THE CVCKOW.

At, etiam cubat cuculus: surge amator, i domum.

RICHARDVS NICCOLS, in Artibus Bac. Oxon. Aulae Mag.

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AT LONDON, Printed by F. K. and are to be sold by W. C. 1607.

TO HIS WOR­SHIPFVL GOOD FRIEND, MASTER THOMAS WROTH an affecter and fauourer of the Muses.

THis Cuckowes poem let me thus excuse
To you (deare friend, the Patron of my verse)
Though some blind night-born Momus it abuse,
As but a iest vnworthy to reherse:
Yet who such iests, as this shall idly blame,
Shall for their meede merit a Cuckowes name.
I speake not this; but that in future time,
When as my wit with riper fruit shall grow,
My Muse may speake to thee in sweeter ryme,
And for thy worth some grauer poem show:
Meane time accept of what I heere do bring,
Though Cuckow-like my Muse doth harshly sing.
Yours at commaund, R. NICCOLLS.

TO THE READER.

I Know that the nature of our Cuckow is a thing so well knowne, that I neede not despaire of any mans knowledge herein; and there [...]ore for me (especially in these parts where it is so well knowne) to present only a Cuckow, were to bring an Owle to Athens, a bird better knowne there then a Cuckow. Wherefore (gentle Rea­der) lea [...]ing the literall exposition to him, that is better skild in the nature of a Cuckow, then my selfe, I remit the cause of my affect in this subiect, to thy deeper consideration. To the prodigall want­wits of our age, that are either too curious to contemne al, or too free to affect all, let them know, that I neither despaire at the furious frownes of the one, neither relie vpon the fawning fancie of the o­ther: only I submit my selfe to the censure of him, that is more then a meere reader, to whom I do impart part of my poore poeticall skill, vpon which I haue bestowed some idle houres; idle I call them, not in disgrace of so famous a skill: but to giue the world notice, that I make it not the chiefe part of my profession: but rather place it a­mongst those things of accomplement required in a scholar, or gen­tleman; which if (gentle Reader) thou shalt gently accept, my new borne Muse, that now sings harsh and hoarse in the shape of a Cuc­kow, may by thy incouragement hereafter sing to thee in a more pleasing note. And so wishing, that her obscuritie and vnac­quaintance with thee, bee not the barre of her good in­tertainment in thy conceit, as being but a stran­ger: yet as friend, I bid thee Farewell.

THE CVCKOW.

WHen Perseus bride, that starre of heauen had fled
The Dragons paw by helpe of Gorgons head,
And on the sea-gods golden-edged brim
Her gold-out-glistring lockes began to trim:
Then did the lustie Ram with horned crest
Rouse vp Europas grim-curl'd-headed beast,
Who loudly bellowing did chase away
The tedious night, and call'd backe cheerefull day.
For then Hyperions son, the daies bright king
In pompe did court the Ladie of the spring;
And she againe in all her rich aray
Did wanton with him in lasciuious play,
Vntill her wombe with loues sweet fruit did grow,
The sweetest fruit, that wombe did euer show:
For it brought forth the worlds admired birth,
The [...] [...] Flora, [...] fairest child on earth;
Who in short time did grow so great in fame
For needle worke, that neuer any dame,
Although her cu [...]ing were exceeding rare
With faire [...] Floraes skill might make compare:
To show the which, the world she set on wing
Of sweet delight, to welcome in the spring:
The mountaine tops she clad in coate of greene,
And spotted them with gold as they had been
Starrie Olympi; and the vales below
She deckt with daintier worke, then art can show;
Vpon the ground mantled in verdent hew,
[Page 2]Out of her fruitfull lap each day she threw,
The choicest flowers, that any curious eye
In natures garden euer did espie:
The loftie trees, whose leauie lockes did shake
And with the wind did daliance seeme to make,
Shee with sweet breathing blossomes did adorne,
That seem'd to laugh the winter past to scorne,
Who when mild Zephirus did gently blow
Delightfull odors round about did throw;
While ioyous birds beneath the leauie shade,
With pleasant singing sweet respondence made
vnto the murmuring streames, that seem'd to play
With siluer shels, that in their bosom lay:
Thus with delight did Flora decke each thing
To welcome in her mother ioyfull spring,
Who had not long triumph'd in this our clime
Before the tidings of her ioyous prime
Were spread abroad, which, when those birds that shrunke
Into the wooden walles of hollow trunck,
For truth did heare, abroad they boldly came
To welcome Lady Ver, that louely dame;
Mong'st whom two chiefe there were, Dan Cuckow hight;
In whom god Vulcans loue tooke most delight,
The other that sweet singer Philomel,
Or Casta hight, whom Phoebe loued well:
These two were chiefe, that in contention stood
Amongst the pleasant singers of the wood
To be chiefe carroler and lead the ring,
Of all the rest to welcome in the spring.
Dan Cuckow was a bird hatcht in that houre,
When Mars did sport in Cythereas bowre,
Whereby the note, which his hoarse voice doth beare
[Page 3]Is harsh and fatall to the wedded eare:
But little Philomela farre more blest
Was foster'd in faire Phoebes owne deare brest,
Whom she no more the Nightingale did name;
But to consort her nature to the same
Shee call'd her Casta, word of much import,
And made her chiefe of birds in their consort.
Betwixt Dan Cuckow and this little bird
Th'approach of spring a great contention stird,
Who should be deem'd the chiefe of birds to bring
The happie tidings of th'approaching spring:
For Philomel once in a pearlie morne,
When heauen with sun-bright lookes did earth adorne
Hearing each bird record her curious lay,
Vnto the wood with speed did take her way,
Where shee did presse into the thickest throng
And did so sweetly in delicious song
Chaunt out aloude her welcome to the spring,
That all the birds did cease to heare her sing:
But as she sate admir'd of euery one,
Redoubling quauers in diuision,
And sweetly warbling out that chaste set song,
Which Phoebe taught to her when shee was young,
Dan Cuckow came, and from his greedie throate
breathing out ditties of an vnchast note,
As wroth that other birds should seeke to make
Her mistres of the quier, thus boldly spake:
Thou wretch (said he) what high aspiring spirit
Doth harbor in thy brest? what is thy merit
That thou should'st be chiefe carroler to sing
Amongst vs all to welcome in the spring?
Is not my dame the goddesse of delight,
[Page 4]And Queene of Loue, whose altars are bedight
With broad blowne blossomes of the blooming spring,
Of budding youth: then cease and let mee sing;
For I of birds am chiefest in her sight
And in my ditties she takes most delight:
Then cease thou fondling cease, and let me sing
A pleasing welcome to the wanton spring.
This said, he chaunted out his wonted lay,
Which did in woods all wedded birds affray:
But little Casta nought at all dismaide,
Being safely shrowded in the leauie shade
Return'd this short replie: (Cuckow) (quoth shee)
What thou hast said, I graunt; yet now heare me.
Where daintie dames are dight to wanton sin
Loosely araid youths wandring eyes to win,
Whom slick-hair'd slipper-lossels do dispoile
Of beauties, bud with loues sweete seeming toile,
While smock sworne boyes stand by and keepe account,
How oft aloft they lustily do mount;
There with good right may thy harsh sounding throate
Without controll record thy bastard note.
But in all woods, where my faire virgin dame
With her chaste Nymphes did keepe laborious game
To slacke the strength of loues bow-bending string,
Thou must not speake thy welcome to the spring:
For Phoebes selfe with all her Nymphes consent
Did make me cheefe of birds, for that intent.
This said, Dan Cuckow perfect in the sleight
Of cunning guile, and knowing loues delight
Had thrill'd their hearts, that in faire Phoebes groue
Once rang'd at will in scorne of Ladie loue,
Made this replie: (quoth he) seeing thou dost vaunt
[Page 5]Of Phoebe and her Nymphes, thereby to daunt
My courage in this claime, I do agree,
That they decide the cause 'twixt thee and mee;
And if they iudge thy note the sweeter sound,
Cheefe singer of the quier, thou shalt be crown'd:
But if to them my song more pleasing be,
To make me che [...]fe in woods, thou shalt agree.
Casta being swift to giue such counsell eare
Supposing Phoebes Nymphes, such loue did beare
To chaster thoughts, that they would all detest
The vnchaste dittie of Dan Cuckowes brest,
Was well contented that it should be so
And with Dan Cuckow for this cause did go,
Vnto the bower of blisse, for so it hight,
Where then those Nymphes to be did most deligh [...].
It is a place, that thoughts cannot deuise
A plot more like vnto a Paradise;
Shall I compare it to Cytheron greene,
On which the warre-god did compresse loues queene,
Or to Adonis garden farre renown'd,
In which eternall spring is euer found?
O farre more pleasant is this pleasant place,
Then all the blisfull bowers beneath heauens face!
