By Chr: Middleton.

LONDON Printed by E. A. for Nicholas Ling, and are to be solde at his shop at the west doore of S. Paules Church. 1600.

TO THE RIGHT VVOOR­shipfull, Sir Iaruis Clifton Knight.

SIR, the ancient ememy to learning (ignorance) hath left off his old li­uerye, russet Ierkins & leather hose, & to deceiue the world (like Esops Asse in a Lions skin) thrusts in him selfe sometimes like a Gentleman, sometime, like a souldiour, & sometimes like a Lawyer, and like Catterpillers at the springe, bites off blossomes of Trees and corruptes the buddes of flowers; And although the young fruites of my labours grewe not by the banks of Hellicon, nor were euer wa­tred at Aganippies welles; yet (simple as they are) loath I was a greate while, to turne them abroad into the world, without armour against this ene­my, and almost in dispaire: I was by a Gentleman your Woorships wel-willer and my very good freind, perswaded to shrowde these simple lynes [Page] vnder your shadow, who being your selfe dayly conuersant in the histories of ancient times, are alwayes willing & ready to countenance & sup­port the poore remnants of depressed learning that are left for our times, would like the seauen folde shield of Aiax retort such dartes to them, that throw them, whereupon I am bolde to pre­sume vpon your Wor. fauour for my defence, which I doubt not but to find, and when more leasure, giues liberty to my penne, I will inde­uour painfully to requite this curtesie which so impudently I now craue.

Your Wo in all duty to command Chr. Middleton.

Ad Christopherum Middletonum Hexastichon.

Illustri Humphredi genio tua musa parentās,
Vera refert, generosa canit, memoranda reuoluit
Virtuti, et laudi statuam dans, dat simul ips [...].
Non opus est vestrae musae, tum, carmine nostro,
Nec opis est nostroe, radijs inuoluere Phoebum;
Quid satis ornatam mus am phalerare iuuabit?
Rob: Allott.

To his friend, Master Chr. M. his Booke.

LIke as a man, on some aduenture bound
His honest friendes, their kindnes to expresse,
T'incourage him of whome the maine is own'd;
Some venture more, and some aduenture lesse,
That if the voyage (happily) be good:
They his good fortune freely may pertake;
If otherwise it perrish in the flood,
Yet like good freinds theirs perish'd for his sake,
On thy returne I put this little forth,
My chaunce with thine indifferently to proue,
Which though (I knowe) not fitting with thy worth,
Accept it yet since it proceedes from loue;
And if thy fortune prosper, I may see
I haue some share, though most returne to thee.
Mich: Drayton.

To the Author. &c.

OFT haue I seene in some seign'd Historie,
Of loftie Knights, or lowly shepheards writ,
Whereas Inuention runnes at libertie;
Arte, iudgement, reading, spirit show'n and wit.
Yet in a Legend like Duke Humphreys knowne
Where wittes inuiron'd in with veritie,
Sildome haue seen more art or iudgment showne
More reading spirit, wit, and Poetrie.
But Orpheus with his harpe melodicall
In Canzonets: and heauens azure frame,
For heau'ns historie most hermonicall,
In Spheres sweet musicke sings yet of thy name.
Thē heu'ns & him I wrong, thei'l giue thee merit
For iudgement, wit, for reading, art & spirit.

Another of the same, To Duke Humphreyes attendants.

YEE dayly wayters on Duke Humphreys table,
And hourly walkers by D. Humphreys shrine
If that for meager famine yee be able
Right to peruse a wel-pend wittye line;
Wait, walk no more, on's table, by his shrine,
But with D. Humphreys Legēd (Gentles) dine
Iohn Weeuer.

The Legend of Humphrey Duke of Glocester.

