Polyhymnia - Poem by George Peele
[Polyhymnia: Describing, The honourable Triumph at Tylt,
before her Maiestie, on the 17. of Nouember, last past,
being the first day of the three and thirtith yeare of
her Highnesse raigne. With Sir Henrie Lea, his resignation
of honour at Tylt, to her Maiestie, and receiued by the right
honourable, the Earle of Cumberland.]
[Polyhimnia. Entituled, with all dutie to the Right
Honourable, Lord Compton of Compton.]
Therefore, when thirtie two were come and gone,
Years of her raigne, daies of her countries peace,
Elizabeth great Empresse of the world,
Britanias Atlas, Star of Englands globe,
That swaies the massie scepter of her land,
And holdes the royall raynes of Albion:
Began the gladsome sunnie day to shine,
That drawes in length date of her golden raigne:
And thirtie three shee numbreth in her throne:
That long in happinesse and peace (I pray)
May number manie to these thirtie three.
Wherefore it fares as whilom and of yore,
In armour bright and sheene, faire Englands knights
In honour of their peerelesse Soueraigne:
High Maistresse of their seruice, thoughtes and liues
Make to the Tyltamaine: and trumpets sound,
And princelie Coursers neigh, and champ the byt,
When all addrest for deeds of high deuoyre,
Preace to the sacred presence of their Prince.
The 1. couple. Sir Henrie Lea. The Earle of Cumberland.
Mightie in Armes, mounted on puissant horse,
Knight of the Crown in rich imbroderie,
And costlie faire Caparison charg'd with Crownes,
Oreshadowed with a withered running Vine,
As who would say, My spring of youth is past:
In Corslet gylt of curious workmanship,
Sir Henry Lea, redoubted man at Armes.
Leades in the troopes, whom woorthie Cumberland
Thrice noble Earle, aucutred as became
So greate a Warriour and so good a Knight.
Encountred first, yclad in coate of steele,
And plumes and pendants al as white as Swanne,
And speare in rest, right readie to performe
What long'd vnto the honour of the place.
Together went these Champions, horse and man,
Thundring along the Tylt, that at the shocke
The hollow gyring vault of heauen resoundes.
Six courses spent, and speares in shiuers split,
The 2. couple. The L. Straunge. M. Iohn Gerrarde.
The Earle of Darbies valiant sonne and heire,
Braue Ferdinande Lord Straunge, straunglie embarkt,
Vnder Ioues kinglie byrd, the golden Eagle,
Stanleyes olde Crest and honourable badge,
As veering fore the winde, in costlie ship,
And armour white and watchet buckled fast,
Presentes himselfe, his horses and his men,
Suted in Satten to their Maisters collours,
Welneere twise twentie Squires that went him by
And hauing by his Trounch-man pardon crau'd,
Vailing his Eagle to his Soueraignes eies,
As who should say, stoope Eagle to this Sun,
Dismountes him from his pageant, and at once,
Taking his choice of lustie Tilting horse,
Couered with sumptuous rich Caparisons,
He mountes him brauely for his friendlie foe,
And at the head he aimes, and in his aime
Happily thriues, and breakes his Azure staues.
Whom gentle Gerrarde, all in white and greene,
Collours (belike) best seruing his conceit,
Lustilie meetes, mounted in seate of steele,
With flourishing plume and faire Caparison,
And then at euerie shocke the shiuers flie,
That recommend their honors to the skie.
The 3. couple. The L. Compton. M. Henry Nowell.
Next in the Virgins collours, as before
Ran Cumberland; comes louely Compton in,
His Courser trapt in white, and plumes and staues
Of snowie hue, and Squires in faire aray,
Waiting their Lords good fortune in the field.
His armour glittering like the Moones bright raies,
Or that cleare siluer path, the milk-white way
That in Olympus, leads to Ioues high court,
Him noble minded Nowell pricks to meet,
All arm'd in Sables with rich Bandalier,
That Bawdrick wise he ware, set with faire stones
And pearles of Inde, that like a siluer bend
Shew'd on his varnish't Corslet black as Iet,
And beauteous plumes and bases sutable,
And on his styrrop waites a trustie train
Of seruants, clad in tawnie liueries,
And toote they goe, this Lord and lusty Knight
To doo their roiall mistresse honors right.
The 4. couple. The L. Burke. Sir Edward Dennye.
When mounted on his fieree and foming Steed,
In Riches and in Collours like his peeres,
With Iuorie plumes in siluer shining Armes,
His men in Crimson dight, and staues in Red
Comes in Lord Burck, a faire yoong Ireland Lord,
Bent chiefly to the exercise of Armes,
And bounding in his princelie Mistresse eie,
Chargeth his staffe when trumpet cals away,
At noble Dennies head, braue man at Armes,
(As if the God of warre had sent him downe,
Or if you will, to shew his burning zeale
And forwardnesse in seruice to her person,
To whome those Martiall deedes were consecrate)
Speedes to the Tylt amaine, rich as the rest,
Himselfe, his horse, and pages all in greene,
Greene veluet fairely garnish'd horse and man.
