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One only night's discourse I can report,




WHERE lives the man that never yet did hear
Of chaste Penelope, Ulysses' queen?
Who kept her faith unspotted twenty year,
Till he return'd that far away had been,
And many men, and many towns had seen :
Ten year at siege of Troy he ling'ring lay,
And ten year in the midland sea did stray.

Homer, to whom the Muses did carouse
A great deep cup with heav'nly nectar fill'd,
The greatest, deepest cup in Jove's great house,
(For Jove himself had so expressly will'd)
He drank off all, nor let one drop be spill'd;
Since when, his brain that had before been dry,
Became the well-spring of all poetry.

Homer doth tell in his abundant verse,
The long laborious travels of the man,
And of his lady too he doth rehearse,
How she illudes with all the art she can,
Th' ungrateful love which other lords began:
For of her lord, false fame had long since sworn,
That Neptune's monsters had his carcass torn.

All this he tells, but one thing he forgot,
One thing most worthy his eternal song,
But he was old, and blind, and saw it not,
Or else he thought he should Ulysses wrong,
To mingle it his tragic acts among:

Yet was there not in all the world of things,
A sweeter burthen for his Muse's wings.

The courtly love Antinous did make,
Antinous that fresh and jolly knight,
Which of the gallants that did undertake
To win the widow, had most wealth and might,
Wit to persuade, and beauty to delight.
The courtly love he made unto the queen,
Homer forgot as if it had not been.

Sing then Terpsichore, my light Muse sing
His gentle art, and cunning courtesy:
Yoo, lady, can remember ev'ry thing,
For you are daughter of queen Memory;
But sing a plain and easy melody:

For the soft mean that warbleth but the ground,
To my rude ear doth yield the sweetest sound.

Sir John Harrington has writ an epigram in commendation of this poem. See the 2d Book, Epig. 67, at the end of his Translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, folio.

It is a great pity, and to be lamented by the poetical world, that so very ingenious a poem should be left unfinished, or, what is more likely, that the imperfect part should be lost; for in all probability he completed it, being written in his youth, in queen Elizabeth's reign, as appears from the conclusion.

When the great torch-bearer of Heav'n was gone
Down in a mask unto the Ocean's court,

To revel it with Thetis all alone;
Antinous disguised and unknown,
Like to the spring in gaudy ornament,
Unto the castle of the princess went.

The sov'reign castle of the rocky isle,
Wherein Penelope the princess lay,

Shone with a thousand lamps, which did exile
The shadows dark, and turn'd the night to day,
Not Jove's blue tent, what time the sunny ray
Behind the bulwark of the Earth retires,

Is seen to sparkle with more twinkling fires.

That night the queen came forth from far within,
And in the presence of her court was seen;
For the sweet singer Phemius did begin

To praise the worthies that at Troy had been;
Somewhat of her Ulysses she did ween.

In his grave hymn the heav'nly man would sing,
Or of his wars, or of his wandering.

Pallas that hour with her sweet breath divine
Inspir'd immortal beauty in her eyes,
That with celestial glory she did shine,
Brighter than Venus when she doth arise
Out of the waters to adorn the skies;
The wooers all amazed do admire,
And check their own presumptuous desire.

Only Antinous, when at first he view'd

Her star-bright eyes that with new honour shin'd,
Was not dismay'd, but therewithal renew'd
The nobleness and splendour of his mind;
And as he did fit circumstances find,
Unto the throne he boldly did advance,

And with fair manners woo'd the queen to dance.

"Goddess of women, sith your heav'nliness
Hath now vouchsaf'd itself to represent

To our dim eyes, which though they see the less,
Yet are they bless'd in their astonishment,
Imitate Heaven, whose beauties excellent
Are in continual motion day and night,
And move thereby more wonder and delight.

"Let me the mover be, to turn about
Those glorious ornaments, that youth and love
Have fix'd in you, ev'ry part throughout,
Which if you will in timely measure move,
Not all those precious gems in Heav'n above
Shall yield a sight more pleasing to behold,
With all their turns and tracings manifold."

With this the modest princess blush'd and smil'd
Like to a clear and rosy eventide ;
And softly did return this answer mild:
"Fair sir, you needs must fairly be deny'd,
Where your demand cannot be satisfy'd:
My feet which only nature taught to go,
Did never yet the art of footing know.

"But why persuade you me to this new rage?
(For all disorder and misrule is new)
For such misgovernment in former age
Our old divine forefathers never knew;
Who if they liv'd, and did the follies view
Which their fond nephews make their chief affairs,
Would hate themselves that had begot such heirs."

