The Complaint of Rosamond

Ovt from the horror of infernall deepes,
My poore afflicted ghost comes here to plain it,
Attended with my shame that neuer sleepes,
The spot wherewith my kind, and youth did staine it.
My body found a graue where to containe it:
A sheete could hide my face, but not my sin,
For Fame findes neuer Tombe t'inclose it in.

And which is worse, my soule is now denied,
Her transport to the sweet Elisian rest,
The ioyfull blisse for Ghosts repurified,
The euer-springing Gardens of the blest:
Caron denies me waftage with the rest.
And saies my soule can neuer passe the Riuer,
Till Louers sighs on earth shall it deliuer.

So shall I neuer passe; for how should I
Procure this sacrifice amongst the liuing?
Time hath long since worne out the memorie
Both of my life, and liues vniust depriuing:
Sorrow for me is dead for aye reuiuing
Rosamond hath little left her but her name,
And that disgrac'd, for time hath wrong'd the same.

No Muse suggests the pitty of my case,
Each Pen doth ouerpasse my iust complaint,
Whilst others are prefer'd, though farre more base;
Shores wife is grac'd, and passes for a Saint;
Her Legend iustifies her soule attaint.
Her well-told tale did such compassion finde,
That she is pass'd, and I am left behinde.

Which seene with griese, my miserable Ghost,
(Whilome inuested in so faire a vaile,
Which whilst it liu'd, was honoured of the most,
And being dead, giues matter to bewaile,)
Comes to sollicite thee, (whilst others faile)
To take this taske, and in thy wofull song
To forme my case, and register my wrong.

Although I know thy iust lamenting Muse,
Toill'd in th'affliction of thine owne distresse,
In others cares hath little time to vse,
And therefore maist esteeme of mine the lesse:
Yet as thy hopes attend happy redresse,
The ioyes depending on a womans grace,
So moue thy minde a wofull womans case.

Delia may hap to deigne to reade our Story,
And offer vp her sighs among the rest,
Whose merit would suffice for both our glory,
Whereby thou might'st be grac'd and I be blest;
That indulgence would profit me the best.
Such powre she hath by whom thy youth is led,
To ioy the liuing, and to blesse the dead.

So I (through beauty) made the wofull'st wight,
By beauty might haue comfort after death:
That dying fairest, by the sairest might
Finde life aboue on earth, and rest beneath.
She that can blesse vs with one happy breath,
Giue comfort to thy Muse to doe her best,
That thereby thou mayst ioy, and I might rest.

Thus said: forthwith mou'd with a tender care,
And pitty (which my selfe could neuer find,)
What she desir'd, my Muse deign'd to declare,
And therefore, will'd her boldly tell her mind.
And I (more willing) tooke this charge assign'd,
Because her griefes were worthy to be knowne,
And telling hers, might hap forget mine owne.

Then write (quoth she) the ruine of my youth,
Report the downe-fall of my slippry state:
Of all my life reueale the simple truth,
To teach to others what I learnt too late.
Exemplifie my frailtie, tell how Fate
Keepes in eternall darke our fortunes hidden,
And ere they come to know them tis forbidden.

For whilst the Sun-shine of my fortune lasted,
I ioy'd the happiest warmth, the sweetest heate
That euer yet imperious beauty tasted,
I had what glory euer flesh could get:
But this faire morning had a shamefull set.
Disgrace dark'd honour, sinne did cloude my brow,
As note the sequell, and Ile tell thee how.

The bloud I stain'd, was good and of the best,
My birth had honour, and my beauty fame:
Nature and Fortune ioyn'd to make me blest.
Had I had grace t'haue knowne to vse the same.
My education shew'd from whence I came,
And all concurr'd to make me happy furst,
That so great hope might make me more accurst.

Happy liu'd I whilst parents eye did guide
The indiscretion of my feeble wayes,
And Countrey-home kept me from being eide,
Where best vnknowne I spent my sweetest daies:
Till that my friends mine honour sought to raise
To higher place, which greater credit yeelds,
Deeming such beauty was vnfit for fields.

From Countrey then to Court I was prefer'd
From calme to stormes, from shore into the deepes:
There where I perish'd, where my youth first err'd,
There where I lost the floure which honour keepes,
There where the worser thriues, the better weepes;
Ah me (poore wench) on this vnhappy shelfe,
I grounded me, and cast away my selfe.

There whereas fraile and tender beauty stands,
With all assaulting powres inuironed;
Hauing but prayers and weake feeble hands
To hold their honours Fort vnuanquished;
There where to stand, and be vnconquered,
Is to b'aboue the nature of our kinde,
That cannot long for pitty be vnkinde.

For thither com'd, when yeeres had arm'd my youth,
With rarest proofe of beauty euer seene:
When my reuiuing eie had learnt the truth,
That it had powre to make the winter greene,
And floure affections whereas none had beene;
Soone could I teach my brow to tyrannize,
And make the world doe homage to mine eyes.

