To see a commentary note, click on a blue square. To see the Latin text, click on a green square.  


Two-horned Jana, source of the month and the year, who uniquely sees the other goddesses within yourself, and you wolf of the Nile, once the sun, under whose name lurk all the gods, have trust in my rites. Let your light blamelessly regulate the snake-footed hours for Camden, so he may pass easy days, whether the heaven do the night’s dark shadows, or the morning star announce by its appearance the returned day. Nor let inauspicious lights sadden the earth, nor a baleful gleam sadly defile the moving bodies of the sky. So may no Thessalian whispers reach thee, Jana, nor let the foul bird bespatter thy head at the crossroads; may the torrid sun, when he oppresses that region beneath him, be unaware of the Ethiopian’s dark imprecations.


Not included here: see the commentary note


Mourn, Pierian Muses, the fate of noble Sidney, come and mourn the foul doom of a fair swan. A brilliant man has died, who in life helped many but now in death reveals to all the wrath of God. Sidney has died, and now Philip has departed his body, but he possesses a living monument to all his virtue. Tell, Muses, of his glory, tell it in your music, never cease singing of such a swan.


Sidney, distinguished for his wit and his courage, whom fame bore for the immortals, but this earth for death. The thread of his life ran out, and his body is hidden by the tomb, but the grave has done no harm to the vigor of his soul. For as a heavenly suppliant he has found the final goal: death, that of life, and life, that of death. As a mortal he felt torments, but in death he is free of suffering and pain, formerly an earthbound man, now a citizen of heaven.


Whether it will please to call you Still or Stella, both this name and that agree with your merits. You were God’s distilled droplet, damp with the daily due, and mankind’s star, such as rarely gleams. Am I wrong? Should you be called Rain, not Still, on whom so much water of heavenly grace has been poured? Nor are the common folk to call you Stella, but Star, in which the lights of so many virtues do shine. Still, Rain, Stella, or Star, we grieve that the rain has grown dry, the light has gone out.


Here lies Anne, in life most worthy of all praise, greater than all the praises. You ask what she was like? It is not easy to express this in words, though easy to tell this man by reference to her deeds. Each glory is an ornament to the female sex, and one which beautified the chorus of mothers. In her was that which men praise, and what we are wont to hope for. Now you tell me what she was like.


Religion, sincere faith, unswerving ardor for the Lord, a life agreeable to one’s words, sobriety, chaste morals, prudent modesty, and a deep and genuine affection for spouse and offspring. If all of these things could be expressed in a single phrase, they could be said in this one: “Still lived.”


A great contention arose between earth and heaven, if you would become a portion of sky or soil. Religion, piety, gravity, prudence, virtue, these things recommended you for the starry firmament. Weakness, languor, the disturbing power of protracted disease, these destined you for terrestrial earth. How God, the Judge of this age, settled the quarrel, when earth won your ash, and heaven your flash!

In dutiful memory of that most choice woman,
a mother never adequately praised, Anne Still,
as an expression of private duty and love



Here lies a matron among mothers, the image of a bishop, an example for life, a mirror for true virtue. True alabaster, by her merits she will live forever, and her upright faith has placed her above the stars.


The stage is hung with mourning, tongues fall silent, nor does music warble, since our darling Morley has died. But you have not died: you linger in our eyes, our mouths, and our ears, and we shall serve as your tongues, music and stage. Clap for the man whose life has thus passed, a life which posterity will always renew.

HE DIED ON APRIL 18, 1596 A. D.


Muse of greetings, adopt the orage of swift pinions, and let this letter ride on your birdlike back; fly soon through the birds’ gentle realms, to that place where the Thames, split by turreted towers, is outraged that its waters are subdued and sent through twelve arches, and often thunders at the city with its captive waters. Here there is a house, hard by, York’s sacred palace. There you must fold your plumage and alight. You will find there a man gripped by care of the great Seal, and by watchful preservation of the secrets of state, a man who is equal to the law, and who overtops all other men. He alone knows justice, how much duty it has without taking booty. However, he thus tempers his severe endeavors with cultivation of the mind, that he steals moments of relaxation for the pious Muses. With downcast eyes and modest demeanor — assuming he is at leisure, if he has admitted you with a friendly face — you must approach him, interspersing greetings with prayers for his well-being. And go on to beseech that with favorable breezes he forward the languishing wings of my studies, lest in mid-flight my unfulfilled hope go to ground for want of a wind. But ask this meekly and mildly, lest he perceive you are asking: fortune is put to flight by impertinent prayer.


Whoever is a lover, forbear to renounce the broken burden of your pride, and to bow in abject submission. Rather, let your spirit be such that you smooth your brow yet scarce show forth your pride through dry eyes. For a woman turns swollen arrogance topsy-turvy, and with a laugh shatters the excessively abject. But from afar Cupid has stablished a favorable omen for the man who tempers his stern countenance with softness.


Why has religion ill deserved it, that it must prove itself to Christians using pagan weapons? Religion has ill deserved nothing: but the faithless throng has ill deserved a man who demands that this be proven. You, Mornay, prove it, and you have proven that you have deserved well both of Christians and of pagans.



Whoever in writing or speaking mangles a word, he is a barbarian. For barbarous diction is that of foreigners. Let a solecism be any incorrect form of speech. Anything superfluous is by custom denominated a pleonasm. Amphibolon is what the Romans called ambiguous discourse. Tautology expresses the same thing in various words. Eclipsis is a word that implies words unspoken.]


Just as the painter, bent on displaying his art, always chooses a canvas worthy of his lifelike strokes, thus, so that it might depict that Jesuit’s face, the divine Hand set out its work of art to be seen on a husk. The Jesuit’s appearance could not have been drawn likelife, unless the stalk had borne a similar-looking corn. Gaping, we admire men’s likenesses on canvas — this serves as the very canvas for a picture.


Translated by Hugh Holland

Between two Brethren Civil warres and worse
The nice poynt of Religion long did nurse.
For Reformation of the Faith he plyes;
That Faith should be reformed this denyes.
Reasons on both sides being apart propounded, 5
Both met alike, alike both fell confounded.
As hart could wish, each brother other takes,
As fates would have it, each his faith forsakes.
Without captiver both are captive led,
And to the victors camp the vanquished fled. 10
What fight is this, where conquered both are glad,
Yet either, to have conquered other, sad?


