A brave romance who would exactly frame,
First brings his knight from some immortal dame,
And then a weapon, and a flaming shield,
Bright as his mother’s eyes, he makes him wield.
None might the mother of Achilles be,
But the fair pearl and glory of the sea;
The man to whom great Maro gives such fame,
From the high bed of heavenly Venus came;
And our next Charles, whom all the stars design
Like wonders to accomplish, springs from thine. 70
 ‘Sea’: Thetis  ‘Maro’: Aeneas
THE APOLOGY OF SLEEP,
FOR NOT APPROACHING THE LADY WHO CAN DO ANYTHING BUT SLEEP WHEN SHE
My charge it is those breaches to repair
Which Nature takes from sorrow, toil, and care;
Rest to the limbs, and quiet I confer
On troubled minds; but nought can add to her
Whom Heaven, and her transcendent thoughts have placed
Above those ills which wretched mortals taste.
Bright as the deathless gods, and happy, she
From all that may infringe delight is free;
Love at her royal feet his quiver lays,
And not his mother with more haste obeys. 10
Such real pleasures, such true joys’ suspense,
What dream can I present to recompense?
Should I with lightning fill her awful hand,
And make the clouds seem all at her command;
Or place her in Olympus’ top, a guest
Among the immortals, who with nectar feast;
That power would seem, that entertainment, short
Of the true splendour of her present Court,
Where all the joys, and all the glories, are
Of three great kingdoms, sever’d from the care.
I, that of fumes and humid vapours made,
Ascending, do the seat of sense invade,
No cloud in so serene a mansion find,
To overcast her ever-shining mind,
Which holds resemblance with those spotless skies,
Where flowing Nilus want of rain supplies;
That crystal heaven, where Phoebus never shrouds
His golden beams, nor wraps his face in clouds.
But what so hard which numbers cannot force?
So stoops the moon, and rivers change their course. 30
The bold Maeonian made me dare to steep
Jove’s dreadful temples in the dew of sleep;
And since the Muses do invoke my power,
I shall no more decline that sacred bower
Where Gloriana their great mistress lies;
But, gently taming those victorious eyes,
Charm all her senses, till the joyful sun
Without a rival half his course has run;
Who, while my hand that fairer light confines,
May boast himself the brightest thing that shines. 40
 ‘Maeonian’: Homer.
1 You gods that have the power
To trouble and compose
All that’s beneath your bower,
Calm silence on the seas, on earth impose.