When boldly she concludes of that and this;
When of her selfe she can no iudgement giue,
Nor how, nor whence, nor where, nor what she is?
[Pg 20]
All things without, which round about we see,
We seeke to knowe, and how therewith to doe;
But that whereby we reason, liue and be,
Within our selues, we strangers are thereto.
We seeke to know the mouing of each spheare,
And the strange cause of th' ebs and flouds of Nile;
But of that clocke within our breasts we beare,
The subtill motions we forget the while.
We that acquaint our selues with euery[78] Zoane
And passe both Tropikes and behold the Poles,
When we come home, are to our selues vnknown,
And vnacquainted still with our owne Soules.
We study Speech but others we perswade;
We leech-craft learne, but others cure with it;
We interpret lawes, which other men haue made,
But reade not those which in our hearts are writ.
Is it[79] because the minde is like the eye,
Through which it gathers knowledge by degrees—
Whose rayes reflect not, but spread outwardly:
Not seeing it selfe when other things it sees?
[Pg 21]
No, doubtlesse; for the mind can backward cast
Vpon her selfe, her vnderstanding light;
But she is so corrupt, and so defac't,
As her owne image doth her selfe affright.
As in the fable of the Lady faire,
Which for her lust was turnd into a cow;[80]
When thirstie to a streame she did repaire,
And saw her selfe transform'd she wist not how:
At first she startles, then she stands amaz'd,
At last with terror she from thence doth flye;
And loathes the watry glasse wherein she gaz'd,
And shunnes it still, though she for thirst doe die:
Euen so Man's Soule which did God's image beare,
And was at first faire, good, and spotlesse pure;
Since with her sinnes her beauties blotted were,
Doth of all sights her owne sight least endure:
For euen at first reflection she espies,
Such strange chimeraes, and such monsters there;
Such toyes, such antikes, and such vanities,
As she retires, and shrinkes for shame and feare.
[Pg 22]
And as the man loues least at home to bee,
That hath a sluttish house haunted with spirits;[81]
So she impatient her owne faults to see,
Turnes from her selfe and in strange things delites.
For this few know themselues: for merchants broke
View their estate with discontent and paine;
And seas are troubled, when they doe reuoke
Their flowing waues into themselues againe.
And while the face of outward things we find,
Pleasing and faire, agreeable and sweet;
These things transport, and carry out the mind,
That with her selfe her selfe[82] can neuer meet.
Yet if Affliction once her warres begin,
And threat the feebler Sense with sword and fire;
The Minde contracts her selfe and shrinketh in,
And to her selfe she gladly doth retire:
As Spiders toucht, seek their webs inmost part;
As bees in stormes vnto their hiues returne;
As bloud in danger gathers to the heart;
As men seek towns, when foes the country burn.
[Pg 23]
If ought can teach vs ought, Afflictions lookes,
(Making vs looke[83] into our selues so neere,)
Teach vs to know our selues beyond all bookes,
Or all the learned Schooles that euer were.
This mistresse lately pluckt me by the eare,
And many a golden lesson hath me taught;
Hath made my Senses quicke, and Reason cleare,
Reform'd my Will and rectifide my Thought.
So doe the winds and thunders cleanse the ayre;
So working lees[84] settle and purge the wine;
So lop't and prunèd trees doe flourish faire;
So doth the fire the drossie gold refine.
Neither Minerua nor the learnèd Muse,
Nor rules of Art, not precepts of the wise;
Could in my braine those beames of skill infuse,
As but the glance of this Dame's angry eyes.
She within lists[85] my ranging minde hath brought,
That now beyond my selfe I list[86] not goe;
[Pg 24] My selfe am center of my circling thought,
Onely my selfe I studie, learne, and know.
I know my bodie's of so fraile a kind,
As force without, feauers within can kill;
I know the heauenly nature of my minde,
But 'tis corrupted both in wit and will:
I know my Soule hath power to know all things,
Yet is she blinde and ignorant in all;
I know I am one of Nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.
I know my life's a paine and but a span,
I know my Sense is mockt with euery thing:
And to conclude, I know my selfe a MAN,
Which is a proud, and yet a wretched thing.

[Pg 25]


The lights of heau'n (which are the World's fair eies)
Looke downe into the World, the World to see;
And as they turne, or wander in the skies,
Suruey all things that on this Center bee.
And yet the lights which in my towre do shine,
Mine eyes which view all obiects, nigh and farre;
Looke not into this little world of mine,
Nor see my face, wherein they fixèd are.
Since Nature failes vs in no needfull thing,
Why want I meanes my inward selfe to see?
Which sight the knowledg of my self might bring,
Which to true wisdome is the first degree.
That Power which gaue me eyes the World to view,
To see my selfe infus'd an inward light;
Whereby my Soule, as by a mirror true,
Of her owne forme may take a perfect sight,
[Pg 26]
But as the sharpest eye discerneth nought,
Except the sunne-beames in the ayre doe shine;
So the best Soule[87] with her reflecting thought,
Sees not her selfe without some light diuine.
O Light which mak'st the light, which makes the day!
Which setst the eye without, and mind within;
'Lighten my spirit with one cleare heauenly ray,
Which now to view it selfe doth first begin.
For her true forme how can my sparke discerne?
Which dimme by nature, Art did neuer cleare;
When the great wits, of whom all skill we learn,
Are ignorant both what shee is, and where.
One thinks the Soule is aire; another, fire;
Another blood, diffus'd about the heart;
Another saith, the elements conspire,
And to her essence each doth giue a part.
Musicians thinke our Soules are harmonies,
Phisicians hold that they complexions bee;
Epicures make them swarmes of atomies,
Which doe by chance into our bodies flee.
[Pg 27]
Some thinke one generall Soule fils euery braine,
As the bright sunne sheds light in euery starre;
And others thinke the name of Soule is vaine,
And that we onely well-mixt bodies are.
In judgement of her substance thus they vary;
And thus they vary in iudgement of her seat;
For some her chaire vp to the braine doe carry,
Some thrust it downe into the stomackes heat.
Some place it in the root of life, the heart;
Some in the liuer[88], fountaine of the veines;
Some say, Shee is all in all, and all in part:
Some say, She is not containd but all containes.
Thus these great clerks their little wisdome show,
While with their doctrines they at hazard play,
Tossing their light opinions to and fro,
To mocke the lewd, as learn'd in this as they.
For no craz'd braine could euer yet propound,
Touching the Soule, so vaine and fond a thought,
But some among these masters haue been found,
Which in their Schooles the self-same thing haue taught.
[Pg 28]
God onely wise, to punish pride of wit,
Among men's wits hath this confusion wrought,
As the proud towre whose points the clouds did hit,
By tongues' confusion was to ruine brought.
But Thou which didst Man's soule of nothing make,
And when to nothing it was fallen agen,
"To make it new, the forme of man didst take,
"And God with God, becam'st a Man with men.
Thou, that hast fashioned twice this Soule of ours,
So that she is by double title Thine;
Thou onely knowest her nature and her pow'rs,
Her subtill forme Thou onely canst define.
To iudge her selfe she must her selfe transcend,
As greater circles comprehend the lesse;
But she wants power, her owne powers to extend,
As fettered men can not their strength expresse.
But Thou bright Morning Star, Thou rising Sunne,
Which in these later times hast brought to light
Those mysteries, that since the world begun,
Lay hid in darknesse, and eternall night:
Thou (like the sunne) dost with indifferent ray,
Into the palace and the cottage shine,
[Pg 29] And shew'st the soule both to the clerke and lay[89],
By the cleare lampe of Thy Oracle diuine.
This Lampe through all the regions of my braine,
Where my soule sits, doth spread such beames of grace,
As now, me thinks, I do distinguish plain,
Each subtill line of her immortall face.

What the soule is.

The soule a substance, and a spirit is,
Which God Himselfe doth in the body make;
Which makes the Man: for euery man from this,
The nature of a Man, and name doth take.
And though this[1] spirit be to the body knit,
As an apt meane her powers to exercise;
Which are life, motion, sense, and will, and wit,
Yet she suruiues, although the body dies.

That the soule is a thing subsisting by it selfe without the body.

She is a substance, and a reall thing,
Which hath it selfe an actuall working might;
[Pg 30] Which neither from the Senses' power doth spring,
Nor from the bodie's humors, tempred right.
She is a vine, which doth no propping need,
To make her spread her selfe or spring vpright;
She is a starre, whose beames doe not proceed
From any sunne, but from a natiue light.
For when she sorts things present with things past,
And thereby things to come doth oft foresee;
When she doth doubt at first, and chuse at last,
These acts her owne, without her body bee.
When of the deaw,[90] which the eye and eare doe take
From flowers abroad, and bring into the braine,
She doth within both waxe and hony make:
This worke is her's, this is her proper paine.[91]
When she from sundry acts, one skill doth draw,
Gathering from diuers fights one art[92] of warre,
From many cases like, one rule of Law;
These her collections, not the Senses are.
[Pg 31]
When in th' effects she doth the causes know,
And seeing the stream, thinks wher the spring doth rise;
And seeing the branch, conceiues the root below;
These things she views without the bodie's eyes.
When she, without a Pegasus, doth flie
Swifter then lightning's fire from East to West,
About the Center and aboue the skie,
She trauels then, although the body rest.
When all her works she formeth first within,
Proportions them, and sees their perfect end,
Ere she in act does anie part begin;
What instruments doth then the body lend?
When without hands she doth thus[93] castles build,
Sees without eyes, and without feet doth runne;
When she digests the world, yet is not fil'd:
By her owne power these miracles are done.
When she defines, argues, diuides, compounds,
Considers vertue, vice, and generall things,
And marrying diuers principles and grounds,
Out of their match a true conclusion brings.
[Pg 32]
These actions in her closet all alone,
(Retir'd within her selfe) she doth fulfill;
Vse of her bodie's organs she hath none,
When she doth vse the powers of Wit and Will.
Yet in the bodie's prison so she lies,
As through the bodie's windowes she must looke,
Her diuers powers of sense to exercise,
By gath'ring notes out of the World's great book.
Nor can her selfe discourse or iudge of ought,
But what the Sense collects and home doth bring;
And yet the power of her discoursing thought,
From these collections, is a diuers thing.
For though our eyes can nought but colours see,
Yet colours giue them not their powre of sight;
So, though these fruits of Sense her obiects bee,
Yet she discernes them by her proper light.
The workman on his stuffe his skill doth show,
And yet the stuffe giues not the man his skill;
Kings their affaires do by their seruants know,
But order them by their owne royall will.
So, though this cunning mistresse and this queene,
Doth, as her instrument, the Senses vse,
[Pg 33] To know all things that are felt, heard, or seene,
Yet she her selfe doth onely iudge and chuse:
Euen as our great wise Empresse[94] that now raignes
By soueraigne title ouer sundry Lands;
Borrowes in meane affaires her subiects paines,
Sees by their eyes, and writeth by their hands;
But things of waight and consequence indeed,
Her selfe doth in her chamber them debate;
Where all her Counsellers she doth exceed
As farre in iudgement, as she doth in State.
Or as the man whom she doth now aduance,[95]
Vpon her gracious mercy-seat to sit;
Doth common things, of course and circumstance,
To the reports of common men commit:
But when the cause it selfe must be decreed,
Himselfe in person, in his proper Court,
To graue and solemne hearing doth proceed,
Of euery proofe and euery by-report.
[Pg 34]
Then, like God's angell he pronounceth right,
And milke and hony from his tongue doth flow;
Happie are they that still are in his sight,
To reape the wisedome which his lips doe sow.
Right so the Soule, which is a lady free,
And doth the iustice of her State maintaine;
Because the senses ready seruants be,
Attending nigh about her Court, the braine:
By them the formes of outward things she learnes,
For they returne into the fantasie,
What euer each of them abroad discernes,
And there inrole it for the Minde to see.
But when she sits to iudge the good and ill,
And to discerne betwixt the false and true;
She is not guided by the Senses' skill,
But doth each thing in her owne mirrour view.
Then she the Senses checks, which oft do erre,
And euen against their false reports decrees;
And oft she doth condemne what they preferre,
For with a power aboue the Sense, she sees.
Therefore no Sense the precious ioyes conceiues,
Which in her priuate contemplations bee;
[Pg 35] For then the rauish't spirit the Senses leaues,
Hath her owne powers, and proper actions free.
Her harmonies are sweet, and full of skill,
When on the Bodie's instrument she playes;
But the proportions of the wit and will,
Those sweete accords, are euen the angel's layes.
These tunes of Reason are Amphion's lyre,
Wherewith he did the Thebane citie found;
These are the notes wherewith the heauenly quire,
The praise of Him which made[96] the heauen doth sound.
Then her selfe-being nature shines in this,
That she performes her noblest works alone;
"The worke, the touch-stone of the nature is,
"And by their operations, things are knowne.

That the soule is more then a perfection or reflection of the sense.

Are they not sencelesse then, that thinke the Soule
Nought but a fine perfection of the Sense;
Or of the formes which fancie doth enroule,
A quicke resulting, and a consequence?
[Pg 36]
What is it then that doth the Sense accuse,
Both of false judgements, and fond appetites?
What makes vs do what Sense doth most refuse?
Which oft in torment of the Sense delights?
Sense thinkes the planets, spheares not much asunder;
What tels vs then their distance is so farre?
Sense thinks the lightning borne before the thunder;
What tels vs then they both together are?
When men seem crows far off vpon a towre,
Sense saith, th'are crows; what makes vs think them men?
When we in agues, thinke all sweete things sowre,
What makes vs know our tongue's false iudgement then?
What power was that, whereby Medea saw,
And well approu'd, and prais'd the better course,
When her rebellious Sense did so withdraw
Her feeble powers, as she pursu'd the worse?[97]
Did Sense perswade Vlisses not to heare
The mermaid's songs, which so his men did please;
[Pg 37] As they were all perswaded, through the eare
To quit the ship, and leape into the seas?
Could any power of Sense the Romane moue,
To burn his own right hand with courage stout?[98]
Could Sense make Marius sit vnbound, and proue
The cruell lancing of the knotty gout?[99]
Doubtlesse in Man there is a nature found,
Beside the Senses, and aboue them farre;
"Though most men being in sensuall pleasures drownd,
"It seemes their Soules but in their Senses are.
If we had nought but Sense, then onely they
Should haue sound minds, which haue their Senses sound;
But Wisdome growes, when Senses doe decay,
And Folly most in quickest Sense is found.
If we had nought but Sense, each liuing wight,
Which we call brute, would be more sharp then we;
As hauing Sense's apprehensiue might,
In a more cleere, and excellent degree.
[Pg 38]
But they doe want that quicke discoursing power,
Which doth in vs the erring Sense correct;
Therefore the bee did sucke the painted flower,
And birds, of grapes, the cunning shadow, peckt.[100]
Sense outsides knows; the Soule throgh al things sees;
Sense, circumstance; she, doth the substance view;
Sense sees the barke, but she, the life of trees;
Sense heares the sounds, but she, the concords true.
But why doe I the Soule and Sense diuide?
When Sense is but a power, which she extends;
Which being in diuers parts diuersifide,
The diuers formes of obiects apprehends?
This power spreds outward, but the root doth grow
In th' inward Soule, which onely doth perceiue;
For th' eyes and eares no more their obiects know,
Then glasses know what faces they receiue.
For if we chance to fixe our thoughts elsewhere,
Although our eyes be ope, we cannot see;
And if one power did not both see and heare,
Our sights and sounds would alwayes double be.
[Pg 39]
Then is the Soule a nature, which containes
The powre of Sense, within a greater power
Which doth imploy and vse the Senses paines,
But sits and rules within her priuate bower.

That the Soule is more then the Temperature[101] of the Humors of the Body.

If shee doth then the subtill Sense excell,
How gross are they that drown her in the blood!
Or in the bodie's humors tempred well,
As if in them such high perfection stood?
As if most skill in that Musician were,
Which had the best, and best tun'd instrument;
As if the pensill neate[102] and colours cleare,
Had power to make the Painter excellent.
Why doth not beautie then refine the wit?
And good complexion rectifie the will?
Why doth not health bring wisdom still with it?
Why doth not sicknesse make men bruitish still?
Who can in memory, or wit, or will,
Or ayre, or fire, or earth, or water finde?
[Pg 40] What alchymist can draw, with all his skil,
The quintessence of these, out of the mind?
If th' elements which haue nor life, nor sense,
Can breed in vs so great a powre as this;
Why giue they not themselues like excellence,
Or other things wherein their mixture is?
If she were but the Bodie's qualitie
Then would she be with it sicke, maim'd and blind;
But we perceiue where these priuations be
A healthy, perfect, and sharpe-sighted mind.
If she the bodie's nature did pertake,
Her strength would with the bodie's strength decay;
But when the bodie's strongest sinewes slake,
Then is the Soule most actiue, quicke and gay.
If she were but the bodie's accident,
And her sole being did in it subsist;
As white in snow; she might her selfe absent,
And in the bodie's substance not be mist.
But it on her, not shee on it depends;
For shee the body doth sustaine and cherish;
Such secret powers of life to it she lends,
That when they faile, then doth the body perish.
[Pg 41]
Since then the Soule works by her selfe alone,
Springs not from Sense, nor humors, well agreeing;
Her nature is peculiar, and her owne:
She is a substance, and a perfect being.

That the Soule is a Spirit.

But though this substance be the root of Sense,
Sense knowes her not, which doth but bodies know;
Shee is a spirit, and heauenly influence,
Which from the fountaine of God's Spirit doth flow.
Shee is a Spirit, yet not like ayre, or winde,
Nor like the spirits about the heart or braine;
Nor like those spirits which alchymists do find,
When they in euery thing seeke gold in vaine.
For shee all natures vnder heauen doth passe;
Being like those spirits, which God's bright face do see;
Or like Himselfe, Whose image once she was,
Though now (alas!) she scarce His shadow bee.
Yet of the formes, she holds the first degree,
That are to grosse materiall bodies knit;
Yet shee her selfe is bodilesse and free;
And though confin'd, is almost infinite.
[Pg 42]

That it cannot be a Body.

Were she a body how could she remaine
Within this body, which is lesse then she?
Or how could she the world's great shape contain,
And in our narrow brests containèd bee?
All bodies are confin'd within some place,
But she all place within her selfe confines;
All bodies haue their measure, and their space,
But who can draw the Soule's dimensiue lines?
No body can at once two formes admit,
Except the one the other doe deface;
But in the soule ten thousand formes do sit,
And none intrudes into her neighbour's place.
All bodies are with other bodies fild,
But she receiues both heauen and earth together;
Nor are their formes by rash incounter spild,
For there they stand, and neither toucheth either.
Nor can her wide imbracements fillèd bee;
For they that most, and greatest things embrace,
Inlarge thereby their minds' capacitie,
As streames inlarg'd, inlarge the channel's space.[103]
[Pg 43]
All things receiu'd, doe such proportion take,
As those things haue, wherein they are receiu'd:
So little glasses little faces make,
And narrow webs on narrow frames be weau'd;
Then what vast body must we make the mind
Wherin are men, beasts, trees, towns, seas, and lands;
And yet each thing a proper place doth find,
And each thing in the true proportion stands?
Doubtlesse this could not bee, but that she turnes
Bodies to spirits, by sublimation strange;
As fire conuerts to fire the things it burnes
As we our meats into our nature change.
From their grosse matter she abstracts the formes,
And drawes a kind of quintessence from things;
Which to her proper nature she transformes,
To bear them light on her celestiall wings:
This doth she, when, from things particular,
She doth abstract the universall kinds;
Which bodilesse and immateriall are,
And can be lodg'd but onely in our minds:
And thus from diuers accidents and acts,
Which doe within her obseruation fall,
[Pg 44] She goddesses, and powers diuine, abstracts:
As Nature, Fortune, and the Vertues all.
Againe, how can she seuerall bodies know,
If in her selfe a bodie's forme she beare?
How can a mirror sundry faces show,
If from all shapes and formes it be not cleare?
Nor could we by our eyes all colours learne,
Except our eyes were of all colours voide;
Nor sundry tastes can any tongue discerne,
Which is with grosse and bitter humors cloide.
Nor may a man of passions iudge aright,
Except his minde bee from all passions free;
Nor can a Iudge his office well acquite,
If he possest of either partie bee.
If lastly, this quicke power a body were,
Were it as swift as is[104] the winde or fire;
(Whose atomies doe th' one down side-waies beare,
And make the other in pyramids aspire:)
Her nimble body yet in time must moue,
And not in instants through all places slide;
[Pg 45] But she is nigh, and farre, beneath, aboue,
In point of time, which thought cannot deuide:
She is sent as soone to China as to Spaine,
And thence returnes, as soone as shee is sent;
She measures with one time, and with one paine,
An ell of silke, and heauen's wide spreading tent.
As then the Soule a substance hath alone,
Besides the Body in which she is confin'd;
So hath she not a body of her owne,
But is a spirit, and immateriall minde.

That the Soule is created immediately by God.

Since body and soule haue such diuersities,
Well might we muse, how first their match began;
But that we learne, that He that spread the skies,
And fixt the Earth, first form'd the soule in man.
This true Prometheus first made Man of earth,
And shed in him a beame of heauenly fire;
Now in their mother's wombs before their birth,
Doth in all sonnes of men their soules inspire.
And as Minerua is in fables said,
From Ioue, without a mother to proceed;
[Pg 46] So our true Ioue, without a mother's ay'd,
Doth daily millions of Mineruas breed.

Erronious opinions of the Creation of Soules.

Then neither from eternitie before,
Nor from the time when Time's first point begun;
Made He all souls: which now He keepes in store,
Some in the moone, and others in the sunne:
Nor in a secret cloyster doth Hee keepe
These virgin-spirits, vntill their marriage-day;
Nor locks them vp in chambers, where they sleep,
Till they awake, within these beds of clay.
Nor did He first a certaine number make,
Infusing part in beasts, and part in men,
And, as vnwilling further paines to take,
Would make no more then those He framèd then.
So that the widow Soule her body dying,
Vnto the next-borne body married was;
And so by often changing and supplying,
Mens' soules to beasts, and beasts to men did passe.
(These thoughts are fond; for since the bodies borne
Be more in number farre then those that dye;
[Pg 47] Thousands must be abortiue, and forlorne,
Ere others' deaths to them their soules supply.)
But as God's handmaid, Nature, doth create
Bodies in time distinct, and order due;[105]
So God giues soules the like successiue date,
Which Himselfe makes, in bodies formèd new:
Which Him selfe makes, of no materiall thing;
For vnto angels He no power hath giuen,
Either to forme the shape, or stuffe to bring
From ayre or fire, or substance of the heauen.
Nor He in this doth Nature's seruice vse;
For though from bodies, she can bodies bring,
Yet could she neuer soules from Soules traduce,
As fire from fire, or light from light doth spring.

