❧ The one and twentieth Song.
✼ THE ARGUMENT.
Now from New-market comes the Muse,
y this our little rest, thus having gotten breath,
And fairely in our way, upon Newmarket-Heath:
|That great and ancient * Ditch, which us expected long,
Inspired by the Muse, at her arrivall song:
|The Divels Ditch.|
|O Time, what earthly thing with thee it selfe can trust,
When thou in thine owne course, art to thy selfe unjust!
Dost thou contract with death, and to oblivion give
Thy glories, after them, yet shamefully dar’st live?
O Time, hadst thou preserv’d, what labouring man hath done,
Thou long before this day, mightst to thy selfe have wonne
A Deitie with the gods, and in thy Temple plac’d,
But sacriligious thou, hast all great workes defac’d;
For though the things themselves have suffered by thy theft,
Yet with their Ruines, thou, to ages mightst have left,
|Those Monuments who rear’d, and not have suffred thus
Posteritie so much, t’abuse both thee and us.
I, by th’East Angles first, who from this Heath arose,
The long’st and largest Ditch, to check their Mercian foes;
Because my depth, and breadth, so strangely doth exceed,
Mens low and wretched thoughts, they constantly decreed,
|The great ditch cutting
beginneth at Rech, &
endeth at Cowlidge.
|That by the Devils helpe, I needs must raised be,
Wherefore the Devils-Ditch they basely named me:
When ages long before, I bare Saint Edmonds name,
Because up to my side, (some have supposed) came
The Liberties bequeath’d to his more sacred Shrine.
Therefore my fellow Dykes, ye ancient friends of mine,
That out of earth were raisd, by men whose minds were great,
It is no marvaile, though Oblivion doe you threat.
|First, * Flemditch next my selfe, that art of greatest strength,
That doest extend thy course full seaven large mile in length:
And thou the * Fivemile cald, yet not lesse deare to me;
With * Brenditch, that againe is shortest of the three,
Can you suppose your selves at all to be respected,
When you may see my truth’s bely’d, and so neglected:
Therefore deare Heath, live still in prosperous estate,
And let thy wel-fleec’d Flocks, from morne to evening late,
(By carefull Shepheards kept) rejoyce thee with their praise;
And let the merry Larke, with her delicious layes,
Give comfort to thy plaines, and let me onely lye,
(Though of the world contemn’d) yet gracious in thine eye.
Thus said, these ancient Dykes neglected in their ground,
Through the sad aged earth, sent out a hollow sound,
To gratulate her speech; when as we met againe,
With one whose constant heart, with cruell love was slaine:
Old Gogmagog, a Hill of long and great renowne,
Which neere to Cambridge set, o’rlookes that learned Towne.
Of Balshams pleasant hilles, that by the name was knowne,
But with the monstrous times, he rude and barbarous growne,
A Gyant was become; for man hee cared not,
And so the fearefull name of Gogmagog had got:
Who long had borne good will to most delicious Grant:
But doubting lest some god his greatnesse might supplant.
For as that daintie Flood by Cambridge keepes her course,
He found the Muses left their old Beotian source,
Resorting to her banks, and every little space,
He saw bright Phœbus gaze upon her Christall face,
And through th’exhaled Fogs, with anger looked red,
To leave his loved Nymph, when he went downe to bed.
Wherefore this Hill with love, being fouly overgone:
And one day as he found the lovely Nymph alone,
Thus wooes her; Sweeting mine, if thou mine owne wilt be,
C’have many a pretty gaud, I keepe in store for thee.
A nest of broad-fac’d Owles, and goodly Urchins too;
Nay Nymph take heed of me, when I begin to wooe:
And better yet then this, a Bulchin twa yeares old,
A curld-pate Calfe it is, and oft could have beene sold:
|Alias, Seven mile ditch,
being so much in length
from the East side of the
river Grant to Balsham.
From Hinxston to
Horsheath five miles.
From Melburne to
Fulmer, the shortest of the foure.
|The one and twentieth Song.||21|
|And yet beside all this, c’have goodly Beare-whelps twa,
Full daintie for my Joy, when shee’s dispos’d to play,
And twentie Sowes of Lead, to make our wedding Ring;
Bezides, at Sturbridge Fayre, chill buy thee many a thing:
Chill zmouch thee every morne, before the Sunne can rise,
And looke my manly face, in thy sweet glaring eyes.
Thus said, he smug’d his Beard, and stroked up his hayre,
As one that for her love he thought had offered fayre:
Which to the Muses, Grant did presently report,
Wherewith they many a yeare shall make them wondrous sport.
|When Ringdale in her selfe, a most delicious Dale,
Who having heard too long the barbarous Mountaines tale,
Thus thinketh in her selfe, Shall I be silenc’d, when
Rude Hills, and Ditches, digg’d by discontented men,
Are ayded by the Muse; their Mind’s at large to speake:
Besides my sister Vales supposing me but weake,
Judge meanly of my state, when she no longer stayd,
But in her owne behalfe, thus to the other said.
|The Vale of Ringdale, of
the vulgar falsly called
|What though betwixt two Sheeres, I be by Fortune throwne,
That neither of them both can challenge me her owne,
Yet am I not the lesse, nor lesse my Fame shall be:
Your Figures are but base, when they are set by me;
For Nature in your shapes, notoriously did erre,
But skillfull was in me, cast pure Orbiculer.