It seated is farre in a pleasa [...]t wood,
Where many a loftie Iouiall tree hath stood,
Not much vnlike, that wood by thornie groue
Full of the tree erected vnto Ioue,
Which seated is vpon the Northern Strand,
Where Saxon Segberts sacred tower doth stand,
By which the Prince of Albions watrie deepes
From the French Ocean with swift currant sweepes,
Wafting each yeare by his Labrynthian strand,
[Page 6]More then a thousand keele from forren land,
Who oft, when Boreas at their safetie raues,
And with proud blasts doth cuffe the siluer waues,
Do nimblie fe [...]ch Lauolto [...]s vp and downe
Vpon the waues in scorn [...] of Boreas frowne:
And [...]uch a famous w [...]od, [...]s that, is this,
In wh [...]ch doth stand th [...] pl [...]sant bower of blisse:
V [...]to the which, wh [...] as Dan Cuckow came
Knowing each w [...]y, [...] led throughout the same,
With Philomel h [...] [...] the r [...]ady way,
Which to the bow [...]r of blisse dir [...]ctly lay;
Where in the way they both amazed stood
To see the pleasance of tha [...] [...] wood,
There many blissefull bowers they did behold;
Whose dwelle [...]s nei [...]her vext with heate nor cold
Did there enioy all things, that might delight
The cu [...]ious [...]ie of any liuing wight:
For pl [...]ntie th [...]e to lauish in her gift
Furnisht each place in scorne of niggard thrift;
There many Nymphes of more then heauenly hew
Had their abode; although alas but few
Amongst them all did come of heauenly kind,
So hard it is to gaine the gifts of mind:
Yet stately portance, vnto them was giuen
And in proportion like the stares of heauen
They bare thems [...]lues: yet want both will and power
From loues assault to shield faire beauties bower
And more to beautifie the goodly frames,
Which God and nature gaue these goodly dames,
Gentrie th [...]ir cradles at their birth did rock
And drew their linage from an auncient stock:
But what alas a [...]ailes the vading flower
[Page 7]Of beauties bud in those, that haue no power
To guid the least part of the weaker sence
And learne the lesson of pure continence?
Or what is birth to those, that so they winne
The seeming sweetnes of alluring sinne?
Bastard their birth and all their stock deprau [...]
To gaine the thing, which appetite doth craue:
Beautie in such, though much, is but disgrace,
And high borne birth, though kingly, yet but base.
For faire is foule, where vertue is vnknowne,
And birth is base, where gifts of grace are none.
From hence Dan Cuckow with faire Philomel,
(Acquainted with each passage very well)
Forward proceeded in this pleasant wood
Vntill they came vnto that place, where stood
The bower of blisse it selfe, so fairely deckt,
That neuer eye beheld so faire aspect:
In th'ou [...]er portch sate many a slick-hear'd Squier
Of pleasing semblance, full of loose desire,
Of feature fit to feast a Ladies e [...]e;
But manlie exercise vnfit to trie:
Their cunning did consist in sleights of loue,
With which from loy [...]ltie they oft did moue
Ladies fraile hea [...]s: for vnto many a one
They vow'd them [...]elues; though faithful vnto none,
Vnto the secrets of the vnc [...]aste she [...]t
They sworne were, an oath for [...]ch vnmeet:
For which their seruice ofte [...]imes they fed
On ransackt swee [...]nes of the nup [...]iall bed:
But let not such disco [...]rse d [...]file my pen
With argument▪ of s [...]ch reprochfull men;
Let it suffice that [...], as they [...]o bring
[Page 8] Dan Cuckow heere to welcome in our spring.
Mong'st these, there was a squier of greatest place
And cheefest held in that great Ladies grace,
Which dwelt in this same bower: for many a night
With her he stole a snatch of loues delight:
For he was lustie, young, fit for her tooth,
And her great wealth did well content his youth.
Yet he was false, disloyall to his dame;
For in his common talke deuoid of shame
He of his Ladies fauour was too francke,
For which I con that louer little thanke;
He was the vsher to this daintie dame
And Vanitie men gaue him vnto name,
To whom Dan Cuckow often louting low
By his obsequious signes his mind did show
And chaunted out to Philomels disgrace
His vnchaste note, well knowne in that same place:
For this same Squier full well I wot did know
Dan Cuckowes note and vnto him did go,
Where seeing little Casta by him stand,
Cause of their comming friendly did demaund:
Dan Cuckow proud of such an intertaine
Did tell the iarre begun betwixt them twaine,
Who should be cheefe of all the birds to sing
As herbenger to welcome in the spring,
And now to end the same, they both were come
Agreed to stand vnto the wood-Nymphes doome;
Wherefore they crau'd accesse vnto his dame,
That with her Nymphes she might decide the same:
This gentle Squier soone graunted their requests
And kindlie did conduckt his new come guests
Into an in ward court, where they should stay,
[Page 9]Till to his dame their message he did say;
Where, while they staid, with great delight they spent
The time in viewing this faire continent,
This bower of blisse, this paradise of pleasure,
Where lauish plentie did exceed all measure;
The inner portch seem'd entrance to intice,
It fashion'd was with such quaint rare deuice,
The top with cannopie of greene was spred
Thicken'd with leaues of th'Iuies wanton hed,
About the which the Eglentine did twine
His prickling armes the branches to combine,
Bearing sweete flowers of more then fragrant odour,
Which stellified the roofe with painted colour;
On either side the vine did broad dilate
His swollen veines with wreathings intricate,
Whose bunches to the ground did seeme t'incline,
As freely offring of their luscious wine:
Through this same portch went many a worthy wight
Vnto the bower of blisse, both day and night,
Who at their entrance fresh and flush as May
Did beare themselues adorn'd in rich aray:
But few return'd without the common curse
Of strange disease of emptinesse in purse,
Who wanting golden shewers for Danaes lap,
As discontented with their sad mishap
Walkt to and fro, forlorne in deepe disdaine
With willow braunch, for prise of all their paine.
From this same portch, a walke directly lay,
Which to the bower it selfe did leade the way
With fruit-trees thicke beset on either side,
Whose goodly fruit themselues did seeme to hide
Beneath the leaues, as lurking from the eies
[Page 10]Of strangers greedie view, fearing surprise,
Whose arched bowes and leauie twigs together
With true loue knots intangled each in other,
Seem'd painted walles, on which when Zephire blew
They spread themselues, disclosing vnto view
The blossomes, buds, the birds and painted flies,
That in their leaues lay hid from strangers eies;
This walke of people neuer emptie was:
For to the bower of blisse one could not passe;
But that the way did swarme with ietting iacks,
Who bare vpon their french diseased backes,
Whole manners, castles, townes and Lordships sold
Cut out in clippings and in shreds of gold:
Their chambring fortitude they did descrie
By their soft maiden voice and flickering eie,
Their womans manhood by their cloaths perfum'd,
Coy lookes, curl'd lockes, and thin beards halfe consum'd,
Whose nice, effeminate and base behauiour
Was counted comely, neate and cleanly gesture;
This pleasant walke, when gentle Philomel
And Cuckow her proud foe had viewed well
Passing forth, one loe there they did behold
High lifted vp with loftie roofe of gold
The bower of blisse, in which there did abide
The Ladies selfe, that should their cause decide,
On which the heauens still in a stedfast state
Look't alway blithe, diuerting [...]roward fate,
Not suffering y [...]ie frost, or s [...]rching sunne
To vex th'in habitants, that there did wonne:
For there eternall spring doth euer dwell,
Nay they of other season ought can tell,
They labour not with hands of industrie
[Page 11]To furrow vp the earthes fertilitie,
Bubbles of sweate decline not from their brow,
Ne stooping labour makes their backes to bow:
Yet plentie of all fruits vpon their ground,
Seedlesse and artlesse euery where is found:
Vnto this bower Dan Cuckow and his mate
Approaching nigh, loe standing at the gate,
Which framed was of purest Iuorie
All painted ore with many a historie,
So sweetly wrought, that arte in them did seeme
To mocke at nature as of no esteeme,
Eftsoones they heard a pleasing harmonie
Of musikes most melodious minstralsie,
Where sweet voic'd birds, soft winds and waters fall,
With voice and Violl made agreement all,
The birds vnto the voice did sweetly sing,
The voice did speake vnto the Viols string,
That to the wind did sound now high now low,
The wind to waters fall did gently blow;
Thus birds, voice, Violl, winds and waters all
Did sing, did speake, did sound, did blow, did fall:
As thus Dan Cuckow and his opposite,
The Nightingale stood harkening with delight
Vnto this musike, loe that Squire came
Hight Vanitie with answere from his dame,
That'gainst the morne themselues they should prepare,
Their cause in ample manner to declare;
For with her Nymphes in iudgement she would sit,
And which of them, they should esteeme most fit,
She would denounce for cheefe in woods to sing,
As herbinger vnto the ioyfull spring:
This newes did glad them both; for both did feed
[Page 12]Themselues with hope: although but one could speed
And both prepar'd each other to excell
In the next morne, to beare away the bell:
The little Philomel with curious care,
Sitting alone her ditties did prepare,
And many tunes, whose harmonie did passe
All musike else that ere inuented was;
One while the meane part shee did sweetly warble,
The tennor now, the Base and then the trebble:
Then all at once with many parts in one,
Diuiding sweetly in diuision;
Now some sweete straine to mind she doth restore,
Which all the winter shee had conn'd before,
And with such cunning deskants thereupon,
That curious art nere doctrin'd any one
With Lute, with Violl, or with voice in quier,
That to her matchlesse musike might aspire:
Meane time Dan Cuckow, knowing that his voice
Had no varietie, no change, no choice:
But through the wesand pipe of his harsh throate
Cri'd only Cuckow, that prodigious note,
That want with wits supplie he did amend,
And made that Squier, Vanitie his friend,
Who did so worke for him, as it befell,
That iudgement went against poore Philomel.
