❧ The fourteenth Song.
✼ THE ARGUMENT.
Her sundry straines the Muse to prove,
t length, attain’d those Lands that South of Severne lye,
As to the varying Earth the Muse doth her apply,
Poore Sheep-hook and plaine Goad, she many times doth
Then in a Buskind strain she instantly doth bound. (sound:
Smooth as the lowly streame, shee softly now doth glide:
And with the Mountaines straight contendeth in her pride.
Now back againe I turne, the Land with mee to take,
From the Staffordian heaths as * Stour her course doth make.
Which Clent, from his proud top, contentedly doth view:
But yet the aged Hill, immoderatly doth rew
His loved Feckn’hams fall, and doth her state bemoane;
To please his amorous eye, whose like the world had none.
For, from her very youth, he (then an aged Hill)
Had to that Forrest-Nymph a speciall lyking still:
The least regard of him who never seemes to take,
But suffreth in her selfe for Salwarp’s onely sake;
And on that River doats, as much as Clent on her.
Now, when the Hill perceiv’d, the Flood she would prefer,
All pleasure he forsakes; that at the full-bagd Cow,
Or at the curle-fac’t Bull, when venting he doth low,
Or at th’unhappy wags, which let their Cattell stray,
At Nine-holes on the heath whilst they together play,
* Running by Sturbridge
in Worstershire, towards
He never seemes to smile; nor ever taketh keepe
To heare the harmlesse Swaine pype to his grazing sheepe:
Nor to the Carters tune, in whistling to his Teame;
Nor lends his listning eare (once) to the ambling Streame,
That in the evening calme against the stones doth rush
With such a murmuring noyse, as it would seeme to hush
The silent Meads asleepe; but, voyd of all delight,
Remedilesly drown’d in sorrow day and night,
Nor Licky his Allie and neighbour doth respect:
And there-with beeing charg’d, thus answereth in effect;
That d Lickey to his height seem’d slowly but to rise,
And that in length and bredth he all extended lyes,
Nor doth like other hills to suddaine sharpnesse mount,
That of their kingly kind they scarce can him account;
Though by his swelling soyle set in so high a place,
That Malverns mightie selfe he seemeth to out-face.
Whilst Clent and Licky thus, doe both expresse their pride,
As Salwarpe slips along by Feck’nhams shady side,
d The Lickey, supposed to
be the highest ground of
this Ile not being a
That Forrest him affects in wandring to the Wych:
But he, himselfe by Salts there seeking to enrich,
His Feck’nham quite forgets; from all affection free.
But she, that to the Flood most constant meanes to be,
More prodigally gives her woods to those strong fires
Which boyle the source to Salts. Which Clent so much admires,
That love, and her disdaine, to madness him provoke:
When to the Wood-Nymph thus the jealous Mountaine spoke;
Fond Nymph, thy twisted curles, on which were all my care,
Thou lett’st the Furnace waste; that miserably bare
I hope to see thee left, which so doost mee despise;
Whose beauties many a morne have blest my longing eyes:
And, till the wearie Sunne sunk downe unto the West,
Thou still my object wast, thou once my onely best.
The time shall quickly come, thy Groves and pleasant Springs,
Where to the mirthfull Merle the warbling Mavis sings,
The painfull laborers hand shall stock the roots, to burne;
The branch and body spent, yet could not serve his turne.
Which when, most wilfull Nymph, thy chaunce shal be to see,
Too late thou shalt repent thy small regard of mee.
But Saltwarpe downe from Wyche his nimbler feet doth ply,
Great Severne to attend, along to Teuksbury,
With others to partake the joy that there is seene,
The Salt Fountaine of
When beautious Avon comes unto her soveraigne e Queene.
Heere downe from Evshams Vale, their greatnesse to attend,
Comes Swilliat sweeping in, which Cotswold downe doth send:
And Garran there arrives, the great recourse to see.
Where thus together met, with most delightfull glee,
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The cheerfull Nymphs that haunt the Valley rank and lowe
(Where full Pomona seemes most plentiously to flowe,
And with her fruitery swells by Pershore, in her pride)
Amongst the batfull Meads on Severns either side,
To these their confluent Floods, full Boaules of Pery brought:
Where, to each others health past many a deep-fetcht draught,
And many a sound Carouse from friend to friend doth goe.
