You Meaner Beauties.
This little sonnet was written by Sir Henry Wotton, Knight, on that amiable Princess, Elizabeth, daughter of James I. and wife of the Elector Palatine, who was chosen King of Bohemia, Sept. 5, 1619. The consequences of this fatal election are well known. Sir Henry Wotton, who, in that and the following year, was employed on several embassies in Germany in behalf of this unfortunate lady, seems to have had an uncommon attachment to her merit and fortunes; for he gave away a jewel worth a thousand pounds, that was presented him by the Emperor, "because it came from an enemy to his royal mistress the Queen of Bohemia."-- See Biog. Britan.
This song is printed from the Reliquię Wottonianę, 1654 with some corrections from an old manuscript copy.
You meaner beauties of the night,
That poorly satisfie our eies
More by your number, than your light;
You common people of the skies,
What are you when the Moon shall rise?
Ye violets that first appeare,
By your pure purple mantles known
Like the proud virgins of the yeare,
As if the Spring were all your own;
What are you when the Rose is blown?
Ye curious chaunters of the wood,
That warble forth dame Nature's layes,
Thinking your passions understood
By your weak accents: what's your praise,
When Philomell her voyce shall raise?
So when my mistris shal be seene
In sweetnesse of her looks and minde;
By virtue first, then choyce a queen;
Tell me, if she was not design'd
Th' eclypse and glory of her kind?