Song 23


The three and twentieth Song.


From furious Fights Invention comes,
Deafned with noyse of ratling Drummes,
And in the Northamptonian bounds,
Shews Whittlewoods, and Sacies grounds;
Then to Mount Hellidon doth goe,
(Whence Charwell, Leame, and Nen doe flow)
The Surface, which of England sings,
And Nen downe to the Washes brings;
Then whereas Welland makes her way,
Shewes Rockingham, her rich aray:
A Course at Kelmarsh then shee takes,
Where shee Northamptonshire forsakes.

n tow’ds the Mid-lands now, th’industrious Muse doth make,
The Northamptonian earth, and in her way doth take;
As fruitfull every way, as those by Nature, which
The Husbandman by Art, with Compost doth inrich,
This boasting of her selfe; that walke her Verge about,
And view her well within, her breadth, and length throughout:
The worst foot of her earth, is equall with their best,
With most aboundant store, that highliest thinke them blest.
When Whittlewood betime th’unwearied Muse doth win
To talke with her awhile; at her first comming in,
The Forrest thus that greets: With more successefull Fate,
Thrive then thy fellow Nymphs, whose sad and ruinous state
We every day behold, if any thing there be,
That from this generall fall, thee happily may free,
’Tis onely for that thou dost naturally produce
More Under wood, and Brake, then Oke for greater use:
But when this ravenous Age, of those hath us bereft,
Time wanting this our store, shall sease what thee is left.
For what base Averice now inticeth men to doe,
Necessitie in time shall strongly urge them too;
Which each divining Spirit most cleerely doth foresee.
Whilst at this speech perplext, the Forrest seem’d to be,
A Water-nymph, neere to this goodly Wood-nymphs side,
(As tow’rds her soveraigne Ouze, shee softly downe doth slide)
Tea, her delightsome streame by Tawcester doth lead;
And sporting her sweet selfe in many a daintie Mead,
Shee hath not sallied farre, but Sacy soone againe
Salutes her; one much grac’d amongst the Sylvan traine:
One whom the Queene of Shades, the bright Diana oft
Hath courted for her lookes, with kisses smooth and soft,
On her faire Bosome lean’d, and tenderly imbrac’t,
And cald her, her Deare heart, most lov’d, and onely chast:
Yet Sacie after Tea, her amourous eyes doth throw,
Till in the bankes of Ouze the Brooke her selfe bestow.
Where in those fertill fields, the Muse doth hap to meet
Upon that side which sits the West of Watling-street,
With * Helidon a Hill, which though it bee but small,
Compar’d with their proud kind, which we our Mountaines call;.
Yet hath three famous Floods, that out of him doe flow,
That to three severall Seas, by their assistants goe;
Of which the noblest, Nen, to fayre Northampton hies,
By Owndle sallying on, then Peterborough plyes
A hill not farre from
Old * Medhamsted: where her the Sea-mayds intertaine,
To lead her through the Fen into the German Maine,
The second, Charwell is, at Oxford meeting Thames,
The ancient name of
Is by his King convayd into the * Celtick streames.
Then Leame as least, the last, to mid-land Avon hasts,
Which Flood againe it selfe, into proud Severne casts:
The French Sea.
As on * th’Iberian Sea, her selfe great Severne spends;
So Leame the Dower she hath, to that wide Ocean lends.
But Helidon wax’d proud, the happy Sire to be
To so renowned Floods, as these fore-named three,
Besides the Hill of note, neere Englands midst that stands,
Whence from his Face, his backe, or on his either hands,
The Land extends in bredth, or layes it selfe in length.
Wherefore, this Hill to shew his state and naturall strength,
The surface of this part determineth to show,
Which we now England name, and through her tracts to goe.
But being plaine and poore, professeth not that hight,
As Falkon-like to sore, till lesning to the sight.
But as the sundry soyles, his style so altring oft,
As full expressions fit, or Verses smooth and soft,
Upon their severall Scites, as naturally to straine,
And wisheth that these Floods, his tunes to entertaine,
The Spanish Sea.
