Then all, that have but done my Muse least grace,|
Shall thronging come, and boast the happy place
They hold in my strange Poems, which, as yet,
Had not their Form touch'd by an English Wit.
There like a rich, and golden Pyramid,
Born up by Statues, shall I rear your Head,
Above your under-carved Ornaments,
And shew, how, to the Life, my Soul presents
Your Form imprest there: not with tickling Rhimes,
Or Common-places, filch'd, that take these Times,
But high, and noble matter, such as flies
From Brains entranc'd, and fill'd with Extasies;
Moods, which the god-like Sydney oft did prove,
And your brave Friend, and mine so well did love.
Who, whereso're he be ——
X I I I.
E P I S T L E.
To Katherine, Lady Aubigny.
I S grown almost a danger to speak true
Of any good Mind, now: There are so few.
The bad, by number, are so fortify'd,
As what they've lost t'expect, they dare deride.
So both the Prais'd, and Praisers suffer: Yet,
For others ill, ought none their good forget.
I, therefore, who profess my self in Love,
With every Virtue, whereso're it move,
And howsoever; as I am at Feud
With Sin and Vice, though with a Throne endu'd;
And, in this Name, am given out dangerous
By Arts, and Practice of the Vicious,
Such as suspect themselves, and think it fit
For their own cap'tal Crimes, t'indite my Wit;
I, that have suffer'd this; and, though forsook
Of Fortune, have not alter'd yet my look,
Or so my self abandon'd, as because
Men are not just, or keep no holy Laws
Of Nature, and Society, I should faint;
Or fear to draw true Lines, 'cause others Paint:
I, Madam, am become your Praiser. Where,
If it may stand with your soft Blush to hear,
Your Self but told unto Your Self, and see
In my Character, what your Features be,
You will not from the Paper slightly pass:
No Lady, but at sometime loves her Glass.
And this shall be no false one, but as much
Remov'd, as you from Need to have it such.
Look then, and see your Self. I will not say
Your Beauty; for you see that every day:
And so do many more. All which can call
It perfect, proper, pure, and natural,
Not taken up o'th'Doctors, but as well
As I, can say, and see it doth excel.
That asks but to be censur'd by the Eyes:
And, in those outward Forms, all Fools are wise.
Nor that your Beauty wanted not a Dower,
Do I reflect. Some Alderman has power,
Or cos'ning Farmer of the Customs so,
T'advance his doubtful Issue, and o'reflow
A Princes Fortune: These are gifts of Chance,
And raise not Virtue; they may Vice enhance.
My Mirror is more subtil, clear, refin'd,
And takes, and gives the Beauties of the mind.
Though it reject not those of Fortune: such
As Blood, and Match. Wherein, how more than much
Are you engaged to your happy Fate,
For such a Lot! that mixt you with a State
Of so great Title, Birth, but Virtue most,
Without which, all the rest were sounds, or lost.
'Tis only that can Time, and Chance defeat:
For he, that once is good, is ever great.
Wherewith, then Madam, can you better pay
This blessing of your Stars, than by that way
Of Virtue, which you tread? What if alone?
Without Companions? 'Tis safe to have none.
In single paths, Dangers with ease are watch'd:
Contagion in the Prease is soonest catch'd.
This makes, that wisely you decline your Life,
Far from the maze of Custom, Error, Strife,
And keep an even, and unhalter'd Gait;
Not looking by, or back, (like those, that wait
Times, and Occasions, to start forth, and seem)
Which though the turning World may disesteem,
Because that Studies Spectacles, and Shows,
And after varied, as fresh Objects goes,
Giddy with Change, and therefore cannot see
Right, the right way: yet must your comfort be
Your Conscience, and not Wonder, if none asks
For Truth's Complexion, where they all wear Masks.
Let who will follow Fashions, and Attires,
Maintain their Liedgers forth, for Foreign Wyres,
Melt down their Husbands Land, to pour away
On the close Groom, and Page, on New-years Day,
And almost, all Days after, while they live;
(They find it both so witty, and safe to give)
Let'em on Poulders, Oyls, and Paintings, spend,
Till that no Usurer, nor his Bawds dare lend
Them, or their Officers: and no Man know,
Whether it be a Face they wear, or no.
Let 'em waste Body, and 'State; and after all,
When their own Parasites laugh at their Fall,
May they have nothing left, whereof they can
Boast, but how oft they have gone wrong to Man:
And call it their brave Sin. For such there be
That do sin only for the Infamy:
And never think, how Vice doth every hour,
Eat on her Clients, and some one devour.
You, Madam, young have learn'd to shun these Shelves,
Whereon the most of Mankind wreck themselves,
And, keeping a just Course, have early put
Into your Harbour, and all passage shut
'Gainst Storms, or Pirats, that might charge your Peace;
For which you worthy are the glad Increase
Of your blest Womb, made fruitful from above
To pay your Lord the pledges of chaste Love:
And raise a noble Stem, to give the Fame,
To Clifton's Blood, that is deny'd their Name.
Grow, grow, fair Tree, and as thy Branches shoot,
Hear, what the Muses sing above thy Root,
By me, their Priest (if they can ought Divine)
Before the Moons have fill'd their triple Trine,
To crown the Burden which you go withall,
It shall a ripe and timely Issue fall,
T'expect the Honours of great Aubigny:
And greater Rites, yet writ in Mystery,
But which the Fates forbid me to reveal.
Only, thus much, out of a ravish'd Zeal,
Unto your Name, and goodness of your Life,
They speak; since you are truly that rare Wife,
Other great Wives may blush at: when they see
What your try'd manners are, what theirs should be.
How you love one, and him you should; how still
You are depending on his Word, and Will;
Not fashion'd for the Court, or Stranger's Eyes;
But to prease him, who is the dearer Prize
Unto himself, by being so dear to you.
This makes, that your Affections still be new,
And that your Souls conspire, as they were gone
Each into other, and had now made one.
Live that one, still; and as long years do pass,
Madam, be bold to use this truest Glass:
Wherein, your Form, you still the same shall find;
Because nor it can change, nor such a Mind.