For age I saw (though yeeres with cold conceit,
Congeal'd their thoughts against a warme desire,)
Yet sigh their want, and looke at such a baite;
I saw how youth was waxe before the fire;
I saw by stealth, I fram'd my looke a lyre.
Yet well perceiu'd, how Fortune made me then
The enuie of my sexe, and wonder vnto men.

Looke how a Comet at the first appearing,
Drawes all mens eyes with wonder to behold it;
Or as the saddest tale at sudden hearing,
Makes silent listning vnto him that told it,
So did my speech when Rubies did vnfold it;
So did the blazing of my blush appeare,
T'amaze the world, that holdes such sights so deere.

Ah beauty Syren, faire enchaunting good,
Sweet silent Rhetorique of perswading eyes:
Dombe Eloquence, whose powre doth moue the bloud,
More then the words or wisedome of the wise;
Still harmony, whose Diapason lyes
Within a brow, the key which passions moue,
To rauish sence, and play a world in loue.

What might I then not doe whose powre was such?
What cannot women doe that know their powre?
What women knowes it not (I feare too much)
How blisse or bale lyes in their laugh or lowre?
Whilst they inioy their happy blooming flowre,
Whilst Nature decks them in their best attires
Of youth and beauty, which the world admires.

Such one was I, my beauty was mine owne,
No borrowed blush which bank-rot beauties seeke:
That new-found shame, a sinne to vs vnknowne,
Th'adulterate beauty of a falsed cheeke:
Vilde staine to honour, and to women eeke,
Seeing that time our fading must detect,
Thus with defect to couer our defect.

Impietie of times, Chastities abator,
Falshood, wherein thy selfe thy selfe deniest:
Treason to counterfeit the seale of Nature,
The stampe of heauen, impressed by the highest.
Disgrace vnto the world, to whom thou liest,
Idoll vnto thy selfe, shame to the wise,
And all that honour thee Idolatrise.

Farre was that sinne from vs whose age was pure,
VVhen simple beauty was accounted best,
The time when women had no other lure
But modestie, pure cheekes, a vertuous brest:
This was the pompe wherewith my youth was blest.
These were the weapons which mine honour wonne,
In all the conflicts which mine eyes begunne.

VVhich were not small; I wrought on no meane obiect,
A Crowne was at my feete, Scepters obey'd me:
VVhom Fortune made my King, Loue made my Subiect,
VVho did command the Land, most humbly pray'd me:
Henry the second, that so highly weigh'd me,
Found well (by proofe) the priuiledge of beauty,
That it had powre to counter-maund all duty.

For after all his victories in France ,
And all the triumphs of his honour wonne:
Vnmatcht by sword, was vanquisht by a glance,
And hotter warres within his breast begunne.
VVarres, whom whole legions of desires drew on:
Against all which, my chastitie contends,
VVith force of honour, which my shame defends.

No Armour might be found that could defend,
Transpearcing raies of cristall poynted eyes:
No stratagem, no reason could amend,
No not his age; (yet old men should be wise)
But shewes deceiue, outward appearance lies.
Let none for seeming so, thinke Saints of others,
For all are men, and all haue suckt their mothers.

VVho would haue thought a Monarch would haue euer
Obey'd his hand-maide of so meane-estate;
Vulture ambition feeding on his liuer,
Age hauing worne his pleasures out of date.
But hap comes neuer, or it comes too late,
For such a dainty which his youth found not,
Vnto his feeble age did chaunce allot.

Ah Fortune, neuer absolutely good,
For that some crosse still counter-checks our lucke;
As here behold th'incompatible blood,
Of age and youth was that whereon we stucke:
VVhose lothing, we from Natures breasts doe sucke,
As opposite to what our bloud requires;
For equall age, doth equall like desires.

But mighty men, in highest honour sitting,
Nought but applause and pleasure can behold:
Sooth'd in their liking, carelesse what is fitting,
May not be suffred once to thinke the'are old:
Not trusting what they see, but what is told.
Miserable fortune to forget so farre
The state of flesh, and what our frailties are.

Yet must I needs excuse so great defect;
For drinking of the Lethe of mine eies,
H'is forc'd forget himselfe, and all respect
Of maiesty, whereon his state relies:
And now of loues and pleasures must deuise.
For thus reuiu'd againe, he serues and su'th,
And seekes all meanes to vndermine my youth.

Which neuer by assault he could recouer,
So well incamp'd in strength of chaste desires:
My cleane-arm'd thoughts repell'd an vnchaste louer.
The Crowne that could command what it requires,
I lesser priz'd then Chastities attires.
Th'vnstained vaile, which innocents adornes,
Th'vngathred Rose, defended with the thornes

And safe mine honor stood, till that in truth,
One of my Sexe, of place and nature bad,
Was set in ambush to intrap my youth.
One in the habit of like frailtie clad,
One who the liu'ry of like weakenesse had.
A seeming Matron, yet a sinfull Monster,
As by her words the Chaster sort may conster.

She set vpon me with the smoothest speech
That Court and age could cunningly deuise:
Th'one authentique, made her fit to teach,
The other learn'd her how to subtilise.
Both were enough to circumuent the wise.
A document that well might teach the sage,
That there's no trust in youth, nor hope in age.