As the little sea-bird, pouring quick fire through its guts, makes the wick grow bright with its fatty substance, thus he who pursues the noble study of divinity is turned into etherial light. What wonder that the Saints become stars after their deaths, when their living bodies become torches!


Here lies a grandmother, an example of morals, and here too (a wonderful thing) lies a granddaughter, her grandmother’s equal in honor. Each was like the other: born to mothers unlike themselves, they were reborn in piety. For Christ’s sake each lost her nation, and this in an age in which it is sweet to lose God for one’s nation. If granddaughters hoped for such grandmothers, and grandmothers for such granddaughters, I should revere you as the standard for prayers.


The rare grace of Apelles’ hand painted Venus rising from the foaming waves of the sea. So well did he achieve half the picture’s art that nobody could complete the rest of the work. Nature smiled at men amazed by a lifeless image, and said, “I shall give you a living work.” She spoke, and straightway a city gleamed amidst the Adriatic waves, which by itself stole the glory of all other cities. What means this city, born of the sea? That it alone would be perpetuated by steely strokes of fortune. What means this city, sparing of the soil? That rare is the gold material, which would be fit for its ring.


Four stalwart bulwarks of perfected beauty assert themselves whenever comeliness is perceived in a face: integrity adorns the parts, proportion the components, due blending of color the surface, and grace the finished product. The city of Venice thus suffices for all of life’s purposes, that its external aspect is neither too scanty nor to swollen; proportion breathes so finely in its precincts that they are neither variable in number, nor too cramped in being bound together. Mercy so well strives with the penalties she hands down that neither pallor nor ruddiness lies on her overmuch. There is such action in her armaments, and grace in her gestures of peace, that she gives pleasure, wearing her long centuries. Thus you can say that this city is in this sense a Venus.


(Abraham Cowley’s translation)

Ave Maria

Once thou rejoycedst, and rejoice for ever,
Whose time of joy shall be expired never.
Who in her wombe the Hive of comfort beares,
Let her drinke comforts honie with her eares.
You brought the word of joy, which did impart 5
An Haile to all, let us An Haile redart.
From you God save into the would there came;
Our Eccho Haile is but an emptie name.

Gratia plena

How loaded Hives are with their honie fill’d,
From diverse flowres by Chimike Bees distill’d: 10
How full the Collet with his Jewell is,
Which, what it cannot take, by love doth kisse:
How full the Moone is with her Brothers ray,
When shee drinks up with thirstie orbe the day,
How full of Grace the Graces dances are, 15
So full doth Marie of Gods light appeare.
It is no wonder if with Graces shee
Bee full, who was full with the Deitie.

Dominus tecum

The fall of mankind under deaths extent
The quire of blessed Angels did lament, 20
And wisht a reparation to see
By him, who manhood joyn’d with Deitie.
How grateful should Mans safety then appeare,
T’ himselfe, whose saftie can the Angells cheare?

Benedicta tu in mulieribus

Death came, and troopes of sad diseases led 25
To th’ earth, bu woemans hand sollicited:
Life came so too, and troopes of Graces led
To th’ earth, by woemans faith sollicited.
As our lifes spring came from thy blessed wombe,
So from our mouths springs of thy prayse shall come. 30
Who did lifes blessing give, ’tis fit that shee,
Above all woemen, should thrice blessed bee.

Et benedictus fructus ventri tui

With mouth divine the Father doth protest,
Hee a good word sent from his storied breast.
’Twas Christ; which Marie without carnall thought 35
From the unfathom’d depth of goodnes brought,
The word of blessing a just cause affoords,
To bee oft blessed with redoubled words.

Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te

As when soft westwinds strooke the garden Rose,
A showre of sweeter aire salutes the Nose, 40
The breath gives sparing kisses, nor with powre
Unlocks the Virgin bosome of the flowre,
Soe th’ Holy Spirit upon Marie blow’d,
And from her sacred box whole rivers flow’d.
Yet loos’d not thine eternall chastity, 45
Thy Roses folds doe still entangled lie.
Believe Christ borne from an unbruised wombe,
So from an unbruised barke the odors come.

Et virtus altissimi obumbrabit tibi

God in his great Sonne begot ere time begunne,
Marie in time brought forth her little Sonne. 50
Of double substance, one, life hee began,
God without Mother, without Father Man.
Great is this birth, and tis a stranger deede,
That Shee no man, then God no wife should neede.
A shade delighted the child-bearing mayde, 55
And God himselfe became to her a shade.
O strange descent! Who is lights author, hee

Will to his creature thus a shadow bee.
As unseene light did from the Father flow,
So did seene light from the Virgin Marie grow. 60
When Moses sought God in a shade to see,
The Fathers shade was Christ the Deitie.
Lett’s seeke for day, flee darknes, whil’st our sight
In light finds darknes, and in darknes light.


(J. J. Smith’s translation.)

Scoffer! In thy symbolic lore
We want one allegory more:—
For when the ass thou didst apply
As living type of royalty,
’Twas fitting that the ass should find
In thee an emblem of its kind.
And so it was; thy stubborn hide
With many a lash was featly plied;
By which was typified full well
The tale of woe an ass could tell.
Upon thy cheek a traverse brand
Was printed by the hangman’s hand:—
The cross upon the ass’s back
In thee its emblem does not lack:
And when thou didst through all the town
Bray forth thy sorrows up and down,
One might have thought it was thy choice
To symbolize the ass’s voice.
Thou too didst crawl the streets around,
With face bent downwards on the ground;
And by that quadrupedal grace
Was symbolized the ass’s pace.
I vow ’tis plain beyond all question,
Scoffer! that here from my suggestion
An allegory you have gained
More apt than all your book contained.


