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Himself he on an earwig set,
Yet scarce he on his back could get,
So oft and high he did curvet,
Ere he himself could settle:
He made him turn, and stop, and bound.
To gallop, and to trot the round,
He scarce could stand on any ground,
He was so full of mettle.
48. FROM THE POLY-OLBION.
When Phoebus lifts his head out of the winter's wave,
No sooner doth the earth her flowery bosom brave,
At such time as the year brings on the pleasant spring,
But hunts-up, to the morn, the feath'red sylvans sing:
And in the lower grove, as on the rising knoll,
Upon the highest spray of every mounting pole,
Those quiristers are percht with many a speckled breast.
Then from her burnisht gate the goodly glitt'ring east
Gilds every lofty top, which late the humorous night
Bespangled had with pearl, to please the morning's sight:
On which the mirthful quires, with their clear open throats,
Unto the joyful morn so strain their warbling notes,
That hills and vallies ring, and even the echoing air
Seems all compos'd of sounds, about them everywhere.
49. SIR JOHN DAVIES. 1570-1626. (Manual, p. 81.)
FROM THE NOSCE TEIPSUM.
As spiders, touch'd, seek their web's inmost part;
As bees, in storms, back to their hives return;
As blood in danger gathers to the heart;
As men seek towns when foes the country burn:
If aught can teach us aught, affliction's looks
(Making us pry into ourselves so near),
Teach us to know ourselves beyond all books,
Or all the learned schools that ever were.
She within lists my ranging mind hath brought,
That now beyond myself I will not go:
Myself am centre of my circling thought:
Only myself I study, learn, and know.
I know my body's of so frail a kind,
As force without, fevers within can kill;
I know the heavenly nature of my mind,
But 'tis corrupted both in wit and will.
I know my soul hath power to know all things,
Yet is she blind and ignorant in all;
I know I'm one of nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.
I know my life's a pain, and but a span;
I know my sense is mock'd in every thing:
And, to conclude, I know myself a man,
Which is a proud and yet a wretched thing.
50. JOHN DONNE. 1573-1631. (Manual, p. 82.)
FROM HIS ELEGIES.
Language, thou art too narrow and too weak
To ease us now; great sorrows cannot speak.
If we could sigh our accents, and weep words,
Grief wears, and lessens, that tears breath affords.
Sad hearts, the less they seem, the more they are;
So guiltiest men stand mutest at the bar;
Not that they know not, feel not their estate,
But extreme sense hath made them desperate.
Sorrow! to whom we owe all that we be,
Tyrant in the fifth and greatest monarchy,
Was't that she did possess all hearts before
Thou hast killed her, to make thy empire more?
Knew'st thou some would, that knew her not, lament,
As in a deluge perish the innocent?
Was't not enough to have that palace won,
But thou must raze it too, that was undone?
Had'st thou stay'd there, and looked out at her eyes,
All had adored thee, that now from thee flies;
For they let out more light than they took in;
They told not when, but did the day begin.
She was too sapphirine and clear for thee;
Clay, flint, and jet now thy fit dwellings be
Alas, she was too pure, but not too weak;
Whoe'er saw crystal ordnance but would break?
And, if we be thy conquest, by her fall
Thou hast lost thy end; in her we perish all:
Or, if we live, we live but to rebel,
That know her better now, who knew her well.
51. BISHOP HALL. 1574-1656. (Manual, p. 83.)
FROM THE SATIRES.
Seest thou how gaily my young master goes,
Vaunting himself upon his rising toes;
And pranks his hand upon his dagger's side;
And picks his glutted teeth since late noon-tide?
Tis Ruffio: Trow'st thou where he din'd to-day?
In sooth I saw him sit with Duke Humfrày.'
Many good welcomes, and much gratis cheer,
Keeps he for every straggling cavalier.
And open house, haunted with great resort;
Long service mixt with musical disport.
Many fair yonker with a feather'd crest,
Chooses much rather be his shot-free guest,
To fare so freely with so little cost,
Than stake his twelvepence to a meaner host.
