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The little love-god lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep,
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd;
And so the general of hot desire
Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm’d.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseas'd ; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.
FROM off a hill whose concave womb re-worded
A plaintful story from a sistering vale,
My spirits to attend this double voice accorded,
And down I lay to list the sad-tun'd tale :
Ere long espy'd a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.
Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcase of a beauty spent and done. .
Time had not scythed all that youth begun,
Nor youth all quit; but, spite of heaven's fell rage,
Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne,
Which on it had conceited 1 characters,
Laund'ring the silken figures in the brine
That season'd woe had pelleted 3 in tears,
And often reading what contents it bears;
As often shrieking undistinguish'd woe,
In clamours of all size, both high and low.
conceited] i.e. fanciful.
laund'ring) i.e. washing.
* pelleted] i.e. made into pellets, balls.
Sometimes her levell d * eyes their carriage ride,
As they did battery to the spheres intend;
Sometime diverted their poor balls are ty'd
To the orb’d earth: sometimes they do extend
Their view right on; anon their gazes lend
To every place at once, and no where fix'd,
The mind and sight distractedly commix'd.
Her hair, nor loose, nor ty’d in formal plat,
Proclaim'd in her a careless hand of pride;
For some, untuck’d, descended her sheav'd5 hat,
Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside;
Some in her threaden fillet still did bide,
And, true to bondage, would not break from thence,
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
A thousand favours from a maund 6 she drew
Of amber, crystal, and of beaded jet,
Which one by one she in a river threw,
Upon whose weeping margent she was set ;
Like usury, applying wet to wet,
Or monarch's hands, that let not bounty fall
Where want cries some, but where excess begs all.
Of folded schedules had she many a one,
Which she perus’d, sigh’d, tore, and gave the flood;
Crack'd many a ring of posied gold and bone,
• levell’d eyes, &c.] An allusion to a piece of ordnance. s sheav’d] i. e. straw. o maund] i.e. hand basket.
Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud;
Found yet more letters sadly penn'd in blood,
With sleided 7 silk feat8 and affectedly
Enswath'd, and seal'd to curious secrecy.
These often bath'd she in her fuxive eyes, And often kiss'd, and often 'gau 9 to tear; Cried, “ O false blood ! thou register of lies, “What unapproved witness dost thou bear! “ Ink would have seem'd more black and damned
here!” This said, in top of rage the lines she rents, Big discontent so breaking their contents.
A reverend man that graz'd his cattle nigh,
Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest hours, observed as they flew;
Towards this afflicted fancy 10 fastly drew;
And, privileg'd by age, desires to know
In brief, the grounds and motives of her woe.
So slides he down upon his grained bat, 11
And comely-distant sits he by her side;
When he again desires her, being sat,
sleided] i.e. raw, untwisted. 8 feat] i.e. neatly, curiously.
'gan] Malone's conjecture for “ gave.” 10 fancy) i.e. enamoured one: fancy occurs several times in this vol, in the sense of love.
1 bat] i.e. club.
Her grievance with his hearing to divide :
If that from him there may be aught applied
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage,
'Tis promis'd in the charity of age.
“Father," she says, “ though in me you behold “ The injury of many a blasting hour, “ Let it not tell your judgment I am old; “ Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power : “ I might as yet have been a spreading flower, “ Fresh to myself, if I had self-applied “ Love to myself, and to no love beside.
“ But woe is me! too early I attended “A youthful suit (it was to gain my grace) “ Of one by nature's outwards so commended, “ That maiden's eyes stuck over all his face: “ Love lack'd a dwelling, and made him her place; “And when in his fair parts she did abide, “She was new lodg’d, and newly deified.
“ His browny locks did hang in crooked curls; “ And every light occasion of the wind
Upon his lips their silken parcels hurls. “ What's sweet to do, to do will aptly find : “ Each eye that saw him did enchant the mind; “ For on his visage was in little drawn, “ What largeness thinks in paradise was sawn.18