Song 25


The five and twentieth Song.


Towrds Lincolnshire our Progresse layd,
Wee through deepe Hollands Ditches wade,
Fowling, and Fishing in the Fen;
Then come wee next to Kestiven,
And bringing Wytham to her fall,
On Lindsey light wee last of all,
Her Scite and Pleasures to attend,
And with the Isle of Axholme end.

ow in upon thy earth, rich Lincolnshire I straine,
At Deeping, from whose Street, the plentious Ditches draine,
Hemp-bearing Hollands Fen, at Spalding that doe fall
Together in their Course, themselves as emptying all
Into one generall Sewer, which seemeth to divide,
Low Holland from the High, which on their Easterne side
Th’in-bending Ocean holds, from the Norfolcean lands,
Holland divided into
two parts, the Lower,
and the Higher.
To their more Northern poynt, where * Wainfleet drifted stands,
Doe shoulder out those Seas, and Lindsey bids her stay,
Because to that faire part, a challenge she doth lay.
From fast and firmer Earth, whereon the Muse of late,
Trod with a steady foot, now with a slower gate,
The length of Holland
by the Sea shore, from
the coast of Norfolke to
Through * Quicksands, Beach, and Ouze, the Washes she must wade,
Where Neptune every day doth powerfully invade
The vast and queachy soyle, with Hosts of wallowing waves,
From whose impetuous force, that who himselfe not saves,
By swift and sudden flight, is swallowed by the deepe,
When from the wrathfull Tydes the foming Surges sweepe,
The Sands which lay all nak’d, to the wide heaven before,
And turneth all to Sea, which was but lately Shore,
From this our Southerne part of Holland, cal’d the Low,
Where Crowlands ruines yet, (though almost buried) show
The Description of the
Her mighty Founders power, yet his more Christian zeale,
Shee by the Muses ayd, shall happily reveale
Her sundry sorts of Fowle, from whose abundance she
Above all other Tracts, may boast her selfe to be
The Mistris, (and indeed) to sit without compare,
And for no worthlesse soyle, should in her glory share,
From her moyst seat of Flags, of Bulrushes and Reed,
With her just proper praise, thus Holland doth proceed.
Yee Acherusian Fens, to mine resigne your glory,
Both that which lies within the goodly Territory
Of Naples, as that Fen Thesposias earth upon,
Whence that infernall Flood, the smutted Acheron
Shoves forth her sullen head, as thou most fatall Fen,
Of which Hetruria tells, the watry Thrasimen,
In History although thou highly seemst to boast,
That Haniball by thee o’rthrew the Roman Host.
I scorne th’Egyptian Fen, which Alexandria showes,
Proud Mareotis, should my mightinesse oppose,
Or Scythia, on whose face the Sunne doth hardly shine,
Should her Meotis thinke to match with this of mine,
That covered all with Snow continually doth stand.
I stinking Lerna hate, and the poore Libian Sand.
Hollands Oration.
* Marica that wise Nymph, to whom great Neptune gave
The charge of all his Shores, from drowning them to save,
Abideth with me still upon my service prest,
And leaves the looser Nymphs to wayt upon the rest:
A Nymph supposed to
have the charge of the
In Summer giving earth, from which I spare my * Peat,
And faster feedings by, for Deere, for Horse, and Neat.
My various * Fleets for Fowle, O who is he can tell,
Fuell cut out of the
The species that in me for multitudes excell!
The Duck, and Mallard first, the Falconers onely sport,
(Of River-flights the chiefe, so that all other sort,
They onely Greene-Fowle tearme) in every Mere abound,
That you would thinke they sate upon the very ground,
Their numbers be so great, the waters covering quite,
That rais’d, the spacious ayre is darkened with their flight;
Yet still the dangerous Dykes, from shot doe them secure,
Where they from Flash to Flash, like the full Epicure
Waft, as they lov’d to change their Diet every meale;
And neere to them ye see the lesser dibling Teale
Brookes and Pooles
worne by the water,
into which the rising
floods have recourse.