The time came on, and th'Opall coloured morne,
Bright-cheek [...] Aurora leaning all sorlorne
Old Tytho [...] in his bed, did vp arise
Opening the gates of the orientall skies,
Through which the daies bright king came dauncing out
With glorious golden lockes bespread about
His s [...]oulders broad; from whence such luster came,
[Page 13]That all the world did seeme a golden flame:
For then Auroraes trumpe, the peasants clocke,
Daies herbinger, the bloody crested cocke
With flaggie wings had beate black night away,
And sung sweet tidings of approaching day,
At which both birds vp starting from their rest
Quaintly to plead their cause, themselues addrest,
Which with her Nymphes, that day in solemne state
The Ladie of this bower should debate,
Which flying fame vpon her wings did beare,
Making it vulgar newes in euery eare,
And with her siluer trumpe did Echo out
Report thereof, in all the woods about;
Which once being blowen abroad, all the whole quier
Of singers in the wood with great desire,
(To know in this same strife, who should preuaile
Dan Cuckow, or the little Nightingale)
Came flocking through the aire, and as they flew,
Their diuers warbling notes about they threw;
There came the Larke, who still as she did flie
With outstretcht' wings aspir'd the cloud brow'd skie,
There Progne came who did present for food
In tragicke feast, her owne deare [...]tis blood
To bloodie Tereus, in auengment fell
Of sister deare Pandions Philomel,
Who now transform'd vnto the sent-strong Swallow,
Shaftlike did flie through the ayres concaue hollow;
With these there came the Thrush, that loues the grape,
The speckled Spinck, that liues by gummie sappe,
The Redbrest sweet, that loues the lookes of men,
The lustfull Sparrow and the little Wren,
The chattering Pie, the quick conceited Stare,
[Page 14]The golden Finch and Linnot singing rare
With many more, whose notes the aire did fill
With true consort, sweet worke of natures skill,
Who to the bower of blisse did take their way,
To h [...]are the iarre decided, that same day,
Which the approach of spring did late excite
Be [...]wixt Dan Cuckow and his opposite:
The place, in which this matter should be tride
Was in a greene pailde round on euery side,
In which was pight a stately cannopi [...];
For that great [...] and her companie,
Many a [...] Nymph of great estate,
That should that day Dan Cuckowes cause debate;
Who being pearch [...] aloft in open sight
Vpon a [...] braunch, had well ydight
And deckt his plumes to make a pleasant show,
When he should pleade his cause against his foe,
Who on the other side her selfe did place,
In hope Dan Cuckow foulely to disgrace,
Not doubting but those Nymphes for Phoebes sake
In this so iusta cause, her part would take:
The time being come, loe like as when Ioues bride,
Heauens Iuory fingered queene in pompe doth ride
To heauens high court, aboue the Planets seauen,
To sit in counsell with the gods of heauen:
Euen so forth comes that faire renowmed dame,
Chiefest of all the bower of blisse, that came
To iudge the controuersie that befell,
Betwixt Dan Cuckow and faire Philomel,
Shee was a Ladi [...] gaudie in attire
And to content th'affect of her desire,
Th'earthes golden bowels often wounded were
[Page 15]And th'Indian slaue with steele did often teare
The hard rockes rubie ribs in hope to find
Treasure to pleasure her disdainfull mind:
Proudly she pas'd it with a princely gate,
As earth had been too meane for her estate,
Looking to heauen with her disdain [...]ull eies;
For humble obiect she did still dispise:
Yet was her birth but meane, and her esteeme
Respectiuely compa [...]'d, but base did seeme,
Loosely she was aray'd in wanton weed
Which wander [...]s eies did with inticement feed,
For she was clad in robe of tissue thinne,
Through which so brim appear'd her snowie skin,
That it did seeme to those, that did it see,
No whit obscur'd, but farre more white to bee;
Her Iuorie brests did euer open lie
To readie spoile of gazers greedie eie,
And both her lillie paps were bare to winne
Her louers melting heart to wanton sinne;
Her name the which was Meehafasto hight
Her double nature did expresse aright:
With her there hither came a goodly crew
Of louely Nymphes of seeming Angels hue,
Featur'd each where in bodies li [...]eament,
As if they late had left the firmament,
Or as if heauens diuine triplicitie,
Out of some fift vnknowne simplicitie,
For [...] complexions hue had fram'd some mixture,
Passing [...] homely gift of common nature:
But pi [...]ie 'twas, such angell-seeming creatures
With vlcerous minds deform'd such heauenly features:
For they were wanton, full of loose desire
[Page 16]And in their heart did nourish lustfull fire,
With glauncing lookes, like summers euening lights
They could allure the rash beholders sights,
And Heliotropon-like with sun-like skill
Could cause soft hearts to turne vnto their will,
When they list speake, their words like to a lake
Breaking through rocks of rubie, seem'd to make
Celestiall musike with their pleasing sound,
Amongst the siluer pearles, that stood around,
With which they Syren-like could often moue
Modest Hypolitus to wanton loue,
They all acoutered were in sundrie fashion,
Seeming t'haue been all of a seuerall nation,
Some in the antique Roman Lords attire
Did shape themselues, as seeming to aspire
Some captaines place, or as if they had been
Symiramis, that manlike monster queene,
In Persian loose aray, some did delight,
Or rather disaray, so loosely dight,
In the french doublet some againe did i [...]t
wanting but slops to make a man compleat,
Some on their heads did beare the fatall signe,
Which of fooles future fortune did diuine,
Others againe Morisko caps did weare
Maid-marrian-like with brooches in each eare
And Indian-like did paint inch thicke in view;
Though natures red and white were Angels hew.
Thus with their fashions strange varietie,
They did bewray their minds inormitie:
For things externall sought with strong affect,
Internall thoughts both good and bad detect,
Which, when the little Casta did behold
[Page 17]Poore bird her fearefull heart did wax stone cold:
But now too late shee did repent, that shee
Had made them iudges of her cause to bee:
For thither now, they were alreadie come
According to their minds to giue their doome,
Where heapes of people thronging in the way
Did earlie waite for them by breake of day
To know, what bird should beare away the bell
The bastard Cuckow or faire Philomel:
The iudges being set, vp straight did stand,
The crier of the court who did command
High, with shrill voice and great authoritie
A generall silence through the companie;
Which done forth stept the little Casta hight,
Who being pearcht aloft in open sight
After obeysance to those damsels made,
That were as iudges set, thus boldly said:
(Fairest of faire) who from the ioyous prime
Of your great birth, vntill this very time,
Haue trained been in this celestiall place,
This bower of blisse in vertue and in grace,
For vertues sake vouchsafe with silent pause
To heare poore Philomela plead her cause.
What once I haue been, now I need not tell,
Nor what I am, I know, yee know it well:
Yee know, that once, when in great Athens towne
My Sire, good king Pandion wore the crowne,
A Ladie then I was, as now yee bee
And daughter to a king, till wo is mee,
The Thracian king, whose lust-burnt thoughts did flame
And burne in foule desire, did worke my shame:
In Thracian woods (O euer be forgot
[Page 18]The place in which mine honor he did blot)
In Thracian woods (I say) the tyrant fell
Vnto his will did force poore Philomel,
And lest his wicked acte I should des [...]rie
The cruell edged steele he did applie
Vnto my tongue, and with most bitter smart
Did rob me of the Echo of my heart:
All this and more then this, yee all do know
So common is poore Philomelaes woe.
Yee know likewise how in auengement fell
My furious sister, Progne did compell
The lustfull Tereus in a fatall feast
To swallow downe into his lust-burnt brest
His owne deare sonne, his Itis, that sweet youth,
Whose death breeds in my heart eternall ruth:
For which when as the tyrant did decree
With wrathfull sword to wreake reuenge on me
Heauen pittie tooke and gaue to me this shape,
By which his fell intent I did escape,
And as an exile from all mens abode
I since haue liued in the desert wood,
Where sitting once on humble thorne alone
And in my wofull di [...]ties making mone
For my old Sire, Pandion, that good King,
Whose timelesse death my sad mischance did bring;
Lo [...], That great Huntresse of renowmed fame,
The Ladie Phoebe following the game,
In the wild wood hath silent stood in pittie
To heare the sad tunes of my dolefull [...],
And being mo [...]'d with deepe remorse of mind
That fates had been so [...] and vnk [...]d
'Gainst me poore wretch, she did vou [...]hsafe to show
[Page 19]Compassion towards me in my bitter woe.
