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THE BRIDE

By Samuel Rowlands

With an Introductory Note by Alfred Claghorn Potter







_Introductory Note_

When the complete works of Samuel Rowlands were issued by the
Hunterian Club in 1872-1880, in an edition of two hundred and ten copies,
the Editor was obliged to omit from the collection the poem entitled
"The Bride." No copy of this tract was supposed to be extant. Twenty
years later, in the article on Rowlands in the Dictionary of National
Biography, Mr. Sidney Lee also names this poem as one of the author's
lost works. All that was known of it was the entry in the Stationers'
Register: [Footnote: _Arber's Transcript, vol. iii. p. 609_.]

"22 [degrees] Maij 1617
"Master Pauier. Entred for his Copie vnder the handes
of master TAUERNOR and both the wardens, A Poeme
intituled _The Bride_, written by SAMUELL ROWLANDE vj'd."

While all of Rowlands's works are classed by bibliographers as "rare,"
this one seemed to have disappeared entirely. No copy was to be
found in any of the large libraries or private collections, nor was there
any record of its sale.

Last spring a copy was discovered in the catalogue of a bookseller in a
small German town, and was secured for the Harvard College Library,
being purchased from the Child Memorial Fund. The copy is perfect,
except that the inner corner at the top of the second and third leaves
has been torn off, with the loss of parts of two words, which have
been supplied in manuscript. From this copy the present reprint is
made. As in the Hunterian Club edition of Rowlands's Works, to which
this may be considered a supplement, the reprint is exact. The general
makeup of the book as to style and size of type has been followed as
closely as possible; and the text has been reproduced page for page
and word for word. The misprints, which are unusually numerous, even
for a book of this period, have been left uncorrected. The title-page
and the two head-pieces have been reproduced by photography.

Of the poem itself, since it is now before the reader, little need be
said. It cannot be claimed that it presents great poetical merit.
Rowlands at his best was but an indifferent poet, - hardly more
than a penny-a-liner. In his satirical pieces and epigrams, and in
that bit of genuine comedy, "Tis Merrie vvhen Gossips meete," his
work does have a real literary value, and is distinctly interesting as
presenting a vivid picture of London life at the beginning of the
seventeenth century. In "The Bride," it must be confessed, Rowlands
falls below his own best work. Yet the poem is by no means wholly
lacking in interest. If not his best work, "The Bride" is by no means
his worst. Like most of his poems, it is written in an heroic stanza
of six lines, and, as is not so common with him, is in dialogue form.
The dialogue for the most part is well sustained and sprightly. The
story of the birth of Merlin, it is true, seems to have been inserted
mainly to fill out the required number of pages; but this digression has an
interest of its own, in that the name here given to Merlin's mother,
"Lady Adhan," does not appear in the ordinary versions of the legend.

Of Rowlands's life almost nothing is known: that little is told in the
Memoir by Mr. Gosse prefixed to the Hunterian Club edition, and by
Mr. Lee in the Dictionary of National Biography, and need not be
repeated here. All that is known with certainty is that Samuel
Rowlands was a writer of numerous poems and pamphlets, published
between the years 1598 and 1628. During this period there appeared
almost every year a pamphlet bearing his name or the well known initials,
"S. R." Twenty-eight separate works, of which many passed through
several editions, are known to have been written by him. All of these
early editions are rare; at least two of the works have been lost; several
are extant only in the second or later editions; and of at least ten, only
single copies are known to exist. Beside the edition of the Works already
referred to, a number of Rowlands's tracts have been separately reprinted,
in limited editions, by Sir Walter Scott, by S. W. Singer, by
E. V. Utterson, by Halliwell-Phillipps, by J. P. Collier, and by
E. F. Rimbault in the publications of the Percy Society; to this series
of reprints, "The Bride" is now added.

ALFRED CLAGHORN POTTER

_Harvard College Library_
_January, 1905_




THE BRIDE
BY S.R.

LONDON
Printed by W. I. for T. P. 1617



THE BRIDE TO ALL MAYDES.