“What shame is there,” asked frowning Poetry, “for a votive song to reach Carr’s chamber? It is winter and warm games are dueling against the chill. Shall I always be meditating in my skull’s empty chamber, like the fly who in its errant circles scribbles upon the mute air, pointlessly murmuring to itself upon silent wings, though not like the bee, to build six-sided chambers of song, and soothe princes with my sweet sound?”
“O Poetry, destined to complain too late, as is the custom let you have that for which you hope. We are celebrating the Lord’s great holiday at that time when it is permitted to yield rule to our servants: my study of works of divinity, and of learned science and whatever yet more profound comes to men’s ears, defers to you. Yet you should take care not to transcend due limit lest, unkempt with disheveled gown, you become the target of Fescennine jokes. The rest I would not begrudge you, to wander through the free spaces of a wide-ranging wit, through the flowery countryside. In a bridal chamber there is no method for being very modest.”
So I spoke, and as soon as she felt her reins relaxed, of a sudden she plundered the treasure-house where lie most of the raiment and appearances of tings, taken from Nature. And when the fastidiousness of her eye had curiously traversed all manner of shapes and tessellated handiwork, she appropriated the shape of Mercury, clapped his shepherd’s cap on her temples, fit twin wings to her ankles, and pinned entwined snakes to her staff. Nor was there any delay when she hurled herself from the moon’s high mountains, and shot arrows at the earth through the empty air, at that place where was mirrored in the water lying below a shining palace, the reflection of a lofty vault. And here she looked around at the florid garden of Peers, the flowerbeds of Earls, which the virtue of craftsmen had painted with plants of many a hue, which threads of spun gold had married together as a fabric of uninterrupted needlework. All their minds had a single coloration: a competitive concern for their sovereign, and joy for his happy estate. But there surpassed al the rest, by the merit of the day, and by their own, the virtue of Carr on the one hand and Horatia on the other. A noble pair! It is uncertain whether more so for their comeliness, or for their virtue’s beauty, but assuredly following a similar pattern Nature had placed a harmonious frame of mind on the both of them. He was possessed of a placid countenance, gravity of movement, silent heart, a disposition free of all hatred; you would swear he was concentrated on the transaction of his affairs. She was of modest mien, and she illuminated her honor with a torch-like blush that suffused her milk-white cheeks. Then too, her matronly gravity, and the grace of her carriage, could loosen the knots of any censure. So when Mercury saw this birthday celebration aglow for their marriage, he hastened to mint happy wishes for their bedchamber, and thus, striking his lyre, he bestirred its twanging strings in tuneful song:
“How fitly the incompatible nature of these two young people has been dissolved by the decrees of the prudent and by religion! For it is right to think that what Nature creates outside the nuptial pact occurs against heaven’s will. It has no path, no purpose in which it can attain an end, it fruitlessly wanders in barren sand. Neither the affection of wedlock, nor the handclasp of mutual troth, nor the golden pledge of the wedding-band sanctions its holy bonds, so error does not sometimes lurk in the rites of marriage. These solemn words are directed at a subject that may be taken for granted, and create certainty, as the case warrants. Often a maiden has married her brother unawares, or a freeborn girl has wed a lying slave and the marriage has been dissolved when deception’s cloud has cleared. Not for the first time has propitious Nature rejected either the one alliance or the other. How much more the present one deserves to be dissolved by ecclesiastical sanction, which did not have the power to be bound for the space of two lustra. For it incurred a charge severer than all others, because it was lame by nature — that nature which most enters into the body of matrimony, which is fenced about by laws. So come, with equal hopes and better auspices, celebrate this pious wedding, since they have been earned by the bride’s protracted tedium, the honor of her virginity being preserved, and by her arid nights and husband in naught but name.
“Let the arrogant venoms of prophetic murmurings begone, and the seeds of discord, that engenders languors of spirit. And whatever remains of ancient Sedition, the shapeless matter of this world of Becoming, glides into eternity to enfold itself in an abyss of darkness. Let the lyre I strike, and which I strike with you serving as my plectrum, provide a model for the present marriage. Let you be a lyre, Frances, let Nature and Reason supply a tuning fit for your virtues, that you may freely pour forth aroused strains, harmonious. Abasing yourself, provide the bass, firmly the tenor, acutely the soprano, and with just measure the alto, a tranquil and desirable temperament. The solid foundations of praise will be laid, constancy will erect the supporting rods of your life, righteousness’ balanced scales will set up your crossbeam, and patience will establish the perpendicular. And you, Carr, must strike the strings with your nimble quill, nor let the lyre lament the lifeless limbs within itself. Play a tune composed of pious sentiment, so that breathing Echo may resound from every side. Let you ply your quill on no lyre but this; and you, the lyre, make no sound for any man but him. Thus may she drink in your love, as Cynthia does that of the sun. Thus may he irrigate yours, as the sea’s onrush does the shore. Let not the chaste turtledove teach you fidelity, nor the dove teach you welcome murmurs, nor the kidlings tussling, nor the mussels kisses: let each of you be love’s model for the other, so that he might turn you from a maid to a mother, and you turn him from a husband to a father.”




Thus I am your harvest, I keep myself shut up for you. But I lie open and at your service, great James.

Should I admire you more, fortunate Earl, for the glory of your wit or your character? If with doubtful scales one hesitatingly discriminates between your success and your merit, if he should favor either one, he would insult them both. See what kind of fabric the threads weave out of your name’s divisions, transposed: emulating your praises, this flowery letter depicts the course of your life. And this oracle whispers amidst your happy titles, devised by my wit, which with prophetic draught of song pours forth the due rewards of praise. Thus the tiller of your field, for whom the helpful crops heap themselves into a harvest, has sown the seeds of nature according to the order of your virtues; thanks to favor’s rain, it has sprouted until you have been made an anagram of honored glory. We are all the raw material of words, lacking sense and sound, which the thoughtfulness of great kings takes and tempers when it has been drawn from the common run of mankind, transforming it into the form of fresh honor. Yet Reputation’s seal does not emerge equally from every name, nor the beauty of its sense; rather, no toil-wrinkled brow’s cookery gives flavor to most words. By exercising your wits, you only make them the same, for in all words there is not the same mass of mud, and of sculptor’s clay compliant to the hand; rather, the majority are difficult, which grace cannot mold with any art. One’s fortune is not the creature of his nature, but rather its indicator. But the laudatory motto of your name strives with the rich vein of merit within yourself; nor has Fame discovered itself to be lying in wait for an Earl of empty repute, lesser than his model. You know how to comport yourself after the reflection of our august sovereign: let no Arcadian master’s paint surpass the model drawn from that source. Hence let your zeal ply its work under our sovereign’s high heaven, and not submit itself to the hazards of this common sphere: it is an inferior virtue that lives as a neighbor to lowly things. And, like a faithful field, by your merits you multiply the seeds of favor committed to yourself, and, thanks to their hundredfold yield, your barns totter in bearing the weight of your effort and worth. And for this joyous king, his prudence has justified his personal judgment, thanks to this blessed crop. His gratitude demands nothing further, his choice is blessed by its results. Royal indulgences do not always have equal successes: men tell of fields which you might sow with Merit’s plentiful seed, yet which yield only borne a feeble growth of grass, or acres painted with a floral carpet, or darnel unhappy in its vice, or erugo with its greedy tooth: these things assault the profits of a fair harvest. But that fork in the road of Hercules at the Crossroads perceives how different you are in your accomplishments! For at that same turning-point in life you were made an example, for which reason you scarce seemed able to submit to examples. And it is the least of your many praises that you make your way by means of honorable endeavors. You run before, a man whom an excellent throng of followers seeks, not as a fellow runner, but as their goal. Therefore in you our most prudent king has his hoped-for harvest of counsel and value, for you both provide and preserve the seeds of praise, seeds to be put forth by your offices in our sacred Parliament. Hence from there neither wantonness nor the soft leisures of life pluck anything: your vigilance eludes all thieves, this field lies open for the British king alone.




