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But power your grace can above Nature give,
ON THE DEATH OF
MR. WILLIAM HERVEY. IMMODICIS BREVIS EST ETAS, & RARA SENECTUS. Mart.
It was a dismal and a fearful night,
Scarce could the Morn drive on th' unwilling
When Sleep, Death's image, left my troubled
By something liker death possest.
And on my soul hung the dull weight
What bell was that? ah me! too much I know.
My sweet companion, and my gentle peer,
O, thou hast left me all alone!
Did not with more reluctance part,
If once my griefs prove tedious too.
As sullen ghosts stalk speechless by
By friendship given of old to Fame.
Whom the kind youth preferr'd to me;
We spent them not in toys, in lusts, or wine;
Wit, eloquence, and poetry,
Arts which I lov'd, for they, my friend, were
Ye fields of Cambridge, our dear Cambridge, say
The love betwixt us two?
No tuneful birds play with their wouted cheer,
Mute and unmoved be,
Mute as the grave wherein my friend does lie.
With which I now adorn his hearse;
I should contemn that flourishing honour now;
It rage and crackle there.
Instead of bays, crown with sad cypress me ;
For him who first was made that mournful tree.
High as the place 'twas shortly in Heaven te
But low and humble as his grave:
So high, that all the Virtues there did come.
So low, that for me too it made a room.
Had all the light of youth, of the fire none.
Knowledge he only sought, and so soon caught,
In such a short mortality.
Whene'er the skilful youth discours'd or writ,
About his eloquent tongue,
Nor could his ink flow faster than his wit.
So strong a wit did Nature to him frame,
His over-powering soul;
We 'ave lost in him arts that not yet are found.
These did Religion, queen of virtues! sway;
With as much zeal, devotion, piety,
He always liv'd, as other saints do die.
Weeping all debts out ere he slept;
Wondrous young man! why wert thou made so good,
Thou ripe, and yet thy life but green'
Where life, spirit, pleasure, always us'd to dwell.
The place now only free from those.
Only more pure and rarefy'd.
There, whilst immortal hymns thou dost rehearse,
Where grief and misery can be join'd with verse.
IN IMITATION OF HORACE'S ODE, Quis multâ gracilis te puer in rosâ Perfusus, &c.
Lib. I. Od. v.
To whom now, Pyrrha, art thou kind?
To what heart-ravish'd lover
Dost thou thy golden locks unbind,
Thy hidden sweets discover, And with large bounty open set All the bright stores of thy rich cabinet? Ah, simple youth! how oft will he
Of thy chang'd faith complain?
And his own fortunes find to be
So airy and so vain,
Of so cameleon-like an hue,
That still their colour changes with it too! How oft, alas! will he admire
The blackness of the skies! Trembling to hear the wind sound higher, And see the billows rise! Poor unexperienc'd he,
Who ne'er alas! before had been at sea!
In the clear heaven of thy brow
He sees thee gentle, fair, and gay, And trusts the faithless April of thy May. Unhappy, thrice unhappy, he,
T'whom thou untry'd dost shine!But there's no danger now for me, Since o'er Loretto's shrine, In witness of the shipwreck past, My consecrated vessel hangs at last.
IN IMITATION OF
Si tecum mihi, chare Martialis, &c. L. v. Ep. xx.
Ir, dearest friend, it my good fate might be
Such dearest friend! such, without doubt, should be
Our place, our business, and our company.
MARGARITA first possest,
If I remember well, my breast,
But when awhile the wanton maid
Martha soon did it resign
To the beauteous Catharine. Beauteous Catharine gave place (Though loth and angry she to part With the possession of my heart)
To Eliza's conquering face. Eliza till this hour might reign,
Had she not evil counsels ta'en Fundamental laws she broke, And still new favourites she chose, Till up in arms my passions rose, And cast away her yoke. Mary then, and gentle Anne,
Both to reign at once began
Alternately they sway'd,
And sometimes Mary was the fair,
And sometimes Anne the crown did wear,
Another Mary then arose,
And did rigorous laws impose;
Had not Rebecca set me free.
When fair Rebecca set me free,
'Twas then a golden time with me:
For the gracious princess dy'd,
And Judith reigned in her stead.
One month, three days, and half an hour,
But so weak and small her wit,
And so Susanna took her place.
But when Isabella came,
Arm'd with a resistless flame, And th' artillery of her eye; Whilst she proudly march'd about, Greater conquests to find out,
She beat out Susan by the by.
But in her place I then obey'd
Black-ey'd Bess, her viceroy maid; To whom ensued a vacancy: Thousand worse passions then possest The interregnum of my breast;
Bless me from such an anarchy !
Gentle Henrietta then,
And a third Mary, next began ;
And then a long et cætera.
But should I now to you relate
The strength and riches of their state, The powder, patches, and the pins, The ribbons, jewels, and the rings, The lace, the paint, and warlike things, That make up all their magazines;
If I should tell the politic arts
To take and keep men's hearts; The letters, embassies, and spies, The frowns, and smiles, and flatteries, The quarrels, tears, and perjuries,
(Numberless, nameless, mysteries!) And all the little lime-twigs laid,
By Machiavel the waiting maid;
But I will briefer with them be,
My present emperess does claim,
Whom God grant long to reign!
