Sir William Alexander

Song III

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When as my fancies first began to flie,
Which youth had but enlarg'd of late,
Enamour'd of mine owne conceit,
I sported with my thoughts that then were free;
And neuer thought to see
No such mishap at all,
As might haue made them thrall.
When lo, euen then my fate
Was laboring to orethrow my prosprous state:
For Cupid did conspire my fall,
And with my honie mixt his gall,
Long ere I thought that such a thing could be.
Loue after many stratagems were tride,
His griefe t'his mother did impart,
And praid her to find out some art,
By which he might haue meanes t'abate my pride.
And she by chance espide
Where beauties beautie straid,
Like whom straight wayes arraid,
She tooke a powerfull dart,
Which had the force t'inflame an icie hart:
And when she had this slight assaid,
The time no longer she delaid,
But made an arrow through my bowels glide.
Then when I had receiu'd the deadly wound,
And that the goddesse fled my sight,
Inueigled with her beauties light:
First hauing followed ore the stable ground,
Vnto the deepe profound,
My course I next did hold,
In hope the truth t'vnfold.
If Thetis by her might,
Or some sea-nimph had vs'd the fatall slight:
In th'Hauen I did a barke behold,
With sailes of silke, and oares of gold,
Which being richly deckt, did seeme most sound.

In this imbark'd when from the port I past,
Faire gales at first my sailes did greete,
And all seem'd for the voyage meete;
But yet I sail'd not long, when lo a blast
Did quite oreturne my mast;
Which being once throwne downe,
Still looking for to drowne,
And striken off my feete,
Betwixt two rockes I did with danger fleete:
Whil'st seas their waues with clouds did crowne,
Yet with much toile I got a towne,
Whereas I saw her whom I sought at last.
What were my ioyes then scarcely can be thought;
When in distresse she did me spie,
My mind with fortunes best to trie,
She to a chamber made of pearle me brought,
Where whil'st I proudly sought,
In state with Ioue to striue;
A flame which did arriue
In twinckling of an eye,
The chamber burn'd, and left me like to die:
For after that, how could I liue,
That in the depth of woes did diue,
To see my glorie to confusion brought?
But with prosperitie yet once againe,
(To trie what was within my mind)
She on my backe two wings did bind,
Like to Ioues birds, and I who did disdaine
On th'earth for to remaine,
Since I might soare ore all,
Did th'airie sprites appall,
Till through fierce flying blind,
I was encountred with a mightie wind,
With which through th'aire toss'd like a ball,
Euen as a starre from heauen doth fall,
I glided to the ground almost quite slaine.

Then (as it seem'd) growne kinder then before,
This Ladie for to cure my wounds,
Did seeke ore all the nearest bounds,
To trie what might my wonted state restore,
And still her care grew more;
Of flowers she made my bed,
With Nectar I was fed,
And with most sugred sounds,
Oft luld asleepe betwixt two yuorie rounds,
Whose daintie turrets all were cled
With Lillies white, and Roses red,
The leaues of which could onely ease my sore.
When I was cur'd of euery thing saue care,
She whom I name (without a name)
Did leade me forth t'a mightie frame,
A curious building that was wondrous faire,
A labyrinth most rare,
All made of precious stones:
That which in Candie once
Did hide Pasiphaes shame,
Was not so large, though more enlarg'd by fame:
There whil'st none listned to their mones,
A world of men shed weightie grones,
That tortur'd were with th'engines of despaire.
As Forth at Sterling, glides as t'were in doubt,
What way she should direct her course;
If to the sea, or to the source,
And sporting with her selfe, her selfe doth flout:
So wandred I about
In th'intricated way,
Where whil'st I did still stray,
With an abrupt discourse,
And with a courtesie, I must say course,
My beauteous guide fled quite away,
And would not do so much as stay,
To lend me first a thread to leade me out:
Through many a corner whil'st I staggring went,
Which in the darke I did embrace,
A nymph like th'other in the face,
But whose affections were more mildly bent,
Spying my breath neare spent,
Plaid Ariadnes part,
And led me by the heart
Out of the guilefull place.
And like th'vngratefull Theseus in this case,
I made not my deliuerer smart:
Thus oft affraid my panting hart,
Can yet scarce trust t'haue scap'd some bad euent.

If any muse misterious song,
At those strange things that thou hast showne,
And wot not what to deeme;
Tell that they do me wrong,
I am my selfe, what ere I seeme,
And must go mask'd, that I may not be knowne.

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Sir William Alexander