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The Twelfth Couple. } MASTER [John] NEDHAM, MAs TER RICHARD Acton.
The next came Nedham in on lusty horse,
That, angry with delay, at trumpet's sound,
Would snort, and stamp, and stand upon no ground,
Unwilling of his master's tarriance:
Yet tarry must his master, and with him
His prancing steed; till trumpets sounding shrill
Made Acton spur apace, that with applause
Of all beholders hied him lustily,
As who would say, now go I to" the goal:
And then they ride, and run, and take their chance,
As death were fixt at point of either's lance.
The } MASTER CHARLEs DaveRs,
Thirteenth Couple. ' MASTER EveRARD D1GBY.
Now drew this martial exercise to end;
And Davers here and Digby were the last
Of six and twenty gallant gentlemen,
Of noble birth and princely resolution,
That ran in compliment, as you have heard,
In honour of their mistress' holiday;
A gracious sport, fitting that golden time,
The day, the birth-day of our happiness,
The blooming time, the spring of England's peace.
Peace then, my muse, yet, ere thou peace, report,
Say how thou saw'st these actors play their parts,
Both mounted bravely, bravely minded both,
Second to few or none for their success;
Their high devoir, their deeds do say no less.
And now had England's queen, fair England's life,"
Beheld her lords, and lovely lordly knights,
Do honour's service to their sovereign:
And heaven by this distill'd down tears of joy,
In memory and honour of this day.
SIR HENRY LEE resigns his place of honour at Tilt to the EARL of CUMBERLAND.
And now, as first by him intended was,
In sight of prince, and peers, and people round,
Old Henry Lee, knight of the crown, dismounts;t
And in a fair pavilion hard at hand,
Where holy lights burn'd t on the hallow'd shrine
To Virtue or to Vesta consecrate,
Having unarm'd his $ body, head and all,
To his great mistress his petition makes;
That in regard and favour of his age
It would so please her princely majestyll
To suffer him give up his staff and arms,
And honourable place wherein he serv'd,
To that thrice valiant earl, whose honour's pledge
His life should be: with that he singled forth
The flower of English knights, the valiant earl
Of Cumberland; and him, before them all,
He humbly prays her highness to accept,
And him install in place of those designs;
And to him gives his armour and his lance,
Protesting to her princely majesty,
In sight of heaven and all her princely" lords,
He would betake him to his orisons,
And spend the remnant of his waning age,
Unfit for wars and martial exploits,
In prayers for her endless happiness.
Whereat she smiles, and sighs, and seem'd to say,
“Goodwoodman, though thy green be turn'd to gray,
Thy age past April's primet and pleasant May,
Have thy request, we take him at thy praise;
May he succeed the honour of thy days "
Amen, said all, and hope they do no less,
No less his virtue and nobility,
His skill in arms and practicet promiseth.
And many champions such $ may England live to
And days and years as many such | as she in heart
His golden locks time hath to silver turn'd;
O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing !
His youth gainst time and age hath ever spurn'd,
But spurn'd in vain; youth waneth by encreasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen,
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.
His helmet now shall make a hive for bees,
And, lovers' sonnets turn'd to holy psalms,
A man at arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are age his alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His saint is sure of his unspotted heart.
And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He'll teach his swains this carol for a song;
Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
Curs'd be the souls that think her any wrong:
Goddess, allow this aged man his right,
To be your beadsman now that was your knight.