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With that my flying Muse I thought to clasp
Within my arms, but did a shadow grasp.
Thus chiofest joys glide with the swiftest stream,
And all our greatest pleasure's but a dream.
ON HIS MAJESTY'S
RETURN OUT OF SCOTLAND.
Yet he returns, and with his light
Expels what he hath caus'd--the night.
What though the Spring vanish away,
And with it the Earth's form decay?
Yet his new-birth will soon restore
What its departure took before.
What though we miss'd our absent king
Awhile? great Charles is come again;
GREAT Charles!-there stop, ye trumpeters of And with his presence makes us know
For he who speaks his titles, his great name,
Must have a breathing time our king:-stay there;
Speak by degrees; let the inquisitive ear
Be held in doubt, and, ere you say
Let every heart prepare a spacious room
For ample joys: then Iö sing, as loud
As thunder shot from the divided cloud!
Let Cygnus pluck from the Arabian waves
The ruby of the rock, the pearl that paves
Great Neptune's court let every sparrow bear
From the three Sisters' weeping bark a tear :
Let spotted lynxes their sharp talons fill
With crystal, fetch'd from the Promethean hill:
Let Cytherea's birds fresh wreaths compose,
Knitting the pale-fac'd lily with the rose:
Let the self-gotten phenix rob his nest,
Spoil his own funeral pile, and all his best
Of myrrh, of frankincense, of cassia, bring,
To strew the way for our returned king!
Let every post a panegyric wear,
Each wall, each pillar, gratulations bear:
And yet, let no man invocate a Muse;
The very matter will itself infuse
A sacred fury: let the merry bells
(For unknown joys work unknown miracles)
Ring without help of sexton, and presage
A new-made holy-day for future age!
And, if the ancients us'd to dedicate
A golden temple to propitious Fate,
At the return of any noble men,
Of heroes, or of emperors, we must then
Raise up a double trophy; for their fame
Was but the shadow of our Charles's name.
Who is there where all virtues mingled flow,
Where no defects or imperfections grow?
Whose head is always crown'd with victory,
Snatch'd from Bellona's hand; him Luxury
In peace debilitates: whose tongue can win
Tully's own garland, Pride to him creeps in.
On whom (like Atlas' shoulders) the propt state
(As he were primum mobile of Fate)
Solely relies; him blind Ambition moves;
His tyranny the bridled subject proves.
But all those virtues which they all possest
Divided, are collected in thy breast,
Great Charles! Let Cæsar boast Pharsalia's fight,
Honorius praise the Parthian's unfeign'd flight:
Let Alexander call himself Jove's peer,
And place his image near the thunderer;
Yet while our Charles with equal balance reigns
'Twixt Mercy and Astrea, and maintains
A noble peace, 'tis he, 'tis only he,
Who is most near, most like, the Deity.
HENCE, clouded looks; hence, briny tears,
Hence eye that Sorrow's livery wears!
What though awhile Apollo please
To visit the Antipodes ?
The gratitude to Heaven we owe.
So doth a cruel storm impart
And teach us Palinurus' art:
So from salt floods, wept by our eyes,
A joyful Venus doth arise.
LEST the misjudging world should chance to say
I durst not but in secret murmurs pray;
To whisper in Jove's ear
How much I wish that funeral,
Or gape at such a great one's fall;
This let all ages hear,
And future times in my soul's picture see
What I abhor, what I desire to be.
I would not be a puritan, though he
Can preach two hours, and yet his sermon be
But half a quarter long;
Though, from his old mechanic trade,
By vision he's a pastor made,
His faith was grown so strong;
Nay, though he think to gain salvation
By calling th' pope the Whore of Babylon.
I would not be a school-master, though he
His rods no less than fasces deems to be;
Though he in many a place
Turns Lilly oftener than his gowns,
Till at the last he make the nouns
Fight with the verbs apace;
Nay, though he can, in a poetic heat,
Figures, born since, out of poor Virgil beat.
I would not be justice of peace, though he
Can with equality divide the fee,
And stakes with his clerk draw;
Nay, though he sits upon the place
Of judgment, with a learned face
Intricate as the law;
And, whilst he mulcts enormities demurely,
Breaks Priscian's head with sentences securely.
