❧ The eleventh Song.
✼ THE ARGUMENT.
The Muse, her native earth to see,
ith as unwearied wings, and in as high a gate
As when we first set forth, observing every state,
The Muse from Cambria comes, with pinions summ’d and
And having put her selfe upon the English ground, (sound:
First seiseth in her course the noblest Cestrian shore;
§. Of our great English bloods as carefull heere of yore,
As Cambria of her Brutes, now is, or could be then;
For which, our proverbe calls her, Cheshire, chiefe of men.
§. And of our Countries, place of Palatine doth hold,
And thereto hath her high Regalities enrold:
Besides, in many Fields since Conquering William came,
Her people shee hath prov’d, to her eternall fame.
All, children of her owne, the Leader and the Led,
The mightiest men of boane, in her full bosome bred:
And neither of them such as cold penurious need
Spurs to each rash attempt; but such as soundly feed,
Clad in warme English cloth; and maym’d should they returne
(Whom this false ruthless world else from their doores would spurne)
Have livelihood of their owne, their ages to sustaine.
Nor did the Tenants pay, the Land-lords charge maintaine:
But as abroad in warre, he spent of his estate;
Returning to his home, his hospitable gate
The richer and the poore stood open to receave.
They, of all England, most to ancient customes cleave,
Their Yeomanry and still endevoured to uphold.
For rightly whilst her selfe brave England was of old,
And our courageous Kings us forth to conquests led,
Our Armies in those times (neere through the world so dred)
Of our tall Yeomen were, and foot-men for the most;
Who (with their Bills, and Bowes) may confidently boast,
§. Our Leopards they so long and bravely did advance
Above the Flower-delice, even in the hart of France.
O! thou thrice happy Shire, confined so to bee
Twixt two so famous Floods, as Mersey is, and Dee.
Thy Dee upon the West from Wales doth thee divide:
Thy Mersey on the North, from the Lancastrian side,
Thy naturall sister Shire; and linkt unto thee so,
That Lancashire along with Cheshire still doth goe.
As tow’rds the Derbian Peake, and Moreland (which doe draw
More mountainous and wild) the high-crown’d Shutlingslawe
And Molcop be thy Mounds, with those proud hills whence rove
The lovely sister Brooks, the silvery Dane and Dove;
Cleere Dove, that makes to Trent; the other to the West.
But, in that famous Towne, most happy of the rest
(From which thou tak’st thy name) faire Chester, call’d of old
§. Carelegion; whilst proud Rome her conquests heere did hold
Of those her legions known the faithfull station then,
So stoutly held to tack by those neere North-wales men;
Yet by her owne right name had rather called bee,
§. As her the Britaine tearm’d, The Fortresse upon Dee,
Then vainly shee would seeme a Miracle to stand,
Th’imaginary worke of some huge Giants hand:
Which if such ever were, Tradition tells not who.
But, backe awhile my Muse: to Weever let us goe,
Which (with himselfe compar’d) each British flood doth scorne;
His fountaine and his fall, both Chesters rightly borne;
The Country in his course, that cleane through doth divide,
Cut in two equall shares upon his either side:
And, what the famous Flood farre more then that enriches,
The bracky Fountaines are, those two renowned Wyches,
The Nant-Wyche, and the North; whose either brynie Well,
For store and sorts of Salts, make Weever to excell.
Besides their generall use, not had by him in vaine,
§. But in him selfe thereby doth holinesse retaine
Above his fellow Floods: whose healthfull vertues taught,
Hath of the Sea-gods oft, caus’d Weever to be sought.
The generall bounds of
|the eleventh Song.||173|
For physick in their need: and Thetis oft hath seene,
When by their wanton sports her Ner’ides have beene
So sick, that Glaucus selfe hath failed in their cure:
Yet Weever, by his Salts, recovery durst assure.
And Amphitrite oft this Wisard River led
Into her secret walks (the Depths profound and dread)
Of him (suppos’d so wise) the hid events to knowe
Of things that were to come, as things done long agoe.
In which he had beene prov’d most exquisite to bee;
And bare his fame so farre, that oft twixt him and Dee,
Much strife there hath arose in their prophetick skill.
