THE GOLDEN TREASURY
Of the best Songs and Lyrical Pieces In the English Language
Selected by Francis Turner Palgrave
Illustrated by A. Pearse
London and Glasgow Collins' Clear-Type Press
This book in its progress has recalled often to my memory a man with whose friendship we were once honoured, to whom no region of English literature was unfamiliar, and who, whilst rich in all the noble gifts of nature, was most eminently distinguished by the noblest and the rarest,—just judgment and high-hearted patriotism. It would have been hence a peculiar pleasure and pride to dedicate what I have endeavoured to make a true national Anthology of three centuries to Henry Hallam. But he is beyond the reach of any human tokens of love and reverence; and I desire therefore to place before it a name united with his by associations which, whilst Poetry retains her hold on the minds of Englishmen, are not likely to be forgotten.
Your encouragement, given while traversing the wild scenery of Treryn Dinas, led me to begin the work; and it has been completed under your advice and assistance. For the favour now asked I have thus a second reason: and to this I may add, the homage which is your right as Poet, and the gratitude due to a Friend, whose regard I rate at no common value.
Permit me then to inscribe to yourself a book which, I hope, may be found by many a lifelong fountain of innocent and exalted pleasure; a source of animation to friends when they meet; and able to sweeten solitude itself with best society,—with the companionship of the wise and the good, with the beauty which the eye cannot see, and the music only heard in silence. If this Collection proves a store-house of delight to Labour and to Poverty,—if it teaches those indifferent to the Poets to love them, and those who love them to love them more, the aim and the desire entertained in framing it will be fully accomplished.
F.T.P. May, 1861.
This little Collection differs, it is believed, from others in the attempt made to include in it all the best original Lyrical pieces and Songs in our language, by writers not living,—and none beside the best. Many familiar verses will hence be met with; many also which should be familiar:—the Editor will regard as his fittest readers those who love Poetry so well, that he can offer them nothing not already known and valued. For those who take up the book in a serious and scholarly spirit, the following remarks on the plan and the execution are added.
The Editor is acquainted with no strict and exhaustive definition of Lyrical Poetry; but he has found the task of practical decision increase in clearness and in facility as he advanced with the work, whilst keeping in view a few simple principles. Lyrical has been here held essentially to imply that each Poem shall turn on some single thought, feeling, or situation. In accordance with this, narrative, descriptive, and didactic poems,—unless accompanied by rapidity of movement, brevity, and the colouring of human passion,—have been excluded. Humorous poetry, except in the very unfrequent instances where a truly poetical tone pervades the whole, with what is strictly personal, occasional, and religious, has been considered foreign to the idea of the book. Blank verse and the ten-syllable couplet, with all pieces markedly dramatic, have been rejected as alien from what is commonly understood by Song, and rarely conforming to Lyrical conditions in treatment. But it is not anticipated, nor is it possible, that all readers shall think the line accurately drawn. Some poems, as Gray's Elegy, the Allegro and Penseroso, Wordsworth's Ruth or Campbell's Lord Ullin, might be claimed with perhaps equal justice for a narrative or descriptive selection: whilst with reference especially to Ballads and Sonnets, the Editor can only state that he has taken his utmost pains to decide without caprice or partiality.
This also is all he can plead in regard to a point even more liable to question;—what degree of merit should give rank among the Best. That a Poem shall be worthy of the writer's genius,—that it shall reach a perfection commensurate with its aim,—that we should require finish in proportion to brevity,—that passion, colour, and originality cannot atone for serious imperfections in clearness, unity, or truth,—that a few good lines do not make a good poem,—that popular estimate is serviceable as a guidepost more than as a compass,—above all, that Excellence should be looked for rather in the Whole than in the Parts,—such and other such canons have been always steadily regarded. He may however add that the pieces chosen, and a far larger number rejected, have been carefully and repeatedly considered; and that he has been aided throughout by two friends of independent and exercised judgment, besides the distinguished person addressed in the Dedication. It is hoped that by this procedure the volume has been freed from that one-sidedness which must beset individual decisions:—but for the final choice the Editor is alone responsible.
Chalmers' vast collection, with the whole works of all accessible poets not contained in it, and the best Anthologies of different periods, have been twice systematically read through: and it is hence improbable that any omissions which may be regretted are due to oversight. The poems are printed entire, except in a very few instances (specified in the notes) where a stanza has been omitted. The omissions have been risked only when the piece could be thus brought to a closer lyrical unity: and, as essentially opposed to this unity, extracts, obviously such, are excluded. In regard to the text, the purpose of the book has appeared to justify the choice of the most poetical version, wherever more than one exists: and much labour has been given to present each poem, in disposition, spelling, and punctuation, to the greatest advantage.
In the arrangement, the most poetically effective order has been attempted. The English mind has passed through phases of thought and cultivation so various and so opposed during these three centuries of Poetry, that a rapid passage between Old and New, like rapid alteration of the eye's focus in looking at the landscape, will always be wearisome and hurtful to the sense of Beauty. The poems have been therefore distributed into Books corresponding, I. to the ninety years closing about 1616, II. thence to 1700, III. to 1800, IV. to the half century just ended. Or, looking at the Poets who more or less give each portion its distinctive character, they might be called the Books of Shakespeare, Milton, Gray, and Wordsworth. The volume, in this respect, so far as the limitations of its range allow, accurately reflects the natural growth and evolution of our Poetry. A rigidly chronological sequence, however, rather fits a collection aiming at instruction than at pleasure, and the Wisdom which comes through Pleasure:—within each book the pieces have therefore been arranged in gradations of feeling or subject. The development of the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven has been here thought of as a model, and nothing placed without careful consideration. And it is hoped that the contents of this Anthology will thus be found to present a certain unity, "as episodes," in the noble language of Shelley, "to that great Poem which all poets, like the co-operating thoughts of one great mind, have built up since the beginning of the world."
As he closes his long survey, the Editor trusts he may add without egotism, that he has found the vague general verdict of popular Fame more just than those have thought, who, with too severe a criticism, would confine judgments on Poetry to "the selected few of many generations." Not many appear to have gained reputation without some gift or performance that, in due degree, deserved it: and if no verses by certain writers who show less strength than sweetness, or more thought than mastery in expression, are printed in this volume, it should not be imagined that they have been excluded without much hesitation and regret,—far less that they have been slighted. Throughout this vast and pathetic array of Singers now silent, few have been honoured with the name Poet, and have not possessed a skill in words, a sympathy with beauty, a tenderness of feeling, or seriousness in reflection, which render their works, although never perhaps attaining that loftier and finer excellence here required,—better worth reading than much of what fills the scanty hours that most men spare for self-improvement, or for pleasure in any of its more elevated and permanent forms.
And if this be true of even mediocre poetry, for how much more are we indebted to the best! Like the fabled fountain of the Azores, but with a more various power, the magic of this Art can confer on each period of life its appropriate blessing: on early years Experience, on maturity Calm, on age Youthfulness. Poetry gives treasures "more golden than gold," leading us in higher and healthier ways than those of the world, and interpreting to us the lessons of Nature. But she speaks best for herself. Her true accents, if the plan has been executed with success, may be heard throughout the following pages:-wherever the Poets of England are honoured, wherever the dominant language of the world is spoken, it is hoped that they will find fit audience.
F. T. PALGRAVE.
THE GOLDEN TREASURY.