Daughter (said she) behold thy happy chance,
That hast the lot cast downe into thy lap,
Whereby thou may'st thy honor great aduance,
Whilst thou (vnhappy) wilt not see thy hap:
Such fond respect thy youth doth so inwrap,
T'oppose thy selfe against thine owne good fortune,
That poynts thee out, and seemes thee to importune.

Doost thou not see, how that thy King (thy Ioue )
Lightens forth glory on thy darke estate:
And showers downe gold and treasure from aboue,
Whilst thou doost shut thy lap against thy Fate?
Fie Fondling fie, thou wilt repent too late
The error of thy youth; that canst not see
What is the Fortune that doth follow thee.

Thou must not thinke thy flower can alwayes flourish,
And that thy beauty will be still admired;
But that those raies which all these flames doe nourish,
Cancell'd with Time, will haue their date expired,
And men will scorne what now is so desired.
Our frailties doome is written in the flowers,
Which flourish now, and fade ere many howers.

Reade in my face the ruines of my youth,
The wracke of yeeres vpon my aged brow;
I haue beene faire (I must confesse the truth)
And stood vpon as nice respects as thou;
I lost my time, and I repent it now
But were I to beginne my youth againe,
I would redeeme the time I spent in vaine.

But thou hast yeeres and priuiledge to vse them,
Thy priuiledge doth beare Beauties great seale;
Besides, the Law of Nature doth excuse them,
To whom thy youth may haue a iust appeale.
Esteeme not Fame more then thou dost thy weale.
Fame (whereof the world seemes to make such choice)
Is but an Eccho, and an idle voice.

Then why should this respect of honor bound vs,
In th'imaginarie lists of Reputation?
Titles which cold seueritie hath found vs,
Breath of the vulgar, foe to recreation:
Melancholies opinion, Customes relation;
Pleasures plague, beauties scourge, hell to the faire,
To leaue the sweet for Castles in the aire.

Pleasure is felt, opinion but conceau'd,
Honor, a thing without vs, not our owne:
Whereof we see how many are bereau'd,
Which should haue reap'd the glory they had sowne:
And many haue it, yet vnworthy, knowne.
So breathes his blast this many-headed beast,
Whereof the wisest haue esteemed least.

The subtill City-women, better learned,
Esteeme them chaste enough that best seeme so:
Who though they sport, it shall not be discerned,
Their face bewraies not what their bodies do;
Tis warie walking that doth saflyest go,
With shew of Vertue, as the cunning knowes:
Babes are beguild with sweets, and men with showes.

Then vse thy tallent, youth shall be thy warrant,
And let not honor from thy sports detract:
Thou must not fondly thinke thy selfe transparant,
That those who see thy face can iudge thy fact;
Let her haue shame that cannot closely act.
And seeme the chaste, which is the chiefest arte,
For what we seeme each sees, none knowes our hart.

The mightie who can with such sinnes dispence,
In steed of shame doe honors great bestow,
A worthie author doth redeeme th'offence,
And makes the scarlet sinne as white as snow.
The Maiestie that doth descend so low,
Is not defilde, but pure remaines therein:
And being sacred, sanctifies the sin.

What, doost thou stand on this, that he is old?
Thy beautie hath the more to worke vpon;
Thy pleasures want shall be supplide with gold,
Cold age dotes most when heate of youth is gone:
Enticing words preuaile with such a one.
Alluring shewes most deepe impression strikes,
For age is prone to credit what it likes.

Here interrupt, she leaues me in a doubt,
When loe beganne the cumbat in my blood:
Seeing my youth inuiron'd round about,
The ground vncertaine where my reasons stood;
Small my defence to make my party good,
Against such powers which were so surely laid,
To ouerthrow a poore vnskilfull Maide.

Treason was in my bones, my selfe conspiring,
To sell my selfe to lust, my soule to sin:
Pure-blushing shame was euen in retiring,
Leauing the sacred hold it glori'd in.
Honor lay prostrate for my flesh to win,
When cleaner thoughts my weakenesse gan vpbray
Against my selfe, and shame did force me say;

Ah Rosamond , what doth thy flesh prepare?
Destruction to thy dayes, death to thy fame:
Wilt thou betray that honor held with care,
T'entombe with blacke reproch a spotted name?
Leauing thy blush the colours of thy shame?
Opening thy feete to sinne, thy soule to lust,
Gracelesse to lay thy glory in the dust?

Nay first let th'earth gape wide to swallow thee,
And shut thee vp in bosome with her dead,
Ere Serpent tempt thee taste forbidden Tree,
Or feele the warmth of an vnlawfull bed;
Suffring thy selfe by lust to be misled;
So to disgrace thy selfe and grieue thine heires,
That Cliffords race should scorne thee one of theirs:

Neuer wish longer to enioy the Aire,
Then that thou breath'st the breath of Chastitie:
Longer then thou preseru'st thy soule as faire
As is thy face, free from impuritie
Thy face, that makes th'admir'd in euery eie,
Where Natures care such rarities inroule;
Which vs'd amisse, may serue to damne thy soule.

