The Dark Lady Reflections
Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
Hail, God, King of the Jews
That outward Beautie which the world commends,
Is not the subject I will write upon
Whose date expir'd, that tyrant Time soone ends,
Those dawsie colours soone are spent and gone: unaccompanied
But those faire Virtues which on thee attends with virtue
Are alwaies fresh, they never are but one.
As for those matchlesse colours Red and White,
Or perfit features in a fading face,
Or due proportion pleasing to the night:
All these doe draw but dangers and disgrace:
A mind enrich'd with Virtue, shines more bright,
Addes everlasting Beauty, gives true grace,
Frames an immortall Goddesse on the earth,
Who though she dies, yet Fame gives her new berth.
That pride of Nature which adornes the faire,
Like blasing Comets to allure all eies,
Is but the thred, that weaves their web of Care,
Who glories most, where most their danger lies;
For greatest perills do attend the faire,
When men do seeke, attempt, plot and devise,
How they may overthrow the chastest Dame,
Whose Beautie is the White whereat they aime.
What fruit did yeeld that faire forbidden tree,
But blood, dishonour, infamie, and shame?
Poore blinded Queene, could'st thou no better see,
But entertaine disgrace, in stead of fame?
Doe these designes with Majestie agree?
To staine thy blood, and blot thy royall name.
That heart that gave consent unto this ill,
Did give consent that thou thy selfe should'st kill.
Though famous women elder times have knowne,
Whose glorious actions did appeare so bright,
That powrefull men by them were overthrowne,
And all their armies overcome in fight;
The Scythian women by their powre alone,
Put king Daarius unto shamefull flight:
All Asia yeelded to their conq'ring hand,
Great Alexander could not their powre withstand.
Whose worth, though writ in lines of blood and fire,
Is not to be compared unto thine;
Their powre was small to overcome Desire,
Or to direct their wayes by Virtues line:
Were they alive, they would thy Life admire,
And unto thee their honours would resigne:
For thou a greater conquest do'st obtaine,
Than they who have so many thousands slaine.
Deborah that judged Israel,
Nor valiant Judeth cannot equall thee,
Unto the first, God did his will reveale,
And gave her powre to set his people free;
Yea Judeth had the powre likewise to queale
Proud Holifernes, that the just might see
What small defence vaine pride, and greatnesse hath
Against the weapons of Gods word and faith.
But thou farre greater warre do'st still maintaine,
Against that many headed monster Sinne,
Whose mortall sting hath many thousand slaine,
And every day fresh combates doe begin;
Yet cannot all his venome lay one staine
Upon thy Soule, thou do'st the conquest winne,
Though all the world he daily doth devoure,
Yet over thee he never could get powre.
Thy beauty shining brighter than the Sunne,
hine honour more than ever Monarke gaind,
Thy wealth exceeding his that Kingdomes wonne,
Thy Love unto his Spouse, thy Faith unfaind,
Thy Constancy in what thou hast begun,
Till thou his heavenly Kingdom have obtaind;
Respecting worldly wealth to be but drosse,
Which, if abuz'd, doth proove the owners losse.
Great Cleopatra's love to Anthony,
Can no way be compared unto thine;
Shee left her Love in his extremitie,
When greatest need should cause her to combine
Her force with his, to get the Victory:
Her Love was earthly, and thy Love Divine;
Her Love was onely to support her pride,
Humilitie thy Love and Thee doth guide.
That glorious part of Death, which last shee plai'd,
T'appease the ghost of her deceased Love,
Had never needed, if shee could have stai'd
When his extreames made triall, and did prove
Her leaden love unconstant, and afraid:
Their wicked warres the wrath of God might move
To take revenge for chast Octavia's wrongs,
Because shee enjoyes what unto her belongs.
No Cleopatra, though thou wert as faire
As any Creature in Antonius eyes;
Yea though thou wert as rich, as wise, as rare,
As any Pen could write, or Wit devise;
Yet with this Lady canst thou not compare,
Whose inward virtues all thy worth denies:
Yet thou a blacke Egyptian do'st appeare;
Thou false, shee true; and to her Love more deere.
Shee sacrificeth to her deerest Love,
With flowres of Faith, and garlands of Good deeds;
Shee flies not from him when afflictions prove,
Shee beares his crosse, and stops his wounds that bleeds;
Shee love and lives chaste as the Turtle dove,
Shee attends upon him, and his flocke shee feeds;
Yea for one touch of death which thou did'st trie,
A thousand deaths shee every day doth die.