The Elizabethan Poetry, as it is rather vaguely termed, forms the substance of this Book, which contains pieces from Wyat under Henry VIII. to Shakespeare midway through the reign of James I., and Drummond who carried on the early manner to a still later period. There is here a wide range of style;—from simplicity expressed in a language hardly yet broken in to verse,—through the pastoral fancies and Italian conceits of the strictly Elizabethan time,—to the passionate reality of Shakespeare: yet a general uniformity of tone prevails. Few readers can fail to observe the natural sweetness of the verse, the single-hearted straightforwardness of the thoughts:—nor less, the limitation of subject to the many phases of one passion, which then characterised our lyrical poetry,—unless when, as with Drummond and Shakespeare, the "purple light of Love" is tempered by a spirit of sterner reflection.
It should be observed that this and the following Summaries apply in the main to the Collection here presented, in which (besides its restriction to Lyrical Poetry) a strictly representative or historical Anthology has not been aimed at. Great Excellence, in human art as in human character, has from the beginning of things been even more uniform than Mediocrity, by virtue of the closeness of its approach to Nature:—and so far as the standard of Excellence kept in view has been attained in this volume, a comparative absence of extreme or temporary phases in style, a similarity of tone and manner, will be found throughout:—something neither modern nor ancient but true in all ages, and like the works of Creation perfect as on the first day.
Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king; Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The palm and may make country houses gay, Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day, And we hear aye birds tune their merry lay, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet, Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit, In every street these tunes our ears do greet, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo! Spring, the sweet Spring!
2. SUMMONS TO LOVE.
Phoebus, arise! And paint the sable skies With azure, white, and red: Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed That she may thy career with roses spread: The nightingales thy coming eachwhere sing: Make an eternal spring! Give life to this dark world which lieth dead; Spread forth thy golden hair In larger locks than thou wast wont before, And emperor-like decore With diadem of pearl thy temples fair: Chase hence the ugly night Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light.
—This is that happy morn, That day, long wished day Of all my life so dark, (If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn And fates not hope betray), Which, purely white, deserves An everlasting diamond should it mark. This is the morn should bring unto this grove My Love, to hear and recompense my love. Fair King, who all preserves, But show thy blushing beams, And thou two sweeter eyes Shalt see than those which by Peneus' streams Did once thy heart surprize. Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise: If that ye winds would hear A voice surpassing far Amphion's lyre, Your furious chiding stay; Let Zephyr only breathe And with her tresses play. —The winds all silent are, And Phoebus in his chair Ensaffroning sea and air Makes vanish every star: Night like a drunkard reels Beyond the hills, to shun his flaming wheels: The fields with flowers are deck'd in every hue, The clouds with orient gold spangle their blue; Here is the pleasant place— And nothing wanting is, save She, alas.
WILLIAM DRUMMOND OF HAWTHORNDEN.
3. TIME AND LOVE.
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced The rich proud cost of out-worn buried age; When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed, And brass eternal slave to mortal rage.
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain Advantage on the kingdom of the shore, And the firm soil win of the watery main, Increasing store with loss, and loss with store.
When I have seen such interchange of state, Or state itself confounded to decay, Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate— That Time will come and take my Love away.
—This thought is as a death, which cannot choose But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O how shall summer's honey breath hold out, Against the wreckful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout, Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays?
O fearful meditation, where, alack! Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid? Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back, Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O! none, unless this miracle have might, That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
5. THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE.
Come live with me and be my Love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dale and field, And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks And see the shepherds feed their flocks By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool, Which from our pretty lambs we pull, Fair-lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy-buds With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my Love.
Thy silver dishes for thy meat As precious as the gods do eat, Shall on an ivory table be Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my Love.
6. A MADRIGAL.
Crabbed Age and Youth Cannot live together: Youth is full of pleasance, Age is full of care; Youth like summer morn, Age like winter weather; Youth like summer brave, Age like winter bare: Youth is full of sport, Age's breath is short, Youth is nimble, Age is lame: Youth is hot and bold, Age is weak and cold; Youth is wild, and Age is tame:— Age, I do abhor thee, Youth, I do adore thee; O! my Love, my Love is young! Age, I do defy thee— O, sweet shepherd, hie thee, For methinks thou stay'st too long.
Under the greenwood tree Who loves to lie with me, And tune his merry note Unto the sweet bird's throat— Come hither, come hither, come hither! Here shall we see No enemy But winter and rough weather.
Who doth ambition shun And loves to live i' the sun, Seeking the food he eats And pleased with what he gets— Come hither, come hither, come hither! Here shall he see No enemy But winter and rough weather.
It was a lover and his lass With a hey, and a ho, and a hey-nonino! That o'er the green cornfield did pass, In the spring time, the only pretty ring time, When birds do sing hey ding a ding: Sweet lovers love the Spring. Between the acres of the rye These pretty country folks would lie: This carol they began that hour, How that life was but a flower: And therefore take the present time With a hey, and a ho, and a hey-nonino! For love is crowned with the prime In spring time, the only pretty ring time, When birds do sing, hey ding a ding; Sweet lovers love the Spring.
9. PRESENT IN ABSENCE.
Absence, hear thou my protestation Against thy strength, Distance, and length: Do what thou canst for alteration: For hearts of truest mettle Absence doth join, and Time doth settle.
Who loves a mistress of such quality, He soon hath found Affection's ground Beyond time, place, and all mortality. To hearts that cannot vary Absence is Presence, Time doth tarry.
By absence this good means I gain, That I can catch her, Where none can watch her, In some close corner of my brain: There I embrace and kiss her, And so I both enjoy and miss her.
Being your slave what should I do but tend Upon the hours and times of your desire? I have no precious time at all to spend, Nor services to do, till you require:
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you, Nor think the bitterness of absence sour When you have bid your servant once adieu:
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought Where you may be, or your affairs suppose, But like a sad slave, stay and think of nought Save where you are, how happy you make those;—
So true a fool is love, that in your will, Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.
How like a winter hath my absence been From Thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen, What old December's bareness everywhere!
And yet this time removed was summer's time: The teeming autumn, big with rich increase, Bearing the wanton burden of the prime Like widow'd wombs after their lords' decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me But hope of orphans, and unfather'd fruit; For summer and his pleasures wait on thee, And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer, That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.
12. A CONSOLATION.
When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself, and curse my fate;
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possest, Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising, Haply I think on Thee—and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd, such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
13. THE UNCHANGEABLE.
O never say that I was false of heart, Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify: As easy might I from my self depart As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie;
That is my home of love, if I have ranged, Like him that travels, I return again, Just to the time, not with the time exchanged, So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reign'd All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood, That it could so preposterously be stain'd To leave for nothing all thy sum of good:
For nothing this wide universe I call, Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.
To me, fair Friend, you never can be old, For as you were when first your eye I eyed Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold Have from the forests shook three summers' pride;
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd, In process of the seasons have I seen, Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd, Since first I saw you fresh which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial hand, Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived; So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand, Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived:
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred,— Ere you were born, was beauty's summer dead.
Diaphenia like the daffadowndilly, White as the sun, fair as the lily, Heigh ho, how do I love thee! I do love thee as my lambs Are beloved of their dams; How blest were I if thou would'st prove me.
Diaphenia like the spreading roses, That in thy sweets all sweets encloses, Fair sweet, how do I love thee! I do love thee as each flower Loves the sun's life-giving power; For dead, thy breath to life might move me.
Diaphenia like to all things blessed When all thy praises are expressed, Dear joy, how do I love thee! As the birds do love the spring, Or the bees their careful king: Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!
Like to the clear in highest sphere Where all imperial glory shines, Of selfsame colour is her hair Whether unfolded, or in twines: Heigh ho, fair Rosaline! Her eyes are sapphires set in snow, Resembling heaven by every wink; The Gods do fear whenas they glow, And I do tremble when I think Heigh ho, would she were mine!