"Sole heir of virtue and of beauty both, Whence cometh it," Antinous replies, "That your imperious virtue is so loth To grant your beauty her chief exercise? Or from what spring doth your opinion rise, That dancing is a frenzy and a rage,

First known and us'd in this new-fangled age?

"Dancing (bright lady) then began to be,
When the first seeds whereof the world did spring,
The fire, air, earth, and water did agree,
By Love's persuasion, Nature's mighty king,
To leave their first disorder'd combating;
And in a dance such measure to observe,
As all the world their motion should preserve.

"Since when they still are carried in a round,
And changing come one in another's place,
Yet do they neither mingle nor confound,
But ev'ry one doth keep the bounded space
Wherein the dance doth bid it turn or trace:
This wondrous miracle did Love devise,
For dancing is Love's proper exercise.

"Like this, he fram'd the gods' eternal bow'r,
And of a shapeless and confused mass,
By his through piercing and digesting pow'r,
The turning vault of Heaven formed was:
Whose starry wheels he hath so made to pass,
As that their movings do a music frame,
And they themselves still dance unto the same.

"Or if this (all) which round about we see, (As idle Morpheus some sick brains have taught) Of undivided motes compacted be, How was this goodly architecture wrought? Or by what means were they together brought? They err, that say they did concur by chance, Love made them meet in a well order'd dance.

"As when Amphion with his charming lyre Begot so sweet a syren of the air,

That with her rhetoric made the stones conspire The ruin of a city to repair,

(A work of wit and reason's wise affair:)

So Love's smooth tongue, the motes such measure taught

That they join'd hands, and so the world was wrought.

"How justly then is dancing termed new,
Which with the world in point of time begun;
Yea Time itself, (whose birth Jove never knew,
And which indeed is elder than the Sun)
Had not one moment of his age outrun,

"Thus doth it equal age with age enjoy,
And yet in lusty youth for ever flow'rs,
Like Love his sire, whom painters make a boy,
Yet is he eldest of the heav'nly pow'rs;
Or like his brother Time, whose winged hours
Going and coming will not let him die,
But still preserve him in his infancy,"

This said; the queen with her sweet lips, divine,→
Gently began to move the subtle air,
Which gladly yielding, did itself incline
To take a shape between those rubies fair;
And being formed, softly did repair
With twenty doublings in the empty way,
Unto Antinous' ears, and thus did say:

"What eye doth see the Heav'n but doth admire
When it the movings of the Heav'ns doth see?
Myself, if I to Heav'n may once aspire,
If that be dancing, will a dancer be:
But as for this your frantic jollity,
How it began, or whence you did it learn,
I never could with reason's eye discern."

Antinous answer'd: "Jewel of the Earth,
Worthy you are that heav'nly dance to lead;
But for you think our Dancing base of birth,
And newly born but of a brain-sick head,
I will forthwith his antique gentry read;
And, for I love him, will his herald be,
And blaze his arms, and draw his pedigree.

"When Love had shap'd this world, this great fair


That all wights else in this wide womb contains,
And had instructed it to dance aright',

A thousand measures with a thousand strains,
Which it should practise with delightful pains,
Until that fatal instant should revolve,
When all to nothing should again resolve.

"The comely order and proportion fair On ev'ry side, did please his wand'ring eye, Till glancing through the thin transparent air, A rude disorder'd rout he did espy of men and women, that most spitefully Did one another throng, and crowd so sore, That his kind eye in pity wept therefore.

"And swifter than the lightning down he came, Another shapeless chaos to digest,

He will begin another world to frame, (For Love till all be well will never rest) Then with such words as cannot be express'd,

When out leap'd Dancing from the heap of things, He cuts the troops, that all asunder fling,

And lightly rode upon his nimble wings.

"Reason hath both her pictures in her treasure,
Where time the measure of all moving is;
And dancing is a moving all in measure;
Now if you do resemble that to this,
And think both one, I think you think amiss:
But if you judge them twins, together got,
And Time first born, your judgment erreth not.

2 The antiquity of dancing.

And ere they wist, he casts them in a ring.

“Then did he rarefy the element, And in the centre of the ring appear,

The beams that from his forehead spreading went,
Begot an horrour and religious fear

In all the souls that round about him were ;
Which in their ears attentiveness procures,
While he, with such like sounds, their minds allures.

The original of dancing.

"How doth Confusion's mother, headlong Chance",
Put Reason's noble squadron to the rout?
Or how should you that have the governance
Of Nature's children, Heav'n and Earth through-

Prescribe them rules, and live yourselves without?
Why should your fellowship a trouble be,
Since man's chief pleasure is society?