But to conclude his praise, our Weever heere doth will
The Muse, his sourse to sing; as how his course he steres:
Who from his naturall Spring, as from his neighboring Meres
Sufficiently supply’d, shootes forth his silver breast,
As though he meant to take directly toward the East;
Untill at length it proves he loytreth, but to play
Till Ashbrooke and the Lee o’re-take him on the way,
Which to his journeys end him earnestly doe haste:
Till having got to Wyche, hee taking there a taste
Of her most savory Salt, is by the sacred tuch,
Forc’t faster in his course, his motion quickned much
To North-Wyche: and at last, as hee approacheth neere,
Dane, Whelock drawes, then Crock, from that black ominous Mere,
Accounted one of those that Englands wonders make;
Of neighbours, Black-mere nam’d, of strangers, Breretons-Lake;
Whose property seemes farre from Reasons way to stand:
For, neere before his death that’s owner of the Land,
Shee sends up stocks of trees, that on the top doe float;
By which the world her first did for a wonder note.
His handmayd Howty next, to Weever holds her race:
When Peever with the helpe of Pickmere, make apace
To put-in with those streames his sacred steps that tread,
Into the mighty waste of Mersey him to lead.
Where, when the Rivers meet, with all their stately traine,
Proud Mersey is so great in entring of the Maine,
As hee would make a shewe for Empery to stand,
And wrest the three-forkt Mace from out grym Neptunes hand;
To Cheshire highly bound for that his watry store,
As to the grosser * Loughs on the Lancastrian shore.
From hence he getteth Goyt downe from her Peakish spring,
And Bollen, that along doth nimbler Birkin bring
From Maxfields mightie wildes, of whose shagg’d Sylvans shee
Hath in the Rocks been woo’d, their Paramour to bee:
Who in the darksome holes, and Caverns kept her long,
And that proud Forrest made a party to her wrong.
|Meres, or standing Lakes.|
Yet could not all intreat the pretty Brooke to stay;
Which to her sister streame, sweet Bollen, creeps away.
To whom, upon their road shee pleasantly reports
The many mirthfull jests, and wanton woodish sports
In Maxfield they have had; as of that Forrests fate:
Untill they come at length, where Mersey for more state
Assuming broder banks, himselfe so proudly beares,
That at his sterne approach, extended Wyrrall feares,
That (what betwixt his floods of Mersey, and the Dee)
In very little time devoured he might bee:
Out of the foaming surge till Hilbre lifts his head,
To let the fore-land see how richly he had sped.
Which Mersey cheeres so much, that with a smyling brow
He fawnes on both those Floods; their amorous armes that throw
About his goodly neck, and bar’d their swelling breasts:
On which whilst lull’d with ease, his pleased cheeke he rests,
The Naiades, sitting neere upon the aged Rocks,
Are busied with their combes, to brayd his verdant locks,
Whilst in their crystall eyes he doth for Cupids looke:
But Delamere from them his fancie quickly tooke,
Who shewes her selfe all drest in most delicious flowers;
And sitting like a Queene, sees from her shady Bowers
The wanton Wood-Nymphs mixt with her light-footed Fawnes,
To lead the rurall routs about the goodly Lawnds,
A poëticall description of
As over a Holt and Heath, as thorough b Frith and c Fell;
And oft at Barly-breake, and Prison-base, to tell
(In carrolds as they course) each other all the joyes,
The passages, deceits, the sleights, the amorous toyes
The subtile Sea-Nymphs had, their Wyrralls love to win.
But Weever now againe to warne them doth begin
To leave these triviall toyes, which inly hee did hate,
That neither them beseem’d, nor stood with his estate
(Beeing one that gave him selfe industriously to know
What Monuments our Kings erected long agoe:
To which, the Flood himselfe so wholly did apply,
As though upon his skill, the rest should all rely)
And bent himselfe to shewe, that yet the Britains bold,
Whom the laborious Muse so highly had extold,
Those later Saxon Kings exceld not in their deeds,
And therefore with their praise thus zealously proceeds;
Whilst, the celestiall Powers th’arrived time attend
When o’re this generall Ile the Britaines raigne should end,
And for the spoyling Pict heere prosp’rously had wrought,
Into th’afflicted Land which strong invasion brought,
And to that proud attempt, what yet his power might want,
The ill-disposed heavens, Brutes ofspring to supplant,
a A wood growing on a
hill or knole.
b High wood.
c Lowe coppis.
|the eleventh Song.||175|
Their angry plagues downe-pour’d, insatiate in their waste
(Needs must they fall, whom heaven doth to destruction haste.)
