Page images


One only night's discourse I can report,
When the great torch-bearer of Heav'n was gone

Down in a mask unto the Ocean's court,

To revel it with Thetis all alone;
Antinous disguised and unknown,

Like to the spring in gaudy ornament,

Unto the castle of the princess went.

The sov'reign castle of the rocky isle, Where lives the man that never yet did hear

Wherein Penelope the princess lay, Of chaste Penelope, Ulysses' queen?

Shone with a thousand lamps, which did exile Who kept her faith unspotted twenty year, The shadows dark, and turn'd the night to day, Till he retum'd that far away had been,

Not Jove's blue tent, what time the sunny ray And many men, and many towns had seen : Behind the bulwark of the Earth retires, Ten year at siege of Troy he ling'ring lay,

Is seen to sparkle with more twinkling fires. And ten year in the midland sea did stray.

That night the queen came forth from far within, Homer, to whom the Muses did carouse

And in the presence of her court was seen;
A great deep cup with heav'nly nectar fill'd, For the sweet sirger Phemius did begin
The greatest, deepest cup in Jove's great house,

To praise the worthies that at Troy had been ; (For Jove himself had so expressly will’d)

Somewhat of her Ulysses she did ween. He drank off all, nor let one drop be spillid;

In his grave hymn the heav'nly man would sing, Since when, his brain that had before been dry,

Or of bis wars, or of his wandering. Became the well-spring of all poetry.

Pallas that hour with her sweet breath divine

Inspir'd immortal beauty in her eyes, Homer doth tell in his abundant verse,

That with celestial glory she did shine, The long laborious travels of the man,

Brighter than Venns when she doth arise And of his lady too he dotb rehearse,

Out of the waters to adorn the skies; How she illudes with all the art she can,

The wooers all amazed do admire,
TY' ungrateful lore which other lords began :

And check their own presumptuous desire.
For of ber lord, false fame had long since sworn,
That Neptune's monsters had his carcass torn. Only Antinous, when at first he view'd,

Her star-bright eyes that with new horfour shin'd, All this he tells, but one thing he forgot,

Was not dismay'd, but therewithal renew'd One thing most worthy his eternal song,

The nobleness and splendour of his mind; But be was old, and blind, and saw it not,

And as he did fit circumstances find, Or else be thought he should Ulysses wrong,

Unto the throne he boldly did advance, To mingle it his tragic acts among :

And with fair manners woo'd the queen to dance. Yet was there pot in all the world of things, A sweeter burthen for his Muse's wings.

“Goddess of women, sith your heav'nliness

Hath now vouchsaf'd itself to represent The courtly love Antinous did make,

To our dim eyes, which though they see the less, Antinous that fresh and jolly knight,

Yet are they bless'd in their astonishinent, Which of the gallants that did undertake

Imitate Heaven, whose beauties excellent To win the widow, had most wealth and might,

Are in continual motion day and night, Wit to persuade, and beauty to delight.

And move thereby more wonder and delight. The courtly love he made unto the queen,

“Let me the mover be, to turn about Homer forgot as if it had not been.

Those glorious ornaments, that youth and love

Have fix'd in you, ev'ry part throughout,
Sing then Terpsichore, my light Muse sing

Which if you will in timely measure move,
His gentle art, and cunning courtesy:
Yoa, lady, can remember ev'ry thing,

Not all those precious gems in Heav'u above

Shall yield a sigbt more pleasing to behold,
For you are daughter of queen Memory ;
Bat sing a plain and easy melody:

With all their turns and tracings manifold.”
For the soft mean that warbleth but the ground,

With this the modest princess blush'd and smild To my rude ear doth yield the sweetest sound.

Like to a clear and rosy eventide ;
And softly did return this answer mild:

“Fair sir, you needs must fairly be deny'd, Sir John Harrington has writ an epigram in Where your demand cannot be satisfy'd : commendation of this poem. See the 2d Book, My feet which only nature taught to go, Epig. 67, at the end of his Translation of Ariosto’s | Did never yet the art of footing know. Orland) Furioso, folio.

