3.2.2. Willobie his AVISA

 

 

WILLOBIE HIS AVISA
Or

The true Picture of a modest Maide, and of a chast and constant wife.

 

 

The Willobie enigma is most closely connected with the issue of who wrote Shakespeare’s works. So the solution of the one may be expected to shed light on the other.

In 1594, the year of the publication of Shakespeare’s Rape of Lucrece, a certain Henry Willobie was the first-ever author to mention the — hyphenated — full name “William Shake-speare” in the preface to his long poem Willobie his AVISA. After Thomas Nashe (1593) and Gabriel Harvey (1593), “Willobie” is the third Elizabethan author to establish a connection between the poet and dramatist Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and the dramatist William Shake-speare. For a long time, scholars knew neither who was behind the name “Henry Willobie” nor did they know the identity of the female figure who was courted by various suitors; other than the fact that her name was “AVISA”. There was a similar mystery surrounding the suitors, what sort of men were they; were they based on true characters and if so - on whom?

Willobie’s Puritan-tinged narrative can quickly be told. After AVISA has morally castigated four self-important gentlemen (1. “The Nobleman”, 2. “Cavaleiro”, 3. “D. B., a French man” and 4. “D. H. Anglo-Germanus”) and loftily turned down their love-begging posies, she is being wooed by a young man called “H. W. Italo-Hispalensis”, who as a “new actor” seeks counsel from an “old player” called “W. S.”. This “W. S.” throws around Shakespearean phrases, which makes his identification as “William Shake-speare” fairly likely; moreover, it is explicitly made clear he had once himself courted AVISA.

The general groping in the dark about this first record of Shakespeare in a contemporaneous literary comment was effectively ended when professor Barbara de Luna (B. N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, Oxford 1970) published a brilliant historical-philological analysis identifying AVISA as Queen Elizabeth.

“When however, Willobie's poem is considered in the isolation it enjoyed for the first year and a half of its existence, his Avisa's identity flashes up from the page, like an image off a mirror. For if Avisa is not 'Eliza', it is as least remarkable that Willobie should attribute to his heroine - (1) the Queen's personal motto; (2) the crest of her coat of arms; (3) her golden sceptre; (4) her principal heraldic emblems: the Rose, the Falcon, and the Phoenix; (5) 'graces' for parents, designated respectively 'the Rose an Lillie'; (6) personal origins either as a 'love-child' or merely the issue of a love-match; (7) a 'Castle' for a dwelling; and (8) the one clue virtually impossible to dismiss as a chance correlation: five suitors readily identifiable as five of the Queen's best known suitors, treated in nearly the chronological order of their historical originals.” (B. N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, Oxford 1970)

De Luna argues that Henry Willobie had presented Elizabeth’s suitors in chronological order, i.e. Thomas Seymour, King Philip of Spain, Francis Duke of Alençon, Sir Christopher Hatton and the Earl of Essex, the reader is left with the question: “Why on earth is “W.S.” alias “William Shake-speare” included in this illustrious company? Because de Luna was unable to explain this almost unbelievable presence, her historically correct interpretation became too hot to handle by the academic establishment.

 (Lately the rather naïve amateur philologist and Stratfordian Michael Mooten identified the incontestable AVISA as being Penelope Devereux thus saving Will Shakspere and impressing us all with a new candidate for the role of  “the Dark Lady”. With this Mister Mooten is assuming that Willobie does not take the character AVISA at all seriously, rather presenting her as an adulteress in the guise of a virtuous moralist. An assumption that is absurd even in its very foundations. One could just as easily postulate that the Book of Psalms was written by a Jewish atheist with the intention of ridiculing God. - See notes 17 and 120.)  

Barbara de Luna was also able to show that Avisa’s wedding means Elizabeth’s symbolic “wedding” to England, which is why the quick succession of suitors sets in after Avisa’s wedding and why Willobie praises AVISA as the incarnation of chastity. However, to take full profit of De Luna’s analysis in the authorship question it is important to recognize the strong and weak points in De Luna’s analysis. Her arguments about the identity of AVISA and Queen Elizabeth are irrefutable (though she omits to point out that Willobie’s work is embedded in a thirty years old tradition of courting literature [1], would not have reached five issues and would not have been put on the index if the author, shielding behind a pseudonym, had not seriously worried the authorities by the suggestivity of his political allusions [2] .) However, one of the weaknesses of De Luna consist in her attempt to find a concrete historical figure for each suitor Willobie presents, thereby straining the credibility of her analysis, for the author of AVISA (taking cover from possible decipherers behind the name Willobie) was clever enough not to use models too readily recognizable. He wraps his suitors in a shroud of typology. De Luna’s identification of the second suitor “Cavaleiro” as King Philip of Spain is, I think, flatly wrong, while the identification of the “Frenchman” as the Duke d’Alenςon and “Anglo-Germanus” as Sir Christopher Hatton is contestable. On the other hand, Willobie’s depiction of the first suitor, the “Nobleman” is suggestive of Lord Thomas Seymour, though the hints at him do not bear out this identification. On the contrary, the characterization of the fifth suitor (“H. W. Italo-Hispalensis”) is almost unequivocally aimed at the ambitious Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, who in the period between 1592 and 1594 is striving at cementing his power basis (see notes 170 “Like wounded Deer”, and 176 “When woeful Woodbine lies reject”.)

Though Barbara de Luna’s analysis of Willobie his AVISA opens an opportunity window for the Oxfordian approach to the authorship issue, Oxfordians at large have failed to take full advantage of her insights. In order to coherently explain why the Earl of Oxford (alias William Shake-speare) shows up in Willobie’s poem as “old player” and “miserable comforter” of his “friend” Essex it is, however, necessary to consider Shakespeare’s– or Oxford’s – early writings. There is a very strong, though hitherto unnoticed connection between A Hundreth Sundry Flowers from 1573 and Willobie his AVISA from 1594. Nobody seems to have remarked that the solution of the one mystery provides the solution to the other. However, exactly this is the case.

Henry Willobie has carefully observed and copied the procedure of the authors of A Hundreth sundry Flowres (Edward de Vere and George Gascoigne) (See 5.3 The Adventures of Master F. I. and 5.4. Divers excellent devises of sundry gentlemen)   - In The Adventures of Master F. I. an editor H. W. publishes the novel “Master F. I.” without the consent of the author. In the case of Willobie his AVISA the editor Hadrian Dorell, of whom absolutely nothing else is otherwise known, publishes the records of a certain “Henry Willobie” without the alleged author’s knowledge. As Master F.I. woos the gentle Mistress Ellinor and expresses his passion in the shape of poems, so the five suitors in Willobie his AVISA court the chaste wife AVISA – the last suitor being Master “H. W. Italo-Hispalensis”. (It cannot be ascribed to chance that Willobie is using the initials “H. W.” and often repeats it insistently.) The authors of The Adventures of Master F.I. and of Willobie his AVISA; both vanish in to thin air- again in both cases there is a second edition whereby the publishers either draw a veil over the intentions of the work or even deny them outright. The reason being that in both works the lady in question was none other than Queen Elizabeth!

And, so our astonishing insight, this is the very reason why “Willobie” puts into the mouth of “H. W.” (whom Barbara de Luna has identified as the Earl of Essex)  the words of the young Earl of Oxford. In other words, every time the author has lament “H. W.”, he refers to the poems of the Earl of Oxford, either allusively or sometimes even verbatim (see note 152). The direct or indirect references are to 20 poems of Oxford in A Hundreth sundry Flowres (1573) and 9 more from The Paradyse of daintie Devyses (1576) and manuscript collections.

Below is a list of the poems to which Willobie alludes or from which he quotes:

 

III. THE ADVENTURES OF MASTER F. I.  (1573)

 

 

 

4

Of thee dear Dame, three lessons would I learn

F. I.

Flowres

16

And if I did what then?

F. I.

Flowres

 

IV. DIVERS EXCELLENT DEVISES OF SUNDRY GENTLEMEN  (1573)

  

 

 

20

The feeble thread which Lachesis hath spun

Si fortunatus infoelix

Flowres

24

I cannot wish thy grief,  although thou work my woe

Si fortunatus infoelix

Flowres

25

If men may credit give, to true reported fames

Si fortunatus infoelix

Flowres

26

Were my heart set on high as thine is bent

Si fortunatus infoelix

Flowres

29

The thriftless thread which pamper’d beauty spins

Si fortunatus infoelix

Flowres

30

When danger keeps the door of lady beauty’s bower

Si fortunatus infoelix

Flowres

31

Thou with thy looks on whom I look full oft

Si fortunatus infoelix

Flowres

38

The Partridge in the pretty Merlin’s foot

Spraeta tamen vivunt

Flowres

40

This tenth of March when Aries receiv’d

Spraeta tamen vivunt

Flowres

41

Now have I found the way to weep and wail my fill

Spraeta tamen vivunt

Flowres

42

Thy birth, thy beauty, nor thy brave attire

Spraeta tamen vivunt

Flowres

44

Despised things may live, although they pine in pain

Spraeta tamen vivunt

Flowres

45

Amid my bale I bath in bliss

Ferenda Natura

Flowres

47

That self same tongue which first did thee entreat

Ferenda Natura

Flowres

51

The deadly drops of dark disdain

Meritum petere grave

Flowres

55

Content thyself with patience perforce

Meritum petere grave

Flowres

59

The cruel hate which boils within thy burning breast

Meritum petere grave

Flowres

63

L'Escü d'amour, the shield of perfect love

Meritum petere grave

Flowres

 

VII. THE PARADYSE OF DAYNTY DEVISES (1576)

 

 

70

If fortune may enforce the careful heart to cry

[My lucke is losse]  

RO, LOO. / Balle

Paradise

74

The lively lark did stretch her wing

E. O.

Paradise

75

A crown of bays shall that man wear

E. O.

Paradise

76

If care or skill could conquer vain desire

E. O.

Paradise

77

The trickling tears that fall along my cheeks

E. O.

Paradise

80

My meaning is to work what wonders love

E. O.

Paradise

 

VIII. POEMS  1576-1591

 

 

92

When I was fair and young then favour graced me

L. of oxforde

Coningsby /

Finet / Cornw.

97

How can the feeble fort but yield at last

Anon.

Coningsby /

Finet

99

When that thine eye hath chose the dame

W. Shakespeare

Coningsby /

Cornwallis / PP

(See 3.2.2.1 References - and 5.11 Index, Early Works.)

The third suitor; “D.B. A Frenchman”, signs off from his interminable efforts with “Fortuna ferenda. D.B.”. This is a play on Oxford’s signature “Ferenda natura” (The nature that must be endured) that he employs for three poems in Divers excellent devises of sundry gentlemen. Furthermore, Willobie creates an analogy to George Gascoigne’s “The delectable history of sundry adventures passed by Dan Bartholmew of Bath” (in A Hundreth sundrie Flowres – see 3.2.1 Ferenda Natura), because Gascoigne gives the name Ferenda Natura to the woman who brushed him off - and therewith he also means the Queen. (At first Gascoigne praised her and declared her to be a beautiful woman both in mind and body; when she turns away from him the soldier-poet does an about face and turns his praise to admonishment, cancelling their relationship, only to rejoice in her renewed affection and cancel the cancellation.) At the end of the book, Willobie signs off with: “Ever or Never” as did George Gascoigne at the end of A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres.

Just as de Luna demonstrates; Henry Willobie has the fourth and the fifth suitors appear in the form of twin brothers. The fifth suitor is called “H.W. Italo-Hispalensis”. In the main theme “H. W.” figures the Earl of Essex, who fought in Flanders (that is, in the Low Countries) from 1585-1588, in Spain (the ill-fated expedition of the Azores in 1589) and France (before the city of Rouen in 1591) whose supporter in the family crest was the deer. The Italian part of “H. W.” remembers the young Earl of Oxford who travelled through Italy in 1575/76 and who had written The Adventures of Master F[ortunatus]. I[infoelix] in 1573.

The astounding revelation is: Henry Willobie first relates (ironically) a conversation between “W. S.” (William Shake-speare) and “H. W.” (Earl of Essex), subsequently to let speak young Essex in the language of Oxford. That is, Essex repeats the mistakes   Oxford has made in his youth — in that he follows the cynical counsel oft he aged Oxford, who speaks to him as Shake-speare. That is (in sober terms) the secret of the “the old player” and “the new actor”.

Therewith “Henry Willobie”, whoever hides behind this name, pokes at the same time fun at Oxford (= Shake-speare) and Essex. Which does not rule out that Willobie might have had sympathy for Oxford, for the satires primarily levelled at Essex and his disquieting political aspirations. The intimate familiarity of Willobie with Oxford’s early writings points to an author of riper age, his invectives against Essex for a member of Walter Raleigh’s circle. Christopher Hill (Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution, 1965, p. 142) was correct when he proposed Matthew Roydon (c. 1540-1622) as author of Willobie his AVISA.[3]

Given that, should we conclude that “H. W.” has nothing to do with Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton (*1573)?  “Henry Willobie” cannot have overlooked that the reader would associate the initials “H. W.” with Shakespeare’s friend Henry Wriothesley, to whom “W. S.” had dedicated The Rape of Lucrece in June 1594. And precisely this would have been welcome to Master “Willobie”. That is, though the author of Willobie his AVISA nowhere in his poem targets Southampton (neither was the young man ever relevant as “suitor” of Queen Elizabeth nor had he ever tried to subject her decisions to his will or had ever been a “rejected woobdbine” or a  “wounded Deer”), Henry Wriothesley however had become a very prominent figure of Essex’s circle. Southampton had recently turned away from “W. S.” (= Shake-speare = Oxford) to Essex. (Who else than Essex could have been Shakespeare’s “rival”?)  Hence, H[enry] W[riothesley] can be regarded as the dumb shadow of “H. W.” (= Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex).

 

 

 

Willobie his AVISA 

Or

The true Picture of a modest Maid, and of a chaste and constant wife.
In Hexameter verse. The like argument whereof, was never heretofore published.
Read the preface to the Reader before
you enter further.

 

 

A vertuous woman is the crown of her husband, but she that maketh him ashamed, is as corruption in his bones. Proverb. 12. 4. [4] 

Imprinted at London by John Windet.

1594

 

 

 

To all the constant Ladies & Gentlewomen of England that fear God [5].

Pardon me (sweet Ladies,) if at this present, I deprive you of a just Apology in defence of your constant Chastities, deserved of many of you, and long sithence promised by myself, to some of you: and pardon me the sooner, for that I have long expected that the same should have been performed by some of your selves, which I know are well able, if you were but so wellwilling to write in your own praise, as many men in these days (whose tongues are tipped with poison) are too ready and overwilling, to speak and write to your disgrace. This occasion had been most fit, (publishing now the praise of a constant wife) if I had been but almost ready. But the future time may again reveal as fit a means hereafter for the performance of the same: if so it seem good to him that moderateth all. Concerning this book which I have presumed to dedicate to the safe protection of your accustomed courtesies; if ye ask me for the persons: I am altogether ignorant of them, and have set them down, only as I find them named or disciphered in my author. For the truth of this action, if you enquire, I will more fully deliver my opinion hereafter. Touching the substance of the matter itself, I think verily that the nature, words, gestures, promises, and very quintessence, as it were, is there lively described, of such lewd chapmen as use to entice silly maids and assail the Chastity of honest women. And no doubt but some of you that have beene tried in the like case, (if ever you were tried,) shall in some one part or other acknowledge it to be true. If mine Author have found a Britain Lucretia, or an English Susanna[6], envy not at her praise (good Ladies) but rather endevour to deserve the like. There may be as much done for any of you, as he hath done for his AVISA. Whatsoever is in me, I have vowed it wholy, to the exalting of the glory of your sweet sex, as time, occasion and ability shall permit. In the meantime I rest yours in all dutiful affection, and commend you all to his protection, under whose mercy we enjoy all.

Yours most affectionate,

Hadrian Dorrell[7].

 

To the gentle & courteous Reader. 

It is not long sithence {gentle Reader) that my very good friend and chamber-fellow M. Henry Willobie[8], a young man, and a scholar of very good hope, being desirous to see the fashions of other countries for a time, departed voluntarily to her Majesty’s service. Who at his departure, chose me amongst the rest of his friends, unto whom he reposed so much trust that he delivered me the key of his study, and the use of all his books till his return. Amongst which (perusing them at leisure) I found many pretty & witty conceits, as I suppose of his own doing. One among the rest I fancied so much that I have ventured so far upon his friendship, as to publish it without his consent[9]. As I think it not necessary, to be over-curious in an other man’s labour, so yet something I must say for the better understanding of the whole matter. And therefore, first for the thing itself, whether it be altogether feigned, or in some part true, or altogether true; and yet in most part Poetically shadowed[10], you must give me leave to speak by conjecture, and not by knowledge. My conjecture is doubtfull, and therefore I make you the Judges. Concerning the name of AVISA, I think it to be a feigned name, like unto Ovid’s Corinna; and there are two causes that make me thus to think. First, for that I never heard of any of that name that I remember; and next for that in a void paper rolled up in this book, I found this very name AVISA, written in great letters a pretty distance a sunder, & under every letter a word beginning with the same letter, in this form.

A.  V.  I.  S.  A.

Amans. uxor. inviolata. semper. amanda. [loving. wife. uninjured. always. beloved.]

That is in effect, A loving wife that never violated her faith, is always to be beloved. [11] Which makes me conjecture that he minding for his recreation to set out the Idea of a constant wife, (rather describing what good wives should do than registring what any hath done) devised a woman’s name that might fitly express this woman’s nature whom he would aim at: desirous in this (as I conjecture) to imitate a far off, either Plato in his Commonwealth, or More in his Utopia. This my surmise of his meaning, is confirmed also by the sight of other odd papers that I found, wherein he had, as I take it, out of Cornelius Agrippa[12], drawn the several dispositions of the Italian, the Spaniard, the Frenchman, the German, and the Englishman, and how they are affected in love. The Italian dissembling his love, assaileth the woman beloved, with certain prepared wantoness: he praiseth her in written verses, and extolleth her to the Heavens.

The Spaniard is unpatient in burning love, very mad with troubled lasciviousness, he runneth furiously, and with pithyful complaints, bewailing his fervent desire, doth call upon his Lady, and worshippeth her, but having obtained his purpose maketh her common to all men.

The Frenchman endevoureth to serve, he seeketh to pleasure his woman with songs and disports &c.

The German & Englishman being nigher of nature, are inflamed by little and little, but being enamored, they instantly require with art, and entice with gifts &c. Which several qualities are generally expressed by this Author in the two first trials or assaults made by the nobleman, and the lusty Cavalieros, Captains, or Cutters &c. Signifying by this generality that our noblemen, gentlemen, captains and lusty youthes have of late learned the fashions of all these countries, how to sollicit their cause, & court their Ladies, and lovers, & this continueth from the second Canto, to the end of the two and twentieth.

After this he comes to describe these natures again in particular examples more plainly, and beginneth first with the Frenchman under the shadow of these Letters, D. B. from the three and twentieth Canto unto the end of the three and thirtieth. Secondly the Englishman or German, under these Letters, D. H. from the 34. Canto unto the end of the forty-three. Lastly the Spaniard and Italian, who more furiously invadeth his love, & more pathetically endureth than all the rest, from the forty-four Canto to the end of the book. It seems that in this last example the author names himself, and so describeth his own love, I know not, and I will not be curious[13].

All these are so rightly described according to their nature that it may seem the Author rather meant to show what suits might be made, and how they may be answered, than that there hath been any such thing indeed.

These things of the one side lead me to think it altogether a feigned matter, both for the names and the substance, and a plain moral plot, secretly to insinuate, how honest maids & women in such temptations should stand upon their guard, considering the glory & praise that commends a spotless life, and the black ignominy, and foul contempt that waiteth upon a wicked and dissolute behaviour.

Yet of the other side, when I do more deeply consider of it, & more narrowly weigh every particular part, I am driven to think that there is something of truth hidden under this shadow. The reasons that move me are these. First in the same paper where I found the name of AVISA written in great letters, as I said before, I found this also written with the Authors own hand, videlicet [evidently]. Yet I would not have Avisa to be thought a politic fiction, nor a truthless invention, for it may be that I have at least heard of one in the west of England, in whom the substance of all this hath been verified, and in many things the very words specified: which hath endured these and many more, and many greater assaults, yet, as I hear, she stands unspotted, and unconquered.

Again, if we mark the exact descriptions of her birth, her country, the place of her abode; and such other circumstances, but especially the matter and manner of their talks and conferences[14], methinks it a matter almost impossible that any man could invent all this without some ground or foundation to build on.

This enforceth me to conjecture that though the matter be handled poetically, yet there is something under these feigned names and shows that hath been done truly[15]. Now judge you, for I can give no sentence in that I know not. If there be any such constant wife, (as I doubt not but there may be) I wish that there were more would spring from her ashes, and that all were such. Whether my Author knew, or heard of any such I cannot tell, but of mine own knowledge, I dare to swear that I know one, A. D.[16] that either hath, or would, if occasion were so offered, endure these, and many greater temptations with a constant mind and settled heart. And therefore here I must worthily reprehend the envious rage, both of Heathan poets, and of some Christian and English writers, which so far debase the credits and strength of the whole sex that they fear not with lying tongues wickedly to publish that there are none at all that can continue constant, if they be tried. Hereof sprang these false accusing speeches of the old Poets.

Ludunt formosae, casta est, quam nemo rogavit. [Ovid, Amores 1.8]

Fair wenches love to play.
And they are only chaste, whom no man doth assay.

And again

Rara avis in terris, nigroque; simillima cygno,
Foemina casta volat.  [Juvenal, Satires, VI, 165]
A rare-seen bird that never flies, on earth ne yet in air.
Like blackish Swan, a woman chaste; if she be young and fair.

This false opinion bred those foul-mouthed speeches of Friar Mantuan [Baptista Mantuanus] that upbraids all women with fleeting unconstancy. This made Ariosto and others to invent, and publish so many lewd and untrue tales of women’s unfaithfulness. And this is the cause that in this book ye shall so often find it objected against AVISA by all her suitors that no woman of what degree soever can be constant if she be much requested, but that the best will yield. But the best is, this common and course conceit is received but only among common, lewd, & careless men, who being wicked themselves, give sentence of all others, according to the loose and lawless humours wherewithal they feel their own straying and wandering affections to be infected. For they forsooth, because in divers and sundry places, (as they often wickedly boast) they may for an Angel and a great deal less, have hired nags to ride at their pleasure, such as make a sinful gain of a filthy carcass; because in other countries, where stews and brothelhouses are winked at, they see oftentimes, the fairest and not the meanest flock to the fellowship of such filthy freedom, Think presently, that it is but a money matter, or a little entreaty, to overthrow the chastity of any woman whatsoever. But if all women were indeed such as the woman figured under the name of AVISA either is, or at least is supposed to be, they should quickly restore again their ancient credit and glory which a few wicked wantons have thus generally obscured[17]. In the twenty and seven Canto, I find how D. B. persuadeth with A[visa] that it is little sin or no fault to love a friend besides her husband. Whereupon, inquiring more of the matter I have heard some of the occupation verify it for a truth: That among the best sort, they are accompted very honest women in some cities now that love but one friend besides their husband, and that it is thought amongst them a thing almost lawful. If this be true, (as I hardly think it to be true, because wicked men fear not to report any untruths) but if it be true, I fear least the ripeness of our sin cry to the Lord for vengeance against us that tremble not at the remembrance of God’s judgements that have bound a heavy curse & woe upon the back and conscience of them that speak good of evil, and evil of good. That is, such as are grown to that point that they are no longer ashamed of their sin, nor care for any honesty, but are become wilfully desperate in the performance of all kind of impiety.

But I leave this to the godly preachers to dilate more amply. And to return to my purpose, although I must confess that of  all sorts of people, there have been and will be still some loosely and lewdly given, yet this can be no excuse to lavish tongues, to condemn all generally. For, I dare to venture my hand, and my head upon this point that, let the four moral virtues be in order set down

Prudence,
Fortitude,
Temperance,
Justice

and let the holy scriptures be searched from the beginning to the end, & let all the ancient histories both ecclesiastical and profane be thoroughly examined, and there will be found women enough that in the performance of all these virtues, have matched, if not overmatched men of every age, which I dare myself, to verify in their behalfs upon the venture and losing of my credit, if I had time and leisure. Among infinite numbers to give you a taste of one or two: for wisdom, and Justice, what say you to Placilla wife to the Emperor Theodosius? She was wont every day in her own person, to visit the sick, the poor, and the maimed: And if at any time she saw the Emperor declining from Justice to any hard course, she would bid him Remember himself, from whence he came, & what he was, in what state he had been, and in what state he was now; which if he would do, he should never wax proud nor cruel, but rather humble, merciful and just.

For temperance, how say you to the wife of one Pelagius, of Laodicea which being young herself, and married to a young and lusty man, was yet notwithstanding contented willingly to forbear carnal pleasure, during her whole life. I bring not this woman’s example, for any liking I have to her fact, being lawfully married, but rather, against the curious carpers [cavillers] at women’s strength, to prove that some women have done that which few men can do.

For Fortitude and temperance both, I find that in Antioch, there was a noble woman with her two daughters, rather than they would be defloured, cast themselves allwillingly into a great river, and so drowned themselves.

And also that in Rome there was a Senator’s wife, who when she heard that there were messengers sent from Maxentius the tyrant, to bring her unto him, perforce, to be ravished of him; and seeing that her husband was not of ability and power to defend her, she used this policy. She requested that they would give her leave to put on some better apparel & to attire herself more decently: which being granted, and she gotten into a chamber by herself, she took a sword and pierced herself to the heart, rather than she would be counted the Emperor’s whore.

By this may be seen what might be said in this argument, but leaving this to some other time, or some other better able; I return to my author.

For the persons & matter, you have heard my conjecture, now for the manner of the composition, disposition, invention, and order of the verse, I must leave every man’s sense to himself, for that which pleaseth me, may not fancy others. But to speak my judgement, the invention, the argument, and the disposition, is not common, nor (that I know) ever handled of any man before in this order. For the composition and order of the verse: Although he fly not aloft with the wings of Astrophel nor dare to compare with the Arcadian shepherd, or any way match with the dainty Faery Queen; yet shall you find his words and phrases, neither Trivial nor absurd, but all the whole work, for the verse, pleasant, without hardness, smooth without any roughness, sweet without tediousness, easy to be understood, without harsh absurdity: yielding a gracious harmony everywhere, to the delight of the Reader.

I have christened it by the name of Willoby his Avisa: because I suppose it was his doing, being written with his own hand. How he will like my boldness, both in the publishing, and naming of it, I know not. For the encouraging and helping of maids and wives to hold an honest and constant course against all unhonest and lewd temptations, I have done that I have done[18]. I have not added nor detracted anything from the work itself, but have let it pass without altering anything: Only in the end I have added to fill up some void paper certain fragments and ditties, as a resolution of a chaste and constant wife, to the tune of Fortune, and the praise of a contented mind, which I found wrapped altogether with this, and therefore knew not whether it did anyway belong unto this or not.

Thus leaving to trouble your patience with farther delays, I commit you to the good government of God’s spirit. From my chamber in Oxford this first of October.

Hadrian Dorrell.

 

 

 

 

Abell Emet in commendation of Willobie’s Avisa. 

To Willobie, you worthy Dames, yield worthy praise,
Whose silver pipe so sweetly sounds your strange delays,
Whose lofty style, with golden wings remounts your fame,
The glory of your Princely sex, the spotless name:
O happy wench, who so she be if any be,
That thus deserv’d thus to be praised by Willobie,
Shall I believe, I must believe, such one there is,
Well hast thou said, long mayst thou say, such one there is,
If one there be, I can believe there are no more,
This wicked age, this sinful time breeds no such store:
Such silver mints, such golden mines who could refuse?
Such offers made and not receiv'd, I greatly muse.
Such deep deceit in friendly shows, such tempting fits,
To still withstand, doth pass the reach of women’s wits:
You Country maids, Paean nymphs rejoice and sing,
To see from you a chaste, a new Diana spring:
At whose report you must not fret, you may not frown,
But rather strive by due desert for like renown,
Her constant faith in hot assay hath won the game,
Whose praise shall live, when she is dead with lasting fame:
If my conceit from stranger’s mouth may credit get,
A braver Theme, more sweetly pend, was never yet.

