Aemilia Lanyer

(1569-1645 / England)

The Authors Dreame To The Ladie Marie


ME Thought I pass'd through th'Edalyan Groues,
And askt the Graces, if they could direct
Me to a Lady whom Minerva chose,
With her in height of all respect.

Yet looking backe into my thoughts againe,
The eie of Reason did behold her there
Fast ti'd vnto them in a golden Chaine,
They stood, but she was set in Honors chaire.

And nine faire Virgins sate vpon the ground,
With Harps and Vialls in their lilly hands;
Whose harmony had all my sences drown'd,
But that before mine eyes an object stands,

Whose Beauty shin'd like Titons cleerest raies,
She blew a brasen Trumpet, which did sound
Throgh al the world that worthy Ladies praise,
And by Eternall Fame I saw her crown'd.

Yet studying, if I were awake, or no,
God Morphy came and tooke me by the hand,
And wil'd me not from Slumbers bowre to go,
Til I the summe of all did vnderstand.

When presently the Welkin that before
Look'd bright and cleere, me thought, was ouercast,
And duskie clouds, with boyst'rous winds great store,
Foretold of violent stormes which could not last,

And gazing vp into the troubled skie,
Me thought Chariot did from thence descend,
Where one did sit repleat with Majestie,
Drawne by foure fierie Dragons, which did bend

Their course where this most noble Lady sate,
Whom all these virgins with due reuerence
Did entertaine, according to that state
Which did belong vnto her Excellence.

Goddesse of
Warre and
Wisdome.

When bright Bellona, so they did her call,
Whom these faire Nymphs so humbly did receiue,
A manly mayd which was both faire and tall,
Her borrowed Charret by a spring did leaue.

With speare, and shield, and currat on her breast,
And on her head a helmet wondrous bright,
With myrtle, bayes, and oliue branches drest,
Wherein me thought I tooke no small delight.

To see how all the Graces sought grace here,
And in what meeke, yet princely sort she came;
How this most noble Lady did imbrace her,
And all humors vnto hers did frame.

The Moone.

Now faire Dictina by the break of Day,
With all her Damsels round about her came,
Ranging the woods to hunt, yet made a stay,
When harkning to the pleasing sound of Fame;

Her Iuory bowe and siluer shaftes shee gaue,
Vnto the fairest nymphe of all her traine;
And wondring who it was that in so graue,
Yet gallant fashion did her beauty staine:

Shee deckt her selfe with all the borrowed light
That Phoebus would afford from his faire face,
And made her Virgins to appeare so bright,
That all the hils and vales receiued grace.

Then pressing where this beauteous troupe did stand,
They all receiued her most willingly,
And vnto her the Lady gaue her hand,
That shee should keepe with them continually,

The Morning.

Aurora rising from her rosie bedde,
First blusht, then wept, to see faire Phoebe grac'd,
And vnto Lady Maie these wordes shee sed,
Come, let vs goe, we will not be outfac'd.

I will vnto Apolloes Waggoner
A bidde him bring his Master presently,
That his bright beames May all her Beauty marre,
Gracing vs with the luster of his eie.

Come, come, sweet Maie, and fill their laps with floures,
And I will giue a greater light than she:
So all these Ladied [sic] fauours shall be ours,
None shall be more esteem'd than we shall be.

Thus did Aurora dimme faire Phoebus [sic] light,
And was receiu'd in bright Cynthiaes place,
While Flora all with fragrant floures dight,
Pressed to shew the beauty of her face.

Though these, me thought, were verie pleasing sights,
Yet now these Worthies did agree to go,
Vnto a place full of all rare delights,
A place that yet Minerua did not know.

That sacred Spring where Art and Nature striu'd
Which should remaine as Sou'raigne of the place;
Whose antient quarrell being new reuiu'd,
Added fresh Beauty, gaue farre greater Grace.

To which as vmpiers now these Ladies go,
Iudging with pleasure their delightfull case;
Whose ravisht sences made them quickely know,
T'would be offensiue either to displace.

And therefore will'd they should for euer dwell,
In perfit vnity by this matchlesse Spring:
Since 'twas impossible either should excell,
Or her faire fellow in subjection bring.

But here in equall sou'raigntie to liue,
Equall in state, equall in dignitie,
That vnto others they might comfort giue,
Rejoycing all with their sweet vnitie.

And now me thought I long to heare her name,
Whom wise Minerua honoured so much,
Shee whom I saw was crownd by noble Fame,
Whom Enuy sought to sting, yet could not tuch.

Me thought the meager elfe did seeke biewaies,
To come vnto her, but it would not be;
Her venime purifi'd by virtues raies,
Shee pin'd and staru'd like an Anotomie:

While beauteous Pallas with this Lady faire,
Attended by these Nymphs of noble fame,
Beheld those woods, those groues, those bowers rare,
By which Pergusa, for so hight the name

Of that faire spring, his dwelling place & ground;
And throgh those fields with sundry flowers clad,
Of seu'rall colours, to adorne the ground,
And please the sences eu'n of the most sad:

He trayld along the woods in wanton wise,
With sweet delight to entertaine them all;
Inuiting them to sit and to deuise
On holy Hymnes; at last to mind they call

The Psalms
written new-
ly by the
Countesse
Dowager of
Pembrooke.