Objection:—That the Soule is Extraduce.

Alas! that some, that were great lights of old,
And in their hands the lampe of God did beare;[106]
Some reuerend Fathers did this error hold,
Hauing their eyes dim'd with religious feare!
[Pg 48]
For when (say they) by Rule of Faith we find,
That euery soule vnto her body knit,
Brings from the mother's wombe, the sinne of kind,
The roote of all the ill she doth commit.
How can we say that God the Soule doth make,
But we must make Him author of her sinne?
Then from man's soule she doth beginning take,
Since in man's soule corruption did begin.
For if God make her, first He makes her ill,
(Which God forbid our thoghts should yeeld vnto!)
Or makes the body her faire forme to spill,[107]
Which, of it selfe it had no power to doe.
Not Adam's body but his soule did sinne
And so her selfe vnto corruption brought;
But the poore soule corrupted is within,
Ere shee had sinn'd, either in act, or thought:
And yet we see in her such powres diuine,
As we could gladly thinke, from God she came;
Faine would we make Him Author of the wine,
If for the dregs we could some other blame.

[Pg 49]

The Answere to the Obiection.

Thus these good men with holy zeale were blind,
When on the other part the truth did shine;
Whereof we doe cleare demonstrations find,
By light of Nature, and by light Diuine
None are so grosse as to contend for this,
That soules from bodies may traducèd bee;
Betweene whose natures no proportion is,
When roote and branch in nature still agree.
But many subtill wits haue iustifi'd,
That soules from soules spiritually may spring;
Which (if the nature of the soule be tri'd)
Will euen in Nature proue as grosse a thing.

Reasons drawne from Nature.

For all things made, are either made of nought,
Or made of stuffe that ready made doth stand;
Of nought no creature euer formèd ought,
For that is proper to th' Almightie's hand.
If then the soule another soule doe make,
Because her power is kept within a bound,
Shee must some former stuffe or matter take;
But in the soule there is no matter found.
[Pg 50]
Then if her heauenly Forme doe not agree
With any matter which the world containes;
Then she of nothing must created bee,
And to create, to God alone pertaines.
Againe, if soules doe other soules beget,
'Tis by themselues, or by the bodie's power;
If by themselues, what doth their working let,
But they might soules engender euery houre?
If by the body, how can wit and will
Ioyne with the body onely in this act?
Sith[108] when they doe their other works fulfill,
They from the body doe themselues abstract?
Againe, if soules of soules begotten were,
Into each other they should change and moue;
And change and motion still corruption beare;
How shall we then the soule immortall proue?
If lastly, soules doe[109] generation vse,
Then should they spread incorruptible seed;
[Pg 51] What then becomes of that which they doe lose,
When th' acts of generation doe not speed?
And though the soule could cast spirituall seed,
Yet would she not, because she neuer dies;
For mortall things desire their like to breed,
That so they may their kind immortalize.
Therefore the angels, sonnes of God are nam'd,
And marry not, nor are in marriage giuen;
Their spirits and ours are of one substance fram'd,
And haue one Father, euen the Lord of heauen:
Who would at first, that in each other thing,
The earth and water liuing soules should breed;
But that man's soule whom He would make their king,
Should from Himselfe immediatly proceed.
And when He took the woman from man's side,
Doubtlesse Himselfe inspir'd her soule alone;
For 'tis not said, He did man's soule diuide,
But took flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone.
Lastly, God being made Man for man's owne sake,
And being like Man in all, except in sin,
His body from the virgin's wombe did take;
But all agree, God form'd His soule within.
[Pg 52]
Then is the soule from God; so Pagans say,
Which saw by Nature's light her heauenly kind;
Naming her kin to God, and God's bright ray,
A citizen of Heauen to Earth confined.
But now, I feele, they plucke me by the eare
Whom my young Muse so boldly termèd blind;
And craue more heauenly light, that cloud to clear,
Which makes them think God doth not make the mind.

Reasons drawne from Diuinity.

God doubtlesse makes her, and doth make her good,
And graffes her in the body, there to spring;
Which, though it be corrupted, flesh and blood
Can no way to the Soule corruption bring:
And yet this Soule (made good by God at first,[110]
And not corrupted by the bodie's ill)
Euen in the wombe is sinfull, and accurst,
Ere shee can iudge by wit or chuse by will.[111]
Yet is not God the Author of her sinne
Though Author of her being, and being there;
[Pg 53] And if we dare to iudge our Iudge herein,[112]
He can condemne vs, and Himselfe can cleare.
First, God from infinite eternitie
Decreed, what hath beene, is, or shall bee done;
And was resolu'd, that euery man should bee,
And in his turne, his race of life should run:
And so did purpose all the soules to make,
That euer have beene made, or euer shall;
And that their being they should onely take
In humane bodies, or not bee at all.
Was it then fit that such a weake euent
(W[e]aknesse it selfe,—the sinne and fall of Man)
His counsel's execution should preuent,
Decreed and fixt before the World began?
Or that one penall law by Adam broke,
Should make God breake His owne eternall Law;
The setled order of the World reuoke,
And change all forms of things, which He foresaw?
Could Eue's weake hand, extended to the tree,
In sunder rend that adamantine chaine,
[Pg 54] Whose golden links, effects and causes be,
And which to God's owne chair doth fixt remaine.[113]
O could we see, how cause from cause doth spring!
How mutually they linkt and folded are!
And heare how oft one disagreeing string
The harmony doth rather make then marre?
And view at once, how death by sinne is brought,
And how from death, a better life doth rise,
How this God's iustice, and His mercy tought:
We this decree would praise, as right and wise.
But we that measure times by first and last,
The sight of things successiuely, doe take;
When God on all at once His view doth cast,
And of all times doth but one instant make.
All in Himselfe as in a glasse Hee sees,
For from Him, by Him, through Him, all things bee:
His sight is not discoursiue, by degrees,
But seeing the whole, each single part doth see.[114]
[Pg 55]
He lookes on Adam, as a root, or well,
And on his heires, as branches, and as streames;
He sees all men as one Man, though they dwell
In sundry cities, and in sundry realmes:
And as the roote and branch are but one tree,
And well and streame doe but one riuer make;
So, if the root and well corrupted bee,
The streame and branch the same corruption take:
So, when the root and fountaine of Mankind
Did draw corruption, and God's curse, by sin;
This was a charge that all his heires did bind,
And all his offspring grew corrupt therein.
And as when the hand doth strike, the Man offends,
(For part from whole, Law seuers not in this)
So Adam's sinne to the whole kind extends;
For all their natures are but part of his.
Therefore this sinne of kind, not personall,
But reall and hereditary was;
The guilt whereof, and punishment to all,
By course of Nature, and of Law doth passe.
For as that easie Law was giuen to all,
To ancestor and heire, to first and last;
[Pg 56] So was the first transgression generall,
And all did plucke the fruit and all did tast.
Of this we find some foot-steps in our Law,
Which doth her root from God and Nature take;
Ten thousand men she doth together draw,
And of them all, one Corporation make:
Yet these, and their successors, are but one,
And if they gaine or lose their liberties;
They harme, or profit not themselues alone,
But such as in succeeding times shall rise.
And so the ancestor, and all his heires,
Though they in number passe the stars of heauen,
Are still but one; his forfeitures are theirs,
And vnto them are his aduancements giuen:
His ciuill acts doe binde and bar them all;
And as from Adam, all corruption take,
So, if the father's crime be capitall
In all the bloud, Law doth corruption make.
Is it then iust with vs, to dis-inherit
The vnborn nephewes for the father's fault?
And to aduance againe for one man's merit,
A thousand heires, that have deservèd nought?
[Pg 57]
And is not God's decree as iust as ours,
If He, for Adam's sinne, his sonnes depriue,
Of all those natiue vertues, and those powers,
Which He to him, and to his race did giue?
For what is this contagious sinne of kinde
But a priuation of that grace within?
And of that great rich dowry of the minde
Which all had had, but for the first man's sin?
If then a man, on light conditions gaine
A great estate, to him and his, for euer;
If wilfully he forfeit it againe
Who doth bemone his heire or blame the giuer?
So, though God make the Soule good, rich and faire,
Yet when her forme is to the body knit,
Which makes the Man, which man is Adam's heire
Iustly forth-with He takes His grace from it:
And then the soule being first from nothing brought,
When God's grace failes her, doth to nothing fall;
And this declining pronenesse unto nought,
Is euen that sinne that we are borne withall.
Yet not alone the first good qualities,
Which in the first soule were, depriuèd are;
[Pg 58] But in their place the contrary doe rise,
And reall spots[115] of sinne her beauty marre.
Nor is it strange, that Adam's ill desart
Should be transferd vnto his guilty Race;
When Christ His grace and iustice doth impart
To men vniust, and such as haue no grace.
Lastly, the Soule were better so to bee
Borne slaue to sinne, then not to be at all;
Since (if she do belieue) One sets her free,
That makes her mount the higher for her fall.
Yet this the curious wits will not content;
They yet will know (sith[116] God foresaw this ill)
Why His high Prouidence did not preuent
The declination of the first man's will.
If by His Word He had the current staid
Of Adam's will, which was by nature free;
It had bene one, as if His Word had said,
I will henceforth that Man no man shall bee.
For what is Man without a moouing mind,
Which hath a iudging wit, and chusing will?
[Pg 59] Now, if God's power should her election bind,
Her motions then would cease and stand all still.
And why did God in man this soule infuse,
But that he should his Maker know and loue?
Now, if loue be compeld and cannot chuse,
How can it gratefull or thankeworthy proue?
Loue must free-hearted be, and voluntary,
And not enchanted, or by Fate constraind;
Nor like that loue, which did Ulisses carry,
To Circe's ile, with mighty charmes enchaind.
Besides, were we vnchangeable in will,
And of a wit that nothing could mis-deeme;
Equall to God, Whose wisedome shineth still,
And neuer erres, we might our selues esteeme.
So that if Man would be vnuariable,
He must be God, or like a rock or tree;
For euen the perfect Angels were not stable,
But had a fall more desperate then wee.
Then let vs praise that Power, which makes vs be
Men as we are, and rest contented so;
And knowing Man's fall was curiositie,
Admire God's counsels, which we cannot know.
[Pg 60]
And let vs know that God the Maker is
Of all the Soules, in all the men that be:
Yet their corruption is no fault of His,
But the first man's that broke God's first decree.

Why the Soule is United to the Body.

This substance, and this spirit of God's owne making, Is in the body plact, and planted heere; "That both of God, and of the world partaking, "Of all that is, Man might the image beare.
God first made angels bodilesse, pure minds, Then other things, which mindlesse bodies be; Last, He made Man, th' horizon 'twixt both kinds, In whom we doe the World's abridgement see.[117]
Besides, this World below did need one wight, Which might thereof distinguish euery part; Make vse thereof, and take therein delight, And order things with industry and art:
Which also God might in His works admire, [Pg 61]And here beneath, yeeld Him both praier and praise; As there, aboue, the holy angels quire Doth spread His glory[118] with spirituall layes.
Lastly, the bruite, unreasonable wights, Did want a visible king on[119] them to raigne: And God, Himselfe thus to the World vnites, That so the World might endlesse blisse obtaine.

In what manner the Soule is united to the Body.

"But how shall we this union well expresse?
Nought ties the soule; her subtiltie is such
She moues the bodie, which she doth possesse,
Yet no part toucheth, but by Vertue's touch.
Then dwels shee not therein as in a tent,
Nor as a pilot in his ship doth sit;
Nor as the spider in his[120] web is pent;
Nor as the waxe retaines the print in it;
Nor as a vessell water doth containe;
Nor as one liquor in another shed;
[Pg 62] Nor as the heat doth in the fire remaine;
Nor as a voice throughout the ayre is spread:
But as the faire and cheerfull Morning light,
Doth here and there her siluer beames impart,
And in an instant doth herselfe vnite
To the transparent ayre, in all, and part:
Still resting whole, when blowes th' ayre diuide;
Abiding pure, when th' ayre is most corrupted;
Throughout the ayre, her beams dispersing wide,
And when the ayre is tost, not interrupted:
So doth the piercing Soule the body fill,
Being all in all, and all in part diffus'd;
Indiuisible, incorruptible[121] still,
Not forc't, encountred, troubled or confus'd.
And as the sunne aboue, the light doth bring,
Though we behold it in the ayre below;
So from th' Eternall Light the Soule doth spring,
Though in the body she her powers doe show.

[Pg 63]

How the Soul doth exercise her Powers in the Body.

But as the[122] world's sunne doth effects beget,
Diuers, in diuers places euery day;
Here Autumnes temperature, there Summer's heat,
Here flowry Spring-tide, and there Winter gray:
Eere Euen, there Morne, here Noone, there Day, there Night;
Melts wax, dries clay, mak[e]s flowrs, som quick,[123] som dead;
Makes the More black, and th' Europœan white,
Th' American tawny, and th' East-Indian red:
So in our little World: this soule of ours,
Being onely one, and to one body tyed,
Doth vse, on diuers obiects diuers powers,
And so are her effects diuersified.

The Vegetatiue or quickening Power.

Her quick'ning power in euery lining part,
Doth as a nurse, or as a mother serue;
And doth employ her oeconomicke art,
And busie care, her houshold to preserue
[Pg 64]
Here she attracts, and there she doth retaine,
There she decocts, and doth the food prepare;
There she distributes it to euery vaine,
There she expels what she may fitly spare.
This power to Martha may comparèd be,[124]
Which busie was, the houshold-things to doe;
Or to a Dryas, liuing in a tree:[125]
For euen to trees this power is proper too.
And though the Soule may not this power extend
Out of the body, but still vse it there;
She hath a power which she abroad doth send,
Which views and searcheth all things euery where.

The Power of Sense.

This power is Sense, which from abroad doth bring[126]
The colour, taste, and touch, and sent,[127] and sound;
The quantitie, and shape of euery thing
Within th' Earth's center, or Heauen's circle found.
[Pg 65]
This power, in parts made fit, fit obiects takes,
Yet not the things, but forms of things receiues;
As when a seale in waxe impression makes,
The print therein, but not it selfe it leaues.
And though things sensible be numberlesse,
But onely fiue the Senses' organs be;
And in those fiue, all things their formes expresse,
Which we can touch, taste, feele, or heare, or see.
These are the windows throgh the which she views
The light of knowledge, which is life's loadstar:
"And yet while she these spectacles doth vse,
"Oft worldly things seeme greater then they are.


First, the two eyes that haue the seeing power,
Stand as one watchman, spy, or sentinell;
Being plac'd aloft, within the head's high tower;
And though both see, yet both but one thing tell.
These mirrors take into their little space
The formes of moone and sun, and euery starre;
Of euery body and of euery place,
Which with the World's wide armes embracèd are:
[Pg 66]
Yet their best obiect, and their noblest vse,
Hereafter in another World will be;
When God in them shall heauenly light infuse,
That face to face they may their Maker see.
Here are they guides, which doe the body lead,
Which else would stumble in eternal night;
Here in this world they do much knowledge read,
And are the casements which admit most light:
They are her farthest reaching instrument,
Yet they no beames vnto their obiects send;
But all the rays are from their obiects sent,
And in the eyes with pointed angles end:
If th' obiects be farre off, the rayes doe meet
In a sharpe point, and so things seeme but small;
If they be neere, their rayes doe spread and fleet,
And make broad points, that things seeme great withall.
Lastly, nine things to Sight requirèd are;
The power to see, the light, the visible thing,
Being not too small, too thin, too nigh, too farre,
Cleare space, and time, the forme distinct to bring.
Thus we see how the Soule doth vse the eyes,
As instruments of her quicke power of sight;
[Pg 67] Hence do th' Arts opticke and faire painting rise:
Painting, which doth all gentle minds delight.


Now let vs heare how she the Eares imployes:
Their office is the troubled ayre to take,
Which in their mazes formes a sound or noyse,
Whereof her selfe doth true distinction make.
These wickets of the Soule are plac't on hie
Because all sounds doe lightly mount aloft;
And that they may not pierce too violently,
They are delaied with turnes, and windings oft.
For should the voice directly strike the braine,
It would astonish and confuse it much;
Therfore these plaits and folds the sound restraine,
That it the organ may more gently touch.
As streames, which with their winding banks doe play,
Stopt by their creeks, run softly through the plaine;
So in th' Eares' labyrinth the voice doth stray,
And doth with easie motion touch the braine.
It is the slowest, yet the daintiest sense;
For euen the Eares of such as haue no skill,
[Pg 68] Perceiue a discord, and conceiue offence;
And knowing not what is good, yet find the ill.
And though this sense first gentle Musicke found,
Her proper obiect is the speech of men;
But that speech chiefely which God's heraulds sound,
When their tongs vtter what His Spirit did pen.
Our Eyes haue lids, our Eares still ope we see,
Quickly to heare how euery tale is proouèd;
Our Eyes still moue, our Eares vnmouèd bee,
That though we hear quick we be not quickly mouèd.
Thus by the organs of the Eye and Eare,
The Soule with knowledge doth her selfe endue;
"Thus she her prison, may with pleasure beare,
"Hauing such prospects, all the world to view.
These conduit-pipes of knowledge feed the Mind,
But th' other three attend the Body still;
For by their seruices the Soule doth find,
What things are to the body, good or ill.


The bodie's life with meats and ayre is fed,
Therefore the soule doth vse the tasting power,
[Pg 69] In veines, which through the tongue and palate spred,
Distinguish euery relish, sweet and sower.
This is the bodie's nurse; but since man's wit
Found th' art of cookery, to delight his sense;
More bodies are consum'd and kild with it,
Then with the sword, famine, or pestilence.


Next, in the nosthrils she doth vse the smell:
As God the breath of life in them did giue,
So makes He now this power in them to dwell,
To iudge all ayres, whereby we breath and liue.
This sense is also mistresse of an Art,
Which to soft people sweete perfumes doth sell;
Though this deare Art doth little good impart,
"Sith[128] they smell best, that doe of nothing smell.
And yet good sents[129] doe purifie the braine,
Awake the fancie, and the wits refine;
Hence old Deuotion, incense did ordaine
To make mens' spirits apt for thoughts diuine.

[Pg 70]


Lastly, the feeling power, which is Life's root,
Through euery liuing part it selfe doth shed;
By sinewes, which extend from head to foot,
And like a net, all ore the body spred.
Much like a subtill spider, which doth sit
In middle of her web, which spreadeth wide;
If ought doe touch the vtmost thred of it,
Shee feeles it instantly on euery side.
By Touch, the first pure qualities we learne,
Which quicken all things, hote, cold, moist and dry;
By Touch, hard, soft, rough, smooth, we doe discerne;
By Touch, sweet pleasure, and sharpe paine, we try.

These are the outward instruments of Sense,
These are the guards which euery thing must passe
Ere it approch the mind's intelligence,
Or touch the Fantasie, Wit's looking-glasse.

The Imagination or Common Sense.

And yet these porters, which all things admit,
Themselues perceiue not, nor discerne the things;
[Pg 71] One common power doth in the forehead sit,
Which all their proper formes together brings.
For all those nerues, which spirits of Sence doe beare,
And to those outward organs spreading goe;
Vnited are, as in a center there,
And there this power those sundry formes doth know.
Those outward organs present things receiue,
This inward Sense doth absent things retaine;
Yet straight transmits all formes shee doth perceiue,
Vnto a higher region of the braine.

The Fantasie.

Where Fantasie, neere hand-maid to the mind,
Sits and beholds, and doth discerne them[130] all;
Compounds in one, things diuers in their kind;
Compares the black and white, the great and small.
Besides, those single formes she doth esteeme,
And in her ballance doth their values trie;
Where some things good, and some things ill doe seem,
And neutrall some, in her fantasticke[131] eye.
[Pg 72]
This busie power is working day and night;
For when the outward senses rest doe take,
A thousand dreames, fantasticall and light,
With fluttring wings doe keepe her still awake.[132]

The Sensitiue Memorie.

Yet alwayes all may not afore her bee;
Successiuely, she this and that intends;
Therefore such formes as she doth cease to see,
To Memorie's large volume shee commends.
The lidger-booke lies in the braine behinde,
Like Ianus' eye, which in his poll was set;
The lay-man's tables, store-house of the mind,
Which doth remember much, and much forget.
Heere Sense's apprehension, end doth take;
As when a stone is into water cast,
One circle doth another circle make,
Till the last circle touch the banke at last.[133]

[Pg 73]

The Passions of Sense.

But though the apprehensiue[134] power doe pause,
The motiue vertue then begins to moue;
Which in the heart below doth Passions cause,
Ioy, griefe, and feare, and hope, and hate, and loue.
These passions haue a free commanding might,
And diuers actions in our life doe breed;
For, all acts done without true Reason's light,
Doe from the passion of the Sense proceed.
But sith[135] the braine doth lodge the powers of Sense,
How makes it in the heart those passions spring?
The mutuall loue, the kind intelligence
'Twixt heart and braine, this sympathy doth bring.
From the kind heat, which in the heart doth raigne,
The spirits of life doe their begining take;
These spirits of life ascending to the braine,
When they come there, the spirits of Sense do make.
These spirits of Sense, in Fantasie's High Court,
Iudge of the formes of obiects, ill or well;
[Pg 74] And so they send a good or ill report
Downe to the heart, where all affections dwell.
If the report bee good, it causeth loue,
And longing hope, and well-assurèd ioy:
If it bee ill, then doth it hatred moue,
And trembling feare, and vexing grief's annoy.
Yet were these naturall affections good:
(For they which want them, blockes or deuils be)
If Reason in her first perfection stood,
That she might Nature's passions rectifie.

