Song 17


The seventeenth Song.


To Medway, Tames a suter goes;
But fancies Mole, as forth he flowes.
Her Mother, Homesdale, holds her in:
She digs through Earth, the Tames to win.
Great Tames, as King of Rivers, sings
The Catalogue of th’English Kings.
Thence the light Muse, to th’Southward soares,
The Surrian and Sussexian shores;
The Forrests and the Downes survaies,
With Rillets running to those Seas;
This Song of hers then cutteth short,
For things to come, of much import.

t length it came to passe, that Isis and her Tame
Of Medway understood, a Nymph of wondrous fame;
And much desirous were, their princely Tames shuld prove
If (as a wooer) he could win her Maiden-love;
That of so great descent, and of so large a Dower,
Might well-allie their House, and much increase his power:
And striving to preferre their Sonne, the best they may,
Set forth the lusty Flood, in rich and brave array,
Bankt with imbrodered Meads, of sundry sutes of flowres,
His brest adorn’d with Swans, oft washt with silver showres:
A traine of gallant Floods, at such a costly rate
As might beseeme their care, and fitting his estate.
Attended and attyr’d magnificently thus,
They send him to the Court of great Oceanus,
The Worlds huge wealth to see; yet with a full intent,
To wooe the lovely Nymph, faire Medway, as he went.
Who to his Dame and Sire, his duty scarce had done,
And whil’st they sadly wept at parting of their Sonne,
See what the Tames befell, when t’was suspected least.
As still his goodly traine yet every houre increast,
And from the Surrian shores cleere Wey came down to meet
His Greatnes, whom the Tames so gratiously doth greet,
That with the * Fearne-crown’d Flood he Minion-like doth play:
Yet is not this the Brook, entiseth him to stay.
But as they thus, in pompe, came sporting on the shole,
Gainst Hampton-Court he meets the soft and gentle Mole.
Whose eyes so pierc’t his breast, that seeming to foreslowe
The way which he so long, intended was to go,
With trifling up and down, he wandreth here and there;
And that he in her sight, transparent might appeare,
Applyes himselfe to Fords, and setteth his delight
On that which most might make him gratious in her sight.
Then Isis and the Tame from their conjoyned bed,
Desirous still to learne how Tames their son had sped
(For greatly they had hop’t, his time had so been spent,
That he ere this had won the goodly heyre of Kent)
And sending to enquire, had newes return’d againe
(By such as they imploy’d, on purpose in his traine)
How this their only heyre, the Iles emperiall Flood,
Had loytered thus in love, neglectfull of his good.
* Comming by Fernham,
so called of Ferne there
No marvaile (at the newes) though * Ouse and Tame were sad,
More comfort of their sonne expecting to have had.
Nor blame them, in their looks much sorrow though they show’d:
Who fearing least he might thus meanely be bestow’d,
And knowing danger still increased by delay,
Employ their utmost power, to hasten him away.
But Tames would hardly on: oft turning back to show,
From his much loved Mole how loth he was to go.
The mother of the Mole, old * Homesdale, likewise beares
Th’affection of her childe, as ill as they do theirs:
Who nobly though deriv’d, yet could have been content,
T’have matcht her with a Flood, of farre more mean descent.
But Mole respects her words, as vaine and idle dreames,
Compar’d with that high joy, to be belov’d of Tames:
And head-long holds her course, his company to win.
But, Homesdale raised Hills, to keep the straggler in;
That of her daughters stay she need no more to doubt:
(Yet never was there help, but love could finde it out.)
§. Mole digs her selfe a Path, by working day and night
(According to her name, to shew her nature right)
And underneath the Earth, for three miles space doth creep:
Till gotten out of sight, quite from her mothers keep,
Her foreintended course the wanton Nymph doth run;
As longing to imbrace old Tame and Isis son.
When Tames now understood, what paines the Mole did take,
How farre the loving Nymph adventur’d for his sake;
Although with Medway matcht, yet never could remove
The often quickning sparks of his more ancient love.