It is a great pity, and to be lamented by the “ But why persuade you me to this new rage? poetical world, that so very ingenious a poem (For all disorder and misrule is new) sbould be left unfinished, or, what is more likely, For such misgovernment in former age that the imperfect part should be lost; for in all our old divine forefathers never knew; probability be completed it, being written in his Who if they liv’d, and did the follies view youth, in qneen Elizabeth's reign, as appears from which their fond nephews make their chief affairs, the conclusion

Would hate themselves that had begot such heirs."


“ Sole heir of virtue and of beauty both,

“ Thus doth it equal age with age enjoy, Whence cometh it,” Antinous replies,

And yet in lusty youth for ever Row'rs, " That your imperious virtue is so loth

Like Love his sire, whom painters make a boy, To grant your beauty her chief exercise?

Yet is he eldest of the heav'nly pow'rs; Or from what spring doth your opinion rise, Or like his brother Time, whose winged hours That dancing is a frenzy and a rage,

Going and coming will not let him die, First known and usd in this new-fangled age ? But still preserve hiin in his infancy."

[blocks in formation]

“ Or if this (all) which round about we see, “ When Love had shap'd this world, this great fair (As idle Morpheus some sick brains have taught) wight, Of undivided motes compacted be,

That all wights else in this wide womb contains, How was this goodly architecture wrought? And had instructed it to dance aright!, Or by what means were they together brought? A thousand measures with a thousand strains, They err, that say they did concur by chance, Which it should practise with delightful pains, Love made them meet in a well order'd dance. Until that fatal instant should revolve,

When all to nothing should again resolve. “ As when Amphion with his charming lyre Begot so sweet a syren of the air,

“ The comely order and proportion fair That with her rhetoric made the stones conspire

On ev'ry side, did please his wand'ring eye, The ruin of a city to repair,

Till glancing through the thin transparent air, (A work of wit and reason's wise affair :)

A rude disorder'd rout he did espy So Love's smooth tongue, the motes such measure of men and women, that most spitefully taught

Did one another throng, and crowd so sore, That they join'd hands, and so the world was That his kind eye in pity wept therefore.

wrought. “ How justly then is dancing termed new,

“And swifter than the lightning down he came, Which with the world in point of time begun;

Another shapeless chaos to digest, Yea Time itself, (wbose birth Jove never knew, He will begin another world to frame, And which indeed is elder than the Sun)

(For Love till all be well will never rest) Had not one moment of his age outrun,

T'hen with such words as cannot be express'd,
When out leap'd Dancing from the heap of things, He cuts the troops, that all asunder fling,
And lightly rode upon his nimble wings.

And ere they wist, he casts them in a ring.

“ Reason hath both her pictures in her treasure,
Where time the measure of all moving is;
And dancing is a moving all in measure;
Now if you do resemble that to this,
And think both one, I think you think amiss :
But if you judge them twins, together got,
And Time first born, your judgment erreth not.

“ Then did he rarefy the element,
And in the centre of the ring appear,
The beams that from his forehead spreading went,
Begot an horrour and religious fear
In all the souls that round about him were ;
Which in their ears attentiveness procures,
While he, with such like sounds, their minds allures.

? The antiquity of dancing.

The original of dancing.

"How doth Confasion's mother, headlong Chance", «« « But see the Earth, when he approacheth near, Put Reason's noble squadron to the rout?

How she for joy doth spring, and sweetly smile; Or how should you that have the governance But see again her sad and heavy cheer Of Nature's children, Heav'n and Earth through- When changing places he retires a while : out,

But those black clouds he shortly will exile, Prescribe them rules, and live yourselves without? | And make them all before his presence Hly, Why should your fellowship a trouble be,

As mists consum'd before his cheerful eye. Since man's chief pleasure is society?

