ePub 版





READER! (I know not yet whether gentle or no) some, I know, have been angry (I dare not assume the honour of their envy) at my poetical bolc!ness, and blamed in mine, what commends other fruits, earliness: others, who are either of a weak faith, or strong malice, have thought me like a pipe, which never sounds but when it is blowed in, and read ine, not as Abraham Cowley, but Authorem Anonymum. To the first I answer, that it is an envious frust which nips the blossoms, because they appear quickly: to the latter, that he is the worst homicide who ives to murder another's faine: to both, that it is a ridiculous folly to condemn or laugh at the stars, because the Moon and Sun shine brighter. The small fire I have is rather blown than extinguished by this wind. For the itch of poesy, by being angered, increaseth; by rubbing, spreads farther; which appears in that I have ventured upon this third edition. What though it be neglected ? It is not, I am sure, the first book which hath lighted tobacco, or been employed by cooks and grocers. If in all men's judgments it suffer shipwreck, it shall something content me, that it hath pleased myself and the bookseller. In it you shall find one argument (and I hope I shall need no more) to confute unbelievers : which is, that as mine age, and consequently experience (which is yet but little) hath increased, so they have not left my poesy flagging behind them. I should not be angry to see any one burn my Piramus and Thisbe, nay, I would do it myself, but that I hope a pardon may easily be gotten for the errours of ten years age. My Constantius and Philetus confesses me two years older when I writ it. The rest were made since, upon several occasions, and perhaps do not belie the time of their birth. Such as they are, they were created by me: but their fate lies in your hands; it is only you can effect, that neither the bookseller repent himself of his charge in printing them, nor 1 of my labour in composing them. Farewell,



I called the buskind muse, Melpomene,
And told her what sad story I would write:
She wept at hearing such a tragedy,
Though wont in moumful ditties to delight.

If thou dislike these sorrowful lines, then knuw,
My muse with tears, not with conceits, did flow:

And, as she my unabler quill did guide,
Her briny tears did on the paper fall;
If then unequal numbers be espied,
Oh, Reader! do not that my errour call;

But think her tears defac'd it, and blame then
My Muse's grief, and not my missing pen,



[ocr errors]





CONSTANTIA AND PHILETUS. I SING two constant lovers' various fate,

The hopes and fears that equally attend Their loves; their rivals' envy, parents' hate: Ising their woeful life and tragic end.

Aid me, ye.gods, this story to rehearse,

This mournful tale, and favour every verse!
In Florence, for her stately buildings fan'd,
And löfty roofs that emulate the sky,
There dwelt a lovely maid, Constantia named,
Fand for the beauty of all Italy.

Her, lavish Natare did at first adorn

With Pallas' soul in Cytherea's form:
And, framing her attractive eyes so bright,
Spent all her wit in study, that they might
Keep Earth from chaos and eternal night ;
But envious Death destroyed their glorious light.

Expect not beauty then, since she did part;

For in her Nature wasted all her art. Her hair was brighter than the beams which are A crown to Phoebus; and her breath so sweet, It did transcend Arabian odours far, Or smelling flowers, wherewith the Spring doth greet

Approaching Summer; teeth, like falling snow

For white, were placed in a double row.
Her wit, excelling praise, even all admire;
Her speech was so attractive, it might be
A cause to raise the mighty Pallas' ire,
And stir up envy from that deity.

The maiden lilies at her sight

Wax'd pale with envy,and from thence grew white. She was in birth and parentage as high As in her fortune great or beauty rare; And to her virtuous mind's nobility The gifts of Fate and Nature doubled were ;

That in her spotless soul and lovely face

You might have seen each deity and grace.
The scornful boy, Adonis, viewing her,
Would Venus still despise, yet her desire;
Each who but saw, was a competitor
And rival, scorch'd alike with Cupid's fire.