A very woody Vale in
The seventeenth Song. 259
So that it comes to passe, when by great Natures guide
The Ocean doth returne, and thrusteth-in the Tide;
Up tow’rds the place, where first his much-lov’d Mole was seen,
§. He ever since doth flow, beyond delightfull Sheene.
Then Wandal commeth in, the Moles beloved mate,
So amiable, faire, so pure, so delicate,
So plump, so full, so fresh, her eyes so wondrous cleer:
And first unto her Lord, at Wandsworth doth appeare,
That in the goodly Court, of their great soveraigne Tames,
There might no other speech be had amongst the Streames,
But only of this Nymph, sweet Wandal, what she wore;
Of her complection, grace, and how her selfe she bore.
But now this mighty Flood, upon his voiage prest
(That found how with his strength, his beauties still increast,
From where, brave Windsor stood on tip-toe to behold
The faire and goodly Tames, so farre as ere he could,
With Kingly houses Crown’d, of more then earthly pride,
Upon his either Banks, as he along doth glide)
With wonderfull delight, doth his long course pursue,
Where Otlands, Hampton Court, and Richmond he doth view,
Then Westminster the next great Tames doth entertaine;
That vaunts her Palace large, and her most sumptuous Fane:
The Lands tribunall seate that challengeth for hers,
The crowning of our Kings, their famous sepulchers.
Then goes he on along by that more beautious Strand,
Expressing both the wealth and bravery of the Land.
(So many sumptuous Bowres, within so little space,
The All-beholding Sun scarse sees in all his race.)
Tames ebbes & flowes
beyond Richmond.
And on by London leads, which like a Crescent lies,
Whose windowes seem to mock the Star-befreckled skies;
Besides her rising Spyres, so thick themselves that show,
As doe the bristling reeds, within his Banks that growe.
There sees his crouded Wharfes, and people-pestred shores,
His Bosome over-spread, with shoales of labouring ores:
London lying like a halfe
With that most costly Bridge, that doth him most renowne,
By which he cleerely puts all other Rivers downe.
Thus furnished with all that appertain’d to State,
Desired by the Floods (his Greatnes which awayt)
That as the rest before, so somewhat he would sing,
Both worthy of their praise, and of himselfe their King;
A Catalogue of those, the Scepter heer that swayd,
The Princely Tames recites, and thus his Song he laid;
As Bastard William first, by Conquest hither came,
And brought the Norman Rule, upon the English name:
So with a tedious warre, and almost endlesse toyles,
Throughout his troubled raigne, here held his hard-got spoyles.
London-bridge the
Crowne of Tames.
Deceasing at the last, through his unsetled State,
§. Left (with his ill-got Crown) unnaturall debate.
For, dying at his home, his eldest sonne abroad
(Who, in the Holy-warre, his person then bestow’d)
His second Rufus next usurpt the wronged raigne:
§. And by a fatall dart, in his New Forrest slaine,
Whilst in his proper right religious Robert slept,
Through craft into the Throne, the younger Beau-cleark crept.
From whom his Scepter, then, whil’st Robert strove to wrest,
The other (of his power that amply was possest)
With him in battell joyn’d: and, in that dreadfull day
(Where Fortune shew’d her selfe all humane power to sway)
Duke Robert went to wrack; and taken in the flight,
§. Was by that cruell King depriv’d of his sight,
And in close prison put; where miserably he dy’d:
But Henries whole intent was by just heaven deny’d.
For, as of light, and life, he that sad Lord bereft;
So his, to whom the Land, he purpos’d to have left,
The * raging Seas devowr’d, as hitherward they saild.
When, in this Line direct, the Conquerors issue faild,
Twixt Henries Daughter Mauld, the Almayne Emperours Bride
(Which after to the Earle of Anjou was affi’d)
And Stephen Earle of Bloys, the Conquerors Sisters son,
A fierce and cruell war immediately begun;
Who with their severall powers, arrived here from France,
By force of hostile Armes, their Titles to advance.
But, Stephen, what by coyne, and what by forraine strength,
Through Worlds of danger gain’d the glorious goale at length.
