Sidney Homepage


English Faculty

University of Cambridge

Lady Mary Wroth




Texts related to Lady Mary Wroth

   Jones, Robert: The Muses Gardin for Delights, Or the fift Booke of Ayres, onely for the Lute, the Base-vyoll, and the Voyce. Dedicatory Epistle. To the True Honourable and Esteemed Worthie, the Right Worshipfull the Lady Wroth.

Most Honoured Lady, my eldest and first issue, having thriv'd well under the protection of your Right Honourable Father, blame not this my yongest and last Babe, if it desirously seeke Sanctuarie with your selfe, as being a most worthy branch from so Noble and renowned a stocke: It is hereditarie to your whole house, not onely to be truely Honourable in your selves, but to be the favourers and furtherers of all honest and vertuous endevours in others. And that makes me so farre daring, as to presume to offer this Dedication to your faire acceptance; And howsoever my defects therein may happily (or rather unhappily) be many: Yet am I most confident (and that growes from the worthinesse of your owne nature) that your Honourable minde will be pleased (since it casts it selfe most humbly in your armes) to give it willing entertainment, and to countenance it with the faire Liverie of your noble Name, It may bee slighted in respect of its owne valew, but your favourable acceptance, will both grace it, and my selfe, as a poore Table hung up, even in Princes Gallories, not for the Wood, but for the Picture, And so (Noble Lady) not daring to bee jealous of your Honourable entertainement, I rest
Your Ladyship devoted in all dutie,


   Jonson, Ben : The Alchemist . Dedicatory Epistle.
To the Lady, most aequall with vertue, and her Blood: The Grace, and Glory of women. MARY LA:WROTH.

In the Age of Sacrifices, the truth of Religion was not in the greatnes, and fat of the Offrings, but in the deuotion, and zeale of the Sacrificers: Else, what could a handful of Gummes haue done in the sight of a Hecatombe? Or how, yet, might a gratefull minde be furnish'd against the iniquitie of Fortune; except, when she fail'd it, it had power to impart it selfe? A way found out, to ouercome euen those, whom Fortune hath enabled to returne most, since they, yet leaue themselues more. In this assurance am I planted; and stand with those affections at this Altar, as shall no more auoide the light and witnesse, then they doe the conscience of your vertue. If what I offer beare an acceptable odour, & hold the first strength: It is your valew, that remembers, where, when, and to whom it was kindled. Otherwise, in these times, there comes rarely forth that thing, so full of authoritie, or example, but by daylinesse and custome, growes lesse and looses. But this, safe in your iudgement (which is a SIDNEYS) is forbidden to speake more; least it talke, or looke like one of the ambitious Faces of the time: who, the more they paint, are the lesse themselues.
Your La: true honorer. Ben. Ionson


   Jonson, Ben: A Sonnet. To the noble Lady, the Lady Mary Worth. [from The Workes(1640)]

I that have been a lover, and could shew it,
Though not in these, in rithmes not wholly dumbe,
Since I exscribe your Sonnets, am become
A better lover, and much better PoŽt.
Nor is my Muse, or I asham'd to owe it.
To those true numerous Graces; whereof some,
But charme the Senses, others over-come
Both braines and hearts; and mine now best doe know it:
For in your verse all Cupids Armorie,
His flames, his shafts, his Quiver, and his Bow,
His very eyes are yours to overthrow.
But then his Mothers sweets you so apply,
Her joyes, her smiles, her loves, as readers take
For Venus Ceston, every line you make.


   Jonson, Ben: CIII. To Mary Lady Wroth. [from The Workes (1640)]

How well, faire crowne of your faire sex, might he,
That but the twi-light of your sprite did see,
And noted for what flesh such soules were fram'd,
Know you to be a Sydney, though un-nam'd?
And, being nam'd, how little doth that name
Need any Muses praise to give it fame?
Which is, it selfe, the imprese of the great,
And glorie of them all, but to repeate!
Forgive me then, if mine but say you are
A Sydney: but in that extend as farre
As lowdest praisers, who perhaps would finde
For every part a character assign'd.
My praise is plaine, and where so ere profest,
Becomes none more than you, who need it least.