Hadst thou not told me, I should surely say
He touch'd no meat of all this live-long day,
For sure methought, yet that was but a guess,
His eyes seem'd sunk for very hollowness,
But could he have (as I did it mistake)
So little in his purse, so much upon his back?
So nothing in his maw? yet seemeth by his belt,
That his gaunt gut no too much stuffing felt.
Seest thou how side it hangs beneath his hip?
Hunger and heavy iron makes girdles slip.
Yet for all that, how stiffly struts he by,
All trapped in the new-found bravery.
The nuns of new-won Calais his bonnet lent,
In lieu of their so kind a conquerment.
What needed he fetch that from farthest Spain,
His grandame could have lent with lesser pain?
Though he "erhaps ne'er pass'd the English shore,
Yet fain would counted be a conqueror.
His hair, French-like, stares on his frighted head,
One lock amazon-like dishevelled,
As if he meant to wear a native cord,
If chance his fates should him that bane afford.
All British bare upon the bristled skin,
Close notched is his beard both lip and chin;
His linen collar labyrinthian set,
1 The phrase of dining with Duke Humphry arose from St. Paul's being the general resort of the loungers of those days, many of whom, like Hall's gallant, were glad to beguile the thoughts of dinnes with a walk in the middle aisle, where there was a tomb, by mistake supposed to be t'at of Humphry Duke of Gloucester.
Whose thousand double turnings never met:
His sleeves half hid with elbow pinionings,
As if he meant to fly with linen wings.
But when I look, and cast mine eyes below,
What monster meets mine eyes in human shew?
So slender waist with such an abbot's loin,
Did never sober nature sure conjoin.
Lik'st a straw scare-crow in the new-sown field,
Rear'd on some stick, the tender corn to shield.
Or if that semblance suit not every deal,
Like a broad shake-fork with a slender steel.
52. ROBERT SOUTHWELL. 1560-1595. (Manual, p 85.)
TIMES GO BY TURNS.
The lopped tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorriest wight may find release of pain,
The driest soil suck in some moistening shower:
Time goes by turns, and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.
The sea of fortune doth not ever flow,
She draws her favors to the lowest ebb:
Her tides have equal times to come and go;
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web.
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.
Not always fall of leaf, nor ever spring;
Not endless night, yet not eternal day:
The saddest birds a season find to sing,
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay.
Thus, with succeeding turns, God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.
A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
That net that holds no great, takes .ittle fish;
In some things all, in all things none are cross'd;
Few all they need, but none have all they wish.
Unmingled joys here to no man befall;
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.
53. GILES FLETCHER. (Manual, p. 84.)
From Christ's Victory in Heaven.
JUSTICE ADDRESSING THE CREATOK.
Upon two stony tables, spread before her,
She leant her bosom, more than stony hard;
There slept th' impartial judge and strict restorer
Of wrong or right, with pain or with reward;
There hung the score of all our debts- the card
Where good, and bad, and life, and death, were painted:
Was never heart of mortal so untainted,
But, when that scroll was read, with thousand terrors fainted
Witness the thunder that Mount Sinai heard,
When all the hill with fiery clouds did flame,
And wand'ring Israel, with the sight afear'd,
Blinded with seeing, durst not touch the same,
But like a wood of shaking leaves became.
On this dead Justice, she, the living law,
Bowing herself with a majestic awe,
All heaven, to hear her speech, did into silence draw.
54. WILLIAM DRUMMOND. 1585-1649. (Manual, p. 87.)
Sleep, Silence' child, sweet father of soft rest,
Prince, whose approach peace to all mortals brings,
Indifferent host to shepherds and to kings,
Sole comforter of minds with grief oppress'd;
Lo, by thy charming rod, all breathing things
Lie slumbering, with forgetfulness possess'd,
And yet o'er me to spread thy drowsy wings
Thou spar'st, alas! who cannot be thy guest.
Since I am thine, O come, but with that face
To inward light, which thou art wont to show,
With feigned solace ease a true-felt woe;
Orf, deaf god, thou do deny that grace,
Come as thou wilt, and what thou wilt bequeath;
I long to kiss the image of my death.