While in these woods and [...] she did vse,
Mong'st all the quier for chiefe, she [...] me c [...]use
To be her bird, and while shee was my dame
Not Philomel, but Casta was my name,
And, for I was the daughter of a King,
Shee made me cheefe of all the quier to sing,
And in her woods ordained me the shade
To shroude my selfe from Tereus bloodie blade:
But loe alas, what time hath brought to passe,
Loe heere a tyrant, worse then Ter [...]us was,
Loe heere Dan Cuckow my sterne enemie
Claiming my right with proud authoritie,
Who this same blissefull place as death did shun,
When as my dame in these same woods did wonne.
(O) how it [...] me, that a bird so base
Pandions princely daughter should disgrace,
Who by condition of his qualitie
Vnto the world discries his basta [...]die:
Is't not inough, that once I being a dame
Y borne o [...] auncient Kings of worthie fame,
Now liue a bird loathing mans companie
In desert woods for loue to chastitie,
And in the echoing mountaines loudly sing
Phoebes chaste song, when as the lustie spring
Stirres vp young bloods, that with my chaster layes
I may recall them from their wanton waies?
But must a bird the basest of the crue
In all the woodstand vp to wrest my due
Vnto his lot, which Phoebe did ordaine
Should vnto me for euermore remaine?
Nor is it yet enough alas, that I
[Page 20]From stately palaces of kings do flie,
Still dreading Tereus lothsome luxurie
To liue in woods farre from all companie?
But must another Tereus seeke t'expell
From woods likewise the forlorne Philo [...]el?
Alas if so, where shall I hide my head,
Where shall I shun th'ineuitable dread
Of bloodie Tereus hot lust-sparkling face,
If nor in woods, nor house I shall haue place?
To you therefore (faire Nymphes) to your iust doome
That as the vmpiers of my cause are come
I do appeale, not doubting but the loue
You beare to Phoebes name your hearts will moue
In this so iust a cause to pittie mee,
That was as deare to her as deare might bee;
Which if yee do, your fame shall neuer die
And Castas [...]elfe shall sing your praise on hie.
This said, shee breathed from her brest so cleare
The sweetest layes, that eare did euer heare,
To which all other birds about the place
Did tune their diuers notes to do her grace,
As in approuance of her worth to sing
As chiefe in woods to welcome in the spring,
Which did so daunt Dan Cuckowes daring pride,
That of the thought his shamefull head to hide:
But knowing well that he had friends in place
That of those partiall Nymphes had got him grace,
Feare set aside, and his obeysance made,
Vnto those Nymphes these words he boldly said:
(Yee glorious ofspring of great honors bed,
Vertues fair [...] impes, mirrors of womanhed,
Bright Angel-like sweet Nymphes, whose beauties blaze
[Page 21]Adornes the world like Tytans golded rayes)
Vouchsafe with gentle patience for a space
Your gratious silence, while I pleade my case.
The iarre begun b [...]twixt my foe and me,
The subiect of my purps'd speech should be;
But fi [...]st both words and wit, I must applie
To make an answere to mine enemie.
Though of my birth no boaster I will be
Seeing in this cause it nought auaileth me;
Yet, that I may, that scandalisme refute,
Which my [...]al [...]e foe doth vnto me impute,
Know that Ioues bird, the Eagle prince of ayre
Did foster me being young with tender care,
In whose proud neasty built, in Iouiall tree
My dame by secret stelth conueied me.
In that same clime, where AEstas sits in pride
Beneath the tropick of hot sommers guide,
The crabbed Cancer, where in earthes coole cels,
The hot sun painted people euer dwels,
Not far from whence great Nilus euermore
With fruitfull waues doth wash th'Egyptian shore,
There was I bred, and there my fame first grew,
Which thence long since about the wide world flew.
For South from thence the land of Cyprus lies,
Whereas the people vse to sacrifice
To lo [...]es faire Queene, of whom I wonne great grace,
When she was wroth with people o [...] that place:
For once being sore offended with them all
And musing with he [...]selfe, what plague should fall
Vpon their heads, she chaunc'd to cast he [...] eie
Vpon an home, which she did soone applie
Vnto their browes, whereby they straight forsooke
[Page 22]Their former shape, and Oxe-like was their looke:
But they blind buzzards could not see the same,
Whereby the lesser was their griefe and shame,
Till ore their goodly heads, I wau'd my wing
And cuckow in their eares aloud did sing;
Which when they heard, like raging Buls they bore
Their lo [...]tie heads, and with loud bellowing rore
Did show their iealous thoughts: for which men say
They called are Cerastes to this day:
And for this fact of mine the Cyprian dame,
The Queene of loue did giue to me for name
The song, which I did sing and did decree,
That I thence forth her only bird should be;
She bore me to that garden of great fame,
Which yet of her Adonis beares the name,
Where she her selfe did teach me how to sing,
Her sweet delights vnto the youthfull spring;
And did appoint, that the yeares youthly prime
Should be the season of my singing time:
For well she knew, that season did belong
Vnto the nature of my pleasant song;
As for my foe, although her layes be sweet:
Yet be they sad patheticall vnmeet
To be recorded, when the lustie spring
Tidings of pleasure to the world doth bring,
More fit with little Redbrest on a thorne
To beare a part, and helpe her for to mourne
For losse of sommer, when cold winters breath
To all our pleasures threatens hatefull death:
Then (gentle dames, great Ladies of delight)
Who in this bower of blisse both day and night
haue your abode, where winter neuer lowres
[Page 23]N [...] on your heads powres downe his stormie shewers;
Let it be seene that ye haue need of none
The sommer past in winter to bemone:
So s [...]all Dan Cuckow sing your lasting praise
Before loues Queene in his delightfull laies.
This said, he chaunted out his Cuckows song,
Which laughter bred among'st the thickest throng,
Nor any prettie bird about the place
Would in their song vouchsafe to do him grace.
But see the chaunce the Nymphes being in a pause
And in consult how to decide this cause,
And each one being husht with greedie eare
To heare that sentence, which they least did feare,
Of all the Nymphes vp stood the chiefest dame
And thus this vniust sentence did proclaime:
(O all yee singers of the woods sweet quier)
Heare now the doome, which ye did long desire,
And (ye) twixt whom the iarre begun but late,
As yet hangs in suspence without debate,
Know that each others cause doth now abide
In equall ballance, which we thus decide.
Seeing to the nature of each others song,
Two parts of all the yeare seeme to belong,
That part in equall doome we will ordaine,
Which is most meet for either of you twaine;
First touching Philomel, seeing that her dittie
Is alwaies passionate and mouing pittie,
Seeing with her, when she sings in wo [...]ull wise
The echoing mountaines seeme to sympathize,
And rockes do weepe, and trees do seeme to grone,
When in lamenting layes she list to mone
In that sad time, when Boreas winged scouts
[Page 24]Locks vp the fruitfull Terras water spouts,
And with congealing puffes do crystalize
The cloud-like waues of Neptunes liquid skies;
Let Philomel in her pathetike straine
For sommers losse in leauelesse woods complaine,
Lest, when her dolefull ditties she doth sing
She do disturbe the pleasance of our spring:
But for Dan Cuckow seeing he neuer sings,
But when sweet Zephirus on gentle wings,
Breathing good morrowes to the faire Aurora,
Begins each day to kisse his wanton Flora;
We thinke it meete, that he be chiefe to sing,
Where ere he meets the Ladie of the spring.
And seeing, when earth hath lost her flowring May
He cannot sing for greefe of her decay,
Here let him stay, where he may euer sing
Seeing heere with vs we haue eternall spring.
This is our doome and thus we do debate
The cause betwixt Dan Cuckow and his mate.
