Laura The toyes of a traueller. Or The feast of fancie. Diuided into three parts. By R.T. Gentleman.
Tofte, Robert, 1561-1620.

The first Part.

I.
FOrtune (cros frend to euer-cōquring Loue)
Our bodies (Ladie) hath deuided farre,
But yet our cōstant minds she cannot moue,
Which ouer strong for her deuises are:
Woe's me, in England thou dost bide, & I
(Scarse shadow of my selfe) in Italy.
But let her doo her worst, and what is frail
And mortall seeke to seperate and vndoo,
Yet what immortall is, she neuer shall:
A string too high for her to reach vntoo.
In spite of enuious seeds (by Malice sowne)
My hart shall ay be thine, and mine thine owne.

Padoa.

II.
Though I doo part, my Hart yet dooth not part;
My poore afflicted bodie parts in twaine,
And doth in peeces two deuide my Hart:
One peece my fainting spirit doth sustaine,
The other part I leaue with thee behinde,
(The better part, and of my hart most deere)
Then to that part so parted, be thou kinde,
And to the same impart thy louing cheere:
That I (returning) may againe vnite
This parted Hart, and finde for griefe, delight.

London.

Page  [unnumbered]III.
Like to the blacksome night I may compare
My Mistres gowne, when darknes playes his prise:
But her sweet face, like to the Sunne most faire,
VVhen he in glory ginneth to arise.
Yet this no whit the other doth disgrace,
But rather dubleth Bewtie in the place.
Contraries like to these set opposite,
So daintie and so pleasing in their show
To lookers on, doo breed no small delight,
And pleasure great thereby to them doth grow.
Oh wonder strange, oh sollace sweete to see,
In one selfe subiect Night and Day to bee.
IIII.
In the AEgean dangerous sea of Loue,
In midst of faithlesse waues and wicked winde,
VVhere (to my cost) most bitter brunts I proue,
A new Arion (there) my selfe I finde.
And though (as he) I play on Harpe, and sing,
Yet cannot cunning mine so high aspire,
As for to make the skipping fish mee bring
Vnto that wished shore I so desire:
Onely my Laura (peerlesse for to see)
May in this troubled floud my Dolphin bee.
Page  [unnumbered]V.
Great was the strife betweene the Sunne on 〈◊〉
And my faire Sunne, when first she gan to peere,
VVho should exceed in brightest Maiestie,
And show in fight of spacious world most cleere:
The Sunne did shine, but she did lighten bright,
And so his burning beames extinguisht quite.
Nay more, my Sunne on sudden to the Sunne
Lent light, and yet no light at all did want:
Where els the other had been quite vndone
For lacke of brightnes, which with him was scant:
The beautie then the Sunne doth vse to show
My Sunne doth giue, and from her it doth grow.
VI.
Turnd to a stone was he that did bewray
(Vnwitting) to the craftie I heife himselfe
The theft; not thinking he had stoln the pray,
In hope to gaine a little paltrie pelfe:
So I, who vnawares to cruell Thee
(The robber of my hart) confest the theft,
A senselesse Stone like Battus am to see:
Onely in this, vnlike that shape berest:
That where to worthlesse Stone he turned was,
I for a Touchstone true of Loue doo passe,
Page  [unnumbered]VII.
Downe from the necke vnto that daintie Brest,
(Which Nature made a myrrour of delight)
And where a world of beauties sweet doo rest,
Doth hang a costly Chaine of Pearle most bright;
And of proportion are so iust and round,
That such in India rich cannot be found.
Besides, their orient brightness is alike;
So that mine eyes are dazled with the same,
And not much vsde to see so faire a sight,
(A sight which doth the Sunne in glorie staine)
Can well discerne though them they both doo see,
If Brest bee Pearle, or Pearle in Bosome bee.
VIII.
To giue that life which had not breath before,
Prometheus (from aboue) stole heauenly fire;
For which his boldnes he was plagued sore,
A iust reward for such an high aspire.
So whilst I steale from thee (my Heauen aboue)
The heate which doth reuiue my dying sprite:
For rashnes mine eternall griefe I proue.
Yet though our fault's all one, the plague's not like:
He feeles of Vulture one (alone) the smart;
But I haue thousands which still gnaw my hart.
Page  [unnumbered]IX.
Loue (being blinde) hath wrought me damage sore,
Thou (blinde in this my louing) euill wast,
Nor would I see the snare (being blinde farre more)
Wherein my selfe I did entangle fast:
Yet hath this blindnes harme done vnto none,
But vnto Beauties Buzzard, me alone.
When blinded Boy did catch my harmlesse Hart,
Thou didst not see the net so intricate
Which bound mee (being blinde, blinde as thou art)
To be a thrall, in this most wretched state:
So that (alone to worke my misery)
Loue blinde is, blinde wert Thou, and blinder I.
X.
If (Laura) thou doost burne gainst me in hate,
Then me such busses sweete why doost thou giue?
VVhy checkst thou not the Cheeks which giue the mate,
(The vitall cause whereby I breathe and liue)?
Perhaps it is, because through too much ioy
(As in sweete swound) I might away depart:
If so thou doo, and thinke me so to noy;
Kisse hardly, and with kissing breed my smart.
Content am I to loose this life of mine,
VVhilst I doo kisse that louely lip of thine.
Page  [unnumbered]XI.
Vpon triumphant Chariot, passing rare,
In which my Sunne doth sit like Maiestie,
And makes the day shew vnto vs more faire,
Whose cheerfulnes delights each mortall eye
