Song 16


The sixteenth Song.


Olde Ver, neere to Saint Albans, brings
Watling to talk of auncient things;
What Verlam was before she fell,
And many more sad ruines tell.
Of the foure old Emperiall Waies,
The course they held, and too what Seas;
Of those seaven Saxon Kingdomes here,
Their sites, and how they bounded were.
Then Pure-vale vants her rich estate:
And Lea bewraies her wretched Fate.
The Muse, led on with much delight,
Delivers Londons happy site;
Showes this loose Ages leud abuse:
And for this time there staies the Muse.

he Brydall of our Tame and Princely Isis past:
And Tamesis their sonne, begot, and wexing fast,
Inviteth Crystill * Colne his wealth on him to lay,
Whose beauties had intic’t his Soveraine Tames to stay, The river run-
ning by
Uxbridge and Col-
Had he not been inforc’t, by his unruly traine.
For Brent, a pretty Brook, allures him on againe,
Great London to salute, whose hie-rear’d Turrets throng
To gaze upon the Flood, as he doth passe along.
Now, as the Tames is great, so most transparent Colne
Feeles, with excessive joy, her amorous bosome swolne,
That Ver of long esteem’d, a famous auncient Flood
(Upon whose aged Bank olde Verlamchester stood,
Before the Roman rule) here glorify’d of yore,
Unto her cleerer banks contributed his store;
Enlarging both her streame, and strengthening his renowne,
Where the delicious Meads her through her course doe crown.
This * Ver (as I have said) Colnes tributary brook,
On Verlams ruin’d walles as sadly he doth look,
Neere Holy Albans Towne, where his rich shrine was set,
Old Watling in his way the Flood doth over-get.
The little cleer river by
Saint Albans.
Where after reverence done, Ver quoth the Ancient Street
Tis long since thou and I first in this place did meet.
And so it is quoth Ver, and we have liv’d to see
Things in farre better state then at this time they be:
But he that made, amend: for much their goes amisse.
Quoth Watling, gentle flood, yea so in truth it is:
And since of this thou speakst; the very sooth to say,
Since Great Mulmutius, first, made me the noblest Way,
The soyle is altered much: the cause I pray thee showe.
The time that thou hast liv’d, hath taught thee much to knowe.
I faine would understand, why this delightfull place,
In former time that stood so hie in Natures grace
(Which bare such store of graine, and that so wondrous great,
That all the neighboring Coast was cald the * soyle of wheate)
Of later time is turn’d a hotte and hungry sand,
Which scarce repayes the seed first cast into the Land.
At which the silent brooke shrunk-in his silver head,
And fain’d as he away would instantly have fled;
Suspecting, present speech might passed griefe renew.
Whom Watling thus againe doth seriously pursue;
I pray thee be not coy, but answere my demand:
The cause of this (deer Flood) I faine would understand.
§. Thou saw’st when Verlam once her head aloft did beare
(Which in her cinders now lies sadly buried heere)
With Alablaster, Tuch, and Porphery adorn’d,
When (welneare) in her pride great Troynovant she scorn’d.
§. Thou sawest great-burthen’d Ships through these thy valleyes pass,
Where now the sharp-edg’d Sithe sheeres up the spyring grasse:
That where the ugly Seale and Porpose u’sd to play,
The Grashopper and Ant now lord it all the day:
Where now Saint Albans stands was called Holme-hurst then;
Whose sumptuous Fane we see neglected now agen.
This rich and goodly Fane which ruind thou doest see,
Quoth Ver, the motive is that thou importun’st me:
But to another thing thou cunningly doest flie,
And reason seem’st to urge of her sterilitie.
With that he fetcht a sigh, and ground his teeth in rage;
Quoth Ver even for the sin of this accursed Age.
Behold that goodly Fane, which ruind now doth stand,
* Whethamsted.
To holy * Albon built, first Martyr of the Land;
Who in the faith of Christ from Rome to Britanne came,
And dying in this place, resign’d his glorious Name.