Thus whilst the mellowed Earth with her owne juice doth flowe,
Inflamed with excesse the lustie pampred Vale,
In praise of her great selfe, thus frames her glorious tale;
I doubt not but some Vale enough for us hath said,
To answer them that most with basenesse us upbray’d;
Those high presumptuous Hills, which bend their utmost might,
Us onely to deject, in their inveterate spight:
But I would have them thinke, that I (which am the Queene
Of all the British Vales, and so have ever beene
Since Gomers Giant-brood inhabited this Ile,
And that of all the rest, my selfe may so enstile)
Against the highest Hill dare put my selfe for place,
That ever threatned Heaven with the austerest face.
And for our praise, then thus; What Fountaine send they forth
(That finds a Rivers name, though of the smallest worth)
But it invales it selfe, and on it either side
Doth make those fruitfull Meads, which with their painted pride
Imbroader his proud Banke? whilst in lascivious Gyres
He swiftly sallieth out, and suddainly retyres
In sundry works and trailes, now shallowe, and then deepe,
Searching the spacious shores, as though it meant to sweepe
Their sweets with it away, with which they are repleat.
And men, first building Townes, themselves did wisely seat
Still in the bountious Vale: whose burthened Pasture beares
The most aboundant swathe, whose Gleabe such goodly eares,
As to the weightie sheafe with sythe or sickle cut,
When as his hardned hand the Labourer comes to put,
Sinks him in his owne sweat, which it but hardly wields:
And on the Corne-strew’d Lands, then in the stubble fields,
There feed the Heards of Neat, by them the Flocks of Sheep,
Seeking the scatt’red Corne upon the ridges steepe:
And in the furrowe by (where Ceres lyes much spild)
Th’unweldy larding Swine his mawe then having fild,
Lies wallowing in the myre, thence able scarce to rise.
When as those monstrous Hills so much that us despise
(The Mountaine, which forsooth the lowly Valley mocks)
Have nothing in the world upon their barren Rocks,
But greedy clambring Goats, and Conies, banisht quite
From every fertill place; as Rascals, that delight
In base and barren plots, and at good earth repine.
And though in Winter we to moysture much incline,
Yet those that be our owne, and dwell upon our Land,
When twixt their burly Stacks, and full-stuft Barnes they stand,
Into the softer Clay as easely they doe sinke,
Pluck up their heavie feet, with lighter spirits, to thinke
That Autumne shall produce, to recompence their toyle,
A rich and goodly croppe from that unpleasant soyle.
And from that envious Foe which seekes us to deprave,
Though much against his will this good we cleerly have,
We still are highly prais’d, and honor’d by his hight.
For, who will us survey, their cleere and judging sight
May see us thence at full: which else the searchingst eye,
By reason that so flat and levelled we lie,
Could never throughly view, our selves nor could we showe.
Yet more; what lofty Hills to humble Valleys owe,
And what high grace they have which neere to us are plac’t,
In * Breedon may be seene, beeing amorously imbrac’t
In cincture of mine armes. Who though he doe not vaunt
His head like those that looke as they would Heaven supplant:
Yet let them wisely note, in what excessive pride
He in my bosome sits; while him on every side
With my delicious sweets and delicates I trym.
And when great Malvern looks most terrible and grym,
Hee with a pleased brow continually doth smile.
Heere Breedon, having heard his praises all the while,
Grew insolently proud; and doth upon him take
Such state, as he would seeme but small account to make
Of Malvern, or of Mein. So that the wiser Vale,
To his instruction turnes the processe of her tale.
T’avoyd the greaters wrath, and shunne the meaners hate,
Quoth shee, take my advice, abandon idle state;
And by that way I goe, doe thou thy course contrive:
Give others leave to vaunt, and let us closely thrive.
Whilst idly but for place the loftie Mountaines toyle,
Let us have store of graine, and quantity of soyle.
To what end serve their tops (that seeme to threat the skie)
But to be rent with stormes? whilst we in safety lie.
Their Rocks but barren be, and they which rashly clime,
Stand most in Envies sight, the fairest prey for Time.
And when the lowely Vales are clad in Sommers greene,
The grisled Winters snowe upon their heads is seene.
Of all the Hills I knowe, let Mein thy patterne bee:
Who though his site be such as seemes to equall thee,
And destitute of nought that Arden him can yeeld;
Nor of th’especiall grace of many a goodly field;
* A Hill invironed on
every side with the Vale
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Nor of deere Cliffords seat (the place of health and sport)
Which many a time hath been the Muses quiet Port.