Her cheeks are like the blushing cloud That beautifies Aurora's face, Or like the silver crimson shroud That Phoebus' smiling looks doth grace; Heigh ho, fair Rosaline! Her lips are like two budded roses Whom ranks of lilies neighbour nigh, Within which bounds she balm encloses Apt to entice a deity: Heigh ho, would she were mine!
Her neck like to a stately tower Where Love himself imprison'd lies, To watch for glances every hour From her divine and sacred eyes: Heigh ho, fair Rosaline! Her paps are centres of delight, Her breasts are orbs of heavenly frame, Where Nature moulds the dew of light To feed perfection with the same: Heigh ho, would she were mine!
With orient pearl, with ruby red, With marble white, with sapphire blue, Her body every way is fed, Yet soft in touch and sweet in view: Heigh ho, fair Rosaline! Nature herself her shape admires; The Gods are wounded in her sight; And Love forsakes his heavenly fires And at her eyes his brand doth light: Heigh ho, would she were mine!
Then muse not, Nymphs, though I bemoan The absence of fair Rosaline, Since for a fair there's fairer none, Nor for her virtues so divine: Heigh ho, fair Rosaline! Heigh ho, my heart! would God that she were mine!
Beauty sat bathing by a spring Where fairest shades did hide her; The winds blew calm, the birds did sing, The cool streams ran beside her.
My wanton thoughts enticed mine eye To see what was forbidden: But better memory said, fie! So vain desire was chidden:— Hey nonny nonny O! Hey nonny nonny!
Into a slumber then I fell, When fond imagination Seemed to see, but could not tell Her feature or her fashion. But ev'n as babes in dreams do smile, And sometimes fall a-weeping, So I awaked as wise this while As when I fell a-sleeping:— Hey nonny nonny O! Hey nonny nonny!
THE SHEPHERD TONIE.
18. TO HIS LOVE.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
19. TO HIS LOVE.
When in the chronicle of wasted time I see descriptions of the fairest wights, And beauty making beautiful old rhyme In praise of ladies dead, and lovely knights;
Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow, I see their antique pen would have exprest Ev'n such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies Of this our time, all, you prefiguring; And for they look'd but with divining eyes, They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days, Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.
20. LOVE'S PERJURIES.
On a day, alack the day! Love, whose month is ever May, Spied a blossom passing fair Playing in the wanton air: Through the velvet leaves the wind All unseen 'gan passage find; That the lover, sick to death, Wish'd himself the heaven's breath. Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow; Air, would I might triumph so! But, alack, my hand is sworn Ne'er to pluck thee from thy thorn: Vow, alack, for youth unmeet; Youth so apt to pluck a sweet. Do not call it sin in me That I am forsworn for thee: Thou for whom e'en Jove would swear Juno but an Ethiope were, And deny himself for Jove, Turning mortal for thy love.
21. A SUPPLICATION.
Forget not yet the tried intent Of such a truth as I have meant; My great travail so gladly spent, Forget not yet!
Forget not yet when first began The weary life ye know, since whan The suit, the service, none tell can; Forget not yet!
Forget not yet the great assays, The cruel wrong, the scornful ways, The painful patience in delays, Forget not yet!
Forget not! O, forget not this, How long ago hath been, and is The mind that never meant amiss— Forget not yet!
Forget not then thine own approved The which so long hath thee so loved, Whose steadfast faith yet never moved— Forget not this!
SIR T. WYAT.
22. TO AURORA.
O if thou knew'st how thou thyself does harm, And dost prejudge thy bliss, and spoil thy rest; Then thou would'st melt the ice out of thy breast And thy relenting heart would kindly warm.
O if thy pride did not our joys controul, What world of loving wonders should'st thou see! For if I saw thee once transform'd in me, Then in thy bosom I would pour my soul;
Then all my thoughts should in thy visage shine, And if that aught mischanced thou should'st not moan Nor bear the burthen of thy griefs alone; No, I would have my share in what were thine:
And whilst we thus should make our sorrows one, This happy harmony would make them none.
W. ALEXANDER, EARL OF STERLINE.
23. TRUE LOVE.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:—
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom:—
If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
24. A DITTY.
My true love hath my heart, and I have his, By just exchange one to the other given: I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss, There never was a better bargain driven: My true love hath my heart, and I have his.
His heart in me keeps him and me in one, My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides: He loves my heart, for once it was his own, I cherish his because in me it bides: My true-love hath my heart, and I have his.
SIR P. SIDNEY.
25. LOVE'S OMNIPRESENCE.
Were I as base as is the lowly plain, And you, my Love, as high as heaven above, Yet should the thoughts of me your humble swain Ascend to heaven, in honour of my Love.
Were I as high as heaven above the plain, And you, my Love, as humble and as low As are the deepest bottoms of the main, Whereso'er you were, with you my love should go.
Were you the earth, dear Love, and I the skies, My love should shine on you like to the sun, And look upon you with ten thousand eyes Till heaven wax'd blind, and till the world were done.
Whereso'er I am, below, or else above you, Whereso'er you are, my heart shall truly love you.
26. CARPE DIEM.
O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear! your true-love's coming That can sing both high and low; Trip no further, pretty sweeting, Journeys end in lovers' meeting— Every wise man's son doth know.
What is love? 'tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What's to come is still unsure: In delay there lies no plenty,— Then come kiss me, Sweet-and-twenty, Youth's a stuff will not endure.
When icicles hang by the wall And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, And Tom bears logs into the hall, And milk comes frozen home in pail; When blood is nipt, and ways be foul, Then nightly sings the staring owl Tuwhoo! Tuwhit! Tuwhoo! A merry note! While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all around the wind doth blow, And coughing drowns the parson's saw, And birds sit brooding in the snow, And Marian's nose looks red and raw: When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl— Then nightly sings the staring owl Tuwhoo! Tuwhit! Tuwhoo! A merry note! While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
That time of year thou may'st in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie As the deathbed whereon it must expire, Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
—This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow, For precious friends hid in death's dateless night, And weep afresh love's long-since-cancell'd woe, And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, Which I new pay as if not paid before:
—But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored, and sorrows end.
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore So do our minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity once in the main of light Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd, Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight, And Time that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth, And delves the parallels in beauty's brow; Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth, And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet, to times in hope, my verse shall stand Praising Thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing, And like enough thou know'st thy estimate: The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing, My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting? And for that riches where is my deserving? The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting, And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav'st, thy own worth then not knowing, Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking; So thy great gift, upon misprision growing, Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter; In sleep, a king; but waking, no such matter.
32. THE LIFE WITHOUT PASSION.
They that have power to hurt, and will do none, That do not do the thing they most do show, Who, moving others, are themselves as stone, Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow,—
They rightly do inherit Heaven's graces, And husband nature's riches from expense; They are the lords and owners of their faces, Others, but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet, Though to itself it only live and die; But if that flower with base infection meet, The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
33. THE LOVER'S APPEAL.
And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay! for shame, To save thee from the blame Of all my grief and grame. And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath loved thee so long In wealth and woe among: And is thy heart so strong As for to leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath given thee my heart Never for to depart Neither for pain nor smart: And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
And wilt thou leave me thus, And have no more pity Of him that loveth thee? Alas! thy cruelty! And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
SIR T. WYAT.
34. THE NIGHTINGALE.
As it fell upon a day In the merry month of May, Sitting in a pleasant shade Which a grove of myrtles made, Beasts did leap and birds did sing, Trees did grow and plants did spring, Every thing did banish moan Save the Nightingale alone. She, poor bird, as all forlorn, Lean'd her breast against a thorn, And there sung the dolefullest ditty, That to hear it was great pity. Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry; Tereu, tereu, by and by: That to hear her so complain Scarce I could from tears refrain; For her griefs so lively shown Made me think upon mine own. —Ah! thought I, thou mourn'st in vain, None takes pity on thy pain: Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee, Ruthless beasts, they will not cheer thee; King Pandion, he is dead, All thy friends are lapp'd in lead: All thy fellow birds do sing Careless of thy sorrowing: Even so, poor bird, like thee, None alive will pity me.
Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night, Brother to Death, in silent darkness born, Relieve my anguish, and restore the light; With dark forgetting of my care return.
And let the day be time enough to mourn The shipwreck of my ill adventured youth: Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn, Without the torment of the night's untruth.
Cease, dreams, the images of day-desires, To model forth the passions of the morrow; Never let rising Sun approve you liars To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow:
Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain, And never wake to feel the day's disdain.
Take O take those lips away That so sweetly were forsworn, And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn: But my kisses bring again, Bring again— Seals of love, but seal'd in vain, Seal'd in vain!
37. LOVE'S FAREWELL.
Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part,— Nay, I have done, you get no more of me; And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart, That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows, And when we meet at any time again, Be it not seen in either of our brows That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath, When his pulse failing, passion speechless lies, When faith is kneeling by his bed of death, And innocence is closing up his eyes,
—Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over, From death to life thou might'st him yet recover!
38. TO HIS LUTE.
My lute, be as thou wert when thou did'st grow With thy green mother in some shady grove, When immelodious winds but made thee move, And birds their ramage did on thee bestow.
Since that dear Voice which did thy sounds approve, Which wont in such harmonious strains to flow, Is reft from Earth to tune those spheres above, What art thou but a harbinger of woe?
Thy pleasing notes be pleasing notes no more, But orphan's wailings to the fainting ear; Each stroke a sigh, each sound draws forth a tear; For which be silent as in woods before:
Or if that any hand to touch thee deign, Like widow'd turtle still her loss complain.
39. BLIND LOVE.
O me! what eyes hath love put in my head Which have no correspondence with true sight: Or if they have, where is my judgment fled That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote, What means the world to say it is not so? If it be not, then love doth well denote, Love's eye is not so true as all men's: No,
How can it? O how can love's eye be true, That is so vex'd with watching and with tears? No marvel then though I mistake my view: The sun itself sees not till heaven clears.
O cunning Love! with tears thou keep'st me blind, Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find!
40. THE UNFAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS.
While that the sun with his beams hot Scorched the fruits in vale and mountain, Philon the shepherd, late forgot, Sitting beside a crystal fountain, In shadow of a green oak tree Upon his pipe this song play'd he: Adieu Love, adieu Love, untrue Love, Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu Love; Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
So long as I was in your sight I was your heart, your soul, and treasure; And evermore you sobb'd and sigh'd Burning in flames beyond all measure: —Three days endured your love to me, And it was lost in other three! Adieu Love, adieu Love, untrue Love, Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu Love; Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
Another Shepherd you did see To whom your heart was soon enchained; Full soon your love was leapt from me, Full soon my place he had obtained. Soon came a third, your love to win, And we were out and he was in. Adieu Love, adieu Love, untrue Love, Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu Love; Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
Sure you have made me passing glad That you your mind so soon removed, Before that I the leisure had To choose you for my best beloved: For all your love was past and done Two days before it was begun:— Adieu Love, adieu Love, untrue Love, Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu Love; Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
41. A RENUNCIATION.
If women could be fair, and yet not fond, Or that their love were firm, not fickle still, I would not marvel that they make men bond By service long to purchase their good will; But when I see how frail those creatures are, I muse that men forget themselves so far.
To mark the choice they make, and how they change, How oft from Phoebus they do flee to Pan; Unsettled still, like haggards wild they range, These gentle birds that fly from man to man; Who would not scorn and shake them from the fist, And let them fly, fair fools, which way they list?
Yet for disport we fawn and flatter both, To pass the time when nothing else can please, And train them to our lure with subtle oath, Till, weary of their wiles, ourselves we ease; And then we say when we their fancy try, To play with fools, O what a fool was I!
E. VERE, EARL OF OXFORD.
Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude; Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen, Although thy breath be rude. Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then, heigh ho! the holly! This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, That dost not bite so nigh As benefits forgot: Though thou the waters warp, Thy sting is not so sharp As friend remember'd not. Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then heigh ho, the holly! This life is most jolly.
My thoughts hold mortal strife; I do detest my life, And with lamenting cries Peace to my soul to bring Oft call that prince which here doth monarchise: —But he, grim grinning King, Who caitiffs scorns, and doth the blest surprise, Late having deck'd with beauty's rose his tomb, Disdains to crop a weed, and will not come.
44. DIRGE OF LOVE.
Come away, come away, Death, And in sad cypres let me be laid; Fly away, fly away, breath; I am slain by a fair cruel maid. My shroud of white, stuck all with yew, O prepare it! My part of death no one so true Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet, On my black coffin let there be strown; Not a friend, not a friend greet My poor corpse, where my bones shall thrown: A thousand thousand sighs to save, Lay me, O where Sad true lover never find my grave, To weep there.
Fear no more the heat o' the sun, Nor the furious winter's rages: Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Fear no more the frown o' the great, Thou art past the tyrant's stroke; Care no more to clothe and eat; To thee the reed is as the oak: The sceptre, learning, physic, must All follow this, and come to dust.
Fear no more the lightning flash Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone; Fear not slander, censure rash; Thou hast finish'd joy and moan: All lovers young, all lovers must Consign to thee, and come to dust.
46. A SEA DIRGE.
Full fathom five thy father lies: Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange; Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Hark! now I hear them,— Ding, dong, Bell.
47. A LAND DIRGE.
Call for the robin-redbreast and the wren, Since o'er shady groves they hover And with leaves and flowers do cover The friendless bodies of unburied men. Call unto his funeral dole The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm And (when gay tombs are robb'd) sustain no harm; But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men, For with his nails he'll dig them up again.
48. POST MORTEM.
If Thou survive my well-contented day When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover, And shalt by fortune once more re-survey These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover:
Compare them with the bettering of the time, And though they be outstripp'd by every pen, Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme Exceeded by the height of happier men.
O then vouchsafe me but this loving thought— "Had my friend's muse grown with this growing age, A dearer birth than this his love had brought, To march in ranks of better equipage:
But since he died, and poets better prove, Theirs for their style I'll read, his for his love."
49. THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH.
No longer mourn for me when I am dead Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell Give warning to the world, that I am fled From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell;
Nay, if you read this line, remember not The hand that writ it; for I love you so, That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O if, I say, you look upon this verse When I perhaps compounded am with clay Do not so much as my poor name rehearse, But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan, And mock you with me after I am gone.
Tell me where is Fancy bred, Or in the heart or in the head? How begot, how nourished? Reply, reply. It is engender'd in the eyes, With gazing fed; and Fancy dies In the cradle where it lies: Let us all ring fancy's knell; I'll begin it,—Ding, dong, bell. —Ding, dong, bell.
51. CUPID AND CAMPASPE.
Cupid and my Campaspe play'd At cards for kisses; Cupid paid: He stakes his quiver, bow, and arrows, His mother's doves, and team of sparrows; Loses them too; then down he throws The coral of his lip, the rose Growing on's cheek (but none knows how); With these, the crystal of his brow, And then the dimple on his chin; All these did my Campaspe win: At last he set her both his eyes— She won, and Cupid blind did rise. O Love! has she done this to thee? What shall, alas! become of me?
Pack, clouds, away, and welcome day, With night we banish sorrow; Sweet air blow soft, mount larks aloft To give my Love good-morrow! Wings from the wind to please her mind, Notes from the lark I'll borrow; Bird, prune thy wing, nightingale sing, To give my Love good-morrow; To give my Love good-morrow Notes from them both I'll borrow.
