The needles excellency a new booke wherin are diuers admirable workes wrought with the needle ; newly inuented and cut in copper for the pleasure and profit of the industrious.
Taylor, John, 1580-1653.
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THE PRAISE OF THE NEEDLE.
TO all dispersed sorts of ARTS and TRADES,
I write the Needles praise (that neuer fades)
So long as Children shall be got or borne,
So long as Garments shall be made, or worne,
So long as Hemp or Flax, or Sheepe shall beare
Their linnen-woollen fleeces yeare by yeare;
So long as Silk-worms, with exhausted spoyle
Of their owne Entrailes, for mans gaine shall toyle:
Yea, till the world be quite dissolu'd and past;
So long at least, the Needles vse shall last,
And though from Earth, his being did begin,
Yet through the fire he did his honour win:
Page [unnumbered] And vnto those that doe his seruice lacke,
Hee's true as steele, and mettle to the backe.
He hath I perse eye, small single sight,
Yet like a Pigmey; Polipheame in fight:
As a stout Captaine, brauely he leades on,
(Not fearing colours) till the worke be done.
Through thicke and thinne he is most sharpely set,
With speede through stitch, hee will the Conquest get.
And as a Soldier (Frenchefyde with heate)
Maim'd, from the warres is forc'd to make retreate:
So when a Needles point is broke, and gone,
No poynt Mounsier, hee's maim'd, his worke is done.
And more the Needles honour to aduance,
It is a Taylors Iauelin, or his Launce.
And for my Countries quiet, I should like,
That Women-kinde should vse no other Pike.
It will increase their peace, enlarge their store,
To vse their tongues lesse, and their Needles more.
Page [unnumbered] The Needles sharpenesse, profit yeelds, and pleasure,
But sharpenesse of the tongue, bites out of measure.
A Needle (though it be but small and slender)
Yet is it both a maker and a mender;
A graue Reformer of old Rents decayde,
Stops holes and seames, and desperate cuts displayde.
And thus without the Needle we may see,
We should without our Bibbs and Biggings be;
No shirts or smockes, our nakednesse to hide,
No Garments gay, to make vs magnifyde;
No Shadowes, Shapparoones, Caules, Bands, Ruffes, Cuffes,
No Kerchiefes, Quoyfes, Chin-clowtes, or marry-Muffes,
No Cros-cloathes, Aprons, Hand-kerchiefes, or Falls,
No Table-cloathes for Parlours or for Halls.
No Sheetes, no Towels, Napkins, Pillow-beares,
Nor any Garment man or woman weares.
Thus is a Needle prou'd an Instrument
Of profit, pleasure, and of ornament:
Page [unnumbered] Which mighty Queenes haue grac'd in hand to take,
And high-borne Ladies such esteeme did make,
That as their Daughters Daughters vp did grow,
The Needles Art, they to their children show.
And as 'twas then an exercise of praise,
So what deserues more honour in these daies,
Then this? which daily doth it selfe expresse,
A mortall enemy to idlenesse.
The vse of Sewing is exceeding old,
As in the sacred Text it is enrold:
Our Parents first in Paradice began, *
Which hath descended since from man to man:
The Mothers taught their Daughters, Sires their Sons,
Thus in a line succesfiuely it runs
For generall profit, and for recreation,
From generation vnto generation. *
With worke like Cherubims Embroidered rare,
The Couers of the Tabernacle were. *
That Aarons Garments broydered worke should be;
And further, God did bid his Vestments should
Be made most gay, and glorious to behold.
Thus plainely, and most truely is declar'd
The Needles workes hath still bin in regard,
For it doth ART, so like to NATVRE frame,
As if IT were HER Sister, or the SAME.
Flowers, Plants, and Fishes, Beasts, Birds, Flyes, & Bees,
Hils, Dales, Plaines, Pastures, Skies, Seas, Riuers, Trees:
There's nothing neere at hand, or farthest sought,
But with the Needle, may be shap'd and wrought.
