British Library Lansdowne MS 740
Anne Southwell's poetry
1. Folger Shakespeare Library, MS V.b.198
Poetry by Anne Southwell, a strongly Calvinist writer, appears in two extant manuscripts. It is possible that they were both assembled under the supervision of Southwell herself and/or her second husband Henry Sibthorpe.
As well as secular and religious poetry by Southwell, the Folger manuscript contains a wide range of miscellaneous material: verse from songbooks and poems by Henry King, Arthur Gorges and Walter Ralegh (none attributed correctly), prose texts by Southwell and others and memoranda of various kinds, including 'A List of my Bookes' (Cavanaugh 1967). The manuscript is written in many different hands - including Southwell's own, an angular, informal italic - and on several different types of paper. The manuscript was in the library of the Southwells, the family of Lady Anne's first husband, when it was offered for sale by a bookseller in 1834. Having belonged to two other collectors, it was purchased by the founder of the Folger Shakespeare Library in 1927. A complete edition of the manuscript has recently been published (Southwell 1997).
The manuscript, a large folio, was first used in the 1580s by John Sibthorpe - presumably a relative of Henry's - to transcribe financial military records. John left most leaves blank and it has been conjectured that Henry may have presented Southwell with the book, for her own use, on the occasion of their marriage in 1626 (Cavanaugh 1967, 244). The first page is headed, in a scribe's hand, 'The workes of the Lady Ann Sothwell: Decemb 2o 1626'. Texts were written in the book in many different hands, most of them apparently those of Southwell/Sibthorpe amanuenses, with sporadic corrections and additions by Southwell herself. Most of this copying took place in the last years of Southwell's life, from 1631 to 1636, starting at both ends of the manuscript: by and large, poetry was written at the front of the volume, prose at the end. Bits of paper containing other miscellaneous texts linked to Southwell were inserted later (or 'tipped in') at an unknown date or dates. The book now contains 74 leaves. The most notable tipped-in addition is a collection of long verse meditations by Southwell on the decalogue (the Ten Commandments): scribally-copied poems corrected by the author together with related rough drafts in her own hand (Southwell's only extensive writing in the manuscript). Decalogue meditations are also found in the Lansdowne manuscript (for which see below). Those tipped into the Folger miscellany (poems on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth commandments) seem to have been written in James I's reign (1603-25), well before the compilation of the bulk of the manuscript. The final two leaves in the manuscript contain, on tipped-in leaves, material which must postdate Southwell's death: two versions of an epitaph on her (composed and possibly written out by Henry Sibthorpe) together with verse eulogies by Sibthorpe and Roger Cox, curate of Acton.
Roger Cox is one of many associates of Southwell's mentioned in the Folger miscellany. He was clearly an important contact, for one of Southwell's poems praises his Hebdomada Sacra (1630), a book of verse meditations on nativity week, and two of his sermons were copied into the manuscript. Southwell also refers to Cox's superior, Daniel Featley, the absentee rector of Acton and a prominent author of religious works. Other patrons and associates include the poet Francis Quarles (Dove 1998), Cicely, Lady Ridgway (for whom Southwell wrote a prose defence of poetry (Cavanaugh 1984), a mock elegy and an epitaph, all of them included in the Folger manuscript), Viscount Falkland, and Bernard Adam, Bishop of Limerick.
Burke and Klene argue that the manuscript - both the original book and the insertions - was assembled by Henry Sibthorpe as a kind of posthumous testament to his wife's poetic skills (Burke 2002, 112-113; Southwell 1997; Klene 2000). Burke suggests that the inclusion in the manuscript of poems not by Southwell herself 'may be her husband's attempt to make her more prolific than she was' (Burke 2002, 95). Longfellow proposes that Sibthorpe presented the manuscript to the Southwells, a wealthy family, in an attempt 'to curry favour with his wife's in-laws' (Longfellow 2004).
All the poems included in this selection are from the main volume of the manuscript (i.e. not the tipped-in leaves). In many cases, it is difficult to tell one hand from another, and the hand classification made by Southwell's modern-day editor, Jean Klene (Southwell 1997, 117-23) - broadly followed here - should not be regarded as definitive.
2. British Library, Lansdowne MS 740, fols 142r-167v
The most substantial verse written by Southwell is her incomplete sequence of long meditative poems on the Ten Commandments. Southwell's decalogue poetry occurs in both the Folger miscellany (described above) and in one section of British Library Lansdowne MS 740 (a collection of seventeenth-century literary manuscripts bundled together at a later period). The Lansdowne volume was sold to the British Museum library (now the British Library) in 1807 by the first Marquess of Lansdowne, having at some earlier stage been in the collection of the antiquary Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725) (Klene 2000, 183). Its earlier history is unknown and its current binding nineteenth-century.
Each of Southwell's decalogue poems takes its starting point from a commandment, but rapidly digresses, taking in material apparently very remote from the commandment in question. A major influence on the poetry is Du Bartas's Divine Weeks and Works in Joshuah Sylvester's popular translation (1592-1608). A nineteenth-century bookseller's catalogue lists a manuscript (now lost) as 'Lectures on the Commandments and Moral Ethics, the Collections of Lady Anne Southwell' (Burke 2002, 97). Perhaps this manuscript contained a complete sequence of decalogue poetry by Southwell. Alternatively, it may have contained prose texts by Southwell and/or others on the commandments - the raw material for Southwell's decalogue poetry.
The Lansdowne manuscript, a scribal fair copy, opens with a verse dedication by Southwell to 'the kinges most excellent Majestye', followed by meditations on the third commandment ('Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain') and the fourth commandment ('Remember the Sabbath day to keepe it holy'). Meditations on the same commandments in the Folger manuscript are radically different and, Klene (2000) and Burke (2002) think, earlier. The Lansdowne manuscript concludes with a fragmentary poem in praise of Southwell's writings by 'H', presumably Southwell's second husband Henry Sibthorpe. The roughness of the manuscript suggests that it was not intended as a presentation copy. Though Southwell's own handwriting does not occur in the Lansdowne manuscript, the phrasing of the dedication and of the poem at the end imply that she was alive at the time when it was put together.
As passages praising James I in the Folger version of Southwell's poem on the fourth commandment are omitted in the Lansdowne text, it has been argued that this manuscript was intended for Charles I rather than for his father (Southwell 1997, xxxii; Burke 2002, 106; Longfellow 2004, n. 16). There are, however, other references to James in the Lansdowne text, and it is possible that the absence of the passages in praise of him simply express a growing disenchantment with James's religious attitudes.
The Sabbath was an explosive topic in the seventeenth century. Southwell's insistence in 'Precept 4' below on the importance of keeping the Sabbath echoes the sabbatarian concerns of those puritans who opposed the laxity of James I's 'Book of Sports' (1618). This controversial book sanctioned the practice of traditional sports and recreations on Sundays, and was thus opposed by puritans, who believed that the whole day ought to be reserved for devotional activities. Southwell's acquaintance Daniel Featley got into trouble with the king in 1625 for licensing books which advocated sabbatarianism (Featley 1629). The controversy over Sunday observance flared up again in 1633 when Charles I reissued the 'Book of Sports' at the insistence of Archbishop Laud.
The scribe of this manuscript also copied the text of Southwell's prose letter to Lady Ridgway in defence of poetry in the Folger manuscript (fols 3r-v; Southwell 1997, 4-5). The textual notes in this edition tentatively distinguish between revisions in two hands: 'scribe' (the scribe's neat mixed hand, in two different inks) and 'revising' (a different mixed hand, working after the scribe's work was complete, speculatively identified by Burke (2002, 96) and Klene (2000, 181-2) as Henry Sibthorpe's). Both hands make significant alterations to the text (see, for example, the lines excised from the dedication to the king, and the alterations at lines of 'Precept 4'). The 'revising' hand also frequently intervenes simply to modernise Southwell's language and the scribe's spelling. Stanza numbering in 'Precept 4' is original.
The daughter of Sir Thomas Harris, a lawyer and MP, and Elizabeth Pomeroy, Anne Southwell was born in Devon in 1574. She married her first husband, Thomas (later Sir Thomas) Southwell (a nephew of the Jesuit poet Robert Southwell) in 1594 and moved with him to Poulnalong Castle in Ireland shortly after 1603. They had two children, Elizabeth and Frances. It has been suggested that Anne Southwell wrote three witty prose pieces published in the 1614 and 1615 editions of the popular anthology Sir Thomas Overbury's Wife and there attributed to 'the Lady Southwell' and 'A.S.' (Overbury 2003, 298-200; 301-2, 304-5), though this has recently been disputed (Burke 2002, 109-112; Southwell 1997, xxviii-xxxi; Schleiner 1994, 107-10, 114-22; Considine 2000, 69; Ross 2000, 42-6; Overbury 2003, 388-9, 391; Longfellow 2004, n.5).
Shortly after Sir Thomas Southwell's death in 1626, Southwell married Captain Henry Sibthorpe, a soldier and administrator in Ireland, retaining her title from her first marriage. Some time after 1627, Southwell and Sibthorpe left Ireland to live in Clerkenwell, London, moving to Acton in 1631. Anne Southwell died in Acton in 1636.
Cavanaugh (1984), Featley (1629), Overbury et al. (2003), Southwell (1997)
Burke (2002), Cavanaugh (1967), Considine (2000), Dove (1998), Klene (2000), Longfellow (2004), Ross (2000), Schleiner (1994).
Folger Library, V.b.198
Miscellany volume of Anne Southwell's poetry
Beauty, Honor, yeouth, and fortune
None of yow to be my freind
Theise Gambols end.
And I have gaynd a Rosy bed. 5
Uppon your head
Trod out of thornes and cruell Cares
And now your wares
Semes noysome trumpery to my thoughts
Things good for noughts 10
O happy state that dying lives
And reason gives
A just accompt of her disdayning
By her lost Gayning:
Copied in a hand hesitantly attributed by Klene to John Bowker
Title. Sonnet] The title, as in other poems copied by this scribe, is to the left of and slightly above the first line
11. dying] MS diiing
O how happy were I dearest
Far above all tonges Expressing
If thow wert as thow appearest
Never Queene had such a blessing
In the Pride of Fortunes dressing 5
Thow hast sworne might I beleeve the
Ill do I deme my suspition
And to say so much, Doth greive me
That I see thy bad Condition
And my faults are thy Addition. 10
Copied in the same hand as the preceding poem
Title. Sonnett] See note on preceding poem
'All.maried.men.desire.to.have good wifes'
All.maried.men.desire.to.have good wifes:
but.few.give good example.by thir lives
They are owr head they wodd have us thir heles.
this makes the good wife kick the good man reles.
When god brought Eve to Adam for a bride 5
the text sayes she was taene from out mans side
A.simbole of that side, whose sacred bloud.
flowed for his spowse, the Churches savinge good.
This is a.misterie, perhaps too deepe.
for blockish Adam that was falen a sleepe 10
Copied by an unidentified scribe. This short poem, transcribed in a small hand, occupies one whole folio page
1-2, 7, 9. The puzzling use of stops in these lines is unique in the manuscript
British Library Lansdowne MS 740
To the kinges most excellent Majestye
Darest thou my muse present thy Battlike winge,
before the eyes of Brittanes mighty kinge.
Hee that all other states exceedes as farre
as doth the sunne a litle glimmering starre
To whose blest birth the Cherubins did tender 5
all the endowments for a princely splendor
You lines, excuse my boldnes in this matter
& tell the truth; my hart's to bigg to flatter.
Yf in the search of this world I could find
one to exceed the vertues of thy minde 10
the height of my ambition would aspire
to offer up these sparckles to that fire.
since all fall shorte of thy soules qualitye
more short then of thy states abilitye.
Tis thy attractive goodnes gives mee scope 15
to come (dread Soveraigne) on the knees of hope
& offer up this tribute to thy meritt
this sacrifice to thy devinest spiritt.
I know in God there doth no ill abide
nor in his true Epitome, no pride. 20
Thou art the nursing father of all pietye,
the mightye champion for the Deitye.
Tis of the high Jehovah I doe singe
to whome doth this belonge but to the kinge.
Great God of heaven, thankes for thy gracious favours, 25
great king on earth, accept the poore endeavors
of your majestyes most humble
& faythfull subject.
The dedication occupies the whole of the first page of the manuscript. This page is very dirty and smudged, having been used at one stage as an outer cover. Throughout the manuscript it is difficult to distinguish between accidental ink marks and deliberate punctuation
4-5. Deleted text between these lines (scribe):
The only touchstone of great natures storye
in whome all artes reside, & hold theyr glorye.
6-7. Deleted text between these lines (scribe):
whose sacred lippes doe never part asunder
as the Heralds of all grace & wonder
14. short] altered from shorte (revising); e deleted
19, 20. no] altered from noe (revising); e deleted
Anne Southwell] copied in the scribe's italic hand, not Southwell's autograph
On the back of the opening page (fol. 142v) is the following stanza, written upside down in pencil in a hand different from any other in the Lansdowne manuscript. Another version of this poem, in the same hand, thought by Klene to be Samuel Rowson's, is found in the Folger manuscript (fol. 28v), variants for which are given below
with feet of clay to enter the most hollye
or watrye balles to stare against the Sunne
alas it is but blinde presumptuous follie
a parchase sought, by which wee are undonne
if off thy court I am, there will I rest 5
leave secret councell to thy sacred brest
5. if … there] Folger lett me be of thy Court, there; thy inserted
6. leave secret] replacing thy sacred
6. leave … brest] Folger leaving thy secrets, to thy sacred brest
Remember the Sabbath day to keepe it holy, six
dayes shalt thou labour & doe all thy worke,
but the seventh day is the sabaoth of the
lorde thy god, in it, thou shalt not doe
any worke, thou nor thy sonne, nor thy
daughter, thy manservant nor thy
mayd, nor thy beast, nor thy stran-
ger that is within thy gates.
for in six dayes the Lord made the heavens & the earth
the sea & all that in them is, & rested the seventh
day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day &
1. In six dayes God made this admired ball,
this verdant couch with lillyes overspred
engrayl'd it with a liquid christall wall,
& hunge a double vallence over head
of fire & ayre, fring'd round with starrye lights 5
under whose fabrick walke all living wights.
