Fame’s Library within the Temple


In Fame’s great library are records2 placed;
What act’s not there, into oblivion’s3 cast.
There stand the shelves4 of time, where books do lie,
Which books are tied by chains of destiny.
The master of this place they Favor call,                               5
Where Care, the door-keeper, doth lock up all,
Yet not so fast, but Brib’ry in doth steal,5
Cozenage, Partiality—and truth not reveal.6
But bribery through all the world takes7 place,
And off’rings,8 as a bribe, in heaven find9 grace.              10
Then let not men disdain a bribe to take,
Since gods do blessings10 give for a bribe’s sake.

The Fairy Queen’s Kingdom


The Fairy Queen’s large kingdom, got by birth,
Is in the midst and2 center of the Earth,
Where there are many springs and running streams,
Whose waves do glister by the Queen’s bright beams,
Which makes them murmur as they pass away,                       5
Because by running round they cannot stay.
For3 they do ever move, and,4 like the sun,
Do constantly in circulation5 run,6
And as the sun gives heat to make things spring,
So water moisture gives to7 everything.                                   10
Thus8 these two elements give life to all,
Creating everything on th’Earth’s9 round ball.
And all along this liquid source doth flow,10
Stand myrtle trees, and banks where flowers grow.11
’Tis true, there are no birds to sing sweet notes,                     15
But there are winds that whistle like birds’12 throats,
Whose sounds and notes, by variation, oft
Make better music then the spheres aloft.
Nor is there any beast13 of cruel nature,
But a slow, crawling14 worm, a gentle creature,                     20
Who fears no hungry birds15 to pick him16 out,
But safely grasps17 the tender twigs about.
There mountains are of pure refinèd gold,
And rocks of diamonds, perfect to behold,
Whose brightness is a sun to all about,                                     25
Which glory makes Apollo’s beams keep out.
Quarries18 of rubies, sapphires there are store,
Crystals, and amethysts, and19 many more;
There polished pillars nat’rally20 appear,
Where twining vines are clustered all the year.                     30
The axle-tree whereon the Earth turns round
Is one great diamond, by opinion found.
And the two ends, which we do call21 the poles,
Are pointed diamonds, turning in two holes,22
Which holes are rings of pure refinèd gold,23                         35
And all the weight of that vast world uphold,24
Which makes the sun so seldom there appear,
For fear those rings should melt, if he came near.
And like25 a wheel the elements are found,
In even lays, and many26 turnings round.                                40
First, fire is in the27 circle, as the spoke,
And then comes water; air is but28 the smoke
Begot of both, for fire doth water boil,
And causes clouds and29 smoke, which is the oil.
This smoky child sometimes is good, then bad,                       45
According to the nourishment it had.
The outward circle as the earth suppose,
Which is the surface where all plenty grows.30
Yet31 Earth is not the cause of its self-turning,32
But fire within; nor is there33 fear of burning                         50
The axle-tree, for that grows hard with heat,
And by its quickness turns the wheel, though great,
Unless its outward weight do press it34 down,
Raising the bottom,35 bowing down the crown.
But36 why this while am I so long of proving,                          55
Only37 to show how this Earth still is moving?
And the heavens, as wheels, do turn38 likewise,
As we do daily see before39 our eyes.
Thus is made good the proverb, which doth say40
That all the world on wheels doth run its way.41                    60
And by this42 turn such blasts of wind do blow,
As we may think they do like windmills43 go.
But winds are made by Vulcan’s bellows sure,
Which makes the Earth such colics to endure,
For he, a smith, sits44 at the forge below,                                  65
And is ordained45 the center-fire to blow.
But Venus laughs to think what horns he wears,
Though on his shoulders half the Earth he bears.
Nature her metal makes him hammer46 out,
Which she doth send47 through mines the world about,      70
For he’s th’old man that doth i’th’center dwell,
She Proserpine, that’s thought the queen of hell.
Thus48 Venus is a tinker’s wife, we see,
Not a goddess, as she was thought to be
When all the world to her did off’rings49 bring,                     75
And her high praise in prose and verse did50 sing,
And priests in orders on her altars tend,
And to her image all wise heads did51 bend.
But O vain ways, that mortal52 men did go
To worship gods, which themselves did53 not know!            80
’Tis true, her son’s a pretty lad, and he54
Doth wait as footboy on Queen Mab, whom she55
Makes to enkindle fires, and set56 up lights,
And keeps57 the door for all the carpet-knights,58
For when the queen is gone to bed asleep,59                           85
Then a great60 revel-rout the court doth keep.
Yet heretofore men did so strive61 to prove
That Cupid was the only god62 of love.
But if men could but63 to the center go,
They soon would see that it were nothing so.                          90