The three and twentieth Song. 67
The ayre with Halcion calmes, may wholly have possest,
As though the rough winds tyerd, were eas’ly layd to rest.
Then on the worth’est tract up tow’rds the mid-dayes Sun,
His undertaken taske, thus Hellidon begun.
From where the kingly Thames his stomacke doth discharge,
To Devonshire, where the land her bosome doth inlarge;
And with the In-land ayre, her beauties doth releeve,
Along the Celtick Sea, cald oftentimes the Sleeve:
Although upon the coast, the Downes appeare but bare,
Yet naturally within the Countries wooddy are.
Then Cornwall creepeth out into the westerne Maine,
As (lying in her eye) shee poynted still at Spaine:
Or as the wanton soyle, disposd to lustfull rest,
Had layd her selfe along on Neptunes amorous breast.
With Denshire, from the firme, that Beake of land that fils,
What Landskip lies in Vales, and often rising hils,
So plac’d betwixt the French, and the Sabrinian Seas,
As on both sides adorn’d with many harborous Bayes,
Who for their Trade to Sea, and wealthy Mynes of Tinne,
From any other Tract, the praise doth clearely winne.
From Denshire by those shores, which Severne oft Surrounds,
The Soyle farre lower sits, and mightily abounds
With sundry sort of Fruits, as well-growne Grasse and Corne,
That Somerset may say, her batning Mores doe scorne
Our Englands richest earth, for burthen should them staine;
And on the selfe same Tract, up Severns streame againe,
The Vale of Evsham layes her length so largely forth,
As though shee meant to stretch her selfe into the North,
Where still the fertill earth depressed lyes and low,
Till her rich Soyle it selfe to Warwickshire doe show.
Hence somewhat South by East, let us our course incline,
And from these setting shores so meerely Maratine,
The Iles rich In-land parts, lets take with us along,
To set him rightly out, in our well-ordred Song;
Whose prospects to the Muse their sundry scites shall show,
Where shee from place to place, as free as ayre shall flow,
Their superficies so exactly to descry,
Through Wiltshire, poynting how the Plaine of Salisbury
Shootes foorth her selfe in length, and layes abroad a traine
So large, as though the land serv’d scarsely to containe
Her vastnesse, North from her, himselfe proud Cotswould vaunts,
And casts so sterne a looke, about him that he daunts,
The lowly Vales, remote that sit with humbler eyes.
In Barckshire, and from thence into the Orient lies
That most renowned Vale of White-horse, and by her,
So Buckingham againe doth Alsbury preferre,
A discription of the
Surface of the sundrie
Tracts of England.
With any English Earth, along upon whose pale,
That mounting Countrie then, which maketh her a Vale,
The chaulky Chilterne, runnes with Beeches crown’d about,
Through Bedfordshire that beares, till his bald front he shoot,
Into that foggy earth towards Ely, that doth grow
Much Fenny, and surrounds with every little flow.
So on into the East, upon the In-land ground,
From where that Christall Colne most properly doth bound,
Rough Chilterne, from the soyle, where in rich London sits,
As being faire and flat it naturally befits
Her greatnesse every way, which holdeth on along
To the Essexian earth, which likewise in our Song,
Since in one Tract they lye, we here together take,
Although the severall Shires, by sundry soyles doe make
It different in degrees; for Middlesex of Sands
Her soyle composeth hath; so are th’Essexian lands,
Adjoyning to the same, that sit by Isis side,
Which London over-lookes: but as she waxeth wide,
So Essex in her Tydes, her deepe-growne Marshes drownds,
And to Inclosures cuts her drier upland grounds,
Which lately woody were, whilst men those woods did prize;
Whence those fayre Countries lie, upon the pleasant rise,
(Betwixt the mouth of Thames, and where Ouze roughly dashes
Her rude unweildy waves, against the queachy Washes)
Suffolke and Norfolke neere, so named of their Scites,
Adorned every way with wonderfull delights,
To the beholding eye, that every where are seene,
Abounding with rich fields, and pastures fresh and greene,
Faire Havens to their shores, large Heaths within them lie,
As Nature in them strove to shew varietie.
