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(1553 or 4 - 1606.)



[Written in 1580.]

But having entreated' sufficiently of the countrey and their conditions, let me come to the Glasse I promised, being the court, where, although I should, as order requireth, beginne with the chiefest, yet I am enforced with the Painter to reserve my best colours to end Venus, and to laie the ground with the basest.

First, then, I must tell you of the grave and wise Counsailors, whose foresight in peace warranteth saf[e]tie * in warre, whose provision in plentie, maketh sufficient in dearth, whose care in health is as it were a preparative against sicknesse ; how great their wisdom hath beene in all things, the twentie two yeares peace doth both shew and prove. For what subtilty hath ther[e] bin wrought so closly, what privy attempts so craftily, what rebellions stirred up so disorderly, but they have by policie bewrayed,” prevented by wisdome, repressed by justice? What conspiracies abroad, what confederacies at home, what injuries in anye place hath there beene contrived, the which they have not eyther foreseene before they could kindle, or quenched before they could flame?

If anye wilye Ulysses should faine madnesse, there was amonge them alwayes some Palamedes to reveale him ; if any Thetis went 1 treated.

2 exposed (them). * “Variations or additions of words, and of important letters in words, from the first editions, are inserted between [ ]." - ARBER.

about to keepe hir sonne from the doing of his countrey service, there was also a wise Ulysses in the courte to bewraye it: If Sinon came with a smoothe tale to bringe in the horse into Troye, there hath beene alwayes some couragious Lacaon to throwe his speare agaynst the bowelles, whiche, beeing not bewitched with Lacaon, hath unfoulded that which Lacaon suspected.

If Argus with his hundred eyes went prying to undermine Jupiter, yet met he with Mercurie, who whis[t]elled all his eyes out : in-somuch as ther[e] coulde never yet any craft prevaile against their policie, or any chalenge against their courage. There hath alwayes beene Achilles at home to buckle with Hector abroad, Nestors gravitie to countervaile Priams counsail, Ulisses subtilties to ma[t]ch with Antenors policies. England hath al[1] those yat? can* and have wrestled with al others, wher-of we can require no greater proofe then experience.

Besides they have als1] a ze[a]lous care for the encreasing of true religion, whose faiths for the most part hath bin [beene] tried through the fire, which they had felt, had not they fledde over the water. More-over the great studie they bend towards schooles of learning, both sufficiently declare that they are not only furtherers of learning, but fathers of the learned. Othrise (thrice) happy England where such Counsaylours are, where such people live, where such vertue springeth !

Amonge these shall you finde Zopirus that will mangle him-selfe to do his country good, Achates that will never start an ynch from his Prince Aeneas, Nausicla that never wanted a shift in extremitie, Cato that ever counsayled to the best, Ptolomeus Philadelphus that alwaies maintained learning. Among the number of all which noble and wise counsailors, I can-not but for his honors sake remember the most prudent and right honourable ye Lorde Burgleigh, high Treasurer of that Realme, no lesse reverenced for his wisdome than renowmed for his office, more loved at home than feared abroade, and yet more feared for his counsayle amonge

3 that, 1 -- th.

+ Common error of omission of infinitive after auxiliary.

then many

other nations then sworde or fyre, in whome the saying of Agamemnon may be verified, who rather wished for one such as Nestor,

such as Ajax. This noble man I found so ready, being but a straunger, to do me good, that neyther I ought to forget him, neyther cease to pray for him, that as he hath the wisdome of Nestor, so he may have the age, that having the policies of Ulysses, he may have his honor, worthye to lyve long, by whome so manye lyve in quiet, and not unworthy to be advaunced, by whose care so many have beene preferred.

Is not this a Glasse, fayre Ladyes, for all other countrie(s) to beholde, wherse) there is not only an agreement in fayth, religion, and counsayle, but in friendshyppe, brother-hoode, and lyving? By whose good endevours vice is punyshed, vertue rewarded, peace establyshed, forren broyles repressed, domesticall cares appeased? what nation can of Counsailors desire more? what Dominion, yat excepted, hath so much? when neither courage can prevaile against their chivalrie, nor craft take place agaynst their counsayle, nor both joyned in one be of force to undermine their country. When you have daseled your eies with this Glasse, behold here an other. It was my fortune to be acquainted with certaine English Gentlemen, which brought mee to the court, wher[e] when I came, I was driven into a maze to behold the lusty and brave gallants, the be[a]utiful and chast Ladies, ye rare and godly orders, so as I could not tel whether I should most commend vertue or bravery. At the last, coming oft[e]ner thether then it beseemed one of my degree, yet not so often as they desired my company, I began to prye after theyr manners, natures, and lyves, and that which followeth I saw, where-of who so doubteth, I will sweare.