Nor can I be compar’d so like to any thing,
By him that would expresse my shape, as to a Ring:
For Nature bent to sport, and various in her trade,
Of all the British Vales, of me a circle made:
For in my very midst, there is a swelling ground,
About which Ceres Nymphs dance many a wanton Round.
The frisking Fairy there, as on the light ayre borne,
Oft runne at Barley-breake upon the eares of Corne;
And catching drops of dew in their lascivious chases,
Doe cast the liquid pearle in one anothers faces.
What they in largenesse have, that beare themselves so hie,
In my most perfect forme, and delicacie, I,
For greatnesse of my graine, and finenesse of my grasse;
This Ile scarce hath a Vale, that Ringdale doth surpasse.
When more she would have said, but suddenly there sprung,
A confident report, that through the Countrey rung,
That Cam her daintiest Flood, long since entituled Grant,
|This Vale standeth part in
Hartfordshire, part in
|Whose fountaine Ashwell crown’d, with many a upright plant.
In sallying on for Ouze, determin’d by the way,
To intertaine her friends the Muses with a Lay.
Wherefore to shew her selfe er’e she to Cambridge came,
Most worthy of that Towne to which she gives the name,
|A famous Village in the
confines of Hartfordshire.
|Takes in her second head, from Linton comming in,
By Shelford having slid, which straightway she doth win:
Then which, a purer Streame, a delicater Brooke,
Bright Phœbus in his course, doth scarcely overlooke.
Thus furnishing her bankes; as sweetly she doth glide
Towards Cambridge, with rich Meads layd forth on either side;
And with the Muses oft, did by the way converse:
Wherefore it her behooves, that something she reherse,
The Sisters that concern’d, who whispered in her eare,
Such things as onely shee, and they themselves should heare,
A wondrous learned Flood; and she that had been long,
(Though silent, in her selfe, yet) vexed at the wrong
Done to Apollo’s Priests, with heavenly fire infused,
Oft by the worthlesse world, unworthily abused:
With whom, in their behalfe, hap ill, or happen well,
Shee meant to have a bout, even in despight of Hell,
When humbly lowting low, her due obedience done,
Thus like a Satyre shee, deliberatly begun.
My Invective, thus quoth she, I onely ayme at you,
(Of what degree soe’r) ye wretched worldly crue,
In all your brainlesse talke, that still direct your drifts
Against the Muses sonnes, and their most sacred gifts,
That hate a Poets name, your vilenesse to advance,
For ever be you damn’d in your dull ignorance.
Slave, he whom thou dost thinke, so meane and poore to be,
Is more then halfe divine, when he is set by thee.
Nay more, I will avow, and justifie him then,
He is a god, compar’d with ordinary men.
His brave and noble heart, here in a heaven doth dwell,
Above those worldly cares, that sinks such sots to hell:
A caitife if there be more viler then thy selfe,
If he through basenesse light upon this worldly pelfe,
The Chimney-sweepe, or he that in the dead of night,
Doth emptie lothsome vaults, may purchase all your right;
When not the greatest King, should he his treasure raine,
The Muses sacred gifts, can possibly obtaine;
No, were he Monarch of the universall earth,
Except that gift from heaven, be breath’d into his birth.
How transitory be those heaps of rotting mud,
Which onely to obtaine, yee make your chiefest good?
Perhaps to your fond sonnes, your ill-got goods yee leave,
You scarcely buried are, but they your hopes deceive.
Have I not knowne a wretch, the purchase of whose ground,
Was valued to be sould, at threescore thousand pound;
That in a little time, in a poore threed-bare coat,
Hath walk’d from place to place, to beg a silly groat?
|The one and twentieth Song.||23|
|When nothing hath of yours, or your base broods been left,
Except poore widdowes cries, to memorize your theft.
That curse the Serpent got in Paradise for hire,
Descend upon you all, from him your devillish Sire,
Groveling upon the earth, to creepe upon your breast,
And licke the lothsome dust, like that abhorred beast.
But leave these hatefull heards, and let me now declare,
In th’Helliconian Fount, who rightly christned are:
Not such as basely sooth the Humour of the Time,
And slubberingly patch up some slight and shallow Rime,
Upon Pernassus top, that strive to be instal’d,
Yet never to that place were by the Muses call’d.
Nor yet our Mimick Apes, out of their bragging pride,
That faine would seeme to be, what nature them denide;
Whose Verses hobling runne, as with disjoynted bones,
And make a viler noyse, then carts upon the stones;
And these forsooth must be, the Muses onely heires,
When they but Bastards are, and foundlings none of theirs,
Inforcing things in Verse for Poesie unfit,
Mere filthy stuffe, that breakes out of the sores of wit:
What Poet reckes the praise upon such Anticks heap’d,
Or envies that their lines, in Cabinets are kept?
