Henry Adamson

(1581-1627 / Scotland)

The Muses Threnodie: Second Muse - Poem by Henry Adamson

But this sad melancholick disquisition,
Did not befit our jovial disposition,
In these our days; therefore when we had mourned
For this good King, we to the town returned,
And there to cheere our hearts, and make us merrie,
We kindely tasted of the noble berrie;
Melancholie and grief are great men-killers:
Therefore from Tamarisk, with some capillars
Infusde we drank, for to preserve our splens
From grief, our lungs from cough, and purge our reins;
But this receipt Gall did not keep alway,
Which made him die, alas! before his day.

Then home we went, into our beds to rest us—
To-morrow again we to the fields addrest us;
And in my bed as I did dreaming ly,
Me thought I heard with mighty voice, one cry,
Arise, Monsier! the day is wondrous fair—
Monsier, arise; then answered I, who's there?
Arise, Monsier, the third time did it call;
Who's there? quoth I, it is I Mr Gall,
Then I awoke, and found it so indeed,
Good-morrow, Mr Gall, Monsier, God speed.
Good Mr Gall, dreams did me much molest
This night, and almost rave me of my rest,
Monsier, quoth Gall, what motion might that be?
Said I, I dream'd I was in archerie,
Out match'd so far, that I was striken dumbe,
For very grief to be so overcome,
Monsier, said he, that's been a mightie passion,
That hath you striken dumb in such a fashion.
A passion so great that I did sweat,
My sinews tremble, and my heart did beat.
At length, respiring, these few words did speak:—
O noble heart of force, now must thou break!
For to these days was never in this land
That did o'ercome this matchless maiden hand;
And dreaming, as I judg'd with Mr Gall,
Incontinent a voice on me did call,
Arise, Monsier, arise: then I awoke,
And found it was Gall's voice unto me spoke,
Which made me doubt if so could come to passe:
Then answer'd Gall, altho' your bow were brasse,
That might be done; and I'm the man will do it,
What say you Gall? quod I, then let us to it.
Furthwith we dress'd us in our archer grath,
And to the fields we came, like men in wrath:
When we our nerves and tendons had extended,
Incontinent our bowes were bravely bended:
The skie was wondrous cleer, Apollo fair,
Greatly delighted to behold us there:
And did disperse the clouds, that he might see
What matchless skill we prov'd in archerie.
The cristal river Phœbus beams reflected,
As glad of us, them in our face directed:
The flowerie plains, and mountains all the while
That we were shooting merrilie did smile.
Mean while, for honours praise, as we were swelting
The sweat from off our brows and temples melting,
Phœbus, as seeming to envie our skill,
His quiver with some fierie shafts did fill,
And from his silver bow, at us he darted
These shafts, to make us faint and feeble-hearted:
Whose mighty force we could not well oppose,
Under a shade we therefore did repose
A pretty while hard by a silver streame,
Which did appeare some melodie to frame,
Running alongst the snow-white pibble stones
Mourning, did murmure joys, commix't with moanes.
A cup I had with woodbind of the wall,
And drinking said, this to you Mr Gall,
Quoth he, Monsier, since that we have no better,
With all mine heart, I will you pledge in water.
This brook alongst the flowerie plain meanders,
And in a thousand compasses it wanders;
And as it softly slides so many wayes,
It sweetly sings as many roundelayes,
And harmonie to keep, the honie bees
Their trumpets sound amongst the flowers and trees.
Their shadowes from their shaggie tops down sending
Did bow, in token of their homage rendring:
But in short while Phœbus his face withdrew,
Then freshly fell we to't again of new;
Any Kyth most skilful and most pleasant game,
While to the lands of Loncartie we came;

Then thus, quod I, good Gall, I pray thee show,
For cleerly all antiquities yee know:
What mean these skonses, and these hollow trenches,
Throughout these fallow fields and yonder inches?
And these great heaps of stones like piramids,
Doubtless all these ye knew, that so much reads;

These trenches be, Gall answering, did reply,
Where these two armies, Scots and Danes, did ly
Incamped, and these heaps the trophies be,
Rear'd in memorial of that victory,