                                                                                           Abell Emet.[19]  

 

In praise of Willobie his Avisa, Hexameton to the Author.[20] 

In Lavin Land though Livy boast,
There hath been seen a Constant dame[21]:
Though Rome lament that she have lost
The Garland of her rarest fame,
Yet now we see that here is found
As great a Faith [trust] in English ground[22].

Though Collatin have dearly bought,
To high renown, a lasting life,
And found that most in vain have sought
To have a Fair, and Constant wife,
Yet Tarquin plucked his glistering grape,
And Shake-speare paints poor Lucrece rape[23].

Though Susan shine in faithful praise
As twinkling Stars in Crystal sky,
Penelop's fame though Greeks do raise,
Of faithful wives to make up three:
To think the Truth, and say no less,
Our Ávisa shall make a mess[24].

This number [four] knits so sure a knot,
Time doubts that she shall add no more,
Unconstant Nature hath begot
Of Fleeting Femes such fickle store:
Two thousand years have scarcely seen
Such as the worst of these have been.

Then Avi-Susan join in one,
Let Lucres-Avis be thy name,
This English Eagle soars alone[25],
And far surmounts all others fame:
Where high or low, where great or small,
This Britain Bird out-flies them all.

Were these three happy that have found
Brave Poets to depaint their praise?
Of Rural Pipe, with sweetest sound,
That have been heard these many days:
Sweet wylloby his AVIS blessed[26],
That makes her mount above the rest.

Contraria Contrariis: Vigilantius: Dormitanus.[27]

 

 

 

WILLOBIE HIS AVISA,

OR

The true picture of a modest Maid, and of a chaste and constant wife.[28]

 

CANT. I.

Let martial men of Mars his praise
Sound warlike trump: let lust-led youth
Of wicked love write wanton lays,
Let shepherds sing their sheep-coat’s ruth:
The wiser sort confess it plain
That these have spent good time in vain.

My sleepy Muse that wakes but now,
Nor now had waked if one had slept[29],
To virtue’s praise hath passed her vow
To paint the Rose which grace hath kept:
Of sweetest Rose that still doth spring,
Of virtue’s bird my Muse must sing.[30]

The bird that doth resemble right
The Turtle’s faith in constant love[31],
The faith that first her promise plight [assure],
No change, nor chance could once remove:
This have I tried; This dare I trust,
And sing the truth, I will, I must.

Afflicted Susan’s spotless thought,
Entic’d by lust to sinful crime,
To lasting fame her name hath brought,
Whose praise encounters endless time:
I sing of one whose beauty’s war
For trials pass Susanna’s far.

The wandering Greek’s renowned mate[32]
That still withstood such hot assays
Of raging lust; whose doubtful state
Sought strong refuge from strange delays:
For fierce assaults and trials rare
With this my Nymph may not compare.

Hot trials try where Gold be pure,
The Diamond daunts the sharpest edge,
Light chaff fierce flames may not endure,
All quickly leap the lowly hedge:
The object of my Muse hath pass’d
Both force and flame, yet stands she fast.

Though Eagle-eyed this bird appear,
Not blush’d at beams of Phœbus’ rays:
Though Falcon wing’d to pierce the air[33]
Whose high-plac’d heart no fear dismays:
Yet sprang she not from Eagles nest,
But Turtle-bred loves Turtle best.

At wester side of Albion’s Ile,
Where Austin pitched his Monkish tent[34],
Where Shepherds sing, where Muses smile,
The graces met with one consent[35]
To frame each one in sundry part
Some cunning work to show their art.

First Venus fram’d a luring eye[36],
A sweet aspect, and comely grace;
There did the Rose and Lily lie
That bravely decked a smiling face,
Here Cupid’s mother bent her will,
In this to show her utmost skill.

Then Pallas gave a reaching head
With deep conceits, and passing wit,
A settled mind, not fancy-led,
Abhorring Cupid’s frantic fit,
With modest looks, and blushing cheeks,
A filed tongue which none mislikes.[37]

Diana decked the remnant parts
With feature brave that nothing lack,
A quiver full of piercing Darts,
She gave her hanging at her back;
And in her hand a Golden shaft
To conquer Cupid’s creeping craft.[38]

This done they come to take the view
Of novel work, of peerless frame;
Amongst them three contention grew,
But yet Diana gave the name:
Avisa shall she called be,
The chief attendant still on me.’

When Juno view'd her luring grace,
Old Juno blushed to see a new,
She fear'd least Jove would like this face
And so perhaps might play untrue[39];
They all admir'd so sweet a sight,
They all envied so rare a wight.

When Juno came to give her wealth
(Which wanting beauty, wants her life),
She cried, this face needs not my pelf,
Great riches sow the seeds of strife:
I doubt not, some Olympian power
Will fill her lap with Golden shower
[40].

This jealous Juno faintly said,
As half misdeeming wanton Jove,
But chaste Diana took the maid,
Such new-bred qualms quite to remove:
O jealous envy, filthy beast,
For envy Juno gave her least[41].

In lieu [instead] of Juno's Golden part
Diana gave her double grace;
A chaste desire, a constant heart,
Disdain of love in fawning face:
A face, and eye that should entice,
A smile that should deceive the wise[42].

A sober tongue that should allure,
And draw great numbers to the field[43];
A flinty heart that should endure
All fierce assaults, and never yield,
And seeming oft as though she would;
Yet farthest off when that she should.

Can filthy sink yield wholesome air,
Or virtue from a vice proceed?
Can envious heart, or jealous fear
Repel the things that are decreed?
By envy though she lost her thrift,
She got by grace a better gift.

Not far from thence there lies a vale,
A rosy vale in pleasant plain[44];
The Nymphs frequent this happy dale,
Old Helicon revives again:
Here Muses sing, here Satyrs play,
Here mirth resounds both night and day.

At East of this a Castle stands,
By ancient shepherds built of old,
And lately was in shepherds’ hands,
Though now by brothers bought and sold[45],
At west side springs a Crystal well;
There doth this chaste Avisa dwell.

And there she dwells in public eye,
Shut up from none that list to see;
She answers all that list to try,
Both high and low of each degree[46]:
But few that come, but feel her dart,
And try her well ere they depart.

They tried her hard in hope to gain,
Her mild behaviour breeds their hope,
Their hope assures them to obtain,
Till having run their witless scope;
They find their vice by vertue crossed,
Their foolish words, and labour lost.

This strange effect that all should crave,
Yet none obtain their wrong desire,
A secret gift that nature gave
To feel the frost amidst the fire:
Blame not this Dian’s Nymph too much,
Sith God by nature made her such[47].

Let all the graces now be glad
That fram'd a grace that passed them all,
Let Juno be no longer sad;
Her wanton Jove hath had a fall;
Ten years have tried this constant dame[48],
And yet she holds a spotless fame.

Along this plain there lies a down,
Where shepherds feed their frisking flock;
Her Sire the Major of the town,
A lovely shoot of ancient stock[49];
Full twenty years she lived a maid,
And never was by man betray’d[50].

At length by Juno's great request,
Diana loath, yet gave her leave
Of flowring years to spend the rest
In wed-lock band; but yet receive,
Quod she, this gift; Thou virgin pure,
Chaste wife in wed-lock shalt endure. [51]

O happy man that shall enjoy
A blessing of so rare a prize[52],
That frees the heart from such annoy,
As often doth torment the wise:
A loving wife unto her death,
With full assurance of her faith.

When flying fame began to tell,
How beauty’s wonder was returned
From country hills in town to dwell,
With special gifts and grace adorned
Of suitor’s store there might you see;
And some were men of high degree[53].

But wisdom wield her chose her mate,
If that she lov'd a happy life
That might be equal to her state
To crop the sprigs of future strife;
Where rich in grace, where sound in health,
Most men do wed, but for the wealth.

Though jealous Juno had denied
This happy wench great store of pelf:
Yet is she now in wedlock tide,
To one that loves her as himself;
So thus they live, and thus they love,
And God doth bless them from above.

This rare seen bird, this Phœnix sage[54]
Yields matter to my drowsy pen,
The mirror of this sinful age
That gives us beasts in shapes of men;
Such beasts as still continue sin,
Where age doth leave, there youths begin.

Our English soil to Sodom’s sink
Excessive sin transform’d of late,
Of foul deceit the loathsome link
Hath worn all faith clean out of date;
The greatest sins mongst greatest sort,
Are counted now but for a sport.

Old Asa’s grandam is restor'd;
Her groovy Caves are new refined:[55]
The monster Idol is ador'd
By lusty dames of Maaka's kind[56]:
They may not let this worship fall,
Although they lease their honours all.

Our Moab Cozbi’s cast no fear
To jet in view of every eye[57]
Their gainless games they hold so dear,
They follow must, although they die.
For why? the sword that Phineas wore,
Is broken now, and cuts no more.[58]

My tender Muse that never tried
Her jointed wings till present time,
At first the peerless bird espied
That mounts aloft, devoid of crime;
Though high she soar, yet will I try,
Where I her passage can descry.

Her high conceits, her constant mind;
Her sober talk, her stout denies;
Her chaste advise, here shall you find;
Her fierce assaults, her mild replies,
Her daily fight with great and small,
Yet constant virtue conquers all[59].

The first that says to pluck the Rose,
That scarce appear'd without the bud,
With Gorgeous shows of golden gloze
To sow the seeds that were not good:
Suppose it were some nobleman
That tried her thus, and thus began.

 

 

 

The first trial of Avisa, before she was married, by a Nobleman[60]:
under which is represented a warning to all young maids
of every degree that they beware of the alluring
enticements of great men.

 

CANT. II

NOB.

Now is the time if thou be wise,
Thou happy maid, if thou canst see
Thy happiest time, take good advise;
Good fortune laughs, be ruled by me:
Be ruled by me, and here's my faith,
No Gold shall want thee till thy death.

Thou knowest my power, thou seest my might,
Thou knowest I can maintain thee well,
And help thy friends unto their right;
Thou shalt with me for ever dwell:
My secret friend thou shalt remain,
And all shall turn to thy great gain.

Thou seest thy parents mean estate,
That bars the hope of greater chance;
And if thou prove not wise too late,
Thou mayst thyself, and thine advance;
Repulse not fondly this good hap
That now lies offered in thy lap.

Abandon fear that bars consent,
Repel the shame that fears a blot,
Let wisdom weigh what faith is meant,
That all may praise thy happy lot;
Think not I seek thy life’s disgrace;
For thou shalt have a Lady’s place.

Thou art the first my fancy chose,
I know my friends will like it well;
This friendly fault to none disclose,
And what thou thinkst, blush not to tell:
Thou seest my love, thou know'st my mind,
Now let me feel, what grace I find.

CANT. III
AVISA
Your Honour’s place, your riper years,
Might better frame some graver talks:
Midst sunny rays this cloud appears;
Sweet Roses grow on prickly stalks[61]:
If I conceive what you request,
You aim at that I most detest.

My tender age that wants advice,
And craves the aid of sager guides,
Should rather learn for to be wise,
To stay my steps from slippery slides,
Than thus to suck, than thus to taste
The poisoned sap that kills at last.

I wonder what your wisdom meant,
Thus to assault a silly maid:
Some simple wench might chance consent,
By false resembling shows betrayed:
I have by grace a native shield[62]
To lewd assaults that cannot yield.

I am too base to be your wife,
You choose me for your secret friend[63];
That is to lead a filthy life,
Whereon attends a fearful end;
Though I be poor[64], I tell you plain,
To be your whore I flat disdain.

Your high estate, your silver shrines,
Replete with wind and filthy stink;
Your glittering gifts, your golden mines
May force some fools perhaps to shrink:
But I have learned that sweetest bait
Oft shrouds the hook of most deceit.

What great good hap, what happy time
Your proffer brings, let yielding maids
Of former age, which thought to climb
To highest tops of earthly aids,
Come back a while, and let them tell,
Where wicked lives have ended well.

Shore’s wife, a Prince’s secret friend,
Fair Rosamond, a Kings delight[65]:
Yet both have found a ghastly end,
And fortune’s friends felt fortune’s spite:
What greater joys could fancy frame
Yet now we see their lasting shame.

If princely palace have no power
To shade the shame of secret sin,
If black reproach such names devour,
What gain, or glory can they win:
That tracing tracts of shameless trade
A hate of God, and man are made?

This only virtue must advance
My mean estate to joyful bliss:
For she that sways dame virtue’s lance,
Of happy state can never miss,
But they that hope to gain by vice,
Shall surely prove too late unwise.

The root of woe is fond desire
That never feels herself content:
But wanton wing'd will needs aspire
To find the thing she may lament:
A courtly state, a Lady’s place,
My former life will quite deface[66].

Such strange conceits may hap prevail
With such as love such strong deceits,
But I am taught such qualms to quail,
And flee such sweet alluring baits:
The witless Fly plays with the flame,
Till she be scorched with the same[67].

You long to know what grace you find,
In me, perchance, more than you would,
Except you quickly change your mind,
I find in you less than I should:
Move this no more, use no reply,
I'll keep mine honour till I die.

Cant. IIII.
NOB.
Alas, good soul, and will ye so?
You will be chaste Diana’s mate;
Till time have wove the web of woe,
Then to repent will be too late:
You show yourself so fool-precise
That I can hardly think you wise[68].

You sprang belike from Noble stock
That stand so much upon your fame[69],
You hope to stay upon the rock
That will preserve a faultless name:
But while you hunt for needless praise,
You loose the prime of sweetest days.

A merry time when country maids
Shall stand (forsooth) upon their guard [attention];
And dare control the Courtier’s deeds
At honour’s gate that watch and ward;
When Milkmaids shall their pleasures fly,
And on their credits must rely[70].

Ah, silly wench, take not a pride,
Though thou my raging fancy move;
Thy betters far, if they were tried,
Would fain accept my proffered love:
T’was for thy good, if thou hadst wist,
For I may have whom ere I list.

But here thy folly may appear,
Art thou preciser than a Queen[71]:
Queen Joan of Naples did not fear,
To quite men’s love with love again:
And Messalina, t’is no news,
Was daily seen to haunt the stews.

And Cleopatra, prince of Nile,
With more than one was wont to play:
And yet she keeps her glorious style,
And fame that never shall decay:
What need’st thou then to fear of shame,
When Queens and Nobles use the same?

 

CANT. V.
AVISA.
Needs must the sheep strike all awry
Whose shepherds wander from their way:
Needs must the sickly patient die
Whose Doctor seeks his life’s decay:
Needs must the people well be taught
Whose chiefest leaders all are naught.

Such lawless guides God’s people found,
When Moab maids allur’d their fall;
They sought no salve to cure this wound,
Till God commands to hang them all[72]:
For wicked life a shameful end
To wretched men the Lord doth send.

Was earth consum’d with wreakful waves?
Did Sodom burn and after sink?
What sin is that which vengeance craves,
If wicked lust no sin we think?
O blind conceits! O filthy breath!
That draws us headlong to our death.

If death be due to every sin,
How can I then be too precise?
Where pleasures end if pain begin,
What need have we then to be wise?
They weave indeed the web of woe
That from the Lord do yield to go.

I will remember whence I came,
I hunt not for this worldly praise,
I long to keep a blameless fame,
And constant heart gainst hard assays:
If this be folly, want of skill,
I will remain thus foolish still.

The blindfold rage of heathen Queens,
Or rather queens that know not God,
God’s heavy judgements tried since,
And felt the weight of angry rod:
God save me from that Sodom’s cry
Whose deadly sting shall never die.

[Cant. VI - XI][73]

CANT. XII
NOB. Furens
Thou beggar’s brat, thou dunghill mate,
Thou clownish spawn, thou country gill,
My love is turned to wreakful hate,
Go hang, and keep thy credit still,
Gad where thou list, aright or wrong,
I hope to see thee beg, err long.

Was this great offer well refus'd,
Or was this proffer all too base?
Am I fit man to be abus'd
With such disgrace by flattering gaze?
On thee or thine, as I am man,
I will revenge this if I can.

Thou think'st thyself a peerless prize,
And peevish pride that doth possess
Thy heart; persuades that thou art wise,
When God doth know ther's nothing less:
T'was not thy beauty that did move
This fond affect, but blinded love.

I hope to see some country clown
Possessor of that fleering face,
When need shall force thy pride come down,
I'le laugh to see thy foolish case:
For thou that think'st thyself so brave,
Wilt take at last some paltry knave.

Thouself will gig that doth detest
My faithful love, look to thy fame,
If thou offend, I do protest,
I 'll bring thee out to open shame:
For sith thou fain'st thyself so pure,
Look to thy leaps that they be sure.

I was thy friend, but now thy foe,
Thou hadst my heart, but now my hate,
Refusing wealth, God send thee woe,
Repentance now will come too late,
That tongue that did protest my faith,
Shall wail thy pride, and wish thy death.

CANT. XIII
AVISA
Yea so I thought, this is the end
Of wandring lust, resembling love,
Was’t love or lust that did intend
Such friendless force as you did move?
Though you may vaunt of happier fate,
I am content with my estate.

I rather choose a quiet mind,
A conscience clear from bloody sins
Than short delights, and therein find
That gnawing worm that never lins [ceases].
Your bitter speeches please me more
Than all your wealth, and all your store.

I love to live devoid of crime,
Although I beg, although I pine,
These fading joys for little time,
Embrace who list, I here resign,
How poor I go, how mean I fare,
If God be pleas'd, I do not care.

I rather bear your raging ire,
Although you swear revengement deep,
Than yield for gain to lewd desire,
That you might laugh, when I should weep:
Your lust would like but for a space,
But who could salve my foul disgrace?

Mine ears have heard your taunting words
Of yielding fools by you betrayed
Amongst your mates at open boards,
Know’st such a wife? know’st such a maid?
Then must you laugh, then must you wink,
And leave the rest for them to think.

Nay yet welfare the happy life,
That need not blush at every view:
Although I be a poor man’s wife,
Yet then I ‘le laugh as well as you:
Then laugh as long as you think best,
My fact shall frame you no such jest.

If I do hap to leap aside,
I must not come to you for aid,
Alas now that you be denied,
You think to make me soar afraid;
Nay watch your worst, I do not care,
If I offend, prey do not spare.

You were my friend, you were but dust,
The Lord is he, whom I do love,
He hath my heart, in him I trust,
And he doth guard me from above:
I weigh not death, I fear not hell,
This is enough, and so farewell[74].

 

 

 

THE SECOND TEMPTATION OF AVISA
after her marriage by Ruffians, Roisters, young
Gentlemen, and lusty Captains[75], which all
she quickly cuts off.

 

 

CANT. XIIII

CAVEILEIRO

Come lusty wench, I like thy looks,
And such a pleasant look I love,
Thine eyes are like to baited hooks
That force the hungry fish to move:
Where nature granteth such a face,
I need not doubt to purchase grace.

I doubt not but thy inward thought
Doth yield as fast as doth thine eye;
A love in me hath fancy wrought,
Which work you cannot well deny:
From love you cannot me refrain,
I seek but this, love me again.

And so thou dost, I know it well,
I knew it by thy side-cast glance,
Can heart from outward look rebel?
Which yesternight I spied by chance:
Thy love (sweet heart) shall not be lost,
How dear a price so ever it cost.

Ask what thou wilt, thou know'st my mind,
Appoint the place, and I will come,
Appoint the time, and thou shalt find,
Thou canst not fare so well at home:
Few words suffice, where heart’s consent,
I hope thou know'st, and art content.

Though I a stranger seem as yet,
And seldom seen before this day,
Assure thyself that thou mayst get
More knacks by me than I will say:
Such store of wealth as I will bring,
Shall make thee leap, shall make thee sing[76].

I must be gone, use no delay,
At six or seven the chance may rise,
Old gamesters know their vantage play,
And when t'is best to cast the dice:
Leave ope your point, take up your man,
And mine shall quickly enter than.

CANT. XV

AVISA

What now? what news? new wars in hand?
More trumpets blown of fond conceits?
More banners spread of folly’s band?
New Captains coining new deceits?
Ah woe is me, new camps are plast [placed],
Whereas I thought all dangers past.

O wretched soul, what face have I,
That cannot look, but some misdeem?
What sprite doth lurk within mine eye,
That kindles thoughts so much unclean?
O luckless feature never blessed,
That sow'st the seeds of such unrest.

What wandring fits are these that move
Your heart, enraged with every glance,
That judge a woman straight in love,
That wields her eye aside by chance:
If this your hope, by fancy wrought,
You hope on that I never thought.

If nature give me such a look,
Which seems at first unchaste or ill,
Yet shall it prove no baited hook
To draw your lust to wanton will:
My face and will do not agree,
Which you in time (perhaps) may see.

If smiling cheer and friendly words,
If pleasant talk such thoughts procure,
Yet know my heart no will affords
To scratching kites to cast the lure:
If mild behaviour thus offend,
I will assay this fault to mend.

You plant your hope upon the sand
That build on women’s words, or smiles;
For when you think yourself to stand
In greatest grace, they prove but wiles:
When fixed you think on surest ground,
Then farthest off they will be found.

 

CANT. XVI.[77]

AVISA

You speak of love, you talk of cost,
Is’t filthy love your worship means?
Assure yourself your labour’s lost[78];
Bestow your cost among your queans [harlots] [79]:
You left not here, nor here shall find
Such mates as match your beastly mind.

You must again to Coleman hedge [hatch][80],
For there be some that look for gain,
They will bestow the Frenchman’s badge[81]
In lieu of all your cost and pain:
But Sir, it is against my use,
For gain to make my house a stews.

What have you seen, what have I done
That you should judge my mind so light,
That I so quickly might be won
Of one that came but yesternight?
Of one I wist not whence he came,
Nor what he is, nor what’s his name? [82]

Though face do friendly smile on all,
Yet judge me not to be so kind
To come at every Faulkner’s call,
Or wave aloft with every wind:
And you that venture thus to try
Shall find how far you shoot awry.

And if your face might be your judge,
Your wanny cheeks, your shaggy locks
Would rather move my mind to grudge
To fear the piles, or else the pocks:[83]
If you be mov’d to make amends [retribution],
Pray keep your knacks for other friends.

You may be walking when you list,
Look there’s the door, and there’s the way,
I hope you have your market [business] miss’d,
Your game is lost, for lack of play:
The point is close, no chance can fall
That enters there, or ever shall.

[Cant. XVII - XX][84]

 

CANT. XXI

CAVELEIRO

Had I known this when I began,
You would have used me as you say,
I would have took you napping than,
Nor give you leave to say me nay:
I little thought to find you so,
I never dreamt, you would say no.

Such self like wench I never met,
Great cause have I thus hard to crave it,
If ever man have had it yet,
I sworen have that I will have it:
If thou didst never give consent,
I must perforce be then content.

If thou wilt swear that thou hast known
In carnal act no other man:
But only one, and he thine own,
Since man and wife you first began:[85]
I 'le leave my suit, and swear it true,
Thy like indeed I never knew.

 

CANT. XXII

AVISA

I told you first what you should find,
Although you thought I did but jest,
And self affection made you blind
To seek the thing I most detest;
Besides his host, who takes the pain
To reckon first, must count again.

Your rash swore oath you must repent,
You must beware of headlong vows;
Excepting him whom free consent
By wedlock words hath made my spouse:[86]
From others yet I am as free
As they this night that borén be.

 

CAVELEIRO

Well give me then a cup of wine,
As thou art his, would thou wert mine.

 

AVISA

Have t’ye good-luck, tell them that gave
You this advice, what speed you have.

Farewell.

 

 

The third trial; wherein are expressed the long passionate, and constant affections
of the close and wary suitor, which by signs, by sighs, by letters, by
privy messengers, by Jewels, Rings, Gold, divers gifts, and by
a long continued course of courtesy at length pre-
vaileth with many both maids and wives if they
be not guarded wonderfully with a better spirit
than their own, which all are here
finely daunted, and mildly over-
thrown by thy constant
answers and chaste
replies of Avisa.[87]

 

 

CANT. XXIII.

D. B.  A Frenchman [88]

As flaming flakes, too closely pent,
With smothering smoke, in narrow vault,
Each hole doth try to get a vent,
And force by forces fierce assault:
With rattling rage doth rumbling rave,
Till flame and smoke free passage have,

So I (my dear) have smothered long
Within my heart a sparkling flame,
Whose rebel rage is grown so strong
That hope is past to quell the same:
Except the stone that strake [struck] the fire,
With water quench this hot desire[89].

The glancing spear that made the wound,
Which rankling thus hath bred my pain,
Must piercing slide with fresh rebound,
And wound with wound recur again:
That flooring eye that pierced my heart,
Must yield to salve my cureless smart.

I striv’d, but striv'd against the stream
To daunt the qualms of fond desire;
The more their course I did restrain,
More strong and strong they did retire:
Bare need doth force me now to run,
To seek my help, where hurt begun.

Thy present state wants present aid,
A quick redress my grief requires,
Let not the means be long delayed,
That yields us both our heart’s desires:
If you will ease my pensive heart,
I’ll find a salve to heal your smart.

I am no common gambling mate
That lift to bowl in every plain,
But (wench) consider both our state,
The time is now, for both to gain:
From dangerous bands I set you free
If you will yield to comfort me[90].

 

CANT. XXIIII.

AVISA.

Your fiery flame, your secret smart
That inward frets with pining grief,
Your hollow sighs, your heavy heart,
Methinks might quickly find relief: [91]
If once the certain cause were known,
From whence these hard effects have grown.

It little boots to show your sore
To her that wants all Physic skill,
But tell it them that have in store
Such oils as creeping cankers kill;
I would be glad, to do my best,
If I had skill, to give you rest.

Take heed, let not your grief remain,
Till helps do fail, and hope be past,
For such as first refus’d some pain,
A double pain have felt at last:
A little spark, not quenched by time,
To hideous flames will quickly climb.

If godly sorrow for your sin
Be chiefest cause, why you lament,
If guilty conscience do begin
To draw you truly to repent:
A joyful end must needs redound
To happy grief so seldom found.

To strive all wicked lusts to quell,
Which often sort to doleful end,
I joy to hear you mean so well,
And what you want, the Lord will send:
But if you yield to wanton will,
God will depart, and leave you still.

Your pleasant aid with sweet supply
My present state that might amend,
If honest love be meant thereby,
I shall be glad of such a friend:
But if you love, as I suspect,
Your love and you, I both reject.

 

CANT. XXV.

D. B.  A Frenchman.

What you suspect, I can not tell,
What I do mean, you may perceive;
My works shall show, I wish you well,
If well meant love you list receive:
I have been long in secret mind,
And would be still your secret friend[92].

My love should breed you no disgrace,
None should perceive our secret play,
We would observe both time and place,
That none our dealings should bewray:
Be it my fortune, or my fault,
Love makes me venture this assault.

You mistress of my doubtful chance,
You Prince or this my soul’s desire,
That lulls my fancy in a trance[93],
The mark whereto my hopes aspire;
You see the sore, whence springs my grief,
You wield the stern of my relief.

The gravest men of former time,
That liv'd with fame, and happy life,
Have thought it none, or petty crime,
To love a friend besides their wife:
Then sith my wife you can not be,
As dearest friend account of me.

You talk of sin, and who doth live,
Whose daily steps slide not awry ?
But too precise doth deadly grief
The heart that yields not yet to die:
When age draws on, and youth is past,
Then let us think of this at last.

The Lord did love King David well,
Although he had more wives than one;
King Solomon that did excel,
For wealth and wit, yet he alone
A thousand wives and friends possest,
Yet did he thrive, yet was he blest.

 

CANT. XXVI.

AVISA.

O mighty Lord that guides the Sphere;
Defend me by thy mighty will
From just reproach, from shame and fear,
Of such as seek my soul to spill:
Let not their counsel (Lord) prevail
To force my heart to yield or quail.

How frames it with your sober looks
To shroud such bent of lewd conceits,
What hope hath plac'd me in your books,
That files me fit for such deceits ?
I hope that time hath made you see
No cause that breeds these thoughts in me.

