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Beholding one in shining armes appeare
The seelie man and his were sore dismaid ;
But sweet Erminia comforted their feare,
Her ventall vp, her visage open laid,
You happy folke, of heau'n beloued deare,
Work on (quoth she) upon your harmlesse traid,

These dreadfull armes I beare no warfare bring

To your sweet toile, nor those sweet tunes you sing. But father, since this land, these townes and towres, Destroied are with sword, with fire and spoile, How may it be, unhurt that you and yours In safetie thus, applie your harmelesse toile? My sonne (quoth he) this pore estate of ours Is euer safe from storm of warlike broile;

This wildernesse doth vs in saftie keepe,

No thundring drum, no trumpet breakes our sleepe, Haply iust heau'ns defence and shield of right, Doth loue the innocence of simple swains, The thunderbolts on highest mountains light, And seld or neuer strike the lower plaines : So kings have cause to feare Bellonaes might, Not they whose sweat and toile their dinner gaines,

Nor euer greedie soldier was entised

By pouertie, neglected and despised.
O Pouertie, chefe of the heau’nly brood,
Dearer to me than wealth or kingly crowne !
No wish for honour, thirst of others good,
Can moue my heart, contented with mine owne :
We quench our thirst with water of this flood,
Nor fear we poison should therein be throwne:

These little flocks of sheepe and tender goates

Gjue milke for food, and wool to make us coates. We little wish, we need but little wealth, From cold and hunger vs to cloath and feed; These are my sonnes, their care preserues from stealth Their father's flocks, nor servants moe I need : Amid these groues I walke oft for my health, And to the fishes, birds, and beastes giue heed,

How they are fed, in forrest, spring, and lake,

And their contentment for ensample take.
Time was (for each one hath his doting time,
These siluer locks were golden tresses than)
That countrie life I hated as a crime,
And from the forrests sweet contentment ran,
To Memphis' stately pallace would I clime,
And there became the mightie caliphes man,

And though I but a simple gardner weare,
Yet could I marke abuses, see and heare.

Entised on with hope of future gaine,
I suffred long what did my soule displease;
But when my youth was spent, my hope was vaine,
I felt my native strength at last decrease ;
I gan my losse of lustie yeeres complaine,
And wisht I had enjoy'd the countries peace;

I bod the court farewell, and with content
My later age here have I quiet spent.

While thus he spake, Erminia, husht and still,
His wise discourses heard, with great attention,
His speeches graue those idle fancies kill,
Which in her troubled soule bred such dissention;
After much thought reformed was her will,
Within those woods to dwell was her intention,

Till fortune should occasion new afford,

To turne her home to her desired lord.
She said therefore, O shepherd fortunate!
That troubles some didst whilom feele and proue,
Yet liuest now in this contented state,
Let my mishap thy thoughts to pitie moue,
To entertaine me as a willing mate
In shepherds life, which I admire and loue ;

Within these pleasant groues perchance my hart,

Of her discomforts, may vnload some part.
If gold or wealth of most esteemed deare,
If iewels rich, thou diddest hold in prise,
Such store thereof, such plentie haue I seen,
As to a greedie minde might well suffice:
With that downe trickled many a siluer teare,
Two christall streames fell from her watrie eies;

Part of her sad misfortunes than she told,

And wept, and with her wept that shepherd old. With speeches kinde, he gan the virgin deare Towards his cottage gently home to guide; His aged wife there made her homely cheare, Yet welcomde her, and plast her by her side. The princesse dond a poore pastoraes geare, A kerchiefe course vpon her head she tide;

But yet her gestures and her lookes (I gesse)

Were such, as ill beseem'd a shepherdesse. Not those rude garments could obscure and hide The heau’nly beautie of her angels face, Nor was her princely ofspring damnifide, Or ought disparag'de, by those labours bace; Her little flocks to pasture would she guide, And milke her goates, and in their folds them place,

Both cheese and butter could she make, and frame Her selfe to please the shepherd and his dame.

TO

MY LADY ***

MADAM,

Your commands for the gathering these sticks into a faggot had sooner been obeyed; but, intending to present you with my whole vintage, I stayed till the latest grapes were ripe: for here your ladyship has not only all I have done, but all I ever mean to do of this kind. Not but that I may defend the attempt I have made upon poetry, by the examples (not to trouble you with history) of many wise and worthy persons of our own times; as sir Philip Sidney, sir Francis Bacon, cardinal Perron, (the ablest of his countrymen) and the former pope; who, they say, instead of the triple crown, wore sometimes the poet's ivy, as an ornament, perhaps, of lesser weight and trouble. But, madam, these nightingales sung only in the spring; it was the diversion of their youth; as ladies learn to sing, and play, when they are children, what they forget when they are women. The resemblance holds further; for as you quit the lute the sooner, because the posture is suspected to draw the body awry ; so this is not always practised without some villany to the mind, wresting it from present occasions, and accustoming us to a style somewhat removed from common use. But, that you may not think his case deplorable who had made verses, we are told, that Tully (the greatest wit among the Romans) was once sick of this disease, and yet recovered so well, that, of almost as bad a poet as your servant, he became the most perfect orator in the world. So that, not so much to have made verses, as not to give over in time, leaves a man without excuse: the former presenting us with an opportunity at least of doing wisely, that is, to conceal those we have made; which I shall yet do, if my humble request may be of as much force with your ladyship, as your commands have been with me. Madam, I only whisper these in your ear; if you publish them, they are your own: and therefore, as you apprehend the reproach of a wit and a poet, cast them into the fire: or, if they come where green boughs are in the chimney, with

the help of your fair friends, (for, thus bound, it will be too hard a task for your hands alone) tear them in pieces, wherein you will honour me with the fate of Orpheus; for so his Poems, whereof we only hear the form, (not his limbs, as the story will have it) I suppose were scattered by the Thracian dames. Here, madam, I might take an opportunity to celebrate your virtues, and to instruct you how unhappy you are, in that you know not who you are: how much you excel the most excellent of your own, and how much you amaze the least inclined to wonder, of our sex. But as they will be apt to take your ladyship’s for a Roman name, so would they believe, that I endeavoured the character of a perfect nymph, worshipped an image of my own making, and dedicated this to the lady of the brain, not of the heart, of

your ladyship's

most bumble servant,

EDMUND WALLER.

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