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1. I DEDICATE AND DEVOTE THIS SECOND BOOK OF AFFANIAE TO MY EDWARD MICHELBORNE

For whom better? He thinks my Muses are something, he gives them his mind and his help. Nobody prizes them more, nobody reads his own verse with a happier face than he reads mine. Go to his friendly hands, my little page, you won’t be dearer if you have lingered in your author’s own pocket.

2. TO EDWARD MICHELBORNE

These poems, which you call sallies, jokes, witticisms, and pleasantries, but which I call affaniae, burrae, rubbish, and black smudges on white paper, I give to you. At the same time I ask that when you read them, Edward, you do not bear in mind that Charles is the donor and author, do not be mindful of me, but of the book. Doff the mask of friend, wholly assume that of severe judge, and do not be sparing of your obols and asterisks, nor be overmodest and fear to fill up whole pages with your copious annotations.
But you will restrain your severe fingernail, not using your rasp or correcting pen, marking everything which your Charles had written for you with a white pebble.
And so, as to what I should think of my trifles, I am torn between to judgements: how much do I trust you, whom my loyalty forbids to deceive, and whom my good judgement urges me to hoodwink?

3. TO THE DIVINE ELISA

No man prays to the Thunderer, beloved queen, for your like after you, because each man desires to have you yourself. It is less difficult for the Thunderer to keep you safe forever, than to give us your like or your equal after you.

4. TO WILLIAM PERCY, A NOBLE GENTLEMAN

Fair bard, Percy, best patron of verse, and author of the best verse, both their subject and their producer, at once Britain’s Mycaenas and its Vergil, o you who ennoble the sacred Muses and whom the sacred Muses ennoble, o you whom they rightly worship, and are worshiped by you, who are Phoebus’ ornament, and also his honor, he who duly adores you, and is adored by you, and who by a happy exchange give back that which you receive! Phoebus advises me, as do the Muses, to give you these putrid Phaleucians. They advise me, and so does he, to have my verses approved by cultured Percy, if I wish to have them approved by them, and by him. If I should not be able to have these verses approved by them, and by him, because it should be impossible to have them approved by Percy (which it is not), at least let them and him approve my intention, which certainly should be (and, behold, it certainly is) to have my verses approved by Percy.

5. TO HILARY VERE

My paper, you must seek and humbly beg him hasten to Wiltshire, leaving behind the gown-clad city’s tediums, for but a while, and the bold uproars of the capacious debating hall, and the raucous quarrels of antagonists. Instead of his lengthy gown, let him fit a cloak to his shoulders, and to his side a sword which a Spaniard made with much exertion, to his own destruction.
So, being careful to renounce his cares, let him speedily aspire to the pleasurable leisures of our countryside, and to his Charles, you best of all excellent things everywhere, who longs for your eyes, no less impatient of delay with the hopeless passion of heart than the lark who sweetly yearns for vernal breezes after December chills, than a tender lass, lately betrothed to her new husband, yearns for the tardy evening star, so she may at length discard her irksome girdle, ah so long bound tight.
So if Vere should be and will be as he always was, let him discharge his avowed pact with bright Faith by eating up the road, let him reprove delays, and know that all delays are overlong for the man who adores him.
Tell him too, o papers, how much longing sets my heart a-boil, with what tempests my breast is raging, nor (even if its if droughts parch Hippocrene’s very bottom) will the ardor of my heartsickness ever subside, unless he provides the palpable cooling of his wholesome air, he the sole subduer of my ills, the repose of my labors, the Epidaurian god of my cares, while, as is his wont, he weaves sweet converse with me, with Phoebus inspiring his mouth, but converse full of salt and sallies, wanting these to be purchased by all my laughter, though his sides shake with their own mirth.
If you achieve nothing with pleasant and friendly entreaties, my papers, then soon introduce wrath and threats, and after your light, soft little Phaleucians, let him expect harsh savage iambics, more numerous and more bitter than those the fierce poet gave to his father-in-law, Lycambrus the Spartan.
Am I mistaken? Or does he, who had been making ready to come, moved by my gentle entreaty, delayed again, having heard these threats?

6. TO COSMICUS

You praise all the poets, Cosmicus you miser, but give nothing, your tongue is liberal, your hand stingy. While you wish to save everything, miser, you lose your all, for what you yourself give, nobody is wont to repay.

7.

Your mouth is agape, your wallet shut tight. How much better if your mouth were shut, and your wallet agape!

8. TO COSMICUS

Why do you ask me so often for golden verse, Cosmicus? Give me gold, and for you each verse will be golden. It is not us poets’ way way to give away golden verse, Cosmicus. Our way is that gold, having been given, be repaid afterwards. This is your way.

9.

Recently I showed you a poem I had labored on through winter nights, crammed with your praises, Cosmicus. O, of what quality you were to my Muses! Of what quantity you were my Muses! I placed you above the labors of Hercules, I placed you above the honors of Jove. Why, Cosmicus, do you pay me no recompense for such great praises? Hey, you have no sense! I shall add this praise to my previous one: you think it wrong to subsidize liars, and you do not purchase falsehoods. You have sense.

10. ON AN ENVIOUS MAN

What punishment may I pray for you worthy of your deserts, you envious fellow? Hear much, see more, live long.

11. ON PHILIP SIDNEY, GILDED KNIGHT AND INCOMPARABLE POET

A shepherd, a farmer, a knight, Vergil sang his song; loftier than he, Sidney sang his song, a shepherd, a farmer, a knight.

12. ON THE SAME MAN’S ARCADIA

Since Arcadia, and Arcadia’s sheep, and the masters of the sheep, and the sheepmasters’ song is your love, I could rightly call the fool who will not admire all this a sheep of Arcadia.

13. TO EDMUND SPENSER

Edmund, you call Chaucer our Vergil. Ill done, if you can do anything amiss. For he is our Ennius, but you our Vergil.

14. ON THE SAME

“While fertile England can count three hundred poets, why is unable to count two Spensers?” Thus I asked. And Apollo of the Thames (Spenser bade him enjoy the honor of this title) responded to this bard: “Greece is said to bestow only one Homer, nor did Rome herself bear two Vergils.”

15. TO THOMAS CAMPION

O you to whose genius Roman Elegy is indebted, no less than she was before to her Ovid! He, though unwilling, brought her from Latin climes to the Scythian land and the barbarous Getae. With you her guide, she has made her first visit to the blue-eyed Britons, though by rights she can call this city her own. For when your forces were shattered, Cassivelaunus, victorious Caesar, master far and wide, master of the world, once bade the Roman people and their Latin household gods dwell in this city. Therefore you recall the Muses, exiled by Ovid’s crime, to their homeland, and give them back their own.