But what? he is my King, and may constraine me,
Whether I yeeld or not, I liue defamed.
The World will thinke Authoritie did gaine me,
I shall be iudg'd his Loue, and so be shamed:
We see the faire condemn'd, that neuer gamed.
And if I yeeld, tis honorable shame,
If not, I liue disgrac'd, yet thought the same.

What way is left thee then (vnhappy Maide)
Whereby thy spotlesse foote may wander out
This dreadfull danger, which thou seest is laide,
Wherein thy shame doth compasse thee about?
Thy simple yeeres cannot resolue this doubt.
Thy Youth can neuer guide thy foote so euen,
But (in despite) some scandall will be giuen.

Thus stood I ballanc'd equally precize,
Till my fraile flesh did weigh me downe to sin;
Till world and pleasure made me partialize,
And glittering pompe my vanitie did win,
When to excuse my fault my lusts begin
And impious thoughts alledg'd this wanton clause,
That though I sinn'd, my sinne had honest cause.

So well the golden balles cast downe before me,
Could entertaine my course, hinder my way:
Whereat my wretchlesse youth stooping to store me,
Lost me the Goale, the Glory and the Day.
Pleasure had set my well school'd thoughts to play,
And bade me vse the vertue of mine eies,
For sweetly it fits the faire to wantonise.

Thus wrought to sinne, soone was I train'd from Court,
T'a sollitarie Grange, there to attend
The time the King should thither make resort,
Where he Loues long-desired worke should end.
Thither he daily messages doth send,
With costly Iewels (Orators of Loue,)
Which (ah, too well men know) doe women moue.

The day before the night of my defeature,
He greetes me with a Casket richly wrought;
So rare, that Arte did seeme to striue with Nature,
T'expresse the cunning Worke-mans curious thought;
The mysterie whereof I prying sought,
And found engrauen on the lid aboue,
Amymone , how she with Neptune stroue.

Amymone , old Danaus fairest Daughter,
As she was fetching water all alone
At Lerna : whereas Neptune came and caught her:
From whom she striu'd and struggled to be gone,
Beating the aire with cries and piteous mone;
But all in vaine, with him she's forc'd to go;
Tis shame that men should vse poore maidens so.

There might I see described how she lay,
At those proude feete, not satisfied with prayer:
Wayling her heauy hap, cursing the day,
In act so pitious to expresse despaire.
And by how much more grieu'd, so much more faire
Her teares vpon her cheekes (poore carefull Gerle,)
Did seeme against the Sunne Christall and Pearle:

Whose pure cleere streames (which lo so faire appeares)
Wrought hotter flames (O miracle of Loue
That kindles fire in water, heate in teares,
And makes neglected beauty mightier proue,
Teaching afflicted eyes affects to moue;)
To shew that nothing ill becomes the faire,
But cruelty, which yeelds vnto no prayer.

This hauing view'd, and therewith something moued,
Figured I finde within the other squares,
Transformed Io, Ioues deerely loued,
In her affliction how she strangely fares.
Strangely distrest'd (O beauty, borne to cares)
Turn'd to a Heiffer, kept with iealous eyes,
Alwayes in danger of her hatefull spies.

These presidents presented to my view,
Wherein the presage of my fall was showne,
Might haue fore-warn'd me well what would ensue,
And others harmes haue made me shun mine owne.
But Fate is not preuented, though foreknowne.
For that must hap, decreed by heauenly powers,
Who worke our fall, yet make the fault still ours.

Witnesse the world, wherein is nothing rifer,
Then miseries vnken'd before they come:
Who can the Characters of chaunce decipher,
Written in cloudes of our concealed dome?
Which though perhaps haue beene reueal'd to some,
Yet that so doubtfull (as successe did proue them)
That men must know they haue the Heau'ns aboue them.

I saw the sinne wherein my soote was entring,
I saw how that dishonour did attend it,
I saw the shame whereon my flesh was ventring,
Yet had I not the power for to defend it.
So weake is sence, when error hath condemn'd it.
We see what's good, and thereto we consent,
But yet we choose the worst, and soone repent.

And now I come to tell the worst of ilnesse,
Now drawes the date of mine affliction neere.
Now when the darke had wrapt vp all in stilnesse,
And dreadfull blacke had dispossest the cleere,
Com'd was the Night (mother of sleepe and feare)
Who with her sable-mantle friendly couers
The sweet-stolne sport of ioyfull meeting Louers.

When lo, I ioy'd my Louer, not my Loue,
And felt the hand of lust most vndesired:
Enforc'd th'vnprooued bitter sweet to proue,
Which yeeldes no naturall pleasure when tis hired.
Loue's not constrain'd, nor yet of due required.
Iudge they who are vnfortunately wed,
What tis to come vnto a loathed bed.

But soone his age receiu'd his short contenting,
And sleepe seal'd vp his languishing desires:
When he turnes to his rest, I to repenting,
Into my selfe my waking thought retires:
My nakednesse had prou'd my sences liers.
Now opned were mine eyes to looke therein;
For first we taste the fruit, then see our sin.