In clothes of Arras I haue often seene
Men figurde, counterfeits so like haue beene,
That if the parties selfe had bin in place,
Yet ART would vye with NATVRE for the grace.
Moreouer, Poesies rare, and Annagrams,
Signifique searching sentences from Names,
Page [unnumbered] True Historie, or various pleasant fiction
In sundry colours mixt, with Arts comixion,
All in Dimension: Ouals, Squares, and Rounds,
Arts life included within Natures bounds;
So that Art seemeth meerely naturall,
In forming shapes so Geometricall.
And though our Country euery where is fil'd
With Ladies, and with Gentlewomen, skil'd
In this rare Art, yet here they may discerne
Somethings to teach them, if they list to learne.
And as this Booke, some cunning workes doth teach,
(Too hard for meane capacities to reach)
So for weake learners, other workes here be, *
As plaine and easie as are A B C.
Thus skilfull, or vnskilfull, each may take
This Booke, and of it, each good vse may make.
All sorts of workes, almost that can be nam'd,
Here are directions how they may befram'd:
Page [unnumbered] And for this Kingdomes good are hither come,
From the remotest parts of Christendome.
Collected with much paines and industry,
From scorching Spaine, and freezing Moscouye,
From fertill France, and pleasant Italy,
From Poland, Sweaden, Denmarke, Germany,
And some of these rare Patternes haue bin fet
Beyond the bounds of faithlesse Mahomet:
From spacious China, and those Kingdomes East,
And from great Mexico, the Indies West.
Thus are these workes, farre fetcht, and deerely bought,
And consequently, good for Ladies thought.
Nor doe I derogate (in any case)
Or doe esteeme of other teachings base,
For Tent-worke, Raisd-worke, Laid-worke, Frost-worke, Net-worke,
Most curious Purles, or rare Italian Cut-worke,
Fine Ferne-stitch, Finny-stitch, New-stitch, and Chain-stitch,
Braue Bred-stitch, Fisher-stitch, Irish-stitch, and Queene-stitch,
Page [unnumbered]The Spanish-stitch, Rosemary-stitch, and Mow-stitch,
The smarting Whip-stitch, Back-stitch, and the Cros-stitch:
All these are good, and these we must alow,
And these are euery where in practise now;
And in this Booke, there are of these some store,
With many others, neuer seene before.
Here Practise and Inuention may be free,
And as a Squirrell skips from tree to tree,
So Maides may (from their Mistresse, or their Mother)
Learne to leaue one worke, and to learne another.
For here they may make choyce of which is which,
And skip from worke to worke, from stitch to stitch,
Vntill in time delightfull practise shall
(With profit) make them perfect in them all.
Thus hoping that these workes may haue this guide
To serue for ornament, and not for pride:
To cherish vertue, banish idlenesse,
For these ends, may this booke haue good successe.
Here follow certaine Sonnets in the Honourable memory of Queenes and great Ladies, who haue bin famous for their rare Innentions, and practise with the Needle.
King Dauid by an apt similitude *
Doth shew, with Maiesty the Church her worth:
And to a Kings faire Daughter, doth alude,
Where to her Spouse, he brauely brings her forth,
In Garments wrought of Needle-worke and Gold,
Resplendent and most glorious to the eye:
Whose out-side much more glory did infold,
The presence of th'ternall Maiesty.
Thus may you see Records of holy Writ
Set downe (what Death or Time can nere deface.)
By these comparisons, comparing fit,
The noble worth of Needle-workes high grace.
Then learne faire Damsels, learne your times to spend
In this, which such high praisings doth commend.
Katharine first married to Arthur Prince of Wales, and afterward to Henry the 8. King of England.
I Read that in the seauenth King Henries Raigne,
Faire Katherine, Daughter to the Castile King,
Came into England with a pompous traine
Of Spanish Ladies, which she thence did bring.
She to the eight King Henry married was,
And afterwards diuorc'd, where vertuously
(Although a Queene) yet shee her dayes did pas
In working with the Needle curiously,
As in the Tower, and places more beside,
Her excellent memorials may be seene:
Whereby the Needles praise is dignifide
By her faire Ladyes, and her selfe, a Queene.