Wake from thy nest, Robin-redbreast! Sing, birds, in every furrow; And from each hill, let music shrill Give my fair Love good-morrow! Blackbird and thrush in every bush, Stare, linnet, and cock-sparrow! You pretty elves, amongst yourselves Sing my fair Love good-morrow; To give my Love good-morrow Sing birds, in every furrow!
Calm was the day, and through the trembling air Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play— A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister fair; When I, (whom sullen care, Through discontent of my long fruitless stay In princes' court, and expectation vain Of idle hopes, which still do fly away Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain) Walk'd forth to ease my pain Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames; Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems, Was painted all with variable flowers, And all the meads adorn'd with dainty gems Fit to deck maidens' bowers, And crown their paramours Against the bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
There in a meadow by the river's side, A flock of nymphs I chanced to espy, All lovely daughters of the flood thereby, With goodly greenish locks all loose untied As each had been a bride; And each one had a little wicker basket Made of fine twigs, entrailed curiously, In which they gather'd flowers to fill their flasket, And with fine fingers cropt full feateously The tender stalks on high. Of every sort which in that meadow grew They gather'd some; the violet, pallid blue, The little daisy that at evening closes, The virgin lily and the primrose true: With store of vermeil roses, To deck their bridegrooms' posies Against the bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
With that I saw two swans of goodly hue Come softly swimming down along the lee; Two fairer birds I yet did never see; The snow which doth the top of Pindus strow, Did never whiter show, Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be For love of Leda, whiter did appear; Yet Leda was (they say) as white as he, Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near; So purely white they were, That even the gentle stream, the which them bare, Seem'd foul to them, and bade his billows spare To wet their silken feathers, lest they might Soil their fair plumes with water not so fair, And mar their beauties bright That shone as Heaven's light Against their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill, Ran all in haste to see that silver brood As they came floating on the crystal flood; Whom when they saw, they stood amazed still Their wondering eyes to fill; Them seem'd they never saw a sight so fair Of fowls, so lovely, that they sure did deem Them heavenly born, or to be that same pair Which through the sky draw Venus' silver team; For sure they did not seem To be begot of any earthly seed, But rather angels, or of angels' breed; Yet were they bred of summer's heat, they say, In sweetest season, when each flower and weed The earth did fresh array; So fresh they seem'd as day, Even as their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
Then forth they all out of their baskets drew Great store of flowers, the honour of the field, That to the sense did fragrant odours yield, All which upon those goodly birds they threw And all the waves did strew, That like old Peneus' waters they did seem When down along by pleasant Tempe's shore Scatter'd with flowers, through Thessaly they stream, That they appear, through lilies' plenteous store, Like a bride's chamber-floor. Two of those nymphs meanwhile two garlands bound Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found, The which presenting all in trim array, Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crown'd Whilst one did sing this lay Prepar'd against that day, Against their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
"Ye gentle birds! the world's fair ornament, And Heaven's glory, whom this happy hour Doth lead unto your lovers' blissful bower, Joy may you have, and gentle hearts content Of your loves complement; And let fair Venus, that is queen of love, With her heart-quelling son upon you smile, Whose smile, they say, hath virtue to remove All love's dislike, and friendship's faulty guile For ever to assoil. Let endless peace your steadfast hearts accord, And blessed plenty wait upon your board; And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound, That fruitful issue may to you afford Which may your foes confound, And make your joys redound Upon your bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song."
So ended she; and all the rest around To her redoubled that her undersong, Which said their bridal day should not be long: And gentle Echo from the neighbour ground Their accents did resound. So forth those joyous birds did pass along Adown the lee that to them murmur'd low, As he would speak but that he lack'd a tongue, Yet did by signs his glad affection show, Making his stream run slow. And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell 'Gan flock about these twain, that did excel The rest, so far as Cynthia doth shend The lesser stars. So they, enranged well, Did on those two attend, And their best service lend Against their wedding day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
At length they all to merry London came, To merry London, my most kindly nurse, That to me gave this life's first native source, Though from another place I take my name, An house of ancient fame: There when they came whereas those bricky towers The which on Thames' broad aged back do ride, Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers, There whilome wont the Templar-knights to bide, Till they decay'd through pride: Next whereunto there stands a stately place, Where oft I gained gifts and goodly grace Of that great lord, which therein wont to dwell, Whose want too well now feels my friendless case; But ah! here fits not well Old woes, but joys to tell Against the bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer, Great England's glory and the world's wide wonder, Whose dreadful name late thro' all Spain did thunder, And Hercules' two pillars standing near Did make to quake and fear: Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry! That fillest England with thy triumphs' fame Joy have thou of thy noble victory, And endless happiness of thine own name That promiseth the same; That through thy prowess and victorious arms, Thy country may be freed from foreign harms, And great Eliza's glorious name may ring Through all the world, fill'd with thy wide alarms Which some brave Muse may sing To ages following, Upon the bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly till I end my song.
From those high towers this noble lord issuing, Like radiant Hesper, when his golden hair In th' ocean billows he hath bathed fair, Descended to the river's open viewing With a great train ensuing. Above the rest were goodly to be seen Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature, Beseeming well the bower of any queen, With gifts of wit and ornaments of nature, Fit for so goodly stature, That like the twins of Jove they seem'd in sight Which deck the baldric of the Heavens bright; They two, forth pacing to the river's side, Received those two fair brides, their love's delight; Which, at th' appointed tide, Each one did make his bride Against their bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
54. THE HAPPY HEART.
Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers? O sweet content! Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed? O punishment! Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vexed To add to golden numbers, golden numbers? O sweet content! O sweet, O sweet content! Work apace, apace, apace, apace; Honest labour bears a lovely face; Then hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny!
Canst drink the waters of the crisped spring? O sweet content! Swimm'st thou in wealth, yet sink'st in thine own tears? O punishment! Then he that patiently want's burden bears, No burden bears, but is a king, a king! O sweet content! O sweet, O sweet content! Work apace, apace, apace, apace; Honest labour bears a lovely face; Then hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny!
This Life, which seems so fair, Is like a bubble blown up in the air By sporting children's breath, Who chase it everywhere And strive who can most motion it bequeath. And though it sometimes seem of its own might Like to an eye of gold to be fix'd there, And firm to hover in that empty height, That only is because it is so light. —But in that pomp it doth not long appear; For when 'tis most admired, in a thought, Because it erst was nought, it turns to nought.
56. SOUL AND BODY.
Poor Soul, the centre of my sinful earth, Fool'd by those rebel powers that thee array, Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth, Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease, Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend? Shall worms, inheritors of this excess, Eat up thy charge? is this thy body's end?
Then, Soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss, And let that pine to aggravate thy store; Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross; Within be fed, without be rich no more:—
So shall thou feed on death, that feeds on men, And death once dead, there's no more dying then.
The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man Less than a span: In his conception wretched, from the womb So to the tomb; Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years With cares and fears. Who then to frail mortality shall trust, But limns on water, or but writes in dust.
Yet whilst with sorrow here we live opprest, What life is best? Courts are but only superficial schools To dandle fools: The rural parts are turn'd into a den Of savage men: And where's a city from foul vice so free, But may be term'd the worst of all the three?
Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed, Or pains his head: Those that live single, take it for a curse, Or do things worse: Some would have children: those that have them, moan Or wish them gone: What is it, then, to have, or have no wife, But single thraldom, or a double strife?
