THE Mirror of Martyrs, OR The life and death of that thrice valiant Capi­taine, and most godly Martyre Sir Iohn Old-castle knight, Lord Cobham.


Printed by V.S. for Willi­am Wood. 1601

To the liuely image of all morall Vertues, and true perfection of heauen-borne Arts, William Couell Bachelor of Diuinitie, all successe agreeable to the aun­cient worth of his ancestors.

THis Poem (Right Wor:) which I present to your learned view▪ some two yeares agoe was made fit for the Print; that so long keeping the corner of my studie, wherein I vse to put waste pa­per: This first trew Oldcastle; thought himselfe iniurde, because he might not bee suffered to sustaine the scond Martyredome of the Presse: In somuch that I was contented he should stand bare-headed to these churlish times, and endure the censure of his vtmost enemies, onely to make his Death more glorious. Howsoeuer, now he passeth vnder your protection; and though my pensill be too weake, either for his or your picture; accept of the same, because it comes from zeale.

The admirer of your vertues, Io: Weeuer.

To the Authors most honored friend, Richard Dalton of Pilling, en­richt with all gifts of Nature and graced with the chiefe ornaments of true Gentilitie.

HOw ioyfully the Authors Poem goes,
To thee, whose wit, whose vertues he admires,
With what a willing soule hee daily shows,
That loue, the which thy loue of him requires,
Whose name he honors, and whose machlesse worth,
He can imagine better than set forth.
His minde farre more is, than his feeble might,
Yet hath he wouen of this home-spunne thred,
So fine a webbe, so richly scourde and dight,
(Minerua like) beyond the wisest head:
The which to praise, were onely to this end,
To marre the loome, and not the cloth to mend.

The Life and death of Sir Io: Oldcastle knight, Lord Cobham.

FAire Lucifer, the messenger of light,
Vpon the bosome of the star-deckt skie,
Begins to chase the rauen-fethered night:
That stops the passage of his percing eie:
And heauing vp the brim of his bright beuer,
Would make that day, which day was counted neuer.
But Mercurie, be thou the morning Star,
Beare my embassage from Elysium,
Shew to my countrie hence remoued far,
From these pauilions I can neuer come:
Staind vice ascends from out th'infernall deepes,
But in the heauens vnspotted vertue keepes.
Deliuer but in swasiue eloquence,
Both of my life and death the veritie,
Set vp a Si quis, giue intelligence,
That such a day shall be my Tregedie:
If thousands flocke to heare a Poets pen,
To heare a god, how many millions then?
The many-headed multitude were drawne
By Brutus speach, that Caesar was ambitious,
When eloquent Mark Antonie had showne
His vertues, who but Brutus then was vicious:
Mans memorie with new forgets the old,
One tale is good vntill another's told.
Sing thou my dirgies like a dying Swan,
Whose painfull death requires a playning dittie:
That my complaint may pierce the hart of man,
Plaine be thy song, sweete, pleasing, full of pittie:
And more, to moue the multitude to ruth,
Let my apparell be the naked truth.
Truth bring I nak't, for other weedes she scorneth,
Saue that her smocke in flames of coulored silke
Is straunglie wrought, her beawtie it adorneth,
As through the same it peares more white then milke:
In open view she comes, faire, comelie, meeke,
For, Truth the hidden corners doth not seeke.
My father Reignold Cobham (whom so many
Haue crownd with euer-greene victorious baies,
For valorous worth before him plac'd not any;
O but I must be parciall in his praise.
T'emblazon forth her owne truth, Truth's denide,
Herein the Truth, for Truth, is counted pride.)
Within the Spring-tide of my flowring youth,
He stept into the winter of his age:
Made meanes (Mercurius thus begins the Truth,)
That I was made Sir Thomas Mowbraies page:
A meanes to die, who meanes to liue so long,
Aged in ill, in goodnesse euer yong.
There did I spend my purple-coloured May,
Bathing in blisse, and courtlie blondishment:
Vntill the sentence on Saint Lamberts day
Pronounced was of M [...]wbraies banishment;
Of Englands woe, of Richards lowe deposing,
Of Herfords honour, of my seruice losing.
He might haue seen how Fate that day sore-pointed,
That gloomie day wherein the heauens did mone:
She would haue Herford Englands king annointed,
To rend the wreath of Diamonds from his Throne:
But Maiesty, whose lustre is so bright,
Destroies the sense, and dazleth the sight.
Fate the foule of-spring of black Erebus,
Th'inhabitresse of foamie Phlegeton:
Ill fortunes day star, good lucks Hesperus,
Pale Deaths fore-teller, grim Porphyrion.
Ioues scribe in brasse with pens of dragons wings,
The chiefe commaundresse both of gods and kings.
Earths Genius, mans inauspicious starre,
A triple power, the knowledge of things past,
To come, and present, Trumpeter to warre,
Ill at the first, injurious at the last:
A crosse wherewith we all must rest contented,
Fare tho fore-seene can seldome bee preuented.
Then whil'st the Aprill of my yong yeares lasted,
(Aged in nothing onely but my name:)
Her forward budding in the prime I blasted,
With wind of pride, and hoarie frost of shame;
With riotous Loue, whose highest point's a pleasure,
with paine before, repentance at more leasure.
And like a Trau'ler which his way hath lost,
In th'vnknowne woods, when vp and downe he rangeth,
On euery side with blind Meanders crost,
And this for that, that for another changeth:
Within the sharp-set thickets long thus tost,
At length finds this that he himselfe hath lost.
So in my youth I was a Traueler,
Within this world a wildernesse of woe,
No Palmers then could tell a Passenger
Which way from danger safely he might goe:
Led once astray in youth, who euer found
His first trode path, where pleasures do abound.
Thus lost within the Laborinth of sin,
Wandring the woods in Egypts gloomie Night,
Tying no threed from whence I first came in,
No Sun to shine, no star to giue me light:
Echidnaes ofspring, hell-borne serpents knew me,
And at their pleasures to strange pleasures drew me.
Some way I left before I had begun it,
And some was knottie, othersome would bryre me:
This marrish ground, and yet I could not shun it,
This steepe and sandie sooner it would tyre me.
This way to follow vertue would procure me,
To this my youthful head-strong yeares did lure me.
And youth excusd the errours in my nature,
Whose greenenes tooke vpon him all the fault:
Perswading me, su [...] power was in no creature,
Once to resist vice when it gaue assault,
Perswasion's vaine, for one to vices bent,
The minde agrees, as Nature doth consent.
Audacious Youth, impatient being moued,
A witlesse substance in a seeming show;
Scorner of age, of age yet best beloued;
By Phaeton the world's ouerthrow,
A sleepe, a dreame, a brauling lunacie,
A selfe-conceit short-killing plurasie.
Before this Youth in mirthfull sports was lauisht,
No meane Cumrades, no base associates,
In company with my perfections rauisht,
Swore me for one of their confederates,
For valour, wit, and court-ship few came nie me,
In all which, Richard, Henries both did trie me.
But valour, court-ship, wit, and all good parts,
Make without maners but a glittring show:
Nature is onely beautified with arts:
Wit oftentimes is her owne ouerthrow.
This court-ship, valour, wit, al are disgraced,
Within the minde when vertue is not placed.
For strange attempts, for Mars-like chiualrie,
Among my fellowes yet I beare the bell,
In hastie wroth, and heedlesse hazardrie.
I counted vertue alwaies to excell,
And deem'd it better perish in the field,
Then for basefeare my weapons vp to yeeld.
Feare the minds fall with lasting infamie,
In expectation of some future ill:
Twixt Mars and Venus got in luxurie,
A cold con [...]ealed ice, a bloudlesse chill,
An Ecstasis, a breeder of gray haires,
An object spirit, scorne to youthfull yeares.
Yet the world poys'ned with a swaggering humour,
Of some shape-altring Succubus begot;
A wynd-swolne monster, many headed Rumour:
Vices preseruer, vertues festred rot;
Prides male-content, minds putrified wound,
A liqour moist distilled from the ground.
This ayres innate and chiefest qualitie,
This Ship-mans hose; this heat extinguisher,
This gallants wisdome, wise-mens gullerie,
This paynted wethercocke, Arts diminisher.
With cowardize beginneth to empeach me,
Because in worth not able for to reach me.