The Motion of Life.

Besides, another motiue-power doth rise
Out of the heart; from whose pure blood do spring
The vitall spirits; which, borne in arteries,
Continuall motion to all parts doe bring.

The Locall Motion.

This makes the pulses beat, and lungs respire,
This holds the sinewes like a bridle's reines;
[Pg 75] And makes the Body to aduance, retire,
To turne or stop, as she them[136] slacks, or straines.
Thus the soule tunes the bodie's instrument;
These harmonies she makes with life and sense;
The organs fit are by the body lent,
But th' actions flow from the Soule's influence.

The intellectuall Powers of the Soule.

But now I haue a will, yet want a wit,
To expresse the working of the wit and will;
Which, though their root be to the body knit,
Vse not the body, when they vse their skill.
These powers the nature of the Soule declare,
For to man's soule these onely proper bee;
For on the Earth no other wights there are
That haue these heauenly powers, but only we.

The Wit or Understanding.

The Wit, the pupill of the Soule's cleare eye,
And in man's world, the onely shining starre;
[Pg 76] Lookes in the mirror of the Fantasie,
Where all the gatherings of the Senses are.
From thence this power the shapes of things abstracts,
And them within her passiue part receiues;
Which are enlightned by that part which acts,
And so the formes of single things perceiues.
But after, by discoursing to and fro,
Anticipating, and comparing things;
She doth all vniversall natures know,
And all effects into their causes brings.[137]

Reason, Vnderstanding.

When she rates things and moues from ground to ground,
The name of Reason she obtaines by this;
But when by Reason she the truth hath found,
And standeth fixt, she Vnderstanding is.

Opinion, Judgement.

When her assent she lightly doth encline
To either part, she is Opinion[138] light:
[Pg 77] But when she doth by principles define
A certaine truth, she hath true Judgement's sight.
And as from Senses, Reason's worke doth spring,
So many reasons understanding gaine;
And many understandings, knowledge bring;
And by much knowledge, wisdome we obtaine.
So, many stayres we must ascend vpright
Ere we attaine to Wisdome's high degree;[139]
So doth this Earth eclipse our Reason's light.
Which else (in instants) would like angels see.
Yet hath the Soule a dowrie naturall,
And sparkes of light, some common things to see;
Not being a blancke where nought is writ at all,
But what the writer will, may written be
For Nature in man's heart her lawes doth pen;
Prescribing truth to wit, and good to will;
Which doe accuse, or else excuse all men,
For euery thought or practise, good or ill:
[Pg 78]
And yet these sparkes grow almost infinite,
Making the World, and all therein their food;
As fire so spreads as no place holdeth it,
Being nourisht still, with new supplies of wood.
And though these sparkes were almost quencht with sin,
Yet they whom that Iust One hath iustifide;
Haue them encreasd with heauenly light within,
And like the widowe's oyle still multiplide.

The Power of Will.

And as this wit should goodnesse truely know,
We haue a Will, which that true good should chuse;
Though Wil do oft (when wit false formes doth show)
Take ill for good, and good for ill refuse.

The Relations betwixt Wit and Will.

Will puts in practice what the Wit deuiseth:
Will euer acts, and Wit contemplates still;
And as from Wit, the power of wisedome riseth,
All other vertues daughters are of Will.
Will is the prince, and Wit the counseller,
Which doth for common good in Counsell sit;
[Pg 79] And when Wit is resolu'd, Will lends her power
To execute what is aduis'd by Wit.
Wit is the mind's chief iudge, which doth controule
Of Fancie's Court the iudgements, false and vaine;
Will holds the royall septer in the soule
And on[140] the passions of the heart doth raigne.
Will is as free as any emperour,
Naught can restraine her gentle libertie;
No tyrant, nor no torment, hath the power,
To make vs will, when we vnwilling bee.

The Intellectuall Memorie.

To these high powers, a store-house doth pertaine,
Where they all arts and generall reasons lay;
Which in the Soule, euen after death, remaine
And no Lethæan[141] flood can wash away.
This is the Soule, and these her vertues bee;
Which, though they haue their sundry proper ends,
And one exceeds another in degree,
Yet each on other mutually depends.
[Pg 80]
Our Wit is giuen, Almighty God to know;
Our Will is giuen to loue Him, being knowne;
But God could not be known to vs below,
But by His workes which through the sense are shown.
And as the Wit doth reape the fruits of Sense,
So doth the quickning power the senses feed;
Thus while they doe their sundry gifts dispence,
"The best, the seruice of the least doth need.
Euen so the King his Magistrates do serue,
Yet Commons feed both magistrate and king;
The Commons' peace the magistrates preserue
By borrowed power, which from the Prince doth spring.
The quickning power would be, and so would rest;
The Sense would not be onely, but be well;
But Wit's ambition longeth to the best,
For it desires in endlesse blisse to dwell.
And these three powers, three[142] sorts of men doe make:
For some, like plants, their veines doe onely fill;
And some, like beasts, their senses' pleasure take;
And some, like angels, doe contemplate still.
[Pg 81]
Therefore the fables turnd some men to flowres,
And others, did with bruitish formes inuest;
And did of others, make celestiall powers,
Like angels, which still trauell, yet still rest.
Yet these three powers are not three soules, but one;
As one and two are both containd in three;
Three being one number by it selfe alone:
A shadow of the blessed Trinitie.

An Acclamation.

O! what is Man (great Maker of mankind!)
That Thou to him so great respect dost beare!
That Thou adornst him with so bright a mind,
Mak'st him a king, and euen an angel's peere!
O! what a liuely life, what heauenly power,
What spreading vertue, what a sparkling fire!
How great, how plentifull, how rich a dower
Dost Thou within this dying flesh inspire!
Thou leau'st Thy print in other works of Thine,
But Thy whole image Thou in Man hast writ;
There cannot be a creature more diuine,
Except (like Thee) it should be infinit.
[Pg 82]
But it exceeds man's thought, to thinke how hie
God hath raisd Man, since God a man became;
The angels doe admire this Misterie,
And are astonisht when they view the same.

That the Soule is Immortal, and cannot Die.

Nor hath He giuen these blessings for a day,
Nor made them on the bodie's life depend;
The Soule though made in time, suruives for aye,
And though it hath beginning, sees no end.
Her onely end, is neuer-ending blisse;
Which is, th' eternall face of God to see;
Who Last of Ends, and First of Causes, is:
And to doe this, she must eternall bee.
How senselesse then, and dead a soule hath hee,
Which thinks his soule doth with his body die!
Or thinkes not so, but so would haue it bee,
That he might sinne with more securitie.
For though these light and vicious persons say,
Our Soule is but a smoake, or ayrie blast;
Which, during life, doth in our nostrils play,
And when we die, doth turne to wind at last:
[Pg 83]
Although they say, 'Come let us eat and drinke';
Our life is but a sparke, which quickly dies;
Though thus they say, they know not what to think,
But in their minds ten thousand doubts arise.
Therefore no heretikes desire to spread
Their light opinions, like these Epicures:[143]
For so the staggering thoughts are comfortèd,
And other men's assent their doubt assures.
Yet though these men against their conscience striue,
There are some sparkles in their flintie breasts
Which cannot be extinct, but still reuiue;
That though they would, they cannot quite bee beasts;
But who so makes a mirror of his mind,
And doth with patience view himselfe therein,
His Soule's eternitie shall clearely find,
Though th' other beauties be defac't with sin.

Reason I.

Drawne from the desire of Knowledge.

First in Man's mind we find an appetite
To learne and know the truth of euery thing;
[Pg 84] Which is co-naturall, and borne with it,
And from the essence of the soule doth spring.
With this desire, shee hath a natiue might
To find out euery truth, if she had time;
Th' innumerable effects to sort aright,
And by degrees, from cause to cause to clime.
But sith our life so fast away doth slide,
As doth a hungry eagle through the wind,
Or as a ship transported with the tide;
Which in their passage leaue no print behind;
Of which swift little time so much we spend,
While some few things we through the sense doe straine;
That our short race of life is at an end,
Ere we the principles of skill attaine.
Or God (which to vaine ends hath nothing done)
In vaine this appetite and power hath giuen;
Or else our knowledge, which is here begun,
Hereafter must bee perfected in heauen.
God neuer gaue a power to one whole kind,
But most part of that kind did vse the same;
Most eies haue perfect sight, though some be blind;
Most legs can nimbly run, though some be lame:
[Pg 85]
But in this life no soule the truth can know
So perfectly, as it hath power to doe;
If then perfection be not found below,
An higher place must make her mount thereto.

Reason II.

Drawn from the Motion of the Soule.

Againe how can shee but immortall bee?
When with the motions of both Will and Wit,
She still aspireth to eternitie,
And neuer rests, till she attaine to it?
Water in conduit pipes, can rise no higher
Then the wel-head, from whence it first doth spring:
Then sith to eternall God shee doth aspire,
Shee cannot be but an eternall thing.
"All mouing things to other things doe moue,
"Of the same kind, which shews their nature such;
So earth falls downe and fire doth mount aboue,
Till both their proper elements doe touch.

The Soul compared to a Riuer.

And as the moysture, which the thirstie earth
Suckes from the sea, to fill her emptie veines,
[Pg 86] From out her wombe at last doth take a birth,
And runs a Nymph[144] along the grassie plaines:
Long doth shee stay, as loth to leaue the land,
From whose soft side she first did issue make;
Shee tastes all places, turnes to euery hand,
Her flowry bankes vnwilling to forsake:
Yet Nature so her streames doth lead and carry,
As that her course doth make no finall stay,
Till she her selfe vnto the Ocean marry,
Within whose watry bosome first she lay:
Euen so the Soule which in this earthly mold
The Spirit of God doth secretly infuse;
Because at first she doth the earth behold,
And onely this materiall world she viewes:
At first her mother-earth she holdeth deare,
And doth embrace the world and worldly things:
She flies close by the ground, and houers here,
And mounts not vp with her celestiall wings.
[Pg 87]
Yet vnder heauen she cannot light on ought
That with her heauenly nature doth agree;
She cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought,
She cannot in this world contented bee:
For who did euer yet, in honour, wealth,
Or pleasure of the sense, contentment find?
Who euer ceasd to wish, when he had health?
Or hauing wisedome was not vext in mind?
Then as a bee which among weeds doth fall,
Which seeme sweet flowers, with lustre fresh and gay;
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none, doth rise, and soare away;
So, when the Soule finds here no true content,
And, like Noah's doue, can no sure footing take;
She doth returne from whence she first was sent,
And flies to Him that first her wings did make.
Wit, seeking Truth, from cause to cause ascends,
And neuer rests, till it the first attaine:
Will, seeking Good, finds many middle ends,
But neuer stayes, till it the last doe gaine.
Now God, the Truth, and First of Causes is:
God is the Last Good End, which lasteth still;
[Pg 88] Being Alpha and Omega nam'd for this;
Alpha to Wit, Omega to the Will.
Sith[145] then her heauenly kind shee doth bewray,
In that to God she doth directly moue;
And on no mortall thing can make her stay,
She cannot be from hence, but from aboue.
And yet this First True Cause, and Last Good End,
Shee cannot heere so well, and truely see;
For this perfection shee must yet attend,
Till to her Maker shee espousèd bee.
As a king's daughter, being in person sought
Of diuers princes, who doe neighbour neere;
On none of them can fixe a constant thought,
Though shee to all doe lend a gentle eare:
Yet she can loue a forraine emperour,
Whom of great worth and power she heares to be;
If she be woo'd but by embassadour,
Or but his letters, or his pictures see:
For well she knowes, that when she shalbe brought
Into the kingdome where her Spouse doth raigne;
[Pg 89] Her eyes shall see what she conceiu'd in thought,
Himselfe, his state, his glory, and his traine.
So while the virgin Soule on Earth doth stay,
She woo'd and tempted is ten thousand wayes,
By these great powers, which on the Earth beare sway;
The wisdom of the World, wealth, pleasure, praise:
With these sometime she doth her time beguile,
These doe by fits her Fantasie possesse;
But she distastes them all within a while,
And in the sweetest finds a tediousnesse.
But if upon the World's Almighty King
She once doe fixe her humble louing thought;
Who by His picture, drawne in euery thing,
And sacred messages, her loue hath sought;
Of Him she thinks, she cannot thinke too much;
This hony tasted still, is euer sweet;
The pleasure of her rauisht thought is such,
As almost here, she with her blisse doth meet:
But when in Heauen she shall His Essence see,
This is her soueraigne good, and perfect blisse:
Her longings, wishings, hopes all finisht be,
Her ioyes are full, her motions rest in this:
[Pg 90]
There is she crownd with garlands of content,
There doth she manna eat, and nectar drinke;
That Presence doth such high delights present,
As neuer tongue could speake, nor heart could thinke.

Reason III.

From Contempt of Death in the better Sort of Spirits.

For this the better Soules doe oft despise
The bodie's death, and doe it oft desire;
For when on ground, the burdened ballance lies
The emptie part is lifted vp the higher:
But if the bodie's death the soule should kill,
Then death must needs against her nature bee;
And were it so, all soules would flie it still,
"For Nature hates and shunnes her contrary.
For all things else, which Nature makes to bee,
Their being to preserue, are chiefly taught;
And though some things desire a change to see,
Yet neuer thing did long to turne to naught.
If then by death the soule were quenchèd quite,
She could not thus against her nature runne;
[Pg 91] Since euery senselesse thing, by Nature's light,
Doth preservation seeke, destruction shunne.
Nor could the World's best spirits so much erre,
If death tooke all—that they should all agree,
Before this life, their honour to preferre;
For what is praise to things that nothing bee?
Againe, if by the bodie's prop she stand;
If on the bodie's life, her life depend;
As Meleager's on the fatall brand[146],—
The bodie's good shee onely would intend:
We should not find her half so braue and bold,
To leade it to the Warres and to the seas;
To make it suffer watchings, hunger, cold,
When it might feed with plenty, rest with ease.
Doubtlesse all Soules have a suruiuing thought;
Therefore of death we thinke with quiet mind;
But if we thinke of being turn'd to nought,
A trembling horror in our soules we find.

[Pg 92]

Reason IV.

From the Feare of Death in the Wicked Soules.

And as the better spirit, when shee doth beare
A scorne of death, doth shew she cannot die;
So when the wicked Soule Death's face doth feare,
Euen then she proues her owne eternitie.
For when Death's forme appeares, she feareth not
An vtter quenching or extinguishment;
She would be glad to meet with such a lot,
That so she might all future ill preuent:
But shee doth doubt what after may befall;
For Nature's law accuseth her within;
And saith, 'Tis true that is affirm'd by all,
That after death there is a paine for sin.
Then she which hath bin hud-winkt from her birth,
Doth first her selfe within Death's mirror see;
And when her body doth returne to earth,
She first takes care, how she alone shall bee.
Who euer sees these irreligious men,
With burthen of a sicknesse weake and faint;
[Pg 93] But heares them talking of Religion then,
And vowing of their soules to euery saint?
When was there euer cursèd atheist brought
Vnto the gibbet,[147] but he did adore
That blessed Power, which he had set at nought,
Scorn'd and blasphemèd all his life before?
These light vaine persons still are drunke and mad,
With surfettings and pleasures of their youth;
But at their deaths they are fresh,[148] sober, sad
Then they discerne, and then they speake the truth.
If then all Soules, both good and bad, doe teach,
With generall voice, that soules can neuer die;
'Tis not man's flattering glosse, but Nature's speech,
Which, like God's Oracle, can neuer lie.

Reason V.

From the benerall Desire of Immortalitie.

Hence springs that vniuersall strong desire,
Which all men haue of Immortalitie:
[Pg 94] Not some few spirits vnto this thought aspire,
But all mens' minds in this vnited be.
Then this desire of Nature is not vaine,
"She couets not impossibilities;
"Fond thoughts may fall into some idle braine,
"But one assent of all, is euer wise.
From hence that generall care and study springs,
That launching and progression of the mind;
Which all men haue so much, of future things,
That they no ioy doe in the present find.
From this desire, that maine desire proceeds,
Which all men haue suruiuing Fame to gaine;
By tombes, by bookes, by memorable deeds:
For she that this desires, doth still remaine.
Hence lastly, springs care of posterities,
For things their kind would euerlasting make;
Hence is it that old men do plant young trees,
The fruit whereof another age shall take.
If we these rules vnto our selues apply,
And view them by reflection of the mind;
All these true notes of immortalitie
In our heart's tables we shall written find.

[Pg 95]

Reason VI.

From the very Doubt and Disputation of Immortalitie.

And though some impious wits do questions moue,
And doubt if Soules immortall be, or no;
That doubt their immortalitie doth proue,
Because they seeme immortall things to know.
For he which reasons on both parts doth bring,
Doth some things mortall, some immortall call;
Now, if himselfe were but a mortall thing,
He could not iudge immortall things at all.
For when we iudge, our minds we mirrors make:
And as those glasses which materiall bee,
Formes of materiall things doe onely take,
For thoughts or minds in them we cannot see;
So, when we God and angels do conceiue,
And thinke of truth, which is eternall too;
Then doe our minds immortall formes receiue,
Which if they mortall were, they could not doo:
And as, if beasts conceiu'd what Reason were,
And that conception should distinctly show,
They should the name of reasonable beare;
For without Reason, none could Reason know:
[Pg 96]
So, when the Soule mounts with so high a wing,
As of eternall things she doubts can moue;
Shee proofes of her eternitie doth bring,
Euen when she striues the contrary to proue.
For euen the thought of immortalitie,
Being an act done without the bodie's ayde;
Shewes, that her selfe alone could moue and bee,
Although the body in the graue were layde.

That the Soule cannot be destroyed.

And if her selfe she can so liuely moue,
And neuer need a forraine helpe to take;
Then must her motion euerlasting proue,
"Because her selfe she neuer can forsake.

Her Cause ceaseth not.

But though corruption cannot touch the minde,
By any cause that from it selfe may spring;
Some outward cause Fate hath perhaps designd,
Which to the Soule may vtter quenching bring.

She hath no Contrary.

Perhaps her cause may cease, and she may die;
God is her cause, His Word her Maker was;
[Pg 97] Which shall stand fixt for all eternitie
When Heauen and Earth shall like a shadow passe.
Perhaps some thing repugnant to her kind,
By strong antipathy, the Soule may kill;
But what can be contrary to the minde,
Which holds all contraries in concord still?
She lodgeth heat, and cold, and moist, and dry,
And life, and death, and peace, and war together;
Ten thousand fighting things in her doe lye,
Yet neither troubleth, or disturbeth either.

Shee cannot Die for want of Food.

Perhaps for want of food the soule may pine;
But that were strange, sith all things bad and good,
Sith all God's creature's mortall and diuine,
Sith God Himselfe, is her eternall food.
Bodies are fed with things of mortall kind,
And so are subiect to mortalitie;
But Truth which is eternall, feeds the mind;
The Tree of life, which will not let her die.

[Pg 98]

Violence cannot destroy her.

Yet violence, perhaps the Soule destroyes:
As lightning, or the sun-beames dim the sight;
Or as a thunder-clap, or cannons' noyse,
The power of hearing doth astonish quite.
But high perfection to the Soule it brings,
T' encounter things most excellent and high;
For, when she views the best and greatest things
They do not hurt, but rather cleare her[149] eye,
Besides,—as Homer's gods 'gainst armies stand,—
Her subtill forme can through all dangers slide;
Bodies are captiue, minds endure no band,
"And Will is free, and can no force abide.

Time cannot destroy her.

But lastly, Time perhaps at last hath power
To spend her liuely powers, and quench her light;
But old god Saturne which doth all deuoure,
Doth cherish her, and still augment her might.
Heauen waxeth old, and all the spheres aboue
Shall one day faint, and their swift motion stay;
[Pg 99] And Time it selfe in time shall cease to moue;
Onely the Soule suruives, and liues for aye.
"Our Bodies, euery footstep that they make,
"March towards death, vntill at last they die;
"Whether we worke, or play, or sleepe, or wake,
"Our life doth passe, and with Time's wings doth flie:
But to the Soule Time doth perfection giue,
And ads fresh lustre to her beauty still;
And makes her in eternall youth to liue,
Like her which nectar to the gods doth fill.[150]
The more she liues, the more she feeds on Truth;
The more she feeds, her strength doth more increase:
And what is strength, but an effect of youth?
Which if Time nurse, how can it euer cease?

Objections against the Immortalitie of the Soule.

But now these Epicures begin to smile,
And say, my doctrine is more false then true;
And that I fondly doe my selfe beguile,
While these receiu'd opinions I ensue.

[Pg 100]

Objection I.

For what, say they, doth not the Soule waxe old?
How comes it then that agèd men doe dote;
And that their braines grow sottish, dull and cold,
Which were in youth the onely spirits of note?
What? are not Soules within themselues corrupted?
How can there idiots then by nature bee?
How is it that some wits are interrupted,
That now they dazeled are, now clearely see?


