George Gascoigne: ‘Seven Sonets in sequence’ from A hundreth sundrie flowres (1573) FULL TEXT


George Gascoigne: ‘Seven Sonets in sequence’ from A hundreth sundrie flowres (1573)

Catalogue Number: 5

Type: Philosophical

Publication: A hundreth sundrie flowres bounde up in one small poesie Gathered partely (by translation) in the fyne outlandish gardins of Euripides, Ouid, Petrarke, Ariosto, and others: and partly by inuention, out of our owne fruitefull orchardes in Englande: yelding sundrie svveete sauours of tragical, comical, and morall discourses …  pp. 360-61.

Year of publication: 1573

Sonnets numbered? No

Sonnets entitled? No

Introductory sonnets: No

Number of sonnets in sequence: 7

Lines per sonnet: 14

Durable EEBO link


Page 360

Alexander Neuile deliuered him this theame, Sat cito, si sat bene, vvherevpon he compiled these seuen So∣nets in sequence, therin bevvraying his ovvne Ni∣mis cito: and thervvith his Vix bene, as folovveth.

IN haste poste haste, when fyrste my wandring mynde,
Behelde the glistering Courte with gazing eye,
Suche déepe delyghtes I séemde therein to fynde,
As myght beguyle a grauer guest than I.
The stately pompe of Princes and their péeres,
Did séeme to swimme in flouddes of beaten golde,
The wanton worlde of yong delightfull yéeres,


Page 361


Was not vnlyke a heauen for to beholde,
Wherein did swarme (for euery saint) a Dame,
So faire of hue, so freshe of their attire,
As might excell dame Cinthia for Fame,
Or conquer Cupide with his owne desire.
These and suche lyke were baytes that blazed still
Before myne eye to féede my gréedie will.


2 Before myne eye to féede my gréedie will,
Gan muster eke myne olde acquainted mates,
Who helpte the dishe (of vayne delighte) to fill
My emptie mouthe with dayntie delicates:
And foolishe boldenesse tooke the whippe in hande,
To lashe my lyfe into this trustlesse trace,
Till all in haste I leapte aloofe from lande,
And hoyste vp soyle to catche a Courtly grace:
Eche lingring daye did séeme a worlde of woe,
Tyll in that halplesse hauen my head was broughte:
Waues of wanhope so tost mee too and and fro,
In déepe despaire to drowne my dreadfull thoughte:
Eche houre a daye, eche daye a yeare did séeme,
And euery yeare a worlde my wyll did déeme.


3 And euery yeare a worlde my will dyd déeme,
Till lo, at laste, to Courte nowe am I come,
A séemely swayne, that myght the place beséeme,
A gladsome guest embraste of all and some:
Not there contente with common dignitie,
My wandring eye in haste, (yea poste post haste)
Behelde the blazing badge of brauerie,
For wante wherof, I thought my selfe disgraste:
Then péeuishe pride pufft vp my swelling harte,
To further foorth so hotte an enterpryse:
And comely cost beganne to playe his parte,
In praysing patternes of mine owne deuise:


Page 362


Thus all was good that myghte be got in haste,
To prinke me vp, and make mée higher plaste.


4 To prinke mée vp and make mée higher plaste,
All came to late that taryed any tyme,
Pilles of prouision pleased not my taste,
They made my héeles too heauie for to clyme:
Mée thought it beste that boughes of boystrous oke,
Shoulde fyrste be shread to make my feathers gaye,
Tyll at the last a deadly dinting stroke,
Brought downe the bulke with edgetooles of decaye:
Of euery ferme I then lette flye a lease,
To féede the pursse that payde for péeuishnesse,
Till rente and all were falne in suche disease,
As scarse coulde serue to maynteyne cleanlynesse:
The bough, the boie, yne, ferme, lease and lande,
All were too little for the merchauntes hande.


5 All were too little for the merchantes hande,
And yet my brauerye bigger than his booke:
But when this hotte accompte was coldely scande,
I thoughte highe tyme aboute me for to looke:
With heauie cheare I caste my heade abacke,
To sée the fountayne of my furious race,
Comparde my losse, my liuyng, and my lacke,
In equall balance with my iolye grace,
And sawe expences grating on the grounde
Lyke lumpes of leade to presse my pursse full ofte,
When lyghte rewarde and recompence were founde,
Fléeting lyke feathers in the wynde alofte:
These thus comparde, I lefte the Courte at large,
For why? the gaynes doth seldome quitte the charge.


For why? the gaynes doth seldome quitte the charge,
And so saye I, by proofe too dearely boughte,


Page 363


My haste made waste, my braue and braynsicke barge,
Did floate to faste, to catche a thing of nought:
Wit leysure, measure, meane, and many mo,
I moughte haue kepte a chaire of quiet state,
But hastie heades can not bee settled so,
Till crooked Fortune giue a crabbed mate:
As busye braynes muste beate on tickle toyes,
As rashe inuention bréedes a rawe deuise,
So sodaine falles doe hinder hastie ioyes,
And as swifte baytes doe fléetest fyshe entice,
So haste makes waste, and therefore nowe I say,
No haste but good, where wysedome makes the waye.


No haste but good, where wysedome makes the waye,
For proofe whereof wée sée the silly snayle,
Who sees the Souldiers carcasse cast awaye,
With hotte assaulte the Castle to assayle,
By lyne and leysure clymes the loftie wall,
And winnes the turrettes toppe more cunningly,
Than doughtie Dicke, who loste his lyfe and all,
With hoysting vp his heade too hastily:
The swiftest bitche brings foorth the blyndest whelpes,
The hottest Feuers coldest crampes ensue,
The nakedst néede hathe euer latest helpes:
With Neuyle then I fynde this prouerbe true,
That Haste makes vvaste, and therefore still I saye,
No haste but good, where wysedome makes the way.


Sic tuli.

One thought on “George Gascoigne: ‘Seven Sonets in sequence’ from A hundreth sundrie flowres (1573) FULL TEXT

  1. Pingback: Sonnet Writing at the Inns of Court | Dr John Burton

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