Her virtuous life exceeds thy worthy death,
Yea, she hath richer ornaments of state,
Shining more glorious than in dying breath
Thou didst; when either pride, or cruell fate,
Did worke thee to prevent a double death;
To stay the malice, scorne, and cruell hate
Of Rome; that joy'd to see thy pride pull'd downe,
Whose Beauty wrought the hazard of her Crowne.
But surely Adam can not be excusde,
Her fault though great, yet hee was most too blame;
What Weaknesse offerd, Strength might have refusde,
Being Lord of all, the greater was his shame:
Although the Serpents craft had her abusde,
Gods holy word ought all his actions frame,
For he was Lord and King of all the earth,
Before poore Eve had either life or breath.
Who being fram'd by Gods eternall hand,
The perfect'st man that ever breath'd on earth;
And from Gods mouth receiv'd that strait command,
The breach whereof he knew was present death:
Yea having powre to rule both Sea and Land,
Yet with one Apple wonne to loose that breath
Which God had breathed in his beauteous face,
Bringing us all in danger and disgrace.
And then to lay the fault on Patience backe,
That we (poore women) must endure it all;
We know right well he did discretion lacke,
Beeing not perswaded thereunto at all;
If Eve did erre, it was for knowledge sake,
The fruit beeing faire perswaded him to fall:
No subtill Serpents falshood did betray him,
If he would eate it, who had powre to stay him?
Not Eve, whose fault was onely too much love,
Which made her give this present to her Deare,
That what shee tasted, he likewise might prove,
Whereby his knowledge might become more cleare;
He never sought her weakenesse to reprove,
With those sharpe words, which he of God did heare:
Yet Men will boast of Knowledge, which he tooke
From Eves faire hand, as from a learned Booke.
If any Evill did in her remaine,
Beeing made of him, he was the ground of all;
If one of many Worlds could lay a staine
Upon our Sexe, and worke so great a fall
To wretched Man, by Satans subtill traine;
What will so fowle a fault amongst you all?
Her weakenesse did the Serpents words obay;
But you in malice Gods deare Sonne betray.
Whom, if unjustly you condemne to die,
Her sinne was small, to what you doe commit;
All mortall sinnes that doe for vengeance crie,
Are not to be compared unto it:
If many worlds would altogether trie,
By all their sinnes the wrath of God to get;
This sinne of yours, surmounts them all as farre
As doth the Sunne, another little starre.
Then let us have our Libertie againe,
And challendge to your selves no Sov'raigntie;
You came not in the world without our paine,
Make that a barre against your crueltie;
Your fault beeing greater, why should you disdaine
Our beeing your equals, free from tyranny?
If one weake woman simply did offend,
This sinne of yours, hath no excuse, nor end.
Till now your indiscretion sets us free,
And makes our former fault much lesse appeare;
Our Mother Eve, who tasted of the Tree,
Giving to Adam what shee held most deare,
Was simply good, and had no powre to see,
The after-comming harme did not appeare:
The subtile Serpent that our Sex betraide,
Before our fall so sure a plot had laide.
That undiscerning Ignorance perceav'd
No guile, or craft that was by him intended;
For had she knowne, of what we were bereav'd,
To his request she had not condiscended.
But she (poore soule) by cunning was deceav'd,
No hurt therein her harmelesse Heart intended:
For she alleadg'd Gods word, which he denies,
That they should die, but even as Gods, be wise.
Sweet holy rivers, pure celestiall springs,
Proceeding from the fountaine of our life;
Swift sugred currents that salvation brings,
Cleare christall streames, purging all sinne and strife,
Faire floods, where souls do bathe their snow-white wings,
Before they flie to true eternall life:
Sweet Nectar and Ambrosia, food of Saints,
Which, whoso tasteth, never after faints.
This hony dropping dew of holy love,
Sweet milke, wherewith we weaklings are restored,
Who drinkes thereof, a world can never move,
All earthly pleasures are of them abhorred;
This love made Martyrs many deaths to prove,
To taste his sweetnesse, whom they so adored:
Sweetnesse that makes our flesh a burthen to us,
Knowing it serves but onely to undoe us.
His sweetnesse sweet'ned all the sowre of death,
To faithfull Stephen his appointed Saint;
Who by the river stones did loose his breath,
When paines nor terrors could not make him faint:
So was this blessed Martyr turn'd to earth,
To glorifie his soule by deaths attaint:
This holy Saint was humbled and cast downe,
To winne in heaven an everlasting crowne.