But, left without an heyre, the Empresse issue next,
No Title else on foote; upon so faire pretext,
The second Henry soon upon the Throne was set,
(Which Mauld to Jeffrey bare) the first Plantaginet.
Who held strong wars with Wales, that his subjection spurn’d:
Which oftentimes he beat; and, beaten oft, return’d:
With his sterne Children vext: who (whil’st he strove t’advance
His right within this Ile) rays’d war on him in France.
With his hie fame in fight, what colde brest was not fir’d?
Through all the Westerne world, for wisedome most admyr’d.
Then Richard got the Rule, his most renowned sonne.
Whose courage, him the name of Cure De Lion won.
With those first earthly Gods, had this brave Prince been borne,
His daring hand had from Alcides shoulders torne
The Nemean Lyon’s hyde: who in the Holy-land
So dreadfull was, as though from Jove and Neptunes hand,
The thundring three-forkt Fire, and Trident he had reft,
And him to rule their charge they only then had left.
* See the last note to the
IV. Song.
The seventeenth Song. 261
Him John againe succeeds; who, having put-away
Yong Arthur (Richards sonne) the Scepter took to sway.
Who, of the common-wealth first havock having made,
§. His sacrilegious hands upon the Churches laid,
In cruelty and rape continuing out his raigne;
That his outrageous lust and courses to restraine,
§. The Baronage were forc’t defensive Armes to raise,
Their daughters to redeeme, that he by force would seise.
Which the first Civill warre in England here begun.
And for his sake such hate his sonne young Henry won,
That to depose their Prince, th’revengefull people thought;
And from the Line of France yong Lewes to haue brought,
To take on him our Rule: but, Henry got the Throne,
By his more forcefull friends: who, wise and puissant growne,
§. The generall Charter seiz’d: that into slavery drew
The freest borne English blood. Of which such discord grew,
And in the Barons breasts so rough combustions rais’d,
With much expence of blood as long was not appeaz’d,
By strong and tedious gusts held up on either side,
Betwixt the Prince and Peeres, with equall power and pride.
He knew the worst of warre, matcht with the Barons strong;
Yet victor liv’d, and raign’d both happily and long.
This long-liv’d Prince expyr’d: the next succeeded; he,
Of us, that for a God might well related be.
Our Long-shanks, Scotlands scourge: who to the Orcads raught
His Scepter, and with him from wilde Albania brought
The reliques of her Crowne (by him first placed here)
§. The seat on which her Kings inaugurated were.
He tam’d the desperate Welsh, that out so long had stood,
And made them take * a Prince, sprong of the English blood.
This Ile, from Sea to Sea, he generally controld,
And made the other parts of England both to holde.
This Edward, first of ours, a second then ensues;
Who both his Name and Birth, by loosenes, did abuse:
Faire Ganimeds and Fools who rais’d to Princely places;
And chose not men for wit, but only for their faces.
In parasites and knaves, as he repos’d his trust,
Who sooth’d him in his wayes apparantly unjust;
For that preposterous sinne wherein he did offend,
In his posteriour parts had his preposterous end.
A third then, of that name, amends for this did make:
Who from his idle sire seem’d nought at all to take.
But as his Grand-sire did his Empires verge advance:
So led he forth his powers, into the heart of France.
And fastning on that Right, he by his mother had,
Against the Salique law, which utterly forbad
* See before to the IX.
§. Their women to enherite; to propagate his Cause,
At Cressey with his sword first cancelled those Lawes:
Then like a furious storme, through troubled France he ran;
And by the hopefull hand of brave Black-Edward wan
Proud Poytiers, where King John he valiantly subdew’d,
The miserable French and there in mammocks hew’d;
Then with his battering Rams made Earth-quakes in their Towres,
Till trampled in the dust her selfe she yeelded ours.
As mighty Edwards heyre, to a second Richard then
(Son to that famous Prince Black Edward, Man of Men,
Untimely that before his conquering father dy’d)
Too soon the Kingdom fell: who his vaine youth apply’d
To wantonnesse and spoyle, and did to favour drawe
Unworthy ignorant sots, with whose dull eyes he sawe:
Who plac’t their like in Court, and made them great in State
(Which wise and vertuous men, beyond all plagues, might hate.)