In * Bunches, with the first that flie from Mere to Mere,
As they above the rest were Lords of Earth and Ayre.
The Gossander with them, my goodly Fennes doe show
His head as Ebon blacke, the rest as white as Snow,
With whom the Widgeon goes, the Golden-Eye, the Smeath,
And in odde scattred pits, the Flags, and Reeds beneath;
The word in Falconry,
for a company of Teale.
The five and twentieth Song. 107
The Coot, bald, else cleane black, that whitenesse it doth beare
Upon the forehead star’d, the Water-Hen doth weare
Upon her little tayle, in one small feather set.
The Water-woosell next, all over black as Jeat,
With various colours, black, greene, blew, red, russet, white,
Doe yeeld the gazing eye as variable delight,
As doe those sundry Fowles, whose severall plumes they be.
The diving Dob-chick, here among the rest you see,
Now up, now downe againe, that hard it is to proove,
Whether under water most it liveth, or above:
With which last little Fowle, (that water may not lacke;
More then the Dob-chick doth, and more doth love the * brack)
The Puffin we compare, which comming to the dish,
Nice pallats hardly judge, if it be flesh or fish.
But wherefore should I stand upon such toyes as these,
That have so goodly Fowles, the wandring eye to please.
Here in my vaster Pooles, as white as Snow or Milke,
(In water blacke as Stix) swimmes the wild Swanne, the Ilke,
Of Hollanders so tearm’d, no niggard of his breath,
(As Poets say of Swannes, which onely sing in death)
But oft as other Birds, is heard his tunnes to roat,
Which like a Trumpet comes, from his long arched throat,
And tow’rds this watry kind, about the Flashes brimme,
Some cloven-footed are, by nature not to swimme.
There stalks the stately Crane, as though he march’d in warre,
By him that hath the Herne, which (by the Fishy Carre)
Can fetch with their long necks, out of the Rush and Reed,
Snigs, Fry, and yellow Frogs, whereon they often feed:
And under them againe, (that water never take,
But by some Ditches side, or little shallow Lake
Lye dabling night and day) the pallat-pleasing Snite,
The Bidcocke, and like them the Redshanke, that delight
Together still to be, in some small Reedy bed,
In which these little Fowles in Summers time were bred.
The Buzzing Bitter sits, which through his hollow Bill,
A sudden bellowing sends, which many times doth fill
The neighbouring Marsh with noyse, as though a Bull did roare;
But scarcely have I yet recited halfe my store:
And with my wondrous flocks of Wild-geese come I then,
Which looke as though alone they peopled all the Fen,
Which here in Winter time, when all is overflow’d,
And want of sollid sward inforceth them abroad,
Th’abundance then is seene, that my full Fennes doe yeeld,
That almost through the Ifle, doe pester every field.
The Barnacles with them, which wheresoere they breed,
On Trees, or rotten Ships, yet to my Fennes for feed
Salt water.
Continually they come, and chiefe abode doe make,
And very hardly forc’d my plenty to forsake:
Who almost all this kind doe challenge as mine owne,
Whose like I dare averre, is elsewhere hardly knowne.
For sure unlesse in me, no one yet ever saw
The multitudes of Fowle, in Mooting time they draw:
From which to many a one, much profit doth accrue.
Now such as flying feed, next these I must pursue;
The Sea-meaw, Sea-pye, Gull, and Curlew heere doe keepe,
As searching every Shole, and watching every deepe,
To find the floating Fry, with their sharpe-pearcing sight,
Which suddenly they take, by stouping from their height.
The Cormorant then comes, (by his devouring kind)
Which flying o’r the Fen, imediatly doth find
The Fleet best stor’d of Fish, when from his wings at full,
As though he shot himselfe into the thickned skull,
He under water goes, and so the Shoale pursues,
Which into Creeks doe flie, when quickly he doth chuse,
The Fin that likes him best, and rising, flying feeds.
The Ospray oft here seene, though seldome here it breeds,
Which over them the Fish no sooner doe espie,
But (betwixt him and them, by an antipathy)
Turning their bellies up, as though their death they saw,
They at his pleasure lye, to stuffe his glutt’nous maw.