Now did I finde my selfe vnparadis'd,
From those pure fields of my so cleane beginning:
Now I perceiu'd how ill I was aduis'd,
My flesh gan loathe the new-felt touch of sinning;
Shame leaues vs by degrees, not at first winning
For Nature checks a new offence with loathing,
But vse of sinne doth make it seeme as nothing.

And vse of sinne did worke in me a boldnesse,
And loue in him, incorporates such zeale,
That iealousie increas'd with ages coldnesse,
Fearing to loose the ioy of all his weale;
Or doubting time his stealth might else reueale,
H'is driuen to deuise some subtill way,
How he might safelyest keepe so rich a pray.

A stately Pallace he forthwith did build,
Whose intricate innumerable wayes
With such confused errours, so beguilde
Th'vnguided Entrers, with vncertaine strayes,
And doubtfull turnings, kept them in delayes;
With bootelesse labor leading them about,
Able to finde no way, nor in, nor out.

Within the closed bosome of which frame,
That seru'd a Centre to that goodly Round,
Were lodgings, with a Garden to the same,
With sweetest flowers that eu'r adorn'd the ground,
And all the pleasures that delight hath found,
T'entertaine the sense of wanton eies;
Fuell of Loue, from whence lusts flames arise.

Here I inclos'd from all the world asunder,
The Minotaure of shame kept for disgrace,
The Monster of Fortune, and the worlds wonder,
Liu'd cloistred in so desolate a case:
None but the King might come into the place,
With certaine Maides that did attend my neede,
And he himselfe came guided by a threed.

O Iealousie, daughter of Enuie and Loue,
Most wayward issue of a gentle Sire;
Fostred with feares, thy fathers ioyes t'improue,
Mirth-marring Monster, borne a subtill lier;
Hatefull vnto thy selfe, flying thine owne desire:
Feeding vpon suspect that doth renue thee,
Happy were Louers if they neuer knew thee

Thou hast a thousand Gates thou enterest by,
Condemning trembling passions to our hart;
Hundred ey'd Argus , euer waking Spie,
Pale Hagge, infernall Furie, pleasures smart,
Enuious Obseruer, prying in euery part;
Suspicious, fearefull, gazing still about thee,
O would to God that loue could be without thee

Thou didst depriue (through false suggesting feare)
Him of content, and me of libertie:
The onely good that women hold so deere,
And turnst my freedome to captiuitie,
First made a prisoner, ere an enemie.
Enioyn'd the ransome of my bodies shame,
Which though I paid, could not redeeme the same.

What greater torment euer could haue beene,
Then to inforce the faire to liue retir'd?
For what is beauty if it bee not seene?
Or what is't to be seene if not admir'd?
And though admir'd, vnlesse in loue desir'd?
Neuer were cheekes of Roses, locks of Amber,
Ordain'd to liue imprison'd in a Chamber.

Nature created beauty for the view,
(Like as the Fire for heate, the Sunne for light:)
The faire doe hold this priuiledge as due
By ancient Charter, to liue most in sight,
And she that is debar'd it, hath not right.
In vaine our friends from this, doe vs dehort,
For Beauty will be where is most resort.

Witnesse the fairest streetes that Thames doth visit,
The wondrous concourse of the glittring Faire:
For what rare woman deckt with beauty is it,
That thither couets not to make repaire?
The sollitary Countrey may not stay her.
Here is the centre of all beauties best,
Excepting Delia , left t'adorne the West.

Here doth the curious with iudiciall eies,
Contemplate Beauty gloriously attired:
And herein all our chiefest glory lies,
To liue where we are prais'd and most desired.
O how we ioy to see our selues admired,
Whilst niggardly our sauours we discouer:
We loue to be belou'd, yet scorne the Louer.

Yet would to God my foote had neuer mou'd
From Countrey-safety, from the fields of rest:
To know the danger to be highly lou'd,
And liue in pompe to braue among the best:
Happy for me, better had I beene blest,
If I vnluckily had neuer straide,
But liu'd at home a happy Countrey Maide.

Whose vnaffected innocencie thinkes
No guilefull fraude, as doth the Courtly liuer:
Shee's deckt with truth; the Riuer where she drinkes
Doth serue her for her glasse, her Counsell-giuer;
She loues sincerely, and is loued euer.
Her dayes are peace, and so she endes her breath,
(True life that knowes not what's to die till death.)

So should I neuer haue beene registred,
In the blacke booke of the vnfortunate:
Nor had my name inrol'd with maides misled,
Which bought their pleasures at so hie a rate.
Nor had I taught, (through my vnhapy fate)
This Lesson (which my selfe learn't with expence)
How most it hurts, that most delights the sence.

Shame followes sinne, disgrace is duely giuen,
Impietie will out, neuer so closely done:
No walles can hide vs from the eye of Heauen,
For shame must end what wickednesse begun;
Forth breakes reproch when we least thinke thereon,
And this is euer proper vnto Courts,
That nothing can be done, but Fame reports.