Your fervent love is filthy lust,
And therefore leave to talk of love,
Your truth is treason under trust,
A Kite in shape of hurtless Dove:
You offer more than friendship would,
To give us brass instead of gold.[94]

Such secret friends to open foes
Do often change with every wind,
Such wandring fits, where folly grows,
Are certain signs of wavering mind:
A fawning face, and faithless heart
In secret love breeds open smart.

No sin to break the wedlock faith?
No sin to swim in Sodom’s sink?
O sin the seed and sting of death!
O sinful wretch that so doth think!
Your gravest men with all their schools,
That taught you thus, were heathen fools.

Your lewd examples will not serve
To frame a virtue from a vice,
When David and his Son did swerve
From lawful rule, though both were wise:
Yet both were plagu’d, as you may see,
With mighty plagues of each degree.

 

CANT. XXVII.

D. B.  A Frenchman.

From whence proceeds this sudden change?
From whence this quaint and coy speech?
Where did you learn to look so strange?
What Doctor taught you thus to preach?
Into my heart it cannot sink
That you do speak as you do think.

Your smiling face and glancing eye
(That promise grace, and not despite)
With these your words do not agree
That seem to shun your chief delight:
But give me leave, I think it still,
Your words do wander from your will.

Of women now the greatest part,
Whose place and age do so require,
Do choose a friend whose faithful heart
May quench the flame of secret fire:
Now if your liking be not plac'd,
I know you will choose one at last.

Then choosing one, let me be he,
If so our hidden fancies frame,
Because you are the only she,
That first inrag’d my fancy’s flame.
If first you grant me this good will,
My heart is yours, and shall be still.

I have a Farm that fell of late
Worth forty pounds at yearly rent;
That will I give to mend your state,
And prove my love is truly meant.
Let not my suit be flat denied,
And what you want shall be supplied.

Our long acquaintance makes me bold
To show my grief, to ease my mind,
For new found friends change not the old,
The like perhaps you shall not find:
Be not too rash, take good advice;
Your hap is good, if you be wise.

 

CANT. XXVIII.

AVISA

My hap is hard, and over bad
To be misdeem’d of every man;
That think me quickly to be had;
That see me pleasant now and than:
Yet would I not be much aggriev’d
If you alone were thus deceiv’d.

But you alone are not deceiv’d
With tising baits of pleasant view,
But many others have believ’d,
And tried the same as well as you:
But they repent their folly past,
And so will you, I hope at last.

You seem as though you lately came
From London from some bawdy sell [seat, saddle],
Where you have met some wanton dame
That knows the tricks of whores so well. [95]
Know you some wives use more than one?
Go back to them, for here are none.

For here are none that list to choose
A novel chance where old remain,
My choice is past, and I refuse,
While this doth last, to choose again.
While one doth live, I will no more,
Although I beg from door to door.

Bestow your farms among your friends,
Your forty pounds can not provoke
The settled heart, whom virtue binds,
To trust the trains of hidden hook:
The labour’s lost that you endure[96]
To gorged Hawk, to cast the lure.

If lust had led me to the spoil,
And wicked will, to wanton change,
Your betters that have had the foil [repulse, disgrace][97],
Had caus’d me long ere this to range:
But they have left, for they did see,
How far they were mistake of me.

 

CANT. XXIX.

D. B.   A Frenchman.

Mistake indeed if this be true,
If youth can yield to favour’s foe;
If wisdom spring where fancy grew;
But sure I think it is not so:
Let faithful meaning purchase trust
That likes for love, and not for lust.

Although you swear, you will not yield,
Although my death you should intend,
Yet will I not forsake the field,
But still remain your constant friend:
Say what you list, fly where you will,
I am your thrall, to save or spill.

You may command me out of sight
As one that shall no favour find,
But though my body take his flight,
Yet shall my heart remain behind:
That shall your guilty conscience tell,
You have not us'd his master well.

His master’s love he shall repeat,
And watch his turn to purchase grace[98],
His secret eye shall lie in wait;
Where any other gain the place:
When we each others cannot see,
My heart shall make you think of me.

To force a fancy, where is none,
T'is but in vain, it will not bold,
But where it grows itself alone,
A little favour makes it bold:
Till fancy frame your free consent,
I must perforce be needs content.

Though I depart with heavy cheer
As having lost, or left my heart
With one whose love I held too dear,
That now can smile when others smart:
Yet let your prisoner mercy see,
Least you in time a prisoner be.

 

CANT. XXX.

AVISA.

It makes me smile to see the bent [aim]
Of wandring minds with folly fed,
How fine they feign, how fair they paint
To bring a loving soul to bed[99];
They will be dead [vain], except they have,
What so (forsooth) their fancy crave.

If you did seek, as you pretend,
Not friendless lust, but friendly love,
Your tongue and speeches would not lend
Such lawless actions so to move:
But you can wake, although you wink,
And swear the thing, you never think.

To wavering men that speak so fair,
Let women never credit give[100],
Although they weep, although they swear,
Such feigned shows, let none believe;
For they that think their words be true,
Shall soon their hasty credit rue.[101]

When venturing lust doth make them dare
The simple wenches to betray,
For present time they take no care,
What they do swear nor what they say:
But having once obtain’d the lot,
Their words and oath’s are all forgot.

Let roving Prince [Aeneas] from Troye’s sack,
Whose fawning fram'd Queen Dido's fall,
Teach women wit that wisdom lack;
Mistrust the most, beware of all:
When self-will rules where reason sate [sat],
Fond women oft repent too late.

The wand’ring passions of the mind;
Where constant virtue bares no sway,
Such frantic fickle changes find,
That reason knows not where to stay[102]:
How boast you then of constant love,
Where lust all virtue doth remove?

 

D. B. Being somewhat grieved with this answer,
after long absence and silence, at length
writeth, as followeth.

 

CANT. XXXI.

D. B.  To A V I S A  more pity.

There is a coal that burns the more,
The more ye cast cold water near[103].
Like humour feeds my secret sore,
Not quenched, but fed by cold despair:
The more I feel that you disdain,
The faster doth my love remain.

In Greece they find a burning soil
That fumes in nature like the same[104]:
Cold water makes the hotter broil,
The greater frost, the greater flame.
So frames it with my love or lost
That fiercely fries amidst the frost.

My heart, inflam’d with quenchless heat,
Doth fretting fume in secret fire,
These hellish torments are the meat
That daily feed this vain desire: [105]
Thus shall I groan in ghastly grief,
Till you by mercy send relief.

You first inflam’d my brimstone thought,
Your feigning favour witched mine eye,
O luckless eye that thus hast brought
Thy master’s heart to strive awry:
Now blame yourself if I offend,
The hurt you made, you must amend.

With these my lines I sent a Ring[106],
Least you might think you were forgot,
The posy means a pretty thing,
That bids you Do but dally not.
Do so sweet heart, and do not stay,
For dangers grow from fond delay.

Five winters’ Frosts have said to quell
These flaming fits of firm desire,
Five Summers’ suns cannot expel
The cold despair that feeds the fire[107]:
This time I hope my truth doth try,
Now yield in time, or else I die.

Dudum beatus [formerly happy],
D. B.

 

CANT. XXXII.

AVISA.  To D. B. more wisdom and fear of God.

The Indian men have found a plant
Whose virtue mad conceits doth quell[108],
This root (methinks) you greatly want,
This raging madness to repel:
If rebel fancy work this spite,
Request of God a better sprite.

If you by folly did offend,
By giving reins unto your lust
Let wisdom now these fancies end,
Sith thus untwined is all your trust:
If wit to will will needs resign,
Why should your fault be counted mine?

Your Ring and letter that you sent,
I both return from whence they came,
As one that knows not what is meant
To send or write to me the same:
You had your answer long before,
So that you need to send no more.

Your chosen posy seems to show
That all my deeds but dallyings be,
I never dallied that I know,
And that I think, you partly see:
I showed you first my meaning plain,
The same is yet, and shall remain.

Some say that Time doth purge the blood,
And frantic humours brings to frame,
I marvel time hath done no good,
Your long hid griefs and qualms to tame?
What secret hope doth yet remain,
That makes these suits revive again?

But did you will, and that in hast,
Except you find some quick relief,
I’ll warrant you your life at last,
While foolish love is all your grief:
As first I said, so say I still,
I can not yield, nor ever will.

Always the same,
Avisa. [109]

 

 

 

CANT. XXXIII.

The 2. letter of D. B. to hard hearted AVISA farewell.

I find it true that some have said,
It's hard to love, and to be wise [110],
For wit is oft by love betray’d,
And brought asleep by fond devise:
Sith faith no favour can procure,
My patience must my pain endure.

When women’s wits have drawn the plot,
And of their fancy laid the frame,
Then that they hold, where good or not,
No force can move them from the same[111]:
So you, because you first denied,
Do think it shame for that to slide.

As faithful friendship mov'd my tongue,
Your secret love, and favour crave;
And as I never did you wrong,
This last request so let me have;
Let no man know what I did move,
Let no man know that I did love[112];

That I will say, this is the worst,
When this is said, then all is passed,
Thou proud Avisa were the first,
Thou hard Avisa art the last:
Though thou in sorrow make me dwell,
Yet love will make me wish thee well.

Write not again, except you write,
This only gentle word, I will,
This only word will bring delight,
The rest will breed but sorrow still:
God grant you gain that you desire,
By keeping that which I require.

Yet will I listen now and then
To see the end, my mind will crave,
Where you will yield to other men,
The thing that I could never have.
But what to me? where false or true,
Where live or die, for aye Adue.

Fortuna ferenda.

D. B. [113] 

 

 

 

 

 

DYDIMUS HARCO. ANGLO-GERMANUS. [114]

 

 

CANT. XXXIIII.

D. H.

I have to say, yet cannot speak,
The thing that I would gladly say,
My heart is strong, though tongue be weak,
Yet will I speak it, as I may,
And if I speak not as I ought,
Blame but the error of my thought,

And if I think not as I should,
Blame love that bad me so to think;
And if I say not what I would,
T’is modest shame that makes me shrink[115],
For sure their love is very small,
That can at first express it all.

Forgive my blush, if I do blush,
You are the first I ever tried,
And last whose conscience I will crush,
If now at first I be denied:
I must be plain, then give me leave,
I cannot flatter nor deceive.

You know that Merchants ride for gain[116],
As chief foundations of their state,
You see that we refuse no pain,
To rise betime, and travel late,
But far from home, this is the spite,
We want sometimes our chief delight.

I am no Saint, I must confess,
But natured like to other men,
My meaning you may quickly guess,
I love a woman now and then,
And yet it is my common use,
To take advise, before I choose.

I oft have seen the Western part,
And therein many a pretty elf,
But found not any in my heart,
I like so well as of yourself;
And if you like no worse of me,
We may perhaps in time agree.

 

CANT. XXXV.

AVISA

When first you did request to talk
With me alone a little space,
When first I did consent to walk
With you alone within this place,
From this your sage, and sober cheer,
I thought some grave advise to hear.

Some say that women’s faces feign
A modest show from wanton heart;
But give me leave, I see it plain,
That men can play a double part:
I could not dream that I should find
In lustless show such lustful mind.

You make as though you would not speak
As unacquainted yet with love,
As though your mind you could not break,
Nor how these secret matters move:
You blush to speak, Alas the blush,
Yet this is all not worth a rush.

Such sly conceits are out of joint,
So foul within, so fair without,
Not worth in proof a threaden point:
But now to put you out of doubt,
Your thought is far deceiv'd of me,
As you in time shall plainly see.

If you had known my former life
With spotless fame that I have held,
How first a maid and then a wife,
These youthly suits I have repelled,
You would (I hope) correct your rate,
That judge me thus a common mate.

Whom you have seen, I do not care,
Nor reck [heed] not what you did request,
I am content this flout to bear,
In that you say, you like me best,
And if you wish that you agree,
Correct your wrong conceit of me.

 

[CANT. XXXVI - XXXIX]

 

 

After long absence, D. H. happening
to come in on a time suddenly to her house, and
finding her all alone amongst her maids that were
spinning, said nothing, but going home
wrote these verses following, which
he called his Dum habui, and
sent them unto her.[117]

 

 

CANT. XL.

D[um]. H[abui].  to A V I S A, too constant.

 

Whilst erst I had my liberty
To range the woods where fancy list,
The cause of all my misery,
By heedless hast my way I missed,
Until I found within a plain
A Crystal Well, where Nymphs remain[118].

As weary of this wild-goose race
That led askance, I know not where,
I chose at length a shadow place,
To take the cold and pleasant air,
But from the brink of that same well,
I saw my heaven, or else my hell.

I saw a bird from joining grove
That soaring came with comely grace;
The Lily and Vermilion strove [striv’d]
In maiden-like and lovely face,
With seemly arms instead of wings,
No claws, but fingers set with rings.

And in her hand she held a dart,
As being of Diana's train[119],
O that's the cause of all my smart,
And breeder of this endless pain:
The thing I sought not, there I find,
And lost the freedom of my mind.

While on her eyes, my eyes did hang,
From rolling eye there sprang a glance,
And therewith heard a sudden clang
That strake me in a deadly trance,
But wak'd I saw blind Cupid’s craft,
And in my heart the golden shaft.

I sued for grace, but she denied.
Her lofty looks she cast awry,
And when my folly she espied,
She laughed to see my misery:
Away she soars, and from my sight
She smiling takes her parting flight.

You are the bird that bred the bane
That swelleth thus in restless thought,
You are the snare that thus have tane [taken],
And senses all to thraldom brought:
You are the Jailer that do keep
Your friend in bands, and dungeon deep.

Renowned chaste Penelope[120]
With all her words could not redrive
Her suitors, till she set a day,
In which she would them answer give:
When thready spindle full was grow'n,
Then would she choose one for her own.

They daily came to see the end,
And every man doth hope to be
The chosen man, to be her friend,
But women’s wiles here men may see:
Her Spill [spool] was never fully spun,
For night undid that day had done.

I hope the like you have decreed
That found you spinning but of late,
Would God your Spill were full of thread
That might relieve my wretched state:
I will forget the wrongs are past,
So you will choose me at the last.

Choose one at length, I know you will,
Let tried faith for ten years space,
How ever that your spindle fill,
With joy possess that empty place,
And if you will, I do protest,
My love shall far surmount the rest.

These lines that hope for better speed,
As loving spies are sent to see,
Where you have spun up all your thread,
And what good hap is left for me:
Let there return, yet make him glad,
Whom love’s despair hath made so sad.

D. H.

 

CANT. XLI.

Avisa her answer to D. H.   a final resolution. 

 

If I be of Diana's train,
As true it is I must confess,
I marvel that you strive in vain,
Where fruitless hope yields no redress:
For they must needs continue sad
That seek for that will not be had.

What servile folly doth possess
Your base conceit that can abide
Such piteous plaints, and suits address
To them that do your suits deride ?
For I can hardly think them wise,
That try again, repulsed thrice.

No Helen’s rape, nor Trojan war
My loving mate hath forc'd away,
No Juno’s wrath to wander far
From loving bed can make him stray:
Nor stay at all in foreign land,
But here I have him still at hand.[121]

My sweet Ulysses never stays
From his desired home so long[122],
That I should need such rare delays
To Shield me from intended wrong:
My chief delights are always nigh,
And in my bosom sweetly lie.

The Spindle that you see me drive,
Hath filled the spill [spool] so often trend,
My heart is fixed, since I did give
My wedlock faith to chosen friend:
Then leave to sue, since that you see
Your hap debars your hope from me.

I use not oft to make reply
To lines that yield such wanton store,
Let this suffice that I deny,
And after this, look for no more:
My choice is bound by lawful band,
My oath is past, and that shall stand.

 

Alway the same

Avisa.[123]

 

CANT. XLII.

D. H. to chaste Avisa perpetual constancy.

This is enough: now I have done,
I think indeed you do not feign,
As others have that have been won
In shorter space, with lesser pain:
And sith you will not yield indeed
To these my words, yet take good heed.

My former love was only lust,
As you indeed did truly say,
And they, such love that rashly trust,
Do plant the plot of swift decay:
But they whom Grace doth make so wise,
To high renown, will surely rise.

If you had had a waxy heart
That would have melt at hot desire,
Or chaffy thoughts that could have start,
And yield to burn at every fire:
What ere I did, or said before,
I should have thought you but a whore.[124]

Though sailors love the common Port
As safest harbour where to rest,
Yet wise men seek the strongest fort,
And paper castles most detest:
Men cannot love such, as they know,
Will yield at sight of every blow.[125]

But now my love by virtue bound,
No stormy blasts can make it quail,
Your constant mind a friend hath found
Whose honest love shall never fail:
A faithful friend in honest love
Whom lewd affections shall not move.[126]

If you this wanton fault forgive,
No time in me shall ever find
Such lewd attempts, while I do live,
Now that I know your constant mind:
My pen doth write, my heart hath swore
My tongue such speech shall use no more.

A thousand times I love you more
Than if I had my purpose won,
Of common love I make no store,
But leave it there where I begun:
What odds there is, now you may prove,
Twixt wicked lust and honest love.

Now grant, I pray this last request,
That fraudless heart doth friendly send,
That if my faith deserve it best,
Accept me for your honest friend:
And if I seek your spoil, or shame,
Then raze me out, and blot my name.

And if I shall this favour find,
Then wear this ring, though you be loath,
As token of my simple mind,
And perfect band of faithful oath:
The posy is, No friend to faith
That will remain, till both our death.

Esteem not this a painted bait,
Or golden ball cast to deceive:
If I do mean such lewd deceit,
Let God my soul in torments leave:
I say no more, but thus I end,
In honest love your faithful friend.

D. H. 

 

CANT. XLIII.

AVISA.  to D. H.

You know that I have laid my rest,
From which my mind shall never swerve,
If all be true that you protest,
Then shall you find as you deserve:
All hidden truth time will bewray,
This is as much as I can say.

Alway the same

Avisa.

 

 

CANT. XLIIII.

Henrico Willobego. Italo-Hispalensis.[127]

H. W. being suddenly infected with the contagion of a fantastical fit, at the first sight of A, pineth a while in secret grief, at length not able any longer to endure the burning heat of so fervent a humour, bewrayeth the secrecy of his disease unto his familiar friend W. S. [128] who not long before had tried the courtesy of the like passion, and was now newly recovered of the like infection[129]; yet finding his friend let blood in the same vein, he took pleasure for a time to see him bleed, & instead of stopping the issue, he enlargeth the wound, with the sharp razor of a willing conceit, persuading him that he thought it a matter very easy to be compassed, & no doubt with pain, diligence & some cost in time to be obtained. Thus this miserable comforter comforting his friend with an impossibility, either for that he now would secretly laugh at his friends folly that had given occasion not long before unto others to laugh at his own[130], or because he would see whether an other could play his part better than himself, & in viewing a far off the course of this loving Comedy, he determined to see whether it would sort to a happier end for this new actor, than it did for the old player[131]. But at length this Comedy was like to have grown to a Tragedy, by the weak & feeble estate that H. W. was brought unto, by a desperate view of an impossibility of obtaining his purpose, till Time & Necessity, being his best Physicians brought him a plaster, if not to heal, yet in part to ease his malady. In all which discourse is lively represented the unruly rage of unbridled fancy, having the reins to rove at liberty, with the divers & sundry changes of affections & temptations, which Will, set loose from Reason, can devise. &c. [132]

 

H. W.

What sudden chance or change is this
That doth bereave my quiet rest?
What surely cloud eclipsed my bliss,
What sprite doth rage within my breast?
Such fainty qualms I never found,
Till first I saw this western ground.

Can change of air complexions change,
And strike the senses out of frame?
Though this be true, yet this is strange,
Sith I so lately hither came:
And yet in body cannot find
So great a change as in my mind.

My lustless limbs do pine away,
Because my heart is dead within,
All lively heat I feel decay,
And deadly cold his room doth win,
My humours all are out of frame,
I freeze amid'st the burning flame[133].

I have the fever Ethic right,
I burn within, consume without,
And having melted all my might,
Then follows death, without all doubt:
O fearful fool that know my grief,
Yet sew and seek for no relief.

I know the time, I know the place,
Both when and where my eye did view
That novel shape that friendly face,
That so doth make my heart to rue:
O happy time if she incline,
If not, O worse these luckless eyne.

I love the seat where she did sit,
I kiss the grass, where she did tread,
Methinks I see that face as yet,
And eye that all these turmoils breed:
I envy that this seat, this ground,
Such friendly grace and favour found.

I dreamt of late, God grant that dream
Protend [extend] my good that she did meet
Me in this green by yonder stream[134],
And smiling did me friendly greet:
Where wandring dreams be just or wrong,
I mind to try ere it be long.

But yonder comes my faithful friend
That like assaults hath often tried,
On his advise I will depend,
Where I shall win, or be denied,
And look what counsel he shall give,
That will I do, where die or live.

 

CANT. XLV.

W. S.

Well met, friend Harry, what's the cause
You look so pale with Lented [emaciated] cheeks? [135]
Your wanny face & sharpened nose
Show plain, your mind something mislikes:
If you will tell me what it is,
Ile help to mend what is amiss.

What is she, man, that works thy woe,
And thus thy tickling fancy move?
Thy drowsy eyes, & sighs do show,
This new disease proceeds of love.
Tell what she is that witched thee so,
I swear it shall no farther go.

A heavy burden wearieth one
Which, being parted then in twain,
Seems very light, or rather none,
And boren [borne] well with little pain:
The smothered flame, too closely pent,
Burns more extreme for want of vent.

So sorrows shrined in secret breast
Attaint the heart with hotter rage
Than griefs that are to friends expressed
Whose comfort may some part assuage:
If  I a friend, whose faith is tried,
Let this request not be denied.

Excessive griefs good counsels want,
And cloud the sense from sharp conceits;
No reason rules, where sorrows plant,
And folly feeds, where fury frets: [136]
Tell what she is, and you shall see,
What hope and help shall come from me.

 

CANT. XLVI.

H. W.


Seest yonder house where hangs the badge
Of England’s Saint, when captains cry
Victorious land to conquering rage[137],
Lo, there my hopeless help doth lie:
And there that friendly foe doth dwell,
That makes my heart thus rage and swell,

 

CANT. XLVII.

W. S.

Well, say no more: I know thy grief,
And face from whence these flames arise,
It is not hard to find relief,
If thou wilt follow good advise:
She is no Saint, She is no Nun,
I think in time she may be won[138].

At first repulse you must not faint,
Nor fly the field though she deny
You twice or thrice, yet manly bent [inclined]
Again you must, and still reply:
When time permits you not to talk,
Then let your pen and fingers walk.

Apply her still with divers things,
(For gifts the wisest will deceive)
Sometimes with gold, sometimes with rings,
No time nor fit occasion leave:
Though coy at first she seem and wield [strong],
These toys in time will make her yield.[139]

Look what she likes; that you must love,
And what she hates, you must detest,
Where good or bad, you must approve
The words and works that please her best:
If she be godly, you must swear
That to offend you stand in fear.

You must commend her loving face,
For women joy in beauty’s praise,
You must admire her sober grace,
Her wisdom and her virtuous ways:
Say, t'was her wit & modest show
That made you like and love her so.[140]

You must be secret, constant, free,
Your silent sighs & trickling tears
Let her in secret often see,
Then wring her hand, as one that fears
To speak, then wish she were your wife,
And last desire her save your life.

When she doth laugh, you must be glad,
And watch occasions, time and place,
When she doth frown, you must be sad,
Let sighs & sobs request her grace:
Swear that your love is truly meant,
So she in time must needs relent.

 

CANT. XLVIII.

H[en]. W[ill].[141]

The whole to sick good counsel give
Which they themselves cannot perform,
Your words do promise sweet relief
To save my ship from drowning storm:
But hope is passed, and health is spent,
For why my mind is Mal-content[142].

The flowring herbs, the pleasant spring,
That decks the fields with vernant hue,
The harmless birds that sweetly sing
My hidden griefs do still renew:
The joys that others long to see,
Is it that most tormenteth me.

I greatly doubt, though March be passed,
Where I shall see that wished May
That can recure that baleful blast
Whose cold despair wrought my decay:
My hopeless clouds that never clear,
Presage great sorrows very near.[143]

I mirth did once, and music love,
Which both as now, I greatly hate:
What uncouth sprite my heart doth move,
To loath the thing I lov'd so late?
My greatest ease in deepest moan
Is when I walk myself alone.

Where thinking on my hopeless hap,
My trickling tears, like rivers flow,
Yet fancy lulls me in her lap,
And tells me, life from death shall grow:
Thus flattering hope makes me believe;
My grief in time shall feel relief.

Good fortune helps the venturing wight
That hard attempts dare undertake:
But they that shun the doubtful fight
As coward drudges doth forsake:
Come what there will, I mean to try,
Where win, or lose, I can but die.

 

CANT. XLIX.

H. W. the first assault.

Pardon (sweet wench) my fancy’s fault,
If I offend to show my smart,
Your face hath made such fierce assault,
And battered so my fenceless heart:
That of my foe, my life to save,
For grace I am constrained to crave.

The raging Lion never rends
The yielding prey that prostrate lies,
No valiant captain ever bends
His force against surrendering cries:
Here I surrender room and right,
And yield the fort at captain’s sight.

You are the chieftain that have laid
This heavy siege to strengthless fort,
And fancy that my will betray’d
Hath lent despair his strongest port:
Your glancing eyes as Cannon shot
Have pierc’d my heart, and freedom got.

When first I saw that friendly face,
Though never seen before that day,
That wit, that talk, that sober grace,
In secret heart thus did I say:
God prosper this, for this is she
That joy or woe must bring to me.

A thousand features [faces] I have seen,
For Travellers change & choice shall see,
In France, in Flanders, & in Spain[144],
Yet none, nor none could conquer me:
Till now I saw this face of thine
That makes, my wits are none of mine.

I often said, yet there is one,
But where, or what I could not tell,
Whose sight my sense would overcome,
I feared it still, I knew it well,
And now I know you are the She,
That was ordained to vanquish me.[145]

 

CANT. L.

AVISA.

What song is this that you do sing,
What tale is this that you do tell,
What news is this that you do bring,
Or what you mean I know not well?
If you will speak, pray speak it plain,
Lest else perhaps you lose your pain.

My mind surpris'd with household cares,
Tends not dark riddles to untwine.
My state surcharg'd with great affairs,
To Idle talk can lend no time[146];
For if your speeches tend to love,
Your tongue in vain such suits will move.

In greenest grass the winding snake
With poisoned sting is soonest found,
A coward’s tongue makes greatest crack,
The emptiest cask yields greatest sound:
To hidden hurt the bird to bring
The fowler doth most sweetly sing.

If wandering rages have possessed
Your roving mind at random bent;
If idle qualms from too much rest
Fond fancies to your lust have sent[147]:
Cut off the cause that breeds your smart,
Then will your sickness soon depart.

The restless mind that reason wants
Is like the ship that lacks a stern,
The heart beset with folly’s plants
At wisdom’s lore repines to learn:
Some seek and find what fancy list,
But after wish that they had missed.

Who loves to tread unknowen pathes
Doth often wander from his way,
Who longs to lave [bath] in bravest bathes
Doth wash by night, and waste by day.
Take heed betime, beware the price
Of wicked lust, if you be wise.

 

CANT. LI.

H. W.

Unwonted liking breeds my love,
And love the wellspring of my grief,
This fancy fix’d none can remove,
None send redress, none give relief:
But only you, whose only sight
Hath forced me to this pining plight.

Love oft doth spring from due desert
As loving cause of true effect,
But mine proceeds from wounded heart
As scholar to a novel sect:
I bare that liking, few have bore,
I love that never lov'd before[148].

I love, though doubtful of success,
As blind men grope to try the way;
Yet still I love because I guess,
You love, for love cannot deny:
Except you spring of savage kind
Whom no deserts, nor love can bind.

Of all the graces that excel,
And virtues that are chiefly best,
A constant love doth bear the bell,
And makes his owner ever blessed:
How blame you then the faithful love,
That hath his praise from God above[149].

Can you withstand what fates ordain?
Can you reprove dame Natures frame?
Where natures join, shall will disclaim?
Acquit my love, bear they the blame
That snuff at faith, & look so coy,
And count true love but for a toy.

