Sonnets by James VI


First Ioue, as greatest God aboue the rest,

Graunt thou to me a pairt of my desyre:

That when in verse of thee I wryte my best,

This onely thing I earnestly requyre,

That thou my veine Poetique so inspyre,

As they may suirlie think, all that it reid,

When I descryue thy might and thundring fyre,

That they do see thy self in verie deid

From heauen the greatest Thunders for to leid,

And syne vpon the Gyants heads to fall:

Or cumming to thy Semele with speid

In Thunders least, at her request and call:

Or throwing Phaethon downe from heauen to eard,

With threatning thunders, making monstrous reard.


Apollo nixt, assist me in a parte,

Sen vnto Ioue thou secound art in might,

That when I do descryue thy shyning Carte,

The Readers may esteme it in their sight.

And graunt me als, thou worlds o onely light,

That when I lyke for subiect to deuyse

To wryte, how as before thy countenaunce bright

The yeares do stand, with seasons dowble twyse,

That so I may descryue the verie guyse

Thus by thy help, of yeares wherein we liue:

As Readers syne may say, heir surely lyes,

Of seasons fowre, the glasse and picture viue.

Grant als, that so Imay my verses warpe,

As thou may play them syne vpon thy Harpe.



And first, o Phoebus, when I do descriue

The Springtyme sproutar of the herbes and flowris,

Whomewith in rank none of the foure do striue,

But nearest thee do stande all tymes and howris:

Graunt Readers may esteme, they sie the showris,

Whose balmie dropps so softlie dois distell,

Which watrie cloudds in mesure suche downe powris,

As makis the herbis, and verie earth to smell

With sauours sweit, fra tyme that onis thy sell

The vapouris softlie sowkis with smyling cheare,

VVhilks syne in cloudds are keiped closs and well,

VVhill vehement Winter come in tyme of yeare.

Graunt, when I lyke the Springtyme to displaye,

That Readers think they sie the Spring alwaye.


AND graunt I may so viuely put in verse

The Sommer, when I lyke theirof to treat:

As when in writ I do theirof reherse,

Let Readers think they fele the burning heat,

And graithly see the earth, for lacke of weit,

With withering drouth and Sunne so gaigged all,

As for the grasse on feild, the dust in streit

Doth ryse and flee aloft, long or it fall.

Yea, let them think, they heare the song and call,

Which Floras wingde musicians maks to sound.

And that to taste, and smell, beleue they shall

Delicious fruictis, whilks in that tyme abound.

And shortly, all their senses so bereaued,

As eyes and earis, and all may be deceaued.


OR when I lyke my pen for to imploy

Of fertile Harvest in the description trew:

Let Readers think, they instantly conuoy

The busie shearers for to reap their dew,

By cutting rypest cornes with hookes anew:

Which cornes their heauy heads did dounward bow,

Els seking earth againe, from whence they grew,

And vnto Ceres do their seruice vow.

Let Readers also surely think and trow,

They see the painfull Vigneron pull the grapes:

First tramping them, and after pressing now

The grenest clusters gathered into heapes.

Let then the Harvest so viue to them appeare,

As if they saw both cornes and clusters neare.


BVT let them think, in verie deid they feill,

When as I do the VVinters stormes vnfolde,

The bitter frosts, which waters dois congeill

In VVinter season, by a pearcing colde.

And that they heare the whiddering Boreas bolde,

With hiddeous hurling, rolling Rocks from hie.

Or let them think, they see god Saturne olde,

Whose hoarie haire owercouering earth, maks flie

The lytle birds in flocks, fra tyme they see

The earth and all with stormes of snow owercled:

Yea let them think, they heare the birds that die,

Make piteous mone, that Saturnes hairis are spred.

Apollo, graunt thir foirsaid suitis of myne,

All fyue I say, that thou may crowne me syne.



AND when I do descriue the Oceans force,

Graunt syne, o Neptune, god of seas profound,

That readars think on leeboard, and on dworce,

And how the Seas owerflowed this massiue round:

Yea, let them think, they heare a stormy sound,

Which threatnis wind, and darknes come at hand:

And water in their shipps syne to abound,

By weltring waues, like hyest towres on land.

Then let them thinke their shipp now low on sand,

Now climmes & skippes to top of rageing seas,

Now downe to hell, when shippmen may not stand,

But lifts their hands to pray thee for some eas.

Syne let them think thy Trident doth it calme,

Which maks it cleare and smothe lyke glas or alme.



