HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
WelcomeHistoryLiteratureArtMusicPhilosophyResourcesHelp
Sort By Author Sort By Title
pixel

Resources
Sort By Author
Sort By Title

Search

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc
FEEDBACK

(C)1998-2013
All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
26 June, 2013
Anne Bradstreet and Her Time
CHAPTER XII. - MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
by Campbell, Helen


Though the series of quaternions which form the major part of the poems, have separate titles and were written at various times, they are in fact a single poem, containing sixteen personified characters, all of them giving their views with dreary facility and all of them to the Puritan mind, eminently correct and respectable personalities. The "Four Seasons" won especial commendations from her most critical readers, but for all of them there seems to have been a delighted acceptance of every word this phenomenal woman had thought it good to pen. Even fifty years ago, a woman's work, whether prose or verse, which came before the public, was hailed with an enthusiastic appreciation, it is difficult to-day to comprehend, Mrs. S. C. Hall emphasizing this in a paragraph on Hannah More, who held much the relation to old England that Anne Bradstreet did to the New. "In this age, when female talent is so rife--when, indeed, it is not too much to say women have fully sustained their right to equality with men in reference to all the productions of the mind--it is difficult to comprehend the popularity, almost amounting to adoration, with which a woman writer was regarded little more than half a century ago. Mediocrity was magnified into genius, and to have printed a book, or to have written even a tolerable poem, was a passport into the very highest society."

Even greater veneration was felt in days when many women, even of good birth, could barely write their own names, and if Anne Bradstreet had left behind her nothing but the quaternions, she would long have ranked as a poet deserving of all the elegies and anagrammatic tributes the Puritan divine loved to manufacture. The "Four Seasons," which might have been written in Lincolnshire and holds not one suggestion of the new life and methods the colonists were fast learning, may have been enjoyed because of its reminders of the old home. Certainly the "nightingale and thrush" did not sing under Cambridge windows, nor did the "primrose pale," fill the hands of the children who ran over the New England meadows. It seems to have been her theory that certain well established forms must be preserved, and so she wrote the conventional phrases of the poet of the seventeenth century, only a line or two indicating the real power of observation she failed to exercise.
        THE FOUR SEASONS OF THE YEAR.
 
               SPRING.
  
  Another four I've left yet to bring on,
  Of four times four the last Quarternion,
  The Winter, Summer, Autumn & the Spring,
  In season all these Seasons I shall bring;
  Sweet Spring like man in his Minority,
  At present claim'd, and had priority.
  With Smiling face and garments somewhat green,
  She trim'd her locks, which late had frosted been,
  Nor hot nor cold, she spake, but with a breath,
  Fit to revive, the nummed earth from death.
  Three months (quoth she) are 'lotted to my share
  March, April, May of all the rest most fair.
  Tenth of the first, Sol into Aries enters,
  And bids defiance to all tedious winters,
  Crosseth the Line, and equals night and day,
  (Stil adds to th' last til after pleasant May)
  And now makes glad the darkned nothern nights
  Who for some months have seen but starry lights.
  Now goes the Plow-man to his merry toyle,
  He might unloose his winter locked soyle;
  The Seeds-man too, doth lavish out his grain,
  In hope the more he casts, the more to gain;
  The Gardener now superfluous branches lops,
  And poles erect for his young clambring hops.
  Now digs then sowes his herbs, his flowers & roots
  And carefully manures his trees of fruits.
  The Pleiades their influence now give,
  And all that seemed as dead afresh doth live.
  The croaking frogs, whom nipping winter kil'd
  Like birds now chirp, and hop about the field,
  The Nightingale, the black-bird and the Thrush
  Now tune their layes, on sprayes of every bush.
 
