A Dialogue between two shepherds, Thenot and Piers,

in praise of ASTREA, made by the excellent Lady, the Lady Mary
Countess of Pembroke at the Queen's Majesty's being at her house at
———, Anno 15———.

THENOT.    I sing divine ASTREA'S praise,
        O Muses! help my wits to raise,
                And heave my Verses higher.
PIERS.  Thou need'st the truth but plainly tell,
        Which much I doubt thou canst not well,
                Thou art so oft a lier.

THENOT.  If in my Song no more I show,
        Than Heav'n, and Earth, and Sea do know,
                Then truly I have spoken.
PIERS.  Sufficeth not no more to name,
        But being no less, the like, the same,
        Else laws of truth be broken.

THENOT.  Then say, she is so good, so fair,
        With all the earth she may compare,
                Not Momus self denying.
PIERS.  Compare may think where likeness holds,
        Nought like to her the earth enfolds,
                I lookt to find you lying.

THENOT.  ASTREA sees with Wisdom's sight,
        ASTREA works by Virtue's might,
                And jointly both do stay in her.
PIERS.  Nay take from them, her hand, her mind,
        The one is lame, the other blind
                Shall still you lying stain her?

THENOT.  Soon as ASTREA shows her face,
        Straight every ill avoids the place,
                And every good aboundeth.
PIERS.  Nay long before her face doth show,
        The last doth come, the first doth go,
                How loud this lie resoundeth!

THENOT.  ASTREA is our chiefest joy,
        Our chiefest guard against annoy,
                Our chiefest wealth, our treasure,
PIERS.  Where chiefest are, there others be,
        To us none else, but only she;
                When wilt thou speak in measure?

THENOT.  ASTREA may be justly said,
        A field in flow'ry robe arrayed,
                In season freshly springing.
PIERS.  That Spring endures but shortest time,
        This never leaves Astrea's clime,
                Thou liest, instead of singing.

THENOT.  As heavenly light that guides the day,
        Right so doth thine each lovely ray,
                That from Astrea flyeth.
PIERS.  Nay, darkness oft that light enclouds,
        Astrea's beam no darkness shrowds;
                How loudly Thenot lieth!

THENOT.  ASTREA rightly term I may,
        A manly Palm, a maiden Bay,
                Her verdure never dying.
PIERS.  Palm oft is crooked, Bay is low,
    She still upright, still high doth grow,
        Good Thenot leave thy lying.

THENOT.  Then Piers, of friendship tell me why,
    My meaning true, my words should lye,
        And strive in vain to raise her?
PIERS.  Words from conceit do only rise,
    Above conceit her honor flies,
        But silence, nought can praise her.


The Norton Anthology of English Literature 6th ed. v.1.
M. H. Abrams, general editor.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. 1074.

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