And graunt the lyke when as the swimming sort

Of all thy subjects skaled I list declare:

As Triton monster with a manly port,

Who drownd the Troyan trumpetour most raire:

As Marmaids wyse, who wepis in wether faire:

And marvelous Monkis, I meane Monkis of the see.

Bot what of monsters, when Ilooke and staire

On wounderous heapes of subiectis seruing the?

As whailes so huge, and Sea eylis rare, that be

Myle longs, in crawling cruikis of sixtie pace;

And Daulphins, Seahorse, Selchs with oxin ee,

And Mersvvynis, Pertrikis als of fishes race.

In short, no fowle doth flie, nor beast doth go,

But thow hast fishes lyke to them and mo.



O dreidfull Pluto, brother thrid to Ioue,

With Proserpin, thy wife, the quene of hell:

My sute to yow is, when I like to loaue

The ioyes that do in Elise field excell:

Or when I like great Tragedies to tell:

Or flyte, or murne my fate: or wryte with feare

The plagues ye do send furth with Dirae fell.

Let Readers think, that both they see and heare

Alecto, threatning Turnus sister deare:

And heare Celaenos wings, with Harpyes all:

And see dog Cerberus rage with hiddeous beare,

And all that did Aeneas once befall.

When as he past throw all those dongeons dim,

The foresaid fields syne visited by him.



O Furious Mars, thow warlyke souldiour bold,

And hardy Pallas, goddess stout and graue:

Let Reidars think, when combats manyfold

Ido descriue, they see two champions braue,

With armies huge approching to resaue

Thy will, with cloudds of dust into the air.

Syne Phifers, Drummes, and Trumpets cleir do craue

The pelmell chok with larum loude alwhair,

Then nothing hard but gunnis, and ratling fair

Of speares, and clincking swords with glaunce so cleir,

As if they foght in skyes, then wrangles thair

Men killd, vnkilld, whill Parcas breath reteir.

There lyes the venquisht wailing sore his chaunce:

Here lyes the victor, rewing els the daunce.



And at your handis I earnestly do craue,

O facound Mercure, with the Muses nyne,

That for conducting guyde I may you haue,

Aswell vnto my pen, as my Ingyne.

Let Readers think, thy eloquence deuyne

O Mercure, in my Poems doth appeare;

And that Parnassis flowing fountaine fyne

Into my works doth shyne lyke cristall cleare.

O Muses, let them thinke that they do heare

Your voyces all into my verse resound.

And that your vertewis singuler and seir

May wholly all in them be also found.

Of all that may the perfyte Poems make,

I pray you let my verses haue no lake.



In short, you all forenamed gods I pray

For to concur with one accord and will,

That all my works may perfyte be alway:

Which if ye doe, then sweare I for to fill

My works immortall with your praises still:

I shall your names eternall euer sing,

I shall tread downe the grasse on Parnass hill

By making with your names the world to ring:

I shall your names from all obliuion bring.

I lofty Virgill shall to life restoir,

My subiects all shalbe of heauenly thing,

How to delate the gods immortals gloir.

Essay me once, and if ye find me swerue,

Then thinke, I do not graces such deserue.



Sen for zour saik I vvryte upon zour airt,

Apollo, Pan, and ze o Musis nyne,

And thou, o Mercure, for to help thy pairt,

I do implore, sen thou be thy ingyne,

Nixt efter Pan had found the quhissil, syne

Thou did perfyte, that quhilk he bot espyit:

And efter that made Argus for to tyne

(quha kepit Io) all his vvindois by it.

Concurre ze Gods, it can not be denyit:

Sen in zour airt of Poesie I vvryte.

Auld birds to learne by teiching it is tryit:

Sic docens discam gif ze help to dyte.

Then Reidar sie of nature thou haue pairt,

Syne laikis thou nocht, bot heir to reid the airt.



Ane rype ingyne, ane quick and vvalkned vvitt,

VVith sommair reasons, suddenlie applyit,

For euery purpose using reasons fitt,

VVith skilfulnes, vvhere learning may be spyit,

With pithie vvordis, for to expres zovv by it

His full intention in his proper leid,

The puritie quhairof, vveill hes he tryit:

With memorie to keip quhat he dois reid,

With skilfulnes and figuris, quhilks proceid

From Rhetorique, vvith euerlasting fame,

With uthers vvoundring, preassing vvith all speid

For to atteine to merite sic a name.

All thir into the perfyte Poete be.

Goddis, grant I may obteine the Laurell trie.

aaaaababbcbcdd or ababacbccdcdee

Sonnet of the Authour.

The facound Greke, Demosthenes by name,

His toung was ones into his youth so slow

As evin that airt, which floorish made his fame,

He scarce could name it for a tyme, ze know.