Fame doth explore what lies most secret hidden,
Entring the Closet of the Pallace dweller:
Abroade reuealing what is most forbidden
Of truth and salshood both an equall teller,
Tis not a guard can serue for to expell her.
The Sword of Iustice cannot cut her Wings,
Nor stop her mouth from vtt'ring secret things.

And this our stealth she could not long conceale,
From her whom such a forfeit most concerned:
The wronged Queene, who could so closely deale,
That she the whole of all our practise learned,
And watcht a time when least it was discerned,
In absence of the King to wreake her wrong,
With such reuenge as she desired long.

The Labyrinth she entred by that Threed,
That seru'd a conduct to my absent Lord,
Left there by chance, reseru'd for such a deed,
Where she surpriz'd me whom she so abhor'd.
Enrag'd with madnesse, scarce she speakes a word,
But flies with eager furie to my face,
Offring me most vnwomanly disgrace.

Looke how a Tygresse that hath lost her Whelpe,
Runnes fiercely ranging through the Woods astray:
And seeing her selfe depriu'd of hope or helpe,
Furiously assaults what's in her way,
To satisfie her wrath, (not for a pray)
So fell she on me in outragious wise,
As could Disdaine and Iealousie deuise.

And after all her vile reproches vsde,
She forc'd me take the Poyson she had brought,
To end the life that had her so abusde,
And free her feares, and ease her iealous thought.
No cruelty her wrath could leaue vnwrought,
No spitefull act that to Reuenge is common;
(No beast being fiercer then a iealous woman.)

Here take (saith she) thou impudent vncleane,
Base gracelesse Strumpet, take this next your heart;
Your Love-sicke heart, that ouer-charg'd hath beene
With Pleasures surfeit, must be purg'd with Art.
This potion hath a power that will conuart
To naught, those humors that oppresse you so.
And (Gerle) Ile see you take it ere I go.

What, stand you now amaz'd, retire you backe?
Tremble you (Minion?) come, dispatch with speed;
There is no helpe, your Champion now you lacke,
And all these teares you shed will nothing steed;
Those dainty fingers needes must doe the deed.
Take it, or I will drench you else by force,
And trifle not, lest that I vse you worse.

Hauing this bloody doome from hellish breath,
My wofull eyes on euery side I cast:
Rigor about me, in my hand my death,
Presenting me the horror of my last:
All hope of pitty and of comfort past.
No meanes, no power; no forces to contend,
My trembling hands must giue my selfe my end.

Those hands that beauties ministers had bin,
They must giue death, that me adorn'd of late,
That mouth that newly gaue consent to sin,
Must now receiue destruction in thereat,
That body which my lust did violate,
Must sacrifice it selfe t'appease the wrong.
(So short is pleasure, glory lasts not long.)

And she no sooner saw I had it taken,
But forth she rushes (proud with victorie)
And leaues m'alone, of all the world forsaken,
Except of Death, which she had left with me
(Death and my selfe alone together be)
To whom she did her full reuenge refer
Oh poore weake conquest both for him and her.

Then straight my Conscience summons vp my sinne,
T'appeare before me in a hideous face;
Now doth the terror of my soule beginne,
When eu'ry corner of that hatefull place
Dictates mine error, and reueales disgrace;
Whilst I remaine opprest in euery part,
Death in my body, Horror at my hart.

Downe on my bed my loathsome selfe I cast,
The bed that likewise giues in euidence
Against my soule, and tels I was vnchast;
Tels I was wanton, tels I followed sence,
And therefore cast, by guilt of mine offence;
Must here the right of Heauen needes satisfie,
And where I wanton lay, must wretched die.

Here I beganne to waile my hard mishap,
My sudden, strange vnlookt for misery,
Accusing them that did my youth intrap,
To giue me such a fall of infamy.
And poore distressed Rosamond (said I)
Is this thy glory got, to die forlorne
In Desarts where no eare can heare thee mourne?

Nor any eye of pitty to behold
The wofull end of my sad tragedie;
But that thy wrongs vnseene, thy tale vntold,
Must here in secret silence buried lie.
And with thee, thine excuse together die.
Thy sinne reueal'd, but thy repentance hid,
Thy shame aliue, but dead what thy death did.

Yet breathe out to these Walles the breath of mone,
Tell th'Aaire thy plaints, since men thou canst not tell.
And though thou perish desolate alone,
Tell yet thy selfe, what thy selfe knowes too well:
Vtter thy griefe wherewith thy soule doth swell.
And let thy heart pitty thy hearts remorse,
And be thy selfe the mourner and the corse.

Condole thee here, clad all in blacke dispaire,
With silence onely, and a dying bed;
Thou that of late, so flourishing, so faire,
Did'st glorious liue, admir'd and honored:
And now from friends, from succour hither led,
Art made a spoyle to lust, to wrath, to death,
And in disgrace, forc'd here to yeeld thy breath.

