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Short poem

Anne Bradstreet (ca. 1612-1672)

In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen ELIZABETH

          1.1Although great Queen, thou now in silence lie,
          1.2Yet thy loud Herald Fame, doth to the sky
          1.3Thy wondrous worth proclaim, in every clime,
          1.4And so has vow'd, whilst there is world or time.
          1.5So great's thy glory, and thine excellence,
          1.6The sound thereof raps every human sense
          1.7That men account it no impiety
          1.8To say thou wert a fleshly Deity.
          1.9Thousands bring off'rings (though out of date)
        1.10Thy world of honours to accumulate.
        1.11'Mongst hundred Hecatombs of roaring Verse,
        1.12'Mine bleating stands before thy royal Hearse.
        1.13Thou never didst, nor canst thou now disdain,
        1.14T' accept the tribute of a loyal Brain.
        1.15Thy clemency did yerst esteem as much
        1.16The acclamations of the poor, as rich,
        1.17Which makes me deem, my rudeness is no wrong,
        1.18Though I resound thy greatness 'mongst the throng.

The Poem.
          2.1No Ph{oe}nix Pen, nor Spenser's Poetry,
          2.2No Speed's, nor Camden's learned History;
          2.3Eliza's works, wars, praise, can e're compact,
          2.4The World's the Theater where she did act.
          2.5No memories, nor volumes can contain,
          2.6The nine Olymp'ades of her happy reign,
          2.7Who was so good, so just, so learn'd, so wise,
          2.8From all the Kings on earth she won the prize.
          2.9Nor say I more than truly is her due.
        2.10Millions will testify that this is true.
        2.11She hath wip'd off th' aspersion of her Sex,
        2.12That women wisdom lack to play the Rex.
        2.13Spain's Monarch sa's not so, not yet his Host:
        2.14She taught them better manners to their cost.
        2.15The Salic Law had not in force now been,
        2.16If France had ever hop'd for such a Queen.
        2.17But can you Doctors now this point dispute,
        2.18She's argument enough to make you mute,
        2.19Since first the Sun did run, his ne'er runn'd race,
        2.20And earth had twice a year, a new old face;
        2.21Since time was time, and man unmanly man,
        2.22Come shew me such a Ph{oe}nix if you can.
        2.23Was ever people better rul'd than hers?
        2.24Was ever Land more happy, freed from stirs?
        2.25Did ever wealth in England so abound?
        2.26Her Victories in foreign Coasts resound?
        2.27Ships more invincible than Spain's, her foe
        2.28She rack't, she sack'd, she sunk his Armadoe.
        2.29Her stately Troops advanc'd to Lisbon's wall,
        2.30Don Anthony in's right for to install.
        2.31She frankly help'd Franks' (brave) distressed King,
        2.32The States united now her fame do sing.
        2.33She their Protectrix was, they well do know,
        2.34Unto our dread Virago, what they owe.
        2.35Her Nobles sacrific'd their noble blood,
        2.36Nor men, nor coin she shap'd, to do them good.
        2.37The rude untamed Irish she did quell,
        2.38And Tiron bound, before her picture fell.
        2.39Had ever Prince such Counsellors as she?
        2.40Her self Minerva caus'd them so to be.
        2.41Such Soldiers, and such Captains never seen,
        2.42As were the subjects of our (Pallas) Queen:
        2.43Her Sea-men through all straits the world did round,
        2.44Terra incognitæ might know her sound.
        2.45Her Drake came laded home with Spanish gold,
        2.46Her Essex took Cadiz, their Herculean hold.
        2.47But time would fail me, so my wit would too,
        2.48To tell of half she did, or she could do.
        2.49Semiramis to her is but obscure;
        2.50More infamy than fame she did procure.
        2.51She plac'd her glory but on Babel's walls,
        2.52World's wonder for a time, but yet it falls.
        2.53Fierce Tomris (Cirus' Heads-man, Sythians' Queen)
        2.54Had put her Harness off, had she but seen
        2.55Our Amazon i' th' Camp at Tilbury,
        2.56(Judging all valour, and all Majesty)
        2.57Within that Princess to have residence,
        2.58And prostrate yielded to her Excellence.
        2.59Dido first Foundress of proud Carthage walls
        2.60(Who living consummates her Funerals),
        2.61A great Eliza, but compar'd with ours,
        2.62How vanisheth her glory, wealth, and powers.
        2.63Proud profuse Cleopatra, whose wrong name,
        2.64Instead of glory, prov'd her Country's shame:
        2.65Of her what worth in Story's to be seen,
        2.66But that she was a rich Ægyptian Queen.
        2.67Zenobia, potent Empress of the East,
        2.68And of all these without compare the best
        2.69(Whom none but great Aurelius could quell)
        2.70Yet for our Queen is no fit parallel:
        2.71She was a Ph{oe}nix Queen, so shall she be,
        2.72Her ashes not reviv'd more Ph{oe}nix she.
        2.73Her personal perfections, who would tell,
        2.74Must dip his Pen i' th' Heliconian Well,
        2.75Which I may not, my pride doth but aspire
        2.76To read what others write and then admire.
        2.77Now say, have women worth, or have they none?
        2.78Or had they some, but with our Queen is't gone?
        2.79Nay Masculines, you have thus tax'd us long,
        2.80But she, though dead, will vindicate our wrong.
        2.81Let such as say our sex is void of reason
        2.82Know 'tis a slander now, but once was treason.
        2.83But happy England, which had such a Queen,
        2.84O happy, happy, had those days still been,
        2.85But happiness lies in a higher sphere.
        2.86Then wonder not, Eliza moves not here.
        2.87Full fraught with honour, riches, and with days,
        2.88She set, she set, like Titan in his rays.
        2.89No more shall rise or set such glorious Sun,
        2.90Until the heaven's great revolution:
        2.91If then new things, their old form must retain,
        2.92Eliza shall rule Albian once again.