So of small seidis the Liban Cedres grow:

So of an Egg the Egle doeth proceid:

From fountains small great Nilus flood doeth flow:

Evin so of rawnis do mightiefishes breid.

Therefore, good Reader, when as thow dois reid

These my first fruictis, dispyse them not at all.

Who watts, bot these may able be indeid

Of fyner Poemis the beginning small.

Then, rather loaue my meaning and my panis,

Then lak my dull ingyne and blunted branis.



The azur'd vaulte, the crystall circles bright,

The gleaming fyrie torches powdred there,

The changing round,the shining beamie light,

The sad and bearded fyres,the monsters faire:

The prodiges appearing in the aire,

The rearding thunders, and the blustering winds,

The foules,in hew,in shape,in nature raire,

The prettie notes that wing'd musiciens finds:

In earth the sau'rie flooures, the mettal'd minds,

The wholesome hearbes,the hautie pleasant trees,

The syluer streames, the beasts of sundrie kinds,

The bounded roares and fishes of the seas:

All these,for teaching man,the Lord did frame,

To do his will,whose glorie shines in thame



A complaint against the contrary Wyndes that hindered the Queene to com to Scotland from Denmarke.

From sacred throne in heauen Empyrick hie

A breathe diuine in Poets brests does blowe

Wherethrough all things inferiour in degrie

As vassals vnto them doe hommage showe

There songs enchants Apollos selfe ye knowe

And chaste Dianas coache can haste or staye

Can change the course of Planets high or lowe

And make the earthe obeye them euerie waye

Make rockes to danse, hugge hills to skippe and playe

Beasts, foules, and fishe to followe them allwhere

Though thus the heauen, the sea, and earthe obeye,

Yett mutins the midde region of the aire.

What hatefull Juno, Aeolus entiseth

Wherby contrarious Zephyre thus ariseth.



O cruell Cupide what a rutheles rage

What hatefull wrathe thou vtterest vpon me

No medicine my sicknesse may asswage

Nor cataplasme cure my wounde I see

Through deadlie shott aliue I daylie dye

I frie in flammes of that envenomed darte

Which shotte me sicker in at ather eye

Then fastned fast into my hoalit harte

The feuer hath infected euerie parte

My bones are dried there marrowe melts awaye

My sinnowes feebles through my smoaking smarte

And all my bloode as in a pann doeth playe

I onlie wishe for ease of all my paine

That she might witt what sorrowe I sustaine.


To the Queene

As on the wings of your enchanting fame

I was transported ou'r the stormie seas

Who coulde not quenche that restles burning flame

Which onlie ye by sympathie did mease

So can I troubled be with no disease

Bot onlie Medicinar remaines

And easilie when euer that ye please

May salue my sores and mitigatt my paines

Your smiling is an antidote againes

The Melancholie that oppresseth me

And when a raging wrathe into me raignes

Your louing lookes may make me calme to be

How oft yow see me haue an heauie hart

Remember then sweete Doctour on your art


To the Queene, Anonimos

That blessed houre when first was broght to light

Our earthlie Juno, and our gratious Qheene

Three Goddesses how soone they hade her seene

Contended who protect her shoulde by right

Bot being as Goddesses of eqyall might

And as of female sexe like stiffe in will

It was agreed by sacred Apollos selfe ye knowe

And chaste Dianas coache can haste or staye

Can change the course of Planets high or lowe

And make the earthe obeye them eurie waye

Make rockes to danse, hugge hills to skippe and playe

Beasts, foules, and fishe to followe them allwhere

Though thus the heauen, the sea, and earth obeye,

Yett mutins the midde region of the aire.

What hetefull Juno, Aeolus entiseth

Wherby contrarious Zephyre thus ariseth


Two Sonnets to her M:tie to show the difference of Stiles

althogh Madame I ought not to refuse

What yee request, or pleases to desire

Yet may I justly make my oun excuse

In that which last it pleas'd you to require

Long since forsooth my Muse begunne to tire

Through daylie fascherie of my oun affaires

Which quench'd in me that heauenly furious fire

In place whereof came sad & thorny cares

Which restlesly no time nor season spares

To spoile me of my former pleasurs quite

Who wont before to vse farre other wares

As exercis'd some worthy work to write

Now ar Castalias floods dried up in me

Like suddain shoures this time of yeere ye see.



But what Madame & shall I then denie

Your juste demaunde and disobey the same?