In memory of whom, (as more then halfe Divine)
Our English Offa rear’d a rich and sumptuous shrine
And Monastary heere: which our succeding kings,
From time to time endow’d with many goodly things.
Look before to the XI.
the sixteenth Song. 247
And many a Christian Knight was buried heere, before
The Norman set his foote upon this conquered shore;
And after those brave spirits in all those balefull stowres,
That with Duke * Robert went against the Pagan powers,
And in their Countries right at Cressy those that stood,
And that at Poyters bath’d their bilbowes in French blood;
Their valiant Nephewes next at Agin-court that fought,
Whereas rebellious France upon her knees was brought:
In this religious house at some of their returns,
When nature claym’d her due, here plac’t their hallowed urnes:
Which now devowring Time, in his so mighty waste,
Demolishing those walls, hath utterly defac’t.
So that the earth to feele the ruinous heaps of stones,
That with the burth’nous weight now presse their sacred boanes,
Forbids this wicked brood, should by her fruits be fed;
As loathing her owne womb, that such loose children bred.
Herewith transported quite, to these exclaimes he fell:
Lives no man, that this world her grievous crimes dare tell?
Where be those noble spirits for ancient things that stood?
When in my prime of youth I was a gallant flood;
In those free golden dayes, it was the Satyres use
To taxe the guilty times, and raile upon abuse:
But soothers find the way preferment most to win;
Who serving Great mens turnes, become the bauds to sin.
When Watling in his words that tooke but small delight,
Hearing the angry Brook so cruelly to bite;
As one that faine would drive these fancies from his mind,
Quoth he, Ile tell thee things that sute thy gentler kind.
My Song is of my selfe, and my three sister Streets,
Which way each of us runne, where each his fellow meets,
Since us, his Kingly Waies, Mulmutius first began,
From Sea, againe to Sea, that through the Iland ran.
Which that in mind to keep posterity might have,
Appointing first our course, this priviledge he gave,
That no man might arrest, or debtors goods might seize
In any of us fowre his militarie Waies.
And though the Fosse in length exceed me many a mile,
That holds from shore to shore the length of all the Ile,
From where Rich Cornwall points, to the Iberian Seas,
Till colder Cathnes tells the scattered Orcades,
I measuring but the bredth, that is not halfe his gate;
With the eldest sonne of
the Conquerour, into the
Yet, for that I am grac’t with goodly Londons state,
And Tames and Severne both since in my course I crosse,
And in much greater trade; am worthier farre then Fosse.
But ô unhappie chance! through times disastrous lot,
Our other fellow Streets lie utterly forgot:
Watling, the chiefest of
the foure great Waies.
As Icning, that set out from Yarmouth in the East,
By the Iceni then being generally possest,
Was of that people first tearm’d Icning in her race,
Upon the * Chiltern here that did my course imbrace:
Into the dropping South and bearing then outright,
Upon the Solent Sea stopt on the Ile-of-Wight.
And Rickneld, forth that raught from Cambria’s farther shore,
Where South-Wales now shoots forth Saint David’s Promontore.
And, on his mid-way neere, did me in England meet;
Then in his oblique course the lusty stragling Street
Soone overtook the Fosse; and toward the fall of Tine,
Into the Germane Sea dissolv’d at his decline.
Here Watling would haue ceast, his tale as having tolde:
But now this Flood that faine the Street in talke would hold,
Those ancient things to heare, which well old Watling knew,
With these entising words, her fairely forward drew.
Right Noble Street, quoth he, thou hast liv’d long, gone farre,
Much trafique had in peace, much travailed in warre;
And in thy larger course survay’st as sundry grounds
(Where I poore Flood am lockt within these narrower bounds,
And like my ruin’d selfe these ruins only see,
And there remains not one to pittie them or me)
On with thy former speech: I pray thee somwhat say.
For, Watling, as thou art a military Way,
Thy story of old Streets likes me so wondrous well,
That of the ancient folk I faine would heare thee tell.