  The wanton frisking Kid, and soft fleec'd Lambs
  Do jump and play before their feeding Dams,
  The tender tops of budding grass they crop,
  They joy in what they have, but more in hope:
  For though the frost hath lost his binding power,
  Yet many a fleece of snow and stormy shower
  Doth darken Sol's bright eye, makes us remember
  The pinching North-west wind of cold December.
  My Second month is April, green and fair,
  Of longer dayes, and a more temperate Air:
  The Sun in Taurus keeps his residence,
  And with his warmer beams glareeth from thence
  This is the month whose fruitful showers produces
  All set and sown for all delights and uses:
  The Pear, the Plum, and Apple-tree now flourish
  The grass grows long the hungry beast to nourish
  The Primrose pale, and azure violet
  Among the virduous grass hath nature set,
  That when the Sun on's Love (the earth) doth shine
  These might as lace set out her garments fine.
  The fearfull bird his little house now builds
  In trees and walls, in Cities and in fields.
  The outside strong, the inside warm and neat;
  A natural Artificer compleat.
  The clocking hen her chirping chickins leads
  With wings & beak defends them from the gleads
  My next and last is fruitfull pleasant May,
  Wherein the earth is clad in rich aray,
  The Sun now enters loving Gemini,
  And heats us with the glances of his eye,
  Our thicker rayment makes us lay aside
  Lest by his fervor we be torrified.
  All flowers the Sun now with his beams discloses,
  Except the double pinks and matchless Roses.
  Now swarms the busy, witty, honey-Bee,
  Whose praise deserves a page from more than me
  The cleanly Huswife's Dary's now in th' prime,
  Her shelves and firkins fill'd for winter time.
  The meads with Cowslips, Honey-suckles dight,
  One hangs his head, the other stands upright:
  But both rejoice at th' heaven's clear smiling face,
  More at her showers, which water them apace.
  For fruits my Season yields the early Cherry,
  The hasty Peas, and wholsome cool Strawberry.
  More solid fruits require a longer time,
  Each Season hath its fruit, so hath each Clime:
  Each man his own peculiar excellence,
  But none in all that hath preheminence.
  Sweet fragrant Spring, with thy short pittance fly
  Let some describe thee better than can I.
  Yet above all this priviledg is thine,
  Thy dayes still lengthen without least decline:
 
                   SUMMER.
 
  When Spring had done, the Summer did begin,
  With melted tauny face, and garments thin,
  Resembling Fire, Choler, and Middle age,
  As Spring did Air, Blood, Youth in 's equipage.
  Wiping the sweat from of her face that ran,
  With hair all wet she pussing thus began;
  Bright June, July and August hot are mine,
  In th' first Sol doth in crabbed Cancer shine.
  His progress to the North now's fully done,
  Then retrograde must be my burning Sun,
  Who to his Southward Tropick still is bent,
  Yet doth his parching heat but more augment
  Though he decline, because his flames so fair,
  Have throughly dry'd the earth, and heat the air.
  Like as an Oven that long time hath been heat,
  Whose vehemency at length doth grow so great,
  That if you do withdraw her burning store,
  'Tis for a time as fervent as before.
  Now go those foolick Swains, the Shepherd Lads
  To wash the thick cloth'd flocks with pipes full glad
  In the cool streams they labour with delight
  Rubbing their dirty coats till they look white;
  Whose fleece when finely spun and deeply dy'd
  With Robes thereof Kings have been dignified,
  Blest rustick Swains, your pleasant quiet life,
  Hath envy bred in Kings that were at strife,
  Careless of worldly wealth you sing and pipe,
  Whilst they'r imbroyl'd in wars & troubles rife:
  Wich made great Bajazet cry out in 's woes,
  Oh happy shepherd which hath not to lose.
 