From Ely all along upon that Easterne Sea,
Then Lincolneshire her selfe, in state at length doth lay,
Which for her fatning Fennes, her Fish, and Fowle may have
Preheminence, as she that seemeth to out-brave
All other Southerne Shires, whose head the Washes feeles,
Till wantonly she kicke proud Humber with her heeles.
Up tow’rds the Navell then, of England from her Flanke,
Which Lincolneshire we call, so levelled and lanke.
Northampton, Rutland then, and Huntingdon, which three
Doe shew by their full Soyles, all of one piece to be,
Of Nottingham a part, as Lester them is lent,
From Bevers batning Vale, along the banks of Trent.
So on the other side, into the Set againe,
Where Severne tow’rds the Sea from Shrewsbury doth straine,
The River running by
Uxbridge, falling into
the Thames at
Twixt which and Avons banks (where Arden when of old,
Her bushy curled front, she bravely did uphold,
See to the 13. Song.
The three and twentieth Song. 69
In state and glory stood) now of three severall Shires,
The greatest portions lie, upon whose earth appeares
That mightie Forrests foot, of Worstershire a part,
Of Warwickeshire the like, which sometime was the heart
Of Arden that brave Nymph, yet woody here and there,
Oft intermixt with Heaths, whose Sand and Gravell beare,
A Turfe more harsh and hard, where Stafford doth partake,
In qualitie with those, as Nature strove to make
Them of one selfe same stuffe, and mixture, as they lye,
Which likewise in this Tract, we here together tye.
From these recited parts to th’North, more high and bleake,
Extended ye behold, the Mooreland and the Peake,
From eithers severall scite, in eithers mightie waste,
A sterner lowring eye, that every way doe cast
On their beholding Hills, and Countries round about;
Whose soyles as of one shape, appearing cleane throughout.
For Moreland which with Heath most naturally doth beare,
Her Winter livery still, in Summer seemes to weare;
As likewise doth the Peake, whose dreadfull Caverns found,
And Lead-mines, that in her, doe naturally abound,
Her superficies makes more terrible to show:
So from her naturall fount, as Severne downe doth flow,
The high Sallopian hills lift up their rising sayles;
Which Country as it is the near’st alli’d to Wales,
In Mountaines, so it most is to the same alike.
Now tow’rds the Irish Seas a little let us strike,
Where Cheshire, (as her choyce) with Lancashire doth lie
Along th’unlevel’d shores; this former to the eye,
In her complexion showes blacke earth with gravell mixt,
A Wood-land and a plaine indifferently betwixt,
A good fast-feeding grasse, most strongly that doth breed:
As Lancashire no lesse excelling for her seed,
Although with Heath, and Fin, her upper parts abound;
As likewise to the Sea, upon the lower ground,
With Mosses, Fleets, and Fells, she showes most wild and rough,
Whose Turfe, and square cut Peat, is fuell good ynough.
So, on the North of Trent, from Nottingham above,
Where Sherwood her curld front, into the cold doth shove,
Light Forrest land is found, to where the floting Don,
In making tow’rds the Maine, her Doncaster hath won,
Where Yorkshires layd abroad, so many a mile extent,
To whom preceding times, the greatest circuit lent,
A Province, then a Shire, which rather seemeth: so
It incidently most varietie doth show.
Heere stony stirrill grounds, there wondrous fruitfull fields,
Here Champaine, and there Wood, it in abundance yeelds:
Th’West-riding, and North, be mountainous and high,
But tow’rds the German Sea the East, more low doth lie.
This Ile hath not that earth, of any kind elsewhere,
But on this part or that, epitomized here.
Tow’rds those Scotch-Irish Iles, upon that Sea againe,
The rough Virgivian cald, that tract which doth containe
Cold Cumberland, which yet wild Westmerland excels,
For roughnesse, at whose point lies rugged Fournesse Fells,
Is fild with mighty Mores, and Mountaines, which doe make
Her wilde superfluous waste, as Nature sport did take
In Heaths, and high-cleev’d Hils, whose threatning fronts doe dare
Each other with their looks, as though they would out-stare
The Starry eyes of heaven, which to out-face they stand.