We daft the world with time our selues beguiled,
Dreaming on nought saue on eternitie,
And good Successe from highest heauens smiled
On our attempts and mirthfull jollitie:
For that seemes good which present pleasures brings,
Tho't bee the roote, from whence all euil springs.
Succeesse the friend of famous Conquerours,
Faire Fortunes handmaid, daughter of pure blood,
The worlds darling, wish of Emperours
Desyres great Goddesse, fauorite of the good.
From pale facde death or danger euer blest me,
And with the robe of honour doth inuest me.
And seeking how she might the more inhaunce me,
Though lew'd my hauiour was, vnsound my carriage,
With roialtie and high discent t'aduaunce me,
Shee join'd me with a Ladie faire in marriage;
By whose high honour I first won the name
And Seigniorie of Cobhams endlesse fame.
Long I injoi'd this weary wing of Fame,
My beauteous wife, my Margarite of worth,
Whose Nature was more precious then her name,
All titles were but straines to set her forth:
For stature, bewtie, vertue, wit, and blood,
More comelie none, faire, sober, matchlesse, good.
But bewtie, stature, vertue, wit, nor blood,
Nor yet the ripenesse of a flowring age,
Faire, comelie, sober, matchlesse, lustie, good,
Can ought at all delay deaths murdrous rage,
For all these gifts from Margarite y come,
And buried lie with Margarite in her tombe.
Hymen put on his saftron-coloured cote,
And now vice had no warrandize by yeares,
With that I gin my fellowes faults to note,
Sounding sweete councell in their Adders eares.
But ill it seem'd me them to blame: though I
Censurd my selfe like mine owne enemy.
Delight saw this; and would not slip the season,
But in my soule thee made a strange diuision,
The sensuall parts shee armed all gainst Reason.
Defending goodnesse to be superstition;
A fopperie, a fond Precisians toy,
The which who loues, doth liue still void of ioy.
My wil, whose obiect was the chiefest good,
And vnderstanding facultie the truth,
This sharpe encounter cowardlie withstood,
So weakned with the pleasures of my youth.
Tis hard to hate vice which we long haue loued,
An habite got once, seldome is remoued.
The troupes disperst, now darknesse ends the fight,
And reason held his late-won victorie:
But inward Senses skirmish in the night,
The common sense, Remembrance, Phantasie,
Whose warre, is warre, warre onely to increase,
When Reasons warre, is warre to liue in peace.
Faire was the field where first we met, and spatious,
Enuironed with odoriserous meads,
Ioyn'd to a Citie, to the sight most gratious,
Where stately Trees, with wood-bine pleighted heads.
Of Mandrake, Poppie, euer greene did flourish,
With hearbs whose iuice[?] the drowsy sense wold nourish.
Here none saue night-byrds houer with their wings,
The fatall scritch-owles, feast profaning Bats;
From two faire founts the Riuer Lethe springs:
And on the clearest Minerall she pats;
Whose stealing streames along the channell fals,
Like Euphrates, at first, twixt Edens wals.
This crawling runnet, hony-bubling fountaine,
Whil'st thousands stept in Nights securitie;
Descending from the Diamond-rockie mountaine,
Like the mellifluent brooke of Castilie[?];
Turning the sand, and playing with the stones,
Would alway answere both their sighes and grones.
The Citie with two entrances is graced,
Whose workmanship the matter seemes to scorne;
The first, wherein expreslie dreames are placed,
With curious Art is builded all of horne;
The other made of polisht Iuorie,
Where dreames vnvail'd, and ouershaddowed be.
A sumptuous Temple, all of burnisht gold
Within the wals erected vnto night,
Which Phantasies in greatest reuerence hold;
Another Chappell Alethia hight,
With diuers formes, to diuers shapes, some tall,
Some vglie, winged, wither'd, grosse, some small.
With scaling ladders on the wals I venter,
(In which fierce entrance well I might haue perisht,)
Whose Pallaces no sooner could I enter,
But pleasant sights, my soule and senses cherisht:
From ghastly feare faire Icolon me keepes,
And lullabies my thoughts with carelesse sleepes.
Sweete Sleepe, distresse and sorrowes soueraigne cure,
Worthie entitled Nox sonne Morpheus,
Send downe from Heauen vnto Pallinure,
Mans king and Gods endeard by Orpheus,
Within the circuit of this pallace knew me,
And pleasures past, with what would come, did shew me.
For the Idaea of a thing in sleepe,
May be imprinted in the Phantasie,
With shape-transforming visions so deepe,
That it deludes the senses outwardly,
And so in forme, and in estate appeere
Within the mind, as if he waking were.
Thus neere Iberiaes foremost fertile coast,
I entred in Gades two-leau'd brasen dore.
Where I espide of Demi-gods an hoast,
Landing vpon the sea-Atlanticke shore,
In yeeres none yong, with yeeres not any olde,
None parcht with heate, none withered with colde.
These Deities liu'd in so rare a ground,
Which thrice a yeere her fruitfulnes did show,
Yet plow nor planting did her forehead wound,
No other winde but Zephyrus did blow,
No showres, no raine for fruits will neuer perish,
VVhich the danke moisture of the ayre doth cherish.
Downe in a dale enameled with roses,
Ten thousands Adones standing on a raw,
And by a crannie which a garden closes,
So many Virgins and wood Nymphs I saw,
With brests halfe hid, with loose dishevil'd haire,
To catch the baulme-sweete breathing of the aire.
Which game somlie into their bosomes got,
Whisks vp and downe, twines, curls vp their tresses,
And enterlaces with a Trew-loues knot;
And last; diuides each haire, each plight vndresses;
Playes fast and loose, as fearing least his sport
Should end too soone, his pleasure be too short.
Thrice twentie thousand Cupids in their eies,
Bathing them selues; so many Graces set
Vpon the banck▪ their browes; each (naked) hies:
The first place in this paradize to get.
Tell me the man these visions would not moue,
For Sight breedes wonder, wonder bringeth Loue.
One thought of hate, ten thoughts of loue reuiueth,
Whilst beauty charmes the vertue of the senses,
Great powers, small aide gainst loues encounter giueth:
Wit's but a warrant for these sweete offences:
What hope hath reason now to quench loues fire,
When hate breedes loue, wit kindleth loues desire?
Mine inward sense thus argu'd with my reason,
Told her these saints, this heauenly place enioying:
Spent all their life in mirth, their baiting season
Slept in delights; and past in amorous toying:
Gainst heauen herselfe who would not be rebelling,
To liue, where loue, youth, beutie haue their dwelling.
With that I stretcht my lims along the bed,
Hauing no power to ope my gowlie eyes;
Thrice ore the caddow I mine armes out spred:
Thrice did I fall, before I once could rise:
Leaning vpon mine elbow for a rest,
Nodding, I knockt my chin against my brest.
Then sigh'd, slipt downe, and twixt the sheete and pillow
I nuzled in, joyn'd knees and chin together:
I dream'd I wore a garland of greene willow.
But snuffling low, I prickt me with a fether;
So wakt, the bolster for my backe I chose,
And yawning thrice, I rub'd mine eyes and rose.
At length, well wakened from that pleasing slumber:
(O that such slumbers euer should awake!)
As I began my follies past to number,
Despaire gainst comfort gins a head to make.
Yet in remembrance of my youthfull yeares,
Innumerable sins, I spent innumerable teares.
Like to a needle plac'd in equall distance,
Betwixt a Load-stone and an Adamant,
By either drawne, to neither makes resistance [...]
But stands immote as she their force did dant.
So do I stand in great perplexitie,
And onely certaine in vncertaintie.
I'm in a wood, greene may it euer grow,
Yet o're my head, a threatning Rocke still hingeth
The Rocke despaire, the wood doth comfort show,
The rocke my soule, which worme of conscience stingeth,
Twixt wood and rocke, I stand on six and seauen,
Yet m [...]kes the wood my through-fare into heauen.
So (but I list not of my valour boast,
Tis no ambition though, to boast of good:)
Reason outbrau'd this heauen-aspiring hoast,
And left them wallowing in their loathsome blood,
Whilst many fled, which made the more affraide,
Thus I mine ensignes in the aire displaide.
But Rochester shall Eccho forth, my praise
If Rochester remaine not most vngratefull,
A sin in fashion for these humerous daies:
To whome wee owe, to them we are most hatefull:
O that it were in fashion; I am sure
Nine daies (like wonders) fashions but endure.
I must vpbraide ber else, not praises giuing,
How first my fauours patronag'd her pride:
But in too much remembraūce of the liuing,
In darke obliuion dead mens praise wee hide.
