Similizing Birds to a Ship


Birds from the cedars tall do2 take a flight
On stretchèd wings, to bear their bodies light.
As ships do sail over the ocean wide,
So birds do3 sail, and through the air do4 glide.
Their bodies are5 the keel; feet, cable rope;6                             5
The head, the steersman7 which doth guide the poop.
Their wings, as sails, with wind are stretched out wide,
But hard it is8 to fly against the tide.
For when the clouds do flow9 against their breast,
They10 weary grow, and on a bough11 do12 rest.                      10

Similizing the Mind

The mind’s a merchant, trafficking about
The ocean of the brain to find2 opinions out.
Remembrance is the warehouse where are laid3
Goods, by imagination’s ships conveyed,4
Which every5 tradesman of belief still buys,                   5
Gaining by truth, but losing all6 by lies.
Thoughts, as the journeymen and prentice boys,
Do help to sort the wares and sell the toys.

A Prospect of a Church in the Mind

Once at imagination’s windows I,2
Standing, a prospect in the mind did spy,3
Shutting the ignorant eye as close may be,4
Because the eye of knowledge clear might see,5
Drawing a circle round of fine conceits,6                            5
Speeches extravagant contracting straight.7
The more I viewed, my eye the farther went,
Till understanding’s sight was almost spent.
An aisle of thoughts within a church I viewed;89
Filled full of fancy’s light to me it showed.10                      10
Pillars of judgments thick stood on a row,
And in this aisle Motion walked to and fro.
Fear, love, humility kneeled down to pray;
Desires begged11 of all that passed that way;
Poor doubts did shake as if they had some harm,12         15
Yet mantles of good hope did keep them warm.13
Generous14 Faith seemed bountiful and free;
She gave to all that asked her charity.
All sorts of sects15 in pulpits seemed to preach;
Fables for truth, no doubt, did many teach.16                    20
Not that I heard17 what their opinions were,
For prospect’s in the eye, not in the ear.18

A Landscape


Standing upon2 a hill of fancies high,
And viewing round3 with curiosities eye,
Under my thoughts saw4 several landscapes lie.5

Some champains6 of delights7 I saw,8 did feed
Pleasures, as wethers fat, and ewes to breed.                         5
And cows of probability, which went9
In hope’s green pastures, gave milk of content.10
Some fields, though plowed with care, unsowed did lie,
Wanting the fruitful seed of industry;11
In other fields, full crops of joys there growed,                      10
Where some ripe joys12 fruition down had mowed;13
Some blasted with ill accidents looked black,14
Others, blown down with sorrow strong, lay flat.1516

Then I enclosures viewed, which close did17 lie,
Hearts hedged about with thoughts of secrecy.                      15
Meadows of youth did pleasant show, and green;18
Innocency, as cowslips, grew therein.
Some ready with old age to cut for hay,
Some hay cocked high for Death to take away.
Clear rivulets of health ran here and there;                            20
No sign19 of sickness in them did appear;
No stones or gravel stopped their passage free,
No weeds of pain, or slimy gouts could see.
Woods did present my view on the left side,
With20 trees of high ambition and21 great pride.                   25
There shades of envy were made of dark spite,
Which did eclipse the fame of honor’s light.
Faults stood so close, that but few22 beams of praise
Could enter in; spite23 stopped up all the ways.
But leaves of prattling tongues, which ne’er lie still,24         30
Sometimes speak truth, although most lies they tell.25

Then did I26 a garden of27 beauty view,
Where sweet complexions,28 rose and lily,29 grew.
And on the banks of breasts most perfect there30
Did violets of azure veins appear;31                                          35
Lips of fresh gillyflowers grew up high,
Which oft the sun did kiss as he passed by;
Hands of narcissus showed most perfect white,32
Whose palms,33 fine tulips, were streaked with delight.34

Close by this gard’n35 a lovely orchard stood,                         40
Wherein grew36 fruit of pleasure rare and good.
All colored eyes grew there, as bullace gray,
And damsons black, which do taste best, some say.
Others there were of the pure bluest grape,
And pear-plum faces, of an oval shape,                                    45
And cheeks37 of apricots made red with heat,
And cherry lips, which most delight to eat.
When I had38 viewed this landscape round about,
I fell from39 fancy’s hill, and so wit’s40 sight went out.

Similizing Thoughts


Thoughts as a pen do write upon the brain.
The letters which wise thoughts do write, are plain.
Fools scribble, scrabble, and2 make many a blot,
Which makes them nonsense3 speak—they know not what.
Some4 thoughts, like pencils, draw still to the life,5                  5
And fancies mixed, as colors, give delight.
The sadder6 thoughts are for the7 shadows placed,
By which the lighter fancies are more graced.
Like as8 through dark9 and wat’ry clouds,10 more bright
The sun breaks forth with his resplendent light,                      10
Or like to11 night’s black mantle, where each star
Doth clearer seem, so lighter fancies are.
Some like to12 rainbows various colors show;
So round the brain fantastic fancies grow.

