Comparing the Tongue to a Wheel

The tongue’s a wheel, to spin words from the mind,
A thread of sense by th’understanding’s twined;2
The lips, a loom, these words of sense to weave3
Into discourse, which to the ears they leave.4
This cloth i’th’chest of memory’s laid up,5                           5
Till into shirts of judgments it6 be cut.

Similizing the Brain to a Garden

The brain a garden seems, full of delight,2
Whereon3 the sun of knowledge shineth bright,
Where fancy flows, and runs in bubbling streams,
Where flowers grow4 upon the banks of dreams,
Whereon the dew of sleepy eyes doth fall,                            5
Bathing each leaf, and every flower small.
There5 various thoughts as several flowers grow:
Some milk-white innocence, as6 lilies, show,
Fancies, as painted tulips’7 colors fixt,
By Nature’s pencil neatly8 intermixt;                                      10
Some as sweet roses, which are newly blown,
Others as tender buds, not yet full9 grown;
Some, as small violets, much10 sweetness bring.
Thus many fancies from the brain still spring.
Their wit, as butterflies, hot love11 do make,                        15
On every flower fine their pleasure take,12
Dancing13 about each leaf in pleasant sort,
Passing14 their time away in amorous sport.
Like Cupids young, their painted wings display,
And with Apollo’s golden beams do15 play.                            20
Industrious pains16, as17 bees, suck out the sweet,
Wax of invention gather18 with their feet.
Then on the19 wings of fame fly to their hive,
Which from the wint’r of20 death keeps them alive.
There birds of poetry sweet notes still sing,                          25
Which through the world, as through the air, do21 ring,
And on the branches of delight they22 sit,
Pruning their wings, which are with study wet,
Then to the cedars of high honor fly,
Yet rest not there, but mount up to the sky.                           30

Similizing the Heart to a Harp, the Head to an Organ, the Tongue to a Lute, to make a Consort of Music


The heart unto2 a harp compare I may,
The passions,3 strings on which the mind doth play.
’Tis4 harmony, when they just time do keep;
With notes of peace they bring the soul to sleep.

The head unto an organ I compare,                                         5
The thoughts, as several pipes, make music there.
Imagination’s bellows drawn, do5 blow
Windy opinions, which the thoughts make6 go.
The little virg’nal7 jacks which skip about
Are several fancies that run in and out.                                  10

The tongue’s a lute, strung with the strings of breath.8
The words as fingers play; the pegs are teeth.9
These moving all, a sweet soft music make,
Wise sentences the ground10 of music take.
Witty light airs are pleasant to the ear;                                    15
Strains of description all delight11 to hear.
In similizing quavers12 lies great art,
Flour’shes13 of eloquence are a14 sweet part.
Stops of reproof are usèd with great15 skill;
Flatt’ring division doth the mind please16 still.                      20
The thoughts are several tunes, which they do17 play,
And thus the mind doth pass its time away.

Similizing the Winds to Music

No music’s better than the winds do2 make,
If all their several notes right places take:
The full, the half, the quarter-note they3 set;
The tenor, bass, and treble there are met.4
The northern wind a strong big bass5 doth sing;               5
The east is sweet, like a6 small treble string;
The south and west the tenor’s parts do take,7
And so, all joined, a fine sweet consort make.8
All that this music meets, it moves to dance,
If bodies yielding be with compliance.9                               10
The clouds do dance in circle, hand in hand,
Where in10 the midst11 the worldly ball doth stand.
The seas do dance with ships upon their back,
Where, cap’ring12 high, they many times do wrack,
As men which venture on the ropes to dance                     15
Oft tumble down, if they too high advance.
But dust,13 like country clowns, no measure keep,
But rudely run14 together on a heap.
Trees grave and civil first bow down15 their head
Towards the Earth, then every leaf outspread,16                20
And every twig each other will salute;
Embracing oft, they17 kiss each other’s root.
And so each other plant and flower18 gay
Will sweetly dance when as19 the winds do play.
But when they’re out of tune, they discord make,              25
Disorder all—nothing its20 place can take.
But when Apollo with his beams21 doth play,
He22 places all again in the right way.

Of a Picture Hung in Nature’s House


A painter who would2 draw the firmament
Did with a round plump face the same3 present.
His pencils were the beams shot from fair eyes,
Where some of them he in red blushes dyes,
Which as the morning, when the heaven’s4 clear,              5
Shows5 just so red before the sun appear.
The veins he draws for a blue azure6 sky,
And for the sun, a great and fair7 grey eye.
The rainbow like a brow he pencils8 out,
Which circles half a weeping eye about.                               10
From pure pale complexions, takes9 a white,
Mixed with a count’nance10 sad, he shades the11 night.
Thus Heav’n he doth with such12 a face present,
That13 is adorned with beauty excellent.