No yee euen yee shall carrie to the skie

My barren verse and shall my Muse inflame

Was it not only your inchaunting fame

Who on her wings alofte did carrie mee

Frome natiue soil to follow on your name

And Eagle like on Theatis back to flee

Wher she commaunded Neptune for to be

My Princely guard and Triton to attend

On artificial flying tours of tree

Wherin I resting ranne to journeys end

Then since your fame hath made me flie before

Well may your name my verses nou decore.



the Cheuiott hills doe with my state agree

In euerie point excepting onelie one

For as there toppes in cloudes are mounted hie

So all my thoughts in skies be higher gone

There foote is fast, my faithe a stedfast stone

From them discends the christall fontains cleare

And from mine eyes butt fained force and mone

Hoppes trickling teares with sadd and murnefull cheare

From them them great windes doe hurle with hiddeous beir

From me deepe sighs, greate flocks of sheepe the feede

I flockes of loue, no fruicts on them appeare

My houpe to me no grace can bring or breede

In these alike, in this we disagree

That snowe on them, and flames remaines in me.



As man, a man am I composed all

Of brethren foure which did this worlde compone

Yett vnto me doth suche a chance befall

As I of mankinde all am he alone

Who of the foure possesseth onelie one

My flames of loue to firie heauen be past

My aire in sighs euanish'd is and gone

My moysture into teares distilling fast

Now onelie earthe remaines with me at last

That am denuded of the other three

Then crewell Dame since unto suche a cast

Your onelie beautie thus compelleth me

Send als my earth, with earth for to remaine

Or els restore me to my selfe againe.



If he that lackes the light may iustlie mone

And eke lament his miserable cace

As he to whome all wordlie ioye is gone

When drearie darknes cumes in Phoebus place

How muche the more may I lament allace

The absence of my onelie lampe of light

Since Lezardlike I feede vpon her face

And suckes my satisfaction from her sight

No more may I, then marigolde by night

Beare blossoms when no sighte of Sunne I haue

For yow Madame haue by your beauties might

Bereft, and brookes my hart your humble slaue

How may a man, a floure, a corps in smart

See, blossome, breathe; but eyes, but Sunne, but hart.



come fruictfull thoughts that fertill euer flowes

And showe what sicknes smites my heauie hart

The more I muse my greefe the greater growes

And painefull pangues of passions playe there parte

My euill it is incurable by art

And keepis a contrare course to nature cleene

My minde delights to pance vpon his smart

And feede on flames though secrete and vnseene

Bot as my brest a butt full long hath bene

to sightles shotts, so on the other side

O ye my harts allurer by my eyen

Respect with ruthe the bale I daylie bide

Then since we bothe like sorrowe doe sustaine

Bothe preasse to turne in pleasure all our paine.



Although that crooked crawling Vulcan lie

An-vnder ashes colde as oft wee see

As senseles deade whill by his heate he drie

The greene and fizzing faggots made of tree

Then will that litle sponke and flaming eye

Bleaze brauelie forth and sparkling all abreed

With wandling wp a wondrous sight to see

Kithe clearlie then and on the faggots feede

So am I forced for to confesse indeede

My sponke of loue smor'd vnder coales of shame

By beauties force the fosterer of that seede

Now budds and bursts in an appearing flame

Bot since your beautie hath this wonder wroght

I houpe Madame it shall not be for noght.



O womans witt that wauers with the winde

When none so well may warie now as I

As weathercocke thy stablenes I finde

And as the sea that still can neuer lie

Bot since that tyme the trueth hath made me trie

That in inconstance thou art constant still

My courage sayes on Cupide ceasse to crie

That are rewarded thus for thy goodwill

For thogh Madame I failde not to fulfill

All sort of seruice to a Mistres dewe

Yett absence thogh bot for a space did spill

The thankes deserued of all my seruice trewe

What shall I saye, I never thought to see

That out of sight, shoulde out of langour be.



A sonnet on Mr Pa. Adamsons paraphrase of Job

In wandering wealth through burbling brookes and bewes

Of tripping troupes and flocks on fertill grounde

In cattell great of sundrie shapes and hewes

With houues all whole, or in a parted rounde

In fields fullfild with corners by shearers bounde

In heapes of golde, and ritches in all wayes

As Job excelled all others might be founde

Of Monarchs greate or Princes in his dayes

So this translatour merites no lesse praise

For gifts of spirit, then he for gifts of geare

And God in grace hath giuen suche conterpaise

As his translation to the worke is peere

God did his gifts in him so wiselie mell

Whose heauenlie wealth Jobs earthlie wealth doth tell.


