Cynthia VVith certaine sonnets, and the legend of Cassandra.
Barnfield, Richard, 1574-1627.
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NOW was the Welkyn all inuelloped
With duskie Mantle of the sable Night:
And CYNTHIA lifting vp her drouping head,
Blusht at the Beautie of her borrowed light,
When Sleepe now summon'd euery mortal wight.
Then the (me thought) I saw or seem'd to see,
An heauenly Creature like an Angell bright,
That in great haste come pacing towards me:
Was neuer mortall eye beheld so faire a Shee.
Thou lazie man (quoth she) what mak'st thou heere
(Luld in the lap of Honours Enimie?)
I heere commaund thee now for to appeare
(By vertue of loves mickle Maiestle)
In yonder Wood▪ (VVhich with her finger shee
Out-poysiting) had no sooner turn'd her face,
And leauing mee to muze what she should bee,
Yuanished into some other place:
But straite (me thought) I saw a rout of heauenlie (Race.
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Downe in a Dale, hard by a Forrest side,
(Vnder the shaddow of a loftie Pine,)
Not far from whence a trickling streame did glide,
Did nature by her secret art combine,
A pleasant Arbour, of a spreading Vine:
Wherein Art stroue with nature to compaire,
That made it rather seeme a thing diuine,
Being scituate all in the open Aire:
A fairer nere was seene, if any seene so faire.
There might one see, and yet not see (indeede)
Fresh Flora flourishing in chiefest Prime,
Arrayed all in gay and gorgeous weede,
The Primrose and sweet-smelling Eglantine,
As fitted best beguiling so the time:
And euer as she went she strewd the place,
Red-roses mixt with Daffadillies fine,
For Gods and Goddesses, that in like case
In this same order sat, with il-beseeming grace.
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First, in a royall Chaire of massie gold,
(Bard all about with plates of burning steele)
Sat Iupiter most glorious to behold,
And in his hand was placed Fortunes wheele:
The which he often turn'd, and oft did reele.
And next to him, in griefe and gealouzie,
(If fight may censure what the heart doth feele)
In sad lament was placed Mercurie;
That dying seem'd to weep, & weeping seem'd to die.
On th' other side, aboue the other twaine,
(Delighting as it seem'd to sit alone)
Sat Mulciber; in pride and high disdaine,
Mounted on high vpon a stately throne,
And euen with that I heard a deadly grone:
Muzing at this, & such an vncouth sight, (mone)
(Not knowing what shoulde make that piteous
I saw three furies, all in Armour dight,
With euery one a Lampe, and euery one a light.
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I deemed so; nor was I much deceau'd,
For poured forth in sensuall Delight,
There might I see of Sences quite bereau'd
King Priams Sonne, that Alexander hight,
(Wrapt in the Mantle of eternall Night.)
And vnder him, awaiting for his fall,
Sate Shame, here Death, & there sat fel Despight,
That with their Horrour did his heart appall:
Thus was his Blisse to Bale, his Hony turn'd to gall.
In which delight feeding mine hungry eye,
Of two great Goddesses a sight I had,
And after them in wondrous Iollity,
(As one that inly ioy'd, so was she glad)
The Queene of Loue full royallie yclad,
In glistring Golde, and peerelesse precious stone,
There might I spie: and her Companion bad,
Proud Paris, Nephew to Laomedon,
That afterward did cause the Death of many a one.
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By this the formost melting all in teares,
And rayning downe resolued Pearls in showers,
Gan to approach the place of heauenly Pheares,
And with her weeping, watring all their Bowers,
Throwing sweet Odors on those fading flowers,
At length, she them bespake thus mournfullie.
High Ioue (quoth she) and yee Coelestiall powers,
That here in Iudgement sit twixt her and mee,
Now listen (for a while) and iudge with equitie.
Sporting our selues to day, as wee were woont,
(I meane, I, Pallas, and the Queene of Loue,)
Intending with Diana for to hunt,
On Ida Mountaine top our skill to proue,
A golden Ball was trindled from aboue,
And on the Rinde was writ this Poesie,
PVLCHERIMae for which a while we stroue,
Each saying shee was fairest of the three,
VVhen loe a shepheards Swaine not far away we see.
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I spi'd him first, and spying thus bespake,
Shall yonder Swaine vnfolde the mysterie?