16. TO EDWARD MICHELBORNE

And so, harsh father, will you be able to bury the bright children of your genius in your deep desk forever? The offspring your Muse has borne you, with Juno’s aid, you will forbid to enjoy the open air? In unworthy ways will you rip into pieces your Hippolytuses with their shredded limbs, you impious father? What is the purpose, when you have stayed awake so many nights upon all these labors, if you only kill them sleeping in the long night? Or what is the purpose of having so many pleasantries born in the summer sun, if now you forbid your offspring to enjoy the sun? Gods make it better! Not to protect what is born from you from death and obscurity! Eternal death will obscure your work.

17. TO SAMUEL DANIEL

If anyone should wish Spenser to be our Vergil, Daniel, to me you will be the British Ovid. If someone should prefer he be the British Phoebus, for me you will be our Vergil. There’s nothing above Phoebus. If there were, Spenser would have that, and you, Daniel, would be Phoebus. For if Phoebus chose to speak in English, I scarce know how he could, save through your mouth.

18. TO MICHAEL DRAYTON

What rumor entices me with honeyed whispering, and flows into my ears with pleasant allure? Drayton (and, Phoebus, what a man!) has not mocked my verses, those mockers of everything? And not only has he not laughed at them (though this is a great thing), but he has read them and with his rasp has approved what he read. Greater still, he has openly praised them, called me a poet, and these temples of mine worthy of Daphne’s foliage. Until now I have kept very quiet. But he provokes me further, and his friendship bestows itself upon me, though I did not ask for this! Do I foolishly believe these things? What do lovers’ minds not believe? We are a gullible crew about things we crave. Now I am right pleased with myself, because, great man, it would shame me to be displeased with what pleases you, you who please Phoebus and the Muses, who are pleased to place you first and foremost in their Aonian choirs. Michael, worthy of your name, have Charles for yourself: he has this one thing, that he loves, which makes him worthy of being loved.

19. TO JOSEPH HALL OF CAMBRIDGE

Jack, you charm of the lads, whom either Apollo of the Granta ardently loves, or the Anglian Grace adores, to whom Nemesis has given her rods, stern Rhamnusia her flail, and Talus has rightly given her steely weapons, and Pallas and the sacred band of the nine Boeotians have given a genius far more sublime than armaments, use these gifts of the gods, and let the world know that you have been given as a torment of crime and wickedness. Let the world’s degenerate morals groan under your lash, so they come to dread the thunderbolt of your wit. Nor should you cease carping at the satiated in your satires, rather you should mow down these fertile monsters with Herculean fury. Hence one day there will arise for you a lavish harvest of praise, never to be repaid by old age’s all-cutting scythe.

20. TO THE SAME

When Phoebus lately saw these anonymous satires (previously a genre unseen in our land), he measured everything four times with an exacting thumb, and saw that all was worthy of a greater god. Thus he published them under his own name, and word was the Phoebus had surpassed himself. But this plagiarist was rightly put to shame after we learned, Hall, that you were their true father.

21. TO FRANCIS ROUS

While you were bathing your naked body in the native waters of the river Tamar, and cleaving its marble floods, controlling your self with your arms and skimming over the surface with the aid of your agile feet, am I not to believe that the Paphian swans were amazed as they admired your breast, gleaming with whiteness, and your limbs? But while they were astounded by the tunefulness of your voice, smooth as milk, I could believe they were ashamed for having been bested. Then one of them asked, “This one, which divine Venus or winged Cupid is eager to have among their pets, whence has this newcomer come to our waters? Is this a swan of the Cayster or of the Thames?” To him gentle Cupid responded, sweetly smiling with his mouth, “This swan comes from Thule’s shore, where birdlike Jupiter said to have hidden, when he artfully deceived Tyndarus’ girl. Now, while with the Muse’s aid I contrive loves in this heart of mine, he is often pleased to clap with his feathers. He sings his ardors, with my mouth. I granted him to sing with my voice of the wounds I have inflicted.

22. TO BEN JONSON

I summon you to court, Jonson, come. I am present to haul you before Phoebus’ bar on a charge of battery and plunder, as the choir of the nine goddess sits in the gallery. For certain clever plays which Plautus, that most hilarious of poets, lately wrote in Elysium’s rosy shade, and put on for the gods in heaven’s star-spangled theater to rouse the supernals’ ready giggles and make sober Jove laugh, as either pole resounded with their applause, these you have filched while the supernals were about their business, and now you’re trying to sell them. I summon you to court, Jonson, come.
Lo the father and king himself, Phoebus, rises to speak on your behalf, Jonson, and openly testifies that these are seriously your plays, and that you have written not only with his knowledge, but with his help. So where did Plautus get his hands on them and exhibit them to Jove and the gods? Lo, Maia’s daughter, the winged grandson of Atlas, with his swift feet and sticky fingers, that flying boy, sly at committing all manner of playful thefts, as once for a joke he relieved Love of his torches and quiver, thus lately (as he is often wont to play, cheer, and joke with you) stole from you these neglected papers and bade them accompany him to heaven. Now, overcome by embarrassment, I hold my tongue: you win, Jonson, with Phoebus both your judge and your advocate.

23. TO JOSHUA SYLVESTER, NATURAL TRANSLATOR OF GUILLAUME SALUSTE

Tell me, Sylvester, most cultivated tongue of the divine Sallustius (as if the tongue of the Clarian god), in what part of Elysium’s ridge the old man met you and taught you his sense and his words? Or, the hero’s bodily bonds released, did his soul make you an Elysium for itself? I for my part think so, and the old Samian’s teachings are proven. You sing things natural, not translated. Indeed, should your title page fall silent, posterity would doubt whether you or he were the translator.

24. TO FRANCIS MERES, CLERGYMAN AND POET

You t have read my trash, Meres, and perhaps to have purified my trifles somewhat? And yet not to have placed me, the least of poets, if anybody, in your lowest category? Now I win the palm and reward of my effort, given up as lost, as I seem not to have displeased you. I should dare demand a triumphal chariot; come, laurel garlands, surround my hair, since he who is approved by Phoebus and the Muses approves of me, and deems these temples worthy of the laurel. Why should I care about the rabble’s muttered opinions, when the patricians and the consul himself give their approval?

25. TO THOMAS STORER, ON HIS WOLSEY

Aspiring, triumphing, dying.