A begger from the dunghill on [...]e extold,
Forgets himselfe, whom what he was of old.
When first her grauell-purified riuer,
No bridge vpon her bote-lod'n bosome bore,
Some high renowne I striued for to giue her,
And made a bridge her swiftest currant o're.
Sir Robert Knowles was in the same an actor:
But Cobham was the chiefest benefactor.
And Walter Merton, Mertons Colledge founder,
(Why doth mischance neere charitie thus dwell,)
With lime and sand gainst tempest-beating bound her,
Who from her top by great misfortune fell,
Riding along the workemen for to see:
Fortune is alwaies vertues enemie.
Kinde Rochester it seemes hath yet respected,
His name should liue in ages for to come,
In whose memoriall: lately is erected,
An Epitaph vpon a Marble tombe:
But one good turne another still doth craue:
For this; they found a goblet in his graue.
Warham th'archbishop once of Canterbery,
The Iron[?] barres vpon the bridge bestow'd:
Warner the copings did reedifie,
And many since their liberall minds haue show'd,
Whose deedes in life (if deedes can heauen merit)
Made them in death all heauenly joyes inherit.
Thus Medway by this faire stone bridge adorned,
Made Thamesis enamor'd of her beauty:
All other riuers England had he scorned,
Yeelding to her kinde loue-deseruing duty,
In smiles, embracements, gratious lookes and greetings,
In amorous kisses, murmures, night-set meetings.
But how he courted, how himselfe hee carri'd,
And how the fauour of this Nimph he wonne,
And with what pompe Thames was to Medway marri'd.
Sweete Spenser shewes (O griefe that Spenser's gone!)
With whose life heauens a while enricht vs more,
That by his death wee might be euer pore.
With swifter currant Medway to this day
From Maidstone runs, in hope the bridge to kisse,
One streame another chasing fast away,
That thousands hasting of their purpose misse:
And downe the gullet all in anger glide,
Yet turne in whirle-pooles round, to vew her side.
One streame stands kissing with a naked piller,
Whose force rebutts the streame which runneth after,
And backe retires, with glauncing lookes to fill her
Long-wisht desire; and smiles, and falls to laughter,
Last (in her language) when she slides away,
She seemes to thanke mee for her marriage day.
With thanks the gods, with thankes good men are pleased,
And thankes she giues him that this bridge first founded:
Because this rest her wearie streame hath eased,
And now with oares her sides are neuer wounded,
But thankefull she, vnthankefull all the towne,
The cause (no doubt) was once the bridge fell downe.
Ioues issue borne of faire Eurynomes,
Mirth's naked mothers, snow-white Charites:
Daughters of th'Ocean, riuers Presides,
The pride of Desarts, sweete mouth'd Naides,
These Nimphs of Ashdon forrest neuer haunted
Medways flour'd banks; whilst this fair bridge she wāted
For goddesses could not abide the sauour
Of millions ouerwhelmed in her brooke:
These deyties now take it for a fauour,
Their beautie in her glassie streames to looke,
All do rejoyce; and are most thankefull; man
Which should be thankefull, most vnthankefull than.
Let marriners which shute his arches through
Describe aright, his length, his bredth, his beautie;
Riding in's sight, they vaile their bonnet low,
And strike their top-saile in submissiue dutie:
Hee'l not be brau'd; no vessell since the marriage
Will he receiue, but of a lowly carriage.
Some higher ship, whose sailes are swolne with pride,
Whose bloudy flaggs like fierie streamers hing,
At Chattam lies, and from her hollow side,
With double charge sendes forth a culuering,
Which rends the shore, and makes the towne to shake,
The bridge her breath, herselfe in snuffe doth take.
The fierie smooke this Engine vomits out,
To him transported by the aire and wind,
Hee straight receiues; and prisons in throughout
His hollow vaults, his creuices, and rindes,
So th'aire redoubling in his arches, slips
A mocking eccho to these prowder ships.
This bridge reuiues my dying memorie,
Ouer the which I passe into the towne,
To view the sacred church of Trinitie:
Built by Sir Robert Knowles: and (though vnknowne)
That Chauntrey joyning to the same I founded,
Where Harmonie for euer should be sounded.
Sweete Harmonie supposd of Pithagoreans,
To be the spheares and heauenly bodies motion,
Of Platonists, Amphibolites, and Iouians,
A Simmetrie within the soules sharp notion:
Heauens handmaide, one of the liberall arts
A concord, all of disagreeing parts.
Soule-drowning pleasure rauisher of sense,
Elisiums Anthem, court-enchanting spell,
Our nouice lady-woing eloquence,
The fetcher of Euridice from hell,
The cowards courage to vphold his armes,
The valiant mans encountring fresh alarmes.
The ioy to griefe-accloyd calamitie,
Thebes singing Syren to display her banners,
Prisoners comfort in cold miserie,
Cares cosoner, reformer of the manners;
In sorrow, smart, exilement, hunger, anguish,
An helper, least we faint, despaire, or languish.
Wench-wanton Ioue, and faire Electraes daughter,
Of seauen starres, the seauenth not appearing,
Empresse of solace, greatest Queene of laughter,
Venus white doue, and Mars his onely dearing,
Why am I thus in thy remembrance rotten,
And in thy sweete saint-pleasing songs forgotten?
Had some feirce Lionesse by the Libian so untaines,
Or blacke-mouth'd barking Scilla brought thee forth,
On flintie Etnaes sulphur-flaming mountaines:
By Tygres nurs'd in th'ice congealed north,
Thou couldst not be more frozen harted hatefull,
Injurious more, lesse louing, more vngratefull.
Neptune obtayning but his Amphitrite,
By the Dolphins meanes in heauens azure frame;
In the remembrance of this benefite:
Ten star [...] compacted by the Dolphins name;
Nor Gods, nor men, but Clownes, illiterate, rude,
Would thus be poisned with ingratitude.
O but I heare thy notes Angelicall,
On Orpheus siluer-sounding Harp excuse thee,
Whose strayned ditties most melodicall
Tell me, the world in dotage doth abuse me:
The world is old, and I more old in name,
Old age, by youth's preseru'd, not by the same.
The time's in dotage, and the world in yeares,
This organ-aged litle world man,
Which cradle-witted infant-waxen peares,
Gray coated, fond, pale, hoarie, feeble, wan,
Bald, drie, diseased, rheumaticke, and cold:
Therefore the world is earthlie doting old.
He that lyes well, doth well this ill age fit,
Hee's a bare foole which speakes the naked Truth;
The one wise follie, th'other foolish wit:
This stripling world is alwaies thus in youth:
Such wisdome's doting, doting's frostie cold:
Therefore the world is foolish doting old.
Old age within her hart a Fox doth hold,
A Kyte in hand; a Bee within her brest,
Fox false, deceaues, Kyte greedie, catch thee wold,
Bee angrie, stings, beleev'd, come neare, deprest;
These signes all shew within this world I could,
Therefore the world is crooked dooting old.
Shee builds high roofes with ruines of the Church,
Sels lyes for nothing, Nothing for too much;
Faith for three farthings, t'haue thee in the lurch:
Shee's meale mouth'd, simple, scarse abiding tuch.
First shee is greedie, next, her craft behold:
Therefore the world is wylie doting old.
When for a looke shee will be in the lawe,
To take the wall, is by the wall to dye,
At a great word she will her poynard draw,
Looke for the pincke if once thou giue the lye,
Is she not angry, hot, audacious bold?
Therefore the world is testie doting old.
Tis greedie, first, which vsurers will nourish,
Tis craftie, Lawers lie not to the truth,
Tis angry, Fencers euery where do flourish,
Craft, anger, vsury, neuer seene in youth:
In crabbed age these vices we behold,
Doubtlesse the world is wonderous doting old.
But all the world in question is not cald,
For art can varnish o're decayed nature,
Old men haue haire, and many yong men bald,
Yet perriwigs and painting helpe their feature,
In nature weake, in art the world's strong,
The world in age againe thus waxeth yong.
When great Apollo shewes his threefold might,
And by his issue dayly's made the yonger
Keeping his vertue, influence, and light,
May not man thinke thereby to liue the longer▪
No, he's a father, though his chin be bare,
But man's a monster if he want his haire.
Time was of old, when all of vs were yong,
Then we learn'd much, for litle were we knowing,
When riper yeares and manhoode made vs strong,
Then we knew much, and more still would be showing,
Age knowes all well, do nothing well it would
In vertue yong the world, in knowledge old.