Why is there but one rose of such loyalty? Yield, virgin
so that one perishable rose may engender many.

The female sex is akin to plants, for they delight the widespread field of men with the fragrance of their aura. As the one has color, so there is a rival color for the others: purple is suffused in their swanlike cheeks. As their fragrance commends the one, so modesty’s welcome repute commends the others in the sight of men. As flavor does the one, so prudence of manners sweetens the others, and a tongue tinged by just a pinch of salt. And just as plants are efficacious with healing virtues, so a woman provides healing help for her man. But unless the draughts of air waft upon fructified plaints, air through which light cleaves its silent way, the sweet plant’s growth would languish, wan, dry, bitter, and unwholesome. And unless there introduces itself into the womenfolk the government of men, by whom wedlock’s affection has woven its bonds, grace of manners and beauty of countenance would not please, nor would she have flavor who is flavored by the personal aura of her graces.
But women are quite akin to plants in other ways, and their unlikeness may be rendered more acceptable by means of the following likeness. For as long as the rose is forming a condensed flower within its bud and protects itself beneath the alabaster leaf, it does not heed the sun’s rays nor the imperious winds, but hides its virgin flank in obscurity. But as soon as the hour of maturity has summoned it, and a vague affection for its object breaks its prison, then it does not fend off the rays of the winds, and if it finds no breezes, it creates them. then it spreads its tender fingers, with which it was previously wont to cover its form, after the manner of a modest gown. And soon at the parted edge of her foliage she produces the previously unknown riches she stores away. See how the same wealth in these clefts makes sisters of rose and woman, and how a rosy ivory lightly tinges her lips for kissing. See how she darts little golden tongues from her mouth, which she freely gives to others, or greedily seeks from them. There is no need to compare the symbolism of things so alike, the theme of vice shines forth even in darkness. But Frances will attack this exemplum on its weak side. Yield the honorable highway, you rest of the throng, let her lead the way, who walks on honor’s path, and who treads her way either in the company of a few, or by herself. Were you able to live for two lustra as a husbandless wife, when scarce any chaste woman could tolerate four? Could you feel the fire in your heart grow cold, and your lively torches not catching fire from your husband? What a watch was kept on your youthful years as they circled by, lest seducers reap joys with a premature scythe: what an effort was made that license of action and word would vanish, and whatever makes silly women turn bad! But no unfamiliar familiarity with wantonness persuaded you to try paths untaken. So many sweet gusts of the zephyrs struck you, and just as many rays of the sun caressed your face, yet neither the onbreathings of Phoebus or the zephyrs thawed the summit of your honorable virginity. Amidst so many proofs of evil, so many lewdnesses of life and liberties reconciled to their own disgraceful deeds, in your integrity you were able to preserve this body, having this beauty, these manners, a rival and more of unsullied ivory! Whence comes this new breed of flower, born under a winter star; which stock has produced a rose of Paradise? How fitly this virginal rose hangs in the air, and shuns its maternal bud! But now women are searching for a touchstone of specious proof, a brief mite of conspiratorial sunlight, an adamant less hard than the very folk who hold it, and whatever pleases them with its existence, when it creates a false show. Thus their concern for truth is less than their concern for fair appearance, nor does each woman imagine she will become that which is […].





I keep my harvest locked up for King James

Like as this Anagram doth take a rise
Uppon the scattred letters of thy name,
And correspondent sense thereon doth frame
So doth thy greatnes growe by like deuise.
For he whose witt and powr bear cheefest price, 5
Hath turnd thy naturs seeds, and on the same
Hath turnd the into honors Anagram:
By wisdome well transposing fortunes dice.
And thow receauest this grace uppon accownt,
To make thy seruice and his fauours iust: 10
And though his roiall tally showld surmownt,
Thou kno’st no other priuate gaine, but trust.
That memory deserueth more to knowe,
Which doth receaued prints so well bestowe.




Why is there but one rose of such loyalty?

A rose to spring uppon a country plaine,
Wher glories sun doth warme a tender brest,
And wordes like windes doe virgin leafes unuest,
And yeat to keep unblowne the bud of shame,
Is such a pattern of transcending fame, 5
And of an other age, that t’ wer a paine
To seeke to parallel this rose againe:
Since nature now few worthy workes doth frame.
It seams that vertwe gaspeth unto death
Which in thy chastnes drew so longe a breath. 10
Heer is a kinde, that hath not singles more:
Heer is a single, hath noe kinde in store.
How singular she sets in vertews throne,
Who is both kinde and singular alone!


(J. J. Smith’s translation.)

While Janus shuffles off the old year’s coil,
And with fresh strength renews his annual toil;
While the hospitable halls are echoing round;
To noble Palatine a son was giv’n,
Such as his fondest prayers could ask from Heav’n.
That thou by Nature’s fav’ring care art blest,
We see, O James, by this her gentle jest:
To other parents, sons must pledges be,
Which she has made her New-year’s gift to thee.
This day and Right their sov’reignty curtail
Before the boy, and join to bid him hail.