Yet brags not he of that, nor of himselfe esteemes
The more for his faire site; but richer then he seemes,
Clad in a gowne of Grasse, so soft and wondrous warme,
As him the Sommers heat, nor Winters cold can harme.
Of whom I well may say, as I may speake of thee;
From either of your tops, that who beholdeth mee,
To Paradise may thinke a second hee had found,
If any like the first were ever on the ground.
Her long and zealous speech thus Evsham doth conclude:
When straight the active Muse industriously pursu’d
This noble Countries praise, as matter still did rise.
For Gloster in times past her selfe did highly prize,
When in her pride of strength she nourisht goodly Vines,
§. And oft her cares represt with her delicious Wines.
But, now th’All-cheering Sun the colder soyle deceaves,
§. And us (heere tow’rds the Pole) still falling South-ward leaves:
So that the sullen earth th’effect thereof doth prove;
According to their Books, who hold that he doth move
From his first Zeniths poynt; the cause we feele his want.
But of her Vines depriv’d, now Gloster learnes to plant
The Peare-tree every where: whose fruit shee straines for juce,
That her pur’st Pery is, which first shee did produce
From Worstershire, and there is common as the fields;
Which naturally that soyle in most aboundance yeelds.
But the laborious Muse, which still new worke assaies,
Here sallyeth through the slades, where beautious Severne playes,
Untill that River gets her Glosters wished sight:
Where, she her streame divides, that with the more delight
Shee might behold the Towne, of which shee’s wondrous proud:
Then takes shee in the Frome, then Cam, and next the Strowd,
As thence upon her course she wantonly doth straine.
Supposing then her selfe a Sea-god by her traine,
Shee Neptune-like doth float upon the bracky Marsh.
Where, least shee should become too combersome and harsh,
Faire Micklewood (a Nymph, long honor’d for a Chase,
Contending to have stood the high’st in Severns grace,
Of any of the Dryad’s there bordring on her shore)
With her coole amorous shades, and all her Sylvan store,
To please the goodly Flood imployes her utmost powers,
Supposing the proud Nymph might like her woody Bowers.
But Severne (on her way) so large and head-strong grew,
That shee the Wood-Nymph scornes, and Avon doth pursue;
A River with no lesse then goodly Kings-wood crown’d,
A Forrest and a Flood by eithers fame renown’d;
And each with others pride and beautie much bewitcht;
Besides, with Bristowes state both wondrously enricht.
Which soone to Severne sent th’report of that faire Road
(So burthened still with Barks, as it would over-load
Great Neptune with the weight) whose fame so farre doth ring.
When as that mightie Flood, most bravely florishing,
Like Thetis goodlie selfe, majestically glides;
Upon her spacious breast tossing the surgefull Tydes,
To have the River see the state to which shee growes,
And how much to her Queene the beautious Avon owes.
But, noble Muse, proceed immediatly to tell
How Evshams fertile Vale at first in liking fell
With Cotswold, that great King of Shepheards: whose proud site
When that faire Vale first saw, so nourisht her delight,
That him she onely lov’d: for wisely shee beheld
The beauties cleane throughout that on his sur-face dweld:
Of just and equall height two banks arising, which
Grew poore (as it should seeme) to make some Valley rich:
Betwixt them thrusting out an Elbowe of such height,
As shrowds the lower soyle; which, shadowed from the light,
Shootes forth a little Grove, that in the Sommers day
Invites the Flocks, for shade that to the Covert stray.
A Hill there holds his head, as though it told a tale,
Or stooped to looke downe, or whisper with a Vale;
Where little purling winds like wantons seeme to dally,
And skip from Bank to Banke, from Valley trip to Valley.
Such sundry shapes of soyle where Nature doth devise,
That she may rather seeme fantasticall, then wise.
T’whom Sarum’s Plaine gives place: though famous for her Flocks,
Yet hardly doth she tythe our Cotswolds wealthy locks.
Though Lemster him exceed for finenesse of her ore,
Yet quite he puts her downe for his aboundant store.
A match so fit as hee, contenting to her mind,
Few Vales (as I suppose) like Evsham hapt to find:
Nor any other Wold, like Cotswold ever sped,
So faire and rich a Vale by fortuning to wed.