With these perswasive words, smooth Ver the Watling wan:
Stroking her dusty face, when thus the Street began;
When once their seaven-fold Rule the Saxons came to reare,
And yet with halfe this Ile sufficed scarcely were,
Though from the Inland part the Britans they had chas’t,
Then understand how heere themselves the Saxons plac’t.
Where in Great Britans state foure people of her owne
Were by the severall names of their abodes well knowne
(As, in that horne which juttes into the Sea so farre,
Wherein our Devonshire now, and furthest Cornewall are,
The old Danmonii dwelt: so hard againe at hand,
The Durotriges sat on the Dorsetian Sand:
And where from Sea to Sea the Belgæ forth were let,
Not farre from Dunstable.
Even from Southhamptons shore, through Wilt and Sommerset,
The Attrebates in Bark unto the Bank of Tames,
Betwixt the Celtick sleeve and the Sabrinian streames)
The Saxons there set down one Kingdome: which install’d,
And being West, they it their Westerne kingdom call’d.
So Eastward where by Tames the Trinobants were set,
To Trinovant their Towne, for that their name in debt,
For a more plaine division
of the English kingdomes
see to the XI. Song.
the sixteenth Song. 249
That London now we tearme, the Saxons did possesse,
And their East kingdome call’d, as * Essex doth expresse;
The greatest part thereof, and still their name doth beare;
Though Middlesex therein, and part of Hartford were;
* So call’d, of the East-
From Colne upon the West, upon the East to * Stour,
Where mighty Tames himselfe doth into Neptune pour.
As to our farthest Rise, where forth those Fore-lands leane,
Which beare their chaulky browes into the German Maine,
The Angles which arose out of the Saxon race,
Allur’d with the delights and fitnes of that place,
Where the Iceni liv’d did set their kingdome downe,
From where the wallowing Seas those queachy Washes drowne
That Ely doe in-Ile, to martyred Edmonds Ditch,
Till those Norfolcian shores vast Neptune doth inrich:
Which (farthest to the East of this divided Ile)
Th’East Angles kingdome, then, those English did instile.
And Sussex seemeth still, as with an open mouth,
Those Saxons Rule to shew that of the utmost South
The name to them assum’d, who rigorously expeld
The Kentish Britans thence, and those rough wood-lands held
From where the goodly Tames the Surrian grounds doth sweep,
Untill the smiling Downes salute the Celtick Deep.
Where the Dobuni dwelt, their neighbouring Cateuclani,
Cornavii more remote, and where the Coritani,
Where Dee and Mersey shoot into the Irish Sea;
(Which welneere o’re this part, now called England, lay,
From Severne to the Ditch that cuts New-Market Plaine,
And from the Banks of Tames to Humber, which containe
So many goodly shires of Mersey, Mercia hight)
Their mightier Empire, there, the middle English pight.
Which farthest though it raught, yet there it did not end:
But Offa, king thereof, it after did extend
Beyond the Bank of Dee; and by a Ditch he cut
Through Wales from North to South, into wide Mercia put
Welneere the halfe thereof: and from three peoples there,
To whom three speciall parts divided justly were
(The Ordovices, now which North-Wales people be,
From Cheshire which of old divided was by Dee:
And from our Marchers now, that were Demetæ then;
And those Silures call’d, by us the South-Wales men)
Beyond the Severne, much the English Offa took,
To shut the Britans up, within a little nooke.
From whence, by Merseyes Banks, the rest a kingdome made:
Where, in the Britanes Rule (before) the Brigants sway’d;
The powerfull English there establisht were to stand:
Which, North from Humber set, they tearm’d North-humberland;
* A River upon the
Confines of Suff. and
Two Kingdomes which had been, with severall thrones install’d.
Bernitia hight the one; Diera th’other call’d.
The first from Humber stretcht unto the Bank of Tine:
Which River and the Frith the other did confine.
Bernitia beareth through the spacious Yorkish bounds,
From Durham down along to the Lancastrian * Sounds,
With Mersey and cleere Tine continuing to their fall,
To England-ward within the Pict’s renowned Wall,
* Sea-depths neer the
And did the greater part of * Cumberland containe:
With whom the Britans name for ever shall remaine;
Who there amongst the rocks and mountaines lived long,
When they Loegria left, inforc’t through powerfull wrong.