These questions make a subtill argument,
To such as thinke both sense and reason one;
To whom nor agent, from the instrument,
Nor power of working, from the work is known.
But they that know that wit can shew no skill,
But when she things in Sense's glasse doth view;
Doe know, if accident this glasse doe spill,
It nothing sees, or sees the false for true.
For, if that region of the tender braine,
Where th' inward sense of Fantasie should sit,
[Pg 101] And the outward senses gatherings should retain,
By Nature, or by chance, become vnfit;
Either at first vncapable it is,
And so few things, or none at all receiues;
Or mard by accident, which haps amisse
And so amisse it euery thing perceiues.
Then, as a cunning prince that vseth spyes,
If they returne no newes doth nothing know;
But if they make aduertisement of lies,
The Prince's Counsel all awry doe goe.
Euen so the Soule to such a body knit,
Whose inward senses vndisposèd be,
And to receiue the formes of things vnfit;
Where nothing is brought in, can nothing see.
This makes the idiot, which hath yet a mind,
Able to know the truth, and chuse the good;
If she such figures in the braine did find,
As might be found, if it in temper stood.
But if a phrensie doe possesse the braine,
It so disturbs and blots the formes of things;
As Fantasie prooues altogether vaine,
And to the Wit no true relation brings.
[Pg 102]
Then doth the Wit, admitting all for true,
Build fond[151] conclusions on those idle grounds;
Then doth it flie the good, and ill pursue,
Beleeuing all that this false spie propounds.
But purge the humors, and the rage appease,
Which this distemper in the fansie wrought;
Then shall the Wit, which never had disease,
Discourse, and iudge discreetly, as it ought.
So, though the clouds eclipse the sunne's faire light,
Yet from his face they doe not take one beame;
So haue our eyes their perfect power of sight,
Euen when they looke into a troubled streame.
Then these defects in Senses' organs bee,
Not in the soule or in her working might;
She cannot lose her perfect power to see,
Thogh mists and clouds do choke her window light.
These imperfections then we must impute,
Not to the agent but the instrument;
We must not blame Apollo, but his lute,
If false accords from her false strings be sent.
[Pg 103]
The Soule in all hath one intelligence;
Though too much moisture in an infant's braine,
And too much drinesse in an old man's sense,
Cannot the prints of outward things retaine:
Then doth the Soule want worke, and idle sit,
And this we childishnesse and dotage call;
Yet hath she then a quicke and actiue Wit,
If she had stuffe and tooles to worke withall:
For, giue her organs fit, and obiects faire;
Giue but the aged man, the young man's sense;
Let but Medea, Æson's youth repaire,[152]
And straight she shewes her wonted excellence.
As a good harper stricken farre in yeares,
Into whose cunning hand the gowt is fall;[153]
All his old crotchets in his braine he beares,
But on his harpe playes ill, or not at all.
But if Apollo takes his gowt away,
That hee his nimble fingers may apply;
Apollo's selfe will enuy at his play,
And all the world applaud his minstralsie.
[Pg 104]
Then dotage is no weaknesse of the mind,
But of the Sense; for if the mind did waste,
In all old men we should this wasting find,
When they some certaine terme of yeres had past:
But most of them, euen to their dying howre,
Retaine a mind more liuely, quicke, and strong;
And better vse their vnderstanding power,
Then when their braines were warm, and lims were yong.
For, though the body wasted be and weake,
And though the leaden forme of earth it beares;
Yet when we heare that halfe-dead body speake,
We oft are rauisht to the heauenly spheares.

Objection II.

Yet say these men, If all her organs die,
Then hath the soule no power her powers to vse;
So, in a sort, her powers extinct doe lie,
When vnto act shee cannot them reduce.
And if her powers be dead, then what is shee?
For sith from euery thing some powers do spring,
And from those powers, some acts proceeding bee,
Then kill both power and act, and kill the thing.

[Pg 105]


Doubtlesse the bodie's death when once it dies,
The instruments of sense and life doth kill;
So that she cannot vse those faculties,
Although their root rest in her substance still.
But (as the body liuing) Wit and Will
Can iudge and chuse, without the bodie's ayde;
Though on such obiects they are working still,
As through the bodie's organs are conuayde:
So, when the body serues her turne no more,
And all her Senses are extinct and gone,
She can discourse of what she learn'd before,
In heauenly contemplations, all alone.
So, if one man well on a lute doth play,
And haue good horsemanship, and Learning's skill;
Though both his lute and horse we take away,
Doth he not keep his former learning still?
He keepes it doubtlesse, and can vse it to[o];
And doth both th' other skils in power retaine;
And can of both the proper actions doe,
If with his lute or horse he meet againe.
[Pg 106]
So (though the instruments by which we liue,
And view the world, the bodie's death doe kill;)[154]
Yet with the body they shall all reuiue,
And all their wonted offices fulfill.

Objection III.

But how, till then, shall she herselfe imploy?
Her spies are dead which brought home newes before;
What she hath got and keepes, she may enioy,
But she hath meanes to vnderstand no more.
Then what do those poore soules, which nothing get?
Or what doe those which get, and cannot keepe?
Like buckets[155] bottomlesse, which all out-let
Those Soules, for want of exercise, must sleepe.


See how man's Soule against it selfe doth striue:
Why should we not haue other meanes to know?
As children while within the wombe they liue,
Feed by the nauill: here they feed not so.
[Pg 107]
These children, if they had some vse of sense,
And should by chance their mothers' talking heare;
That in short time they shall come forth from thence,
Would feare their birth more then our death we feare.
They would cry out, 'If we this place shall leaue,
Then shall we breake our tender nauill strings;
How shall we then our nourishment receiue,
Sith our sweet food no other conduit brings?'
And if a man should to these babes reply,
That into this faire world they shall be brought;
Where they shall see the Earth, the Sea, the Skie,
The glorious Sun, and all that God hath wrought:
That there ten thousand dainties they shall meet,
Which by their mouthes they shall with pleasure take;
Which shall be cordiall too, as wel as sweet,
And of their little limbes, tall bodies make:
This would[156] they thinke a fable, euen as we
Doe thinke the story of the Golden Age;
[Pg 108] Or as some sensuall spirits amongst vs bee,
Which hold the world to come, a fainèd stage:
Yet shall these infants after find all true,
Though then thereof they nothing could conceiue;
As soone as they are borne, the world they view,
And with their mouthes, the nurses'-milke receiue.
So, when the Soule is borne (for Death is nought
But the Soule's birth, and so we should it call)
Ten thousand things she sees beyond her thought,
And in an vnknowne manner knowes them all.
Then doth she see by spectacles no more,
She heares not by report of double spies;
Her selfe in instants doth all things explore,
For each thing present, and before her, lies.

Objection IV.

But still this crue with questions me pursues:
If soules deceas'd (say they) still liuing bee;
Why do they not return, to bring vs newes
Of that strange world, where they such wonders see?[157]

[Pg 109]


Fond[158] men! If we beleeue that men doe liue
Vnder the Zenith of both frozen Poles,
Though none come thence aduertisement to giue;
Why beare we not the like faith of our soules?
The soule hath here on Earth no more to doe,
Then we haue businesse in our mother's wombe;
What child doth couet to returne thereto?
Although all children first from thence do come?
But as Noah's pidgeon, which return'd no more,
Did shew, she footing found, for all the Flood;
So when good soules, departed through Death's dore,
Come not againe, it shewes their dwelling good.
And doubtlesse, such a soule as vp doth mount,
And doth appeare before her Maker's Face;
Holds this vile world in such a base account,
As she looks down, and scorns this wretched place.
[Pg 110]
But such as are detruded downe to Hell,
Either for shame, they still themselues retire;
Or tyed in chaines, they in close prison dwell,
And cannot come, although they much desire.

Objection V.

Well, well, say these vaine spirits, though vaine it is
To thinke our Soules to Heauen or Hell to[159] goe,
Politike men haue thought it not amisse,
To spread this lye, to make men vertuous so.


Doe you then thinke this morall vertue good?
I thinke you doe, euen for your priuate gaine;
For Common-wealths by vertue euer stood,
And common good the priuate doth containe.
If then this vertue you doe loue so well,
Haue you no meanes, her practise to maintaine;
But you this lye must to the people tell,
That good Soules liue in ioy, and ill in paine?
[Pg 111]
Must vertue be preseruèd by a lye?
Vertue and Truth do euer best agree;
By this it seemes to be a veritie,
Sith the effects so good and vertuous bee.
For, as the deuill father is of lies,
So vice and mischiefe doe his lyes ensue;
Then this good doctrine did not he deuise,
But made this lye, which saith it is not true.

The Generall Consent of All.

For how can that be false, which euery tongue
Of euery mortall man affirmes for true?
Which truth hath in all ages been so strong,
As lodestone-like, all hearts it euer drew.
For, not the Christian, or the Iew alone,
The Persian, or the Turke, acknowledge this;
This mysterie to the wild Indian knowne,
And to the Canniball and Tartar is.
This rich Assyrian drugge growes euery where;
As common in the North, as in the East;
This doctrine does not enter by the eare,
But of it selfe is natiue in the breast.
[Pg 112]
None that acknowledge God, or prouidence,
Their Soule's eternitie did euer doubt;
For all Religion takes her root from hence,
Which no poore naked nation liues without.
For sith the World for Man created was,
(For onely Man the vse thereof doth know)
If man doe perish like a withered grasse,
How doth God's Wisedom order things below?
And if that Wisedom still wise ends propound,
Why made He man, of other creatures King?
When (if he perish here) there is not found
In all the world so poor and vile a thing?
If death do quench vs quite, we haue great wrong,
Sith for our seruice all things else were wrought;
That dawes, and trees, and rocks, should last so long,
When we must in an instant passe to nought.
But blest be that Great Power, that hath vs blest
With longer life then Heauen or Earth can haue;
Which hath infus'd into our mortall breast
Immortall powers, not subiect to the graue.
For though the Soule doe seeme her graue to beare,
And in this world is almost buried quick;
[Pg 113] We haue no cause the bodie's death to feare,
For when the shell is broke, out comes a chick.

Three Kinds of Life Answerable To the three Powers of theSoule.

For as the soule's essentiall powers are three,
The quickning power, the power of sense and reason;
Three kinds of life to her designèd bee,
Which perfect these three[160] powers in their due season.
The first life, in the mother's wombe is spent,
Where she her nursing power doth onely vse;
Where, when she finds defect of nourishment,
Sh' expels her body, and this world she viewes.
This we call Birth; but if the child could speake,
He Death would call it; and of Nature plaine,[161]
That she would thrust him out naked and weake,
And in his passage pinch him with such paine.
Yet, out he comes, and in this world is plac't,
Where all his Senses in perfection bee;
[Pg 114] Where he finds flowers to smell, and fruits to taste;
And sounds to heare, and sundry formes to see.
When he hath past some time vpon this stage,
His Reason then a litle seemes to wake;
Which, thogh she spring, when sense doth fade with age,
Yet can she here no perfect practise make.
Then doth th' aspiring Soule the body leaue,
Which we call Death; but were it knowne to all,
What life our soules do by this death receiue,
Men would it birth or gaole[162] deliuery call.
In this third life, Reason will be so bright,
As that her sparke will like the sun-beames shine;
And shall of God enioy the reall sight.
Being still increast by influence diuine.

An Acclamation.

O Ignorant poor man! what dost thou beare
Lockt vp within the casket of thy brest?
[Pg 115] What iewels, and what riches hast thou there!
What heauenly treasure in so weake a chest!
Looke in thy soule, and thou shalt beauties find,
Like those which drownd Narcissus in the flood:[163]
Honour and Pleasure both are in thy mind,
And all that in the world is counted Good.
Thinke of her worth, and think that God did meane,
This worthy mind should worthy things imbrace;
Blot not her beauties with thy thoughts vnclean,
Nor her dishonour with thy passions base;
Kill not her quickning power with surfettings,
Mar not her Sense with sensualitie;
Cast not her serious[164] wit on idle things:
Make not her free-will, slaue to vanitie.
And when thou think'st of her eternitie,
Thinke not that Death against her nature is,
Thinke it a birth; and when thou goest to die,
Sing like a swan, as if thou went'st to blisse.[165]
[Pg 116]
And if thou, like a child, didst feare before,
Being in the darke, where thou didst nothing see;
Now I haue broght thee torch-light, feare no more;
Now when thou diest, thou canst not hud-winkt be.
And thou my Soule, which turn'st thy curious eye,
To view the beames of thine owne forme diuine;
Know, that thou canst know nothing perfectly,
While thou art clouded with this flesh of mine.
Take heed of ouer-weening, and compare
Thy peacock's feet with thy gay peacock's traine;[166]
Study the best, and highest things that are,
But of thy selfe an humble thought retaine.
Cast downe thy selfe, and onely striue to raise
The glory of thy Maker's sacred Name;
Vse all thy powers, that Blessed Power to praise,
Which giues thee power to bee, and vse the same.


[Pg 117]



There is a natural love and fondness in Englishmen for whatever was done in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. We look upon her time as our golden age; and the great men who lived in it, as our chiefest heroes of virtue, and greatest examples of wisdom, courage, integrity and [Pg 118]learning.

Among many others, the author of this poem merits a lasting honour; for, as he was a most eloquent lawyer, so, in the composition of this piece, we admire him for a good poet and exact philosopher. 'Tis not rhyming that makes a poet, but the true and impartial representing of virtue and vice, so as to instruct mankind in matters of greatest importance. And this observation has been made of our countrymen, That Sir John Suckling wrote in the most courtly and gentleman-like style; Waller in the most sweet and flowing numbers; Denham with the most accurate judgment and correctness; Cowley with pleasing softness and plenty of imagination: none ever uttered more divine thought than Mr. Herbert; none more philosophical than Sir John Davies. His thoughts are moulded into easy and significant words; his rhymes never mislead the sense, but are led and governed by it: so that in reading such useful performances, the wit of mankind may be refined from its dross, their memories furnished with the best notions, their judgments strengthened, and their conceptions enlarged: by which means the mind will be raised to the most perfect ideas it is capable of in this degenerate state.

But as others have laboured to carry out our thoughts, and to [Pg 119]entertain them with all manner of delights abroad; 'tis the peculiar character of this author, that he has taught us (with Antoninus) to meditate upon ourselves; that he has disclosed to us greater secrets at home; self-reflection being the only way to valuable and true knowledge, which consists in that rare science of a man's self, which the moral philosopher loses in a crowd of definitions, divisions and distinctions: the historian cannot find it among all his musty records, being far better acquainted with the transactions of a thousand years past, than with the present age, or with himself: the writer of fables and romances wanders from it, in following the delusions of a wild fancy, chimeras and fictions that do not only exceed the works, but also the possibility of Nature. Whereas the resemblance of truth is the utmost limits of poetical liberty, which our author has very religiously observed; for he has not only placed and connected together the most amiable images of all those powers that are in our souls, but he has furnished and squared his matter like a true philosopher; that is, he has made both body and soul, colour and shadow of his poem, out of the storehouse of his own mind, which gives the whole work a real and natural beauty; when that which is borrowed out of books, (the boxes of counterfeit complexion) shews well or ill, as it has more or [Pg 120]less likeness to the natural. But our author is beholding to none but himself; and by knowing himself thoroughly, he has arrived to know much; which appears in his admirable variety of well-chosen metaphors and similitudes that cannot be found within the compass of a narrow knowledge. For this reason the poem, on account of its intrinsic worth, would be as lasting as the Iliad or the Æneid, if the language 'tis wrote in were as immutable as that of the Greeks and Romans.

Now it would be of great benefit to the beaus of our age to carry this glass in their pocket, whereby they might learn to think rather than dress well. It would be of use also to the wits and virtuosoes to carry this antidote against the poison they have sucked in from Lucretius or Hobbes. This would acquaint them with some principles of religion; for in old times the poets were the divines, and exercised a kind of spiritual authority amongst the people. Verse in those days was the sacred style, the style of Oracles and Lawes. The vows and thanks of the people were recommended to their gods in songs and hymns. Why may they not retain this priviledge? for if prose should contend with verse, it would be upon unequal terms, and (as it were) on foot against the wings of Pegasus. With what delight are we touched in hearing the [Pg 121]stories of Hercules, Achilles, Cyrus, and Æneas? Because in their characters we have wisdom, honour, fortitude and justice, set before our eyes. It was Plato's opinion, that if a man could see virtue, he would be strangely enamoured on her person. Which is the reason why Horace and Virgil have continued so long in reputation, because they have drawn her in all the charms of poetry. No man is so senseless of rational impressions, as not to be wonderfully affected with the pastorals of the ancients, when under the stories of wolves and sheep, they describe the misery of people under hard masters, and their happiness under good. So the bitter and wholesome Iambick was wont to make villainy blush; the Satire invited men to laugh at folly; the Comedian chastised the common errors of life; and the Tragedian made kings afraid to be tyrants, and tyrants to be their own tormentors.

Wherefore, as Sir Philip Sidney said of Chaucer, that he knew not which he should most wonder at, either that he in his dark time should see so distinctly, or that we in this clear age should go so stumblingly after him; so may we marvel at and bewail the low condition of poetry now, when in our Plays scarce any one rule of decorum is observed, but in the space of two hours and a half we pass through all the fits of [Pg 122]Bedlam; in one scene we are all in mirth, in the next we are all in sadness; whilst even the most laboured parts are starved for want of thought; a confused heap of words, and empty sound of rhyme.

This very consideration should advance the esteem of the following poem, wherein are represented the various movements of the mind; at which we are as much transported as with the most excellent scenes of passion in Shakespear, or Fletcher: for in this, as in a mirror (that will not flatter) we see how the soul arbitrates in the understanding upon the various reports of sense, and all the changes of imagination: how compliant the will is to her dictates, and obeys her as a queen does her king: at the same time acknowledging a subjection, and yet retaining a majesty: how the passions move at her command, like a well-disciplined army; from which regular composure of the faculties, all operating in their proper time and place, there arises a complacency upon the whole soul, that infinitely transcends all other pleasures.

What deep philosophy is this! to discover the process of God's art in fashioning the soul of man after His own image; by remarking how one part moves another, and how those motions are varied by several [Pg 123]positions of each part, from the first springs and plummets, to the very hand that points out the visible and last effects. What eloquence and force of wit to convey these profound speculations in the easiest language, expressed in words so vulgarly received, that they are understood by the meanest capacities.

For the poet takes care in every line to satisfy the understandings of mankind: he follows step by step the workings of the mind, from the first strokes of sense, then of fancy, afterwards of judgment, into the principles both of natural and supernatural motives: hereby the soul is made intelligible, which comprehends all things besides; the boundless tracks of sea and land, and the vaster spaces of heaven; that vital principle of action, which has always been busied in enquiries abroad, is now made known to itself; insomuch that we may find out what we ourselves are, from whence we came, and whither we must go; we may perceive what noble guests those are, which we lodge in our bosoms, which are nearer to us than all other things, and yet nothing further from our acquaintance.

But here all the labyrinths and windings of the human frame are laid open: 'tis seen by what pullies and wheels the work is carried on, as plainly as if a window were opened in the breast: for it is the work of God alone to create a mind. The next to this is to shew how its operations are performed.

[Pg 124]

[Pg 125]


[Pg 126]
[Pg 127]


The following is the original title-page of 'Astrœa':

Acrosticke verse

Printed for J. S.

[4o pp. 27: register A. B. C. D. of 4 leaves each.]

Throughout, the Poet spells 'Astrœa': probably Asteria ('Αστερια) were more accurate. Our text for these 'Hymnes' is, as in Nosce Teipsum, the edition of 1622: but throughout, compared with the first, as supra. Title-page in 1622 edition is as follows:




In Acrosticke Verse.

Printed by A. M. for Richard Hawkins.
1622. [8vo.]

With reference to Elizabeth who is so glorified in these 'Hymnes' as 'Astræa,' cf. the 'Conference between a Gentleman-Usher and a Post' in our Memorial-Intro[Pg 128]duction. I have since found that another copy of this interesting MS. is preserved among the Harleian MSS.: No. cclxxxvi fol. 248. I would here call attention to the correspondence between the metaphor of the Senses serving the Intellect in 'Nosce Teipsum' and in the 'Conference' as flatteringly descriptive of the position held by her 'ministers' to the Queen. In Davison's 'Rhapsody' the name for Elizabeth is Astræa. G.

[Pg 129]

Hymnes to Astrœa.


Of Astrœa.[168]

E arly before the day doth spring,
L et us awake my Muse, and sing;
I t is no time to slumber,
S o many ioyes this time doth bring,
A s Time will faile to number.
B ut whereto shall we bend our layes?
E uen vp to Heauen, againe to raise[169]
T he Mayd, which thence descended;
H ath brought againe the golden dayes,
A nd all the world amended.
R udenesse it selfe she doth refine,
E uen like an Alchymist diuine;
G rosse times of yron turning
I nto the purest forme of gold;
N ot to corrupt, till heauen waxe old,
A nd be refined with burning.

[Pg 130]


To Astræa.

E ternall Virgin, Goddesse true,
L et me presume to sing to you.
I oue, euen great Ioue hath leasure
S ometimes to heare the vulgar crue,
A nd heares them oft with pleasure.
B lessèd Astræa, I in part
E nioy the blessings you impart;
T he Peace, the milke and hony,
H umanitie, and civil Art,
A richer dower then money.
R ight glad am I that now I liue,
E uen in these dayes whereto you giue
G reat happinesse and glory;
I f after you I should be borne,
N o doubt I should my birth-day scorne,
A dmiring your sweet storie.

[Pg 131]


To the Spring.

E arth now is greene, and heauen is blew,
L iuely Spring which makes all new,
I olly Spring, doth enter;
S weete yong sun-beames doe subdue
A ngry, agèd Winter.
B lasts are milde, and seas are calme,
E uery meadow flowes with balme,
T he Earth weares all her riches;
H armonious birdes sing such a psalme,
A s eare and heart bewitches.
R eserue (sweet Spring) this Nymph of ours,
E ternall garlands of thy flowers,
G reene garlands neuer wasting;
I n her shall last our State's faire Spring,
N ow and for euer flourishing,
A s long as Heauen is lasting.

[Pg 132]


To the Moneth of May.

E ach day of thine, sweet moneth of May,
L oue makes a solemne holy-day.
I will performe like duty,
S ith thou resemblest euery way
A stræa, Queen of beauty,
B oth you fresh beauties do pertake,
E ither's aspect doth Summer make,
T houghts of young Loue awaking;
H earts you both doe cause to ake,
A nd yet be pleas'd with akeing.
R ight deare art thou, and so is shee,
E uen like attractiue sympathy,
G aines vnto both like dearenesse;
I weene this made Antiquitie
N ame thee, sweet May of Maiestie,
A s being both like in clearnesse.

[Pg 133]


To the Larke.

E arley, cheerfull, mounting Larke,
L ight's gentle vsher, Morning's clark,
I n merry notes delighting;
S tint awhile thy song, and harke,
A nd learne my new inditing.
B eare vp this hymne, to heau'n it beare,
E uen vp to heau'n, and sing it there,
T o heau'n each morning beare it;
H aue it set to some sweet sphere,
A nd let the Angels heare it.
R enownd Astræa, that great name,
E xceeding great in worth and fame,
G reat worth hath so renownd it;
I t is Astræa's name I praise,
N ow then, sweet Larke, do thou it raise,
A nd in high Heauen resound it.