To whom he blindly gave: who blindly spent againe,
And oft opprest his Land, their riot to maintaine.
He hated his Allyes, and the deserving sterv’d;
His Minions and his will, the Gods he only serv’d:
And finally, depos’d, as he was ever friend
To Rybaulds, so againe by Villaines had his end.
Henry the Sonne of Gaunt, supplanting Richard, then
Ascended to the Throne: when discontented men,
Desirous first of change, which to that height him brought,
Deceived of their ends, into his actions sought;
And, as they set him up, assay’d to pluck him down:
From whom he hardly held his ill-atchieved Crown;
That, Treasons to suppresse which oft he did disclose,
And raysing publike Armes, against his powerfull foes,
His usurpation still being troubled to maintaine,
His short disquiet dayes scarse raught a peacefull raigne.
A fift succeeds the fourth: but how his father got
The Crown, by right or wrong, the Sonne respecteth not.
Nor further hopes for that ere leaveth to pursue;
But doth his claime to France, courageously renew;
Upon her wealthy shores un-lades his warlike fraught;
And, shewing us the fields where our brave fathers fought,
First drew his sun-bright Sword, reflecting such a light,
As put sad guilty France, into so great a fright,
That her pale Genius sank; which trembling seem’d to stand,
When first he set his foot on her rebellious Land.
That all his Grand-sires deeds did over, and thereto
Those hie atcheevements adde the former could not doe:
At Agincourts proud fight, that quite put Poytiers down;
Of all, that time who liv’d, the King of most renowne.
The seventeenth Song. 263
Whose too untimely end, the Fates too soon did hast:
Whose nine yeares noble acts, nine Worlds deserve to last.
A sixt in name succeeds, borne great, the mighty sonne
Of him, in Englands right that spacious France had wonne.
Who coming young to raigne, protected by the Peeres
Untill his Non-age out: and growne to riper yeeres,
Prov’d upright, soft, and meeke, in no wise loving warre;
But fitter for a Cowle, then for a Crowne by farre.
Whose mildnes over-much, did his destruction bring:
A wondrous godly man, but not so good a King.
Like whom yet never man tri’d fortunes change so oft;
So many times throwne-down, so many times aloft
(When with the utmost power, their friends could them afford,
The Yorkists, put their right upon the dint of sword)
As still he lost and wonne, in that long bloody warre,
§. From those two Factions stil’d, of York and Lancaster.
But by his foes inforc’t to yeeld him to their power,
His wretched raigne and life, both ended in the Tower.
Of th’Edwards name the fourth put on the Regall Wreath:
Whom furious bloody warre (that seem’d a while to breath)
Not utterly forsooke. For, Henries Queene and heyre
(Their once possessed raigne still seeking to repaire)
Put forward with their friends, their title to maintaine.
Whose blood did Barnets Streets and Teuksburyes distaine,
Till no man left to stirre. The Title then at rest,
The old Lancastrian Line, being utterly supprest,
Himselfe the wanton King to amourous pleasures gave;
§. Yet jealous of his right descended to his Grave.
His Sonne an infant left: who had he liv’d to raigne,
Edward the fift had been. But justly see againe,
As he a King and Prince before had cau’d to die
(The father in the Tower, the sonne at Teuksbury)
So were his children yong, being left to be protected
By Richard; who nor God, nor humane lawes respected.
This Viper, this most vile devowrer of his kinde
(Whom his ambitious ends had strooke so grosly blind)
From their deare mothers lap, them seising for a pray
(Himselfe in right the next, could they be made away)
Most wrongfully usurpt, and them in prison kept;
Whom cruelly at last he smothered as they slept.
As his unnaturall hands, were in their blood imbru’d:
So (guilty in himselfe) with murther he pursu’d
Such, on his haynous acts as lookt not faire and right;
Yea, such as were not his expresly, and had might
T’oppose him in his course; till (as a monster loth’d,
The man, to hell and death himselfe that had betroth’d)
They brought another in, to thrust that Tyrant down;
In battell who at last resign’d both life and Crown.