Nature’s Exercise and Pastime

Great Nature doth by1 variations live,2
For she to none a constant course doth give.3
We find in change she swiftly runs about,
To keep her health and get4 long life (no doubt).
And we are only food for Nature fine,5                                   5
Our flesh her meat, our blood is her strong wine.6
The trees and herbs, fruits, roots, and flowers sweet,
Are but her salads, or such cooling meat.
The sea’s her bath to wash and cleanse her in
When weary she hath on a7 journey been.                            10
The sun’s her fire, which8 serves her many ways,
His lights9 her looking-glass, and beauties10 praise.
The winds,11 her horses, pace as she doth12 please,
The clouds her chariot where she sits with13 ease.
The Earth’s her ball, which she oft14 trundles round;         15
She in this15 exercise much good hath found.
Night is her bed, her rest therein to take;
Silence doth watch16 lest noise might her awake.
The spheres her music, and the Milky Way
Is where she dances whilst those spheres do play.              20

Nature’s City

Nature did of great rocks and mountains build1
A city, with all sorts of creatures filled.2
The citizens are worms, which seldom stir,3
But sit within their shops and sell their ware.
The moles are magistrates, who undermine4                       5
Each one’s estate, that they their wealth may find,5
And with6 extortions they7 high houses make,8
Called mole-hills, wherein they pleasure take.9
The lazy dormouse in her house10 doth keep—
The gentry, which doth11 eat, and drink, and sleep—         10
Unless it be to hunt about for nuts,
Wherein the sport is still to fill their guts.
The peasant ants with their industrious feet12
Provisions get, made by hard labors sweet.13
They dig, they draw, they plow, and reap with care,           15
And what they get they to their barns do bear.
But after all their husbandry and pains,
Extortion comes and eats up all their gains.
All sorts of bugs, as several merchants, do14
In all things trade, and each place travel to.15                      20
But vapors, they are artisans with skill,
And make strong winds to send which way they will.
They do round balls of wildfire make16 to run,
Which spreads about17 when that round form’s undone.
This is the city which great Nature makes,                            25
And in this city she great18 pleasure takes.

Nature’s Market

In Nature’s market you may all things find,
Of several sorts and of each several1 kind:
Carts of sickness bring pains and weakness in;
Of surfeits many baskets full are seen;2
Fruits of green sickness there are to be sold,              5
And colic herbs, which are both hot and cold;
Lemons of sharp pain; sour orange sores,3
Besides those things, within this market store.4

Of Two Hearts


There were two hearts an hundred acres wide,
Hedged round about,2 and ditched on every side.
The one was very rich and fertile ground,
The other barren, where small good was found.

In pasture,3 grass of virtue grew up high,                         5
Where noble thoughts did feed continually.
Some grew like horses, nimble, strong, and4 large,
Fit for the manage, or in war to charge.
Others, like kine, did5 give the milk of wit,
And cream of wisdom for grave counsels fit.                   10
The sheep of patience had wool6 thick and long
Upon their backs and sides, to keep out wrong.
Rich meadows, where the hay of faith doth7 grow,
Which with the scythes of reason down we8 mow;
Devotion9 stacked it up on haycocks high,                        15
Lest in the wint’r of10 death the soul should die.

The barren ground nothing but weeds did bear.11
No fruit, no corn, no seed that’s good grew there,12
But sour rye of ill nature up did spring,13
Which doth the colic of displeasure bring,14                     20
And cruel hempseed, hanging ropes to make,
And treacherous linseed, little birds15 to take,
And many such like seeds this ground doth bear,16
As coal black brank, and melancholy tare.
Nay, some parts so insipid were, and17 dry,                       25
That neither furse nor ling would18 grow, but die.
The rich ground, by19 good education plowed,
Deep furrows of discretion had20 allowed,
And several sorts of seeds about did sow,21
Where crops of actions good in full ears22 grow:             30
First,23 wheat of charity, a fruitful seed—
It makes24 the bread of life the poor to feed—
Barley, whose spirits strong do25 courage make,
For he that drinks them26 no affront will take;
And hospitable pease27 firm friendship breeds;28           35
And grateful oats, restoring still good deeds.29
This corn by fame’s sharp scythe is reaped30 and cut,
And into large great barns of honor put.
Where Truth doth thresh it out from gross abuse,
And31 Honesty doth grind it fit for use.                              40

Similizing the Clouds to Horses


The airy clouds do swiftly run a race,
Each other following as2 in a chase.
Like horses, some are sprightful, nimbl’and3 fleet,
Others swelled big with wat’ry spavined feet.
Some4 lag behind, as tired in5 midway,                                     5
And some,6 like resty jades, stock-still will stay.
They all of7 several shapes and colors be,
Of several tempers, seldom well agree.
And as those horses which are8 highly fed
Do proudly snort—their eyes look fiery red—                         10
So clouds exhaled, fed by the hot sun,9
With sulphur and saltpetre fierce become,10
Flash out fire when they on each other light,11
And with those flames the12 world with terror fright;
Meeting each other,13 they encounters make,                          15
And do with strong assaults each other14 break,
Falling upon each other’s head and back,
Ne’er parted are, but by a15 thunder crack.16
Then pouring down some show’rs of rain they do17
Strong gusts of wind with their long breath out blow.18        20
Then Boreas whips19 them up, and makes them run
Till all their breath is spent, and spirits20 gone.
Apollo breaks and backs them fit to ride,
Bridling with his hot beams their strengths21 to guide;
He22 gives them heats until they foam and sweat,                   25
Then23 wipes them dry, lest they a cold should get,
Leads them into the middle-region stable,
Where are all sorts: dull, quick, weak, and24 able.
But when they loose do get, having no fears,
They fall together all out25 by the ears.                                      30