Joseph Hall

From the "Du Bartas" of Joshua Sylvester, 1633:—


I dare confess of Muses more than Nine,
Nor list, nor can I envy none but thine.
She, drench'd alone in Sion's sacred Spring,
Her Maker's praise hath sweetly chose to sing,
And reacheth nearest th'angels' notes above;
Nor lists to sing or tales, or wars, or love.
One while I find her, in her nimble flight,
Cutting the brazen spheres of heaven bright:
Thence, straight she guides before I be aware,
Through the three regions of the liquid ayre:
Thence, rushing down, through Nature's closet-door,
She ransacks all her grandame's secret store;
And, diving to the darkness of the deep,
Sees there what wealth the waves in prison keep:
And, what she sees above, below, between,
She shews and sings to others' ears and eyne.
'Tis true, thy Muse another's steps doth press;
The more's her pain, nor is her praise the less:
Freedom gives scope unto the roving thought;
Which, by restraint, is curb'd.  Who wonders aught,
That feet unfettered walken far or fast,
Which, pent with chains, mote want their wonted haste?
Thou follow'st Bartas's diviner strain,
And sing'st his numbers in his native vein.
Bartas was some French angel, girt with bays;
And thou a Bartas art, in English lays.
Whether is more?  Mee seems (the sooth to sayn)
One Bartas speaks in tongues; in nations, twain.


The Complete Poems of Joseph Hall.
Alexander B. Grosart, ed.
Blackburn, Lancashire: St. George's, 1879. 223.

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