[Pg 134]


To the Nightingale.

E uery night from euen till morne,
L oue's Quirister amidde the thorne
I s now so sweet a singer;
S o sweet, as for her song I scorne
A pollo's voice, and finger.
B ut Nightingale, sith you delight
E uer to watch the starry night;
T ell all the starres of heauen,
H eauen neuer had a starre so bright,
A s now to Earth is giuen.
R oyall Astræa makes our day
E ternall with her beames, nor may
G rosse darknesse ouercome her;
I now perceiue why some doe write,
N o countrey hath so short a night,
A s England hath in Summer.

[Pg 135]


To the Rose.

E ye of the Garden, Queene of flowres,
L ove's cup wherein he nectar powres,
I ngendered first of nectar;
S weet nurse-child of the Spring's young howres,
A nd Beautie's faire character.
B est iewell that the Earth doth weare,
E uen when the braue young sunne draws neare,
/span> T o her hot Loue pretending;[170]
H imselfe likewise like forme doth beare,
A t rising and descending.
R ose of the Queene of Loue belou'd;
E ngland's great Kings diuinely mou'd,
G ave Roses in their banner;
I t shewed that Beautie's Rose indeed,
N ow in this age should them succeed,
A nd raigne in more sweet manner.

[Pg 136]


To all the Princes of Europe.

E urope, the earth's sweet Paradise,
L et all thy kings that would be wise,
I n politique deuotion;
S ayle hither to obserue her eyes,
A nd marke her heaunly motion.
B raue Princes of this ciuill age,
E nter into this pilgrimage;
T his saint's tongue is an oracle,
H er eye hath made a Prince a page,
A nd works each day a miracle.
R aise but your lookes to her, and see
E uen the true beames of maiestie,
G reat Princes, marke her duly;
I f all the world you doe suruey,
N o forehead spreades so bright a ray,
A nd notes a Prince so truly.

[Pg 137]


To Flora.

E mpresse of flowers, tell where away
L ies your sweet Court this merry[171] May,
I n Greenewich Garden allies?[172]
S ince there the heauenly powers do play
A nd haunt no other vallies.
B eautie, vertue, maiestie,
E loquent Muses, three times three,
T he new fresh Houres and Graces,
H aue pleasure in this place to be,
A boue all other places.
R oses and lillies did them draw,
E re they diuine Astræa saw;
G ay flowers they sought for pleasure:
I nstead of gathering crownes of flowers,
N ow gather they Astræa's dowers,
A nd beare to heauen that treasure,

[Pg 138]


To the Moneth of September.

E ach moneth hath praise in some degree;
L et May to others seeme to be
I n sense the sweetest Season;
S eptember thou art best to me,
A nd best dost please my reason.
B ut neither for thy corne nor wine
E xtoll I those mild dayes of thine,
T hough corne and wine might praise thee;
H eauen giues thee honour more diuine,
A nd higher fortunes raise thee.
R enown'd art thou (sweet moneth) for this,
E mong thy dayes her birth-day is;[173]
G race, plenty, peace and honour
I n one faire hour with her were borne;
N ow since they still her crowne adorne,
A nd still attend vpon her.

[Pg 139]


To the Sunne.

E ye of the world, fountaine of light,
L ife of Day, and death of Night;
I humbly seek thy kindnesse:
S weet, dazle not my feeble sight,
A nd strike me not with blindnesse.
B ehold me mildly from that face,
E uen where thou now dost run thy race,
T he spheare where now thou turnest;
H auing like Phaeton chang'd thy place,
A nd yet hearts onely burnest.
R ed in her right cheeke thou dost rise,
E xalted after in her eyes,
G reat glory there thou shewest;
I n th' other cheeke when thou descendest,
N ew rednesse vnto it thou lendest,
A nd so thy round thou goest.

[Pg 140]


To her Picture.

E xtreame was his audacitie,
L ittle his skill, that finisht thee;
I am asham'd and sorry,
S o dull her counterfeit should bee,
A nd she so full of glory.
B ut here are colours red and white,
E ach line, and each proportion right;
T hese lines, this red and whitenesse,
H aue wanting yet a life and light,
A maiestie, and brightnesse.
R ude counterfeit, I then did erre,
E uen now when I would needs inferre
G reat boldnesse in thy maker;
I did mistake, he was not bold,
N or durst his eyes her eyes behold:
A nd this made him mistake her.

[Pg 141]


Of her Minde.

E arth, now adiew, my rauisht thought
L ifted to Heau'n sets thee at nought;
I nfinite is my longing,
S ecrets of angels to be taught,
A nd things to Heau'n belonging.
B rought downe from heau'n of angels kind,
E uen now doe I admire her mind;
T his is my contemplation,
H er cleare sweet spirit, which is refin'd
A boue humane creation.
R ich sun-beame of th' Æternall light,
E xcellent Soule, how shall I wright?[174]
G ood angels make me able;
I cannot see but by your eye,
N or, but by your tongue, signifie
A thing so admirable.

[Pg 142]


Of the Sun-beames of her Mind.

E xceeding glorious is the starre,
L et vs behold her beames afarre
I n a side line reflected;
S ight bears them not, when neere they are,
A nd in right lines directed.
B ehold her in her vertues' beames,
E xtending sun-like to all realmes;
T he sunne none viewes too neerly:
H er well of goodnes in these streames,
A ppeares right well and clearely.
R adiant vertues, if your light
E nfeeble the best iudgement's sight,
G reat splendor aboue measure
I s in the mind from whence you flow;
N o wit may haue accesse to know,
A nd view so bright a treasure.

[Pg 143]


Of her Wit.

E ye of that mind most quicke and cleere,—
L ike Heauen's eye, which from his spheare
I nto all things prieth;
S ees through all things euery where,
A nd all their natures trieth.
B right image of an angel's wit,
E xceeding sharpe and swift like it,
T hings instantly discerning;
H auing a nature infinit,
A nd yet increas'd by learning.
R ebound vpon thy selfe thy light,
E nioy thine own sweet precious sight
G iue us but some reflection;
I t is enough for vs if we
N ow in her speech, now policie,
A dmire thine high perfection.

[Pg 144]


Of her Will.

E uer well affected will,
L ouing goodnesse, loathing ill,
I nestimable treasure!
S ince such a power hath power to spill,[175]
A nd save vs at her pleasure.
B e thou our law, sweet will, and say
E uen what thou wilt, we will obay
T his law, if I could reade it;
H erein would I spend night and day,
A nd study still to plead it.
R oyall free-will, and onely free,
E ach other will is slaue to thee;
G lad is each will to serue thee:
I n thee such princely power is seene,
N o spirit but takes thee for her Queene,
A nd thinkes she must obserue thee.

[Pg 145]


Of her Memorie.

E xcellent iewels would you see,
L ouely ladies? come with me,
I will (for loue I owe you).
S hew you as rich a treasurie,
A s East or West can shew you.
B ehold, if you can iudge of it,
E uen that great store-house of her wit:
T hat beautiful large Table,
H er Memory; wherein is writ
A ll knowledge admirable.
R eade this faire book, and you shall learne
E xquisite skill; if you discerne,
G aine heau'n by this discerning;
I n such a memory diuine,
N ature did forme the Muses nine,
A nd Pallas Queene of Learning.

[Pg 146]


Of Her Phantasie.

E xquisite curiositie,
L ooke on thy selfe with iudging eye,
I f ought be faultie, leaue it;
S o delicate a phantasie
A s this, will straight perceiue it.
B ecause her temper is so fine,
E ndewèd with harmonies diuine;
T herefore if discord strike it,
H er true proportions doe repine,
A nd sadly do[176] mislike it.
R ight otherwise a pleasure sweet
E uer she takes in actions meet,
G racing with smiles such meetnesse;
I n her faire forehead, beames appeare,
N o Summer's day is halfe so cleare,
A dorn'd with halfe that sweetnesse.

[Pg 147]


Of the Organs of her Minde.

E clipsed she is, and her bright rayes.
L ie under vailes, yet many wayes
I s her faire forme reuealed;
S he diuersly her selfe conueyes,
A nd cannot be concealed.
B y instruments her powers appeare
E xceedingly well tun'd and cleare:
T his lute is still in measure,
H olds still in tune, euen like a spheare,
A nd yeelds the world sweet pleasure.
R esolue me, Muse, how this thing is,
E uer a body like to this
G aue Heau'n to earthly creature?
I am but fond[177] this doubt to make
N o doubt the angels bodies take,
A bove our common nature.

[Pg 148]


Of the Passions of her Heart.

E xamine not th' inscrutable heart,
L ight Muse of her, though she in part
I mpart it to the subiect;
S earch not, although from Heau'n thou art,
A nd this an heauenly obiect.
B ut since she hath a heart, we know,
E uer some passions thence doe flow,
T hough euer rul'd with Honor;
H er judgment raignes, they waite below,
A nd fixe their eyes vpon her.
R ectified so, they in their kind
E ncrease each vertue of her mind,
G ouern'd with mild tranquilitie;
I n all the regions vnder heau'n,
N o State doth beare it selfe so euen,
A nd with so sweet facilitie.

[Pg 149]


Of the innumerable vertues of her minde.

E re thou proceed in this sweet paines,
L earne Muse how many drops it raines
I n cold and moist December;
S um up May flowres, and August graines,
A nd grapes of mild September.
B eare the Sea's sand in memory,
E arth's grasses, and the starres in skie;
T he little moates which mounted,
H ang, in the beames of Phœbus' eye,
A nd neuer can be counted.
R ecount these numbers numberlesse,[178]
E re thou her vertue canst expresse,
G reat wits this count will, cumber.
I nstruct thy selfe in numbring Schooles;
N ow courtiers vse to begge for fooles,
A ll such as cannot number.

[Pg 150]


Of her Wisdome.

E [a]gle-eyed Wisdome, life's loadstarre,
L ooking neere on things afarre;
I oue's best beloued daughter,
S howes to her spirit all[179] that are,
A s Ioue himselfe hath taught her.
B y this straight rule she rectifies
E ach thought that in [her] heart doth rise:
T his is her cleane true mirror,
H er looking-glasse, wherein she spies
A [ll] forms of Truth and Error.
R ight princely vertue fit to raigne,
E nthroniz'd in her spirit remaine,
G uiding our fortunes euer;
I f we this starre once cease to see,
N o doubt our State will shipwrackt bee,
A nd torne and sunke for euer.

[Pg 151]


Of her Justice.

E xil'd Astræa is come againe,
L o here she doth all things maintaine
I n number, weight, and measure:
S he rules vs with delightfull paine,
A nd we obey with pleasure.
B y Loue she rules more then by Law,
E uen her great mercy breedeth awe;
T his is her sword and scepter:
H erewith she hearts did euer draw,
A nd this guard euer kept her.
R eward doth sit in her right-hand,
E ach vertue thence taks her garland
G ather'd in Honor's garden;
I n her left hand (wherein should be
N ought but the sword) sits Clemency
A nd conquers Vice with pardon.

[Pg 152]


Of her Magnanimitie.

E uen as her State, so is her mind,
L ifted aboue the vulgar kind;
I t treades proud Fortune vnder:
S un-like it sits aboue the wind,
A boue the stormes, and thunder.
B raue spirit, large heart, admiring nought,
E steeming each thing as it ought,
T hat swelleth not, nor shrinketh;
H onour is alwayes in her thought,
A nd of great things she thinketh.
R ocks, pillars, and heauen's axeltree,
E xemplifie her constancy;
G reat changes neuer change her:
I n her sexe, feares are wont to rise,
N ature permits, Vertue denies,
A nd scornes the face of Danger.

[Pg 153]


Of her Moderation.

E mpresse of kingdomes though she be,
L arger is her soueraigntie
I f she her selfe doe gouerne;
S ubiect vnto her self is she,
A nd of her selfe true soueraigne.
B eautie's crowne though she do weare,
E xalted into Fortune's chaire,
T hron'd like the Queene of Pleasure;
H er vertues still possesse her eare,
A nd counsell her to measure.
R eason, if shee incarnate were,
E uen Reason's selfe could neuer beare
G reatnesse with moderation;
I n her one temper still is seene,
N o libertee claimes she as Queene,
A nd showes no alteration.

[Pg 154]


To Enuy.

E nuy, goe weepe; my Muse and I
L augh thee to scorne: thy feeble eye
I s dazeled with the glory
S hining in this gay poesie,
A nd little golden story.
B ehold how my proud quill doth shed
E ternall nectar on her head;
T he pompe of coronation
H ath not such power her fame to spread,
A s this my admiration.
R espect my pen as free and franke
E xpecting not reward nor thanke,
G reat wonder onely moues it;
I never made it mercenary,
N or should my Muse this burthen carrie
A s hyr'd, but that she loues it.


[Pg 155]

[Pg 156]
[Pg 157]



In the Registers of the Stationer's Company, under date 25th June, 1594, a Mr. Harrison entered for copy-right of 'Orchestra' (Notes and Queries 3 S. II., p. 461: Dec. 13, '62): but it was not published till 1596. The following is the original title-page:




Iudicially prooving the
true observation of time and
measure, in the Authenticall
and laudable use of Dauncing.

Ouid. Art. Aman. lib I.
Si vox est, canta: si mollia
brachia, salta
Et quacunque potes dote
placere, place.


Printed by J. Robarts
for N. Ling.


[18mo: pp 46: register A B C of 8 leaves each.]

In the Bodleian copy there is this inscription at top of title-page "Ex dono Wilti. Burdett, amici sui primo die Decembr. 1596 36. E. R."

[Pg 158]

Instead of the after-dedication 'To the Prince' there was the 'Sonnet' to Martin which we have placed before it. The title-page from the edition of 1622 may be added here:—



A Poeme expressing the An-
tiquitie and Excellencie

In a Dialogue betweene Penelope
and one of her Wooers.

Not Finished.


Printed by A. M. for Richard Hawkins.

1622. [8vo.]

With reference to 'Not finished' placed on the later title-page (1622), it is explained by the stanzas restored from the first edition. These shew that the Poet had intended to pursue his subject further; even the hitherto omitted stanzas reading more like a fresh 'invocation' than a 'conclusion.'

Our text, as with 'Nosce Teipsum,' is from the edition of 1622: but compared throughout with above very rare, if not unique, first edition from the Bodleian. At close, by recurrence to the original edition we are able to supply the blanks of all the subsequent editions and reprints. See our Memorial-Introduction, for explanation of the omission: and for Sir John Harington's 'Epigram' on 'Orchestra.' G.

[Pg 159]



To whom shall I this dauncing Poem send,
This suddaine, rash, half-capreol[181] of my wit?
To you, first mouer and sole cause of it,
Mine-owne-selues better halfe, my deerest frend.
O, would you yet my Muse some Honny lend
From your mellifluous tongue, whereon doth sit
Suada in Maiestie, that I may fit
These harsh beginnings with a sweeter end.
You know the modest Sunne full fifteene times
Blushing did rise, and blushing did descend,
While I in making of these ill made rimes,
My golden howers unthriftily did spend:
Yet, if in friendship you these numbers prayse,
I will mispend another fifteene dayes.

[Pg 160]


Sir, whatsoeuer YOV are pleas'd to doo
It is your special praise, that you are bent,
And sadly[183] set your princely mind thereto:
Which makes YOV in each thing so excellent.
Hence is it that YOV came so soon to bee
A man-at-armes in euery point aright;
The fairest flowre of noble chiualrie;
And of Saint George his band, the brauest knight.
And hence it is, that all your youthfull traine
In actiueness and grace, YOV doe excell;
When YOV doe courtly dauncings entertaine
Then Dauncing's praise may be presented well
To YOV, whose action adds more praise thereto,
Then all the Muses with their penns can doo.

[Pg 161]





Where liues the man that neuer yet did heare
Of chaste Penelope, Ulisses' Queene?
Who kept her faith vnspotted twentie yeare,
Till he return'd that farre away had beene,
And many men, and many townes had seen:
Ten yeare at siege of Troy he lingring lay,
And ten yeare in the Mid-land-Sea did stray.


Homer, to whom the Muses did carouse
A great deepe cup with heauenly nectar filld:
The greatest, deepest cup in Ioue's great house,
(For Ioue himselfe had so expresly willd)
He dranke off all, ne let one drop be spilld;
Since when, his braine that had before been drie,
Became the well-spring of all Poetrie.

[Pg 162]


Homer doth tell in his aboundant verse,
The long laborious trauailes of the Man;
And of his lady too he doth reherse,
How shee illudes with all the art she can,
Th' vngratefull loue which other lords began;
For of her lord, false Fame long since had sworn,
That Neptune's monsters had his carkase torne.


All this he tells, but one thing he forgot,
One thing most worthy his eternall song;
But he was old, and blind, and saw it not,
Or else he thought he should Ulisses wrong,
To mingle it his tragike acts among;
Yet was there not in all the world of things,
A sweeter burden for his Muse's wings.


The courtly loue Antinous did make:
Antinous that fresh and iolly knight,
Which of the gallants that did vndertake
To win the widdow, had most wealth and might,
Wit to perswade, and beautie to delight:
The courtly loue he made vnto the Queene,
Homer forgot, as if it had not beene.

[Pg 163]


Sing then Terpischore, my light Muse sing
His gentle art, and cunning curtesie;
You lady can remember euery thing,
For you are daughter of Queene Memorie;
But sing a plaine and easy melodie:
For the soft meane that warbleth but the ground,
To my rude eare doth yeeld the sweetest sound.


One onely night's discourse I can report,
When the great Torch-bearer of Heauen was gone
Downe in a maske vnto the Ocean's Court,
To reuell it with Thetis[184] all alone;
Antinous disguisèd and vnknowne,
Like to the Spring in gaudie ornament,
Vnto the Castle of the Princesse went.


The soueraine Castle of the rockie Ile,
Wherein Penelope the Princesse lay;
Shone with a thousand lamps, which did exile
The shadowes darke,[185] and turn'd the night to day;
Not Ioue's blew tent, what time the sunny ray
[Pg 164] Behind the Bulwarke of the Earth retires,
Is seene to sparkle with more twinckling fires.


That night the Queen came forth from far within,
And in the presence of her Court was seene;
For the sweet singer Phœmius[186] did begin
To praise the worthies that at Troy had beene;
Somewhat of her Ulisses she did weene.
In his graue hymne the heau'nly man would sing,
Or of his warres, or of his wandering.


Pallas that houre with her sweet breath diuine
Inspir'd immortall beautie in her eyes;
That with cælestiall glory shee did shine,
Brighter[187] then Venus when shee doth arise
Out of the waters to adorne the skies;
The Wooers all amazèd doe admire
And checke their owne presumptuous desire.

[Pg 165]


Onely Antinous when at first he view'd
Her starbright eyes, that with new honour shind;
Was not dismayd, but there-with-all renew'd
The noblesse and the splendour of his mind;
And as he did fit circumstances find,
Vnto the throne he boldly gan aduance,
And with faire maners wooed the Queene to dance.


'Goddesse of women, sith your heau'nlinesse
'Hath now vouchsaft it selfe to represent
'To our dim eyes, which though they see the lesse
'Yet are they blest in their astonishment;
'Imitate heau'n, whose beauties excellent
'Are in continuall motion day and night,
'And moue thereby more wonder and delight.


'Let me the moouer be, to turne about
'Those glorious ornaments, that Youth and Loue
'Haue fixed in you, euery part throughout;
'Which if you will in timely measure moue,
'Not all those precious iemms in heau'n aboue,
'Shall yeeld a sight more pleasing to behold,
'With all their turnes and tracings manifold.'

[Pg 166]


With this the modest Princesse blusht and smil'd,
Like to a cleare and rosie euentide,
And softly did returne this answer mild:
'Faire Sir, you needs must fairely be denide
'Where your demaund cannot be satisfide;
'My feet, which onely Nature taught to goe,
'Did neuer yet the art of footing know.


'But why perswade you me to this new rage?
'(For all disorder and misrule is new)
'For such misgouernment in former age,
'Our old diuine Forefathers neuer knew;
'Who if they liu'd, and did the follies view,
'Which their fond nephews make their chiefe affaires,
'Would hate themselues that had begot such heires.'


'Sole heire of Vertue and of Beautie both,
'Whence cometh it (Antinous replies)
'That your imper[i]ous vertue is so loth
'To graunt your beauty her chiefe exercise?
'Or from what spring doth your opinion rise
'That dauncing[188] is a frenzy and a rage,
'First knowne and vs'd in this new-fangled age?

[Pg 167]


'Dauncing[189] (bright Lady) then began to bee,
'When the first seeds whereof the World did spring,
'The fire, ayre, earth, and water—did agree,
'By Loue's perswasion,—Nature's mighty King,—
'To leaue their first disordred combating;
'And in a daunce such measure to obserue,
'As all the world their motion should preserue.


'Since when, they still are carried in a round,
'And changing, come one in another's place;
'Yet doe they neither mingle nor confound,
'But euery one doth keepe the bounded space
'Wherein the Daunce doth bid it turne or trace;
'This wondrous myracle did Loue deuise,
'For Dauncing is Love's proper exercise.


'Like this, he fram'd the gods' eternall Bower,
'And of a shapelesse and confusèd masse,
'By his through-piercing and digesting power,
'The turning vault of heauen formèd was;
'Whose starry wheeles he hath so made to passe,
[Pg 168] 'As that their moouings do a musicke frame,
'And they themselues still daunce vnto the same.


'Or if this All which round about we see,
'(As idle Morpheus some sicke braines hath taught)
'Of vndeuided motes compacted bee:
'How was this goodly Architecture wrought?
'Or by what meanes were they together brought?
'They erre that say they did concurre by chance:
'Loue made them meet in a well-ordered daunce.


'As when Amphion with his charming lire
'Begot so sweet a syren of the ayre;
'That with her Rethorike made the stones conspire
'The ruines of a citie to repaire:
'(A worke of wit and reason's wise affaire)
'So Loue's smooth tongue, the motes such measure taught
'That they ioyn'd hands; and so the world was wrought.


