Salve Deus Rex Iudæorum

Eve's Apology in Defence of Women

Original Text: 
Æmilia Lanyer, Salve Deus RexIVDÆORVM (London: V. Simmes for R. Bonian, 1611): C4v-.
745Now Pontius Pilate is to judge the Cause
746Of faultlesse Jesus, who before him stands;
747Who neither hath offended Prince, nor Lawes,
748Although he now be brought in woefull bands:
749O noble Governour, make thou yet a pause,
750Doe not in innocent blood imbrue thy hands;
751    But heare the words of thy most worthy wife,
752    Who sends to thee, to beg her Sauiours life.
753Let barb'rous crueltie farre depart from thee,
754And in true Iustice take afflictions part;
755Open thine eies, that thou the truth mai'st see,
756Doe not the thing that goes against thy heart,
757Condemne not him that must thy Sauiour be;
758But view his holy Life, his good desert.
759    Let not vs Women glory in Mens fall,
760    Who had power giuen to ouer-rule vs all.
Eues Apologie
1Till now your indiscretion sets vs free,
2And makes our former fault much lesse appeare;
3Our Mother Eue, who tasted of the Tree,
4Giuing to Adam what shee held most deare,
5Was simply good, and had no powre to see,
6The after-comming harme did not appeare:
7    The subtile Serpent that our Sex betraide,
8    Before our fall so sure a plot had laide.
9That vndiscerning Ignorance perceau'd
10No guile, or craft that was by him intended;
11For had she knowne, of what we were bereau'd,
12To his request she had not condiscended
13But she (poore soule) by cunning was deceau'd,
14No hurt therein her harmelesse Heart intended:
15    For she alleadg'd Gods word, which he denies,
16    That they should die, but even as Gods, be wise.
17But surely Adam can not be excusde,
18Her fault though great, yet hee was most too blame;
19What Weaknesse offerd, Strength might haue refusde,
20Being Lord of all, the greater was his shame:
21Although the Serpents craft had her abusde,
22Gods holy word ought all his actions frame,
23    For he was Lord and King of all the earth,
24    Before poore Eue had either life or breath.
25Who being fram'd by Gods eternall hand,
26The perfect'st man that ever breath'd on earth;
27And from Gods mouth receiu'd that strait command,
28The breach whereof he knew was present death:
29Yea hauing powre to rule both Sea and Land,
30Yet with one Apple wonne to loose that breath
31    Which God had breathed in his beauteous face,
32    Bringing vs all in danger and disgrace.
33And then to lay the fault on Patience backe,
34That we (poore women) must endure it all;
35We know right well he did discretion lacke,
36Beeing not perswaded thereunto at all;
37If Eue did erre, it was for knowledge sake,
38The fruit beeing faire perswaded him to fall:
39    No subtill Serpents falshood did betray him,
40    If he would eate it, who had powre to stay him?
41Not Eue, whose fault was onely too much loue,
42Which made her giu this present to her Deare,
43That what shee tasted, he likewise might proue,
44Whereby his knowledge might become more cleare;
45He neuer sought her weakenesse to reproue,
46With those sharpe words, which he of God did heare:
47    Yet Men will boast of Knowledge, which he tooke
48    From Eues faire hand, as from a learned Booke.
49If any Euill did in her remaine,
50Beeing made of him, he was the ground of all;
51If one of many Worlds could lay a staine
52Vpon our Sexe, and worke so great a fall
53To wretched Man, by Satans subtill traine;
54What will so fowle a fault amongst you all?
55    Her weakenesse did the Serpents words obay;
56    But you in malice Gods deare Sonne betray.
57Whom, if vniustly you condemne to die,
58Her sinne was small, to what you doe commit;
59All mortall sinnes that doe for vengeance crie,
60Are not to be compared vnto it:
61If many worlds would altogether trie,
62By all their sinnes the wrath of God to get;
63    This sinne of yours, surmounts them all as farre
64    As doth the Sunne, another little starre.
65Then let vs have our Libertie againe,
66And challendge to your selues no Sov'raigntie;
67You came not in the world without our paine,
68Make that a barre against your crueltie;
69Your fault beeing greater, why should you disdaine
70Our beeing your equals, free from tyranny?
71    If one weake woman simply did offend,
72    This sinne of yours, hath no excuse, nor end.
73To which (poore soules) we neuer gave consent,
74Witnesse thy wife (O Pilate) speakes for all;
75Who did but dreame, and yet a message sent,
76That thou should'st haue nothing to doe at all
77With that just man; which, if thy heart relent,
78Why wilt thou be a reprobate with Saul?