If fortune say it shall be so,
Then though you like yet shall you yield,
Say what you list, you cannot go
Unconquer’d thus from Cupid’s field:
That love that none could ever have,
I give to you, and yours I crave.

 

CANT. LII

AVISA.

Well, you are bent I see, to try
The utmost list of folly’s race,
Your fancy hath no power to fly
The luring bait of flattering grace.
The fish that leaps & never looks
Finds death un'wares in secret hooks.

You say you love, yet show no cause
Of this your love, or rather lust,
Or whence this new affection grows
Which though untried yet we must trust:
Dry reeds that quickly yield to burn
Soon out to flameless cinders turn.

Such raging love in rangling [wandering] mates
Is quickly found, and sooner lost;
Such deep deceit in all estates
That spares no care, no pain nor cost:
With flattering tongues, & golden gifts,
To drive poor women to their shifts.

Examine well, & you shall see
Your truthless treason termed love,
What cause have you to fancy me
That never yet had time to prove
What I have been, nor what I am,
Where worthy love, or rather shame?

This love that you to strangers bare
Is like to headstrong horse and mule,
That full-fed neighs on every mare
Whose lust outleaps the lawful rule:
For here is seen your constant love,
Whom strange aspects so quickly move.

Besides you know I am a wife,
Not free, but bound by plighted oath,
Can love remain, where filthy life
Hath stained the soil, where virtue grow’th?
Can love endure, where faith is fled?
Can Roses spring whose root is dead? [150]

True love is constant in her choice,
But if I yield to choose again,
Then may you say with open voice,
This is her use, this is her vein:
She yields to all, how can you than
Love her that yields to every man?

 

CANT. LIII.

H. W.

If fear and sorrow sharp the wit,
And tip the tongue with sweeter grace,
Then will & style must finely fit
To paint my grief, and wail my case:
Sith my true love is counted lust,
And hope is racked in spiteful dust.

The cause that made me love so soon,
And feeds my mind with inward smart,
Springs not from Stars, nor yet the Moon,
But closely lies in secret heart:
And if you ask, I can not tell,
Nor why, nor how, this hap befell.

If birth or beauty could have wrought,
In lustless heart this loves effect,
Some fairer far my love have sought,
Whose loving looks I did reject.
If now I yield without assault,
Count this my fortune or my fault.

You are a wife, and you have swore,
You will be true. Yet what of this?
Did never wife play false before,
Nor for her pleasure strike amiss?
Will you alone be constant still,
When none are chaste, nor ever will?

A man or woman first may choose
The love that they may after loath;
Who can deny but such may use
A second choice, to pleasure both?
No fault to change the old for new;
So to the second they be true.

Your husband is a worthless thing
That no way can content your mind[151],
That no way can that pleasure bring
Your flowring years’ desire to find:
This I will count my chiefest bliss,
If I obtain that others miss.

There's nothing gotten to be coy,
The purer stamp you must detest,
Now is your time of greatest joy,
Then love the friend that loves you best,
This I will count my chiefest bliss,
If I obtain that others miss.[152]

 

CANT. LIIII.

AVISA.

That others miss, you would obtain,
And want of this doth make you sad,
I sorrow that you take such pain
To seek for that, will not be had:
Your filed skill the power doth want
Within this plot such trees to plant.

Though some there be that have done ill,
And for their fancy broke their faith:
Yet do not think that others will
That fear of shame more than of death:
A spotless name is more to me
Than wealth, than friends, than life can be.

Are all unconstant, all unsound?
Will none perform their sworen vow?
Yet shall you say that you have found,
A chaste, and constant wife I trow [trust]:
And you shall see, when all is done,
Where all will yield, and all be won.

Though you have been at common school,
And enter’d plaints in common place;
Yet you will prove yourself a fool
To judge all women void of grace:
I doubt not but you will be brought,
Soon to repent this wicked thought.

Your second change let them allow
That list mislike their primer choice,
I lov'd him first, I love him now
To whom I gave my yielding voice:
My faith and love I will not give
To mortal man, while he doth live.

What love is this that bids me hate
The man whom nature bids me love?
What love is this that sets debate
Twixt man and wife? but here I prove:
Though smoothed words seem very kind,
Yet all proceed from devilish mind.

 

CANT. LV.

H. W.

From devilish mind? well wanton well,
You think your strength is very sure,
You think all women to excel,
And all temptations to endure.
These glorious brags show but your pride,
For all will yield if they be tried.

You are (I hope) as others be,
A woman, made of flesh and blood,
Amongst them all, will you go free,
When all are ill, will you be good?
Assure yourself, I do not feign,
Requite my love with love again.

Let me be hanged if you be such,
As you pretend in outward show:
Yet I commend your wisdom much,
Which mov'd me first to love you so:
Where men no outward shows detect,
Suspicious minds can nil suspect.

But to the matter; tell me true,
Where you your fancy can incline
To yield your love, for which I sue,
As fortune hath entangled mine:
For well I know, it's nothing good
To strive against the raging flood.

What you mislike, I will amend,
If years I want, why I will stay,
My goods and life here I will spend[153],
And help you still in what I may:
For though I seem a headlong youth,
Let time be trial of my truth.

Your name by me shall not be cracked,
But let this tongue from out my jaws
Be rent, and bones to pieces racked,
If I your secrets do disclose:
Take good advisement what you say,
This is my good, or dismal day.

 

CANT. LVI.

AVISA.

Yes, so I will, you may be bold,
Nor will I use such strange delays;
But that you shall be quickly told,
How you shall frame your wandring ways:
If you will follow mine advise,
Doubt not but you shall soon be wise.

To love, excepting honest love,
I can not yield, assure your mind;
Then leave this fruitless suit to move,
Least like to Sisyphus you find:
With endless labour, gainless pain
To roll the stone that turns again[154].

You want no years, but rather wit,
And due forecast in that you seek
To make your choice that best may fit,
And this is most that I mislike;
If you be free, live where you list,
But still beware of Had I wist.

Serve God, and call to him for grace,
That he may stay your slippery slides
From treading out that sinful trace
That leads where endless sorrow bides:
Thus shall you wisely guide your feet;
Though youth and wisdom seldom meet.

And if you find, you have no gift
To live a chaste and mateless life,
Yet fear to use unlawful shift,
But marry with some honest wife,
With whom you may contented live,
And wandring mind from folly drive.

Fly present pleasure that doth bring
Ensuing sorrow, pain and grief [155];
Of death beware the poisoned sting
That hatcheth horror sans [without] relief:
Take this of me, and in the end
I shall be thought your chiefest friend.

 

CANT. LVII.

H[en]. W[ill].

If then the wellspring of my joy,
A flood of woe, in fine become,
If love engender love’s annoy,
Then farewell life, my glass is run:
If you thus constant still remain;
Then must I die, or live in pain.

Thrice happy they, whose joined hearts,
United wills have linked in one,
Whose eyes discern the due deserts,
The griping grief, and grievous groan
That faith doth breed in settled mind
As fancies are by fates inclined.

And shall I roll the restless stone?
And must I prove the endless pain?
In cureless care shall I alone
Consume with grief that yields me gain?
If so, I curse these eyes of mine
That first beheld that face of thine.[156]

Your will must with my woe dispense,
Your face the founder of my smart,
That pleasant look fram'd this offence,
These thrilling gripes that gall my heart:
Sith you this wound, and hurt did give,
You must consent to yield relief.

How can I cease while fancy guides
The restless reins of my desire?
Can reason rule where folly bides?
Can wit enthrall’d to will retire?
I little thought I should have missed,
I never fear'd of Had I wist.

Let old men pray, let settled heads
Enthral their necks to wedlock band;
Shrewd golden gives, who ever weds,
With pleasant pain shall take in hand:
But I will be your faithful friend,
If health by hope you yield to send.

 

CANT. LVIII.

AVISA.

What filthy folly, raging lust,
What beastly blindness fancy breeds?
As though the Lord had not accursed
With vengeance due the sinful deeds?
Though vain-led youth with pleasure swell,
Yet mark these words that I shall tell.

Who so with filthy pleasure burns,
His sinful flesh with fiery flakes
Must be consum'd[157]; whose soul returns
To endless pain in burning lakes.
You seem by this to wish me well,
To teach me tread the path to hell.

Call you this (Love) that bringeth sin,
And sows the seeds of heavy cheer?
If this be love, I pray begin
To hate the thing I love so dear;
I love no love of such a rate,
Nor fancy that which God doth hate.

But what saith he that long had tried
Of harlots all the wanton sleights[158]:
Beware least that your heart be tied
To fond affects by wanton sights:
Their wandring eyes, and wanton looks
Catch fools as fish, with painted hooks.

Their lips with oil and honey flow,
Their tongues are fraught with flattering guile;
Amidst these joys great sorrows grow;
For pleasures flourish but a while:
Their feet to death, their steps to hell
Do swiftly slide that thus do mell [mingle].

Then fly this dead and dreadful love,
This sign of Gods revenging ire;
Let love of God such lust remove,
And quench the flames of foul desire:
If you will count me for your friend,
You must both works and words amend.

 

CANT LXI. [=LIX][159]

With this bitter reply of Avisa, H. W. being somewhat daunted, yet not altogether whithout hope, went home to his house, and there secretly in a melancholic passion wrote these verses following.

H. W.  To A V I S A my friendly foe[160].

The busy Gnat about the candle hovering still doth fly,
The slimy Fish about the bait still wavering doth lie,
The fearful Mouse about the trap doth often try his strength,
Until both Gnat, and Fish and Mouse be taken at the length[161]:
Even so, unhappy I, do like my greatest bane,
Unless you do with speed release my mortal pain.

The light foot heart desires the waters brook,
The dog most sick the greenest grass doth crave.
The wounded wight for surgeon still doth look,
Until both heart, and dog, and wight their medicine have:
But I with grief, th' unhappy’st of them all,
Do still delight to be my enemy’s thrall.

Mine enemy I say, though yet my sweetest friend,
If of my sorrows I may see some speedy wholesome end.

FINIS. Chi la dura, la vince.[162]

 

CANT. LXII.

A V I S A. her reply to H. W.

The busy Gnat for want of wit
Doth singe his wings in burning flame,
The Fish with bait will headlong flit,
Till she be choked with the same;
So you with Gnat and Fish will play,
Till flame and food work your decay.

The heedless Mouse that tries the trap
In haste to reach her heart’s desire,
Doth quickly find such quaint [odd] mishap
That bars her strength from free retire:
So you will never cease to crave,
Till you have lost that now you have.

The hart, the dog, the wounded wight
For water, grass, and Surgeon call[163],
Their griefs and cures are all but light,
But your conceit surpassed them all;
Except you change your wanton mind,
You shall no ease, nor comfort find.

Alway the same

               Avisa.

 

CANT. LXIII.

H. W. prosecuteth his suit.

Will not your lofty stomach stoop?
Will not this self conceit come down?
As haggard loving mirthless coup
At friendly lure doth check and frown?
Blame not in this the Falconer’s skill,
But blame the Hawk’s unbridled will.

Your sharp replies, your frowning cheer [countenance]
To absent lines, and present view,
Doth aye redouble trembling fear,
And griping griefs do still renew:
Your face to me my sole relief,
My sight to you your only grief.

O luckless wretch, what hap had I,
To plant my love in such a soil?
What fury makes me thus rely
On her that seeks my utter spoil?
O Gods of love what sign is this,
That in the first I first should miss?

And can you thus increase my woe,
And will you thus prolong my pain?
Canst kill the heart that loves thee so,
Canst quit my love with foul disdain?
And if thou canst, woe worth the place,
Where first I saw that flattering face.

And shall my folly prove it true,
That hasty pleasure doubleth pain,
Shall grief rebound where joye grew?
Of faithful heart is this the gain?
Methinks for all your grave advise,
(Forgive my thought) you are not wise.

Would God I could restrain my love,
Sith you to love me can not yield,
But I alas can not remove
My fancy, though I die in field;
My life doth on your love depend,
My love and life at once must end.[164]

 

CANT. LXIIII.

AVISA.

What witless errors do possess
The wretched minds of loving fools
That breathless run to such distress,
That lively heat fond sorrow cools?
They reke [proceed] not where they stand or fall,
Deny them love, take life and all.

It seems a death to change their mind,
Or alter once their foolish will,
Such odd conceits they seek to find,
As may their childish fancies fill:
It makes me smile thus, now and then,
To see the guise of foolish men.

I can not stoop to wandring lure;
My mind is one, and still the same[165];
While breath, while life, while days endure,
I will not yield to work my shame.
Then if you strive and stir in vain,
Blame but the fruits of idle brain.

If I do sometimes look awry,
As loath to see your blubber’d face [flooded with tears],
And loath to hear a young man cry,
Correct for shame this childish race:
And though you weep and wail to me,
Yet let not all these follies see.

Good Harry leave these raging toys
That thus from restless fancy flow,
Unfit for men, not meet for boys,
And let's a while talk wisely now;
If that you love me as you say,
Then cease such madness to bewray.

If honest love could breed content,
And frame a liking to your will,
I would not stick to give consent
To like you so, and love you still:
But while lust leads your love awry,
Assure yourself, I will deny.

 

CANT. LXV.

H. W.

And is it lust that wields my love?
Or is it but your fond surmise?
Will you condemn before you prove?
How can I think you to be wise?
O faithful heart, yet thrice accursed,
That art misdeem’d thus at the first.

If lust did rule my restless heart,
If only lust did bear the sway,
I quickly could assuage my smart,
With choice, and change, for every day.
You should not laugh to see me weep,
If lust were it that strake so deep.

And yet at first, before I knew
What vein it was that bled so sore,
Where lust or love, to prove it true,
I took a salve that still before
Was wont to help, I chose me one,
With whom I quenched my lust alone.

Yet this (sweet heart) could not suffice,
Nor any way content my mind[166];
I felt new qualms, and new arise,
And stronger still and strong I find
By this, I thus do plainly prove,
It is not lust, but faithful love.

And yet to prove my love more sure,
And sith you will not false your faith,
This pining plight I will endure,
Till death do stop your husband’s breath;
To have me then if you will say,
I will not marry till that day.

If you will give your full consent,
When God shall take your husband’s life,
That then you will be well content,
To be my spouse and loving wife:
I will be joyful as before,
And till that time, will crave no more.

 

CANT. LXVI.

AVISA.

No more; no more, too much of this,
And is mine inch become an ell?
If thus you writhe my words amiss,
I must of force bid you farewell:
You show in this your loving bent,
To catch at that, I never meant.

I thought at first (but this my thought
I must correct) that simple love
In guileless heart these fits had wrought.
But I; too simple I, now prove
That under show of great good will
My heart’s delight you seek to spill.

He loves me well that tills a trap
Of deep deceit, and deadly bane,
In dreadful dangers thus to wrap
His friend by baits of fleering train:
Though flattering tongues can paint it brave
Your words do show what love you have.

I must consent, and you will stay
My husband’s death. Obtaining this,
You think I could not say you Nay:
Nor of your other purpose miss,
You are deceiv'd, and you shall try,
That I such faith, and friends defy.

Such feigned, former, faithless plot
I most detest, and tell you plain,
If now I were to cast my lot,
With free consent to choose again,
Of all the men I ever knew,
I would not make my choice of you.

Let this suffice, and do not stay
On hope of that which will not be,
Then cease your suit, go where you may,
Vain is your trust, to hope on me.
My choice is passed, my heart is bent,
While that remains to be content.

Now having tract the winding trace
Of false resemblance, give me leave,
From this to show a stranger grace
Than heretofore you did perceive:
Gainst friendless love if I repine,
The fault is yours, & none of mine.

 

CANT. LXVII.

H. W.

I will not wish, I cannot vow,
Thy hurt, thy grief, though thou disdain,
Though thou refuse, I know not how,
To quite my love with love again:
Since I have swore to be thy friend,
As I began, so will I end.

Swear thou my death, work thou my woe,
Conspire with grief to stop my breath,
Yet still thy friend, & not thy foe[167]
I will remain until my death:
Choose whom thou wilt, I will resign,
If love, or faith, be like to mine.

But while I wretch too long have lent
My wandering eyes to gaze on thee,
I have both time, & travel spent
In vain, in vain: and now I see:
They do but fruitless pain procure,
To haggard kites that cast the lure.

When I am dead, yet thou mayst boast,
Thou hadst a friend, a faithful friend,
That living liv'd to love thee most,
And lov'd thee still unto his end:
Though thou unworthy, with disdain
Did'st force him live, and die in pain.

Now may I sing, now sigh, and say,
Farewell my life, farewell my joy,
Now mourn by night, now weep by day,
Love, too much love breeds mine annoy:
What can I wish, what should I crave,
Sith that is gone that I should have.

Though hope be turned to despair,
Yet give my tongue leave to lament,
Believe me now, my heart doth swear,
My luckless love was truly meant:
Thou art too proud, I say no more,
Too stout, and woe is me therefore.

Felice chi puo.[168]

 

CANT. LXVIII.

Avisa having heard this pathetical fancy of H.W. and seeing the tears trill down his cheeks, as half angry to see such passionate folly, in a man that should have government, with a frowning countenance turned from him, without farther answer, making silence her best reply, and following the counsel of the wise, not to answer a fool in his folly lest he grow too foolish, retorted quite from him, and left him alone. But he departing home, and not able by reason to rule the raging fume of this phantastical fury, cast himself upon his bed, & refusing both food & comfort for many days together, fell at length into such extremity of passionate affections[169] that as many as saw him, had great doubt of his health, but more of his wits, yet, after a long space absence, having procured some respite from his sorrows, he takes his pen & wrote, as followeth.

 

H. W.

Like wounded Deer whose tender sides are bath'd in blood[170]
From deadly wound, by fatal hand & forked shaft:
So bleeds my pierced heart[171], for so you think it good,
With cruelty to kill that which you got by craft:
You still did loath my life, my death shall be your gain,
To die to do you good, I shall not think it pain.

My person could not please, my talk was out of frame,
Though heart and eye could never brook my loathed sight,
Yet love doth make me say to keep you out of blame,
The fault was only mine, and that you did but right,
When I am gone, I hope my ghost shall show you plain,
That I did truly love, and that I did not feign.

Now must I find the way to wail while life doth last,
Yet hope I soon to see the end of doleful days;
When floods of flowing fears, and creeping cares are passed,
Then shall I leave to sing, and write these pleasant lays:
For now I loath the food, and blood that lends me breath,
I count all pleasures pain that keep me from my death.

To dark and heavy shades I now will take my flight,
Where nether tongue nor eye shall tell or see my fall,
That there I may disject these dregs of thy despite,
And purge the clotted blood that now my heart doth gall:
In secret silence so, Perforce shall be my song,
Till truth make you confess that you have done me wrong[172].

Gia speme spenta.[173]  

H. W.

 

Avisa refusing both to come or send him any answer, after a long & melancholic deliberation, he wrote again so as followeth.

CANT. LXIX

H. W.

Though you refuse to come or send,
Yet this I send, though I do stay,
Unto these lines some credit lend,
And mark it well what they shall say:
They cannot hurt, then read them all,
They do but show their master’s fall.

Though you disdain to show remorse,
You were the first and only wight
Whose fawning features did enforce
My will to run beyond my might:
In female face such force we see,
To captive them that erst were free.

Your only word was then a law
Unto my mind, if I did sin,
Forgive this sin, but then I saw
My bane or bliss did first begin:
See what my fancy could have done,
Your love at first if I had won.

All fortune flat I had defied,
To choice and change defiance sent,
No frowning fates could have denied,
My loves pursuit, & willing bent:
This was my mind, if I had found
Your love as mine, but half so sound.

Then had I bade the hellish rout
To frounce aloft[174] their wrinkled front,
And cursed hags that are so stout,
I boldly would have bid avaunt:
Let earth and air have frowned their fill,
So I had wrought my wished will.

No raging storm, nor whirling blast
My settled heart could have annoyed,
No sky with thundering clouds o’recast
Had hurt, if you I had enjoyed:
Now hope is passed, lo you may see,
How every toy tormenteth me.

Chi cerca trova. [175] [Those who search, shall find.]   

 

CANT. LXX.

H. W.

With oaken planks to plane the waves,
What Neptune’s rage could I have fear'd
To quell the gulf that rudely raves,
What peril could have once appear'd?
But now that I am left alone,
Bare thoughts enforce my heart to groan.

With thee to pass the chamfered grounds,
What force or fear could me restrain?
With thee to chase the shillen [shrilling] hounds,
Methinks it were a pleasant pain:
This was my thought, this is my love,
Which none but death can yet remove.

It then behoves my fainting sprite
To lofty skies return again,
Sith only death brings me delight,
Which loving live in cureless pain:
What hap to strangers is assign'd
If known friends do such favour find.

How often have my friendly mates
My loving errors laughed to scorn,
How oft for thee found I debates
Which now I wish had been forborne:
But this & more would I have done,
If I thy favour could have won.

I saw your gardens, passing fine,
With pleasant flowers lately decked,
With Cowslips and with Eglantine,
When woeful Woodbine lies reject:[176]
Yet these in weeds and briers meet,
Although they seem to smell so sweet.

The dainty Daisy bravely springs,
And chiefest honour seems to get[177],
I envy not such friendly things,
But bless the hand that these have set:
Yet let the Hyssop have his place[178],
That doth deserve a special grace.

Vivi, chi vince.[179]

 

CANT. LXXI.

H. W.

But now farewell, yourself shall see
An odd exchange of friends in time,
you may perhaps then wish for me,
And wail too late this cruel crime:
Yea wish yourself perhaps beshrew'd,
That you to me such rigour showed.

I cannot force you for to like,
Where cruel fancy doth rebel,
I must some other fortune seek,
But where or how I cannot tell:
And yet I doubt where you shall find
In all your life so sure a friend.

Of pleasant days the date is done,
My carcass pineth in conceit,
The line of life his race hath run,
Expecting sound of death’s retreat:
Yet would I live to love thee still,
And do thee good against thy will.[180]

How can I love, how can I live,
Whilst that my heart hath lost his hope,
Despair abandons sweet relief,
My love, and life have lost their scope:
Yet would I live thy feature to behold,
Yet would I love, if I might be so bold.[181]

My grief is green, and never springs,
My sorrow full of deadly sap,
Sweet death remove these bitter things,
Give end to hard and cruel hap:
Yet would I live if I might see,
My life, or limbs might pleasure thee.

Farewell that sweet and pleasant walk[182],
The witness of my faith and woe
That oft hath heard our friendly talk,
And giv'n me leave my grief to show:
O pleasant path, where I could see
No cross at all but only shee.

Il fine, fa il tutto.[183]  

 

CANT. LXXII.

H. W.

Like silly Bat that loves the dark,
And seldom brooks the wished light,
Obscurely so I seek the mark,
That aye doth vanish from my sight:
Yet shall she say, I died her friend,
Though by disdain she sought mine end.

Fain would I cease, and hold my tongue,
But love and sorrow set me on,
Needs must I plain of spiteful wrong,
Sith hope and health will both be gone:
When branch from inward rind is fled,
The bark doth wish the body dead.

If ever man were born to woe,
I am the man, you know it well,
My chiefest friend, my greatest foe,
And heaven become my heavy hell.
This do I feel, this do I find:
But who can loose that God will bind?

For since the day, O dismal day,
I first beheld that smiling face,
My fancy made her choice straight way,
And bad all other loves give place:
Yea since I saw thy lovely sight,
I freeze and fry twixt joy and spite.

Where fond suspect doth keep the gate,
There trust is chased from the door,
Then faith and truth will come too late,
Where falsehood will admit no more;
Then naked faith and love must yield,
For lack offence, and fly the field.[184]

Then easier were it for to choose
To crawl against the craggy hill,
Than suits, than sighs, than words to use
To change a froward woman’s will:
Then oath’s and vows are all in vain,
And truth a toy, where fancies reign.

Ama, chi ti ama.[185]  

 

CANT. LXXIII.

H. W.

My tongue, my hand, my ready heart,
That spake that felt that freely thought,
My love, thy limbs, my inward smart,
Have all performed what they ought:
These all do love you yet, and shall,
And when I change, let vengeance fall.[186]

Shall I repent, I ever saw
That face that so can frown on me?
How can I wish, when fancies draw
Mine eyes to wish, and look for thee?
Then though you do deny my right,
Yet bar me not from wished sight.

And yet I crave, I know not what,
Perchance my presence breeds your pain,
And if I were persuaded that,
I would in absence still remain.
You shall not feel the smallest grief,
Although it were to save my life.

Ah woe is me, the case so stands,
That senseless papers plead my woe,
They can not weep, nor wring their hands,
But say perhaps that I did so,
And though these lines for mercy crave,
Who can on papers pity have?

O that my griefs, my sighs, my tears,
Might plainly muster in your view,
Then pain, not pen, then faith, not fears,
Should vouch my vows, and writings true:
This wishing shows a woeful want,
Of that which you by right should grant.

Now fare thou well, whose well-fare brings
Such loathsome fear, and ill to me.
Yet hear thy friend this farewell sings,
Though heavy word a farewell be.
Against all hope, if I hope still,
Blame but abundance of good will.

Grand Amore, grand Dolore,
Inopem me copia fecit.[187]

 H. W.

 

CANT. LXXIIII.

AVISA. her last reply.

Your long Epistle I have read,
Great store of words, and little wit,
(For want of wit these fancies bred)
To answer all I think not fit,
But in a word, you shall perceive,
How kindly I will take my leave.

When you shall see sweet Lilies grow,
And flourish in the frozen ice,
When ebbing tides shall leave to flow,
And mountains to the skies shall rise,
When roaring Seas do cease to rave,
Then shall you gain the thing you crave.[188]

When Fish as haggard Hawks shall fly,
When Seas shall flame, and Sun shall freeze,
When mortal men shall never die,
And earth shall yield, nor herb nor trees,
Then shall your words my mind remove,
And I accept your proffered love.

When Thames shall leave his channel dry,
When Sheep shall feed amidst the Sea,
When stones aloft, as Birds shall fly,
And night be changed into Day,
Then shall you see that I will yield,
And to your force resign the field.

Till all these things do come to pass,
Assure yourself, you know my mind,
My heart is now, as first it was,
I came not of dame Cressid’s kind,[189]
Then leave to hope, learn to refrain,
Your mind from that, you seek in vain.

I wish you well, and well to fare,
And there with all a godly mind,
Devoid of lust, and foolish care,
This if you seek, this shall you find.
But I must say, as erst before,
Then cease to wail, and write no more.

Alway the same Avisa.[190]

 

H. W. Was now again striken so dead that he hath not yet any farther assay, nor I think ever will, and where he be alive or dead I know not, and therefore I leave him.

 

The Authors conclusion 

So thus she stands unconquered yet
As Lamb amidst the Lion’s pause,
Whom gifts, nor wills, nor force of wit
Could vanquish once with all their shows.
To speak the truth, and say no more,
I never knew her like before.[191]

Then blame me not, if I protest,
My silly Muse shall still commend
This constant A. above the rest,
While others learn their life to mend,
My tongue on high and high shall raise,
And alway sing her worthy praise.

While hand can write, while wit devise,
While tongue is free to make report,
Her virtue shall be had in prize
Among the best and honest sort,
And they that will mislike of this,
I shall suspect, they strike amiss.

Eternal then let be the fame
Of such as hold a constant mind,
Eternal be the lasting shame
Of such as wave with every wind:
Though some there be that will repine;
Yet some will praise this wish of mine.

But here I cease for fear of blame,
Although there be a great deal more
That might be spoken of this dame,
That yet lies hid in secret store:
If this be lik’d, then can I say,
Ye may see more another day.

Agitante calescimus illo.[192]

Farewell.

FINIS.

 

 

The resolution of a chaste and a constant wife that minds to continue faithful unto her husband. To the tune of Fortune.  

Though winged Birds do often scorn the lure,
And flying far do think themselves most sure,
Yet fancy so his luring engines [cunnings] frame
That wildest hearts in time become most tame[193].

Where secret nature frames a sweet consent,
Where privy fates their hidden force have bent
To join in heart the bodies that are twain,
Fly where you list, you shall return again.