(J. J. Smith’s translation.)

By telescopic aid, the Optic Muse
Spots in the Sun, the stars’ disorder views: —
But, Abernathy, it was given to thee,
By art of sage Analogy, to see
These blemishes the mental ray that blot,
And deep disorder at the source of thought.
Too far the skies, to trace aright their plan!
Too near the mind, its properties to scan!
’Twas praise of one, to bring the distant night;
’Twas praise of thee, to break too close a tie.
How far from us the heavenly bodies blaze!
How bursts each bond, beneath this reas’ning’s might!
Wondrous the mental glass which did of old
To Galileo that famed glass unfold!
Vast that analogy, whose power in thee
These properties analogous could see!


If you ask who is buried in this tomb, traveler, you deserve to learn. Spenser is buried here. If you ask who he was, you do not deserve to learn.


His Wit’s Keenness

As lightning writes with swift pen on the parchment of fast-flying cloud, opening the bowels of heaven’s waters, just so the flying wing of your fertile intellect illuminates the dark places of things with a ready beam. Forgive me if I laud you with abrupt praises. Let ever light grow pale at the sight of your lightning!

His Judgment’s Maturity

As Jupiter, when he strikes at Athos across the way, hefts the lightning he wields with poised balance, just so the balanced shaft of your judgment, Bacon, marks out the salient points of things with an equally assured strike. Forgive, me, if I laud you with protracted praises. Those who are amazed in their hearts are wont to stick in one place.

His Invention’s Fertility

As the multicolored bow which Phoebus himself bends with his fingers gives a cloud varied hues, just so varied thoughts play in your fair imagery, as your voice pours forth its embroidered riches. What wonder if the Muse paints you with her colors? Iris has all the figures which the rainbow can assume.

His Diction’s Elegance

And finally, as the bejeweled rain nourishes the seeds of growth’s active virtue throughout the flowerbeds, just so pleasantly do the pronouncements of your words, just so sweetly does your eloquence, just so greatly does the allure of suasion drip from your mouth. What wonder if my Muse glories in your singing? He who experiences heaven’s waters pours forth rain himself.

His Wit’s Control

You handle the rubrics and the nettles of the law so severely that you seem native-born to the thorns of the courtroom. On the other hand, you mix in the lights of learning so calmly that you seem native-born to the stars of heaven. Who could deny that this disposition is fit for softening the laws, which controls the severe and the calm?


As Jupiter, when he strikes at Athos across the way, hefts the lightning he wields with poised balance, just so the balanced shaft of your judgment, Bishop, marks out the salient points of things with an equally assured strike. Forgive, me, if I laud you with continual praises. Those who are amazed in their hearts are wont to stick in one place.
As lightning writes with swift pen on the parchment of fast-flying cloud, opening the bowels of heaven’s waters, just so the flying wing of your fertile intellect illuminates the law’s dark places with a ready beam. Forgive me if I laud you with a praise cut short. Let ever light grow pale at the sight of your lightning!
As the multicolored bow which Phoebus himself bends with his fingers gives a cloud varied hues, just so fair figures play in your varied imagery, as your voice pours forth its embroidered riches. What wonder if the Muse glories in your singing? Iris has all the figures which the rainbow can assume.
And finally, as the bejeweled rain nourishes the seeds of growth’s active virtue throughout the flowerbeds, just so gracefully do the pronouncements of your words, just so sweetly does your eloquence, just so greatly does the allure of suasion drip from your mouth. What wonder if I speak of your terse screeds while reading them? He who experiences heaven’s waters pours forth rain himself.
You handle the rubrics and the nettles of the law so severely that you seem native-born to the thorns of the courtroom. On the other hand, you mix in the lights of Scripture so calmly that you seem native-born to the stars of heaven. Who could deny that this disposition is fit for softening the laws, which controls the severe and the calm?


You thus surpass other Earls in the probity of your manners that you seem the glory of our sovereign’s court. You thus crown your well-ordered manners with learning that you seem the sovereign glory of Carlisle. I do not marvel, Hay, that you are pleasing to two kings, to whom these virtues have been thus pleasing. I marvel at this, that you alone triumph with twofold praise, when scarce two others have pleased a single king.



If a man hangs for committing a theft, what punishment overhangs the sacrilegious man? Both of them steal the gifts of others.


He who is pious and generous, but not sufficiently so, dies: so learn, stubborn man, the rewards of things; learn, greedy man.


He who has cheated with his offerings atones with his death: these are not to be given to our unique God save in full measure.


You take away, and you give. Thus your spirit will likewise be taken away from you. Away with your hymn-singing, traitor!


Your dominions have inflicted exemplary punishment only on the sacrilegious: how much crime You tolerate, Lamb!


He who does not give all is guilty, he who gives nothing is not guilty. Praise of God stays silent in safety, but greedy praise is a crime.


When Martia perceived this consolation among the shades, that you taught her to speak the tongue of the Brutus-born, amazed, she directed her eloquent words to the Graces, and anxiously asked about this new thing, whether another Martia had been born among the far-off Britons. But it is not Martia, but Seneca, that has been found.


Human life is fenced in by such sorrow that we grow weary of our lengthy journey. Seneca’s style is so sweet, as is this translation of his book, that, upon its rereading, one is willing to suffer many vicissitudes. In unhappy times, I would wish for life to be short, but for this book On the Brevity of Life to be long.


The royal urn reeks of the odors of balsam, but this odor evaporates over a long day. Men shed solemn tears at a funeral, but the hour for tears is short and disloyal. Huge tombstones of flecked marble surge up, but Time’s greedy hand overturns them. How much you surpass royal dignitaries, ant! For you always have a tomb, tears, and balsam.


Place not your trust in alluring fortune: although the peaceful waves of a calm sea feign placid stillness of a peaceful pond, although the flowing wind’s languid cape scarce sweeps it, though dead calm scarce furrows its brow with shivering ripples, wrath lurks beneath, another sea dwells within that sea.


