Percy's Reliques - The Sturdy Rock.

The Sturdy Rock.

            This poem, subscribed M. T. (perhaps invertedly for T. Marshall) [ 1] is preserved in The Paradise of Daintie Devises. The two first stanzas may be found accompanied with musical notes in "An howres recreation in Musicke, &c. by Richard Alison," Lond. 1606, 4to.: usually bound up with three or four sets of "Madrigals set to music by Tho. Weelkes," Lond. 1597, 1600, 1608, 4to:" One of these madrigals is so complete an example of the Bathos, that I cannot forbear presenting it to the reader.

Thule, the period of cosmographie,
Doth vaunt of Hecla, whose sulphureous fire
Doth melt the frozen clime, and thaw the skie,
Trinacrian Ętna's flames ascend not hier:
These things seeme wondrous, yet more wondrous I,
Whose heart with feare doth freeze, with love doth fry.
The Andelusian merchant, that returnes
Laden with cutchinele and china dishes,
Reports in Spaine, how strangely Fogo burnes
Amidst an ocean full of flying fishes:
These things seeme wondrous, yet more wondrous I,
Whose heart with feare doth freeze, with love doth fry.

            Mr. Weelkes seems to have been of opinion, with many of his brethren of later times, that nonsense was best adapted to display the powers of musical composure.

THE sturdy rock for all his strength
By raging seas is rent in twaine:
The marble stone is pearst at length,
With little drops of drizling rain:
The oxe doth yeeld unto the yoke,
The steele obeyeth the hammer stroke.

The stately stagge, that seemes so stout,
By yalping hounds at bay is set:
The swiftest bird, that flies about,
Is caught at length in fowlers net:
The greatest fish, in deepest brooke,
Is soon deceived by subtill hooke.

Yea, man himselfe, unto whose will
All things are bounden to obey,
For all his wit and worthie skill,
Doth fade at length, and fall away.
There is nothing but time doeth waste;
The heavens, the earth consume at last.

But vertue sits triumphing still
Upon the throne of glorious fame:
Though spiteful death mans body kill,
Yet hurts he not his vertuous name:
By life or death what so betides,
The state of vertue never slides.

NOTES

1. Vid. Athen. Ox. pp. 152. 316.

 

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