"If sense hath not yet taught you, learn of me
A comely moderation and discreet,
That your assemblies may well order'd be:
When my uniting pow'r shall make you meet,
With heav'nly tunes it shall be temper'd sweet;
And be the model of the world's great frame,
And you Earth's children, Dancing shall it name.

"Behold the world how it is whirled round,
And for it is so whirl'd, is named so;
In whose large volume many rules are found
Of this new art, which it doth fairly show:
For your quick eyes in wand'ring to and fro
From east to west, on no one thing can glance,
But if you mark it well, it seems to dance.

“First you see fix'd in this huge mirror blue
Of trembling lights', a number numberless;
Fix'd they are nam'd, but with a name untrue,
For they all move, and in a dance express
That great long year that doth contain no less
Than threescore hundreds of those years in all,
Which the Sun makes with his course natural.

"What if to you these sparks disorder'd seem,
As if by chance they had been scatter'd there?
The gods a solemn measure do it deem,
And see a just proportion ev'ry where,
And know the points whence first their movings were;
To which first points when all return again,
The axle-tree of Heav'n shall break in twain.

"Under that spangled sky, five wand'ring flames",
Besides the king of day, and queen of night,
Are wheel'd around, all in their sundry frames,
And all in sundry measures do delight,
Yet altogether keep no measure right:
For by itself, each doth itself advance,
And by itself, each doth a galliard dance.

"Venus, the mother of that bastard Love,
Which doth usurp the world's great marshal's name,
Just with the Sun her dainty feet doth move,
And unto him doth all the gestures frame:
Now after, now afore, the flatt'ring dame,
With divers cunning passages doth err,
Still him respecting that respects not her.

"For that brave Sun the father of the day,
Doth love this Earth, the mother of the night,
And like a reveller in rich array

Doth dance his galliard in his leman's sight
Both back, and forth, and sideways passing light,
His princely grace doth so the gods amaze,
That all stand still and at his beauty gaze.

* The speech of Love, persuading men to learn dancing.

By the orderly motion of the fixed stars.
Of the planets.

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"Only the Earth doth stand for ever still,
Her rocks remove not, nor her mountains meet,
(Although some wits enrich'd with learning's skill
Say Heav'n stands firm, and that the Earth doth

And swiftly turneth underneath their feet)
Yet though, the Earth is ever stedfast seen,
On her broad breast hath dancing ever been.

"For those blue veins that through her body spread, Those sapphire streams which from great hills do spring 10,

(The Earth's great dugs; for ev'ry wight is fed
With sweet fresh moisture from them issuing)
Observe a dance in their wild wand'ring:
And still their dance begets a murmur sweet,
And still the murmur with the dance doth meet.

"Of all their ways I love Meander's path,
Which to the tune of dying swans doth dance,
Such winding slights, such turns and cricks he hath,
Suck creaks, such wrenches, and such dalliance;
That whether it be hap or heedless chance,
In this indented course and wriggling play
He seems to dance a perfect cunning hay.

"But wherefore do these streams for ever run?
To keep themselves for ever sweet and clear:
For let their everlasting course be done,
They straight corrupt and foul with mud appear.
O ye sweet nymphs that beauty's loss do fear,
Contemn the drugs that physic doth devise,
And learn of Love this dainty exercise.
"See how those flow'rs that have sweet beauty too,
(The only jewels that the Earth doth wear",
When the young Sun in bravery her doth woo)
As oft as they the whistling wind do hear,
Do wave their tender bodies here and there;
And though their dance no perfect measure is,
Yet oftentimes their music makes them kiss.

"Of the sea.

10 Of the rivers.

"Of other things upon the Earth.

"What makes the vine about the elm to dance,
With turnings, windings, and embracements round?
What makes the loadstone to the north advance
His subtle point, as if from thence he found
His chief attracting virtue to redound?
Kind Nature first doth cause all things to love,
Love makes them dance and in just order move.

"Hark how the birds do sing, and mark then how
Jump with the modulation of their lays,
They lightly leap, and skip from bough to bough:
Yet do the cranes deserve a greater praise
Which keep such measure in their airy ways,
As when they all in order ranked are,
They make a perfect form triangular.

"In the chief angle flies the watchful guide,
And all the followers their heads do lay
On their foregoers' backs, on either side;
But for the captain hath no rest to stay
His head forwearied with the windy way,
He back retires, and then the next behind,
As his lieutenant leads them through the wind.

"But why relate I ev'ry singular?
Since all the world's great fortunes and affairs
Forward and backward rapp'd and whirled are,
According to the music of the spheres:

And Change herself, her nimble feet upbears
On a round slippery wheel that rolleth ay,
And turns all states with her imperious sway.