From fancy’s lore I strived still to fly,
Long time I did my fortune flat deny,
Till at the length, my wrestling bred my woe,
Knowing that none their fortune can forgoe.

For while I liv'd in prime of vernant youth,
Falsehood that show'd the face of feign'd truth
Falsely gan weave a web of wily kind;
So to entrap my plain and simple mind.

Great were the suits, great were the friendly signs,
Sweet were the words to poison tender minds,
Large were the gifts, great were the proffers made,
To force my mind, to try a trustless trade.

Great were the wights that daily did conspire,
To pluck the rose their fancies did desire,
Trail did the tears in hope to purchase trust,
Yet this was all, no love, but luring lust.

No fancy could then force me to reply,
Nor move my mind such doubtful deeds to try:
For well I knew, although I knew not all,
Such trickle trades procure a sudden fall.

Thus did I mount, thus did I fly at will,
Thus did I scape the fowlers painted skill,
Thus did I save my feathers from their lime,
Thus did I live a long and happy time.

Cupid that great and mighty kings could move,
Could never frame my heart to like of love,
His limber shafts, and eke his golden dart,
Were still too blunt to pierce my steely heart.

Till at the length, as nature had assign’d,
Unto the earth I bent a willing mind:
He was the first to whom I gave my hand[194],
With free consent, to live in holy band.

Eva that gave her faithful promise so,
With Adam to live in wealth and in woe,
Of faithful heart could never have more store
Then I have felt, thrice three years’ space & more.

When I had giv'n my heart and free consent,
No earthly thing could make me once repent,
No Seas of grief, ne cares that I could find
Could so prevail to make me change my mind.

Did fortune fawn, or did our fortune frown,
Did he exalt, or did he cast him down,
My faithful heart did ever make me sing,
Welcome to me, what ever fortune bring.

Now when I thought, all dangers had been passed
Of lawless suits, and suitors at the last,
The trade, the time, the place wherein I live,
Unto this Lamp new oil do daily give.

But like of this all you that love to range,
My fixed heart likes not the skittish change,
Now have I made the choice that shall remain,
Vengeance befall when I do change again[195].

Now have I found a friend of high desert,
I have his love, and he hath stolen my heart,
Now fortune pack with all thy pelting store,
This is my choice, I like to choose no more.

Cease then your suits, ye lusty gallants all,
Think not I stoop at every Falconer’s call,
Truss up your lures, your luring is in vain,
Chosen is the Perch, whereon I will remain.

Spend not your breath in needless feign’d talks,
Seek other mates that love such roving walks,
None shall ever vaunt that they have my consent,
Then let me rest, for now I am content.

Great be your birth, and greater be your wealth,
I reckon more my credit and my health,
Though I be weak, my power very scant,
God so provides that I shall never want.

Be mine own at home, or be he absent long,
Absent or present, this still shall be my song,
Fortune my friend, A friend to me hath lent,
This is my choice, and therewith am content.

Range they that list, and change who ever will,
One hath mine oath, and his I will be still,
Now let us fall, or let us rise on high,
Still will I sing, now well content am I.

 

The praise of a contented mind. 

The God that framed the fixed pole, and Lamps of gleaming light,
The azure skies, and twinkling Stars, to yield this pleasant sight,
In wisdom pight [pitched] this peerless plot, a rare surpassing frame,
And so with brave and sweet delights have fraught and decked the same,
That every creature keeps his course, his compass and his place,
And with delightful joy runnés his pointed time and race.
In one consent they friendly join, from which they can not fall,
As if the Lord had first ordained one soul to guide them all.
In every part there doth remain such love and free consent
That every frame doth kiss his lot, and cries I am content.
The Artic pole that never moves, by which the shipmen sail,
Craves not to change his frozen Axe, nor from his place to steal,
The fixed Stars that seldom range, delight their circles so,
That from their choice by wanton change, they never yield to go.
The Sun and Moon that never hide their brave resplendent rays,
Did never wish in wavering will to change their wonted ways.
The roaring Sea, with ebbs and tides that leaps against the land,
Is yet content for all his rage, to stay within his band.
The flouting Fish, the singing Bird, all beasts with one consent,
To live according to their kind, do show themselves content.
So that by practise and by proof this sentence true I find,
That nothing in this earth is like a sweet contented mind.
The beasts, the Birds, and airy powers, do keep their compass well,
And only man above the rest doth love for to rebel[196],
This only man, the Lord above with reason did endue,
Yet only man, ungrateful man, doth show himself untrue.
No sooner was brave Adam made, but Satan wrought his thrall,
For not content, aspiring pride, procured his sudden fall.
The princely Primrose of the East, proud Eva, gave consent
To change her bliss to bale, for that her mind was not content.
Thus may the darkest eye perceive how folly strikes us blind,
Thus may we see the often change of man’s unconstant mind,
The Moon, the Sea, by natures course, do not so often change
As do the wits, and wanton wills, of such as love to range.
The rangling rage that held from home Ulysses all too long,
Made chaste Penelope complain of him that did her wrong[197].
The loathsome days, and lingering nights, her time in spinning spent:
She would not yield to change her choice, because she was content.
Such calm content doth plainly show that love did much abound,
Where free consent breeds not content, such faith is seldom found.
For careless Cressid that had giv’n her hand, her faith and heart
To Troilus her trusty friend, yet falsely did depart:
And giglet like from Troyé town to Grecians’ camp would go
To Diomede, whom in the end she found a faithless foe,
For having sliv'd the gentle slip, his love was turned to hate,
And she a leaper did lament, but then it was too late.
Now foolish fancy was the cause, this Criseyde did lament,
For when she had a faithful friend, she could not be content.
Ten thousand fell at Troye’s siege, whose blood had not been spent,
If fickle headed Helen could at first have been content.
You can not in the Serpents head such deadly poison find,
As is the feigned love that lives with discontented mind.
Of all the wisdom of the wise that I could ever tell,
This wisdom bears the chiefest sway to stay when we be well.
As sweetest Music rudely jars, except there be consent:
So hottest love doth quickly cool, except it be content.
f all the brave resounding words, which God to man hath lent,
This soundeth sweetest in mine ear, to say I am content.

Ever or Never.[198]

FINIS.



 

NOTES

(can also be read as running text after the romantic fashion)

 

[1] “Tradition of courting literature ”:  The principal specimens are:
1563: Barnabe Googe, Eclogues, Epitaphs, and Sonnets.
1573: Earl of Oxford / George Gascoigne: A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres.
1575: George Gascoigne/ Edward Dyer: Princely Pleasures at Kenilworth; Hemetes.
1581: John Lyly / E. O.: Sweet Speech
1581: Philip Sidney: The Four Foster Children of Desire.
c1583: John Lyly: Endymion, The Man in the Moone.
1584/1594: William Shakespeare: Loves labors lost (first and second version.)

[2] “the potential of its political allusions”: George B. Harrison, an editor of Willobie his AVISA, comments: “The authorities disliked the book strongly, and there was doubtless good reason why, in June 1599, Willobie his AVISA should have been included in the category of books to be burned… The poem, in short, is not, what it pretends to be. The initials of Aviva’s suitors covered, or rather revealed to contemporaries, persons of great importance; so great, in fact, that the scandals about them were still commercially worth retailing forty years later. (George B. Harrison, Willobie his Avisa with an Essay (1926), p. 186.) – In the Registers of the Company of Stationers we find the entry under 4 June, 1599: “Willobies Adviso to be Called in.”

[3] “that Matthew Roydon (c.1540-1622) was the author of Willobie his AVISA”:

There can hardly be any doubt that “Henry Willobie” is a pseudonym. An impressive cluster of indicators supports this conclusion: the pretended disappearance of the author leaving England without trace in 1594, the author’s death in 1596 reported in the second issue of 1596, the “young man of very good hope” leaving his poetical records in the hands of his friend “Hadrian Dorrell” which the latter publishes without the author’s knowledge; the uncanny surfacing of Henry Willobie (H.W., or “Henrico Willobego”) as fifth suitor; the lowercase spelling of “Sweet willoby” in the commendatory poem of  “Contraria Contrariis”; the protective assertion of the “Apology” in the second issue that the writing down of the records dates back to “thirty and five years” before; the caution the author judges necessary in order not to arouse the curiosity of the authorities; finally, the polemical remark of “Peter Colse” in Penelopes Complaint (1596) who, either of his own  volition or moved by others, writes against Willobie his Avisa: “and seeing an unknown Author hath of late published a pamphlet called Avisa.” (To which “Hadrian Dorrell” responds in 1596 with an irritated  refutation: “The author was unknown, not because he [P. C.] could not, but because he would not know him: his [Willobie’s] true name being open on every page.”)

Several circumstances argue for an older, experienced author who has carefully read and well remembered the Adventures of Master F[ortunatus] I[infoelix] of 1573, borrowing from it plenty of expressions and ruses. (See 3.2.2.1 References.) - “Willobie’s” oblique polemic against the Earl of Essex, the youngest and most obtrusive suitor of Queen Elizabeth) makes it likely that the poet belonged or was close to the literary circle of Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), Essex’ arch enemy.

Based on these considerations, MATHEW ROYDON (c.1540-c.1622) emerges as first-rate candidate. In 1594 he was old and as poet experienced enough to risk a satire on Elizabeth’s suitors. As a fellow-student of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (c.1539-1583), the adventurer, explorer, member of parliament, and soldier, and half-brother of Raleigh, Roydon was connected with Raleigh. - A stylistic comparison further argues for Mathew Roydon, who mastered “Willobie’s” sextain with great skill in his long elegy upon Sir Philip Sidney. See An Elegy or, Friend's Passion for his Astrophel in: The Phoenix Nest, 1593. Mathew Roydon was probably born about 1540, which is why he can impossibly be the „son“ of a certain “Owen Roydon” who contributed to Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions (1578) but is rather likely to be himself this “O. R.”. This conjecture receives additional corroboration from the seven octaves of “O.R.” in the Gallant Inventions redolent of Henry Willobie’s own purpose, though this time in the opposite direction: here men are defended against the false accusation alll of them were deceitful to women and their words would not concord with their thoughts. Below “Owen Roydon’s” poem of 1578.

To
A GENTILWOMAN
That said:
All men are false, They think not what they say

 

Some women feign that Paris was
The falsest lover that could be;
Who for his life did nothing pass,
As all the world might plainly see,
But ventur’d life and limbs and all
To keep his friend from Greekish thrall:
With many a broil he dearly bought
his Helen whom he long had sought.

For first, dame Venus granted him
A gallant gift of Beauty’s fleece,
Which boldly for to seek to win,
By surging seas he sailed to Greece:
And when he was arrived there
B earnest suit to win his Dear;
No greater pains might can endure,
Than Paris did for Helen, sure.

Besides all this, when they were well,
Both he and she arriv’d at Troy;
King Menelaus’ wrath did swell,
And swore by sword to rid their joys:
And so he did; for ten years’ space
He lay before the Trojans’ face
With all the host that he could make
To be reveng’d for Helen’s sake.

Lo, thus much did poor Paris bide [remain],
Who is accounted most untrue:
All men be false, it hath been said;
They think not what they speak, say you.
Yes, Paris spoke, and sped with speed,
As all the heavenly gods decreed;
And prov’d himself a lover just,
Till stately Troy was turn’d to dust.

I do not read of any man
That so much was unfaithful found:
You did us wrong t’accuse us then,
And say our friendship is not sound.
If any fault be found at all,
To women’s lot it needs must fall:
If Helen had not been so light,
Sir Paris had not died in fight.

The falsest man I can excuse
That ever you in stories read:
Therefore, all men for to accuse
Methinks it was not well decreed.
It is a sign you have not tried
What steadfastness in men doth bide:
But when your time shall try them true,
This judgement then must you renew.

I know not every Man’s device,
But commonly they steadfast are:
Though you do make them of no prize,
They break their vows but very rare.
They will perform their promise well,
And specially where love doth dwell:
Where friendship doth not justly frame,
Then men forsooth, must bear the blame.

Mathew Roydon was a prominent figure in literary society in London, and grew intimate with the chief poets of the day, including Sidney, Marlowe, Spenser, Lodge, and Chapman. Chapman dedicated to him his two long poems, The School of Night (1594) and Ovid’s Banquet of Senses (1595). Roydon, Nashe says, “hath showed himself singular in the immortal epitaph of his beloved ‘Astrophel’, besides many other most absolute comic inventions (made more public by every man’s praise than they can be by my speech) ”. – See notes 120 and 129.

[4]A vertuous woman is the crown of her husband, but she that  maketh him ashamed, is as corruption in his bones. Proverbs 12. 4.”: Together with the illustration on page 3 (the crown over the Tudor rose) the sense of this quote from the Bible is obvious. The husband is England under the sign of the Rose, crowned by the vertuous, chaste, and constant Queen Elizabeth. The full-page cover illustration also points emphatically to the Virgin-Queen. The deer’s head onto whose antlers are nonchalantly leaning two putti  alludes – as also does the figure in the lower medallion – to the well-known myth of Diana und Actaeon. (To see in this illustration, as some have done, a “donkey with horns” is utterly absurd.) The hunter Actaeon surprises the goddess Diana while bathing and is transformed by her into a stag; thereupon Actaeon is torn to pieces by his own hounds (the graphic symbolization of the dangerous self-destroying love for a powerful woman.) – B. de Luna comments:

“It is curious that the German traveller Paul Hentzner, who visited England in August and September of 1598 – a full year before the famous Actaeon episode, when the Earl of Essex burst in on an aged, half-dressed Diana at Nonsuch – recorded in his journal that

At the entrance into the park from Whitehall is this inscription:
The fisherman [Fisher King] who has been wounded, learns, though late, to beware;
But the unfortunate Actaeon always presses on.
The chaste Virgin naturally pitied:
But the powerful goddess revenged the wrong.
Let Actaeon fall a prey to his dogs,
An example to youth,
A disgrace to those that belong to him!
May Diana live the care of Heaven;
The delight of mortals;
The security of those that belong to her!’
(Quoted in John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, 1788, vol.I, p. 86.)

It is not clear whether this inscription is a warning against a possible, or the record of a past, disaster.”

T. W. Baldwin, ' Light on the Dark Lady'  (PMLA, June 1940, pp. 598-602) noticed that the two large figures (l. and r.) on the title page are Minerva (l.) and Diana (r.). You can see an owl next to Minerva's leg and a quiver on Diana's back.

 

[5] “To all the constant Ladies & Gentlewomen of England that fear God”: The very heading reveals the author’s purpose: writing an entertaining book in the guise of a devotional treatise in praise of women, addressed to the “constant Ladies of England”, the patroness of whom is Queen Elizabeth (in the upper decorative strip can be seen the crown above the Tudor rose. See note 1.)

[6] “a Britain Lucretia, or an English Susanna”: Antonomasia for AVISA. A third reference is added with “chaste Penelope” (“The wandering Greek’s renowned mate”).

[7] “Hadrian Dorrell”: Most likely the same as “Henry Willobie”, that is, the fancy name of the anonymous author. The initials “H.” and “D.” are again used in the abbreviation “D. H.” (“Dydimus Harco”) for the fourth suitor. Hence, Hadrian Dorrell is so to speak a twin of  “Willobie” (“didymus” meaning “twin”.)

[8] “my very good friend and chamber-fellow M[aster]. Henry Willobie”: Charles Hughes’ identification (Willobie his Avisa, ed. 1904) of the eighteen years old Oxford university student ‘Henrie Willobie’ as author of Willobie his AVISA looks very naïve, for all other clues argue an older author shielding behind a pseudonym. – See note 3.

[9] “to publish it without his consent”: A striking analogy to the device used by the editor “H. W.” of the Adventures of Master F. I. (1573), who in his introduction states:

“my said friend charged me that I should use them only for mine own particular commodity, and eftsoons safely deliver the original copy to him again; wherein I must confess myself but half a merchant, for the copy unto him I have safely redelivered. But the work (for I thought it worthy to be published) I have entreated my friend A. B. to imprint: as one that thought better to please a number by common commodity than to feed the humour of any private person by needless singularity.”

The device, used to avoid the reproof of having sought print, was not uncommon.  “The preliminary matter of Barnabe Googe’s Eglogs and Epythaphes (1563)… shows us one way in which an author’s pretty hesitations about committing his poems to print could be surmounted. In 1562, when Googe went on a visit  to Spain, he left the manuscript of his verses in the keeping of a friend named Blundeston, who took on himself to send them to be printed, and explained at some length, both in verse and prose, how desire for his friend’s fame prompted him to do so.” (Pollard, Alfred W., Shakespeare’s Fight with the Pirates and the Problems of the Transmission of his Text, Cambridge 1920, p.29.

[10] “whether it be altogether feigned, or in some part true, or altogether true; and yet in most part Poetically shadowed”: In his “Apology” of 1596 Hadrian Dorrell dumps those questions and denies that AVISA would be anything more than the incarnation of chastity.

[11]A loving wife that never violated her faith, is always to be beloved”: Here Hadrian Dorrell pulls wool over the reader’s eyes. The literal meaning of “Uxor inviolata” is ‘the uninjured wife’ , meaning the virgin who had never consummated her marriage. (In his extrapolation “Dorrell” bypasses this cliff).

In her interpretation of Willobie his AVISA Barbara N. de Luna has for the first time given a plausible explanation of the name AVISA.  The traditional formula by which the English monarchs rejected a bill passed through both houses of Parliament was: “LE ROI S’ AVISERA” or,  “The king will consider of it.” The same formula was used by the late king of France for the same purpose. (“Le roi s’avisa“ means “The king declined”.) – See B.N. de Luna, The Queen Declined (1970), p. 97-99. 

[12] “out of Cornelius Agrippa”: The name of Henricus Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim (1486-1535), scholar and student of the occult sciences, and chronicler of Charles V, was well known in sixteenth century literary circles. His De nobilitate et praecellentia sexus foentinei (1509), published in Latin in 1509, was translated into English in 1542 (A treatise of the nobilitie and excellencye of vvoman kynde.)

[13] “It seems that in this last example the author names himself, and so describeth his own love, I know not, and I will not be curious”: Despite the author’s somewhat too ostentatious suggestion, the fifth suitor, “Henrico Willobego. Italo-Hispalensis”, to whom “Dorrell” refers here, is evidently not identical with “Henrie Willobie”.

[14] “especially the matter and manner of their talks and conferences”: Barbara de Luna (1970) comments: “The aspect of the heroine’s characterization that most readily suggests Elizabeth is Avisas’s learning (which, in the classical area, verges on pedantry). – The facility with which Avisa cites Biblical authority is indeed surprising. For in the course of the poem Avisa alludes to ‘Moab maids’; Sodom; Christ’s commending ‘to loving mates the serpent’s wit’; Samson who had ‘quelled the Lion’s rage’; ‘David and his Son’; ‘Saint Paul’; and appositely paraphrases moral injunctions from 1 Corinthians; Revelation; Exodus; Leviticus; Proverbs; ad Genesis – compelling Willobie to annotate her ‘text’ in the margin. Especially impressive is her scholarly allusion to ‘the root Baaras,’ mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus (marginal note to Cant. XXXII). - Even more impressive is the scope of Avisa’s references to Classical and English mythology and history. She alludes to ‘Ulysses wise’ and the ‘Sirens’ song’; that hero’s ‘rangling rage’ and ‘chaste Penelope’; the lex Julia; paraphrases some lines from Catullus, from Herodotus, and from a quite obscure 16th c. Latin poet, Vulteius; alludes to Aeneas and Queen Dido; criticizes ‘Plato’s laws’ for his Commonwealth and women ‘of the Cyprian sort’; drops references to ‘Helen’s rape’; ‘fickle headed Helen’; ‘Juno’s wrath’ and the ‘Troian war’; ‘Sisyphus’ and his stone; and asserts that she is ‘none of Cressid’s kind’, and speaks of ‘Troilus her trusty friend’ and ‘Diomede, a faithless foe’. Most significantly, before her ‘marriage’ Avisa disdains to be a royal concubine like ‘Shoe’s wife’ and ‘fair Rosamond’.

[15] “yet there is something under these feigned names and shows that hath been done truly”: Such is the style of someone who wants to convey a message to the world.

[16]A. D.”: A mystification.

[17] “But if all women were indeed such as the woman figured under the name of AVISA either is, or at least is supposed to be, they should quickly restore again their ancient credit and glory which a few wicked wantons have thus generally obscured”: This is Willobie’s genuine purpose: to glorify AVISA - and in her womankind as a whole – to defend it against male arrogance. It baffles me how an obscure dabbler, whether he be named Michael Mooten or otherwise, could misinterpret this moral endeavour as a “satire” and make out Willobie to be a liar who always mean the opposite of what he is actually saying (“That is,” says Dorrell, “such as are grown to that point that they no longer care for any honesty, but are become wilfully desperate in the performance of all kind of impiety.”)

[18] “For the encouraging and helping of maids and wives to hold an honest and constant course against all unhonest and lewd temptations, I have done that I have done”: With these words “Hadrian Dorrell” inexplicitly acknowledges the authorship of Willobies his AVISA.

*

[19] “Abell Emet”: Pseudonym of the contributor of commendatory verses.

[20] “Hexameton to the Author”: H. D. Gray (Stanford Studies, 1941, p. 143 n.) points out that most of Willobie’s cantos consist of six stanzas, and that ‘hexameton’ apparently means “a poem of six stanzas with six lines to the stanza.”

[21] “In Lavin Land though Livy boast, There hath been seen a Constant dame”: By ‘Lavin land’ the author means the ancient region Latium. - Lavinium is an ancient city of Latium, situated about 3 miles from the sea-coast, between Laurentum and Ardea, and distant 17 miles from Rome. It was founded, according to the tradition universally adopted by Roman writers, by Aeneas, shortly after his landing in Italy, and called by him after the name of his wife Lavinia, the daughter of the king Latinus. Lavinium is mentioned during the wars of Coriolanus, who is said to have besieged and, according to Livy, reduced the city (Liv. 2.39; Dionys. A. R. 8.21).

Latium was the home country of the legendary Lucretia whose history is reported by Titus Livius (Livy) in Ab Urbe Condita (I,56-60). Her rape by Tarquinius, the Etruscan king's son, and consequent suicide were the immediate cause of the revolution that overthrew the monarchy and established the Roman Republic. Lucius T. Collatinus was the husband of the “constant dame”.

[22] “As great a Faith in English ground”: The truth of Avisa, later named Lucres-Avis.

[23] “And Shake-speare paints poor Lucrece rape”: The line to which Willobie his AVISA owes its fame – it is the first mention of the name “Shake-speare” by an Elizabethan contemporary. Shakespeare’s epyllion The Rape of Lucrece was published in June/July 1594  (it had been registered in the Stationers’ Register on 9 May, Willobie his AVISA was registered on 3 September 1594.)

[24] “shall make a mess”: OED: Originally, each of the small groups, normally of four persons (sitting together and helped from the same dishes), into which the company at a banquet was commonly divided. – Together with the Roman Lucrece, the Jewish Susanna and the Greek Penelope, Avisa completes the chastity quartet.

[25] “Then Avi-Susan join in one, / Let Lucres-Avis be thy name, / This English Eagle soars alone”: The author of the commendatory verses who signs “Contaria Contariis” replaces the English equivalent of the Greek Penelope by the term English Eagle. In Willobie’s Canto I Penelope is circumscribed as “the wandring Greek’s renowned mate”.

[26] “Sweet wylloby his AVIS blessed”: The uncapitalized “wylloby” is rather an oddity. Possibly the author of the commendatory verses wanted to intimate that the name was a pen-name.

[27]Contraria Contrariis: Vigilantius: Dormitanus.”: Much speculative efforts have been devoted to this signature beneath this commendatory poem. To begin with I do not believe that “Willobie” (that is, Mathew Roydon) has written himself these rather pedestrian verses, though Willobie might have given some instructions regarding the content. However that may be: with his mention of Susanna and Penelope as prototypes of the English Avisa the author refers to Willobie’s Canto I: “I sing of one whose beauty’s war / For trials pass Susanna’s far” and “The wandering Greek’s renowned mate … For fierce assaults and trials rare / With this my Nymph may not compare”, whilst he has added himself the name  Lucrece (that is, Lucres-Avis) – most probably for the reason that shortly before (in June/July 1594) The Rape of Lucrece had been published.

Presumably (surprisingly nobody has thus far paid attention to it) the resonance of The Rape of Lucrece prompted Willobie himself to insert in his poem Canti  XLIIII (44) – XLVIII (48). An indicator is the unexpected prose text in Canto 44, a structural dysfunctionality; further,  the unusual  alternate speeches between a “new actor” and an “old player” –  and the missing interruption between Canto XLIII (43) and XLIIII (44). From the use of the cipher “W. S.” for the “old player” in the summer 1594, a few months after the publication of The Rape of Lucrece, and the naming of the author “Shake-speare” in the commendatory poem of “Contraria Contrariis”, it can be safely concluded that the “old player” is William Shakespeare (the more so because W.S. borrows from one of Shakespeare’s plays: “She is no Saint, She is no Nonne, / I think in time she may be wonne” . – See note 138.)

Back to “Contraria Contrariis”. In the same way the choice of such terms as “The English Eagle” and “This Britain Bird” closely follows Willobie’s Canto I, he reflects by his signature “Contraria Contrariis” Willobie’s basic idea. In Willobie his AVISA the opposite (pl. neuter) answers the opposite and the opposite (singular feminine) the opposite (plural. fem.) her antagonists (plural masculine).  Indeed, such is the literal translation of “Contraria Contrariis”, the contrary to the contraries (the dative should be noted!). - The same applies for “Vigilantius: Dormitanus”.  The literal translation is “an often vigilant dreamer“ (Vigilantius is the more vigilant or he that is frequently vigilant; Dormitanus does not mean “he that is sleeping” but “the dreamer”. The passage in Willobie’s poem to which the author of the commendatory verses refers can readily be found. In the second stanza  of Canto I it is said “My sleepy Muse that wakes but now, / Nor now had waked if one had slept.” In other words: 'my sleepy muse that now awakes and would not have waked up if one [=I] had slept.' So the author of the commendatory verses pays an additional reverence to the author Willobie. - Sir E. K. Chambers was the first to suggest that “Vigilantius: Dormitanus” alludes to St Jerome’s Contra Vigilantium (E. K. Chambers, William Shakespeare, vol. 2, p. 192). St Jerome polemicizes against his opponent Vigilantius in the following terms: “Vigilantius, seu verius Dormitantius … Vigilantius, or, more correctly, Dormitantius, has arisen, animated by an unclean spirit, to fight against the Spirit of Christ.” But no great insight can be reaped from this alleged allusion.

 

 

 

[28]WILLOBIE HIS AVISA, OR The true picture of a modest Maid, and of a chaste and constant wife”: Above the line WILLOBIE HIS AVISA an illustration appears, to which Barbara N. de Luna rightly draws the attention  (De Luna, The Queen Declined, p. 16-17).

“In one of the boldest (yet most innocent-seeming) of the poem’s hints, the crest of Elizabeth’s coat of arms, the Tudor Rose surmounted by her royal crown is featured in the ornamental border of the original page 3 [see note 1] and again at page 21 where the pictorial clue is twice underscored by two verbal hints in the text, the passage in question being that next intended.”

The verbal hints are: “My sleepy Muse … To vertue’s praise hath passed her vow / To paint the Rose which grace hath kept: / Of sweetest Rose that still doth spring, / Of vertue’s bird my Muse must sing.” - The badges of Queen Elizabeth I. : A Tudor Rose, with the motto, Rosa sine Spina (a Rose without a Thorn); a crowned falcon and sceptre; her motto, Semper Eadem (Always the same).

[29] “My sleepy Muse that wakes but now, / Nor now had waked if one had slept”: See note 27.

[30] “Of sweetest Rose that still doth spring, / Of vertue’s bird my Muse must sing”:

“The Rose”, says B. N. de Luna, “the official symbol of the Tudor dynasty, was the conventional heraldic rose and (a fact Willobie makes use of in Avisa) an exact reproduction of the wild rose of the hedgerow.” – A. C. Fox-Davies: “Under the Tudor sovereigns, the heraldic rose often shows a double row of petals, a fact which is doubtless accounted for by the then increasing familiarity with the cultivated variety, and also by the attempt to conjoin the rival emblems of the warring factions of York and Lancaster.” (Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, Complete Guide to Heraldry, rev. ed. London 1925.)