A Sonnet on Ticho Brahe

That onlie essence who made all of noght

Our great and mightie Lord the life of all

When he in ordour euerie thing hade broght

At the creating of this earthlie ball

Then made he man at last. Thy raigne it shall

Extend (quod Jehoua) in euerie cace

Ouer all these breathing beasts that flatlie fall

For humble hommage here before thy face

He also pitch'd eache Planet in his place

And made them rulers of the ruling Lord

As heauenlie impes to gouerne bodies basse

Be subtle and celestiall sweete accord

Then greate is Ticho who by this his booke

Commandement doth ouer these commanders brooke.


Another on the same

The glorious globe of heauenlie matter made

Containing ten celestiall circles faire

Where shining starres in glistring graithe arraide

Most pleasantlie are poudered here and thair

Where euerie planet hath his own repaire

And christall house, a whirling wheill in rounde

Whose calme aspects or froward does declaire

Gods minde to blisse great kingdomes or confounde

Then if yow list to see on earthlie grounde

There ordour, course, and influence appeare

Looke Tichoes tooles, there finelie shall be founde

Each planet dansing in his propre spheare

There fire diuine into his house remaine

Whome sommerlie his booke doth here containe.


Another on the same

What foolish Phaeton did presume in pride

Yea more what great Apollo takes in hand

Who does the course of glistring Phoebus guide

Thou does performe that rules eache firie brand

Then greater art thou then Apollo cleare

As thy Vranias eldest fostre deare.


A sonnet on Du Bartas

Since ye immortall sisters nine hath left

All other countries lying far or neere

To follow him who from yow all them reft

And now hath caused your residence be here

Who thogh a stranger, yett he lou'd so deere

This realme and me, so as he spoil'd his awin

(And all the brookes,the bankes and fontains cleere

That be in it) of yow, as he hath shawin

In this youre worke, then lett your breaths be blawin

In recompense of this his willing minde

On me, that then may with my penn be drawin

His praise: who thogh him selfe be not inclin'd

Nor presseth bot to touche the laurell tree

Yett well he merites crown'd therwith to be.



What heauen doth furnish thee such learned skill

What heauenlie fire inspires thy furious sprite

What foule bereaues thou for to painte at will

Thy trauells greate, what booke giues floures most sweete

Deck'd, holie, cleane, alone but matches meete

Wise, loftie, learned, with good will florish'd faire

Of penn, of brightness, smell and skill compleete

They wonder at thee in heauen, fire, earthe, and aire

Great God who heares from heauen his cantiques raire

And knowes thy harper, furie, pen, and floure

Preserue him in his midrinke with thy caire

But doubt his skill will change in heauen sume houre

His soule in starre, his furie in fires most strange

His pen in Phoenix, corps in floure shall change.


A sonnet on Mr.W.Fullers translation of Petrarchs triumphe of loue.

We find by proofe that into euerie age

In Phoebus art sume glistring starre did shine

Who worthie scollers to the Muses sage

Fullfil'd there countries with there workes diuine

So Homere was a sounding trumpett fine

Amongst the Greeks into his learned dayes

So Virgill was amongst the Romans sine

A spirit sublimed, a piller of there praise

So loftie Petrarch his renoume did blaze

In tongue Italique in a sugred stile

And to the circled skies his name did raise

For he by poems that he did compile

In triumphe ledde loue, chastnes, deathe, and fame

Bot thou triumphes ouer Petrarchs propre name.


An Epitaphe on Sir Philip Sidney

Thou mightie Mars the God of souldiours braue

And thou Minerve that does in witt excell

And thou Apollo that does knowledge haue

Of euerie art that from Parnassus fell

With all the Sisters that thereon doe dwell

Lament for him who dewlie seru'd yow all

Whome in, yow wiselie all your arts did mell

Bewaile I saye his vnexpected fall

I neede not in remembrance for to call

His youth, his race, the houpe hade of him aye

Since that in him doeth cruell deathe appall

Both manhoode, witt, and learning euerie waye

Now in the bed of honour doeth he rest

And euermore of him shall liue the best.


An epitaphe on John Shaw

A vertuous life procures a happie deathe

And raires to loftie skies there noble name

Then blest is he who looseth thus his breathe

Though to his friends it be a griefe the same

This may be saide of thy immortall fame

Who here reposes closed in honours laire

For as the trewe and noble race thou came

So honestie and trueth was all thy caire

Thy kinn was honoured by thy vertues raire

Thy place of creditt did thy friends defend.

Then noble mindes aspire and doe not spaire

With such a life to conquise such an end

Bot here my inward greefe does make me staye

I minde with deeds, and not with wordes to paye.


