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Assure you I keep still my first opinion;
And though you veil your avaricious meaning
With handsome names of modesty and thrift,
I find you would intrench and wound the liberty
I was born with. Were my desires unprivileged
By example; while my judgment thought them fit,
You ought not to oppose; but when the practice
And tract of every honorable lady
Authorize me, I take it great injustice
To have my pleasures circumscribed and taught me.
GEORGE WITHER. -- FRANCIS QUARLES.
THE SO-CALI ED METAPHYSICAL POETS,
97. GEORGE WITHER. 1588-1667. (Marcal p 167.)
THE STEADFAST SHEPHERD.
Hence away, thou Siren, leave me,
Pish! unclasp these wanton arms;
Sugared wounds can ne'er deceive me,
(Though thou prove a thousand charms).
Fie, fie, forbear;
No common snare
Can ever my affection chain:
Thy painted baits,
And poor deceits,
Are all bestowed on me in vain.
Leave me then, you Sirens, leave me;
Seek no more to work my harms:
Crafty wiles cannot deceive me,
Who am proof against your charms:
You labor may
To lead astray
The heart, that constant shall remain;
And I the while
Will sit and smile
To see you spend your time in vain.
98. FRANCIS QUARLES. 1592-1644.
(Manual, p. 167.)
O THAT THOU WOULDST HIDE ME IN the Grave, THAT THOU WOLDST KEEP ME IN SECRET UNTIL THY WRATH BE PAST.
Ah. whither shall I fly? what path untrod
Shall I seek out to escape the flaming rod
Of my offended, of my angry God?
Where shall I sojourn? what kind sea will hide
My head from thunder? where shall I abide,
Until his flames be quenched or laid aside?
What if my feet should take their hasty flight,
And seek protection in the shades of night?
Alas! no shades can blind the God of light.
What if my soul should take the wings of day,
And find some desert? if she springs away,
The wings of Vengeance clip as fast as they,
What if some solid rock should entertain
My frighted soul? can solid rocks restrain
The stroke of Justice and not cleave in twain?
Nor sea, nor shade, nor shield, nor rock, nor cave,
Nor silent deserts, nor the sullen grave,
What flame-eyed Fury means to smite, can save.
'Tis vain to flee; till gentle Mercy show
Her better eye, the farther off we go,
The swing of Justice deals the mightier blow.
Th' ingenuous child, corrected, doth not fly
His angry mother's hand, but clings more nigh,
And quenches with his tears her flaming eye.
Great God! there is no safety here below;
Thou art my fortress, thou that seem'st my foe;
'Tis thou, that strik'st the stroke, must guard the low.
99. GEORGE HERBERT. 1593-1632. (Manual, 168.)
O day most calm, most bright!
The fruit of this, the next world's bud;
Th' indorsement of supreme delight,
Writ by a friend, and with his blood;
The couch of time; care's balm and bay;
The week were dark, but for thy light;-
Thy torch doth show the way.
The other days and thou
Make up one man; whose face thou art,
Knocking at heaven with thy brow:
The worky days are the back-part;
The burden of the week lies there,
Making the whole to stoop and bow,
Till thy release appear.
100. RICHARD CRASHAW. 1620-1650. (Manual, p. 168.)
LINES ON A PRAYER-BOOK SENT TO MRS. R.
Lo! here a little volume, but large book,
(Fear it not, sweet,
It is no hypocrite,)
Much larger in itself than in its look.
It is, in one rich handful, heaven and all
Heaven's royal hosts encamped thus small;
To prove that true, schools used to tell,
A thousand angels in one point can dwell.
It is love's great artillery,
Which here contracts itself, and comes to lie
Close conced in your white bosom, and from thence,
As from a snowy fortress of defence,
Against the ghostly foe to take your part,
And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.
It is the armory of light:
Let constant use but keep it bright,
You'll find it yields
To holy hands and humble hearts,
More swords and shields
Than sin hath snares or hell hath darts.
Only be sure
The hands be pure
That hold these weapons, and the eyes
Those of turtles, chaste and true,
Wakeful and wise,
Here is a friend shall fight for you
Hold but this book before your heart,
Let prayer alone to play his part.
But O! the heart
That studies this high art
Must be a sure housekeeper
And yet no sleeper.
Dear soul, be strong,
Mercy will come ere long,
And bring her bosom full of blessings-
Flowers of never-fading graces,
To make immortal dressings,
For worthy souls whose wise embraces
Store up themselves for Him who is alone
The spouse of virgins, and the virgin's son.
101. ROBERT HERRICK. 1591-1674. (Manual, p. 169.)
Gather the rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a flying;
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
The age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer
But being spent, the worse and worst
Times still succeed the former.