I would not be a courtier, though he
Makes his whole life the truest comedy,
Although he be a man
In whom the taylor's forming art,
And nimble barber, claim more part
Than Nature herself can ;
Though, as he uses men, 'tis his intent
To put off Death too with a compliment.
From lawyer's tongues, though they can spin with
The shortest cause into a paraphrase;
From usurers' conscience
(For swallowing up young heirs so fast,
Without all doubt, they'll choak at last)
Make me all innocence,
Good Heaven! and from thy eyes, O Justice! keep;
For though they be not blind, they're oft asleep.
From singing-mens' religion, who are
Always at church, just like the crows, 'cause there
They build themselves a nest:
From too much poetry, which shines
With gold in nothing but its lines,
Free, O you powers! my breast.
And from astronomy, which in the skies
Finds fish and bulls, yet doth but tantalize.
From your court-madams' beauty, which doth
At morning May, at night a January:
From the grave city brow
(For though it want an R, it has
The letter of Pythagoras)
Keep me, O Fortune, now!
And chines of beef innumerable send me,
Or from the stomach of the guard defend me.
This only grant me, that my means may lie
Too low for envy, for contempt too high.
Some honour I would have,
Not from great deeds, but good alone;
Th' unknown are better than ill-known;
Rumour can ope the grave!
Acquaintance I would have; but when 't depends
Not from the number, but the choice, of friends.
Books should, not business, entertain the light;
And sleep, as undisturb'd as death, the night.
My house a cottage more
Than palace; and should fitting be
For all my use, no luxury.
My garden painted o'er
To strike me: doubtless there had been a fray,
Had not I providently skipp'd away
Without replying; for to scold is ill,
Where every tongue's the clapper of a mill,
And can out-sound Homer's Gradivus; so
Away got I: but ere I far did go,
I flung (the darts of wounding poetry)
These two or three sharp curses back: "
Be by his father in his study took
At Shakespeare's plays, instead of my lord Coke!
May he (though all his writings grow as soon
As Butter's out of estimation)
Get him a poet's name, and so ne'er come
Into a serjeant's or dead judge's room!
May he become some poor physician's prey,
Who keeps men with that conscience in delay
As he his client doth, till his health be
As far-fetcht as a Greek noun's pedigree!
Nay, for all that, may the disease be gone
Never but in the long vocation!
May neighbours use all quarrels to decide;
But if for law any to London ride,
Of all those clients let not one be his,
Unless he come in forma pauperis !
Grant this, ye gods that favour poetry!
That all these never-ceasing tongues may be
Brought into reformation, and not dare
To quarrel with a thread-bare black but spare
Them who bear scholars' names, lest some one take
With Nature's hand, not Art's; that pleasures yield Spleen, and another Ignoramus make.”
Horace might envy in his Sabine field.
Thus would I double my life's fading space;
For he that runs it well, twice runs his race.
And in this true delight,
These unbought sports, and happy state,
I would not fear, nor wish, my fate;
But boldly say, each night,
To morrow let my Sun his beams display,
Or in clouds hide them; I have liv'd to day.
A POETICAL REVENGE.
WESTMINSTER-hall a friend and I agreed
To meet in; he (some business 'twas did breed
His absence) came not there; I up did go
To the next court; for though I could not know
Much what they meant, yet I might see and hear
(As most spectators do at theatre)
Things very strange: Fortune did seem to grace
My coming there, and helpt me to a place.
But, being newly settled at the sport,
A semi-gentleman of the inns of court,
In a satin suit, redeem'd but yesterday,
One who is ravish'd with a cock-pit play,
Who prays God to deliver him from no evil
Besides a taylor's bill, and fears no devil
Besides a serjeant, thrust me from my seat:
At which I 'gan to quarrel, till a neat
Man in a ruff (whom therefore I did take
For barrister) open'd his mouth and spake;
"Boy, get you gone, this is no school." "Oh no;
For, if it were, all you gown'd men would go
Up for false Latin." They grew straight to be
Incens'd; I fear'd they would have brought on me
An action of trespass: till the young man
Aforesaid, in the satin suit, began
The three concluding stanzas of this poem are introduced by Mr. Cowley in his Essays in Verse and Prose. N.
