George Gascoigne: ‘Three Sonets in sequence’ from A hundreth sundrie flowres (1573)
Catalogue Number: 4
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. 336-37.
Year of publication: 1573
Sonnets numbered? No
Sonnets entitled? No
Introductory sonnets: No
Number of sonnets in sequence: 3
Lines per sonnet: 14
Durable EEBO link
¶Three Sonets in sequence, written vppon this oc∣casion. The deuiser hereof amongst other friends had na∣med a gentlewoman his Berzabe: and she was content to call him hir Dauid▪ The man presented his Lady with a Booke of the Golden Asse, written by Lucius Apuleius, and in the beginning of the Booke wrote this sequence. You must conferre it with the Historie of Apuleius, for els it will haue small grace.
THis Apuleius was in Affricke borne,
And tooke delight to trauayle Thessaly,
As one that held his natiue soyle in skorne,
In foraine coastes to féede his fantasie.
And such a gaine as wandring wits find out,
This yonker woon by will and weary toyle,
A youth mispent, a doting age in douvt,
A body brusd with many a beastly broyle,
A present pleasure passing on a pace,
And paynting playne the path of penitence,
A frollicke fauour foyld with foule disgrace,
When hoarie heares should clayme their reuerence.
Such is the fruite that growes on gadding •rées,
Such kynd of mell most moueth busie Bées.
For Lucius he,
Estéeming more one ounce of present sporte,
Than elders do a pound of perfect witte:
Fyrst to the bowre of Beautie doth resort,
And there in pleasure passed many a fitte,
His worthy race he (recklesse) doth forget,
With small regard in great affayres he réeles,
No counsell graue nor good aduice can set,
His braynes in brake that whirled still on whéeles.
For if Birhena could haue held him backe,
From Venus Court where he now nousled was,
His lustie limbes had neuer found the lacke
Of manly shape: the figure of an Asse,
Had not béene blazed on his bloud and bones,
To wound his will with torments all attonce.
But Fotys she▪
Who sawe this Lording whitled with the cuppe,
Of vaine delight wherof he gan to tast:
Pourde out apace and fild the Mazor vp,
With dronken dole, yea after that in hast.
She greasd this gest with sauce of Sorcery,
And fed his mind with knacks both queynt and strange:
Lo here the treason and the trechery,
Of gadding gyrles when they delight to raunge.
For Lucius thinking to become a foule,
Became a foole, yea more then that, an Asse,
A bodding blocke, a beating stocke, an owle,
Well wondred at in place where he did passe:
And spent his time his trauayle and his cost,
To purchase paine and all his labour lost.
Yet I poore I.
Who make of thée my Fotys and my fréend,
In like delights my youthfull yeares to spend:
Do hope thou wilt from such sower sauce defend,
Dauid thy King.
Meritum petere graue.