YE powers Diuine directors of our wits,
Send some small current from those siluer springs
By whose faire banks the heauen-borne muses sits,
And to the bubling streames sweet Ditties singes:
Following whose course my meanor Muse may see,
How she shall write this famous History.
Doe not direct her in those muddy streames,
Where now swims many wits, whose worth affoords
Sinfull foule subiects, detestable theames,
Set foorth in worse and more detested words.
Whose sound euen sinfull men refuse to heare,
As obiectes farre vnfit for any eare.
But in a better vaine direct my verse,
Obscure not her intent, with such a blot,
Since she indeuours truely to rehearse
A story of times past, now neere forgot.
Grace her with words, then of no meaner worth,
Then was the man, whose story she sets foorth.
So shall his name by your assistance, rays'd
From darke obliuion, shew it selfe againe,
As one deseruing better to be prays'd
Then some, whose liues recorded now remaine.
For meaner vertues mightily renown'd,
Whilst his great workes in ruyne are nye drown'd.
What time this land disquieted with broyles,
Wearied with wars and spent for want of rest,
Sawe her adioyning neighbours free fromth'spoyles,
Wherewith her selfe, her selfe had disposest
Of peace and plenty, which men most desire,
And in their steeds brought famine, sword and fire.
Labouring now to restore her great decayes,
Like to a sea-beate Barke new com'd to shoare,
Seekes for a quiet harbour, where they may
Mend and repayre, what they had lost before:
So fares it with this land that thus distrest,
Was almost left vn-peopled, vnpossest.
But that the fortunes of a blessed King,
Embalm'd and cur'd the woundes it had fustain'd,
As when the sonne accompaning the spring,
Brings life to the dead earth in which remain'd
No hope of summer, for in killing frost
Were all her powers decayd, her vertues lost.
Henry the first-borne to his countryes good,
After he had relieu'd this ruin'd state,
Fighting against the French, that had withstood,
The right his Auncestors had wone of late.
Cropt in his chiefest time, dyes this faire King,
Preuenting th'haruest of so sweet a spring.
And in his Kingdome now growne great againe,
Almost too mighty for to be controwlde
By a young King, that did retayne the name
Of his dead Father, yet scarse twelue months olde.
Too heauy was (God knowes) for such a hand
The Scepter that did sway this head-strong land.
But yet supported by his vncles care,
Humfrey, Glosters Duke (for so they call him,)
To ryper yeares sprung vp our kingdomes heyre,
Protected from all harmes that might befall him.
During his nonage, by the carefull heed
Of watchfull Gloster, borne for this good deed.
Whose holy life, good workes, and vertuous deedes,
I leaue as subiects fit for greater wits:
For greater are the vertues that proceedes
From Kings, then meaner men: and better fits
A loftier stile, whose wit and iudgement ripe,
Then an vnlearned Shepheards oaten Pipe.
O were my penne, but able to set downe
Great Glosters vertues (as indeed they were)
How would the world bewitch'd with his renowne,
In immitation, striue for to come neere
His worthy deedes, whereof who were possest,
Themselues might iustly thinke were haply blest.
Looke as the starres, when as the worlds great light,
Rowses him from his mleancholie bed:
Drawing the duskie Curtaines of the night,
Wherein the earth lay sadly mantelled,
Pluckes in their pale heads as asham'd, and sorry
He should so farre exceede themselues in glory.
So did the world (wherein this worthy was)
Admire the more then common gifts he had,
Wondring how such a worke should come to passe,
And with aboundant mellancholie sad
Frets out their liues, in enuy and dispaire,
For with his life, no life could ere compare.
And had he not been royall in his birth,
Yet had his matchlesse learning and his wit
From meanor rootes, as fayre a branch brought foorth:
For King-borne blouds, to shrowd them vnder it.
For Wit and Learning are two Angels wings,
By which meane men soares vp to mighty things.
Ah woe the while our age neglects that same.
Would our great men would immitate his course:
Then should their vertues adde vnto their name
More noblenesse, and after death, inforce
A new liues date: whose lymits should extend
Beyond all ages after time shall end.
His youth not vainely spent in idle sports,
Such as be-witches young mens fantasies:
But seriously attending the resorts
Of learned Councellors, men of great degrees
Made him an Atlas, abler to sustaine
The heauy burden of his Cousens Raigne.
By how much straighter springs the new-set Pine,
By so much hope men of a fayre encrease:
But way-ward plants that crookedly decline,
That they should prooue good trees, all men surcease
The hope they haue of any further good,
And lets them dye regardlesse in the wood.
So when the impes that springs from Royall stockes,
Keepes a straight passage through their vertuous youth:
O how that shew all mens desires prouokes,
That should increase still to a fairer growth:
Vntill it prooue a goodly broad-spred tree,
To shade poore shrubs from wrongs and iniury.
So had mens hopes in him their full effect,
His godly youth sprung to a vertuous age:
Whose matchfull care, was spent in the respect
Of Countries welfare: and he did ingage
His substance and himselfe, to doe much good
To th'poore, and such as most in daunger stood.
And happy was the King, whose infancy
Was guided, by so good a mans direction;
Whose care was not his owne commodity,
Nor for to satisfie priuate affection.
But to performe the charge he had in hand,
Protect the King, for th'quiet of the land.
Then was not iustice collour'd with deceipt,
Kept downe by might, wrought vnto great mens wils:
Nor was her Schooles peis'd down with golden waights
And shee that should correct, colour mens ills.
But who did well, by him were well regarded,
And wicked men with their deserts rewarded.
Then Ruffling pride as light as vanity,
Rouz'd from her soft secure luxurious bed;
Banisht from hence, liu'd in obscurity,
As on exilde, from whence she first was bred.
And what sinnes else were great, were all defac't,
And in their steeds, religious vertues plac't.
But see to what a ftaylty we are borne,
When as our best estate is sooh'st declyn'd?
Fayre dayes haue end, and their delights out-worne,
Succeeeds darke nights, cold stormes, & blustring wind.
Few men there were, that had, or ere shal haue
Fortune continue constant to their graue.
As stormes of hayle fal's on the rypen'd corne,
All vnexpected to the husbandman,
And shakes the full-fraught eares, that had out-worne
Colde, heate, drought, wet, and what soeuer can
Decay the earths increase, and now did stand
Expecting but the gladsome Reapers hand:
So fares it with this Duke, whose young dayes spent
In vertuous studies, and true holines,
Sets downe himselfe, now with a full intent,
To spend his weary age in quietnesse.
Thinking his holy life should this haue found,
Peace, tending on his body to the ground.
But ô sad times where nought but misery.
Stands ready to make pray on each estate,
