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Amarantha. A Pastorall
by Richard Lovelace

Up with the jolly bird of light
Who sounds his third retreat to night;
Faire Amarantha from her bed
Ashamed starts, and rises red
As the carnation-mantled morne,
Who now the blushing robe doth spurne,
And puts on angry gray, whilst she,
The envy of a deity,
Arayes her limbes, too rich indeed
To be inshrin'd in such a weed;
Yet lovely 'twas and strait, but fit;
Not made for her, but she to it:
By nature it sate close and free,
As the just bark unto the tree:
Unlike Love's martyrs of the towne,
All day imprison'd in a gown,
Who, rackt in silke 'stead of a dresse,
Are cloathed in a frame or presse,
And with that liberty and room,
The dead expatiate in a tombe.
No cabinets with curious washes,
Bladders and perfumed plashes;
No venome-temper'd water's here,
Mercury is banished this sphere:
Her payle's all this, in which wet glasse
She both doth cleanse and view her face.
Far hence, all Iberian smells,
Hot amulets, Pomander spells,
Fragrant gales, cool ay'r, the fresh
And naturall odour of her flesh,
Proclaim her sweet from th' wombe as morne.
Those colour'd things were made, not borne.
Which, fixt within their narrow straits,
Do looke like their own counterfeyts.
So like the Provance rose she walkt,
Flowerd with blush, with verdure stalkt;
Th' officious wind her loose hayre curles,
The dewe her happy linnen purles,
But wets a tresse, which instantly
Sol with a crisping beame doth dry.
Into the garden is she come,
Love and delight's Elisium;
If ever earth show'd all her store,
View her discolourd budding floore;
Here her glad eye she largely feedes,
And stands 'mongst them, as they 'mong weeds;
The flowers in their best aray
As to their queen their tribute pay,
And freely to her lap proscribe
A daughter out of ev'ry tribe.
Thus as she moves, they all bequeath
At once the incense of their breath.
The noble Heliotropian
Now turnes to her, and knowes no sun.
And as her glorious face doth vary,
So opens loyall golden Mary
Who, if but glanced from her sight,
Straight shuts again, as it were night.
The violet (else lost ith' heap)
Doth spread fresh purple for each step,
With whose humility possest,
Sh' inthrones the Poore Girle in her breast:
The July-flow'r that hereto thriv'd,
Knowing her self no longer-liv'd,
But for one look of her upheaves,
Then 'stead of teares straight sheds her leaves.
Now the rich robed Tulip who,
Clad all in tissue close, doth woe
Her (sweet to th' eye but smelling sower),
She gathers to adorn her bower.
But the proud Hony-suckle spreads
Like a pavilion her heads,
Contemnes the wanting commonalty,
That but to two ends usefull be,
And to her lips thus aptly plac't,
With smell and hue presents her tast.
So all their due obedience pay,
Each thronging to be in her way:
Faire Amarantha with her eye
Thanks those that live, which else would dye:
The rest, in silken fetters bound,
By crowning her are crown and crown'd.
And now the sun doth higher rise,
Our Flora to the meadow hies:
The poore distressed heifers low,
And as sh' approacheth gently bow,
Begging her charitable leasure
To strip them of their milkie treasure.
Out of the yeomanry oth' heard,
With grave aspect, and feet prepar'd,
A rev'rend lady-cow drawes neare,
Bids Amarantha welcome here;
And from her privy purse lets fall
A pearle or two, which seeme[s] to call
This adorn'd adored fayry
To the banquet of her dayry.
Soft Amarantha weeps to see
'Mongst men such inhumanitie,
That those, who do receive in hay,
And pay in silver twice a day,
Should by their cruell barb'rous theft
Be both of that and life bereft.
But 'tis decreed, when ere this dies,
That she shall fall a sacrifice
Unto the gods, since those, that trace
Her stemme, show 'tis a god-like race,
Descending in an even line
From heifers and from steeres divine,
Making the honour'd extract full
In Io and Europa's bull.
She was the largest goodliest beast,
That ever mead or altar blest;
Round [w]as her udder, and more white
Then is the Milkie Way in night;
Her full broad eye did sparkle fire;
Her breath was sweet as kind desire,
And in her beauteous crescent shone,
Bright as the argent-horned moone.
But see! this whiteness is obscure,
Cynthia spotted, she impure;
Her body writheld, and her eyes
Departing lights at obsequies:
Her lowing hot to the fresh gale,
Her breath perfumes the field withall;
To those two suns that ever shine,
To those plump parts she doth inshrine,
To th' hovering snow of either hand,
That love and cruelty command.