Our own affections still at home to please Is a disease: To cross the seas to any foreign soil, Peril and toil: Wars with their noise affright us; when they cease, We are worse in peace;— What then remains, but that we still should cry For being born, or, being born, to die
58. THE LESSONS OF NATURE.
Of this fair volume which we World do name If we the sheets and leaves could turn with care, Of Him who it corrects, and did it frame, We clear might read the art and wisdom rare:
Find out His power which wildest powers doth tame, His providence extending everywhere, His justice which proud rebels doth not spare, In every page, no period of the same.
But silly we, like foolish children, rest Well pleased with colour'd vellum, leaves of gold, Fair dangling ribbands, leaving what is best, On the great Writer's sense ne'er taking hold;
Or if by chance we stay our minds on aught, It is some picture on the margin wrought.
Doth then the world go thus, doth all thus move? Is this the justice which on Earth we find? Is this that firm decree which all doth bind? Are these your influences, Powers above?
Those souls which vice's moody mists most blind, Blind Fortune, blindly, most their friend doth prove; And they who thee, poor idle Virtue! love, Ply like a feather toss'd by storm and wind.
Ah! if a Providence doth sway this all, Why should best minds groan under most distress? Or why should pride humility make thrall, And injuries the innocent oppress?
Heavens! hinder, stop this fate; or grant a time When good may have, as well as bad, their prime!
60. THE WORLD'S WAY.
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry— As, to behold desert a beggar born, And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity, And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplaced, And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted, And right perfection wrongfully disgraced, And strength by limping sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority, And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill, And simple truth miscall'd simplicity, And captive Good attending captain Ill:—
—Tired with all these, from these would I be gone, Save that, to die, I leave my Love alone.
61. SAINT JOHN BAPTIST.
The last and greatest Herald of Heaven's King Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild, Among that savage brood the woods forth bring, Which he more harmless found than man, and mild.
His food was locusts, and what there doth spring With honey that from virgin hives distill'd; Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing Made him appear, long since from earth exiled.
There burst he forth: All ye whose hopes rely On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn, Repent, repent, and from old errors turn! —Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry?
Only the echoes, which he made relent, Rung from their flinty caves, Repent! Repent!
This division, embracing the latter eighty years of the seventeenth century, contains the close of our Early poetical style and the commencement of the Modern. In Dryden we see the first master of the new: in Milton, whose genius dominates here as Shakespeare's in the former book,—the crown and consummation of the early period. Their splendid Odes are far in advance of any prior attempts, Spenser's excepted: they exhibit the wider and grander range which years and experience and the struggles of the time conferred on Poetry. Poetry now gave expression to political feeling, to religious thought, to a high philosophic statesmanship in writers such as Marvell, Herbert, and Wotton: whilst in Marvell and Milton, again, we find the first noble attempts at pure description of nature, destined in our own ages to be continued and equalled. Meanwhile the poetry of simple passion, although before 1660 often deformed by verbal fancies and conceits of thought, and afterward by levity and an artificial tone,—produced in Herrick and Waller some charming pieces of more finished art than the Elizabethan: until in the courtly compliments of Sedley it seems to exhaust itself, and lie almost dormant for the hundred years between the days of Wither and Suckling and the days of Burns and Cowper.—That the change from our early style to the modern brought with it at first a loss of nature and simplicity is undeniable: yet the far bolder and wider scope which Poetry took between 1620 and 1700, and the successful efforts then made to gain greater clearness in expression, in their results have been no slight compensation.
62. ODE ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
This is the month, and this the happy morn Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King Of wedded maid and virgin mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring; For so the holy sages once did sing That He our deadly forfeit should release, And with His Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty Wherewith He wont at Heaven's high council-table To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside; and, here with us to be, Forsook the courts of everlasting day, And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant God? Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain To welcome Him to this His new abode, Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod, Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?
See how from far, upon the eastern road, The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet: O run, prevent them with thy humble ode And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet, And join thy voice unto the angel quire From out His secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.
It was the Winter wild While the heaven-born Child All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies Nature in awe to Him Had doff'd her gaudy trim, With her great Master so to sympathise: It was no season then for her To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.
Only with speeches fair She woos the gentle air To hide her guilty front with innocent snow; And on her naked shame, Pollute with sinful blame, The saintly veil of maiden white to throw; Confounded, that her Maker's eyes Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
But He, her fears to cease, Sent down the meek-eyed Peace, She crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere His ready harbinger, With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.
No war, or battle's sound Was heard the world around: The idle spear and shield were high up hung; The hooked Chariot stood Unstain'd with hostile blood; The trumpet spake not to the armed throng; And kings sat still with awful eye, As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.
But peaceful was the night Wherin the Prince of Light His reign of peace upon the earth began: The winds, with wonder whist, Smoothly the waters kist Whispering new joys to the mild ocean— Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
The stars with deep amaze Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze, Bending one way their precious influence; And will not take their flight For all the morning light, Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence; But in their glimmering orbs did glow, Until their Lord Himself bespake, and bid them go.
And though the shady gloom Had given day her room, The sun himself withheld his wonted speed, And hid his head for shame, As his inferior flame The new-enlightn'd world no more should need: He saw a greater Sun appear Then his bright throne, or burning axletree, could bear.
The shepherds on the lawn Or ere the point of dawn Sate simply chatting in a rustic row; Full little thought they then That the mighty Pan Was kindly come to live with them below; Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.
When such music sweet Their hearts and ears did greet As never was by mortal finger strook— Divinely-warbled voice Answering the stringed noise, As all their souls in blissful rapture took: The air, such pleasure loth to lose, With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close.
Nature that heard such sound Beneath the hollow round Of Cynthia's seat the airy region thrilling, Now was almost won To think her part was done, And that her reign had here its last fulfilling; She knew such harmony alone Could hold all heaven and earth in happier union.
At last surrounds their sight A globe of circular light That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd; The helmed Cherubim And sworded Seraphim, Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, Harping in loud and solemn quire With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born Heir.
Such music (as 'tis said) Before was never made But when of old the sons of morning sung, While the Creator great His constellations set And the well-balanced world on hinges hung; And cast the dark foundations deep, And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
Ring out, ye crystal spheres! Once bless our human ears, If ye have power to touch our senses so; And let your silver chime Move in melodious time; And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow; And with your ninefold harmony Make up full concert to the angelic symphony.
For if such holy Song Enwrap our fancy long, Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold; And speckled vanity Will sicken soon and die, And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould; And Hell itself will pass away, And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.
Yea, Truth and Justice then Will down return to men, Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, Mercy will sit between Throned in celestial sheen, With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering; And Heaven, as at some festival, Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.
But wisest Fate says No; This must not yet be so; The Babe yet lies in smiling infancy That on the bitter cross Must redeem our loss; So both Himself and us to glorify: Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep;
With such a horrid clang As on mount Sinai rang While the red fire and smouldering clouds outbrake: The aged Earth agast With terrour of that blast Shall from the surface to the centre shake, When at the worlds last session, The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread His throne.
And then at last our bliss Full and perfect is, But now begins; for from this happy day The old Dragon, under ground In straiter limits bound, Not half so far casts his usurped sway; And, wroth to see his Kingdom fail, Swinges the scaly horrour of his folded tail.
The oracles are dumb; No voice or hideous hum Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving: Apollo from his shrine Can no more divine, With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving: No nightly trance or breathed spell Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.
The lonely mountains o'er And the resounding shore A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament; From haunted spring, and dale Edged with poplar pale The parting Genius is with sighing sent; With flower-inwoven tresses torn The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
In consecrated earth And on the holy hearth, The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint; In urns, and altars round A drear and dying sound Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint; And the chill marble seems to sweat, While each peculiar Power forgoes his wonted seat.