Though some fantasticke foole promove their ragged Rymes,
And doe transcribe them o’r a hundred severall times,
And some fond women winnes, to thinke them wondrous rare,
When they lewd beggery trash, nay very gibbrish are.
Give me those Lines (whose touch the skilfull eare to please)
That gliding flow in state, like swelling Euphrates,
In which things naturall be, and not in falsely wrong:
The Sounds are fine and smooth, the Sense is full and strong,
Not bumbasted with words, vaine ticklish eares to feed;
But such as may content the perfect man to read.
What is of Paynters said, is of true Poets rife,
That he which doth expresse things neerest to the life,
Doth touch the very poynt, nor needs he adde thereto:
For that the utmost is, that Art doth strive to doe.
Had Orpheus, whose sweet Harpe (so musically strung)
Intised Trees, and Rocks, to follow him along:
Th’moralitie of which, is that his knowledge drew
The stony, blockish rout, that nought but rudenesse knew,
T’imbrace a civill life, by his inticing Layes.
Had he compos’d his lines, like many of these dayes,
Which to be understood, doe take in it disdaine:
Nay, Oedipus may fayle, to know what they would meane.
If Orpheus had so play’d, not to be understood,
Well might those men have thought the Harper had been wood;
|Who might have sit him downe, the trees and rockes among,
And been a veryer blocke, then those to whom he sung.
O noble Cambridge then, my most beloved Towne,
In glory flourish still, to heighten thy renowne:
|In womans perfect shape, still be thy Embleme right,
Whose one hand holds a Cup, the other beares a Light.
Phocis bedew’d with drops, that from Pernassus fall,
Let Cirrha seeke to her, nor be you least of all,
Yee faire Beotian Thebes, and Thespia still to pay
My Cambridge all her Rites: Cirrhea send this way.
O let the thrice-three Maids, their dewes upon thee raine,
From Aganippa’s fount, and hoofe-plow’d Hyppocrene.
Mount Pindus, thou that art the Muses sacred place
In Thessaly; and thou, O Pimpla, that in Thrace
They chose for their owne hill, then thou Pernassus hye,
Upon whose by-clift top, the sacred company
About Apollo sit; and thou O Flood, with these
Pure Hellicon, belov’d of the Pierides.
With Tempe, let thy walks, and shades, be brought to her,
And all your glorious gifts upon my Towne conferre.
This said, the lovely Grant glides eas’ly on along,
To meet the mighty Ouze, which with her watry throng,
The Cantabrigian fields had entred, taking in
Th’in-Iled Elies earth, which strongly she doth win
From Grants soft-neighbouring grounds, when as the fruitfull Ile,
Much wondring at her selfe, thought surely all this while,
That by her silence shee had suffred too much wrong.
Wherefore in her selfe praise, loe thus the Iland sung.
Of all the Marshland Iles, I Ely am the Queene:
For Winter each where sad, in me lookes fresh and greene.
The Horse, or other beast, o’rway’d with his owne masse,
Lies wallowing in my Fennes, hid over head in grasse:
And in the place where growes ranke Fodder for my Neat;
|The Embleme of
|The Turffe which beares the Hay, is wondrous needfull Peat:
My full and batning earth, needs not the Plowmans paines;
The Rils which runne in me, are like the branched vaines
In humane Bodies seene; those Ditches cut by hand,
From the surrounding Meres, to winne the measured land,
To those choyce waters, I most fitly may compare,
Wherewith nice women use to blanch their Beauties rare.
Hath there a man beene borne in me, that never knew
|Fuell cut out of the earth
in squares, like Brickes.
|Of Watersey the Leame, or th’other cal’d the New.
The Frithdike neer’st my midst, and of another sort,
Who ever fish’d, or fowl’d, that cannot make report
Of sundry Meres at hand, upon my Westerne way,
As Ramsey mere, and Ug, with the great Whittelsey:
|Famous Ditches, or
Water-draughts in the Isle.
|The one and twentieth Song.||25|
|Of the aboundant store of Fish and Fowle there bred,
Which whilst of Europes Iles Great Britaine is the Head.
No Meres shall truely tell, in them, then at one draught,
More store of either kinds hath with the Net been caught:
Which though some pettie Iles doe challenge them to be
Their owne, yet must those Iles likwise acknowledge me
Their soveraigne. Nor yet let that Islet Ramsey shame,
|Although to Ramsey-Mere shee onely gives the name;
* Nor Huntingdon, to me though she extend her grounds,
Twit me that I at all usurpe upon her Bounds.
Those Meres may well be proud, that I will take them in,
Which otherwise perhaps forgotten might have bin.
Though Ely be in part of
Cambridge Shire, yet are
these Meres for the most
part in Huntingdon Shire.
Besides my towred Phane, and my rich Citied seat,
With Villages, and Dorpes, to make me most compleat.
Thus broke she off her speech, when as the Muse awhile,
Desirous to repose, and rest her with the Ile,
Here consumates her Song, and doth fresh courage take,
With warre in the next Booke, the Muses to awake.
|The Towne and Church of Ely.|