The glorious beams of her fair eyes did more,

And light beholders on their way to love.
Among her many suitors, a young knight,
Bove others wounded with the majesty
Of her fair presence, presseth most in sight;
Yet seldom his desire can satisfy

With that blest object, or her rareness see;

For Beauty's guard is watchful Jealousy.
Oft times, that he might see bis dearest fair,
l'pon his stately jennet he in th’ way
Rides by her house; who neighs, as if he were
Proud to be view'd by bright Constantia.

But his poor master, though to see her move

His joy, dares show no look betraying love. Soon as the Morning left her rosy bed, And all Heaven's smaller lights were driven away, She, by her friends and near acquaintance led, Like other maids, would walk at break of day:

Aurora blush'd to see a sight unknown,

To behold cheeks more beauteous than her own. Th' obsequious lover follows still her train, And where they go, that way his journey feigns: Should they turn back, he would turn back again; For with his love, his business does remain.

Nor is it strange he should be loth to part

From her, whose eyes had stole away his heart, Philetus he was call'd, sprung from a race Of noble ancestors; but greedy 'Time And envious Fate had laboured to deface The glory which in his great stock did shine:

Small his estate, unfitting her degree;

But blinded Love could no such difference see.
Yet he by chance had hit his heart aright,
And dipt his arrow in Constantia's eyes,
Blowing a fire that would destroy him quite,
Unless such flames within her heart should rise.

But yet he fears, because he blinded is,
Though he have shot him right, her heart he'll

Unto Love's altar therefore he repairs,
And offers up a pleasing sacrilice;
Entrcating Cupid, with inducing prayers,
To look upon and ease his miseries :

Where having wept, recovering breath again, No morning-banishid darkness, nor black night Thus to immortal Love he did complain :

By her alternate course expellid the day, Oh, mighty Cupid! whose unbounded sway

In which Philetus by a constant rite Hath often rul'd thi Olympian thunderer ;

At Cupid's aliars did not weep and

pray; Wnom all cælestial deities obey ;

And yet he nothing reap'd for all his pain, Whom men and gods both reverence and fear!

But care and sorrow was his only gain. Oh force Constantia's heart to yield to love! Put now at last the pitying god, o'ercome

Of all thy works the master-piece 'twill prove. By constant votes and tears, fix'd in her heart “ And let me not affection vainly spend,

A golden shaft, and she is now become But kindle taines in her like those in me;

A suppliant to Love, that with like dart Yet if that gift my forture doth transcend,

He'd wound Philetus; does with tears implore Grant that her charming beauty 1 may see!

Aid from that power, she so much scorn'd be

fore. For ever view those eyes, whose charming light, More than the world besides, does please iny Little she thinks she kept Philchus' heart sight.

In her scorch'd breast, because her own she gave “Those who contemn thy sacred deity,

To him. Since either suffers equal smart,

And a like measure in their torments have : Laugh at thy power, make them thine anger know :

His soul, his griefs, his fires, now her's are grown: I faultless am; what honour can it be,

Her heart, her in her love, is his alone. Only to wound your slave and spare your foe ?" Whilst thoughts 'gainst thoughts rise up in muHere tears and sighs speak his imperfect inoan,

tiny, In language far more moving than his own. She took a lute (being far from any ears)

And tun'd this song, posing that harmony Home he retir'd, his soul he brought not home;

Which poets att, ibute to heavenly spheres. Just like a ship, while every inounting wave,

Thus had she sung when her dear loye was slain, Toss'd by enraged Borcas up and down, Threatens the mariner with a gaping grave;

She'd surely call’d him back from Styx agaiu. Such did his case, such did his state appear,

Alike distracted between hope and fear.
Thinking her love he never shall obtain,

To whom shall I my sorrows show?
One morn he haunts the woods, and doth com- Not to Love, for he is blind :

And my Philetus doth not know Oilis unhappy fate, but all in vain;

The inward torment of my mind. Aid thus fond Echo answers him again :

And all these senseless walls, which are It mov'd Aurora, and she wept to hear,

Now round about me, cannot hear;
Dewing the verdant grass with anany a tear. For, if they could, they sure would weer,

And with any griefs relent:

Unless their willing tears they keep,

Till I from Earth am sent. " On! what hath caus’d my killing miseries ?"