Sometime she tends them from their infancy,
Vntill she sees their whole life ruinate.
Other men lets she grow, to th'top of all,
Intending so to worke their greater fall.
So Pompey in the midst of victory,
All vnexpected hapned on his end:
And Caesar in his greatest maiesty,
Vntimely murthred by his neerest friend.
Such are mens best estates, more wretched they:
In greatest pompe most subiect to decay.
And did the troubles of this world but tend
On wicked men, it were a iuster doome:
But soonest doe their iniuries extend
To holy liues, that hindering too soone
The course of vertue, fore it grew too great,
They may themselues establish in her seate.
And had it not been so with this great man,
In what a glorious current had he runne?
Euen from the Royall spring where he began,
Downe to the Sea of honour: nor there doone.
Had turn'd the strong tydes by his vertues force,
And made them striue to follow on his course.
Why doth my labouring Muse so far proceede,
Exemplyfying of his worthy life,
And numbring his good gifts? because indeed
She's loath, to enter into such a strife
As she must doe, comparing but the ruth
Of his sad age, with th'onor of his youth.
These were the younger sort, but grauer men,
Whose plots and drifts sorts not to their effect,
With false surmizes slyly settles them,
To draw the Kings minde into some neglect
Of the Dukes rule, and by that enterprise,
Intise his youth to follow their aduise.
And since the worlds first age, what age was seen
Wherein some fury rowz'd from th'deepest hell:
Possest not mens conceipts? and still hath been
Ready to plot and practise any ill.
Nor euer shall there be an age so cleare:
But in her smooth face shall some faults appeare.
For as the brightest flame hath darkest smoake,
Bodyes their shadowes, clearest springs theyr mud:
Whose enuious quallityes, oft times prouoke
Them to be ill, who else would still be good.
Mud spoiles the spring, smoake oft obscures the flame,
And vitious men enxies at vertues name.
And which is more admir'd, euen twixt two friends,
Rises sad discord, I, and such as were
Link'd in the bonds of blood, whose deedes should tend
To mutuall friendship, and should eleaue as neere
As twin-borne bretheren, whil'st they are intoombe,
Within the compasse of their mothers wombe.
Great Henry Bewfoord Bishop of Winchester,
Neerely ally'd both to the Duke and King,
A man ambitious, haughty, not sincere
And hollily affected, seekes to bring
By bad deuises, vnderneath his hand,
The King, the Nobles, th'commons of the land.
And hauing now inricht himselfe, with store
Of what was needfull for his great attempt:
As money, friends, authority and power
Of men, that nothing could his will preuent
His great intendments, what so ere they were,
But Glosters fore-sight in his dayly care
Kindles the first fire of that wofull age.
Whose flames coupling themselues with new allyes,
Which many after times could not aswage,
But still fresh fewell brought it new supplyes,
Till this poore country spent with ciuill iarres:
Want brings at length a weake end to their warres.
Now Lyon-like he forrages the land,
And being Lord Chaunc'ler, practizes his will,
Keeps lawes and gouernment at his commaund,
And commaundes all, for no man would rebell
Against his edicts, nor durst be so bold,
But liue content to be by him controwld.
Whose tyranny, when Gloster once espies,
Like a good subiect, labours to preuent
The further mischiefe that might else arise,
And in an open Court of Parlament,
Drawes articles; wherein he had exprest
The Bishops wrongs, which all would haue red rest.
Now like the winde and tyde when they doe meete,
With enuious oppositions doe affright
The lesser streames, running for to regreet
The Ocean Empire, so doe these two fight.
One labours to bring all things to his will,
The others care, workes to preuent that ill.
The Bishop like the proude insulting winde,
Disturbes the quiet streame where Gloster runnes:
Gloster as fitting such a royall minde,
Defends himselfe against intruding wrongs.
The meaner sort of men whilst things thus are,
Dismayde and trembling, hides their heads for feare.
And whilst in this state did this land remaine,
New quarrels twixt their men did still arise,
Wherein were great harmes done, many were slaine,
Nor was there any man that could deuise
Meanes to preuent the mischiefes, that thus falles
Vpon their heads in these vnciuill braules.
Ah what a woe was this, to see those dayes
When they that should keep peace, is meanes tis broken,
Whilst guiders striue, their gouernment decayes.
Some thought this strife, was but a fatall token
Of those sad times, which presently insu'd;
Whose woes, a many after ages rew'd,
Yet Gloster thou wert guiltlesse of that wrong,
Thou stoodst for thy defence, he stroue to'ffend,
Medled with nothing, but what did belong
Vnto thy office, whilst he did contend
To keep downe the young King, to displace thee
And bring this land to seruile villany.
And hadst thou borne with this his foule offence,
What a soule-killing mischiefe had it bin?
Who suffers such vilde deedes, and doth dispence
With the bad dooers, cherishes the sinne:
For errors left vnpunisht, are profest,
And being not defended, is deprest.
But anncient Bedford whose deep piercing sight,
Perceiues the issue of this kindling fire,
How both sides dayly gathers to them might,
Whose flames ere long, were likely to aspire
Vnto their highest buildings, and pull downe
The royall worke that yet was scarse begun:
He labours with the King to make a peace,
Now when their infant warres were scarse begun,
The cause once gone, th'effects thereof surcease,
And mischiefes being preuented whilst they are young,
Cannot braunch foorth themselues to doe that hurt,
That time, their natures, and bad men would worke.
Great King quoth he, the pole whereon our world
Is mooued, and by whom we sayle our course,
Forgiue my tongues presumption that growes bold,
Heere in thy sacred presence, to rehearse
In this vnseemely manner that I doe,
Th'clog of my minde and th'subiect of my woe.
It is a story full of griefe and ruth,
An vnexpected, sad, and harsh discourse:
Of home-borne troubles, which I know for truth,
By gentle suffrance will grow dayly worse,
The force of fire, and water not contrould,
Would mercilesse consume and drowne the world.
Euer since that vnlucky dismall houre,
In which your Royall Father left this life,
Haue I been Regent of your forraigne power,
And know th'euent of wars and th'end of strife,
And therefore feare, least that ill hap should chance
To vs, that warres haue brought to wofull Fraunce.
And you great Lords, Gloster and Winchester,
To whome I am bound in kindred and in loue:
Heere before God, the King and you, I sweare
It is no partiall grudge or hate, doth mooue
My minde to this, but care of Countries peace,
That whilst we warre abroad, home broyles may cease.
It is the strife and hatred twixt you two,
That my loue labours now to reconsile:
And tis the oath I made and th'due I owe,
Vnto my Soueraigne, that thus makes me toyle.
To keep this furious streame within her bound,