TO SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT,
UPON HIS TWO FIRST BOOKS OF GONDIBERT,
METHINKS heroic poesy till now,
Like some fantastic fairy-land did show;
By fatal hands whilst present empires fall,
The poet's fury than the zealot's spirit:
And from the grave thou mak'st this empire rise,
This latter age should see all new but wit;
Brave Jersey Muse! and he's for this high style Call'd to this day the Homer of the isle. Alas! to men here no words less hard be To rhyme with, than 4 Mount Orgueil is to me; Mount Orgueil! which, in scorn o' th' Muses law, With no yoke-fellow word will deign to draw. Stubborn Mount Orgueil !' tis a work to make it Come into rhyme, more hard than 'twere to take it. Alas! to bring your tropes and figures here, Strange as to bring camels and elephants were; And metaphor is so unknown a thing,
'Twould need the preface of God save the king.
Than Ireland's wanting spiders. And, so far
None here (no not so much as the divines)
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE.
THAT THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE.
Against the Dogmatists.
THE sacred tree midst the fair orchard grew;
That right Porphyrian tree which did true logic shew.
Each leaf did learned notions give,
So clear their colour and divine,
THE USE OF IT IN DIVINE MATTERS.
SOME blind themselves, 'cause possibly they may Be led by others a right way;
They build on sands, which if unmov'd they find, 'Tis but because there was no wind.
Less hard 'tis, not to err ourselves, than know
When we trust men concerning God, we then
Visions and inspirations some expect
Their course here to direct;
Like senseless chymists their own wealth destroy, Imaginary gold t' enjoy :
So stars appear to drop to us from sky,
And gild the passage as they fly;
But when they fall, and meet th' opposing ground, What but a sordid slime is found?
Sometimes their fancies they 'bove reason set,
And fast, that they may dream of meat; Sometimes ill spirits their sickly souls delude, And bastard forms obtrude;
So Endor's wretched sorceress, although
She Saul through his disguise did know, Yet, when the devil comes up disguis'd, she cries, "Behold! the Gods arise."
In vain alas! these outward hopes are try'd ;
Reason, which (God be prais'd!) still walks, for all
And, since itself the boundless Godhead join'd
The very shade they cast did other lights out-shine. It plainly shows that mysteries divine
"Taste not," said God, "tis mine and angels'
A certain death doth sit,
Like an ill worm, i' th' core of it.
Ye cannot know and live, nor live or know, and eat." Thus spoke God, yet man did go
Ignorantly on to know;
Grew so more blind, and she
Who tempted him to this grew yet more blind than he.
The only science man by this did get,
Was but to know he nothing knew:
His ignorant poor estate, and was asham'd of it.
The name of one of the castles in Jersey.
May with our reason join.
The holy book, like the eighth sphere, does shine
So numberless the stars, that to the eye
Though Reason cannot through Faith's mysteries
It sees that there and such they be ; Leads to Heaven's door, and there does humbly keep, And there through chinks and key-holes peep; Though it, like Moses, by a sad command, Must not come into th' Holy Land, Yet thither it infallibly does guide, And from afar 'tis all descry'd.
Ah wretched we, poets of Earth! but thou
Thou need'st not make new songs, but say the old;
And, though Pan's death long since all oracles broke,
Yet still in rhyme the fiend Apollo spoke :
Thy spotless Muse, like Mary, did contain
And for a sacred mistress scorn'd to take,
Hail, bard triumphant! and some care bestow
I ask but half thy mighty spirit for me:
And, when my Muse soars with so strong a wing, 'Twill learn of things divine, and first of thee, to sing.
A POEM ON THE LATE CIVIL WAR
THE PUBLISHER TO THE READER, 1679.
MEETING accidentally with this poem in manuscript, and being informed, that it was a piece of the incomparable Mr. A. C.'s, I thought it unjust to hide such a treasure from the world. I remembered that our author, in his preface to his works,7 makes mention of some poems written by him on the late civil war, of which the following copy is unquestionably a part. In his most imperfect and unfinished pieces, you will discover the hand of so great a master. And (whatever his own modesty might have advised to the contrary) there is not one careless stroke of his but what should be kept sacred to posterity. He could write nothing that was not worth the preserving, being habitually a poet, and always inspired. In this
But her whom God himself scorn'd not his spouse to piece the judicious reader will find the turn of the
t (in a kind) her miracle did do;
A fruitful mother was, and virgin too.
verse to be his; the same copious and lively imagery of fancy, the same warmth of passion and
How well (blest swan!) did Fate contrive thy delicacy of wit, that sparkles in all his writings.
And made thee render up thy tuneful breath
'Tis surer much they brought thee there; and they, And thou, their charge, went singing all the way.
Pardon, my Mother Church! if I consent
Ah, mighty God! with shame I speak't, and grief,
And our weak reason were ev'n weaker yet,
His faith, perhaps, in some nice tenets might
So far at least, great saint! to pray to thee.
• Mr. Crashaw died of a fever at Loretto, being newly chosen canon of that church.
And certainly no labours of a genius so rich in itself, and so cultivated with learning and manners, can prove an unwelcome present to the world. WHAT rage does England from itself divide,
More than the seas from all the world beside?
6 This and the two following poems are not given with certainty as Cowley's. They have been ascribed to him; are possibly genuine; and therefore are preserved in this collection.