I rash, like to another Phaeton,
With hare-braine hast too hastie lept thereon.
But for my boldnes deerly did I pay,
And had like plague (as he) for being ore-braue.
Yet though in equall fortune both did stay,
(For life he lost, and death she to me gaue)
The punisher of both was not the same:
For he by I•••, and I by Loue was slaine.
XII.
The Beautie that in Paradice doth grow,
Liuely appeares in my sweet Goddesse face,
From whence (as from a christall Riuer) flow
Fauour deuine, and comelines of grace.
But in her daintie (yet too cruell) Brest
More crueltie and hardnes doth abound,
Than doth in painfull Purgatorie rest:
So that (at once) she's faire and cruell found,
When in her face and breast, (ah griefe to tell)
Bright Heauen she showes, and craftie ides dark hell.
Page  [unnumbered]XIII.
Whilst angrie Iuno from the scowling Skies
Thicke swinging showers did downward send amaine,
My Ladie mounting vp in stately wise,
From heauen more fast did fierie lightning raine:
So that the people (passing) had lesse harme
By waterwet, than by the fire ore-warme.
The water onelywet their outward skin,
A matter small, in which was danger none;
But this her fire did burne their harts within,
And forst them as they went to sigh and grone:
So that thei greife was greater (sauns all doubt)
To haue within fier, than water without.
XIIII.
The swift Menander turning, windes so fast,
And with his streame in circle wise so uns;
That wanton-like (from whence he springs) at last
Backe to his fountaine head againe he comes.
In me a riuer huge of teares from hart
To watrie eyes ascend, from whence they flow,
And running downe doo from mine eyes depart,
Descending to my hart againe below:
So that through vertue of most mightie Loue,
In hart a new Menander I doo proue.
Page  [unnumbered]XV.
Thou stranger who with wandring steps dost wend,
Thy gazing eyes turne quickly vnto mee:
And to my speech with listning eare attend,
In whom foure Elements vnited bee.
Marke well, and as a wonder tell the same
Of Cupids force, poore Louer Imburlane.
First this my body's earth, and earth most cold▪
The fire within my hart in couert lyes,
The aire's my sighes, mine eyes doo waters hold:
Thus for my Saint be doth me marterie.
Earth is my bodie, strange seemes not this same▪
The aire my sighes, eyes water, hart the flame.
XVI.
If louely Lasse for Fairing thine of mee▪
Gold in this Faire thou meanest for to haue:
Then giue me of thy Haires which golden bee,
Giue vnto mee, since thou of mee doost craue.
Nor by this bargaine shalt thou losse sustaine,
Or ought hereby shalt hindred be (sweet VVench)
Since I (to courteous thee) doo giue againe:
(As thankfull) gold, for gold in recompence.
Thy treasure, so shall mine be, mine as thine,
Nor shall th'exchange be worse than gold most fine.
Page  [unnumbered]XVII.
Rockt in a cradle (like as Infants bee)
VVhen I was yong, a little wanton childe,
Two daintie dugs did nourish life in mee,
VVhilst oft on them with teate in mouth I smilde:
Ah happie I, thrice happie might I say,
VVhilst in that harmlesse state I then did stay.
But now that I am come to mans estate,
Such dugs as nurst me in delight and ioy
Doo seeke my death, by poysonous sugred ba,
VVhose sight without possession breeds me noy.
So vvhat in childhood caused me to liue,
Novv in my youth doth death vnto me giue.
XVIII.
If Sea no other thing doth shew to bee
Than most vnstable vvaters moouing oft,
With pardon (Ladie) you this seeme to mee.
So most vnstable is your changing thought
I likevvise hold a riuer that orevvhelmes
With vvatrie salt vvithin these eyes of mine:
Then let vs make a mixture mongst our selues
Of this vnstedfastnes and vvatrie brine.
Lets fashion both of vs a nouell Sea,
So heauen the hauen, and loue the bay shalbee.
Page  [unnumbered]XIX.
Ladie, the Sunne was in Aquarius▪
VVhen thou wer borne, which is the reason why
The water of my plaines delight thee thur,
VVithout once viewing me with piteous eye:
But when as I was borne, the Signe I gesse
In Cancer was, a show of my distresse.
This is the cause vvithin my boyling brest
Doth burne a hot and vnextinguishe fire:
But contrarie these Signes in vs doe rest,
Nor doo they vvell accord to my desire;
Farre better had it been, Aquarius Signe
Had hapt to mee, and Cancer had been thine.
XX.
What time with brow the Loueliest give to scowle,
Shewing disdaine and furie in her face;
Mee thinkes I see the clowdes wer darke and fowle,
And gloomie night begins to run his race.
But then againe, when she to show begins
Her smiling chere adornd with 〈◊〉 rare,
Straight waies the Sunne in charies bright forth springs,
Clere are the skies, the gladsome day most faire:
Thus in one face I see against my will,
The rising of the Sunne and falling still.
Page  [unnumbered]XXI.
Ranckle the wound did in my head apace
When fairest Shee to play the 〈◊〉 came,
And whilst her snow white hand did me the grace
To lay the plaister 〈◊〉 which heald the same:
A wonder strange, no sooner did she tuch
The hurt, but it appeard to be 〈◊〉 such▪
Yet woe is me, no sooner by their hand
Was heald in head my outward fe••ring wound,
But that in sted of that as 〈…〉,
One mortall sear at inward hart I found.
Thus (Loue) thou seest is changed my estate,
She checkes with death, that ore gaue life for mate.

