Head and Brain Dressed


A brain wherein no dullness doth appear,2
From gross opinions washed with reasons clear;3
A4 judgement hard and sound, grated therein;5
Quick wit squeezed into it, with6 fancies thin;
A bunch of scent7, sounds, colours, tied up fast             5
With threads of motion, and strong nerves to last.
In memory then stew them with long time,8
So take them up, and put in spirits of wine.9
Then pour it10 forth into a dish of touch;
The meat is good, although it is11 not much.                   10

A Tart

Life took some flour of white complexions made;1
Churned nourishment as butter she did add,2
And knead3 it well; then on a board it placed,4
And rolled it oft, until a pie was raised.5
Then did she take some lips, like cherries6 red,                      5
And sloe-black eyes from a fair virgin’s head,
And strawberry teats from high banks of7 white breast,
And juice from raspis fingers ends did press.8
These she put in the pie, and did it9 bake
Within a heart, which she straight hot did make.                  10
Then drew it out with reason’s peel, and sends10
It up to Nature; she it much commends.11

Nature’s Dessert


Sweet marmalade of kisses newly2 gathered;
Preserved children which were never3 fathered;
Sugar of beauty, which melts away4 soon;
Marchpane of youth, and childish macaroon;
Sugar-plum words, which fall sweet from5 the lips;            5
And wafer promises, which waste into6 chips;
Biscuits of love, which crumble7 all away;
Jelly of fear that quaking,8 quivering lay.
Then was a fresh green-sickness cheese brought in,9
And tempting fruit, like that which Eve made sin,10           10
With cream of honor, which was thick and good;11
Firm nuts of sincere friendship12 by it stood.
Grapes of delight, dull spirits to revive,
Whose juice, ’tis said, doth Nature keep alive.
All this dessert did Nature might’ly please:13                        15
She ate and drank, then went to rest in ease.14

Nature’s Officers

Eternity, as usher, goes1 before.
And Destiny, as porter, keeps the door
Of the great world, who lets Life out and in.
The Fates, her maids, this2 thread of Life do spin.
Mutability orders with great3 care.                                         5
Motion, her footboy, runneth everywhere.
Time, as her page, doth carry up her train,
But in his service he doth little4 gain.
The Days are the surveyors, which do5 view
All Nature’s works, which6 are both old and new.               10
The Seasons four by turns their circuits7 take,
Like judges sit, and distributions8 make;
The Months, their9 pen-clerks, write down everything,
Make deeds of gifts, and bonds of all that spring.
Life’s office is to pay and give out all                                      15
To her receiver, Death, when he doth10 call.

Nature’s House

The ground on which this house is built so strong1
Is2 honesty, that hates to do a wrong.
Foundations deep were laid, and very sure,
By love, which to all times will3 firm endure.
The walls, strong friendship; hearts for brick lay thick,        5
And constancy, as mortar, made them stick.
Freestones4 of obligations pillars raise,
To bear high-roofèd thanks, sealèd5 with praise.
Windows of knowledge let in light of truth;
Curtains of joy are6 drawn by pleasant youth.                         10
Chimneys with7 touchstone of affection made,
Wherein is beauty, as love’s fuel,8 laid.
The hearth is innocent marble9 white,
Whereon the fire of love burns clear and10 bright.
The doors are cares, misfortunes out to keep,11                      15
Lest poverty that’s cold might thorough creep.12
Besides there,13 rooms of several passions stand,14
Some on the right, and some on th’other hand.15
This house’s outside’s16 tiled with noble deeds,
With17 high ambition covered, as18 with leads.                       20
Turrets of fame are built on every side,
And in this palace Nature takes great pride.
It is best furnished of all19 Nature’s courts,
For it is hung20 with virtues of all sorts,
As21 moral virtues, and with those of art:                                 25
The last from acts, the first come22 from the heart.