79    To seeke the death of him that is so good,
80    For thy soules health to shed his dearest blood.
81Yea, so thou mai'st these sinful people please,
82Thou art content against all truth and right,
83To seale this act, that may procure thine ease
84With blood, and wrong, with tyrannie, and might;
85The multitude thou seekest to appease,
86By base deiection of this heauenly Light:
87    Demanding which of these that thou should'st loose,
88    Whether the Thiefe, or Christ King of the Jewes.
89Base Barrabas the Thiefe, they all desire,
90And thou more base than he, perform'st their will;
91Yet when thy thoughts backe to themselues retire,
92Thou art vnwilling to commit this ill:
93Oh that thou couldst vnto such grace aspire,
94That thy polluted lips might neuer kill
95    That Honour, which right Iudgement euer graceth,
96    To purchase shame, which all true worth defaceth.
97Art thou a Judge, and asketh what to do
98With one, in whom no fault there can be found?
99The death of Christ wilt thou consent vnto,
100Finding no cause, no reason, nor no ground?
101Shall he be scourg'd, and crucified too?
102And must his miseries by thy meanes abound?
103    Yet not asham'd to aske what he hath done,
104    When thine owne conscience seeks this sinne to shunne.
105Three times thou ask'st, What euill hath he done?
106And saist, thou find'st in him no cause of death,
107Yet wilt thou chasten Gods beloued Sonne,
108Although to thee no word of ill he saith:
109For Wrath must end, what Malice hath begunne,
110And thou must yield to stop his guiltlesse breath.
111    This rude tumultuous rowt doth presse so sore,
112    That thou condemnest him thou shouldst adore.
113Yet Pilate, this can yeeld thee no content,
114To exercise thine owne authoritie,
115But vnto Herod he must needes be sent,
116To reconcile thy selfe by tyrannie:
117Was this the greatest good in Iustice meant,
118When thou perceiu'st no fault in him to be?
119    If thou must make thy peace by Virtues fall,
120    Much better 'twere not to be friends all.
121Yet neither thy sterne browe, nor his great place,
122Can draw an answer from the Holy One:
123His false accusers, nor his great disgrace,
124Nor Herods scoffes; to him they are all one:
125He neither cares, nor feares his owne ill case,
126Though being despis'd and mockt of euery one:
127    King Herods gladnesse giues him little ease,
128    Neither his anger seekes he to appease.
129Yet this is strange, that base Impietie
130Should yeeld those robes of honour, which were due;
131Pure white, to shew his great Integritie,
132His innocency, that all the world might view;
133Perfections height in lowest penury,
134Such glorious pouerty as they neuer knew:
135    Purple and Scarlet well might him beseeme,
136    Whose pretious blood must all the world redeeme.
137And that Imperiall Crowne of Thornes he wore,
138Was much more pretious than the Diadem
139Of any King that ever liu'd before,
140Or since his time, their honour's but a dreame
141To his eternall glory, beeing so poore,
142To make a purchasse of that heauenly Realme;
143    Where God with all his Angels liues in peace,
144    No griefes, nor sorrowes, but all joyes increase.
145Those royall robes, which they in scorne did giue,
146To make him odious to the common sort,
147Yeeld light of Grace to those whose soules shall liue
148Within the harbour of this heauenly port;
149Much doe they joy, and much more doe they grieue,
150His death, their life, should make his foes such sport:
151    With sharpest thornes to pricke his blessed face,
152    Our ioyfull sorrow, and his greater grace.
153Three feares at once possessed Pilates heart;
154The first, Christs innocencie, which so plaine appeares;
155The next, That he which now must feele this smart,
156Is Gods deare Sonne, for any thing he heares:
157But that which proou'd the deepest wounding dart,
158Is Peoples threat'nings, which he so much feares,
159    That he to C{ae}sar could not be a friend,
160    Vnlesse he sent sweet IESVS to his end.
161Now Pilate thou art proou'd a painted wall,
162A golden Sepulcher with rotten bones;
163From right to wrong, from equitie to fall:
164If none vpbraid thee, yet the very stones
165Will rise against thee, and in question call
166His blood, his teares, his sighes, his bitter groanes:
167    All these will witnesse at the latter day,
168    When water cannot wash thy sinne away.
169Canst thou be innocent, that gainst all right,
170Wilt yeeld to what thy conscience doth withstand?
171Beeing a man of knowledge, powre, and might,
172To let the wicked carrie such a hand,
173Before thy face to blindfold Heau'ns bright light,
174And thou to yeeld to what they did demand?
175    Washing thy hands, thy conscience cannot cleare,
176    But to all worlds this staine must needs appeare.
177For loe, the Guiltie doth accuse the Iust,
178And faultie Iudge condemnes the Innocent;
179And wilfull Iewes to exercise their lust,
180With whips and taunts against their Lord are bent;
181He basely vs'd, blasphemed, scorn'd and curst,
182Our heauenly King to death for vs they sent:
183    Reproches, slanders, spittings in his face,
184    Spight doing all her worst in his disgrace.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1996-2000.