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THE SEASONS. From The Faerie Queene, Book vii. Canto 7.
So forth issew'd the Seasons of the yeare :
First, lusty Spring all dight in leaves of flowres adorned
That freshly budded and new bloosmes did beare,
In which a thousand birds had built their bowres,
That sweetly sung to call forth paramours ;
And in his hand a iavelin he did beare,
And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures)
encounters A guilt engraven morion he did weare ;
gilded, helmet That as some did him love, so others did him feare. Then came the iolly Sommer, being dight
In a thin silken cassock coloured greene,
That was unlyned all, to be more light:
And on his head a girlond well beseene
He wore, from which, as he had chauffed been,
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
A bowe and shaftes, as he in forrest greene
Had hunted late the libbard or the bore,
leopard And now would bathe his limbes with labour heated sore.
Then came the Autumne all in yellow clad,
As though he ioyed in his plentious store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
That he had banisht hunger, which to-fore
Had by the belly oft him pinched sore :
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrold
With ears of corne of every sort, he bore ;
And in his hand a sickle he did holde,
To reape the ripened fruits the which the earth had yold. yielded
Lastly, came Winter cloathed all in frize,
Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill ;
Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freese,
And the dull drops, that from his purpled bill
As from a limbeck did adown distill:
still In his right hand a tipped staffe he held, With which his feeble steps he stayed still ;
For he was faint with cold, and weak with eld; That scarse his loosed limbes he hable was to weld.
SAMUEL DANIEL: 1562-1619.
Samuel Daniel spent the greater part of his life under the protection of
royal and noble personages, and was distinguished as a writer of masques, a dramatic entertainment fashionable at court, consisting chiefly of a few dialogues supported by allegorical characters. His principal works are a History of the Civil Wars between York and Lancaster, a poem in eight books, and Musophilus, containing a General Defence of Learning. His Epistle to the Countess of Cumberland is a fine effusion of meditative thought.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL OBSERVER.
From the Epistle to the Countess of Cumberland.
He that of such a height hath built his mind,
And reared the dwelling of his thoughts so strong,
As neither hope nor fear can shake the frame
Of his resolved powers; nor all the wind
Of vanity or malice pierce to wrong
His settled peace, or to disturb the same:
What a fair seat hath he, from whence he may
The boundless wastes and wilds of man survey !
And with how free an eye doth he look down
Upon these lower regions of turmoil,
Where all the storms of passions mainly beat
On flesh and blood ! where honour, power, renown,
Are only gay afflictions, golden toil ;
Where greatness stands upon as feeble feet
As frailty doth; and only great doth seem
To little minds who do it so esteem.
He looks upon the mightiest monarch’s wars,
But only as on stately robberies ;
Where evermore the fortune that prevails
Must be the right: the ill-succeeding mars
The fairest and the best-faced enterprise.
Great pirate Pompey lesser pirates quails :
Justice he sees, as if seduced, still
Conspires with power, whose cause must not be ill.
He sees the face of right ť appear as manifold
As are the passions of uncertain man;
Who puts it in all colours, all attires,
To serve his ends, and makes his courses hold.
He sees that, let deceit work what it can,
Plot and contrive base ways to high desires ;
'That the all-guiding Providence doth yet
All disappoint, and mocks the smoke of wit.
Nor is he moved with all the thunder-cracks
Of tyrants' threats, or with the surly brow
Of Pow'r, that proudly sits on others' crimes ;
Charged with more crying sins than those he checks.
The storms of sad confusion, that may grow
Up in the present for the coming times,
Appal not him ; that hath no side at all,
But of himself, and knows the worst can fall.
And whilst distraught ambition compasses,
And is encompassed ; whilst as craft deceives,
And is deceived ; whilst man doth ransack man,
And builds on blood, and rises by distress ;
And th' inheritance of desolation leaves
To great-expecting hopes : he looks thereon,
As from the shore of peace, with unwet eye,
And bears no venture in impiety.
Thus, madam, fares that man, that hath prepared
A rest for his desires ; and sees all things
Beneath him ; and hath learned this book of man,
Full of the notes of frailty; and compared
The best of glory with her sufferings" ;
By whom, I see, you labour all you can
To plant your heart; and set your thoughts as near
His glorious mansion, as your pow'rs can bear.
MICHAEL DRAYTON: 1563-1631.
Drayton at the age of ten became page to a person of quality, and his pre
cocious talents procured for him in early life the patronage of several persons of consequence. His chief poem is Polyolbion, a poetical description of England in thirty songs or books, full of topographical and antiquarian details, with numerous allusions to remarkable events and persons connected with various localities. His other works are The Baron's Wars, England's Heroical Epistles, and a delightful fairy ballad entitled Nymphidia.
LAMENT OVER THE DECAY OF CHARNWOOD FOREST.1
O Charnwood, be thou called the choicest of thy kind !
The like in any place what flood hath happ'd to find ?
No tract in all this isle, the proudest let her be,
Can shew a sylvan nymph for beauty like to thee.
The satyrs and the fauns, by Dian set to keep
Rough hills and forest-holts, were sadly seen to weep,
When thy high-palmed harts, the sport of bows and hounds,
By gripple borderers' hands were banished thy grounds.
The Dryads that were wont about thy lawns to rove,
To trip from wood to wood, and scud from grove to grove,
On Sharpley 2 that were seen, and Cadman's - aged rocks,
Against the rising sun to braid their silver locks,
And with the harmless elves, on heathy Bardon's height,
By Cynthia's 3 colder beams to play them night by night,
Exiled their sweet abode, to poor bare commons fled :
They, with the oaks that lived, now with the oaks are dead !
Who will describe to life a forest, let him take
Thy surface to himself ; nor shall he need to make
Another form at all ; where oft in thee is found
Fine sharp but easy hills, which reverently are crowned
With aged antique rocks, to which the goats and sheep
(To him that stands remote) do softly seem to creep,
To gnaw the little shrubs on their steep sides that grow :
Upon whose other part, on some descending brow,
Huge stones are hanging out, as though they down would drop ;
Where undergrowing oaks on their old shoulders prop
The others' hoary heads, which still seem to decline.
PIGWIGGEN'S ARMOUR. From Nymphidia.
[Pigwiggen, a fairy knight, has defied Oberon, the king of the Fairies, and challenged him to combat).
And quickly arms him for the field,
A little cockle-shell his shield,
Which he could very bravely wield,
Yet could it not be pierced :
His spear a bent both stiff and strong,
And well near of two inches long :
The pile was of a horse-fly's tongue,
Whose sharpness nought reversed.
Himself he on an earwig set,
Yet scarce he on his back could get,
So oft and high he did curvet,
Ere he himself could settle :
He made him turn, and stop, and bound,
To gallop, and to trot the round,
He scarce could stand on any ground,
He was so full of mettle.