Diera over Tine, into Albania lay,
The Cymbries Land.
To where the * Frith falls out into the German Sea.
This said, the aged Street sagd sadly on alone:
And Ver upon his course, now hasted to be gone
T’accompany his Colne: which as she gently glides,
Doth kindly him imbrace: whom soon this hap betides;
As Colne come on along, and chanc’t to cast her eye
Upon that neighbouring Hill where Harrow stands so hie,
* A river running by
Edenbrough into the Sea.
She Peryvale perceiv’d prankt up with wreaths of wheat,
And with exulting tearmes thus glorying in her seat;
Why should not I be coy, and of my Beauties nice,
Since this my goodly graine is held of greatest price?
No manchet can so well the courtly palat please,
As that made of the meale fetcht from my fertill Leaze.
Their finest of that kind, compared with my wheate,
For whitenesse of the Bread, doth look like common Cheate.
What Barly is there found, whose faire and bearded eare
Makes stouter English Ale, or stronger English Beere.
The Oate, the Beane, and Pease, with me but Pulses are;
The course and browner Rye, no more then Fitch and Tare.
What seed doth any soyle, in England bring, that I
Beyond her most increase yet cannot multiply.
Besides; my sure abode next goodly London is,
To vent my fruitfull store, that me doth never misse.
And those poore baser things, they cannot put away,
How ere I set my price, nere on my chap-men stay.
When presently the Hill, that maketh her a Vale,
With things he had in hand, did interrupt her tale,
With Hampsted being falne and Hie-gate at debate;
As one before them both, that would advance his State,
From either for his height to beare away the praise,
Besides that he alone rich Peryvale survaies.
Peryvale, or Pure-vale,
yeeldeth the finest meal,
of England.
But Hampsted pleads, himselfe in Simples to have skill,
And therefore by desert to be the noblest Hill;
Hampsted excellent for
the sixteenth Song. 251
As one, that on his worth, and knowledge doth rely
In learned Physicks use, and skilfull Surgerie;
And challengeth, from them, the worthiest place her owne,
Since that old Watling once, o’re him, to passe was knowne.
Then Hie-gate boasts his Way; which men do most frequent;
His long-continued fame; his hie and great descent;
Appointed for a gate of London to have been,
When first the mighty Brute, that City did begin.
And that he is the Hill, next Enfield which hath place,
A Forrest for her pride, though titled but a Chase.
Her Purlewes, and her Parks, her circuit full as large,
As some (perhaps) whose state requires a greater charge.
Hampsted-hill, famous for Simples.
Whose * Holts that view the East, do wistly stand to look
Upon the winding course of Lee’s delightfull Brook.
Where Mimer comming in, invites her Sister Beane,
Amongst the chalky Banks t’increase their Mistresse traine;
Whom by the dainty hand, obsequiously they lead
(By Hartford gliding on, through many a pleasant Mead.
And comming in hir course, to crosse the common Fare,
For kindnes she doth kisse that hospitable Ware.)
Yet scarsely comfort Lee (alasse!) so woe begonne,
Complaining in her course, thus to her selfe alone;
How should my beauty now give Waltham such delight,
Or I poore silly Brook take pleasure in her sight?
Antiquity (for that it stands so far from view,
And would her doating dreames should be believ’d for true)
Dare lowdly lie for Colne, that somtimes Ships did passe,
To Verlam by her Streame, when Verlam famous was;
But, by these later times, suspected but to faine,
She Planks and Anchors shews, her errour to maintaine;
Which were, indeede, of Boats, for pleasure there to rowe
Upon her (then a Lake) the Roman Pompe to showe,
When Rome, her forces here did every yeere supply,
And at old Verlam kept a warlike Colony.
But I distressed Lee, whose course doth plainely tell,
That what of Colne is said, of me none could refell,
High woody Banks.
