The Temple of Fortune

The1 temple was built of cornelian red,
To signify that much blood there2 was shed.
The altars all were carved of3 agate stone,
And musk flies there were sacrificed upon.4
A priest there was, who sang5 her praises loud,                     5
Whereat the people kneeled6 all in a crowd,
For though she’s7 blind and cannot clearly8 see,
Yet she her hearing hath most perfectly.9
The steeple black was built of10 mourning jet,
And finely carvèd,11 with many a fret.                                   10
The bells were12 nightingales’ tongues, which did ring
As sweetly as they in13 the spring do14 sing.
Their holy fire was15 made of sweet16 spice,
And kept by virgins young that know no vice.
Their gods sometimes did they17 place in a bower,             15
Which made is of a18 jasmine19 flower,
And all her sacred groves in which she walks
Are set with roses, which do grow on20 stalks.
Thus in procession her about they bear,
And21 none but in devotion cometh there.                            20
The king and queen did22 wait where she did23 go,
And all about sweet incense they did24 strew.
Nature frowned25 to see her so respected,
Thought by these honors she was much26 rejected.
“Wherefore,” said27 Nature, “let me take the place,             25
And let not Fortune proud me thus outface,
When all that’s good you do receive from me.
She is28 my vassal low, you soon shall see.
For I with virtues do the mind inspire,
And clothe29 the soul in beautiful attire.                                30
The body equal I do make, and30 strong,
The heart with courage, to revenge a wrong.
I’th’brain31 invention, wit, and judgment lies,
Creating like a god, ord’ring32 as wise.
The senses all as perfectly are made,                                      35
To hear, to see, to taste, to touch, persuade.33
I’th’soul do passions and affections34 live;
There’s nothing done, but what my powers35 give.
All which to Mutability I throw,
And she doth in perpetual motion36 go.                                 40
Thus all invention from my power comes,
For arts in men are but by scraps and crumbs.
So Fate and Fortune are my handmaids sure,
For what they do shall never long endure.
For37 I throughout the world do make things range,           45
And constant am in nothing, but in change.
Then let your worship of38 blind Fortune fall,
Or else shall my displeasure bury all.
But false devotion unto men is sweet,
Whilst39 truth’s kicked out, and trodden under feet.           50
Their minds do ebb and flow just like the tide,
And what is to be done is cast aside.
This makes that men are never in the way,
But wander up and down like sheep astray.
O wretched man,40 that can in peace not be!41                     55
For with himself he cannot well agree.
Sometimes he hates what he before approves,42
And43 in a constant course doth never move.44
Nor to himself, nor God who’s45 good, can stay,
He ever46 seeking is some unknown way.                              60
No sad example he by warning takes;
If none will do him hurt, he47 mischief makes,
As if he feared48 in happiness to live,
And49 to himself a deadly wound will give.
But why do I complain that man is bad,                                 65
Since what he hath,50 or is, from me he had?
Not only man, the world, but gods also,
And nothing greater than myself I know.”
All this did make51 them take high Fortune down,
And in her room they did52 great Nature crown.                 70

  1. The] THis 1664; THIS 1668
  2. much blood there] there much Blood 1664; there much blood 1668
  3. The altars all were carved of] Her Altars were carv’d from an 1653
  4. And musk flies there were sacrificed upon.] VVhere there were musk Flyes sacrificed on: 1653
  5. A priest there was, who sang] And Priest there is that sings 1653; A Priest there was, who Sung 1664; A Priest there was, who sung 1668
  6. kneeled] kneels 1653
  7. she’s] she be 1653
  8. clearly] well 1653
  9. most perfectly.] perfectly. 1653
  10. black was built of] was built of black 1653; was Black, Built of 1664
  11. finely carvèd,] carved finely 1653; Carved finely 1664
  12. were] of 1653
  13. they in] in 1653
  14. do] they do 1653
  15. was] is 1653
  16. sweet] sweetest 1664, 1668
  17. did they] they 1653
  18. made is of a] curiously was made of 1664, 1668
  19. In all early printings, the noun “jasmine” is spelled “Gesamin,” which would add a syllable to this line.
  20. which do grow on] that grow’s by the 1653
  21. And] Where 1653
  22. did] do 1653
  23. she did] e’re she 1653
  24. did] do 1653
  25. frowned] did Frown, 1664; did frown, 1668
  26. Thought by these honors she was much] And by these Honours done, she thought her self 1653
  27. said] saith 1653; says 1664, 1668
  28. She is] For she 1653
  29. clothe] cloathes 1653
  30. I do make, and] makes, and very 1653
  31. I’th’brain] In brains, 1653
  32. ord’ring] orders 1653, Ordering 1668
  33. to taste, to touch, persuade.] Taste, Touch, Smell and Perswade; 1664; Taste, Touch, Smell, and Perswade. 1668
  34. I’th’soul do passions and affections] And in the Soule, Affections, Passions 1653
  35. There’s nothing done, but what my powers] Nothing is there but what my Pow’r doth 1664; Nothing is there, but what my Pow’r doth 1668
  36. And she doth in perpetual motion] Who in perpetuall motion alwayes 1653
  37. For] And 1664, 1668
  38. of] to 1653
  39. Whilst] While 1664, 1668
  40. man,] Man! 1664
  41. can in peace not be!] cannot in peace be, 1653; can in Peace not be; 1664
  42. approves,] did prove, 1664; did prove; 1668
  43. And] But 1653
  44. doth never move.] he never moves. 1653
  45. who’s] that’s 1653
  46. He ever] But always 1664, 1668
  47. he] some 1653
  48. he feared] afraid 1664, 1668
  49. And] He 1664; He, 1668
  50. hath,] has, 1664, 1668
  51. All this did make] VVhich made 1653
  52. room they did] room, 1653