The toyling Fisher here is tewing of his Net:
The Fowler is imployd his lymed twigs to set.
One underneath his Horse, to get a shoot doth stalke;
Another over Dykes upon his Stilts doth walke:
There other with their Spades, the Peats are squaring out,
And others from their Carres, are busily about,
To draw out Sedge and Reed, for Thatch and Stover fit,
That whosoever would a Landskip rightly hit,
Beholding but my Fennes, shall with more shapes be stor’d,
Then Germany, or France, or Thuscan can afford:
And for that part of me, which men high Holland call,
Where Boston seated is, by plenteous Wythams fall,
I peremptory am, large Neptunes liquid field,
Doth to no other tract the like aboundance yeeld.
For that of all the Seas invironing this Isle,
Our Irish, Spanish, French, how e’r we them enstyle,
The German is the great’st, and it is onely I,
That doe upon the same with most advantage lye.
What Fish can any shore, or British Sea-towne show,
That’s eatable to us, that it doth not bestow
Abundantly thereon? the Herring king of Sea,
The faster feeding Cod, the Mackrell brought by May,
The pleasures of the
The five and twentieth Song. 109
The daintie Sole, and Plaice, the Dabb, as of their blood;
The Conger finely sous’d, hote Summers coolest food;
The Whiting knowne to all, a generall wholesome Dish;
The Gurnet, Rochet, Mayd, and Mullet, dainty Fish;
The Haddock, Turbet, Bert, Fish nourishing and strong;
The Thornback, and the Scate, provocatiue among:
The Weaver, which although his prickles venom bee,
By Fishers cut away, which Buyers seldome see:
Yet for the Fish he beares, tis not accounted bad;
The Sea-Flounder is here as common as the Shad;
The Sturgeon cut to Keggs, (too big to handle whole)
Gives many a dainty bit out of his lusty Jole.
Yet of rich Neptunes store, whilst thus I Idely chat,
Thinke not that all betwixt the Wherpoole, and the Sprat,
I goe about to name, that were to take in hand,
The Atomy to tell, or to cast up the sand;
But on the English coast, those most that usuall are,
Wherewith the staules from thence doe furnish us for farre;
Amongst whose sundry sorts, since thus farre I am in,
Ile of our Shell-Fish speake, with these of Scale and Fin:
The Sperme-increasing Crab, much Cooking that doth aske,
The big-legg’d Lobster, fit for wanton Venus taske,
Voluptuaries oft take rather then for food,
And that the same effect which worketh in the blood
The rough long Oyster is, much like the Lobster limb’d:
The Oyster hote as they, the Mussle often trimd
With Orient Pearle within, as thereby nature show’d,
That she some secret good had on that Shell bestow’d:
The Scallop cordiall judgd, the dainty Wilk and Limp,
The Periwincle, Prawne, the Cockle, and the Shrimpe,
For wanton womens tasts or for weake stomacks bought.
When Kestiven this while that certainly had thought,
Her tongue would ne’r have stopt, quoth shee, O how I hate,
Thus of her foggy Fennes, to heare rude Holland prate,
That with her Fish and Fowle, here keepeth such a coyle,
As her unwholesome ayre, and more unwholesome soyle,
For these of which shee boasts, the more might suffred be;
When those her feathered flocks she sends not out to me,
Wherein cleare Witham they, and many a little Brooke,
(In which the Sunne it selfe may well be proud to looke)
Have made their Flesh more sweet by my refined food,
From that so ramish tast of her most fulsome mud,
When the toyld Cater home them to the Kitchen brings,
The Cooke doth cast them out, as most unsavory things.
Besides, what is she else, but a foule woosie Marsh,
And that shee calls her grasse, so blady is, and harsh,
Kestivens Oration.
As cuts the Cattels mouthes, constrain’d thereon to feed,
So that my poorest trash, which mine call Rush and Reed,
For litter scarcely fit, that to the dung I throw,
Doth like the Penny grasse, or the pure Clover show,
Compared with her best: and for her sundry Fish,
Of which she freely boasts, to furnish every Dish.