A sonnet to Chanceller Maitlane

Virgiliae nostrae

If he who valliant euen within the space

That Titan six tymes twise his course does end

Did conquise olde Dame Rheas fruictfull face

And did his raigne from pole to pole extend

Hade thought him happier if that greeke had penn'd

His worthie praise who traced the Troian sacke

Then all his actes that forth his name did send

Or his triumphant trophees might him make.

Then what am I who on Pegasian backe

Does flee amongs the Nymphes immortall faire

For thou o Maitland does occasion take

Euen by my verse to spreade thy name allwhere

For that in barbarous leide I blocke and frames

Thou learnedlie in Mineru's tongue proclames.

Olet lucernam certe, nam cum lucerna excogitatum fuit.


An epitaphe on Montgomerie

What drousie sleepe doth syle your eyes allace

Ye sacred brethren of Castalian band

And shall the prince of Poets in our land

Goe thus to grave vumurned in anie cace

No; whett your pens ye imps of heauenlie grace

And toone me wp your sweete resounding strings

And mounte him so on your immortall wings

That euer he may liue in euerie place

Remember on Montgomeries flowand grace

His suggred stile his weightie words diuine

And how he made the sacred Sisters nine

There montaine quitte to followe on his trace

Though to his buriall was refused the bell

The bell of fame, shall aye his praises knell.


A sonnet on the moneth of May

Haill mirthfull May the moneth full of ioye

Haill mother milde of hartsume herbes and floures

Haill fostrer faire of euerie sporte and toye

And of Auroras dewis and summer shoures

Haill friend of Phoebus and his glancing houres

Haill sister scheine to Nature breeding all

Who by the raine that cloudie skies out pouris

And Titans heate, reformes the faided fall

In woefull winter by the frostie gall

Of sadd Saturnus tirrar of the trees

And now by Natures might and thine they shall

Be florish'd faire with colours that agrees

Then lett ws all be gladd to honour the

As in olde tymes was euer wonte to be.


An aenigme of sleepe

Life is my selfe, I keepe the life of all

Without my helpe all liuing things they die

Small, greate, poore, ritche, obeye vnto my call

Feirce lions, foules, and whaills intp the sie

With meete and drinke the hungrie I supplie

Dead drunken als I quicken newe againe

Dearer to Kings, nor crownes and sceptours hie

Unto the riche, nor all there wealth and gaine

I am not nyse, the poore I'le not disdaine

Poore wretches more then Kings may me command

Where I cumme in all senses man refraine

Softer nor silke, and sadder nor the sand

I hurte, I helpe, I slaye, and cuire the same

SLEEPE, and aduise, and panse well what I am.


A Sonnet when the King was surprised by the Earle Bothwell

A faschious fight does force my freest minde

Betwixt two valliant champions I persaue

The one trewe courage rightlie is defin'd

The other wisedome temperat and graue

Thy selfe vndanted showe quoth courage braue

Bot wisedome wishes for a while to staye

Quoth courage rather die then liue a slaue

Quoth wisedome true, if so should be for aye

Bot wracke the not vpon thy selfe I praye

Since keeping wp thy selfe bot for a space

On others sine thy courage kithe thou maye

Quoth courage, lingring is a great disgrace

Of all these straits the best is out of doubte

That courage wise, and wisedome should be stoute.


Another on the same

Shall treason then of trueth haue the rewarde

And shall rebellion thus exalted be

Shall cloked vice with falsehoods fained farde

In creditt creepe and glister in our eye

Shall coloured knaues so malapertlie lie

And shamelesse sowe there poysoned smitting seede

And shall periured infamous foxes slie

With there triumphes make honest harts to bleede

How long shall Furies on our fortunes feede

How long shall vice her raigne possesse in rest

How long shall Harpies our displeasure breede

And monstrous foules sitt sicker in our nest

In tyme appointed God will suirlie haue

Eache one his due rewarde for to resaue.



All kinde of wronge, allace! it now aboundes

And honestie is fleemed out of this land

Now trumprie ouer trueth his triumphe soundes

Who now can knowe the hart by tongue or hand

Cummes euer iustice at the barre to stande

Where can she be in these our later dayes

Alike in water for to wagg a wande

As speare for her if truelie sundrie sayes

For manie now abroade doe daylie blaize

That iustice hath her hart infected sore

How can she then be cleane in anie wayes

Bot must become corrupted more and more

Sume lockman now hath locked wp apart

Poore iustice martyr'd with a meschant hart.