Here Nature nurses, and doth send in64 season
All things abroad, as she herself thinks65 reason;
When she commands, all things do her obey,
Unless66 her countermand some things do stay.
For she stays life, when drugs are well applied,67                  95
And68 healing balms to deadly wounds beside.69
There Mab is queen of all by Nature’s will,
And by her favor she doth govern still.
O happy70 Mab, that is in Nature’s grace,
For she is always young,71 being in this place.                        100
But leaving her,72 let’s go and see73 the sport
That’s acted in the Queen of Fairy’s74 court,75

The Pastime and Recreation of the Queen of Fairies in Fairyland, the Center of the Earth

Where this Queen1 Mab, and all her fairy fry2
Are dancing3 on a pleasant molehill high
To4 small straw pipes, wherein great5 pleasure
They take, and6 keep just time and measure.
All hand in hand, around, around,7                              5
They dance upon this fairy ground.
And when she leaves her dancing ball,8
She doth for her attendants call9
To wait upon her to10 a bower,
Where she doth sit under a flower                              10
To shade her from the moonshine bright,
Where gnats do sing for her delight.
Some high, some low, some middle11 strain,
Making a consort very plain,
The whilst the bat doth fly about                                 15
To keep in order all the rout,
And with her wings doth soundly pay12
Those that make noise and not obey.13
She on a dewy leaf doth bathe,14
And as she sits, the leaf doth wave.15                          20
There, like a new-fallen flake of snow,16
Doth her white limbs in beauty show.17
Her garments fair her maids put on,18
Made of the pure light from the sun,
From whence such colors she inshades19                  25
In every object she invades.20
Then to her dinner she goes straight,
Where all fairies21 in order wait,
And on a mushroom there is spread22
A cover fine of spider’s web.23                                      30
Her stool is of24 a thistle-down,
And for her cup, an acorn’s crown,
Which of strong nectar full25 is filled,
That from sweet flowers is distilled.
Flies of all sorts, both fat and good,                             35
As quails, snipes, partridge are26 her food,
Pheasants, larks, cocks, or27 any kind,
Both wild and tame, you there may28 find,
And omelets29 made of ants’ eggs new;
Of these high meats she eats but few.                          40
Her milk comes from the dormouse udder,30
Making fresh cheese, cream, and butter;31
This milk makes32 many a fine knack,
When they fresh ants’ eggs therein crack.
Pudding and custard,33 and seed-cake                        45
Her well-skilled34 cook knows how to make.
To sweeten them, the bee doth bring
Pure honey, gathered by her sting.
But for her guard serves35 grosser meat;
On stall-fed dormice36 they do eat.                               50
When dined, she calls37 to take the air
In coach, which is a nutshell fair;
The lining’s soft38 and rich within,
Made of a glistering adder’s skin.
And there, six crickets draw her fast,                          55
When39 she a journey takes in haste,
Or else two serve40 to pace a round,
And trample on the fairy ground.
In hawks41 sometimes she takes delight,
Which hornets are, most42 swift in43 flight,               60
Whose horns instead of talons will44
A fly, as hawks a partridge, kill.45
But if she will a-hunting go,
Then she the lizard makes the doe,
Which is46 so swift and fleet in chase                         65
As her slow coach cannot keep47 pace;
Then on grasshopper doth she48 ride,
And gallop in the49 forest wide.
Her bow is of a willow branch,
To shoot the lizard on the haunch;                              70
Her arrow sharp, much like a blade,
Of a rosemary leaf is made.
Then home she’s callèd by the cock,
Who gives her warning what’s o’clock,50
And when the moon doth hide her head,                   75
Their day is done; she goes51 to bed.
Meteors do serve, when they are bright,
As torches do, to give her light.
Glow-worms, for candles lighted up,52
Stand on her table while she53 sup,                             80
And in her chamber they are placed,
Not fearing how the tallow waste.
But women, that inconstant kind,54
Can ne’er fix in one place55 their mind.
For she, impatient of long stay,56                                  85
Drives to the upper Earth away.57

The Pastime of the Queen of Fairies, when She Comes upon the Earth out of the Center

This lovely sweet and beauteous Fairy Queen
Begins to rise when Hesperus1 is seen,
For she is kin unto the god of night,
Unto2 Diana, and the stars so bright,
And so to all the rest in some degrees,                                   5
Yet not so near relation as to these.
As for Apollo, she disclaims him quite,
And swears she ne’er will come within his light,
For they fell out about some foolish toy,
Where ever since in him she takes no joy.                           10
She says3 he always doth more harm than good,
If but4 his malice were well5 understood,
For he brings dearths by parching up the ground,
And sucks up water, that none can be found.
He makes poor men6 in fev’rish plagues to lie;                   15
His arrows hot make men7 and beasts to8 die.
So that to him she never will come near,
But hates to see when that9 his beams appear.
This makes the cock her notice give,10 they say,
That when he rises, she may go her way,                             20
And makes the owl her favorite to be,
Because Apollo’s face she hates to see.
For owls do sleep all day, and11 in the night
They shout and hollo12 that they’re out of sight.
So doth13 the glow-worm all day hide her14 head,             25
But lights her15 taper-tail, when he’s abed,
To wait upon the fairest Fairy Queen
Whilst she is sporting on the meadow green.16
Her pastime only is, when she’s on Earth,
To pinch the sluts, which make Hobgoblin mirth,             30
Or changes children while the nurses sleep,
Making the father rich, whose child they keep.
This Hobgoblin’s17 the Queen of Fairy’s fool,
Turning himself to horse, cow, tree, or stool,
Or anything to cross by harmless play,                                 35
As to lead18 travelers out of their way,
Or kick down pails of milk, cause cheese not19 turn,
Or hinder butter’s coming20 in the churn,
Which makes the farmer’s wife to scold and fret
That she can neither cheese nor butter21 get,                     40
And then he doth hold up, as they do22 say,
Hens’ rumps, lest they their eggs too fast should23 lay.
The good wife, sad, squats down upon a stool,24
Not at all thinking it was Hob the fool,25
And26 frowning sits; then Hob gives her a27 slip,               45
And down she falls, whereby she hurts her hip.
Thus many pranks doth Hob play28 on our stage,
With his companion Tom Thumb,29 the queen’s page,
Who doth like piece of fat in pudding lie,
And30 almost chokes the eater, going awry.                        50
And when he’s down the guts, he31 wind blows out,
Putting the standers-by into a rout,
Thus32 shames the eater with a foul disgrace,
That never after dare he33 show his face.
Besides, in many places puts himself,                                  55
In bags and budgets, as34 a little elf,
To make his bearers start away with fear
To think that anything35 alive is36 there.
In this the Queen of Fairies takes delight,
In summer’s even, and in winter’s night,                            60
And when as37 she is weary of these plays,
She takes her coach and goeth38 on her ways
Unto her paradise, the center deep,
Where she the storehouse doth of Nature keep.39

The Palace of the Fairy Queen


The stately palace in which the Queen2 dwells,
Its fabric’s built all3 of hodmandod shells.
The hangings, of a rainbow made4 that’s thin,
Show5 wondrous fine when one first enters6 in.
The chambers, made7 of amber that is8 clear,                        5
Do give a fine9 sweet smell, if fire be near.
Her bed, a cherry-stone, is carved10 throughout,
And with a butterfly’s wing hung about;
Her sheets are made of a dove’s eyes’ skin,11
Her pillow a violet bud laid therein.12                                    10
The doors13 are cut all of14 transparent glass,
Where the queen may be seen when15 she doth pass;
These16 doors are locked up17 fast with silver pins,
And when she goes to sleep,18 our day begins.
Her time in pleasure she doth pass19 away,                           15
And will20 do so until the world’s last day.

