« PreviousContinue »
And whether change of climes, or what it be,
proves our mariners' mortality,
Such expert men are spent for such bad fares
As might have made us lords of what is theirs.
Stay, stay at home, ye nobler spirits, and prize
Your lives more high than such base trumperies ;
Forbear to fetch; and they'll go near to sue,
And at your own doors offer them to you;
Or have their woods and plains so overgrown
With pois’nous weeds, roots, gums, and seeds unknown,
That they would hire such weeders as you be
To free their land from such fertility.
Their spices hot their nature best endures,
But 'twill impair and much distemper yours.
What our own soil affords befits us best;
And long, and long, for ever may we rest
Needless of help! and may this isle alone
Furnish all other lands, and this land none!
Britannid's Pastorals, by W. Browne,
B. II. Song iv.
INE own Jolin Poins, since ye delight to know
The causes why that homeward I me draw,
And flee the praise of courts, whereso they go,
Rather than to live thral under the awe
Of lordly looks, wrapped within my cloak,
To will and lust learning to set a law;
It is not, that because I storm or mock
The power of them, whom Fortune here hath lent
Charge over us, of right to strike the stroke;
But true it is, that I have always meant
Less to esteem them, than the common sort,
Of outward things that judge in their intent,
Without regard what inward doth resort:
I grant, some time of Glory that the fire
Doth touch my heart, me list not to report:
Blame by honour, and honour to desire.
But how may I this honour now attain,
That cannot die the colour black a liar*?
My Poins, I cannot frame my tune to feign,
To cloak the truth, for praise, without desert,
Of them that list all vice for to retain:
I caunot honour them that set their part
With Venus and Bacchus all their life long;
Nor hold my peace of them, although I smart.
I cannot crouch nor kneel to such a wrong,
To worship them like God on earth alone,
That are as wolves these sely lambs
among; "I cannot with my words complain and moan, And suffer nought; nor smart without complaint, Nor turn the word that from
I cannot speak and look like a saint,
Use wiles for wit, and make deceit a pleasure,
Call craft counsel, for lucre still to paint:
* But hou may I this honour now attain
That cannot, &c.] Thus Johnson:
Well may they rise; while I, whose rustic tongue
Ne'er knew to puzzle right, or varnish wrong,
Spurn'd as a beggar, dreaded as a spy,
Live unregarded, uplamented die. London.
I cannot wrest the law to fill the coffer,
With innocent blood to feed myself fat,
And do most hurt where that most help I offer.
I am not he that can allow the state
Of high Cæsar, and damn Cato to die,
That with his death did 'scape out of the gate,
From Cæsar's hands, if Livy doth not lie;
And would not live where Liberty was lost,
So did his heart the commonwealth apply.
I am not he, such eloquence to boast,
To make the crow in singing, as the swan;
Nor call the lion of coward beasts the most,
That cannot take a mouse as the cat can,
And he that dieth for hunger of the gold, -
Call him Alexander, and say that Pan
Passeth Apollo in music manifold,
Praise Sir Topas for a noble tale,
And scorn the story that the knight told.
Praise him for counsel that is drunk of ale,
Grin when he laughs*, that beareth all the sway,
Frown when he frowns, and groan when he is pale;
On others lust to hang both night and day.
None of these Poins would ever frame in me;
My wit is nought, I cannot learn the way.
And much the less of things that greater be,
That asken help of colours to devise,
To join the mean with each extremity,
With nearest virtue aye to cloak the vice;
* Grin when he laughs, &c.] So Johnson :
To shake with laughter ere the jest you hear,
To pour at will the counterfeited tear:
And as their patron hints the cold or heat,
To shake in dog-days, in December sweat.
And as to purpose likewise it shall fall,
To press the virtue that it may not rise;
As drunkenness good fellowship to call,
The friendly foe with his fair double face,
Say he is gentle, and courteous therewithal;
Affirm that Favill hath a goodly grace
In eloquence; and cruelty to name,
Zeal of Justice; and change in time and place:
And he that suffereth offence without blame,
Call him pitiful, and him true and plain
That raileth rechless unto each man's shame
Say he is rude, that cannot lie and feign
The lecher a lover, and tyranny
To be right of a prince's reign,
I cannot, I, no no, it will not be.
This is the cause that I could never yet,
· Hang on their sleeves the weigh (as thou may'st see)
A chip of chance, more than a pound of wit :
This makes me at home to hunt and hawk,
And in foul weather at my book to sit,
In frost and snow,
then with my
No man doth, mark whereso I ride or go,
In lusty leas at liberty I walk ;
And of these news I feel no weał no woe,
Save that a clog doth hang yet at my heel,
No force for that, for that is ordered so,
That I may leap both hedge and dyke full well.
I am not now in France to judge the wine,
With savory sauce those delicates to feel,
and him true and plain,
That raileth rechless unto each man's shame.] Thus Horace :'
at est truculentior, atque
Plus æquo liber; simplex fortisque habeatur.
Lib. I. Sat, iii. 1, 51,
Nor yet in Spain, where one must him incline,
Rather than to be, outwardly to seem,
I meddle not with wits that be so fine,
Nor Flanders cheer lets to my sight to deem,
Of black and white, nor takes my
With beastliness, such do those beasts esteem!
Nor I am not, where truth is given in pay
For money, prison, and treason : of some
A common practice used night and day:
But I am here in Kent and Christendom,
Among the Muses, where I read and rhyme,
Where if thou list, mine own John Poins, to come,
Thou shalt be judge, how I do spend my time.
Sir Thomas Wyat, Tottel's Edit,
PLEASURES OF LITERARY RETIREMENT.
My free-born Muse will not, like Danäe, be
Won with base dross to clip with slavery;
Nor lend her choicer balm to worthless men,
Whose names would die but for some hired pen;
No: if I praise, Virtue shall draw me to it,
And not a base procurement make me do it.
What now I sing is but to pass away
A tedious hour, as some musicians play;