While your Cardinal was aspiring, Apollo sighed and said, “Daphne will give her wreath to this man, not to me.” And while he was triumphing, your cheering victorious Muse, proud with the trophy of praises, shouted “io triumph!” And then, while he was dying, your Muse greedily swindled Libitina, so that she stole the enduring centuries for herself.

26. TO HENRY PHILLIPS, ABOUT LEPORINUS

He who was once an abyss for consuming the better sort of wine, a murderer of goblets, a daily fever of casks, the ranter most pointed at throughout the city, he who imagines God is an empty word, have you heard? He has lost all his charm, Harry. Shut up in jail, he ceases to be flighty.

27. ON LEPORINUS

When he was at liberty, he used write much “with bound foot,” and much freely. Thrown in jail, he now has begun to write and say everything with a bound foot.

28. A PRAYER FOR LEPORINUS

May the kindly gods free you from fetters and prison, Leporinus — and in their stead give you a well-deserved gallows.

29. TO PHILIP MARET

Cromius added a codicil making Doctor Opheltes an heir; don’t you think, Maret, that Cromius wants to die?

30. ON SALIUS

Salius sends me flowers with many a poem. Hurrah, Muse, convey my thanks. In the sending, he showed consideration for two of my bodily parts: the flowers are for my nose, and the verses are for my ass.

31. ON BALBULUS

You complain that poets are commonly held in scorn and are cheap, because many poems cost nothing. But whoever has bought your books for a groat thinks these paltry poems have cost him dear. Indeed, Balbulus, whoever has purchased them gratis is unable to resell them at the same price.

32. ON MATHO

While a wolf and a tender lamb sat together at table and the dinner-guests clustered round, why didn’t the wolf savage the lamb with his mouth? He feared you, Matho, the dog standing by.

33. ABOUT BOMIUS

You wonder why I send no epigrams to Bomius? He doesn’t want to buy them, I don’t want to give away my words.

34. ON PAETUS

To sell yourself to a thief as an advocate, Paetus, this is not advocacy, but badvocacy.

35. ON A WEDDED COUPLE

If Hymen has conjoined a wedded couple under Juno’s happy auspices, whom equality has united with a single yoke, for whom there is one home, one bed, one table, and a single mind, single fidelity, and single love, Hymen has wedded you two under Juno’s happy auspices, equality has united you with a single yoke, you for whom there is no home, scarcely any bed or table, no common mind, no fidelity, nor any love.

36. ON BALBUS

Balbus is pondering a couplet on Cupid the boy; but before the couplet is born, he has grown to manhood.

37. ON LYCUS

You claim that nobody dies poorer than he was born. This, Lycus, is solemn nonsense in your mouth. Nobody leaves this world more naked than he entered it, no matter how bright the sky under which his limbs fail him. By this logic, Lycus, you defend and cherish poverty, hunger and thirst as your own. But you are very wrong. For, by God, you will die a hundred pounds the poorer, and; you will exit the world more naked than you came into it, denuded of your two ears.

38. ON PAETUS

You call me prudent, Paetus, because I say little. Therefore, Paetus, by your own admission you’re a fool.

39. ON OBLYMUS

You say, Oblymus, that the sons you are rearing are your own; and so they are, for you know what man has given you each one.

40. ON AUDRIA AND POMBUS

A virago of repute not very good and upstanding, but of evil appearance, of a countenance not very good and upstanding, but of a character of ill grace, wanton Audria, married Pombus, a wife worthy of no other man for a husband, and he in turn was a husband worthy of no other wife. Cerberus would scarce want her for a consort, Tisiphone could hardly bear him as a husband. If the essence of companionship is to want or shun the same thing, who could deny Andria and her darling Pombus are turtledoves of Venus, that he is a Brutus and she truly a Portia? They want and shun the same things. Pombus wishes never to have laid eyes on her, Audria wants the same; Pombus does not wish ever to see her again, Audria has the same desire.

41. ON A DANDY

I used to wonder, dandy, how, since you possess no mirror, no speck of crystal, nor even a shadow of glass, how you could so constantly preen your neatly curled locks, and comb their coils with such art. Now I understand: for whenever you comb your locks and tresses, you hold them before your eyes in your hands.

42. ON A ONE-EYED MAN

Your wallet is safe from a thieving hand, my one-eyed friend: three eyes always keep vigil over it.

43. ON VENUS AND PALLAS

Showing off the golden apple, Venus said to the Thunderer, “This is mine — behold, Paris gave it to me.” Pallas interrupted, “Why are you swollen with pride, you hussy? Paris didn’t give you that yellow apple. Helen did.”

44. ON PHOTINUS’ FEAST

Wealthy Photinus set a dinner, to which, while through the mouth of his messenger-boy he summoned his friends from here and there, he thought it would be a crime not to invite me, and I thought it would be a crime not to come. Therefore, lest I turn up empty-handed (which would be impolite), or without a gift or contribution to the feast, I sent ahead my boy with some purchased Falernian to add some cheer to the food. I showed myself to be mindful of the occasion, I showed myself to be a man of my word, arriving with due promptitude at the appointed hour. Each man quickly took his place, as bidden, and we sat down, nine guests, and our host made the tenth. Here, as each of us hungrily expected the opulence of Apicius’ kitchen, and awaited Persian luxury, he received — nor do I lie (I cite the testimony of this gullet of mine, which unhappily remembers) a slice (o the crime!) from a single shoulder of mutton. Nor did he serve my wine. Our unoccupied company rose in dismay, more famished than when we sat down. And in the future, you Photinian feast, spare me, and farewell to you, Photinus. I shall dine at home more cheaply than I can starve at your house, you miser.

45. ABOUT THE CITIZENS OF CALAIS

I used marvel at the bull that transported Europa, and thought this monster existed only in Jove’s thefts. Lo, I recently saw a greater monstrosity in the city of Calais: there they are wont to transport Europe’s bulls.

46.

Come, citizens, defer to your bull. For you bear straw on your horns, he bears gold.

47.

Your bull strives to submit his neck to our yoke, and if he could, if his wide horns did not prevent.

48. TO AVITUS

So that your genius might maintain its silence, your face proclaims that you are poet, your brow shouts that you are a bard, Avitus. Enough. Your beard, divided in two down where your heart beats, has the two-horned shape of Parnassus. And whatever your mouth sprays forth with its gaping yawn is said to be the water of Aganippe. And, showering light from his shining locks, Apollo planted his golden sun in your nose.

49. ON SORDULA

How well your morals agree with your face, Sordula! You are unseemly of face and unseemly in morals.