Admir'd unlook'd for, conquest in that day,
By th'only virtue of a hyndsman, Hay,
And his two sons, from whence immortal praise
He gain'd, and glory of his name did raise
To all succeeding ages: as is said
Of Briareus, an hundred hands who had,
Wherewith he fought, or rather as we see
A valiant Sampson, whose activitie,
With his ass-bone kills thousands, or a shangar
With his oxe-goad kills hundreths, in his anger:
Even so this war-like wight with oxens yoak
Beats squadrons down by his undaunted stroke,
And did regain the victorie neere lost,
Unto the Scots, by his new gathered host,
Of fearfull fleers, in a woful plight,
By his encouragements infusing might
Into their nerves, new spirits in their arters,
To make them fight in blood, unto the garters,
Against their hatefull foes, who for to be
Did fight, more than for price or victorie.
Such cruelties their bloudie hearts possest,
To have old quarrels on us Scots redrest,
For utterly quell'd Pights, and for their own
Armies by us so often overthrown.
This worthy chieftain's happy enterprize,
Which sav'd this countrie from the tyrannies
Of cruel Danes, and his two Mar's-like sons,
Do for all ages wear the quernal crowns,
Like Thrasibulus; ever bluming bayes,
Do add much splendour to the worthie Hayes.
And always since, they for their weapons wield
Three rubrick targets in a silver shield.
Which shield the soaring falcon doth sustaine,
To signifie these three men did obteine
The publick safetie, and the falcon's flight
By mounting, shews their worth by lighting right
Unto their lands; for honours high regard;
Which in all ages should have due reward.
Like all shall finde, who loyal to the state
And countries well do prove, tho' small or great:
Men shall them praise, God shall preserve their stemme
Immortal fame shall canonize their names.

Thence forward went we unto Campsie Lin,
From whence the river falling makes such din
As Nilus Catadups: there so we sported,
It is impossible for to report it:
Whether we walk'd, or did we sit, or stand,
Quiver was tied to side, and bow in hand;
So that none thought us to be mortal wights,
But either Phœbus or fair Phœbe's knights;
There we admir'd to see the salmond leap,
And over-reach the waters mighty heap.
Which from a mountain falls, so high, and steep,
And tumbling down devals into the deep,
Making the boyling waters to rebound,
Like these great surges near by Greenland found,
Yet these small fish o'ercome these wat'rie mountains,
And kindly take them to their mother fonntains.

With what affection everie creature tenders
The native soil! hence comes, great Jove remembers
His cradle Creet, and worthie more than he,
Let th'idle Cretians at their pleasure lie,
Even these most worthy Kings of mighty race,
Come of great Fergus, long to see the face
Of their dear Caledonia, whose soyle
Doth make their kindly hearts within them boyle,
To view these fields where martial men of arms,
Great monuments have rais'd with loud alarms
Of thundring trumpets, by a hundred kings
And seven one queen; what antient poet sings,
The like descent of princes, who their crowns
And scepters have bestow'd upon their sons,
Or neerest kinsmen? neither is it so
That this continued line had never foe
To interrupt the same, witness these standers
That bear the Roman eagle, great commanders
Of most part of the globe, and cruel Danes
Victorious elsewhere, but not in our planes;
Pights and old Britans, more than these to tell,
Who in the compasse of this island dwell,
But praisde be God, Britaine is now combinde,
In faith and truth, one King, one God, one minde.

Let scoffers say that neither wine nor oyle,
(Whose want stay'd conquest) grows within this soyle,
Yet if gold, pearl, or silver better be,
As most men them account, it doth supplie;
Yea, things more needful for man's use it yeelds:—
Herds, flocks, and cornes abound here in our fields,
Will beasts in forests of all kinds in plentie;
Rare fowls, fruits, fishes, and what else is daintie;
Perpetual fire, to speak it in a word,
The like no where is found, it doth afford.
Thus Providence divine hath it ordained,
That human commerce may be entertained,
All soyls should have, yet none brings all things forth,
Yea, grounds most barren oft have greatest worth
Contained in their bowels, this to tell us,
Non omnia producit omnis tellus;
Hence comes that men their gold for yron change,
And so, far from their native countrys rainge,
Their softest silk for coarsest canvasse give,
Because by commerce men do better live,
Then by such things their native grounds forth measure,
By traffike they do find more gain and pleasure;
Yea, things more simple, much more useful are,
And for man's well more profitable far.
Thus yron serves for all brave arts, much more
Than gold, let Midas heap it up in store;
And canvasse serves for ventrous navigation,
Where silks are only for cloths green sick fashion;
And tho' wine glad the heart, yet stirs it strife,
But grain the staffe is which sustains our life:
So humane fellowship to entertaine,
Our fishes and our cornes bring oile and wine.