Our fixed stars, a pur-blind old mans eyes,
The aire's a gnastie old mans breath ill smelling,
Water a rhume in dropsie when he lyes,
Valleyes rough wrinckles, mountaines gowtie swelling:
The earth a sleepy old mans long-kept dregs,
Men now a feeble old mans windie egs.
Let vs but looke into the giants age,
Danske Corioneus English Albion,
Or Titans broode which gainst the heauens did rage,
Fierce Lentesmophius[?], Effra, Gration.
These were the worlds first youthfull progenie,
To these our men are an Epitomie.
Whose dig'd vp reliques, if we but behold,
Do we not wonder at their ribs or teeth?
Like props and milstones: so our issue old
Will wonder at our greatnesse which she seeth,
Now are we dwarfs, they will be pismires then,
This is the fumbling of our age [...] men.
Nor thou faire frame with azure lines thicke quoted,
Bright heauen thy swift orbicular round motion,
(As Linceus-eyde Astronomers haue noted:)
From East to West keepes not thy reuolution,
Seauen stars their seates haue left, and lost some light:
The world is old when heauen is dimme of sight.
Ioue's gone to Libra from his amorous maide,
And Mercurie thou'rt fled to Scorpio then
From Scorpio, Saturne to the Shooters straide,
Mars loaths the crab, lie's in the lions den:
How can the course of this our world go euen:
When all this ods and jarring is in heauen?
Pure, thin, and pleasing, was the aires first breath,
Now thick, grosse, noysome tis whereon we feede,
A vile contagious mist which can vnneath
But pestilence or worse diseases breede:
If sicknes thus infect her from the skies,
Then the world's old, and on her death bed lies.
The water famous by a Nimphs faire name,
Of some foule-leprous body now's the lees:
The sea a sinke, and riuers to the same
Are rotten pipes, so fountaines in degrees,
The world o'reworne, vnwholesome, for new birth
Shee must returne needes to her grandame earth.
Our grandame earth whose for-head is o're thwarted,
With high-wayes bald, whose backe huge buildings sway,
Whose bellie's stuft with piles of men departed
Boweld, puld out, and garbisht euery day,
Heauen, earth, aire, water, man, the world and all,
Are doting old and must to ruine fall.
Deceiptfull world, blood-thirsty, couetous,
Bleare-eyde, mishapt, vntoward, impious,
Three-legd, treble-tong'd, bifronted, traiterous,
Backe-broken, bald, enuie-swolne, obliuious,
Aire, water, putriside, heauen, earth, infectious,
To gods, to men, and to thy selfe injurious.
Wax old and die what? dost thou want a toombe?
Into thy Chaos backe againe returne:
And thus twise child perhappes thou maist becoome,
Wax old, a new the sooner to be borne,
Meane while encrease, thou maist decrease thereby,
At length wax old, and last for euer die.
Die thou for euer with thy harmonie,
Extenuate no more worth's matchlesse deedes,
Rochester blot me out of memorie,
Let Cobham haue disdaine for worthie meedes:
For slaue-borne pesants are for worthies deemed
And worthies worse then pesants are esteemed.
Ioues Purfiuant; nimble Mercurius,
The proloquutor of my worlds wonne glorie,
Swift as Medusaes flying Pegasus:
Heare now (O heare) the processe of my storie,
Greiu'd at the world, in anger ouer-shot,
My iust complaint I almost had forgot.
Looke when the sun most bride-groome like doth rise,
Soone as the morne vnbarres her christall gate:
So Bullingbrooke vnto the gazers eyes,
Riseth in Richards royall chaire of state,
Whose rising was the cause that millions fel,
That we in peace, and endlesse pleasure dwel.
Great Bolingbrooke this type of chiualrie,
In ayding false-faith-breaking Orleance,
Against the hote assault of Burgundie,
Whose ciuil warres neere driue him out of France,
To higher honour willing me to call,
Of al the forces made me generall.
Then ledde I warre mailde vp in sheetes of brasse,
Drawne in a Charriot with amaze and horror,
Whose fiery steedes Bellona sterne would lash,
To strike the Frenchmen in an vncouth terror;
Feare, clamour, wrath, warres followers but assembled,
The French astonisht, turned backe and trembled.
Burgundie stonisht, which so prowdly vaunted,
Turn'd backe and trembled, turning warre to peace,
So much our souldiers sight his courage daunted,
So much the Frenchmen lou'd to liue at ease:
How would these warriors then haue feard to fight,
When with out looks whole myriads tooke their flight
Marke what ensues (for marking it deserues,)
With this dayes honour Orleance not content,
But from his oath and neare alliance swerues;
And a bold challenge to king Henry sent:
But once forsworne and be forsworne for euer:
A Traitor once will be a subiect neuer.
Henry (to calme the Sea of war) betraid,
Rebates the edge of choller with aduise;
Most mildlie answeres to the challenge made:
So of himselfe the Conquerour did rise.
Which conquest is a far more kinglie boast,
Then for to brag the conquering of an hoast.
Proude Orleance marching with six thousand strong,
(For hate deepe rooted hardlie left in Frenchmen)
Beseig'd the Towne of Vergie three moneths long:
Three hundred English onlie there entrencht then:
Of which smal force, (in force great to withstand hers,)
I and Sir Robert Antfield were commaunders.
Three months expyr'd, mind-loftie Orleance
Saw that his Souldiers courage gan recoile,
With that retyr'd his forces back to France,
Without all honour, victorie, or spoile.
All Guien since[?] for sauing of their Towne,
Long time gaue tribute vnto Englands Crowne.
With Thomas Percie Worcesters braue Earle,
Against the French againe I went to fight:
Percie of bold aduenterous knights the pearle:
Many to sword; but more we put to flight.
In wars abroad, in ciuill broiles at home,
Oldcastle still selected was for one.
Then high-resolued Hotspur Scotlands terrour,
The child of Mars and magnanimitie;
The throne of fame, wars palme, & knighthoods mirrour,
Ioin'd with the Yorkists, made a mutinie.
Thus ill to worse, and worse to wo [...]se did fall,
Worst to rebellion, which was worse then all.
To raise all people sooner to commotion,
The Archbishop let the commons vnderstand,
In guilfull Rhetoricke that it was deuotion,
Which caus'd them take these home-bred warrs in hand.
This euer is a Rebels chiefe pretence,
To vaile his treason or'e with innocence.
Looke how a Swarme of hony-gathering Bees,
(The Muses birds) leauing their luscious bowers,
Follow their king in order and degrees,
Vntill they find some arbour deckt with flowers:
And then they murmur, hum, and all rejoice:
Euen so the Commons yeelding, made a noice.
And followed Percie to these ciuill broiles,
Who made no doubt of Henries victorie:
Emboldened by Scotlands late-won spoiles,
Yet left him slaine behind at Shrewsbury:
And all the Armie, ventrous, valorous, bold,
Hote on the spur, now in the spur lie cold.
If this deserue a Conquerours praise,
For with a Conquest this may make comparison;
Engirt my temples with triumphant baies:
Gainst Percie then I led a garrison.
Percie so cald; because he pierst the eie
Of the Scots king, and set Northumbers free.
Prest then I was with Iohn of Lancaster,
Vertues Pyramides, fames imagerie.
We vanquished our foes at Doncaster
With wisedome, not with rash temeritie.
Tis often seen, ill-pleasing accidents
Proceed from rage and hare-braind hardiments.
No day which would not me to wars importune,
No warres, but got palme-crowned victorie;
No victorie, but brought her handmaide fortune;
No fortune, but enlarg'd my dignitie.
Daies, wars, victorie, fortune, and renowne,
Cald me so high, to cast me lower downe.
On Sea the mild-aspecting heauens would guide me,
(Whereon who fares may not commaund his waies;
Cherubs on earth, and Seraphins would hide me
Vnder their brode gold-flaming winged raies,
On Sea, on Land, the Heauens, and Angels all,
First fauourd me, at last to make me fall.
Fall, ah! no fall, but honour-climing staire,
Staire, ah no staire; but prince-ascending Throne,
Throne, ah no throne; but Ioues gold-scorning chaire,
Chaire, ah no chaire; but Heauen her selfe alone:
That no tong, mind, nor Art, can tell, think, measure,
My crownd, soule-pleasing, sweet, joy, mirth, & pleasure.