O mightie sonne of Semele the faire

O Bacchus borne by Joue the God of might

O twise borne boye, who euer does and dare

Subdue all mortall with thy liquour wight

Who with thy power blinded hath the sight

To sume, to others thou the eares haue deaffed

From sume thou takes the taste, sume smelling right

Doeth lacke, sume touching, sume all fiue bereaued

Are of thee, the greate Alexandre craued

Thy mercie oft, our maistre poete now

Is warde by the; we smaller then shall leaue it

To striue with the. Then on his tombe I wowe

Shall be, Here lyis whome Bacchus by his wyne

Hath trapped first, and made him render sine.


On Sir William Alexanders harshe vearses after the Inglishe fasone

Hould, hould your hand, hould, mercy, mercy, spare

Those sacred nine that nurst you many a yeare

Full oft alas with comfort and with care

Wee bath'd you in Castalias fountaine cleare

Then on your winges aloft wee did you beare

And set you on our stately forked hill

Where you our heaunly harmonyes did heare

The rockes resoundinge with there echoes still

Although your neighbours haue conspir'd to spill

That art which did the laurel crowne obtaine

And borowing from the raven there ragged quill

Bewray there harsh hard trotting tumbling wayne

Such hamringe hard the mettalls hard require

Our songs ar fil'd with smoothly flowing fire.


A sonnet against the could that was in January 1616

How cruely these catiffs doe conspire

What loathsome loue breeds such a baleful band,

Betwixt the cancred Kinge of Creta land

That melancholy ould and angry syre

And him who wont to quench debaite and ire

Amongst the Romains when his ports were clos'd

But now his double face is still dispos'd

With Saturns helpe to freeze vs at the fire

The earth ou'e-couered with a sheete of snow

Refuses foode to foule to bird and beast

The chillinge cold letts every thing to grow

And surfets cattil with a starving feast

Curst bee that loue and may't continue short

That kills all creaturs and doth spoile our sport.



Not orientall Indus cristall streames;

Not frutfull Nilus, that no bankes can thole;

Nor golden Tagus, wher bright Titans beam[e]s

Ar headlongst hurled to vew the Antartike Pole;

Nor Ladon (which sweet Sidney dothe extole)

While it, th'Arcadian beauties did embrace:

All thease cannot, thee, nameless thee, controle,

But with good right must rander and giue place;

For, whilst sweete she voutsafest to show her face

And with her presence honnors thee ilke day,

Thou, slyding, seemest to haue a slower pace,

Against thy will as if thou went away,

And, loathe to leaue the sight of such a one,

Thou still imparts thy plaints to euery stone.



Faire famous isle where Agathocles rang,

Where sometymes statly Siracusa stood,

Whos fertill feelds were bathed in bangsters blood

When Rome and ryuall Carthage straue so lang;

Great ladie mistriss all the isles amang,

Which stands in Neptunes circle-mouuing flood,

No, nather for thy frutefull ground nor good

I chuse the for the subject of my sang,

Nor for the owld report of scarce trew fame,

Nor heeretofore for farelies in the found;

But for the swewet resemblance of that name

To whom thou seemest so sibb, at least in sound:

If then, for seeming so, thy prays be such,

Sweet she herself dothe merit more then much.


Vpon occasion of some great disorders in Scotland

O cruell constellation that conspird

Before my birth my bale sa sharpe and saire;

O miserable mother that desir'd

The midwife wise na paines on me to spaire.

In vaine wase milke my meate a yeare and maire;

In vaine therafter wase I speand, alace!

In vaine ye wise Pierides tooke a caire

To bring me brauely up in euerie cace;

In vaine ye made me syne to take a place

Vpon that forked hill in honnour hie;

In vaine descended I of royal race,

Which by succession made a king of me:

All were but shawes; Marcellus sure am I,

Or Job, whaise patience Sathan thinkes to try.



Remember of my protestation now

And thinke that loue hath gar'd me take these paines

Fooles counsell whiles will helpe the wise I trowe

Which reason makes me thus to breake my braines

Great happe hath he whome others perils gaines

That moued me nou for to repeate yone storie,

Proude Dares fall for all his might and meanes

Coulde no wayes teache yow to bewarre of glorie

Nor yett woulde ye not call to memorie

What grounde ye gaue to Christian Lindsay by it

For now she sayes which makes ws all full sorie

Your craft to lie,with leaue, now haue I tried

The prouerbe sayes that mends is for misdeed

Cracke not againe no forder then the creede.



The valliant actes,the workes of worthie fame

That bruite hath blowen abroade through euerie whair

Of King and Court of Scotlands noble name

There Martiall games, and pastymes braue and faire

Sume does your Court,to Arthures court compaire

Sume sayes to Charles the magnes it may be peere

This bruit at last made wandring knights repaire

From forrane vncouthe lands and trauell here

Fra they arriued they sent me soone to speare

If anie in your Court woulde them essaye

To runne at ring or proue sume games at warre

They three shall be defendours at the playe.