Venice.

XXII.
If in the midst of kindled burning fire
That worthy Romane burnt his valiant hand,
I like an other Mutius in desire,
Haue scorcht my fit likewise through Loues, command
In freshest moysture, where my Ladie svveet
Her lilly hands for coolnes diued oft.
But though desire betvveene vs vvas alike,
Yet vvas the matter diuers vvhich vve sought.
He chose to burne his hand with courage bold
In flaming fire, and I in water cold.
Page  [unnumbered]XXIII.
The Gentiles 〈◊〉 (in signe of sacrifice)
The blood of men to offer, to appease
The vvarlike Goddesse vvrath in humble vvise,
And through the same her angrie minde did please:
But thou (more wicked Warrier farre than shee)
In reason maist more cruell termed bee.
On Beauties altar (to thee dedicate)
Thousands of Louers (mustering on a row)
Offer their blood and harts: yet mitigate
Thy hardned minde cannot, which flint doth show.
Then is she cruell lesse than thou art now,
Since blood her pleasd, and thee harts cannot bow.
XXIIII.
For to behold, my Sunne, I from the Sunne
Did seeke my face to shadow with my hand,
To shield me from the heate that gan to come
In place, where gazing on her I did stand:
But I no sooner from that Sunne was free,
But that in that selfe instant and that time,
I of mine owne Sunne found myselfe to bee
Burnt with the heate (a most vnluckie signe).
So, whilst a shade from sunne did me defend,
A Sunne more hot did hurt me in the end.
Page  [unnumbered]XXV.
White was the orient pearle, which on a day
That hand me gaue, which scornes the proud compare
Of purest white, and beares the palme away,
As of all pearly faires the orientst faire:
And whilst she offred vnto mee the same,
I knew not which the pearle was of the twaine.
So white the hand was of my peerlesse Pearle,
As it did dazle with delight mine eyes,
And pearle seemd to me, giuing me the pearle:
Which made me sighing say (in whispring wise)
Ah why once may I not so happie bee
This Pearle to haue, which th' other giues to mee?
XXVI.
VVhen you appeare, appeares the breake of day,
And shewes to be most faire, and passing bright:
But if you keep your selfe vnseene away,
The day showes not, but keepeth out of sight.
Then if againe you gin your selfe to show,
Behold the Day to shew it selfe afresh
VVith skie most clere: so both of you doo grow
In beautie like, in heate nor are you lesse.
Thus if your beames you ope, or hidden been,
The breake of day appeares, els nere is seene.
Page  [unnumbered]XXVII.
Iustly of thee (Loue partiall) I complaine,
That at one instant, and vvith one selfe stroke,
Thou darted hast into my hart vvith paine
Cold chilly frost, and fierie flaming smoke,
Ay me, vvithin me (both) I secret hold,
And whilst th' one bornes me, th' other makes me cold.
Then Cruell, since thou wilt two contraries
(Against my soule) within my hart shall rest,
Ah yet mak peace twixt them in louing wise,
Or els (sweete Loue) doo promise this at least;
Flame to my frost and water to my fire,
Life to my hart, to comfort my desire.
XXVIII.
Diana shineth in the heauens cleere,
Because from purest Sunne she takes her light,
And Faire, she showes that of Diana heere
On earth, doth borrow beautie passing bright.
The vertue then that is infusde in her,
She from Diana hath, or els from none;
For other thewes doo all in her 〈◊〉,
And vnto her beholding are alone:
Oh wonder strange of Nature to reueale,
She Dian giues, yet doth from Dian steale.