The radiant Eos which so brightlie shone,
Whose lamps enlightned all this Hemisphare:
Henry the fourth vnto Elisium's gone;
Of whose departure England gins to feare
Her soddain fall; and iudg'd by outward signe,
Henry the fifth would lose his fathers shine.
Looke how the Suns approach doth ouershade
The lesser stars from entercourse of sight;
But from the worlds quick-ere the Sun conuaide,
The Stars receiue from him their former light.
Stars by the Sun; Sun in the stars be graced,
In Sun, in Stars, heauens sun-bright glori's placed.
Henry the fift euen thus did rise, whose shine
Of vertue, dimm'd all kings before him quight,
He being barred from his glorious shrine;
Their memorie reuiu'd, and shone more bright:
Thus they by him, and he in them was graced,
In them, in him, faire Englands glorie placed.
Now one, by none, but one makes all illustrious,
One the first mouer of this firmament,
In ruling all her orbes and spheares industrious;
Sun, stars, all plannets are to her obedient;
Like the first mouer as she now appeares,
O that she might all England moue his yeares.
When Henry, first injoi'd th'imperiall Crowne,
A blazing Comet in the West appeared;
At which strange vision, pointed streaming downe:
The common sort Art-ignorant much feared.
A cause, or signe, some said twas, to portend,
The kingdomes fall, or kings vntimely end.
Our sharper wits suppos'd thus Ouid wrasted
The fable of foole-hardie Phaeton,
When some huge Comet was dissolu'd and wasted,
Great heat, and drinesse following therevpon,
For want of water so the world burned,
But vpside downe the Suns carr neuer turned.
This all-affrighting Comet I haue heard
To be the plighted tresse of Meropes,
Or staring haires within the curled beard
Of Vulcans prentice swartie Steropes.
Be what it will, thus much I do define,
Of kingdomes fall tis neither cause nor signe.
A Comet is an earth-agreeing vapour,
Drawne by the power attractiue of some star,
Fyr'd by the Suns beames, burneth like a tapour:
Seen in the supream region of the aire:
Turning those beames, receiueth forme withall,
Bearded, or trest, or stretching forth his taile.
Why should a mist-hung Star-exhaled Meteor
To kings, or kingdomes be prestigious?
Whose cause is not aboue the power of Nature:
Why should it seeme to men prodigious?
Vnlesse we would this Axiom reject,
A naturall cause, a naturall effect.
In Europe many Comets haue we seen
Fore-running kings, nor kingdomes ouerthrow,
And kings with kingdomes vanquished haue been,
When neuer Comet in the Aire did show.
To prophesie from Comets, or deuine,
Tis foolerie, they neither cause nor signe.
If euer sheild-shapt Comet was portent
Of Criticke day, foule and pernitious:
Then to the Frenchmen, this assigne was sent,
Disaster, fatall, inauspitious:
Whose bloudie tresses tilting did foreshow,
At Agincourt their blooddie ouerthrow.
Or else it was (would it had neuer been,)
But the fore-runner of my Tragedie:
And heauens saw (oh had they neuer seen)
I should sollicite nimble Mercurie,
To ingraue my words vpon the hardest mettle,
Whose Characters in harts of steele may setle.
Which when heauens saw, (what doth not heauens see?
With raine of teares she seemes my case to weepe,
Vsing all meanes, but all meanes would not bee,
From death insuing danger me to keepe.
But hard it is for heauens to preuent,
When destinies for death giue once consent.
My Destinies are set in parlament,
Aboue their heades a curious frame of stone:
Marble below, and during Adamant,
On each side flint, and softer object none,
Saue that in chaires of hardest oake they sate,
In steede of wooll-packes neere the barred gate.
In scarlet vestments winter-coloured tresses,
Iron their wands, of brasse their writing table,
Pens made of tinne; for inke strong aqua fortis,
Their paper steele, their carpet Indian sable,
Their countenance like Caiphas, mou'd to ruth;
For god, religion, valour, age, nor youth.
In Paules thus sate this vniuersall Sinode
The cheife Archbishop Thomas Arundell,
More sterne then Minos, Eacus, or Herode,
Like Rhadamanth the grim-fac'd iudge of hell:
In the first yeare of Henries happy raigne,
Last of my ioy, and midle of my paine.
First the forsworne Inquisitours sent to them,
Of Wickleues (as they tearm'd them) villanies,
Ouf of whose bookes they did collect, to shoe them
Two hundred sixtie and six heresies;
All stricken dumbe, they star'd as if their eies
Should for an answere then intreate the skies.
To stop the worlds talkatiue wide mouth,
Wherefore they sate vpon this conuocation,
They hired men to blazon for a much,
It was all for the churches reformation;
Thus mischeife will her vice in vertue mother,
Blearing mens eyes with one deceit or other.
For first the sun dissolue might with his beames,
The icie bulke of way lesse Caucasus,
On whose snowie mantled top it neuer gleames,
Then these frost-bitten prelates sembled thus
Would otherwise haue all their causes ended,
But as before the Sinode they pretended.
Nay Mercurie, if with thy charming wand,
Thou had'st descended from the'Olimpique spheares,
To plead for pittie, at their feete to stand.
With both thine eyelids full of swelling teares,
This sense-beguiling action had but ended,
My iudgement as before it was pretended.
Before these deepe-braind all-fore-seeing Doctours,
These reuerent fathers purgatorie teachers,
I was complain'd of by the generall proctours,
To be a great maintainer of good preachers.
O times vntaught, men scorners of sound teaching,
Louers of playes, and loathers of good preaching.
That Richard, Henries both I had enformed,
Of the clergies great and manifold abuses:
That popish bulls and ceremonies scorned,
Roomes dignitie, her rites, and sacred vses,
And that I wisht the popes dominion,
Might stretch no surr then Callis[?] O [...]an.
That I had caused W [...]ckleues bookes be sent,
Faire writ, to Boheme, France, and Germanie,
Whereof two hundred openly were brent
By Prages Archbishops great authoritie,
That I pre [...]erd vp Bills in Parliament,
Where to the King and Lords gaue all consent.
Of all the Cleargies villainous abusion,
Which I put vp in open Pa [...]lement,
Writ in a briefe-containing sharpe conclusion,
These verses were the summarie content,
Whose soules with sin empoisning hate did anguish,
That they ne're left me till th [...]y law me languish.
Plangunt Auglorum Gentes crimen Sodomorum,
Paulus fert horum sunt idola causa malorum,
Surgunt ingrati Grezite symone nati,
N [...]m [...]ne pr [...]lati, hoc def [...]nsare parati,
Qui reges esti [...], populis quicunque praestis,
Qualiter hijs estis gladios prohibere potestis.
Bewaile may England sinne of Sodomites,
For Idoles and they, are ground of all their wo,
Of Symon Magus a sect of hypocrites,
Surnamed Prelates are vp with them to go,
And to vphold them in all that they may do:
You that be rulers peculiarly selected,
How can you suffer such mischiefes vncorrected?
Now least delay bred danger, they were prest,
For to proclaime me for an heretike.
But one of more experience than the rest,
Such hazard rash proceedings did not like,
Because I was in fauour with the King,
Twas best (he thought) to haue his councelling.
My life-surmising Bishops swolne in rage,
Ambitiously (high Prelates lowlines)
As if th'ad vow'd sin-pard'ning pilgrimage,
With tapers to Saint Peters holines,
Went to the king, made great complaints and lies,
Blemisht my name with grieuious blasphemies.
Which when he heard (kings then too much would heare them)
Then he desir'd (why should not kings cōmand)
In mild-perswading words and deedes to beare them
To mee the chiefest pillar of his land,
Vnto the church to bring me without rigour,
Respecting knighthood prowesie, stocke, and vigour.
And promis'd them vpon his excellence,
(If in pursute they tooke deliberation,)
In smoother-edge-rebating eloquence
To conquer me by might of sweete perswasion:
The clergie gone, Henry for Cobham sent,
I came, and shew'd my selfe obedient.
Looke how some tender bleeding-harted father,
When's son hath vow'd a vertue-gaining voyage,
Flint-rock-relenting arguments will gather
All to diswade him from this pilgrimage,
And prayes, intreates; intreates, and prayers vaine,
At length considers tis for vertues gaine.
Yet bout his necke he vseth kissing charmes,
And downe his bosome raines a shower of teares,
Hugges, culles, and clippes him in his aged armes:
This thing he doubts, another thing he feares,
Takes leaue, turnes backe, returnes, intreates anew,
Giues ouer, weepes, and last, bids him a dew.
