Du Bartas, His Divine Weeks and Works

Original Text: 
Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, Bartas: his Devine weekes and works, trans. Joshua Sylvester, facs. edn., intro. by F. C. Haber (Gainesville: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1965). PQ 1616 E258 1965 Robarts Library
1.1078Th' old heathen schools about the heavens' number.
1.1080Through the thin-thickness of that chrystal line,
1.1081(As through the ocean's clear and liquid flood
1.1082The slippery fishes up and down do scud).
1.1084And, seeing sev'n bright lamps mov'd diversely,
1.1085Turn this and that way: and, on th' other side,
1.1086That all the rest of the heav'ns' twinkling pride
1.1087Keep all one course; ingeniously, he varies
1.1088The heav'ns' rich building into eight round stories.
1.1089Others, amid the starriest orb, perceiving
1.1090A triple cadence, and withal conceiving
1.1091That but one natural course one body goes,
1.1092Count nine, some ten; not numb'ring yet (with those)
1.1093Th' empyreal palace, where th' eternal treasures
1.1094Of nectar flow, where everlasting pleasures
1.1095Are heaped-up, where an immortal May
1.1096In blissful beauties flourisheth for ay,
1.1098Environ'd round with seraphins and souls
1.1099Bought with his precious blood, whose glorious flight
1.1100Erst mounted earth above the heavens bright.
1.1101Nor shall my faint and humble Muse presume
1.1102So high a song and subject to assume.
...
THE THIRD DAY OF THE FIRST WEEK (excerpts)
2.1016      All-hail fair Earth, bearer of towns and towers,
2.1017Of men, gold, grain, physic, and fruits and flowers;
2.1018Fair, firm, and fruitful, various, patient, sweet,
2.1019Sumptuously clothed in a mantle meet
2.1020Of mingled-colour; lac'd about with floods,
2.1021And all embroider'd with fresh blooming buds,
2.1023Excelling cunning, and exceeding cost.
2.1024All-hail great heart, round base, and steadfast root,
2.1025Of all the world, the world's strong fixed foot,
2.1026Heav'n's chastest spouse, supporter of this all,
2.1027This glorious building's goodly pedestal.
2.1028All-hail dear mother, sister, hostess, nurse
2.1029Of the world's sovereign: of thy liberal purse,
2.1030W'are all maintained: matchless emperess,
2.1031To do thee service, with all readiness,
2.1032The spheres before thee bear ten thousand torches:
2.1033The fire, to warm thee, folds his heatful arches
2.1034In purest flames above the floating cloud:
2.1035Th' air, to refresh thee, willingly is bow'd
2.1036About the waves, and well content to suffer
2.1038Water, to quench thy thirst, about thy mountains
2.1039Wraps her moist arms, seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains.
...
THE SIXTH DAY OF THE FIRST WEEK (excerpt)
3.842And though our soul live as imprison'd here
3.843In our frail flesh, or buried (as it were)
3.844In a dark tomb; yet at one flight she flies
3.846Much swifter than the chariot of the sun,
3.847Which in a day about the world doth run.
3.848For, sometimes, leaving these base slimy heaps,
3.849With cheerful spring above the clouds she leaps,
3.850Glides through the air; and there she learns to know
3.851Th' originals of wind, and hail, and snow,
3.852Of lightning, thunder, blazing-stars, and storms,
3.854By th' air's steep-stairs, she boldly climbs aloft
3.855To the world's chambers: heaven she visits oft,
3.856Stage after stage: she marketh all the spheres,
3.857And all th' harmonious, various course of theirs:
3.860And differing paces; and, as if she found
3.861No subject fair enough in all this round,
3.862She mounts above the world's extremest wall,
3.863Far, far beyond all things corporeal;
3.864Where she beholds her Maker, face to face,
3.865(His frowns of justice, and his smiles of grace)
3.866The faithful zeal, the chaste and sober port
3.867The sacred pomp of the celestial court.
...

Notes

1.1077] First published as a whole with this title in 1605, though fragments of it had appeared from 1595 on The First Day of the World's Creation appeared in 1595; The Second Week, or Childhood of the World in 1598. Guillaume de Saluste du Bartas (1544-1590) was a French Huguenot poet, whose La Sepmaine had appeared in 1578. It was very popular in both France and England, and many English translations (including a few passages by King James I) were made from it. Back to Line
1.1079] Probably refers to Pythagorean conceptions of the universe. Back to Line
1.1083] The Ptolemaic system of the universe regarded the earth as a fixed centre around which revolved eight spheres, those of the sun, the moon, the five planets and the fixed stars. Later astronomers added a ninth or Crystalline sphere to account for the precession of the equinoxes, and still later the Alphonsine system of ten spheres, the outermost being called the Primum Mobile, was adopted. The Copernican theory had not gained much ground in Du Bartas' time. Cf. Milton, Nativity Ode, 125 ff., and note. Back to Line
1.1097] sises. Assizes. Back to Line
2.1022] embost. Carved in relief. Back to Line
2.1037] The west and north winds. Back to Line
3.845] Calpe. The ancient name of Gibraltar.
Imaus. Ancient name for the mountain ranges of Central Asia. Back to Line
3.853] exhaled. Vaporous. Back to Line
3.858] compasses. Proper proportions. Back to Line
3.859] meter. Measures. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1598
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.252-53; RPO 1996-2000.
Form: