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The original text, printed in 1592, did not number the pages consecutively. Instead it labeled the recto (odd, right-hand) pages of the first three leaves of each signature: pages 1, 3, 5 in each group of eight. These will appear in the right margin as A, A2, A3... Page numbers that were not marked are shown in brackets as [A3v], [A4], [A4v]....
T seemes to mee strange, and a thing much to be marueiled, that the laborer to repose himselfe hasteneth as it were the course of the Sunne: that the Mariner rowes with all force to attayne the porte, and with a ioyfull crye salutes the descryed land: that the traueiler is neuer quiet nor content till he be at the ende of his voyage: and that wee in the meane while tied in this world to a perpetuall taske, tossed with continuall tempest, tyred with a rough and combersome way, cannot yet see the ende of our labour but with griefe, nor behold our porte but with teares, nor approch our home and quiet abode but with horrour and trembling. This life is but a Penelopes web, wherein we are alwayes doing and vndoing: a sea open to all windes, which sometime within, sometime without neuer cease to torment vs: a weary iorney through extreame heates, and coldes, ouer high mountaynes, steepe rockes, and theeuish deserts. And so we terme it in weauing at this web, in rowing at this oare, in passing [A2v] this miserable way. Yet loe when death comes to ende our worke, when she stretcheth out her armes to pull vs into the porte, when after so many dangerous passages, and lothsome lodgings she would conduct vs to our true home and resting place: in steede of reioycing at the ende of our labour, of taking comfort at the sight of our land, of singing at the approch of our happie mansion, we would faine, (who would beleeue it?) retake our worke in hand, we would againe hoise saile to the winde, and willinglie vndertake our iourney anew. No more then remember we our paines, our shipwracks and dangers are forgotten: we feare no more the trauailes nor the theeues. Contrarywise, we apprehende death as an extreame payne, we doubt it as a rocke, we flye it as a theefe. We doe as litle children, who all the day complayne, and when the medicine is brought them, are no longer sicke: as they who all the weeke long runne vp and downe the streetes with payne of the teeth, and seeing the Barber comming to pull them out, feele no more payne: as those tender and delicate bodyes, who in a pricking pleurisie complaine, crie out, and cannot stay for a Surgion, and when they see him whetting his Launcet to cut the throate of the disease, pull in their armes, and hide them in the bed, as, if he were come to kill them. We feare more the cure then the disease, the surgion then the paine, the stroke then the impostume. We haue more sence of the medicins bitternes soone gone, then of a bitter languishing long continued: more feeling of death the end of our miseries, then the endlesse misery of our life. And whence proceedeth this folly and simplicitie? we neyther knowe life, nor death. We feare that we ought to hope for, and wish for that we ought to feare. We call life a continuall death: and death the issue of a liuing death, and the entrance of a neuer dying life. Now what good, I pray you, is there in life, that we should A3 so much pursue it? or what euill is there in death, that we should so much eschue it? Nay what euill is there not in life? and what good is there not in death? Consider all the periods of this life. We enter it in teares; we passe it in sweate, we ende it in sorow. Great and litle, ritch and poore, not one in the whole world, that can pleade immunitie from this condition. Man in this point worse then all other creatures, is borne vnable to support himselfe: neither receyuing in his first yeeres any pleasure, nor giuing to others but annoy and displeasure, and before the age of discretion passing infinite dangers. Only herein lesse vnhappy then in other ages, that he hath no sence nor apprehension of his vnhappines. Now is there any so weake minded, that if it were graunted him to liue alwayes a childe, would make accompt of such a life? So then it is euident that not simplie to liue is a good, but well and happilie to liue. But proceede. Growes he? with him growe his trauailes. Scarcely is he come out of his nurses hands, scarcely knowes he what it is to play, but he falleth into the subiection of some Schoolemaister: I speake but of those which are best and most precisely brought vp. Studies he? it is euer with repining. Playes he? neuer but with feare. This whole age while he is vnder the charge of an other, is vnto him but as a prison. He only thinks, and only aspires to that time when freed from the mastership of another, he may become maister of himselfe: pushing onward (as much as in him lies) his age with his shoulder, that soone he may enioy his hoped libertie. In short, he desires nothing more then the ende of this base age, and the beginning of his youth. And what else I pray you is the beginning of youth, but the death of infancy? the beginning of manhood, but the death of youth? the beginning of to morow, but the death of to day? In this sort then desires he his death, and iudgeth his life miserable: and so [A3v] cannot be reputed in any happines or contentment. Behold him now, according to his wish, at libertie: in that age, wherein Hercules had the choise, to take the way of vertue or of vice, reason or passion for his guide, and of these two must take one. His passion entertains him with a thousand delights, prepares for him a thousand baites, presents him with a thousand worldly pleasures to surprize him: and fewe there are that are not beguiled. But at the reconings ende what pleasures are they? pleasures full of vice which hold him still in a restles feauer: pleasures subiect to repentance, like sweete meates of hard disgestion: pleasures bought with paine and perill, spent and past in a moment, and followed with a long and lothsome remorse of conscience. And this is the very nature (if they be well examined) of all the pleasures of this world. There is in none so much sweetenes, but there is more bitternes: none so pleasant to the mouth, but leaues an vnsauery after taste and lothsome disdaine: none (which is worse) so moderated but hath his corosiue, and caries his punishment in it selfe. I will not heere speake of the displeasures confessed by all, as quarells, debates, woundes, murthers, banishments, sicknes, perils, whereinto sometimes the incontinencie, sometimes the insolencie of this ill guided age conductes him. But if those that seem pleasures, be nothing else but displeasures: if the sweetnes thereof be as an infusion of wormewood: it is plaine enough what the displeasure is they feele, and how great the bitternes that they taste. Behold in summe the life of a yong man, who rid of the gouernment of his parents and maisters, abandons himselfe to all libertie or rather bondage of his passion: which right like an vncleane spirit possessing him, casts him now into the water, now into the fire: sometimes caries him cleane ouer a rocke, and sometime flings him headlong to the bottome. Now if he take and followe [A4] reason for his guide, beholde on the other part wonderfull difficulties: he must resolue to fight in euery part of the field: at euery step to be in conflict, and at handstrokes, as hauing his enemy in front, in flanke, and on the reareward, neuer leauing to assaile him. And what enemy? all that can delight him, all that he sees neere, or farre off: briefly the greatest enemy of the world, the world it selfe. But which is worse, a thousand treacherous and dangerous intelligences among his owne forces, and his passion within himselfe desperate: which in that age growne to the highest, awaits but time, houre, and occasion to surprize him, and cast him into all viciousnes. God only and none other, can make him choose this way: God only can hold him in it to the ende: God only can make him victorious in all his combats. And well we see how fewe they are that enter into it, and of those fewe, how many that retire againe. Follow the one way, or follow the other, he must either subiect himselfe to a tyrannicall passion, or vndertake a weery and continuall combate, willingly cast himselfe to destruction, or fetter himselfe as it were in stockes, easily sincke with the course of the water, or painefully swimme against the streame. Loe here the young man, who in his youth hath drunke his full draught of the worlds vaine and deceiuable pleasures, ouertaken by them with such a dull heauines, and astonishment, as drunkards the morow after a feast: either so out of taste, that he will no more, or so glutted, that he can no more: not able without griefe to speake, or thinke of them. Loe him that stoutly hath made resistance: he feeles himselfe so weery, and with this continuall conflict so brused and broken, that either he is vpon the point to yeeld himselfe, or content to dye, and so acquit himselfe. And this is all the good, all the contentment of this florishing age, by children so earnestlie desired, and by old folkes so hartely lamented. Now [A4v] commeth that which is called perfit age, in the which men haue no other thoughts, but to purchase themselues wisedome and rest. Perfit in deede, but herein only perfit, that all imperfections of humane nature, hidden before vnder the simplicitie of childhood, or the lightnes of youth, appeere at this age in their perfection. We speake of none in this place but such as are esteemed the wisest, and most happie in the conceit of the world. We played as you haue seene in feare: our short pleasures were attended on with long repentance. Behold, now present themselues to vs auarice, and ambition, promising if wee will adore them, perfect contentmẽt of the goods and honors of this world. And surely there are none, but the true children of the Lord, who by the faire illusions of the one or the other cast not themselues headlong from the top of the pinnacle. But in the ende, what is all this contentment? The couetous man makes a thousand voiages by sea and by lande: runnes a thousand fortunes: escapes a thousand shipwrackes in perpetuall feare and trauell: and many times he either looseth his time, or gaineth nothing but sicknesses, goutes, and oppilations for the time to come. In the purchase of this goodly repose, he bestoweth his true rest: and to gaine wealth looseth his life. Suppose he hath gained in good quantitie: that he hath spoiled the whole East of pearles, and drawen dry all the mines of the West: will he therefore be setled in quiet? can he say that he is content? All charges and iourneys past, by his passed paines he heapeth vp but future disquietnes both of minde and body: from one trauell falling into another, neuer ending, but changing his miseries. He desired to haue them, and now feares to loose them: he got them with burning ardour, and possesseth in trembling colde: he aduentured among theeues to seeke them, and hauing found them, theeues and robbers on all sides, runne mainely on B him: he laboured to dig them out of the earth, and now is enforced to redig, and rehide them. Finally comming from all his voiages he comes into a prison: and for an ende of his bodely trauels, is taken with endlesse trauails of the minde. And what at length hath this poore soule attained after so many miseries? This Deuill of couetise by his illusions, and enchantments, beares him in hand that he hath some rare and singuler thing: and so it fareth with him, as with those seely creatures, whome the Deuill seduceth vnder couler of releeuing their pouertie, who finde their hands full of leaues, supposing to finde them full of crownes. He possesseth or rather is possessed by a thing, wherein is neither force nor vertue: more vnprofitable, and more base, then the least hearbe of the earth. Yet hath he heaped togither this vile excrement, and so brutish is growne, as therewith to crowne his head, which naturally he should tread vnder his feete. But howsoeuer it be, is he therewith content? Nay contrarywise lesse now, then euer. We commend most those drinks that breede an alteration, and soonest extinguish thyrst: and those meates, which in least quantitie do longest resist hunger. Now hereof the more a man drinkes, the more he is a thirst, the more he eates, the more an hungred: It is a dropsie, (and as they tearme it) the dogs hunger: sooner may he burst then be satisfied. And which is worse, so strange in some is this thyrst, that it maketh them dig the pits, and painefully drawe the water, and after will not suffer them to drinke. In the middest of a riuer they are dry with thirst: and on a heape of corne cry out of famine: they haue goodes and dare not vse them: they haue ioyes it seemes, and do not enioy them: they neither haue for themselues, nor for another: but of all they haue, they haue nothing: and yet haue want of all they haue not. Let vs then returne to that, that the attaining of all these deceiuable goods is nothing else [Bv] but weerines of body, and the possession for the most part, but weerines of the minde: which certenly is so much the greater, as is more sensible, more subtile, and more tender the soule then the body. But the heape of all misery is when they come to loose them: when either shipwracke, or sacking, or inuasion, or fire, or such like calamities, to which these fraile things are subiect, doth take and cary them from them. Then fall they to cry, to weepe, and to torment themselues, as little children that haue lost their play-game, which notwithstanding is nothing worth. One cannot perswade them, that mortall men haue any other good in this world, but that which is mortall. They are in their owne conceits not only spoyled, but altogither flayed. And for asmuch as in these vaine things they haue fixed all their hope, hauing lost them, they fall into despaire, out of the which commonly they cannot be withdrawen. And which is more, all that they haue not gained according to the accompts they made, they esteeme lost: all that which turnes them not to great and extraordinary profit, they accompt as damage: whereby we see some fall into such despaire, as they cast away themselues. In short, the recompence that Couetise yeelds those that haue serued it all their life, is oftentimes like that of the Deuill: whereof the ende is, that after a small time hauing gratified his disciples, either he giues them ouer to a hangman, or himselfe breakes their neckes. I will not heere discourse of the wickednes and mischiefes wherevnto the couetous men subiect themselues to attaine to these goodes, whereby their conscience is filled with a perpetuall remorse, which neuer leaues them in quiet: sufficeth that in this ouer vehement exercise, which busieth and abuseth the greatest part of the world, the body is slaine, the minde is weakened, the soule is lost without any pleasure or contentment.
Come we to ambition, which by a greedines of honor B2 fondly holdeth occupied the greatest persons. Thinke we there to finde more? nay rather lesse. As the one deceiueth vs, geuing vs for all our trauaile, but a vile excrement of the earth: so the other repayes vs, but with smoke and winde: the rewards of this being as vaine, as those of that were grosse. Both in the one and the other, we fall into a bottomles pit; but into this the fall by so much the more dangerous, as at the first shewe, the water is more pleasant and cleare. Of those that geue themselues to courte ambition, some are great about Princes, others commanders of Armies: both sorts according to their degree, you see saluted, reuerenced, and adored of those that are vnder them. You see them appareled in purple, in scarlet, and in cloth of gould: it seemes at first sight there is no contentment in the world but theirs. But men knowe not how heauy an ounce of that vaine honor weighes, what those reuerences cost them, and how dearely they pay for an ell of those rich stuffes: who knewe them well, would neuer buy them at the price. The one hath attained to this degree, after a long and painefull seruice hazarding his life vpon euery occasion, with losse ofttimes of a legge or an arme, and that at the pleasure of a Prince, that more regards a hundred perches of ground on his neighbours frontiers, then the liues of a hundred thousand such as he: vnfortunate to serue who loues him not: and foolish to thinke himselfe in honor with him, that makes so litle reckening to loose him for a thing of no worth. Others growe vp by flattering a Prince, and long submitting their toongs and hands to say and doe without difference whatsoeuer they will haue them: wherevnto a good minde can neuer commaund it selfe. They shall haue indured a thousand iniuries, receiued a thousand disgraces, and as neere as they seeme about the Prince, they are neuertheles alwayes as the Lions keeper, who by long patience, a [B2v] thousand feedings and a thousand clawings hath made a fierce Lion familiar, yet geues him neuer meate, but with pulling backe his hand, alwayes in feare least he should catch him: and if once in a yere he bites him, he sets it so close, that he is paid for a long time after. Such is the ende of all princes fauorites. When a Prince after long breathings hath raised a man to great height, he makes it his pastime, at what time he seemes to be at the top of his trauaile, to cast him downe at an instant: when he hath filled him with all wealth, he wrings him after as a sponge: louing none but himself, and thinking euery one made, but to serue, and please him. These blinde courtiers make themselues beleeue, that they haue freends, and many that honor them: neuer considering that as they make semblance to loue, and honor euery body, so others do by them. Their superiors disdaine them, and neuer but with scorne do so much as salute them. Their inferiors salute them because they haue neede of them (I meane of their fortune, of their foode, of their apparell, not of their person) and for their equalls betweene whome commonly friendship consistes, they enuy each other, accuse each other, crosse each other; continually greeued either at their owne harme, or at others good. Nowe what greater hell is there, what greater torment, then enuie? which in truth is nought else but a feauer Hectique of the mind: so they are vtterly frustrate of all frendship, euer iudged by the wisest the chiefe and soueraigne good among men. Will you see it more clearely? Let but fortune turne her backe, euery man turnes from them: let her frowne; euery man lookes aside on them: let them once be disroabed of their triumphall garment, no body will any more knowe them. Againe, let there be apparelled in it the most vnworthie, and infamous whatsoeuer: euen he without difficultie by vertue of his robe, shall inherit all the honours the other had done him. In the B3 meane time they are puffed vp, and growe proude, as the Asse which caried the image of Isis was for the honors done to the Goddesse, and regard not that it is the fortune they carry which is honored, not themselues, on whome as on Asses, many times she will be caried. But you will say: At least so long as that fortune endured, they were at ease, and had their contentment, and who hath three or foure or more yeeres of happy time, hath not bin all his life vnhappie. True, if this be to be at ease continually to feare to be cast downe from that degree, wherevnto they are raised: and dayly to desire with great trauaile to clime yet higher. Those (my friend) whome thou takest so well at their ease, because thou seest them but without, are within farre otherwise. They are faire built prisons, full within of deepe ditches, and dungeons: full of darkenes, serpents and torments. Thou supposest them lodged at large, and they thinke their lodgings straite. Thou thinkest them very high, and they thinke themselues very lowe. Now as sicke is he, and many times more sicke, who thinkes himselfe so, then who in deed is. Suppose them to be Kings: if they thinke themselues slaues, they are no better: for what are we but by opinion? you see them well followed and attended: and euen those whome they haue chosen for their guard, they distrust. Alone or in company euer they are in feare. Alone they looke behinde them: in company they haue an eye on euery side of them. They drinke in gould and siluer; but in those, not in earth or glasse is poison prepared and dronke. They haue their beds soft and well made: when they lay them to sleepe you shall not heare a mouse stur in the chamber: not so much as a flie shall come neere their faces. Yet neuertheles, where the countreyman sleepes at the fall of a great riuer, at the noise of a market, hauing no other bed but the earth, nor couering but the heauens, these in the middest of all this silence [B3v] and delicacie, do nothing but turne from side to side, it seemes still that they heare some body, there rest it selfe is without rest. Lastly, will you knowe what the diuersitie is betwene the most hardly intreated prisoners and them? both are inchained, both loaden with fetters, but that the one hath them of iron, the other of gould, and that the one is tied but by the body, the other by the mind. The prisoner drawes his fetters after him, the courtier weareth his vpon him. The prisoners minde sometimes comforts the paine of his body, and sings in the midst of his miseries: the courtier tormented in minde weerieth incessantly his body, and can neuer giue it rest. And as for the contentment you imagine they haue, you are therein yet more deceiued. You iudge and esteeme them great, because they are raised high: but as fondly, as who should iudge a dwarfe great, for being set on a tower, or on the top of a mountaine. You measure (so good a Geometrician you are) the image with his base, which were conuenient, to knowe his true height, to be measured by itselfe: whereas you regard not the height of the image, but the height of the place it stands vpon. You deeme them great (if in this earth there can be greatnes, which in respect of the whole heauens is but a point.) But could you enter into their mindes, you would iudge, that neither they are great, true greatnes consisting in contempt of those vaine greatnesses, wherevnto they are slaues: nor seeme vnto themselues so, seeing dayly they are aspiring higher, and neuer where they would be. Some one sets downe a bound in his minde. Could I attaine to such a degree, loe, I were content: I would then rest my selfe. Hath he attained it? he geues himselfe not so much as a breathing: he would yet ascend higher. That which is beneath he counts a toy: it is in his opinion but one step. He reputes himselfe lowe, because there is some one higher, in stead of reputing himselfe high, because [B4] there are a million lower. And so high he climes at last, that either his breath failes him by the way, or he slides from the top to the bottome. Or if he get vp by all his trauaile, it is but as to finde himselfe on the top of the Alpes: not aboue the cloudes, windes and stormes: but rather at the deuotion of lightnings, and tempests, and whatsoeuer else horrible, and dangerous is engendred, and conceiued in the aire: which most commonly taketh pleasure to thunderbolt and dash into pouder that proude height of theirs. It may be herein you will agree with me, by reason of the examples wherewith both histories, and mens memories are full. But say you, such at least whome nature hath sent into the world with crownes on their heads, and scepters in their hands: such as from their birth she hath set in that height, as they neede take no paine to ascend: seeme without controuersie exempt from all these iniuries, and by consequence may call themselues happie. It may be in deed they feele lesse such incommodities, hauing bene borne, bred and brought vp among them: as one borne neere the downfalls of Nilus becomes deafe to the sound: in prison, laments not the want of libertie: among the Cimmerians in perpetuall night, wisheth not for day: on the top of the Alpes, thinks not straunge of the mistes, the tempests, the snowes, and the stormes. Yet free doubtles they are not whẽ the lightening often blasteth a flowre of their crownes, or breakes their scepter in their handes: when a drift of snowe ouerwhelmes them; when a miste of heauines, and griefe continually blindeth their wit, and vnderstanding. Crowned they are in deede, but with a crowne of thornes. They beare a scepter: but it is of a reede, more then any thing in the world pliable, and obedient to all windes: it being so far off that such a crowne can cure the maigrims of the minde, and such a scepter keepe off and fray away the griefs and cares which houer [B4v] about them: that it is contrariwise the crowne that brings them, and the scepter which from all partes attracts them. O crowne, said the Persian Monarch, who knewe howe heauy thou sittest on the head, would not vouchsafe to take thee vp, though he found thee in his way. This Prince it seemed gaue fortune to the whole world, distributed vnto men haps and mishaps at his pleasure: could in show make euery man content: himselfe in the meane while freely confessing, that in the whole world, which he held in his hand there was nothing but griefe, and vnhappines. And what will all the rest tell vs, if they list to vtter what they found? We will not aske them who haue concluded a miserable life with a dishonorable death: who haue beheld their kingdomes buried before them, and haue in great misery long ouerliued their greatnes. Not of Dionyse of Sicill, more content with a handfull of twigs to whip little children of Corinth in a schoole, then with the scepter, where with he had beaten all Sicill: nor of Sylla, who hauing robbed the whole state of Rome, which had before robbed the whole world, neuer found meanes of rest in himselfe, but by robbing himselfe of his owne estate, with incredible hazard both of his power and authoritie. But demaund we the opinion of King Salomon, a man indued with singuler gifts of God, rich and welthie of all things: who sought for treasure from the Iles. He will teach vs by a booke of purpose, that hauing tried all the felicities of the earth, he found nothing but vanitie, trauaile, and vexation of spirit. Aske we the Emperour Augustus, who peaceably possessed the whole world. He will bewaile his life past, and among infinite toiles wish for the rest of the meanest man of the earth: accounting that day most happy, when he might vnloade himselfe of this insupportable greatnes to liue quietly among the least. Of Tiberius his successor, he will confesse vnto vs, that he holdes the Empire as a C wolfe by the eares, and that (if without danger of biting he might) he would gladly let it goe: complayning on fortune for lifting him so high, and then taking away the ladder, that he could not come downe agayne. Of Dioclesian, a Prince of so great wisedome and vertue in the opinion of the world: he will preferre his voluntary banishment at Salona, before all the Romaine Empire. Finally, the Emperour Charles the fifth, esteemed by our age the most happy that hath liued these many ages: he will curse his conquestes, his victories, his triumphes: and not be ashamed to confesse that farre more good in comparison he hath felt in one day of his Monkish solitarines, then in all his triumphant life. Now shall we thinke those happie in this imaginate greatnes, who themselues thinke themselues vnhappie? seeking their happines in lessening themselues, and not finding in the world one place to rest this greatnes, or one bed quietly to sleepe in? Happie is he only who in minde liues contented: and he most of all vnhappie, whome nothing he can haue can content. Then miserable Pyrrhus King of Albanie, who would winne all the world, to winne (as he sayd) rest: and went so farre to seeke that which was so neere him. But more miserable Alexander, that being borne King of a great Realme, and Conqueror almost of the earth, sought for more worlds to satisfye his foolish ambition, within three dayes content, with sixe foote of grounde. To conclude, are they borne on the highest Alpes? they seeke to scale heauen. Haue they subdued all the Kings of the earth? they haue quarels to pleade with God, and indeuour to treade vnder foote his kingdome. They haue no end nor limit, till God laughing at their vaine purposes, when they thinke themselues at the last step, thunderstriketh all this presumption, breaking in shiuers their scepters in their hands, and oftentimes intrapping them in their owne crownes. At [C2] a word, whatsoeuer happines can be in that ambition promiseth, is but suffering much ill, to get ill. Men thinke by dayly climing higher to plucke themselues out of this ill, and the height wherevnto they so painefully aspire, is the height of misery it selfe. I speake not heere of the wretchednes of them, who all their life haue held out their cap to receiue the almes of court fortune, and can get nothing, often with incredible heart griefe, seeing some by lesse paines taken haue riches fall into their hands: of them, who iustling one an other to haue it, loose it, and cast it into the hands of a third: Of those, who holding it in their hands to hold it faster, haue lost it through their fingers. Such by all men are esteemed vnhappie, and are indeed so, because they iudge themselues so. It sufficeth that all these liberalities which the Deuill casteth vs as out at a windowe, are but baites: all these pleasures but embushes: and that he doth but make his sport of vs, who striue one with another for such things, as most vnhappie is he, that hath best hap to finde them. Well now, you will say, the Couetouse in all his goodes, hath no good: the Ambitious at the best he can be, is but ill. But may there not be some, who supplying the place of Iustice, or being neere about a Prince, may without following such vnbrideled passions, pleasantly enioy their goodes, ioyning honor with rest and contentment of minde? Surely in former ages (there yet remayning among men some sparkes of sinceritie) in some sort it might be so: but being of that composition they nowe are, I see not how it may be in any sorte. For deale you in affayres of estate in these times, either you shall do well, or you shall do ill. If ill, you haue God for your enemy, and your owne conscience for a perpetually tormenting executioner. If well, you haue men for your enemies, and of men the greatest: whose enuie and malice will spie you out, and C2 whose crueltie and tyrannie will euermore threaten you. Please the people you please a beast: and pleasing such, ought to be displeasing to your selfe. Please your selfe, you displease God: please him, you incurr a thousand dangers in the world, with purchase of a thousand displeasures. Whereof it growes, that if you could heare the talke of the wisest and least discontent of this kinde of men, whether they speake aduisedly, or their words passe them by force of truth, one would gladly change garment with his tenaunt: an other preacheth how goodly an estate it is to haue nothing: a third complaining that his braines are broken with the noise of Courte or Pallace, hath no other thought, but as soone as he may to retire himself thence. So that you shall not see any but is displeased with his owne calling, and enuieth that of an other: readie neuerthelesse to repent him, if a man should take him at his word. None but is weerie of the bussinesses wherevnto his age is subiect, and wisheth not to be elder, to free himselfe of them: albeit otherwise hee keepeth of olde age as much as in him lyeth.
What must we then doe in so great a contrarietie and confusion of mindes? Must wee to fynde true humanitie, flye the societie of men, and hide vs in forrestes among wilde beastes? to auoyde these vnrulie passions, eschue the assemblye of creatures supposed reasonable? to plucke vs out of the euills of the world, sequester our selues from the world? Coulde wee in so dooing liue at rest, it were something.
But alas! men cannot take heerein what parte they woulde: and euen
they which do, finde not there all the rest they sought for. Some
would gladly doo, but shame of the world recalls them. Fooles to be
ashamed of what in their heartes they condemne: and more fooles to be
aduised by the greatest enemye
they can or ought to haue. Others are borne in hande that they ought to
serue the publique, not marking that who counsell them serue only
themselues: and that the more parte would not much seeke the publique,
but that they founde their owne particular. Some are told, that by their
good example they may amende others: and consider not that a hundred
sound men, euen Phisitions themselues, may sooner catch the plague in an
infected towne, then one be healed: that it is but to tempt God, to
enter therein: that against so contagious an aire there is no
preseruatiue, but in getting farre from it. Finally, that as litle
as the freshe waters falling into the sea, can take from it his saltnes:
so little can one Lot or two, or three, reforme a court of
Sodome. And as concerning the wisest, who no lesse carefull for
their soules, then bodies, seeke to bring them into a sound and
wholesome ayre, farre from the infection of wickednes: and who led by
the hande of some Angell of God, retire themselues in season, as
Lot into some little village of Segor, out of the
corruption of the world, into some countrie place from the infected
townes, there quietlie employing the tyme in some knowledge and serious
contemplation: I willinglie yeeld they are in a place of lesse
daunger, yet because they carie the danger, in themselues, not
absolutelie exempt from danger. They flie the court, and a court folowes
them on all sides: they endeuoure to escape the world, and the world
pursues them to death. Hardly in this world can they finde a place where
the world findes them not: so gredelie it seekes to murther them.
by some speciall grace of God they seeme for a while free from these daungers, they haue some pouertie that troubles them, some domesticall debate that torments them, or some familiar spirit that tempts them: brieflie the world dayly in some C3 sorte or other makes it selfe felt of them. But the worst is, when we are out of these externall warres and troubles, we finde greater ciuill warre within our selues: the flesh against the spirite, passion against reason, earth against heauen, the worlde within vs fighting for the world, euermore so lodged in the botome of our owne hearts, that on no side we can flie from it. I will say more: he makes profession to flie the worlde, who seekes thereby the praise of the worlde: hee faineth to runne away, who according to the prouerbe, By drawing backe sets himselfe forward: he refuseth honors, that would thereby be prayed to take them: and hides him from men to the ende they shoulde come to seeke him. So the world often harbours in disguised attire among them that flie the world. This is an abuse. But follow wee the company of men, the worlde hath his court among them: seeke we the Deserts, it hath there his dennes and places of resorte, and in the Desert it selfe tempteth Christ Iesus. Retire wee our selues into our selues, we find it there as vncleane as any where. Wee can not make the worlde die in vs, but by dieng our selues. We are in the world, and the worlde in vs, and to seperate vs from the worlde, wee must seperate vs from our selues. Nowe this seperation is called Death. Wee are, wee thinke, come out of the contagious citie, but wee are not aduised that we haue sucked the bad aire, that wee carry the plague with vs, that we so participate with it, that through rockes, through desarts, through mountaines, it euer accompanieth vs. Hauing auoyded the contagion of others, yet we haue it in our selues. We haue withdrawen vs out of men: but man out of vs. The tempestuous sea torments vs: we are grieued at the heart, and desirous to vomit: and to be discharged thereof, we remoue out of one ship into another, from a greater to a lesse: we promise our selues rest in vaine: they being always the same [C3v] winds that blow, the same waues that swel, the same humors that are stirred. To al no other port, no other mean of tranquilitie but only death. We were sicke in a chamber neere the street, or neere the market: we caused our selues to be carried into some backer closet, where the noise was not so great. But though there the noise was lesse: yet was the feauer there neuerthelesse: and thereby lost nothing of his heate. Change bedde, chamber, house, country, againe and againe: we shall euery where finde the same vnrest, because euery where we finde our selues: and seek not so much to be others, as to be other wheres. We folow solitarines, to flie . We retire vs (so say we) from the wicked: but cary with vs our auarice, our ambition, our riotousnes, all our corrupt affectiõs: which breed in vs 1000. remorses, & 1000. times each day bring to our remembrance the garlike & onions of Egipt. Daily they passe the Ferry with vs: so that both on this side, and beyond the water, we are in continual combat. Now could we cassere this cõpany, which eats and gnaws our mind, doubtles we should be at rest, not in solitarines onely, but euen in the thicket of men. For the life of mã vpon earth is but a continual warfare. Are we deliuered from externall practizes? Wee are to take heed of internall espials. Are the Greekes gone away? We haue a Sinon within, that wil betray them the place. Wee must euer be waking, hauing an eie to the watch, and weapons in our hands, if wee will not euery houre be surprised, & giuen vp to the wil of our enimies. And how at last can we escape? Not by the woodes, by the riuers, nor by the mountaines: not by throwing our selues into a presse, nor by thrusting our selues into a hole. One only meane there is, which is death: which in ende seperating our spirite from our flesh, the pure and clean part of our soule from the vncleane, which within vs euermore bandeth it selfe for the worlde, appeaseth by this seperation that, which conioyned in one and the [C4] same person coulde not, without vtter choaking of the spirit, but be in perpetuall contention.
And as touching the contentment that may be in the exercises of the wisest men in their solitarinesse, as reading diuine or prophane Bookes, with all other knowledges and learnings: I hold well that it is indeed a far other thing, then are those madde huntings, which make sauage a multitude of men possessed with these or the like diseases of the minde. Yet must they all abide the iudgement pronounced by the wisest among the wise, Salomon, that all this neuerthelesse applied mans naturall disposition, is to him but vanitie and vexation of minde. Some are euer learning to correct their speach, and neuer thinke of correcting their life. Others dispute in their Logique of reason, and the Arte of reason: and loose thereby many times their naturall reason. One learnes by Arithmetike to diuide to the smallest fractions, and hath not skill to part one shilling with his brother. Another by Geometry can measure fields, and townes, and countries: but can not measure himselfe. The Musitian can accord his voyces, and soundes, and times togither: hauing nothing in his heart but discordes, nor one passion in his soule in good tune. The Astrologer lookes vp on high, and falles in the next ditch: fore-knowes the future, and forgoes the present: hath often his eie on the heauens, his heart long before buried in the earth. The Philosopher discourseth of the nature of all other things: and knowes not himselfe. The Historian can tell of the warres of Thebes and of Troy: but what is doone in his owne house can tell nothing. The Lawyer will make lawes for all the world, and not one for himselfe. The Physition will cure others, and be blinde in his owne disease: finde the least alteration in his pulse, and not marke the burning feauers of his minde. Lastlie, the Diuine will spend the greatest parte of his time in disputing of [C4v] faith and cares not to heare of charity: wil talke of God, and not regard to succor men. These knowledges bring on the mind an endlesse labour, but no contentment: for the more one knowes, the more he would know.
They pacify not the debates a man feeles in himselfe, they cure not the diseases of his minde. They make him learned, but they make not him good: cunning, but not wise. I say more. The more a man knowes, the more knowes he that he knowes not: the fuller the minde is, the emptier it findes it selfe: forasmuch as whatsoeuer a man can knowe of any science in this worlde is but the least part of what he is ignorant: all his knowledge consisting in knowing his ignorance, al his perfection in noting his imperfections, which who best knowes and notes, is in truth among men the most wise, and perfect. In short we must conclude with Salomon, that the beginning and end of wisedome is the feare of God: that this wisedome neuerthelesse is taken of the world for meere folly, and persecuted by the world as a deadly enemy: and that as who feareth God, ought to feare no euill, for that all his euils are conuerted to his good: so neither ought he to hope for good in the worlde, hauing there the deuil his professed enemy, whom the Scripture termeth Prince of the world.
But with what exercise soeuer we passe the time, behold old age vnwares to vs coms vpon vs: which whether we thrust our selues into the prease of men, or hide vs somewhere out of the way, neuer failes to find vs out. Euery man makes accompt in that age to rest himselfe of all his trauailes without further care, but to keepe himselfe at ease and in health. And see contrariwise in this age, there is nothing but an after taste of all the fore going euils: and most commonly a plentifull haruest of all such vices as in the whole course of their life, hath held and possessed them. There you haue the vnabilitie and weakenesse of infancie, and (which is worse) D many times accompanied with authoritie: there you are payed for the excesse and riotousnes of youth, with gowts, palsies, and such like diseases, which take from you limme after limme with extreame paine and torment. There you are recompenced for the trauailes of mind, the watchings and cares of manhoode, with losse of sight, losse of hearing, and all the sences one after another, except onely the sence of paine. Not one parte in vs but death takes in gage to be assured of vs, as of bad pay-maisters, which infinitely feare their dayes of payment. Nothing in vs which will not by and by bee dead: and neuerthelesse our vices yet liue in vs, and not onely liue, but in despite of nature daily growe yoong againe. The couetous man hath one foote in his graue, and is yet burieng his money: meaning belike to finde it againe another day. The ambitious in his will ordaineth vnprofitable pompes for his funeralles, making his vice to liue and triumph after his death. The riotous no longer able to daunce on his feete, daunceth with his shoulders, all vices hauing lefte him, and hee not yet able to leaue them. The childe wisheth for youth: and this man laments it. The yong man liueth in hope of the future, and feeles the euill present, laments the false pleasures past, and sees for the time to come nothing to hope for. More foolish then the childe, in bewailing the time he cannot recall, and not remembring the euill hee had therein: and more wretched then the yongman, in that after a wretched life not able, but wretchedly to die, he sees on all sides but matter of dispaire. As for him, who from his youth hath vndertaken to combate against the flesh, and against the world: who hath taken so great paines to mortifie himselfe and leaue the worlde before his time: who besides those ordinarie euilles findes himselfe vexed with this great and disease of olde age, and feeles notwithstanding his flesh howe weake soeuer, stronger oftentimes [Dv] then his spirite: what good I pray can hee haue onlie herein: that hee sees his death at hand, that hee sees his combate finished, that he sees himselfe readie to departe by death out of this loathsome prison, wherein all his life time hee hath beene racked and tormented? I will not heere speake of the infinite euilles wherewith men in all ages are annoyed, as losse of friendes and parents, banishments, exiles, disgraces, and such others, common and ordinarie in the world: one complayning of loosing his children, an other of hauing them: one making sorrow for his wifes death, an other for her life, one finding faulte, that hee is too high in Courte, an other, that hee is not high enough. The worlde is so full of euilles, that to write them all, woulde require an other worlde as great as it selfe. Sufficeth, that if the most happie in mens opinions doe counterpoize his happs with his mishaps, he shall iudge himselfe vnhappy: and hee iudge him happy, who had he beene set three dayes in his place, would giue it ouer to him that came next: yea, sooner then hee, who shall consider in all the goodes that euer hee hath had the euilles hee hath endured to get them, and hauing them to retaine and keepe them (I speake of the pleasures that may be kept, and not of those that wither in a moment) wil iudge of himselfe, and by himselfe, that the keeping it selfe of the greatest felicitie in this worlde, is full of vnhappinesse and infelicitie. Conclude then, that Childhoode is but a foolish simplicitie, Youth, a vaine heate, Manhoode, a painefull carefulnesse, and Olde-age, a noysome languishing: that our playes are but teares, our pleasures, feuers of the minde, our goodes, rackes, and torments, our honors, heauy vanities, our rest, vnrest: that passing from age to age is but passing from euill to euill, and from the lesse vnto the greater: and that alwayes it is but one waue driuing on an other, vntill we be arriued D2 at the Hauen of death. Conclude I say, that life is but a wishing for the future, and a bewailing of the past: a loathing of what wee haue tasted, and a longing for that wee haue not tasted, a vaine memorie of the state past, and a doubtfull expectation of the state to come: finally, that in all our life there is nothing certaine, nothing assured, but the certaintie and vncertaintie of death. Behold, now comes Death vnto vs: Behold her, whose approch we so much feare. We are now to cõsider whether she be such as wee are made beleeue: and whether we ought so greatly to flie her, as commonly wee do. Wee are afraide of her: but like little children of a vizarde, or of the Images of Hecate. Wee haue her in horror: but because wee conceiue her not such as she is, but ougly, terrible, and hideous: such as it pleaseth the Painters to represent vnto vs on a wall. Wee flie before her: but it is because foretaken with such vaine imaginations, wee giue not our selues leisure to marke her. But staie wee, stande wee stedfast, looke wee her in the face: wee shall finde her quite other then shee is painted vs: and altogether of other countenaunce then our miserable life. Death makes an ende of this life. This life is a perpetuall misery and tempest: Death then is the issue of our miseries and entraunce of the porte where wee shall ride in safetie from all windes. And shoulde wee feare that which withdraweth vs from misery, or which drawes vs into our Hauen? Yea but you will say, it is a payne to die. Admit it bee: so is there in curing of a wounde. Such is the worlde, that one euill can not bee cured but by an other, to heale a contusion, must bee made an incision. You will say, there is difficultie in the passage: So is there no Hauen, no Porte, whereinto the entraunce is not straite and combersome. No good thing is to be bought in this worlde with other then the coyne of labour and paine. The entraunce indeede is hard, if [D2v] our selues make it harde, comming thither with a tormented spirite, a troubled minde, a wauering and irresolute thought. But bring wee quietnesse of mind, constancie, and full resolution, wee shall not finde anie daunger or difficultie at all. Yet what is the paine that death brings vs? Nay, what can shee doe with those paines wee feele? Wee accuse her of all the euilles wee abide in ending our life, and consider not howe manie more greeuous woundes or sickenesses wee haue endured without death: or howe many more vehement paines wee haue suffered in this life, in the which wee called euen her to our succour. All the paines our life yeeldes vs at the last houre wee impute to Death: not marking that life begunne and continued in all sortes of paine, must also necessarily ende in paine. Not marking (I saie) that it is the remainder of our life, not death, that tormenteth vs: the ende of our nauigation that paines vs, not the Hauen wee are to enter: which is nothing else but a safegarde against all windes. Wee complayne of Death, where wee shoulde complayne of life: as if one hauyng beene long sicke, and beginning to bee well, shoulde accuse his health of his last paynes, and not the reliques of his disease. Tell mee, what is it else to bee dead, but to bee no more liuing in the worlde? Absolutelie and simplie not to bee in the worlde, is it anie payne? Did wee then feele any paine, when as yet wee were not? Haue wee euer more resemblaunce of Death, then when wee sleepe? Or euer more rest then at that time? Now if this be no paine, why accuse we Death of the paines our life giues vs at our departure? Vnlesse also we wil fondly accuse the time when as yet we were not, of the paines we felt at our birthIf the comming in be with teares, is it wonder that such be the going out? If the beginning of our being, be the beginning of our paine, is it maruell that D3 such be the ending? But if our not being in times past hath bene without payne, and all this being contrarywise full of paine: whome should we by reason accuse of the last paines, the not being to come, or the remnant of this present being? We thinke we dye not, but when we yeeld vp our last gaspe. But if we marke well, we dye euery day, euery houre, euery moment. We apprehend death as a thing vnvsuall to vs: and yet haue nothing so common in vs. Our liuing is but continuall dyeng: looke how much we liue, we dye: how much we encrease, our life decreases. We enter not a step into life, but we enter a step into death. Who hath liued a third part of his yeares, hath a third part of himselfe dead. Who halfe his yeares, is already half dead. Of our life, all the time past is dead, the present liues and dies at once, and the future likewise shall dye. The past is no more, the future is not yet, the present is, and no more is. Briefely, this whole life is but a death: it is as a candle lighted in our bodies: in one the winde makes it melt away, in an other blowes it cleane out, many times ere it be halfe burned: in others it endureth to the ende. Howsoeuer it be, looke how much it shineth, so much it burneth: her shining is her burning: her light a vanishing smoke: her last fire, hir last wike, and her last drop of moisture. So is it in the life of man, life and death in man is all one. If we call the last breath death, so must we all the rest: all proceeding from one place, and all in one manner. One only difference there is betweene this life, and that we call death: that during the one, we haue alwayes wherof to dye: and after the other, there remaineth only wherof to liue. In summe, euen he that thinketh death simply to be the ende of man, ought not to feare it: in asmuch as who desireth to liue longer, desireth to die longer: and who feareth soone to die, feareth (to speake properlie) lest he may not longer die. [D3v]
But vnto vs brought vp in a more holy schoole, death is a farre other thing: neither neede we as the Pagans of consolations against death: but that death serue vs, as a consolation against all sorts of affliction: so that we must not only strengthen our selues, as they, not to feare it, but accustome ourselues to hope for it. For vnto vs it is not a departing frõ pain & euil, but an accesse vnto all good: not the end of life, but the end of death, & the beginning of life. Better, saith Salomon, is the day of death, then the day of birth, and why? because it is not to vs a last day, but the dawning of an euerlasting day. No more shall we haue in that glorious light, either sorow for the past, or expectation of the future: for all shall be there present vnto vs, and that present shall neuer more passe. No more shal we powre out our selues in vaine & painfull pleasures: for we shal be filled with true & substantiall pleasures. No more shal we paine our selues in heaping togither these exhalatiõs of the earth: for the heauens shall be ours, and this masse of earth, which euer drawes vs towards the earth, shalbe buried in the earth. No more shal we ouerwearie our selues with mounting from degree to degree, and from honor to honor: for we shall highlie be raysed aboue all heights of the world; and from on high laugh at the folly of all those we once admired, who fight together for a point, and as litle childrẽ for lesse then an apple. No more to be brief shal we haue combates in our selues: for our flesh shall be dead, and our spirit in full life: our passion buried, and our reason in perfect libertie. Our soule deliuered out of this foule & filthie prison, where, by long continuing it is growen into an habite of crookednes, shall againe draw her owne breath, recognize her ancient dwelling, and againe remember her former glory & dignity. This flesh my frend which thou feelest, this body which thou touchest is not man: Man is from heauen: heauen is his countrie and his aire. That he is in his body, is but by way of exile & confinement. Man in deed is soule and [D4] spirit: Man is rather of celestiall and diuine qualitie, wherin is nothing grosse nor materiall. This body such as now it is, is but the barke & shell of the soule: which must necessarily be broken, if we will be hatched: if we will indeed liue & see the light. We haue it semes, some life, and some sence in vs: but are so croked and contracted, that we cannot so much as stretch out our wings, much lesse take our flight towards heauen, vntill we be disburthened of this earthlie burthen. We looke, but through false spectacles: we haue eyes but ouergrowen with pearles: we thinke we see, but it is in a dreame, wherin we see nothing but deceit. All that we haue, and all that we know is but abuse and vanitie. Death only can restore vs both life and light: and we thinke (so blockish we are) that she comes to robbe vs of them. We say we are Christians: that we beleeue after this mortall, a life immortall: that death is but a separation of the body and soule: and that the soule returnes to his happie abode, there to ioy in God, who only is all good: that at the last day it shall againe take the body, which shal no more be subiect to corruptiõ. With these goodly discourses we fill all our bookes: and in the meane while, whẽ it comes to the point, the very name of death as the horriblest thing in the world makes vs quake & tremble. If we beleue as we speak, what is that we feare? to be happy? to be at our ease? to be more content in a momẽt, then we might be in the longest mortal life that might be? or must not we of force confesse, that we beleue it but in part? that all we haue is but words? that all our discourses, as of these hardie trencher knights, are but vaunting and vanitie? Some you shall see, that wil say: I know well that I passe out of this life into a better: I make no doubt of it: only I feare the midway step, that I am to step ouer. Weak harted creatures! they wil kill thẽselues to get their miserable liuing: suffer infinite paines, and infinite wounds at another mans pleasure: passe infinit deaths without dying, for things [D4v] of nought, for things that perish, and perchance make them perish with them. But when they haue but one pace to passe to be at rest, not for a day, but for euer: not an indifferent rest, but such as mans minde cannot comprehende: they tremble, their harts faile them, they are affrayde: and yet the ground of their harme is nothing but feare. Let them neuer tell me, they apprehend the paine: it is but an abuse: a purpose to conceale the litle faith they haue. No, no, they would rather languish of the goute, the sciatica, any disease whatsoeuer: then dye one sweete death with the least paine possible: rather pininglie dye limme after limme, outliuing as it were, all their sences, motions, and actions, then speedily dye, immediatly to liue for euer. Let them tell me no more that they would in this world learne to liue: for euery one is therevnto sufficiently instructed in himselfe, and not one but is cunning in the trade. Nay rather they should learne in this world to dye: and once to dye well, dye dayly in themselues: so prepared, as if the ende of euery dayes worke, were the ende of our life. Now contrarywise there is nothing to their eares more offensiue, then to heare of death. Senseless people! we abandon our life to the ordinarie hazards of warre, for seauen franks pay: are formost in an assault, for a litle bootie: goe into places, whence there is no hope of returning, with danger many times both of bodies and soules. But to free vs from all hazards, to winne things inestimable, to enter an eternall life, we faint in the passage of one pace, wherein is no difficultie, but in opinion: yea we so faint, that were it not of force we must passe, and that God in despite of vs will doe vs a good turne, hardly should we finde in all the world one, how vnhappy or wretched soeuer, that would euer passe. Another will say, had I liued till 50. or 60. yeares, I should haue bin contented: I should not haue cared to liue longer: but to dye so yong is no E reason, I should haue knowen the world before I had left it. Simple soule! in this world there is neither young nor olde. The longest age in comparison of all that is past, or all that is to come, is nothing: and when thou hast liued to the age thou now desirest, all the past will be nothing: thou wilt still gape, for that is to come. The past will yeeld thee but sorrowe, the future but expectation, the present no contentment. As ready thou wilt then be to redemaund longer respite, as before. Thou fliest thy creditor from moneth to moneth, and time to time, as readie to pay the last daye, as the first: thou seekest but to be acquitted. Thou hast tasted all which the world esteemeth pleasures: not one of them is new vnto thee. By drinking oftener, thou shalt be neuer awhit the more satisfyed: for the body thou cariest, like the bored paile of Danaus daughters, will neuer be full. Thou mayst sooner weare it out, then weary thy selfe with vsing, or rather abusing it. Thou crauest long life to cast it away, to spend it on worthles delights, to mispend it on vanities. Thou art couetous in desiring, and prodigall in spending. Say not thou findest fault with the Court, or the Pallace: but that thou desirest longer to serue the commonwealth, to serue thy countrie, to serue God. He that set thee on worke knowes vntill what day, and what houre, thou shouldest be at it: he well knowes how to direct his worke. Should he leaue thee there longer, perchance thou wouldest marre all. But if he will pay thee liberally for thy labour, as much for halfe a dayes worke, as for a whole: as much for hauing wrought till noone, as for hauing borne all the heate of the day: art thou not so much the more to thanke and prayse him? but if thou examine thine owne conscience, thou lamentest not the cause of the widdow, and the orphan, which thou hast left depending in iudgement: not the dutie [Ev]] of a sonne, of a father, or of a frend, which thou pretendest thou wouldest performe: not the ambassage for the common wealth, which thou wert euen ready to vndertake: not the seruice thou desirest to doe vnto God, who knowes much better howe to serue himselfe of thee, then thou of thy selfe. It is thy houses and gardens thou lamentest, thy imperfect plottes and purposes, thy life (as thou thinkest) imperfect: which by no dayes, nor yeares, nor ages, might be perfected: and yet thy selfe mightst perfect in a moment, couldest thou but thinke in good earnest, that where it ende it skilles not, so that it end well.
Now to end well this life, is onely to ende it willingly: following with full consent the will and direction of God, and not suffering vs to be drawen by the necessetie of destenie. To end it willingly, we must hope, and not feare death. To hope for it, we must certainely looke after this life, for a better life. To looke for that, wee must feare God: whome whoso well feareth, feareth indeede nothing in this worlde, and hopes for all things in the other. To one well resolued in these points death can be but sweete and agreeable: knowing that through it hee is to enter into a place of all ioyes. The griefe that may be therein shall bee allaied with sweetnes: the sufferance of ill, swallowed in the confidence of good: the sting of Death it selfe shall bee dead, which is nothing else but Feare. Nay, I wil say more, not onely all the euilles conceiued in death shall be to him nothing: but he shall euen scorne all the mishappes men redoubt in this life, and laugh at all these terrors. For I pray what can he feare, whose death is his hope? Thinke we to banish him his country? He knows he hath a country other-where, whence wee cannot banish him: and that all these countries are but Innes, out of which he must part at the wil of his hoste. To put him E2 in prison? a more straite prison he cannot haue, then his owne body, more filthy, more darke, more full of rackes and torments. To kill him and take him out of the worlde? that is it he hopes for: that is it with all his heart he aspires vnto. By fire, by sworde, by famine, by sickenesse: within three yeeres, within three dayes, within three houres, all is one to him: all is one at what gate, or at what time he passe out of this miserable life. For his businesses are euer ended, his affaires all dispatched, and by what way he shall go out, by the same hee shall enter into a most happie and euerlasting life. Men can threaten him but death, and death is all he promiseth himselfe: the worst they can doe, is, to make him die, and that is the best hee hopes for. The threatnings of tyrants are to him promises, the swordes of his greatest enemies drawne in his fauor: forasmuch as he knowes that threatning him death, they threaten him life: and the most mortall woundes can make him but immortall. Who feares God, feares not death: and who feares it not, feares not the worst of this life.
By this reckoning, you will tell me death is a thing to be wished for: and to passe from so much euill, to so much good, a man shoulde as it seemeth cast away his life. Surely, I feare not, that for any good wee expect, we will hasten one step the faster: though the spirite aspire, the body it drawes with it, withdrawes it euer sufficiently towardes the earth. Yet is it not that I conclude. We must seeke to mortifie our flesh in vs, and to cast the world out of vs: but to cast our selues out of the world is in no sort permitted vs. The Christian ought willingly to depart out of this life but not cowardly to runne away. The Christian is ordained by God to fight therein: and cannot leaue his place without incurring reproch and infamie. But if it please the grand [E2v] Captaine to recall him, let him take the retrait in good part, and with good will obey it. For hee is not borne for himselfe, but for God: of whome he holdes his life at farme, as his tenant at will, to yield him the profites. It is in the landlord to take it from him, not in him to surrender it, when a conceit takes him. Diest thou yong? praise God as the mariner that hath had a good winde, soone to bring him to the Porte. Diest thou olde? praise him likewise, for if thou hast had lesse winde, it may be thou hast also had lesse waues. But thinke not at thy pleasure to go faster or softer: for the winde is not in thy power, and in steede of taking the shortest way to the Hauen, thou maiest happily suffer shipwracke. God calleth home from his worke, one in the morning, an other at noone, and an other at night. One he exerciseth til the first sweate, another he sunne-burneth, another he rosteth and drieth throughly. But of all his he leaues not one without, but brings them all to rest, and giues them all their hire, euery one in his time. Who leaues his worke before God call him, looses it: and who importunes him before the time, looses his reward. We must rest vs in his will, who in the middest of our troubles sets vs at rest.
To ende, we ought neither to hate this life for the toiles therein, for it is slouth and cowardise: nor loue it for the delights, which is follie and vanitie: but serue vs of it, to serue God in it, who after it shall place vs in true quietnesse, and replenish vs with pleasures whiche shall neuer more perish. Neyther ought we to flye death, for it is childish to feare it: and in flieng from it, wee meete it. Much lesse to seeke it, for that is temeritie: nor euery one that would die, can die. As much despaire in the one, as cowardise in the other: in neither any kinde of magnanimitie. It is enough that we constantly and continually waite for her [E3] comming, that shee may neuer finde vs vnprouided. For as there is nothing more certaine then death, so is there nothing more vncertaine then the houre of death, knowen onlie to God, the onlie Author of life and death, to whom wee all ought endeuour both to liue and die.
Die to liue,
Liue to die.
Acts 1 and 3 are unlabeled in the text. Act 1 can only be Antony’s soliloquy, with following Chorus, but Act 3 is ambiguous. Between Act 2 and Act 4 are:
(scene) Cleopatra. Eras. Charmion. Diomede.
(scene) M. Antonius. Lucilius.
Structurally the play seems to have six Acts, but Act 4 and Act 5 are each labeled as such.
Return to Discourse of Life and Death.
Fter the ouerthrowe of Brutus and Cassius, the libertie of Rome being now vtterly oppressed, and the Empire setled in the hands of Octauius Cæsar and Marcus Antonius, (who for knitting a straiter bonde of amitie betweene them, had taken to wife Octauia the sister of Cæsar) Antonius vndertooke a iourney against the Parthians, with intent to regaine on them the honor wonne by them from the Romains, at the discomfiture and slaughter of Crassus. But comming in his iourney into Siria, the places renewed in his remembrance the long intermitted loue of Cleopatra Queene of Aegipt: who before time had both in Cilicia and at Alexandria, entertained him with all the exquisite delightes and sumptuous pleasures, which a great Prince and voluptuous Louer could to the vttermost desire. Whereupon omitting his enterprice, he made his returne to Alexandria, againe falling to his former loues, without any regard of his vertuous wife Octauia, by whom neuertheles he had excellent Children. This occasion Octauius tooke of taking armes against him: and preparing a mighty fleet, encountred him at Actium, who also had assembled to that place a great number of Gallies of his own, besides 60. which Cleopatra brought with her from Aegipt. But at the very beginning of the battell Cleopatra with all her Gallies betooke her to flight, which Antony seeing could not but follow; by his departure leauing to Octauius the greatest victorye [Fv] which in any Sea Battell hath beene heard off. Which he not negligent to pursue, followes them the next spring, and besiedgeth them within Alexandria, where Antony finding all that he trusted to faile him, beginneth to growe iealouse and to suspect Cleopatra. She thereupon enclosed her selfe with two of her women in a monument she had before caused to be built, thence sends him woord she was dead: which he beleeuing for truth, gaue himselfe with his Swoord a deadly wound: but died not vntill a messenger came from Cleopatra to haue him brought to her to the tombe. Which she not daring to open least she should be made a prisoner to the Romaines, and carried in Cæsars triumph, cast downe a corde from an high window, by the which (her women helping her) she trussed vp Antonius halfe dead, and so got him into the monument. The Stage supposed Alexandria: the Chorus, first Egiptians, and after Romane Souldiors. The Historie to be read at large in Plutarch in the life of Antonius.
|Eras and||Cleopatras women.|
|Philostratus a Philosopher.|
|Diomede Secretary to Cleopatra.|
|Euphron, teacher of Cleopatras children.|
|Children of Cleopatra.|
|Dircetus the Messenger.|
Ince cruell Heau’ns against me obstinate,
Since all mishappes of the round engin doe
Conspire my harme: since men, since powers diuine,
Aire, earth, and Sea are all iniurious:
And that my Queene her self, in whome I liu’d,
The Idoll of my hart, doth me pursue;
It’s meete I dye. For her haue I forgone
My Country, Cæsar vnto warre prouok’d
(For iust reuenge of Sisters wrong my wife,
Who mou’de my Queene (ay me!) to iealousie)
For loue of her, in her allurements caught
Abandon’d life, I honor haue despisde,
Disdain’d my freends, and of the statelye Rome
Despoilde the Empire of her best attire,
Contemn’d that power that made me so much fear’d,
A slaue become vnto her feeble face.
O cruell, traitres, woman most vnkinde,
Thou dost, forsworne, my loue and life betraie:
And giu’st me vp to ragefull enemie,
Which soone (ô foole!) will plague thy periurye.[F2v]
Yelded on this Countries shore,
Yelded thou hast my Shippes and men of warre,
That nought remaines (so destitute am I)
But these same armes which on my back I weare.
Thou should’st haue had them too, and me vnarm’de
Yeelded to Cæsar naked of defence.
Which while I beare let Cæsar neuer thinke
Triumph of me shall his proud chariot grace
Not think with me his glory to adorne,
On me aliue to vse his victorie.
Thou only Cleopatra triumph hast,
Thou only hast my freedome seruile made,
Thou only hast me vanquisht: not by force
(For forste I cannot be) but by sweete baites
Of thy eyes graces, which did gaine so fast
vpon my libertie, that nought remain’d.
None els hencefoorth, but thou my dearest Queene,
Shall glorie in commaunding Antonie.
Haue Cæsar fortune and the Gods his freends,
To him haue Ioue and fatall sisters giuen
The Scepter of the earth: he neuer shall
Subiect my life to his obedience.
But when that Death, my glad refuge, shall haue
Bounded the course of my vnstedfast life,
And frosen corps vnder a marble colde
Within tombes bosome widdowe of my soule:
Then at his will let him it subiect make:
Then what he will let Cæsar doo with me:
Make me limme after limme be rent: make me
My buriall take in sides of Thracian wolfe.
Poore Antonie! alas what was the day,[F3]
The daies of losse that gained thee thy loue!
Wretch Antony! since then Mægæra pale
With Snakie haires enchain’d thy miserie.
The fire thee burnt was neuer Cupids fire
(For Cupid beares not such a mortall brand)
It was some furies torch, Orestes torche,
which sometimes burnt his mother-murdering soule
(When wandring madde, rage boiling in his bloud,
He fled his fault which folow’d as he fled)
kindled within his bones by shadow pale
Of mother slaine return’d from Stygian lake.
Antony, poore Antony! since that daie
Thy olde good hap did farre from thee retire.
Thy vertue dead: thy glory made aliue
So ofte by martiall deeds is gone in smoke:
Since then the Baies so well thy forehead knewe
To Venus mirtles yeelded haue their place:
Trumpets to pipes: field tents to courtly bowers:
Launces and Pikes to daunces and to feastes.
Since then, ô wretch! in stead of bloudy warres
Thou shouldst haue made vpon the Parthian Kings
For Romain honor filde by Crassus foile,
Thou threw’st thy Curiace off, and fearfull healme,
With coward courage vnto Ægipts Queen
In haste to runne, about her necke to hang
Languishing in her armes thy Idoll made:
In summe giuen vp to Cleopatras eies.
Thou breakest at length from thence, as one encharm’d
Breakes from th’enchaunter that him strongly helde.
For thy first reason (spoyling of their force
the poisned cuppes of thy faire Sorceres)[F3v]
Recur’d thy sprite: and then on euery side
Thou mad’st againe the earth with Souldiours swarme.
All Asia hidde: Euphrates bankes do tremble
To see at once so many there
Breath horror, rage, and with a threatning eye
In mighty squadrons crosse his swelling streames.
Nought seene but horse, and fier sparkling armes:
Nought heard but hideous noise of muttring troupes.
The Parth, the Mede, abandoning their goods
Hide them for feare in hilles of Hircanie,
Redoubting thee. Then willing to besiege
The great Phraate head of Media,
Thou campedst at her walles with vaine assault,
Thy engins fit (mishap!) not thither brought.
So long thou stai’st, so long thou doost thee rest,
So long thy loue with such things nourished
Reframes, reformes it selfe and stealingly
Retakes his force and rebecomes more great.
For of thy Queene the lookes, the grace, the woords,
Sweetenes, alurements, amorous delights,
Entred againe thy soule, and day and night,
In watch, in sleepe, her Image follow’d thee:
Not dreaming but of her, repenting still
That thou for warre hadst such a Goddes left.
Thou car’st no more for Parth, nor Parthian bow,
Sallies, assaults, encounters, shocks, alarmes,
For diches, rampiers, wards, entrenched grounds:
Thy only care is sight of Nilus streames,
Sight of that face whose guilefull semblant doth
(Wandring in thee) infect thy tainted hart.
Her absence thee besottes: each hower, each hower[F4]
Of staie, to thee impatient seemes an age.
Enough of conquest, praise thou deem’st enough,
If soone enough the bristled fieldes thou see
Of fruitfull Ægipt, and the stranger floud
Thy Queenes faire eyes (another Pharos) lights.
Returned loe, dishonoured, despisde,
In wanton loue a woman thee misleades
Sunke in foule sinke: meane while respecting nought
Thy wife Octauia and her tender babes,
Of whom the long contempt against thee whets
The sword of Cæsar now thy Lord become.
Lost thy great Empire, all those goodly townes
Reuerenc’d thy name as rebells now thee leaue:
Rise against thee, and to the ensignes flocke
Of conqu’ring Cæsar, who enwalles thee round
Cag’d in thy holde, scarse maister of thy selfe,
Late maister of so many nations.
Yet, yet, which is of grief extreamest grief,
Which is yet of mischiefe highest mischiefe,
It’s Cleopatra alas! alas, it’s she,
It’s she augments the torment of thy paine,
Betraies thy loue, thy life alasbetraies,
Cæsar to please, whose grace she seekes to gaine:
With thought her Crowne to saue, and fortune make
Onely thy foe which common ought haue beene.
If her I alwaies lou’d, and the first flame
Of her heart-killing loue shall burne me last:
Iustly complaine I she disloyall is,
Nor constant is, euen as I constant am,
To comfort my mishap, despising me
No more, then when the heauens fauour’d me.[F4v]
But ah! by nature women wau’ring are,
Each moment changing and rechanging mindes.
Vnwise, who blinde in them, thinkes loyaltie
Euer to finde in beauties company.
The boyling tempest still
Makes not Sea waters fome:
Nor still the Northern blast
Disquiets quiet streames:
Nor who his chest to fill
Sayles to the morning beames,
On waues winde tosseth fast
Still kepes his Ship from home.
Nor Ioue still downe doth cast
Inflam’d with bloudie ire
On man, on tree, on hill,
His darts of thundring fire:
Nor still the heat doth last
On face of parched plaine:
Nor wrinkled colde doth still
On frozen furrowes raigne.
But still as long as we
In this low world remaine,
Mishapps our dayly mates
Our liues do entertaine:
And woes which beare no dates
Still pearch vpon our heads,
None go, but streight will be
Some greater in their Steads.G
Nature made vs not free
When first she made vs liue:
When we began to be,
To be began our woe:
Which growing euermore
As dying life dooth growe
Do more and more vs greeue,
And tire vs more and more.
No stay in fading states,
For more to height they retch,
Their fellow miseries
The more to height do stretch.
They clinge euen to the crowne,
And threatning furious wise
From tirannizing pates
Do often pull it downe.
In vaine on waues vntride
to shunne them go we should
To Scythes and Massagetes
Who neare the Pole reside:
In vaine to boiling sandes
Which Phæbus battry beates,
For with vs still they would
Cut seas and compasse landes.
The darknes no more sure
To ioyne with heauy night:
The light which guildes the dayes
To follow Titan pure:
No more the shadow light
The body to ensue:
Then wretchednes alwaies[Gv]
Vs wretches to pursue.
O blest who neuer breath’d,
Or whome with pittie mou’de,
Death from his cradle reau’de,
And swadled in his graue:
And blessed also he
As curse may blessing haue)
Who low and liuing free
No princes charge hath prou’de.
By stealing sacred fire
Prometheus then vnwise,
Prouoking Gods to ire,
The heape of ills did sturre,
And sicknes pale and colde
Our ende which onward spurre,
To plague our hands too bolde
To filch the wealth of Skies.
In heauens hate since then
Of ill with ill enchain’d
We race of mortall men
full fraught our breasts haue borne:
And thousand thousand woes
Our heau’nly soules now thorne,
Which free before from those
No! earthly passion pain’d.
Warre and warres bitter cheare
Now long time with vs staie,
And feare of hated foe
Still still encreaseth sore:
Our harmes worse dayly growe,
Lesse yesterdaye they wereG2
Then now, and will be more
To morowe then to daye.
What horrible furie, what cruell rage,
O Ægipt so extremely thee torments?
Hast thou the Gods so angred by thy fault?
Hast thou against them some such crime conceiu’d,
That their engrained hand lift vp in threats
They should desire in thy hard bloud to bathe?
And that their burning wrath which nought can quench
Should pittiles on vs still lighten downe?
We are not hew’n out of the monst’rous masse
Of Giantes those, which heauens wrack conspir’d:
Ixions race, false prater of his loues:
Nor yet of him who fained lightnings found:
Nor cruell Tantalus, nor bloudie Atreus,
Whose cursed banquet for Thyestes plague
Made the beholding Sunne for horrour turne
His backe, and backward from his course returne:
And hastning his wing-footed horses race
Plunge him in sea for shame to hide his face:
While sulleine night vpon the wondring world
For mid-daies light her starrie mantle cast,
But what we be, what euer wickednes
By vs is done, Alas! with what more plagues,
More eager torments could the Gods declare
To heauen and earth that vs they hatefull holde?[G2v]
With Souldiors, strangers, horrible in armes
Our land is hidde, our people drown’d in teares.
But terror here and horror, nought is seene:
And present death prizing our life each hower.
Hard at our ports and at our porches waites
Our conquering foe: harts faile vs, hopes are dead:
Our Queene laments: and this great Emperour
Sometime (would now they did) whom worlds did feare,
Abandoned, betraid, now mindes no more
But from his euils by hast’ned death to passe.
Come you poore people tir’de with ceasles plaints
With teares and sighes make mournfull sacrifice
On Isis altars: not our selues to saue,
But soften Cæsar and him piteous make
To vs, his pray: that so his lenitie
May change our death into captiuitie.
Strange are the euils the fates on vs haue brought,
O but alas! how farre more strange the cause!
Loue, loue (alas, who euer would haue thought?)
Hath lost this Realme inflamed with his fire.
Loue, playing loue, which men say kindles not
But in soft harts, hath ashes made our townes.
And his sweet shafts, with whose shot none are kill’d,
Which vlcer not, with deaths our lands haue fill’d,
Such was the bloudie, murdring, hellish loue
Possest thy hart faire false guest Priams Sonne,a brand which after made to burne
The Troian towers by Græcians ruinate.
By this loue, Priam, Hector, Troilus,
Memnon, Deiphobus, Glaucus, thousands mo,
Whome redd Scamanders armor clogged streamesG3
Roll’d into Seas, before their dates are dead.
So plaguie he, so many tempests raiseth
So murdring he, so many Cities raiseth,
When insolent, blinde, lawles, orderles,
With madd delights our sence he entertaines.
All knowing Gods our wracks did vs foretell
By signes in earth, by signes in starry Sphæres:
Which should haue mou’d vs, had not destinie
With too strong hand warped our miserie.
The Comets flaming through the scat’red clouds
With fiery beames, most like vnbroaded haires:
The fearefull dragon whistling at the bankes,
And holie Apis ceaseles bellowing
(As neuer erst) and shedding endles teares:
Bloud raining downe from heau’n in vnknow’n showers:
Our Gods darke faces ouercast with woe,
And dead mens Ghosts appearing in the night.
Yea euen this night while all the Cittie stoode
Opprest with terror, horror, seruile feare,
Deepe silence ouer all: the sounds were heard
Of diuerse songs, and diuers instruments,
Within the voide of aire: and howling noise,
Such as madde Bacchus priests in Bacchus feasts
On Nisa make: and (seem’d) the company,
Our Cittie lost, went to the enemie.
So we forsaken both of Gods and men,
So are we in the mercy of our foes:
And we hencefoorth obedient must become
To lawes of them who haue vs ouercome.[G3v]
Lament we our mishaps,
Drowne we with teares our woe:
For Lamentable happes
Lamented easie growe:
And much lesse torment bring
Then when they first did spring.
We want that wofull song,
Wherwith wood-musiques Queene
Doth ease her woes, among,
fresh springtimes bushes greene,
On pleasant branche alone
Renewing auntient mone.
We want that monefull sounde,
That pratling Progne makes
On fieldes of Thracian ground,
Or streames of Thracian lakes:
To empt her brest of paine
For Itys by her slaine.
Though Halcyons doo still,
Bewailing Ceyx lot,
The Seas with plainings fill
Which his dead limmes haue got,
Not euer other graue
Then tombe of waues to haue:
And though the birde in death
That most Meander loues
So swetely sighes his breath
When death his fury proues,[G4]
As almost softs his heart,
And almost blunts his dart:
Yet all the plaints of those,
Nor all their tearfull larmes,
Cannot content our woes,
Nor serue to waile the harmes,
In soule which we, poore we,
To feele enforced be.
Nor they of Phæbus bredd
In teares can doo so well,
They for their brother shedd,
Who into Padus fell,
Rash guide of chariot cleare
Surueiour of the yeare.
Nor she whom heau’nly powers
To weping rocke did turne,
Whose teares distill in showers,
And shew she yet doth mourne.
Where with his toppe to Skies
Mount Sipylus doth rise.
Nor weping drops which flowe
From barke of wounded tree,
That Myrrhas shame do showe
With ours compar’d may be,
To quench her louing fire
Who durst embrace her sire.
Nor all the howlings made
On Cybels sacred hill
By Eunukes of her trade,
Who Atys, Atys still
With doubled cries resound,[G4v]
Which Echo makes rebound.
Our plaints no limits stay,
Nor more then doo our woes:
Both infinitely straie
And neither measure knowes.
In measure let them plaine:
Who measur’d griefes sustaine.
That I haue thee betraid, deare Antonie,
My life, my soule, my Sunne? I had such thought?
That I haue thee betraide my Lord, my King?
That I would breake my vowed faith to thee?
Leaue thee? deceiue thee? yeelde thee to the rage
Of mightie foe? I euer had that hart?
Rather sharpe lightning lighten on my head:
Rather may I to deepest mischiefe fall:
Rather the opened earth deuower me:
Rather fierce Tigers feed them on my flesh:
Rather, ô rather let our Nilus send,
To swallow me quicke, some weeping Crocodile.
And didst thou then suppose my royall hart
Had hatcht, thee to ensnare, a faithles loue?
And changing minde, as Fortune changed cheare,
I would weake thee, to winne the stronger, loose?
O wretch! ô caitiue! ô too cruell happe!
And did not I sufficient losse sustaine
Loosing my Realme, loosing my liberty,H
My tender of-spring, and the ioyfull light
Of beamy Sunne, and yet, yet loosing more
Thee Antony my care, if I loose not
What yet remain’d? thy loue alas! thy loue,
More deare then Scepter, children, freedome, light.
So ready I to row in Charons barge,
Shall leese the ioy of dying in thy loue:
So the sole comfort of my miserie
To haue one tombe with thee is me bereft.
So I in shady plaines shall plaine alone,
Not (as I hop’d) companion of thy mone,
O height of griefe! Eras why with continuall cries
Your griefull harmes doo you exasperate?
Torment your selfe with murthering complaints?
Straine your weake breast so oft, so vehemently?
Water with teares this faire alablaster?
With sorrowes sting so many beauties wound?
Come of so many Kings want you the hart
Brauely, stoutly, this tempest to resist?
Cl. My eu’lls are wholy vsupportable,
No humain force can them withstand, death.
Eras. To him that striues nought is impossible.
Cl. In striuing lyes no hope of my mishapps.
Eras. All things do yeelde to force of louely face.
Cl. My face too louely caus’d my wretched case.
My face hath so entrap’d, so cast vs downe,
That for his conquest Cæsar may it thanke,
Causing that Antony one army lost
The other wholy did to Cæsar yeld.
For not induring (so his amorouse sprite
Was with my beautie fir’de) my shamefull flight,[Hv]
Soone as he saw from ranke wherein he stoode
In hottest fight, my Gallies making saile:
Forgetfull of his charge (as if his soule
Vnto his Ladies soule had bene enchain’d)
He left his men, who so couragiouslie
Did leaue their liues to gaine him victorie.
And carelesse both of fame and armies losse
My oared Gallies follow’d with his Ships
Companion of my flight, by this base parte
Blasting his former flourishing renowne.
Eras. Are you therefore cause of his ouerthrowe?
Cl. I am sole cause: I did it, only I.
Feare of a woman troubled so his sprite?
Cl. Fire of his loue was by my feare enflam’d.
Er. And should he then to warre haue ledd a Queene?
Cl. Alas! this was not his offence, but mine.
Antony (ay me! who else so braue a chiefe!)
Would not I should haue taken Seas with him:
But would haue left me fearfull woman farre
From common hazard of the doubtfull warre.
O that I had beleu’d! now, now of Rome
All the great Empire at our beck should bende.
All should obey, the vagabonding Scythes,
The feared Germains, back-shooting Parthians,
Wandring Numidians, Brittons farre remoou’d,
And tawny nations scorched with the Sunne.
But I car’d not: so was my soule possest,
(To my great harme) with burning iealousie:
Fearing least in my absence Antony
Should leauing me retake Octauia.
Char. Such was the rigour of your destinie.H2
Cl. Such was my errour and obstinacie.
Ch. But since Gods would not, could you doe withall?
Cl. Alwaies from Gods good happs, not harms, do fall.
Ch. And haue they not all power on mens affaires?
Cl. They neuer bow so lowe, as worldly cares.
But leaue to mortall men to be dispos’d
Freelie on earth what euer mortall is.
If sometimes some faultes commit,
We may them not to their high maiesties,
But to our selues impute; whose passions
Plunge vs each day in all afflictions.
Wherwith when we our soules do thorned feele,
Flatt’ring our selues we say they dest’nies are:
That Gods would haue it so, and that our care
Could not empeach but that it must be so.
Char. Things here belowe are in the heau’ns begot,
Before they be in this our borne:
And neuer can our weaknes turne awry
The stailes course of powerfull destenie.
Nought here force, reason, humaine prouidence,
Holie deuotion, noble bloud preuailes:
And Ioue himselfe whose hand doth heauens rule,
Who both to Gods and men as King commaunds,
Who earth (our firme support) with plenty stores,
Moues aire and sea with twinckling of his eie,
Who all can doe, yet neuer can vndoe
What once hath been by their hard laws decreed.
When Troian walles, great Neptunes workmanship,
Enuiron’d were with Greekes, and Fortunes whele
Doubtfull ten yeares now to the campe did turne,
And now againe towards the towne return’d:[H2v]
How many times did force and fury swell
In Hectors veines egging him to the spoile
Of conquer’d foes, which at his blowes did flie,
As fearfull shepe at feared wolues approche:
To saue (in vaine: for why? it would not be)
Pore walles of Troie from aduersaries rage,
Who died them in bloud, and cast to ground
Heap’d them with bloudie burning carcases.
No, Madame, thinke, that if the ancient crowne
Of your progenitors that Nilus rul’d,
Force take from you; the Gods haue will’d it so,
To whome oft times Princes are odiouse.
They haue to euery thing an end ordain’d;
All worldly greatnes by them bounded is;
Some sooner, later some, as they think best:
None their decree is able to infringe.
But, which is more, to vs disastred men
Which subiect are in all things to their will,
Their will is hidd: nor while we liue, we know
How, or how long we must in life remaine.
Yet must we not for that feede on dispaire,
And make vs wretched ere we wretched bee:
But alwaies hope the best, euen to the last,
That from our selues the mischief may not growe.
Then, Madame, helpe your selfe, leaue of in time
Antonies wracke, lest it your wracke procure:
Retire you from him, saue frrom wrathfull rage
Of angry Cæsar both your Realme and you.
You see him lost, so as your amitie
Vnto his euills can yelde no more reliefe.
You see him ruin’d, so as your support
No more hencefourth can him with comfort raise.
With-draw you from the storme: persist not still
To loose your selfe: this royal diademe
Regaine of Cæsar. Cl. Soner shining light
Shall leaue the daie, and darknes leaue the night:
Sooner moist currents of tempestuous seas
Shall waue in heauen, and the nightlie troopes
Of starres shall shine within the foming waues,
Then I thee, Antonie, Leaue in depe distres.
I am with thee, be it thy worthy soule
Lodge in thy brest, or from that lodging parte
Crossing the ioyles lake to take hir place
In place prepared for men Demy-gods.
Liue, if thee please, if life be lothsome die:
Dead and aliue, Antonie, thou shalt see
Thy princesse follow thee, folow, and lament,
Thy wrack, no lesse her owne then was thy weale.
Char. What helps his wrack this euer-lasting loue?
Cl. Help, or help not, such must, such ought I proue.
Char. Ill done to loose your selfe, and to no ende.
Cl. How ill thinke you to follow such a frende?
Char. But this your loue nought mitigates his paine.
Cl. Without this loue I should be inhumaine.
Char. Inhumaine he, who his owne death pursues.
Cl. Not inhumaine who miseries eschues.
Ch. Liue for your sonnes. Cl. Nay for their father die.
Cha. Hardhearted mother! Cl. Wife kindhearted I.
Ch. Then will you them depriue of royall right?
Cl. Do I depriue them? no, it’s dest’nies might.
Ch. Do you not them not depriue of heritage,
That giue them vp to handes,[H3v]
A man forsaken fearing to forsake,
Whome such huge numbers hold enuironned?
T’ abandon one gainst whome the frowning world
Banded with Cæsar makes conspiring warre.
Cl. The lesse ought I to leaue him lest of all.
A frend in most distresse should most assist.
If that when Antonie great and glorious
His led to drinke Euphrates streames,
So many Kings in traine redoubting him;
In triumph rais’d as high as highest heaun;
Lord-like disposing as him pleased best,
The wealth of Greece, the wealth ofAsia:
In that faire fortune had I him exchaung’d
For Cæsar, then, men would haue counted me
Faithles, vnconstant, light: but now the storme,
And blustring tempest driuing on his face,
Readie to drowne, Alas! what would they saie?
What would himselfe in Plutos mansion saie?
If I, whome alwaies more then life he lou’de,
If I, who am his heart, who was his hope,
Leaue him, forsake him (and perhaps in vaine)
Weakly to please who him hath ouerthrowne?
Not light, vnconstant, faithlesse should I be,
But vile, forsworne, of treachrous crueltie.
Ch. Crueltie to shunne, you selfe-cruell are.
Cl. Selfe-cruell him from crueltie to spare.
Ch. Our first affection to our is due.
Cl. He is my selfe. Ch. Next it extendes vnto
Our children, frends, and to our countrie soile.
And you for some respect of wiuelie loue,
(Albee scarce wiuelie) loose your natiue land,[H4]
Your children, frends, and (which is more) your life,
With so strong charmes doth loue bewitch our witts:
So fast in vs this fire once kindled flames.
Yet if his harme by yours redresse might haue
Cl. With mine it may be clos’de in darksome graue.
Ch. And that, as Alcest to hir selfe vnkinde,
You might exempt him from the lawes of death.
But he is sure to die: and now his sworde
Alreadie moisted is in his warme bloude,
Helples for any succour you can bring
Against deaths stinge, which he must shortlie feele.
Then let your loue be like the loue of olde
Which Carian Queene did nourish in hir heart
Of hir Mausolus: builde for him a tombe
Whose statelinesse a wonder new may make.
Let him, let him haue sumtuouse funeralles:
Let graue thereon the horror of his fights:
Let earth be buri’d with vnburied heaps.
Frame ther Pharsaly, and discoulour’d stream’s
Of depe Enipeus: frame the grassie plaine,
Which lodg’d his campe at siege of Mutina.
Make all his combats, and couragiouse acts:
And yearly plaies to his praise institute:
Honor his memorie: with doubled care
Breed and bring vp the children of you both
In Cæsars grace: who as a noble Prince
Will leaue them Lords of this most gloriouse realme.
Cl. What shame were that? ah Gods! what infamie!
With Antonie in his good happs to share,
And ouerliue him dead: deeming enough
To shed some teares vpon a widdowe tombe?[H4v]
The after-liuers iustly might report
That I him onlie for his empire lou’d,
And high : and that in hard estate
I for another did him lewdlie leaue?
Like to those birds wafted with wandring wings
From foraine lands in spring-time here arriue:
And liue with vs so long as Somers heate,
And their foode lasts, then seke another soile.
And as we see with ceaslesse fluttering
Flocking of seelly flies a brownish cloud
To vintag’d wine yet working in the tonne,
Not parting thence while they swete liquor taste:
After, as smoke, all vanish in the aire,
And of the swarme not one so much appeare.
Eras. By this sharp death what profit can you winne?
Cl. I neither gaine, nor profit seke therein.
Er. What praise shall you of after-ages gett?
Cl. Nor praise, nor glory in my cares are sett.
Er. What other end ought you respect, then this?
Cl. My only ende my onely dutie is.
Er. your dutie must vpon some good be founded.
Cl. On vertue it, the onlie good, is grounded.
Er. What is that vertue? Cl. That which vs beseemes.
Er. Outrage our selues? who that beseeming deemes?
Cl. Finish I will my sorowes dieng thus.
Er. Minish you will your glories doing thus.
Cl. Good frends I praie you seeke not to reuoke
My fix’d intent of folowing Antonie.
I will die. I will die: must not his life,
His life and death by mine be folowed?
Meane while, deare sisters, liue: and while you liue,I
Doe often honor to our loued Tombes.
Straw them with flowrs: and sometimes happelie
The tender thought of Antonie your Lorde
And me poore soule to teares shall you inuite,
And our true loues your dolefull voice commend.
Ch. And thinke you Madame, we from you will part?
Thinke you alone to feele deaths ougly darte?
Thinke you to leaue vs? and that the same sunne
Shall see at once you dead, and vs aliue?
Weele die with you: and Clotho pittilesse
Shall vs with you in hellish boate imbarque.
Cl. Ah liue, I praie you: this disastred woe
Which racks my heart, alone to me belonges:
My lott longs not to you: seruants to be
No shame, no harme to you, as is to me.
Liue sisters, liue, and seing his suspect
Hath causlesse me in sea of sorowes drown’d,
And that I can not liue, if so I would,
Nor yet would leaue this life, if so I could,
Without, his loue: procure me, Diomed,
That gainst poore me he be no more incensd.
Wrest out of his conceit that harmfull doubt,
That since his wracke he hath of me conceiu’d
Though wrong conceiu’d: witnesse you reuerent Gods,
Barking Anubis, Apis bellowing.
Tell him, my soule burning, impatient,
Forlorne with loue of him, for certaine seale
Of her true loialtie my corpse hath left,
T’ encrease of dead the number numberlesse.
Go then, and if as yet he me bewaile,
If yet for me his heart one sign fourth breathe[Iv]
Blest shall I be: and farre with more content
Depart this world, where so I me torment.
Meane season vs let this sadd tombe enclose,
Attending here till death conclude our woes.
Diom. I will obey your will. Cl. So the desert
The Gods repay of thy true faithfull heart.
And is’t not pittie, Gods, ah Gods of heau’n!
To see from loue such hatefull frutes to spring?
And is’t not pittie that this firebrand so
Laies waste the trophes of Philippi fieldes?
Where are those swete allurements, those swete lookes,
Which Gods themselues right hart-sicke would haue made?
What doth that beautie, rarest guift of heau’n,
Wonder of earth? Alas! what doe those eies?
And that swete voice all Asia vnderstoode,
And sunburnt Afrike wide in deserts spred?
Is their force dead? haue they no further power?
Can not by them Octauius be supriz’d?
Alas! if Ioue in middst of all his ire,
With thunderbolt in hand some land to plague,
Had cast his eies on my Queene, out of hande
His plaguing bolte had falne out of his hande:
Fire of his wrathe into vaine smoke should turne,
And other fire within his brest should burne.
Nought liues so faire. Nature by such a worke
Her selfe, should seme, in workmanship hath past.
She is all heau’nlie: neuer any man
But seing hir was rauish’d with her sight.[I2]
The couering of hir face,
The corall coullor hir two lipps engraines,
Her beamie eies, two Sunnes of this our world,
Of hir faire haire the fine and flaming golde,
Her braue streight stature, and hir winning partes
Are nothing else but fiers, fetters, dartes.
Yet this is nothing skilles
Of her celestiall Sp’rite, hir training speache,
Her grace, hir Maiestie, and forcing voice,
Whither she it with fingers speach consorte,
Or hearing sceptred kings embassadors
Answer to eache in his owne language make.
Yet now at nede she aides hir not at all
With all these beauties, so hir sorowe stings.
Darkned with woe hir only studie is
To wepe, to sigh, to seke for lonelines.
Careles of all, hir haire disordred hangs:
Hir charming eies whence murthring looks did flie,
Now riuers grown’, whose wellspring anguish is,
Do trickling wash the marble of hir face.
Hir faire discouer’d brest with sobbing swolne
Selfe cruell she still martireth with blowes,
Alas! It’s our ill happ, for if hir teares
She would conuert into hir louing charmes,
To make a conquest of the conqueror,
(As well shee might, would she hir force imploie)
She should vs saftie from these ills procure,
Hir crowne to hir, and to hir race assure.
Vnhappy he, in whome selfe-succour lies,
Yet self-forsaken wanting succour dies.[I2v]
O swete fertile land, wherin
Phæbus did with breath inspire
Man who men did first begin,
Formed first of Nilus mire.
Whence of Artes the eldest kindes,
Earthes most heauenly ornament,
Were as from their fountaine sent,
To enlight our mistie mindes.
Whose grosse sprite from endles time,
As in darkned prison pente,
Neuer did to knowledg clime.
Wher the Nile, our father good,
Father-like doth neuer misse
Yearely vs to bring such food,
As to life required is:
Visiting each yeare this plaine,
And with fatt slime cou’ring it,
Which his seauen mouthes do spitt,
As the season comes againe.
Making therby greatest growe
Busie reapers ioyfull paine,
When his flouds do highest flowe.
Wandring Prince of riuers thou,
Honor of the Æthiops lande,
Of a Lord and master now
Thou a slaue in awe must stand.
Now of Tiber which is spred
Lesse in force, and lesse in fameI3
Reuerence thou must the name,
Whome all other riuers dread,
For his children swolne in pride,
Who by conquest seeke to treade
Round this earth on euery side.
Now thou must begin to sende
Tribute of thy watrie store,
As Sea pathes thy stepps shall bende,
Yearely presents more and more.
Thy fatt skumme, our frutefull corne,
Pill’d from hence with theeuish hands
All vncloth’d shall leaue our lands
Into foraine Countrie borne.
Which puft vp with such a pray
Shall therby the praise adorne
Of that scepter Rome doth sway.
Nought thee helps thy hornes to hide
Farre from hence in vnknowne grounds,
That thy waters wander wide,
Yearely breaking bankes, and bounds.
And that thy Skie-coullor’d brookes
Through a hundred peoples passe,
Drawing plots for trees and grasse
With a thousand turn’s and crookes.
Whome all weary of their way
Thy throats which in widenesse passe
Powre into their Mother Sea.
Nought so happie haplesse life
“In this worlde as freedome findes:
“Nought wherin more sparkes are rife
“To inflame couragious mindes.[I3v]
“But if force must vs enforce
“Nedes a yoke to vndergoe,
“Vnder foraine yoke to goe
“Still it proues a bondage worse.
“And doubled subiection
“See we shall, and feele, and knowe
“Subiect to a stranger growne.
From hence forward for a King,
whose first being from this place
Should his brest by nature bring
Care of Countrie to embrace,
We at surly face must quake
Of some Romaine madly bent:
Who, our terrour to augment,
His Proconsuls axe will shake.
Driuing with our Kings from hence
Our establish’d gouerment,
Iustice sworde, and Lawes defence.
Nothing worldly of such might
But more mightie Destinie,
By swift Times vnbridled flight,
Makes in ende his ende to see.
Euery thing Time ouerthrowes,
Nought to ende doth stedfast staie:
His great sithe mowes all away
As the stalke of tender rose.
Of the Heau’ns doth it oppose
Gainst his powerfull Deitie.
One daie there will come a daie
Which shall quaile thy fortunes flower,[I4]
And thee ruinde low shall laie
In some barbarous Princes power.
When the pittie-wanting fire
Shall, O Rome, thy beauties burne,
And to humble ashes turne
Thy proud wealth, and rich attire,
Those guilt roofes which turretwise,
Iustly making Enuie mourne,
Threaten now to pearce Skies.
As thy forces fill each land
Haruests making here and there,
Reaping all with rauening hand
They finde growing any where:
From each land so to thy fall
Multitudes repaire shall make,
From the common spoile to take
What to each mans share maie fall.
Fingred all thou shalt beholde:
No iote left for tokens sake
That thou wert so great of olde.
Like vnto the auncient Troie
Whence deriu’de thy founders be,
Conqu’ring foe shall thee enioie,
And a burning praie in thee.
For within this turning ball
This we see, and see each daie:
All things fixed ends do staie,
Ends to first beginnings fall.
And that nought, how strong or strange,
Chaungles doth endure alwaie,
But endureth fatall change.
Lucil, sole comfort of my bitter case,
The only trust, the only hope I haue,
In last despaire: Ah! is not this the daie
That death should me of life and loue bereaue?
What waite I for that haue no refuge left,
But am sole remnant of my fortune left?
All leaue me, flie me: none, no not of themof my greatnes greatest good receiu’d,
Stands with my fall: they seeme as now asham’de
That heretofore they did me ought regarde:
They draw them back, shewing they folow’d me,
Not to partake my harm’s, but coozen me.
Lu. In this our world nothing is stedfast found,
In vaine he hopes, who here his hopes doth groũd.
Ant. Yet nought afflicts me, nothing killes me so,
As that I so my Cleopatra see
Practize with Cæsar, and to him transport
My flame, her loue, more deare then life to me.
Lu. Beleeue it not: Too high a heart she beares,
Too Princelie thoughts. Ant. Too wise a head she weare
Too much enflam’d with greatnes, euermore
Gaping for our great Empires gouerment.So long time you her constant loue haue tri’de.
Ant. But still with me good fortune did abide.
Lu. Her changed loue what token makes you know?
An. Pelusium lost, and Actian ouerthrow,K
Both by her fraud: my well appointed fleet,
And trustie Souldiors in my quarell arm’d,
Whom she, false she, in stede of my defence,
Came to persuade, to yelde them to my foe:
Such honor Thyre done, such welcome giuen,
Their long close talkes I neither knew, nor would,
And treacherouse wrong Alexas hath me done,
Witnes too well her periur’d loue to me.
But you O Gods (if any faith regarde)
With sharpe reuenge her faithles change reward.
Lu. The dole she made vpon our ouerthrow,
Her Realme giuen vp for refuge to our men,
Her poore attire when she deuoutly kept
The solemne day of her natiuitie,
Againe the cost, and prodigall expence
Shew’d when she did your birth day celebrate,
Do plaine enough her heart vnfained proue,
Equally toucht, you louing, as you loue.
Ant. Well; be her loue to me or false, or true,
Once in my soule a cureles wound I feele.
I loue, nay burne in fire of her loue:
Each day, each night her Image haunts my minde,
Her selfe my dreams: and still I tired am,
And still I am with burning pincers nipt.
Extreame my harme: yet sweeter to my sence
Then boiling Torch of iealouse torments fire:
This grief, nay rage, in me such sturre doth kepe,
And thornes me still, both when I wake and slepe.
Take Cæsar conquest, take my goods, take he
Th’onor to be Lord of the earth alone,
My Sonnes, my life bent headlong to mishapps:
No force, so not my Cleopatra take.[Kv]
So foolish I, I can not her forget,
Though better were I banisht her my thought.
Like to the sicke, whose throte the feauers fire
Hath vehemently with thirstie drouth enflam’d,
Drinkes still, albee the drinke he still desires
Be nothing else but fewell to his flame:
He can not rule himselfe: his health’s respect
Yeldeth to his distempred stomackes heate.
Lu. Leaue of this loue, that thus renewes your woe.
Ant. I do my best, but ah! can not do so.
Lu. Thinke how you haue so braue a captaine bene,
And now are by this vaine affection falne.
Ant. The ceasles thought of my felicitie
Plunges me more in this aduersitie.
For nothing so a man in ill torments,
As who to him his good state represents.
This makes my rack, my anguish, and my woe
Equall vnto the hellish passions growe,
When I to minde my happie puisance call
Which erst I had by warlike conquest wonne,
And that good fortune which me neuer left,
Which hard disastre now hath me bereft.
With terror tremble all the world I made
At my sole worde, as Rushes in the streames
At waters will: I conquer’d Italie,
I conquer’d Rome, that Nations so redoubt.
I bare (meane while besieging Mutina)
Two Consuls armies for my ruine brought,
Bath’d in their bloud, by their deaths witnessing
My force and skill in matters Martiall.
To wreake thy vnkle, vnkinde Cæsar, I
With bloud of enemies the bankes embru’dK2
Of stain’d Enipeus, hindering his course
Stopped with heapes of piled carcases:
When Cassius and Brutus ill betide
Marcht against vs, by vs twise put to flight,
But by my sole conduct: for all the time
Cæsar heart-sicke with feare and feauer laie.
Who knowes it not? and how by euery one
Fame of the fact was giu’n to me alone.
There sprang the loue, the neuer changing loue,
Wherein my hart hath since to yours bene bound:
There was it, my Lucil, you Brutus sau’de,
And for your Brutus Antonie you found.
Better my happ in gaining such a frende,
Then in subduing such an enemie.
Now former vertue dead doth me forsake,
Fortune engulfes me in extreame distresse:
She turnes from me her smiling countenance,
Casting on me mishapp vpon mishapp,
Left and betraide of thousand thousand frends,
Once of my sute, but you Lucil are left,
Remaining to me stedfast as a tower
In holy loue, in spite of fortunes blastes.
But if of any God my voice be heard,
And be not vainely scatt’red in the heau’ns,
Such goodnes shall not glorilesse be loste,
But comming ages still therof shall boste.
Lu. Men in their frendship euer should be one,
And neuer ought with fickle Fortune shake,
Which still remoues, nor will, nor knowes the way,
Her rowling bowle in one sure state to staie.
Wherfore we ought as borrow’d things receiue
The goods light she lends vs to pay againe:[K2v]
Not holde them sure, nor on them builde our hopes
As one such goods as cannot faile, and fall:
But thinke againe, nothing is dureable,
Vertue except, our neuer failing hoste:
So bearing saile when fauouring windes do blowe,
As frowning Tempests may vs least dismaie
When they on vs do fall: not ouer-glad
With good estate, nor ouer-grieu’d with bad.
Resist mishap. Ant. Alas! it is too stronge.
Mishappes oft times are by some comfort borne:
But these, ay me! whose weights oppresse my hart,
Too heauie lie, no hope can them relieue.
There rests no more, but that with cruell blade
For lingring death a hastie waie be made.
Lu. Cæsar, as heire vnto his Fathers state:
So will his Fathers goodnes imitate,
To you warde: whome he know’s allied in bloud,
Allied in mariage, ruling equallie
Th’ Empire with him, and with him making warre
Haue purg’d the earth of Cæsars murtherers.
You into portions parted haue the world
Euen like coheir’s their heritages parte:
And now with one accord so many yeares
In quiet peace both haue your charges rul’d.
Ant. Bloud and alliance nothing do preuaile
To coole the thirst of hote ambitious breasts:
The sonne his Father hardly can endure,
Brother his brother, in one common Realme.
So feruent this desier to commaund:
Such iealousie it kindleth in our hearts.
Sooner will men permit another should
Loue her they loue, then weare the Crowne they weare.[K3]
All lawes it breakes, turns all things vpside downe:
Amitie, kindred, nought so holie is
But it defiles. A monarchie to gaine
None cares which way, so he maie it obtaine.
Lu. Suppose he Monarch be and that this world
No more acknowledg sundrie Emperours.
That Rome him onelie feare, and that he ioyne
The East with west, and both at once do rule:
Why should he not permitt you peaceablie
Discharg’d of charge and Empires dignitie,
Priuate to liue reading Philosophie,
In learned Greece, Spaine, Asia, anie lande?
Ant. Neuer will he his Empire thinke assur’de
While in this world Marke Antonie shall liue.
Sleeples Suspicion, Pale distrust, colde feare
Alwaies to princes companie do beare
Bred of Reports: reports which night and day
Perpetuall guests from Court go not away.
Lu. He hath not slaine your brother Lucius,
Nor shortned hath the age of Lepidus,
Albeit both into his hands were falne,
And he with wrath against them both enflam’d.
Yet one, as Lord in quiet rest doth beare
The greatest sway in great Iberia.
The other with his gentle Prince retaines
Of highest Priest the sacred dignitie.
Ant. He feares not them, their feeble force he knowes.
Lu. He feares no vanquisht ouerfill’d with woes.
Ant. Fortune may chaunge againe L. A down-cast foe
Can hardlie rise, which once is brought so lowe.
Ant. All that I can, is done: for last assay
(When all means fail’d) I to entreatie fell,[K3v]
(Ah coward creature!) whence againe repulst
Of combate I vnto him proffer made:
Though he in prime, and I by feeble age
Mightily weakned both in force and skill.
Yet could not he his coward heart aduaunce
Baselie affraid to trie so praisefull chaunce.
This makes me plaine, makes me my selfe accuse,
Fortune in this hir spitefull force doth vse’Gainst my gray hayres: in this vnhappie I
Repine at heau’ns in my happes pittiles.
A man, a woman both in might and minde,
In Marses schole who neuer lesson learn’d,
Should me repulse, chase, ouerthrow, destroie,
Me of such fame, bring to so lowe an ebbe?
Alcides bloud, who from my infancie
With happie prowesse crowned haue my praise.
Witnesse thou Gaule vnus’d to seruile yoke,
Thou valiant Spaine, you fields of Thessalie
With millions of mourning cries bewail’d,
Twise watred now with bloude of Italie.
Lu. witnesse may Afrique, and of conquer’d world
All fower quarters witnesses may be.
For in what part of earth inhabited,
Hungrie of praise haue you not ensignes spredd?
An. Thou know’st rich Ægypt (Ægypt of my deeds
Faire and foule subiect) ah! thou know’st
How I behau’d me fighting for thy kinge,
When I regainde him his rebellious Realme.
Against his foes in battaile shewing force,
And after fight in victorie remorse.
Yet if to bring my glorie to the ground,
Fortune had made me ouerthrowne by one[K4]
Of greater force, of better skill then I;
One of those Captaines feared so of olde,
Camill, Marcellus, worthy Scipio,
This late great Cæsar, honor of our state,
Or that great Pompei aged growne in armes;
That after haruest of a world of men
Made in a hundred battailes, fights, assaults,
My bodie thorow pearst with push of pike
Had vomited my bloud, in bloud my life,
In midd’st of millions felowes in my fall:
The lesse hir wrong, the lesse should my woe:
Nor she should paine, nor I complain me so.
No, no, wheras I should haue died in armes,
And vanquisht oft new armies should haue arm’d,
New battailes giuen, and rather lost with me
All this whole world submitted vnto me:
A man who neuer saw enlaced pikes
With bristled pointes against his stomake bent,
Who feares the field, and hides him cowardly
Dead at the verie noise the souldiors make.
His vertue, fraude, deceit, malicious guile,
His armes the arts that false Vlisses vs’de,
Knowne at Modena, wher the Consuls both
Death-wounded were, and wounded by his men
To gett their armie, warre with it to make
Against his faith, against his countrie soile.
Of Lepidus, which to his succours came,
To honor whome he was by dutie bounde;
The Empire he vsurpt: corrupting first
With baites and bribes the most part of his men.
Yet me hath ouercome, and made his pray,
And state of Rome, with me hath ouercome.[K4v]
Strange! one disordred act at Actium
The earth subdu’de, my glorie hath obscur’d.
For since, as one whome heauens wrath attaints,
With furie caught, and more then furious
Vex’d with my euills, I neuer more had care
My armies lost, or lost name to repaire:
I did no more resist. Lu. All warres affaires,
But battailes most, daily haue their successe
Now good, now ill: and though that fortune haue
Great force and power in euery worldlie thing,
Rule all, do all, haue all things fast enchaind
Vnto the circle of hir turning wheele:
Yet seemes it more then any practise else
She doth frequent bloudie trade:
And that hir fauour, wauering as the wind,
Hir greatest power therin doth oftnest shewe.
Whence growes, we dailie see, who in their youth
Gatt honor ther, do loose it in their age,
Vanquisht by some lesse warlike then themselues:
Whome yet a meaner man shall ouerthrowe.
Hir vse is not to lende vs still her hande,
But sometimes headlong back a gaine to throwe,
When by hir fauor she hath vs extolld
Vnto the topp of highest happines.
Ant. well ought I curse within my grieued soule,
Lamenting daie and night, this sencelesse loue,
Whereby my faire entising foe entrap’d
My hedelesse Reason, could no more escape.
It was not fortunes euer chaunging face,
It was not Dest’nies chaungles violence
Forg’d my mishap. Alas! who doth not know
They make, nor marre, nor any thing can doe.L
Fortune, which men so feare, adore, detest,
Is but a chaunce whose cause vnknow’n doth rest.
Although oft times the cause is well perceiu’d,
But not th’effect the fame that was conceiu’d.
Pleasure, nought else, the plague of this our life,
Our life which still a thousand plagues pursue,
Alone hath me this strange disastre spunne,
Falne from a souldior to a Chamberer,
Careles of vertue, careles of all praise.
Nay, as the fatted swine in filthy mire
With glutted heart I wallow’d in delights,
All thoughts of honor troden vnder foote.
So I me lost: for finding this swete cupp
Pleasing my tast, vnwise I drunke my fill,
And through the swetenes of that poisons power
By stepps I draue my former witts astraie.
I made my frends, offended me forsake,
I holpe my foes against my selfe to rise.
I robd my subiects, and for followers
I saw my selfe besett with flatterers.
Mine idle armes faire wrought with spiders worke,
My scattred men without their ensignes strai’d:
Cæsar meane while who neuer would haue dar’de
To cope with me, me sodainlie despis’de,
Tooke hart to fight, and hop’de for victorie
On one so gone, who glorie had forgone.
Lu. Enchaunting pleasure; Venus swete delights
Weaken our bodies, ouer-cloud our sprights,
Trouble our reason, from our harts out chase
All holie vertues lodging in their place.
Like as the cunning fisher takes the fishe
By traitor baite wherby the hooke is hidde:[Lv]
So Pleasure serues to vice in steede of foode
To baite our soules theron too licourishe.
This poison deadlie is alike to all,
But on great kings doth greatest outrage worke,
Taking the Roiall scepters from their hands,
Thenceforward to be by some straunger borne:
While that their people charg’d with heauy loades
Their flatt’rers pill, and suck their mary drie,
Not ru’lde but left to great men as a pray,
While this fonde Prince himselfe in pleasur’s drowns:
Who heares nought, sees nought, doth nought of a king,
Seming himselfe against himselfe conspirde.
Then equall Iustice wandreth banished,
And in hir seat sitts greedie Tyrannie.
Confus’d disorder troubleth all estates,
Crimes without feare and outrages are done.
Then mutinous Rebellion shewes hir face,
Now hid with this, and now with that pretence,
Prouoking enimies, which on each side
Enter at ease, and make them Lords of all.
The hurtfull workes of pleasure here behold.
An. The wolfe is not so hurtfull to the folde,
Frost to the grapes, to ripened fruits the raine:
As pleasure is to Princes full of paine.
Lu. Ther nedes no proofe, but by th’ Assirian kinge,
On whome that Monster woefull wrack did bring.
An. Ther nedes no proofe, but by vnhappie I,
Who lost my empire, honor, life therby.
Lu. Yet hath this ill so much the greater force,
As scarcelie anie do against it stand:
No, not the Demy-gods the olde world knew,
Who all subdu’de, could Pleasures power subdue.
Great Hercules, Hercules once that was
Wonder of earth and heau’n, matchles in might,
Who Anteus, Lycus, Geryon ouercame,
Who drew from hell the triple-headed dogg,
Who Hydra kill’d, vanquishd Achelous,
Who heauens weight on his strong shoulders bare:
Did he not vnder Pleasures burthen bow?
Did he not Captiue to this passion yelde,
When by his Captiue, so he was enflam’de,
As now your selfe in Cleopatra burne?
Slept in hir lapp, hir bosome kist and kiste,
With base vnsemelie seruice bought her loue,
Spinning at distaffe, and with sinewy hand
Winding on spindles threde, in maides attire?
His conqu’ring clubbe at rest on wal did hang:
His bow vnstringd he bent not as he vs’de:
Vpon his shafts the weauing spiders spunne:
And his hard cloake the freating mothes did pierce.
The monsters free and fearles all the time
Throughout the world the people did torment,
And more and more encreasing daie by day
Scorn’d his weake heart become a mistresse plaie.
An. In onelie this like Hercules am I,
In this I proue me of his lignage right:
In this himselfe, his deedes I shew in this,
In this, nought else, my ancestor he is.
But go we: die I must, and with braue ende
Conclusion make of all foregoing harmes:
Die, die I must: I must a noble death,
A glorious death vnto my succor call:
I must deface the shame of time abus’d,
I must adorne the wanton loues I vs’de[L2v]
With some couragiouse act: that my last daie
By mine owne hand my spotts may wash away.
Come deare Lucill: alas! why wepe you thus!
This mortall lot is common to vs all.
We must all die, each doth in homage owe
Vnto that God that shar’d the Realmes belowe.
Ah sigh no more: alas: appeace your woes,
For by your griefe my griefe more eager growes.
Alas, with what tormenting fire.
Vs martireth this blinde desire
To staie our life from flieng!
How ceasleslie our minds doth rack,
How heauie lies vpon our back
This dastard feare of dieng!
Death rather healthfull succor giues,
Death rather all mishappes relieues
That life vpon vs throweth:
And euer to vs doth vnclose
The doore, wherby from curelesse woes
Our wearie soule out goeth.
What Goddesse else more milde then shee
To burie all our paine can be,
What remedie more pleasing?
Our pained hearts when dolor stings,
And nothing rest, or respite brings,
What help haue we more easing?
Hope which to vs doth comfort giue,
And doth or fainting hearts reuiue,
Hath not such force in anguish:[L3]
For promising a vaine reliefe
She oft vs failes in midst of griefe,
And helples letts vs languish.
But Death who call on her at nede
Doth neuer with vaine semblant feed,
But when them sorow paineth,
So riddes their soules of all distresse
Whose heauie weight did them oppresse,
That not one griefe remaineth.
Who feareles and with courage bolde
Can Acherons black face beholde,
Which muddie water beareth:
And crossing ouer, in the way
Is not amaz’d at Perruque gray
Olde rustie Charon weareth:
Who voide of dread can looke vpon
The dreadfull shades that rome alone,
On bankes where sound no voices:
Whom with her fire-brands and her Snakes
No whit afraide Alecto makes,
Nor triple-barking noyses:
Who freely can himselfe dispose
Of that last hower which all must close,
And leaue this life at pleasure:
This noble freedome more esteemes,
And in his hart more precious deemes,
Then Crowne and kingly treasure.
The waues which Boreas blasts turmoile
And cause with foaming furie boile,
Make not his heart to tremble:
Nor brutish broile, when with strong head[L3v]
A rebell people madly ledde
Against their Lords assemble:
Nor fearfull face of Tirant wood,
Who breaths but threats, and drinks but bloud,
No, nor the hand which thunder,
The hand of Ioue which thunder beares,
And ribbs of rocks in sunder teares,
Teares mountains sides in sunder:
Nor bloudie Marses butchering bands,
Whose lightnings desert laie the lands
whome dustie cloudes do couer:
From of whose armour sun-beames flie,
And vnder them make quaking lie
The plaines wheron they houer:
Nor yet the cruell murth’ring blade
Warme in the moistie bowells made
of people pell mell dieng
In some great Cittie put to sack
By sauage Tirant brought to wrack,
At his colde mercie lieng.
How abiect him, how base think I,
Who wanting courage can not dye
When need him therto calleth?
From whom the dagger drawne to kill
The curelesse griefes that vexe him still
For feare and faintnes falleth?
O Antonie with thy deare mate
Both in misfortunes fortunate!
Whose thoughts to death aspiring
Shall you protect from victors rage,
Who on each side doth you encage,[L4]
To triumph much desiring.
That Cæsar may you not offend
Nought else but Death can you defend,
which his weake force derideth,
And all in this round earth containd,
Powr’les on them whom once enchaind
Auernus prison hideth:
Where great Psammetiques ghost doth rest,
Not with infernall paine possest,
But in swete fields detained:
And olde Amasis soule likewise,
And all our famous Ptolemies
That whilome on vs raigned.
You euer-liuing Gods which all things holde
Within the power of your celestiall hands,
By whom heate, colde, the thunder, and the winde,
The properties of enterchaunging mon’ths
Their course and being haue, which do set downe
Of Empires by your destinied decree
The force, age, time, and subiect to no chaunge
Chaunge all, reseruing nothing in one state:
You haue aduaunst, as high as thundring heau’n
The Romains greatnes by Bellonas might:
Mastring the world with fearfull violence,[L4v]
Making the world widow of libertie.
Yet at this daie this proud exalted Rome
Despoil’d, captiu’d, at one mans will doth bende:
Her Empire mine, her life is in my hand,
As Monarch I both world and Rome commaund;
Do all, can all; fourth my commaund’ment cast
Like thundring fire from one to other Pole
Equall to Ioue: bestowing by my worde
Happes and mishappes, as Fortunes King and Lord.
No Towne there is, but vp my Image settes,
But sacrifice to me doth dayly make:
Whither where Phæbus ioyne his morning steedes,
Or where the night them weary entertaines,
Or where the heat the Garamants doth scorche,
Or where the colde from Boreas breast is blowne:
All Cæsar do both awe and honor beare,
And crowned Kings his verie name do feare.
Antonie knowes it well, for whom not one
Of all the Princes all this earth do rule,
Armes against me: for all redoubt the power
Which heau’nly powers on earth haue made me beare.
Antonie, he poore man with fire enflam’de
A womans beauties kindled in his heart,
Rose against me, who longer could not beare
My sisters wrong he did so ill entreat:
Seing her left while that his leud delights
Her husband with his Cleopatra tooke
In Alexandrie, where both nights and daies
Their time they pass’d in nought but loues and plaies.
All Asias forces into one he drewe,
And forth he sett vpon the azur’d wauesM
A thousand and a thousand Shipps, which fill’d
With Souldiors, pikes, with targets, arrowes, darts,
Made Neptune quake, and all the watrie troupes
Of Glauques, and Tritons lodg’d at Actium.
But mightie Gods, who still the force withstand
Of him, who causles doth another wrong,
In lesse then moments space redus’d to nought
All that proud power by Sea or land he brought.
Agr. Presumptuouse pride of high and hawtie sprite,
Voluptuouse care of fonde and foolish loue,
Haue iustly wrought his wrack: who thought he helde
(By ouerweening) Fortune in his hand.
Of vs he made no count, but as to play,
So fearles came our forces to assay.
So sometimes fell to Sonnes of Mother Earth,
Which crawl’d to heau’n warre on the Gods to make,
Olymp on Pelion, Ossaon Olymp,
Pindus on Ossa loading by degrees:
That at hand strokes with mightie clubbes they might
On mossie rocks the Gods make tumble downe:
When mightie Ioue with burning anger chaf’d,
Disbraind with him Gyges and Briareus,
Blunting his darts vpon their brused bones.
For no one thing the Gods can lesse abide
In dedes of men, then Arrogance and Pride.
And still the proud, which too much takes in hand,
Shall fowlest fall, where best he thinks to stand.
Cæs. Right as some Pallace, or some stately tower,
Which ouer-lookes the neighbour buildings round
In scorning wise, and to the Starres vp growes,
Which in short time his owne weight ouerthrowes.
What monstrous pride, nay what impietieMv
Incen’st him onward to the Gods disgrace?
When his two children, Cleopatras bratts,
To Phæbe and her brother he compar’d,
Latonas race, causing them to be call’d
The Sunne and Moone? Is not this folie right?
And is not this the Gods to make his foes?
And is not this himself to worke his woes?
Agr. In like proud sort he caus’d his head to leese
The Iewish king Antigonus, to haue
His Realme for balme, that Cleopatra lou’d,
As though on him he had some treason prou’d.
Cæs. Lydia to her, and Siria he gaue,
Cyprus of golde, Arabia rich of smelles:
And to his children more Cilicia,
Parth’s, Medes, Armenia, Phænicia:
The kings of kings proclaiming them to be,
By his owne worde, as by a sound decree.
Agr. What? Robbing his owne countrie of her due
Triumph’d he not in Alexandria,
Of Artabasus the Armenian King,
Who yelded on his periur’d word to him?
Cæs. Nay, neuer Rome more iniuries receiu’d,
Since thou, ô Romulus, by flight of birds
with happy hand the Romain walles did’st build,
Then Antonies fond loues to it hath done.
Nor euer warre more holie, nor more iust,
Nor vndertaken with more hard constraint,
Then is this warre: which were it not, our state
Within small time all dignitie should loose:
Though I lament (thou Sunne my witnes art;
And thou great Ioue) that it so deadly proues:M2
That Romain bloud should in such plentie flowe,
Watring the fields and pastures where we goe.
What Carthage in olde hatred obstinate,
What Gaule still barking at our rising state,
What rebell Samnite, what fierce Pyrrhus power,
What cruell Mithridate, what Parth hath wrought
Such woe to Rome: whose common wealth he had,
(Had he bene victor) into Egipt brought.
Agr. Surely the Gods, which haue this Cittie built
Stedfast to stand as long as time endures,
Which kepe the Capitoll, of vs take care,
And care will take of those shall after come,
Haue made you victor, that you might redresse
Their honor growne by passed mischieues lesse.
Cæs. The seelie man when all the Greekish Sea
His fleete had hidd, in hope me sure to drowne,
Me battaile gaue: where fortune, in my stede,
Repulsing him his forces disaraied.
Him selfe tooke flight, soone as his loue he saw
All wanne through feare with full sailes flie away.
His men, though lost, whome none did now direct,
With courage fought fast grappled shipp with shipp,
Charging, resisting, as their oares would serue,
With darts, with swords, with Pikes, with fierie flames.
So that the darkned night her starrie vaile
Vpon the bloudie sea had ouer-spred,
Whilst yet they held: and hardlie, hardlie then
They fell to flieng on the wauie plaine.
All full of Souldiors ouerwhelm’d with waues:
The aire throughout with cries and grones did sound:
The Sea did blush with bloud: the neighbor shores[M2v]
Groned, so they with shipwracks pestred were,
And floting bodies left for pleasing foode
To birds, and beasts, and fishes of the sea.
You know it well Agrippa. Ag. Mete it was
The Romain Empire so should ruled be,
As heau’n is rul’d: which turning ouer vs,
All vnder things by his example turnes.
Now as of heau’n one onely Lord we know:
One onely Lord should rule this earth below.
When one self pow’re is common made to two,
Their duties they nor suffer will, nor doe.
In quarell still, in doubt, in hate, in feare;
Meane while the people all the smart do beare.
Cæs. Then to the ende none, while my daies endure,
Seeking to raise himselfe may succours finde,
We must with bloud marke this our victorie,
For iust example to all memorie.
Murther we must, vntill not one we leaue,
Which may hereafter vs of rest bereaue.
Ag. Marke it with murthers? who of that can like?
Cæ. Murthers must vse, who doth assurance seeke.
Ag. Assurance call you enemies to make?
Cæs. I make no such, but such away I take.
Ag. Nothing so much as rigour doth displease.
Cæs. Nothing so much doth make me liue at ease.
Ag. What ease to him that feared is of all?
Cæ. Feared to be, and see his foes to fall.
Ag. Commonly feare doth brede and nourish hate.
Cæ. Hate without pow’r comes comonly too late.
Ag. A feared Prince hath oft his death desir’d.
Cæ. A Prince not fear’d hath oft his wrong conspir’de.[M3]
Ag. No guard so sure, no forte so strong doth proue,
No such defence, as is the peoples loue.
Cæs. Nought more vnsure more weak, more like the winde,
Then Peoples fauor still to chaunge enclinde.
Ag. Good Gods! what loue to gracious Prince men beare!
Cæs. What honor to the Prince that is seuere!
Ag. Nought more diuine then is Benignitie.
Cæ. Nought likes the Gods as doth Seueritie.
Ag. Gods all forgiue. Cæ. On faults they paines do laie.
Ag. And giue their goods. Cæ. Oft times they take away.
Ag. They wreake them not, ô Cæsar, at each time
That by our sinnes they are to wrathe prouok’d.
Neither must you (beleue, I humblie praie)
Your victorie with crueltie defile.
The Gods it gaue, it must not be abus’d,
But to the good of all men mildlie vs’d,
And they be thank’d: that hauing giu’n you grace
To raigne alone, and rule this earthlie masse,
They may hence-forward hold it still in rest,
All scattred power vnited in one brest.
Cæ. But what is he, that breathles comes so fast,
Approaching vs, and going in such hast?
Ag. He semes affraid: and vnder his arme I
(But much I erre) a bloudie sworde espie.
Cæs. I long to vnderstand what it may be.
Ag. He hither comes: it’s best we stay and see.
Dirce. What good God now my voice will reenforce,
That tell I may to rocks, and hilles, and woods,
To waues of sea, which dash vpon the shore,
To earth, to heau’n, the woefull newes I bring?
Ag. What sodaine chaunce thee vs hath brought?
Dir. A lamentable chance. O wrath of heau’ns![M3v]
O Gods too pittiles! Cæs. What monstrous happ
Wilt thou recount? Dir. Alas too hard mishapp!
When I but dreame of what mine eies beheld,
My hart doth freeze, my limmes do quiuering quake,
I senceles stand, my brest with tempest tost
Killes in my throte my wordes, ere fully borne.
Dead, dead he is: be sure of what I say,
This murthering sword hath made the man away.
Cæs. Alas my heart doth cleaue, pittie me rackes,
My breast doth pant to heare this dolefull tale.
Is Antonie then dead? To death, alas!
I am the cause despaire him so compelld.
But souldiour of his death the maner showe,
And how he did this liuing light forgoe.
Dir. When Antonie no hope remaining saw
How warre he might, or how agreement make,
Saw him betraid by all his men of warre
In euery fight as well by sea, as lande;
That not content to yeld them to their foes
They also came against himselfe to fight:
Alone in Court he gan himself torment,
Accuse the , himselfe of hir lament,
Call’d hir vntrue and traytresse, as who fought
To yeld him vp she could no more defend:
That in the harmes which for hir sake he bare,
As in his blisfull state, she might not share.
But she againe, who much his furie fear’d,
Gatt to the Tombes, darke horrors dwelling place:
Made lock the doores, and pull the hearses downe.
Then fell shee wretched, with hir selfe to fight.
A thousand plaints, a thousand sobbes she cast
From hir weake brest which to the bones was torne,[M4]
Of women hir the most vnhappie call’d,
Who by hir loue, hir woefull loue, had lost
Hir realme, hir life, and more, the loue of him,
Who while he was, was all hir woes support.
But that she faultles was she did inuoke
For witnes heau’n, and aire, and earth, and sea.
Then sent him worde, she was no more aliue,
But lay inclosed dead within hir Tombe.
This he beleeu’d; and fell to sigh and grone,
And crost his armes, then thus began to mone.
Cæs. Poore hopeles man! Dir. What dost thou more attend
Ah Antonie! why dost thou death deferre
Since Fortune thy professed enimie,
Hath made to die, who only made thee liue?
Sone as with sighes he had these words vp clos’d,
His armor he vnlaste, and cast it of,
Then all disarm’d he thus againe did say:
My Queene, my heart, the grief that now I feele,
Is not that I your eies, my Sunne, do loose,
For soone againe one Tombe shal vs conioyne:
I grieue, whom men so valorouse did deeme,
Should now, then you, of lesser valor seeme.
So said, forthwith he Eros to him call’d,
Eros his man; summond him on his faith
To kill him at his nede. He tooke the sworde,
And at that instant stab’d therwith his breast,
And ending life fell dead before his fete.
O Eros thankes (quoth Antonie) for this
Most noble acte, who pow’rles me to kill,
On thee hast done, what I on mee should doe.
Of speaking thus he scarce had made an ende,
And taken vp the bloudie sword from ground,[M4v]
But he his bodie piers’d; and of redd bloud
A gushing fountaine all the chamber fill’d.
He staggred at the blowe, his face grew pale,
And on a couche all feeble downe he fell,
Swounding with anguish: deadly cold him tooke,
As if his soule had then his lodging left.
But he reuiu’d, and marking all our eies
Bathed in teares, and how our breasts we beatt
For pittie, anguish, and for bitter griefe,
To see him plong’d in extreame wretchednes:
He prai’d vs all to haste his lingr’ing death:
But no man willing, each himselfe withdrew.
Then fell he new to crie and vexe himselfe,
Vntill a man from Cleopatra came,
Who said from hir he had commaundement
To bring him to hir to the monument.
The poore soule at these words euen rapt with Ioy
Knowing she liu’d, prai’d vs him to conuey
Vnto his Ladie. Then vpon our armes
We bare him to the Tombe, but entred not.
For she, who feared captiue to be made,
And that she should to Rome in triumph goe,
Kept close the gate: but from a window high
Cast downe a corde, wherin he was impackt.
Then by hir womens helpt the corps she rais’d,
And by strong armes into hir windowe drew.
So pittifull a sight was neuer sene.
Little and little Antonie was pull’d,
Now breathing death: his beard was all vnkempt,
His face and brest all bathed in his bloud.
So hideous yet, and dieng as he was,
His eies half-clos’d vppon the Queene he cast:N
Held vp his hands, and holpe himself to raise,
But still with weakenes back his bodie fell.
The miserable ladie with moist eies,
With haire which careles on hir forhead hong,
With brest which blowes had bloudilie benumb’d,
With stooping head, and bodie down-ward bent,
Enlast hir in the corde, and with all force
This life-dead man couragiously vprais’de.
The bloud with paine into hir face did flowe,
Hir sinewes stiff, her selfe did breathles growe.
The people which beneath in flocks beheld,
Assisted her with gesture, speech, desire:
Cri’de and incourag’d her, and in their soules
Did sweate, and labor, no white lesse then shee.
Who neuer tir’d in labor, held so long
Helpt by hir women, and hir constant heart,
That Antonie was drawne into the tombe,
And ther (I thinke) of dead augments the summe.
The Cittie all to teares and sighes is turn’d,
To plaints and outcries horrible to heare:
Men, women, children, hoary-headed age
Do all pell mell in house and strete lament,
Scratching their faces, tearing of their haire,
Wringing their hands, and martyring their brests.
Extreame their dole: and greater misery
In sacked townes can hardlie euer be.
Not if the fire had scal’de the highest towers:
That all things were of force and murther full;
That in the streets the bloud in riuers stream’d;
That sonne his sire saw in his bosome slaine,
The sire his sonne: the husband reft of breath
In his wiues armes, who furious runnes to death.[Nv]
Now my brest wounded with their piteouse plaints
I left their towne, and tooke with me this sworde,
Which I tooke vp at what time Antonie
Was from his chamber caried to the tombe:
And brought it you, to make his death more plaine,
And that therby my words may credite gaine.
Cæs. Ah Gods what cruell happ! poore Antonie,
Alas hast thou this sword so long time borne
Against thy foe, that in the ende it should
Of thee his Lord the cursed murthr’er be?
O Death how I bewaile thee! we (alas!)
So many warres haue ended, brothers, frends,
Companions, coozens, equalls in estate:
And must it now to kill thee be my fate?
Ag. Why trouble you your selfe with bootles griefe?
For Antonie why spend you teares in vaine?
Why darken you with dole your victorie?
Me seemes your self your glorie do enuie.
Enter the towne, giue thankes vnto the Gods.
Cæs. I cannot but his tearefull chaunce lament,
Although not I, but his owne pride the cause,
And vnchaste loue of this Ægyptian.But best we sought into the tombe to gett,
Lest shee consume in this amazed case
So much rich treasure, with which happelie
Despaire in death may make hir feed the fire:
Suffring the flames hir Iewells to deface,
You to defraud, hir funerall to grace.
Sende then to hir, and let some meane be vs’d
With some deuise so holde hir still aliue,
Some faire large promises: and let them marke
Whither they may by some fine conning slightN2
Enter the tombes. Cæsar. Let Proculeius goe,
And fede with hope hir soule disconsolate.
Assure hir so, that we may wholie gett
Into our hands hir treasure and hir selfe.
For this of all things most I doe desire
To kepe hir safe vntill our going hence:
That by hir presence beautified may be
The glorious triumph Rome prepares for
Shall euer ciuile
gnaw and deuour our state?
Shall neuer we this blade,
Our bloud hath bloudie made,
Lay downe? these armes downe lay
As robes we weare alway?
But as from age to age,
So passe from rage to rage?
Our hands shall we not rest
To bath in our owne brest?
And shall thick in each land
Our wretched trophees stand,
To tell posteritie,
What madd Impietie
Our stonie stomakes ledd
Against the place vs bredd?
Then still must heauen view
The plagues that vs pursue:
And euery where descrie
Heaps of vs scattred lie,[N2v]
Making the straunger plaines
Fatt with our bleeding raines,
Proud that on them their graue
So manie legions haue.
And with our fleshes still
Neptune his fishes fill
And dronke with bloud from blue
The sea take blushing hue:
As iuice of Tyrian shell,
When clarified well
To wolle of finest fields
A purple glosse it yelds.
But since the rule of Rome,
To one mans hand is come,
Who gouernes without mate
Hir now vnited state,
Late iointlie rulde by three
Whose triple yoke much woe
On Latines necks did throwe:
I hope the cause of iarre,
And of this bloudie warre,
And deadlie discord gone
By what we last haue done:
Our banks shall cherish now
The branchie pale-hew’d bow
Of Oliue, Pallas praise,
In stede of barraine bayes.
And that his temple dore,
Which bloudie Mars before
Held open, now at last
Olde Ianus shall make fast:N3
And rust the sword consume,
And spoild of wauing plume,
The vseles morion shall
On crooke hang by the wall.
At least if warre returne
It shall not here soiourne,
To kill vs with those armes
Were forg’d for others harmes:
But haue their pointes addrest,
Against the Germaines brest,
The Parthians fayned ,
The Biscaines martiall might.
Olde Memorie doth there
Painted on forhead weare
Our Fathers praise: thence torne
Our triumphes baies haue worne:
Therby our matchles
Whilome of Shepeheards come
Rais’d to this greatnes stands,
The Queene of forraine lands.
Which now euen seemes to face
The heau’ns, her glories place:
Nought resting vnder Skies
That dares affront her eies.
So that she needes but feare
The weapons Ioue doth beare,
Who angrie at one blowe
May her quite ouerthrowe.
O cruell Fortune! ô accursed lott!
O plaguy loue! ô most detested brand!
O wretched ioyes! ô beauties miserable!
O deadlie state! ô deadly roialtie!
O hatefull life! ô Queene most lamentable!
O Antonie by my fault buriable!
O hellish worke of heau’n! alas! the wrath
Of all the Gods at once on vs is falne.
Vnhappie Queene! ô would I in this world
The wandring light of day had neuer sene?
Alas! of mine the plague and poison I
The crowne haue lost my ancestors me left,
This Realme I haue to straungers subiect made,
And robd my children of their heritage.
Yet this is nought (alas!) vnto the price
Of you deare husband, whome my snares entrap’d:
Of you, whom I haue plagu’d, whom I haue made
With bloudie hand a guest of mouldie Tombe:
Of you, whome I destroid, of you, deare Lord,
Whome I of Empire, honor, life haue spoil’d.
O hurtfull woman! and can I yet liue,
Yet longer liue in this Ghost-haunted tombe?
Can I yet breathe! can yet in such annoy,
Yet can my Soule within this bodie dwell?[N4]
O Sisters you that spinne the thredes of death!
O Styx! ô Phlegethon! you brookes of hell!
O Impes of Night! Euph. Liue for your childrens sake:
Let not your death of kingdome them depriue.
Alas what shall they do? who will haue care?
Who will preserue this royall race of yours?
Who pittie take? euen now me seemes I see
These little soules to seruile bondage falne,
And borne in triumph. Cl. Ah most miserable!
Euph. Their tender armes with cursed corde fast bound
At their weake backs. Cl. Ah Gods what pittie more!
Eph. Their seelie necks to ground with weaknesse bend.
Cl. Neuer on vs, good Gods, such mischiefe sende.
Euph. And pointed at with fingers as they go.
Cl. Rather a thousand deaths. Euph. Lastly his knife
Some cruell caytiue in their bloud embrue.
Cl. Ah my heart breaks. By shadie bankes of hell,
By fieldes wheron the lonely Ghosts do treade,
By my soule, and the soule of Antonie
I you beseche, Euphron, of them haue care.
Be their good Father, let your wisedome lett
That they fall not into this Tyrants handes.
Rather conduct them where their freezed locks
Black Æthiopes to neighbour Sunne do shewe;
On wauie Ocean at the waters will;
On barraine cliffes of snowie Caucasus;
To Tigers swift, to Lions, and to Beares;
And rather, rather vnto euery coaste,
To eu’rie land and sea: for nought I feare
As rage of him, whose thirst no bloud can quench.
Adieu deare children, children deare adieu:[N4v]
Good Isis you to place of safetie guide,
Farre from our foes, where you your liues may leade
In free estate deuoid of seruile dread.
Remember not, my children, you were borne
Of such a Princelie race: remember not
So manie braue Kings which haue Egipt rul’de
In right descent your ancestors haue bene:
That this great Antonie your Father was,
Hercules bloud, and more then he in praise.
For your high courage such remembrance will,
Seing your fall with burning rages fill.
Who knowes if that your hands false Destinie
The Scepters promis’d of imperiouse Rome,
In stede of them shall crooked shepehookes beare,
Needles or forkes, or guide the carte, or plough?
Ah learne t’ endure: your birth and high estate
Forget, my babes, and bend to force of fate.
Farwell, my babes, farwell, my hart is clos’de
With pitie and paine, my self with death enclos’de,
My breath doth faile. Farwell for euermore,
Your Sire and me you shall see neuer more.
Farwell swete care, farwell. Chil. Madame Adieu.
Cl. Ah this voice killes me. Ah good Gods! I swounde.
I can no more, I die. Eras. Madame, alas!
And will you yeld to woe? Ah speake to vs.
Eup. Come children. Chil. We come. Eup. Follow we our chaunce.
The Gods shall guide vs. Char. O too cruell lott!
O too hard chaunce! Sister what shall we do,
What shall we do, alas! if murthring darte
Of death arriue while that in slumbring swound
Half dead she lie with anguish ouergone?O
Er. Her face is frozen. Ch. Madame for Gods loue
Leaue vs not thus: bidd vs yet first farwell.
Alas! wepe ouer Antonie: Let not
His bodie be without due rites entomb’de.
Cl. Ah, ah. Char. Madame. Cle. Ay me! Cl. How fainte she is?
Cl. My Sisters, holde me vp. How wretched I,
How cursed am! and was ther euer one
By Fortunes hate into more dolours throwne?
Ah, weeping Niobe, although thy hart
Beholdes itselfe enwrap’d in causefull woe
For thy dead children, that a senceless rocke
With griefe become, on Sipylus thou stand’st
In endles teares: yet didst thou neuer feele
The weights of griefe that on my heart do lie.
Thy Children thou, mine I poore soule haue lost,
And lost their Father, more then them I waile,
Lost this faire realme; yet me the heauens wrathe
Into a Stone not yet transformed hath.
Phaetons sisters, daughters of the Sunne,
Which waile your brother falne into the streames
Of stately Po: the Gods vpon the bankes
Your bodies to banke-louing Alders turn’d.
For me, I sigh, I ceasles wepe, and waile,
And heauen pittiles laughes at my woe,
Reuiues, renewes it still: and in the ende
(Oh crueltie!) doth death for comfort lende.
Die Cleopatra then, no longer stay
From Antonie, who thee at Styx attends:
Goe ioine thy Ghost with his, and sobbe no more
Without his loue within these tombes enclos’d.
Eras. Alas! yet let vs wepe, lest sodaine deathOv
From him our teares, and those last duties take
Vnto his tombe we owe. Ch. Ah let vs wepe
While moisture lasts, then die before his feete.
Cl. who furnish will mine eies with streaming teares
My boiling anguish worthilie to waile,
Waile thee Antonie, Antonie my heart?
Alas, how much I weeping liquor want!
Yet haue mine eies quite drawne their Conduits drie
By long beweeping my disastred harmes.
Now reason is that from my side they sucke
First vitall moisture, then the vitall bloud.
Then let the bloud from my sad eies out flowe,
And smoking yet with thine in mixture growe.
Moist it, and heate it newe, and neuer stopp,
All watring thee, while yet remaines one dropp.
Cha. Antonie take our teares: this is the last
Of all the duties we to thee can yelde,
Before we die. Er. These sacred obsequies
Take Antony, and take them in good parte.
Cl. O Goddesse thou whom Cyprus doth adore,
Venus of Paphos, bent to worke vs harme
For olde Iulus broode, if thou take care
Of Cæsar, why of vs tak’st thou no care?
Antonie did descend, as well as he,
From thine own Sonne by long enchained line:
And might haue rul’d by one and self same fate,
True Troian bloud, the statelie Romain state.
Antonie, poore Antonie, my deare soule,
Now but a blocke, the bootie of a tombe,
Thy life, thy heate is lost, thy coullor gone,
And hideous palenes on thy face hath seaz’d.[O2]
Thy eies, two Sunnes, the lodging place of loue,
Which yet for tents to warlike Mars did serue,
Lock’d vp in lidds (as faire daies cherefull light
Which darknesse flies) do winking hide in night.
Antonie by our true loues I thee beseche,
And by our hearts swete sparks haue sett on fire,
Our holy mariage, and the tender ruthe
Of our deare babes, knot of our amitie:
My dolefull voice thy eare let entertaine,
And take me with thee to the hellish plaine,
Thy wife, thy frend: heare Antonie, ô heare
My sobbing sighes, if here thou be, or there.
Liued thus long, the winged race of yeares
Ended I haue as Destinie decreed,
Flourish’d and raign’d, and taken iust reuenge
Of him who me both hated and despisde.
Happie, alas too happie! if of Rome
Only the fleete had hither neuer come.
And now of me an Image great shall goe
Vnder the earth to bury there my woe.
What say I? where am I? ô Cleopatra,
Poore Cleopatra, griefe thy reason reaues.
No, no, most happie in this happles case,
To die with thee, and dieng thee embrace:
My bodie ioynde with thine, my mouth with thine,
My mouth, whose moisture burning sighes haue dried:
To be in one selfe tombe, and one selfe chest,
And wrapt with thee in one selfe sheete to rest.
The sharpest torment in my heart I feele
Is that I staie from thee, my heart, this while.
Die will I straight now, now streight will I die,
And streight with thee a wandring shade will be,[O2v]
Vnder the Cypres trees thou haunt’st alone,
Where brookes of hell do falling seeme to mone.
But yet I stay, and yet thee ouerliue,
That ere I die due rites I may thee giue.
A thousand sobbes I from my brest will teare,
With thousand plaints thy funeralles adorne:
My haire shall serue for thy oblations,
My boiling teares for thy effusions,
Mine eies thy fire: for out of them the flame
(Which burnt thy heart on me enamour’d) came.
Wepe my companions, wepe, and from your eies
Raine downe on him of teares a brinish streame.
Mine can no more, consumed by the coales
Which from my breast, as from a furnace, rise.
Martir your breasts with multiplied blowes,
With violent hands teare of your hanging haire,
Outrage your face: alas! why should we seeke
(Since now we die) our beawties more to kepe?
I spent in teares, not able more to spende,
But kisse him now, what rests me more to doe?
Then lett me kisse you, you faire eies, my light,
Front seate of honor, face most fierce, most faire!
O neck, ô armes, ô hands, ô breast where death
(Oh mischief) comes to choake vp vitall breath.
A thousand kisses, thousand thousand more
Let you my mouth for honors farewell giue:
in this office weake my limmes may growe,
Fainting on you, and fourth my soule may flowe.