Sirs thogh this language seeme both hard and haske

Appardone new come strangers in a maske.



O Gods aboue how am I rauish'd now

A heauenlie Goddesse is come doune I trowe

Our senses to delude: what euer she be

She peerles is as all men will agree

And therfor Sirs here am I sent before

As he who might by language best decore,

As schollers can, this doubt whome to the faire

Should appartaine,whome of ye harde declaire

And whome into at equall strife doe fall

Wealth,beautie, noble race,and vertues all

Eache one of these makes her a suitour here

And she is cume vnto your Grace to speare

Whome to she should encline of all this rout

Among the rest Madame leaue me not out


His Maiesties Avvin Sonnet

The natiounis bandit gainst the Lord of micht,

Prepard ane force,and set them to the way:

MARS dressit himself in sik ane awfull plicht,

The lyke thairof was neuer sene they say.

They fordward came in monstruous array

Baith sea and land beset vs euery quhair.

Braggis threatned vs ane ruinous decay

Quhat came of that? The ischew did declair

The wynds begouth in foming waues to swell

The number that escapt,it fell them fair

The rest wer swallowed vp in golfis of Hell

But how wer all thir thingis miraculous done.

God lewch at them out of his heuinlie throne.


King James his Verse in his Voyage to Denmarke.

Ye surging sees,and ye Inconstant wynds

Who stayes the course of my Expecting hope

Go Calme your selfs, be constant by your kynds

Let not your stormes nor Chainge or cross my scope

Bot thole my Ioyes sa happelye begun

To settell thame within an portt of rest

And cleir the darknes of the cludds o sun

That thairbye may thy powar be exprest

O Moone whose Influence dois reul the tyde

Stay thou the streames whose force my course would stay

And you O polls that ar the heauens high pryde

Lamps of the Night Extend your help I pray

And plese you all to slyde In Eache degree

Ye polls thou tyde ye moone sun winds and see



Thv passenger who spyst with gazeing eyes

This sad trophie of Death's trivmphing dart,

Consider, when this ovtward tomb thv sees,

How rair a man leaves here his earthly pairt,

His wisdome, and his vprightness of heart,

His piety, his practice in ovr state,

His pregnant wit well versed in every airt,

As eqvally not all were in debate.

Then ivstly hath his death brovght forth of late

A heavy grief to Prince and svbjects all

Who Virtue love,and vice do trvly hate,

Tho' viciovs men be joyful at his fall;

Bvt for himself,most happie,doth he die,

Tho' for his Prince it most vnhappie be.



Loe heir my sone a mirrour viue and fair

Quhilk schawis the schadow of a vorthie king

Loe heir a booke, a paterne dois yow bring

Quhilk ye sould preass to follow mair and mair

This trustie freind the treuthe will never spair

Bot giue a guid advyse unto yow heir

How it sould be your chief and princlie cair

To follow verteu,vyce for to forbeare

And in this booke your lessoun will ye leare

For gyding of your people great and small

Than as ye aucht gif ane attentiue eare

And panss how ye thir preceptis practise sall

Your father biddis yow studie heir and reid

how to becume a perfyte king indeid


The Argvment [of Basilikon Doron]

God giues not Kings the style of Gods in vaine,

For on his throne his Scepter do they swey:

and as their subjects ought them to obey,

Kings should feare and serve their god again

If then ye would enjoy a happie raigne,

Obserue the Statutes of your Heauenly King;

and from his lawe, make all your Lawes to spring:

Since his Lieutenant heare ye should remaine,

Reward the iust, be steadfast, true, and plaine:

Represse the proud, maintaining ay the right,

Walke alwaies so, as euer in his sight

Who guardes the godly,plaging the prophane,

And so ye shall in princely vertues shine.

Resembling right your mighty King diuine


1604: Sonnet of his Majesty

Full many ane tyme the archier slakkis is bow

That afterhend it may the stronger be;

Full many ane time in Vulkane's burning stow

The smith does water cast with careful ee;

Full oft contentions great arise, we see,

Betwixt the husband and his loving wife,

That sine they may the fermlyer agree

When ended is that sudden choler strife.

Yea, brethern, loving vther as their lyfe

Will have debates at certain tymes and hours;

The winged boy dissensions hot and rife

'Twixt his lets fall like sudden summer showers;

Even so this couldnes did betwixt us fall

To kindle our love, as sure I hope it shall.


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