When a savage slaughter raged in Romulus’ city, I mean the acts of those butchers the Triumvirs, Antius saw that he too was proscribed by the fatal tablets, and prepared to hasten away. The well-fed among his slaves ran about, striving with each other to steal their master’s goods. One slave adhered to his master, condemned by the harsh Fates. You ask for what price he was loyal to his owner? Many a scar was inscribed on his mouth, brow, and cheeks, and these visible punishments had completely filled up the fellow’s face. You would have read these as marks of savagery, but he thought them to be silent signs of unwonted favor. How adroitly he must have interpreted these secret shapes, he who thought so well of his master! I would have believed a destiny of astounding faith to be hidden, like a jewel, in those arcane marks. I would have believed the gods wanted to absolve the slave, and print these terrible markings on his master’s face. He did not deserve punishment who, by these daring deeds, could have earned his own executioner. Let him be innocent in his master’s eyes, having taken such risks for him by acting contrary to public decrees.


You who crave to hear tales of sudden reversals, learn the strange event of Gorgias’ destiny; for when his mother was being carried to her funeral pyre hte boy emerged from his lifeless parent. Is it credible that the boy sensed the fire’s danger and anticipated the impending cremation? Or did his mother, as her life was departing, leave behind her love, which could open a way for her son’s life? In either case, there is much material for amazement, in him that he could live, and in the fact that she could die. What woman had previously had her lying-in in Hades? what boy in after trimes has given his birth-cry from the tomb? He was taken out for burial before he had come into this life, and she was barren in life, but became a mother in death.


Faire is the Rose araied in Crimson plush,
Stript is the rose and naked leaves the bush.
Faire is the bud, the springs abortive birth,
Nipt in the bud and fruiteless falls to earth:
White is the nsnow that crowned the Alpine hills, 5
Thawd is the snow and into mier distilld.
White is the lilie, Floras short delight,
Cropt is the lilie and discoloured quite.
So faire, so white is youths snow rosie face:
So fraile, so fading is that outward grace. 10
Stript shall it be with eld and sickeness bare;
Nipt shall it be with blasts of bitter care;
Thawd shall it be with scorching feaveres tand, (tanned
Cropt shall it be with death’s sad Iron hand.
Then seeke for inward grace and lett this pass, 15
All goodness be thy dress and God thy glass.


Hee that, Condemn’d for some notorious vice,
Seekes in the mines the baites of avarice,
Or, sweltring at the furnace, fineth bright (refines
Our soules dire sulphur, resteth yet at night.
Hee that, still stoopeing, toughs against the tide 5 (tows
His laden barge alongst a rivers side
And, filling shoores with shote, doth melt him quite, (shout
Upon his pallet resteth yett at night.
Hee that in summer, in extreameth heate
Scorched all day in his owne scalding sweate, 10
Shaves with keene Sithe the glorie and delight (scythe
Of motley meddowes, resteth yeat at night,
And in the armes of his deere Pheer forgoes (fere, helpmate
All former troubles, and all former woes.
Only the learned sisters sacred minions, 15
While silent night under her sable pinons
Holds all the world, with painelesse paine they treade
A sacred path that to the the heaven’s doth leade,
And higher than the heavens there Readers raise
Upon the winges of those immortall Layes. 20


O thrice, thrice happy he, who shuns the cares
Of citty-troubles, and of state affairs,
And, serving Ceres, tills with his owne teeme
His own freelands, left by his friend to him!
Never pale Envies pysone heades do hiss 5
To gnaw his hart; nor Vulture Avarice:
His fieldes bounds bound his thoughts; he never sups,
For Nectar’s pyson, mixt in silver cuppes.
False Counsellors (Concealers of the law),
Turn-coate Attornes, that with both hands draw, 10
Slie Peti-foggers, Wranglers at the barr,
Proud purse-leaches, Harpies of Westminster,
With fained chiding, and foul iarring noise
Breake not his braine, nor interrupt his ioyes.
His wandring vessel, reeling to and fro, 15
On th’ irefull Ocean (as the windes do blowe)
With sudden tempest is not over-whurled,
To seeke his sad death in another world:
But, leading all his life at home in pace,
Alwaies in sight of his owne smoake, no seas, 20
No other seas he knowes, nor other torrent,
Than that which waters, with his silver current,
His native medowes: and that very earth
Shall give him buriall, which first gave him birth.
No sallow feare doth day or night afflict him: 25
Unto no fraude doth night or day addict him:
Or if he muse on guile, ’tis but to gett
Beast, bird, or fish in toile, or snare, or nett.
What though his Wardrobe be not stately stuft
With sumpuous silkes (pricked, and pounc’t, and puft,) 30
With gold ground Velvets and with silver Tissue,
And all the glory of […] Eve’s proud issue?
What though his feeble Coffers be not grand
With misers Idolls, golden Ingotts rand?
He is warme wrapped in his own ground noll, 35 (knoll
Of unbought wines his sellar’s ever full;
His garners stored with graine, his ground with Flocks,(storage bins
His barnes with fodder, with sweet streames his rockes.


Like as the Damask rose you see,
Or like the blossoms on the Tree,
Or like the daintie flower of May,
Or like the morneing of the day,
Or like the sunnem or like the shade, 5
Or like the gourd which Jonas had:
Even such is man, whose thread is spunne,
Drawne out and cut, and so is don.
The Rose withers, the blossom blasteth,
The flower fades, the morneing hasteth, 10
The sunne setts, the shadow flies,
The gourd consumed, and man he dies.

Like to the grass that’s newly sprung,
Or like a tale that’s new begun,
Or like the bird that’s heere today, 15
Or like the pearled due of May,
Or like an houre, or like a spanne,
Or like the singing of a swanne:
Even such is man, who lives by breath;
Is heere now there; in life, and death. 20
The grass withers, the tale is ended,
The bird is flowne, the dew’s ascended,
The hour is short, the span not long,
The Swans neere death; mans life is don.

Like to the buble on the Brooke,
Or, in a glass, much like a looke,
Or like a shuttle in Weavers hand,
Or like the writeing on the sand,
Or like a thought, or like a greame,
Or like the glyding of a streame; 25
Even such is man, who lives by breath:
Is here now there; in life and death.
The bubbles cut, the look’s forgot,
The shuttle’s floung, the writing’s blot,
The thought is past, the dreame is gon, 35
The waters glyde; Mans life is don.