Similizing Navigation


The sea’s like deserts, which2 are wide and long,
Where ships as horses run, whose breath is strong.
The sternman holds the reins, thereby to guide
The sturdy steed on foamy seas to ride.
The wind’s his whip, to make3 it forward run,4                5
And on each5 side, as6 stirrups, serves a7 gun.
The sails, as saddles, spread upon the back;
The ropes, as girts, which in a storm will crack;
The pump, the breech, where excrements come out;
The needle, as the eye, guides it about.                               10

Similizing the Sea to Meadows and Pastures, the Mariners to Shepherds, the Mast to a Maypole, the Fish to Beasts


The waves like ridges of plowed land are2 high,
Whereat the ship3 oft stumbling4 down doth lie.
But in a calm, level as meadows seem,5
And by6 its saltness makes it look as green.
When ships thereon a slow, soft pace do7 walk,                   5
Then mariners, as shepherds, sing and talk.
Some whistle, and some on their pipes do play,
And thus with mirth they8 pass their time away.
And every mast is like a maypole high,
Round which they dance, though not so merrily                 10
As shepherds do when they their lasses bring
Garlands to maypoles,9 tied with silken string.10
Instead of garlands, they hang on their mast11
Huge sails, and ropes to tie these12 garlands fast;13
Instead of lasses they do dance with Death,                          15
And for their music they have Boreas’s breath;
Instead of wine and wassails, drink salt tears,
And for their meat they feed on nought but fears.
For flocks of sheep, great shoals of herrings swim;
The whales as ravenous wolves14 do feed on them.            20
As sportful kids skip over hillocks green,
So dancing dolphins on the waves are seen.
The porpoise, like their watchful dog, espies,
And gives them warning when great winds will rise.
Instead of barking, he his head doth15 show                         25
Above the waters when they roughly16 flow,
And like as men in time of show’ring rain17
And wind do not in open fields remain,18
But quickly run for shelter to a tree,19
So ships at anchor lie upon the sea.                                         30

Comparing Waves and a Ship to Rebellion


Thus the rough seas, which boist’rous2 winds enrage,
Assault a ship, and in fierce war engage.
Just3 like rude multitudes, whom4 factions swell
With5 rankled spleen, which makes them to6 rebel
Against their governor,7 thronging about,                           5
With hideous noise to throw his8 power out.
And if their power gets the upper hand,
They’ll9 make him sink, and then in triumph stand,
Foaming at mouth, as if great deeds they’d done,
When they were multitudes, and he but one.                     10
So seas do foam and froth about a ship,10
And both do11 strive which shall the better get.
But12 wisdom, like skilled mariners, through wide13
And gaping jaws of Death the ship doth guide,14
And to a haven safe will bring her in,15                               15
Although through many dangers she did swim.16

Similizing the Head of Man to the World


The head of man is like the world made round,
And2 all the elements are in it3 found.
The brain’s the4 earth from whence all plants do spring,
And from the womb it doth all creatures bring.
Forehead and nose are5 hills that6 do rise high,                       5
And7 overtop the dales that level lie.
The hair, like8 trees which long9 in length do grow,
And like their10 leaves, which11 wind waves12 to and fro.
Wit, like to several creatures, wild doth run13
On several subjects, which14 each other shun.15                      10
The blood, as seas, doth through the veins run round,
The sweat, as springs by which fresh water’s found.
As winds, which from the hollow caves do blow,
So through the mouth the winded breath doth go.
The eyes are like the sun, and do give16 light;                           15
When senses are asleep, it is dark night.
And17 after sleep half open are the eyes,
Like18 dawning light, when first the sun doth rise.
When they do drowsy grow, then sets the sun,19
And when the lids are shut it is quite gone.20                            20
When heavy they’re and dull, like mist it seems,21
Or a dark cloud which hides the sun’s bright beams,22
Which shows that there some23 shower of tears will fall,
Where cheeks, as flow’ry banks, grow moist24 withal.
As twinkling stars show in dark clouds most25 clear,              25
So fancies quick do in the brain appear.
Imaginations like the orbs move round,26
Whereof some27 quick, others are slower found.28
And29 solid thoughts, like30 the twelve signs, do prove,31
And round32 the zodiac of wisdom move,33                               30
Where they as constantly in wisdom run,
As in the line ecliptic doth the sun.

I to th’ecliptic34 line the head compare;
The illustrious35 wit, to36 the sun’s bright sphere.
The brain I liken to37 the solid Earth,                                          35
From whence all wisdom hath its life and birth,38
And39 as the Earth, so is the40 head’s round ball,
For it is41 crowned with orbs celestial42
And thus the43 head and world as one agree,
For Nature made44 the head a world to be.                                40