Comparing the Head to a Barrel of Wine


The head is like a barrel, which will break
If th’liquor be too strong; but if’t be2 weak,
It3 will the riper grow by lying long,
For4 kept from vent, the spirits grow more strong.
So wit, which Nature tuns up in the brain,5                     5
Never leaves working, if it close remain.6
’Twill7 through discretion8 burst and run about,
Unless a pen and ink do tap it out.
But if the wit be small, then let it lie,
For9 broached too soon, the spirits quickly die.              10

Comparing of Wits to Wines


Malaga wits, when broached, which pens do2 pierce,
If strong, run straight into heroic verse.
Sharp claret satyr,3 searching, runs4 about
The veins of vice, before it passes out,
And makes the blood of virtue fresh to spring                   5
In noble minds; fair truths complexions bring.
But all high fancy is in brandy wits;5
A fiery heat in understanding sits.

Nature’s Wardrobe

In Nature’s wardrobe there hangs up great store
Of several garments; some are rich, some poor.
Some, made on1 beauty’s2 stuff, with smiles are3 laced;
With lovely favor is the outside faced.
Some fresh and new by sicknesses are4 rent,                           5
Not taking any care them5 to prevent.
But physic and good diet had6 again
Sewed up the slits, that none did yet7 remain.
Some worn so bare with age, that none could see
What stuff’t8 had been, or what it yet might9 be.                    10
Others were so ill-shaped, their10 stuff so coarse,
That11 none would wear unless it were by force.12
And several mantles Nature made were there,
To keep her creatures warm from the cold air.
As sables, martins,13 and the fox that’s black,14                       15
The powdered ermines, and the fierce wild cat.15
Most of her creatures she hath clad in fur,
Which need16 no fire, if they do17 but stir.
And some in wool she clads, as well as hair,
And some in scales; others do feathers wear.                           20
But man, his skin she made18 so smooth and fair,
It needs no feathers,19 scales, wool, nor hair.
The outside of all things Nature keeps here20
For several creatures, which21 she makes to22 wear.
Death pulls them off, Life puts them on, but Nature23            25
Takes care to fit each garment for each creature.24
Nature hath but two sorts of stuffs25 whereon26
All garments are made that Life puts on.27
But yet these of such several fashions are,28
That seldom any two alike appear.                                             30
And29 Nature several trimmings for them30 makes,
And several colors for each trimming takes.

The Soul’s Garment


Great Nature clothes the soul, which is but thin,2
With3 fleshly garments,4 which the Fates do spin.
And when these garments are grown old and bare,
With sickness torn, Death takes them off with care,
And folds5 them up in6 peace, and quiet rest,                       5
So7 lays them safe within an earthly chest.
Then scours them,8 and makes them sweet and clean,
Fit for the soul to wear those clothes again.

Nature’s Grange

Grounds of great loss, with sorrows were deep plowed,1
Wherein the fertile seed of care was sowed;2
Horses of hopes did draw the cart of pains,3
With expectations filled, to th’barn of brains;4
Cows of content did give5 the milk of ease;                              5
Curds pressed with love did make6 a friendship cheese;
Cream of delight was put in7 pleasure’s churn,
In a short time to butt’r of joy did turn;8
Sweet whey of tears from laughing eyes did flow:9
Thus all her housewif’ry did Nature show.10                           10
Eggs of revenge were laid by some design;
Chickens of mischief hatched by11 words divine.
Life’s nourishment12 the poultry fat doth cram,
And so she doth all creatures else, and man.13
And Nature makes the Fates14 to sit and spin,                         15
And Destiny lays out and brings flax in.
In this her housewif’ry doth Nature15 take
Such great delight,16 the cloth of life to make,
That17 every garment she herself cuts out,
Disposing18 to her creatures all about.                                      20
Where some wear them so long, till they be19 torn,
And some do cast them off before half worn.
Thus busy Nature20 doth her self employ
On every creature small, until they21 die.
When any22 dies, that work is at an end;23                               25
Then to a new she doth her study bend.24