Avisa’s first suitor is introduced as “The first that says to pluck the Rose / That scarce appeared without the bud” (Cant. I.); Avisa says of herself: “The rose unblush’d hath yet no stain, / Nor ever shall, while I remain” (Cant. XVIII).

[31] “The Turtle’s faith in constant love”: “The dove is the most gentle and loving of birds; for which qualities the ancient heathens feigned that the chariot of Venus, the goddess of love, was drawn by turtle-doves. The constancy of the dove is such that it becomes a proverb, and when one of a pair dies, the other generally pines itself to death: so true is their love, and so far are they from a desire of changing.” (The Progressive Reader, Or Juvenile Monitor. 1837.)

[32] “The wandering Greek’s renowned mate”: Penelope, the wife of Ulysses.

[33] “Though Falcon wing’d to pierce the air”: A crowned falcon wielding a sceptre was a cognizance which Queen Elizabeth inherited from her mother, Anne Boleyn.

[34] “At wester side of Albion’s Ile, / Where Austin pitched his Monkish tent”: Saint Augustine was the seventh-century Archbishop of Canterbury who converted England to Christianity.

Charles Hughes, the editor of Willobie his AVISA (1904) writes: “This place I identify positively as Cerne Abbas in Dorset, on the road from Sherborne to Dorchester. William Camden [1551-1623] says of the Abbey of Cerne ‘quod aedificavit Augustinus ille Anglorum Apostolus cum Heil gentilium Anglo-Saxonum idolum ibi comminuisset’ [Camden, Britannia sive Florentissimorum regnorum… London 1586], and this is a very old tradition recorded by William of Malmesbury [Gesta Pontificum, 142] and John Capgrave [Life of St. Augustine, by Reyner]. The passage of Camden reads in English as follows: ‘Cerne Abbey, which was built by Austin, the English Apostle, when he had dashed to pieces the idol of the pagan Saxons named Heil, and had delivered them from their superstitious ignorance.’”

Charles Hughes’ interpretation seems conclusive, for the ingenuity of Willobie’s arrangement consists in having meet the Greek deities Venus, Pallas and Diana at the place where the Christian monk Augustine has destroyed the pagan Anglosaxon idol “Helith” or “Heil”. In “Cernet Abbas” the Greek Goddesses create a new goddess or “grace”: “AVISA”, that is, Queen Elizabeth.

[35] “The graces met with one consent”: Graces, OED: (mythology) The sister-goddesses (= L. Grātiæ) regarded as the bestowers of beauty and charm, and portrayed as women of exquisite beauty. Usually spoken of (after Hesiod) as three in number, Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne. - Willobie transfers that name to the three goddesses Venus, Pallas and Diana. - See W. Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida I/2: “PANDARUS. Had I a sister were a Grace, or a daughter a Goddess, he should take his choice.”

[36] “First Venus fram’d a luring eye”: In William Golding’s poem welcoming the Queen to Norwich on 18 August 1578, Elizabeth is described as already in possession of ‘sundry giftes of Goddesses three’, namely ‘kingdome’ from Juno, ‘learning’ from Minerva [= Pallas], and beauty from Venus. (The joyfull receyving of the Queenes Most Excellent Majestie into Hir Highnesse citie of Norwich. London 1578.) - See Oxford, Poem 76, “If care or skill could conquer vain desire”:

But who can leave to look on Venus' face,
Or yieldeth not to Juno's high estate?
What wit so wise as gives not Pallas place?
These virtues rare each god did yield amate,
Save her alone who yet on earth doth reign,
Whose beauty's string no gods can well distrain.

[37] “A filed tongue which none mislikes”: “Elizabeth’s intelligence,”, says B.N. de Luna, “her genuine hostility to marriage, and her occasionally sharp (though usually ‘mild’) tongue were, of course, proverbial.”

[38]Diana decked the remnant parts / With feature brave that nothing lack, / A quiver full of piercing Darts, / She gave her hanging at her back; / And in her hand a Golden shaft, / To conquer Cupid’s creeping craft”: 

Elizabeth I, the virgin Queen, was recurrently likened by her subjects to Diana, the goddess of chastity. She considered herself the rigorous guardian of  her young aristocratic ladies in waiting, who, of course, one day would marry, but not before having received the Queen’s approval. - Barbara N. de Luna (1970): “Elizabeth’s sceptre is also glanced at early in the poem. The goddess Diana places ‘in her hand a Golden shaft, / To conquer Cupid’s creeping craft’, for it was the Queen’s sceptre which served her as a constant reminder of what her suitors’ fawning protestations of ‘Love’ usually meant… Diana is made to bestow the sceptre because only so long as Elizabeth remained in the unmarried state, which Diana represents, would she truly retain and wield the sovereignity, symbolized in the sceptre.” - See William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night Dream, II/1:

OBERON. That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth
Cupid, all arm'd; a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west,
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon;
And the imperial vot'ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

[39] “Old Juno blushed to see a new, / She fear'd least Jove would like this face / And so perhaps might play untrue”: See Oxford, Poem 48, “Desire of fame would force my feeble skill”:

And bloody Mars by change of his delight
Hath made Jove's daughter now mine enemy:
In whose conceit my Countess shines so bright,
That Venus pines for burning jealousy.

[40] “some Olympian power / Will fill her lap with Golden shower”: Marginal note: “Beauty without riches is as a fair picture without life.”

[41] “O jealous envy, filthy beast, / For envy Juno gave her least”: Marginal note: “Jealousy breeds envy; both together breed frenzy yet neither of them both can prevail against wandering fancy.”

[42] “A face, and eye that should entice, / A smile that should deceive the wise”: In his Historical Memoirs (1658), Francis Osborne asserted that Elizabeth’s demeanour was “apter to raise flames than to quench them.”

[43] “A sober tongue that should allure, / And draw great numbers to the field”: Forecasting the famous occasion at Tilbury in 1588, immediately after the destruction of the Armada, when thousands of English soldiers were amassed that the Queen might honour them with a visit and a brief speech. – See Barbara N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, 1970, p. 22.

[44] “Not far from thence there lies a vale / A rosy vale in pleasant plain”:  Comparing this with the later remark “Along this plain there lies a down, / Where shepherds feed their frisking flock; / Her Sire the Major of the town, / A lovely shoot of ancient stock”, we may infer that the “rosy vale” (possibly derived from “the sweetest Rose”) was not all too far off London (See note 49: “Hir Sire the Major of the town”.)

[45] “At East of this a Castle stands, / By ancient shepherds built of old, / And lately was in shepherds’ hands, / Though now by brothers bought and sold”: Barbara de Luna speculates that this “Castle” must be Greenwich Palace (also known as Palace of Placentia). However, the phrase “though now by brothers bought and sold” does not apply to Greenwich. – Just to throw in another speculation: Hatfield House, where Princess Elizabeth spent childhood and youth was sold by the Bishop of Ely to Henry VIII in 1538.

[46] “She answers all that list to try, / Both high and low of each degree”: AVISA resides in a castle, Willobie says, and she answers both high-born and low-born. – B. N. de Luna comments: “Elizabeth customarily behaved toward her people like some very human and approachable goddess. To persons of ‘low degree’, such as those she encountered in passing through London or on her annual progresses, she was almost invariably kind and gracious, as numerous anecdotes attest. But when persons of ‘high degree’, particularly foreign ambassadors, came deliberately to match wits with her, they usually went away conscious of their folly.” (De Luna, The Queen Declined, p. 13.)

[47] “Blame not this Dian’s Nymph too much, / Sith God by nature made her such”: Otherwise said: Avisa was predestined by nature and the will of God to be a virgin.

[48] “Ten years have tried this constant dame”: Ten years” are the classical period of the siege of Troy. Hence, the author compares Avisa to the besieged City of Troy. Interpreters eager for chronological accuracy might identify this comparison as the period between 1548, when Princess Elizabeth was fifteen years old and Thomas Seymour, then Lord High Admiral, tried to seduce her, and 1558, the year of her accession to the throne at the age of twenty-five, but this must remain speculation.

[49] “Her Sire the Major of the town, / A lovely shoot of ancient stock”: B. N. de Luna comments: “The word ‘Sire’ did often mean ‘a forefather’ (See OED, ‘sire’, II.6). Elizabeth’s great-great-grandsire had once been ‘Major of the towne’ – Sir Geffrey Boleyn, who was Lord Major of London, just a century before Elizabeth’s accession, 1457-58. That Willobie intended his word ‘Sire’ to be read with a slight equivocation is suggested by his line: “’A lovely shoot of ancient stock’.”

[50] “Full twenty years she lived a maid, / And never was by man betray’d”: Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25. A similar turn of phrase is found in Gascoigne’s masque performed in 1575 in honor of Elizabeth:

DIANA. Content you all : hyr whom I loved most :
You can not chuse, but call unto your mynde,
Zabetaes name, who twentie yeeres or more,
Dyd follow me, still skorning Cupids kinde,
And vowing so, to serve me evermore (...)
Full twentie yeeres, I marked still hyr mynde,
Ne could I see that any sparke of lust,
A loytring lodge, within hyr breast could finde.

(George Gascoigne, Princely Pleasures at Kenilworth Castle, 1575)

[51] “At length by Juno's great request, / Diana loath, yet gave her leave / Of flouring years to spend the rest / In wed-lock band; but yet receive, / Quod she, this gift; Thou virgin pure, / Chaste wife in wed-lock shalt endure.

Diana grants Avisa chastity (or virginity) during the marriage. Thereby Willobie unequivocally hints at Elizabeth‘s chaste wedding to England. Three months after her coronation Elizabeth expressed her firm intention never to marry. In her very first speech to Parliament on February 10, 1559, as William Camden recounts, she proclaimed:

Concerning Marriage, which ye so earnestly move me to, I have been long since persuaded, that I was sent into this world by God to think and doe those things chiefly which may tend to his Glory. Hereupon have I chosen that kind of life which is most free from the troublesome Cares of this world, that I might attend the Service of God alone. From which if either the tendered Marriages of most Potent Princes, or the danger of Death intended against me, could have removed me, I had long agone enjoyed the honour of an Husband. And these things have I thought upon when I was a private person. But now that the public Care of governing the Kingdom is laid upon me, to draw upon me also the Cares of Marriage may seem a point of inconsiderate Folly. Yea, to satisfy you, I have already joined my self in Marriage to an Husband, namely, the Kingdom of England. And behold the Pledge of this my Wedlock and Marriage with my Kingdom. (And therewith she drew the Ring from her Finger, and shewed it, wherewith at her Coronation she had in a set form of words solemnly given her self in Marriage to her Kingdom.)

[52] “O happy man that shall enjoy / A blessing of so rare a prize”: That “happy man” is and remains an illusion. In order to keep to his cover the author dangles before the reader the fiction of a real marriage of  Avisa, but fails to convince him. Willobie has no other means to conceal the absurd circumstance that Avisa’s suitors appear on the scene with increasing eloquence after her “marriage” than by repeated moral objection.

[53] “When flying fame began to tell, / How beauty’s wonder was returned / From country hills in town to dwell With special gifts and grace adorned / Of suitor’s store there might you see; / And some were men of high degree”:

Barbara N. de Luna comments: “Clearly, Willobie does have specially in mind Elizabeth’s triumphal journey from Hatfield Palace in Hertfordshire (‘a pleasant countrified manor on the slope of a wooded hill’ as H. F. M. Prescott describes it) to London, at her accession in 1558, where the radiant young Queen was immediately besieged by suitors.” (See notes 44 an 45.)

Given these circumstances, it is difficult to comprehend how the commentators Charles Hughes (1904) and G. B. Harrison (1926) could take it for granted that the unique AVISA were the daughter of an innkeeper. Insensitive to the underlying facts and their metaphorical expression , both empirical-minded philologists are taken in by Peter Colse’s rebuttal (Penelopes Complaint, 1596), who, in order to pour ridicule on Willobie’s “roman à clef”, writes about Avisa: “Avisa, child of an innkeeper, wife of an innkeeper.”- See note 146.

[54] “This rare seen bird, this Phœnix sage”: The Phoenix was also commonly used both as an emblem and as a conceit for Elizabeth, usually with the emphasis in its uniqueness. - In Visual Words and Verbal Pictures (ed. by Alison M. Saunders & Peter Davidson, 2005) Peter M. Daly writes: “Elizabethan literature abounds with references to Elizabeth as phoenix and pelican. In his Arraignment of Paris, probably performed in 1581, but printed only in 1584, George Peele had praised the ‘noble phoenix of our age, / Our fair Eliza, our Zabeta fair’. In 1586 George Whetstone published The English Myrror. The verso of the title page bears an acrostic poem on Elizabeth which concludes the lines: ‘No death upon her memorie may feede, / A Phenix right, but one, yet never dead’.”

[55] “Old Asa’s grandam is restor'd; / Her groovy Caves are new refined”: Marginal note: 2. Chronicles 15. 16 [“And also concerning Maacah, the mother of Asa the king; he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.”]

[56] “The monster Idol is ador'd / By lusty dames of Maaka's kind”:  Maacah, the daughter of Absalom, Rehoboam’s favourite wife; the mother (or grandmother) of Asa, the king of Judah (2 Chronicles 11, 20-22; 15; 16).

[57] “Our Moab Cozbi’s cast no fear, / To jet in view of every eye”: Marginal note: Numbers 25.15. [“The name of the Midianite woman who was slain was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was head of the people of a father's household in Midian.”] – Cozbi was the daughter of the Midianite prince Zur.

[58] “the sword that Phineas wore, / Is broken now, and cuts no more”: Numbers 25.6-8: “Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked.”

[59] “Her high conceits, her constant mind; / Her sober talk, her stout denies; / Her chaste advise, here shall you find; / Her fierce assaults, her mild replies, / Her daily fight with great and small, / Yet constant vertue conquers all”: Neither do these lines sound like the glorification of a kitchen maid, nor, as Michael Mooten opines, like the lampooning of a whoring countess. – B. N. de Luna comments: “The Queen’s persoanlity (sympathetically viewed) steadily shines through Willobie’s words about Avisa.”

 

[60] “The first trial of Avisa, before she was married, by a Nobleman”: Willobie supplies but scarce hints as to who this “Nobleman” might have been – for the simple reason that it is almost self-evident who could have been meant.

Princess Elizabeth Tudor (born 7 September 1533) according to historic documents never had sexual relations with any man - certainly neither at the age of 13 or 14 with the unscrupulous careerist Thomas Seymour, 1. Baron Seymour of Sudeley (c.1508 - 20-3-1549). There was a “Seymour-affair”, but it was no love affair- it was a political affair, whereby the Lord Admiral, Thomas Seymour, the all too audacious brother of the Lord Protector, was beheaded. Even after his marriage to Katharine Parr, the Queen Dowager, in May 1547, Thomas Seymour still nurtured his plans of becoming King with Elizabeth as his Queen. According to testimony, given later, by Katharine Ashley, Elisabeth's governess and Thomas Parry, her steward, Katharine Parr originally participated in Seymour's early morning raids into Elizabeth's room, where he would tickle and wrestle with the girl in her nightdress. As gossip began to spread, Kat Ashley, Elizabeth's governess, implored Seymour to quit his bedroom antics with the princess. Thomas Parry states that: “The Queen [Katharine Parr] was jealous of him (Thomas Seymour) and the Lady Elizabeth, and on one occasion, coming upon them suddenly, found him holding the Lady Elizabeth in his arms, upon which she fell out with them both, and this was the cause why the Queen and the Lady Elizabeth parted.” - Even so, there is proof that the thirteen year old Elizabeth and her step mother parted on good terms, they both wrote gracious and amicable letters to each other in June and July of 1548 (this would not have been the case if anything indecent had occurred. ) Katharine Parr died in childbirth on 5 September 1548. - See 9.1. Was the Earl of Oxford the son of Queen Elizabeth?

Barbara de Luna summarizes: “The first suitor, while Avisa is still of ‘tender age’ is described as a nobleman of ‘riper years’ who tries to tempt her with great wealth and power. He assures her that he has won over his suit her ‘chiefest friends’, and thus cannot understand her hesitation. Avisa angrily dismisses his offer a ‘A bladder full of traiterous wind’.”

Willobie’s ‘Nobleman’ behaves in no way nobly. He throws money and jewels around, boasts of his friends, keeps bondsmen, bribes servants and threatens with revenge after Avisa has definitively rejects him.

[61] “Sweet Roses grow on prickly stalks”: Avisa is a rose who knows how to defend herself, in other words: she pricks more than she smells sweet.

[62] “I have by grace a native shield”: Predisposition to being a virgin. See note 47.

[63] “I am too base to be your wife, / You choose me for your secret friend”: Avisa insinuates that the nobleman does not esteem her at true value because he desires her as secret friend.

[64] “Though I be poor”: A mystification.

[65]Shore’s wife, a Prince’s secret friend, Fair Rosamond, a Kings delight”: Elizabeth Jane Shore was one of the many mistresses of King Edward IV of England, one of three whom he described as “the merriest, the wiliest, and the holiest harlots” in his realm. In 1593, Anthony Chute published Beauty Dishonoured, written under the title of Shore's wife, a narrative poem supposed to be the lament of Jane Shore. - Rosamund Clifford, often called "The Fair Rosamund" or the "Rose of the World", was famed for her beauty and was a mistress of King Henry II of England, famous in English folklore. She  is the subject of Samuel Daniel’s 1592 poem, The Complaint of Rosamond. – It is telling how high Avisa pitches her comparisons.

[66] “A courtly state, a Lady’s place, / My former life will quite deface”: What is meant is the status of concubine at court.

[67] “The witless Fly plays with the flame, / Till she be scorched with the same”: See Oxford, Poem 4, “Of thee dear Dame, three lessons would I learn”:

What reason first persuades the foolish fly
(As soon as she a candle can discern)
To play with flame, till she be burnt thereby?

[68] “You show yourself so fool-precise / That I can hardly think you wise“: A line evidencing Willobie’s poetic talent. In the Elizabethan era the adjective “precise” became a synonym for puritanical (Puritans were called “precisians”).

[69] “You sprang belike from Noble stock / That stand so much upon your fame”: The nobleman pokes fun at Avisa, who in his eyes is an obscure country maid.

[70] “A merry time … When Milkmaids shall their pleasures fly, And on their credits must rely”: The haughty view the nobleman takes of Avisa, who is still “unmarried” and is living in a “rosy vale,” provided the easy pretext to Peter Colse (1596) to dismiss Willobie’s heroine as “Avisa obscura, obscuro foemina nata loco” (‘an unknown woman from a place unknown’).

[71] “But here thy folly may appear, Art thou preciser than a Queen”: A truly brilliant ironic aperçue.

[72] “Such lawless guides God’s people found, / When Moab maids allur’d their fall; / They sought no salve to cure this wound, / Till God commands to hang them all”:  Numbers 25.1-4: “And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.”

[73] [Cant. VI - XI]: Willobie His Avisa, With an essay towards its interpretation by Charles Hughes. (1904). http://archive.org/...txt

[74] “I weigh not death, I fear not hell, / This is enough, and so farewell”: The brilliant final word of a queen-to-be.

 

[75] “THE SECOND TEMPTATION OF AVISA after her marriage by Ruffians, Roisters, young Gentlemen, and lusty Captains”: The “Caveleiro” represents, as indicated in the heading, the lusty “bon vivant”. No specific traits are recognizable that allow to link him to an individual historic person. He is the wealthy frequenter of brothels who entices the woman he feels sexually attracted to. – The idea that the “Caveleiro” could represent Elizabeth’s arch enemy King Philip of Spain on whom she unloads her contempt is an ingenious fancy – but no more than a fancy.

[76] “Such store of wealth as I will bring, / Shall make thee leap, shall make thee sing”: This is the nearest element possibly to link the Caveleiro with King Philip of Spain Barbara de Luna is able to supply. If Willobie’s intent had been to draw a caricature of King Philip of Spain it would not have been difficult to let it shine through by some suitable emblematic allusions, but a King Philip who is sent back to “Coleman hedge” (see note 80) is hardly conceivable.

[77] CANT. XVI.:  Because she had definitely been too kind, AVISA adds in Canto XV a second answer which could not be saucier.

[78] “Assure yourself your labour’s lost”: Possibly it was not unknown to Mathew Roydon alias “Henry Willobie” that William Shake-speare was working on a revised version of his comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost which he probably finished in the summer of 1594. See 3.1.9. Shakespeare, Loves labors lost.

[79] “Bestow your cost among your queans“:„Queen“ and „quean“ (harlot, whore) are homonyms. It must have amused the Elizabethan reader to see a queen lash out at “queans”.. 

[80] “You must again to Coleman hedge [hatch]”: “Wherever this was,” says Ronald B. McKerrow, “it is evident that it was a resort of prostitutes.” – See Adam Fouleweather (= Thomas Nashe) , A wonderfull, strange and miraculous astrologicall prognostication for this yeere 1591: “Summer … beginneth when the weather waxeth so hot that beggars scorn barns and lie in the field for heat, and the worms of Saint Pancredge [St. Pancras] Church build their bowers under the shadow of Colman hedge.” See also Gabriel Harvey, Pierce's Supererogation, 1593: “This grand confuter of my Letters, and all honesty, still proceedeth from worse to worse, from the wilding tree to the withy, from the dog to the goat, from the cat to the swine, from Primrose Hill to Colman Hedge.”

[81] “They will bestow the Frenchman’s badge”: The French disease, or syphilis.

[82] “Of one I wist not whence he came, / Nor what he is, nor what’s his name?“: Such cannot be the words of an English milkmaid, less so when speaking of the Spanish king.

[83] “To fear the piles, or else the pocks“: Avisa cools off the heated haemorrhoids of the “ruffians, roisters, young gentlemen, and lusty captains.”

[84] [Cant. XVII - XX]: The Caveleiro in his turn does not mince his words. His cocky boasting against chaste Avisa is likely to have amused the contemporary reader, for instance in Canto XIX:

Methinks I hear a sober Fox,
Stand preaching to the gaggling Geese;
And shows them out a painted box,
And bids them all beware of cheese:
Your painted box, and goodly preach
I see doth hold a boxly reach.

[85] “If thou wilt swear that thou hast known / In carnal act no other man: / But only one, and he thine own, / Since man and wife you first began”: The  accomplishment of the “carnal act” with her husband belongs to the fiction of a married AVISA. This provocative formulation should not mislead us to the wrong conclusion that Willobie could not have meant queen Elizabeth.

[86] “him whom free consent / By wedlock words hath made my spouse”: See note 51, Elizabeth’s “marriage speech”.

***

[87] “The third trial; wherein are expressed the long passionate, and constant affections of the close [secret] and wary suitor, which …all are here finely daunted, and mildly overthrown by thy constant answers and chaste replies of Avisa”: It is almost impossible not to associate a French suitor of the royal AVISA using fiery words and big promises with Duke François-Hercule d’Alençon, brother of the French king Henry III. Between 1573 and 1578 Alençon was importuning Queen Elizabeth to marry him and at the same time flattering her and begging for loans. But “Henry Willobie” is chary of precise allusions; some of the allusions fit  Alençon, others do not. (For instance, Alençon cannot be termed a “secret suitor” – which is the proposal of the Frenchman Dudum Beatus or D.B.) .

[88] “D. B.  A Frenchman”: The full official title of Duke François-Hercule d’Alençon (1555-1584) was: François de France, duc d'Alençon, d'Anjou, de Touraine, de Brabant et Château-Thierry. According to Barbara de Luna the initials “D. B.” might be understood as an abbreviation of “Duke of Brabant”. Given Willobie’s pretty erratic handling of abbreviations this assumption seems far-fetched.

[89] “Except the stone that strake the fire, / With water quench this hot desire”: Willobie is making great poetical efforts on behalf of the French Hotspur.

[90] “From dangerous bands I set you free / If you will yield to comfort me”: It remains an open question from which “dangerous bands” the Frenchman wants to free Avisa. His words owe perhaps more to poetical rhetoric than to some political hidden meaning. While it is true that Alençon never was more to Queen Elizabeth than a pawn for the alliance with France against the common enemy  Spain, which is why she held on for so long a time to a prospective marriage, she at no time seriously contemplated a marriage with him. On the other hand, Alençon was not in a position to supply any substantial support in the rivalry with Spain — though, of course, that is what he promised.

[91] “Your fiery flame, your secret smart / That inward frets with pining grief / Your hollow sighs, your heavy heart, / Methinks might quickly find relief ”: Willobie parodies the standard repertory of the contemporaneous love and seduction rhetoric.

[92] “I have been long in secret mind, / And would be still your secret friend”: The construct of a “married” AVISA excludes the possibility of the French suitor proposing to marry her. The same applies for the second, fourth and fifth suitor. – Evidently, Alençon never proposed a secret love affair to Elizabeth. But Willobie has to stick to the chosen narrative structure; he cannot step out of the allegory. (See note 52.)

[93] “You mistress of my doubtful chance, / You Prince or this my soul’s desire, / That lulls my fancy in a trance”: These lines could indeed form the motto of the “marriage game” between Alençon and Queen Elizabeth.

[94] “Your truth is treason under trust, / A Kite in shape of hurtless Dove: / You offer more than friendship would, / To give us brass instead of gold”: Few other Elizabethan poets succeed in expressing their thoughts with such a degree of accuracy, concinnity and witticism. – “Your truth is treason under trust” refers to the Frenchman’s proposal to enter into a secret love relation. Avisa’s remark that the Frenchman would give her more brass than gold would also reflect Elizabeth’s relationship with the historical suitor Alençon. - “You offer more than friendship would,” could also have been spoken by Elizabeth. See note 114.

[95] “You seem as though you lately came / From London, from some bawdy sell [saddle], / Where you have met some wanton dame / That knows the tricks of whores so well”: Avisa’s open disparagement of the “Frenchman” can in no way be connected with the historical suitor Alençon, often referred to by Elizabethans as “Monsieur” (Queen Elizabeth has always found sweet and, however dissembling, affectionate words for “Monsieur”.) - Barbara N. de Luna attempts to place these words into a historical context (“Alençon’s hostess during his first overnight stay in London [1-2 November, 1581] Lady Douglas Sheffield Stafford. She is, therefore, logically the ‘wanton dame’ Willobie speaks of.”) Lady Douglas Sheffield Stafford was a former mistress of the Earl of Leicester by whom she had an illegitimate son; but having an illegitimate son — the paternity of whom the Earl of Leicester acknowledged — is still a far cry from “prostitute. In a drive, not atypical for a woman, to iron out cognitive dissonances, De Luna  resorts to this circumstance at the price of incredibility, putting her own reputation at risk. (See B. N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, 1970, p. 69.)

[96] “The labour’s lost that you endure“:The reiteration of the phrase “labour’s lost” within so short a space is remarkable and gives rise to the suspicion Willobie could be alluding to Shakespeare’s courting comedy which about that time must either have been in the process of writing or possibly just finished. See note 78.

[97] “Your betters that have had the foil”: Queen Elizabeth would never have addressed the brother of the King of France in such language.

[98] “His master’s love he shall repeat, / And watch his turn to purchase grace”: Willobie innocently speaks of a heart left behind (“Yet shall my heart remain behind”), but it is difficult to conceive how this heart could watch with “secret eye” whether another heart would not occupy the vacant place — there may be an allusion here to Jean de Simier, baron de Saint-Marc, Alençon’s “love ambassador”, sent to London to act the role of ardent lover as representative of his master. – See Patrick Collinson: “Yet there was more to this affair than diplomacy, to the surprise and alarm of many,  when Anjou [Alençon] sent his servant Jean de Simier, baron de Saint-Marc, to act the ardent lover in his place, the 45-year-old Elizabeth seemed to be swept off her feet.” (Patrick Collinson, Elizabeth I,  Oxford:, 2007, p.37.)

