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LXXIII

Pack, clouds, away, and welcome day,
With night we banish sorrow;
Sweet air blow soft, mount larks aloft
To give my Love good-morrow!
Wings from the wind to please her mind
Notes from the lark I'll borrow;
Bird, prune thy wing, nightingale sing,
To give my Love good-morrow;

To give my Love good-morrow;
Notes from them both I'll borrow.

Wake from thy nest, Robin-red-breast,
Sing, birds, in every furrow;
And from each hill, let music shrill

Give my fair Love good-morrow!
Blackbird and thrush in every bush,

Stare, linnet, and cock-sparrow!
You pretty elves, amongst yourselves
Sing my fair Love good-morrow;
To give my Love good-morrow
Sing, birds, in every furrow!

T. Heywood

LXXIV

PROTHALAMION

Calm was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play-
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay

Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister fair; 5 When I, (whom sullen care,

Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In princes' court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain)
10 Walk'd forth to ease my pain

Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames;
Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems,
Was painted all with variable flowers,

And all the meads adorn'd with dainty gems 5 Fit to deck maidens' bowers,

And crown their paramours

Against the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

There in a meadow by the river's side
10 A flock of nymphs I chanced to espy,
All lovely daughters of the flood thereby,
With goodly greenish locks all loose untied
As each had been a bride;

And each one had a little wicker basket 15 Made of fine twigs, entrailéd curiously.

In which they gather'd flowers to fill their flasket,
And with fine fingers cropt full feateously
The tender stalks on high.

Of every sort which in that meadow grew
20 They gather'd some; the violet, pallid blue,
The little daisy that at evening closes,
The virgin lily and the primrose true,
With store of vermeil roses,

To deck their bridegrooms' posies

25 Against the bridal day, which was not long:

Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

With that I saw two swans of goodly hue
Come softly swimming down along the Lee;
Two fairer birds I yet did never see;

30 The snow which doth the top of Pindus strow
Did never whiter show,

Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be
For love of Leda, whiter did appear;

Yet Leda was (they say) as white as he,

35 Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near; So purely white they were

That even the gentle stream, the which them bare, Seem'd foul to them, and bade his billows spare To wet their silken feathers, lest they might 40 Soil their fair plumes with water not so fair,

And mar their beauties bright
That shone as Heaven's light

Against their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

5 Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill, Ran all in haste to see that silver brood

As they came floating on the crystal flood;
Whom when they saw, they stood amazéd still
Their wondering eyes to fill;

10 Them seem'd they never saw a sight so fair
Of fowls, so lovely, that they sure did deem
Them heavenly born, or to be that same pair
Which through the sky draw Venus' silver team;
For sure they did not seem

15 To be begot of any earthly seed,

But rather Angels, or of Angels' breed;

Yet were they bred of summer's heat, they say,
In sweetest season, when each flower and weed
The earth did fresh array;

20 So fresh they seem'd as day,

Ev'n as their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

Then forth they all out of their baskets drew
Great store of flowers, the honour of the field,
25 That to the sense did fragrant odours yield,
All which upon those goodly birds they threw
And all the waves did strew,

That like old Peneus' waters they did seem When down along by pleasant Tempe's shore 30 Scatter'd with flowers, through Thessaly they stream, That they appear, through lilies' plenteous store, Like a bride's chamber-floor.

Two of those nymphs meanwhile two garlands bound Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found,

35 The which presenting all in trim array,

40

Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crown'd;
Whilst one did sing this lay

Prepared against that day,

Against their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly till I end my song.

'Ye gentle birds! the world's fair ornament, And Heaven's glory, whom this happy hour Doth lead unto your lovers' blissful bower, Joy may you have, and gentle hearts' content 5 Of your love's couplement;

And let fair Venus, that is queen of love, With her heart-quelling son upon you smile, Whose smile, they say, hath virtue to remove All love's dislike, and friendship's faulty guile 10 For ever to assoil.

Let endless peace your steadfast hearts accord,
And blesséd plenty wait upon your board;
And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound,
That fruitful issue may to you afford

15 Which may your foes confound,

And make your joys redound

Upon your bridal day, which is not long:

Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.'

So ended she; and all the rest around 20 To her redoubled that her undersong,

Which said their bridal day should not be long: And gentle Echo from the neighbour ground Their accents did resound.

So forth those joyous birds did pass along 25 Adown the Lee that to them murmur'd low, As he would speak but that he lack'd a tongue; Yet did by signs his glad affection show, Making his stream run slow.

And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell 30 'Gan flock about these twain, that did excel The rest, so far as Cynthia doth shend

The lesser stars. So they, enrangéd well,
Did on those two attend,

And their best service lend

35 Against their wedding day, which was not long! Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

At length they all to merry London came, To merry London, my most kindly nurse, That to me gave this life's first native source, 40 Though from another place I take my name,

An house of ancient fame:

There when they came whereas those bricky towers The which on Thames' broad agéd back do ride, Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers, 5 There whilome wont the Templar-knights to bide, Till they decay'd through pride;

Next whereunto there stands a stately place,
Where oft I gainéd gifts and goodly grace

Of that great lord, which therein wont to dwell, 10 Whose want too well now feels my friendless case; But ah! here fits not well

Old woes, but joys to tell

Against the bridal day, which is not long:

Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

15 Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer,

Great England's glory and the world's wide wonder, Whose dreadful name late through all Spain did thunder,

And Hercules' two pillars standing near

Did make to quake and fear:

20 Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry!
That fillest England with thy triumphs' fame
Joy have thou of thy noble victory,

And endless happiness of thine own name
That promiseth the same;

25 That through thy prowess and victorious arms
Thy country may be freed from foreign harms,
And great Elisa's glorious name may ring
Through all the world, fill'd with thy wide alarms,
Which some brave Muse may sing

30 To ages following:

Upon the bridal day, which is not long:

Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

From those high towers this noble lord issuing
Like Radiant Hesper, when his golden hair
35 In th' ocean billows he hath bathéd fair,
Descended to the river's open viewing
With a great train ensuing.

Above the rest were goodly to be seen

Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature,

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