Thus hauing said, she ceast, and thereupon
Such murmur, as we heare in woods, that grone,
When winds rouz'd vp through hollow grounds do break,
Such noise was heard 'mong'st those, that heard her speake;
And all the quier of birds about the place
Did droope and hang the head, for such disgrace
To wronged Philomel, and for her sake,
A mournefull melodie did seeme to make:
But what alas auailes their discontent,
Those partiall iudges rose, and with them went
Dan Cuckow singing his triumphant song,
While Philomel bewailes her helpelesle wrong,
Who being vniustly robbed of her right
[Page 25]And from the bower of blisse exiled quite,
Calling to mind, how that she once had been
The happie daughter of a King and Queene,
And since that she in shape of bird did liue,
What honor Phoebes selfe to her did giue,
Now from all future hope being quite cast downe,
Orecome with griefe, she fell in suddaine swoune,
And groueling in the dust on her sad brest,
With deadly sorrowe being sore opprest,
Poore bird she hung the wing and gasp'd for breath
Seeming to yeeld vnto the panges of death;
To whom her sister Progne standing by
With speed to her recouery did flie,
And houering ouer her, made pitious plaint
For to reuiue her, that began to faint,
Dead was her heart, to see her sister lie
In such a traunce and often wish' [...] to die,
Shee strock't her temples with her pretie beake
And raysing vp her limbes, that w [...]re so weake,
With gentle touch did feele each tender part,
And stroue to strengthen her now dying heart:
Vnto her aide the gentle Redbrest came,
The Wren, and fruitfull Titmouse, that sterne dame,
Who did applie their helpe at need so well,
That now the slitting life of Philomel
Halfe conquer'd with cold death, did make retreate
Vnto the heart, the house of natiue heate;
Which, when her sister Progne did espie
These words of comfort, shee did soone applie;
(Ay me) quoth she, (deare sister) thou that art
Now made the image of vnpatient smart,
Why dost thou not in these sad passions show
[Page 26]Thy wonted patience in afflicting woe,
And to our counsell lend thy listening eare,
The which may teach thee patiently to beare
This rufull sorrow, which doth stop thy breath
And seekes to hasten thy vntimely death;
Speake (o deare sister) speake, and tell vs why
Thy soule with griefe opprest should seeke to die.
She hauing said, the wofull Philomel,
Whose sad soule all this while in traunce did dwell,
Did lift vp th'heauie windowes of her eies
And spake these rufull words in wofull wise.
Tempestuous chaunce her vtmost spite hath spent,
And at me wretch her vtmost dart hath sent,
Nor any plague is left, that she can tell,
With which t'oppresse the fo [...]lorne Philomel.
For since the time, that I, as well you know
Was, (woe alas that now I am not so)
Pandions daughter in my virgins state,
I haue endur'd sterne fortunes vtmost hate;
Can I forget my Thracian slauerie
Beneath false Tereus lustfull villanie,
Or cease to thinke vpon my virgins rape,
With losse of tongue and Ladies louely shape?
Yea can I liue and leaue to haue in mind
Fortunes last wrong, not least, but most vnkind,
Those Nymphes late doome, I meane, by whose decree
A forlorne outcast I shall euer bee?
For from Dan Cuckowes song my shame doth spring
And where alas, will not Dan Cuckow sing?
Sith then, to me poore wretch by cru [...]ll fate
Naught else is left of former princely state?
But shame and [...]oe, why do I longer feed
[Page 27]On loathed light, which wo afresh will breed?
This said, she suncke againe in deadly swound:
But Progne quickly rais'd her vp from ground,
Thrice did she sincke as dead, and thrice againe
Did Progne raise her vp with busie paine;
At last, when life her setled place did take
To comfort her, the little Wren thus spake:
Now certes madame Philomel, quoth shee,
You haue great cause of plaint we all do see,
The which I weene would pierce the stoutest heart
And launch the boldest brest with bleeding smart;
Yet comfort to you take, and do not you
Let passions rage rob reason of her due;
Thinke with your selfe, as now too true it is,
That in this pleasant place, this bower of blisse,
Since that Dan Cuckow findeth entertaine,
For vs no certaine safetie doth remaine:
For well we see the Nymphes of this same place
Haue giuen ouer that same wonted chase
Of harmefull beasts, which Phoebe did delite
Following strange game with greedie appetite,
Yea 'tis reported many Satyrs rude
Into their company themselues intrude,
By whose inticement you they did forsake
In their false doome Dan Cuckowes part to take:
Then do not greeue at this their vniust doome,
Ne thinke your selfe disgrac'd as ouercome
Before such dames; for grace it seemes to me
To be disgrac'd of those, that gracelesse be:
But swage your griefe in this so ruefull case,
And go with vs vnto our dwelling place,
Where though alone in desert place it be;
[Page 28]Yet there from feare of foes you shall be free:
For as dame Titmouse and Redbrest can tell
Dan Cuckow seldome sings, where we do dwell,
True, (neighbour Wren) the Redbrest did replie,
We liue in safetie, though in penurie;
And if dame Philomel with vs will go,
Such kindnesse as poore Robbins bower can show
She shall command, and though in that same wood,
None of the courtly birds haue their abode;
Yet there do many gentle singers dwell,
That will be louing vnto Philomel.
Yea; quoth the Titmouse, neither shall she there
Of proud Dan Cuckowes thieatnings stand in feare.
For all birds there his bastard note abhors
And euermore do make him deadly wars,
Twice sixe stout sonnes, at this same very houre
I haue now liuing in my little bower,
All which shall serue the wronged Philomel
Against Dan Cuckow, if with vs she dwell:
Thus did these birds with gentle speech assay
Sad Philomelaes greefe to driue away;
But long it was, ere sorrow would depart,
It was so deepely setled in her heart:
Yet at the length the Swallow, Progne hight
Did so perswade her, that she tooke her [...]light
With little Titmouse, Robbin and the W [...]en
To desert woods farre from th'abodes of men:
But Prognes selfe returned backe againe
To Trinobant, where [...] still [...]emaine:
Thu [...] from the [...]ower o [...] [...] [...]as Philomel
Exil'd for [...] i [...] [...] woods to dwell
While there D [...]n Cuckow as [...] bird did sing
[Page 29]To tell the pleasures of the youthfull spring:
The mansion house, in which poore Philomel,
Did with her new companions daily dwell,
Was in a rocke, whose head it selfe did shroud
In mistie cloake of many a wandring cloud,
And whose thicke mossie sides and hollow wombe
To many a bird did yeeld much building roome,
It seated was downe in a valley low,
Where many a siluer gliding streame did flow,
And leauie woods in arbor wise did stand,
As made by art, and not by natures hand.
From right side of this rocke, there issued out
A crystall spring which slowed round about
The bottome of the rock, whose vpper brim
Thick set with hearbes and flowers smelt sweet and trim:
In th'hollow of this rock the humming swarmes
Of honie flies, whose bodies nature armes
With biting stings did beare a murmuring base
vnto the spring, that trickling downe apace
From of the rock did meanely seeme to warbble
Among'st the pibble stones vnto the trebble,
Which many prettie birds did seeme to sing,
Houering about the rocke with painted wing:
This was the place of Philomels abode
With her companions in the desert wood,
Where all the time of those long lasting houres,
When as the heauenly crab with his eight oares
Doth in the starrie Zodiack softly row,
Felicitie did in abundance flow,
Whereby faire Philomel did find no misse
Of wonted pleasure in the bower of blisse:
For there where curious art her helpe denide,
[Page 30]There natures selfe, that want with store supplide:
If Boreas did at any time offend her
The hollow rock a remedie did lend her:
If Phoe [...]us hurt her with his fierie rayes,
She found redresse beneath the leauie spraies,
To whose coole shades she safely might retreate,
When earth did crack beneath heauens burning heate:
If she did hunger after wonted baite,
The goodly fruit of euery tree did waite
Vpon her will: yea much varietie
Of painted [...]lies for her sati [...]tie
At hand in this her dwelling place she found,
So fruitfull was this pleasant plot of ground:
If she did thirst, or heate did her annoy,
What pleasure did she take, what gladsome ioy
Vnto the siluer gliding streame to [...]lie,
That rowled through the bordering wood fast by:
For when she stooping steep'd her tender beake
Into the waue, it oft would seeme to breake,
And feeling her soft bosome pant and beate
Would bid her bath and quench her boiling heate:
Meane time flowers seem'd to laugh and buds to spring,
Trees seem'd to bloome and blossomes sorth to bring,
And winds to coole the scorching of the sun,
While by the brinke the currant smooth did run,
Which oft did please this prettie bird so well,
That in that place she still desir'd to dwell.
But long alas, thi [...] pleasure did not last;
For long it was not, ere the earth defac'd
By winters sad approch was forc'd to leaue
That pompe, which from the spring she did receaue;
For what thing is't subelementarie,
[Page 31]That still continues and doth neuer varie?
What thing retaines one forme that euer liues
And place vnto another neuer giues?
Alas, nought permanent with vs doth stay:
For end and ofspring haue successiue sway:
Eternall time, that auncient enemie
To vading natures prodigalitie
Remorselesse of all things with Sithe cuts downe
The growing glorie of this earthes renowne;
And as he flies with swift wings to and fro
By his decree, all things do come and go.
And so at length, where Philomel did dwell
Sad winter came, and sommer bad farewell.