The Ladyes spend the morning in devout prayer, not resembling the Gentlewoemen in Greece and Italy, who begin their morning at midnoone, and make their evening at midnight, using sonets for psalmes, and pastymes for prayers, reading ye Epistle of a Lover, when they should peruse the Gospell of our Lorde, drawing wanton lynes when death is before their face, as Archimedes did triangles and circles when the enimy was at his backe. Behold, Ladies, in this glasse that the service of God is to be preferred before all things; imitat[e] the Englysh Damoselles, who have theyr bookes tyed to theyr gyrdles, not fe[a]thers, who are as cunning in ye scriptures, as you are in Ariosto or Petrack or anye booke that lyketh' you best, and becommeth you most.

For bravery I cannot say that you exceede them, for certainly it is ye most gorgeoust [gorgious] court that ever I have seene, read, or heard of, but yet do they not use theyr apperell so nicelye as you in Italy, who thinke scorn to kneele at service, for feare of wrinckles in your silks, who dare not lift up your head to heaven, for feare of rumpling ye rufs in your neck, yet your hands I confesse are holden up, rather I thinke to shewe your ringes then to manifest your righteousnesse. The braverie they use is for the honour of their Prince, the attyre you weare for the alluring of your pray; the ritch apparell maketh their beautie more seene, your disguising causeth your faces to be more suspected; they resemble in their rayment the Estrich who, being gased on, closeth hir winges and hideth hir fethers; you in your robes are not unlike the pecocke, who, being praysed, spreadeth hir tayle, and bewrayeth hir pride. Velvetts and Silkes in them are like golde about a pure Diamond, in you like a greene hedge about a filthy dunghill. Thinke not, Ladies, that bicause you are decked with golde, you are endued with grace; imagine not that, shining like the Sunne in earth, yea' shall climbe the Sunne in heaven ; looke diligently into this English glasse, and then shall you see that the more costly your apparell is, the greater your curtesie should be, that you ought to be as farre from pride, as you are from povertie, and as neere to princes in beautie, as you are in brightnes. Bicause you are brave, disdaine not those that are base; thinke with your selves that russet coates have their Christendome, that the Sunne when he is at his h[elight shineth aswel upon course carsie,s as cloth of tissue ; though you have pearles in your eares, Jewels in your breastes, preacious stones on your fingers, yet disdaine not the stones in the streat, which, although they are nothing so noble, yet are they much more necessarie. Let not your robes hinder your devotion, learne of the English Ladies yat God is worthy to be worshipped with the most price, to whom you ought to give all praise, then shall you be like stars to ye wise, who now are but staring stockes to the foolish, then shall you be praysed of most, who are now pointed at of all, then shall God beare with your folly, who nowe abhorreth your pride.




6 finery

7 ye.


As the Ladies in this blessed Islande are devout and brave, so are they chast and beautifull, insomuch that, when I first behelde them, I could not tell whether some mist had bleared myne eyes, or some stra[u]ng[e] enchauntment altered my minde, for it may bee, thought I, that in this Island either some Artimedorus or Lisimandro, or some odd Nigromancer did inhabit, who would shewe me Fayries, or the bodie of Helen, or the new shape of Venus, but comming to my selfe, and seeing that my sences were not chaunged, but hindered, that the place where I stoode was no enchaunted castell, but a gallant court, I could scarce restraine my voyce from crying, There is no beautie but in England. There did I behold them of pure complexion, exceeding the lillie and the rose, of favour (wherein ye chiefest beautie consisteth) surpassing the pictures that were feyned [fained]," or the Magition that would faine, their eyes pe[a]rcing like the Sun beames, yet chast, their speach pleasant and sweete, yet modest and curteous, their gate comly, their bodies straight, their hands white, al[1] things that man could wish, or women woulde have, which, howe much it is, none can set downe, when as ye one desireth as much as may be, the other more. And to these beautifull mouldes, chast mindes; to these comely bodies temperance, modestie, mildenesse, sobrietie, whom I often beheld merrie yet wise, conferring with courtiers yet warily, drinking of wine yet moderately, eating

9 by:

10 feigned.

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