The 5. couple. The Earle of Essex. M. Foulke Greuile.
Then proudly shocks amid the Martiall throng,
Of lustie Lancieres, all in Sable sad,
Drawen on with cole-blacke Steeds of duskie hue,
In stately Chariot full of deepe deuice,
Where gloomie Time sat whipping on the teame,
Iust backe to backe with this great Champion;
Yoong Essex, that thrice honorable Earle,
Yclad in mightie Armes of mourners hue,
And plume as blacke as is the Rauens wing,
That from his armour borrowed such a light,
As bowes of Vu receiues from shady streame,
His staues were such, or of such hue at least,
As are those banner staues that mourners beare,
And all his companie in funerall blacke,
As if he mourn'd to thinke of him he mist,
Sweete Sydney, fairest shepheard of our greene,
Well lettred Warriour, whose successor he
In loue and Armes had euer vowed to be.
In loue and Armes, may he so succeede,
As his deserts, as his desires would speede.
With this great Lord must gallant Greuill run,
Faire man at Armes, the Muses fauouret,
Louer of Learning and of Chiualrie,
Sage in his sawes, sound Iudge of Poesie:
That lightlie mounted, makes to him amaine,
In armour gilt, and basses full of cost.
Together goe these friendes as enemies,
As when a Lion in a thicket pent,
Spieng the Boare all bent to combat him,
Makes through the shrubs,and thunders as he goes.
The 6. couple. Sir Charles Blunt-M. Iohn Vauasor.
And then as blithe, as bird of mornings light,
Inflamb'd with honor, glistering as the Sun,
What time he mountes the sweating Lions back,
Beset with glorious Sun-shine of his traine,
Bearing the Sun vpon his armed breast,
That like a precious shining Carbunkle,
Or Phoebus eye, in heauen it selfe reflects,
Comes Sir Charles Blunt in Or and Azure dight,
Rich in his colours, richer in his thoughts,
Rich in his Fortune, Honor, Armes and Arte:
And him the valiant Vauasor assailes
On fierce and readie horse with speare in rest,
In Orenge-tawnie bright and beautifull,
Himselfe, his men and all: and on they speed,
And hast they make to meete, and meete they doo,
And doo the thing for which they meete in hast,
Each in his Armour amiable to see,
That in their lookes bare loue and Chiualrie.
The 7. couple. Master Robert Carey. Master William Gresham.
By this the Trumpe cal'd Carey to the Tilt,
Faire bird, faire Cignet of our siluer Swanne,
When like a Lord in pompe and princelie shew,
And like a Champion fitted for the warre,
And not vnlike the sonne of such a syre,
Vnder a plume of murrie and of white,
That like a Palme tree beautifullie spread,
On mightie horse of Naples mounted faire,
And horse at hand, and men and pages pight;
All with a burning heart greets he her grace,
Whose gracious countnance he his heauen esteems,
And to her sacred person it presents;
As who would say, my heart and life is hers,
To whom my loyaltie this heart prefers.
And at the summons out his foe man flyes,
Gresham the heire of golden Greshams land,
That beautifi'd new Troy with royall Change,
Badge of his honor and magnificence.
Siluer and Sable such his colours were,
And readie was his horse, and readier he,
To bound, and well behaue him in her eie,
Vpon whose lookes his life and honour stood.
Then horse and man conspir'd to meet amaine,
Along the Tylt Carey and Gresham goe,
Swift as the Swallow, or that Greekish Nymph
That seem'd to ouerfly the eyles of corne:
And breake they doo, they misse not as I weene,
And all was done in honour of their Queene.
The 8. couple. Sir William Knowles. M. Anthony Cooke.
Then like the three Horaty in the field,
Betwixt the Roman and the Alban camp,
That triumpht in the roiall right of Rome;
Or olde Duke Aymons glory, Dordans pride,
Came in the noble English Nestors sonnes,
Braue Knowles his ofspring, hardy Champions,
Each in his plumes, his colours and deuice,
Expressing Warriors wit and Courtiers grace.
Against Sir William ran a lusty Knight.
Fine in deuice he was, and full of wit,
Famous beyond the chalkie Brittish cliffes,
And lou'd and honored in his country boundes.
Anthony Cooke, a man of noble name,
For Armes and Courtship equall to the best:
Valour and Vertue sat vpon his helme,
Whome Loue and lowring Fortune led along.
And Life and Death he portraied in his show.
A liberall Hand, badge of nobilitie,
A Hart, that in his mistresse honor vowes
To taske his hand in witnesse of his heart
Till age shake off rough wars abiliments.
Then with such cunning can they couch their staues
That worthily each knight himselfe behaues.
The 9. couple. Sir Thomas Knowles. Sir Philip Butler.