TO THE DUTCHESS OF
IF I should say, that in your face were seen
Nature's best picture of the Cyprian queen;
If I should swear, under Minerva's name,
Poets (who prophets are) foretold your fame;
The future age would think it flattery;
But to the present, which can witness be,
"Twould seem beneath your high deserts, as far
As you above the rest of women are.
When Manners' name with Villiers' join'd I see,
How do I reverence your nobility!
But when the virtues of your stock I view,
(Envy'd in your dead lord, admir'd in you)
I half adore them; for what woman can,
Besides yourself (nay, I might say what man)
But sex, and birth, and fate, and years excel
In mind, in fame, in worth, in living well?
Oh, how had this begot idolatry,
If you had liv'd in the world's infancy,
When man's too much religion made the best
Or deities, or semi-gods at least!
But we, forbidden this by piety,
Or, if we were not, by your modesty,
Will make our hearts an altar, and there pray
Not to, but for, you; nor that England may
Enjoy your equal, when you once are gone,
But, what's more possible, t'enjoy you long.
I'm glad that city, t'whom I ow'd before
(But, ah me! Fate hath crost that willing score)
A father, gave me a godfather too;
And I'm more glad, because it gave me you ;
Whom I may rightly think, and term, to be
Of the whole city an epitome.
I thank my careful Fate, which found out one
(When Nature had not licensed my tongue
Farther than cries) who should my office do;
I thank her more, because she found out you:
In whose each look I may a sentence see;
In whose each deed, a teaching homily.
How shall I pay this debt to you? My fate
Denies me Indian pearl or Persian plate;
Which though it did not, to requite you thus,
Were to send apples to Alcinous,
And sell the cunning'st way.-No! when I can,
In every leaf, in every verse, write Man;
When my quill relisheth a school no more;
When my pen-feather'd Muse hath learnt to soar,
And gotten wings as well as feet; look then
For equal thanks from my unwearied pen:
Till future ages say, 'twas you did give
A name to me, and I made yours to live.
SON AND HEIR TO SIR THOMAS LITTLeton, WHO WAS DROWNED LEAPING INTO THE WATER TO SAVE HIS YOUNGER BROTHER.
AND must these waters smile again, and play
About the shore, as they did yesterday?
Will the Sun court them still? and shall they show
No conscious wrinkle furrow'd on their brow,
That to the thirsty traveller may say,
"I am accurst; go turn some other way?"
It is unjust: black Flood! thy guilt is more, Sprung from his loss, than all thy watery store Can give thee tears to mourn for: birds shall be, And beasts, henceforth afraid to drink of thee.
What have I said? my pious rage hath been Too hot, and acts, whilst it accuseth, sin. Thou'rt innocent, I know, still clear and bright, Fit whence so pure a soul should take its flight. How is angry zeal confin'd! for he Must quarrel with his love and piety, That would revenge his death. Oh, I shall sin, And wish anon he had less virtuous been. For when his brother (tears for him I'd spill, But they're all challeng'd by the greater ill) Struggled for life with the rude waves, he too Leapt in, and when hope no faint beam could show, His charity shone most: "Thou shalt," said he, "Live with me, brother, or I'll die with thee;" And so he did! Had he been thine, O Rome! Thou would'st have call'd this death a martyrdom, And sainted him. My conscience give me leave, I'll do so too: if Fate will us bereave Of him we honour'd living, there must be A kind of reverence to his memory, After his death; and where more just than here, Where life and end were both so singular? He that had only talk'd with him, might find A little academy in his mind; Where Wisdom master was, and fellows all Which we can good, which we can virtuous, call: Reason, and Holy Fear, the proctors were,
To apprehend those words, those thoughts, that err.
His learning had out-run the rest of heirs,
Stol'n beard from Time, and leapt to twenty years.
And, as the Sun, though in full glory bright,
Shines upon all men with impartial light,
And a good-morrow to the beggar brings
With as full rays as to the mightiest kings:
So he, although his worth just state might claim,
And give to pride an honourable name,
With courtesy to all, cloath'd virtue so,
That 'twas not higher than his thoughts were low.
In 's body too no critique eye could find
The smallest blemish, to belye his mind;
He was all pureness, and his outward part
But represents the picture of his heart.
