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Of whom I know no more than that he was author of " A
“Poesie of Gilliflowers, eche differing from other in colour “ and odour, yet all sweete,” London, 1580, 4to.b.l. This scarce volume contains prose translations from the Italian and French, and a collection of poems, devotional, moral, and narrative. Gifford wrote with great facility, as will appear from the following specimens.
Something made of Nothing, at a Gentlewoman's
Y E gladly would have me to make you some toy,
And yet will not tell me whereof I should write: The strangeness of this doth breed me annoy,
And makes me to seek what things to indite.
If I should write rashly what comes in my brain,
It might be such matter as likes you not best : And rather I would great sorrow sustain
Than not to fulfill your lawful request.
Two dangers most doubtful oppress me alike,
Ne am I resolved to which I might yield;
Wherefore, by perforce, I am forced to seek
This slender device to serve for my shield.
Since nothing ye give me to busy my brain,
No thing but your nothing of me can ye crave. Wherefore now receive your nothing again; Of nothing, but nothing, what else would ye
A woman's face is full of wiles,
Her tears are like the crocadil :
When in her heart she thinks thee ill.
Her tongue still chats of this and that,
Than aspine leaf it wags more fast;
There issues many a truthless blast.
Thou far dost take thy mark amiss,
If thou think faith in them to find ;
Which turns about with every wind.
I know some pepper-nosed dame
Will term me fool, and saucy jack, That dare their credit so defame,
And lay such slanders on their back:
What though on me they pour their spite:
I may not use the gloser's trade, I cannot say the crow is white,
But needs must call a spade a spade.
Laid in my quiet bed to rest,
When sleep my senses all had drown'd, Such dreams arose within my breast
As did with fear my mind confound.
Methought, I wander'd in a wood,
Which was as dark as pit of hell ; In midst whereof such waters stood,
That where to pass I could not tell.
The lion, tyger, wolf, and bear,
There thunder'd forth such hideous cries, As made huge echoes in the air,
And seem'd almost to pierce the skies.
Long vex'd with care I there abode,
And to get forth I wanted power : At every footstep that I trod
I fear'd some beast would me devour.
Abiding thus perplex'd with pain,
This case within myself I scan’d; That human help was all in vain,
Unless the Lord with us do stand.
Then, falling flat upon my face,
In humble sort to God I pray'd, That, in this dark and dreadful place,
He would vouchsafe to be mine aid.
Arising then, a wight with wings,
Of ancient years methinks I see: A burning torch in hand he brings,
And thus began to speak to me:
66 That God, whose aid thou didst implore,
“ Hath sent me hither for thy sake: “ Pluck up thy sprites, lament no more,
“ With me thou must thy journey take.”
Against a huge and lofty hill,
With swiftest pace methinks we go :
Where such a sound mine ears did fill,
As moved my heart to bleed for woe.
Methought I heard a woeful wight
In doleful sort pour forth great plaints, Whose cries did so my mind-affright,
That even with fear each member faints.
“ Fie! (quoth my guide, what means this change?
“ Pass on apace, with courage bold: “ Hereby doth stand a prison strange,
“Where wondrous things thou may’st behold.")
Then came we to a fort of brass,
Where, peering through great iron grates, We saw a woman sit, alas,
Which ruthfully bewail'd her fates.
Her face was far more white than snow,
And on her head a crown she ware, Beset with stones, that glister'd so
As thousand torches had been there.
Her song was “ Woe! and wel-away!
“ What torments here do I sustain !" A new mishap did her dismay
Which more and more increased her pain. VOL, II.