The yongest brother, Mars his sworne man,
That wan his knightly spurs in Belgia,
And followed dub of drum in Fortunes grace,
Well horst and arm'd, Sir Philip Butler greetes
The noble Essex friend and follower,
In mourning Sable dight by simpathie,
A gentle Knight, and meekely at the Tylt
He standes, as one that had no hart to hurt
His friendly foe: but at the trumpets sound
He flies along, and brauely at the face
His force he bendes: the riuall of his fame
Spurs on his steede, nor shuns the shocke for feare,
And so they meet; the armour beares the skar,
Of this encounter and delightfull war.
The 10. couple. M. Robert Knowles. M. Ralph Bowes.
The last; not least, of these braue bretheren,
Laden with honour, and with golden boughes,
Entring the listes like Tytan, arm'd with fire,
When in the queackie plot Python he slew.
Bowes takes to taske, with strong and mightie arme,
Right richly mounted: horse and man it seem'd
Were well agreed to serue as roughlie there,
As in the enemies reach for life they would.
And when they ran, me thought a tempest rose,
That in the storme the clattering armours sound,
As horse and man had both bene borne to ground.
The 11. couple. M. Thomas Sydney. M. Robert Alexander.
Thus long hath daintie Sydney sit and seene,
Honour and Fortune houer in the aire,
That from the glorious beames of Englands eie,
Came streaming: Sydney, at which name I sigh,
Because I lacke the Sydney that I loue,
And yet I loue the Sydneys that suruiue.
Thus long (I say) sat Sydney and beheld
The shiuers flie of many a shaken speare,
When mounted on a Courser trapt in white,
And throughly wel appointed he and his;
Pure sparkes of Vertue kindling Honors fire,
He thought he might, and for he might, he would
Reach at this glorie, faire befall him still:
And to the Tylt (impatient of delay)
He comes, encountred with a threatning point
That Alexander menac'd to him fast:
A valorous and a lustie Gentleman,
Well fitted with his armour and his Steed,
And him young Sydney sits: and had he chardg'd
The Macedonian Alexanders staffe,
He had bene answered by that valiant youth:
So well behau'd himselfe this faire yoong Knight,
As Paris had to great Achilles Launce
Applied his tender fingers and his force.
The 12. couple. M. Nedham. M. Richard Acton.
The next came Nedham in on lustie horse,
That angrie with delay, at Trumpets sound
Would snort, & stamp, and stand vpon no ground,
Vnwilling of his maisters tariance.
Yet tarie must his maister, and with him
His prauncing steed, till trumpets sounding shrill,
Made Acton spur apace, that with applause
Of all beholders, hied him lustilie;
As who would say, Now goe I to the goale,
And then they ride and run and take their chance
As death were fixt at point of eithers lance.
The 13. couple. M. Charles Dauers. M. Euerard Digbie.
Now drew this martiall exercise to ende,
And Dauers here and Digbie were the last
Of six and twentie gallant Gentlemen,
Of noble birth and princelie resolution.
That ran in couplement, as you haue heard,
In honour of their mistresse holiday.
A gracious sport, fitting that golden time,
The day, the byrth-day of our happinesse,
The blooming time, the spring of Englands peace.
Peace then my muse, yet ere thou peace, report,
Say how thou sawest these Actors play their partes.
Both mounted brauely, brauelie minded both,
Second to fewe or none for their successe;
Their hie deuoyre, their deeds doo say no lesse.
And now had Englands Queene, faire Englands life,
Beheld her Lordes, and louely Lordly Knightes
Doo Honors seruice to their Soueraigne;
And heauen by this distil'd down teares of ioy,
In memorie and honour of this day.
Sir Henry Lea resignes his place of Honour at Tylt,
to the Earle of Cumberland.
And now as first by him intended was,
In sight of Prince and Peeres, and people round,
Old Henry Lea, Knight of the Crowne dismountes,
And in a faire Pauilion hard at hand,
Where holie lightes burnt on the hallowed shrine
To Vertue or to Vesta consecrate,
Hauing vnarm'd his body, head and all,
To his great Mistresse his petition makes,
That in regard and fauour of his age,
It would so please her princely Maiestie
To suffer him giue vp his staffe and Armes,
And honourable place wherein he seru'd,
To that thrice valiant Earle, whose Honors pledge
His life should be: with that he singled foorth
The flower of English Knightes, the valiant Earle
Of Cumberland, and him (before them all)
He humbly prayes her Highnesse to accept,
And him install in place of those designes,
And to him giues his armour and his launce,
Protesting to her princelie Maiestie,
In sight of heauen and all her princelie Lordes,
He would betake him to his Oraysons:
And spend the remnant of his waining age,
(Vnfit for warres and Martiall exploites)
In praiers for her endlesse happines.
Whereat she smiles, and sighes, and seem'd to say
Good Woodman, though thy greene be turn'd to gray,
Thy age past Aprils prime, and pleasant May:
Haue thy request, we take him at thy praise,
May he succeed the honour of thy daies.
Amen, said all, and hope they doo no lesse,
No lesse his vertue and nobilitie,
His skill in Armes and practise promiseth,
And many Champions such may England liue to haue
And daies & yeares as many such, as she in heart can craue.
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