2. There this immortall mortall prince hee plac'd
who had free will & high commaund of all.
thus all compleat & with all graces grac'd
the voyce of voyces to his type doth call 10
Labour six dayes, but keepe the seventh day holy
when hee biddes rest, all labour is but folly.
3. In this day summon up thy weekes expence
that from thy lord thou mayst acquittance have
& heape not up offence uppon offence 15
ingrave thy sinnes before they thee engrave
Mercy is for the living not the dead
when life is gone, Justice in power doth spredd.
4. In this day rest from all thy worldly paynes,
take out the harrow from the plowmans handes 20
refresh his faynting limmes & tired braynes
& from thy oxen take theyr yoaked bandes
tis six to one, then having soe much oddes,
twere badly done to steale that day that's gods.
6. Six dayes thou art to labour sayth the Lord,
heer's Adams curse chaynd to necessitye
but then thy labours plentye shall affoord
which doth agayne sweeten calamitye.
All thyne owne worke in six dayes thou mayst doe 35
though not soe much as sinne invites thee to.
7. for yf thy worke in those six dayes bee bad
or left undon, the seventh is defaced,
for worldly cares will make thy visage sad
& guilt of ill will in thy harte bee placed 40
Then to keepe holy this high day of rest
thou must worke faithfully in all the rest.
8. Nor art thou bid to sleepe out this high day
to singe, daunce, game or guzzell out thy time
but in gods vineyard thou art willed to stay 45
& cutt downe thornes that overtoppe his vine
for thou must never rest whilest thou art heere
yett in this day thy future rests appeare.
9. Nor art thou bidd to labour heere alone
but thou art bound to bring thy familye 50
thy wife & thee, two loving hartes make one
Christ & his church explane that simpathye
thy children & thy servants are exprest
by thee & them gods vineyard must bee drest.
10. Besides the honor due to the creator 55
how beneficiall is this time to all
where wee may learne to knowe both god & nature
& what by sinne or grace to us doth fall
& by our knowledge like to mortall gods
resolve & reconcile what is at ods. 60
11. Where yf there were noe time given us by grace
but still like swine to grovell in the mire
how should the soule her facultyes deface
or how would man to higher state aspire.
O gratious god thou forcest us to this 65
not soe much for thy glorye as our blisse.
12. Thou hast noe need of us to fill thy skyes
for Cherubines & Thrones adorne that place;
where all doe stand with loving watchfull eyes
& joy to see the glorye of thy face 70
still singing Halelujahs to thy name
& with due reverence aye extoll the same.
13. Thou hast noe need of us to fill thine earth
or to dresse up thine altars with perfumes
Thou canst replenish it with Angells birth 75
whose heavenly formes noe humane stuffe assumes.
where noe rebellious thoughts, or heedlesse sloth
shall rowse thy justice or provoke thy wroth
14. Only thy love mov'd in those sacred springes
then darke, now cleere & blessed element, 80
the very soule & nurse of growing thinges
with whome thy gratious spiritt did frequent
& moving there, sett all the world in order
& made her flowing armes earthes fruitfull border.
15. & from the light the darke did seperate 85
deviding cold & moyst the hott & drye,
yett ech with others to participate
& propagate by a sweete simpathye.
Soe that, not men, but Angells, starres & spheares
ech one the elementall livery weares. 90
16. Gods first weekes worke doth as a symbole stand
of all the time that is to come & past
by milliarious yeeres, prophetick handes
hath drawen earthes longitude, times reckoning cast.
A thousand yeeres are one day with the Lord 95
six dayes of worke, the seventh did rest affoord.
17. The first day voyd & emptye doth present
Adams apostasye, voyd of all grace.
raigning a thousand yeeres in Cains descent
in Seth the promised seed, the light takes place 100
God seperates the darkenes from the light
good men are day, the wicked men are night.
18. The second day god made the firmament
& partes the moist deepe counsells of the proud
Babells confusion with the deluge went 105
the blessed seede & spouse an ark doth shrowd
& her fresh springes a christaline doe make
the rest theyr place in sulpharous channell take.
19. The third day when the waters were devided
the virgin earth presents all store of treasure, 110
Abraham & moses by gods word now ayded
in a Satrapick dance keepe sacred measures
as fruitfull solid ground, in them god graves
his drad commandes, the rest are giddye waves.
20. The fourth day god did make the sunne & moone 115
In the fourth thousand yeere came Christ that sonne
his church the moone, Apostles starlike shone
lightening the gentiles with cloudes overrunne
Thou Alpha & omega, thou blest light
thy sacred beames be ever in our sight. 120
21. The fift dayes worke was fish & fowle that flyes
& now those monstrous Hydraes did crall
the Dragons & the Locustes did arise
that on heavens childing wombe throwe seas of gall
who to the wildernes afrighted runnes 125
to ease her throes, & beare her groning sonnes.