A seaventh Henry, then, th’emperiall seate attain’d,
In banishment who long in Britanne had remain’d,
What time the Yorkists sought his life to have bereft,
Of the Lancastrian House then only being left
(Deriv’d from John of Gaunt) whom Richmond did beget,
§. Upon a daughter borne to John of Sommerset.
Elizabeth of York this Noble Prince affi’d,
To make his Title strong, thereby on either side.
And grafting of the White and Red Rose firme together,
Was first, that to the Throne advanc’t the name of Tether.
In Bosworths fatall Field, who having Richard slaine,
Then in that prosperous peace of his successfull raigne,
Of all that ever rul’d, was most precise in State,
And in his life and death a King most fortunate.
This Seaventh, that was of ours, the Eighth succeeds in name:
Who by Prince Arthurs death (his elder Brother) came
Unto a Land with wealth aboundantly that flow’d:
Aboundantly againe, so he the same bestow’d,
In Banquets, Mask’s, and Tilts, all pleasures prone to try,
Besides his secret scapes who lov’d Polygamy.
The Abbayes he supprest; a thousand lingring yeere,
Which with revenewes large the World had sought to reare.
And through his awfull might, for temporall ends did save,
To other uses earst what frank devotion gave;
And here the papall power, first utterly deny’d,
§. Defender of the Faith, that was instil’d and dy’d.
His sonne the Empire had, our Edward sixt that made;
Untimely as he sprang, untimely who did fade.
A Protestant being bred; and in his infant raigne,
Th’religion then receiv’d, here stoutly did maintaine:
But e’re he raught to man, from his sad people reft,
His Scepter he againe unto his Sisters left.
Of which the eldest of two, Queen Mary, mounts the Chaire:
The ruin’d Roman State who striving to repaire,
With persecuting hands the Protestants pursew’d;
Whose Martyred ashes oft the wondring Streets bestrew’d.
She matcht her selfe with Spaine, and brought King Philip hither,
Which with an equall hand, the Scepter sway’d togither.
But issuless she dy’d; and under six yeeres raigne,
To her wise Sister gave the Kingdome up againe.
Elizabeth, the next, this falling Scepter hent;
Digressing from her Sex, with Man-like government
This Iland kept in awe, and did her power extend
Afflicted France to ayde, her owne as to defend;
The seventeenth Song. 265
Against th’Iberian rule, the Flemmings sure defence:
Rude Ireland’s deadly scourge; who sent her Navies hence
Unto the either Inde, and to that shore so greene,
Virginia which we call, of her a Virgin Queen:
In Portugall gainst Spaine, her English ensignes spred;
Took Cales, when from her ayde the brav’d Iberia fled.
Most flourishing in State: that, all our Kings among,
Scarse any rul’d so well: but * two, that raign’d so long.
Here suddainly he staid: and with his kingly Song,
Whil’st yet on every side the City loudly rong,
He with the eddy turn’d, a space to look about:
The Tide, retiring soon, did strongly thrust him out.
And soon the pliant Muse, doth her brave wing advance,
Tow’rds those Sea-bordring shores of ours, that point at France;
The harder Surrian Heath, and the Sussexian Downe.
Which with so great increase though Nature do not crowne,
As many other Shires, of this inviron’d Ile:
Henry III. and Edward III. the one raigned 56. the
other. 50.
Yet on the * Weathers head, when as the sunne doth smile,
Nurst by the Southern Winds, that soft and gently blowe,
Here doth the lusty sap as soon begin to flowe;
The Earth as soon puts on her gaudy Summers sute;
The Woods as soon in green, and orchards great with fruit.
To Sea-ward, from the seat where first our Song begun,
Exhaled to the South by the ascending sunne,
Fower stately Wood Nymphs stand on the Sussexian ground,
* The Sun in Aries.
Great * Andredsweld’s sometime: who, when she did abound,
In circuit and in growth, all other quite supprest:
But in her wane of pride, as she in strength decreast,
Her Nymphs assum’d them names, each one to her delight.