Euen so the king, to stay my voyage tended,
(My vowed voyage to the holy land,)
Ten thousand reasons both begunne and ended,
That gainst the Pope I should in no wise stand:
Then vowes, prayes, treates; vowes, treates, and praiers vaine
From prayers, treates, and vowes he doth refraine.
To whom I answerd in humilitie,
(Because I knew kings were the Lords annoynted)
To him I yeelded all supremacie,
As Gods sword-bearing minister appointed:
My body, goods, my life, my loue, my land
Were his to vse, distribute, or command.
Then in a sorrow-sighing extasie,
(Seeing my zealous burning true affection,)
Denying to the Pope supremacie,
Yeelding to him foote-treading low subjection)
Henry tooke leaue turn'd backe, entreated new,
Gaue ouer, wept, and last bade me adew.
If tyrants will, vsurpt authoritie
Must be obey'd, what reuerence me behoued
To giue this king, this tyrants enemie,
Feared for loue, and for his vertues loued,
Whose honours ensigne o're the world had spred him,
In warres, and peace, if church men had not led him.
And tyrants tended on with injurie,
With murders, rapes, lou'd only but for feare,
Whose sword and scepter gards iniquitie,
Ought t'haue their subiects reuerence to them beare,
As we our selues, so must the common w [...]lth,
Some sicknesse, sometimes suffer, sometimes health.
As some disease, or bed infecting bile,
Whose pricking ach, sharpe agonie, and stings,
Must be sustaind and suffred for a while,
Till time to his maturitie him brings,
Not rashly[?] then, but as the Surgeon will,
Least suddain handling all the bodie spill.
Euen so a Tyrant (Realmes infectious bile,)
Must not be robd of his regalitie,
Till death him of his regiment beguile:
Or wise men for this griefe find remedie:
Not rashly then, for altring of a State
Breedes often outrage, bloodshed, and debate.
Euen as the head the bodie should commaund,
And all his parts, to peace or warfare lead▪
So with a mightie Monarch doth it stand,
His subjects parts, and he himselfe the head:
But if those parts do grudge and disobay,
Head, bodie, Monarch, subiects, all decay.
A God, a King, are conuertible voices,
Then Kings like Gods should gouerne and beare sway:
What Gyants broode in vprore so rejoices,
That gainst the Gods his banners will display?
Though with his huge weight Pelion Ossa prest,
And fought with Ioue, he neuer got the best.
How many blessed Patriarches suffred wrong
By cruell Tyrants sin-reuenging rod?
And haue endur'd such heauie bondage long,
Accounting it a torture sent from God.
The Tyrant as a man may be rejected,
His place and office yet must be respected.
What punishment for practizing belongs?
But punishment, nor practise will I name:
Men more doe follow most forbidden wrongs;
When by forbidding they doe know the same.
For Parricide the Romaines made no Law,
Least such a sin the people so might knaw.
Now Arundell resorts vnto the King,
By Popish charmes inchaunting him thereto,
To send Cytations, fore them me to bring.
(What was it not but Clergie men could do?)
The Sumner came to Cowling, but as one
Afraid, turnd back his message left vndone.
The Kings doore-keeper (in the silent night,)
Iohn Butler sent for was by Arundell:
For this heauen-martyring deede he doubtlesse might
In Cerberus place haue kept the doore of Hell.
With great rewards, and warrantize from blame,
He caus'd him cyte me in king Henries name.
This kiss-betraying Iudas writ I stood,
Who with a lie thus left me in the lurch:
But still the Bishop thurstie of my blood,
Caus'd writs be set on Rochesters great Church.
In paine of curse commaunding me remember,
To appeare at Lede [...] th'eleuenth of September.
All were rent downe. He excommunicates
And cites a fresh with curse and interdiction,
Compels the Lay power: them he animates
T'assist him in Apostataes conuiction.
In more reproach and vile contempt to haue me;
Such like opprobrious names the Bishop gaue me.
At last (thus tost) I writ my faiths confession,
Vnto the foure chiefe Articles answered:
Of Penance, Shrift, Saints, transubstantiation,
Which gainst me all by Arundell were laid.
I come to Court and written with me bring,
My Swans last funerall dirgee to the king.
Which to receiue Henry began to grudge:
(Marke but the power of Clergie men those daies)
Commaunding me deliuer it to my judge
(Here Arundell both sword and miter swaies)
The Archbishop: But with a flat deniall,
I did appeale vnto the Pope for triall.
But this deny de in presence of the king,
(Without vainglorious ostentation,)
I proffred an hundreth Knights to bring,
Esquiers as many, for my iust purgation.
Not once depending on their safe protection,
But to the King shew dutifull subjection.
Againe I offred in my faiths true quarrell,
By law of Armes to fight for life or death,
With Christ'n, Heathen, Turk, Iew, Infidell:
The king excepted, any that drew breath.
They answered me, I was too valorous bold.
Then in the Tower they laid me fast in hold.
Valour the sonne of mightie Ioue esteemed
Where blooddie Mauors borroweth his name,
Of old Philosophers onelie vertue deemed:
Learnings bright sheild, the register of Fame.
Which to expresse the Grecians could afford,
For Valour, Mauors, Vertue, but one word.
Death scorning Arioth, why is not regarded
Thy Sun-resplendant kingdome conquering power?
Is Mars-amazing Turnaments rewarded
With Traitors meede impris'nment in the Tower?
From bearing Armes valour hath me exempted;
Why was my challenge else not then accepted?
Sir Robert Morley then the Towers Lieutenant,
Twice (to be briefe) did bring me to appeare;
In Plutoes court before this Rhadamant:
The Arguments of my strong faith to heare.
Yet he no faith had, was it not a wonder,
That he was faithlesse, all the Church Faith vnder?
In all mine answeares taking great aduise,
As a true faith-professing Protestant,
Not superstitious, nor too fond precise,
Whose firme resolue no tyrannie can dant.
So with mine answeares as it seemd amazed,
My iudgement on the soddaine forth they blazed.
To heauens all seeing light vpon my knees,
(The sentence giuen) humblie did I fall,
With heau'd-vp hands pray'd for mine enemies;
In his great mercie to forgiue them all:
Bound hand and foote back through the Sluce I'm led,
The gazers eyes like sluces in his head.
Whilst there I lie in midnight-dark immur'd[?],
My friends emblazoned forth mine injurie [...]
Whereby the Priests great obloquie incur'd,
Both of the Commons, and Nobilitie,
In pollicie, to haue this tempest staid,
They to my Bils an abjuration made.
A parlament was cald at Leicester,
(Because I had such fauour bout the citie;
They would not haue it kept at Westminster:
This act establisht was; O more then pittie,
That such strange acts should be establisht euer,
Which man from wife, from goods & lands doth seuer.
That whosoeuer in the mothers tong,
Should reade, or heare, the sacred Scriptures scand:
For this so hainous heauen-offending wrong,
From him, his heires, should lose his goods and land;
Gainst Heauens, and gainst the Kings great majestie,
He should be hang'd for treason, burnt for heresie.
O murder-poisned ruthlesse Rhadamants,
Blood thurstie Neroes, brainsicke Bacchides,
Earth swallowed Typhons, currish Coribants,
Beare-fostered Dracons, damn'd Busirides.
Liue by your euill, know for euill done,
Liues with the father, dyes not with the son.
Now to release my bodie from the Tower,
(How might the Tower include so old a castle)
Case-altring bribes I vs'd not, strength, nor power;
But with my wit, out of her bonds I wrastle.
The prentice bard of freedom thus aduentures,
To break his bonds and cancell his indentures.
Riches in thraldome no contentment bring,
All lordship's lost when libertie is gone,
What vaileth it a lion be a king?
Closely shut vp within this tower of stone,
Man was made free, and lord o're euery creature:
To be in bondage then, is gainst his nature.
The husband man more glad is at the plough,
That browne-bread crusts, and restie bacon eates:
Then th'imprisoned king that hath inough,
Of wastell cakes; and far more lushious meates.
No bird takes solace by her songs in hold,
Although her meate be curds, her cage of gold.
Nor vnto mee that lay in prison bound,
In musicke mirth was: or in riches pleasure,
Iingling of fetters had no merie sound,
My griefe too much, for ioyes on earth to measure,
But now I'm free; my keeper he remaines
To taste my sorrowes; vndergoe my paines.
