Thomas Randolph (poet)

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Title page of Poems (2nd edition)

Thomas Randolph (bapt. 15 June 1605March 1635) was an English poet and dramatist.


Text: John J. Parry, ed. The Poems and Amyntas of Thomas Randolph (1917)
  • SHEPHERD: Men are more eloquent then women made:
    NYMPH: But women are more powrfull to perswade.
    • Amyntas; or, The Impossible Dowry (1630; pub. 1638), Prologue

Poems (pub. 1638)

  • Thinke that is just; 'tis not enough to doe,
    Unless thy very thoughts are upright too.
    • "Necessary Observations", Precept 2
  • First thinke, and if thy thoughts approve thy will,
    Then speake, and after what thou speakst fulfill.
    • "Necessary Observations", Precept 18
  • Reprove not in their wrath incensèd men,
    Good councell comes cleane out of season then.
    But when his fury is appeas'd and past,
    He will conceive his fault and mend at last.
    • "Necessary Observations", Precept 22
There from the tree
We'll cherries pluck and pick the strawberry,
And every day
Go see the wholesome country girls make hay,
Whose brown hath lovelier grace
Than any painted face
That I do know
Hyde Park can show.
  • Come spurre away,
    I have no patience for a longer stay;
    But must go downe,
    And leave the chargeable noise of this great Towne.
    I will the country see,
    Where old simplicity,
    Though hid in gray,
    Doth looke more gay
    Than foppery in plush and scarlet clad.
    Farewell you City-wits that are
    Almost at Civil war;
    Tis time that I grow wise, when all the world grows mad.
    More of my dayes
    I will not spend to gaine an Idiots praise;
    Or to make sport
    For some slight Punie of the Innes of Court.
    Then worthy Stafford say
    How shall we spend the day,
    With what delights,
    Shorten the nights?
    When from this tumult we are got secure;
    Where mirth with all her freedome goes,
    Yet shall no finger loose;
    Where every word is thought, and every thought is pure.
    There from the tree
    We’ll cherries plucke, and pick the strawbery.
    And every day
    Go see the wholesome Country Girles make hay,
    Whose browne hath lovelier grace,
    Than any painted face,
    That I doe know
    Hyde-Parke can show.
    Where I had rather gaine a kisse than meet
    (Though some of them in greater state
    Might court my love with plate,)
    The beauties of the Cheape, and wives of Lumbardstreet.
    But thinke upon
    Some other pleasures, these to me are none;
    Why do I prate
    Of women, that are things against my fate?
    I never meane to wed,
    That torture to my bed;
    My Muse is shee
    My Love shall bee.
    Let Clownes get wealth, and heires; when I am gone,
    And the great Bugbear grisly death
    Shall take this idle breath,
    If I a Poem leave, that Poem is my Sonne.
    Of this no more;
    We’ll rather taste the bright Pomona’s store.
    No fruit shall scape
    Our palates, from the damson, to the grape;
    Then full we’ll seek a shade,
    And heare what musique’s made;
    How Philomell
    Her tale doth tell:
    And how the other Birds doe fill the quire;
    The Thrush and Blackbird lend their throats
    Warbling melodious notes;
    We will all sports enjoy, which others but desire.
    Ours is the skie,
    Where at what fowle we please our Hawke shall fly;
    Nor will we spare
    To hunt the crafty foxe, or timorous hare,
    But let our hounds runne loose
    In any ground they’ll choose;
    The buck shall fall,
    The stag and all:
    Our pleasures must from their owne warrants bee,
    For to my Muse, if not to mee,
    I’m sure all game is free;
    Heaven, Earth, are all but parts of her great Royalty.
    And when we meane
    To taste of Bacchus blessings now and then,
    And drinke by stealth
    A cup or two to noble Barkleys health,
    I’ll take my pipe and try
    The Phrygian melody;
    Which he that heares
    Lets through his eares
    A madnesse to distemper all the braine.
    Then I another pipe will take
    And Dorique musique make,
    To Civilize with graver notes our wits again.
    • "An Ode to Mr. Anthony Stafford to hasten him into the Country"
I have a mistress, for perfections rare
In every eye, but in my thoughts most fair.
Like tapers on the altar shine her eyes;
Her breath is the perfume of sacrifice;
And wheresoe’er my fancy would begin,