Did not full Neptunes fields so furnish her with store,
Those in the Ditches bred, within her muddy Moore,
Are of so earthy taste, as that the Ravenous Crow
Will rather starve, thereon her stomack then bestow.
From Stamford as along my tract tow’rd Lincolne straines,
What Shire is there can shew more valuable Vaines
Of soyle then is in mee? or where can there be found,
So faire and fertile fields, or Sheep-walks nere so sound?
Where doth the pleasant ayre resent a sweeter breath?
What Countrey can produce a delicater Heath,
Then that which her faire Name from * Ancaster doth hold?
Through all the neighboring Shires, whose praise shall still be told,
Which Flora in the Spring doth with such wealth adorne,
That Bever needs not much her company to scorne,
Though shee a Vale lye low, and this a Heath sit hye,
Yet doth she not alone, allure the wondring eye
With prospect from each part, but that her pleasant ground
Gives all that may content, the well-breath’d Horse and Hound:
And from the Britans yet, to shew what then I was,
One of the Roman Wayes neere through my midst did passe:
Besides to my much praise, there hath been in my mould
Their painted Pavements found, and Armes of perfect gold.
Ancaster Heath.
They neere the Saxons raigne, that in this tract did dwell,
All other of this Isle, for that they would excell
For Churches every where, so rich and goodly rear’d
In every little Dorpe, that after-times have fear’d
T’attempt so mighty workes; yet one above the rest,
In which it may be thought, they strove to doe their best,
Of pleasant Grantham is, that Piramis so hye,
Rear’d (as it might be thought) to overtop the skie,
The Traveller that strikes into a wondrous maze,
As on his Horse he sits, on that proud height to gaze.
When Wytham that this while a listning eare had laid,
To hearken (for her selfe) what Kestiven had said,
Much pleasd with this report, for that she was the earth
From whom she onely had her sweet and seasoned birth,
No Tract can shew so
brave Churches.
From Wytham which that name derived from her Springs,
Thus as she trips along, this dainty Rivelet sings.
Ye easie ambling streames, which way soe’r you runne,
Or tow’rds the pleasant rise, or tow’rds the mid-day Sunne:
A Towne so called.
The five and twentieth Song. 111
By which (as some suppose by use that have them tride)
Your waters in their course are neatly purifi’d.
Be what you are, or can, I not your Beauties feare,
When Neptune shall commaund the Naiades t’appeare.
In River what is found, in me that is not rare:
Yet for my wel-fed Pykes, I am without compare.
From Wytham mine owne Towne, first watred with my sourse,
As to the Easterne Sea, I hasten on my course.
Who sees so pleasant plaines, or is of fairer seene,
Whose Swains in Shepheards gray, and Gyrles in Lincolne greene?
Whilst some the rings of Bells, and some the Bag-pipes ply,
Dance many a merry Round, and many a Hydegy.
I envy, any Brooke should in my pleasure share,
Yet for my daintie Pykes, I am without compare.
No Land-floods can mee force to over-proud a height;
Nor am I in my Course, too crooked, or too streight:
My depths fall by descents, too long, nor yet too broad,
My Foards with Pebbles, cleare as Orient Pearles, are strowd;
My gentle winding Banks, with sundry Flowers are drest,
The higher rising Heaths, hold distance with my brest.
Thus to her proper Song, the Burthen still she bare;
Yet for my dainty Pykes, I am without compare.
By this to Lincolne com’n, upon whose loftie Scite,
Whilst wistly Wytham looks with wonderfull delight,
Enamoured of the state, and beautie of the place,
That her of all the rest especially doth grace,
Leaving her former Course, in which she first set forth,
Which seemed to have been directly to the North:
Shee runnes her silver front into the muddy Fen,
Which lyes into the East, in her deepe journey, when
Cleare Ban a pretty Brooke, from Lyndsey comming downe,
Lincolne anciently dyed
the best greene of
Delicious Wytham leads to holy Botulphs Towne,
Where proudly she puts in amongst the great resort,
That their appearance make in Neptunes watry Court.