Then I believe they 'll all deplore “ Eyes,” Echo said. “ What hath detained my

My fate, since I taught them before. “ ease?"

I willingly would weep my store, EASE,"straight the reasonable nymph replies.

If th'flood wou!! land thy love, “ That nothing can my troubled mind appease?” My dear Philetus, on the shore

Prace," Echo answers. “What, is any nigh?” Of my heart; but, should'st thou prove Philetus said. She quickly utters, “1."

Afraid of flames, know the fires are Is't Echo answers ? tell me then thy will:

But bonfires for thy coming there. “ I will,” she said. “What shall i get,” says he, THEN tears in envy of her speech did flow “By loving still ?” To which she answers,

Ill.From her fair eyes, as if it seem'd that there “ DÍ! Shall I void of wish'd-for pleasures dje?” Her burning fame had melted hills of snow,

].” “Shall not I, who toil in ceaseless pain, And so dissolv'd them into many a tear;
“ Some pleasure know ?" “No," she replies Which, Nilus-like, did quickly overflow,

And quickly caus'd new serpent griefs to grow. “ False and inconstant nymph, thou lyest !” said Here stay, my Muse; for if I should recite

Her mournful language, I should make you weep “THOU LYEST,” she said ; “And I deserv'd her hate, Like her, a food, and so not see to write If I should thee believe.” “ BELIEVE," saith she. Such lines as 1, and th' age requires, to keep “ For why? thy idle words are of no weight.” Me from stern Death, or with victorious rhyme

“WEIGHT," she answers. “Therefore I'll depart.” Revenge their master's death, and conquer To which resounding Echo answers, PART."

THEN from the woods with wounded heart he goes, By this time, chance and his own industry
Filling with legions of fresh thoughts his mind. Had help'd Philetus forward, that he grew
He quarrels with himself, because his woes Acquainted with her brother, so that he
Spring from himself, yet can no med'cine find : Might, by this means, his bright Constantia view;

He weeps to quench the fires that burn in him, And, as time serv'd, show her his misery :
But tears do fall to th' earth, flames are within. This was the first act in his tragedy.


[ocr errors]

Thus to bimself, sooth'd by his Aattering state, " Long have I staid, but yet have no relief;
He said, “How shall I thank thee for this gain, Long have I lov'd, yet have no favour shown;
O Cupid! or reward my helping Fate,

Because she knows not of my killing grief,
Which sweetens all my sorrows, all my pain? And I have fear'd to inake my sorrows known.

What husbandman would any pains refuse, For why? alas! if she should once but dart

To reap at last wich fruit, his labour's use ?” Disdainful looks, 'twould break my captiv'd heart,
Put, when he wisely weigh'd his doubtful state, “ But how shonld she, cre I impart my love,
Seeing his griefs link'd like an endless chain Reward my ardent Aame with like desire ?
To following woes, he would when 'twas too late But when I speak, if she should angry prove,
Quench his hot fames, and idle love disdain. Laugh at my slowing tears, and scorn my fire ?

But Cupid, when his heart was set on fire, Why, he who hath all sorrows borne before,

Had burnt his wings, who could not then retire. Needeth not fear to be opprest with more.” The wounded youth and kind Philocrates

Philocrates no longer can forbear, (So was her brother call'd) grew soon so dear, Runs to his friend, and sighing, “ Oh !” said he, So true and constant in their ainities,

· My dear Philetus! be thyself, and swear Ant in that league so strictly joined were,

To rule that passion which now masters thee, That death itself could not their friendship sever, And all thy reason; but, if it can't be,

But, as they liv'd in love, they died together. Give to thy love but eyes, that it may see.” If one be melancholy, th’ other's sad;

Amazement strikes him dumb; what shall he do? If one be sick, the other's surely ill ;

Should he reveal his love, he fears 'twould prove And if Philctus any sorrow had,

A hindrance; and, should he deny to shew, Philocrates was partner in it still :

It might perhaps his dear friend's anger move: Pyla:les' soul, and mad Orestes', was

These doubts, like Scylla and Charybdis, stand, In these, if we believe Pythagoras.