22. The sixt day all the beastes & beastly natures
of Turks & Pope & other brutish factions
at even the Lord & soveraigne of those creatures
gods image commes to keepe them in subjection 130
when all the heresyes must fade away
& then drawes on the holy Sabbath day.
23. Yett first god calles his Image to the barre
those that of the forbidden tree have eaten
a fierye sword from Paradise doth scare 135
& from the tree of life theyr boldnes threaten
Thus goeing hand in hand with the creation
it pointes the worldes end out, mans perturbation.
[24. & now mee thinkes I heare some wizzard say
how dares this foolish woman bee soe bold? 140
ask Jahells nayle that Siseraes head did stay
& Judiths sword that made her hott love cold
Hee that enabled them, enables mee.
yf thou seeke knowledge hee'l enable thee.
25. How cloudye is that soule that will not seeke 145
to know as farre as finite dust may knowe
who made him & the world, & both doth keepe,
Angells & men & the darke hell belowe
in whose breath all thinges bee & live & move
whose providence doth governe all with love.] 150
26. The life & soule of soules is contemplation
It makes a man to differ from a beast
& bringes him to the god of his creation
& shewes, how first hee tumbled from his nest
& by his fall how both his winges fell lame 155
& how hee may impe fethers to the same
27. Unto that god of order & of time
wee owe the time that his word hath sett downe
Religion is the stayre by which wee clime
the gole wee seeke is an immortall crowne. 160
All worldly pleasures are expired by death
that hanges in the incertaynty of breath.
28. & who, to play a kinges parte for a day
would spend these pretious minutes in attiring,
who are more traytors to theyr state then they 165
that peacocklike stand still themselves admiring
who can enjoy themselves or what they have
that seeke not god till they have found theyr grave.
29. Seven hundred twenty names the Rabbines found
to expresse god to theyr capacityes 170
who sayles to farre, may sett his shipp on ground
& gazing on the sunne, dazell his eyes
for what hee is, noe man hath ever told
nor none shall knowe whilst hee is wrap'd in mold
33. Hee knowes god best that first himself doth knowe
to bee but wretched, poore, though proud & vayne.
how like a shadowe hee doth come & goe, 195
that all his labours heere are greefe & payne
that all his sences beare deathes fearefull skarres
& all his thoughts are still at civill warres.
34. & when poore wretched man beholdes his weakenes
who cannott make a flye with all his skill 200
hee may behold the all creators greatnes
& stand the more obedient to his will
beyond his chayne poore ape hee cannott skipp
yett naught can tame this bedlame but a whipp.
35. Spend not your time in cobwebbes like a spinner 205
but with the publicane confesse & say
O god bee mercifull to mee a sinner
to come to god there is noe other way
for faythfull prayers pierce the christall skyes
& is the best accepted sacrifice. 210
47. To lay fayre colours on a wrinckled hide
or smooth up vice with eloquent discource
who writes for pence, be he soe turpified
& lett those nine Chima'raes bee his nurse. 280
to teach him crawle the Heliconian hill
& in Pernassus dipp his ivorye quill.
48. for mee, I write but to my self & mee
what gods good grace doth in my soule imprint
I bought it not for pelf, none buyes of thee 285
nor will I lett it at soe base a rent
as wealth or fame, which is but drosse & vapor
& scarce deserves the blotting of a paper.
49. Nor am I soe affected unto rime
but as it is a help to memorye 290
because it doth commaund a larger time
to wrapp up sence in measures quantitye
nor marres it truth, but gives wittes fire more fuell
& from an Ingott formes a curious Jewell.
50. & though some amorous Idiotts doe disgrace it 295
in making verse the packhorse of theyr passion
such cloudes may dimme the sunne but not deface it
nor marvell I that love doth love this fashion
To speak in verse, yf sweet & smoothly carryed
to true proportions love is ever maryed 300
51. Tis love hath wove this rugged twine of mine
quickening my harte with such a sprightly flame
that frozen death can never make it pine
nor sad affliction hath the power to lame.
for love & fire ech other best resemble 305
both hott & bright, both vigilant & nimble.
52. Away base world, hence shadowes, hence away.
You shalbee noe corrivalls to my love.
for hee is fresh as is the flourye may
& truly constant as the turtle dove. 310
his breth like beddes of roses cheere the morne,
his hayres reflex the sunne beames doth adorne.
53. From his fayre eyes, the world hath all her light
& till hee look'd on her, shee lay as dead
she'd eyes before, but those eyes had noe sight 315
They now are in her soule, then in her head
shee spake before, but knew not what shee sayd
like pratling babes, or doting age decayed.