Least breaking forth, her neighb'ring friends be drown'd
And the great reason why I mooue it heere,
Rather then to your selues, is, for I know
The Lyons count'nance, better keeps in feare
The meaner creatures, and to him they bow
Their dutious knees, content with his decree,
Who else betwixt themselues would nere agree.
Now doe I turne me to your sacred seate,
Where all the vertues haue their residence,
And on my aged knees with teares intreate,
A gracious fauourable audience,
It is a worke of charity God knowes,
The reconsilement of two mortall foes.
A deadly hatred's growne betwixt these two,
But from what roote it springs I cannot tell,
Nor can I learne, but I suspect it now,
And for't be long I feare shall know too well:
Tis from some priuate quarrell of their owne,
That all this publike quarrell is now growne.
Which to represse, put to thy sacred hand
Vnto these seuer'd branches of thy kinde:
The powerfull words of Kings may more commaund,
Then the affections of a subiects minde.
I know great King, they both will be content,
If thou but speak'st, to surcease and relent.
The King lookes on them with a sad aspect,
And thus begins, in care and griefe of soule:
Deare Vncles, am I vrged to correct
My subiects faults, and must at length controule
Their sinnes with iudgements such as they deserue:
When words and good perswations will not serue?
Such is my minde, that I could hartly wish
There were no lawes, so no man would offend,
O what a world were that of ioy and blisse,
When to doe well all creatures would contend!
Good Princes sorrow more in punishing,
Then euill subiects in committing sinne.
But since our first creation, we haue still
Beene subiects vnto sinne, therefore the law
Was first ordain'd, and giuen to keep our will
From following sinfull lusts, to liue in awe,
That those bad men whom no good meanes could mend
For terror of the law, might feare t'offend.
Then for the honour of our auncientry,
Whose happy soules in fayre Elizium,
Repos'd in rest, liues to eternity,
Whether ere it be long we all shall come:
Let not my time be stain'd, with such a sinne
As th'vengance-crauing discord of my kinne.
With that speakes reuerend Gloster, whose gray hayres
The auncient signes of honour, did presage
A guiltlesse soule, in humble words declares
What he suppos'd, incens'd the Bishops rage,
And how himselfe had patiently outborne
His iniuries, disdainfull words and scorne.
Great King quoth he, heere at thy Princely feete,
Doe I throw downe myselfe and my good cause,
And of thy sacred Maiesty intreate,
If I be guilty, or haue broke the lawes
Of God, or thee, drkms-man-like affect'on,
Let me be punisht by my foes direct'on.
The Articles I gaue in th'parlament,
Containing many wrongs that crau'd redresse,
So help me God, was not with an intent
To preiudice his person, or possesse
Your Princely minde with any wrong conceipt,
But to redresse those wrongs the world thought meete.
And had he not been wilfull stubborne,
Against my priuate exhortations,
Glad had I then been, I might haue forborne,
Those publike kindes of exclamations.
For well he knowes oft haue I priuately,
Perswaded him to more humility.
With that the Bishop swelling with disdaine,
His workes should come in question like darke skies,
Whose mallancholy show, presages raine
And boystrous stormes; in angry words replyes.
For his aspiring minde could not sustaine
Reproofe, but held th'reproouers in disdaine.
Eternall time quoth he, why hast thou chang'd
Thy golden progresse, for a leaden way?
Why haue dayes, nights, and houres, thy seruants rang'd
Through these deep myry steps, and still doe stray
In this bad world, whose rude vnmembred forme
Begot by time, was too vntimely borne
On nature the great mother of vs all,
Who in abortiue birth brought foorth our age;
And looking on her childe, fore-saw t'wold fall
To this disordred, and vnnat'rall rage
Of brother-hood, and therefore would not stand,
To set it into parts, head, foote and hand.
But left it out of order, like a Beare
That brings deformed creatures to the light,
So bore she vs, and loath she was to reare
The frame in order, least it should in spight
Of time, and her, the father, and the Mother,
In ciuill discords one vndoe another.
But Fortune the commaunder of all kindes,
Although our parents, thought they should preuent
This fatall mischiefe, yet this Empresse mindes
Nothing shall hinder her in her intent,
But takes th'aduantage of our formelesse course,
And makes our mischiefes by so much the worse.
For had our limmes been in their seuerall places,
Brought into order, then the face had stood
Without th'controulment, and the base disgraces
Of meaner parts, in louely brother-hood.
And the poore feete had been content to tread,
Those paths they were directed by the head.
I haue done nothing but what I might doe,
What th'holy Church commaunds, you esteeme wrongs
In times fore-past, well wot I t'was not so:
And times to come shall teach you, what belongs
Vnto your dutyes better then you doe,
Or fret your stubborne hearts away with woe.
With that good Gloster, who no more could heare
Of these proude braues, answeres the Bishop thus:
I would the times were eyther as they were,
When as our late dead King raign'd ouer vs,
Or he that doth his royaltyes inherite,
Had but his Fathers yeeres and lofty spirit.
How wold he stop these sowle words down thy throate
That thus defil'st the stocke from whence we came?
Thou sing'st a Rauens harsh vntuned note,
Vnlike an Eagles bird: And without shame
Compar'st our roote, and th'branches thence brought foorth,
To a mishapen, foule, vntimely birth.
Which makes me thinke, that from our Royall nest
Some fatall night-crow, stole away a bird,
And in his place vnluckily possest
Some of her owne foule, blacke, and hel-borne brood:
How otherwise should such a deede be done,
Parents so good, should haue so bad a sonne?
From the sweet Rose springs not foule stinking flowers.
Nor doth the spreading Vine bring foorth blacke slowes.
Like things from like proceede in shape and power.
The Kingly Eagle hatches not fowle crowes.
Thy Royall Mother nere brought thee to light,
But some ill-boading, fierce, and vgly spright.
Forgiue me King that I dare be so bolde,
Heere in thy presence: for I must confesse,
Patience is angers subiect, and contrould
With euery fury, which men would redresse
But cannot do't; for she is gentle, mylde,
Ore-com,d, and kept downe, like a strengthlesse childe.
Whereas thou vrgest me, that I neglect
My duety to the Church, and that I grudge
Her holly lawes should be of such respect:
For that his sacred Maiesty be iudge,
How I haue euer stroue with all my might,
To keep religion and the Churches right.
But against thee, a bad vnworthy guide,
For such a thing of worth am I so stoute:
And God defend least thy vnruly pride,
Bring her in perrill, if not roote her out.
So strong-built ships in carelesse masters hands,
Are split and beate a sunder on the sands.
When he had done, the King prolongs his speach,
Sorry I am my Raigne should thus begin
With ciuill discords, and the hatefull breach
