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Prothalamion, or A Spousall Verse
by [?]


IN HONOUR OF THE DOUBLE MARRIAGE OF THE TWO HONORABLE
AND VERTUOUS LADIES, THE LADIE ELIZABETH,
AND THE LADIE KATHERINE SOMERSET, DAUGHTERS
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE EARLE
OF WORCESTER, AND ESPOUSED TO THE
TWO WORTHIE GENTLEMEN, M. HENRY
GILFORD AND M. WILLIAM PETER,
ESQUYERS.

(1596)


PROTHALAMION:

OR,

A SPOUSALL VERSE.

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 shadows, did afflict my brayne,)
Walkt forth to ease my payne 10
Along the shoare of silver streaming Themmes;
Whose rutty** bank, the which his river hemmes,
Was paynted all with variable flowers,
And all the meades adornd with dainty gemmes,
Fit to decke maydens bowres, 15
And crowne their paramours
Against the brydale day, which is not [email protected]:
Sweet Themmes! runne softly, till I end my song.

[* Delay, allay.]
[** Rutty, rooty.]
[@ Long, distant.]

There, in a meadow by the rivers side,
A flocke of Nymphes I chaunced to espy, 20
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, entrayled* curiously, 25
In which they gathered flowers to fill their flasket**,
And with fine fingers cropt full [email protected]
The tender stalkes on hye.
Of every sort which in that meadow grew
They gathered some; the violet, pallid blew, 30
The little dazie, that at evening closes,
The virgin lillie, and the primrose trew,
With store of vermeil roses,
To deck their bridegroomes posies
Against the brydale day, which was not long: 35
Sweet Themmes! runne softly, till I end my song.

[* Entrayled, interwoven.]
[** Flasket, a long, shallow basket.]
[@ Feateously, dexterously.]

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 40
Did never whiter shew,
Nor Jove himselfe, when he a swan would be
For love of Leda, whiter did appear;
Yet Leda was, they say, as white as he,
Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near: 45
So purely white they were,
That even the gentle stream, 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, 50
And marre their beauties bright,
That shone as heavens light,
Against their brydale day, which was not long:
Sweet Themmes! runne softly, till I end my song.
[* Lee, stream.]