Siena.

Page  [unnumbered]XXIX.
As burnisht gold, such are my Souereignes heares;
A brace of startes deuine, her blackish eyes,
Like to the fairest blacke the Rauen beares,
Or fairer, if you fairer can deuile:
So likewise faire's the beautie of her brests,
Where pleasure lurkes, where ioy still dallying rests.
This Venus bower, you rightly may compare
To whitest snow that ere from heauen fell,
Or to the mynes of alabaster faire:
(Woe's mee, tis sweete to sleepe in Cupids cell)
Whilst he the hart makes surfet with delight
Through golden haire, black eyes, & brest most white.
XXX.
Vnto thy fauour (which when Nature formd,
She went beyond her selfe with cunning hand)
I may compare what is in world adornd
With beautie most, and with most grace doth stand:
But euerie mortall whitenes nere so white,
The yuorie white of thy white hand exceeds.
So that my Sowle (which doth faire whitenes like)
Rests on faire whitenes, and on whitenes feeds:
For this is thought and hoped of from thee,
VVhite as thy hands, so white thy faith shalbee.
Page  [unnumbered]XXXI.
Ladie, thou seemest Fortune vnto me
When I most wistly marke, how thou dost go
With golden tresses loose, (a ioy to see)
Which gentle winde about thy eares doth ble:
And as thou her resemblest in this sort,
So doest thou in attire and all thy port.
Only thou wantest for thy swift right hand
The rolling wheele, and shadowing vaile to hide
Those eyes, which like controllers do command:
But if thou longst of these to be supplide,
Take me (thy prisoner) for to play this part,
For my Desire's the wheele, the Vaile's my HART.
XXXII.
Thou, merry laughst, and pleasantly dost smile,
I wofull weepe, and (mestfull) sorrow still,
Left this thy mirth encreasing, me beguile,
And weaue a webbe for me of greater ill:
Too well perceiue I, this thy deepe disdaine,
By this thy fained lookes, and cloaked glee,
Thou of disaster mine art glad and faine,
And faine my death as Basiliske wouldst see,
Since that of warte and bate this laughter is,
And not of gentle peace or calmy blisse.
Page  [unnumbered]XXXIII.
Since thou hast changde thy gowne and thine attire,
Ah change thy thoughts, not alwayes cruel be:
And with new clothes, put on a new Desire,
That new in euery point I may thee see.
And if thou heretofore vnkinde hast beene,
Be curteous now, and gentle be thou seene.
Thy glory great, thy praise more shalt thou finde,
If, of vnconstant, constant thou become,
And of a foe, a faithfull friend and kinde,
Then change henceforth thy thoughts, else I vndone:
Giue me that colour which so likes mine eine,
If death, then blacke, if life, then Carnatine.
XXXIIII.
Changde is my nature in me, where before
I like was to a chilly freesing ice:
I now a flame am, burning inward sore,
And such a flame that burneth in such wise,
That if Loue and my Mistresse take no care
For this my hurt, my soule must quickely die,
Yet one doth see (for both not blinded are)
The fier so hote doth burne wherein I frie,
That fierce Perillus boyling Bull of brasse
May vnto this for icie substance passe.
Page  [unnumbered]XXXV.
Farre beet had it been I had been dead,
And laid full low in latest home, (my graue)
Than with that drinke my selfe for to haue fed
VVhich Laura mine in Christall glasse 〈◊〉 gaue:
The licor pleasd me I must needs confesse,
Yet to my hart twas poyson nerthelesse.
So that I had contrarie quiet effect
To my desire, which I so much did wish
Loue was in fault, who Reason doth reiect:
And see my cruell lucke, what hapt in this;
The wine was sweete, yet did his nature turne,