Of kinsmens loue: then which, a deadlyer sinne
Was neuer bred. What peace is like to be,
When kindred with their kindred disagree?
Be rul'd by me, let not offences grow
Mongst meaner men, exampled by your liues;
Forget your griefes, and doe not further sow
These seedes of discord: whosoeuer striues
For troubles, he gaines nothing in this life
But woes, disquietnes, hatred and strife.
With these and such like motions, they were brought
At length to compremit theyr iniuries,
Which Gloster truely ment, but th'other sought
To ouer-reach him with his subtiltyes:
And so he did at length, but still pretends
All should be quiet, and they two be friends.
Then harmlesse Gloster glad of these good dayes,
For he (good man) wisht not the Bishops ill,
Goes forward in his office, and assayes
To roote vp other weedes, that were as ill,
Though not so mighty; so the weedes being dead,
The flow'rs might sooner grow and better spread.
So rau'nous Woolues oft in disguised skins,
When in their owne shapes they dare not be seene:
Deceiues the harmeles sheep, and often wins
Great conquests, from good men, that haue not been
Inur'd to subtilties and deep deceipts,
Catch'd in silke nets, nor poysoned with sweet baytes.
And thus consorts his auncient enemies,
Enuious Winchester, and many more,
The Duke of Suffolke, and a company
Of hell-borne villaines, such as he before
Nere knew, nor nere offended, but tis so,
Whom men suspect least, breeds them oft most woe.
O that good gifts, plac't in so good a creature,
Should both be subiects, vnto such as they!
Or that iniurious wrongs should worke by nature,
To bring honest true dealing to decay!
But so it is, fayre colours soonest soyle,
Things of best prise, are subiect most to spoyle.
And for on him, their worke cannot preuaile,
They change their plot, and goe another way,
To grieue his aged minde; and doe assaile
Him in an other kinde: for oft they say,
The wrongs that men haue done vnto their friends,
Vnto their substance, and themselues extends.
But more then to his friend, th'accuse his wife,
A vertuous Lady, one of good account:
Layes treasons to her charge, seekes for her life,
Sayes her conspiracies, doe farre surmount
The common faults of men, and she hath been
A traytor vnto God, and to the King.
They charge her that she did maintaine and feede,
Soul-killing witches, and conuers'd with deuils.
Had conference with sprits, who should succeede
The King; and by their meanes, had wrought some euill
Against his royall person; and had sought
To end his life, and bring the state to nought.
Vpon surmises thus she was arraygn'd,
Witnes suborn'd, and she condemn'd for it:
And from her husband closely is detain'd,
And that their doings, might succeed, more fit
To their desires, it is mongst them thought meete,
Shee should doe open pennance in the streete.
And after that perform'd, be banisht hence,
Into the Isle of Man, and there should liue,
A guiltlesse exile, for a small offence
Or none at all: and who so ere did giue
That vniust sentence, hath ere this his doome,
Amongst th'condemn'd, where comfort nere shall come.
All this her husband saw, but could not mend,
Saw his Sun-setting in a dusky cloude,
That did presage, a darke and lowring end
Of his olde dayes, and he disdain'd to shroud
His head in meaner shades, whose vsurp'd power
Might driue away that imminent foule shower.
Yet hopes he, that the King will not forget,
What his deserts had wonne, and what he was,
Or at the least, his honour would not let
His deare friends, and his neere allyance, passe
Through such a hell, of vndeserued woes,
That nere deseru'd the penalties of lawes.
And thus he mooues it whilst the flouds of griese
Did Nilus-like oreflow the Di'mond shoare
Of his wet eyes, whose hope was not reliefe
Of their sad case, but rather wisht for more
Aboundant sorrow, by which they might be
Drown'd in darke pitchy gulfes, and nere more see.
Men rather fast to death, then they will take
A poysoned nutriment: a sicke mans heart
Desires death, rather then his health should make
Way for a worse disease, whose bitter smart
Would worke his greater griefe; euen they doe so
Wish blindnesse before sight, to see more woe.
If pitty quoth he, sit in Princes hearts
As it should doe, or mercy haue her seate
By iudgements side, to mittigate the smart
Of punishment, too heauy and too great,
Let these two gentle Gods looke then on mee,
That aske their help, with teares in misery.
Hatefull oppression hath vsurpt (great King)
Thy place, and wrung out of thy Royall hand
The swoord of Iustice, and stands mennacing
Of cruell punishments vnto this land,
Whose guiltlesse eyes, were nere open'd to see,
(Since thou wert King) the face of tyranny.
Tis not thy fault, for thou art iust and kinde,
Witnes my selfe that doe complaine of wrongs.
I am opprest (great King,) and yet I finde
That thou art guiltlesse, and dost what belongs
Vnto a guiltlesse soule, wish all were right,
But wishing helps not wrongs, nor resists might.
Remooue the Pillars, on whose base doth stand
A mighty building, and all comes to thrall:
Take out the staffe from an olde mans weake hand,
And then his aged body must needs fall.
Take steeridge from a ship, or do not guide it,
And on some Rocke the silly barke will split.
The base whereon my aged frame hath stood,
The staffe whereon I stay'd my trembling arme,
The rudder that did guide me, and with good
And wholsome counsell kept my age from harme,
Is gone, what then may I suspect to haue,
But so daine fall, to an vntimely graue?
Where would I were in peace, for heere is none,
And lesse I feare will be, which makes my minde
Thinke, happy are our Fathers that are gone,
Where sure they shall a better kingdome finde.
Truely said Ouid, that no man should say
His life was blest, before his latest day.
Against my wife (God knowes) a guiltlesse soule,
Is past a heauy iudgement vndeseru'd:
Which yet thy Royall power may controule,
And by that meanes, their liues may be preseru'd,
That liues to doe thee good, who, were they gone,
I prophecie thy quiet raigne were done.
Pitty speakes to thee for her guiltlesse case:
And mercy sayes, the doome is all too great:
Iudgement it selfe would be content to cease,
If but thy sacred tongue vouchsafe t'intreate,
For tis most fit (say they) we should dispence,
With those that haue committed no offence.
For lawes were made to punish euill men,
And cherish vp the good, such as liue well.
This being so true as tis: why doe they then
Make equall iustice, gainst her selfe rebell?
Keep it in order (King,) for all men say,
That things brought out of course, will soone decay.
The King heauy to heare this sad discourse,
Descends his royall throane, whereon he sate,
Takes vp his vncle, and to make restraint
Of his increasing griefe, gins to intreate
Him with good words, and his desire is
He could but doe that good, which he doth wish.
My Noble Aunte quoth he, suffers these ills,
Without my priuity, and they haue got
Such strong Commissions, for to worke their wils,
Vnder out seales, that rightly can I not