Not out of bubble blasted Pride,
Doe I oppose myselfe a Bride,
In scornefull manner with vpbraides:
Against all modest virgin maides.
As though I did dispise chast youth,
This is not my intent of truth,
I know they must liue single liues,
Before th'are graced to be wiues.
But such are only touch'd by me,
That thinke themselues as good as wee:
And say girles, Weomens fellows arr,
Nay sawcely, Our betters farr:
Yea will dispute, they are as good,
Such Wenches vex me to the blood,
And are not to be borne with all:
Those I doe here in question call,
Whome with the rules of reasons Arte:
He teach more wit before we part,
Sylence, of kindnes I beseech,
Doe you finde eares, and weele finde speach.





THE BRIDE


Virgins, and fellow maydes (that were of late)
Take kindly heere my wedding dayes a dew,
I entertayne degree aboue your state:
For Marriage life's beyond the single crew,
Bring me to Church as custome sayes you shall,
And then as wife, farewell my wenches all.

I goe before you vnto Honour now,
And _Hymen's_ Rites with ioy doe vndertake
For life, I make the constant Nuptiall vow,
Striue you to follow for your credits sake,
For greater grace to Womankind is none
Then Ioyne with husband, faithfull two in one.

God Honoured thus, our great Grand-mother _Eue_
And gaue thereby the blessing of increase,
For were not mariage we must all beleeue,
The generations of the earth would cease.
Mankind should be extinguish'd and decreas'd
And all the world would but consist of beast.

Which caused me to finde my Mayden folly,
And having found it, to reforme the same:
Though some of you, thereat seeme melancholy
That I for ever doe renounce your name.
I not respect what censure you can giue,
Since with a loving Man I meane to liue.

Whose kindest heart, to me is worth you all,
Him to content, my soule in all things seekes,
Say what you please, exclaiming chide and brall,
Ile turne disgrace unto your blushing cheekes.
I am your better now by _Ring_ and _Hatt_,
No more playn _Rose_, but _Mistris_ you know what.

Marrie therefore and yeald increase a store,
Else to what purpose weare you breed and borne:
Those that receaue, and nothing giue therefore:
Are fruitles creatures, of contempt and scorne,
The excellence of all things doth consist,
In giuing, this no reason can resist.

The glorious Sun, in giving forth his light,
The Earth in plants, and hearbs & countles things
The trees their fruit, The _Empresse_ of the Night
_She_ bountious gives to rivers flouds and springs,
And all that heaven, and all that earth containes,
Their goodnes, in Increase of guifts explaynes.

But what doe you that neither give nor take,
(As only made for hearing, and for seeing,)
Although created helpers for Mans sake:
Yet Man no whit the better for your being,
That spend consume and Idle out your howers,
Like many garden-paynted vselesse flowers.

Your liues are like those worthles barren trees,
That never yeald (from yeare to yeare) but leaues:
Greene-bowes vpon them only all men sees,
But other goodnes there is none receaues,
They flourish sommer and they make a showe,
Yet to themselues they fruitles spring & growe.

Consider beast, and fish and foule, all creatures,
How there is male and female of their kinde,
And how in loue they doe inlarge their natures:
Even by constrayn'd necessity inclyn'd:
To paire and match, and couple tis decreed,
To stocke and store the earth, with what they breed.

In that most powerfull word, still power doth lye,
To whose obedience all must subiect bee,
That sayd at first, _Increase and multiply_,
Which still enduers from age to age we see:
Dutie obligeth every one should frame,
To his dread will, that did commaund the same.

_It is not good for Man to be alone_,
Sayd that great God, who only knowes whats best:
And therefore made a wife of _Adams_ bone,
While he reposing slept, with quyet rest,
Which might presage, the great Creator ment,
In their coniunction, sume of earths content,


_Mistris Susan_.

Good _Mistris Bride_, now we haue hard your speach
In commendation of your Nuptiall choyse,
Giue me a little favour I beseech,
To speake vnto you with a Virgins voyce:
Though diuers elder maydes in place there be,
Yet ile begin, trusting they'le second me.

We are your fellows but to Church you say,
As custome is that maydes, should bring the _Bride_
And for no longer then the wedding day,
You hould with vs, but turne to tother side:
Boasting of Honour you affend vnto,
And so goe forward making much adoe.

But this vnto you lustly I obiect,
In the defence of each beloued mayde,
_Virginity_, is life of chast respect,
No worldly burden thereupon is layd:
Our syngle life, all peace and quiet bringes,
And we are free from carefull earthly things.

We may doe what we please, goe where we list,
Without pray _husband will you giue me leaue_
Our resolutions no man can resist,
Our own's our owne, to giue or to receiue,
We live not under this same word obay:
_Till Death depart us_, at our dying day.