And that which lastly came to consummate the rest,
Those prouder Saxon powers (which liberally they prest
Against th’invading Pict, of purpose hired in)
From those which payd them wage, the Iland soone did win;
And sooner overspred, beeing Masters of the Field;
Those, first for whom they fought, too impotent to wield,
A Land within it selfe that had so great a Foe;
And therefore thought it fit them wisely to bestow:
Which over Severne heere they in the Mountaines shut,
And some upon that poynt of Cornwall forth they put.
Yet forced were they there their stations to defend.
Nor could our men permit the Britains to descend
From Jove or Mars alone; but brought their blood as hie,
§. From Woden, by which name they stiled Mercurie.
Nor were the race of Brute, which ruled heere before,
More zealous to the Gods they brought unto this shore
Then Hengists noble heyres; their Idols that to raise
§. Heere put their German names upon our weekly daies.
These noble Saxons were a Nation hard and strong,
On sundry Lands and Seas, in warfare nuzzled long;
Affliction throughly knew; and in proud Fortunes spight,
Even in the jawes of Death had dar’d her utmost might:
Who under Hengist first, and Horsa, their brave Chiefes,
From Germany arriv’d, and with the strong reliefes
Of th’Angles and the Jutes, them ready to supply,
Which anciently had beene of their affinitie,
By Scythia first sent out, which could not give them meat,
Were forc’t to seeke a soyle wherein themselves to seat.
Them at the last on Dansk their lingring fortune drave,
Where Holst unto their troups sufficient harbor gave.
These with the Saxons went, and fortunatly wan:
Whose Captaine, Hengist, first a kingdome heere began
In Kent; where his great heires, ere other Princes rose
Of Saxonies descent, their fulness to oppose,
With swelling Humbers side their Empire did confine.
And of the rest, not least renowned of their Line,
§. Good Ethelbert of Kent, th’first christned English King,
To preach the faith of Christ, was first did hither bring
Wise Augustine the Monke, from holy Gregory sent.
This most religious King, with most devout intent
That mightie Fane to Paule, in London did erect,
And priviledges gave, this Temple to protect.
His equall then in zeale, came Ercombert againe,
From that first christned King, the second in that raigne.
See, concerning their
coming, to the I. IV. and
The gluttony then us’d severely to suppresse,
And make men fit to prayer (much hindred by excesse)
§. That abstinence from flesh for forty dayes began,
Which by the name of Lent is knowne to every man.
As mighty Hengist heere, by force of Armes had done,
§. So Ella comming in, soone from the Britaines wonne
The Countries neighboring Kent: which lying from the Maine,
Directly to the South did properly obtaine
The Southerne Saxons name; and not the last thereby
Amongst the other raignes which made the Heptarchy:
So in the high descent of that South-Saxon King,
We in the bead-roule heere of our religious bring
Wise Ethelwald: alone who Christian not became,
But willing that his folke should all receive the name,
§. Saint Wilfrid (sent from Yorke) into his Realme receiv’d
(Whom the Northumbrian folke had of his See bereav’d)
And on the South of Thames, a seat did him afford,
By whom that people first receiv’d the saving Word.
As likewise from the loynes of Erchinwin (who rais’d
Th’East-Saxons kingdome first) brave Sebert may be prais’d:
Which, as that King of Kent, had with such cost and state
Built Paules; his Greatness so (this King to imitate)
Began the goodly Church of Westminster to reare:
The Primer English Kings so truly zealous were.
Then * Sebba of his seed, that did them all surpasse,
Who fitter for a shryne then for a scepter was,
(Above the power of flesh, his appetite to sterve
That his desired Christ he strictly might observe)
Even in his height of life, in health, in body strong,
Perswaded with his Queene, a Lady faire and young,
To separate themselves, and in a sole estate,
After religious sort themselves to dedicate.
Whose Nephew Uffa next, inflam’d with his high praise
(Enriching that proud Fane his Grandsire first did raise)
Abandoned the world he found so full of strife,
And after liv’d in Rome a strict religious life.
Nor these our Princes heere, of that pure Saxon straine,
Which tooke unto themselves each one their severall raigne,
For their so godly deeds, deserved greater fame
Then th’Angles their Allies, that hither with them came;
Who sharing-out themselves a kingdome in the East,
With th’Easterne Angles name their circuit did invest,
By Uffa in that part so happily begun:
Whose successors the Crowne for martyrdome have won
From all before or since that ever suffred heere;
§. Redwalds religious sonnes: who for their Saviour deere,
|*Sebba, a Monk in Pauls.|
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By cruell heathenish hands unmercifully slaine,
Amongst us ever-more remembred shall remaine,
And in the roule of Saints must have a speciall roome,
Where Derwald to all times with Erpenwald shall come.
