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FROM off a hill whose concave womb re-worded
A plaintful story from a sistering vale,
My spirits to attend this double voice accorded,
And down I lay to list the sad tun'd tale :
Ere long espy'd a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.
Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcase of a beauty spent and done.
Time had not scythed all that youth begun,
Nor youth all quit; but, spite of heaven's fell rage,
Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne,
Which on it had conceited characters,
Laund'ring the silken figures in the brine
That season'd woe had pelleted ' in tears,
And often reading what contents it bears;
As often shrieking undistinguish'd woe,
In clamours of all size, both high and low.
1 conceited] i. e. fanciful.
2 laund'riny) i. e. washing.
3 pelleted) i. e. made into pellets, balls.
Sometimes her levell deyes their carriage ride,
As they did battery to the spheres intend;
Sometime diverted their poor balls are ty'd
To the orb'd earth: sometimes they do extend
Their view right on; anon their gazes lend
To every place at once, and no where fix'd,
The mind and sight distractedly commix’d.
Her hair, nor loose, nor tyd in formal plat,
Proclaim'd in her a careless hand of pride ;
For some, untuck’d, descended her sheav'd 5 hat,
Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside ;
Some in her threaden fillet still did bide,
And, true to bondage, would not break from thence,
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
A thousand favours from a maund 6 she drew
Of amber, crystal, and of beaded jet,
Which one by one she in a river threw,
Upon whose weeping margent she was set ;
Like usury, applying wet to wet,
Or monarch's hands, that let not bounty fall
Where want cries some, but where excess begs all.
Or folded schedules had she many a one,
Which she perus’d, sigh’d, tore, and gave the flood;
Crack'd many a ring of posied gold and bone,
4 levelld eyes, fc.) An allusion to a piece of ordnance.
5 sheav'd] i. e. straw.
B maund) i. e. hand basket.
Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud;
Found yet more letters sadly penn'd in blood,
With sleided ? silk feat 8 and affectedly
Enswath'd, and seald to curious secrecy.
These often bath'd she in her flusive eyes, And often kiss'd, and often 'gano to tear; Cried, “O false blood ! thou register of lies, “What unapproved witness dost thou bear ! “ Ink would have seem'd more black and damned
here!” This said, in top of rage the lines she rents, Big discontent so breaking their contents.
A reverend man that graz’d his cattle nigh,
Sometime a blusterer, that the rufile knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest hours, observed as they few;
Towards this afflicted fancy 19 fastly drew;
And, privileg'd by age, desires to know
In brief, the grounds and motives of her woe.
So slides he down upon his grained bat,11
And comely-distant sits he by her side;
When he again desires her, being sat,
7 sleided ) i. e. raw, untwisted.
* feat}i. e. neatly, curiously.
'ganMalone's conjecture for "gare.” 19 fancy) i.e. enamoured one: fancy occurs several times in this volume in the sense of love.
11 bat] i. e. club.
Her grievance with his hearing to divide :
If that from him there may be aught applied
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage,
'Tis promis'd in the charity of age.
“ Father,” she says, “ though in me you behold
“ The injury of many a blasting hour,
“Let it not tell your judgment I am old;
“Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power:
“ I might as yet have been a spreading flower,
“Fresh to myself, if I had self-applied
“Love to myself, and to no love beside.
“ But woe is me! too early I attended
“A youthful suit (it was to gain my grace)
“Of one by nature's outwards so commended,
“ That maiden's eyes stuck over all his face :
“ Love lack'd a dwelling, and made him her place;
“And when in his fair parts she did abide,
“ She was new lodg’d, and newly deified.
“ His browny locks did hang in crooked curls ;
“ And every light occasion of the wind
“Upon his lips their silken parcels hurls.
“What's sweet to do, to do will aptly find :
eye that saw him did enchant the mind;
“For on his visage was in little drawn,
“What largeness thinks in paradise was sawn.12
“Small show of man was yet upon his chin;
“ His phenix down began but to appear,
"Like unshorn velvet, on that termless skin,
" Whose bare out-bragg’d the web it seem’d to
wear; “ Yet show'd his visage by that cost most dear; ".And nice affections wavering stood in doubt “ If best 'twere as it was, or best without.
“ His qualities were beauteous as his form, " For maiden-tongued he was, and thereof free; "Yet if men mov’d him, was he such a storm “ As oft 'twixt May and April is to see, “When winds breathe sweet,unruly though they be, “ His rudeness so with his authoriz'd youth, "Did livery falseness in a pride of truth.
“ Well could he ride, and often men would say "That horse his mettle from his rider takes : * Proud of subjection, noble by the sway, •What rounds, what bounds, what course, what
stop he makes? " And controversy hence a question takes, “Whether the horse by him became his deed, "Or he his manage by the well-doing steed.
" But quickly on this side the verdict went;
" His real habitude gave life and grad
“To appertainings and to ornament,
"Accomplish'd in himself, not in his case: