The Fort or Castle of Hope

Hope, hearing Doubt an army great did bring1
For to assault the castle she was in,2
For her defense she made that castle3 strong,
Placing great ord’nance on the wall along.4
Bulwarks she5 built at every corner’s end;                                5
A curtain long the middle did defend.6
Two faces make7 a point, from whence the8 cannons play;
Two points do make9 a third to stop the en’mies10 way;
The wings were not11 too short, nor curtains were12 too long;
The points were not13 too sharp, but blunt to make them strong.14 10
Round15 the castle, enemies out to keep,
A ditch was dug,16 which was both wide and deep;
Bridges were17 made to draw or let at length;
The gates had iron bars of wondrous strength.
Soldiers upon the curtain’s line did stand,                               15
And each did hold18 a musket in his hand.
When Hope had ordered all about her fort,
Then she did call a council to her court.
“I hear,” said she19 “that Doubt a war will make,
And bring great force this castle for to take,                            20
Wherefore, my friends, provisions must be sought,
And first of all, good store of victuals bought:
Hunger doth lose more forts, than force doth win,
Then must we with the stomach first begin.
The next is arms, the body for to guard;                                   25
Those that unarmèd20 are, are soon’st afeared.
For21 to small use we make a ditch or wall
Without armed men to keep that22 wall withall.
Shall we neglect men’s lives and all their strength,23
More than a wall, that may be broke at length?24                  30
For ammunitïons, that mighty power,
Engines of death, which armies,25 towns devour,
Yet are they of no use, unless mankind
Hath strength, skill, will, to use them as design’d.
’Tis wisdom26 to advise what ways are best                            35
Us to defend, that we be not27 oppressed.”
Then Expectation, being gray with age,
Advises28 Hope by no means to engage
Too near her castle, but let that be free.
“Draw out a line about the town,” said she,                             40
“There make some works, soldiers entrench therein,
Let not the wars close at your gates begin.”
With that, Desire, though young, yet wisely spake:29
“Alas,” said she, “Doubt that small line will30 take;
So great a compass will your strength divide,                         45
A body weak may break through any side.
Besides, the soldiers will more careless be
When they a rescue strong behind them see.
But in the castle, where lies all their good,
There they will fight to the last drop of blood.”                      50

Doubt’s Assault, and Hope’s Defense

Doubt round1 the fort of Hope intrenchèd2 lay,
Stopped all provisions that should pass that way,
Digging3 forth earth to raise up rampires high;
Against Hope’s curtains did their cannons4 lie.
The line being long, it seemed the weakest place,                           5
Or else to batter down the frontier’s face.
There pioneers did dig a mine to spring,
Balls and grenados in the5 fort did fling;
Rams they did place, to beat their walls down flat,
With many engines more,6 as good as that.                                    10
But when7 Doubt breaches made in any part,
Hope’s industry soon closed it up8 with art.
Yet Doubt did resolve9 fierce assaults to make,
And did set10 ladders up the fort to take;
When Hope perceived,11 great stones and weights down flung, 15
Which many killed as they on ladders hung.
Many did fall, and in the ditch did lie,
But then fresh men did straight their place supply.
Upon the walls of Hope many lay dead,
And those that fought did on their bodies tread.                            20
Thus various fortune on each side did fall,
And Death was th’only12 conqueror of all.