With cold th'ayres lower region gan to shiuer
And daily to the earth did downe deliuer
The fleece-like yuorie flakes of heauenly snow,
Which from the neighbour region fast did flow:
For then from heauens point perpendicular
Hyperion in his spheare o [...]bicular
Running his wonted race with oblique course,
His repercusse beames beat with lesser force
Vpon his butt, the ball of earth, whereby
A weake reflection, to our aire did flie:
Then did the fruitfull earth begin to faint,
When that warme wonted comfort it did want,
Which from the gentle breathing aire should come,
To cherish vp the fruit of her bigge wombe,
Whose sorrowes wrathfull winter to augment
Did muster vp his forces with intent
To spoile her daughter sweet Pomonaes loues
With her Autumnus in the shadie groues,
Whom to withstand bold Auster, that braue Knight
[Page 32]Ioyn'd [...]orces with Autumnus for the fight,
And oftentimes brau'd Boreas in the field
Pomonaes [...]uits from his proud blasts to shield:
But raging Hyems to inforce the warre
All his bold Legions did reuoke from farre,
Which in three battailes he did thus diuide
To quell stout Auster and Autumnus pride,
The hidio [...]s stormes, that beate downe brazen wals
And horrid tempests that make tennis bals
Of mightie mountaines in the vauntgard went
To giue the onset with bold hardiment,
Who [...]e stubborne rankes with haileshot did abound
And drifts of snow their foe-men to confound,
Whom lustie Bore [...]s full of daunting dread
Did vnto boisterous battaile boldly lead:
The middle ward, great Hyems selfe did guide,
Who to the field like great god Mars did [...]ide:
For on a winged cloud he sate on high
Deckt in strange armour dreadfull to the ei [...],
Vpon his breast a curac [...] he did beare
Ofycie mettall made, which far more cleare
Then crystall shone: for like the c [...]ystall skie
It could subdue the gazers greedie eie,
Thereby his blade did hang in snow-white sheath,
With which he vs'd t'imploy works of cold death
Mong'st those, that needie were, and could not arme
themselues to sh [...]n the stroke of his strong arme,
His y [...]ie Helmet powdered with white snow
Great terror and bright glory both did show,
And in the steade of plume stood thereupon
A bunch ofysacles by nature growen;
Which with pure snow being sprinckled [...]
[Page 33]Did seeme to daunce and leape for iollitie:
His shield, which at his back parts he did settle,
Was neatly fram'd of Diamondlike mettell,
Hewen out ofycie rocks in Scythian land
By nature wrought, and not by Artists hand,
On which for badge did stand in ramping p [...]ide
Cold Capricorne the shiue [...]ing winters guide.
In such like armes was wrathfull Hyems clad,
Whose lookes a terror to his armes did adde:
His browes contract aboue his gloomie eies,
On which the hoarie hear [...]s did bristled [...]ise,
And Ioue-like looke with grim stiffe buggle beard
Made his owne powers, that marcht by him, affeard,
To gu [...]rd his person round about him stood
Whole hoastes of mists and many a roaring [...]loud▪
And thus to field the second battell went
Vnder conduct of Hyems regiment.
The third Battalion to the field did goe
Beneath great Eurus standard 'gainst the foe,
Who being Lord of th'Easterne parts, that lie,
Where great Apollo first doth mount the skie:
Many bold bands of souldiers brought from farre;
To serue the mightie Hyems in this warre;
In seruice with him for light horsemen came,
Those light swift winged winds, that beare the name
Of Boreas and of Eurus both; for whom
To serue in these same warres they all were come,
With these th'humerous vapors ioyn'd their powers
The gloomie fogs, and duskie drizeling showers,
Whole troopes of drowzie mistes, of dewe and frost,
Who of themselues could make a mightie h [...]ast▪
And thus did Hyems his whole powers diuide,
[Page 34]Which winged were with clouds on either side;
Of whose approch when Autumne first did heare,
His heart stroke dead, began to faint for feare:
Yet calling mightie Auster to his aide
And gentle Zephirus, his part he made,
As able as he could, and boldly went
To frustrate winter of his proud intent;
Vnto his aide the King of forrests all
Came backt with his consorts, whom some do call
The tree of Ioue, with whom there came from farre
Fields, forrests, woods, and groues vnto this warre:
Thus did both parts prepare with all their might
To meete each other in th'appointed fight.
The time being come, before the fight b [...]gan
Downe from the hilles the torrents swiftly ran,
As scouts from Hyems campe to take suruey
Of Autumnes host, that in the valleyes lay,
Which all the birds about both neere and farre
Tooke as a warning of th'approching warre,
And for themselues prouided all in hast
Vntill the danger of the warre were past:
Mong'st whom the little Redbrest with great care
Of Philomel her friend did make repaire
Vnto the rock, where she and Philomel
This dangerous time might both in safetie dwell:
Then came proud Hyems forward to the [...]ight
Downe from the ayrie mountaines that are pight
In th'articke side, whereas the Dragons traine
Diuides the wrathfull beares by Charles his waine:
The battels ioyn'd, and both the hosts did meet,
Whe [...]e lustie Auster cuffe for cuffe did [...]reet
The migh [...]ie Boreas selfe, whose verie breath
[Page 35]Did powder-like blast other foes to death:
Then came the stormes and tempests to the fight
In blacke, fresh, gloomie horror all bedight,
With smouldering fume, thick driftes of drizeling raine,
Commixt with haileshot, [...]ull of deadly bane,
Who at the first their foes did soone confound,
Rending vp woods and forrests from the ground,
Whose leauie heads disperst about did flie,
Tost to and fro, like [...]eathers in the skie:
Then to the reskew with the westerne King
Milde Zephirus, came Autumne, who did bring
Many swift winged winds, who with great might
At first in counter did renue the fight:
For many iustling clouds, that came in course
With bold intent to beare their violent force
Being hem'd in round about, could not abide,
But deadly wounded were on euery side,
Who fearing in their cloudie shapes to die
In humerous thin drops away did flie:
But now to gaine the glo [...]ie of the day,
Loe, Eurus came, who at his first assay
By violent force did end the doubtfull fight
And turn'd his foes into inglorious flight.
Meane time, great Autumne tooke his loue aside,
His faire Pomonas selfe, whom he did hide
In wooden walles of forrests, woods and groues,
From mightie Hyems false inueigling loues,
While he with Zephirus and Auster flew
To Tytans Westerne house, there to renew
Their powers 'gainst Aries should the yeare recall
To free Pomona from great Hyems thrall:
Meane time great winter in triumphant wise
[Page 36]Ouer his captiue foes did tyrannize,
The siluer brookes that sweetly wound about
The pleasant bankes with wreathings in and out,
With Adamantine-like strong ycie bands,
He fast did bind within the hollow lands:
The Crystall springs, that from the mountaines side
With pleasing sound to ground did gently glide
And brackish streames, that gushed from the rock
With strong congealed frost he vp did lock:
The slowring fields, woods, hilles and mountaines greene
And valleyes, that before to laugh were seene,
In stead of fresh greene colour, now were clad
In h [...]arie hue, that made them looke full sad;
Yea euery thing, for want of heate halfe dead
In winters [...], droop't and hung the head:
Yet all this time of winters wrathfull reigne,
When all things did in deepe distresse complaine,
Dan Cuckow in the bower of blisse did sing
His ioyfull note, where dwels eternall spring:
Where, while that he did liue both day and night
Drencht in the daintie dregs of deepe delight,
With little Redbrest forlorne Philomel
In hollow rock in consolate did dwell,
Where she poore bird in many a dolefull straine
The Nymphes late vniust doome did much complaine,
Which was the cause of all her miserie,
That liu'd before in chiefe felicitie.
The state, which fortune erst to her did giue
Compar'd to this, in which she now did liue,
Did trebble sorrow on her dying heart
A fresh reuiuing her forgotten smart,
For miserie to those most bitter is,
[Page 37]That tasted once the sweets of happie blisse,
Which little Redbrest did perceiue right well
In her companion gentle Philomel:
For once when Philomel and she together
In hollow rocke sate shrowded from the weather
Still as the Redbrest in sweet notes did sing
A sad complaint for absence of the spring,
So did poore Philomel her griefe to show
In sad record recount her former woe:
To whom the Redbrest mou'd with melting pitie
To heare the sad tunes of her dolefull dittie,
These words of comfort spake: (sister) quoth she,
I see that winters blasts dispeasant be,
And in your thoughts renewes the memorie
Of your precedent liues felicitie,
Whereby I know, your sorrow is the more,
That haplesse now liu'd happie heretofore:
But now vnto my words your listening lend,
By which perhaps your sorrowes may haue end:
Each yeare, when winter cause of all our woe,
Vpon these woods with cold keene breath doth blow,
From hence compeld I vsually do flie,
To famous Trynobantum, here fast by,
Whereas your sister Progne builds her bowers,
Safe from the threates of winters stormie showers,
For heauen that heere lookes grim with gloomie face
With milde aspect beholds that happie place,
There, not as heere th'inhabitants do know
Cold winters rage, nor doth proud Bore [...] blow
So sharpe and keene: but in the welkin faire
The milder windes do tosse the gentle aire;
There also many gentle Nymphes do dwell,
[Page 38]That may compare with those that do excell
In beautie bright; for eye did neuer see
More faire then in great Trynobantum be,
To whom I do not doubt, if that we go,
But they to Philomel will fauour show,
And though those Nymphes, that in the bower of blisse
Haue their abode, 'gainst thee haue done amisse:
Yet they no doubt will pitie thy complaint
And driue Dan Cuckow from great Trynobant;
And in our way, as we together slie
Lest we be destitute of company,
In this our iorney with vs well I know
Our neighbours Titmouse and dame Wren wil go:
Then be not sad, helpe neuer comes too late,
And time perhaps may turne your froward fate.