Whom * Alfred but too wise (poore River) I may say
(When he the cruell Danes, did cunningly betray,
Which Hartford then besieg’d, whose Navy there abode,
And on my spacious brest, before the Castle road)
By vantage of my soyle, he did divide my Streame;
That they might ne’re returne to Neptunes watry Realme.
And, since, distressed Lee I have been left forlorne,
A by-word to each Brook, and to the World a scorne.
When Sturt, a Nymph of hers (whose faith she oft had prov’d,
And whom, of all her traine, Lee most intirely lov’d)
See to the XII. Song.
Least so excessive greefe, her Mistresse might invade,
Thus (by faire gentle speech) to patience doth perswade:
Though you be not so great to others as before,
Yet not a jot for that dislike your selfe the more.
Your case is not alone, nor is (at all) so strange;
Sith every thing on earth subjects it selfe to change.
Where rivers sometime ran, is firme and certaine ground:
And where before were Hills, now standing Lakes are found.
And that which most you urge, your beauty to dispoile,
Doth recompence your Bank, with quantitie of soyle,
Beset with ranks of Swans; that, in their wonted pride,
Do prune their snowy plumes upon your pleasant side.
And Waltham wooes you still, and smiles with wonted cheere:
And Tames as at the first, so still doth hold you deer.
To much beloved Lee, this scarcely Sturt had spoke,
But goodly Londons sight their further purpose broke:
When Tames his either Banks, adorn’d with buildings faire,
The City to salute doth bid the Muse prepare.
Whose Turrets, Fanes, and Spyres, when wistly she beholds,
Her wonder at the site, thus strangely she unfolds:
At thy great Builders wit, who’s he but wonder may?
Nay: of his wisedom, thus, ensuing times shall say;
O more then mortall man, that did this Towne begin!
Whose knowledge found the plot, so fit to set it in.
What God, or heavenly power was harbourd in thy breast,
From whom with such successe thy labours should be blest?
Built on a rising Bank, within a Vale to stand,
And for thy healthfull soyle, chose gravell mixt with sand.
And where faire Tames his course into a Crescent casts
(That, forced by his Tydes, as still by her he hasts,
He might his surging waves into her bosome send)
Because too farre in length, his Towne should not extend.
And to the North and South, upon an equall reach,
Two Hils their even Banks do somewhat seeme to stretch,
The goodly situation of
Those * two extreamer Winds from hurting it to let;
And only levell lies, upon the Rise and Set.
Of all this goodly Ile, where breathes most cheerefull aire
And every way there-to the wayes most smooth and faire;
As in the fittest place, by man that could be thought,
To which by Land, or Sea, provision might be brought.
And such a Road for Ships scarce all the world commands,
As is the goodly Tames, neer where Brute’s City stands.
Nor any Haven lies to which is more resort,
Commodities to bring, as also to transport:
Our Kingdome that enricht (through which we flourisht long)
E’re idle Gentry up in such aboundance sprong.
The North & South winds.
the sixteenth Song. 253
Now pestring all this Ile: whose disproportion drawes
The publique wealth so drie, and only is the cause
Our gold goes out so fast, for foolish foraine things,
Which upstart Gentry still into our Country brings;
Who their insatiate pride seek chiefly to maintaine
By that, which only serves to uses vile and vaine:
Which our plaine Fathers earst would have accounted sinne,
Before the costly Coach, and silken stock came in;
Before that Indian weed so strongly was imbrac’t;
Wherin, such mighty summes we prodigally waste;
That Merchants long train’d up in Gayn’s deceitfull schoole,
And subtly having learn’d to sooth the humorous foole,
Present their painted toyes unto this frantique gull,
Disparaging our Tinne, our Leather, Corne, and Wooll;
When Forrainers, with ours them warmly cloath and feed,
Transporting trash to us, of which we nere had need.
But whilst the angry Muse, thus on the Time exclames,
Sith every thing therin consisteth in extreames;
Lest she inforc’t with wrongs, her limits should transcend,
Here of this present Song she briefly makes an end.