Hee hath the goodly Wooll, and shee the wealthy Graine:
Through which they wisely seeme their houshold to maintaine.
He hath pure wholesome Ayre, and daintie crystall Springs.
To those delights of his, shee daily profit brings:
As to his large expense, she multiplies her heapes:
Nor can his Flocks devour th’aboundance that shee reaps;
As th’one with what it hath, the other strove to grace.
And, now that every thing may in the proper place
Most aptly be contriv’d, the Sheepe our Wold doth breed
(The simplest though it seeme) shall our description need,
A nice description of
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And Shepheard-like, the Muse thus of that kind doth speak;
No browne, nor sullyed black the face or legs doth streak,
Like those of Moreland, Cank, or of the Cambrian hills
That lightly laden are: but Cotswold wisely fills
Her with the whitest kind: whose browes so woolly be,
As men in her faire Sheepe no emptiness should see.
The Staple deepe and thick, through, to the very graine,
Most strongly keepeth out the violentest raine:
A body long and large, the buttocks equall broad;
As fit to under-goe the full and weightie load.
And of the fleecie face, the flanke doth nothing lack,
But every-where is stor’d; the belly, as the back.
The faire and goodly Flock, the Shepheards onely pride,
As white as Winters snowe, when from the Rivers side
He drives his new-washt Sheepe; or on the Sheering day,
When as the lusty Ram, with those rich spoyles of May
His crooked hornes hath crown’d; the Bell-weather, so brave
As none in all the Flock they like themselves would have.
But Muse, returne to tell, how there the Sheepheards King,
Whose Flock hath chanc’t that yeere the earliest Lambe to bring,
In his gay Bauldrick sits at his lowe grassie Bord,
With Flawns, Curds, Clowted-creame, and Country dainties stor’d:
And, whilst the Bag-pipe playes, each lustie jocund Swaine
Quaffes Sillibubs in Kans, to all upon the Plaine,
And to their Country-Girles, whose Nosegayes they doe weare.
Some Roundelayes doe sing: the rest, the burthen beare.
But Cotswold, be this spoke to th’onely praise of thee,
That thou of all the rest, the chosen soyle should’st bee,
Faire Isis to bring-forth (the Mother of great Tames)
With those delicious Brooks, by whose immortall streames
Her greatnesse is begunne: so that our Rivers King,
When he his long Descent shall from his Bel-sires bring,
Must needs (Great Pastures Prince) derive his stem by thee,
From kingly Cotswolds selfe, sprung of the third degree:
As th’old worlds Heroës wont, that in the times of yore,
On Neptune, Joue, and Mars, themselves so highly bore.
But easely from her source as Isis gently dades;
Unto her present ayde, downe through the deeper slades,
The nimbler footed Churne, by Cisseter doth slide;
And first at Greeklade gets preheminence, to guide
Queene Isis on her way, ere shee receive her traine.
Cleere Colne, and lively Leech, so downe from Cotswolds Plaine,
At Leechlade linking hands, come likewise to support
The Mother of great Tames. When, seeing the resort,
From Cotswold Windrush scowres; and with her selfe doth cast
The Traine to over-take, and therefore hies her fast
|The fountaine of Thames, rising in the South of Cotswold.|
Through the Oxfordian fields; when (as the last of all
Those Floods, that into Tames out of our Cotswold fall,
And farth’st unto the North) bright Enload forth doth beare.
For, though it had been long, at length she came to heare
That Isis was to Tame in wedlock to be ti’d:
And therefore shee prepar’d t’attend upon the Bride;
Expecting, at the Feast, past ordinarie grace.
And beeing neere of kinne to that most Spring-full place,
Where out of Blockleys banks so many Fountaines flowe,
That cleane throughout his soyle proud Cotswold cannot showe
The like: as though from farre, his long and many Hills,
There emptied all their vaines, where-with those Founts hee fills,
Which in the greatest drought so brimfull still doe float,
Sent through the rifted Rocks with such an open throat,
As though the Cleeves consum’d in humor; they alone,
So crystalline and cold, as hardneth stick to stone.
But whilst this while we talke, the farre divulged fame
Of this great Bridale tow’rd, in Phœbus mightie name
Doth bid the Muse make haste, and to the Bride-house speed;
Of her attendance there least they should stand in need.