  Orthobulus, nor yet Sebastia great,
  But whist'leth to thy flock in cold and heat.
  Viewing the Sun by day, the Moon by night
  Endimions, Dianaes dear delight,
  Upon the grass resting your healthy limbs,
  By purling Brooks looking how fishes swims,
  If pride within your lowly Cells ere haunt,
  Of him that was Shepherd then King go vaunt.
  This moneth the Roses are distil'd in glasses,
  Whose fragrant smel all made perfumes surpasses
  The cherry, Gooseberry are now in th' prime,
  And for all sorts of Pease, this is the time.
  July my next, the hott'st in all the year,
  The sun through Leo now takes his Career,
  Whose flaming breath doth melt us from afar,
  Increased by the star Ganicular,
  This month from Julius Ceasar took its name,
  By Romans celebrated to his fame.
  Now go the Mowers to their flashing toyle,
  The Meadowes of their riches to dispoyle,
  With weary strokes, they take all in their way,
  Bearing the burning heat of the long day.
  The forks and Rakes do follow them amain,
  Wich makes the aged fields look young again,
  The groaning Carts do bear away their prize,
  To Stacks and Barns where it for Fodder lyes.
  My next and last is August fiery hot
  (For much, the Southward Sun abateth not)
  This Moneth he keeps with Vigor for a space,
  The dry'ed Earth is parched with his face.
  August of great Augustus took its name,
  Romes second Emperour of lasting fame,
  With sickles now the bending Reapers goe
  The rustling tress of terra down to mowe;
  And bundles up in sheaves, the weighty wheat,
  Which after Manchet makes for Kings to eat:
  The Barly, Rye and Pease should first had place,
  Although their bread have not so white a face.
  The Carter leads all home with whistling voyce.
  He plow'd with pain, but reaping doth rejoice,
  His sweat, his toyle, his careful wakeful nights,
  His fruitful Crop abundantly requites.
  Now's ripe the Pear, Pear-plumb and Apricock,
  The prince of plumbs, whose stone's as hard as Rock
  The Summer seems but short, the Autumn hasts
  To shake his fruits, of most delicious tasts
  Like good old Age, whose younger juicy Roots
  Hath still ascended, to bear goodly fruits.
  Until his head be gray, and strength be gone.
  Yet then appears the worthy deeds he'th done:
  To feed his boughs exhausted hath his Sap,
  Then drops his fruit into the eaters lap.
 
                   AUTUMN.
 
  Of Autumn moneths September is the prime,
  Now day and night are equal in each Clime,
  The twelfth of this Sol riseth in the Line,
  And doth in poizing Libra this month shine.
  The vintage now is ripe, the grapes are prest,
  Whose lively liquor oft is curs'd and blest:
  For nought so good, but it may be abused,
  But its a precious juice when well its used.
  The raisins now in clusters dryed be,
  The Orange, Lemon dangle on the tree:
  The Pomegranate, the Fig are ripe also,
  And Apples now their yellow sides do show.
  Of Almonds, Quinces, Wardens, and of Peach,
  The season's now at hand of all and each,
  Sure at this time, time first of all began,
  And in this moneth was made apostate man:
  For then in Eden was not only seen,
  Boughs full of leaves, or fruits unripe or green,
  Or withered stocks, which were all dry and dead,
  But trees with goodly fruits replenished;
  Which shows nor Summer, Winter nor the Spring
  Our Grand-Sire was of Paradice made King:
  Nor could that temp'rate Clime such difference make,
  If cited as the most Judicious take.
  October is my next, we hear in this
  The Northern winter-blasts begin to hip,
  In Scorpio resideth now the Sun,
  And his declining heat is almost done.
  The fruitless trees all withered now do stand,
  Whose sapless yellow leavs, by winds are fan'd
  Which notes when youth and strength have passed their prime
  Decrepit age must also have its time.
 
  The Sap doth slily creep toward the Earth
  There rests, until the Sun give it a birth.
  So doth old Age still tend until his grave,
  Where also he his winter time must have;
  But when the Sun of righteousness draws nigh,
  His dead old stock, shall mount again on high.
  November is my last, for Time doth haste,
  We now of winters sharpness 'gins to taste
  This moneth the Sun's in Sagitarius,
  So farre remote, his glances warm not us.
  Almost at shortest, is the shorten'd day,
  The Northern pole beholdeth not one ray,
  Nor Greenland, Groanland, Finland, Lapland, see
  No Sun, to lighten their obscurity;
  Poor wretches that in total darkness lye,
  With minds more dark then is the dark'ned Sky.
  Beaf, Brawn, and Pork are now in great request,
  And solid meats our stomacks can digest.
  This time warm cloaths, full diet, and good fires,
  Our pinched flesh, and hungry marres requires;
  Old cold, dry Age, and Earth Autumn resembles,
  And Melancholy which most of all dissembles.
  I must be short, and shorts the short'ned day,
  What winter hath to tell, now let him say.
  