But above all our soyle throughout all parts,
Bears bravest Chieftains with couragious hearts:
These be the bar of conquest and the wall,
Which our most hateful foes could never scall.
Would you behold one Hannibal o'erturne
Fourscore of thousands, look to Bannockburne,
Or would you see Xerxes his overthrow,
And flight by boat; Edward the second know;
Or Carthaginean towers with all their mights
Destroyed? View Camelon with faithlesse Pights.
Or would ye know great Castriot whose bones
Could martial virtue give, dig'd from the stones,
Where he did buried ly? take for that part
The Bruce, and Douglas carrying his heart
Through many lands, intending it to have
Solemnly buried in the holy grave.
This heart, though dead, within their hearts begetting
Brave hearts, 'gainst dangers their bold hearts outsetting.
Would you a King for zeal unto God's house
Like Israel's David, our Saint David chuse?
Or know King James the First? like Julius Cæsar,
Or Gregorie? like Alexander; these are,
With many more, the worthies, whose renown
By martial deeds, have keeped close this crown;
Yea, more to speak of such heroick themes,
Who knoweth not the worthy great King James
Of Britain's union first? whose virtues great
Were more than equal to his royal seat;
Whose matchless wisdom, and whose learned quill,
Did nectar and ambrosia distill;
And ravish't with amasement all who heard him;
But most for active prudence all admired him.
Happie in all his life, whose worthie name,
A peaceable Augustus did proclaime.
Who conquered more by wit, than by the sword,
And made all Europe much regard his word.
And good King Charles the son of such a father,
Thrice happie by thy virgine crown; yea, rather
More happie, if more happinesse can be,
In earthlie things, by thy high pedegrie;
But most of all by Heaven, which hath appointed
The maiden crown for thee, the Lord's anointed,
The man of his right hand, and for thy seed,
Which God mot blesse, and all who shall proceed
Forth of thy loines, and stablish in thy place,
So long as sun and moone shall run their race;
Then reigne, Great Charles, our nostrils sweetest breath;
Long may thou reigne, Defender of the Faith,
Enthron'd among these worthie peerlesse pearles,
And let all say, God save our good King Charles;
And deeplie in his heart imprint that zeale,
To make the law supreme the people's weall.
What shall we speak of martial Chiftans more?
Of Gideons and of Sampsons we have store,
Whom God did raise for to defend our state
Miraculouslie, in times most desperate.
What braver Heetor, or more brave Achilles
In Greece, or Phrygia, than Sir William Wallace?
And John the Grahame, his mate and brother sworn,
Whose living fame his name doth much adorne.
And if we lift this subject more to handle,
What governour like good Earl Thomas Randale?
Or doughty Douglass with courageous heart,
Whose name wrought dreadful terror in each part?
But this heroic theme, so passing great,
Impossible it is all to relate;
Our worthie rulers even unto thir days,
They do not want their own deserved praise;
Nor shall they for my part want due renown—
Virtue t'advance and vice to trample down.

These be the wall of God's own work and framing
Against our foes, and of his own mantaining;
Wherefor we bless his holy name that made us;
And pray that never foreign scepter lead us
T'impose hard laws, and tributaries make us,
To chastise us with scorpions, and to rake us;
And likewise pray that Ajax like we would not
Undo ourselves, while all our enemies could not.
But, O dear Caledonia! what desire
Have all men who have heard thy fame t'admire
Thy monuments? how much more these who be
Thy sons, desire thy maiden soil to see?
Thy maiden castle and fair Maidenburgh.
The stately winged city, which is through
All ages much renown'd with streets so fair,
And palaces so mounted in the air:
That if the deepness of imagination
Could limn a land-schape by deep meditation;
Scarce could it match where bravest youths abound,
And gravest counsellours are alwise found;
Which justice joineth hand with true religion,
And golden virtue keeps the middle region,
As register, where these acts are enrol'd,
Better than in Corinthian brass or gold.

Let poetaster Parasites who feign,
Who fawn, and crouch, and coutch and creep for gain,
And, where no hope of gain is, huffe and hur,
And bark against the moon, as doth a cur;
Let such base curs, who nought but gobbets smell,
With thee disgrac'd, and deeplie sunk in hell,
Whither themselves do go; yet shalt thou stand,
And see them ruin'd, all who thee withstand:
God shall befriend thy friends, and shall all those
Array with shame, who causeless be thy foes:
Thou art this antient kindoms bravest part,
For wit and worth, thou art its hand and heart:
And who the kingdoms compend brave would see,
Needs do no more but survey take of thee:
Hence these desires fair Caledonia's soil
To view, when bravest stratagems with toil
Have acted been, hence come these kindlie wishes,
To see these fields, even like these kindlie fishes,
Which we behold o'ercome this mightie lin,
And seek the fountains where they did begin.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010



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