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And open house, haunted with great resort ;
Long service mixt with musical disport.
Many fair younker with a feather’d crest,
Chooses much rather be his shot-free guest,
To fare so freely with so little cost,
Than stake his twelvepence to a meaner host.
Hadst thou not told me, I should surely say
He touch'd no meat of all this live-long day.
For sure methought, yet that was but a guess,
His eyes seem'd sunk for very hollowness ;
But could he have (as I did it mistake)
So little in his purse, so much upon his back ?
So nothing in his maw ? yet seemeth by his belt,
That his gaunt gut not too much stuffing felt.
Seest thou how side it hangs beneath his hip ?
Hunger and heavy iron makes girdles slip.
Yet for all that, how stiffly struts he by,
All trapped in the new-found bravery.
The nuns of new-won Calais his bonnet lent,
In lieu of their so kind a conquerment.
What needed he fetch that from farthest Spain,
His grandame could have lent with lesser pain ?
Though he perhaps ne'er pass'd the English shore,
Yet fain would counted be a conqueror.
His hair, French-like, stares on his frighted head,
One lock amazon-like dishevelled,
As if he meant to wear a native cord,
If chance his fates should him that bane afford.
All British bare upon the bristled skin,
Close notched is his beard both lip and chin ;
His linen collar labyrinthian set,
Whose thousand double turnings never met :
His sleeves half hid with elbow pinionings,
As if he meant to fly with linen wings.
But when I look, and cast mine eyes below,
What monster meets mine eyes in human shew ?
So slender waist with such an abbot's loin,
Did never sober nature sure conjoin.
Lik'st a straw scare-crow in the new-sown field,
Rear'd on some stick, the tender corn to shield.
Or if that semblance suit not every deal,
Like a broad shake-fork with a slender steel.
BEAT the broad gates, a goodly hollow sound,
With double echoes, doth again rebound ;
But not a dog doth bark to welcome thee,
Nor churlish porter canst thou chafing see.
All dumb and silent, like the dead of night,
Or dwelling of some sleepy Sybarite ;
The marble pavement hid with desert weed,
With house-leek, thistle, dock, and hemlock seed.
Look to the tower'd chimnies, which should be
The wind-pipes of good hospitality,
Through which it breatheth to the open air,
Betokêning life and liberal welfare,
Lo, there th' unthankful swallow takes her rest,
And fills the tunnel with her circled nest.
A GENTLE squire would gladly entertaine
Into his house some trencher-chaplaine ;
Some willing man that might instruct his sons,
And that would stand to good conditions.
First, that he lie upon the truckle-bed,
Whiles his young maister lieth o'er his head.
Second, that he do, on no default,
Ever presume to sit above the salt.
Third, that he never change his trencher twice.
Fourth, that he use all common courtesies ;
Sit bare at meales, and one halfe rise and wait.
Last, that he never his young maister beat,
But he must aske his mother to define,
How manie jerkes she would his breech should line.
All these observ'd, he could contented bee,
To give five markes and winter liverie.
PHINEAS AND GILES FLETCHER.
Tuese poetical brothers lived between the last thirty years
of the sixteenth century and the first thirty of the seventeenth. Almost nothing is known of their private history.
DESCRIPTION OF PARTHENIA.
A BED of lilies flow'r upon her cheek,
And in the midst was set a circling rose ; Whose sweet aspect would force Narcissus seek
New liveries, and fresher colours choose
PHINEAS AND GILES FLETCHER. 161
To deck his beauteous head in snowy 'tire ;
But all in vain : for who can hope t'aspire To such a Fair, which none attain, but all admire ?
Her ruby lips lock up from gazing sight
A troop of pearls, which march in goodly row: But when she deigns those precious bones undight, Soon heav'nly notes from those divisions flow, And with rare musick charm the ravish'd
ears, Daunting bold thoughts, but cheering modest
fears : The spheres so only sing, so only charm the
Her dainty breasts, like to an April rose
From green silk fillets yet not all unbound, Began their little rising heads disclose, And fairly spread their silver circlets round : From those two bulwarks love doth safely
Which swelling easily, may seem to sight To be enwombed both of pleasure and delight.
Yet all these stars which deck this beauteous sky
By force of th' inward sun both shine and move ;
Thron'd in her heart sits love's high majesty ;
In highest majesty the highest love.
As when a taper shines in glassy frame,
The sparkling crystal burns in glitt'ring
flame, So does that brightest love brighten this lovely
MUTABILITY OF HUMAN GREATNESS.
[From the Purple Island.] Fond man, that looks on earth for happiness,
And here long seeks what here is never found ! For all our good we hold from Heav'n by lease, With many forfeits and conditions bound;
Nor can we pay the fine, and rentage due :
Though now but writ, and seal'd, and giv'n
Yet daily we it break, then daily must renew.
Why shouldst thou here look for perpetual good,
At ev'ry loss 'gainst Heav'n's face repining ? Do but behold where glorious cities stood, With gilded tops and silver turrets shining ; There now the hart fearless of greyhound
And loving pelican in fancy breeds : There screeching satyrs fill the people's empty
Where is the Assyrian lion's golden hide,
That all the east once grasp'd in lordly paw ? Where that great Persian bear, whose swelling
The lion's self tore out with rav'nous jaw ?
Or he which 'twixt a lion and a pard,
Through all the world with nimble pinions
far'd, And to his greedy whelps his conquer'd kingdoms