We may delight in fashion, weare the same,
And chuse the stuffe of last devised sale:
Take Taylors counsell in it free from blame,
And cast it off assone as it growes stale:
Goe out, come in, and at selfe pleasure liue,
And kindly take, what kind youngmen do giue.

Wee have no checking churlish taunts to feare us,
We have no grumbling at our purse expence:
We seeke no misers favour to forbeare us,
We use no houshold wranglings and offence:
We have no cocke to over crowe our combe,


_Cate_.

Well said good _Susan_, now thou pay'st her home.


_Bride_.

A little favour pray, good _Mistris Sue_,
You haue a time to heare aswell as speake:
You challenge more by odds then is your due,
And stand on Arguments are childish weake:
Of freedome, liberty, and all content,
But in the aire your breath is vainely spent.

It is your shame to bost you haue your will,
And that you are in feare of no controwle,
Your cases _Sufan_, are more bad and ill,
Most dangerous to body and to soule:
A woman to her will hath oft bin try'd,
To run with errour, on the left hand side.

Pray did not danger then to _Eue_ befall,
When she tooke liberty without her heda,
The _Serpent_ ouercame her therwithall,
And thorow will, she wilfull was misled:
Yelding assoone as _Sathan_ did intice,
And of her husband neuer tooke aduise.

In wit to men we are inferiour far,
For arts for learning, and Ingenious things,
No rare Inuentions in our braynes there are,
That publique profit to a kingdome brings:
Tis they that must all callings execute,
And wee of all their labours reape the fruite.

They are Diuines for soules true happines,
They Maiestraites to right offensiue wronges,
They souldiers for their martiall valiantnes,
They artizans, for all to vse belonges:
They husbandmen to worke the earths increase,
And they the some of womens ioye and peace.

And shall not we performe obedience then?
As wee are bound by law of God and nature,
Yealding true harts affection unto men,
Ordain'd to rule and gouerne euery creature:
Why then of all on earth that liue and moue,
We should degenerate and monsters proue.


_Besse_.

Monsters (forsoth) nere sleepe in maidens beds,
But they are lodged with your married wiues,
The knotty browes, and rugged butting heds,
Concerne not vs, professing single liues,
To learne your horne-booke we have no deuotion
Keepe monsters to your selues, we scorne the motion.


_Bride_.

Besse, of such shapes, when your turne coms to marry
A carefull mynd, in choyse of husband beare,
For if your browes from former smothnes varry,
Thinke on this speach, _It commeth with a feare:_
Which I am past, perplexe me no feare can.
Being sure I haue a constant honest man.


_Iane_.

Belieue you haue, and t'is enough they say,
But you and I agree not in a mynde,
I read in storyes men will run astray,
Yet make their foolish wiues beleeue th'are kind:
And therefore since they are so cunning knowne
He keepe my selfe a maide and trust to none.

Had I one sutor swore himselfe loue-sicke,
Another for his Mistris sake would die,
A third thorow _Cupids_ power growne lunaticke,
A fourth that languishing past hope did lye:
And so fift, sixt, and seauenth in loues passion,
My Maiden-head for them should ner'e change fashion.

_Aeneas_ told many a cogging tale,
To Dido that renowned worthy Queene,
And _Iason_ with his flatterings did preuaile,
Yet falser knaues in loue were neuer seene:
And at this instant hower, as they were then,
The world aboundeth with deceitfull men.


_Doll_.

_Iane_, thats too true, for to you all I sweare,
How I was bobd by one tis shame to tell,
A smoother fellow neuer wench did heare,
And as I liue, I thought he lou'd me well:
Heere you shall fee one of his cunning letters,
Which still I keepe, & meane to shew his betters.

In Romane hand, on guilded paper writ,
Pray _Dorothy_ read you it to the rest,
But whether his owne head inuented it,
Or robd some printed Booke, I doe protest:
I cannot tell, but his owne name is to it,
Which proues he takes vpon him for to doe it.

* * * * *

The Loue Letter.