After the breakfast on her teat,
She takes her leave oth' mournfull neat
Who, by her toucht, now prizeth her life,
Worthy alone the hollowed knife.
Into the neighbring wood she's gone,
Whose roofe defies the tell-tale Sunne,
And locks out ev'ry prying beame;
Close by the lips of a cleare streame,
She sits and entertaines her eye
With the moist chrystall and the frye
With burnisht-silver mal'd, whose oares
Amazed still make to the shoares;
What need she other bait or charm,
What hook or angle, but her arm?
The happy captive, gladly ta'n,
Sues ever to be slave in vaine,
Who instantly (confirm'd in's feares)
Hasts to his element of teares.
From hence her various windings roave
To a well-orderd stately grove;
This is the pallace of the wood
And court oth' Royall Oake, where stood
The whole nobility: the Pine,
Strait Ash, tall Firre, and wanton Vine;
The proper Cedar, and the rest.
Here she her deeper senses blest;
Admires great Nature in this pile,
Floor'd with greene-velvet Camomile,
Garnisht with gems of unset fruit,
Supply'd still with a self recruit;
Her bosom wrought with pretty eyes
Of never-planted Strawberries;
Where th' winged musick of the ayre
Do richly feast, and for their fare,
Each evening in a silent shade,
Bestow a gratefull serenade.
Thus ev'n tyerd with delight,
Sated in soul and appetite;
Full of the purple Plumme and Peare,
The golden Apple, with the faire
Grape that mirth fain would have taught her,
And nuts, which squirrells cracking brought her;
She softly layes her weary limbs,
Whilst gentle slumber now beginnes
To draw the curtaines of her eye;
When straight awakend with a crie
And bitter groan, again reposes,
Again a deep sigh interposes.
And now she heares a trembling voyce:
Ah! can there ought on earth rejoyce!
Why weares she this gay livery,
Not black as her dark entrails be?
Can trees be green, and to the ay'r
Thus prostitute their flowing hayr?
Why do they sprout, not witherd dy?
Must each thing live, save wretched I?
Can dayes triumph in blew and red,
When both their light and life is fled?
Fly Joy on wings of Popinjayes
To courts of fools, where as your playes
Dye laught at and forgot; whilst all
That's good mourns at this funerall.
Weep, all ye Graces, and you sweet
Quire, that at the hill inspir'd meet:
Love, put thy tapers out, that we
And th' world may seem as blind as thee;
And be, since she is lost (ah wound!)
Not Heav'n it self by any found.
Now as a prisoner new cast,
Who sleepes in chaines that night, his last,
Next morn is wak't with a repreeve,
And from his trance, not dream bid live,
Wonders (his sence not having scope)
Who speaks, his friend or his false hope.
So Amarantha heard, but feare
Dares not yet trust her tempting care;
And as againe her arms oth' ground
Spread pillows for her head, a sound
More dismall makes a swift divorce,
And starts her thus:----Rage, rapine, force!
Ye blew-flam'd daughters oth' abysse,
Bring all your snakes, here let them hisse;
Let not a leaf its freshnesse keep;
Blast all their roots, and as you creepe,
And leave behind your deadly slime,
Poyson the budding branch in's prime:
Wast the proud bowers of this grove,
That fiends may dwell in it, and move
As in their proper hell, whilst she
Above laments this tragedy:
Yet pities not our fate; oh faire
Vow-breaker, now betroth'd to th' ay'r!
Why by those lawes did we not die,
As live but one, Lucasta! why----
As he Lucasta nam'd, a groan
Strangles the fainting passing tone;
But as she heard, Lucasta smiles,
Posses her round; she's slipt mean whiles
Behind the blind of a thick bush,
When, each word temp'ring with a blush,
She gently thus bespake; Sad swaine,
If mates in woe do ease our pain,
Here's one full of that antick grief,
Which stifled would for ever live,
But told, expires; pray then, reveale
(To show our wound is half to heale),
What mortall nymph or deity
Bewail you thus? Who ere you be,
The shepheard sigh't, my woes I crave
Smotherd in me, me in my grave;
Yet be in show or truth a saint,
Or fiend, breath anthemes, heare my plaint,
For her and thy breath's symphony,
Which now makes full the harmony
Above, and to whose voice the spheres
Listen, and call her musick theirs;
This was I blest on earth with, so
As Druids amorous did grow,
Jealous of both: for as one day
This star, as yet but set in clay,
By an imbracing river lay,
They steept her in the hollowed brooke,
Which from her humane nature tooke,
And straight to heaven with winged feare,
Thus, ravisht with her, ravish her.
The nymph reply'd: This holy rape
Became the gods, whose obscure shape
They cloth'd with light, whilst ill you grieve
Your better life should ever live,
And weep that she, to whom you wish
What heav'n could give, has all its blisse.
Calling her angell here, yet be
Sad at this true divinity:
She's for the altar, not the skies,
Whom first you crowne, then sacrifice.
Fond man thus to a precipice
Aspires, till at the top his eyes
Have lost the safety of the plain,
Then begs of Fate the vales againe.
The now confounded shepheard cries:
Ye all-confounding destines!
How did you make that voice so sweet
Without that glorious form to it?
Thou sacred spirit of my deare,
Where e're thou hoverst o're us, hear!
Imbark thee in the lawrell tree,
And a new Phebus follows thee,
Who, 'stead of all his burning rayes,
Will strive to catch thee with his layes;
Or, if within the Orient Vine,
Thou art both deity and wine;
But if thou takest the mirtle grove,
That Paphos is, thou, Queene of Love,
And I, thy swain who (else) must die,
By no beasts, but thy cruelty:
But you are rougher than the winde.
Are souls on earth then heav'n more kind?
Imprisoned in mortality
Lucasta would have answered me.
Lucasta, Amarantha said,
Is she that virgin-star? a maid,
Except her prouder livery,
In beauty poore, and cheap as I;
Whose glory like a meteor shone,
Or aery apparition,
Admir'd a while, but slighted known.
Fierce, as the chafed lyon hies,
He rowses him, and to her flies,
Thinking to answer with his speare----
Now, as in warre intestine where,
Ith' mist of a black battell, each
Layes at his next, then makes a breach
Through th' entrayles of another, whom
He sees nor knows whence he did come,
Guided alone by rage and th' drumme,
But stripping and impatient wild,
He finds too soon his onely child.
So our expiring desp'rate lover
Far'd when, amaz'd, he did discover
Lucasta in this nymph; his sinne
Darts the accursed javelin
'Gainst his own breast, which she puts by
With a soft lip and gentle eye,
Then closes with him on the ground
And now her smiles have heal'd his wound.
Alexis too again is found;
But not untill those heavy crimes
She hath kis'd off a thousand times,
Who not contented with this pain,
Doth threaten to offend again.
And now they gaze, and sigh, and weep,
Whilst each cheek doth the other's steep,
Whilst tongues, as exorcis'd, are calm;
Onely the rhet'rick of the palm
Prevailing pleads, untill at last
They[re] chain'd in one another fast.
Lucasta to him doth relate
Her various chance and diffring fate:
How chac'd by Hydraphil, and tract
The num'rous foe to Philanact,
Who whilst they for the same things fight,
As Bards decrees and Druids rite,
For safeguard of their proper joyes
And shepheards freedome, each destroyes
The glory of this Sicilie;
Since seeking thus the remedie,
They fancy (building on false ground)
The means must them and it confound,
Yet are resolved to stand or fall,
And win a little, or lose all.
From this sad storm of fire and blood
She fled to this yet living wood;
Where she 'mongst savage beasts doth find
Her self more safe then humane kind.
Then she relates, how Caelia--
The lady--here strippes her array,
And girdles her in home-spunne bayes
Then makes her conversant in layes
Of birds, and swaines more innocent,
That kenne not guile [n]or courtship ment.
Now walks she to her bow'r to dine
Under a shade of Eglantine,
Upon a dish of Natures cheere
Which both grew, drest and serv'd up there:
That done, she feasts her smell with po'ses
Pluckt from the damask cloath of Roses.
Which there continually doth stay,
And onely frost can take away;
Then wagers which hath most content
Her eye, eare, hand, her gust or sent.
Intranc't Alexis sees and heares,
As walking above all the spheres:
Knows and adores this, and is wilde,
Untill with her he live thus milde.
So that, which to his thoughts he meant
For losse of her a punishment,
His armes hung up and his sword broke,
His ensignes folded, he betook
Himself unto the humble crook.
And for a full reward of all,
She now doth him her shepheard call,
And in a see of flow'rs install:
Then gives her faith immediately,
Which he returns religiously;
Both vowing in her peacefull cave
To make their bridall-bed and grave.
But the true joy this pair conceiv'd,
Each from the other first bereav'd,
And then found, after such alarmes,
Fast-pinion'd in each other's armes,
Ye panting virgins, that do meet
Your loves within their winding sheet,
Breathing and constant still ev'n there;
Or souls their bodies in yon' sphere,
Or angels, men return'd from hell
And separated mindes--can tell.