50. ON BROMUS THE WINESELLER

Bromus the wine-seller so admires my Drake, seeks it out, kisses it, waxes ardent, that he swears nought more terse or elegant, nothing more refined or polished has existed in the English tongue since the birth of the Muses, of you only except those two Vergils, Spenser and the genius of Daniel. Forbear to pour out such praises, for in order to please the general public my books do not require berries of your ivy, but rather beakers of your Bacchus.

51. TO M.

On her deathbed, your wife struck you in the breast with this hard ramlike blow. Yet in life she struck you harder in the forehead with a ram.

52. ON MURCUS

Who invites you to dinner, Murcus, will certainly set an elegant table: for he will assuredly have a wolf — and a fat boar.

53. ON CLYTIA

Because with his swarthy face he did not resemble his fair mother, Clytia denied he was her son. But who would believe this? Yet who would not believe her, if she denied he was sired by her husband?

54. ON GRUNDIANUS

When you had only three teeth, Grundianus, you vast abyss of dinners, and one of them ached badly, eaten by caries and rot, because of your monstrous appetite you had a reputation as a wolfer with that single mouth of yours. And soon Mateus the barber extracted that one, hollow, dead, scarce fit for chewing mushrooms. Now neither a swift coney’s foot, nor a thrush’s wing, nor the fin of a perch keeps them save from your glutton’s jaws. With the strength of only two teeth you can disjoint for the devouring huge hams and adore the chickens lately forbidden you, and suckling pigs snatched from the breast of their muddy mother, and (unspeakable!) the trusty guardians of the Capitoline, and two chicks with their fat mother. If a pair of sound, sturdy teeth have granted you this, I wish you’d revert to the erstwhile wolf. There’s nobody, Grundianus, who would not prefer and tolerate you as a wolf than as a two-toothed sheep.

55. ON OLAUS

Saturn’s golden age has returned; I recently perceived this, Olaus, looking at your nose.

56. TO LEPORINUS

You often reproach me for the blemish of a ruined eye, Leporinus, and that in my misery I cannot see well. But, to be brief, since both your ears are sound, Leporinus, tell me why you cannot hear well.

57. ON A BUFFOON

Why, jealous man, why do you babble that this poet is missing an eye? Hold your tongue, or in your yapping you will unhappily perceive that he is not missing a tooth.

58.

You scurvy buffoon, what trouble does my wretched eye of mine, this non-eye, cause you, you frenzy of seven ranters, you putrid latrine of pestilences, wormy dead dog, cancer of the nose, stinking sewer of wit, abyss of tasteless jests, you greedy gobbling glutton? For from all the crossroads, avenues, alleys and streetcorners in the world he sweeps up and scrapes together his infamous jokes, just as Ruffa gets her meals from graveyard tombs. Indeed, ten, twenty times a day he flits through theaters, crossroads, brothels, jails, together with taverns and barbershops, and whatever of pestilence there may be anywhere, whether of hemlock or venomous wit, he gathers and licks up, drinks down and swallows, so he may spew them in other men’s laps, as the nereid worm, hurt by a fish-hook, straightway vomits up its guts, its poisonous secretion.
So whenever anything, from any source, of lurid pus, icy phlegm, diseased mucus, toxic dregs, rancid stale wine, or nasty spittle comes flowing into this accursed sewer (as every river flows into the bosom of Amphitrite — what could be more natural?), come a-running bearing aid, all you to whom Prosperity is beloved and Salvation dear, so that this unclean world may be cleansed by a single expiatory sacrifice, and purity may reign everywhere, and that this offscouring may be consecrated as an offering to Sterculius the god and the goddess Cloacina.

59. ON A CERTAIN MAN

A certain man (but one who deems himself witty and urbane, and born to hurl bon mots of refined taste) proclaimed me alone greater than great Homer, basely mocking Homer and myself. For I am deprived of one eye, while Homer lacked both. Hence, presumably, I am the greater and Homer my inferior. But in this regard Homer is my superior, and often I curse this wretched eye, and pray, “O make me a blind Homer, Phoebus, so I don’t have to look at your face, vain jackanapes.” For whoever takes a good squint at this dregs, it is best for him to be deprived of both eyes.

60. ON BALBUS

Balbus, read your poetry to yourself in silence, keep it silent for our benefit: thus, Balbus, you can please both yourself and us.

61. ABOUT AVITUS

The father of the Latin race, born of a goddess, himself bore on his shoulders his ancient father, and never did a man lift a dearer weight. Avitus, father of a thousand bastards, and son of one himself, carries his father on his shoulders, and never did a man lift a more welcome weight. So now you ask how Avitus differs from Aeneas? The one carried a living old man, the other carries a dead one.

62. ABOUT MARTINUS

Martinus the trickster sprays odors from his mouth, the seed of ginger, cinnamon, frankincense, saffron. Name the grains you choose, he sprays them out. This is not a mouth, it’s a bowl of vinegar. Likewise, if he touches a tooth with dry thumb, he yanks it out — would, Atilla, that he touches your tongue!

63. TO FABRIANUS

There is a certain member of the versifying flock, whom I do not wish to name (You, clever Fabrianus, can guess whom I mean), who pesters me with frequent entreaties, and begs that he might live in my poems. So shouldn’t others promise him enduring fame, rather than me, whose poems cannot achieve this for themselves? But if he has such a desire to be in the mouths of our descendants, and to be read of in poets’ verses, as far as I am concerned he may bother the Davises, injure the Jonsons, and slander savage Nashe. Scarce otherwise might he aspire to fame in poetry, scarce otherwise has he deserved to be sung about.

64. TO BARDUS

Is he sane, who writes for far posterity? The letter will never be delivered, Bardus, hold your silence.

65. ON CORVINUS

Do you perhaps imagine, Candidus, that Corvinus, clad in the skins of an unoffending animal and in wool, is a sheep. He is a wolf, and a waylayer of the sheepfold, for whom the shepherd and his flock will be prey. He gobbles up wooly sheep, and the masters of sheep, rending their skin and flesh and devouring their bones, while by means of usury this coinivore stores everything in his cash box, and this voracious abyss gulps down all manner of wealth. O hand worthy of Porsenna’s fire-belching oven, who fleeces the sheep to dress the wolf!

66. TO MATHO

You call Avitus “more than half your life.” Rightly, for he is thought to be your father.

67. TO COLLYMUS

Collymus, you have three gods in your body. What a divine man you are, Collymus, I’ll offer you incense! As Mercury, you attack with your hands, and, as Love, with your eyes, and you will become youthful Lyaaeus, with horns on his brow.

68. RIDDLE: A HOUSEHOLD ARTICLE

There’s something which each man desires to possess, but the half of this thing is always created to destroy the whole.