A Battle between Courage and Prudence

Courage against Prudence a war did make,
For Rashness (her foe, his favorite)’s1 sake.
For Rashness ’gainst2 Queen Prudence had a spite,
And did persuade great Courage for to fight.
Courage did raise3 an army vast and great,                            5
That for the4 numbers Tamberlaine might beat,
Cloathed all in glist’ring5 coats,6 which made a show,
And tossing feathers7 which their pride did blow.
Such fiery horses8 men could hardly wield,
And in this equipage they took the field.                                10
Loud Noise9 spoke of this10 Army everywhere,
Until at last it came to Prudence’s11 ear.
Prudence a council called of all the wise,
And aged12 experience, her13 to advise.
Then Industry14 was called, which close did wait,               15
And orders had to raise an army straight.
But out, alas!15 her kingdom was so small,
That scarce an army could be raised of all.
At last they did about ten thousand get,
And16 care employèd was their17 arms to fit;                        20
Discipline trained and taught each several man,18
How they should move, and in what posture stand.
Great store of victuals Prudence did provide,
And ammunition of all sorts beside.
The foot were clothed in coarse yet19 warm array,              25
Their wages small, yet had they constant pay.
Well armed they were all, breast, back, and pot,
Not for to tire them, but to keep out shot.
Each had their muskets, pikes, and banners right,
That nothing might be wanting when they20 fight.              30
The cavalry was armèd as in frocks,21
Gauntlet and pistols, and some firelocks,22
Swords by their sides, and at their saddle bow
Hung poleaxes to strike, and give a blow.
Horses they had, not23 pampered in a stable,                        35
But from the plow, which were both strong and able
To make24 a long march, or25 endure a shock,
That quietly will stand firm26 as a rock,
Not starting, though27 the guns shot28 in their face,
But as they’re guided, went29 from place to place.               40
Prudence for men and horses30 did provide
Physicians, surgeons, farriers, smiths beside,31
Wagons and carts, all luggages to bear,
That none might want when in the field they were.
Strict order she did give to everyone,                                      45
Lest through mistake some wrong there might be done,32
And as they marched, scouts every way did go,
To bring intelligence where lay the foe.
And when the army stayed some rest to take,
Prudence had care what sentinels to make:                          50
Men that were watchful, full of industry,
Not such as are debauched, or33 lazy lie,
For armies oft by negligence are lost,
Which had they fought, might of their valor boast.
But Prudence, she with care still had an eye                         55
That everyone had match and powder by.
Besides, through a wise care, and34 not afraid,
She always lay entrenchèd where she stayed.
At last the armies both drew near in sight,
Then both began to order for the35 fight.                               60
Courage his army was so vast and great,
As they did scorn the en’my36 when they met.
Courage did many a scornful message send,
But Prudence still made Patience by her stand;
Prudence did call37 to Doubt for his advice,38                       65
But in his answers he was very nice.
Hope, of that army great, did make39 but light,
Persuaded Prudence by all40 means to fight:
“For why,” said Hope, “they do us so despise
That they grow careless; error blinds their eyes.                 70
Whereby we may such great advantage make,
As we may win, and many prisoners take.”
Then Prudence set her army in array,
Choosing the41 Roman custom, and their way.
In bodies small her army she did part,                                   75
In dollops,42 which was done with care and art.
Ten in43 a rank, and sev’n files44 deep they were;
Between each part a lane of ground lay bare,
For single and loose men about to run,
To skirmish first, before the fight begun.                               80
The battle ordered, in three parts was set;
The next supplied45 when the first part was46 beat,
And47 Prudence rode about from rank to rank,
Taking great care to strengthen well the flank.
Prudence the van did lead, Hope the right wing,                 85
Patience the left, and Doubt the rear did bring.
The en’my’s48 army fiercely up did ride,
As thinking presently them to divide.
But they were much deceived, for when they met,
They saw an army small, whose force was great.                90
Then did they fight, where49 Courage bore up high,
For though the worst he had, he scorned to fly.

A Description of the Battle in Fight


Some with sharp swords—to tell, O most accursed!—2
Were above half into their3 bodies thrust,
From whence fresh streams of blood run all along4
Unto the hilts, and there lay clodded on.
Some, their legs dangling5 by the nervous strings,                       5
And shoulders cut, hung loose like flying wings.
Heads here were cleft in pieces,6 brains lay7 mashed,
And all their faces into slices hashed.
Brains only in the pia mater thin,
Did8 quivering lie9 within that little skin,                                    10
Their skulls all broke and into pieces burst,
By horses hooves and chariot wheels were crushed.10
Others, their heads did lie11 on their own laps,
And some again, half cut, lay12 on their paps,
Whose tongues out of their mouths were thrust13 at length.   15
For why?14 The strings were15 cut that gave them strength.
Their eyes did16 stare; their lids were open wide,17
For the small nerves were shrunk on every side.18
In19 some again, those glassy balls hung20 by
Small slender strings, as chains to tie the eye.                            20
Those21 strings, when broke, eyes fall, which22 trundling round
Until23 the film is24 broke upon the ground.
In death, their teeth strong set, their lips left25 bare,
Which grinning seem’d26 as if they angry were.
Their hair27 upon their eyes in clodded gore                              25
So wildly spread, as ne’er it did before.28
With frowns their foreheads did in29 furrows lie,
As graves their foes to bury when they die.
Their spongy lungs heaved up30 through pangs of death,
With pain and difficulty fetched short breath.                           30
Some grasping hard, their hands through pain provoked,
Because31 the rattling phlegm their throats had choked;32
Their bodies now bowed33 up, then down did34 fall,
For want of strength to make them stand withall.
Some staggering on their legs did35 feebly stand,                      35
Or leaning on their sword with either hand,
Where on the pummel did36 their breast rely,
More grieved they could not37 fight, than for to die.
Their hollow eyes sunk deep into their brains,38
And hard-fetched groans did from each heartstring strain.39 40
Their knees pulled up to keep their bowels in,40
But all too little through their blood doth swim;41
Guts did,42 like sausages, their bodies twine,
Or like the spreading plant, or wreathing vine.
Their restless heads, not knowing how to lie,                             45
Through grievous pains did43 quickly wish to die;
Rolling from off their back upon their belly,
Did tumble44 in their blood as thick as jelly.
And gasping lay45 with short breaths and constraint,
With cold sweat drops upon their faces faint.                            50
Heaving their dull pale eyeballs, up did46 look,
As if through pain, not hate, the world forsook.
Some chilly cold, as in shiv’ring47 agues, are;
Some burning hot, as in high fevers were;
Some spewing48 blood from stomachs that are sick;                55
Through parching heats their tongues to’th’roofs49 did50 stick.
Their bodies with loud groans their souls called51 back,
While smarting wounds did set them on the rack,
And on their arms their faces lay across,
As if in death they were ashamed of loss.                                    60
Some dying lay, like flame52 whose oil is spent,
Or fire that’s smothered out and53 wanteth vent,
And some did54 fall like strong and hardy oaks
Which are hewn down55 with fierce and cruel strokes,
Their limbs chopped small, as wood for fire to burn,               65
Or carved, or chipped out for joiner’s turn.
Some underneath their horses’ bellies flung;
Some by the heels in their own stirrups hung.
Others their heads and neck lay56 all awry,
And57 on their horses’ manes, as pillows, lie.                             70
Some in a careless garb lay58 on the ground,
As life despised, since honor in death’s59 found.
Some called for Death, and some did60 Life desire;
Some cared not; some did burials61 require;
Some beat their breasts as if they’d done some ill;62                 75
Some burned with hot revenge their foes to kill;63
Some lay as if to hear the trumpet sound,
And others did lie64 sprawling on the ground;
Some wished their death’s revenge upon their foe,
Others65 with dying eyes their friends not know;                      80
Some their parents, children cried to66 see;
Others wished life, some difference to agree.
But lovers, with a soft and panting heart,
Did wish their mistress, at their last67 depart,
To shut their eyes, their gaping68 wounds to close,                    85
Whose dying spirits69 to their mistress goes.
Foes’ hands into each others wounds thrust wide,
As if their hearts they’d70 pull out from each side;
Some71 friends, in dear embracements, closely72 twined,
By their affections73 strong in death were74 joined;                  90
Some wished to live, yet longed75 for death through pain;
Others died76 grieving that their foe’s not slain;
Some did77 repent what they so rash had78 done,
And wished79 the battle were to be begun;
Some gently sinking, by a80 fainting fall,                                      95
Yield quietly to Death when he did81 call;
Some drunk with death not able were82 to stand,
But83 reeling fell,84 struck down by Death’s cold hand;
Some lingered85 long, as lovers when they86 must
Part; some did87 willing yield to fate their dust,                          100
And sweetly lay88 as if asleep at89 night;
Some stern, as if new battles they would90 fight;
Some softly murmuring, like a bubbling stream,
Did91 sweetly smile in death, as in a dream.
Their92 souls with soft-breathed sighs to heav’n did fly,93        105
To live with th’gods94 above the starry sky.
Thus several noises through the air did95 ring,
And several postures Death to men did96 bring:
Where some did97 die outrageous98 in despair,
Others so gentle as without all99 fear.                                           110
With heaps of bodies, hills up high were grown,100
Where hair as grass, and teeth as seed were sown.101
Their heads102 and heels, horsemen together lay,
Smothered to death which could not get away.
Their arms lay hacked, and all were thrown about,                  115
And targets full of holes, that kept death out.
Their flags flying103 like moving woods did show,
On whose tops various colors seemed104 to grow,
As if flow’rs from high trees had sprouted out,105
Or in the open air were strewed about;106                                   120
Now all were fallen, and into pieces torn,107
Their mottos razed that108 did their sides adorn;
Some did like109 winding sheets their bearers shroud,
Which was an honour fit to make Death proud.
Some were110 like virgins, which their eyes cast111 low            125
Through shamefastness, although no fault they112 know,
Nor guilty are,113 but overcome with strength,
Not by their own consent, but114 forced at length,
For courage, like to chastity,115 we find
Is forced to lay down arms, though ’gainst its116 mind.             130
Here gauntlets, corslets, gorgets, saddles thrown,117
Flags, pikes, drums, guns, bullets, all o’er strown,118
And plumes119 of feathers which waved with the wind,
And proudly tossed, like to some haughty mind,
Like to120 prosperity when overborne,                                         135
Now humbly lay, and were in pieces torn.121
Horses, which proudly pranced122 when backed they123 were
By men of courage, never knowing fear,
Now overpowered lay124 by strong assault,
And lost by force; ’twas125 not their courage fault,                    140
For they on Death’s dull face could boldly stare,
Since life should hate, if not126 victorious were.
Dead horses lay on127 backs, their heels up flung;
Their eyes were sunk, heads128 turned; their jaws down hung.
Their thick curled manes, which grew down to the ground,  145
Or by their masters129 in fine ribbons bound,
Were130 torn half off, or singed by fire from guns,
Or snarled in knots or clods that131 backward runs.
Their nostrils wide, from whence thick smoke outwent,
Which vapor from their hot stout hearts was132 sent,             150
Their sleek bright hair o’th’skin133 like coats of mail,
Their courage fierce, that nothing could them134 quail,
All in death lay;135 by Fortune they were cast,
And Nature to new forms went136 on in haste,
For neither beauty, strength, nor137 nimble feet                       155
Can138 serve in death; all beasts alike there meet.
Thus horse and man in several postures139 lies,
With several pains; in several places dies.
When horses die, they know no reason why,
But140 men do venture life for vainglory.                                   160
Smoke from their blood141 into red clouds did rise,
Which flashed like lightning in all living eyes;142
Their groans into the middle region went,
And echoes did143 the air like thunder rent;
From sighs, winds rarified144 such gusts did blow,                  165
As if ascended145 from the shades below.
Men strive146 to die, to make their names to live,
When gods no certainty to fame147 will give.

A Battle between Honor and Dishonor

With grief and sorrow Honor1 did complain,
How that her sons and servants all are2 slain,
And none was3 left but those that did4 her slight,
And in rebellion did5 against her fight,
And how6 this age did7 dirt upon her throw,                               5
Lest she the baseness of the next should8 show.
Thus mournèd9 Honor, veiled in clouds of night,
When heretofore her garments were of light.
Her crown was laurel wreathed with fancy’s tire,
Her scepter, Mars’10 sword, made foes retire.                           10
Pallas’ headpiece did11 as her footstool stand,12
By whose support she rose and did command.13
And thus did Honor live with great applause;
All did obey her; none did break her laws.
But now Dishonor, armed ’gainst her, doth rise,                      15
And all her laws she utterly denies.
Then Honor, fearing she should be surprised,
And14 by her counsel being well advised,15
Did raise an army to maintain her right;
Resolved she was Dishonor for to fight.                                      20
Courage the van, Wisdom and Wit each wing16
Did lead, the rear Fidelity did bring;17
Invention doth th’artillery18 command;
Patience and Constancy as sent’nels19 stand.
Sciences pioneers are20 of great skill,                                          25
Which undermine towns, castles when they will,
And trenches make, where soldiers safely21 sleep,
And22 for a guard a watchful eye do keep.
Arts, like dragoons, do23 serve on foot and horse,
To skirmish, or an enemy24 enforce.                                           30
The colors high doth Resolution25 bear,
And with the bag and baggage standeth Care.
Prudence, quarter-master, allots them26 place;
Who disobeys is punished with disgrace.
Industry, as purvey’r,27 provides the meat,                               35
And Temperance28 proportions what they29 eat.
Truth, scout-master,30 intelligence doth31 give,
By which the army doth in safety live.
The drum is faith, braced with reasons clear,32
The sticks that beat thereon are hope and fear.                       40
Trumpeters, orators, sound loud and high,33
And34 call to horse when th’enemy draws nigh.35
The treas’rer, Gratitude, doth th’army pay,36
Gen’rosity, as37 general, leads the way.
When this army was in battalia set,                                            45
Dishonor, with her army, near did get:
Partiality did lead the van awry,
And Treachery the rear, which came not nigh;
Perjury the left wing ordered38 that day,
Unthankfulness on th’right39 did bear the sway.                     50
Suspicion was the scout, to search the way,
And Envy close in ambuscado lay.
Revenge, as cannoneer, did take40 the aim,
But missed the mark, which made him high exclaim.
Envy and Malice, were two engineers,                                      55
Which subtilty41 had practised many years;
Their drum was ignorance; stupidity42
Was one stick, th’other was obstinacy,43
And braced it was44 with rudeness, which sounds45 harsh
On strings of willfulness that’s46 ever rash.                              60

A Battle between King Oberon and the Pygmies

King Oberon, and the Pygmies tall and stout,
Did go to war; the cause was just no doubt,
For Pygmy king, out of his kingdom brought
His people, and1 another kingdom sought.
Like Goths and Vandals, they did range about                        5
With force, to find another kingdom2 out.
At last into the Fairy land they went,
For to that fertile place their hearts were bent.
“This is the place,” said they, “where pleasures flow,3
And where delight, like flow’rs on banks, doth grow.4.       10
Here let us pitch, and try if fortune will
Join with our courage, all our foes to5 kill.”
Then on they went, and plundered everywhere;
The Fairies all ran crying in great fear,
And fire on all their beacons placèd high,                              15
Which warning is to give, when danger’s nigh.
Whereat King Ob’ron6 a great7 war prepared,
Which made his queen and all his court afeared;8
His council grave and wise he straight did9 call,
Which came with formal busy faces all,                                 20
Where10 everyone did speak their mind full free,
Disputing much; at last all did11 agree:
“In war,” said they, “’tis better that we die,
Than to be slaves unto our enemy.”
Then said the King, “an Army we must raise,                        25
In which I’ll die,” said he, “or win the bays.”
Straight officers of all degrees were made,
To lead and rule, encourage12 and persuade,
And thus they mustered all their army13 stout
To meet their en’my, and to beat14 them out.                        30
Well armed they were, and put in good array,
Which made them fight with courage all that day.
Their trumpets were made of small silver wire,
Calling the horse to charge, or to retire.
These horses for war were grasshoppers large,                    35
On which they rode15 and bravely did16 discharge.
Their17 saddles were of a velvet peach skin;
Their bridles were small strings which spiders18 spin;
Besides, their stirrups, which their feet in stayed,19
Of a green rush, round like a ring, were made.20                  40
Of small cockle-shells their targets were made,21
And for their long swords22 a rosemary blade.
Their flags, colored flowers glorious to see,23
Give several sweet smells when flying they be.24
And how they were armed, it well did appear:25                  45
In a bean’s hull, just like a cuirassier.26
Their guns were pipes of glass, slender and small;27
Their bullets were round seeds to shoot withall.28
Their drums of filbert skins were very strong,29
And wheaten straws, for sticks to beat thereon.30                50
Their van, their rear,31 their left wing, and their right,
Were placèd so, as they saw good to fight.
Their colors flying, and their drums when32 beat,
Their trumpets sounding, none sought a retreat.
The forms and files33 the Pygmies placed themselves         55
Were34 like in figure unto mussel shells,
To pierce through en’mies, and give35 way to friends,
The midst being broad, and sharp at36 the two ends.
But Fairies like a half moon fought, that so37
When both ends meet, they might encircle th’foe,38            60
Where in the midst King Oberon rode39 full brave,
For40 he the honor of this day shall have.
Thus this warrior in41 armor bright and strong,
As foremost man, his soldiers led42 along.
Then spake he to them in a temper meek:                             65
“These enemies,” said he, “our ruin seek.
Go on all you brave born, and valiant bred,
And fight your enemies43 till they be dead!
Let not your foes with scorn upbraid your flight,
But let them see you can with courage44 fight,                      70
And teach them what their folly rash hath brought
Upon themselves, when they this kingdom sought.
But O, vain princes,45 that for glory seek,46
Which will not let poor subjects in peace keep.47
Foolish ambition sets the world on fire,                                 75
Which ruins all to compass its desire.
I only fight to keep what is my own,
And not to rob another kingly throne.
But if this quarrel can’t decided be,48
I hand to hand will fight my enemy.”49                                   80
With that he sent a50 herald stout and bold,
Which to King Pygmy he this message told,
Which was, King Ob’ron51 him a challenge sent,
To save their men, and much blood to prevent,
That they two might a duel52 fight alone,                               85
And let both armies all53 the while look on.
Then laughed King Pygmy,54 “What’s your king,” said he,
“That in a55 duel hopes to conquer me?
I came not here a single strength to try,
A kingdom for to win, or else to die.                                        90
I prouder am, my subjects’ strength to show,
Where56 by direction they my skill may know.
Herald, go back, and tell your king from me
He’ll know my strength when pris’ner57 he shall be.”
Then spake he to his men in voice full58 high:                      95
“Here’s none,” said he, “I hope this day will fly.
You know, my soldiers, we came here to fight
Not from59 ambition, or through60 envy’s spite,
But we by famine, with a61 meager face,
Were62 sent about to seek a fertile place.                               100
Then here’s a land63 which needs not be manured,
And we are64 people not to work inured,
For we by nature no great pains can65 take,
Nor by our66 sweat a livelihood out make.
For who would live in pain, or grief, or care,                        105
And always of their67 goods would68 stand in fear?
Who lives in trouble is69 not very wise,
Since in the grave there do no troubles70 rise.
Then let us fight e’en71 for sweet pleasure’s sake,
Or let us die, that we no care may take.”                                110
Thus did the kings their72 soldiers’ courage raise,
And in orations did73 their valor praise.74
Then did they both in order, rank, and file
Prepare themselves each other for to spoil.
Their horses stout, whereon they rode i’th’field,75               115
Would76 die under their burthen, but not yield.
In caprioles those77 grasshoppers did78 move,
By which their79 riders’ skill they soon would80 prove.
Some think for war it is an air unfit,81
Whose motion swift lets not the rider82 fight                        120
Or take his turns, and vantages83 to have,
Unless by leaping high himself84 can85 save.
But they do err, for in some case ’tis86 good,
Though not in all, if truly understood.
What’s in the world that’s to all use employed,                     125
But at some times and seasons is denied?
Fire and water,87 which are the life of all,88
Can only serve in their due time and call.
So some may say89 this air of horsemanship
Is90 good, hills91 of dead men to overleap.                              130
For if that they go low92 upon the ground,
Where dead men, horse, and arms are strewèd93 round,
Or else in heaps they lie, like to94 a wall,
The horse will stumble with the man, and95 fall.
Thus horses of manège,96 taught in measure,                       135
Many do think are97 only fit for pleasure
And not for war, where no use for98 them is,
As though99 their rules did make them go amiss.
But they’re100 mistaken, for like men they’re taught,
For to obey their rider101 as they ought:                                 140
To stop, to go, to leap, to run, and yet
Obey the heel, the hand, the wand, the bit.
Beside, they’re taught their passions102 to abate,
Not to be resty103 with fear, anger, hate,104
And by applause, great courage they have got,                     145
That they dare go upon a cannon shot.
Not that they senseless into dangers105 run,
For horses cowardly danger do106 shun,
And are so full of fears as they will shake,
And will not go, which proves their hearts do quake.         150
Besides, all airs in war are very fit,
As curvets, demi-voltes, and pirouette,107
And108 going back, and forward, turning round,
Sideways, both high and low upon the ground.
Sometimes in a large circle109 compass take,                        155
And then with art, a lesser circle make.
But horses that unlearned are in110 this way,
May march straight forth, or in one place may stay.
So men, when they do fight, having no skill,
May venture life, but few may chance to111 kill.                   160
For ’tis not blows and thrusts which112 do the feat,
Or going forward, or by a retreat;
Man113 must the center be, his sword the line,
His feet his compass, with his strength to join.
These are the arts for horse, and men of war,                      165
Unless with stratagems they think to scare,114
Which shows more wit than courage in the field;
So ’tis to run away, or else to yield.
But here the bodies of each army’s knit
So close, as skin unto the flesh doth115 sit.                             170
No stratagems were used116 to have men slain,
But they did fight upon an open plain.
For those that use slight stratagems in wars
No fighters are, but cruel murderers.
Nor is it bravely done, as some think ’tis,                               175
For every petty thief has skill in this.
Nay,117 thieves more courage in their actions118 show,
Who119 if their plots do fail must die, they know.
Warriors’ designs found out, they do not care,
Because no hanging for that act they fear.                             180
They’ll say ’tis different, thus foes120 to use,
For thieves by their deceit their121 friends abuse.
But ’tis not so,122 for cozenage is the thief,
And of that order generals are the chief.
Fighting’s the soldier’s trade, not to entrap,                           185
Nor, like the fox, with craft the prey t’entrap,123
But kill or pursue with swords in their hands,
Without any124 fraud or treacherous125 bands.
Just so fought these brave valiant cavaliers,
As it by their unhappy end126 appears,                                   190
For they did join, and fierce together fight,
Which was to all a lamentable sight.
Some lay upon the ground, without a head,
Others did gasping lie,127 but not quite dead.
Their groans were heard, and cries of several notes;          195
Some ruttling lay, with thick blood in their throats.
Here a headpiece lay,128 there a corslet thrown,
Bodies so mangled that none could be known.
Rivers of blood like to a full high tide,
Or like a sea where shipwrecked bodies died.                      200
And their laborious breaths129 such mists did raise
It130 made a cloud, which131 darkened the sun’s rays.
With several noises that rebounded far,
Armies of echoes were heard in the air.132
Here bodies hid with smoke, smothered, lay dead,              205
While formless sounds were in the air outspread.133
Thus were they earnest and active in their134 fight,
As if to kill or die were a delight.
Here beasts and men both in their blood lay mashed,
As if135 a French cook had them136 minced and137 hashed, 210
Or did their blood unto138 a jelly boil
That he might139 make a bouillon of the spoil,
For Nature’s table several dishes brings,
By her directions in transforming things.
At last the Pygmies found themselves quite spent,               215
And of their war begun now to repent,
Which made their king, though little, yet at length
To140 call to Oberon king to try his strength:
“Let’s here,” said he, “our skill and fortunes try,
To conquer141 one, or both in graves to lie.”                          220
“Content,” said Oberon king. “Though most unjust
You have yourself into my kingdom thrust,
Yet will I not refuse this offer bold,
And if I live, this day will sacred hold.”
Then like two lions fallen out for prey,                                   225
Encountered they,142 not yielding any way.
Their bright sharp swords with motion quick did fly,143
Like subtle lightning in each other’s eye.144
King Pygmy, he was strong,145 two handfuls tall,
But Oberon king was low, and very small.                             230
Yet was he dextrous in his skillful art,
And by that means struck Pygmy near the heart,
Whose blood ran146 warm and trickling down his side,
That where he stood, the grass was purple dyed.
Then leaning on his sword, as out of breath,                         235
Said he to147 Ob’ron,148 “I have got my death.”
Grew faint, then sinking on the ground did lie,
Finding his soul would from his body149 fly,
Saying, “King Ob’ron, pray do150 mercy show,
And let my army freely from you go.                                      240
And those that here lie slain, pray151 let them have
Just rites in burial, and their bones i’th’grave,152
That their free souls in quiet peace may sleep,
And for this act the gods your fame will keep.
I care nor grieve not for my own sad fall,                              245
But for my subjects that are ruined all.”
And in a deep-fetched sigh, and hollow groan,
His soul went forth unto a place unknown.
When that153 his soldiers heard their king was dead,
Their hearts did fail, yet none of them there fled,                250
But to him ran,154 like shuttles in a loom,
And with their bodies did his corpse entomb.
For through their loyal breast they dug155 their grave,
Because their king a monument should have.
So all did die; no story yet hath shown                                   255
That ever any Pygmies more were156 known.
Then did their wives with sighs lament their falls,
And with their tears did strew their funerals;
Those157 tears did mix with blood upon the ground,
Where rubies since hath158 in the Earth been found.         260
Their bodies moist to vapor rarified,
And now in clouds do near the sun reside.
When they their grief unto remembrance call,
Those sullen clouds in show’ring tears do fall.
Their sighs are winds, that do159 blow here and there,       265
And all their bodies transmigrated160 are.
Unhappy battle!161 to destroy a race
That on the earth deserved the chiefest place,
For they were valiant, and did love their king,
Without dispute obeyed in everything.                                  270
Nature did pity much162 their fortune sad;
They163 by her favor a remembrance had,
For she their bones did turn to marble white,
Of which are statues carved for man’s delight,
And in some places are as gods adored,164                            275
Where superstition idols doth afford.165
But Oberon king there built a temple166 high,
In which he Fortune’s167 name did magnify.

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

A Battle between Life and Death

There is a cruël battle ’twixt1 two foes;
When Nature will decide it, none yet knows.
These two are Life and Death, which th’world2 divide,
And whilst3 it lasts, the cause will none4 decide.
First, Life is active, seeking to enjoy,                                       5
And Death is envious, striving5 to destroy.
When Life a curious piece of work doth make,
And thinks she will therein some pleasure6 take,
Then in comes Death, with rancor and with spleen,
Destroys it so, that nothing can be seen,                              10
For fear the7 ruins beauty might present,
Leaves not so much to make8 Life’s monument.
This makes Life mourn, to see her pains and cost
Destroyed, for what she doth in Death is lost.
Weeping, complains at Nature’s cruelty,                              15
That only made her for9 Death’s slave to be.
“I am his food; his sharp teeth do10 me tear;
When11 I cry he no12 pity hath, nor care.
The pain he puts me in doth make me roar,
And his pale face that’s grim affrights me sore.                 20
And when I think13 away from him to run,
I fall14 into his jaws, no ways can shun.
But why do I thus sigh, mourn, and lament,15
And use no means his inj’ry to prevent?16
I will call all my friends their strength to try;                     25
Either I’ll17 perish quite, or Death shall die.”
Then brings she Motion, nimble at each turn,
And Courage, which like to fire doth18 burn,
Preventing and inventing wits, to make
Sconces and forts, too strong for death to take.                  30
A regiment of arts, which19 with their skill
Assault20 her foes, and them sometimes do21 kill.
A brigade of clear strengths stands22 firm and sure,
And can all fierce23 assaults of Death endure.
A party of good24 healths, armèd25 so well                          35
As Death how to destroy them cannot tell.
A troop of growths, at first small, weak, and low,
Increasing every minute, numbers grow.
And many more such26 companies were27 there,
As all the passions, chiefly Hope and Fear.                          40
Love leads28 this army, his motto a heart;
Their arms are29 their free wills; all bear30 a part.
Death’s armies31 are32 all to destruction bent,
As Wars and Famine, both these pestilent.
Fury, Despair, and Rage did33 run about,                             45
Seeking which way that they may34 Life put out.
Troops, regiments, brigades in numbers are,35
As Sickness, Dullness, Grief, and Pensive Care.36
Of Feeble Age were37 few; they scarce could38 stand,
Yet in Death’s battle, fight will39 hand to hand.                   50
Hate leads40 the army in a dull slow pace,
And for his motto has41 a lean, pale face.
With several weapons Death poor Life doth42 take
Her as a prisoner, and his slave doth43 make.
And on her ashes doth44 in triumph ride,                            55
And by his conquest swells he45 big with pride.

Life’s force was strong enough to keep her state,
If Death had not befriended been with Fate,46
For she ’gainst Death could make her party good,47
Had not the Fates her happiness withstood,                        60
Who spin48 the thread of life so small and weak,
That of necessity it needs must break.
If not, they cut it into pieces small
And give it Death, to make him nets withal
To catch Life in;49 when closely she would hide                 65
Herself from Death, she50 in this net is tied,
Or in the chains of destiny is hung,
The world from side to side about is flung.
Having no rest nor settlement, she51 flies
About from Death, and yet she52 never dies,                       70
Runs into several forms Death to avoid,53
And yet those forms are all by Death destroyed.54
Death, like a snake, in Nature’s bosom lies,
Like one that flatters, but i’th’heart55 envies.
And Nature seems to Life an enemy,                                     75
Because she still lets Death a conqu’ror56 be.

Of a Traveling Thought

A thought, for breeding, would a traveller be,
The several countries in the brain to see.
Spurred with desires he was,1 booted with hope,
His cap, curios’ty, patience was his2 cloak.
Thus suited, then3 a horse he did provide:                               5
Strong Imagination he got4 to ride,
Which, saddled with ambition, girt5 with pride,
Bridled with doubt, and6 stirrups on each side
Of resolution, he did mount, and7 went
In a full gallop of a good intent.                                                10
Some ways i’th’brain were ill and foul withal,8
Which made him oft into deep errors fall.9
Oft was he hid by mountains high of fear, 10
Then slid down precipices of despair; 11
Woods of forgetfulness he oft passed12 through;                  15
To find the right way out, had much ado.
In troubles he had travelled a long way;
At last he came where thieves of spite close lay,
Who, coming forth, drew out reproachful words
Which wounded reputation, as sharp swords.                      20
When he did feel the wound smart, he13 drew out
Truth from14 Time’s scabbard, and fought well and15 stout;
With an innocent thrust he left spite dead,
Wiped off the blood of slander, purple red.
Then coming16 to a river of temptation,                                 25
Which deep and dang’rous was17 of tribulation,
He swam with Temp’rance, and18 got out at last,
And with security all dangers past.
At last got to the city19 of power,
Where tyranny did stand, a great high tower,20                   30
With discords populous, where21 Riot rules;
Great colleges there were,22 to breed up fools;
Large houses of extortion23 high were built,
And all with prodigality were gilt.
Their streets were pitched with dull and lazy stone,           35
Which never hurt the feet when trod upon.24
Markets of plentiful25 circuits were there,
Where all sorts came, and did26 buy without care.
Herbs of repentance there were in great store,
But roots of ignorance were many more.                               40
The carts of knowledge much provision brought,27
And understanding, which Truth sold, some bought.28
Yet what is bought proves good or bad by chance,29
For some were cozened by false ignorance.
Then forthwith into shamble row he went,                           45
Where store of meat hung up, for ’twas not30 Lent;
There lay a head31 with wit and fancies filled,32
And many hearts by33 grief and sorrow killed.
Tongues of eloquence hung upon an ear;34
Bladders of windy opinions were there;35                             50
Weak livers of great fear lay there to sell,
And spleens of malice very big did swell; 36
Tough lungs of willfulness were hard37 and dry,
Whole guts of self-conceit did hang thereby.
Then to a poult’rers38 shop he went, to see                            55
What fowl there were,39 if any good there be.
There lay wild geese, though black and heavy meat,
Yet some gross appetite liked them to eat.
The choleric turkey, and the peacocks pride,
The foolish dott’rels40 lay there close beside.                        60
Capons of expectation, crammed with hope,
Swans41 of large desires lay in the shop.
Reproachful words were sold by dozens there,
And ignorant gulls did lie42 everywhere;
Poetical birds were many43 to sell,                                          65
More fowl, which he remembered not to tell.
But being a traveller, he’d44 see all there,
So straight he went45 to churches of great fear,
Where each one46 kneeled upon the knee of pain,
And prayers said with tongues that were profane.              70
Petitioning tears dropped from coveting eyes,
Deceitful hearts on altars of disguise.
Earnest they were to th’gods,47 that they would give
Worldly request, not grace for souls to live.
But travails48 of experience he would see,                             75
Which made him go to th’court49 of Vanity.
The porter Flattery sat at the gate,
Who civil was, and carried him in straight.
To Beauty’s presence chamber first he went,50
There stayed some time, with great and sweet content.     80
Next to the privy chamber of Discourse,
Where Ignorance and Nonsense had great force.
Then to the bedchamber of Love’s delights;
The grooms which served there were carpet knights.
Thence he to th’council51 of Direction went,                         85
Where great Disorder sat as president.
No sooner that poor stranger he did view,
Reproachful words out of his mouth he threw,
Commanding Poverty, a sergeant poor,
To take that stranger, cast him52 out of door.                        90
Straight Flattery for him entreated much,
But he Disorder’s ear doth seldom touch.
For cast he was into necessity,
Which is a prison of great misery.
But Patience got him an expedient pass,                                95
So home he went, but rode53 upon an ass.