Whilst Cupid, a blind pilot, doth command.
Oft in the woods Philetus walks, and there

At last resolv'd : “ How shall I seek,” said he,
Exclaims against his fate, fate too unkind : “ T'excuse myself, dearest Philocrates !
With speaking tears his griefs he doth declare,

That I from thee have hid this secrecy ?
And with sad sighs instructs the angry wind Yet censure not; give me first leave to case/known
To sigh; and did ev'n upon that prevail ;

My case with words : my grief you should have
It groan'd to hear Philetus' mournful tale. Ere this, if that my heart had been my own.
The crystal brooks, which gently run between “I am all love; my heart was barnt with fire
The shadowingtrees, and, as they through them pass, From two bright suns, which do all light disclose;
Water the earth, and keep the ineadows green, First kindling in my breast the flame desire :
Giving a colour to the verdant grass,

But, like the rare Arabian bird, there rose, Hraring Philet-s tell his woeful state,

From my heart's ashes, never quenched Love, In show of grief run murmuring at his fate. Which now this torment in my soul doth move. Philomel answers him again, and shows,

“Oh! let not then my passion cause your hate In her best language, her sad history,

Nor let my choice offend you, or detain
And in a mournful sweetness tells her toes, Your ancient friendship; 'tis, alas! too late
Denying to be pos'd in misery :

To call my firm affection back again :
Constantia he, she Tereus, Tereus, cries;

No physic can re-cure my weaken'd state, With him both grief, and grief's expression, vies. The wound is grown too great, too desperate.” Philocrates must neerls his sadness know,

" But counsel,” said his friend, “a remedy Willing in ills, as well as joys, to share,

Which never fails the patient, may at least,
Nor will on them the name of friends bestow, If not quite beal your mind's infirmity,
Who in light sport, not sorrow, partners are. Assuage your torment, and procure some rest.

Who leaves to guide the ship when storms arise, But there is no physician can apply
Is guilty both of sin and cowardice.

A med'cine ere he know the malady.”
But when his noble friend perceiv'd that he “ Then hear me,” said Philetus; “but why? Stay
Yielded to tyrant Passion more and more,

I will not toil thee with my history;
Desirous to partake his malady,

For to remember sorrows past away,
He watches him, in hope to cure his sore

Is to renew an old calamity.
By counsel, and recall the poisonous dart, He who acquainteth others with his moan,
When it, alas! was fixed in his heart.

Adds to his friend's grief, but not cures his own."
When in the woods, places best fit for care, “ But,” said Philocrates, “'tis best, in woe,
He to himself did his past griefs recite,

'To have a faithful partner of their care; Th'obsequious friend straight follows him, and there That burthen may be undergone by two, Doth hide himself from sad Philetus' sight; Which is perhaps too great for one to bear.

Who thus exclaims (for a swoln heart would break, I should 'mistrust your love, to hide from me
If it for vent of sorrow might not speak):

Your thoughts, and tax you of inconstancy.”
“ Oh! I am lost, not in this desert wood, What shall be do? or with what language frame
But in Love's pathless labyrinth; there I

Excuse? He must resolve not to deny,
My health, each joy and pleasure counted good, But open his close thoughts and inward flame :
Have lost, and, which is more, my liberty; With that, as prologue to his tragedy,
And now am forc'd to let him sacrifice

He sigh'd, as if they'd cool his torments' ire,
My heart, for rash believing of my eyes.

When they, alas! did blow the raging fire.


« 上一頁繼續 »