From these into the East, upon the other hand,
The Bishopricke, and fayre Northumberland doe beare
To Scotlands bordering Tweed, which as the North elsewhere,
Not very fertile are, yet with a lovely face
Upon the Ocean looke; which kindly doth imbrace
Those Countries all along, upon the Rising side,
Which for the Batfull Gleabe, by nature them denide,
With mightie Mynes of Cole, abundantly are blest,
By which this Tract remaines renown’d above the rest:
For what from her rich wombe, each habourous Road receives.
Yet Hellidon not here, his lov’d description leaves,
Though now his darling Springs desir’d him to desist;
But say all what they can, hee’ll doe but what he list.
As he the Surface thus, so likewise will he show,
The Clownish Blazons, to each Country long agoe,
Which those unlettered times, with blind devotion lent,
Before the Learned Mayds our Fountaines did frequent,
To shew the Muse can shift her habit, and she now
Of Palatins that sung, can whistle to the Plow;
And let the curious tax his Clownry, with their skill
He recks not, but goes on, and say they what they will.
Kent first in our account, doth to it selfe apply,
(Quoth he) this Blazon first, Long Tayles and Libertie.
Sussex with Surrey say, Then let us lead home Logs.
As Hamshire long for her, hath had the tearme of Hogs.
So Dorsetshire of long, they Dorsers usd to call.
Cornwall and Devonshire crie, Weele wrastle for a Fall.
Then Somerset sayes, Set the Bandog on the Bull.
And Glostershire againe is blazon’d, Weigh thy Wooll.
As Barkshire hath for hers, Lets tot and tosse the Ball.
And Wiltshire will for her, Get home and pay for all.
Rich Buckingham doth beare the terme of Bread and Beefe,
Where if you beat a Bush, tis ods you start a Theefe.
Here follow the
Blazons of the Shires.
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So Hartford blazon’d is, The Club, and clowted Shoone,
Thereto, Ile rise betime, and sleepe againe at Noone.
When Middlesex bids, Up to London let us goe,
And when our Markets done, weele have a pot or two.
As Essex hath of old beene named, Calves and Styles,
Fayre Suffolke, Mayds and Milke, and Norfolke, Many Wyles.
So Cambridge hath been call’d, Hold Nets, and let us winne;
And Huntingdon, With Stilts weele stalke through thick and thinne.
Northamptonshire of long hath had this Blazon, Love,
Below the girdle all, but little else above.
An outcrie Oxford makes, The Schollers have been heere,
And little though they payd, yet have they had good cheere.
Quoth warlike Warwickshire, Ile binde the sturdy Beare.
Quoth Worstershire againe, And I will squirt the Peare.
Then Staffordshire bids Stay, and I will Beet the Fire,
And nothing will I aske, but good will for my hire.
Beane-belly Lestershire, her attribute doth beare.
And Bells and Bag-pipes next, belong to Lincolneshire.
Of Malt-horse, Bedfordshire long since the Blazon wan.
And little Rutlandshire is tearmed Raddleman.
To Darby is assign’d the name of Wooll and Lead.
As Nottinghams, of old (is common) Ale and Bread.
So Hereford for her sayes, Give me Woofe and Warpe.
And Shropshire saith in her, That Shinnes be ever sharpe,
Lay wood upon the fire, reach hither mee my Harpe,
And whilst the blacke Bowle walks, we merily will carpe.
Old Chesshire is well knowne to be the Chiefe of Men.
Faire Women doth belong to Lancashire agen.
The lands that over Ouze to Berwicke foorth doe beare,
Have for their Blazon had the Snaffle, Spurre, and Speare.
Now Nen extreamely griev’d those barbarous things to heare,
By Helidon her sire, that thus delivered were:
For as his eld’st, shee was to passed ages knowne,
Whom by Aufonas name the Romans did renowne.
A word by them deriv’d of Avon, which of long,
The Britans cald her by, expressing in their tongue
The full and generall name of waters; wherefore shee
Stood much upon her worth, and jealous grew to bee,
Lest things so low and poore, and now quite out of date,
Should happily impaire her dignitie and state.