69. ANOTHER, ON HARPALUS

100, 5, 10; insert the madness of a dog, Harpalus, and express what the Fates have in store for you.

70. ON ARNUS AND AFELLA

When Arnus was making love-talk to his Afella, instead of calling her his other half he happened to call her his calf. You, Afella, should pay tit for tat, and call him your bullock, so as to escape an accusation of forbidden intercourse.

71. ON OBELIUS

All the verses you write (and who can wonder, Obelius?) reel along lamely on unstable feet. Tell me how your verses can run on sound feet, since you can barely stand up when you write them?

72. ON A LAME MAN

You are seized in your feet, but you seize and snatch at everything with your hands — beware lest you be seized by your neck.

73. ON PICUS

While you are reciting, Picus, I can’t hear enough your verse, nor can I praise them or enough, or approve of them less. Now, spirited Gager, doff your Sophoclean buskins. Now, Latewar, abandon your Daphne. Now I bid farewell to Laurence, and to Storer’s Muse. All of you cede the victor his laurel wreath. I marvel at you Picus. Enough. You say it’s nothing. But bravo, I’m stupefied. At what? At you, who in my view are so stupid.

74. ON LYCUS

Lycus pronounces that poetry is “a restful good thing,” though he himself scarcely understands dactyls. He knows Ovid’s dictum on poetry, “it is a virtue to abstain from restful good things.”

75. ON ANTHONY HOLBORNE’S MUSIC SCHOOL

Why not seek out the Cittern School, o youth for whom your Cytherea has made a name, the school which Holborne, adroit at teaching, a master of the lyric art, has opened for you? And you, boy, who still wears the look of the youthful, smooth-cheeked, beardless lads, and you whose swifter, loftier chariot has attained the roads of manhood, why not seek out the Cittern School, o youth? And you too, o bittersweet bevy who have just now dedicated your dolls to Venus, you maidenly chorus, why not seek out Cittern School, o youth? Why draw back your timid feet, you sweet little boys and girls? Here no hairy Master Orbilius sits, fearful for his gloomy expression, but much more fearful for his rod, as he wields the stick with a menacing hand, o Jupiter, a dire and evil stick, which with its mighty blow savagely rends tender skin and draws blood; why not seek out the Cittern School, o youth? Here no golden rod repels you, but the liquid honey attracts you. For here there is no stick, save that which caresses the sonorous cittern’s strings. And here there are no blows, save those which strike the harmonious cittern’s strings. And here there are no murmurs, save those which the sounds of the noble cittern emits. Why not seek out the Cittern School, o youth? You whose heart is scourged with seething grief, wasting away with anxious sorrow, if your care is to tame the oppressive passion of a heart that ebbs and flows, why not seek out the Cittern School, o youth?
But you, Holborne, who attracts the Graces, the Dicae, and the Horae with your seductive quill, of a musician of the melodious lute, you will win the prize of a blooming garland. If perchance deaf Cerberus should bark at you with his triple-jawed grin, with the power of your harmony you will break the fierce dog’s wretched teeth in his tooth-breaking mouth.
But you to whom the musical juice is delightsome, why not seek out the Cittern School, o youth?

76. ON BALBULUS

It is nothing, Balbulus, that you write frigid epigrams: Mulciber can easily warm them up.

77. ON HATLOWE

Hanging Hatlowe puts a strain on the gallows he built with his own hands and his own effort. The unfortunate man learned, although too late, and demonstrated, that every man makes his own fortune.

78. ON MORISCUS

O ill done, a bad deed, Phoebus! After this, will you be called helper of the world, father of the Epidauran snake, mighty with herbs and mighty at healing, father of poets and also their patron, savior and father, author and protector, champion of the chorus of nine, mighty at verse, mighty at song? After this, will you be called the eye of the world, the ruler of light, ruler of the day, mighty in illumination, mighty in sight? Lo, you allow your bard Moriscus, you allow Moriscus your poet, since a dire disease fell upon him and afflicted his ruling brain, to be deprived of his eyes, the wretch? O ill done, a bad deed, Phoebus! Thus you a bard, allow a bard to go to ruin? Thus you, a physician, refuse a sufferer medicine? Thus you heal eyes, you eye of the world? But how much better and more fitting it would have been, patron of the Clarian crew, to spare his most wretched eyes, and rather to have ruined that idle tongue that spews forth poisons from his foul jaws! But if you wish to spare his tongue, Apollo, a battering ram that knows not how to spare any man, ah, how much better it would have been to deprive of him of his life as well as his sight! O well done and bravely, Phoebus!

79. ON BALBUS

You win everybody’s vote with your writings, you are you helpful and you give pleasure. For, Balbus, you help the pepper, and please yourself.

80. ON CHARISINUS

Charisinus has accomplished a work which no consuming old age, no later posterity will ever destroy. For what can posterity, what old age can do to a work which will perish on the day it was written?

81. TO PHILIPPE `A LECOET, A YOUNG FRENCH NOBLEMAN

You send me floral gifts, your love and this flower with the beauty of the Clarian god, evidence of your fair good disposition toward me. Accept this paper present in exchange for you gifts, but for your fair disposition receive my fair faith.

82. ON LILIES, SENT BY THE SAME MAN

How well these lilies agree with sincere affection, these lilies which sincere affection sends! The lilies and the affection signify royal honors, the royal lilies are white, the affection is candid. Lilies and affection both exude pleasant odors, the sweet lilies flower, as does the affection. Fair lilies adorn the hand, affection adorns loyal minds. The lilies blossom, the affection blossoms. Lilies are welcome to the goddess Flora, and affections to the high Thunderer. Lilies grow, and so does affection. In other ways too, lilies agree with sincere affection, but they differ in this — lilies die, affection endures.

83. TO THE REV. JOHN RICE

I send you florid poems along with metrical gifts, both sprung from my unkempt garden. The one are soaked with rosewater, but not a drop of Clarian water dampens the other. Are you curious why this paper embraces the snow-white flower? The paper and the flower seek the embrace of your friendship.

84. TO RICHARD CARPENTER

Lo, a poem with this flower, a loyal mind with this poem, my faith with this mind, and whatever I may be.