'How iustly then is Dauncing tearmèd new,
'Which with the World in point of time begun?
'Yea Time it selfe, (whose birth Ioue neuer knew,
[Pg 169] 'And which indeed is elder then the sun)[190]
'Had not one moment of his age outrunne,
'When out leapt Dauncing from the heap of things,
'And lightly rode vpon his nimble wings.


'Reason hath both their pictures in her treasure,
'Where Time the measure of all mouing is,
'And Dauncing is a moouing all in measure;
'Now if you doe resemble that to this,
'And thinke both one, I thinke you thinke amis:
'But if you iudge them twins, together got,
'And Time first borne, your iudgement erreth not.


'Thus doth it equall age with age inioy,
'And yet in lustie youth for euer flowers;
'Like loue his sire, whom Paynters make a boy,
'Yet is the eldest of the heau'nly powers;
'Or like his brother Time, whose wingèd howers
'Going and comming will not let him dye,
'But still preserve him in his infancie.'

[Pg 170]


This said; the Queene with her sweet lips diuine,
Gently began to moue the subtile ayre,
Which gladly yeelding, did itselfe incline
To take a shape betweene those rubies fayre;
And being formèd, softly did repayre
With twenty doublings in the emptie way,
Vnto Antinous eares, and thus did say:


'What eye doth see the heau'n, but doth admire
'When it the moouings of the heau'ns doth see?
'My selfe, if I to heau'n may once aspire,
'If that be dauncing, will a Dauncer be;
'But as for this your frantick iollitie
'How it began, or whence you did it learne,
'I neuer could with Reason's eye discerne.


Antinous answered: 'Iewell of the Earth,
'Worthy you are that heau'nly daunce to leade;
'But for you thinke our dauncing base of birth,
'And newly-borne but of a braine-sicke head,
'I will foorthwith his antique gentry read;
[Pg 171] 'And for I loue him, will his herault[191] be,
'And blaze his Armes, and draw his petigree.[192]


'When Loue had shapt this World,—this great faire wight,
'That all wights else in this wide womb containes;
'And had instructed it to daunce aright,[193]
'A thousand measures with a thousand straines,
'Which it should practise with delightfull paines,[194]
'Vntill that fatall instant should reuolue,
'When all to nothing should againe resolue:


'The comely order and proportion faire
'On euery side, did please his wandring eye:
'Till glauncing through the thin transparent ayre,
'A rude disordered rout he did espie
'Of men and women, that most spightfully
'Did one another throng, and crowd so sore,
'That his kind eye in pitty wept therefore.

[Pg 172]


'And swifter then the lightning downe he came,
'Another shapelesse Chaos to digest;
'He will begin another world to frame,
'(For Loue till all be well will neuer rest)
'Then with such words as cannot be exprest,
'He cutts the troups, that all asunder fling,
'And ere they wist, he casts them in a ring.


'Then did he rarifie the element,
'And in the center of the ring appeare;
'The beams that from his forehead spreading[195] went,
'Begot an horrour, and religious feare
'In all the soules that round about him weare;
'Which in their eares attentiueness procures,
'While he, with such like sounds, their minds allures.


'How doth Confusion's mother, headlong Chance,[196]
'Put Reason's noble squadron to the rout?
'Or how should you that haue the gouernance
'Of Nature's children, Heauen and Earth throughout,
'Prescribe them rules, and liue your selues without?
[Pg 173] 'Why should your fellowship a trouble be,
'Since man's chiefe pleasure is societie?


'If sence hath not yet taught you, learne of me
'A comely moderation and discreet;
'That your assemblies may well ordered bee
'When my vniting power shall make you meet,
'With heau'nly tunes it shall be temperèd sweet:
'And be the modell of the World's great frame,
'And you Earth's children, Dauncing shall it name.


'Behold the World, how it is whirled round,
'And for it is so whirl'd, is namèd so;
'In whose large volume many rules are found
'Of this new Art, which it doth fairely show;
'For your quicke eyes in wandring too and fro
'From East to West, on no one thing can glaunce,
'But if you marke it well, it seemes to daunce.


'First[197] you see fixt in this huge mirrour blew,
'Of trembling lights, a number numberlesse:[198]
[Pg 174] 'Fixt they are nam'd, but with a name vntrue,
'For they all mooue[199] and in a Daunce expresse
'That great long yeare, that doth containe no lesse
'Then threescore hundreds of those yeares in all,
'Which the sunne makes with his course naturall.


'What if to you these sparks disordered seeme
'As if by chaunce they had beene scattered there?
'The gods a solemne measure doe it deeme,
'And see a iust proportion euery where,
'And know the points whence first their mouings were;
'To which first points when all returne againe,
'The axel-tree of Heau'n shall breake in twaine.


'Vnder that spangled skye, fiue wandring flames[200]
'Besides the King of Day, and Queene of Night,
'Are wheel'd around, all in their sundry frames,
'And all in sundry measures doe delight,
'Yet altogether keepe no measure right;
[Pg 175] 'For by it selfe each doth it selfe aduance,
'And by it selfe each doth a galliard[201] daunce.


'Venus, the mother of that bastard Loue,
'Which doth vsurpe the World's great Marshal's name,
'Iust with the sunne her dainty feete doth moue,
'And vnto him doth all the iestures frame;
'Now after, now afore, the flattering Dame,
'With diuers cunning passages doth erre,
'Still him respecting that respects not her.


'For that braue Sunne the Father of the Day,
'Doth loue this Earth, the Mother of the Night;
'And like a reuellour in rich aray,
'Doth daunce his galliard in his lemman's sight,
'Both back, and forth, and sidewaies, passing light;
'His princely[202] grace doth so the gods amaze,
'That all stand still and at his beauty gaze.

[Pg 176]


'But see the Earth, when he approcheth neere,
'How she for ioy doth spring and sweetly smile;
'But see againe her sad and heauy cheere
'When changing places he retires a while;
'But those blake[203] cloudes he shortly will exile,
'And make them all before his presence flye,
'As mists consum'd before his cheerefull eye.


'Who doth not see the measures of the Moone,
'Which thirteene times she daunceth euery yeare?
'And ends her pauine[204] thirteene times as soone
'As doth her brother, of whose golden haire[205]
'She borroweth part, and proudly doth it weare;
'Then doth she coyly turne her face aside,
'Then halfe her cheeke is scarse sometimes discride.


'Next her, the pure, subtile, and clensing Fire[206]
'Is swiftly carried in a circle euen;
[Pg 177] 'Though Vulcan be pronounst by many a lyer,
'The only halting god that dwels in heauen:
'But that foule name may be more fitly giuen
'To your false Fire, that farre from heauen is fall:[207]
'And doth consume, waste, spoile, disorder all.


'And now behold your tender nurse the Ayre[208]
'And common neighbour that ay runns around;
'How many pictures and impressions faire
'Within her empty regions are there found;
'Which to your sences Dauncing doe propound.
'For what are Breath, Speech, Ecchos, Musicke, Winds,
'But Dauncings of the Ayre in sundry kinds?


'For when you breath, the ayre in order moues,
'Now in, now out, in time and measure trew;
'And when you speake, so well she dauncing loues,
'That doubling oft, and oft redoubling new,
'With thousand formes she doth her selfe endew
'For all the words that from our lips repaire
'Are nought but tricks and turnings of the ayre.

[Pg 178]


'Hence is her pratling daughter Eccho borne,
'That daunces to all voyces she can heare;
'There is no sound so harsh that shee doth scorne,
'Nor any time wherein shee will forbeare
'The ayrie pauement with her feet to weare;
'And yet her hearing sence is nothing quick,
'For after time she endeth euery trick.


'And thou sweet Musicke, Dauncing's onely life,
'The eare's sole happinesse, the ayre's best speach;
'Loadstone of fellowship, charming-rod of strife,
'The soft mind's Paradice, the sicke mind's leach;
'With thine own tong, thou[209] trees and stons canst teach,
'That when the Aire doth dance her finest measure,
'Then art thou borne, the gods and mens sweet pleasure.


'Lastly, where keepe the Winds their reuelry,
'Their violent turnings, and wild whirling hayes,[210]
'But in the Ayre's tralucent[211] gallery?
[Pg 179] 'Where shee herselfe is turnd a hundreth wayes,
'While with those Maskers wantonly she playes;
'Yet in this misrule, they such rule embrace,
'As two at once encomber not the place.


'If then fire,[212] ayre, wandring and fixed lights
'In euery prouince of the imperiall skie,
'Yeeld perfect formes of dauncing to your sights,
'In vaine I teach the eare, that which the eye
'With certaine view already doth descrie.
'But for your eyes perceiue not all they see,
'In this I will your Senses master bee.


'For loe the Sea[213] that fleets about the Land,
'And like a girdle clips her solide waist,
'Musicke and measure both doth vnderstand;
'For his great chrystall eye is alwayes cast
'Vp to the Moone, and on her fixèd fast;
'And as she daunceth in her pallid spheere,
'So daunceth he about his Center heere.

[Pg 180]


'Sometimes his proud greene waues in order set,
'One after other flow vnto the shore;
'Which, when they haue with many kisses wet,
'They ebbe away in order as before;
'And to make knowne his courtly loue the more,
'He oft doth lay aside his three-forkt mace,
'And with his armes the timorous Earth embrace.


'Onely the Earth doth stand for euer still:
'Her rocks remoue not, nor her mountaines meet:
'(Although some wits enricht with Learning's skill
'Say heau'n stands firme, and that the Earth doth fleet,
'And swiftly turneth vnderneath their feet)
'Yet though the Earth is euer stedfast seene,
'On her broad breast hath Dauncing euer beene.


'For those blew vaines that through her body spred,
'Those saphire streames which from great hils do spring.[214]
'(The Earth's great duggs; for euery wight is fed
'With sweet fresh moisture from them issuing):
'Obserue a daunce in their wilde wandering;
[Pg 181] 'And still their daunce begets a murmur sweet,
'And still the murmur with the daunce doth meet.


'Of all their wayes I love Mæander's path,
'Which to the tunes of dying swans doth daunce;[215]
'Such winding sleights, such turns and tricks he hath,
'Such creeks, such wrenches, and such daliaunce;
'That whether it be hap or heedlesse chaunce,
'In this indented course and wriggling play
'He seemes to daunce a perfect cunning hay.[216]


'But wherefore doe these streames for euer runne?
'To keepe themselues for euer sweet and cleere:
'For let their euerlasting course be donne,
'They straight corrupt and foule with mud appeare.
'O yee sweet Nymphs that beautie's losse do feare,
'Contemne the drugs that Physicke doth deuise,
'And learne of Loue this dainty exercise.

[Pg 182]


'See how those flowres that have sweet beauty too,
'(The onely iewels that the Earth doth weare,[217]
'When the young Sunne in brauery her doth woo):
'As oft as they the whistling wind doe heare,
'Doe waue their tender bodies here and there;
'And though their daunce no perfect measure is,
'Yet oftentimes their musicke makes them kis.


'What makes the vine about the elme to daunce,
'With turnings, windings, and embracements round?
'What makes the loadstone to the North aduance
'His subtile point, as if from thence he found
'His chiefe attractiue vertue to redound?
'Kind Nature first doth cause all things to loue,
'Loue makes them daunce and in iust order moue.


'Harke how the birds doe sing, and marke then how
'Iumpe[218] with the modulation of their layes,
'They lightly leape, and skip from bow to bow:
'Yet doe the cranes deserue a greater prayse
'Which keepe such measure in their ayrie wayes,
[Pg 183] 'As when they all in order rankèd are,
'They make a perfect forme triangular.


'In the chiefe angle flyes the watchfull guid,
'And all the followers their heads doe lay
'On their foregoers backs, on eyther side;
'But for the captaine hath no rest to stay,
'His head forewearied with the windy way,
'He back retires, and then the next behind,
'As his lieuetenaunt leads them through the wind.


'But why relate I euery singular?
'Since all the World's great fortunes and affaires
'Forward and backward rapt and whirled are,
'According to the musicke of the spheares:
'And Chaunge[219] herselfe her nimble feete vpbeares
'On a round slippery wheele that rowleth ay,
'And turnes all States with her imperuous[220] sway.


'Learne then to daunce, you that are Princes borne,
'And lawfull lords of earthly creatures all;
[Pg 184] 'Imitate them, and thereof take no scorne,
'For this new art to them is naturall—
'And imitate the starres cælestiall:
'For when pale Death your vital twist shall seuer,
'Your better parts must daunce, with them for euer.


'Thus Loue perswades, and all the crowd[221] of men
'That stands around, doth make a murmuring;
'As when the wind loosd from his hollow den,
'Among the trees a gentle base[222] doth sing,
'Or as a brooke through peebles wandering;
'But in their looks they vttered this plain speach,
'That they would learn to daunce, if Loue would teach.[223]


'Then first of all he doth demonstrate plaine
'The motions seauen that ar in Nature found,
'Upward and downeward, forth and backe againe,
[Pg 185] 'To this side and to that, and turning round;[224]
'Whereof a thousand brawles he doth compound,
'Which he doth teach vnto the multitude,
'And euer with a turne they must conclude.


'As when a Nimph[225] arysing from the land,
'Leadeth a daunce with her long watery traine
'Down to the Sea; she wries to euery hand,
'And euery way doth crosse the fertile plaine;
'But when at last shee falls into the maine,
'Then all her trauerses concluded are,
'And with the Sea her course is circulare.


'Thus when at first Loue had them marshallèd,
'As earst he did the shapeless masse of things,
'He taught them rounds and winding heyes to tread,
'And about trees to cast themselues in rings:
'As the two Beares, whom the First Mouer flings
'With a short turn about heauen's axeltree,
'In a round daunce for ever wheeling bee.

[Pg 186]


'But after these, as men more ciuell grew,
'He did more graue and solemn measures frame,[226]
'With such faire order and proportion true,[227]
'And correspondence euery way the same,
'That no fault-finding eye did euer blame;
'For euery eye was mouèd at the sight
'With sober wondring, and with sweet delight.


'Not those yong[228] students of the heauenly booke,
'Atlas the great, Promethius the wise,
'Which on the starres did all their life-time looke,
'Could euer finde such measures in the skies,
'So full of change and rare varieties;
'Yet all the feete whereon these measures goe,
'Are only spondeis, solemne, graue and sloe.


'But for more diuers and more pleasing show,
'A swift and wandring daunce she did inuent,
[Pg 187] 'With passages vncertaine to and fro,
'Yet with a certaine answer and consent
'To the quicke musicke of the instrument.[229]
'Fiue was the number of the Musick's feet,
'Which still the daunce did with fiue paces meet.


'A gallant daunce, that lively doth bewray
'A spirit and a vertue masculine;
'Impatient that her house on earth should stay
'Since she her selfe is fiery and diuine;
'Oft doth she make her body vpward fline[230],
'With lofty turnes and capriols[231] in the ayre,
'Which with the lusty tunes accordeth faire.


'What shall I name those currant trauases,[232]
'That on a triple dactile foot doe runne
'Close by the ground with sliding passages,
'Wherein that Dauncer greatest praise hath wonne
'Which with best order can all orders shunne;
[Pg 188] 'For euery where he wantonly must range,
'And turne, and wind, with vnexpected change.


'Yet is there one, the most delightfull kind,
'A loftie iumping, or a leaping round;[233]
'Where arme in arme two dauncers are entwind
'And whirle themselues with strict embracements bound,
'And still their feet an anapest do sound;
'An anapest is all their musick's song,
'Whose first two feet are short, and third is long.


'As the victorious twinnes of Læda and Ioue
'That taught the Spartans dauncing on the sands
'Of swift Eurotas, daunce in heaun aboue,
'Knit and vnited with eternall hands;
'Among the starres their double image stands,
'Where both are carried with an equall pace,
'Together iumping in their turning race.


'This is the net wherein the Sunn's bright eye
'Venus and Mars entangled did behold;
[Pg 189] 'For in this daunce, their armes they so imply[234]
'As each doth seeme the other to enfold;
'What if lewd wits another tale haue told
'Of iealous Vulcan, and of yron chaynes?
'Yet this true sence that forgèd lye containes.


'These various formes of dauncing, Loue did frame
'And beside these, a hundred millions moe;
'And as he did inuent, he taught the same,
'With goodly iesture, and with comly show,
'Now keeping state, now humbly honoring low:
'And euer for the persons and the place
'He taught most fit and best according grace.[235]


'For Loue, within his fertile working braine
'Did[236] then conceiue those gracious Virgins three;
'Whose ciuell moderation does maintaine
'All decent order and conueniencie,
'And faire respect, and seemlie modestie;
[Pg 190] 'And then he thought it fit they should be borne,
'That their sweet presence dauncing might adorne.


'Hence is it that these Graces painted are
'With hand in hand dauncing an endlesse round;
'And with regarding eyes, that still beware
'That there be no disgrace amongst them found;
'With equall foote they beate the flowry ground,
'Laughing, or singing, as their passions will:
'Yet nothing that they doe becomes them ill.


'Thus Loue taught men, and men thus learnd of Loue
'Sweet Musick's sound with feet to counterfaite;
'Which was long time before high thundering Ioue
'Was lifted vp to Heauen's imperiall seat;
'For though by birth he were the Prince of Creete,
'Nor Creet, nor Heau'n should the yong Prince haue seen,
'If dancers with their timbrels had not been.


'Since when all ceremonious misteries,
'All sacred orgies and religious rights,[237]
[Pg 191] 'All pomps, and triumphs, and solemnities,
'All funerals, nuptials, and like publike sights,
'All Parliaments of peace, and warlike fights,
'All learnèd arts, and euery great affaire
'A liuely shape of dauncing seemes to beare.[238]


'For what did he who with his ten-tong'd lute
'Gaue beasts and blocks an vnderstanding eare?
'Or rather into bestiall minds and brute
'Shed and infus'd the beames of reason cleare?
'Doubtlesse for men that rude and sauage were
'A ciuill forme of dauncing he deuis'd,
'Wherewith vnto their gods they sacrifiz'd.


'So did Musæus, so Amphion did,
'And Linus with his sweet enchanting song;
'And he whose hand the Earth of monsters rid,
'And had men's eares fast chaynèd to his tongue
'And Theseus to his wood-borne slaues among,
'Vs'd dauncing as the finest policie
'To plant religion and societie.

[Pg 192]


'And therefore now the Thracian Orpheus lire
'And Hercules him selfe are stellified;[239]
'And in high heau'n amidst the starry quire,
'Dauncing their parts continually doe slide;
'So on the Zodiake Ganimed doth ride,
'And so is Hebe with the Muses nine
'For pleasing Ioue with dauncing, made diuine.


'Wherefore was Proteus sayd himselfe to change
'Into a streame, a lyon, and a tree;
'And many other formes fantastique, strange,
'As in his fickle thought he wisht to be?
'But that he daunc'd with such facilitie,
'As like a lyon he could pace with pride,
'Ply like a plant, and like a riuer slide.


'And how was Cæneus[240] made at first a man,
'And then a woman, then a man againe,
[Pg 193] 'But in a daunce? which when he first began
'Hee the man's part in measure did sustaine:
'But when he chang'd into a second straine,
'He daunc'd the woman's part another space,
'And then return'd into his former place.


'Hence sprang the fable of Tiresias,
'That he the pleasure of both sexes tryde;
'For in a daunce he man and woman was
'By often chaunge of place from side to side;
'But for the woman easily did slide
'And smoothly swim with cunning hidden art,
'He tooke more pleasure in a woman's part.


'So to a fish Venus herselfe did change,[241]
'And swimming through the soft and yeelding waue,
'With gentle motions did so smoothly range,
'As none might see where she the water draue;
'But this plaine truth that falsèd fable gaue,
'That she did daunce with slyding easines,
'Plyant and quick in wandring passages.

[Pg 194]


'And merry Bacchus practis'd dauncing to[o],
'And to the Lydian numbers,[242] rounds did make:
'The like he did in th' Easterne India doo,
'And taught them all when Phœbus did awake,
'And when at night he did his coach[243] forsake:
'To honor heaun, and heau'ns great roling eye
'With turning daunces, and with melodie.


'Thus they who first did found a Common-weale,
'And they who first Religion did ordaine,
'By dauncing, first the peoples hearts did steale:
'Of whom we now a thousand tales doe faine;
'Yet doe we now their perfect rules retaine
'And vse them stil in such deuises new,
'As in the World, long since their withering, grew.


'For after townes and kingdomes founded were,
'Betweene greate States arose well-ordered War;
'Wherein most perfect measure doth appeare,
'Whether their well-set rankes respected are
'In quadrant forme or semicircular:
[Pg 195] 'Or else the march, when all the troups aduance,
'And to the drum, in gallant order daunce.


'And after Warrs, when white-wing'd Victory
'Is with a glorious tryumph beautified,
'And euery one doth Io Io cry,
'Whiles all in gold the conquerour doth ride;
'The solemne pompe that fils the Citty wide
'Obserues such ranke and measure euerywhere,
'As if they altogether dauncing were.


'The like iust order mourners doe obserue,
'(But with vnlike affection and atire)
'When some great man that nobly did deserue,
'And whom his friends impatiently desire,
'Is brought with honour to his latest fire:[244]
'The dead corps too in that sad daunce is mou'd
'As if both dead and liuing, dauncing lou'd.


'A diuers cause, but like solemnitie
'Vnto the Temple leads the bashfull bride:
'Which blusheth like the Indian iuory
[Pg 196] 'Which is with dip of Tyrian purple died;
'A golden troope doth passe on euery side,
'Of flourishing young men and virgins gay,
'Which keepe faire measure all the flowry way.


'And not alone the generall multitude,
'But those choise Nestors which in councell graue
'Of citties, and of kingdomes doe conclude,
'Most comly order in their sessions haue;
'Wherefore the wise Thessalians euer gaue
'The name of leader of their Countrie's daunce
'To him that had their Countrie's gouernance.


'And those great masters of their liberall arts,
'In all their seurall Schooles doe Dauncing teach:
'For humble Grammer first doth set the parts
'Of congruent and well-according speach;
'Which Rethorike, whose state the clouds doth reach,
'And heau'nly Poetry, doe forward lead,
'And diuers measures diuersly doe tread.