54. Some few could see & speake with triple sence
& what were these, but harolds of thy comming 320
thou gavest theyr eyes, the point of future tense
Coles from thine altar tipp'd theyr tongues with cunning
to tell great Davids ofspring they should see
a new Jerusalem raysed up in thee
57. & now my Love with hope doth gather winge
leaving this dunghill & her bed of clay,
& with the mounting larke beginnes to singe
in joy & honour of this Halcion day. 340
when men & Angells all at once shall move
rays'd by the flame of sweete bright fervent love.
60. Can love bee barren, noe, it cannott bee 355
the active sunne may sooner loose his heate,
& passive earth well labourd, yeeld noe fee
& mortalls live that have but stones to eate.
Tis male & female, & both sex is full
absence inflames, & neerenes cannot dull. 360
61. Hence Lothsame ground baytes, I am sick with love;
& growen to queasye for such fussome dyett,
on payne of curses doe not seeke to move
my thoughts awry that now are all at quiett
& fill'd with admiration of his beautye 365
to whome all true perfection oweth dutye.
62. Mine eares bee deafe against the clamorous world
& yee mine eyes see not her fluttering pride
lightening & thunder that abroad is hurld
with which my hart to longe was stupifyed. 370
yett now I see twas but a dunghill smoke,
the more wee pudder in't, wee sooner choke.
63. You witty wantons, leave your foolish loves,
though pearle & currall overspredd your skinne
making you looke like swannes & silver doves 375
& love that love which makes you fayre within.
Colour's an accident that will decay.
a superficies spred but over clay.
64. To boast of it I could as well as you
to whome kind nature hath noe stepdame bene, 380
but sinnes infection makes them more to rue
that beare a leprous soule in a fayr skinne.
To him that built us wee doe give abuse
& turne best mettaill to the basest use.
65. But bee as loving Dames as you are Lovely, 385
not to your flattering servants, formes or glasses,
to place or trappings; these thinges are but follye
& will approve the lovers of them asses.
Your loves soe layed doe make men thinke you moles
fayre soft & wittye but devoyd of soules 390
66. Are you denyed soules then, you shelles of men,
are they but hatched in you & flye away
noe marvell though theyr wisedomes doe contemne
your sex, since you are only formall clay.
but trust them not that would perswade you soe 395
such serpents but advise you to more woe.
67. Goe search the sacred writt, where you shall find
what your creation was & to what end
Lett not theyr envious folly make you blind
who pittyes him that is not his owne frend. 400
Adam did sleepe whilst god built your fayre frame:
& hee still sleepes that would have you thus lame.
73. Rayse you the superciliums of your eyes
though but to see theyr fellow spheare, the sunne,
they say from thence a shower of arrowes flyes 435
to wound theyr hartes by which they are undonne.
Natures free dowrye they call sett temptation
to quitt theyr faultes they'l challenge great creation
74. Dare you but write, you are Minervaes bird
the owle at which these battes & crowes must wonder, 440
they'l crittickize uppon the smallest word
this wanteth number case, that tense & gender
then must you frame a pittifull epistle
to pray him bee a rose was borne a thistle.
75. Could you, as did those Sybells, prophecye 445
men will but count you witches for your skill
or bee endowed with any qualitye
they'l poyson it with some depraving ill
Envye is barren & yeeldes nought but weedes
& feares least better ground have better seedes. 450
76. Nay should a wise & honest harted man
commend a virtuous woman for her life
would they not say the worst of him they can
& cutt his good names throat with envyes knife.
call him your bedesman, parasite or minion 455
what sanctitye can scape from bad opinion
77. & where lives hee dares row against this tide
noe not while that admired virgin Queene
who sometimes raignd & your sex stellifyed
who like stout Debora, did skorne the teene 460
of Romes proud bulles whose ever watchfull eye
the church and state did truely fortifie.
78. A sanguine woman is of all accurst
although that constitution bee the best,
shee must bee merry though her neck were burst 465
& mirth setts all these spanniells up in quest.
to hunt on drye foot, for it cannott bee
goodnes & mirth should hold a simpathye.
79. A melancholly woman that is sadd
although her deedes bee good & thoughts bee holy 470
yett shall shee beare the censure to bee mad,
& all her actions must bee skornd as folly
yf shee bee great in place, her gravitye
must bee the nurse of some foule prodegye
80. But what neede I speake further of complexion 475
on which none but your sophist spend theyr dotes
the landskip witt can find a fitt detection
for all your gestures wordes, & for your coates
But good men will not doe thus that are wise
for they will tender you as theyr owne eyes. 480
81. Then for theyr sakes pardon the others errors
lett not theyr evill harden you in evill
but chuse the wise for fathers frends & mirrors
& knowe hell was not made but for a Devill
The wise will stay you yf your weakenes fall 485
& rayse you without envye pride or gall.
82. Bee wise as serpents, innocent as Doves
you are borne subjects & you must obey
that death, which all you feare all clogges removes
tis god you honour in it lett them bray 490
hee will reward you; at theyr bountyes spurne
naked they came, & naked shall returne.