«• Who doth not see the measures of the Moon, ** If sense hath not yet taught you, learn of me

Which thirteen times she danceth ev'ry year? A comely moderation and discreet,

And ends her pavin, thirteen times as soon That your assemblies may well order'd be:

As doth her brother, of whose golden hair When my uniting pow'r shall make you meet,

She borroweth part and proudly doth it wear: With heav'nly tunes it shall be temper'd sweet;

Then doth she coyly turn her face aside, And be the model of the world's great frame,

That half her cheek is scarce sometimes descry'd. And you Earth's children, Dancing shall it name. «« Behold the world how it is whirled round,

“ Next her, the pure, subtle, and cleansing fire' And for it is so whirl'd, is named so;

Is swiftly carried in a circle even: In whose large volume many rules are found

Though Vulcan be pronounc'd by many a liar Of this new art, which it doth fairly show:

The only halting god that dwells in Heav'n: For your quick eyes in wand'ring to and fro

But that foul name may be more fitly giy'n From east to west, on no one thing can glance,

To your false fire, that far from Heav'n is fall, But if you mark it well, it seems to dance. And doth consume, waste, spoil, disorder all. ** First you see fix'd in this huge mirror blue "** And now behold your tender nurse the air, Of trembling lights', a number nunberless; And commen neighbour that aye runs around, Fix'd they are nam’d, but with a name untrue, How many pictures and impressions fair For they all more, and in a dance express Within her empty regions are there found, That great long year that doth contain no less Which to your senses dancing do propound:.. Than threescore hundreds of those years in all, For what are breath, speech, echoes, music, winds, Which the Sun makes with his course patural. But dancings of the air in sundry kinds ?

"* What if to you these sparks disorder'd seem, «« For when you breathe, the air in order moves, As if by chance they had been scatter'd there?

Now in, now out, in time and measure true; The gods a solemn measure do it deem,

And when you speak, so well she dancing loves, And see a just proportion ev'ry where,

That doubling oft, and oft redoubling new, And know the points whence first their movings were; With thousand forms she doth herself endue: To which first points when all return again, For all the words that from your lips repair, The axle-tree of Heav'n shall break in twain.

Are naught but tricks and turnings of the air. ** Under that spangled sky, five wand'ring flames“, Besides the king of day, and queen of night,

“ Hence is her prattling daughter Echo born, Are wheel'd around, all in their sundry frames,

That dances to all voices she can hear: And all in sundry measures do delight,

There is no sound so harsh that she doth scorn, Yet altogether keep no measure right:

Nor any time wherein she will forbear For by itself, each doth itself advance,

The airy pavement with her feet to wear: And by itself, each doth a galliard dance.

And yet her hearing sense is nothing quick,

For after time she endeth ev'ry trick. «« Venus, the mother of that bastard Love, Which doth usurp the world's great marshal's name, “. And thou, sweet music, dancing's only life, Just with the Sun her dainty feet doth move, The ear's sole happiness, the air's best speech, And unto him doth all the gestures frame: Loadstone of fellowship, charming rod of strife, Now after, now afore, the flatt'ring dame, The soft mind's paradise, the sick mind's leech, With divers cunning passages doth err,

With thine own tongue thou trees and stones can Still him respecting that respects not her.


That when the air doth dauce her finest measure, "• For that brave Sun the father of the day, Then art thou born the gods' and men's sweet pleaDoth love this Earth, the mother of the night, And like a reveller in rich array Doth dance his galliard in his leman's sight “ " Lastly, where keep the winds their revelry, Both back, and forth, and sideways passing light, Their violent turnings, and wild whirling hays? His princely grace doth so the gods amaze, But in the air's translucent gallery? 'That all stand still and at his beauty gaze. Where she herself is turn'd a hundred ways,

While with those maskers wantonly she plays;

Yet in this prisrule, they such rule embrace, • The specch of Love, persuading men to learn As two at once encumber not the place. dancios. by the orderly motion of the fixed stars,

? Of the fire. 8 Of the air.


Of the planets.

" If then fire, air, wand'ring and fixed lights «« What makes the vine about the elm to dance, In ev'ry province of the imperial sky,

With turnings, windings, and embracements round? Yield perfect forms of dancing to your sights, What makes the loadstone to the north advance In vain I teach the ear, that which the eye His subtle point, as if from thence he found With certain view already doth descry.

His chief attracting virtue to redound ? But for your eyes perceive not all they see, Kind Nature first doth cause all things to love, In this I will your senses master be.