The Windy Giants

The four chief winds are giants, long1 in length,
And as broad2 set, and wondrous great in strength.
Their heads are more (as it doth clear3 appear)
Than all4 the months or seasons of the year.
Nay, some say more than all the days and5 nights,                    5
And some, they’re numberless and infinite.6

The first four heads are largest of them all;
The twelve are next, the thirty two but small,
The rest so little, and their breath so weak,
Their mouths so narrow that they hardly7 speak.                    10
These giants are so lustful and so wild,
As they by force do8 get the Earth with child,
And big she swells until the time of birth:9
Her bowels stretched, high bellied is the earth.10
Then doth she groan with grievous pains,11 and shake,          15
Until she’s brought abed with her12 earthquake.
This child of wind doth ruin all it13 meets,
Rends14 rocks and mountains like to paper sheets;
It swallows cities, and the heav’ns15 doth tear;
It threatens Jove, and makes the gods to fear.                            20

The North Wind’s cold; his nerves are16 dry and strong;
He pulls up oaks, and17 lays them all along.
In icy fetters he18 binds rivers fast,
Imprisons fishes in the19 ocean vast,
Plows up the seas, and hail for seed in flings,                             25
Whence20 crops of overflows the tide in brings.
He drives the clouds in troops, which21 makes them run,
And blows as if he would put out22 the sun.

The Southern Wind, who is as fierce as he,
And to the Sun as great an enemy,                                               30
Doth raise23 an army of thick clouds and mists,
With which he24 thinks to do just as he lists,
Flinging25 up waters to quench out his light,
And26 in his face, black clouds to hide his sight.
But the bright27 Sun cannot endure this scorn,                         35
And28 doth them all in showers of rain29 return.

The Western Wind, without ambitious ends,
Doth what he can to join and make them friends,
For he is of a nature sweet and mild,
And not so headstrong, rough, nor rude, nor30 wild.               40
He’s soft to touch, and pleasant to the31 ear—
His voice sounds sweet and small, and very clear—
And makes hot love to young fresh buds that spring;32
They give him sweets, which he through th’air doth fling,33
Not through34 dislike, but for to make them known,35            45
As pictures are for beauteous faces shown.36

But O, the Eastern Wind is37 full of spite,
Diseases brings, which cruelly do bite;
He blasts young buds, and corn within the blade,38
He rots the sheep; to men he brings the plague.39                    50
Nay, he’s of such ill nature, that he would40
Destroy the world with poison, if he could.41

Of the Sun and the Earth

The sweat of th’Earth through porous holes1 doth pass,
Which2 is the dew that lies upon the grass,
Which3 (like a lover kind) the Sun wipes clean,
That her fair face may to the light be seen.
This water for her sake he so4 esteems,                                         5
That all the5 drops upon his silver beams
He threads, like ropes of pearls, which6 to his sphere
He draws and turns7 to crystal, when they’re there.
Yet,what he gathers, he cannot8 keep all,
But of those drops, some down again9 do fall,                            10
And then, when they upon her head do10 run,
He clouds his brows, as if he ill had11 done.
For12 lovers think they always do amiss,
Although those showers13 her refreshment is.
When she by sweat exhausted grows, and dry,                          15
Then doth the Sun moist clouds squeeze in the14 sky,
Or else he takes some of his sharpest beams
And breaks15 the clouds, from whence pour crystal streams.
Then th’Earth drinks too much, yet never reels16
Nor dizzy grows, although she sickness feels.17                         20

