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PROTHALAMION

CALME was the day, and through the trembling

ayre

Sweete-breathing Zephyrus did softly play
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titans beames, which then did glyster

fayre;

When I, (whom sullein care,

Through discontent of my long fruitlesse stay
In Princes Court, and expectation vayne
Of idle hopes, which still doe fly away,

Like empty shaddowes, did afflict my brayne,)
Walkt forth to ease my payne

Along the shoare of silver streaming Themmes; Whose rutty Bancke, the which his River

hemmes,

Was paynted all with variable flowers,
And all the meades adornd with daintie

gemmes

Fit to decke maydens bowres,

And crowne their Paramours

Against the Brydale day, which is not long: Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end my Song.

18

There, in a Meadow, by the Rivers side,
A Flocke of Nymphes I chaunced to espy,
All lovely Daughters of the Flood thereby,
With goodly greenish locks, all loose untyde,
As each had bene a Bryde;

And each one had a little wicker basket,
Made of fine twigs, entraylèd curiously,
In which they gathered flowers to fill their
flasket,

And with fine Fingers cropt full feateously
The tender stalkes on hye.

Of every sort, which in that Meadow grew,
They gathered some; the Violet, pallid blew,
The little Dazie, that at evening closes,

The virgin Lillie, and the Primrose trew,
With store of vermeil Roses,

To decke their Bridegromes posies
Against the Brydale day, which was not long:
Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end
my Song.

36

With that I saw two Swannes of goodly hewe Come softly swimming downe along the Lee; Two fairer Birds I yet did never see;

The snow, which doth the top of Pindus

strew,

Did never whiter shew,

Nor Jove himselfe, when he a Swan would be, For love of Leda, whiter did appeare;

Yet Leda was (they say) as white as he,

Yet not so white as these, nor nothing neare; So purely white they were,

That even the gentle streame, the which them

bare,

Seem'd foule to them, and bad his billowes

spare

To wet their silken feathers, least they might Soyle their fayre plumes with water not so fayre,

And marre their beauties bright,
That shone as heavens light,

Against their Brydale day, which was not

long:

Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end my Song.

54

Eftsoones the Nymphes, which now had Flowers their fill,

Ran all in haste to see that silver brood,
As they came floating on the Christal Flood;
Whom when they sawe, they stood amazèd still,
Their wondring eyes to fill;

Them seem'd they never saw a sight so fayre,
Of Fowles, so lovely, that they sure did deeme
Them heavenly borne, or to be that same payre
Which through the Skie draw Venus silver
Teeme ;

For sure they did not seeme

To be begot of any earthly Seede,
But rather Angels, or of Angels breede;
Yet were they bred of Somers-heat, they say,

In sweetest Season, when each Flower and
weede

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