_The truest heart, shall nought but falshood cherish,
The mildest man, a cruell tyrant prooue,
The water drops, the hardest flint shall perish,
The hilles shall walke, and massie earth remooue:
The brightest Sun shall turne to darkesome clowde,
Ere I prooue false, where I my loue haue vowde._

_Ere I prooue false, the world desolu'd shall be,
To that same nothing that it was before,
Ere I prooue false mine eyes shall cease to see,
And breath of life shall breath in me no more:
The strong built frame shall moue from his foundation
Ere I remoue my soules determination._

_Death shall forget to kill, and men to dye,
Condemned soules shall laugh, and cease to mourne,
The lowest hell shall rise and meete the skye,
Time shall forget his course and backe returne:
Contrary vnto kinde each thing shall proue,
Ere I be false or once forget my loue._

_Oh then deare heart regard my sad estate,
My passions griefe and wofull lamentation,
Oh pittie me ere pittie come too late,
That hold thee deare past mans imagination:
Preserue my life and say that thou wilt haue me,
Or else I die the whole world cannot saue me_.


_Grace_.

This is a Ballad I haue heard it sung.


_Doll_.

Well, be or be not, that's not to the matter,
But who will trust a louers pen or tongue,
That vse all protestations thus to flatter:
For this base fellow that was so perplext,
Sent this one monday, and was married next.


_Sara_.

Now out vpon him most dissembling creature,
Ile warrant you that he can neuer thriue,
He showes himselfe, euen of as bad a nature,
As euer was in any man aliue:
Alas poore foole that hath this fellow got,
Shee hath a Iewell of him, hath she not?


_Nell_.

Yes surely hath she, (waying all things deepe,)
A louer that will tast as sweete as gall,
One that is better farre to hang then keepe,
And I perswade me you doe thinke so all:
Excepting onely partiall _Mistris Bride_,
For she stands stoutly to the married side.

_Bride_.

So farre as reason, and as right requires,
I will defend them both by word and deede,
Yet haue I no apology for lyers,
And ill conditions that false hearts doe breede:
"All that are married be not faithfull kinde,
Nor all vnmarried, are not chast in minde."

Are there not maids (vpon your coscience speake?)
Knowne to your selues as well as you knowe me,
Will vowe their loue to men, and falsly breake,
Which in the number of your _Virgins_ be,
That will delude some halfe a score young men,
And hauing gull'd them, take some other then.

I will not name her was in loue with ten,
But in your eares i'le note her secret; harke,
She had both Courtiers, Cockneys, Country-men,
Yet in the ende a Saylor boards her Barke:
And therefore put not men in all the blame,
But speake the trueth, and so the diuell shame.

_Grace_.

I knowe the partie well that you doe meane,
And thus much for her I dare boldly say,
To diuers sutors though she seemed to leane,
To trye her fortunes out the wisest way:
Yet did she neuer plight her faith to any,
But vnto him she had, among so many:

And ther's no doubt but diuers doe as she,
Your selfe in conscience, haue had more then one,
To whom in shewe you would familiar be,
And comming to the point why you would none:
Ciuilitie allowes a courteous cariage,
To such as proffer loue by way of marriage.

An affable behauiour may be vsed,
And kinde requitall answere kinde deseart,
And yet no honest man thereby abused,
With fained showes, as if he had the heart:
When there is purpose of no such intent
To gull him with his time and mony spent.

_Mall_.

Were I to giue maides counsell, they to take it,
And that they would consent to doe as I,
Who offered us his loue, we would forsake it,
And like _Dianes Nymphs_ would liue and die:
For I protest your louers should haue none,
But wiues and widdowes to put tricks vpon.

We would reuenge the crafty double dealing,
Thousands of harmelesse virgins doe endure,
By their deceitfull art of kinde-hart stealing,
Keeping our loues vnto our selues secure:
And credit to their vowes, should be no other,
But in at one eare, and goe out at t'other.

_Bride_.

This you would doe, and y'are in that minde now,
But I perswade me tis but rashly spoken,
And therefore _Mary_ make no foolish vow,
For if you doe in conscience t'will be broken:
Say you doe meane to keepe you free from man,
But to be sure, still put in _If you can_.

Or else you may presume aboue your power,
Twixt words and deedes, great difference often growes,
You may be taken such a louing hower,
Your heart may all be _Cupids_ to dispose:
Then vve shall haue you sicke, & pine and grieue,
And nothing but a husband can relieue.

Aske but your elders that are gone before,
And the'le say marry maide as we haue done,
Twixt twelue and twenty open loue the doore,
And say you vvere not borne to liue a Nonne:
Vnperfect female, liuing odde you are,
Neuer true euen, till you match and paire.