Recall the worke, nor will they licence me
To pardon her pretended traytory.
Good vncle well you know, I haue giuen ouer
All gouernment, and haue discharg'd my soule
Of worldly cares, and cannot well recouer
That right againe, and if I should controule
What they haue done, t'wold sure stir vp their wrath,
To execute my ruyne, and your death.
Gloster with this amaz'd, that he should heare
His Kingly Cousin giue him no reliefe:
What he would gladly speake, he doth for-beare,
His mouth is lockt, and the grim porter griefe,
Keeps in the sad words that he faine would speake,
Controules his tongue, & makes her powers too weake.
Thus the King sorry he cannot releeue him,
Comforts his griefe with teares, and so they part:
The woes that Gloster hath, doe no lesse grieue him
Then the good Duke, and cleaues as neere his heart.
True friends haue seeling of each others woe,
And when ones heart is sad, all theirs is so.
The Duke lookt vp, and saw the King was gone,
And the roome empty, time and place affoords,
A fit occasion for a man to moane,
And quiet silence licenses his words,
To talke to woode, and stones, and empty ayre,
For to his plaints, no man would lend his eare.
For want (quoth he) of witnes, I must make
You sencelesse things recorders of my woe:
Friends and acquaintance flye, and will not seeke
Redresse for wrongs; the lawes are altered so,
That men which of all creatures should liue best,
Are of all law, and iustice, dispossest.
Would you (quoth he) could vtter what I say;
That the remembrance of my teares, might last
To vn-borne ages, and when you decay;
You could tell your succession what hath past
In these ill times: then would I tell a tale
Of so much ruth, that flint and steele should waile.
I prophecy a time shall shortly be,
And well is me, I shall not see the day,
When all too late, with sorrow they shall see
What tis to doe iniustice, and to sway
The swoord awry: for next to tyranny,
Comes warres, dissentions, ciuill mutiny.
Once did Astrea leaue the world before,
Because the world grew weary to doe well:
Once gone againe, I feare shee'l nere come more,
Nor set her helping hand, for to refell
These growing mischiefes, but let them increase,
Till men haue quite forgot the name of peace.
When as the Sunne forsakes his cristal spheare,
How darke and vgly is the gloomy skye?
And in his place ther's nothing will appeare,
But clowdes that in his glorious circuite flye.
So when a King forsakes his royall place,
There still succeedes oblique and darke disgrace.
Let not the ayre be moou'd and t'will infect:
Let not the water runne and it will stinke:
Disturbe the course of Iustice by neglect,
And the poore world corrupts: and I doe thinke,
The want of right, to vs like plague will bring;
For not to rule, is not to be a King.
And where there is no guide, the people perrish,
As pruning to the vines, lopping to th'trees,
Weeding to th'corne, corne, vines, and trees doe cherish,
So should Kings rule inferiour degrees,
Least stinking weedes and bryers themselues do nourish,
In that good ground where better hearbs should florish.
Forgiue me heauens, that I doe not amend
Th'abused youth of this well meaning King,
It is my charge; yet can I not defend
Him from these daungers he is falling in;
But frowne on them great God, his youth that leade
In paths of sorrow so misordered.
And gracious time tell to the world to come,
By whom, his royall youth was thus misled,
Least ignorant of it, I be by some
Condemn'd, for doing of so bad a deed.
For well I know, with such a foule offence,
Nor God, nor mortall men, will ere dispence.
With that, a seruant of his comes and sayes,
How that his wife had gone through London streete,
In publike pennance, and was led away
By Sir John Stanley, whom if he would meete,
He must make hast, or else (quoth he) she is gone
In wofull exile, her hard hap to moane.
Hereat the Duke awakt, as from a sleep,
Or as one rising from a colde dead swound,
For-beares his further words, and's faine to keep
What else he would haue said, till he haue found
So fit a time againe; for he must goe,
To see his wife, and comfort her in woe.
And ouer-takes her euen at that same shoare,
That bounds this Island from the Oceans force:
A place whereas they neuer met before;
Vpon whose bankes, pass'd such a sad diuorce
Betwixt these two, as neuer since hath been,
Nor th'sunne that all doth see, had euer seene.
There like two streames that parted at their spring,
Runnes in two seuerall channels all their way,
And at the last, theyr twin-borne currents bring
Into one bed, where long they cannot stay,
To greet each other, fore that time perforce
Driues them downe to the sea, and ends their course.
So meetes these two, euen where they may not bide
To feede their sorrowes with sad tales of woe,
For they were subiects, to the time and tyde
That tarried but their parting, she must goe
To wayle her woes vpon a forraigne shoare,
He stay behinde (poore man) to suffer more.
Good Ellinor (quoth he) for thou retain'st
That tytle still, though ignominious wrongs
Haue ceaz'd vpon thy fortune, and destaines
Thy vertues, and leaues nothing that belongs
To such a Lady, but thy poore bare name,
And that disgrac't too, with reproach and shame.
Although the Sunne be oft Eclipst in cloudes,
Yet that vale drawne, he shewes himselfe againe:
Oft misty fogges, the heau'ns great glory shroudes,
But they desolue, and the faire starres remaine:
The christall streames are oft defilde in mud,
But cleares againe, and makes their waters good.
So are we subiect to the rust of times,
Dishonors, and disgraces, but they fade,
And we shal one day shake them off, and clime
Vp to our owne estates, for we are made
Reprochfull, that of our selues are not so,
And therefore shall we liue, t'out-liue this woe.
The melancholie seaes, will giue thee leaue,
To mourne thy fortunes, whilst Orion-like
The deep string'd sighes and teares, shall quite bereaue
The Ocean of her people, and shall strike
Them with remorse, who being all gath'red there,
Reasonlesse things shall pitty what they heare.
And I will leaue mens companies a while,
And vnder Cipres shades, to beastes and birds,
Trees, stones and riuers, sit and there beguile
Consuming time, till to my wofull words
They frame lamenting notes; whose heauy ditty
Shall alwaies end, their mournefull stops in pitty.
So lands and seas, poore fishes, beastes and birds,
Hard stones, strong trees, and siluer-running streames,
Shall simpathize our woes, greeue at our words,
And wish that they our sorrows might redeeme;
Whilst wicked men, that wrought our misery,
Feeles not the sting of hard extreamity.
As for the heauens they haue seene our wrongs,
And in their good time will reuenge this deed;
There iustice sits, and renders what belongs
To mens deserts, and what is there decreed
She executes on earth they will not blisse
Those bloudy hands, bad mindes that wrought vs this.
When ere I sleep, my dreames shall be of thee,
And when I eate, how bitter is the bread
Which I must taste without thy company?
And waking, if I see not thee I am dead.