   Jonson, Ben: CV. To Mary Lady Wroth. [from The Workes (1640)]

Madame, had all antiquitie been lost,
All history seal'd up and fables crost;
That wee had left us, nor by time, nor place,
Least mention of a Nymph, a Muse, a Grace,
But even their names were to bee made a-new,
Who could not but create them all, from you?
He, that but saw you weare the wheaten hat,
Would call you more than Ceres, if not that:
And, drest in shepherds tyre, who would not say:
You were the bright Oenone, Flora, or May?
If dancing, all would cry th' Idalian Queene
Were leading forth the Graces on the greene:
And, armed to the chase, so bare her bow
Diana alone, so hit, and hunted so.
There's none so dull, that for your stile would aske,
That saw you put on Pallas plumed caske:
Or, keeping your due state, that would not cry,
There Juno sate, and yet no Peacock by.
So are you Natures Index, and restore,
I'your selfe, all treasure lost of th'age before.


   Jonson, Ben: III. To Sir Robert Wroth. [from The Workes (1640)]

How blest art thou, canst love the countrey, Wroth,
Whether by choyce, or fate, or both!
And, though so neere the Citie, and the Court,
Art tane with neithers vice, nor sport:
That at great times, art no ambitious guest
Of Sheriffes dinner, or Maiors feast.
Nor com'st to view the better cloth of State;
The richer hangings, or crowne-plate;
Nor throng'st (when masquing is) to have a fight
Of the short braverie of the night;
To view the jewels, stuffes, the paines, the wit
There wasted, some not paid for yet!
But canst, at home, in thy securer rest,
Live, with un-bought provision blest;
Free from proud porches, or their guilded roofes,
'Mongst loughing heards, and solid hoofes:
Along'st the curled woods, and painted meades,
Through which a serpent river leades
To some coole, courteous shade, which he cals his,
And makes sleep softer than it is!
Or, if thou list the night in watch to breake,
A-bed canst heare the loud stag speake,
In spring, oft roused for their masters sport,
Who, for it, makes thy house his court;
Or with thy friends; the heart of all the yeare,
Divid'st, upon the lesser Deere;
In Autumne, at the Partrich mak'st a flight,
And giv'st thy gladder guests the sight;
And, in the Winter, hunt'st the flying Hare,
More for thy exercise, than fare;
While all, that follow, their glad eares apply
To the full greatnesse of the cry:
Or hauking at the River, or the Bush,
Or shooting at the greedy Thrush,
Thou dost with some delight the day out-weare,
Although the coldest of the yeare!
The whil'st the severall seasons thou hast seene
Of flowry Fields, of cop'ces greene,
The mowed Meddows, with the fleeced Sheep,
And feasts, that either shearers keep;
The ripened eares, yet humble in their height,
And furrows laden with their weight;
The apple-harvest, that doth longer last;
The hogs return'd home fat from mast;
The trees cut out in log; and those boughs made
A fire now, that lend a shade!
Thus Pan, and Sylvane, having had their rites,
Comus puts in, for new delights;
And fils thy open hall with mirth, and cheere,
As if in Saturnes raigne it were;
Apollo's Harpe, and Hermes Lyre resound,
Nor are the Muses strangers found:
The rout of rurall folk come thronging in,
(Their rudenesse then is thought no sin)
Thy noblest pouse affords them welcome grace;
And the great Heroes, of her race,
Sit mixt with losse of State, or reverence.
Freedome doth with degree dispence.
The jolly wassall walks the often round,
And in their cups, their cares are drown'd,
They think not, then, which side the cause shall leese,
Nor how to get the Lawyer fees.
Such, and no other was that age, of old,
Which boasts t'have had the head of gold.
And such since thou canst make thine own content,
Strive, Wroth, to live long innocent.
Let others watch in guilty armes, and stand
The fury of a rash command,
Go enter breaches, meet the cannons rage,
That they may sleep with scarres in age.
And shew their feathers shot, and Cullours torne,
And brag that they were therefore borne.
Let this man sweat, and wrangle at the barre,
For every price in every jarre,
And change possessions, oftner with his breath,
Than either money, war, or death:
Let him, than hardest sires, more disinherit,
And each where boast it as his merit,
To blow up Ophanes, Widdows, and their states;
And think his power doth equall Fates.
Let that go heape a masse of wretched wealth,
Purchas'd by rapine, worse than stealth,
And brooding o're it sit, with broadest eyes,
Not doing good, scarce when he dyes.
Let thousands more go flatter vice, and winne,
By being organes to great sin,
Get place and honor, and be glad to keepe
The secrets, that shall breake their sleepe:
And, so they ride in Purple, eat in Plate,
Though poyson, thinke it a great fate.
But thou, my Wroth, if I can truth apply,
Shalt neither that, nor this envy:
Thy peace is made; and, when mans state is well,
'Tis better, if he there can dwell.
God wisheth, none should wracke on a strange shelfe:
To him man's dearer, than t'himselfe.
And, howsoever we may thinke things sweet,
He alwayes gives what he knowes meet;
Which who can use is happy: Such be thou.
Thy mornings and thy evenings Vow
Be thankes to him, and earnest prayer, to finde
A body sound, with sounder minde;
To do thy Countrey service, thy selfe right;
That neither Want doe thee affright,
Nor Death; but when thy latest sand is spent,
Thou maist thinke life, a thing but lent.