85. I SENT THOMAS MICHELBORNE A NOSEGAY WITH A SCAZON

Come hither, scazon, you honeyed manner of meter, sweetly limping iambic poem, in which the Muse of the great Matius once gave neat and natty mimiambi (as Maurus’ Muse once brought forth). Come hither, scazon, quickly on hasty feet if the soft little hand of the great poet takes delight in the mulsified and the modernized, quickly on hasty foot seek out my Michelborne’s pretty little, pleasant little chamberlet, and bring him this plaited garland, beauty (as befits) for the bashful-beauteous. Go thither, scazon, quickly on hasty foot. Why do you stand there, silly? Why make delay, lazy? Why flush your cheeks with girlish bashfulness? Why stay your step, over and over? Depart in whatever condition you may be, I’ll keep the garland, and you give him these flowers with the Graces’ blossom. He’ll plant a hundred hundred kisslets on your half-shut lips, a thousand thousand kisslets, nor often take the bouquet from his nose, attracted by your nosegay’s lively odor, as at the same time he brings you to his lips, touched by sweet affection for his Charles. So you may be blessed by this happy lot the sooner, depart, scazon, quickly on hasty foot.

86. TO WILLIAM VAUGHAN OF CARMARTHEN

Are you surprised to see different kinds of flower growing from one stem, uncertain whether you have a work of art or of nature? Are you surprised at this poem, created behind Apollo’s back, which has nothing either of art or of nature? I shall explain the ancestry of the poem and the flower — the flower is a piece of art, the poem the work of an artless man.

87. TO AULUS

You think nothing more thrilling than Maurus’ poem, Aulus. Nothing is more chilling, Aulus, than your judgment.

88. ON DOLLIUS

Whatever you write in a poem comes from the tripod, Dollius, but Bacchus is said to have his tripod too.

89. TO SERENUS

You ask and complain and lament and inquire, Serenus, why every moneylender, even the one whose cash box is bursting, give no credit to needy poets, even the best, in the absence of pledges, whereas he will readily give credit for up to a year, trusting butchers, carpenters, and farmers on the strength of thin parchment and light paper. You curiously ask and complain, Serenus. We easygoing poets are a lying crew.

90. ON DAUSUS

Dausus, you are wise to write of your loves in books, for there is no sane man, other than your self, such as would love your loves.

91. ON BLATERANUS

Why, Blateranus, do you weary, vex, bother and pester Phoebus, Phoebus’ sisters, the Graces, Minerva, and all of the gods everywhere (infernal, of this middle earth, and supernal) with all the prayers and in all the ways that a deranged bard is wont to invoke them? You don’t dare compose a single distich without summoning the holy throng of helpful divinities. And next you bury the Muses and Graces, named individually, under boulders of invocations, you bid them be present as you scribble, as if you were calling your maids and serving-girls. No wonder that a single uninvoked Muse stubbornly continues to resist you, a Muse whom holy Numa is said to have once introduced to the Romans, and whom antiquity called Tacita. Pray to her, Blateranus, then you will please us. 

92. ON ARNUS

I forgive you, Arnus, for reading my books with furrowed brow: the fault is your wife’s, not yours.

93. ON LABULLUS

Whatever mistake Labullus makes in his verse he passes off as poetic licence. If he errs in his syllables or quantities, he credits this to poetic licence. If he has filched someone else’s lines, he claims this is done by poetic licence. If he commits violence on Priscian or Tully, he excuses this as poetic licence. But hey, Labellus mine, if I call Camdens’ lovely Britannia my own Britannia, why fly at me with your glue-stained fingers, and forbid me to unglue something from it? Is this not poetic licence too?

94. TO HOMER, TRANSLATED FROM GREEK INTO ENGLISH BY GEORGE CHAPMAN

Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Ithaca, Pylos, Argos, Athens, come put an end to your ancient quarrels; cease your rivalries about great Homer’s homeland, your Maeonides’ nation is now England. Behold, he is given the rights of English citizens, and he calls our walls his city. We confess, Chapman, that this citizenship is owning to you, and he himself is indebted to you for the homeland he has gained. This man, to whom the Muses cannot repay their debts, nor Apollo the augur, admits he cannot repay his debt to you alone.

95. ON THE SAME

Who could teach Homer English words better than the man who was himself England’s Homer?

96. ON JOHN MARSTON

Marston, glory of satire next to the first, and first if one can reckon two firsts. If one cannot double the first, at least, Marston, you will always be the glory next to the first. Nor should you rue this rank, Jack. When there are only two, neither is second, and the both are equal.

97. ON A WEALTHY DETRACTOR

You are wealthy, Puteanus, and you carp at my books, and you detract as much as you can from my reputation. May the gods bring it about, o Puteanus, that what you are doing to my books I may do to yours.

98. TO A FRIEND ISSUING AN INVITATION TO A POETIC SYMPOSIUM

I make a counter-stipulation. Who save a man whose frown is all-destroying will reject a cup offered by Ganymede? So come, pour me flagons of honeyed songs, pour again, I like to grow drunk on his wine, I who am ready to repay you with more than caskfuls. Ah, don’t ask me for drink by the cup, but by the tun. This is going badly. For while you are toasting me with pure nectar, I shall be obliged to respond ineptly with undiluted water.

99. TO GEORGE SPRY

Why, George, do you take no pleasure, as before, in pursuing the nourishing amenities of the countryside, which my region supplies in abundance? Thus will the rabbit, sleeping safely on either ear, laugh at the hounds lying idly at home? Now will the deer court the does in security, enticing them with his wanton dance? And will the scale-wearing schools of my Lynher, and those who drink Rous’s Tamar, safely sport among their deepest pools? Have our erstwhile sports entirely disappeared, since the gods have hounded to the grave that pleasant, gentle, fair, pretty, happy little sister of yours, whom (the wrong of it!) a German headstone covers, as a long sleep weighs down her eyes? But I advise you, cease your tears, safely returned to yourself and your jokes: cease to tear your hair, rend your face with your nails, lacerate your breast, to do injury to your head with heavy blows of your hand, and then to kill yourself:, you cannot call her back.

100. TO PURE IAMBUS

Pure Iambus, gentle and sweet, be present, swollen with poetic frenzy, be present, but without Harpalus’ savage grins, be present, but without Thoos’ cruel teeth, nor with bloody mouth dripping foaming venom, nor a-boil with the wicked wild ox’s blood or marks of Lycambus’ murder, but, rather, undefiled, sweet-tempered, fair, willing, amiable, a spotless offspring, and bashful like the one Dousa’s Thalia is wont to bestow on his beloved friends, those blessed folk (for thrice blessed are those whom Dousa will bless with his affection, famous Iamb-Apollo Dousa!) Being such, o pure Iambus, gentle and sweet, be present, and go flying to my loving Vere’s hand. You linger, why invent naughty delays? Do you still delay, unable to depart? Silly thing! Don’t you know that what you add to these delays, you subtract from your own happiness?

