« السابقةمتابعة »
Take heed of over-weening, and compare
Thy peacock's feet with thy gay peacock's train : Study the best and highest things that are,
But of thyself an humble thought retain.
Cast down thyself, and only strive to raise
The glory of thy Maker's sacred name : Use all thy pow’rs, that blessed pow'r to praise,
Which gives thee pow'r to be, and use the same,
WHERE lives the man that never yet did hear
Of chaste Penelope, Ulysses' queen?
Who kept her faith unspotted twenty year,
Till he return'd, that far away had been,
And many men, and many towns had seen:
Ten year at siege of Troy he ling’ring lay,
And ten year in the midland sea did stray.
Homer, to whom the Muses did carouse
A great deep cup with heav'nly nectar fill'd,
The greatest, deepest cup in Jove's great house,
(For Jove himself had so expressly will’d)
He drank off all, nor let one drop be spill’d;
Since when, his brain that had before been dry,
Became the well-spring of all poetry.
* Sir John Harrington has writ an epigram in commendation of this poem. See the 2d Book, Epig. 67, at the end of his Translation of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, folio,
It is a great pity, and to be lamented by the poetical world, that so very ingenious a poem should be left unfinished, or, what is more likely, that the imperfect part should be lost; for in all probability he completed it, being written in his youth, in queen Elizabeth's reign, as appears from the conclusion.
Homer doth tell in his abundant verse,
The long laborious travels of the man,
And of his lady too he doth rehearse,
How she illudes with all the art she can,
Th’ ungrateful love which other lords began:
For of her lord, false fame had long since sworn,
That Neptune's monsters had his carcass torn.
AU this he tells, but one thing he forgot,
One thing most worthy his eternal song,
But he was old, and blind, and saw it not,
Or else he thought he should Ulysses wrong,
To mingle it his tragic acts among :
Yet was there not in all the world of things,
A sweeter burthen for his Muse's wings.
The courtly love Antinous did make,
Antinous that fresh and jolly knight,
Which of the gallants that did undertake
To win the widow, had most wealth and might,
Wit to persuade, and beauty to delight.
The courtly love he made unto the queen,
Homer forgot as if it had not been.
Sing then Terpsichore, my light Muse sing
His gentle art, and cunning courtesy :
You, lady, can remember ev'ry thing,
For you are daughter of queen Memory;
But sing a plain and easy melody:
For the soft mean that warbleth but the ground,
To my rude ear doth yield the sweetest sound.
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,
Wherein Penelope the princess lay,
Shone with a thousand lamps, which did exile
The shadows dark, and turn’d the night to day,
Not Jove's blue tent, what time the sunny ray
Behind the bulwark of the Earth retires,
Is seen to sparkle with more twinkling fires.
That night the queen came forth from far within,
And in the presence of her court was seen;
For the sweet singer Phemius did begin
To praise the worthies that at Troy had been;
Somewhat of her Ulysses she did ween.
In his grave hymn the heav'nly man would sing,
Or of his wars, or of his wandering.
Pallas that hour with her sweet breath divine
Inspir'd immortal beauty in her eyes,
That with celestial glory she did shine,
Brighter than Venus when she doth arise
Out of the waters to adorn the skies;
The wooers all amazed do admire,
And check their own presumptuous desire.
Only Antinous, when at first he view'd
Her star-bright eyes that with new honour shin'd,
Was not dismay'd, but therewithal renew'd
The nobleness and splendour of his mind;
And as he did fit circumstances find,
Unto the throne he boldly did advance,
And with fair manners woo'd the queen to dance.
“ Goddess of women, sith your heav'nliness
Hath now vouchsaf'd itself to represent
To our dim eyes, which though they see the less,
Yet are they bless'd in their astonishment,
Imitate Heaven, whose beauties excellent
Are in continual motion day and night,
And move thereby more wonder and delight.
“Let me the mover be, to turn about
Those glorious ornaments, that youth and love
Have fix'd in you, ev'ry part throughout,
Which if you will in timely measure move,
Not all those precious gems in Heav'n above
Shall yield a sight more pleasing to behold,
With all their turns and tracings manifold.”
With this the modest princess blush'd and smil'd
Like to a clear and rosy eventide;
And softly did return this answer mild:
“Fair sir, you needs must fairly be deny'd,
Where your demand cannot be satisfy'd:
My feet which only nature taught to go,
Did never yet the art of footing know.
“But why persuade y« u me to this new rage ? (For all disorder and r isrule is new) For such misgovernmeat in former age Our old divine forefat! ers never knew; Who if they liv'd, and did the follies view Which their fond nephews make their chief affairs, Would hate themselves that had begot such heirs."