Peor and Baalim Forsake their temples dim, With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine And mooned Ashtaroth Heaven's queen and mother both, Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn, In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.
And sullen Moloch, fled, Hath left in shadows dread His burning idol all of blackest hue; In vain with cymbals' ring They call the grisly king, In dismal dance about the furnace blue; The brutish gods of Nile as fast Isis and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.
Nor is Osiris seen In Memphian grove, or green, Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud: Nor can he be at rest Within his sacred chest; Naught but profoundest hell can be his shroud; In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark The sable stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark.
He feels from Juda's land The dreaded infant's hand; The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; Nor all the gods beside Longer dare abide, Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine: Our Babe, to shew his Godhead true, Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.
So, when the sun in bed Curtain'd with cloudy red Pillows his chin upon an orient wave, The flocking shadows pale Troop to the infernal jail, Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave; And the yellow-skirted fays Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.
But see, the Virgin blest Hath laid her Babe to rest; Time is, our tedious song should here have ending: Heavens youngest-teemed star, Hath fixed her polish'd car, Her sleeping Lord with hand-maid lamp attending: And all about the courtly stable Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.
63. SONG FOR ST CECILIA'S DAY,
From Harmony, from heavenly Harmony This universal frame began: When nature underneath a heap Of jarring atoms lay And could not heave her head, The tuneful voice was heard from high Arise, ye more than dead! Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry In order to their stations leap, And Music's power obey. From harmony, from heavenly harmony This universal frame began: From harmony to harmony Through all the compass of the notes it ran, The diapason closing full in Man.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell? When Jubal struck the chorded shell His listening brethren stood around, And, wondering, on their faces fell To worship that celestial sound. Less than a God they thought there could not dwell Within the hollow of that shell, That spoke so sweetly and so well. What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
The trumpet's loud clangor Excites us to arms, With shrill notes of anger, And mortal alarms. The double double double beat Of the thundering drum Cries "Hark! the foes come; Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat!"
The soft complaining flute In dying notes discovers The woes of hopeless lovers, Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.
Sharp violins proclaim Their jealous pangs and desperation, Fury, frantic indignation, Depth of pains, and height of passion For the fair, disdainful dame.
But oh! what art can teach, What human voice can reach The sacred organ's praise? Notes inspiring holy love, Notes that wing their heavenly ways To mend the choirs above. Orpheus could lead the savage race, And trees uprooted left their place Sequacious of the lyre: But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher: When to her Organ vocal breath was given An angel heard, and straight appear'd— Mistaking Earth for Heaven!
As from the power of sacred lays The spheres began to move, And sung the great Creator's praise To all the blest above; So when the last and dreadful hour This crumbling pageant shall devour, The trumpet shall be heard on high, The dead shall live, the living die, And Music shall untune the sky.
64. ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT.
Avenge, O Lord! Thy slaughter'd Saints, whose bones Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold; Even them who kept Thy truth so pure of old When all our fathers worshipt stocks and stones.
Forget not: In Thy book record their groans Who were Thy sheep, and in their ancient fold Slain by the bloody Piemontese, that roll'd Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they To Heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow O'er all the Italian field, where still doth sway The triple tyrant, that from these may grow A hundred-fold, who, having learnt Thy way, Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
65. HORATIAN ODE UPON CROMWELL'S RETURN FROM IRELAND.
The forward youth that would appear, Must now forsake his Muses dear, Nor in the shadows sing His numbers languishing.
'Tis time to leave the books in dust, And oil the unused armour's rust, Removing from the wall The corslet of the hall.
So restless Cromwell could not cease In the inglorious arts of peace, But through adventurous war Urged his active star:
And like the three-fork'd lightning first Breaking the clouds where it was nurst, Did thorough his own side His fiery way divide:
For 'tis all one to courage high The emulous, or enemy; And with such, to enclose Is more than to oppose;
Then burning through the air he went And palaces and temples rent; And Caesar's head at last Did through his laurels blast.
'Tis madness to resist or blame The face of angry heaven's flame; And if we would speak true, Much to the Man is due
Who, from his private gardens, where He lived reserved and austere (As if he his highest plot To plant the bergamot)
Could by industrious valour climb To ruin the great work of time, And cast the Kingdoms old Into another mould.
Though Justice against Fate complain, And plead the ancient Rights in vain— But those do hold or break As men are strong or weak;
Nature, that hateth emptiness, Allows of penetration less, And therefore must make room Where greater spirits come.
What field of all the civil war Where his were not the deepest scar? And Hampton shows what part He had of wiser art,
Where, twining subtle fears with hope, He wove a net of such a scope That Charles himself might chase To Carisbrook's narrow case;
That thence the Royal actor borne The tragic scaffold might adorn: While round the armed bands Did clap their bloody hands;
He nothing common did or mean Upon that memorable scene, But with his keener eye The axe's edge did try;
Nor call'd the Gods, with vulgar spite, To vindicate his helpless right; But bow'd his comely head Down, as upon a bed.
—This was that memorable hour Which first assured the forced power: So when they did design The Capitol's first line,
A Bleeding Head, where they begun, Did fright the architects to run; And yet in that the State Foresaw its happy fate!
And now the Irish are ashamed To see themselves in one year tamed: So much one man can do That does both act and know.
They can affirm his praises best, And have, though overcome, confest How good he is, how just And fit for highest trust;
Nor yet grown stiffer with command, But still in the Republic's hand— How fit he is to sway That can so well obey!
He to the Commons' feet presents A Kingdom for his first year's rents, And (what he may) forbears His fame, to make it theirs:
And has his sword and spoils ungirt To lay them at the Public's skirt. So when the falcon high Falls heavy from the sky,
She, having kill'd, no more doth search But on the next green bough to perch, Where, when he first does lure, The falconer has her sure.
—What may not then our Isle presume While victory his crest does plume? What may not others fear If thus he crowns each year!
As Caesar he, ere long, to Gaul, To Italy an Hannibal, And to all states not free Shall climacteric be.
The Pict no shelter now shall find Within his parti-colour'd mind, But, from this valour, sad Shrink underneath the plaid—
Happy, if in the tufted brake The English hunter him mistake, Nor lay his hounds in near The Caledonian deer.
But Thou, the War's and Fortune's son, March indefatigably on; And for the last effect Still keep the sword erect:
Besides the force it has to fright The spirits of the shady night, The same arts that did gain A power, must it maintain.
Elegy on a Friend drowned in the Irish Channel.
Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere, I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, And with forced fingers rude Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear Compels me to disturb your season due: For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer: Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. He must not float upon his watery bier Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, Without the meed of some melodious tear.
Begin, then, Sisters of the sacred well That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring; Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string; Hence with denial vain and coy excuse: So may some gentle Muse With lucky words favour my destined urn: And as he passes, turn And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nursed upon the self-same hill, Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill: Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd Under the opening eye-lids of the morn, We drove a-field, and both together heard What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn, Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, Oft till the star that rose at evening bright Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering wheel. Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute; Temper'd to the oaten flute, Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel From the glad sound would not be absent long; And old Damoetas loved to hear our song.
But, O the heavy change, now thou art gone, Now thou art gone and never must return! Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves, With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, And all their echoes, mourn. The willows and the hazel copses green Shall now no more be seen Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays:— As killing as the canker to the rose, Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze, Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear, When first the white-thorn blows; Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherds' ear.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas? For neither were ye playing on the steep Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie, Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream. Ay me! I fondly dream— Had ye been there—for what could that have done? What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, Whom universal nature did lament, When by the rout that made the hideous roar His gory visage down the stream was sent, Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore?