Those rare sweet songs which Israels King did frame
Vnto the Father of Eternitie;
Before his holy wisedom tooke the name
Of great Messias, Lord of vnitie.

Those holy Sonnets they did all agree,
With this most louely Lady here to sing;
That by her noble breasts sweet harmony,
Their musicke might in eares of Angels ring.

While saints like Swans about this siluer brook
Should Hallelu-iah sing continually,
Writing her praises in th'eternall book
Of endlesse honour, true fames memorie.

Thus I in sleep the heauenli'st musicke hard [sic]
That euer earthly eares did entertaine;
And durst not wake, for feare to be debard
Of what my sences sought still to retaine.

Yet sleeping, praid dull Slumber to vnfold
Her noble name, who was of all admired;
When presently in drowsie tearmes he told
Not onely that, but more than I desired.

This nymph, quoth he, great Penbrooke hight by name,
Sister to valiant Sidney, whose cleere light
Gives light to all that tread true paths of Fame,
Who in the globe of heau'n doth shine so bright;

That beeing dead, his fame doth him suruiue,
Still liuing in the hearts of worthy men;
Pale Death is dead, but he remaines aliue,
Whose dying wounds restor'd him life agen.

And this faire earthly goddesse which you see,
Bellona and her virgins doe attend;
In virtuous studies of Diuinitie,
Her pretious time continually doth spend.

So that a Sister well shee may be deemd,
To him that liu'd and di'd so nobly;
And farre before him is to be esteemd
For virtue, wisedome, learning, dignity.

Whose beauteous soule hath gain'd a double light
Both here on earth, and in the heau'ns aboue,
Till dissolution end all worldly strife:
Her blessed spirit remaines, of holy loue,

Directing all by her immortall light,
In this huge sea of sorrowes, griefes, and feares;
With contemplation of Gods powrefull might,
Shee fils the eies, the hearts, the tongues, the eares

Of after-comming ages, which shall reade
Her loue, her zeale, her faith, and pietie;
The faire impression of whose worthy deed,
Seales her pure soule vnto the Deitie.

That both in Hean'n [sic] and Earth it may remaine,
Crownd with her Makers glory and his loue;
And this did Father Slumber tell with paine,
Whose dulnesse scarce could suffer him to moue.

When I awaking left him and his bowre,
Much griued that I could no longer stay;
Sencelesse was sleepe, not to admit me powre,
As I had spent the night to spend the day:

Then had God Morphie shew'd the end of all,
And what my heart desir'd, mine eies had seene;
For as I wak'd me thought I heard one call
For that bright Charet lent by Ioues faire Queene.

To Sleepe.

But thou, base cunning thiefe, that robs our sprits
Of halfe that span of life which yeares doth giue;
And yet no praise vnto thy selfe it merits,
To make a seeming death in those that liue.

Yea wickedly thou doest consent to death,
Within thy restfull bed to rob our soules;
In Slumbers bowre thou steal'st away our breath,
Yet none there is that thy base stealths controules.

If poore and sickly creatures would imbrace thee,
Or they to whom thou giu'st a taste of pleasure,
Thou fli'st as if Acteons hounds did chase thee,
Or that to stay with them thou hadst no leasure.

But though thou hast depriu'd me of delight,
By stealing from me ere I was aware;
I know I shall enjoy the selfe same sight,
Thou hast no powre my waking sprites to barre.

For to this Lady now I will repaire,
Presenting her the fruits of idle houres;
Thogh many Books she writes that are more rare,
Yet there is hony in the meanest flowres:

Which is both wholesome, and delights the taste:
Though sugar be more finer, higher priz'd,
Yet is the painefull Bee no whit disgrac'd,
Nor her faire wax, or hony more despiz'd.

And though that learned damsell and the rest,
Haue in the higher style her Trophie fram'd;
Yet these vnlearned lines beeing my best,
Of her great wisedom can no whit be blam'd.

And therefore, first I here presend my Dreame,
And next, inuite her Honour to my feast;
For my cleare reason sees her by that streame,
Where her rare virtues daily are increast.

So crauing pardon for this bold attempt,
I here present mirrour to her view,
Whose noble virtues cannot be exempt,
My Glasse beeing steele, declares them to be true.

And Madame, if you will vouchsafe that grace,
To grace those flowres that springs from virtues ground;
Though your faire mind on worthier workes is plac'd,
On workes that are more deepe, and more profound;

Yet is it no disparagement to you,
To see your Sauiour in a Shepheards weed,
Vnworthily presented in your viewe,
Whose worthinesse will grace each line you reade.

Receiue him here by my vnworthy hand,
And reade his paths of faire humility;
Who though our sinnes in number passe the sand,
They all are purg'd by his Diuinity.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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