Her Epitaph.
          3.1Here sleeps T H E Queen, this is the royal bed
          3.2O' th' Damask Rose, sprung from the white and red,
          3.3Whose sweet perfume fills the all-filling air,
          3.4This Rose is withered, once so lovely fair:
          3.5On neither tree did grow such Rose before,
          3.6The greater was our gain, our loss the more.

          4.1Here lies the pride of Queens, pattern of Kings:
          4.2So blaze it fame, here's feathers for thy wings.
          4.3Here lies the envy'd, yet unparallel'd Prince,
          4.4Whose living virtues speak (though dead long since).
          4.5If many worlds, as that fantastic framed,
          4.6In every one, be her great glory famed.


1.1] thou now in silence in lie: the dates of Elizabeth I were 1533-1603.

1.11] Hecatombs: units of 100 cattle or oxen, destined for sacrifice.

1.15] yerst: erst, once

2.1] Ph{oe}nix Pen: the writings of Sir Philip Sidney, the English poet in whose memory R. S. compiled The Phoenix Nest (1593), an anthology of poems of that time.
Spenser's Poetry: Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queene, an epic poem in praise of Elizabeth.

2.2] Speed: John Speed (1552?-1629), mapmaker and historian who published Historie of Great Britaine in 1611.
Camden: William Camden (1551-1653), Latin historian and author of two seminal works in the period, Britannia (1586-) and the Annales of Elizabeth's reign. (1615-29).

2.6] nine Olymp'ades:

2.13] Monarch: Philip II of Spain.

2.15] Salic law:

2.28] Armadoe: the Spanish Armada of 1588.

2.29] Lisbon's wall: Elizabeth launched a naval attack on Portugal in 1589 to replace its monarch with the pretender, Don Antonio of Crato (1531-95), but the voyage failed.

2.31] Franks' (brave) distressed King:

2.34] Virago: woman of great power.

2.37] Irish: sent by Elizabeth to Ireland in March 1599, Essex failed to put down a rebellion led by Hugh O'Neill, second earl of Tyrone (ca. 1540-1616) and returned home under a cloud.

2.40] Minerva: Roman goddess of wisdom and war, identified with the Greek Athene.

2.42] Pallas: Athene.

2.44] Terra incognitæ: land unknown.

2.45] Drake: Sir Francis Drake (1540?-96), famous for his circumnavigation of the world in 1577-81, plundered Spanish cities in 1585 and 1589 with Elizabeth's approval.

2.46] Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex (1566-1601).
Cadiz: port in southwest Spain

2.49] Semiramis: mythical Assyrian queen and wife and successor of Ninus, king of Assyria, founder of Nineveh.

2.51] Babel's walls: belonging to the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), and tumbled down by Yahweh to punish the builders' pride in trying to reach heaven.

2.53] Tomris:

2.55] th' Camp at Tilbury: in 1588 Elizabeth gave a rousing speech to her assembled forces here, a military camp on the north bank of the Thames, just before they defeat the Spanish Armada.

2.59] Dido: Queen of Carthage who, in Virgil's Æneid, falls in love with the Trojan exile and, when he abandons her, kills herself.

2.63] Cleopatra: queen of Egypt, mistress of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, whose love for her led to the defeat at Actium, Antony's death and Cleopatra's suicide.

2.67] Zenobia: Queen of Palmyra, deposed by Rome in 272, when the city was destroyed by Aurelian (cf. Aurelius, line 69).

2.74] Heliconian Well: the fountains Hippocrene and Aganippe, which flowed from mount Helicon in Greece, where there was a temple dedicated to the muses.

2.88] Titan: one of the giants born of Gaea and Uranus, here presumably naming the sun.

2.92] Albian: Albion, Latin name for England, from the white ("albus") cliffs of Dover.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Tenth Muse Lately sprung up in America. By a Gentlewoman in those parts (London: Stephen Bowtell, 1650): 199-203. See Anne Bradstreet, The Tenth Muse (1650), a facsimile reproduction with an introd
First publication date: 1650
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/17

Composition date: 1643

Other poems by Anne Bradstreet