101. TO THE REV. RICHARD MORE

Among the British the first to write epigrams was a man known by your name, More. Second to him in time (although not in art) came a man who derived his name from a field, his genius from Delian Apollo. I am the last of these, and I fear that, even if a thousand come after me, nobody will usurp this title.

102. TO EDWARD MICHELBORNE

If you see any faults in my books, Edward (as if, I ask, you see anything but faults in them), skipping by quickly, neglect them, nor conceal or hide them with a protective pen. Let this file of mine smooth books that must be revised often, for whom my face and hands are objects of dread. But you will readily forgive your friend everything, and nobody but yourself will read my verse. Nor would you read them either, were my name absent: you read them for the sake of the author, not the sake of the book.

103. TO JOHN BANCROFT

As Mercury pretended to be you under a false guise, aping your appearance and [ . . . ], no wonder you can’t distinguish yourself from him. The descendant of Atlas could scarce tell himself from you. Let ankle-wings be given to Bancroft, or let them be taken from the son of Jove, the father himself should hardly know. Thus might he know, in this one way might he distinguish the twins: the one has a naughtier disposition, the other is more honest.

104. ON MAURICIUS, STRICKEN BY LIGHTNING BY GOD’S WONDROUS JUDGMENT

I sing the truth. You wild folk who imagine spirits to be nonexistent, and the gods above to be empty names, turn your eyes hither, for you need no half-ounce of intellect, nothing but to trust the evidence of my eyes. On horseback Maricius hastened along a familiar road, flanked by two friends, in the greeny plain where Salisbury, rich with its high spire, is visible to onlookers. The energetic Thunderer rattled heaven with a horrific thunderclap, and hurled lively missiles with their wild brimstone. Religion overcame the two others, they vied with each other in trying to avert the fearful deity with their prayers. But he in the middle (for godly virtue was not in the middle, but rather the man’s sin, wickedness, and impiety) said “You degenerate souls, why do you cravenly fear empty murmurs, booms, and meaningless whistles?” And he proceeded to pour forth from his breast the natural causes and origins of thunder and lightning. Lo, a thunderbolt hissing with a fearful roar carried off his life along with his profane words, and a thousand bits of his mangled limbs and body went a-flying in the void. Unharmed, the other two were amazed, and in their terror perceived the power of fearing heaven, and of pious prayer.

105. TO AN ATHEIST

“Show me a devil, and I’ll believe in divinities,” say you. “If I see a devil, then I’ll believe that there is a God.” O blind and impudent soul! Just look into a mirror: when you are gazing at yourself, do you not see a devil?

106. TO THE ROMAN PONTIFF

Since not only the oceanic pond, but earth, heaven, and the household of Persephone obey you, Roman, why did you wish to be called only the Pontifex. Bah! This title derogates from your honor! So let proper words be attached to things, and you, Father, are the Universal Filthyfex.

107. ABOUT THE ROMAN PONTIFF

The shoulders of two sufficed for holding up the heavens, nor did the burden seem excessively great. But the shoulders of one Roman father can scarce suffice for bearing seven weights. No wonder: they only had to bear the weight of the heaven, the weight of heaven, earth, and Hell load down papal necks.

108. ON FOOT-KISSING

He claims to be head of the whole world bids the whole world kiss his foot. And thus he demonstrates that among the members of this particular body the further something is away from the head, the more important it is.

109. ON ROME

Rome is the head of the world, but all the world is evil: thus Rome is the head of all evil.

110. JOAN, BY FAR THE WORST ROMISH POPE

When the affairs of so many pontiffs are attested by witnesses, why, Rome, do you deny I was Pope?

111. ON THE JUBILEE YEAR OF CLEMENT VIII

Now most clement Rome is celebrating its jubilee, and they let you do everything, save be pious. And this too they let you do, for I do not say they let you do only bad things. For at Rome heaven and the saints themselves are for let.

112. ON MONKS

The wolf is known by his skin, the bear by his fur, the lion by his claw, the fox by his deceit, the dog by his bark, the ape by his ass, the Devil by his horned face, the monk by his hood.

113. TO JESIPPUS, WHO SET UP A WINDMILL AT THAT PLACE WHICH THE VULGAR CALL ROME

There’s no place, Jesippus, more fit for a windmill, since there’s nothing at Rome but wind and air.

114. ON ARNO

Having entered a church to venerate the saints, where the images of Christ and Holy Mary were, on his knees Arno began to utter a Paternoster to the Mother, and an Ave Maria to the Son.

115. AGAINST ALBO-VICUS

Humbly and with hat removed, I requested a certain thing of you, a thing that is right to confess, which it is wrong to conceal, wrong to hide. Who would think I had a grain of sense then? You refused to tell the truth, for religion bids you be a Truth-Refuser.

116. AGAINST THE SAME

It is not because you derive your lineage from a lofty house hold and trace your ancestors back to harsh Canute; it is not that you rattle on unspeakably and swell with pride about your knighted uncle and your father, a degenerate, unworthy heir of both men’s characters and estates (for both are treacherous, arrogant, greedy, sly, and you no less); it is not that hence you vaunt yourself to be a little gentleman, and lead about a nasty train of henchmen, servants, and tenants (so in our barbarous tongue we call those unhappy husbandmen who occupy the idle, lazy owner’s fields, which must be tilled and worked at their own expense, while wretchedly they stay awake nights, toil, endure hunger and thirst, burn and freeze, and forego their share, both them, their wives and brats, so as to serve some arrogant Phalaris’ belly, cram his maw, stuff his fat gut, and protect his lard-encased belly, feed his unspeakable vices, his depraved whores, his bumboys, his buggers, his prodigious gluttons, the luxurious display of his greedy wife and her aimless arrogance, they subtract from themselves, their wives and their children what these people may spend on races, hawks, hounds, the hunt, and birds of prey, and by their own indebtedness they subsidize the calamities of their farm) — after this long parenthesis I return to you, Albo-Vicus, but in this parenthesis I have not digressed from you, nor strayed one inch from my subject; it is not that you carry a great train of such folk at your back, who at your beck bare their heads of their little caps, worshiping you with their faces but cursing you in their harts (and also in their faces, when they safely can so do); it is not that I care about these things and a thousand similar, but because I shudder at your scurvy face, and lest perchance I see it I must hide my eyes and face with my hat, that I greet you with head uncovered, Albo-Vicus.

117. TO BUBULUS

Nothing, Bubulus, could be harder to bear than your death — for your buttocks are so huge.

118. ON AULUS

That popular saw is always on your pips, “Love me, love my dog.” It is right to admit, Aulus, that you are requesting a just and good thing: your dog is more lovable than yourself.

119.