83. & when you both are stript out of this clay
there will not bee a difference in your sex
you have one Judge & must goe both one way 495
the good with good & bad with bad soules mix
twill bee to late when you in hell shall grone
to curse those soules that taught you, you had none.
84. Virgines bee wise, & keepe your lampes still burning
wives to your head bee full of constant truth, 500
widowes rejoyce in him that cheeres all mourning
turnes black to white & wrinckled age to youth
gives you new names, new honours, hyer places
whose pompe Queene Sabaes silver throne disgraces.
85. And would you hold this state, enjoy these joyes 505
then in the mire lett not your spiritts fall
reject not god, nor count his judgments toyes
nor with the foole, say, ther's noe god at all
but that there is a god you must consent
then are you bound to keepe his testament. 510
96. To what an angle is the true church driven
for pittye sake, looke downe Lord on her cares
& send forth faithfull laborers from heaven
to gleane thy wheate & cast away the tares
Least sectes & schismes & fowlest heresyes 575
choake up thy seed with sad calamityes
97. Thou bread of life, yf shee want thee shee starves
thou living water, yf thou fayle shee dyes
nought but the sacred flesh & bloud will serve
to please the judge, or cleere our clouded eyes 580
In thee wee only live & move & be
& our dead soules are all revived in thee.
109 Hee gives not up a lively sacrifice
that stayes till withered age hath made him dead 650
who letts the sunne sett ere hee doe arise
hee were almost as good still keepe his bedd
O come & learne at great Jehovaes schoole
a sabaoth breaker is a busye foole.
A very different version of this meditation occurs in the Folger manuscript, in an unidentified scribal italic (fols 37r-44r; Southwell 1997, 60-72). Variants are only recorded for lines 1-72 of the Folger text, as the rest of the Folger poem has no textual relationship with the Lansdowne version edited here
Title. Remember … hallowed it] Folger Thou shalt keepe holy the saboth daye
6. walke] altered from walkes; s deleted (scribe)
7. plac'd] altered from please (?) (revising?); first e deleted, c superimposed on s, second e deleted, ' inserted
8. high commaund] Folger free commande
9. thus] Folger this
11. day] inserted (scribe)
12. labour is] Folger labours ar
Folger inverts stanzas 3 and 4
18. power] Folger her power inserted, replacing his power deleted
20. handes] Folger hande
21. faynting … braynes] Folger wearyed limmes and faynting braynes
22. & … bandes] Folger and free thy oxen from theyre yoaked band
24. that day] Folger the day
31. Before this stanza, Folger inserts three stanzas attacking the Jews' use of the Sabbath
31. Six … labour] Folger full six dayes thou shalt labor
32. heer's] Folger heere is
33. but then thy] Folger and these thy
37. for yf] Folger But if
those] Folger these
42. faithfully] Folger faithfull
44. singe … guzzell] Folger sing game dance or goosell
45. art willed] Folger arte bid
46. & cutt] Folger to cut
overtoppe] altered from overtoppes; s deleted (scribe)
48. thy future rests appeare] Folger thy rest doth most
52. explane that] Folger explaynes this
65. thou] altered from that; ou superimposed on at (scribe?)
68. adorne] n inserted (scribe)
74. dresse up] inserted, replacing adresse deleted (revising)
79. mov'd] altered from moved; ' inserted, e deleted (scribe?)
93. by] superimposed on illegible word (scribe)
yeeres] inserted (scribe)
101. seperates] inserted, replacing seperateh deleted (revising)
106. the … ark] The scribe left a gap between the and ark, which s/he later filled in with blessed seede & spouse an . There is an illegible deletion following an
111. now] inserted, replacing were deleted (scribe)
113. fruitfull] inserted, replacing true fields deleted (scribe)
117. the] altered from ther; r deleted (scribe)
118. lightening] inserted, replacing souccoring deleted (scribe)
120. be] altered from bee; second e deleted (revising?)
122. monstrous] altered from monster (scribe); rous superimposed on er
Hydraes] inserted, replacing Heresyes deleted (scribe)
124. wombe] altered from woman (scribe); be superimposed on an
throwe seas of] altered from throwes out (scribe); seas of inserted, replacing s out deleted
126. sonnes] s added (scribe)
135. scare] altered from scarre; second r deleted
Stanzas 24-5 and a fragmentary first draft of stanza 26 are deleted in the manuscript, 24 and 25 by revising hand, 26 by scribe
138. pointes … out] altered from pointes out the worldes end; out inserted, out deleted (scribe)
139. wizzard] inserted, replacing gazeling deleted (revising); gazeling inserted in a previous stage of revision, replacing gallant deleted (scribe)
140. ?] superimposed on full stop (scribe)
141. ask] k added (scribe)
that] superimposed on in (scribe)
Siseraes] S superimposed on illegible letter, perhaps s miswritten
142. that] inserted, replacing soone deleted (scribe)
her] inserted, replacing a deleted (scribe)
144. hee'l] inserted, replacing will deleted (scribe)
145. soule that] inserted (scribe)
147. made] replacing deleted letter part (scribe)
The scribe deleted the following first, fragmentary attempt at a twenty-sixth stanza, transcribing a new stanza 26 on the next leaf:
26. Mans mind a mirror is of heavenly formes
& though created, yett hee can create.
his polish'd thoughts the quill & booke adornes
which clouds of ignorance doth captivate.