Still her perfection lets religion in.
We sit and talk, and kiss away the hours
As chastely as the morning dews kiss flowers:
I touch her, like my beads, with devout care,
And come unto my courtship as my prayer.
  • Love, give me leave to serve thee, and be wise
    To keepe thy torch in, but restore blind eyes.
    I will a flame into my bosome take,
    That Martyrs Court when they embrace the stake:
    Not dull, and smoakie fires, but heat divine,
    That burnes not to consume, but to refine.
    I have a Mistresse for perfections rare
    In every eye, but in my thoughts most faire.
    Like Tapers on the Altar shine her eyes;
    Her breath is the perfume of Sacrifice.
    And where soe’re my fancy would begin,
    Still her perfection lets religion in.
    I touch her like my Beads with devout care;
    And come unto my Courtship as my Praier.
    Wee sit, and talke, and kisse away the houres,
    As chastly as the morning dews kisse flowers.
    Goe wanton Lover spare thy sighs and teares,
    Put on the Livery which thy dotage weares,
    And call it Love, where heresie gets in
    Zeal’s but a coale to kindle greater sin.
    Wee weare no flesh, but one another greet,
    As blessed soules in separation meet.
    Wer’t possible that my ambitious sin,
    Durst commit rapes upon a Cherubin,
    I might have lustfull thoughts to her, of all
    Earths heav’nly Quire the most Angelicall.
    Looking into my brest, her forme I find
    That like my Guardian-Angell keeps my mind
    From rude attempts; and when affections stirre,
    I calme all passions with one thought of her.
    Thus they whose reasons love, and not their sence,
    The spirits love: thus one Intelligence
    Reflects upon his like, and by chast loves
    In the same spheare this and that Angell moves.
    Nor is this barren Love; one noble thought
    Begets an other, and that still is brought
    To bed of more; vertues and grace increase,
    And such a numerous issue ne’re can cease.
    Where Children, though great blessings, only bee
    Pleasures repriv’d to some posteritie.
    Beasts love like men, if men in lust delight,
    And call that Love which is but appetite.
    When essence meets with essence, and soules joyne
    In mutuall knots, thats the true Nuptall twine:
    Such Lady is my Love, and such is true;
    All other Love is to your Sexe, not You.
    • "An Elegie"
  • Joy to the Bridegroome and the Bride
    That lye by one anothers side!
    O fie upon the Virgin Bedds,
    No losse is gain but Maiden heads.
    Love quickly send the time may be
    When I shall deal my Rosemary!
    I long to simper at a feast,
    To dance, and kisse, and doe the rest.
    When I shall wed, and Bedded be
    O then the qualme comes over me,
    And tells the sweetnesse of a Theame
    That I ne’re knew but in a dreame.
    You Ladies have the blessed nights,
    I pine in hope of such delights.
    And silly Dam’sell only can
    Milk the cowes teats and think on man:
    And sigh and wish to tast and prove
    The wholesome Sillibub of Love.
    Make hast, at once twin-Brothers beare;
    And leave new matter for a starre.
    Woemen and ships are never shown
    So fair as when their sayles be blown.
    Then when the Midwife hears your moane,
    I’le sigh for grief that I have none.
    And you, deare Knight, whose every kisse
    Reapes the full crop of Cupids blisse,
    Now you have found, confesse and tell
    That single sheets doe make up hell.
    And then so charitable be
    To get a man to pitty me.
    • "The milk-maids Epithalamium"
  • When age hath made me what I am not now;
    And every wrinckle tels me where the plow
    Of time hath furrowed; when an Ice shalt flow
    Through every vein, and all my head wear snow:
    When death displayes his coldnesse in my cheeke,
    And I, my selfe in my owne Picture seeke,
    Not finding what I am, but what I was;
    In doubt which to beleive, this, or my glasse:
    Yet though I alter, this remaines the same
    As it was drawne, retaines the primitive frame,
    And first complexion; here will still be seen
    Blood on the cheeke, and Downe upon the chin.
    Here the smooth brow will stay, the lively eye,
    The ruddy Lip, and haire of youthfull dye.
    Behold what frailty we in man may see,
    Whose Shaddow is lesse given to change then hee.
    • "Upon his Picture"