by William Alexander
Some who themselves prophanely did defile,
And gave to creatures what to God was due;
Some whom with bloud, ambition did beguile,
Who honour sought where horrour did ensue,
Doe here with Witches meet, and strangely vile,
Some Parricides and traitours in a crue,
Who wanting all that unto grace belong'd,
Most vainely God, man violently wrong'd.
Some who below with pomp their progresse past,
Of what they once claim'd all, no part possesse;
Who (scarce confin'd by all this compasse vast)
As straited, strugling for more roome did presse,
They now not strive for state, all would be last,
By ruine levell'd, equall in distresse:
Who usher'd oft with guards, did gorgeous stand,
Are (naked now) throng'd in a vulgar band.
Two troupes great terrour cannot be conceiv'd,
Which (as in sinne) in judgement joyn'd remaine;
In image this, in essence that God brav'd,
His honour given away, his servants slaine;
Th'one (furious) rag'd, and th'other (foolish) rav'd,
Prophanely cruell, cruelly prophane:
None thought in all so many to have seene,
As murth'rers and idolaters have beene.
Of monstrous bands, I know not whom to name,
For labours past, who then receive their wage,
As stain'd with bloud, or wrapt in guilty shame,
Whil'st loos'd in lust, or bended up by rage,
Not knowne to me by sight, no, not by fame,
There numbers come, drawne out of every age:
Yet some most eminent may be exprest,
To make the world conjecture of the rest.
I see that Churle (a godly stockes first staine)
Whose avarice no limits had allow'd,
His daughters bawd, both prostitute for gaine,
To coosned Iacob sold, but not endow'd;
He, though with him Gods Prophet did remaine,
Who to dumb blockes abhominably bow'd:
Shall then behold his Throne with state erect'd,
Whom all his race had serv'd, and he neglect'd.
Those with long lives in contemplation still,
Who first did study starres, and measure heaven,
As of some learning, Authors of much ill,
On natures course to dote, too fondly given,
From whom he fled (as was his fathers will)
Whose faith (a patterne) th'earth could never eaven:
Not that he fear'd by them, infect'd to be,
No, no, he loath'd what God dislik't to see.
These curious braines that search'd heavens hidden store,
(Superiour powers for strange effects admir'd)
For the Creator, creatures did adore,
And in all formes, as fancies fits inspir'd;
A trembling troupe they now howle-howling roare,
All that abhorr'd to which they once aspir'd:
And Idols which for them no voice could use,
Though powerlesse then, have power now to accuse.
That land voluptuous, which had beene so long,
By different Soveraignes absolutely sway'd,
Yeelds dolorous troupes which durst to God doe wrong,
And more then him their follies dreames obey'd,
In true worth faint, in superstition strong,
Who bow'd to basenesse, and to weakenesse pray'd:
Who to vile creatures, deities did allow,
A Crocodile ador'd, an Oxe, a Cow.
These who by habite, Hebrew-haters grew,
And with his Arke durst God in triumph leade,
Who them when Victors captive did subue,
In Gath, and Ashdod, thousands falling dead,
Their abject Idole damnes that heathnish crue,
Who falne before Gods Tent, low homage made:
Where, then that blocke, more blockish they remain'd,
The place ador'd, which his crush'd carcasse stain'd.
There are Bells Priests who for themselves to shift,
Would needs their God a monstrous glutton prove,
Till Daniel did disclose their fraudfull drift,
And (as his bargaine was) did them remove,
Then, these for God who did a Dragon lift,
Which without force he forc'd, such to disprove;
And many thousands bursting forth deepe groanes,
Who prostituted Soules to Stockes and stones.
What millions, loe, pale, quaking, cry despair'd,
Which always sinn'd, yet never mercy claim'd,
And whil'st that they for heavens great God not car'd,
Did dote on that which they themselves had fram'd,
By Dagon, Baal, and Ashtaroth snar'd,
By Milcom, Molech, Nisroch deities dream'd;
Which could not raise themselves when once they fell,
Yet could who them ador'd cast down to hell.
There stand two Soveraignes of the worlds first State;
The first is he who so prophanely rail'd,
Whose host an Angell plagu'd with slaughter great,
Till forc'd to flie, his high designes all fail'd,
Loath'd as a monster, safe in no retreate,
Not Altars right, nor fathers name avail'd;
But by his Sonnes, before his God, kill'd there,
Idolatry and blood both venged were.
The next is he who that huge Statue fram'd,
To be ador'd at every Trompets sound,
To whom the Prophet twise told what he dream'd,
First of great Empires, last what would confound,
Who with a haughty heart (fond foole) proclam'd,
Is not this Babel, which my hands did found?
Then did abash'd with beastes a beaste abide,
Type of Gods judgements, Spectacle of Pride.
What mighty Monarchs follow after those,
With whom lights Throne so great regard had wonne,
That of their Empire purpos'd to dispose,
All met before daies progresse was begunne,
Then vow'd their judgements should on him repose,
Whose Coursers ney did first salute the Sunne;
A gallant Coosnage, one the Crowne did gaine,
Whose horse, or foote-groome, had more right to raigne.
The Greekes, though subtle, raving in this sort,
With Idoles earst defil'd, were last o'rethrowne;
From their high wittes bright nature did extort,
That some great God rul'd all things as his own;
Yea some farre gone (though of the end still short)
Rais'd Altars up unto a God unknown;
Yet by the multitude their State was borne,
Though those dumbe deities some durst clearely scorne.
One, who not fear'd that they themselves could venge,
Once with such taunts, as none but blockes could beare,
With Ioves of gold, his Cloake of Cloth did change,
For winter warme, for Summer light to weare,
Then since his Sire had none, as in him strange,
From Æsculapius his long beard did teare;
Thus he himselfe with spoiles of Gods did fraught,
They impotent, he impudent, both naught.
What thinke those Senatours when Christ they see,
Who whil'st inform'd what fame of him was runne;
Of mortall ends that from Suspition free,
He by great wonders confidence had wonne;
Since they to him no Temples would decree,
Whose God-head without them had beene begunne;
O how they quake that he their course must try,
Whose deity they did trust, yet durst deny!
Rome coin'd (heavens rivall) deities as thought best,
And Temples did, (as judge of Gods) allow,
To fortune one, by fortune all the rest,
For flattery, bravery, or a doubtfull vow;
What thing esteem'd had not some Altar dress'd,
Save fatall money which made all to bow?
But (still dissemblers) they the truth abhorr'd,
It (though no God profess'd) was most ador'd.
March forth you Gallants greedy of respect,
Who did not rightly wooe, but ravish fame,
(Though seeming vertuous) vitious in effect,
To Court fraile Echoes of a dying name,
And ere the world such errours could detect,
Though thrown in hell, did heavenly honours clame,
Marke what vaine pompes and deities do availe,
Which first your selves, then thousands made to faile.
You, who of old did Candies King adore,
As who might all the hosts of heaven command,
Where millions now upbraiding him do roare,
Loe, how the naked wretch doth quivering stand,
(Then all the rest condemn'd for mischiefe more)
Whil'st thought heavens God, hels guide in every land,
He fathers state, and sisters shame did reave,
A parricide, incestuous, lusts vile slave.
Loe, his adultrous brood, Amphitrio's scorne,
Right fathers heire, ador'd for doing ill,
Whose fame, by fabulous deeds, aloft was borne,
Yet but great Robber, did lesse Robbers kill,
Till by a poyson'd shirt, last justly torne,
As whil'st alive by lusts vile harpies still:
Now he who once was fain'd to force the hell,
There damn'd to darknesse may for ever dwell.
He trembleth now who spurning still at peace,
With brags, the ayre, with blows did beat the ground;
And she with whom whil'st bent to sport a space,
He who brav'd others did lye basely bound;
Then that lame dolt who prov'd his owne disgrace,
With him (their like) by whom the fraud was found.
What godly gods? what worth with titles even,
Thus seeking hell, to stumble upon heaven.
These do not scape who first for vertue knowne,
Rais'd from Ioves thigh, or head, dress'd wines, and oyles,
Nor she by whom for food first corne was sown,
To furnish fields with Autumns pretious spoils,
Nor none of them by whom prais'd Arts were shown,
To barre vice-breeding sloth by needfull toils:
Since they usurp'd what did to God belong,
And were, whil'st doing right, intending wrong.
Not onely Gentiles who prophanely rav'd,
Do now curse those by whom they were beguil'd,
And Indes new world, ere borne, in sinne conceiv'd,
From whom the light of God was farre exil'd,
But even these Iews whose soules the truth perceiv'd,
(With sprituall whoredome publickly defil'd)
They who ingrate, great benefits abus'd,
Loe, quite confounded, can not be excus'd.
O wretched Troupe which did so grosly stray,
When God with you (as friends) did freely treat,
Who even whil'st Moses in ambassage lay,
In place of him a senselesse Calfe did seat;
This, what you parting robb'd, did thus repay,
When turn'd to such an use, as Ægypts fate;
Were his great works forgot who did you leade,
And you such fools to trust in what you made?
Next them stand these when in Canaan plac'd,
And all perform'd what promis'd was before;
Who their appointed way no longer trac'd,
Gods law, and wonders, not remembred more,
Who barbarous customes where they came embrac'd,
And did the Idols of the land adore,
Yea, whil'st set free, when God had heard them mourne,
Who to their vomit did like dogges returne.
The Iews first King, first mark'd who did begin,
By loath'd selfe-slaughter to prevent world's shame;
Though glory glos'd upon a ground of sinne,
Whil'st Gentiles sought to justifie their fame,
Feare but prevayl'd where courage came not in;
They weaknesse shew, did of true worth but dreame:
Sauls end for soules is the most dangerous crime,
Which for repentance doth not leave a time.
From seeking Asses he was rais'd to raigne,
And when enstall'd soone forfeited his right;
Once prophecied amongst the Prophets traine,
Then hunted was with Sprits which loath'd the light;
Spar'd heathnish Agag whom he should have slaine,
And kill'd Gods Priests, though precious in his sight;
He ever abject was, or did insult,
Did first with God, last with the devill consult.
He who made Israel sinne, forc'd, and entis'd,
O what huge anguish in his soule doth sit!
Who with Religion policy disguis'd,
In heavenly things of too much worldly wit,
Whose hand stretch'd forth to strike, even then surpris'd,
Was hurt, and heal'd, by him whom bent to hit:
The Altar rent, as was his heart with feares,
The ashes falne, as should have done his teares.
Vp hatefull Achab, horrour of thy race,
Whose heart, then hands durst do, more mischiefe thought,
When quaking to behold Christs flaming face,
The cheape vine-garden shall be dearly bought;
O bitter Grapes, hard to digest, no grace,
When thy tumultuous minde to light is brought;
And for his cause whose life thou thus did'st reave,
Dogges did thy bloud, devils do thy soule receave.
You sisters faire whom God did love so much,
Both basely humbled did dishonour'd range,
He (abject rivals) jealous made of such,
Whose vilenesse did exempt them from revenge:
Mouth dumbe, eares deafe, eyes blinde, hands could not touch,
What monstrous madnesse could procure this change?
Law, wonders, Prophets, promise, nought could move,
For infinite deserts, a gratefull love.
Some Kings of Iuda Idols did imbrace,
As he whose sonne through fire polluted went,
That hatefull Ahaz, Achabs steps did trace,
Next whom one more did sinne, but did repent;
And one before link'd with the loathsome race,
With him did perish, whom to follow bent.
"From them who make bad leagues the Lord removes,
And often-times the friendship fatall proves.
Of Israels Monarchs to worke mischiefe sold,
When nearly mark'd I scarce misse any one,
Save it be Iehu killing (as God would)
His hated Rivals to attaine a Throne,
Who (though the course of Dan was not controul'd)
Of foure heires crown'd succeeded was when gone:
The rest with Idols filthily defil'd,
Do finde how farre their judgement was beguil'd.
With Ahab match'd as fit to be his Mate,
He stands, who both Gods grace, mens love abus'd,
Who to be worse then worst did prove ingrate,
More evill then all whom God before refus'd:
His feare (as fault) not comes in my conceit;
When justly thus by Gods great Priest accus'd,
Was this (vile monster) a reward to me?
And couldst thou kill his Sonne who did save thee?
With these now nam'd of Idoll-serving Bands,
What number loe (time past) their folly findes?
Some dead, some yet alive, whom in all Lands,
Opinion clouds, or Ignorance quite blindes;
Whil'st humbled to the worke of mortall hands,
Some simplie trust, some would comment their mindes:
But that command beares no exception now,
Which before Images discharg'd to bow.
O what dread Troupe doth with strange aspects rise!
I think their eyes flame fire, their hands drop blood:
Those whose proud hearts did all the world despise,
That at their power abus'd astonish'd stood,
Did murther, robbery, sacriledge disguise,
With shows of valour, which their brags made good:
Where is that courage vaunted of so oft?
Whil'st crush'd with fears they dare not look aloft.
When as Gods sonnes did with mens daughters lye,
Of the first world behold a bloudy traine;
But chiefly two most eminent I spie,
A barbarous murtherer, and a bragger vain:
He who to God durst with disdaine reply,
When for his brother ask'd (whom he had slain)
Am I his keeper? and I think he thought
Take up his offering, help'd thy favour ought?
This moth of minds, base spite, selfe-torturing gall,
Made devils to lose what he them once had given,
Then bent to be like God made man to fall,
Himselfe from Eden, and his Sonne from heaven,
To which all children still by Nature thrall,
(Though for their harme) with others would be even:
A childish vice which onely weaknesse beares,
"One what he wants, in others hates, or feares.
With him who first confusion did conspire,
The swaggerers Patron next in ranke is rang'd,
If seven-fold vengeance Cain did require,
Times seventy seven who vow'd to be reveng'd;
And told his wives that (insolent in ire)
He wounds for words, and death for wounds exchang'd.
But who thus rioting did burden eares,
(With terror freez'd) is all benumm'd with fears.
That hairy hunter given to sport with bloud,
Ere borne contentious, in the wombe prophane,
Who (as estrang'd from knowing what was good)
His birth-right sold, some pottage so to gaine:
Who further likewise gave, allur'd by food,
That which once scorn'd, was after beg'd in vaine:
This man still foolish findes his fault too late,
Whil'st being nam'd with them whom God doth hate.
These mighty Monarchs whom rash fame call'd great,
Who once (worlds Idols) thousands made to bow,
Whil'st gorgeous Courts with a prodigious state,
Too superstitiously did pompe allow;
O how farre chang'd! from what they were of late,
Them who brav'd hosts, a look makes tremble now;
Quench'd are these fires which once their breasts did burne,
And majesty to misery doth turne.
There he whom first a Diademe did fraught,
That famous Hunter founding Ashurs Throne,
Whose sport was glory, when he kingdomes caught,
The hounds halfe-men whose liberty was gone:
Worlds first example, who by practise taught,
That many thousands might be rul'd by one.
With terrour numbers Nimrods name did strike,
When thundring down all where he went alike.
Next comes his heire who first by right did claime,
That which anothers violence did take,
Yet then the Father worthy of more blame,
Who bondage would hereditary make;
And to great Niniveh did give the name,
Which turn'd Gods threatning by repentance back.
Lord where no right was, where just Lord a slave,
Who suffred ruine by the power he gave.
With prais'd Sesostris whom vaine pride did snare,
Despis'd Pelusium yeelds a bloudy band,
What Pharoes, Ptolomies and Sultanes there,
(Though once thought terrible) do trembling stand?
And well it seemes that valour then was rare,
When easie conquest grac'd so soft a Land.
What seem'd their glory then, doth prove their shame,
Who quench'd with bloud what kindled was for fame.
O! what sterne Troups I with Vexores see,
Whose courage was not (like their climate) cold,
But bent themselves extreamely to be free,
Oft by their strength encroaching states control'd;
Of barbarous squadrons monstrous numbers be,
Who did great acts which fame doth not unfold,
O! had they had as happy pennes as swords,
How many might have match'd with Romes chief Lords?
To daunt the Medes that Prince who first aspir'd,
Where wading long, at last was drown'd in bloud;
One fondly charg'd, and with disgrace retir'd,
Where losse did harme, to gaine had done no good;
And he who Attick figges to have acquir'd,
Would tosse a hill, force winde, drink up a flood;
With those stand stayn'd with bloud all Persia's kings,
Save some to follow lust who left all things.
What quaking squadrons do together throng,
Whom (Arts great nursery) pregnant Greece, brought forth,
Whose fame their funerals doth survive so long,
First sounded South, still echo'd in the North,
Whom flattering pennes did praise for doing wrong,
Whil'st mindes abus'd did dote on shows of worth:
Who thought grave pride a modest minde disclos'd,
And valour vertue, though to ill dispos'd.
Learn'd Athens founder, fabulously great,
(Both Sexes slaughtered) gain'd a glorious name,
And by much mischiefe mounting up a State,
Did drinke of death, whil'st thirsting but for fame;
Some virgins gain'd by force, some by deceit,
The devill scarce scap'd from his adulterous ayme,
Who by vile murther, rapes, and fraud made knowne,
Broke first his fathers necke, and then his owne.
These of their times who were esteem'd the best,
And with strict laws did what they pleas'd allow,
Licurgus, Minos, Solon, and the rest,
Then all their mates, more paine attends them now,
Who heavenly wits to worldly wayes did wrest,
And but to Nature, not to God did bow;
They (save politick) all Religion scorn'd,
And what they fain'd (as com'd from God) adorn'd.
Two who agreed to enterchange their raigne,
With griev'd Adrastus mutually do mone,
Who forty nine alone (one fled) had slaine,
He dare not now behold the face of one;
Where is that valour vaunted of in vaine,
By that great bragger at the Argive Throne?
Whil'st quite confounded these do quivering stand,
The cruell Creon last comes to their band.
What then avails (though prais'd so much of late)
When neere swolne Ilion death threw famous darts;
Old Priams pompe, proud Agamemnons state,
Achilles swift foot; Hectors hand, and heart,
Vlysses shifts, the valour of his mate,
Old Nestors speech, or Ajax his mad part:
All vagabonds, or violently dy'd,
And what did manhood seeme, is murther try'd.
Then yeelds that Towne which laws whil'st kept did save,
The crafty Ephor, and the halting King;
One Captaine greedy, two that were too brave,
Whom famous ruines both to death did bring;
Last him who place to none in courage gave,
From whom when dead a Serpent forth did spring.
Who to strict laws love out of time had showne,
And offered freedome where it was not knowne.
From Pallas Towne there flows a famous brood,
Who first foil'd Persians, with his gallant sonne;
He who by stratagems victorious stood,
And he whose gravenesse great regard had wonne;
He who both eminent in ill, and good,
All fortunes wayes had resolutely runne:
With numbers more whom former glory grieves,
And then from shame, nor paine, them not relieves.
Few Thebes gives that were renown'd in armes,
Two fain'd great Gods, two found great friends I see;
Then, that Corinthian bent for Tyrants harmes,
Who kill'd his brother, Syracuse set free;
Who brav'd Romes Consul famous for alarmes;
Last Grecian great-man rank'd in this degree:
Who for some drudge when farre mistaken said,
He for deformity a pennance paid.
Neare those great Greeks their Neighbour doth arise,
First forraine Prince who them to bondage brought,
Who did great things, but did farre more devise,
And laid the ground where the great builder wrought:
Yet was much taxed by that age precise,
For faults which moderne times not strange have thought;
That mightie father farre more fame had wonne,
If not but Vsher to so great a Sonne.
He who in one all kingdomes would combine,
And more perform'd then others dar'd to vaunt,
Who wish'd more worlds, whom this could not confine,
Whose fulnesse famine, wealth gave sense of want;
With fortune drunk (not as was thought with wine)
Who all without him, nought within did daunt:
Who, from so many life and state did take,
O what large count must that great Monarch make!
By Persias fall who did his Empire found,
Is back'd by them whom he with fame did place,
One kill'd in Ægypt, and another crown'd,
Whose following heires were compass'd with disgrace,
And all the rest for mischiefe most renown'd,
In Greece or Syria who did raise their race.
Whose Lord (made childlesse) prov'd a stocke of Kings,
Of whom when dead each feather turn'd to wings.
Next Macedons, Epirus Prince doth come,
Whose state so oft at Fortunes dice was throwne,
Who but Levinius, did not Rome o're-come,
And onely was by victory o're-throwne;
How Alexander might have match'd with Rome,
By whom (a sparke falne from his power) was shown:
To whom he shew whose tongue such wonders wrought,
That ease with ease which with such toile he sought.
O what huge troupe of Tibers brood I see,
Whose glory shame, whose conquest proves no gaine;
Who were thought happie, then most wretched be,
And wish for flight their Eagles wings in vaine;
A smoking dungeon heavens for all decree,
At severall times whom th'earth could not containe;
With shadows clad they in strict bounds do dwell,
Who spoil'd the world, scorn'd heavens, and conquer'd hell.
There Romes first King his deitie dearely buies,
Who bred with wolves did leave a ravenous broode;
And he for peace who coin'd religious lies,
His forg'd devotion now can doe no good;
This judgement straight those haughty princes tries,
Who famishing for fame, were drunk with blood,
Till bended pride long procreating hate,
Last, loos'd in lust, did alter all the State.
Of Rome (when free) whom fame from death redeemes,
The worldly worth what volume could record?
Huge Livies worke imaginary seemes,
An Epick poem with perfection stor'd,
Where numbers are whose parts Time more esteemes,
Then all whom Poets pennes with dreames decor'd,
But though quick Nature quint-essenc'd the mind,
The Soules, in senses wrapt, continued blind.
He who alone did brave the Thuscan band
On Tibers bridge, and did the Towne maintaine;
Five kill'd, Romes Champion, who did onely stand,
Till Sisters slaughter did his triumph staine;
In raging flames, who freely rush'd his hand,
Which for the chiefe had but a second slaine;
Where (Fabians) force you me? and Scipio's brave?
What famous families remembrance crave?
These two when barr'd from hope of lifes delights,
The Sire, and Sonne, whom no man else would even,
In fearefull formes, who with prodigious rites,
Mens horrour here (how monstrous then to heaven?)
Where fatall offerings to th'infernall sprites,
With Soule and bodie prodigally given:
Though once much prais'd, all now their folly tell,
Who hurl'd of purpose headlong unto hell.
Now Pompeies triumphes more torment his minde,
Then when Pharsalia crush'd him with despaires;
That æmulous old man (Parthia's prey) did finde,
With Avarice Ambition hardly shares;
First, to fierce warre, last, to soft ease inclin'd,
Lucullus here for both condemn'd repaires;
That Triumvir stands with this troupe annoid,
Who first the State, and then himselfe destroi'd.
Rome many had who made her Empire great,
Whil'st they but praise, and Statues striv'd to gaine,
Two Cato's onely studied for the State,
And with strict lawes would liberty retaine;
But when expir'd to prorogate her date,
Two Brutes more brave her ruines would maintaine;
Yet were their aimes and ends in th'end not eaven,
Whose glory was their God, and Rome their heaven.
Thou whose high heart boil'd in ambition soe,
(As Pride had thee) to have the world surpris'd,
Who weigh'd but whither, not what way to goe,
(What ow'd to frends, or State, all bands despis'd)
Where bound ingrate, not francke but to thy foe,
The first of th'emperors, and then all more pris'd;
Thou for thy faults not onely charg'd may be,
But for all theirs who had their power from thee.
His heire (lesse stout, more strong) the way prepar'd,
What this man courted, bravely to embrace,
Tooke from these two with whom the world was shar'd,
By fraud the ones, by force the others place,
Yet was (high hope must some way be impair'd)
Infortunate in family, and race;
How could his state, and wife, in peace be left,
Since from just owners both before were reft?
Then Varro's losse, or Iulia's fame forlorne,
A greater griefe doth racke his guilty minde;
That deep dissembler fomie Capreas scorne,
(His heart pour'd forth) must now unmask his minde;
That cruell prince who in the Camp was borne,
A servant good, a Master bad designed;
The Stupid dolt drawn by the heeles to raigne,
Their pleasure past all must repay with paine.
Though once too fierce, O how that squadron faints!
(Which make heart's quake, and haires for horrour rise)
Who durst prophanely persecute Gods Saints,
With greater paines then paper can comprise,
Who not regarding groanes, nor just complaints,
(More hard than flint) all pitty did despise;
They now in vaine from Christ compassion claime,
Whom in his members they so oft did maime.
Unnaturall Nero, monster more then strange,
With-all to rage, who reasons reynes resign'd,
And through the world, as wolves for bloud did range,
As sakelesse soules by them, they now are pin'd,
That brave man scapes not, who did something change,
When Plinies letters mollified his minde:
Those ten whom nought can cleare, no, not excuse,
Of Martyrs millions cheerfully accuse.
There throng great Emperours, peoples Idols once,
All bright with steele, whom Armies did attend,
Whil'st ancient Kings fell downe before their thrones,
That them as vassals they would but defend;
Soules shak'd (brests earth-quakes) do rebound with groans,
Whil'st griefe doth breake what pride so long did bend:
Who judging Kings, gave lawes to every land,
Poore, naked, base, in judgement trembling stand.
Ere through twelve roomes the Sunne had run his race,
Three quickly rais'd, and ruin'd, did remaine,
(That to the grave he might not goe in peace)
A wretched old man forc'd by fates to raigne;
Who liv'd too soft, did stoutly death embrace,
That damnes him most, which greatest praise did gaine:
Then he who had no sense, save onely taste,
By chance an Emperour, should have beene a beast.
He who the State when thus distress'd, restor'd,
Whom first for Emperour, easterne parts did know,
The best and worst that nature could afford,
Whose sonnes (farre differing) at the height did show,
And these whose raignes, adoptions course decor'd,
Who all to worth, would fortune nothing owe,
Till unto him, whose vertue fame had wonne,
A Serpent-wife did beare a Tigrish sonne.
When once of State that mystery was knowne,
How Emperours might for private mens regards,
Be made abroad, the Senates will not shown,
By forraine Armies, or Prætorian guards,
Then (worth not weigh'd) all order quite o'rethrown,
The world was bought with promised rewards:
Such bent to please, or (scorn'd) to fury mov'd,
They slavish still, or then tyrannicke prov'd.
Yet from that height of foule confusions rage,
When every Province, Emperours did proclaime,
Some raign'd, whose acts of State did grace the Stage,
By rebels ruines, strangers put to shame,
Which might have match'd the best of any age,
If they had beene as fortunate to fame:
But barbarous times for great things grosly touch,
Aurelian, Claudius, Probus, and some such.
Huge numbers now my wandring thoughts amaze,
Of barbarous parts which did for State contest;
Romes greatest rivall, sunne-parch'd peoples praise,
The reall rare bird, fables all the rest,
Which to fames Zenith did her glory raise,
Then fell in ashes, none, when not the best:
That haughty towne, whose worth her foe preferres,
She Africkes Phœnix, Hannibal was hers.
He whom oft victor Roman troupes did see,
Whose campe of many sorts still calme did prove,
The worlds third Captaine, scarce scap'd first to be,
Men, Cities, Alpes, all opposites above,
(When Carthage rendred, onely living free)
To warre for him, who did great Monarchs move:
He whil'st alive, though banish'd, poore and old,
Still jealous Rome in feare of him did hold.
That Queene of Nations, absolutely great,
When crush'd by those whom she so oft did wound,
Though she deserv'd what could be hatch'd by hate,
Yet these rude bands which did her pride confound,
Like tempests still encroaching on each State,
Till Europes beauties all in bloud were drown'd:
As Actors first shall suffer once in ire,
Like unregarded rods thrown in the fire.
Romes emulous sister, Easterne Empires height,
Who did by parting dissipate her power,
(Though Christians call'd) Barbarians brings to light,
Whose lust to raigne did all things else devoure,
Who others oft (all dayes to them turn'd night)
When eyelesse made, entomb'd within a Tower:
Bloud, friendship, duty wrong'd, with shamefull wounds,
Who plagu'd with darknesse, darknesse them confounds.
That stately towne selected to command,
To Scepters happy, great against her will,
Who (though the Emperour fell) did Empresse stand,
Divorc'd, not widow'd, match'd with Monarchs still,
She renders, joyn'd, a sometime differing band,
Of Ethnickes, Christians, Turkes, all damn'd for ill:
Huge is the troupe which doth from that part, part,
No Turban hides the head, nor Art the heart.
A savage troupe, the divels in order range,
Which lavish of mens lives their ends to gaine,
As Natures bastards, quite from kinde to change,
Had (for first act of State) their brethren slaine,
That after it no murther might seeme strange;
An ominous entry to a bloudy raigne:
And well it may be said, he much commands,
Who, when he likes, mens lives, and still their lands.
That Turke who boldly past the bordering floud,
In Adrians towne a barbarous Throne to raise,
He brings a band of Ottomans sterne brood,
Yet yeelds to one, who did the world amaze,
Whil'st in Bizantium he victorious stood,
And Roman power did absolutely raze:
For soules, and bodies, mischiefes worst to frame,
Curs'd Mahomet, damn'd be that fatall name.
Proud Selimus, who with a monstrous spleene,
Thy fathers ruine labour'dst long to worke,
And gladly would'st a Parricide have beene,
A tyrant, I, what can be worse? a Turke,
Though once ostentive, curious to be seene,
Thou in some corner now would'st wish to lurke:
The Soldan slayne, and Mamaluckes o'rethrown,
Who then sought'st all, thou now art not thine own.
Rhodes conquer'd quite, all Hungarie o're-runne,
He, who caus'd place upon Vienna's height
His gaping Moone, not fill'd with kingdomes wonne,
Though but a badge of change, portending night,
Lest Europes Empire had a hazard runne,
When two great armies were afraid to fight:
Great Soliman, sole-man by Turkes thought still,
Whom could he spare, who his own sonne did kill?
'Twixt Turkes and Christians now no Trumpets sound,
(Their warres of late transferr'd to other lands
The Persian doth the Turkish conquest bound,
Of too much weight, and borne with borrow'd hands,
Which their supporters threaten to confound:
As Mamaluckes, and the Prætorian bands,
Did Egypts Prince, and Romes, chuse in times past,
The Ianisaries may make Turkes at last.
Of cold Muscovians, and of scorched Mores,
From differing tropickes now the troupes are great;
That stout Numidian (Scipio's friend) deplores
That long he liv'd, and yet had learn'd too late;
Fierce Saladine whose fame each story stores,
Whose fatall badge upbraids each mortals state,
That Sultane, loe, doth lead a tawny trayne,
Who Iuda spoil'd, bragg'd France, and conquer'd Spaine.
With men whose fame was registred with bloud,
Who from true worth to reach vaine dreames enclin'd,
Some women come who had (made milde, grown rude)
A female face, too masculine a minde,
Who thought first fram'd to propagate mens brood,
(From Nature stray'd) toyl'd to destroy their kinde:
By differing meanes both sexes grace their state,
I scorne mens coynesse, womens stoutnesse hate.
There Ashurs Empresse, who disguis'd did raigne,
Till (as by her his Syre) slaine by her sonne;
The Scythian Queene who scoff'd with high disdaine,
At Cyrus head, when toss'd within a tunne:
She who by Emperours spoiles did glory gaine,
Zenobia chast, who did no danger shunne:
That which they bragg'd of once, they now bemone,
The Amazons all tremble at this Throne.
There quaking Squadrons (press'd with feares) conveene,
Who monsters of their sexe, to Nature strange,
In warre not onely violent were seene,
Whil'st spurr'd by hate, ambition, or revenge,
But Brigants fierce, and homicides have beene,
Even where most bound to love, when bent to change:
Such when once stray'd in mischiefes depth they dive,
What thing so bad which they dare not contrive?
With aspects fierce, O what a cruell crew!
Milde natures horrour, worse then can be deem'd,
Who barbarous, yea, abhominable grew,
And wrought their wreake whom they should have redeem'd,
Who with kinde bloud, did unkinde hands imbrue,
For vile revenges, monsters mad esteem'd:
Whose rage did reach to such a height of evils,
That humane malice did exceed the divels.
There Media's Monarch, ruine of the State,
Whose nephewes saver when for death forth borne,
Had for reward from him, his sonne for meat,
And (that his soule might be in pieces torne)
The head was brought while he the rest did eate,
A high disdaine, dissolv'd in bitter scorne:
Who can but thinke what griefe he did conceive,
Sonnes murtherer, mourner, bearer, beere, and grave.
Then he whose part oft Athens stage did tell,
Who by his brother drest like food did finde,
Whil'st boyling rage (pent up) last high did swell,
And bursted out in a most barbarous kinde;
Though both (not jealous) may inhabite hell,
Yet vengeance still doth so possesse his minde:
That, if of ease he any thought attaines,
It onely is to see his brothers paines.
Those two so neare (yet farre estrang'd) in bloud,
Though Greeks, yet barbarous, quite from nature stray'd,
To make his brother swallow his owne brood,
(So farre that fury of revenge him sway'd)
Of which, the one did dresse (prodigious food)
A childe, his nephew, innocent, betray'd:
Now in one dungeon, they together dwell,
No jealousie nor envy stings in hell.
'Twixt Pandions daughters, wretched Tereus stands,
Of which the one (by double wrong abus'd)
With tongue restor'd, the vengeance due demands,
For brutish lust, and barbarous rigour us'd,
As having stain'd his stomacke, and her hands,
By him the other is as much accus'd:
A sister kinde, or with all love at strife,
A monstrous mother, an outragious wife.
She grieves, whom long distract'd, strange thoughts did move,
To venge her brother, or her sonne to slay,
A sister, mother, doubtfull which to prove,
Till tender kindenesse to strong rage gave way,
Proud of mens praise, and of a Ladies love,
Whil'st his, the Boare, he Atalanta's prey:
Thus even whil'st fortune fawn'd, fates did destroy,
"O what small bounds abide 'twixt griefe and joy!
Of Queenes accurst, whose names may horrour breed,
There Iuda, Israel, each of them gives one,
The Tigris who destroy'd the royall seed,
And even too dearely purchased a Throne,
Yet one preserv'd, did to the State succeed,
And, justly guerdon'd was her rigour gone:
As from Gods favour, from his Temple driv'd,
That murtherers ruine quickly was contriv'd.
That hatefull Hebrew Queene of Sidons race,
Who durst attempt a warre against the Lord,
And Prophets kill'd, or them farre off did chase,
Yet Baals Temples with abundance stor'd,
That prostituted trunke, and painted face
Were head-longs hurl'd, by dogges to be devour'd:
Yet did that judgement but to her remaine,
An earnest penny of eternall paine.
That great Enchauntresse, magickes power o're-thrown,
Who, then the Bull she tam'd, more mad did prove,
Whil'st she (his babes all torne in pieces sowne)
From following her, her father did remove;
What cruell wonder hath like this beene knowne?
One of the sexe most mild, fierce when in love:
No doubt the divell did rule both heart and hands,
For witchcraft, murther, his by double bands.
From dungeons darke, blacke squadrons part a space,
(That they for ever sentenc'd may returne)
By covenant the divels peculiar race,
Who hyr'd by him, against the heavens did spurne,
And, when detected, dying with disgrace,
(As Martyrs) did for their profession burne:
This ominous end presaging more distresse,
They here began their portion to possesse.
She, who at Endor, by her King secur'd,
Long murmuring charmes, a monstrous masse did stand,
Then did attest, protest, curs'd, and conjur'd,
Till she (hels slave) her master did command,
And (if not Samuel) one like him procur'd,
To rise and tell all that they did demand,
That Witch the honour hath with many such,
To live with him whom she did love so much.
Some who (all Magickes mysteries well known)
For temporall toyes, eternity have lost,
And did but mocke the eyes (false wonders shown)
Like him who would have bought the holy Ghost;
Their Lord at last with rigour urg'd his owne,
And all that cosening skill too dearely cost,
Their mangled members dasht against the stones,
Whil'st he to search their soules, crush'd all their bones.
Some subtle Sorcerers, whom the world commends,
This horrid Art to such perfection bring,
That slaves can sell their Lords for severall ends,
By magickes meanes imprison'd in a Ring,
Whose owners with their Lord (as his deare friends)
May by this pledge, advise of every thing:
So that such sprites were entertain'd for spies,
Which told some truth, to purchase trust for lyes.
There some who first (not stray'd from natures ground)
Were bent to know what fates in clouds obscur'd,
Whom (when march'd neare) no limits more could bound,
But they would have all what could be procur'd;
And by wrong spies, Gods secrets sought to sound,
As (Magickes band) astrologie allur'd:
When in heavens Garden once allow'd to be,
Who tempted were to the forbidden tree.
Of that base sort a multitude doth swarme,
Which (though not curious) simple, or in want,
Did (when themselves abus'd) abuse, and charme,
Then sprites impure, to practise ill did hant;
Could doe themselves no good, did others harme,
Rais'd divels, and tempests, but could nothing dant:
When damn'd at last, they this advantage gaine,
That with their masters, they are mates in paine.
So many sorts of wicked men design'd,
Worse then the worst, what troupe doe I perceive?
Muse, though thou loath that I should presse my minde
With passive thoughts, such monsters to conceive,
Yet let the end for such vile soules assign'd,
In every heart a burd'nous horrour leave:
Which is so farre estrang'd from my conceit,
I feare to lessen what I would dilate.
What barbarous Traitours, execrable Bands,
From breasts depth earth-quakes cast up swelling groanes?
Vile Assasines, who durst with impious hands,
Rise up against the Lords annointed ones,
And all neglect, that heaven, or th'earth commands,
The sword not fear'd, no reverence unto thrones:
Whom so to mischiefe, Satan head-long roules,
That for anothers life they give their soules.
O! how they quake with a dejected face,
Who sought (heavens horrour) for their Soveraignes end,
Some (as next kinsmen ayming at his place)
Swift Natures course impatient to attend,
Some having purchas'd power, by warre or peace,
(All right contemn'd) who would by force ascend:
As troupes who knew not God, this squadron fill,
There want not others who did know his will.
There Absolom so absolutely faire,
Who would embosom'd be by proud base Arts,
Yet fell himselfe his father bent to snare,
And lost his whole in stealing others hearts;
He farre puff'd up, dy'd wavering in the ayre,
The shamefull forme upbraiding vaunted parts:
A growing gallowes, grasping tumide hope,
The winde was hang-man, and his haires the rope.
Ah! must I staine the purenesse of my rymes,
With such as we from mindes should quite seclude?
Damn'd be their memory, unknowne their crymes;
Of acts so ill examples are not good,
And yet have we not seene even in our times,
How th'earth abus'd, beares a prodigious brood:
Who fayning godlinesse, from God rebell,
And will seeke heaven even in the depths of hell.
Up hypocrite ingrate, who wast entic'd
To kill that King, who did your feet advance,
By strangers lov'd, at home by all despis'd,
From whom when stolne from Pole, one neere stole France,
Had he not falne even there where they devis'd,
The monstrous massacre! great God what chance?
Else was he urg'd, all dignity put downe,
To quite his kingdome for a naked Crowne.
That villaine vile whom all the world abhorr'd,
To kill that King who durst lend death a dart,
Who oft had scap'd the Cannon and the sword,
And banish'd had the Authors of base Art,
Since not his tooth, why was their State restor'd?
Who tooke but it, in earnest of the heart:
Blinde zeale, soules frenzy, now makes many rave;
Can mischiefe merit, or can murther save?
Yet those vile crimes (though with amazement nam'd)
Seeme common slaughters when I them compare,
With that strange treason through the world proclaim'd,
Which bragg'd to blow all Britaine in the ayre;
Of this damn'd plot, the divell may be asham'd,
Which had no patterne, and can have no heire:
Both Prince and Peeres, it threatning straight t'o'rethrow,
(Like Neroes wish) had kill'd all at one blow.
When Stygian States in dungeons darke conspir'd,
All Albions o'rethrow, Britaines utter end,
To be dispatch'd as paper spent when fir'd,
Which mysticke bragge, when none could comprehend,
Our Salomon (no doubt by God inspir'd)
Did straight conjecture what it did intend:
Great Prince, great Poet, all divine, what three?
With whom on earth was God, if not with thee?
Hels Emissaries with confusion stor'd,
Whose damn'd devices, none enough can hate,
Though they should be by all the world abhorr'd,
As Natures scandall, Vipers of a State,
Yet are they prais'd of some, yea, and ador'd,
Since by religion justifi'd of late:
Some miracles were fain'd, one true is wrought,
That monsters martyrs, murtherers Saints are thought.
Who can but burst those moderne times to touch,
Whil'st bloudy hearts, and hands, can smooth their breath?
When some (though Christians) are commended much
For suffering, no, even for inflicting death?
It may indeed be justly said of such,
They burne in zeale, worke wonders out of faith,
Who fire whole kingdomes for religions love,
And to seeme holy, homicides will prove.
Next those great men whose fame so glorious flyes,
Who rag'd with fury, or for folly rav'd,
And bended up with pride, or slack't with lyes,
Idolatry, or murther, still conceiv'd,
A dastard troupe stands with dejected eyes,
Whose tainted life, worlds shame, heavens judgment crav'd:
Heards of such hearts, hels hounds, with horrour chase,
Who basely wicked, wickedly were base.
Last updated January 14, 2019