This said, sad Philomel no answere made
But making doubt of that, which Redbrest said,
Sometimes she thought it best to liue content
In th'hollow rock all danger to preuent:
But when proud Boreas blasts her heart did daunt,
She thought it best to flie to Trynobant.
Thus diuers doubts did in her thoughts arise,
Nor what was best to do could she deuise,
Vntill her neighbours Wren and Titmouse came,
Who with perswasiue speech her mind did frame
To Trynobant with them along to go,
Vnto the faire Nymphes there, her cause to show,
To trie if they for Castaes sake would chase
The vnchaste Cuckow from their dwelling place:
Thus by perswasion of those prettie birds,
The gentle Philomela soone accords
To go with them, though, as it came to passe,
[Page 39]The sequell prou'd their labour fruitlesse was.
For in their iourney loe, as they did flee,
Taking their couert slight from tree to tree,
Not daring to be seene in open skie,
About great Trynobant they did espie
The swift-wing'd swallow making her strong flight,
Sister to Philomela, Progne hight;
To whom right glad they tooke their ready way
Each one recording her deligh [...]some lay,
Which did so loudly echo in the ayre,
That Progne heard it, as they came from farre,
And drawing nie to know what it might be
Staying her swift strong flight loe, she did see
Her sister Philomel with other birds,
To whom with wonderment she spake these words;
(O heauens) what chaunce is this, what see I heere
Pandions Philomel, my sister deare?
Alas, what sad mishap is now befell,
That you haue left the place where you did dwell,
Great perill, which I wot you little know,
In comming hither, you do vndergoe.
Sister, (said Philomel) no great mischaunce
Hath happened vnto me, nor ignorance
Of perill in the way hath made me bold:
But forc'd by stormie winters bitter cold.
My friends and I haue lately left our home
And for reliefe to Trynobant a [...]e come,
Where you do liue in chiefe felicitie,
Free from the thrall of winters tyrannie.
Alas, (good sister) Progne did replie,
Let not that vaine opinion in your eie
Go currant, which the idiot multitude
[Page 40]Out of blind ignorance doth still conclude,
That meane estate is greatest miserie
And high esteeme the chiefe felicitie:
For high or low, rich are not rich indeed,
And great states still on discontent do feed.
What dreadfull danger dogs him at the heele,
That proudly vaunts on top of Fortunes wheele?
What daunting dread his Stealing steps attend,
Whose climing thoughts do ayme at honors end?
Who feares to fall, but he that sits on high,
Or feeles th'infection of an enuious eie?
For enuy euermore her poison spits
At those, that most in fortunes fauour sits,
The heauie care, that wounds the mind with woe
Seldome forsakes the giddie feet that goe,
Where treades the steps of high authoritie,
So fleeting is this earthes felicitie:
For wauering chaunce about him still doth flie,
That proudly seekes to build his hopes on high,
Of which a president, I well may bee
Vnto you all, such is my chaunce you see:
For fate and nature hauing both decreed,
That I in loftie tops of towers should breed,
While you my happie sister Philomel
Should in the woods and forrests safely dwell,
About the bower of blisse once did not I,
A long time safely build my bowers on high,
Till by my foes, they all were ouerthrowne
And young ones slaine, which I shall euer mone:
For those false Nymphes which sentence gaue 'gainst thee
On proud Dan Cuckowes side, did all agree,
Because beneath the windowes of their towers
[Page 41]My custome was to build my secret bowers,
That I for euer should be chased thence
To seeke my fortunes though for no offence:
For loe no crime 'gainst me they could obiect,
But that because, they said I did detect
Their chamber sports, and truth to say mine eye
Such obscene sports did oft times there espie,
That very shame bids me forbeare to tell
The nuptiall band-breake play, that there befell:
Wherfore from thence long since they did me chase,
Since when I liued haue in this same place,
Whereas you say, I build my lowly bowers
Safe from the threates of winters stormie showers:
Yet in such feare of those, that vse to feed
On beauties spoile, about whose bowers I breed:
That would my fate had been to liue alone
In forrests wide, though winter made me mone.
She hauing said, this answere Redbrest made:
Certes (dame Progne) you haue wisely said,
For better 'tis to liue we all agree
In meane estate content, from danger free,
Then in the blind worlds deem'd felicitie
In trouble, care and minds perplexitie;
But we to Trynobant not only come,
For that we grieue at winters blasts at home:
But seeing many a bright cheek'd gentle dame
Dwels heere in Trynobant we hither came,
That so thy sister Philomel might trie,
If they for loue to honor'd chastitie
Would driue Dan Cuckow from this place with shame
And raise againe sad Castaes dying name.
To this thus Progne did returne replie.
[Page 42]Alas (good Redbrest) thy fraile shallow eie
Nought but th'externall species doth behold,
Deeming all things that gl [...]ster perfect gold:
Each winter, when thou [...]ither dost repaire
Our Nymphes being spree [...]ly vigorous and faire,
Thou deem'st their minds to be as wise and wittie,
As in proportion, they be [...]aire and prettie:
But thou art blind; for do but marke with me
Their witlesse actions, and thou soone shalt see
Their faire but foule; their wit, but wanton will,
Their wisedomes quintessence loues idle skill,
For heere in Trynobant with their consent
Dan Cuckow sings his layes with meriment,
Venus no more on Ida hilles is seene,
In Paphos temples, nor Cytheron greene:
But long ago hath bid them all farewell
Heere in great Trynobant with vs to dwell:
For heere the lustie Queene of loue adornes
The poore Cer [...]stes with the welked hornes,
Here the Propoetides deuoid of sense,
Those women pictures of true impudence,
By the great power of loues luxurious Queene
Are turn'd to stones, women no more are seene.
For which Pigmalion leads a single life
And feares strange things, not daring weda wife.
She [...] spoken, all the other birds
Long sil [...]nt stood amaz'd at those her words
Till I it mouse spake, quoth she, what you do tell
Is verie [...]range and we perceiue right well,
That gentle Casta here shall find small [...],
Seeing such strange Nymphes do d [...]ll in this same place:
But what doth cause them with such impudence
[Page 43]In spite of modesties pure excellence,
So much degenerate from heauenly kind?
Sure pinching want doth much oppresse the minde:
Or el [...]e with Danae for loue of g [...]ld
They kindly suffer friends to be too bold.
No certes (Titmouse) Progne did repli [...],
Nor loue of gold, nor pinching penurie:
But plentie, pleasure, ease and idlenesse,
Is cause of their deare deem'd voluptuousnes,
Whereby they oft times rather giue then take
The golden gifts, that minds immodest make,
Heere need not loue come take a sleepelesse nap
With golden showers in Danaes louely lap.
For heere our lustie Danaes, if he want
Will shower downe gold on him, if he but graunt:
In nights black vaile, he need not hide his head
If he intend to got' Amphytrions bed,
For th' Alcumenaes here both day and night
Will meet him any where for loues delight,
If Daphne heere do runne, she slackes her pace
Till Phoebus catch her, whom she must embrace,
And heere if louely Syrinx do intend
To runne from rugged Pan: yet in the end
She seeming faint her swifter course will stay,
That she may be the pipe, when Pan doth play:
For neither Pans high hornes nor rugged beard
Can make the Nymphes in this same place affeard.
Fie, fie (dame Progne) quoth the little Wren,
In sooth 'gainst them, thou hast too bitter been,
I do not thinke that such incontinence
Can lurke beneath the glorious excellence
Of such rare beautie, which doth seeme t'exce [...]
[Page 44]In these faire dames, that in this place do dwell;
Yet if in them such light demeanor be,
Doubtlesse they do not make it knowne to thee,
How then canst thou such things, as these relate
With their close deeds not being intimate?
Progne replied; vnwisely haue you said
Me with vntruth vngentlie to vpbraid;
For know dame Wren, that what I late did show
Is nothing in respect of that I know:
For in my neast built wondrous by my wit
Beneath their chamber-windowes I do sit,
Where if your selfe were present but one day,
You would speake more then lately I did say.
For there oft times I do both see and heare
Those things that shame to tell bids me forbeare.