Yf thou If thou 
A All the
[155-6]. Yf thou and A smudged out
154. shewes,] , added
155. how both] inserted (scribe)
lame] replacing all soe deleted (scribe)
156. & how … impe] inserted, replacing noe deleted
to the same] replacing can bee imped in deleted
159. Religion is] altered from Religion's (scribe); i superimposed on s, ' deleted, s added
stayre] inserted, replacing Cedar deleted (scribe)
203. skipp] altered from skape (scribe); i superimposed on a, second p superimposed on e
279. be he] altered from bee hee (scribe?); second e … e deleted
309. flourye] u inserted (revising)
315. she'd eyes before] A two-stage revision: (1) It had an eye deleted, shee had eyes before inserted (scribe); (2) shee altered to she'd (e deleted, ' inserted), had deleted (revising)
those] altered from that (scribe); o superimposed on a, se inserted, t deleted
316. They] inserted, replacing which deleted (scribe)
321. theyr] altered from them (scribe); yr superimposed on em
point] inserted, replacing payne deleted (scribe)
322. Coles] inserted, replacing bowles deleted
tipp'd] altered from tipped (revising); ' inserted, e deleted
338. clay,] comma added (revising)
361. Lothsame] altered from Lothsome (scribe); a superimposed on o
363. on] altered from in (scribe); o superimposed on i
365. fill'd] altered from filled (revising); ' inserted, e deleted
367. bee] inserted, replacing are deleted (scribe)
368. yee] inserted, replacing though deleted (scribe)
372. in't] altered from in (revising?); 't added
381. sinnes] replacing may not underlined and deleted (scribe)
389. doe] inserted (scribe)
men] replacing wise underlined and deleted (scribe)
390. wittye, but devoyd of soules] The scribe originally wrote fayre soft & wittye,
blind for want of soules. S/he then inserted smooth but above wittye, blind (presumably intending the text to read fayre soft & smooth but blind for want of soules), underlining but not deleting wittye. (See notes to lines 381 and 389, above,
for instances of underlining by the scribe in this section of the manuscript, possibly as a preliminary to deletion.) S/he subsequently deleted smooth. The scribe also deleted blind for want, inserting above it meere voyd (line thus reading: fayre soft & wittye, but meere voyd of soules). Finally the revising hand inserted de over meere, bringing the line to its current state
394-5. Deleted text Goe search the sacred writt, where you shall find (i.e. line 397) between these lines (scribe)
401. god] inserted, replacing hee deleted (scribe)
437. sett] inserted, replacing a deleted (scribe)
441. crittickize] altered from crettickize (revising?); i superimposed on e
442. wanteth] altered from wandeth (scribe); t superimposed on d
447. qualitye] replacing facultye deleted
449. nought] altered from naught (?); o superimposed on a (?) (scribe)
459. who sometimes raignd] inserted, replacing that lately raigned deleted (revising)
461. whose] inserted, replacing her deleted (scribe)
eye] altered from eyes (revising?); s deleted
462. and … truely] inserted, followed by be (?) deleted, replacing like cannon strongly (revising)
fortifie] altered from fortifies; s deleted
463. sanguine] altered from sanguin (?); e added (?) (revising?)
466. spanniells] i added (revising?)
476. sophist] altered from sophies (revising); st superimposed on es
dotes] inserted, replacing mouthes deleted (scribe)
478. coates] inserted, replacing clothes deleted (scribe)
481. theyr] altered from theyrs (scribe?); s deleted
489. that] inserted, replacing till deleted (scribe)
you] altered from yours (revising?); rs deleted
feare] altered from feares (scribe); s deleted
all] all inserted, replacing & deleted (scribe)
490. lett them bray] inserted, replacing & not they deleted (scribe)
491. at] replacing in it deleted (scribe)
498. soules] u inserted (scribe)
500. head] altered from heads (scribe?); s deleted
575. fowlest] replacing fowll deleted (revising); fowll previously altered from fowell, e deleted (scribe)
578-9. Deleted text they still repine although they still increase (i.e. line 585) between these lines
579. nought] replacing the deleted (scribe)
the] altered from thy; e superimposed on y (revising)
581. be] altered from bee (revising?); e deleted
582. revived] altered from received (revising?); v superimposed on c, e deleted, v rewritten