Dec. 3, 2001: To his sweet lute Apollo sung the motions of the Spheares & The man of life upright

Dear friends,

Thomas Campion, who lived from approximately 1570 to 1620, was a near
contemporary of Shakespeare. And like Shakespeare, little is known of his
life. Though there is evidence that he went to Law School for a little
while, he was mostly a "Doctor of Physicke"--a medical doctor. In poetry
he is known mostly for short lyrics, songs, and love poems, the kind of
verse that scholars theorize were really written for, and perhaps with,
music. Perhaps Campion was a lutist: One of his most popular poems begins,
"When to her lute Corinna sings..."

I recently read many of Campion's poems for the first time. Being more
familiar with his light love lyrics, I was surprised to find these two:
One a version of a mythical story, the other a morality tale of sorts. No
need for titles, as his titles--like ee cummings'--are always simply the
first lines of the poems. Oh, and I've left the archaic spellings for fun.

the editor

To his sweet lute Apollo sung the motions of the Spheares;
The wondrous order of the Stars, whose course divides the yeares;
And all the mysteries above:
But none of this could Midas move,
Which purchased him his Asses eares.

Then Pan with his rude pipe began the Country-wealth t'advance,
To boast of Cattle, flocks of Sheepe, and Goates on hils that dance;
With much more of this churlish kinde,
That quite transported Midas mind,
And held him rapt as in a trance.

This wrong the God of Musicke scorn'd from such a sottish Judge,
And bent his angry brow at Pan, which made the Piper trudge:
Then Midas' head he so did trim,
That ev'ry age yet talkes of him,
And Phoebus right revenged grudge.

The man of life upright,
Whose guiltlesse hart is free
From all dishonest deedes,
Or thought of vanitie;

The man whose silent dayes,
In harmless joys are spent.
Whome hopes cannot delude
Nor sorrow discontent;

That man needes neyther towres
Nor armour for defense,
Nor secret vautes to flie
From thunder's violence;

Hee onely can behold
With unafrighted eyes
The horrors of the deepe
And terrours of the Skies.

Thus, scorning all the cares
That fate or fortune brings,
He makes the heav'n his booke,
His wisdome heav'nly things;

Good thoughts his onely friendes,
His wealth a well-spent age,
The earth his sober Inne
And quiet Pilgrimage.


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