Like to an Arrow, from the bow,
Or like swift course of watry flow,
Or like the time twixt floud and Ebbe,
Or like the Spiders tender Webbe, 40
Or like a race, or like a Goale,
Or like the dealing of a Doale;
Even such is man, whose brittle state
Is alwaies subiect unto fate.
The Arrowe’s shot, the floud’s soon spent, 45
The time no time, the Webb soon rent,
The race soone runne, the Goale soone won,
The dole soon dealt; Mans life soone don.

Like to the lightning from the skie,
Or like the Post that quicke doth flie, 50
Or like a quaver in short song,
Or like a iourney three daies long,
Or like the snow when summers come,
Or like the pear or like the plumm:
Even such is man, who heaped by sorrow, 55
Lives but this day, and dies tomorrow.
The Ligntning’s past, the Post must go,
The song is short, the Journey so,
The Peares do rott, the plums do fall,
The snow dissolves, and so must all. 60


What monster’s this? With hollow eyes, and thin
With sharpe leane bones peircing her hardned skin,
Whose famisht intrailes may be plainly spied
Through the hard wrinkles of her sable side:
Who hath no belly, but the bellies seate, 5
Her knees and knuckles swelling hugelie greate:
Whose orbe’s so spatious that at one repast
You’ld thinke all creatures in the world ’t woulde wast.
It is fell Avarice, the wrath of God,
The fourth of Furies, and poore mortalls rod: 10
Let her possesse all, that Latona’s Sonne
Doth see when hee his daily course doth runne,
Or all the seas, that obey the great Mandate
Of Neptune bearing his tridential Mace;
Let thundr’ing Jove give her his heavenly place, 15
And Stygian Pluto his infernall lake:
Vestas round Globe, Neptunes vast profound,
Darke Acheron, and heavens boundles bound
Will not her all devouring hunger staunch,
But alwaies famine urgeth in her paunch; 20
As all the rivers in the world do enter
Into the maine, yett nought at all augment her:
Or as when fire is put to wood it burnes,
And suddenly all into ashes turnes,
And though thereon you lay of fuell store, 25
It still waxs greater and desireth more,
So this accursed thirst of gold all takes,
And yet an end of seeking never makes:
Not knowing how to use things got, still more
Doth seeke, and in her riches is still poore; 30
That will not satiate this Avarice,
Which would whole citties and whole townes suffice.
Although whole streames of gold into her paunch
Do flow, yett all her hunger will not staunch;
For if her cursed thirst thou seeks t’ Alay, 35
Thou striveth water in a sieve to stay;
Shee alwaies will desire and still is poore,
Although she do possess rich Croesus store.
The mind alone with virtue makes man blest,
Not heapesof coine, or a gold stuffed Chest. 40


A solid rocke, farre seated in the sea
(Where many vessells have beene cast away),
Though blackest stormes of blust’ring Winds to threat,
Though boisterous Rage of roaring billowes beat,
Though it be rak’t with lightninge and with thunder, 5
Though all at once assault, and Each asunder,
With massie Bulk of it selfes marble Tower
Still, still repells th’ inevitable Stower;(= stour, time of trouble
And seemes still firmer, and more permament,
The more the Tempest hath beene violent. 10
Right so the faithfull, in whose humble brest
Religious feare of God is deepe imprest,
What-ever stroake of Fortune threat his state,
What-ever danger him discomodate,
What-ever mischiefe that betide him shall, 15
What-ever loss, whatever Cross befall,
Inflexible, invincible pursues
The sacred footing hee did ever use.
And aye more constant and confirm’d is hee,
The more extreame his sad affliction bee. 20


What? Is Avernus lawes, with filthe besmear’d,
And Styx by periur’d love that’s to be fear’d,
The dreames of beanes-fed braines? And therefore must
One Vulcans Altar be consum’d to dust? (On
These are not Homers vomit, nor the smoake 5
Proceeding from distracted braines that doate.
Dost smile? Our lives from guilt the Poets free,
And wee to make these things to true to bee.
Heere Acheron with sable streames doth glide,
When th’ mind with evill ioyes is led aside: 10
Cocytus heere with mournefull waves doth flow,
When restless greife the soule doth overthrow:
Heere Styx that cannot be repast doth floate,
When dismall hatred humane harts doth choake:
With streames of sulphur heere boiles Phlegethon, 15
When irefull breasts with anger are sett on:
Heere Lethes streame, that causeth Lethargie,
When the pure soule in humane clay doth lie,
Lie’s plung’d (imprisoned in her loathed state)
Forgetting heaven her first derived place. 20
Distracted troupes of cares do not possess
The entrance to the Infernall darknesse.
Heere Cares, and Griefe, with feares bedeawed face,
And trembling feares there iron bedds do place:
Heere Thirst, and dearth and ill persuading plague, 25
Heere Warr and discord cause of war do rage,
Heere Poverties in raggs, and Labour sweates,
Heere Dreadfull Rage her selfe and other beates,
Heere sickly Old age, and Diseases fell,
Heere death, and Sleepe the sister of death do dwell. 30
Are not grim Plutoes gates composed of brass?
Haveing a thousand waies therein to pass,
The boults whereof are made of solid stelle,
Which neither force, nor art, can make to yeelde.
This is death gate, which no man can unlocke 35
(But God) with either furious brunt or chocke;
All mortalls go into this dolefull plae,
But no man ever can from thence escape.
What? Dost thou laugh at Tantalus? Which runnes
After the flitting waters that him shunnes, 40
Whose gapeing throate doth alwaies seeke for meate,
When faire apples his greedly lips do beate?
Hee that hath heaped up of gold great store,
Yett in the midst thereof remaineth poore,
Who is as rich as Croesus in his state, 45
Himselfe as poore as Irus yet doth make,
Hee is this Tantalus, him doth possess
This constant thirst and cursed hungrinesse;
Nothing at all will satiate his paunch,
Nor streames of gold his cursed thirst can staunch. 50
Dost simle on Tytion, the Earths deere son,
Whose truncke on Nine whole Acres lies upon,
Whose never dieing hart with unced pawes (Hooked
A never resting Vultur still outdrawes?
If a mad labour thou doth undertake, 55
And with continuall cares doth cruciate
Thy mind, then thou this wrecthed Tition art,
And this fierce vultur praies upon <thy> hart.
Dost thinke the Furies wheele’s an old wives tale,
Which poore Ixion still aboute doth hale, 60
Who being fixt, yett alwaies turnes aboute,
And flieing from himselfe, himselfe seekes out?
That man thou rightly maist Ixion call,
Who’s blindly turn’d on Honors little ball,
For hee vaine man a shadow strives to take, 65
And an inscription in the dust doth make,
And while at this fraile bubble he doth snatche,
It suddenly into thin Aire doth cracke.
He strives with water the pierct tub to fill,
And vainely daeth up that which did spill; 70
With Sisyphus hee seekes the hill t’ attaine,
With the round stone that still rowles downe againe,
Who teacheth a dull Ass a song to tune,
Who time and labour doth in vaine consume.
Doth wrecthed Phlegyas sitt ’twixt life and death, 75
Whom overhangs a stone, which with its threate
Of a sad sudden downefall, doth still make
With feare him subiect to continuall fate?
What is this but the fearefull Tirants breast,
Which alwaies cares, and horrid feares molest; 80
Who doth himself, and his Chast daughters dread,
Who doth suspect the consort of his bed,
[ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]
The glistering of his owne knife makes him start?
Dost think there are no hags, no whips, no snakes,
Nor her fell whipps dismall Megaera shakes? 85
Dost not beleeve that there are mournefull feilds?
This Universe innumerable yeeldes,
All our whole life with brinie teares abounds,
As water in the Amphitrian profounds.
Dost thinke that fell Tisiphone’s a tale, 90
Begirted with her horrid blouddy Vale?
And fierce Alecto, the roaring thunder
Of whose mouth the earth doth breake insunder?
If thou in wicked deeds doth perseveare,
Then thy wrect’d hart these unseene whips do feare, 95
Thy mind doth heare the hissing of those snakes,
Thy breast at those suphureous torches quakes;
Lett God his dreadful thunder lay aside,
And his swift Lightning in thick darkeness hide:
A guilty mind is a deafe thundercrack, 100
An unseene Lightning is a conscious fact;
This horrid thunder rumbles in thine eares,
The Lightning in thy troubled face appeares.
Let thy coverletts be stained with purple die,
Thy bed be made of gold where thou doth lie, 105
Let Ambrosian cakes adorne thy bourde,
Let Starres insteade of Lamps thee light affourde,
Lett Phyrgian Ganymedes (at thy will)
Whole cups of foameing Nectar to thee fill,
The oldest Furie by thy side will couch, 110
Not suffering thee thy curious cakes to touch.
She holdeth out her snakes, all swolne with goare,
And on thy face shee doth with thundring roare.
Thy downe’s as hard as stelle, thy wine’s poisoned,
And in thy Rosebedds thou art blistered. 115
Heere in this world with Ghosts men troubled bee,
Heere the Infernall kingdomes you may see.