Alas! what boots it with incessant care To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? Were it not better done, as others use, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair? Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise (That last infirmity of noble mind) To scorn delights and live laborious days; But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, And think to burst out into sudden blaze, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise," Phoebus replied, and touch'd my trembling ears; "Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, Nor in the glistering foil Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies: But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes And perfect witness of all-judging Jove; As he pronounces lastly on each deed, Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed."
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds! That strain I heard was of a higher mood: But now my oat proceeds, And listens to the herald of the sea That came in Neptune's plea; He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds, What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain? And question'd every gust of rugged wings That blows from off each beaked promontory: They knew not of his story; And sage Hippotades their answer brings, That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd; The air was calm, and on the level brine Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd. It was that fatal and perfidious bark Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark, That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.
Next, Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe: "Ah! who hath reft," quoth he, "my dearest pledge!" Last came, and last did go The pilot of the Galilean Lake; Two massy keys he bore of metals twain (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain); He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake: "How well could I have spared for thee, young swain, Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake Creep and intrude and climb into the fold! Of other care they little reckoning make Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, And shove away the worthy bidden guest; Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least That to the faithful herdman's art belongs! What recks it them? What need they? They are sped; And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw; The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw Daily devours apace, and nothing said: —But that two-handed engine at the door Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more."
Return, Alpheus; the dread voice is past That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues. Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks; Throw hither all your quaint enamell'd eyes That on the green turf suck the honey'd showers And purple all the ground with vernal flowers. Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine, The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet, The glowing violet, The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine, With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, And every flower that sad embroidery wears: Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed, And daffodillies fill their cups with tears To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies. For so to interpose a little ease, Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise; Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas Wash far away,—where'er thy bones are hurl'd; Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide Visitest the bottom of the monstrous world; Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, Where the great Vision of the guarded mount Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold, —Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth: —And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth!
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead, Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor; So sinks the day-star in the ocean-bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the waves; Where, other groves and other streams along, With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, And hears the unexpressive nuptial song In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. There entertain him all the saints above In solemn troops, and sweet societies, That sing, and singing, in their glory move, And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more; Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore, In thy large recompense, and shalt be good To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills, While the still morn went out with sandals gray; He touch'd the tender stops of various quills, With eager thought warbling his Doric lay: And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills, And now was dropt into the western bay: At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue: To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.
67. THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
Mortality, behold and fear What a change of flesh is here! Think how many royal bones Sleep within these heaps of stones; Here they lie, had realms and lands, Who now want strength to stir their hands, Where from their pulpits seal'd with dust They preach, "In greatness is no trust." Here's an acre sown indeed With the richest royallest seed That the earth did e'er suck in Since the first man died for sin: Here the bones of birth have cried "Though gods they were, as men they died!" Here are sands, ignoble things, Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings Here's a world of pomp and state Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
68. THE LAST CONQUEROR.
Victorious men of earth, no more Proclaim how wide your empires are; Though you bind-in every shore And your triumphs reach as far As night and day, Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey And mingle with forgotten ashes, when Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
Devouring Famine, Plague, and War, Each able to undo mankind, Death's servile emissaries are; Nor to these alone confined, He hath at will More quaint and subtle ways to kill; A smile or kiss, as he will use the art, Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.
69. DEATH THE LEVELLER.
The glories of our blood and state Are shadows, not substantial things; There is no armour against fate; Death lays his icy hand on kings: Sceptre and Crown Must tumble down, And in the dust be equal made With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field, And plant fresh laurels where they kill: But their strong nerves at last must yield; They tame but one another still: Early or late They stoop to fate, And must give up their murmuring breath When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow; Then boast no more your mighty deeds; Upon Death's purple altar now See where the victor-victim bleeds: Your heads must come To the cold tomb; Only the actions of the just Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
70. WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE CITY.
Captain, or Colonel, or Knight in arms, Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize, If deed of honour did thee ever please; Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee; for he knows the charms That call fame on such gentle acts as these. And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas, Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower: The great Emathian conqueror bid spare The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower Went to the ground: and the repeated air Of sad Electra's poet had the power To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.
71. ON HIS BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest He returning chide,— Doth God exact day-labour, light denied? I fondly ask:—But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies; God doth not need Either man's work, or His own gifts: who best Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best: His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed And post o'er land and ocean without rest:— They also serve who only stand and wait.
72. CHARACTER OF A HAPPY LIFE.
How happy is he born and taught That serveth not another's will; Whose armour is his honest thought And simple truth his utmost skill!
Whose passions not his masters are, Whose soul is still prepared for death, Not tied unto the world by care Of public fame, or private breath;
Who envies none that chance doth raise Or vice; Who never understood How deepest wounds are given by praise; Nor rules of state, but rules of good:
Who hath his life from rumours freed, Whose conscience is his strong retreat; Whose state can neither flatterers feed, Nor ruin make accusers great;
Who God doth late and early pray More of His grace than gifts to lend; And entertains the harmless day With a well-chosen book or friend;
—This man is freed from servile bands Of hope to rise, or fear to fall; Lord of himself, though not of lands, And having nothing, yet hath all.
SIR H. WOTTON.
73. THE NOBLE NATURE.
It is not growing like a tree In bulk, doth make Man better be; Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere: A lily of a day Is fairer far in May, Although it fall and die that night— It was the plant and flower of Light. In small proportions we just beauties see; And in short measures life may perfect be.
74. THE GIFTS OF GOD.
When God at first made Man, Having a glass of blessings standing by; Let us (said he) pour on him all we can: Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie, Contract into a span.
So strength first made a way; Then beauty flow'd, then wisdom, honour, pleasure: When almost all was out, God made a stay, Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure, Rest in the bottom lay.
For if I should (said he) Bestow this jewel also on my creature, He would adore My gifts instead of Me, And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature: So both should losers be.
Yet let him keep the rest, But keep them with repining restlessness: Let him be rich and weary, that at least, If goodness lead him not, yet weariness May toss him to my breast.
75. THE RETREAT.
Happy those early days, when I Shined in my Angel-infancy! Before I understood this place Appointed for my second race, Or taught my soul to fancy aught But a white, celestial thought; When yet I had not walk'd above A mile or two from my first Love,
And looking back, at that short space Could see a glimpse of his bright face; When on some gilded cloud or flower My gazing soul would dwell an hour, And in those weaker glories spy Some shadows of eternity; Before I taught my tongue to wound My conscience with a sinful sound, Or had the black art to dispense A several sin to every sense, But felt through all this fleshly dress Bright shoots of everlastingness.
O how I long to travel back, And tread again that ancient track! That I might once more reach that plain, Where first I left my glorious train; From whence th' enlighten'd spirit sees That shady City of Palm trees! But ah! my soul with too much stay Is drunk, and staggers in the way:— Some men a forward motion love, But I by backward steps would move; And when this dust falls to the urn, In that state I came, return.
76. TO MR. LAWRENCE.
Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son, Now that the fields are dank and ways are mire, Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
From the hard season gaining? Time will run On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire The frozen earth, and cloth in fresh attire The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air? He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
77. TO CYRIACK SKINNER.
Cyriack, whose grandsire on the royal bench Of British Themis, with no mean applause Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws, Which others at their bar so often wrench;
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench In mirth, that after no repenting draws; Let Euclid rest and Archimedes pause, And what the Swede intends, and what the French.
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,
And disapproves that care, though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day, And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.
78. HYMN TO DIANA.
Queen and Huntress, chaste and fair, Now the sun is laid to sleep, Seated in thy silver chair State in wonted manner keep: Hesperus entreats thy light, Goddess excellently bright.
Earth, let not thy envious shade Dare itself to interpose; Cynthia's shining orb was made Heaven to clear when day did close; Bless us then with wished sight, Goddess excellently bright.