TO THE RIGHT NOBLE AND BEAUTIFULL LADIE,
THE LA: MARIE,
COUNTESSE OF PEMEBROOKE.
Most honourable and bountifull Ladie, there bee long sithens deepe sowed in my brest the seede of most entire love and humble affection unto that most brave knight, your noble brother deceased; which, taking roote, began in his life time somewhat to bud forth, and to shew themselves to him, as then in the weakenes of their first spring; and would in their riper strength (had it pleased High God till then to drawe out his daies) spired forth fruit of more perfection. But since God hath disdeigned the world of that most noble spirit which was the hope of all learned men, and the patron of my young Muses, togeather with him both their hope of anie further fruit was cut off, and also the tender delight of those their first blossoms nipped and quite dead. Yet, sithens my late cumming into England, some frends of mine, which might much prevaile with me, and indeede commaund me, knowing with howe straight bandes of duetie I was tied to him, as also bound unto that noble house, of which the chiefs hope then rested in him, have sought to revive them by upbraiding me, for that I have not shewed anie thankefull remembrance towards him or any of them, but suffer their names to sleep in silence and forgetfulnesse. Whome chieflie to satisfie, or els to avoide that fowle blot of unthankefulnesse, I have conceived this small Poeme, intituled by a generall name of The Worlds Ruines; yet speciallie intended to the renowming of that noble race from which both you and he sprong, and to the eternizing of some of the chiefe of them late deceased. The which I dedicate unto your La. as whome it most speciallie concerneth, and to whome I acknowledge my selfe bounden by manie singular favours and great graces. I pray for your honourable happinesse, and so humblie kisse your handes.
Your Ladiships ever
humblie at commaund,
THE RUINES OF TIME.
It chaunced me on* day beside the shore
Of silver streaming Thamesis to bee,
Nigh where the goodly Verlame stood of yore,
Of which there now remaines no memorie,
Nor anie little moniment to see, 5
By which the travailer that fares that way
This once was she may warned be to say.
[* On, one.]
There, on the other side, I did behold
A Woman sitting sorrowfullie wailing,
Rending her yeolow locks, like wyrie golde 10
About her shoulders careleslie downe trailing,
And streames of teares from her faire eyes forth railing*:
In her right hand a broken rod she held,
Which towards heaven shee seemd on high to weld,
[* Railing, flowing.]
Whether she were one of that rivers nymphes, 15
Which did the losse of some dere Love lament,
I doubt; or one of those three fatall impes
Which draw the dayes of men forth in extent;
Or th’auncient genius of that citie brent*;
But, seeing her so piteouslie perplexed, 20
I, to her calling, askt what her so vexed.
[* Brent, burnt.]
“Ah! what delight,” quoth she, “in earthlie thing,
Or comfort can I, wretched creature, have?
Whose happines the heavens envying,
From highest staire to lowest step me drave, 25
And have in mine owne bowels made my grave,
That of all nations now I am forlorne*,
The worlds sad spectacle, and Fortunes scorne.”
[* Forlorne, forsaken.]