This said, the other birds all silent sate
As modestly for bearing, t'aske of that
Which Prognes selfe did seeme halfe sham'd to tell,
Vntill at last spake gentle Philomel,
And said (deare sister) hide not what you know;
Because the thing breeds shame which thou shalt show
For to the author of the sin be shame,
Not vnto him, that's guiltlesse in the same,
Nor should examples of immodestie
Offend the modest eares of chastitie,
For vertues glorious shine, then shines most bright,
When 'tis oppos'd to vice her opposite,
As whitest things seeme fair [...]st to the eye,
When they be match'd with blacke their contrarie.
Wherefore (dearesister) speake and boldly tell
The shamelesse deeds of dames that heere do dwell,
So shall we sing about the world so wide,
[Page 45]That which their chamber wals now seeme to hide,
Of which perhaps when they hereafter heare
To do the like hence forth they will forbeare.
She hauing said, thus Progne made replie:
If that ye will (yebirds) that I descrie
And draw the curtaines of the vnchaste bed,
Where Mars and Venus hornes old Vulcans head,
Come neare and listen, lest the obscene sound
Of my strange speech do in the ayre abound,
And in the same do breed corruption,
From whence may spring a foule infection
Of those hot furious, fierie, lustfull beasts,
That toil'd with lust, do loath loues vulgar feasts,
Whom nature cannot furnish with excesse
In kind-like game: but that some monstrous messe
They do affect, I will not heere speake much
Lest I offend; my meaning is of such
As imitate Romes Semiramida,
Or that Italian Cortigiana,
And put in practise th'art of Aretine,
At which both heauen and nature doth repine,
And with that Lybian lustfull foule Syrena,
That woman monster Dodecamechana
In Venus act deuise twelue sundrie measures
With lustie lads at full to take their pleasures;
Nor will I tell, though many be of these
That with Athlanta and Hyppomenes
Do Stalion-like run madding out of season
To quench their lust, 'gainst nature and 'gainst reason;
Nor here to shew to you is my intent
That execrable squirtlike instrument,
Which lust burnt, fierie, female monsters vse
[Page 46]In fruitlesse lust, to natures vile abuse:
For these are things not fitting speech of birds:
But best befitting roughest Salyrs words.
I only here intend to make report
Of that same common counted cuckow sport,
Which by our dames is deem'd a lawfull game,
Though impudence it selfe blush at the same,
(I meane of th'old Malbeccoes of our age)
Who iustly beare Cornuted Vulcans badge.
In Trynobant as to and fro I flie
It hath been oftentimes my chaunce t'espie
An old cold Ianuarie iet before
A fresh young May, a spreetly Helinore,
Vnequall both in yeares and in affection,
And also far vnlike in their condition;
Yet to the blind-ey'd world it did appeare,
That May did loue her Ianuarie deare;
Which I scarse trusting with a curious eie
Haue closely trackt their steps the truth to trie:
And loe, while he hath set his thoughts vpon
His horded heapes, his May being left alone,
He being close at his accounts aboue,
While she beneath sits longing after loue,
In steps me March clad like a lustie Knight,
Or pleasant Aprill full of sweet delight,
Who in loues wanton art, not wanting skill
Hath slights enow t'assault fresh May at will;
But what needs long assault where none doth shield;
For gentle heart she is as prone to yeeld,
As he t'assault, which well this younker knowes,
Though seeming strange a while with her he glose,
For by her touching, stroking, gentle pressing,
[Page 47]Her rubbing, wringing, wrestling, wanton thrusting,
Coy looking, culling and kind inte [...]taine
He finds enough and knowes he [...] meaning plaine:
For gentle May no proffer'd time will lose,
When as from home old Ianuar [...]e goes,
And then the vnchaste kisses common flies,
Which Hymens strongest nuptiall bands vnties,
Then beautie sets the e [...]es of lust on fire,
And fancie breakes forth into strong desire,
And lastly lust doth in a moment space
Make Ianuaries browes bud forth apace,
Which neither he, nor any else do [...],
Though it be commonly well knowne to me:
For these be obiects common to my sight,
As in my bowers I sit, both day and night.
Then say ye birds, if in this place can dwell
My sister Casta gentle Philomel.
Ay me, quoth Philomel, the more my griefe,
That I poore wretch can no where find reliefe:
For where alas, shall Casta find a place,
Where proud Dan Cuckow sings not her disgrace?
Great Phoebes name is now extincted quite,
Whose fame whilom the golden starres did smite,
Where else are her faire Nymphes, whose beauties blaze
Did decke the world with like to Phoebus raies,
Who with the slower of heauenly chastitie
Their beauties garland did so dignifie,
That Venus brat, though deem'd a god of power,
With all his flames could neuer scorch their flower?
But now alas, faire Phoebes daintie rose,
Which many Nymphes did in their brests inclose,
And with great care did tender it more deare,
[Page 48]Then dearest life, doth no where now appeare,
Else why doth Casta suffer such disgrace,
While that the Cuckow sings in euery place.
As thus she spake, not far they did espie,
How proud Dan Cuckow to and fro did flie,
Who vaunting in the ayre with outstretch'd wing
His bastard note triumphantly did sing;
At whom the Swallow, Robbin and the Wren,
And Titmouse, as if they inrag'd had been,
With eager thoughts did flie, whom they in chase
A long time did pursue from place to place,
Oft did they flap him with their feathered quils,
And peckt and beat him with their tender bils,
Vntill from out of sight he quite was fled
And in some couert place had hid his head:
But they returning backe, where making mone,
They late had left poore Philomel alone,
Loe, they beheld, how she poore bird did sit
Halfe dead with torment of her wofull fit,
To whom poore birds being mou'd with inelting pitie
Each one did striue to tune her dolefull dittie,
Long sate they sympathizing in their song
The wofull record of poore Castaes wrong,
Nor of sweet comfort could they ought partake,
Vntill at length the little Wren thus spake:
(My louing friends and fellow birds) quoth she,
Great griefe doth vex your troubled thoughts I see:
But fond it is in sorrow still to dwell
And seeke no meanes sad sorrow to expell:
For griefe, that breeds despaire, nere finds reliefe,
When good aduice doth master greatest griefe;
Then know, that though no Nymph of this same place
[Page 49]Nor of the bower of blisse will take to grace,
The forlorne Casta, Phoebes only bird,
Yet meaner places may perchaunce afford
Some gentle dame, although of meane degree,
That vnto Philomel would gratious be;
And well do I remember, in that place
There wonnes a vertuous Nymph of goodly grace;
Where I do safely build my lowly bowers
To shrowd my selfe from winters stormie showers:
In humble cottage she doth still remaine,
The happie daughter of a countrie swaine,
And though she liue vpon meane maintenance,
Yet with such grace and goodly gouernance,
She doth demeane her selfe, that many be
Of greater state, that want her genterie,
For little would ye weene, that such great grace
Had any lodging in so meane a place,
She hath to wit hight Virgina to name,
Who though but meane, yet of exceeding fame:
For loe, that Squier, that liues in deepe despaire
Of gaining grace of Columbel the faire,
Vnto an endlesse taske by her being ti'd
To wander each where, through the world so wide,
To proue how many damsels he could find,
That chastely did retaine a constant mind,
Did of three hundred dames find but this one,
That vnto loues delight would not be wonne:
Then (gentle Philomel) lay by thy griefe,
And of this dame let vs go seeke reliefe,
Vpon whose bosome thou maiest sit and sing
The virgin beautie of her youthfull spring,
Where proud Dan Cuckow dares not come in place,
[Page 50]Much lesse dares sing his layes in thy disgrace.
The Wren thus hauing spoke, the other birds
With Castaes selfe did like well of her words,
And with the Wren would straight vnto that wood,
Where that same virgin dame had her abode:
But gentle Progne she must stay behind,
As being forbidden by the fates vnkind;
Since her in shape of bi [...]d they first did hide,
Nere to frequent the woods and forrests wide;
Parting therefore [...]rom her with weeping e [...]es
Her sister Philomel spake in this wise.
Sister (quoth she) the stubbome fates decree,
That from each other we must parted bee:
For thou alas maiest not frequent the wood,
Nor may I come, where thou hast thy abode:
For now (aye me) hard hap doth me compell
Vnto the bower of blisse, to bid farewell,
And vnto Trynobant, where woe is mee
My dearest sister thou shalt liue and see
My hatefull foe, Dan Cuckow proudly sing
In my dispight to welcome in the spring:
But must we then alas, for euer part,
The thought of which augments our wofull smart,
Must thus Pandions daughters bid farewell,
For euer in the world apart to dwell?
We must alas: wherefore compel'd by fate,
Whose malice heauen it selfe may not abate,
Vnto the world and thee I bid farewell
In desert woods for euermore to dwell.
Thus hauing said, both did with wofull heart
Each from the other heauily depart,
Sad Progne back to Trynobant did flie,
[Page 51]And gentle Philomel in companie
Of little Redbrest, Titmouse and the Wren,
Did take her way far from the abodes of men
Vnto that place, where dwelt that gentle dame,
Of whom the Wren did speake: where when she came,
Of that faire Nymph she found such intertaine,
That neuer more she thence return'd againe.
FINIS.

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