   Sylvester, Josuah: TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE, the Lord Vi-count Lisle, and his most vertuous Lady: To Sir Robert Sidney, Knight, their Hopefull Sonne: To the most Worthy Lady Wroth, with the rest of their right vertuous Daughters: and To all the Noble Sidneys and Semi-Sidneys. [from Du Bartas: His Divine Weekes And Workes (1621)]

Although I knowe None, but a Sidney's Muse,
Worthy to sing a Sidney's Worthyness:
None but Your Owne Al- Worth, SidnŽides, Anagram, La. Wroth
In whom, her Vncle's noble Veine renewes:
And though I know (sad Nobles) to infuse
My fore-spent Drops into the bound-lesse Seas
Of Your deep Griefs, for your deer Ioy's Decease;
To Your full Ocean nought at-all accrues:
Yet, as (the Floods Queen) Amphitrite daignes
To take the Tribute of small Brooks and Bournes;
Which to Her Bounty (that Their Streams maintains)
The humble Homage of Their Thanks returnes;
Accept These Sighes and these few Teares of Ours,
Which haue their Course but from the Source of Yours.

Your Noble Name's and Vertue's most Observant,
Iosvah Sylvester.


   Wither, George: To the Lady Mary Wroth.  Epigram 10. [from Iwenilia (1633)]

Madame, to call you best, or the most faire,
The vertu'st and the Wisest in our daies,
Is now not commendations worth a haire,
For that's become to be each huswives praise.

There's no degree below Superlative
Will serve some soothing Epigrammatists:
The Worst they praise exceeds Comparative,
And Best can get no more out of their fists.

But Arts sweet Lover (unto whom I know,
There is no happy Muse this day remains,
That doth not to your worth and service owe,
At least the best and sweetest of his strains)

Vouchsafe to let this Book your favour finde:
And as I here have Mans abuses shown;
Those Muses unto whom you are inclin'd,
Shall make your worth and vertues so well known:
While others false praise shall in one's mouth be,
All shall commend you in the high'st degree.




(Starting Point)   (Biography)   (Basic Reading)   (Complete Bibliography)   (Texts by Lady Mary Wroth)   (Texts related to Lady Mary Wroth)   (Related Resources)   (Images)

Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind

Text-only version

These pages are maintained by Nandini Das and were last updated on 15 June, 2001.