""Learn then to dance, you that are princes born,
And lawful lords of earthly creatures all;
Imitate them, and therefore take no scorn,
For this new art to them is natural
And imitate the stars celestial:
For when pale Death your vital twist shall sever,
Your better parts must dance with them for ever."

"Thus Love persuades, and all the crowd of men
That stands around doth make a murmuring:
As when the wind loos'd from his hollow den,
Among the trees a gentle base doth sing,
Or as a brook through pebbles wandering:
But in their looks they utter'd this plain speech,
That they would learn to dance, if Love would
teach 12.'

"Then first of all he doth demonstrate plain
The motions seven that are in nature found,
Upward and downward, forth, and back again,
To this side, and to that, and turning round 13;
Whereof a thousand brawls he doth compound,
Which he doth teach unto the multitude,
And ever with a turn they must conclude.

"As when a nymph, arising from the land,
Leadeth a dance with her long watery train
Down to the sea, she wryes to every hand,
And every way doth cross the fertile plain:
But when at last she falls into the main,
Then all her traverses concluded are,
And with the sea, her course is circular.

12 How Love taught men to dance,

1 Rounds or country dances,

"Thus when at first Love had them marshalied,
As erst he did the shapeless mass of things,
He taught them rounds and winding hays to tread,
And about trees to cast themselves in rings:
As the two Bears, whom the first mover flings
With a short turn about Heaven's axle-tree,
In a round dance for ever wheeling be.

"But after these, as men more civil grew,

He did more grave and solemn measures frame 14,
With such fair order and proportion true,
And correspondence ev'ry way the same,
That no fault-finding eye did ever blame.
For ev'ry eye was moved at the sight

With sober wond'ring, and with sweet delight.

"Not those young students of the heav'nly book,
Atlas the great, Prometheus the wise,

Which on the stars did all their life-time look,
Could ever find such nieasure in the skies,
So full of change and rare varieties;

Yet all the feet whereon these measures go,
Are only spondees, solemn, grave, and slow.

"But for more diverse and more pleasing show,
A swift and wand'ring dance" she did invent,
With passages uncertain to and fro,
Yet with a certain answer and consent
To the quck music of the instrument.
Five was the number of the music's feet,
Which still the dance did with five paces meet.

"A gallant dance, that lively doth bewray
A spirit and a virtue masculine,
Impatient that her house on Earth should stay
Since she herself is fiery and divine:
Oft doth she make her body upward fine;
With lofty turns and capriols in the air,
Which with the lusty tunes accordeth fair.

"What shall I name those current traverses 16,
That on a triple dactyl foot do run
Close by the ground with sliding passages,
Wherein that dancer greatest praise hath won
Which with best order can all orders shun:
For ev'ry where he wantonly must range,
And turn, and wind, with unexpected change.

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"This is the net wherein the Sun's bright eye
Venus and Mars entangled did behold,
For in this dance, their arms they so employ,
As each doth seem the other to enfold:
What if lewd wits another tale have told
Of jealous Vulcan, and of iron chains?
Yet this true sense that forged lie contains.

"These various forms of dancing Love did frame,
And besides these, a hundred millions more,
And as he did invent, he taught the same,
With goodly gesture, and with comely show,
Now keeping state, now humbly honouring low:
And ever for the persons and the place
He taught most fit, and best according grace 18,

"For Love, within his fertile working brain
Did then conceive those gracious virgins three,
Whose civil moderation does maintain
All decent order and conveniency,
And fair respect, and seemly modesty:
And then he thought it fit they should be born,
That their sweet presence dancing might adorn.
"Hence is it that these Graces painted are
With hand in hand dancing an endless round:
And with regarding eyes, that still beware
That there be no disgrace amongst them found;
With equal foot they beat the flow'ry ground,
Laughing, or singing, as their passions will,
Yet nothing that they do becomes them ill.

"Thus Love taught men, and men thus learn'd of

Sweet music's sound with feet to counterfeit,
Which was long time before high thund'ring Jove
Was lifted up to Heaven's imperial seat:

For though by birth he were the prince of Crete,
Nor Crete, nor Heav'n, should the young prince have


If dancers with their timbrels had not been.

"Since when all ceremonious mysteries,
All sacred orgies, and religious rights,
All pomps, and triumphs, and solemnities,
All funerals, nuptials, and like public sights,
All parliaments of peace, and warlike fights,
All learned arts, and every great affair
A lively shape of dancing seems to bear 19.

"For what did he who with his ten-tongu'd lute
Gave beasts and blocks an understanding ear?
Or rather into bestial minds and brute
Shed and infus'd the beams of reason clear?
Doubtless for men that rude and savage were
A civil form of dancing he devis'd,
Wherewith unto their gods they sacrific'd.

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