Did Nature (for this good) ingeniate,
To shew in thee the glory of her best;
Framing thine eye the starre of thy ill fate,
Making thy face the foe to spoyle the rest?
O Beautie thou an enemie profest
To Chastitie and vs that loue thee most,
Without thee, how w'are loath'd, and with thee lost?

You, you that proude with libertie and beautie,
(And well may you be proude that you be so)
Glitter in Court, lou'd and obseru'd of dutie;
Would God I might to you but ere I goe
Speake what I feele, to warne you by my woe,
To keepe your feete in cleanly paths of shame,
That no inticing may diuert the same.

See'ng how against your tender weakenesse still,
The strength of wit, and gold, and all is bent;
And all th'assaults that euer might or skill,
Can giue against a chaste and cleane intent:
Ah let not greatnesse worke you to consent.
The spot is foule, though by a Monarch made,
Kings cannot priuiledge what God forbade.

Locke vp therefore the treasure of your loue,
Vnder the surest keyes of feare and shame:
And let no powers haue power chaste thoughts to moue
To make a lawlesse entry on your same.
Open to those the comfort of your flame,
Whose equall loue shall march with equall pace,
In those pure wayes that leade to no disgrace.

For see how many discontented beds,
Our owne aspiring, or our Parents pride
Haue caus'd, whilst that ambition vainely weds
Wealth and not loue, honor and nought beside:
Whilst married but to titles, we abide
As wedded Widowes, wanting what we haue,
When shadowes cannot giue vs what we craue.

Or whilst we spend the freshest of our time,
The sweet of youth in plotting in the ayre;
Alas, how oft we fall, hoping to clime;
Or whither as vnprofitably faire,
Whilst those decayes which are without repaire,
Make vs neglected, scorned and reprou'd.
(And O what are we, if we be not lou'd?)

Fasten therefore vpon occasions fit,
Lest this, or that, or like disgrace as mine,
Doe ouer-take your youth or ruine it,
And cloude with infamie your beauties shine:
Seeing how many seeke to vndermine
The treasurie that's vnpossest of any:
And hard tis kept that is desired of many.

And flie (O flie) these Bed-brokers vncleane,
(The Monsters of our Sexe) that make a pray
Of their owne kinde, by an vnkindely meane;
And euen (like Vipers) eating out a way
Through th'wombe of their owne shame, accursed they
Liue by the death of Fame, the gaine of sin,
The filth of lust, vncleannesse wallowes in

As if t'were not inough that we (poore we)
Haue weakenesse, beautie, gold and men our foes,
But we must haue some of our selues to be
Traitors vnto our selues, to ioyne with those?
Such as our feeble forces doe disclose,
And still betray our cause, our shame, our youth,
To lust, to folly, and to mens vntruth?

Hatefull confounders both of bloud and lawes,
Vilde Orators of shame, that pleade delight:
Vngracious agents in a wicked cause,
Factors for darkenesse, messengers of night,
Serpents of guile, Deuils, that doe inuite
The wanton taste of that forbidden tree,
Whose fruit once pluckt, will shew how foule we bee.

You in the habite of a graue aspect,
(In credit by the trust of yeeres) can shoe
The cunning wayes of lust, and can direct
The faire and wilie wantons how to goe,
Hauing (your lothesome selues) your youth spent so.
And in vncleannesse euer haue beene sed,
By the reuenue of a wanton bed.

By you haue beene the innocent betraide,
The blushing fearefull, boldned vnto sin,
The wife made subtill, subtill made the maide,
The husband scorn'd, dishonored the kin:
Parents disgrac'd, children infamous bin.
Confus'd our race, and falsified our blood,
Whilst fathers sonnes possesse wrong fathers good.

This, and much more, I would haue vttered then,
A testament to be recorded still,
Sign'd with my bloud, subscrib'd with Conscience Pen,
To warne the faire and beautifull from ill.
Though I could wish (by th'example of my will)
I had not left this note vnto the faire,
But dide intestate to haue had no heire.

But now, the poyson spread through all my vaines,
Gan dispossesse my liuing sences quite:
And nought-respecting death (the last of paines)
Plac'd his pale colours (th'ensigne of his might)
Vpon his new-got spoyle before his right;
Thence chac'd my soule, setting my day ere noone,
When I least thought my ioyes could end so soone.

And as conuaide t'vntimely funerals,
My scarce cold corse not suffred longer stay,
Behold, the King (by chance) returning, fals
T'incounter with the same vpon the way,
As he repair'd to see his dearest ioy.
Not thinking such a meeting could haue beene,
To see his Loue, and seeing bin vnseene.

Iudge those whom chance depriues of sweetest treasure,
What tis to lose a thing we hold so deere:
The best delight, wherein our soule takes pleasure,
The sweet of life, that penetrates so neere.
What passions seeles that heart, inforc'd to beare
The deepe impression of so strange a sight,
That ouerwhelmes vs, or confounds vs quite?

Amaz'd he stands, nor voice nor body steares,
Words had no passage, teares no issue sound,
For sorrow shut vp words, wrath kept in teares;
Confus'd affects each other doe confound.
Opprest with griefe, his passions had no bound:
Striuing to tell his woes, words would not come;
For light cares speake, when mightie griefes are dombe.