“Who does not despise Bavius must love your verses, Maevius.” Who loves you, Aulus, must adore your dog.

120. TO IAMBUS, AGAINST CACULA

Champion and avenger of my injuries (though my feeble hands are unfit for weapons and unschooled in savage war, and do not know how to wield a sword, they know full well how to wield a pen, since the pen itself is a sword, paper a battlefield, Minerva is my Bellona, and the Muse my Mars), dread Iambus, fierce scion of Archilochus, up to now never invoked by me in vain, be present, full of rage and swelling with wrath. For you are my Theseus and my Perseus, my Nemesis, my weapon of steel, and, to say it all at once, you are whatever exists of avenging gods in this world or the next. Do you know Cacula? I’ll make the introductions: he is a scurvy fellow, consecrated to Cerberus and Dis, compounded out of dregs, flat wine, and filth, whom nobody endowed with a refined nose or ear could once hear or speak of unless he were to stop his ears with wax and hold his nose, unless he wishes to emerge with both befouled.
Lo, this vile seaweed, this fleshified mud (do you see this dire Python, Phoebus, and not slay it with your arrows?) is grinning and, please gods, claims both to know something and to be something. He excites a great aura of esteem among the vulgar and his own swine (I should have said “his own kind,” but it little matters whether I say “swine” or “kind,” as I am of speaking of similar things), since, having gotten perhaps three commas and a couple of cento-phrases from Tully’s overflowing storehouse, and a like number of gnomes, and just as much from Terence, a half-line of Vergil’s, and your name, Catullus (I don’t know by what ways or means), how monstrously proud he waxes, and makes noises as if he were wise. Further, he has scraped up odd bits of shat out rotten Latin, while once he basely licked the sewers of Louvain with his impudent tongue, having imitated his brother, a renegade and an apostate, a very fraternal brother indeed, save that the other is half-educated and he unschooled, the other worships God falsely, and he worships no god at all. So, relying on these things, he applauds and is pleased with himself, caring not a fig for anyone else. Greatly triumphing, boasting, he fawns on the Fates and the stars, and on his fortune, so very favorable (it always favors such), because he had been put on trial for extortion yet came way with both his ears intact. But his modest destiny spared him, knowing in advance that he owes both his ears and his life to the gallows.
But here, Iambus, you must make your ending, lest while you brood on avenging my injuries, the hangman seize you, because you are urging Cacula to be his own hangman.

121. AGAINST STEPHENS, A BLUNDERER, A BLITHERER AND A BLATHERER, WHO PRODUCED AGAINST ME A CERTAIN MUSHROOM FROM THE PEDAGOGICAL MIRE, AND INDEED PREFERRED HIM, WHOM BECAUSE OF HIS NAME AND HIS NATURAL AFFINITY I PUBLICIZE UNDER THE NAME OF DONKEY

Both hands lifted heavenward, Crassus once extolled eloquence to the stars, so at the same time he might extol himself. Thus Stephen endows donkeys with divine honor, so that the common folk might imagine he has deserved heaven.

122. AGAINST THE SAME

Not without reason, Stephen the Dull thus extols donkeys and his kindred herd to the stars. Doubtless he has learned this divine maxim, know thyself : he knows that he has first place in this choir. As mule scratches mule, thus donkey scratches donkey, dogs often kiss each other’s asses. But if you have any sense, Stephen, have a regard for yourself, you fool: prodigal in your praises, do not cheat yourself of yours. Disgusted with yourself, are you trying to remove your vain self, you who endlessly praise these beasts of Arcady? Or, because Silenus’ donkey yielded to its destiny, do you desire to repeat his experience? Again I warn you, think of yourself. Often we see a eulogist repent of his praise. don’t you see that heaven envies every fair thing on earth, and always snatches it up to the stars? Here a kidnapped zoo of snakes, twin bears, a dog, a Hydra, and lions swell the starry choruses. Since the earth denies it has a similar donkey, you too must be on your guard lest you be snatched unawares. But why am I warning a man who is already aware? For, lest people admit he’s a donkey, he foresightfully destines his ears for the poles.

123. AGAINST THE SAME

If your fortune was ever just to you, Stephen, in proportion to your deserts, you would not look like a long-eared beast.

124. TO CHARLES TRIPP

That I might flatter you with little words and wordlets, tiny Tripp, Tripplet, Tripp, sweet diminutive words, as is fitting for a sweet diminutive man, I call you my kisslet, my smoochlet, my little consolation, my tiny tastelet, my wee dream and my marrow, my heartlet, my eyelet, my minimal Mercury, my cute little Cupid, my pretty little lip.
But, tiny Tripp, Tripplet, while I flatter you with sweet diminutives, as fitting for a sweet diminutive man, my words grow longer by their diminution, but you appear to me to be shrinking, for which reason I should break off quickly, lest my diminutives diminish you.

125. TO EDWARD VERNON AND HENRY SHEWARD, BRASENOSE MEN

Sweet pair of sincere friends, my Edward and my Harry, nature, or a single horoscope or time, did not give you simultaneous birth, but a single virtue, a single ardor of the mind, and love has brought you together as twins. But if those twins whom Leda once bore to swanlike Jove were in the world, or (as someday destiny will make it be) you were in the high stars, you would not be lesser than Pollux, Sheward, nor you, Vernon, less than Castor, nor could anyone tell you apart. But since you are all but twins, with twinlike affection, minds, and loyalty, save that your days often shine on you apart, you are always and everywhere the same.

126. TO HIS VERE

Come, Vere. What is this delay (what an evil)? Or should you have any long journey to your Charles? Come, Vere. Lo, a new vernal season has come, the beats, the generations of birds, and the crops feel the god to be present with his divine spirit. But if my Vere does not come to me bringing a new vernal season, a severe winter comes in the midst of the springtime. What’s the delay? Behold bright Jupiter’s soul is serene in the sky, the rainy South wind’s wrath does into rage, nor does his anger bend Iris’ many-hued bow, but rather the rain has closed his dart-filled quiver. So come. A thousand jokes, a thousand laughs, a thousand embraces, a thousand kisses await you. For unless I get an abundance of the right I am seeking, and not quickly gain the enjoyment of our friendship with my eyes, never again will you have the enjoyment of me, Vere. Or will it be Vere by whom I am thus treated so falsely?

127. TO EDWARD MICHELBORNE

If anything thus far has displeased you (at whose service alone is my page), now, Edward it pleases you: most pleasing is he who makes no beginning, next most pleasing he is who quickest concludes what will not please. Thus I hope my works please you and others, as they were unable to please me, save by their ending.

Go to Book III