Nor can I iudge, I being misst the morrow,
His griefe's extreame, though foolishnes it be,
For treasure lost, to waile, or make great sorrow:
When, whosoeuer greeues in that degree,
Counting his losse, and afterward his paine,
He of one sorrow maketh sorrowes twaine.
But the remembrance of my prisonment,
In little ease fast bound in yron chaines,
Did breede more comfort, ioy, and soules content,
When libertie had loosenes of the raines,
One by another contraries delight,
Daie is delightsome in respect of night.
And though I am escaped from the Tower,
Feare yet my soule in prison fast doth hold,
Other mishaps pursue me eu'ry hower,
Burnt childe dreadeth fire, the prouerb's old,
Who d [...]eades no danger, in danger must fall,
What foole[?] once at large, would make himselfe thrall?
Sir Roger Acton, in the priests displeasure,
Of my escape was thought the chiefe procurement:
Onely when t'was the night, which gaue me leasure,
(Whose shade for freedome, is the sole allurement:)
To thinke of slight, effecting what I thought,
With both together my escape I wrought.
Night the beginning of this massie round,
The worlds mother, shaddow of the earth,
Greate Demogorgons issue from the ground,
The ancientest of Goddesses by birth,
Louers delight; loues fittest time to play,
Venus bright star, and Cupides clearest day.
The ease of care, for ease the sweetest rest,
The peace of minde, the quiet seate of peace,
The soule of sleepe, the sleepe of soules opprest,
Desires best meane, impris'nments release:
Aboue all nights, nights, dayes, each hower remember,
To solemnize the twenteth of Nouember.
Mounting her chariot of darke Ebony,
Whilst thorn-backt Cinthia held her sennets raine,
Adorned in her winters liuery,
Of stars three millions following as her traine,
She rockt the world with sense-sure-binding sleeps,
And bade me lanch forth to the Ocean deeps.
Tide for the ship, and ship was for the tide,
Wind for the tide, and tide was for the wind,
For Neptune men, and Neptune them to guide,
Thames wanton-currant stealing on behind,
Night, Neptune, men, ship, tide, the Thames, and wind,
For my escape were all in one combind.
And whilst I cut this dangerous swelling sourse,
The brest-bare-loue-enticing Naiedes,
Play on before me, and direct my course
To the dew-bedangled Oceanitides,
For whose sweete sake I'm entertain'd a stranger,
And harmelesse sau'd frō waues, frō wind, frō danger.
What time the gloomie morning from her bed,
Muffled in mists, and raukie vapours rose,
With watrie lockes about her shoulders spred
Regardlessely; because she did suppose
Our quiuering flags and streamers did out-braue
The golden sun, vpon the siluer waue.
I rode on Goodwins mercie-wanting sand,
Or sea-mans swallowing gulfe drunke Hecates,
And like Vlisses to his dearest land,
I scour'd the Scillaes and Simphlegades,
Ariuing at my wisht-for hauen Douer,
And thorow Kent to Cowling I came ouer.
Ship, slice the sea, and be thou deifi'd,
Shine brightest on this starre-bestudded vaile,
In heauen more worthy to be stellifi'd,
Than that wherein the Argonautes did saile:
Let frothie waues die o're thy pitchie blacke,
And in Elisiums deepe last suffer wracke.
But home, no harbour was for mine estate;
I'm still pursu'd so with mine enemies,
E're thrise the sun did ope his Eastern gate,
I with my houshould were constrain'd to slee:
Tost long vpon the Bishops Sea, at last
Neere to saint Albones, we our anchor cast.
But by misfortune t'was the Abbots land,
Whereas we lay; so by his priuie spies,
The fat-backt tumbrell soone did vnderstand,
And vnawares a sleepe did vs surprise,
Three of my men he tooke, my bookes, my wife,
Onely with one I fled, and sau'd my life.
My men to treate the Abbot now begin,
My Margarites beauty, streaming on his face,
Fairenesse no fauour in his sight would win,
Their wordes no pittie moue, their lookes no grace:
Then the gan speake, but spake vnto the wind,
Remorse did neuer lodge in clownish mind.
Dumb stoode my doue, and wrung her hands, whilst often
Low kneeling downe, teares from her eies did shower:
Hard is that hart which beauty cannot soften,
Yet mourning beautie had on him no power:
Although her teares were like his christall beads,
Which melted, wash the place whereon he treades.
Stil she intreates, and still the pearles round
Stil through her eies, and wel vpon her face,
Such hony drops, on roses I haue found,
When bright Apollo held the morne in chace:
But both the charmes, of teares and sugred words,
For their release no aide at all asordes.
Thus kneeld, thus prai'd, thus wept my beuteous Queene,
To see my louing mens imprisonment:
Thus wisht shee; rather that they might haue seene
Her dying day, or endlesse banishment:
And in remembrance I was mist among,
Her weakned sorrowes therby grew more strong.
But now the limbecke of her blood-shot eies,
Burnt vp with sighs, their springing teares haue staid,
No hope of life in her the Abbot sees;
So backe to Cowling safe she was conuaid:
She drowps, she faints, she swownds, she comfort flieth,
I was her comfort, comfortlesse she dieth.
I trauell still, like to the wandring knight
For ladies loue, on strange aduentures bownd,
As counceller I made the tonglesse night
Of my distresse, which all in silence drownd,
Least to the world, day should my griefe discouer,
I striue, vntill hart, eies, sighs, teares, ran ouer.
Through many bywaies, many countries fled,
In midst of Cheshire now I'm on a riuer,
By more crookt winding which her currant led,
Then I had gone by-wayes; her name the Weeuer:
On whose prowde banke such entertaine I had,
As longer, if I might, I would haue staid.
Still doe I wander by the banks of Weeuer,
With gorgeous buildings statelie ritch adorned:
Buildings the banks, and banks outbraue the Riuer;
Shee swels o're banks and buildings, them shee scorned:
Limits there be for euery thing beside,
No banks can limit in the sea of pride.
Her tumbling streame my guide was to vaile roiall,
Through all the Wyches vnto Ashtons chappell,
Frodsham, Rockesauage, Thus I had a triall,
How she vnloaded all her rolling Channell:
With neare embracements Weeuer, Mersey met,
And both together th'Irish Seas they gret.
I will but wade neare to this Riuers brink,
And of her deepnesse make this shallow boast:
Her cooling water those dry countries drink:
So shee makes fruitfull all the western coast;
That no lesse famous, no lesse faire a riuer,
Then the fift Auon, or third Ouze, is Weeuer.
To Lancashire from hence my journey lies,
Where plentie dwels, where pleasantnesse of Aire
Breathes forth like baulme from rose-strawne Paradies;
At the first blushing of the morning faire:
Where beutie, vertue, loue, wit, and the Graces,
Sit all in [...]riumph on the weemens faces.
I doe salute this climate in my way,
On which the heauens such fauours did bestow:
But t'was too hote for me therein to stay,
Except I would my selfe a Papist show:
So there, through many paines and perils past,
I'm safe returned back to Wales at last.
Here Cobham liues, oh doe not say he liues,
But dying liues, or liuing howerly dies [...]
A liuing death exilement alwaies giues,
A banisht man still on his death bed lies.
Mine high estate is low misfortunes graue,
My power restrain'd is now a glorious slaue.
What in exilement to my sect befell,
Daigne to vnfould mellifluous Mercurie:
Nay stay, why shouldst thou to the world tell,
That with thy tong, all eies abhord to see:
Yet greefe kept in ofttimes doth grow more fell,
For riuers damm'd, aboue the bank doe swell.
This Act proclaim'd and disanuld in many,
Twice twentie hundred soules were martyred:
Out of the land to Spaine, and Germanie,
Bohemia, Fraunce, and Scotland, others fled.
Who would not flie, what patient man can bide,
In Clergie men ambitious hautie pride?
Sir Roger Acton, Browne, and Beuerley,
Knight, Squire, and Preacher, valorous, vertuous, good:
In Chr [...]stenmas vpon Saint Thomas day,
Gainst certain Priests vpon a quarrell stood:
For which so hainous and inhumane wrong,
They were attacht, and into prison flong[?].
Now was the month which Ianus hath to name,
Of old new christened by Pompilius;
And wondrous proud that he had got such fame;
Added feeld-purging Februarius:
Ianus bifronted, one which bids adew
Vnto the old yeare, entertaines the new.