Love makes them dance and in just order move. « For lo the Sea that fleets about the land,

« Hark how the birds do sing, and mark then how And like a girdle clips her solid waist,

Jump with the modulation of their lays, Music and measure both doth understand :

They lightly leap, and skip from bough to bough: For his great crystal eye is always cast

Yet do the cranes deserve a greater praise Up to the Moon, and on her fixed fast:

Which keep such measure in their airy ways, And as she danceth in her pallid sphere,

As when they all in order ranked are, So danceth he about the centre here.

They make a perfect form triangular. « « Sometimes his proud green waves in order set, One after other flow unto the shore,

“ ' In the chief angle flies the watchful guide, Which when they bave with many kisses wet,

And all the followers their heads do lay They ebb away in order as before;

On their foregoers' backs, on either side; And to make known bis courtly love the more,

But for the captain hath no rest to stay He oft doth lay aside his three-fork'd mace,

His head forwearied with the windy way, And with his arms the tim'rous Earth embrace.

He back retires, and then the next behind,

As his lieutenant leads them through the wind. « « Only the Earth doth stand for ever still, Her rocks remove not, nor ber mountains meet, “ But why relate I ev'ry singular? (Although some wits enrich'd with learning's skill Since all the world's great fortunes and affairs Say Heav'n stands firm, and that the Earth doth Forward and backward rapp'd and whirled are, fleet,

According to the music of the spheres: And swiftly turneth underneath their feet) And Change herself, her nimble feet upbears Yet though the Earth is ever stedfast seen, On a round slippery wheel that rolleth ay, On her broad breast hath dancing ever been. And turns all states with her imperious sway. «« For those blue veins that through her body spread, « Learn then to dance, you that are princes born, Those sapphire streams which from great hills do And lawful lords of earthly creatures all; spring ,

Imitate them, and therefore take no scorn, (The Earth's great dugs ; for ev'ry wight is fed

For this new art to them is natural With sweet fresh moisture from them issuing)

And imitate the stars celestial: Obserye a dance in their wild wand'ring :

For when pale Death your vital twist shall sever, And still their dance begets a murmur sweet,

Your better parts must dance with them for ever.' And still the murmur with the dance doth meet. « « Of all their ways I love Meander's path,

“ Thus Love persuades, and all the crowd of men Which to the tune of dying swans doth dance,

That stands around doth make a murmuring: Such winding slights, such turns and cricks he hath, As when the wind loos’d from his hollow den, Suck creaks, such wrenches, and such dalliance ;

Among the trees a gentle base doth sing, That whether it be hap or beedless chance,

Or as a brook through pebbles wandering: In this indented course and wriggling play

But in their looks they utter'd this plain speech, He seems to dance a perfect cunning hay.

• That they would learn to dance, if Love would

teach '2' "But wherefore do these streams for ever run? To keep themselves for ever sweet and clear:

“ Then first of all he doth demonstrate plain For let their everlasting course be done,

The motions seven that are in nature found, They straight corrupt and foul with mud appear.

Upward and downward, forth, and back again, O ye sweet nymphs that beauty's loss do fear,

To this side, and to that, and turning round"); Contemn the drugs that physic doth devise,

Whereof a thousand brawls he doth compound, And learn of Love this dainty exercise.

Which he doth teach unto the multitude,

And ever with a turn they must conclude. " See how those flow'rs that have sweet beauty too, (The only jewels that the Earth doth wear", As when a nymph, arising from the land, When the young Sun in bravery her doth woo) Leadeth a dance with her long watery train As oft as they the whistling wind do hear,

Down to the sea, she wryes to every hand, Do wave their tender bodies here and there; And every way doth cross the fertile plain : And though their dance no perfect measure is, But when at last she falls into the main, Yet oftentimes their music makes them kiss. Then all her traverses concluded are,

And with the sea, her course is circular. · of the sea. 10 of the rivers.

12 How Love taught men to dance, " Of other things upon the Earth.

13 Rounds or country dances,

" Thus wbcn at Girst Love had them marshalied, "" This is the net wherein the Sun's bright eye
As erst he did the shapeless mass of things, Venus and Mars entangled did behold,
He taught them rounds and winding hays to tread, for in this dance, their arms they so employ,
And about trees to cast themselves in rings : As each doth seem the other to enfold:
As the two Bears, whom the first mover flings What if lewd wits another tale have told
With a short turn about Heaven's axle-tree, Of jealous Vulcan, and of iron chains ?
In a round dance for ever wheeling be.