[99] “How fine they feign, how fair they paint / To bring a loving soul to bed”: Such words could very well have been spoken by Elizabeth on “Monsieur” behind closed doors. Following his visit to England, Alençon writes these heart warming words: “avecque autant d’afection que je me souhet vostre mari couch entre deux dras dedans vos beau bras” – “with so much affection as I want to be your husband who between two sheets sleeps in your beautiful arms.” And Baron de Simier (whom Elizabeth, punning on the French word “simien”, a generic term for “ape”, teasingly calls “my monkey”) writes in a letter of 12 April 1579 to Roch de Sorbiers, seigneur Des Pruneaux: “I began on the 5th inst. to treat of the articles of marriage between the Queen and our master. I have every good hope ; but will wait to say more till the curtain is drawn, the candle out, and Monsieur in bed.” 

[100] “Let women never credit give”: Marginal note: “Tum iam nulla viro iuranti femina credat, Nulla viri speret, sermones esse fideles; Quis dum aliquid cupiens animus praegestit apisci, Nil metuunt iurare, nihil promittere parcunt: Sed simul ac cupidae mentis satiata libido est, Dicta nihil metuere, nihil periuria curant. Catullus.”  

[Now, let woman no more trust her to man when he sweareth,
Ne’er let her hope to find or truth or faith in his pleadings,
Who whenas lustful thought forelooks to somewhat attaining,
Never an oath they fear, shall spare no promise to promise.
Yet no sooner they sate all lewdness and lecherous fancy,
Nothing remember of words and reck they naught of fore-swearing.

(Catullus, Carmina LXIV; transl. by Sir Richard F. Burton, 1894)]

[101] “To wavering men that speak so fair, / Let women never credit give, / Although they weep, although they sware, / Such feigned shows, let none believe; / For they that think their words be true, / Shall soon their hasty credit rue”:

Oxfords mocking verses on women (c.1575) form the provocative literary template for AVISA’s reply:

The wiles and guiles that in them lurk,
Dissembled with an outward show,
The tricks and toys and means to work,
The cock that treads them shall not know.
  Have you not heard that said full oft,
  Woman's nay doth stand for nought?

See Oxford, Poems No. 99: “When that thine eye hath chose the dame”. Oxford’s poem from the 1570s was attributed to “W. Shakespeare” in The Passionate Pilgrim (1599).

[102] “That reason knows not where to stay”: Marginal note: “Combat between reason and appetite. No constant love where unconstant affections rule. That love only constant that is grounded on vertue.”

[103] “There is a coal that burns the more, / The more ye cast cold water near”: Marginal note: “Canol coal found in many places of England. Nympatus locus Leonicus de varia Histor. fol. 28.

[104] “In Greece they find a burning soil / That fumes in nature like the same”: Marginal note: “By the Ionian sea there is a place that burnes continually, and the more water is cast into it, the more it flames.” (Wikipedia: Cannel coal or candle coal, is a type of bituminous coal, also classified as oil shale.)

[105] „Cold water makes the hotter broil, / The greater frost, the greater flame… / My heart, inflam’d with quenchless heat, / Doth fretting fume in secret fire, / These hellish torments are the meat / That daily feed this vain desire”: Shakespeare’s sonnet 153 was probably already known in 1594.

Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep,
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground:
Which borrowed from this holy fire of Love,
A dateless lively heat still to endure,
And grew a seating bath which yet men prove,
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure:
But at my mistress' eye Love's brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast,
I sick withal the help of bath desired,
And thither hied a sad distempered guest.
  But found no cure, the bath for my help lies,
  Where Cupid got new fire; my mistress' eyes.

[106] “With these my lines I sent a Ring”: Queen Elizabeth and Alençon exchanged rings on several occasions, which did not remain unnoticed by comtemporaries.

[107] “Five winters’ Frosts have say'd to quell / These flaming fits of firme desire, / Five Summers’ suns cannot expel / The cold despair that feeds the fire”: An allusion to François-Hercule Duc d’Alençon, the suitor of Queen Elizabeth between 1578 and 1582.

[108] “The Indian men have found a plant / Whose vertue mad conceits doth quell”: Marginal note: “The root Baaras is good to deliver them that are possessed with evil spirits. Josephus.” - Josephus (c.37–100 AD) of Jerusalem gives the following directions for pulling up the root Baaras: “A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this, the root can be handled without fear.” Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (1982) comments: “In Nur al-Zulm, 124, it is also the dog, which uprooted the mandrake, and this agrees with what Josephus, Bell. Jud., vii, 6.3, says about the plant Baaras, which nis very likely identical with the mandrake.” – The mandrake mainly grows on stony slopes in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also in North Africa, Near East and as far as the Himalayas. By “Indians” Willobie here means the inhabitants of the subcontinent India and not, those of the countries around the Carribean Sea, which were also referred to as (West) Indies.

[109] “Always the same, Avisa”: Barbara de Luna comments: “Avisa signs every of her five letters in the body of the poem with merely an exact translation of the Queen’s well-known personal motto: Semper eadem. This motto was admirably calculated to fix her rule in the affection of a people desirous of a secure and constant government. It is frequently echoed in the poetry of the age.” (B. N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, 1970, p. 15f.)

As if this quintuple citing of Elizabeth’s motto were not enough, considerable stress is laid on Avisa’s unchangeability throughout. She says:

I showed you first my meaning plain,
The same is yet, and shall remain. CANT. XXXII.)

You know my mind which cannot change. (CANT. XXXIX.)

My mind is one, and still the same… (CANT. LXIII.)

[110] “I find it true that some have said, / It's hard to love, and to be wise”: - See Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender (1579), Ægloga Tertia [March]:

Willyes [Sidney’s] Emblem.

To be wise and eke to love
Is granted scarce to God above.

Thomalins Emblem.

Of Honey and of Gall in love there is store: 
The Honey is much, but the Gall is more. 

‘Hereby is meant, that all the delights of Love, wherein wanton youth walloweth, be but folly mixt with bitterness, and sorrow sauced with repentance. For besides that the very affection of Love itself tormenteth the mind, and vexeth the body many ways, with unrestfulness all night, and weariness all day, seeking for that we can not have: even the self things which best before us liked, in course of time and change of riper years, which also therewithal changeth our wonted liking and former fantasies, will then seem loathsome and breed us annoyance, when youthes flower is withered, and we find our bodies and wits answer not to such vain jollity and lustful pleasance.’

[111] “When women’s wits have drawn the plot, / And of their fancy laid the frame, / Then that they hold, where good or not, / No force can move them from the same”: Marginal note: “Non si foemineum crebro caput igne refundas, ingenii mutes prima metalla sui.” - “It is not by frequently passionately reclining her head that a woman’s unfaltering spirit is conquered.” The meaning is likely to be: “Even if you repeatedly succeed to make a woman passionately recline her head, you do not alter the unfaltering nature of her spirit.” [Publius Faustus Andrelinus, Aegloga moralissima, Paris 1501]  

[112] “This last request so let me have; / Let no man know what I did move, / Let no man know that I did love”: See note 92.

[113]Fortuna ferenda.D. B. ”: The fortune to be endured (or suffered). D[udum] B[eatus] : Formerly happy. (See CANT. XXXI.) - In the poem cycle appended to the Adventures of Master F. I. (1573) Oxford uses, among others, the pen-name “Ferenda natura”, The nature that must be endured.

 

 

[114] “DYDIMUS HARCO. ANGLO-GERMANUS”: Didymus means “twin”. Barbara de Luna’s assuumption that the Anglo-German twin represents two different suitors is probably quite right (Willobie’s confuter Peter Colse - 1596 – confirms this hypothesis, speaking of “seven” suitors, which means that to the first three suitors must be added the twins “Anglo-Germanus” and “Italo-Hispalensis”). - De Luna identifies “Anglo-Germanus” (principally because of their nearly identical span of life, as Sir Christopher Hatton (1540-1591) and Charles II Francis of Austria (1540–1590). However, the reasons she adduces look far-fetched, for Willobie nowhere supplies a convincing clue to either of them. The most important (and the only to be seriously considered) English suitor of Elizabeth was Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1532-1588), whom she endearingly nicknamed ‘Robin’. In a sense, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford; Sir Walter Raleigh; Sir Christopher Hatton and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex were also suitors of Elizabeth, though at no time so that they could warrant prospects to be come her royal consort. Suitors from German regions were Charles II Francis of Austria and John Casimir, Count Palatine of Simmern (1543–1592). Elizabeth has rebuffed both with courtly clichés. – Willobie’s reader is invited to imagine the suitors of his choice.

In this context it is not without interest to take a look at two of Elizabeth’s letters in which she is trying to keep actual suitors at distance or to call them to a halt. The addressee of the first letter, written on 25 February 1560, is Eric, Prince of Sweden:

Most Serene Prince Our Very Dear Cousin,

A letter truly yours both in the writing and sentiment was given us on 30 Dec by your very dear brother, the Duke of Finland. And while we perceive there from that the zeal and love of your mind towards us is not diminished, yet in part we are grieved that we cannot gratify your Serene Highness with the same kind of affection. And that indeed does not happen because we doubt in any way of your love and honour, but, as often we have testified both in words and writing, that we have never yet conceived a feeling of that kind of affection towards anyone. We therefore beg your Serene Highness again and again that you be pleased to set a limit to your love, that it advance not beyond the laws of friendship for the present nor disregard them in the future. And we in our turn shall take care that whatever can be required for the holy preservation of friendship between Princes we will always perform towards your Serene Highness. (G.B. Harrison (ed.), The Letters of Queen Elizabeth, London 1935, p.31)

The other letter was written in the 1570, possibly to Sir Christopher Hatton:

A question once was asked me thus. ‚Must aught be denied a friend's request? Answer me yea or nay.’ It was said nothing. And first it is best to scan what a friend is, which I think nothing else but friendship’s harbour. Now it followeth what friendship is, which I deem to be one uniform consent of two minds, such as virtue links and naught but death can break. Therefore I conclude that the house that shrinketh from his foundation shall [fall] down for me; for friend leaves he to be, that doth demand more than the giver’s grant with reason’s leave may yield. And if so, then my friend no more; my foe. God send thee mend. And if needly thou must will, yet at the least no power be thine to achieve thy desire. For where minds differ and opinions swerve, there is scant a friend in that company. But if my hap have fallen in so happy a soil, as one such be found who wills that beseems, and I be pleased with that he so allows, I bid myself farewell, and then I am but his. (Sir Harris Nicolas, Life and Times of Sir Christopher Hatton, London 1847.)

[115] “And if I think not as I should, / Blame love that bad me so to think; / And if I say not what I would, / T’is modest shame that makes me shrink”: These courtly lines are remotely reminiscent of a poem Sir Walter Raleigh has addressed to Elizabeth:

Ferenda Natura [The nature that must be endured]
Fain would I, but I dare not;
I dare, and yet I may not;
I may, although I care not,
for pleasure when I play not.
etc.

[116] “You know that Merchants ride for gain”: The fourth suitor identifies himself as a merchant, a profession rather unfit for courting a queen.

[117] “these verses following, which he called his Dum habui, and sent them unto her”: The words dum habui (whilst I have had) refer to the opening line of the following poem¨: “Whilst erst I had my liberty”. At the same time the Latin phrase dum habui explains the initials “D. H.” of the Anglo-German suitor.

[118] “A Crystal Well, where Nymphs remain”: A crystal well’ refers to the well said to be situated near Avisa’s “Castle” in Canto I.

[119] “As being of Diana's train”: Avisa, the rare bird, remained a “virgin” despite her “marriage”. 

[120] “Renowned chaste Penelope”: Penelope, the faithful wife of Ulysses, is mentioned three time by  Willobie – as “The wandering Greek’s renowned mate” (See note 30); here as “Renowned chaste Penelope”; and as “chaste Penelope” in Willobie’s epilogue “The praise of a contented mind”, signed “Ever or never” (see note 196.). In each case (and in the commendatory poem of “Contraria Contrariis”) she is featured as a paragon for the “chaste AVISA” without acquiring a profile on her own. Two years later Peter Colse, Willobie’s confuter, will establish in his own epic poem Penelopes Complaint (a re-narration of Homer’s Odyssey, XVI-XXIV) a comparison between the Greek Penelope and the English Avisa: “Avisa. Is she with thy Penelope to vie? The one renowned, revered, true to her own. Avisa, an unknown woman from a place unknown”. By belittling Avisa this way Willobie’s poem should be held up to ridicule. Neither Willobie nor Colse are giving the slightest hint that “chaste Avisa” might have had to do something with Penelope Devereux (Lady Rich). (See Michael Mooten, Willobie His Avisa Decoded.)

He who wants to learn more about how “Henry Willobie” ( = Mathew Roydon) judged Sidney’s ‘Stella’ should read Roydon’s “Elegy, or Friend's Passion for his Astrophel”. The six stanzas on ‘Stella’ again form a “hexameton” like that of Willobie.

Stella, a Nymph within this wood,
Most rare and rich of heavenly bliss,
The highest in his fancy stood,
And she could well demerit this :
'Tis likely they acquainted soon;
He was a Sun, and she a Moon.

Our Astrophil did Stella have;
O Stella, vaunt of Astrophil,
Albeit thy graces gods may move,
Where wilt thou find an Astrophil ?
The rose and lily have their prime,
And so hath beauty but a time.

Although thy beauty do exceed
In common sight of every eye,
Yet, in his Poesies when we read,
It is apparent more thereby,
He that hath love and judgment too
Sees more than any other do.

Then Astrophil hath honoured thee ;
For when thy body is extinct,
Thy graces shall eternal be
And live by virtue of his ink ;
For by his verses he doth give
To short-lived beauty aye to live.

Above all others this is he,
Which erst approved in his song
That love and honour might agree,
And that pure love will do no wrong.
Sweet saints ! it is no sin nor blame,
To love a man of virtuous name.

Did never love so sweetly breathe
In any mortal breast before ;
Did never Muse inspire beneath
A Poet's brain with finer store :
He wrote of love with high conceit,
And beauty reared above her height.

[121] “No Helen’s rape, nor Trojan war / My loving mate hath forc'd away, / No Juno’s wrath to wander far / From loving bed can make him stray: / Nor stay at all in foreign land, / But here I have him still at hand”: The husband who has „never strayed from loving bed into foreign countries“ is England, to which AVISA is wedded (see note 51). Peter Colse, the Author of Penelopes Complaint (1596) feels prompted to the repartee: “The one [Penelope] is chaste, her husband being away / Avisa: chaste when he is at home, by night and day”.

[122] “My sweet Ulysses never stays / From his desired home so long”: Avisa calls her “mate” the never-away-from home Ulysses. See note 121.

[123] “Alway the same / Avisa ”: See note 109.

[124] “I should have thought you but a whore”: Marginal note: “O violata vale, vale o violata: placebas / Inviolata: noces nunc violata mihi. Vulteius.” (O, vale, vale, violated woman! Violated woman, vale! Unviolated you pleased me, violated you shame me).

[125] “Men cannot love such, as they know, / Will yield at sight of every blow”: Marginal note: “Sic virgo, dum intacta manet, tum cara suis: Cum castum amisit polluto corpore florem, Nec pueris jucunda manet, nec cara puellis. Catullus.

[Thus while the virgin be whole, such while she’s the dearling of kinsfolk;
Yet no sooner is lost her bloom from body polluted,
Neither to youths she is joy, nor a darling she to the maidens.

(Catullus, Carmina LXII; transl. by Sir Richard F. Burton.)]

[126] “Your constant mind a friend hath found / Whose honest love shall never fail: / A faithful friend in honest love / Whom lewd affections shall not move”: See note 114, Queen Elizabeth’s letter to Hatton: “For where minds differ and opinions swerve, there is scant a friend in that company. But if my hap have fallen in so happy a soil, as one such be found who wills that beseems, and I be pleased with that he so allows, I bid myself farewell, and then I am but his.”

[127]Henrico Willobego. Italo-Hispalensis ”: About one third of Willobie’s poem deals with the most indefatigable, addle-headed and obtrusive of Avisa’s suitors – also a “twin” (Italo-Hispalensis), according to Agrippa’s typology, however, rather a Spaniard:  “impatient in burning love, very mad with troubled lasciviousness” (See note 12). “H. W.”, an excessive willer, is a young man, whereas the adored AVISA in the meantime has attained ripe years. In 1594 the eye of the contemporary reader, without any need for Willobie to provide more specific hints, evidently falls on the very as popular as erratic Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1565-1601), whose self-conceit will bring him to the block for high treason seven years later. Yet Willobie does not fail to insert in his poem three concrete allusions to Essex: “A thousand features [faces] I have seen … in France, in Flanders, & in Spain”, “Like wounded Deer whose tender sides are bath'd in blood” (CANT. LXVIII.)  and “When woeful Woodbine lies reject” (CANT. LXX.). See notes 144, 170 and 176. - The Italian part of “H. W.” resembles the young Earl of Oxford who travelled through Italy in 1575/76 – and who in 1573 published The Adventures of Master F. I., in which the enamoured “Master Fortunatus Infoelix” gets infatuated by the charms of a “Mistress Ellinor” who by the way she finally brushes him off resembles in some respects Queen Elizabeth.

In the heading Willobie lends the Italian-Hispanic twin his own name: “Henricus Willobegus” – which can and must be looked through as a protection assertion, for which author would stoop so low as to mercilessly expose himself as a mad lover? That’s why the writer of the foreword, “Hadrian Dorrell”, timidly notes: “It seems that in this last example the author names himself, and so describeth his own love, I know not, and I will not be curious.”

[128] “H. W. … bewrayeth the secrecy of his disease unto his familiar friend W. S.”: The sudden introduction of the “familiar friend W. S.” suggests that Willobie was incited to insert  Canti XLIIII (44) – XLVIII (48) in his poem by the recent issue of William Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece (July 1594).

[129] “who not long before had tried the courtesy of the like passion, was now newly recovered of the like infection”:  The first allusion to Oxford’s Adventures of Master F. I.. (1573) narrating the pangs of love of Master Fortunatus Infoelix in relation to “Mistress Ellinor”. – “Such is then th'extremity of my passions,” says “F. I.”, “the which I could never have been content to commit unto this telltale paper were it not that I am destitute of all other help. Accept therefore, I beseech you, the earnest good will of a more trusty than worthy servant, who, being thereby encouraged, may supply the defects of his ability with ready trial of dutiful loyalty.” Mistress Ellinor’s response is teasing: “Nay sir," quoth she, "this gentleman hath a passion, the which once in a day at the least doth kill his appetite.” – See 3.2.2.1 References.

At this juncture it must be asked whence “Willobie” could have become familiar with the Adventures of Master F. I. published in 1573. We have pointed out that behind the pseudonym “Henry Willobie” is very probably concealed the poet Mathew Roydon and that Mathew Roydon is obviously identical with “Owen Roydon” who in 1578 contributed to Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions.

Owen Roydon opened the Gallant Inventions with a poem entitled “Owen Royden to the Curious Company of Sycophantes” - the content and style of which refers back to “The Earl of Oxford to the Reader” (1573) in the preface to Thomas Bedingfield’s translation of Cardanus’ De Consolatione (Cardanos Comfort).

The busy bees whose pains do never miss,
But toil their time, the winter’s want to wield,
And heap in hives the thing that needful is,
To feed their flock till Winter be exiled:
  Sometimes the drones the honey-combs do eat,
  And so the bees must starve for want of meat.

The drowsy drones do never take such toil,
But lie at lurk, like men of Momus mind,
Who rudely read, and rashly put to foil [disgrace]
What worthy works so ever they do find:
  Which works would please the learned sort full well,
  But Sycophantes will never cease to swell.

etc.

From thence we may conclude that Mathew Roydon, alias “Owen Roydon”, was acquainted with the Earl’s literary production since 1573. - Moreover, Mathew Roydon’s acquaintance with the Earl of Oxford’s literary circle is evidenced by his commendatory poem “It's seldom seen that Merit hath his due” to Thomas Watson’s cycle Hekatompathia (1581) dedicated to the Earl of Oxford who, according to the dedication, took some active part in it (“that your Honour had willingly vouchsafed the acceptance of this work, and at convenient leisures favorably perused it.”).  

[130] “he (“W. S.”) now would secretly laugh at his friends folly that had given occasion not long before unto others to laugh at his own”: In Oxfords Adventures of Master F. I..(1573) Master Fortunatus Infoelix envisages to laugh at those who now mock him for his bad luck in love. – See Oxford, Poems No. 16:

And with such luck and loss,
I will content myself:
Till tides of turning time may toss,
Such fishers on the shelf.
And when they stick on sands,
That every man may see:
Then will I laugh and clap my hands,
As they do now at me.

[131] “whether it would sort to a happier end for this new actor, than it did for the old player”: The qualification of the “comforter W. S.” (= William Shake-speare) as “old player” has caused a lasting confusion within the Shakespeare research community; indeed it shows that Shake-speare had played a role in the courting history of AVISA. The Stratfordian theory therefore felt it advisable to follow in the steps of the confuter Peter Colse (1596) and to bring down the “chaste AVISA” to a “child of an innkeeper, wife of an innkeeper.” (If Oxfordians can think of no other solution than to degrade AVISA to a debauched countess, they in turn bar the access to insight with other means).

[132] “changes of affections & temptations, which Will, set loose from Reason, can devise”: The suitor “Henricus Willobegus” (Ablativus originis: ‘Henrico Willobego’) is the incarnation of desire (Will), divorced from reason (Wit): a “be-totaller”.

[133] “My humours all are out of frame, / I freeze amid'st the burning flame”: See Oxford, Poems No. 55: “I freeze in hope, I thaw in hot desire, / Far from the flame, and yet I burn like fire.”

[134] “I dreamt of late, God grant that dream / Protend [extend] my good that she did meet / Me in this green by yonder stream”: ‘The green by yonder stream’ is interpreted by Barbara de Luna in connection with comparable other occurrences as “Greenwich Palace”. She comments:

“Willobie, who managed to present the four previous courtships without using, as such, a single colour but the ‘colour white’, suddenly in the fifth suitor’s courtship introduces ‘this green’ (CANT. XLIIII.), ‘decks the fields with vernant [fresh green] hue’ (CANT. XLVIII.), alliterates twice on ‘greenest grass’; and finally makes “H. W. complain that his ‘grief is green’ (CANT. LXXI.) – thus contriving, in the course of his long poem, to use none but the Tudor colours, green and white. The elaborate landscaping of the royal compound at Greenwich seems, furthermore, to be alluded to in the two stanzas beginning,

I saw your gardens, passing fine,
With pleasant flowers lately decked … (CANT.LXX.)

From this sheltered place, the view of the Georges atop the palace is obscured [see note 137], permitting H. W. to forget for the moment that his suit is a mere ‘impossibility’ (CANT. XLIIII.) since the woman he is attempting to court is a Queen:

Farewell that sweet and pleasant walk,
The witness of my faith and woe
That oft hath heard our friendly talk,
And giv'n me leave my grief to show:
O pleasant path, where I could see
No cross at all but only shee. (CANT. LXXI.)

The repetition of the word ‘pleasant’ here, and in the lines about Avisa’s ‘gardens’ further suggests a plausible sub-theory: that Willobie is drumming on the word quite deliberately in order to suggest Greenwich’s alternative name, ‘the Manor of Pleasance’, and thus offer cross-confirmation (along with the repetitions of ‘green’) of the identity of Avisa’s ‘house’, the place one wag in 1603 called her ‘greenest Palace’.” (B. N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, 1970, p. 10 f.)

 

[135] “Well met, friend Harry, what’s the cause / You look so pale with Lented [emaciated] cheeks?”: The intimate greeting is remotely reminiscent of Falstaff’s words to Prince Henry (W. S., 1Henry IV, II/4):

FALSTAFF. Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time, but also how thou art accompanied. For though the camomile, the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears.

[136] “And folly feeds, where fury frets”: See Oxford, Poems No. 80: “Fain would I sing, but fury makes me fret.” - Interestingly, “W. S.” speaks like Oxford. See note 139.

[137] “Seest yonder house where hangs the badge / Of England’s Saint, when captains cry / Victorious land to conquering rage”: A crucial passage for understanding the text. De Luna comments:

“Elizabeth’s palaces customarily flew banners bearing the Cross of St. George, particularly when the Queen was in residence. An engraving of the palace of Richmond in Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (1611) shows twelve of the castle’s thirteen towers surmounted by such flags, while the thirteenth has a Cross of St. George wrought apparently in stone.

Certainly English military men returning victorious from foreign wars would know they were fully home when they could make out the Georges flying atop the Queen’s river-palace at Greenwich.” (B. N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, 1970, p. 9 f.)

[138] “She is no Saint, She is no Nun, / I think in time she may be won”: In Titus Andronicus (II/1) Demetrius says “She is a woman, therefore may be woo’d , / She is a woman, therefore may be won.”

With this allusion Willobie intimates that his “W.S.” is William Shake-speare.

[139] “Apply her still with divers things, / (For gifts the wisest will deceive) / Sometimes with gold, sometimes with rings, / No time nor fit occasion leave: / Though coy at first she seem and wield [strong], / These toys in time will make her yield”: See Oxford, Poems No. 99:

And to her will frame all thy ways;
Spare not to spend, and chiefly there
Where thy expense may sound thy praise,
By ringing always in her ear:
  The strongest castle, tower or town,
  The golden bullet beateth down.
What though her frowning brows be bent,
her cloudy looks will clear ere night,
and she perhaps will soon repent
that she dissembled her delight;
  and twice desire, ere it be day,
  that with such scorn she put away.

[140] “Say, t'was her wit & modest show / That made you like and love her so”: Marginal note: “Wicked wiles to deceive witless women.”

[141] “H[en]. W[ill].”: In the second and subsequent issues of Willobie his AVISA the author seeks protection behind the abbreviation “Hen. Will.”

[142] “For why my mind is Mal-content ”: In France during the 1570s and 1580s the ‘Malcontents’ were a political faction the leader of which was the Duke of Alençon. The term fits the rebellious Earl of Essex very well in the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign. - See W. Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost, III/1:

BEROWNE.                    … Dan Cupid;
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
Th' anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents ...

[143] “My hopeless clouds that never clear, / Presage great sorrows very near”: Marginal note: To despair of good success in the beginning of any action, is always a secret & most certain forewarning of ill success that indeed doth often follow.

[144] “A thousand features [faces] I have seen, / For Travellers change & choice shall see, / In France, in Flanders, & in Spain”: An allusion to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. – The young Earl performed military service in the Netherlands under Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (his stepfather), before making an impact at court and winning the Queen's favour. In 1589, Essex had first incurred the Queen’s wrath by stealing away, without her leave, to join Drake’s expedition to Portugal (annexed by Spain in 1580); he only returned upon the failure to take Lisbon. In 1591, he was given command of a force sent to the assistance of King Henry IV of France.

[145] “And now I know you are the She, / That was ordained to vanquish me”: In Oxford’s Adventures of Master F. I.(1573) Mistress Ellinor says: “Good servant ... I will take upon me this name, your SHE.”

The Earl of Essex sent a number of glowing letters to Queen Elizabeth in which he partly believed himself. The folowing letter was written in 1592-93. (The Queen was then sixty years old.)

“MADAM: The delights of this place cannot make me unmindful of one in whose sweet company I have joyed as much as the happiest man doth in his highest contentment; and if my horse could run as fast as my thoughts do fly, I would as often make mine eyes rich in beholding the treasure of my love; as my desires do triumph when I seem to myself in a strong imagination to conquer your resisting will. Noble and dear lady, though I be absent, let me in your favour be second unto none; and when I am at home, if I have no right to dwell chief in so excellent a place, yet I will usurp upon all the world. And so making myself as humble to do you service; as in my love I am ambitious, I wish your Majesty all your happy desires. Croydon, this Tuesday going to be mad, and make my horse tame. - Of all men the most devoted to your service.

R. ESSEX.”

[146] “My mind surpris'd with household cares, / Tends not dark riddles to untwine. / My state surcharg'd with great affairs, / To Idle talk can lend no time”: According to the commentators Charles Hughes (1904) and G. B. Harrison (1926) these words come from the mouth of the daughter of an innkeeper whose inn whose pub sign would have been the banner of St. George. Michael Mooten (‘Avisa Decoded’) discovers the solution of the enigma in the brothel of Penelope Rich, née Devereux, elder sister of the Earl of Essex.