The man whose soule is undistan’d with ill, (Unstained
Pure from the checke of a distempered will,
Stands only free from the distracts of cares,
And flies a path above the reach of feares:
His bosome dares the threatning Bowmans arme, 5
His wisdome sees, his Courage feares no harme;
His breast lies open to the reackeing sword;
The darts of swarthie Maurus can affourd
Less dread, then danger, to his well prepar’d
And setled mind, which (standing on her guard) 10
Bidds mischiefe do the worst she can or will,
For hee that does no ill, deserves no ill.


O Tiger! Thinkest thou (Hellish fratricide)
Because with stone-heapes thou art fortifi’d,
Prince of some Peasants trained to thy tillage,
And silly Kingling of a simple Village,
Thinkes thou to scape the storme of vengeance dread, 5
That hangs all readie o’r thy hatefull head:
No: wert thou (wretch) incamped at thy will,
On strongest topp of any steepest hill,
Wert thou immur’d in tripple Brasen wall,
Haveing for aide all Creatures in this All, 10
If skin and hart of steele and Iron were,
Thy paine thou coulds’t not, less avoide thy feare
Which chills thy bones, and runnes throughout thy veines,
Racking thy soule with Twenty thousand paines.



Now doth Phoebus’ shining Charriott rowle
From highest Zenith toward <the> Norther Pole,
To sport him for three months in pleasant Inns
Of Aries, Taurus, and the gentle Twins,
And now the mealie Mountaines (late unseene) 5
Change there white garments into lustie greene,
The Gardens pranke them with their flowry budds,
The Meads with grass, with leaves the naked Woods,
Sweet Zephyrus begins to buss his Flora,
Swift winged singers to salute Aurora, 10
And Wanton Cupid through the Universe,
With pleasing wounds, all creatures hart to pierce.


Then, backward bent, Phlegon his fierie steede,
With Cancer, Leo, and the Maide, doth feede;
Th’ earth cracked with heate, and summer crownes his Ceres 15
With gidled Eares, as yellow as her haire is.
The Reaper, panting both for heate and paine,
With crooked Rasor shaves the tufted plaine;
And the good husband, that due season takes,
Within a month his year’s Provision makes. 20


Then from the mid-heavens Sols bright flame doth fly
Towards the cross starred in th’ Antarctic Sky,
To be three months, uprising and downelying
With Scorpio, Libra, and the Archer flying,
Th’ Earth by degrees her lovely beauty bates, 25
Pomona loads her lap with delicates,
Her apron and Osier basket (both)
With daintie fruite for her deere Autumns tooth
(Her health-less spouse), who bare foot hops about
To tread the wine of Bacchus clusters out. 30


Then last of all, Titans proud-trampling Teeme,
For three months more, to soiorne still do seeme
With Capricorne, Aquarius, and the Fishes
(Whilst we in vaine rebuke him with our wishes),
Instead of flowers, chill shivering Winter dresses 35
With Isicles her (selfe-bald) borrow’d tresses,
About her browes a Periwig of Snowe,
Her white freeze Mantle freng’d with Ice belowe,
A paire of lamb-lyn’d buskins on her feete.
So doth shee march Orithia’s love to meete; 40
Who with his bristled, hoarie, beugle beard, (crooked
Comeing to kiss her, makes her lips afear’d.
Where-at he sighes a breath so colde and keene
That all the waters Christalliz’d have beene,
While in a furie with his boystrous wings 45
Against the Scythian snowie Rockes he flings.
All lusks in sloath; and till these Months do end, (lies in sloth, obscurity
Bacchus and Vulcan must us both befriend.