Now Lyndsey all this while, that duely did attend,
Till both her Rivals thus had fully made an end
Botulphs towne
contractedly Boston.
Of their so tedious talke, when lastly shee replyes;
Loe, bravely here she sits, that both your states defies.
Faire Lincolne is mine owne, which lies upon my South,
As likewise to the North, great Humbers swelling mouth
Encircles me, twixt which in length I bravely lye:
O who can me the best, before them both deny?
Nor Britaine in her Bounds, scarce such a Tract can show,
Whose shore like to the backe of a well-bended Bow,
The Ocean beareth out, and every where so thicke,
The Villages and Dorps upon my Bosome sticke,
Lyndsies oration.
That it is very hard for any to define,
Whether Up-land most I be, or most am Maratine.
What is there that compleat can any Country make,
That in large measure I, (faire Lindsey) not pertake,
As healthy Heaths, and Woods, faire Dales, and pleasant Hils,
All watred here and there, with pretty creeping Rills,
Fat Pasture, mellow Gleabe, and of that kind what can,
Give nourishment to beast, or benefit to man,
As Kestiven doth boast, her Wytham so have I,
My Ancum (onely mine) whose fame as farre doth flie,
For fat and daintie Eeles, as hers doth for her Pyke,
Which makes the Proverbe up, the world hath not the like.
From Razin her cleere Springs, where first she doth arive,
As in an even course, to Humber foorth doth drive,
Faire Barton shee salutes, which from her Scite out-braves
Rough Humber, when he strives to shew his sternest waves.
Wytham Eele, and
Ancum Pyke, In all the
world there is none

Now for my Bounds to speake, few Tracts (I thinke) there be,
(And search through all this Isle) to paralell with mee:
Great Humber holds me North, as I have said before)
From whom (even) all along, upon the Easterne shore,
The German Ocean lyes; and on my Southerne side,
Cleere Wytham in her course, me fairely doth divide
From Holland; and from thence the Fosdyke is my bound,
Which our first Henry cut from Lincolne, where he found,
Commodities by Trent, from Humber to convay:
So Nature, the cleere Trent doth fortunatly lay,
To ward me on the West, though farther I extend,
And in my larger bounds doe largely comprehend
Full Axholme, (which those neere, the fertile doe instile)
Which Idle, Don, and Trent, imbracing make an Isle.
But wherefore of my Bounds, thus onely doe I boast,
When that which Holland seemes to vaunt her on the most,
By me is overmatcht; the Fowle which shee doth breed:
Shee in her foggy Fennes, so moorishly doth feed,
That Phisick oft forbids the Patient them for food,
But mine more ayrie are, and make fine spirits and blood:
For neere this batning Isle, in me is to be seene,
More then on any earth, the Plover gray, and greene,
The Corne-land-loving Quayle, the daintiest of our bits,
The Rayle, which seldome comes, but upon Rich mens spits:
The Puet, Godwit, Stint, the pallat that allure,
The Miser and doe make a wastfull Epicure:
The Knot, that called was Canutus Bird of old,
Of that great King of Danes, his name that still doth hold,
His apetite to please, that farre and neere was sought,
For him (as some have sayd) from Denmarke hither brought
The Bounds of
The five and twentieth Song. 113
The Dotterell, which we thinke a very daintie dish,
Whose taking makes such sport, as man no more can wish;
For as you creepe, or cowre, or lye, or stoupe, or goe,
So marking you (with care) the Apish Bird doth doe,
And acting every thing, doth never marke the Net,
Till he be in the Snare, which men for him have set.
The big-boan’d Bustard then, whose body beares that size,
That he against the wind must runne, e’re he can rise:
The Shouler, which so shakes the ayre with saily wings,
That ever as he flyes, you still would thinke he sings.
These Fowles, with other Soyles, although they frequent be,
Yet are they found most sweet and delicate in me.
Thus whilst shee seemes t’extoll in her peculiar praise,
The Muse which seem’d too slacke, in these too low-pitcht layes,
For nobler height prepares, her oblique course, and casts
A new Booke to begin, an end of this shee hasts.