Wherefore from him her syre imediatly she hasts;
And as shee foorth her course to Peterborough casts,
Shee falleth in her way with Weedon, where tis sayd,
Saint Werburge princely borne, a most religious Mayd,
From those peculier fields, by prayer the Wild-geese drove,
Thence through the Champaine shee lasciviously doth rove
Tow’rds faire Northampton, which, whilst Nen was Avon cald,
Resum’d that happy name, as happily instald
Upon her * Northerne side, where taking in a Rill,
Her long impoverish’d banks more plenteously to fill,
She flourishes in state, along the fruitfull fields;
Where whilst her waters shee with wondrous pleasure yeelds,
Northampton, for
North-avonton, the
towne upon the North
of Avon.
To * Wellingborough comes, whose Fountaines in shee takes,
Which quickening her againe, imediately shee makes
To Owndle, which receives contractedly the sound
From Avondale, t’expresse that Rivers lowest ground:
To Peterborough thence she maketh foorth her way,
Where Welland hand in hand, goes on with her to Sea;
When Rockingham, the Muse to her faire Forrest brings,
Thence lying to the North, whose sundry gifts she sings.
O deare and daintie Nymph, most gorgeously arayd,
Of all the Driades knowne, the most delicious Mayd,
With all delights adorn’d, that any way beseeme
A Sylvan, by whose state we verily may deeme
A Deitie in thee, in whose delightfull Bowers,
The Fawnes and Fayries make the longest dayes, but howers,
And joying in the Soyle, where thou assum’st thy seat,
Thou to thy Handmaid hast, (thy pleasures to awayt)
Faire Benefield, whose care to thee doth surely cleave,
Which beares a grasse as soft, as is the daintie sleave,
And thrum’d so thicke and deepe, that the proud Palmed Deere,
Forsake the closser woods, and make their quiet leyre
In beds of platted fogge, so eas’ly there they sit.
A Forrest and a Chase in every thing so fit
This Iland hardly hath, so neere allide that be,
Brave Nymph, such praise belongs to Benefield and thee.
Whilst Rockingham was heard with these Reports to ring,
The Muse by making on tow’rds Wellands ominous Spring,
So called of his many
wells or Fountaines.
With * Kelmarsh there is caught, for coursing of the Hare,
Which scornes that any place, should with her Plaines compare:
Which in the proper Tearmes the Muse doth thus report;
The man whose vacant mind prepares him to the sport,
The * Finder sendeth out, to seeke out nimble Wat,
Which crosseth in the field, each furlong, every Flat,
Till he this pretty Beast upon the Forme hath found,
Then viewing for the Course, which is the fairest ground,
The Greyhounds foorth are brought, for coursing then in case,
And choycely in the Slip, one leading forth a brace;
The Finder puts her up, and gives her Coursers law.
And whilst the eager dogs upon the Start doe draw,
Shee riseth from her seat, as though on earth she flew,
A place in the North
part of
excellent for coursing
with Greyhounds.
The Hare-finder.
A description of a
Course at the Hare.
Forc’d by some yelping * Cute to give the Greyhounds view, A Curre.
The three and twentieth Song. 73
Which are at length let slip, when gunning out they goe,
As in respect of them the swiftest wind were slow,
When each man runnes his Horse, with fixed eyes, and notes
Which Dog first turnes the Hare, which first the other * coats,
They wrench her once or twice, ere she a turne will take,
Whats offred by the first, the other good doth make;
And turne for turne againe with equall speed they ply,
Bestirring their swift feet with strange agilitie:
A hardned ridge or way, when if the Hare doe win,
Then as shot from a Bow, she from the Dogs doth spin,
That strive to put her off, but when hee cannot reach her,
This giving him a Coat, about againe doth fetch her
To him that comes behind, which seemes the Hare to beare;
But with a nimble turne shee casts them both arrere:
Till oft for want of breath, to fall to ground they make her,
The Greyhounds both so spent, that they want breath to take her.
Here leave I whilst the Muse more serious things attends,
And with my Course at Hare, my Canto likewise ends.
When one Greyhound
outstrips the other in
the Course.