[147] “Fond fancies to your lust have sent”: Marginal note: “Quaeritur Egistus quare sit  factus adulter? In promptu causa est: desidiosus erat.” [Why did intemp’rate lust Aegistus seize? The cause is plain, he lov’d voluptuous ease. - Ovid, Remedia amoris, 161 f.] - Idleness, the mother of all foolish wantonness. David being idle fell to strange lust.

[148] “I bare that liking, few have bore, / I love that never lov’d before”: See Oxford, Poems No. 45: “I live and love, what would you more: / As never lover liv’d before.” – See 3.2.2.1 References.

[149] “How blame you then the faithful love, / That hath his praise from God above”: “H. W.” could not utter those words if he had not been aware of Avisa’s marriage being a “bluff”. (That is, he speaks to an unmarried woman.)

[150] “Can love endure, where faith is fled? / Can Roses spring whose root is dead?”: Avisa retorts with a hint to marital bonds. “H. W.s” “faith” is in her eyes sheer is mere mockery, rotten at the root. (A malevolent reader could, however, understand the rose that is dead at the root as a reference to the aged queen.)

[151] “Your husband is a worthless thing / That no way can content your mind”: With those words the fifth suitor pushes things boldly far. Avisa’s husband is incorporeal.

[152] “This I will count my chiefest bliss, / If I obtain that others miss”: A parallel to Oxfords “The lively lark did stretch her wing” (Poems, No. 74) :

Nor greater joy can be than this,
Than to enjoy what others miss.

For the sake of greater clarity Willobie repeats the lines from the preceding stanza. We should ask what it means when the author has speak the ‘new actor’ (H. W.), who unmistakably carries the traits of Essex, words borrowed from Oxford? And when at the same time he casts the ‘old player’ (W.S. = William Shakespeare) as ‘miserable comforter’ of the ‘new actor’? It means that Willobie considers the ‘new actor’ as sort of duplicate of the “old player”. And further that he not only sets equal the “old player” with Shake-speare but also with Oxford! – Whereby he delivers strongest authorship evidence. – See note 168.

[153] “What you mislike, I will amend, / If years I want, why I will stay, / My goods and life here I will spend”: “H. W.”, or “Henry Willobegus” stands out as a boundless willed person. Like the Earl of Essex he is an unrestrained nature to whom the inscription in front of the garden of Whitehall fully applies: “But the unfortunate Actaeon always presses on”. (See note 4.)

[154] “Then leave this fruitless suit to move, / Least like to Sisyphus you find: / With endless labour, gainless pain / To roll the stone that turns again”: See Oxford, Poems No. 76: “A silent suit doth seld to grace aspire; My hapless hap doth roll the restless stone.”

[155] “Fly present pleasure that doth bring / Ensuing sorrow, pain and grief”: Marginal note: “Fuggi quel piacer presente, che ti da dolor futuro.” [‘Flee present pleasures that afterwards bring sorrow.’] - The proverb is found in John Florio’s First Fruits (1578) and Second Fruits, Giardino di ricreatione (1591).

[156] “And shall I roll the restless stone? / And must I prove the endless pain? / In cureless care shall I alone / Consume with grief that yields me gain? / If so, I curse these eyes of mine / That first beheld that face of thine”: Willobie revives Oxford’s early poetic style, rich in assonances. – See Oxford’s lamentation “If fortune may enforce the careful heart to cry” (Poems, No. 70) with ‘Oh froward fate’, ‘my lasting pain’, ‘my endless grief’ – and “Of thee dear Dame, three lessons would I learn” (Poems, No. 4) :

I first beheld that heavenly hue of thine,
Thy stately stature, and thy comely grace,
I must confess these dazzled eyes of mine
Did wink for fear, when I first view’d thy face

[157] “Who so with filthy pleasure burns, / His sinful flesh with fiery flakes / Must be consum’d”: Marginal note: Genesis 38. 24 “Whoremongers burnt.” [About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.’- Judah said, ‘Bring her out and have her burned to death!’]

[158] “But what saith he that long had tried / Of harlots all the wanton sleights”: Marginal note: “Proverbs 5.3.” [For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.]

[159] CANT LXI. [=LIX] : Obviously an error of the printer setting the number LXI instead of LIX and then continues with the number LXII (62).

[160] “H. W.  To AVISA my friendly foe”: See Oxford, The Adventures of Master F. I. (1573): “Even so my friend F. I., lately overcome by the beautiful beams of this Dame Ellinor, and having now committed his most secret intent to these late rehearsed letters, was at unawares encountered with his friendly foe ...”

[161] “The busy Gnat about the candle hovering still doth fly, / The slimy Fish about the bait still wavering doth lie, / The fearful Mouse about the trap doth often try his strength, / Until both Gnat, and Fish and Mouse be taken at the length”: - See Oxford, The Adventures of Master F. I. (1573):

Of thee dear Dame, three lessons would I learn:
What reason first persuades the foolish fly
(As soon as she a candle can discern)
To play with flame, till she be burnt thereby?
Or what may move the mouse to bite the bait
Which strikes the trap, that stops her hungry breath?

See 3.2.2.1 References.

[162]Chi la dura, la vince”: ‘Who suffers, overcomes.’ The proverb is found in John Florio’s First Fruits (1578) and Second Fruits, Giardino di ricreatione (1591).

[163] “The hart, the dog, the wounded wight / For water, grass, and Surgeon call”: As Willobie almost throughout spells “heart” as “hart”, the reader could be wondering how to understand this passage.– See note 171.

[164] “My life doth on your love depend, / My love and life at once must end”: To illustrate how close Willobie depicts the emotions of the Earl of Essex the following extract be cited from a letter to Queen Elizabeth in which he laments his fortune. The letter was probably written in 1597.

“Madam, I do humbly desire your Maj. to think that I know mine own fortune, and the duty I owe to your Maj., so well as I dare not presume to challenge you for any thing, yet least your Maj.  should wonder at my coming away so soon, I crave leave to put your Maj. in mind what a stranger I was made to-day, which doth so ill fit with my past fortune and my mind at this present, as I had rather retire my sick body and troubled mind into some place of rest, than, living in your presence, to come now to be one of those that look upon you afar off. I have desired this gentleman to let me hear how your Maj. doth. Of myself it were folly to write that which you care not to know. And so wishing to your Maj. what yourself wisheth most, I do carry the same heart I was wont, though now overcome with unkindness, as before I was conquered by beauty. From my bed, where I think I shall be buried for some few days, this Sunday night. Your Maj. servant wounded, but not altered, by your unkindness, R. Essex.”

[165] “My mind is one, and still the same”: See note 109.

[166] “Yet this (sweet heart) could not suffice, / Nor any way content my mind”: Marginal note: A bad argument to prove good love.

[167] “I will not wish, I cannot vow, / Thy hurt, thy grief, though thou disdain, / Though thou refuse, I know not how, / To quite my love with love again …/ Swear thou my death, work thou my woe, / Conspire with grief to stop my breath / Yet still thy friend, & not thy foe …” : Willobie without any embarrassment is copying the early style of Oxford. - See Poems, No. 24: “I cannot wish thy grief, although thou work my woe, / Since I profess to be thy friend, I cannot be thy foe” and No.20: “But high foresight in dreams hath stopped my breath, / And caused the swan to sing before his death.” - See 3.2.4 References.

[168]Felice chi puo”: He is happy which can. – See Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender (1579) Ægloga Octava.[August]:

Perigot his Emblem.
Vincenti gloria victi. [The glory of the defeated goes to the conqueror]
Willyes [Sidney’s] Emblem.
Vinto non vitto. [Conquered yet not conquered]
Cuddies [Oxford’s] Emblem.
Felice chi puo.

‘The meaning hereof is very ambiguous: for Perigot by his posy claiming the conquest, & Willye not yielding; Cuddie the arbiter of their cause, and Patron of his own, seemeth to challenge it, as his due, saying, that he is happy which can, so abruptly ending, but he meaneth either him that can win the best, or moderate himself being best, and leave off with the best.’

A thrilling discovery! - By quoting “Cuddies Emblem” from Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calender (1579) Willobie establishes a direct connection between “Cuddie” and the fifth suitor “H. W.”.  And by ‘Cuddie’, the ‘perfect pattern of a Poet’,  Spenser means no other than Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, for he puts Oxford’s words into Cuddie’s mouth! Spenser has Cuddie say:

CUDDIE. To feed youthes fancy, and the flocking fry,
Delighten much: what I the bet for thy?
They han the pleasure, I a slender prise.
I beat the bush, the birds to them do fly:
What good thereof to Cuddie can arise?

Spenser is referring to Oxford’s first poetic statement “The Earl of Oxford to the Reader” (See Oxford, Poems No. 1), in which the poet compares himself to a common labourer who is cheated out of his pay:

For he that beats the bush the bird not gets,
But who sits still and holdeth fast the nets.

To underscore that the quote from Cuddie’s emblem is not accidental Willobie renews the reference with another of Cuddie’s emblems (“Agitante calescimus illo” „There is a god in us, when he stirs we are inflamed”) at the end of “the Author’s conclusion”. See note 192. – Moreover, as said, in Canto LXVII Willobie patently imitates Oxford’s style. (See note 167.)

Willobie “yokes” the “new actor” (Essex) together with the “old player” (Oxford) in the guise of “Italo-Hispalensis”, so as to conceive the new suitor as a repetition of the old one. At the same time he calls “old player” “W. S.” (= William Shake-speare) and establishes via “H. W. Italo-Hispalensis” a direct link between Oxford (= Cuddie) and William Shake-speare (= W. S.) – See note 152.

[169] “But he departing home, and not able by reason to rule the raging fume of this phantastical fury, cast himself upon his bed, & refusing both food & comfort for many days together, fell at length into such extremity of passionate affections…”: See Oxford, The Adventures of Master F. I. (1573):

“The lover (as I say, upon the sudden) was droven into such a malady as no meat might nourish his body, no delights please his mind, no remembrance of joys forepassed content him…”

[170] “Like wounded Deer whose tender sides are bath'd in blood”: Along with the deer’s head in the title illustration (see note 4) and the remark “When woeful Woodbine [= roebuck] lies reject” (see note 176) this line provides a powerful clue to the identity of “H. W.” One of the two “supporters” in the coat of arms of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 3rd Viscount Hereford, is the ‘reindeer”, or stag. (See Walter B. Devereux, Lives and Letters of the Devereux, London 1853). - Illustration: https://archive.org/stream/livesandletters02devegoog#page/n10/mode/2up

In the anthology Visual Words and Verbal Pictures (ed. by Alison M. Saunders & Peter Davidson, 2005) Peter M. Daly notes:

“Essex’s stag crest was famous, although the earliest literary mention of it seems to have occurred in 1589 in an Eglogue Gratulatorie to the returning earl written by George Peele:

He’s well allied and loved of the best,
Well-thew’d, fair and frank, and famous by his crest,
His Rein-deer, racking with proud and stately pace …

(G. P., Eglogue Gratulatorie, To the honorable Shepheard of Albions Arcadia: Robert Earle of Essex and Ewe, for his welcome into England from Portugall):

Shortly thereafter another English emblem writer sought to flatter Essex by interpreting his stag crest. In his Sacrorum emblematum centuria una (1592) Andrew Willet dedicated his second emblem to the Earl of Essex, while the first emblem celebrated Elizabeth. The poem dedicated to Essex is a pattern poem on the stag, ‘De cervo,’ praising the renowned Earl by reference to the properties of the ‘loftie headed Deere’ that he bears in his arms. – Robert Devereux had a ship appropriately named the ‘Roebuck’. Much later in The Purple Island (1633) Phineas Fletcher not only writes of Elizabeth as phoenix, but he also refers allusively through the ‘deare Deer’ to the tragedy and execution of the same Robert Devereux: ‘she a dear Deer’s side unwilling rented’.”

 

 

 

 

The reindeer

 

Willobie his AVISA, Title-Illustration

 

 

 

 

In November 1600 the famous painting of the „Persian Lady“ is said to have been presented for the first time to the public view (‘The Mystery Painting’) – a preciously worked painting which, as the art historian Roy Strong was able to prove, shows the pregnant Frances Walsingham, Countess of Essex, standing before a walnut tree and consolingly laying her hand on a weeping stag. (Sir Roy Strong, “My Weepinge Stagg I Crowne”, in: The Art of the Emblem, 1993.)

 


The Persian Lady at Hampton Court

 

Within the frame of a painted shield is written a sonnet that can be confidently ascribed to the Earl of Essex. The sonnet is displayed by the pregnant woman in the Persian attire.

The restless swallow fits my restless mind
In still reviving, still renewing wrongs;
Her Just complaints of cruelly unkind
Are all the music that my life prolongs.

With pensive thoughts my weeping Stag I crown
Whose Melancholy tears my cares express;
His Tears in silence, and my sighs unknown
Are all the physic that my harms redress.

My only hope was in this goodly tree,
Which I did plant in love, bring up in care:
But all in vain, for now too late I see
The shales be mine, the kernels other’s are.

  My Music may be plaints, my physic tears
  If this be all the fruit my love tree bears.

The lamenting swallow to which Frances compares herself in the dramatic monologue reminds of Procne, the sister of Philomela, who was raped and had her tongue cut out by Tereus, Procne’s husband. The weeping stag symbolizes the Earl of Essex who felt unjustly treated by Queen Elizabeth when she banished him from court after his disastrous Irish campaign. From Essex’s services (symbolized by the walnut tree) only the shales fall off for his wife. – Painting and poem should move the stonehearted queen and permit Essex to regain access to the court.

Willobie’s poem inhabited a prophetic quality. As the mythical Actaeon, after having seen the chaste goddess Diana naked, was transformed into a deer and torn by his own hounds; Essex, after having stormed into the queen’s bedchamber and started a rebellion, was beheaded two years later.

[171] “Like wounded Deer … So bleeds my pierced heart”: In old spelling: “Lyke wounded Deare … So bleedes my pearced hart” – which leads to a remarkable ambivalence as “hart” could at first glance be understood as “deer”. – See note 163.

[172] “In secret silence so, Perforce shall be my song, / Till truth make you confess that you have done me wrong”: See Oxord, Poems No. 59:

And I among the rest which wrote this weary song,
Must needs allege in my defence that thou hast done me wrong.

[173]Gia speme spenta”: Hope now extinguished. - See Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender (1579) Ægloga Sexta [June]:

Colins [Spenser’s] emblem.
Gia speme spenta.

‘You remember, that in the first Æglogue, Colin’s Posy was Anchora speme [there is yet hope]: for that as then there was hope of favour to be found in time. But now being clean forlorn and rejected of her, as whose hope, that was, is clean extinguished and turned into despair, he renounceth all comfort and hope of goodness to come, which is all the meaning of this Emblem.’

[174] “To frounce aloft”: To smooth out wrinkles.

[175]Chi cerca trova”: ‘Those who search, shall find.’ - The proverb is found in John Florio’s First Fruits (1578) and Second Fruits, Giardino di ricreatione (1591).

[176] “I saw your gardens, passing fine, / With pleasant flowers lately decked, / With Cowslips and with Eglantine, / When woeful Woodbine lies reject”: Essex’s emblem - the reindeer, or roebuck – was being contorted by his contemporaries into ‘honey-suckle’ (= ‘woodbine’), the words for ‘roebuck’ both in Italian and French (it. = caprivolo / fr. = chevreuil) sounding very similar to those for ‘honey-suckle’ (it. = ‘caprifoglio’ / fr.  = ‘chevrefeuille’). An Italian sailor on Essex’s ship ‘Roebuck’ could think to be on the ‘Honey-suckle’. – That means that Willobie in stating “When woeful Woodbine lies reject” underscores his allusion to Essex in CANT. LXVIII. (“Like wounded Deer whose tender sides are bath'd in blood”).

In 1598, Everard Guilpin in Skialetheia, or A Shadowe of Truth, Satyre I, sarcastically dubbed Essex ‘the honny-suckle of humilitie’.

For when great Foelix, passing through the street,
Vaileth his cap to each one he doth meet,
And when no broom-man that will pray for him,
Shall have less trewage [homage] than his bonnet’s brim,
Who would not think him perfect courtesy?
Or the honey-suckle of humility? 
The devil he is as soon: he is the devil
Brightly accoutred to bemist [cover] his evil:
Like a swart rutter’s hose his puff thoughts swell
With yeasty ambition : Signior Machiavel
Taught him this mumming trick, with courtesy
T’entrench himself in popularity,
And for a writhen face, and body’s move,
Be barricaded in the people’s love.

Guilpin was echoing the speech in act I, scene 4 of Shakespeare’s King Richard II, in which the king speaks of Bolingbroke’s „courtship to the common people“:

  KING RICHARD.
    How he did seem to dive into their hearts
    With humble and familiar courtesy;
    What reverence he did throw away on slaves,
    Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles
    And patient underbearing of his fortune,
    As 'twere to banish their affects with him.
    Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;
    A brace of draymen bid God speed him well
    And had the tribute of his supple knee,
    With 'Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends';
    As were our England in reversion his,
    And he our subjects' next degree in hope.

As early as 1598 Guilpin recognized in Essex a second Bolingbroke and judged it a dangerous omen! Essex’s followers who on 7 February commissioned a stage performance of King Richard I. in “The Globe” might have rather looked on it as a promising portent.

Very important in the present context is Raleigh’s letter of 6 July 1597 to Robert Cecil which suggests that Raleigh and Cecil were contriving Essex’s fall using the latter’s apparent predilection for the story of Richard II and his deposition by Bolingbroke, afterwards King Henry IV: “I acquainted myL[ord]: general (Essex) with your letter to me & your kind acceptance of your entertainment, he was also wonderful merry at the conceit of Richard the 2. I hope it shall never alter, & whereof I shall most glad of as the true way to all our good, quiet &advancement, and most of all for her sake whose affairs shall thereby find better progression.” (Quoted from Edmund K. Chambers, William Shakespeare, A Study of Facts and Problems, 2 vol., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930, vo. I, p. 353).

Shakespeare in Much Ado about Nothing, III/1, used the honey-suckle for „one daring smile touching on the behaviour of Essex“ (G. B. Harrison, Shakespeare at Work, 1933, p. 145) :

Where honeysuckles ripened by the sun,
Forbid the sun to enter, like favourites,
Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
Against that power that bred it.

The quotes from Richard II and Much Ado about Nothing evidence Shakespeare’s ironic-hostile attitude toward Essex. This attitude is documented… in the letter  the Earl of Oxford wrote to his brother-in-law Robert Cecil on 20 October 1595: “As I was folding up this letter I received a very honourable answer from my Lord Treasurer. My whole trust in this cause is in you two, my Lord for that he is privy to the whole cause and handling thereof from time to time, and in you, for that I assure myself in so just a matter you will not abandon me. He seemeth to doubt yet of his death, & wisheth me to make means to the Earl of Essex that he would forbear to deal for it, a thing I cannot do in honour sith I have already received divers injuries and wrongs from him which bar me of all such base courses. If her Majesty's affections be forfeits of men's estates, we must endure it.”

[177] “With pleasant flowers lately decked …The dainty Daisy bravely springs, / And chiefest honour seems to get”: Barbara de Luna comments: “Willobie even boldly utilizes the one feature which, for his contemporaries, would most readily identify Avisa’s ‘house’ as Greenwich Palace – the fact that ‘This palace of peach-red brick bore everywhere the daisy emblem of Marguerite of Anjou’ (Edith Sitwell, Fanfare for Elizabeth, London 1946).” ( B. N. de Luna, The Queen Declined, 1970, p. 10.)

[178] “Yet let the Hyssop have his place”:  Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772): “The signification of ‘hyssop,’ is external truth, which is a means of purification. It is said in Exodus 12:24 that they should ‘take a bunch of hyssop,’ because a bunch is predicated of truths and their arrangement. That hyssop denotes external truth as a means of purification, is because all spiritual purification is effected by means of truths. For the earthly and worldly loves from which man is to be purified, are not recognized except by means of truths.”

[179]Vivi, chi vince ”: ‘He may live, who vanquishes.’ - The  proverb is found in John Florio’s First Fruits (1578) and Second Fruits, Giardino di ricreatione (1591).

[180] “Yet would I live to love thee still, / And do thee good against thy will”: Edwin Abbott says: “She [Queen Elizabeth] loved Essex and Essex, if he did not despise the Queen, at least did not respect her. He boasts to Francis Bacon that he knows how to manage her, and to Anthony Bacon, he avows his intention of doing the Queen good against her will … The Earl’s wretched failure in the Irish expedition increased those suspicions: his habit of trying to ‘do her Majesty good against her will’ – involving as it did a certain amount of secrecy and intrigue, and resulting (in this case at all events) in nothing but loss and discredit, heightened those suspicions to fear.” (Edwin Abbott, Bacon and Essex, 1878, pp. 243-44).  – Abbott verweist in einer Fußnote auf eine Briefstelle, die jedoch nicht zu finden ist: “In the passage in which he [Essex] describes to Anthony Bacon the necessity for thus “doing the Queen good” he compares himself to “a waterman looking one way and rowing the other (Birch, July 1596).”  – In a footnote Abbott points to a passage in a letter: “In the passage in which he [Essex] describes to Anthony Bacon the necessity for thus “doing the Queen good” he compares himself to “a waterman looking one way and rowing the other (Birch, July 1596).”  However, the passage in question remains unspecified. - Thomas Birch (Memoirs of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, 1754) prints in vol. II, p. 77, a letter of Essex to his secretary Reynolds. The letter is dated end July 1596; Essex writes: “For tho’ I apprehend the importance of the service, as I ought, and prefer before all other, yea think it a great blow to our state to omit it yet I must, like the waterman, row one way, and look another.” Essex’ “habit of trying to ‘do her Majesty good against her will’” though is in all likelihood no invention. The relevant passage in the letter (possibly written before 1594) awaits being identified.

[181] “Yet would I live thy feature to behold, / Yet would I love, if I might be so bold”: Marginal note: These verses exceed measure, to show that his affections keep no compass, and is exceeding love.

[182] “Farewell that sweet and pleasant walk”: Together with “My grief is green, and never springs” very likely an allusion to Greenwich Palace, “the Manor of Pleasance” (See note 134.) – A conspicuous parallel can be found in Oxford, Poems No. 40: “In pleasant garden (placed all alone) / I saw a Dame…” and “Alas (quod she) behold each pleasant green”. – See 3.2.2.1 References.

[183]Il fine, fa il tutto”: ‘The end makes all.’ - The  proverb is found in John Florio’s First Fruits (1578) and Second Fruits, Giardino di ricreatione (1591).

[184] “Where fond suspect doth keep the gate, / There trust is chased from the door, / Then faith and truth will come too late, / Where falsehood will admit no more; / Then naked faith and love must yield, / For lack offence, and fly the field”: In this stanza and also the following Willobie imitates Oxford – using the same words, assonances and rhymes. See Oxford, Poems No. 30:

When danger keeps the door of Lady Beauties bower,
When jealous toys have chased trust out of her strongest tower:
Then faith and truth may fly, then falsehood wins the field,
Then feeble naked faultless hearts for lack of fence must yield.

[185]Ama, chi ti ama”: ‘Love him that loves you.’ - The  proverb is found in John Florio’s First Fruits (1578) and Second Fruits, Giardino di ricreatione (1591).

[186] “My tongue, my hand, my ready heart, / That spake that felt that freely thought, / My love, thy limbs, my inward smart, / Have all performed what they ought: / These all do love you yet, and shall, / And when I change, let vengeance fall. / Shall I repent, I ever saw”: Willobie is plagiarizing in broad daylight! (And nobody has noticed it.) - See Oxford, Poems No. 47:

That dreadless heart which durst attempt the thought
To win thy will with mine for to consent,
Maintains that vow which love in me first wrought,
I love thee still, and never shall repent.
That happy hand which hardily did touch,
Thy tender body to my deep delight:
Shall serve with sword to prove my passion such
As loves thee still, much more than it can write.
Thus love I still with tongue, hand, heart and all,
And when I change, let vengeance on me fall.

[187]Grand Amore, grand Dolore, / Inopem me copia fecit : Great love, great smart, / Abundance makes me poor. – The sources are: John Florio, Second Fruits, Giardino di ricreatione, 1591; Ovid, Metamorphoses III, 466. (Florio and Ovid build a bridge to Oxford: the former was his friend, the latter his literary example.)

[188] “When you shall see sweet Lilies grow, / And flourish in the frozen ice, / When ebbing tides shall leave to flow, / And mountains to the skies shall rise, / When roaring Seas do cease to rave, / Then shall you gain the thing you crave”: These lines and the next two stanzas reflect a pseudo-Chaucerian text from Minor Poems (See John Stow’s Chaucer, 1561). The ‘Chaucer Prophecy’ was quoted by George Puttenham in The Arte of English Poesie (1589).

When faith failes in Priestes sawes,
And Lords hestes are holden for lawes,
And robberie is tane for purchase,
And lechery for solace
Then shall the Realme of Albion
Be brought to great confusion.

William Shakespeare has later varied this “prophecy” King Lear (III/2): „When priests are more in word than matter” etc.

[189] “My heart is now, as first it was, / I came not of dame Cressid’s kind”:  See Oxford, no. 52, “Thou art as true as is the best / That ever came of Cressid’s line.”

[190]Alway the same Avisa”: See note 109.

[191] “I never knew her like before”: An inversion of “I knew her like never before” so as to observe the meter. (See CANT. LXIX. “Your love at first if I had won” statt “if I had won yor love at first” – etcetera.) 

[192] (H. W.):  “Agitante calescimus illo”: By whose movement we are inflamed. - See Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender (1579)  Ægloga decima [October]:

Cuddies [Oxford’s] Emblem.
Agitante calescimus illo &c. [“Est deus in nobis, agitante calescimus illo; impetus hic sacrae semina mentis habet.” Ovid, Fasti 6.5. – ‘There is a god in us, by whose movement we are inflamed; it is his impulse that sows the seeds of inspiration.’]

‘Hereby is meant, as also in the whole course of this Æglogue, that Poetry is a divine instinct and unnatural rage passing the reach of common reason. Whom Piers answereth Epiphonematicos [by way of acclamation] as admiring the excellency of the skill whereof in Cuddie he had already had a taste.’

It is no accident that Willobie signs ‘The Author’s conclusion’ with ‘Cuddies Emblem’, thereby underscoring another time the close ties of his poetry with that of Oxford in the Adventures of Master F. I. in 1573.

[193] “Yet fancy so his luring engines frame / That wildest hearts in time become most tame”: Willobie writes: ‘wildest harts’ – so that, in parallel to ‘winged Birds’ one could also read: “That wildest harts in time become most tame.” Willobie’s play with the ambivalence of hart/heart glances askance at Essex’s heraldic animal, the reindeer, or stag. – See notes 163, 170, 171.

[194] “Till at the length, as nature had assign’d, / Unto the earth I bent a willing mind: / He was the first to whom I gave my hand”: The phrase ‘unto the earth … I gave my hand’ can be understood literally.. Avisa ( =Elizabeth) became England’s bride.

[195] “Vengeance befall when I do change again”: This line carries a clear reference to Oxford’s poem “That self same tongue which first did thee entreat” of 1573b signed “Ferenda Natura”. See Oxford, Poems No. 47:

Thus love I still with tongue, hand, heart and all,
And when I change, let vengeance on me fall.

George Gascoigne and Walter Raleigh have addressed Queen Elizabeth as “Ferenda Natura” (The nature that must be endured). (See note 115.)

[196] “The beasts, the Birds, and airy powers, do keep their compass well, / And only man above the rest doth love for to rebel”: According to some creation myths discontent, rebellion, entered the world with the creation of mankind.

[197] “The rangling rage that held from home Ulysses all too long, / Made chaste Penelope complain of him that did her wrong”: Willobie sees Ulysses as a malcontent (or restlessly driven man) in the tradition of Adam. “Chaste Penelope” has no easy life with her husband. - See note 120.

[198] “Ever or Never”: In quoting this posy of George Gascoigne, Willobie evokes the Anthology A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres of 1573 containing Oxford’s The Adventures of Master F. I. and 47 other poems of his ( ‘Divers Excellent Devises’).