Thus sleeping, waking, eating, all I doe,
Without thee, doe all agrauate my woe.
With that he stopt, for teares commaundes his tongue
To cease, whilst they succeeding in their course,
Perfect his griefe, for these two parts belong
Vnto true sorrow; wordes, and teares, haue force
To moue compassion, in the sauage mindes
Of brutish people, reason-wanting kindes.
Great Duke (quoth she) depressed by my fall,
Tis not eternall banishment from hence,
Me ought dismayes, but that hard hap withall,
That exiles me from thee, so one offence
Or rather none, and I that neuer ment
To doe them wrong, haue double punishment.
Forget thou to lament, and let me grieue,
For if we sorrow both, we both shall dye:
T'were good that one, endeuour'd to relieue
With chearefull words, the others misery.
Leaue thou to mourne, and I shall better see
A hopefull time, of my recouerye.
It were no reason thou shouldst beare the weight,
Of my misdeeds; but I my selfe alone
Will vndergoe the burden, tis my right,
Let it then goe with me, least when I am gone,
The enuious mindes of enemies repine,
This land shall harbour any thing thats mine.
Who liues in Egipt must say blacke is white,
Because their beauty is a Sun-burnt skinne:
So must thou change thy minde, and in dispite
Of vertue, teach thy olde tongue to begin
An vnus'd note, for who so hath to doe
With deep desemblers, must desemble too.
If thou'lt doe ought for me, this lesson learne,
So shall good Gloster liue in better ease:
For if the enuious eyes of foes, discerne
Thou grieuest at my exile, it will displease
Theyr humours, and set them a worke to see,
How they may hurt thee, as they haue iniur'd me.
But foolish as I am, why doe I striue,
Teaching a riuer to ascend a hill?
To turne the course of nature, and to driue
The spheares of heauen, backe against their will?
To teach thy tongue that neuer stept awry,
Now in thine age, to flatter, fawne, and lye?
My reason is, because I would preserue
Thy life from the danger it scarse can misse:
Men are not measured now as they deserue,
But as the bad conceipts of tyrants is.
From whose vnrighteous doome, faire heau'ns defend
Thy holy life, that hopes the better end.
With that Sir Thomas Stanley (her sad guide)
Breakes off their intermissiue pittious teares:
Lady (quoth he) the due obseruant tyde,
Hath fil'd the hollow vast, and empty shoares
Of this our hauen, and his swift foote course,
Bends backe vnto the sea his matchlesse force.
Full loath (God knowes) am I to be the man,
Appointed to dissolue so strong a bond,
As linkes true loue: yet will I what I can
Labour to keep it still, except commaund,
(That ouer-rules good meaning) make a way
To bring it to a sodainer decay.
Call but to minde Sir Thomas (sayes the Duke)
What tis to part true friends, and thou shalt see,
Tis such a sinne as gentle kinde rebuke
Forsakes, and sayes tis worthier to be
Reserued for punishment, we cannot giue
Eternall fire, whose furies euer liue,
Yet I confesse I doe thee wrong good knight,
Thou art commaunded to conuey her hence:
And being a subiect, must obey the might
Of mighty mens commaunds, though the offence
To God and all good men: for all men say,
Kings were made to commaund, subiects t'obey.
Yet vse her well to quallifie the deed,
Smooth oyles desolues hard stones, faire words inforce
Pitty in flinty hearts, there will proceede
From thy kinde vsage, reasons of remorse,
To mooue the heauens to forgiue this sinne,
And to remooue the plagues tho'art falling in.
With that they parted, for they might not stand
On longer tearmes, nor would their sorrows let
Their wordes dilate their griefes, but doth commaund
Their dutious tongues to silence, and they set
Milde, quiet, patience, before theyr eyes,
And to her shrine doe solemne sacrifice.
Now wheres the dolefull muses; that should play
In tragick sceanes, the parting of these two?
Will none assist me? then well may I say,
It is indeede a story of such woe,
As if but tongues, and pennes, should striue t'expresse
Their paines, would make the sorrow but seeme lesse.
Then as we wonder at the countlesse starres,
Numberlesse sands, the infinite increase
Of men, birds, beastes, and all things that inferres
An admiration: so let our tongues cease
To talke, of what we cannot comprehend,
As wondrous things, whose numbers haue no end.
This done, the Duke repayres to th'Court againe,
Performes his office, labours to forget
These sorrows: but alas the growing paine
Of this deep festred wound, will neuer let
His thoughts, or deeds, or life, haue any peace,
Till thoughts, and deeds, and life, and all shall cease.
Then sought the Nobles for to match their King,
In marriage with some Prince of his estate:
So that from him more royall seede might spring,
To weare the English Crowne, and prop agate
The Common wealth, for subiects most desires
A royall issue to succeed their syres.
And he by priuate meanes, without th'consent
Of his Protector Gloster, willing is
To marry, and withall was well content,
That William Duke of Suffolke, one that was
His vncles foe, should betroth in his name,
One borne vnto smal wealth, and to lesse fame,
Margaret daughter to Reynard Naples King,
Inriched by this match, who else was poore:
A king onely in name, without the thing
That makes men mighty, and in steed of dowre,
They buy her of her Father, with more store
Of lands, and goods, then ere he had before.
Looke as great Cynthia, in her siluer Carre
Rides in her Progresse round about her spheare,
Whose tendance, is the fayre eye-dazling starres,
Trouping about her Chariot, that with cleare
And glorious shewes, makes euery eye delight,
To gaze vpon the beauty of the night.
Or as the spring comes to regreete the earth,
Clad and attended with the worlds delight:
So is the Queene in Maiesty brought foorth,
Tended with Princes, that a fayrer sight
This land of ours, a long time had not seene,
And well't had been for them, had that not been.
And though the Duke vnwilling was to haue,
His Kingly Cousen marry with this Queene:
Yet since t'was done, it was too late to craue
Assistance to disioyne them; that had been
But labour lost, a toyle vnto no end:
Wise men let faults ore-passe they cannot mend.
And what his duety and his seruice ought her,
That he perform'd, and euer was content
To doe her good, and his endeuour brought her
More friends, who else in greeuous discontent,
Had put on armes against her, but that they
Saw him content, and for his sake they obey.
But as most women else, euen so was she
Vnconstant, and that wauering power did guide
Her fickle thoughts, that nothing could agree
With her conceipt, but new deuises, pride
And womens toyes, who children-like affected
Loues trifles, whilst good things are quite neglected.
Good Duke to what misfortune wert thou borne?
How was the heauens conioyned at thy birth?
Thy yonger times, might better haue out-worne
These troubles that thy latter yeares brought foorth.
But subtill fortune, turn'd her fatall hand
Against thine age, not able to withstand.
But whether t'were the fortune of the place,
(Th'Duke-dome of Gloster), that thus crost thy blisse,
