The Fairy Queen’s Kingdom


The Fairy Queen’s large kingdom, got by birth,
Is in the midst and2 center of the Earth,
Where there are many springs and running streams,
Whose waves do glister by the Queen’s bright beams,
Which makes them murmur as they pass away,                       5
Because by running round they cannot stay.
For3 they do ever move, and,4 like the sun,
Do constantly in circulation5 run,6
And as the sun gives heat to make things spring,
So water moisture gives to7 everything.                                   10
Thus8 these two elements give life to all,
Creating everything on th’Earth’s9 round ball.
And all along this liquid source doth flow,10
Stand myrtle trees, and banks where flowers grow.11
’Tis true, there are no birds to sing sweet notes,                     15
But there are winds that whistle like birds’12 throats,
Whose sounds and notes, by variation, oft
Make better music then the spheres aloft.
Nor is there any beast13 of cruel nature,
But a slow, crawling14 worm, a gentle creature,                     20
Who fears no hungry birds15 to pick him16 out,
But safely grasps17 the tender twigs about.
There mountains are of pure refinèd gold,
And rocks of diamonds, perfect to behold,
Whose brightness is a sun to all about,                                     25
Which glory makes Apollo’s beams keep out.
Quarries18 of rubies, sapphires there are store,
Crystals, and amethysts, and19 many more;
There polished pillars nat’rally20 appear,
Where twining vines are clustered all the year.                     30
The axle-tree whereon the Earth turns round
Is one great diamond, by opinion found.
And the two ends, which we do call21 the poles,
Are pointed diamonds, turning in two holes,22
Which holes are rings of pure refinèd gold,23                         35
And all the weight of that vast world uphold,24
Which makes the sun so seldom there appear,
For fear those rings should melt, if he came near.
And like25 a wheel the elements are found,
In even lays, and many26 turnings round.                                40
First, fire is in the27 circle, as the spoke,
And then comes water; air is but28 the smoke
Begot of both, for fire doth water boil,
And causes clouds and29 smoke, which is the oil.
This smoky child sometimes is good, then bad,                       45
According to the nourishment it had.
The outward circle as the earth suppose,
Which is the surface where all plenty grows.30
Yet31 Earth is not the cause of its self-turning,32
But fire within; nor is there33 fear of burning                         50
The axle-tree, for that grows hard with heat,
And by its quickness turns the wheel, though great,
Unless its outward weight do press it34 down,
Raising the bottom,35 bowing down the crown.
But36 why this while am I so long of proving,                          55
Only37 to show how this Earth still is moving?
And the heavens, as wheels, do turn38 likewise,
As we do daily see before39 our eyes.
Thus is made good the proverb, which doth say40
That all the world on wheels doth run its way.41                    60
And by this42 turn such blasts of wind do blow,
As we may think they do like windmills43 go.
But winds are made by Vulcan’s bellows sure,
Which makes the Earth such colics to endure,
For he, a smith, sits44 at the forge below,                                  65
And is ordained45 the center-fire to blow.
But Venus laughs to think what horns he wears,
Though on his shoulders half the Earth he bears.
Nature her metal makes him hammer46 out,
Which she doth send47 through mines the world about,      70
For he’s th’old man that doth i’th’center dwell,
She Proserpine, that’s thought the queen of hell.
Thus48 Venus is a tinker’s wife, we see,
Not a goddess, as she was thought to be
When all the world to her did off’rings49 bring,                     75
And her high praise in prose and verse did50 sing,
And priests in orders on her altars tend,
And to her image all wise heads did51 bend.
But O vain ways, that mortal52 men did go
To worship gods, which themselves did53 not know!            80
’Tis true, her son’s a pretty lad, and he54
Doth wait as footboy on Queen Mab, whom she55
Makes to enkindle fires, and set56 up lights,
And keeps57 the door for all the carpet-knights,58
For when the queen is gone to bed asleep,59                           85
Then a great60 revel-rout the court doth keep.
Yet heretofore men did so strive61 to prove
That Cupid was the only god62 of love.
But if men could but63 to the center go,
They soon would see that it were nothing so.                          90

Here Nature nurses, and doth send in64 season
All things abroad, as she herself thinks65 reason;
When she commands, all things do her obey,
Unless66 her countermand some things do stay.
For she stays life, when drugs are well applied,67                  95
And68 healing balms to deadly wounds beside.69
There Mab is queen of all by Nature’s will,
And by her favor she doth govern still.
O happy70 Mab, that is in Nature’s grace,
For she is always young,71 being in this place.                        100
But leaving her,72 let’s go and see73 the sport
That’s acted in the Queen of Fairy’s74 court,75

  1. Queen’s Kingdom] Queen. 1653
  2. midst and] circled 1653
  3. For] But 1664, 1668
  4. and,] just 1653
  5. Do constantly in circulation] As constantly in their long race they 1653
  6. a marginal note by line 8 reads “The waters run in circulations.”
  7. moisture gives to] doth give Moisture 1664; doth give Moisture t’ 1668
  8. Thus] For 1664; For, 1668
  9. th’Earth’s] Earths 1653
  10. doth flow,] that flows, 1653
  11. grow.] grows. 1653
  12. But there are winds that whistle like birds’] Yet Winds do Whistl’, as Birds do with their 1664; Yet Winds do whistl’, as Birds do with their 1668
  13. is there any beast] any beasts are there 1653
  14. crawling] soft 1653
  15. birds] Bird 1664; Bird 1668
  16. him] them 1653
  17. But safely grasps] Safely they graspe 1653
  18. Quarries] Quarrels 1668
  19. amethysts, and] Amathists 1653
  20. nat’rally] naturally 1653
  21. we do call] called are 1653
  22. turning in two holes,] the Antartick holds, 1653
  23. Which holes are rings of pure refinèd gold,] And Artick; which about the world is rowl’d, 1653
  24. And all the weight of that vast world uphold,] Are rings of pure refined, perfect gold. 1653
  25. like] as 1653
  26. many] often 1653
  27. First, fire is in the] For first the fire in 1653
  28. comes water; air is but] the water, for aire is 1653
  29. And causes clouds and] That causes clouds, or 1653
  30. grows.] flows. 1653
  31. Yet] Yet the 1653
  32. its self-turning,] turning, 1653
  33. fire within; nor is there] the fiery spoak; not 1653
  34. its outward weight do press it] by outward weight it selfe presse 1653
  35. bottom,] Bott’m, and 1664, 1668
  36. But] Yet 1653
  37. Only] But 1653
  38. And the heavens, as wheels, do turn] For not the Earth, but Heav’ns, as Wheels, 1664, 1668
  39. As we do daily see before] Do turn, which we see daily with 1664, 1668
  40. Thus is made good the proverb, which doth say] To make the Proverb good in its due turn, 1653
  41. run its way.] yeerly run. 1653
  42. this] the 1653
  43. they do like windmills] like Windmils they do 1653
  44. sits] set 1653
  45. And is ordained] Ordained is 1653
  46. her metal makes him hammer] makes him to Hammer Metall 1664; makes him to Hammer Metal 1668
  47. Which she doth send] All that she sends 1653
  48. Thus] Yet 1653
  49. off’rings] offerings 1653; Offrings 1664
  50. verse did] Verses 1664, 1668
  51. wise heads did] the wise heads 1653
  52. O vain ways, that mortal] to vain wayes that 1653
  53. which themselves did] they do 1653
  54. lad, and he] Lad, 1653
  55. Doth wait as footboy on Queen Mab, whom she] And is a Foot-boy to Queen Mab; 1653
  56. Makes to enkindle fires, and set] Which makes fires, and sets 1653
  57. keeps] keep 1664, 1668
  58. all the carpet-knights,] Carpet Knights. 1653
  59. bed asleep,] sleep, 1653
  60. Then a great] Then 1653
  61. did so strive] striv’d 1653
  62. only god] god 1653
  63. men could but] that men could 1653
  64. doth send in] sends them 1653
  65. herself thinks] seeth 1653
  66. Unless] And by 1664; And, by 1668
  67. when drugs are well applied,] by Druggs well us’d, beside 1664; by Druggs well us’d, beside, 1668
  68. And] By 1664, 1668
  69. beside.] apply’d: 1664; apply’d. 1668
  70. O happy] Happy 1653
  71. she is always young,] young she’s alwayes, 1653
  72. her,] here, 1653
  73. go and see] 1653
  74. Queen of Fairy’s] Fairy 1653
  75. We end this poem on a comma because it is continued in the next poem