Agree'd (quoth Venus,) and by Stygian Lake,
To whom he giues the ball so shall it bee:
Nor from his censure will I flie, quoth shee,
(Poynting to Pallas (though I loose the gole.
Thus euery one yplac'd in her degree,
The Shepheard comes, whose partial eies gan role,
And on our beuties look't, and of our beuties stole.
I promis'd wealth, Minerua promis'd wit,
(Shee promis'd wit to him that was vnwise,)
But he (fond foole) had soone refused it,
And minding to bestow that glorious Prize,
On Venus, that with pleasure might suffize
His greedie minde in loose laciuiousnes:
Vpon a sudden, wanting good aduice,)
Holde here (quoth he) this golden Ball possesse,
Which Paris giues to thee for meede of worthines,
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Thus haue I shew'd the summe of all my sute,
And as a Plaintiffe heere appeale to thee,
And to the rest. Whose folly I impute
To filthie lust, and partialitie,
That made him iudge amisse: and so doe we
(Quoth Pallas, Venus) nor will I gaine-say,
Although it's mine by right, yet willinglie,
I heere disclaime my title and obey:
When silence being made, Ioue thus began to saie.
Thou Venus, art my darling, thou my deare,
(Minerua,) shee, my sister and my wife:
So that of all a due respect I beare,
Assign'd as one to end this doubtfull strife, (life)
(Touching your forme, your fame, your loue, your
Beauty is vaine much like a gloomy light,
And wanting wit is counted but a trife,
Especially when Honour's put to flight:
Thus of a louely, soone becomes a loathly sight.
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VVit without wealth is bad, yet counted good,
wealth wanting wisdom's worse, yet deem'd as wel,
From whence (for ay) doth flow, as from a flood,
A pleasant Poyson▪ and a heauenly Hell,
where mortall men doe couer still to dwell.
Yet one there is to Vertue so inclin'd,
That as for Maiesty she beares the Bell,
So in the truth who tries her princelie minde,
Both Wisdom, Beauty, Wealth, & all in her shal find.
In Westerne world amids the Ocean maine,
In coumpleat Vertue shining like the Sunne,
In great Renowne a maiden Queene doth raigne,
Whose roy all Race, in Ruine first begun,
Till Heauens bright Lamps dissolue shall nere bee done:
In whose faire eies Loue linckt with vertues been,
In euerlasting Peace and Vnion.
Which sweet Consort in her full well beseeme
Of Bounty, and of Beauty fairest Fayrie Queene.
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And to conclude, the gifts in her yfound,
Are all so noble, royall, and so rare,
That more and more in her they doe abound;
In her most peerelesse Prince without compare,
Endowing still her minde with vertuous care:
That through the world (so wide) the flying fame,
(And Name that Enuies selfe cannot impaire,)
Is blown of this faire Queen, this gorgeous dame,
Fame borowing al mēs mouths to royalize the same.
And with this sentence Iupiter did end,
This is the Pricke (quoth he) this is the praies,
To whom, this as a Present I will send,
That shameth Cynthia in her siluer Raies,
If so you three this deed doe not displease.
Then one, and all, and euery one of them,
To her that is the honour of her daies,
A second Iudith in IERVSALEM.
To her we send this Pearle, this Iewell, and this Iem.
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Then call'd he vp the winged Mercury,
(The mighty Messenger of Gods enrold,)
And bad him hither hastily to hie,
Whō tended by her Nymphes he should behold,
Like Pearles ycouched all in shining gold.)
And euen with that, frō pleasant slumbring sleepe▪
(Desiring much these wonders to vnfold)
I wak'ning, when Aurora gan to peepe,
Depriu'd so soone of my sweet Dreame, gan almost weepe.
The Conclusion.
THus, sacred Virgin, Muse of chastitie,
This difference is betwixt the Moone and thee:
Shee shines by Night; but thou by Day do'st shine:
Shee Monthly changeth▪ thou do st nere decline:
And as the Sunne, to her, doth lend his light,
So hee, by thee, is onely made so bright:
Yet neither Sun, nor Moone, thou canst be named,
Because thy light hath both their beauties shamed:
Then, since an heauenly Name doth thee befall,
Thou VIRGO art: (if any Signe at all.