It coold my mouth, but hart within did burne.
XXXVI.
Sweet sung thy Bird in Ebon cage shut fast,
And did delight thy daintie eares so much,
As thou vouchsafdst to giue him meate atlast,
And gently didst his fethers stroke and tuch.
So Ladie, I likewise in th' Ebonie
Of thy bright eyes am prisoner, and doe sing
Thy Beauties praise; and yet not fed am I
By thee, yet liue through thee: a wondrous thing.
Loue to my hart thy Beautie doth supplie
For food, which els (throgh famine starud) would die.
Page  [unnumbered]XXXVII.
If white's the Moone, thou Laura seemst as white,
And white's the gowne which you on bodie weare;
And if her whitely hornes in calmie night
She smoothly glyding showes to vs most cleare:
You in the day time more and brighter farre,
Your Beautie showe like bright 〈◊〉 starre.
Like brightnes both of you abroad doo east,
Though not effect alike par 〈◊〉;
You shine, she shines, your powers eternall last:
But yet betweene you is great difference,
Her brightnes freezeth, causing deadly cold,
Yours doth enflame, and liuely fire doth hold.
XXXVIII.
Euen as the lampe goeth out that oyle doth 〈◊〉,
Or as the Sunne doth fall in th' occident,
So did my hart within me gin to pant,
My vitall spirnes away by little went:
VVhen (taking on me pittie) graciously
My Mistres hem of garment trailing downe
Toucht mee, and mee reuiued suddenly:
Then if such vertue be within her gowne,
Imagin what doth stay her corps within,
VVhich who seeth, through sweetnes needs must 〈◊〉.
Page  [unnumbered]XXXIX.
Seated on marble was my Ladie blythe,
Holding in hand a christall looking Glasse,
Marking of Louers thousands (who aliue
Thankes onely to her Beautie 〈◊〉 did passe).
To prie in glasse likes her: but afterward
Shee takes the 〈◊〉 of the stone must hard,
For whilst she 〈◊〉 doth fixe her eyes
Gazing vpon the 〈◊〉 of the 〈◊〉,
Her hart by th'other made (instrangle)
Hard as a rocke, and senselesse as a stone:
So that if Loue this breaketh not in 〈◊〉,
It will a flint become, to others paine.
XL.
No more a man (as once I was) am I
Since this new Circes (moo'd by fierce disdaine)
Hath changd me to a fountaine neuer drie
VVherein my selfe with bitter teares I 〈◊〉.
Then am I one, who alway eyes doo beare,
And brest of water flowing onely full:
Take heed you Louers all of her, and feare
The sugred baites of this deceitfull 〈…〉.
Least by this Circe new you be deceau'd
As I haue been, and be of shape bereau'd.
Page  [unnumbered]The Conclusion of the first Part.
THe Macedonian Monarch once did deigne
(In cheerfull sort, in kind and louing wise)
To feast in Village with a homely Swaine,
VVho entertaind him (as is countrey guise)
VVith curds and creame, and such like knackes he had:
VVhereof the curteous Prince accepted glad.
So Ladie, boldly I prsumed haue
To enuite you to a sorie Banquet base:
Nor to disdaine the same of you I craue,
Though eates too course for you, too poore the place.
I cannot (as I would) giue curds and creame,
But milke and whey, my fortune is so meane.
Yet if you shall accept it graciously,
And with your Fauour sweet this Bonrd adorne,
The vertue which is in you, presently
The whey to curds, and milke to creame shall turne:
But if your looke you angrie turne away,
The milke shall still be milke, the whay still whay.
Then as the Sunne in glorious wise doth shine
As well on valley low as mountaine hie,
Vouchsafe one cheerefull glimse of fauour thine
On pouer mee, from out that heauenly eye:
Vnworthie I such grace (I doe confesse)
Yet worthie thou to doo so, erthelesse.

R. T.