'For Rhetorick, clothing speech in rich aray
'In looser numbers teacheth her to range,
'With twenty tropes, and turnings euery way,
[Pg 197] 'And various figures and licencious change;
'But Poetry with rule and order strange,
'So curiously doth moue each single pace,
'As all is mard if she one foot misplace.


'These Arts of speach, the guids and marshals are;
'But Logick leadeth Reason in a daunce:
'(Reason the cynosure and bright load-star,
'In this World's sea t' auoid the rock of Chaunce.)
'For with close following and continuance
'One reason doth another so ensue,[245]
'As in conclusion still the daunce is true.


'So Musicke to her owne sweet tunes doth trip
'With tricks of 3, 5, 8, 15, and more;
'So doth the Art of Numbering seeme to skip
'From eu'n to odd in her proportion'd score;
'So doe those skils, whose quick eyes doe explore
'The iust dimension both of Earth and Heau'n,
'In all their rules obserue a measure eu'n.


'Loe this is Dauncing's true nobilitie,
'Dauncing, the child of Musicke and of Loue;
[Pg 198] 'Dauncing it selfe, both loue and harmony,
'Where all agree, and all in order moue;
'Dauncing, the Art that all Arts doe approue;
'The faire caracter of the World's consent,
'The Heau'ns true figure and th' Earth's ornament.


The Queene, whose dainty eares had borne too long,
The tedious praise of that she did despise;
Adding once more the musicke of the tongue
To the sweet speech of her alluring eyes,
Began to answer in such winning wise,
As that forthwith Antinous' tongu[e] was tyde,
His eyes fast fixt, his eares were open wide.


'Forsooth (quoth she) great glory you haue won,
'To your trim minion, Dauncing, all this while,
'By blazing him Loue's first begotten sonne;
'Of euery ill the hateful father vile
'That doth the world with sorceries beguile;
'Cunningly mad, religiously prophane,
'Wit's monster, Reason's canker, Sence's bane.


'Loue taught the mother that vnkinde desire
'To wash her hands in her owne infant's blood;
[Pg 199] 'Loue taught the daughter to betray her sire
'Into most base vnworthy seruitude;
'Loue taught the brother to prepare such foode
'To feast his brothers that the all-seeing sun
'Wrapt in a clowd, that wicked sight did shun.[246]


'And euen this self same Loue hath dauncing taught,
'An Art that showes th' Idea of his minde
'With vainesse, frenzie, and misorder fraught;
'Sometimes with blood and cruelties vnkinde:
'For in a daunce, Tereus' mad wife did finde
'Fit time and place by murther[247] of her sonne,
'T' auenge the wrong his trayterous sire had done.


'What meane the mermayds when they daunce and sing
'But certaine death vnto the marriner?
'What tydings doe the dauncing dilphins[248] bring,
'But that some dangerous storme approcheth nere?
'Then sith both Loue and Dauncing lyueries beare
[Pg 200] 'Of such ill hap, vnhappy may I[249] proue,
'If sitting free I either daunce or loue.'


Yet once again Antinous did reply;
'Great Queen, condemne not Loue[250] the innocent,
'For this mischeuous lust, which traterously
'Vsurps his name, and steales his ornament:
'For that true Loue which Dauncing did inuent,
'Is he that tun'd the World's whole harmony,
'And linkt all men in sweet societie.


'He first extracted from th' earth-mingled mind
'That heau'nly fire, or quintessence diuine,
'Which doth such simpathy in beauty find,
'As is betweene the elme and fruitful vine,
'And so to beauty euer doth encline;
'Life's[251] life it is, and cordiall to the heart,
'And of our better part, the better part.

[Pg 201]


'This is true Loue, by that true Cupid got,
'Which daunceth galliards in your amorous eyes,
'But to your frozen hart approcheth not—
'Onely your hart he dares not enterprise;
'And yet through euery other part he flyes,
'And euery where he nimbly daunceth now,
'Though[252] in your selfe, your selfe perceiue not how.


'For your sweet beauty daintily transfus'd
'With due proportion throughout euery part;
'What is it but a daunce where Loue hath vs'd
'His finer cunning, and more curious art?
'Where all the elements themselues impart,
'And turne, and wind, and mingle with such measure,
'That th' eye that sees it surfeits with the pleasure?


'Loue in the twinckling of your eylids daunceth,
'Loue daunceth in your pulses and your vaines,
'Loue when you sow, your needle's point aduanceth
'And makes it daunce a thousand curious straines
'Of winding rounds, whereof the forme remaines;
[Pg 202] 'To shew, that your faire hands can daunce the hey,
'Which your fine feet would learne as well as they.


'And when your iuory fingers touch the strings
'Of any siluer-sounding instrument;
'Loue makes them daunce to those sweete murmerings,
'With busie skill, and cunning excellent;
'O that your feet those tunes would represent
'With artificiall motions to and fro,
'That Loue this art in ev'ry part might sho[w]e!


'Yet your faire soule, which came from heau'n aboue
'To rule thys house,—another heau'n below,—
'With diuers powers in harmony doth moue,
'And all the vertues that from her doe flow,
'In a round measure hand in hand doe goe:
'Could I now see, as I conceiue thys Daunce,
'Wonder and Loue would cast me in a traunce.


'The richest iewell in all the heau'nly treasure
'That euer yet vnto the Earth was showne,
'Is perfect Concord, th' onely perfect pleasure[253]
[Pg 203] 'That wretched earth-borne men haue euer knowne,
'For many harts it doth compound in one;
'That when so one doth will, or speake, or doe,
'With one consent they all agree thereto.


'Concord's true picture shineth in this art,
'Where diuers men and women rankèd be,
'And euery one doth daunce a seuerall part,
'Yet all as one, in measure doe agree,
'Obseruing perfect vniformitie;
'All turne together, all together trace,
'And all together honour and embrace.


'If they whom sacred Loue hath link't in one,
'Doe as they daunce, in all their course of life,
'Neuer shall burning griefe nor bitter mone,
'Nor factious difference, nor vnkind strife,
'Arise betwixt the husband and the wife;
'For whether forth or bake[254] or round he goe
As the man doth, so must the woman doe.

[Pg 204]


'What if by often enterchange of place
'Sometime the woman gets the vpper hand?
'That is but done for more delightfull grace,
'For one[255] that part shee doth not euer stand;
'But, as the measure's law doth her command,
'Shee wheeles about, and ere the daunce doth end,
'Into her former place shee doth transcend.


'But not alone this correspondence meet
'And vniform consent doth dauncing praise;
'For Comlines the child of order sweet,[2]
'Enamels it with her eye-pleasing raies;
'Fair Comlines, ten hundred thousand waies,
'Through dauncing shedds it selfe, and makes shine
'With glorious beauty, and with grace diuine.


'For Comliness is a disposing faire
'Of things and actions in fit time and place;
'Which doth in dauncing shew it selfe most cleere,
'When troopes confus'd, which here and there doe trace
'Without distinguishment or bounded space:
[Pg 205] 'By dauncing's rule, into such ranks are brought,
'As glads the eye, as rauisheth the thought.


'Then why should Reason iudge that reasonles
'Which is wit's ofspring, and the worke of art,
'Image of concord and of comlines?
'Who sees a clock mouing in euery part,
'A sayling pinnesse,[256] or a wheeling cart;
'But thinks that Reason, ere it came to passe
'The first impulsiue cause and mouer was?


'Who sees an Armie all in ranke aduance,
'But deemes a wise Commaunder is in place,
'Which leadeth on that braue victorious daunce?
'Much more in Dauncing's Art, in Dauncing's grace,
'Blindnes it selfe may Reason's footstep trace;
'For of Loue's maze it is the curious plot,
'And of Man's fellowship the true-love knot.


'But if these eyes of yours, (load-starrs of Loue,
'Shewing the World's great daunce to your mind's eye!)
[Pg 206] 'Cannot with all their demonstrations moue
'Kinde apprehension in your fantasie,
'Of Dauncing's vertue, and nobilitie;
'How can my barbarous tongue win you there to,
'Which Heau'n and Earth's faire speech could neuer do?


'O Loue my king: if all my wit and power
'Haue done you all the seruice that they can,
'O be you present in this present hower,
'And help your seruant and your true Leige-man
'End that perswasion which I earst began;
'For who in praise of Dauncing can perswade
'With such sweet force as Loue, which Dancing made?


Loue heard his prayer, and swifter then the wind,
Like to a page, in habit, face, and speech,
He came, and stood Antinous behind,
And many secrets to his thoughts did teach;[257]
At last a christall mirrour he did reach
Vnto his hands, that he with one rash view,
All formes therein by Loue's reuealing knew.

[Pg 207]


And humbly honouring, gaue it to the Queene
With this faire speech: 'See fairest Queene (quoth he)
'The fairest sight that euer shall be seene,
'And th' onely wonder of posteritie,
'The richest worke in Nature's treasury;
'Which she disdaines to shew on this World's stage,
'And thinkes it far too good for our rude age.


'But in another World diuided far:
'In the great, fortunate, triangled Ile,
'Thrise twelue degrees remou'd from the North star,
'She will this glorious workemanship compile;
'Which she hath beene conceiuing all this while
'Since the World's birth, and will bring forth at last,
'When sixe and twenty hundred yeares are past.'


Penelope, the Queene, when she had view'd
The strang eye-dazeling, admirable sight,
Faine would have praisd the state and pulchritude,
But she was stricken dumbe with wonder quite,
Yet her sweet minde retain'd her thinking might;
Her rauisht minde in heaunly thoughts did dwel,
But what she thought, no mortall tongue can tel.

[Pg 208]


You lady Muse, whom Ioue the Counsellour
Begot of Memorie, Wisdom's treasuresse;
To your diuining tongue is giuen a power
Of vttering secrets large and limitlesse:
You can Penelope's strange thoughts expresse
Which she conceiu'd, and then would faine haue told,
When shee the wond'rous christall did behold.


Her wingèd thoughts bore vp her minde so hie,
As that she weend shee saw the glorious throne
Where the bright moone doth sit in maiesty:
A thousand sparkling starres about her shone,
But she herselfe did sparkle more alone
Then all those thousand beauties would haue done
If they had been confounded all in one.


And yet she thought those stars mou'd in such measure.
To do their soueraigne honor and delight,
As sooth'd her minde, with sweet enchanting plesure,
Although the various change amaz'd her sight,
And her weake iudgement did entangle quite;
Beside, their mouing made them shine more cleare,
As diamonds mou'd more sparkling do appeare.

[Pg 209]


This was the picture of her wondrous thought;
But who can wonder that her thought was so,
Sith Vulcan king of fire that mirror wrought,
(Who things to come, present, and past, doth know)
And there did represent in liuely show
Our glorious English Courts diuine image,
As it should be in this our Golden Age.

Here are wanting some Stanzaes describing Queene Elizabeth. Then follow these.


Her brighter dazeling beames of maiestie
Were laid aside, for she vouchsaft awhile
With gracious, cheerefull, and familiar eye
Vpon the reuels of her Court to smile;
For so Time's Iourneis she doth oft beguile:
Like sight no mortall eye might elsewhere see,
So full of State, Art, and varietie.

[Pg 210]


For of her barons braue, and ladies faire,—
Who had they been elsewhere, most faire had been;
Many an incomparable louely payre,
With hand in hand were interlinkèd seene,
Making faire honour to their soueraigne Queene;
Forward they pac'd, and did their pace apply
To a most sweet and solemne melody.


So subtile and curious was the measure,
With such[258] vnlookt for chaunge in euery straine;
As that Penelope rapt with sweet pleasure,
Weend[259] shee beheld the true proportion plaine
Of her owne webb, weaud and unweaud againe;
But that her art was somewhat lesse she thought,
And on a meere ignoble subiect wrought.


For here like to the silkeworme's industry,
Beauty it selfe out of it selfe did weaue
So rare a worke, and of such subtilty,
As did all eyes entangle and deceiue,
And in all mindes a strange impression leaue;
[Pg 211] In this sweet laborinth did Cupid stray,
And neuer had the power to passe away.


As when the Indians, neighbours of the morning,
In honour of the cheerefull rising sunne;
With pearle and painted plumes themselues adorning,
A solemne stately measure haue begun;
The god well pleasd with that faire honour done,
Sheds foorth his beames, and doth their faces kis
With that immortal glorious face of his.


So, &c., &c. *    *    *

Such is 'Orchestra' as given by the Author in 1622: but in the first edition (1596) no fewer than five omitted stanzas are found. They here follow.


Away, Terpsechore, light Muse away!
And come Vranie, prophetese diuine;
Come, Muse of heau'n, my burning thirst allay:
Euen now for want of sacred drinke I tine:
In heau'nly moysture dip thys pen of mine,
[Pg 212] And let my mouth with nectar ouerflow,
For I must more then mortall glory show.


O, that I had Homer's aboundant vaine,
I would hierof another Ilias make:
Or els the man of Mantua's[260] charmèd braine,
In whose large throat great Joue the thunder spake.
O that I could old Gefferie's[261] Muse awake,
Or borrow Colin's[262] fayre heroike stile,
Or smooth my rimes with Delia's servants file.[263]


O, could I, sweet Companion, sing like you,
Which, of a shadow, under a shadow sing;[264]
Or, like Salue's sad lover true,
Or like the Bay, the Marigold's darling,[265]
Whose suddaine verse Loue covers with his wing:
O that your braines were mingled all with mine,
T' inlarge my wit for this great worke diuine!

[Pg 213]


Yet, Astrophell might one for all suffize,
Whose supple Muse Camelion-like doth change
Into all formes of excellent deuise:
So might the Swallow,[266] whose swift Muse doth range
Through rare Idæas, and inuentions strange,
And euer doth enioy her ioyfull Spring,
And sweeter then the Nightingale doth sing.


O that I might that singing Swallow heare,
To whom I owe my seruice and my loue!
His sugred tunes would so enchant mine eare,
And in my mind such sacred fury moue,
As I should knock at Heau'ns gate aboue,
With my proude rimes, while of this heau'nly state
I doe aspire the shadow to relate.[267]


[Pg 214]
[Pg 215]

Uniform with the present volume.


Edited, with Introductions and copious Notes, by the Rev A. B. Grosart. Elegantly printed on fine paper, Crown 8vo., Cloth, 6s. per volume.

Large Paper Copies, only 50 printed.

"Mr. Grosart has spent the most laborious and the most enthusiastic care on the perfect restoration and preservation of the text; and it is very unlikely that any other edition of the poet can ever be called for.... From Mr. Grosart we always expect and always receive the final results of most patient and competent scholarship."—Examiner.

I. FLETCHER'S (GILES B. D.) COMPLETE POEMS, Christ's Victorie in Heaven, Christ's Victorie on Earth, Christ's Triumph over Death, and Minor Poems, with Memorial-Introduction and Notes.

II. DAVIES' (SIR JOHN) COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS, including Psalms I. to L. in Verse, and other hitherto unpublished MSS., for the first time collected and edited, with Memorial-Introduction and Notes, 2 volumes.

III. HERRICK'S (ROBERT) HESPERIDES, NOBLE NUMBERS, and complete Collected Poems, with Notes, Introductory Memoir, and facsimile Portrait, Index of First Lines and Glossary, 3 volumes. [In the press.

IV. SIDNEY'S (SIR PHILIP) COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS, including the Songs and Sonnets, Astrophel and Stella, the May Lady, &c., &c., with Memorial-Introduction and copious notes. [In preparation.

V. DONNE'S (JOHN) COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS, including the Poems on Several Occasions, the Satyrs, Polydoran, &c., &c., with Introductory Memoir and copious Explanatory Notes. [In preparation.

Other volumes are in active preparation.



[1] Through B. H. Beedham, Esq., as before, I have many details on the two contemporary Sir John Davieses from Sir Bernard Burke Ulster King at Arms, &c., &c., and J. N. C. Atkinson Davis, Esqr., Dublin; and the same acknowledgment has to be made on many points in the Life.

[2] Carte Papers, folios 330-334: Vol. XII. The particular MS. is headed "Notes of the life of Sr John Dauys. May 2d. 1674." These Notes are not very accurate. To begin with, the father's name is mistakenly given as Edward instead of John.

[3] In MS. F 4, 18, Trinity College, Dublin, the same origin is given, but the place beyond ... 'wyn' is illegible in both.

[4] Hoare's Wilts. gives many names; but his pedigrees are rarely trustworthy; as a rule, are exceedingly untrustworthy.

[5] The MSS. of note supra.

[6] Wilts., as before, on Davies, Vol. IV. part I., p. 136; on Bennetts, Vol. III., part II., p. 107.

[7] Lives of Eminent Serjeants, 2 vols., 8vo. (1869). By H. William Woolrych, Sergeant-at-Law: Vol. I., p. 187. Considerable industry is shown in this work, but it literally swarms with blunders.

[8] In the fuller Life to be prefixed to the Prose Works, I hope to furnish more details.

[9] In the same I intend to give account of these Registers, and the many Davies entries, &c.

[10] From the original books, as supra. See Pearce's Inns of Court, p. 293, where it is stated that the elder Davies was a legal practitioner in Wilts.

[11] There is a copy at Lambeth.

[12] There is a copy in the Bodleian.

[13] See Woolrych, as before, and the authorities therein given. At the end of Thomas Coriate's "Traveller for the English Wits," W. Jaggard, 1616 (4to), is a list of his acquaintances, to whom he desires "the commendations of my dutiful respects." Among them occurs "Mr. Richard Martin, Counsellor."

[14] Lord Stowell wrote an elaborate Paper on the whole matter, and the restoration of Davies. It appeared in "Archæologia," Vol. XXI. I propose to write the narrative in extenso in my fuller Life, as before.

[15] Lord Stowell, as before.

[16] Vol. I., pp. 115-116, "Nosce Teipsum."

[17] See Vol. I., pp. 9-11. The date 1592, sometimes (modernly) appended to the dedication of "Nosce Teipsum," has no authority, and is in contradiction with all the known facts and circumstances. Equally erroneous and misleading is the ultra-rhetorically given chronology in "Court and Society from Elizabeth to Anne," (2 Vols., 8vo., 1864), which bears the name of the present Duke of Manchester, as thus:—"This Templar ... who wrote a noble work on the immortality of the soul in the very hey-day of his young blood, who afterwards became famous for his gravity as a judge, his wisdom as a politician, and his soundness as a statesman, terminated his literary career as the author of a poem in praise of dancing," (Vol. I., p. 289). This is precisely the reverse of the fact. In his earlier hot-blooded days he threw off his gay and self-named "light" verses. In an interval of penitent self-inspection and worthier aspiration, he wrote "Nosce Teipsum," and he followed this up by ever-deepened grave, wise and weighty (prose) books. It is a pity (perhaps) to spoil your brilliant bits of antithetic scandal; and more pity that they should be hazarded for inevitable spoiling. Or put it in another way: it is too bad to have your cook serving up the Roast Beef of Old England as if it were strawberries (and cream). One need not use severer terms, knowing the ducal editorship is a blind. Campbell in his "Specimens," preceded in the blundering.

[18] In Memorial-Introduction to Poems, as before, pp. 15-21.

[19] See Vol. II., pp. 72-86.

[20] Ibid, pp. 87-95. See on this in second division of this Memorial-Introduction: Postscript.

[21] See Lord Stowell's Paper, in Archælogia, Vol. XXI., pp. 107-112, and our fuller Life, as before.

[22] See Prose Works, as before, Vol. II. With reference to the Lines to the Lord Chancellor on the death of his "second wife" (Vol. I. pp. 112-3) it may be noted that he married (1) Elizabeth, d. of Thomas Ravenscroft of Bretton, co. Flint, Esq., (2) Elizabeth, sister of Sir George More of Loseley co. Surrey, Kt., and widow of Sir John Wolley of Pirford, Surrey, Kt., and before him of Richard Polsted, Esq., of Aldbury, co. Surrey. Her second husband Sir John Wolley (sometimes spelled Wooley) died in February or March 1595-6 and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. She appears to have remarried (viz. the Lord Chancellor) in the same year: so that she did not live long thereafter; for she died on 20th January 1599-1600 and was buried with her second husband. The Lord Chancellor was in profound grief (as the Lines of Davies confirm); but he got over it sufficiently to marry (3) Alice, d. of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe co. Northampton, Kt., and widow of Ferdinando, 5th Earl of Derby, on 21st October of the same year (1599-1600) exactly nine months after the death of his (lamented) second wife. She survived the Lord Chancellor until 26th January 1636-7 and was buried at Harefield, co. Middlesex. Of Ellesmere himself these data may be given: Sir Thomas Egerton was created Lord Ellesmere 21 July 1603, upon his appointment as Lord High Chancellor of England. He was further created Viscount Brackley 7th Nov. 1616, and was about being made Earl of Bridgewater when he died 15th March 1616-7. His son John was so created 27th May 1617.

[23] Vol. I., pp. 12-13.

[24] The Carte "Notes," as before, make Davies go to the Scottish Court on the birth of Prince Henry; but this is an obvious mistake: and yet it is noticeable that among the hitherto unpublished poems is one to the King, wherein contemporary allusion is made to his Majesty's visit to Denmark for his Queen.

[25] Wood, as before, ii., p. 401.

[26] See my edition of Sir Philip Sidney, being prepared for reproduction from the Fuller Worthies' Library in the present Series.

[27] Sir Bernard Burke and J. N. C. Atkins Davis, Esq., communications through Mr. Beedham, as before.

[28] See Smith's Law Officers of Ireland, s.n. The Patent of 29th May, 1609, I propose to give in extenso in the Life, as before. It is extremely interesting.

[29] As Sergeant-at-Law he ought to have been resident in London, but the King gave him "dispensation" that he might return to Ireland.

[30] Carte MSS. ff. 315-6.

[31] Carte, as before, Vol. 62, ff. 313-14.

[32] See Life to be prefixed to Prose Works for quotations from her writings in verse and prose, and for further details.

[33] See Prose, Vol. II.

[34] See fuller Life, as before, for a complete narrative from contemporary documents.

[35] Ibid, Vol. III.

[36] Willis's Nat. Parl., Vol. III., p. 173.

[37] In the Life, as before, will be given full details of the Grants, with a curious paper of his daughter long afterwards making inquiries as to what had become of the Irish estates, &c., &c.