Yet this true sense that forged lie contains. * Bat after these, as men more civil grew,

“ These various forms of dancing Love did frame, He did more grave and solemn measures frame", And besides these, a hundred millions more, With such fair order and proportion true,

And as he did invent, he taught the same, And correspondence ev'ry way the same,

With goodly gesture, and with comely show, That no fault-finding eye did ever blame. Now keeping state, now humbly honouring low: For ev'ry eye was moved at the sight

And ever for the persons and the place With sober wond'ring, and with sweet delight. He taught most fit, and best according grace 18. “ Not those young students of the heav'nly book,

“ For Love, within his fertile working brain Atlas the great, Prometheus the wise,

Did then conceive those gracious virgins three, Which on the stars did all their life-time look,

Whose civil moderation does maintain

All decent order and conveniency,
Could ever find such dieasure in the skies,
So full of change and rare varieties;

And fair respect, and seemly modesty :
Yet all the feet whereon these measures go,

And then he thought it fit they should be born, Are only spondees, solemn, grave, and slow.

That their sweet presence dancing might adom.

“ Hence is it that these Graces painted are “ Bat for more diverse and more pleasing show, With hand in hand dancing an endless round: A swift and wand'ring dance's she did invent,

And with regarding eyes, that still beware With passages uncertain to and fro,

That there be no disgrace amongst them found; Yet with a certain answer and consent

With equal foot they beat the flow'ry ground, To the quck music of the instrument.

Laughing, or singing, as their passions will, Five was the number of the music's feet,

Yet nothing that they do becomes them ill. Which still the dance did with five paces meet.

“ Thus Love taught men, and men thus learn’d of " A gallant dance, that lively doth bewray

Love A spirit and a virtue masculine,

Sweet music's sound with feet to counterfeit, Impatient that her house on Earth should stay Which was long time before higb thund'ring Jove Since she herself is fiery and divine:

Was lifted up to Heaven's imperial seat: Oft doth she make her body upward fine;

For though by birth he were the prince of Crete, With lofty turns and capriols in the air,

Not Crete, nor Heav'n, should the young prince have Which with the lusty tuues accordeth fair.

If dancers with their timbrels had not been.
What shall I name those current traverses 16,
That on a triple dactyl foot do run

“ Since when all ceremonious mysteries, Close by the ground with sliding passages,

All sacred orgies, and religious rights, Wherein that dancer greatest praise hath won

All pomps, and triumphs, and solemnities, Which with best order can all orders shun:

All funerals, nuptials, and like public sights, Por ev'ry where he wantonly must range,

All parliaments of peace, and warlike fights, And turn, and wind, with unexpected change.

All learned arts, and every great affair

A lively shape of dancing seems to bear". ** Yet is there one the most delightful kind,

“ For what did he who with his ten-tongu'd lute A lofty jumping, or a leaping round", Where arm in arm, two dancers are entwin'd,

Gave beasts and blocks an understanding ear? And whirl themselves with strict embracements Shed and infus'd the beams of reason clear?

Or rather into bestial minds and brute bound,

Doubtless for men that rude and savage were And still their feet an anapest do sound:

A civil form of dancing he devis'd,
An anapest is all their music's song,
Whose first two feet are short, and third is long.

Wherewith unto their gods they sacrific'd.

“ So did Musæus, so Amphion did, " As the victorious twins of Leda and Jove, And Linus with his sweet enchanting song, That taught the Spartans dancing on the sands, And he whose hand the Earth of monsters rid, Of swift Eurotas, dance in Heav'n above,

And had men's ears fast chained to his tongue : Knit and united with eternal hands;

And Theseus to his wood-born slaves among,
Among the stars their double image stands, Us'd dancing as the finest policy
Where both are carried with an equal pace,
Together jumping in their turning race.

To plant religion and society.


14 Measures.
* Courantocs.

is Galliards.
17 Layoltaes.

18 Grace in dancing.

19 The use and forms of dancing in sundry affairs of man's life.

« PreviousContinue »