Of a Garden

The garden, which1 some Paradise do call,
Is placed just under2 th’equinoctial.
Echoes there are most artificial made,
And cooling grottoes, from the heat to shade.
The azure sky is always bright and clear;                                5
No gross thick vapors in the clouds appear.
There many stars do comfort the sad night;
The fixed do twinkl’and3 with the rest give light.
No noise is heard, but what the ear delights;
No fruits are there, but what the taste invites.                      10
Up through the nose bruised flowers fume4 the brain,
As honeydew in balmy showers5 rain.
Various colors, by Nature intermixed,
Divert the eyes so, as none can be fixed.6
Here atoms small on sunbeams dance all day,                      15
While Zephyrus sweet doth on the air7 play,
Which music from Apollo bears the praise,
And Orpheus at its8 sound his harp down lays.
Apollo yields, and not contends with spite,
Presenting Zephyrus with twelve hours9 light.                     20
The10 night, though sad, in quiet pleasure takes,
With silence listens11 when he music makes,
And when the day doth come, she’s grievèd so,12
That she cannot hear Zeph’rus longer13 blow,
And with her mantle black herself enshrouds,                     25
Which is embroidered all of stars in clouds.
Here are intermixing walks14 of pleasure,
Of grass, and sand, broad, short, and of all15 measure,
Some shaded for a16 lover’s musing thought,
When his mind is with love’s idea17 fraught.                         30
The walks all18 firm and hard as marble are,
Yet soft as down by grass that groweth there,
Where daisies grow as mushrooms in a night,
Mixed yellow, white, and19 green to please the sight.
At dawning day, the dew all overspreads20                            35
In little drops upon those daisies’ heads;21
As thick as stars are set in heaven high,22
So daisies on the earth as close do lie.
Here emerald banks are,23 whence fine flowers spring,
Whose scents and colors various pleasures24 bring:            40
Primroses, cowslips, violets, daffodillies,25
Roses, honeysuckles,26 and white lillies,
Wall-flowers, pinks, and marigolds besides,27
Grow on the banks28 enriched with Nature’s pride.
On other banks grow simples, which are good                      45
For med’cines,29 well applied and understood.
There trees do grow, that30 proper are, and tall,
Whose bark is31 smooth, and bodies sound withal,
Whose spreading tops are full, and ever green,
As Nazarites’ heads, where razors have32 not been,             50
And curlèd leaves, which bowing branches bear,
By warmth are fed, for winter ne’er comes there.
There fruits so pleasing33 to the taste do grow
That34 with delight the sense they35 overflow,
And archèd arbors, where sweet birds do sing,                     55
Whose hollow rooves do make each echo ring.
Prospects, which trees and clouds by mixing show,36
Joined by the eye, one perfect piece do grow.37
Here fountains are, where trilling38 drops down run,
Which twinkle as the stars, or as the39 sun,                            60
And through each several spout such noise it makes,40
As bird in spring when he his pleasure takes:41
Some chirping sparrow, and the singing lark,
Or quavering nightingale in evening dark,
The42 whistling blackbird, with the pleasant thrush,           65
Linnet, bullfinch, which sing in every bush.
No weeds are here, nor withered leaves, and dry,
But ever green and pleasant to the eye;
No frost to nip the tender buds in birth,43
Nor winter snow to fall on this sweet earth.                          70
The beauty of the spring here ne’er doth waste,44
Because ’tis just under th’equator placed.45
The day and night by turns keep equal46 watch,
That thievish time should nothing from them catch.
And every Muse a several walk enjoys,                                   75
The sad delights in47 shades; the light employs48
Her time in sports; satyrs49 in corners lurk,
And as their gard’ners with great pains50 do work:
They cut, graft, set, and sow, all with much skill,51
And gather fruits and flow’rs when th’Muses will,52           80
And nymphs, as handmaids, their attendance give,
For which, by fame the Muses make them53 live.

Of an Oak in a Grove

A shady grove, where trees1 in equal space
Did grow, seemed like2 a consecrated place.
Through spreading boughs the3 quivering light broke in,
Much like to glass or crystal shivered thin;
Those pieces small4 on a green carpet strewed,                        5
So in this wood the light all broken showed.
Yet5 this disturbèd light the grove did grace,
As sadness doth a fair and beauteous face.
And in the midst an ancient oak stood there,
Which heretofore did many offerings bear,6                            10
Whose branches all were hung with relics round,7
To show how many men the gods made sound,8
And for reward,9 long life the gods did give
Unto this oak, that he should aged10 live.
His younger years, when acorns he did bear,                           15
No dandruff moss, but fresh11 green leaves grew there,
Which curled hung down12 his shoulders, broad they spread;
His crown was thick, and bushy was his head,
His stature tall, full breasted, broad, and big,
His body round, and straight was every twig.                           20
But youth and beauty, which are shadows thin,
Do fade away as if they ne’er had been.
For all his fresh green leaves, and smooth moist rine13
Are quite worn off, and now grown bald with time,14
Whereas before, his arms fought with the wind,15                  25
And his bark did, like skin, his body bind.16
Where he all times and seasons firm could17 stand,
And ’gainst all blust’ring storms his face did bend,18
Yet now so weak and feeble he19 doth grow,
That every blast is apt him down to throw.                               30
His branches all are seared, his bark grown gray,
Most of his rine with time is peeled away.
The liquid sap, which from the root did spring,20
And to each thirsty bough its food did bring,21
Is all drunk up; there is no moisture left;                                  35
The root is rotten, and the body22 cleft.
Thus time doth ruin, brings23 all to decay,
Though to the gods we24 still devoutly pray.
For this old oak was sacred to high25 Jove,
Which was the king of all the gods above.                                 40
But gods, when they created all at first,26
They did ordain all should return27 to dust.