When waters swallow'd mankind, and did cheat
The hungry worin of its expected meat ;
When gems, pluckt from the shore by ruder hairds,
Return'd again unto their native sands;
'Mongst all those spoils, there was not any prey
Could equal what this brook hath stol'n away.
Weep then, sad Flood; and, though thou'rt innocent,
Weep because Fate made thee her instrument:
And, when long grief hath drunk up all thy store,
Come to our eyes, and we will lend thee more.
A TRANSLATION OF
VERSES UPON THE BLESSED VIRGIN, WRITTEN IN LATIN BY THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL 92. A.
ONCE thou rejoiced'st, and rejoi e for ever,
Whose time of joy shall be expired never:
Who in her womb the hive of comfort bears,
Let her drink comfort's honey with her ears.
You brought the word of joy, in which was born
An had to all let us an hail return!
From you "God save" into the world there came;
Our echo hail is but an empty name.
How loaded hives are with their honey fill'd, From divers flowers by chymic bees distill'd! How full the collet with his jewel is, Which, that it cannot take by love, doth kiss: How full the Moon is with her brother's ray, When she drinks-up with thirsty orb the day! How full of grace the Graces' dances are! So full doth Mary of God's light appear. It is no wonder if with Graces she Be full, who was full of the Deity.
THE fall of mankind under Death's extent The quire of blessed angels did lament, And wish'd a reparation to see
By him, who manhood join'd with deity.
How grateful should man's safety then appear
T' himself, whose safety can the angels cheer!
BENEDICTA TU IN MULIERIBUS.
DEATH Came, and troops of sad Diseases led To th' Earth, by woman's hand solicited: Life came so too, and troops of Graces led To th' Earth, by woman's faith solicited. As our life's springs came from thy blessed womb, So from our mouths springs of thy praise shall
Who did life's blessing give, 'tis fit that she, Above all women, should thrice blessed be.
ET BENEDICTUS FRUCTUS VENTRIS TUI. WITH mouth divine the Father doth protest, He a good word sent from his stored breast; Twas Christ: which Mary, without carnal thought, From theu nfathom'd depth of goodness brought: The word of blessing a just cause affords To be oft blessed with redoubled words!
SPIRITUS SANCTUS SUPERVENIET IN TE. As when soft west-winds strook the garden-rose, A shower of sweeter air salutes the nose; The breath gives sparing kisses, nor with power Unlocks the virgin-bosom of the flower: So the Holy Spirit upon Mary blow'd, And from her sacred box whole rivers flowed: Yet loos'd not thine eternal chastity; Thy rose's folds do still entangled lie. Believe Christ born from an unbruised womb, So from unbruised bark the odours come.
ET VIRTUS ALTISSIMI OBUMBRABIT TIBI. GOD his great Son begot ere time begun ; Mary in time brought forth her little son, Of double substance One; life he began, God without mother, without father, man. Great is the birth; and 'tis a stranger deed That she no man, than God no wife, should need; A shade delighted the child-bearing maid, And God himself became to her a shade. O strange descent! who is light's author, he Will to his creature thus a shadow be. As unseen light did from the Father flow, So did seen light from Virgin Mary grow. When Moses sought God in a shade to see, The father's shade was Christ the Deity. Let's seek for day, we darkness, whilst our sight In light finds darkness, and in darkness light.
ON THE PRAISE OF POETRY.
'Tis not a pyramid of marble stone,
Though high as our ambition;
'Tis not a tomb cut out in brass, which can
Give life to th' ashes of a man ;
But verses only: they shall fresh appear,
Whilst there are men to read or hear.
When Time shall make the lasting brass decay,
And eat the pyramid away;
Turning that monument wherein men trust
Their names, to what it keeps, poor dust; Then shall the epitaph remain, and be
New-graven in eternity.
Poets by Death are conquer'd; but the wit
Of poets triumph over it.
What cannot verse? When Thracian Orpheus took
His lyre, and gently on it strook,
The learned stones came dancing all along,
And kept time to the charming song.
With artificial pace the warlike pine,
The elm and his wife the ivy twine,
With all the better trees, which erst had stood
Unmov'd, forsook their native wood,
HY, O! doth gaudy Tagus ravish thee,
Though Neptune's treasure-house it be?
Why doth Pactolus thee bewitch,
Infected yet with Midas' glorious itch?