Thus for her paynes, here her reward is iust,
Her workes proclaime her praise, though she be dust.
Mary, Queene of England, and wife to Philip King of Spaine.
HEr Daughter Mary here the Scepter swaide,
And though she were a Queene of mighty power:
Her memorie will neuer be decaide,
Which by her workes are likewise in the Tower.
In Windsor Castle, and in Hampton Court,
In that most pompous roome cal'd Paradice:
Who-euer pleaseth thither to resort,
May see some workes of hers of wondrous price.
Her Greatnesse held it no dis-reputation,
To take the Needle in her Royall hand:
Which was a good example to our Nation,
To banish idlenesse from out her Land:
And thus this Queene, in wisedome thought it fit,
The Needles worke pleas'd her, and she grac'd it.
Elizabeth Queene of England, and Daughter to King Henry the eight.
VVHen this great Queene, whose memory shall not
By any tearme of time be ouercast:
For when the world, and all therein shall rot,
Yet shall her glorious fame for euer laft.
When she a Maide, had many troubles past,
From Iayleto Iayle, by Maries angry spleene:
And Wood-stocke, and the Tower in prison fast,
And after all, was Englands Peerelesse Queene.
Yet howsoeuer sorrow came or went,
She made the Needle her companion still:
And in that exercise her time she spent,
As many liuing yet, doth know her skill.
Thus was she still a Captiue, or else Crown'd,
A Needle-woman Royall, and renown'd.
The Right Honourable, Vertuous, and learned Lady, Mary, late Countesse of Pembrooke.
A Patterne and a Patronesse she was
Of vertuous industry, and studious learning:
And she her earthly Pilgrimage did passe,
In Acts, which were high honour, most concerning.
Braue Wilton-house in Wiltshire well can show,
Her admirable workes in Arras fram'd:
Where men, and beasts, seeme like, trees seeme to grow,
And Art (surpass'd by Nature) seemes asham'd.
Thus this renowned Honourable Dame,
Her happy time most happily did spend:
Whose worth recorded in the mouth of fame,
(Vntill the world shall end) shall neuer end.
She wrought so well in Needle-worke, that she,
Nor yet her workes, shall ere forgotten be.
The Right Honourable and religious Lady, Elizabeth Dormer, Wife to the late Right Honourable, the Lord Robert Dormer deceased.
THis Noble Lady imitates time past,
Directs time present, teacheth time to come:
And longer then her life, her laud shall last,
Workes shewes her worth, though all the world were dumbe.
And though her Reuerend selfe, with many dayes
Of honourable age is loaden deepe,
Yet with her Needle (to her worthy praise)
Shee's working often, ere the Sunne doth peepe.
And many times, when Phoebus in the West
Declined is, and Luna shewes her head:
This antient honour'd Lady rests from Rest,
And workes when idle sloath goes soone to bed.
Thus she the Needle makes her recreation,
Whose well-spent paines are others imitation.
To all degrees of both sexes, that loue or liue by the laudable imployment of the Needle.
IF any aske to whom these lines are writ,
I answere, vnto them that doe inquire:
For since the worlds creation none was yet,
Whose wants did not the Needles helpe desire.
And therefore, not to him, or her, or thee,
Or them, or they, I doe not write at all:
Nor to particulars of hee or shee,
But generally, to all in generall.
Then let not Pride looke scuruily a-scewe,
Without the Needle, Pride would naked goe:
Nor yet let Scorne cry pish, and tush, and mew,
Scorne is forgetfull much in doing so.
Nor yet let any one presume to prate,
And call these lines poore trifles, by me pend:
Page [unnumbered] Let not opinion be preiudicate,
But mend it, ere they dare to discommend.
So fare-thou-well my wel-deseruing Booke,
(I meane, the workes deserts, and not my lines)
I much presume that all that on it looke,
Will like and laude the workemans good designes.
Fooles play the fooles, but 'tis through want of wit,
Whilst I to wisedomes censure doe submit.