As, Water-downe, so call’d of her depressed site:
And Ash-Downe, of those Trees that most in her do growe,
Set higher to the Downes, as th’other standeth lowe.
Saint Leonards, of the seat by which she next is plac’t,
And Whord that with the like delighteth to be grac’t.
These Forrests as I say, the daughters of the Weald
(That in their heavie breasts, had long their greefs conceal’d)
Foreseeing, there decay each howre so fast came on,
Under the axes stroak, fetcht many a grievous grone,
When as the anviles weight, and hammers dreadfull sound,
Even rent the hollow Woods, and shook the queachy ground.
So that the trembling Nymphs, opprest through gastly feare,
Ran madding to the Downes, with loose dishev’ld hayre.
The Sylvans that about the neighbouring woods did dwell,
Both in the tufty Frith and in the mossy Fell,
Forsook their gloomy Bowres, and wandred farre abroad,
Expeld their quiet seats, and place of their abode,
A Forrest, containing most part of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.
When labouring carts they saw to hold their dayly trade,
Where they in summer wont to sport them in the shade.
Could we, say they, suppose, that any would us cherish,
Which suffer (every day) the holiest things to perish?
Or to our daily want to minister supply?
These yron times breed none, that minde posteritie.
Tis but in vaine to tell, what we before have been,
Or changes of the world, that we in time have seen;
When, not devising how to spend our wealth with waste,
We to the savage swine, let fall our larding mast.
But now, alas, our selves we have not to sustaine,
Nor can our tops suffice to shield our Roots from raine.
Joves Oke, the warlike Ash, veyn’d Elme, the softer Beech,
Short Hazell, Maple plaine, light Aspe, the bending Wych,
Tough Holly, and smooth Birch, must altogether burne:
What should the Builder serve, supplies the Forgers turne;
When under publike good, base private gaine takes holde,
And we poore woefull Woods, to ruine lastly solde.
This uttered they with griefe: and more they would have spoke,
But that the envious Downes, int’open laughter broke;
As joying in those wants, which Nature them had given,
Sith to as great distresse the Forrests should be driven.
Like him that long time hath anothers state envy’d,
And sees a following Ebbe, unto his former Tide;
The more he is deprest, and bruiz’d with fortunes might,
The larger Reane his foe doth give to his despight:
So did the envious Downes; but that againe the Floods
(Their fountaines that derive, from those unpittied Woods,
And so much grace thy Downes, as through their Dales they creep,
Their glories to convay unto the Celtick deep)
It very hardly tooke, much murmuring at their pride.
Cleere Lavant, that doth keep the Southamptonian side
(Dividing it well-neere from the Sussexian lands
That Selsey doth survay, and Solents troubled sands)
To Chichester their wrongs impatiently doth tell:
§. And Arun (which doth name the beautious Arundell)
As on her course she came, it to her Forrest tolde.
Which, nettled with the newes, had not the power to hold:
But breaking into rage, wisht Tempests them might rive;
And on their barren scalps, still flint and chauke might thrive,
The brave and nobler Woods which basely thus upbraid.
§. And Adur comming on, to Shoreham softly said,
The Downes did very ill, poore Woods so to debase.
But now, the Ouse, a Nymph of very scornefull grace,
So touchy waxt therewith, and was so squeamish growne,
That her old name she scorn’d should publiquely be knowne.
The seventeenth Song. 267
Whose haven out of mind when as it almost grew,
The lately passed times denominate, the New.
So Cucmer with the rest put to her utmost might:
As Ashburne undertakes to doe the Forrests right
(At Pemsey, where she powres her soft and gentler Flood)
And Asten once distain’d with native English blood:
(Whose Soyle, when yet but wet with any little raine,
§. Doth blush; as put in mind of those there sadly slaine,
When Hastings harbour gave unto the Norman powers,
Whose name and honors now are denizend for ours)
That boding ominous Brook, it through the Forrests rung:
Which ecchoing it againe the mighty Weald along,
Great stirre was like to grow; but that the Muse did charme
Their furies, and her selfe for nobler things did arme.