When Roger Acton, Beuerley, and Browne,
Of Heresie conuicted by the Act:
To Thicket feelds vpon an hurdle drawne,
Were hang'd, and burn'd (O more then monstrous fact:)
And through the Realme all Artists it would cumber,
By that fore Act the martyres all to number.
Some two yeares after was a mutinie,
An vproare, tumult, or rebellion
In Saint Gyles feelds; the which conspiracie
Acton and I, some doe affirme begone;
But the Kings power not able to with-stand,
We fled, were taken, burned out of hand.
Which time tree-garnisht Cambriaes loftie mountaines
Did ouer-shade me with their beetle browes,
And by Elysiums Nectar-spouting fountaines
Acton did march in Saint-triumphing showes:
From Wales returne I could not then to fight,
From Heauen Acton would not if he might.
Twice told, two twelue months now the howers haue broke,
Their morning slumbers on the Sun to tend,
And bring his horses to the charriots yoke:
Mark now the period of my dolefull end:
The Clergie mallice (not ore-blowne) will haue me,
Though heauen and earth, & all had sworn to saue me.
With lordlie gifts and kinglie promises
They fed Lord Powis (gouernour in Wales,
He came to me pretending holinesse;
To true Religion for a time he falls:
And last, his Iudas kindnes did bewray me,
Seeking all meanes how that he might betray me.
Powis his promise faine would haue forsaken,
Before the meanes for my attach he wrought:
I was not one so easie to be taken,
With his owne blood his bribes he dearlie bought:
But I not able to withstand his strength,
(Not Hercules gainst two) was tooke at length.
In greatest greefe this one thing made me glad,
(Though hard tis fasten mirth with miserie)
That in mine absence Arundell was dread,
Which was resolu'd before, my death to see:
But seld[?] comes better, he though void of grace,
Yet was a man, the Deuill came in his place.
Thus ill at worst doth alway gin to mend,
And by example good doth often gaine:
That by degrees so rising in the end,
To perfect goodnesse it returnes againe:
So since his time they haue so risen still,
Thriuing in good, as they decaid in ill.
Now goodnesse raised to her highest pitch,
In snow-white robes is sent vs for a gift:
The radiant splendour of this Empire ritch,
Whose shining lustre heauens doth enlight:
O that I could a spirit in thee breathe,
Whose life preserues diuinitie from death.
By Chichley Archbishop of Canterburie,
And Bedford Prorex (oh the King was absent:)
Of Treason I'm condemn'd and Heresie;
A double crime, a double punishment:
My iudgement giuen; of death, the day and hower
Appointed; I am sent back to the Tower.
Death the pale daughter of black Erebus,
What fashion to appeare in doth not know:
But councell takes of Nox and Morpheus,
What forme most terrour and amaze will show:
Hell, Sleepe, Night, Death, are troubled to deuise,
What new found shape might please these tyrants eies.
Two fyrie coursers foming clottred blood,
Whurries; at last, Death bound in iron chaines;
Whil'st goblings (gaping like a whirle-poole) wood,
Doe lash their goarie sides, with steeled yaines:
Blood and reuenge, by in a chariot ride,
Millions of furies scudding by their side.
Which all at once doe vomit Sulphure flakes,
Throw scorching brands, which wrapt in brimston, choke
The trembling Audience; that affrighted quakes,
To vew the Sun eclipst with steaming smoke:
To heare deuils, ghosts, and feends howle, roare, & yell,
Filling the earth, as though they empted hell.
To Thickets feeld thus was Oldcastle hurried,
The gallowes built of purpose wondrous hie:
Neare to the top of which, (as one lies buried)
In three cold chaines mine aged corps doe lie:
The faggots fyr'd, with me the gallowes burne,
I call on God, and to the fyre I turne.
The Prelates curse, alowd the people crie,
One would rebell, another him aswageth,
One sighs, to vew anothers blubred eie,
One murmuring railes, another inlie rageth,
All weep, some howle, some faint, some swound, some die.
Deafing the heauens, darkening the skie.
The bundels cracke; with that the mourning Aire
Comes whisking round to coole the raging flame,
When he perceiues his breathes but bellowes are,
Rather to kindle then to coole the same:
He turnes himselfe to water, and he raines
To quench the fyre, and ease me of my paines.
The fyre, red-blushing of his fact ashamed,
Clad him in Smoke, the smoke to Aire he turned,
That aire to water, water earth receiued,
Earth, like the fyre to melt to water, burned:
Earth, Water, Aire, Fyre, symboliz'd in one,
To quench, or coole, Oldcastles Martyrdome.
But now I gaspe, I fry, I drop, I fall,
My Chaines doe yeeld, Spectators stand agast,
To make the which abhorred more of all,
My Bootes and Spurs must in the fyre be cast.
O death! strange death! which to describe at large,
Would aske sweete Ouids wit, and Nestors age.
If wits pearle-dropping Opobalsamum,
In Amber-streaming Eloquence were drie;
Vnto my bleached cindars she might come,
And take a fluent Helicon supplie:
Mine Ashes bath'd in th'vnguent of her eies,
A siluer-fethered Phaenix would arise.
Ah no! my bodies snow-white burned ashes,
(Those harmlesse reliques) cast were in the riuer;
Whose salt-fresh-meeting waues betwixt them washes,
Like Lethe, my remembrance not to liue here:
My vertues fame, is like my bodies death,
Kindled with a blast, and burnt out with a breath.
And in this idle age who's once forgotten,
Obliuion dims the brightnesse of his glory:
Enuie is ripe before his bones be rotten,
And ouerthrowes the truth of vertues story:
Despoil's his name, and robs him of his merits;
For naught but fame man after death inherits.
Nor can my soule within the sable night,
When all (but louers) welcome carelesse rest:
Like to some subtle shade, or wandring spright,
With goarie sides, and deeper lanched brest;
Holding in tho'ne hand wildfyre, in the other
A torch, to stifle th'aire with pitchie smother.
With deep sunke eyes, lanke cheeks, and pallide hew,
Dismembred armes, sharpe visage, doubtfull sight,
Enter some watchfull Poets secret mew,
His heauenly thoughts, and quiet studies fright;
With hollow voice: commaunding him set forth,
Immortall verse for my entomblesse worth.
Then should the world on brasen pillers view me
with great Achilles, in the house of Fame;
His Tutor'd pen with Tropheis would renew me,
And still repaire the ruin of my name:
But I'm inuirond with the Elisian feelds,
Which for departed soules no passage yeelds.
But Wickleues soule now beares me company,
And Ierome Prages, within the highest heauen,
(These were my comfort in calamitie)
Whose ioyes (Rome sayes) her curses hath bereauen:
Thus (if they could) they would denie vs t'haue,
In heauen our soules, as in the earth our graue.
Iewes burie him, which railes on Moses lawes,
Turkes him, which worships not their Alkaron,
Tartarians him, which Cham no reuerence shawes,
The Persians him, which worships not the sun,
More rigorous cruell then this Romish crew:
Then Persian, Turke, Tartarian, or Iew.
Their dead in banquets Scithians deuoure,
Their dead with dogs Hircanians do eate,
Phagi with fish; with foule th'Assirian poure,
The Troglodites to wormes are giuen for meate:
More heath'nish papists, they deny me t'haue,
In beast, fish, foule, in man, or worme, my graue.
Becket was wounded in his priests apparrell,
In Romes defence; his death was glorious,
I burnt, vnburied, drown'd for Christs owne quarrell,
My death to most was ignominious;
He prais'd, adornd, and for a martyr sainted,
Whilst I (Romes scoffe) my rites of buriall wanted.
For Beckets sake erected was a tombe,
Like an Egiptian high Pyramides,
Millions of bare-foote pilgrims yeerely come,
With tapers burning to his holynes,
Till Henry th'eight by Cromwells good procurement,
Cast downe this mocke-ape toy, this vaine alurement.
The glorious beutie of this brightest shrine,
The treasorie of euer-springing gold:
Becket is set; now doth Oldcastle shine;
Him for a Saint within your Kalends hold.
Thus fooles admire what wisest men despiseth,
Thus fond affects doe fall, when vertue riseth.
Wit, spend thy vigour, Poets, wits quintessence,
Hermes make great the worlds eies with teares;
Actors make sighes a burden for each sentence:
That he may sob which reades, he swound which heares.
Mean time, till life in death you doe renew,
Wit, Poets, Hermes, Actors, all adew.

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