Their dull and sleepy streams are not at all,
Like other floods, poetical;
They have no dance, no wanton sport,
No gentle murmur, the lov'd shore to court,
No fish inhabit the adulterate flood,
-Nor can it feed the neighbouring wood; No flower or herb is near it found, But a perpetual winter starves the ground. Give me a river which doth scorn to show An added beauty; whose clear brow May be my looking-glass to see What my face is, and what my mind should be! Here waves call waves, and glide along in rank, And prattle to the smiling bank; Here sad king-fishers tell their tales, And fish enrich the brook with silver scales, Daisies, the first-born of the teeming spring, On each side their embroidery bring; Here lilies wash, and grow more white, And daffodils, to see themselves, delight. Here a fresh arbour gives her amorous shade, Which Nature, the best gardener, made. Here I would sit and sing rude lays, Such as the nymphs and me myself should please. Thus I would waste, thus end, my careless days ¡ And robin-red-breasts, whom men praise For pious birds, should, when I die, Make both my monument and elegy.
TO HIS MISTRESS,
TYRIAN dye why do you wear,
You whose cheeks best scarlet are?
Why do you fondly pin
Pure linen o'er your skin,
(Your skin that's whiter far)
Casting a dusky cloud before a star.
Why bears your neck a golden chain?
Did Nature make your hair in vain,
Of gold most pure and fine?
With gems why do you shine!
They, neighbours to your eyes, Show but like Phosphor when the Sun doth rise. I would have all my mistress' parts Owe more to Nature than to arts;
I would not woo the dress,
Or one whose nights give less
Contentment than the day,
She's fair, whose beauty only makes her gay.
For 'tis not buildings make a court,
Or pomp, but 'tis the king's resort:
If Jupiter down pour
Himself, and in a shower
Hide such bright majesty,
le than a golden one it cannot be.
ON THE UNCERTAINTY OF FORTUNE.
LEAVE off unfit complaints, and clear
From sighs your breast, and from black clouds
When the Sun shines not with his wonted cheer,
And Fortune throws an adverse cast for you!
That sea which vext with Notus is,
The merry East-winds will to morrow kiss.
The Sun to day rides drowsily,
To-morrow 'twill put on a look more fair:
Laughter and groaning do alternately
Return, and tears sport's nearest neighbours are.
"Tis by the gods appointed so,
That good fare should with mingled dangers flow.
Who drave his oxen yesterday,
Doth now over the noblest Romans reign,
And on the Gabii and the Cures lay
The yoke which from his oxen he had ta'cn:
Whom Hesperus saw poor and low,
The Morning's eye beholds him greatest now.
If Fortune knit amongst her play
But seriousness, he shall again go home
To his old country-farm of yesterday,
To scoffing people no mean jest become;
And with the crowned axe, which he Had rul'd the world, go back and prune some tree; Nay, if he want the fuel cold requires, With his own fasces he shall make him fires.
UPON THE SHORTNESS OF MAN'S LIFE.
MARK that swift arrow! how it cuts the air,
How it out-runs thy following eye!
Use all persuasions now, and try
If thou canst call it back, or stay it there.
That way it went ; but thou shalt find
No tract is left behind.
Fool! 'tis thy life, and the fond archer thou.
Of all the time thou'st shot away,
I'll bid thee fetch but yesterday,
And it shall be too hard a task to do.
Besides repentance, what canst find
That it hath left behind?
Our life is carried with too strong a tide;
A doubtful cloud our substance bears,
And is the horse of all our years.
Each day doth on a winged whirlwind ride.
We and our glass run out, and must
Both render up our dust.
But his past life who without grief can see;
Who never thinks his end too near,
But says to Fame, "Thou art mine heir;" That man extends life's natural brevity—
This is, this is the only way
To out-live Nestor in a day.
AN ANSWER TO AN INVITATION TO CAMBRIDGE.
NICHOLS, my better self! forbear;
For, if thou tell'st what Cambridge pleasures
The schoolboy's sin will light on me,
I shall, in mind at least, a truant be.
Tell me not how you feed your mind
With dainties of philosophy;
In Ovid's nut I shall not find
The taste once pleased me.
O tell me not of logic's diverse cheer!
I shall begin to loathe our crambo here.