                     WINTER.
  
  Cold, moist, young flegmy winter now doth lye
  In swaddling Clouts, like new born Infancy
  Bound up with frosts, and furr'd with hail & snows,
  And like an Infant, still it taller grows;
  December is my first, and now the Sun
  To th' Southward Tropick, his swift race doth run:
  This moneth he's hous'd in horned Capricorn,
  From thence he 'gins to length the shortned morn,
  Through Christendome with great Feastivity,
  Now's held, (but ghest) for blest Nativity,
  Cold frozen January next comes in,
  Chilling the blood and shrinking up the skin;
  In Aquarius now keeps the long wisht Sun,
  And Northward his unwearied Course doth run:
  The day much longer then it was before,
  The cold not lessened, but augmented more.
  Now Toes and Ears, and Fingers often freeze,
  And Travellers their noses sometimes leese.
 
  Moist snowie Feburary is my last,
  I care not how the winter time doth haste,
  In Pisces now the golden Sun doth shine,
  And Northward still approaches to the Line,
  The rivers 'gin to ope, the snows to melt,
  And some warm glances from his face are felt;
  Which is increased by the lengthen'd day,
  Until by's heat, he drives all cold away,
  And thus the year in Circle runneth round:
  Where first it did begin, in th' end its found.
With the final lines a rush of dissatisfaction came over the writer, and she added certain couplets, addressed to her father, for whom the whole set seems to have been originally written, and who may be responsible in part for the bald and didactic quality of most of her work.
  My Subjects bare, my Brain is bad,
  Or better Lines you should have had;
  The first fell in so nat'rally,
  I knew not how to pass it by;
  The last, though bad I could not mend,
  Accept therefore of what is pen'd,
  And all the faults that you shall spy
  Shall at your feet for pardon cry.
Mr. John Harvard Ellis has taken pains to compare various passages in her "Four Monarchies" with the sources from which her information was derived, showing a similarity as close as the difference between prose and verse would admit. One illustration of this will be sufficient. In the description of the murder of the philosopher Callisthenes by Alexander the Great, which occurs in her account of the Grecian Monarchy, she writes:
  The next of worth that suffered after these,
  Was learned, virtuous, wise Calisthenes,
  Who loved his Master more than did the rest,
  As did appear, in flattering him the least;
  In his esteem a God he could not be,
  Nor would adore him for a Deity.
  For this alone and for no other cause,
  Against his Sovereign, or against his Laws,
  He on the Rack his Limbs in pieces rent,
  Thus was he tortur'd till his life was spent
  Of this unkingly act doth Seneca
  This censure pass, and not unwisely say,
  Of Alexander this the eternal crime,
  Which shall not be obliterate by time.
  Which virtue's fame can ne're redeem by far,
  Nor all felicity of his in war.
 