I know not, but I gesse, for all the race
Almost of Dukes, that were instal'd in this
Vnlucky Duke-dome, made an end like thee,
By hard and vnexpected casualty.
Thomas of Woodstocke, and Hugh Spensers thrall,
(May be great reasons to perswade this thing)
And thine, and after thee an others fall,
That was once Duke there, though he dyed a King,
Richard the third, yet was his life so bad,
That he deseru'd a worse death then he had.
Yet let thy soule forgiue this sinne of mine,
That puts thee in amongst a company
Of wicked men, whose liues were worse then thine,
Though death amongst you all dealt equally,
For he's vnpartiall, and with one selfe hand
Cuts off both good and bad, none can withstand.
The Queene that now had lent her youthfull eares,
To the vaine pleasures of these foolish times,
To be imploy'd, considered not the cares
That troubles grauer heades, whose wisedome climes
To higher steps of iudgement, and nere cease
Striuing to keep, their idle liues in peace.
The droane should dye, did not the toylesome Bee
Worke to supply her need: the silly snake
Had staru'd in colde, had he not bin set free
From the congealed frost, whose force did make
Passage for death in his friends bosome warmed,
From frost and snow, and killing winter armed,
Yet see how these kinde fauours haue an end,
The Drone starues the poore Bee, that got her meate:
The venom'd snake requites his carefull friend,
By stinging him that did procure the heate
That preseru'd her: so did the Queene requite
The Dukes kinde deeds, with mallice, wrath, and spite.
For whilst he laboured in the common-wealth,
And sought their good, by gouerning the King:
Incroaching danger comes on him by stealth,
And ere he wist had slyly drawne him in.
Such is the manner of bad minded men,
They worke their hurt that seekes to preserue them.
Now holde they secret counsels to inuent,
How the Dukes person might be brought in daunger,
Perswade the King against him, with intent
Sooner to spoyle him, but he now no stranger
To their deuises, seekes in what he may,
To keep himselfe from falling to their pray.
To plead his guilt lesse case it was no boote,
They knew it well enough, but would not know it,
That all men were his foes, was out of doubt,
Yet the King lou'd him well, but durst not shew it.
Ther's almost none dare come to him to cheare him,
And euen his seruants feared to come neere him.
And that his honour might the sooner fall,
They tooke away his office, for say they
The King's at age, and needs no help at all
Of a Protector, but himselfe shall sway
The Scepter: nor was it conuenient
He should liue vnder others gouernment.
With this the Duke as willing to resigne,
As they were to desire it, on his knees
Yeeldes vp his charge, and though he did deuine
Some ill ensuing mischeefe, and he sees
All men looke sadly on him, yet he rests
Contented, and turnes all things to the best.
Great King (quoth he) that from thine infant spring,
Thorow the channell of thy youthfull time:
Hast runne securely without daungering,
The hope of manly yeares, and now canst climbe
Vp to thy throane thy selfe without my hand,
And there hold all things at thine owne command:
Heere doe I yeeld mine office, which God graunt
Thy Princely hand may holde euen to thy graue,
But sore I feare me, some will seeke to scant,
The royall power such a King should haue.
And greedy of that gaine, without all shame
Keep from thy hands, all thine, saue thy bare name.
Yet hope I thou shalt haue a fayrer Raigne,
For me thinkes that this royall name of thine,
No meaner bounds or lymits should containe,
Then all this Westerne world: how long a time
Hath victory been seated on thy throane,
And stayes thine aunswere ere she will be gone?
Let times to come that talkes of thy renowne,
Speake no lesse good of thee then of thy Syre.
And as tho'art heyre vnto his land and crowne,
Be so vnto his vertues, let th'desire
Of honor, conquest, time-consuming fame,
Aduaunce another Worthy, of that name.
Whose memory, when stones and toombes of brasse,
Deep grauen Epitaphs, and hollow graues
Shall quite consume, and their memoriall passe
Downe to the shady groues, and darksome caues
Where dead obliuion dwels, in whose blacke brest
Lyes buried, all that former times possest.
Thy name, like to the still induring Sunne,
Shall out-liue all, and be the worlds great wonder,
I, and when Sunne, and Moone, and Starres, haue done,
And their concordant Spheares broken a sunder,
Thy light succeed their lights, and as now we
Admire their glory, so they may doe thee.
I see no reason why thou shouldst not flourish,
As thy great Grand-sire did, and be as good,
For that same clime, and earth, and ayte doth nourish
Thee, that fed them, the issue of their bloud
Thou art, ah why then should we feare,
That thou shouldst be lesse famous then they were?
There is no reason, for after that th'spring,
Ther's no man doubts, but haruest comes of course,
When as the dusky morning doth begin,
To breake the nights thicke fogges, and by his force
Desolue the shady cloudes, the night out-worne,
We're certaine of a faire succeeding morne.
But I shall neuer see that happy day,
For leane-fac'd death, tended with painefull houres,
Hangs on my weary limmes, and makes his way
Through hollow bloodles vaines, whose weakned pow­ers,
Scarse able to support this carefull head,
Sayes (fore that day) old Gloster shall be dead.
And he fore-tolde his end, for t'was not long,
Ere many seu'rall treasons were pretended
Against him, and by fierce iniutious wrong,
He's charged with offence, that nere offended.
Yet this his hope is, heauen will harbour them
That are vniustly punisht heere mongst men.
That they accuse him of, is, he deuised
New punishments for such as did offend;
Such as our lawes inflict not, and he prized
Before them other lawes, which in the end
Say they, will ouer-turne our settled state,
And leaue this now-good Kingdome ruynate.
Of these he is accused, for these arrested,
Committed to the Tower, there layde in prison,
And though with teares, and prayers he oft requested
He might but know his fault, for law and reason
Play both the aduocates vpon his side,
But their requests is lawlesly deny'd.
For griefe of which hard dealings (some men say)
The good Duke dyed there, but some others gesse,
His auncient enemies deuis'd a way.
There to cut off his dayes, and disposses
The world of her chiefe good, ô times accurst
That spoyles the best things, to preserue the worst!
Like to a morne, whose euening shuts in cloudes,
Making a darke end of a glorious day:
Falles this good Duke, and in his ending shrouds
The beauty of his youth, yet all men say
His Sun-bright vertues, shewed through this dark vayle
And poysoned enuies, deadly ayme did faile.
For he lyes buried in famous Regestry,
Where (saue himselfe) scarce any are retained:
Other great men haue writ their memory,
On walles and stones, and yet their names remained
Nothing like his, whose Epitaph is plac't
In mens conceipts, that neuer shall be rac't.

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