You Meaner Beauties Of The Night

Original Text: 
Michael East, Cantus. The sixt set of bookes (London: T. Snodham for M.L. and A.B., 1624). STC 7466
2    That poorly satisfy our eyes
3More by your number than your light;
4    You common people of the skies,
5    What are you when the sun shall rise?
6You curious chanters of the wood,
7    That warble forth Dame Nature's lays,
8Thinking your voices understood
9    By your weak accents; what's your praise
11You violets that first appear,
12    By your pure purple mantles known,
13Like the proud virgins of the year,
14    As if the spring were all your own;
15    What are you when the rose is blown?
16So, when my mistress shall be seen
17    In form and beauty of her mind,
18By virtue first, then choice, a queen,
19    Tell me, if she were not design'd
20    Th' eclipse and glory of her kind?


1] One of the most popular poems of the time. Addressed to "his mistress, the Queen of Bohemia", i.e., Elizabeth, daughter of James I, and wife of the ill-fated Frederick V, Elector Palatine and for a short time in 1619 King of Bohemia, until he was driven out by the Spanish and the Austrians. Back to Line
10] Philomel: the nightingale. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.251; RPO 1996-2000.