  When e're 'tis said he thousand thousands slew,
  Yea, and Calisthenes to death he drew.
  The mighty Persian King he over came,
  Yea, and he killed Calisthenes of fame.
  All countreyes, Kingdomes, Provinces he won,
  From Hellespont, to the farthest Ocean.
  All this he did, who knows not to be true?
  But yet withal, Calisthenes he slew.
  From Nacedon, his English did extend,
  Unto the utmost bounds o' th' Orient,
  All this he did, yea, and much more 'tis true,
  But yet withal, Calisthenes he slew.
The quotation from Raleigh's "History of the World," which follows, will be seen to hold in many lines the identical words.
"Alexander stood behind a partition, and heard all that was spoken, waiting but an opportunity to be revenged on Callisthenes, who being a man of free speech, honest, learned, and a lover of the king's honour, was yet soon after tormented to death, not for that he had betrayed the king to others, but because he never would condescend to betray the king to himself, as all his detestable flatterers did. For in a conspiracy against the king, made by one Hermolaus and others, (which they confessed,) he caused Callisthenes, without confession, accusation or trial, to be torn assunder upon the rack. This deed, unworthy of a king, Seneca thus censureth. [He gives the Latin, and thus translates it.] 'This is the eternal crime of Alexander, which no virtue nor felicity of his in war shall ever be able to redeem. For as often as any man shall say, He slew many thousand Persians, it shall be replied, He did so, and he slew Callisthenes; when it shall be said, He slew Darius, it shall be replied, And Callisthenes; when it shall be said, He won all as far as to the very ocean, thereon also he adventured with unusual navies, and extended his empire from a corner of Thrace, to the utmost bounds of the orient; it shall be said withal, But he killed Callisthenes. Let him have outgone all the ancient examples of captains and kings, none of all his acts makes so much to his glory, as Callisthenes to his reproach'."
The school girl of the present day could furnish such arrangements of her historical knowledge with almost as fluent a pen as that of Mistress Bradstreet, who is, however, altogether innocent of any intention to deceive any of her readers. The unlearned praised her depth of learning, but she knew well that every student into whose hands the book might fall, would recognize the source from which she had drawn, and approve the method of its use. Evidently there was nothing very vital to her in these records of dynasties and wars, for not a line indicates any thrill of feeling at the tales she chronicles. Yet the feeling was there, though reserved for a later day. It is with her own time, or with the "glorious reign of good Queen Bess," that she forgets to be didactic and allows herself here and there, a natural and vigorous expression of thought or feeling. There was capacity for hero-worship, in this woman, who repressed as far as she had power, the feeling and passion that sometimes had their way, though immediately subdued and chastened, and sent back to the durance in which all feeling was held. But her poem on Queen Elizabeth has here and there a quiet sarcasm, and at one point at least rises into a fine scorn of the normal attitude toward women:
  She hath wip'd off the aspersion of her Sex,
  That women wisdome lack to play the Rex.
Through the whole poem runs an evident, almost joyous delight in what a woman has achieved, and as she passes from point to point, gathering force with every period, she turns suddenly upon all detractors with these ringing lines:
  Now say, have women worth or have they none?
  Or had they some, but with our Queen is't gone?
  Nay, masculines, you have thus taxed us long;
  But she, though dead, will vindicate our wrong.
  Let such as say our sex is void of reason,
  Know 'tis a slander now, but once was treason.
Sir Philip Sidney fills her with mixed feeling, her sense that his "Arcadia" was of far too fleshly and soul-beguiling an order of literature, battling with her admiration for his character as a man, and making a diverting conflict between reason and inclination. As with Queen Elizabeth, she compromised by merely hinting her opinion of certain irregularities, and hastened to cover any damaging admission with a mantle of high and even enthusiastic eulogy.
  AN ELEGIE
 
  upon that Honourable and renowned Knight
  Sir Philip Sidney, who
  was untimely slain at the Siege of Zutphen,
  Anno, 1586.
 
  When England did enjoy her Halsion dayes,
  Her noble Sidney wore the Crown of Bayes;
  As well an honour to our British Land,
  As she that swayed the Scepter with her hand;
  Mars and Minerva did in one agree,
  Of Arms and Arts he should a pattern be,
  Calliope with Terpsichore did sing,
  Of poesie, and of musick, he was King;
  His Rhetorick struck Polimina dead,
  His Eloquence made Mercury wax red;
  His Logick from Euterpe won the Crown,
  More worth was his then Clio could set down.
  Thalia and Melpomene say truth,
  Witness Arcadia penned in his youth,
  Are not his tragick Comedies so acted,
  As if your ninefold wit had been compacted.
  To shew the world, they never saw before,
  That this one Volume should exhaust your store;
  His wiser dayes condemned his witty works,
  Who knows the spels that in his Rhetorick lurks,
  But some infatuate fools soon caught therein,
  Fond Cupids Dame had never such a gin,
  Which makes severer eyes but slight that story,
  And men of morose minds envy his glory:
  But he's a Beetle-head that can't descry
  A world of wealth within that rubbish lye,
  And doth his name, his work, his honour wrong,
  The brave refiner of our British tongue,
  That sees not learning, valour and morality,
  Justice, friendship, and kind hospitality,
  Yea and Divinity within his book,
  Such were prejudicate, and did not look.
  In all Records his name I ever see
  Put with an Epithite of dignity,
  Which shows his worth was great, his honour such,
  The love his Country ought him, was as much.
  Then let none disallow of these my straines
  Whilst English blood yet runs within my veins,
  O brave Achilles, I wish some Homer would
  Engrave in Marble, with Characters of gold
  The valiant feats thou didst on Flanders coast,
  Which at this day fair Belgia may boast.
  The more I say, the more thy worth I stain,
  Thy fame and praise is far beyond my strain,
  O Zutphen, Zutphen that most fatal City
  Made famous by thy death, much more the pity:
  Ah! in his blooming prime death pluckt this rose
  E're he was ripe, his thread cut Atropos.
  Thus man is born to dye, and dead is he,
  Brave Hector, by the walls of Troy we see.
  O who was near thee but did sore repine
  He rescued not with life that life of thine;
  But yet impartial Fates this boon did give,
  Though Sidney di'd his valiant name should live:
  And live it doth in spight of death through fame,
  Thus being overcome, he overcame.
  Where is that envious tongue, but can afford
  Of this our noble Scipio some good word.
   
  Great Bartas this unto thy praise adds more,
  In sad sweet verse, thou didst his death deplore.
  And Phoenix Spencer doth unto his life,
  His death present in sable to his wife.
  Stella the fair, whose streams from Conduits fell
  For the sad loss of her Astrophel.
  Fain would I show how he fame's paths did tread,
  But now into such Lab'rinths I am lead,
  With endless turnes, the way I find not out,
  How to persist my Muse is more in doubt;
  Wich makes me now with Silvester confess,
  But Sidney's Muse can sing his worthiness.
  The Muses aid I craved, they had no will
  To give to their Detractor any quill,
  With high disdain, they said they gave no more,
  Since Sidney had exhausted all their store.
  They took from me the Scribling pen I had,
  I to be eas'd of such a task was glad
  Then to reveng this wrong, themselves engage,
  And drove me from Parnassus in a rage.
 
  Then wonder not if I no better sped,
  Since I the Muses thus have injured.
  I pensive for my fault, sate down, and then
  Errata through their leave, threw me my pen,
  My Poem to conclude, two lines they deign
  Which writ, she bad return't to them again;
  So Sidneys fame I leave to Englands Rolls,
  His bones do lie interr'd in stately Pauls.
  
               HIS EPITAPH.
  
  Here lies in fame under this stone,
  Philip and Alexander both in one;
  Heir to the Muses, the Son of Mars in Truth,
  Learning, Valour, Wisdome, all in virtuous youth,
  His praise is much, this shall suffice my pen,
  That Sidney dy'd 'mong most renown'd of men.
 
With Du Bartas, there is no hesitation or qualification. Steeped in the spirit of his verse, she was unconscious how far he had moulded both thought and expression, yet sufficiently aware of his influence to feel it necessary to assert at many points her freedom from it. But, as we have already seen, he was the Puritan poet, and affected every rhymester of the time, to a degree which it required generations to shake off. In New England, however, even he, in time came to rank as light-minded, and the last shadow of poetry fled before the metrical horrors of the Bay Psalm Book, which must have lent a terror to rhyme, that one could wish might be transferred to the present day. The elegy on Du Bartas is all the proof needed to establish Anne Bradstreet as one of his most loyal followers, and in spite of all protest to the contrary such she was and will remain.
  IN HONOUR OF DU BARTAS.
 
  Among the happy wits this age hath shown
  Great, dear, sweet Bartas thou art matchless known;
  My ravished eyes and heart with faltering tongue,
  In humble wise have vowed their service long
  But knowing th' task so great & strength but small,
  Gave o're the work before begun withal,
  My dazled sight of late reviewed thy lines,
  Where Art, and more than Art in nature shines,
  Reflection from their beaming altitude
  Did thaw my frozen hearts ingratitude
  Which rayes darting upon some richer ground
  Had caused flours and fruits soon to abound,
  But barren I, my Dasey here do bring,
  A homely flower in this my latter Spring,
  If Summer, or my Autumm age do yield
  Flours, fruits, in Garden Orchard, or in Field,
  Volleyes of praises could I eccho then,
  Had I an Angels voice, or Bartas pen;
  But wishes can't accomplish my desire,
  Pardon if I adore, when I admire.
  O France thou did'st in him more glory gain
  Then in St. Lewes, or thy last Henry Great,
  Who tam'd his foes in warrs, in bloud and sweat,
  Thy fame is spread as far, I dare be bold,
  In all the Zones, the temp'rate, hot and cold,
  Their Trophies were but heaps of wounded slain,
  Shine the quintessence of an heroick brain.
  The oaken Garland ought to deck their brows,
  Immortal Bayes to thee all men allows,
  Who in thy tryumphs never won by wrongs,
  Lead'st millions chained by eyes, by ears, by tongues,
  Oft have I wondred at the hand of heaven,
  In giving one what would have served seven,
  If e're this golden gift was show'd on any,
  They shall be consecrated in my Verse,
  And prostrate offered at great Bartas Herse;
  My muse unto a child I may compare
  Who sees the riches of some famous Fair,
  He feeds his Eyes, but understanding lacks
  To comprehend the worth of all those knacks
  The glittering plate and Jewels he admires,
  The Hats and Fans, the Plumes and Ladies tires,
  And thousand times his mazed mind doth wish,
  Some part (at least) of that great wealth was his,
  But feeling empty wishes nought obtain,
  At night turnes to his mothers cot again,
  And tells her tales, (his full heart over glad)
  Of all the glorious sights his Eyes have had;
  But finds too soon his want of Eloquence,
  The silly prattler speaks no word of sense;
  But feeling utterance fail his great desires
  Sits down in silence, deeply he admires,
  Thus weak brained I, reading thy lofty stile,
  Thy profound learning, viewing other while;
  Thy Art in natural Philosophy,
  Thy Saint like mind in grave Divinity;
  Thy piercing skill in high Astronomy,
  And curious insight in anatomy;
  Thy Physick, musick and state policy,
  Valour in warr, in peace good husbandry,
  Sure lib'ral Nature did with Art not small,
  In all the arts make thee most liberal,
  A thousand thousand times my senseless sences
  Moveless stand charmed by thy sweet influences;
  More senseless then the stones to Amphious Luto,
  Mine eyes are sightless, and my tongue is mute,
  My full astonish'd heart doth pant to break,
  Through grief it wants a faculty to speak;
  Thy double portion would have served many,
  Unto each man his riches is assign'd
  Of name, of State, of Body and of mind:
 
  Thou had'st thy part of all, but of the last,
  O pregnant brain, O comprehension vast;
  Thy haughty Stile and rapted wit sublime
  All ages wondring at, shall never climb,
  Thy sacred works are not for imitation,
  But monuments to future admiration,
  Thus Bartas fame shall last while starrs do satnd,
  And whilst there's Air or Fire, or Sea or Land.
  But least my ignorance shall do thee wrong,
  To celebrate thy merits in my Song.
  He leave thy praise to those shall do thee right,
  Good will, not skill, did cause me bring my mite.
 
                      HIS EPITAPH.
  Here lyes the Pearle of France, Parnassus glory;
  The World rejoyc'd at's birth, at's death, was sorry,
  Art and Nature joyn'd, by heavens high decree
  Naw shew'd what once they ought, Humanity!
  And Natures Law, had it been revocable
  To rescue him from death, Art had been able,
  But Nature vanquish'd Art, so Bartas dy'd;
  But Fame out-living both, he is reviv'd.
Bare truth as every line surely appeared to the woman who wrote, let us give thanks devoutly that the modern mind holds no capacity for the reproduction of that
  "Haughty Stile and rapted wit sublime
  All ages wond'ring at shall never climb,"
and that more truly than she knew, his
  "Sacred works are not for imitation
  But Monuments to future Admiration."
Not the "future Admiration" she believed his portion, but to the dead reputation which, fortunately for us, can have no resurrection.

Personae

Terms Defined

Referenced Works