When in that way they went, next Sebert them succeeds,
Scarce seconded againe for sanctimonious deeds:
Who for a private life when he his rule resign’d,
And to his Cloyster long had strictly him confin’d,
A Corslet for his Cowle was glad againe to take
His Country to defend (for his religions sake)
Against proud Penda, com’n with all his Pagan power,
Those christned Angles then of purpose to devour:
And suffring with his folke, by Penda’s heathenish pride,
As hee a Saint had liv’d, a constant Martyr dy’d.
When, after it fell out, that Offa had not long
Held that by cruell force, which Penda got by wrong,
§. Adopting for his heire young Edmond, brought him in,
Even at what time the Danes this Iland sought to win:
Who christned soone became, and as religious growne
As those most heathenish were who set him on his throne,
Did expiate in that place his predecessors guilt,
Which so much Christian blood so cruelly had spilt.
For, taken by the Danes, who did all tortures try,
His Saviour Jesus Christ to force him to deny;
First beating him with bats, but no advantage got,
His body full of shafts then cruelly they shot;
The constant martyr’d King, a Saint thus justly crown’d.
To whom even in that place, that Monument renown’d
Those after-Ages built to his eternall fame.
What English hath not heard * Saint Edmonds Buries name?
As of those Angles heere, so from their loynes againe,
Whose hands hew’d out their way to the West-Sexian raigne
(From Kenrick, or that claime from Cerdick to descend)
A partnership in fame great Ina might pretend
With any King since first the Saxons came to shore.
Of all those christned heere, who highlier did adore
The God-head, then that man? or more that did apply
His power t’advance the Church in true sincerity?
Great Glastenbury then so wondrously decay’d,
Whose old foundation first the ancient Britains lay’d,
He gloriously rebuilt, enriching it with plate,
And many a sumptuous Cope, to uses consecrate:
Ordayning godly lawes for governing this Land,
Of all the Saxon Kings the Solon hee shall stand.
|* In Suffolke.|
From Otta (borne with him who did this Ile invade)
And had a conquest first of the Northumbrians made,
|Otta, brother to Hengist.|
And tributarie long of mightier Hengist held,
Till Ida (after borne) the Kentish power expeld,
And absolutely sate on the Dierian seat,
But afterward resign’d to Ethelfrid the Great:
An Army into Wales who for invasion led,
At Chester and in fight their forces vanquished;
Into their utter spoyle, then publique way to make,
The long Religious house of goodly Bangor brake,
§. And slew a thousand Monks, as they devoutly pray’d.
For which his cruell spoyle upon the Christians made
(Though with the just consent of Christian Saxons slaine)
His blood, the hethenish hands of Redwald did distaine.
That murtherers issue next, this kingdome were exil’d:
And Edwyn tooke the rule; a Prince as just and mild
As th’other faithlesse were: nor could time ever bring
In all the seaven-fold rule an absoluter King;
And more t’advance the fayth, his utmost power that lent:
§. Who reordained Yorke a Bishops government;
And so much lov’d the poore, that in the waies of trade,
Where Fountaines fitly were, hee Iron dishes made,
And fastned them with chaynes the wayfarer to ease,
And the poore Pilgrims thirst, there resting, to appease.
As Mercia, mongst the rest, sought not the least to raise
The saving Christian fayth, nor merits humbler praise.
§. Nor those that from the stem of Saxon Creda came
(The Britains who expulst) were any whit in fame,
For pietie and zeale, behind the others best;
Though heathenish Penda long and proudly did infest
The christned neighboring Kings, and forc’t them all to bow;
Till Oswy made, to God, a most religious vow,
Of his aboundant grace would hee be pleas’d to grant,
That he this Panim Prince in battell might supplant,
A Recluse he would give his daughter and delight,
Sweet Alfled then in youth, and as the Morning, bright:
And having his request, hee gave as hee obtayn’d;
Though his unnaturall hands succeeding Wulpher stayn’d
In his owne childrens blood, whom their deare mother had
§. Confirm’d in Christs beliefe, by that most reverent Chad:
Yet to embrace the fayth when after he began
(For the unnaturalst deed that e’re was done by man)
If possible it were to expiate his guilt,
Heere many a goodly house to holy uses built:
And shee (to purge his crime on her deere children done)
A crowned Queene, for him, became a valed Nun.
What Age a godlier Prince then Etheldred could bring?
Or then our Kinred heere, a more religious King?
|the eleventh Song.||179|
Both taking them the Cowle, th’one heere his flesh did tame,
The other went to Rome, and there a Monke became.
So, Ethelbald may well be set the rest among:
Who, though most vainly given when he was hot and young;
Yet, by the wise reproofe of godly Bishops brought
From those unstay’d delights by which his youth was caught,
Hee all the former Kings of Mercia did exceed,
§. And (through his Rule) the Church from taxes strongly freed.
Then to the Easterne sea, in that deepe watry Fen
(Which seem’d a thing so much impossible to men)
Hee that great Abby built of Crowland; as though hee
Would have no others worke like his foundation bee.
As, Offa greater farre then any him before:
Whose conquests scarcely were suffic’d with all the shore;
But over into Wales adventurously hee shot
His Mercia’s spacious a Meere, and Powsland to it got.
This King, even in that place, where with rude heapes of stones
§. The Britains had interr’d their Proto-martyrs bones,
That goodly Abby built to Alban; as to showe
How much the sonnes of Brute should to the Saxons owe.
But when by powerfull heaven, it was decreed at last,
That all those seaven-fold Rules should into one be cast
|a Offas’s Ditch.|
(Which quickly to a head by b Britriks death was brought)
Then Egbert, who in France had carefully been taught,
Returning home, was King of the West-Sexians made.
Whose people, then most rich and potent, him perswade
(As once it was of old) to Monarchize the Land.
Who following their advise, first with a warlike hand
The Cornish over-came; and thence, with prosperous sailes,
O’re Severne set his powers into the hart of Wales;
And with the Mercians there, a bloody battell wag’d:
Wherein he wan their Rule; and with his wounds enrag’d,
Went on against the rest. Which, sadly when they sawe
How those had sped before, with most subjective awe
Submit them to his sword: who prosperously alone
Reduc’t the seaven-fold Rule, to his peculiar throne
§. (Extirping other stiles) and gave it Englands name
Of th’Angles, from whose race his nobler fathers came.
When scarcely Egbert heere an entire Rule began,
|b Egberts predecessor.|
But instantly the c Dane the Iland over-ran;
A people, that their owne those Saxons payd againe.
For, as the Britaines first they treacherously had slaine,
This third upon their necks a heavier burthen lay’d
Then they had upon those whom falsly they betray’d.
And for each others states, though oft they here did toyle,
§. A people from their first bent naturally to spoyle,
|c See to the first Song.|
That crueltie with them from their beginning brought.
Yet when the Christian fayth in them had throughly wrought,
Of any in the world no story shall us tell,
Which did the Saxon race in pious deeds excell:
That in these drowsie times should I in publique bring
Each great peculiar Act of every godly King,
The world might stand amaz’d in this our Age to see
Those goodly Fanes of theirs, which irreligious wee
Let every day decay; and yet we onely live
By the great Freedoms then those Kings to these did give.
Wise Segbert (worthy praise) preparing us the seat
§. Of famous Cambridge first, then with endowments great
The Muses to maintaine, those Sisters thither brought.
By whose example, next, religious Alfred taught,
Renowned Oxford built t’Apollo’s learned brood;
And on the hallowed banke of Isis goodly Flood,
Worthy the glorious Arts, did gorgeous Bowres provide.
§. He into severall Shires the kingdome did divide.
So, valiant Edgar, first, most happily destroy’d
The multitudes of Wolves, that long the Land annoy’d.
And our good Edward heere, the Confessor and King
(Unto whose sumptuous Shrine our Monarchs offrings bring)
That cankred Evill cur’d, bred twixt the throat and jawes.
When Physick could not find the remedy nor cause,
And much it did afflict his sickly people heere,
Hee of Almightie God obtain’d by earnest pray’r,
This Tumour by a King might cured be alone:
§. Which he an heyre-loome left unto the English Throne.
So, our Saint Edward heere, for Englands generall use,
§. Our Countries Common lawes did faithfully produce,
Both from th’old British writ, and from the Saxon tongue.
Of Forrests, Hills, and Floods, when now a mighty throng
For Audience cry’d aloud; because they late had heard,
That some high Cambrian hills the Wrekin proudly dar’d
With words that very much had stirr’d his rancorous spleene.
Where, though cleere Severne set her Princely selfe betweene
The English and the Welsh, yet could not make them cease.
Heere, Weever, as a Flood affecting godly peace,
His place of speech resignes; and to the Muse refers
The hearing of the Cause, to stickle all these stirs.