Iust-_Nature_ at the first this course did take,
Woman and man deuided were in twaine,
But by vniting both did sweetely make,
Deuisions blisse contenfull to remaine,
Which well made lawe of _Nature_ and of kinde,
To matters reasonles doe nothing binde.

Nothing vnfit, nothing vniust to doe,
But all in order orderly consisting,
Then what seeme they that wil not ioine their two
And so be one, without vnkinde resisting:
Surely no other censure passe I can,
But she's halfe woman liues without a man.

One, that depriues her selfe of whats her right,
Borne vnto care, and ignorant of ease,
A lustlesse liuing thing, without delight,
One, whom vnpleasantnesse best seemes to please:
Depriu'd of lifes sweete ioy, from kind remoued,
Of worthlesse parts, vnworthy to be loued.

Who will in paine pertake with such a one,
(Whom we may most vnhappy creature call,)
Who will assist her, when her griefe makes mone,
Or who vphold her if she chance to fall:
The burthen one doth beare is light to two,
For twisted cordes are hardest to vndoe.

The loue and ioy doth absolute remaine,
That in posteritie is fixed fast,
For thou in children art new borne againe,
When yeeres haue brought thee to thy breath-spent last:
Those oliue plants, shall from each other spring,
Till _Times_ full period endeth euery thing.

This being thus, what sencelesse girles you be,
To iustifie a life not worth embracing,
Opposing silly maiden wits gainst me,
That will not yeelde an ynch to your out-facing:
For were heere present all the maydes in towne,
With marriage reasons I would put them down.

_Prudence_.

Kinke sisters all, now I haue heard the _Bride_,
Will you haue my opinion, not to flatter,
Sure I am turning to the wedding side,
I heare such good sound reason for the matter:
Let _Grace_, _Doll_, _Besse_, and _Susan_, _Mary_, _Iane_,
Leade apes in hell, I am not of their vaine.

As sure as death ile ioyne my selfe with man,
For I perswade me tis a happy life,
Ile be a Bride vvith all the speede I can,
It's vvonder how I long to be a vvife:
_Grace_ heer's good counsell, had you grace to take it
_Susan_ tis sound, oh _Besse_ doe not forfake it.

Good husband-men vve see doe euer vse,
To chuse for forfit those that breede the best,
And none vvill keepe bad breeders that can chuse,
Euen so your fowlers that often brood the nest,
Are most esteem'd, & their kinds worthiest thoght
All barren things, by all are counted nought.

Who plantes an orchard vvith vnfruitfull trees,
None but a madman so vvill vvast his ground,
Or vvho sowes corne vvhere onely sand he sees,
Assured that there vvill no increase be found:
And in a vvord all that the vvorld containes,
Haue excellence in their begetting gaines.

For my part therefore I resolue me thus,
Vnto the purpose I was borne, ile liue,
All maydes are fooles that vvill not ioyne vvith vs,
And vnto men their right of marriage giue:
Most vvorthy Bride, here is my hand and vow,
I loue a man in heart, as vvell as thou.

_Francis_.

_Prudence_, I am of your opinion iust,
A vvif's farre better than a matchlesse maide,
Ile stay no longer virgin then needes must,
The law of Nature ought to be obayde:
Either vve must haue inward loue to men,
Or else beare hate, and so be brutish then.

Doth not the vvorld instruct vs this by others,
That vvedlocke is a remedy for sinne,
Shall vve be vviser then our reuerent mothers,
That married, or we all had bastards bin:
And ere our mothers lost their maiden Iemme,
Did not our grandhams euen as much for them.

From whence haue you the gift to liue vnwed,
Pray of what stuffe are your straight bodies made,
By what chast spirit was your nicenesse bred,
That seeme of flesh to be so purely stayde:
Are not all here made females for like ends,
Fye, fye for shame, disemble not with friends.

Ile tell you one thing which by proofe I knowe,
My mother had a cocke that vs'd to roame,
And all the hens would to our neighbours goe,
We could not keepe them for our liues at home:
Abroad they went, though we wold nere so saine
Vntill by chance we got our cocke againe.

And so my fathers pigeons in like sort,
Our matchlesse hens about would euer flye,
To paire with other doues they would resort,
(Pray laugh not _Susan_, for it is no lye)
I haue it not from other folkes relation,
But from mine owne, and mothers obseruation.


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