At length, extremitie breakes out a way,
Through which, th'imprisoned voice with teares attended,
Wailes out a sound that sorrowes doe bewray:
With armes a-crosse, and eyes to heauen bended,
Vaporing out sighs that to the skies ascended.
Sighs (the poore ease calamitie affords)
Which serue for speech when sorrow wanteth words.

O Heauens (quoth he) why doe mine eyes behold
The hatefull raies of this vnhappy Sunne?
Why haue I light to see my sinnes controld,
With bloud of mine owne shame thus vildely done?
How can my sight endure to looke thereon?
Why doth not blacke eternall darkenesse hide,
That from mine eyes, my heart cannot abide?

What saw my life wherein my soule might ioy;
What had my dayes whom troubles still afflicted,
But onely this, to counterpoize annoy?
This ioy, this hope, which Death hath interdicted;
This sweet, whose losse hath all distresse inflicted;
This, that did season all my sowre of life,
Vext still at home with broiles, abroade in strife.

Vext still at home with broiles, abroade in strife,
Dissension in my bloud, iarres in my bed:
Distrust at boord, suspecting still my life,
Spending the night in horror, daies in dread;
(Such life hath Tyrants, and this life I led.)
These miseries goe mask'd in glittering showes,
Which wise men see, the vulgar little knowes.

Thus as these passions doe him ouerwhelme,
He drawes him neere my body to behold it.
And as the Vine married vnto the Elme
With strict imbraces, so doth he infold it:
And as he in his carefull armes doth hold it,
Viewing the face that euen death commends,
On sencelesse lippes, millions of kisses spends.

Pittifull mouth (saith he) that liuing gauest
The sweetest comfort that my soule could wish:
O be it lawfull now, that dead thou hauest,
This sorrowing farewell of a dying kisse;
And you faire eyes, containers of my blisse,
Motiues of Loue, borne to be matched neuer,
Entomb'd in your sweet circles, sleepe for euer.

Ah, how me thinkes I see Death dallying seekes,
To entertaine it selfe in Loues sweet place;
Decayed Roses of discoloured cheekes,
Doe yet retaine deere notes of former grace:
And vgly Death sits faire within her face;
Sweet remnants resting of Vermillian red,
That Death it selfe doubts whether she be dead.

Wonder of beautie, oh receiue these plaints,
These obsequies, the last that I shall make thee:
For loe, my soule that now already faints,
(That lou'd thee liuing, dead will not forsake thee)
Hastens her speedy course to ouer-take thee
Ile meete my death, and free my selfe thereby,
For (ah) what can he doe that cannot die?

Yet ere I die, thus much my soule doth vow,
Reuenge shall sweeten death with ease of minde:
And I will cause Posterity shall know,
How faire thou wert about all women kinde;
And after-Ages Monuments shall finde,
Shewing thy beauties title, not thy name,
Rose of the world, that sweetned so the same.

This said, though more desirous yet to say,
(For sorrow is vnwilling to giue ouer)
He doth represse what griefe would else bewray,
Lest he too much his passions should discouer;
And yet respect scarce bridles such a Louer,
So farre transported that he knowes not whither,
For Loue and Maiestie dwell ill togither.

Then were my Funerals not long deferred,
But done with all the rites pompe could deuise,
At Godstow , where my body was interred,
And richly tomb'd in honorable wise:
Where yet as now scarce any note descries
Vnto these times, the memory of me,
Marble and Brasse so little lasting be.

For those walles which the credulous deuout,
And apt-beleeuing ignorant did found;
With willing zeale, that neuer call'd in doubt,
That time their workes should euer so confound,
Lie like confused heapes as vnder ground.
And what their ignorance esteem'd so holy,
The wiser ages doe account as folly.

And were it not thy fauourable lines
Re-edified the wracke of my decayes,
And that thy accents willingly assignes
Some farther date, and giue me longer daies,
Few in this age had knowne my beauties praise.
But thus renew'd, my fame redeemes some time,
Till other ages shall neglect thy Rime.

Then when Confusion in her course shall bring
Sad desolation on the times to come:
When mirthlesse Thames shall haue no Swanne to sing,
All Musicke silent, and the Muses dombe.
And yet euen then it must be knowne to some,
That once they flourisht, though not cherisht so,
And Thames had Swannes as well as euer Po .

But here an end, I may no longer stay,
I must returne t'attend at Stygian flood:
Yet ere I goe, this one word more I pray,
Tell Delia , now her sigh may doe me good,
And will her note the frailtie of our blood.
And if I passe vnto those happy bankes,
Then she must haue her praise, thy Pen her thankes.

So vanisht she, and left me to returne
To prosecute the tenor of my woes,
Eternall matter for my Muse to mourne:
But (yet) the world hath heard too much of those,
My youth such errors must no more disclose.
Ile hide the rest, and grieue for what hath beene;
Who made me knowne, must make me liue vnseene.
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