[38] It will be observed that in the Letter Sir John does not name the gentleman he wishes to succeed him. It was no doubt Sir William Ryves, who actually was appointed. The "neere alliance" was through the family of Mervyn, and is shown in the following details drawn up for me by Mr. B. H. Beedham, from information communicated by Mr. J. N. C. Davis, as before:

George Touchet,
Earl of Castlehaven
Lucy, d. of Sir James Mervyn,
Fonthill, Wilts.
3   2
Sir John Davies Lady Eleanor Touchet Edward Davys
Joan Cave
  Matthew Davys
b. 1595 ob. 1678.
    Ann d. of Edward Mervyn of Fonthill,
ob. 8th Nov. 1657.
John Ryves of Daunsey Court Elizabeth d. of John Mervyn
(several children)
6   8th son.
Sir William Ryves settled in Ireland; had numerous appointments, and made large purchases of estates; Attorney General.   Sir Thomas Ryves, Master in Chancery: Judge of the Prerogative Court there.  

[39] No. 245. For a notice of the collection from which the above Letter is for the first time printed, see Preface to "The Fortescue Papers ... Edited ... by Samuel R. Gardiner, for the Camden Society (1871). My friend Mr. Gardiner must have overlooked Davies's important letter.

[40] By inadvertence the Patent describes Sir John Davies as "deceased." Unless used as = departed (from Ireland), or = having ceased to fill the office, it is a singular oversight.

[41] In the Life, as before, his appearances in Parliament will be noted and illustrated.

[42] Woolrych, as before, splits the one work into several, and mistakes MSS. of it for distinct works. Vol. I., pp. 209-10.

[43] Vol. III., pp. 1-116.

[44] In the fuller Life, as before.

[45] Pearce's "Inns of Court," p. 293.

[46] See Stow's "Environs of London," by Strype, Book VI., p. 72. But our text of the Inscriptions is from the Carte MSS. Dr. E. F. Rimbault's MS. in the autograph of John Le Neve, as published in Notes and Queries, 1st series, Vol. V., p. 331, is inexplicably imperfect and blundering.

[47] His Prose is of no common order; and will be critically examined in the fuller Life, along with his Prose Works in the Fuller Worthies' Library, as before.

[48] Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th Centuries: Vol. II., p. 227, edn. 1860.

[49] A Compendious History of English Literature, &c., Vol. I., p. 577, edn. 1866.

[50] To Southey's praise be it remembered, that he was the first emphatically to regret that there had been no collective edition of Sir John Davies's Works, as thus: "It may be regretted that he did not leave representatives who would have thought it a duty and an honour to publish all that could be collected of his writings; thus erecting the best and most enduring monument to his memory." (British Poets: Chaucer to Jonson: p. 686). Our edition of his Prose and Verse fulfils Southey's wish.

[51] Ashmore (J). Certain Selected Odes of Horace Englished, with Poems of divers Subiects translated. Whereunto are added, both in Latin and English, sundry new Epigrammes, Anagrammes, Epitaphes. 1621 sm. 4o. As this Volume is seldom to be met with, I take the opportunity of adding here the Anagram to Bacon, which does not appear to have been known to his Editors or Biographers.

To the Right Honourable, Sir Francis Bacone, Knight, Lord High Chancelor of England.

{ Beacon
Thy Vertuous Name and Office, joyne with Fate,
To make thee the bright Beacon of the State.

I just observe, as my book passes through the Press, that Anthony a-Wood quotes (probably) above, without naming the author.

[52] See my edition of Sidney, Vol. I.

[53] As for much more I am indebted to Dr. Brinsley Nicholson (as before) for most of the details of the above statement. He has likewise favoured me with these additional illustrations of a refrain in the introduction to the "Lottery." In the Queen's Entertainment at Cawdray (Lord Montacute's), in 1591, an angler says, "Madame, it is an olde saying, There is no fishing to the sea nor service to the King: but it holdes when the sea is calme and the King vertuous" (Nichols' Progresses). Greene also uses it in his James IV., when the schemer who has gained by flattering the King, says (I. 2)

"Now may I say as many often sing,
No fishing to the sea nor service to a King."

See Note to the "Lottery," Vol. II., p. 88. It was surely an error of judgment of the late Mr. John Bruce, in reproducing Manningham's "Diary," to leave out the "Lottery," and related entries, on the weak plea that the former had been printed in Shakespeare and Percy Society publications. It may be here mentioned that Manningham, in giving some of the "Lottery" verses, writes on a leaf which is followed by one of the date of 1601; but as Mr. Collier remarks, either the leaves of the Diary got misplaced, or else he was in the habit of using up at after times leaves that he had left blank. Further: Chamberlain, in a letter of October 2, 1602, mentions the visit to the Lord Keeper's at Harefield as part of the late "Progress." The original M.S. of the Entertainment belonged to Sir Roger Newdegate, but is now missing. Finally: I over-looked to annotate in loco in the "Entertainment" itself, that as the Dairy house was to the left while the "House" (of Harefield) was to the right, the Dairymaid ridicules the idea of the Bailiff taking such a party to what she calls a Pigeon house for its size, and which was moreover at that moment in the carpenters' hands. In effect the Queen had to be separated from at least the greater part of her suite.

[54] See my edition of his Complete Poems for the Roxburghe Club.

[55] Spreds in 1st edn. G.

[56] Thomas Davies, as before, misprints 'thro.' G.

[57] Bp. Hacket writes 'Deus' against 'Spirit': but perhaps the Queen only was (flatteringly) intended, as her poetic name of Cynthia would seem to indicate. This word 'Spirit' is misprinted by Thomas Davies and by Southey and usually, 'spring'. G.

[58] Misprinted by Davies and Southey, as before, 'join'd'. G.

[59] Davies and Southey misread

'And influence of such celestial kind'

which I find supported by none of the author's own texts. G.

[60] Davies and Southey, as before, misread 'Her Maiesty's Devoted Subject and Servant' from Tate (1697). See our Memorial-Introduction. G.

[61] In 1599 edition 'Dauies,' and in 1608 edition 'Davis' and also in its title-page: in 1622 edition, as above. G.

Tate, and after him Thomas Davies, dates this Dedication 'July 11th, 1592.' It is possible that the 'Poem' was then in manuscript: but it was not printed or published until 1599, and there is no date to the Dedication either in that edition or in those of 1602, 1608 or 1622. G.

[62] On this MS. of Nosce Teipsum see our Preface. G.

[63] Misprinted 'and' in 1st edition and in 1608. G.

[64] 'God' in 1st edition. G.

[65] Foolish. G.

[66] In 1st edition 'Thief' is misprinted 'shie' and Bp. Hacket writes here: 'Prometheus stole fire: qui in tulit in terram malum.' G.

[67] Fable in Æsop [Babrius]. G.

[68] Ixion. G.

[69] Danaides. G.

[70] Painstaking. G.

[71] Phaethon. Hacket.

[72] Icarus. Hacket.

[73] Anima tanquam tabula, Aris[totle]. Hacket.

[74] 'One' in 1599 and 1608 editions. G.

[75] 'Mortal' in 1599 and 1608 editions. G.

[76] Misprinted 'here' but corrected in the errata of 1622 edition, as above, from 1599 and 1608 editions. G.

[77] Oraculum Appollinis [f]uit Diabolicum. Hacket.

[78] Thomas Davies, as before, misprints 'each' G.

[79] Misprinted 'It is': corrected by H... G.

[80] Io. G.

[81] In 1599 and 1608 more accurately 'sprites'. G.

[82] Davies and Southey substitute 'the mind'. G.

[83] Davies and Southey, as before, mis-substitute 'pry.' G.

[84] An overlooked misprint here is 'seas': found in all the author's own editions, and repeated until now, e.g. by Thomas Davies and Southey, as before. G.

[85] Bounds: as in Race-courses. G.

[86] Thoms Davies, as before, mis-reads 'will'. G.

[87] 'Sense' in 1st edn. G.

[88] Davies and Southey misprint egregiously 'river.' G.

[89] Laymen. G.

[90] Dew: and so spelled also by the Fletchers and other contemporaries. G.

[91] Painstaking. G.

[92] Misprinted 'act' in the 1st edn. G.

[93] In 1st edition 'she thus doth.' G.

[94] Q. Eliz[abeth]. H. [Davies and Southey, as before, substitute 'a prudent emperor.' G.]

[95] Davies and Southey, as before, substitute 'whom princes do.' Ellesmere. See sonnet addressed to him among 'Minor poems.' G.

[96] 'Spreads' in 1st edn. G.

[97] Meliora proboq ... iora ... sequor ... Sen'a. H. [Rather Ovid vii. 20.

... Video meliora, proboque Deteriora sequor'

Pathetically quoted by Byron in his remarkable Letter to John Sheppard. G.]

[98] The allusion is to Mutius Scaevola, who was taken in an attempt to assassinate Porsena, and thrust his hand into the fire to prove his fortitude: Livy II. 12. G.

[99] The story is told by Plutarch in his Life of Marius c. VI. 415. G.

[100] Pliny XXXV. 36 § 3: told of a picture of Zeuxis, as that of the horse neighing is of another by Apelles (ib § 17.) G.

[101] Misprinted 'temparature.' G.

[102] Clean, pure. G.


'Time but the impression stronger makes
As streams their channels deeper wear.'
Burns: to Mary in Heaven.

[104] Southey misprints 'in.' G.

[105] Misprinted in 1608 and 1622 edition 'other:' correctly, as above, in 1599 edition. G.

[106] Holy Scriptures. G.

[107] = Spoil. G.

[108] Here and elsewhere, the 1622 edn. alters 'since' of the 1599 and 1608 edns. to the earlier form 'sith': on which see Wright's Bible Word-Book. s.v. G.

[109] In 1599 and 1608 edns., 'did.' G.

[110] By an unhappy oversight, the whole of this stanza is dropped out of 1697 edition: and thence, by Davies, and generally. G.

[111] Davies and Southey, as before, substitute 'ill.' G.

[112] Davies and Southey, as before, substitute 'Maker's will.' G.

[113] Homer, Iliad, VIII. 19: and cf. Tennyson ('Morte d' Arthur,' p. 200: edition 1848.)

'For so the whole round world is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.' G.

[114] It is noticeable that the supreme Divine and Thinker of America—Jonathan Edwards—accepts this symbol of the 'Tree,' and works it out marvellously in his great treatise on 'Original Sin.' G.

[115] Misprinted in 1622 'sports:' 'spots' from 1599, 1602 and 1608. G.

[116] 'Since,' as before in 1599 and 1608 editions. G.

[117] One of Heylin's numerous books is called 'Microcosmus:' a little Description of the great World. Oxon: 1st edn., 1622. The word is met with in other old title-pages and in theological (Puritan) writings. G.

[118] Davies and Southey, as before, insert 'forth' here. G.

[119] Davies and Southey, as before, substitute 'o'er:' but 'on' is the Poet's own word here and elsewhere. G.

[120] In 1599 and 1608 editions, 'her.' G.

[121] In 1598 and 1608 editions, 'vncorruptible.' G.

[122] 'This' in 1599 edition. G.

[123] Living. G.

[124] St. Luke, x. 40, 41. G.

[125] On the Dryads Cf. Paus. viii. 4. § 2 Apollon. Rhod. ii. 447, &c. G.

[126] Misprinted 'spring,' but corrected in the errata of 1622 edition, as above. G.

[127] Scent. G.

[128] In 1599 and 1608 editions, 'since,' as before. G.

[129] Scents. G.

[130] Misprinted 'then' in 1622 edition, but as above correctly in 1599 and 1608 editions. G.

[131] Misprinted 'Fancasticke' in 1622 edition. G.

[132] Cf. Milton's Il Penseroso, lines 5-10. G.

[133] Cf. Phineas Fletcher: Purple Island c. v., stanza 47. G.

[134] Misprinted 'apprehension;' corrected in the errata of 1622 edition from 1599 and 1608 editions. G.

[135] In 1599 and 1608 editions 'since,' as before. G.

[136] Misprinted 'them' in 1622 edition, corrected as above from 1599 and 1608 editions. G.

[137] Thomas Davies, as before, mis-prints 'bring.' G.

[138] Thomas Davies and Southey, as before, read 'opinion's light:' but in all the Author's editions it is as above = light opinion: or query is 'hight' = named, meant? G.

[139] Davies, as before, 'decree.' G.

[140] Here = o'er as on page 61 ante. G.

[141] = forgetfulness: from Lethe. G.

[142] A numeral '3' here, and in the next stanza but one. G.

[143] = disciples of Epicurus's Philosophy. G.

[144] Davies and Southey, as before, have the extraordinary misprint here of 'lymph.' Cf. 'Orchestra,' stanza 63, which explains the personification. G.

[145] In 1599 and 1608 editions, 'since,' as before. G.

[146] Apollod I., 8, § 2, et alibi: Ovid, Met. viii., 450; et seq: 531: Diod. IV., 34. G.

[147] Spelled in 1622 edition 'Iiebbet,' but in 1599 and 1608 as above. G.

[148] = active, vigorous: an uncommon use of the word. G.

[149] Thomas Davies and Southey, as before, misread 'the.' G.

[150] Hebe. G.

[151] Foolish. G.

[152] Ovid, Met. vii. 163, 250 et alibi. G.

[153] Sic: and also onward. G.

[154] The parenthetic marks are as supra: but perhaps they ought to begin at 'by' and end with 'world.' G.

[155] Davies and Southey, as before, oddly misprint 'bucklers.' G.

[156] Misprinted 'world,' but corrected in the errata of 1622 edition. Davies and Southey, as before, repeat the misprint, and accommodate 'they' to it by reading 'they'd:' so rare is it to recur to an author's own text. G.


'Tell us, ye dead, will none of you in pity,
To those you left behind, disclose the secret?
Oh! that some courteous ghost would blab it out;
What 'tis you are, and we must shortly be.'
Robert Blair: 'The Grave.' G.

[158] Foolish. G.

[159] In 1599 and 1608 editions, 'do.' G.

[160] Numeral '3,' as before, in 1622 edition. G.

[161] Id est 'complain.' G.

[162] 'Goale' in 1608 edition. G.

[163] See Ovid, Met. III., 341 et alibi, and Eustathius (ad Hom. p. 266). G.

[164] 'Serious' dropped by Davies and Southey, as before. G.

[165] Cf. Sir Thomas Browne: 'Vulgar Errors,' s.v. G.

[166] More usually applied to the swan: as ancient Worship puts it 'The whitest swanne hath a blacke foot:' 'Christian's Mourning Garment.' G.

[167] The Original, Nature, and Immortality of the Soul. A Poem. With an Introduction concerning Humane Knowledge. Written by Sir John Davies, Attorney-General to Q. Elizabeth. With a Prefatory Account concerning the Author and Poem. London, Printed by W. Rogers at the Sun against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet street. 1697'—Tate informs us that the 'Remarks' were 'written by an ingenious and learned Divine'—It will be noticed that they finish somewhat abruptly: and while there is 'account' of the Poem, none of the Author.'—Dr. Bliss, in his edition of Anthony-a-Wood's Athenæ, describes above as containing only the second portion: but he is mistaken: the Poem is given completely.

[168] Here spelled 'Astrea.' G.

[169] = to praise or exalt. G.

[170] = reaching forward. G.

[171] Thomas Davies, as before, drops 'merry.'

[172] = alleys. G.

[173] Queen Elizabeth was born on 7th September, 1533. G.

[174] = write. G.

[175] = spoil. G.

[176] Misprinted 'to.' G.

[177] = Foolish. G.

[178] Cf. Paradise Regained, iii. 310. G.

[179] In first edition 'things.' G.

[180] See Memorial-Introduction concerning Martin. G.

[181] Cf. st. 68. l. 6. G.

[182] Query—Henry, son of James I.? He died in 1612. Or Prince Charles, afterwards Charles I.? Most probably the former. G.

[183] = seriously. Cf. Milton: P. L. vi. 541 and Comus, 509. So in Shakespeare frequently. G.

[184] Misprinted 'Tethis.' G.

[185] In 1st edition 'dim darke shades.' G.

[186] Phemius, a great singer at the court of Ulysses: Odys. i. 154, 337: the latter contains the allusion supra, where Penelope stands at the door of the hall and listens to the song. G.

[187] Misprinted 'brigher.' G.

[188] Misprinted in 1612 edition 'danching.' G.

[189] Margin-Note here 'The antiquitie of dancing.' G.

[190] In first edition reads: 'And which is far more ancient then the sun.' G.

[191] Herald. G.

[192] Pedigree. G.

[193] Margin-Note here 'The original of dancing.' G.

[194] 'Painstaking.' G.

[195] In 1st edition 'shining.' G.

[196] Margin-Note here 'The speech of Love, perswading men to learn Dancing.' G.

[197] Margin-Note here 'By the orderly motion of the fixed stars.' G.

[198] Cf. 'Paradise Regained' iii. 310, as in Astrœa, Hymne xxi. G.

[199] In 1st edition 'are mov'd.' G.

[200] Margin-Note here 'Of the planets.' G.

[201] A French 'dance': the name meaning gay or brisk, and so a quick liuely dance, introduced into England about 1541. Thomas Wright's 'Dictionary' s.v. G.

[202] In 1st edition 'gallant.' G.

[203] Black. G.

[204] Spanish pavana: a solemn Spanish dance. G.

[205] Spelled in first edition, 'heire.' G.

[206] Margin-Note here 'Of the Fire.' G.

[207] Cf. 'Nosce Teipsum' page 103, ante: st. fourth, line second. G.

[208] Margin-Note here, 'Of the Ayre.' G.

[209] In first edition 'ye' = the, and so elsewhere. G.

[210] A round country dance. G.

[211] Translucent. Cf. Milton, Samson Agonistes 548, and Comus, 861. G.

[212] In first edition spelled 'fier.' G.

[213] Margin-Note here 'Of the sea.' G.

[214] Margin-Note here 'Of the riuers.' G.

[215] Ovid (Heroides VII. 1, 2)

'Sic ubi fata vocant, udis abjectus in herbis,
Ad vada Maeandri concinit albus olor.'

Cf. Sir Thomas Browne 'Enquiries into Vulgar and Common Errors' Book III.c.xxvii: Works by Wilkin, Vol. II. pp. 517, 518 (edition Pickering 1835.) G.

[216] A round country dance, as before.

[217] Margin-Note here 'Of other things upon the earth.' G.

[218] 'Exact': this illustrates Hamlet i., I, and Othello ii., 3. G.

[219] In first edition a probable misprint is, 'Chaunce.' G.

[220] In first edition 'impetuous.' G.

[221] In first and 1622 editions there is a probable misprint of 'crowne' here. G.

[222] Bass. G.

[223] Margin-Note here: 'How Loue taught men to dance.' G.

[224] Margin-Note here 'Rounds or Country Dances.' G.

[225] This interprets 'Nosce Teipsum,' Reason II, st. 1, page 86 ante.

[226] Margin-Note here 'Measures.' G.

[227] In 1st edition spelled 'trew,' G.

[228] In 1st edition 'old': 'young' in 1622 must be a misprint, unless used in the grand meaning of Sir Thomas Browne. In 1622 it is mis-spelled 'youg.' G.

[229] Margin-Note here 'Galliards.' G.

[230] In 1st edition spelled 'flyne': A.S. 'to fly.' G.

[231] A 'capriole' is a 'lady's head-dress' (Wright): but here seems to mean 'springings and turnings': degenerated into 'capers' at this later day. G.

[232] Margin-Note here, 'Courantoes.' G.

[233] Margin-Note here, 'Lavoltaes.' G.

[234] There is a misprint of 'employ' in Thomas Davies' edition, as before. G.

[235] Margin-Note here 'Grace in dauncing.' G.

[236] In the errata of 1622 edition 'doo' is substituted for 'did,' itself a misprint, perhaps, for 'does.' G.

[237] 'Rites.' G.

[238] Margin-Note here, 'The use and formes of dauncing in sundry affaires of man's life.' G.

[239] Made stellæ=stars or constellations. G.

[240] Virgil, Æneid VI., 448, calls him Cænis:

.... 'et juvenis quondam, nunc femina, Cænis,
Rursus et in veterem fato revoluta figuram.'

He is mentioned again in Homer, Iliad I. 264. G.

[241] Met. III., 320, &c., &c. G.

[242] Cf. L'Allegro 'Lap me in soft Lydian airs.' (l 136.) G.

[243] Qu: couch? G.

[244] Incremation. G.

[245] Pursue or succeed. G.

[246] The Cenci of Shelley has 'married' this tragical crime to 'immortal verse.' G.

[247] In first edition, 'murthering.' G.

[248] In first edition also spelled 'dilphins' = dolphins. G.

[249] In first edition, 'they.' G.

[250] Note here, 'True Loue inventor of dauncing.' G

[251] Spelled 'Liues.' G.

[252] Thomas Davies and Southey, as before, misprint egregiously 'that.' G.

[253] Margin-Note here, 'Concord.' G.

[254] 'Back,' same as 'blake,' page 176, ante, for 'black.' G.

[255] = on. G.

[256] In first edition, spelled 'pinnesse' also, = pinnace. G.

[257] Margin-Note here, 'A passage to the description of dauncing in this age.' G.

[258] Thomas Davies, as before, drops 'such.' G.

[259] Thomas Davies and Southey misread 'when.' G.

[260] Virgil. G.

[261] Chaucer. G.

[262] Spenser. G.

[263] Daniel: The allusion being to his 'Sonnets to Delia.' G.

[264] Edward Guilpin calls his volume 'Skialetheia, or a Shadowe of Truth in certain Epigrams and Satyres,' 1598. G.

[265] I hazard a guess, that this may refer to Charles Best, an associate of Davies in the 'Rhapsody,' and author of certain vivid lines called 'A Sonnet of the Sun: a jewell, being a sun shining upon the Marigold closed in a heart of gold, sent to his mistress, named Mary, among others. See Nicolas's edition of the 'Rhapsody,' Vol. I., pp. 183, 184. G.

[266] Perhaps a play on his 'then' friend's name of Martin. G.

[267] Collier gives supra in his 'Bibliographical Account of Early English Literature,' s.n.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies.
Volume 1 of 2., by John Davies


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