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Perhaps thou talk'st of me, and dost ipquire
Of my restraint, why here I live alone,
And pitiest this my miserable fall;
For pity must have part-envy not all.
Thrice happy you that look as from the shore,
And have no venture in the wreck you see;
No interest, no occasion to deplore
Other men's travels, while yourselves sit free.
How much doth your sweet rest make us the more
To see our misery and what we be :
Whose blinded greatness, ever in turmoil,
Still seeking happy life, makes life a toil.
Michael Drayton. 1563-1631. (Manual, pp. 80, 81.) From the Nymphidia.
48. QUEEN MAB'S CHARIOT.
Her chariot ready straight is made,
Each thing therein is fitting laid,
That she by nothing might be stay'd,
For nought must be her letting:
Four nimble gnats the horses were,
The harnesses of gossamer,
Fly Cranion, her charioteer,
Upon the coach-box getting.
Her chariot of a snail's fine shell,
Which for the colours did excel;
The fair Queen Mab becoming well,
So lively was the limning:
The seat the soft wool of the bee,
The cover (gallantly to see)
The wing of a py'd butterflee,
I trow, 'twas simple trimming.
The wheels compos'd of crickets bones,
And daintily made for the nonce,
For fear of rattling on the stones,
With thistle-down they shod it:
For all her maidens much did fear,
If Oberon had chanc'd to hear,
That Mab his queen should have been there,
He would not have abode it.
And quickly arms him for the field,
A little cockle-shell his shield,
Which he could very bravely wield,
Yet could it not be pierced :
His spear a bent both stiff and strong,
And well near of two inches long:
The pile was of a horse-fly's tongue,
Whose sharpness nought reversed.
And puts him on a coat of mail,
Which was of a fish's scale,
That when his foe should him assail,
No point should be prevailing.
His rapier was a hornet's sting,
It was a very dangerous thing;
For if he chanc'd to hurt the king,
It would be long in healing.
His helmet was a beetle's head,
Most horrible and full of dread,
That able was to strike one dead,
Yet it did well become him:
And for a plume, a horse's hair,
Which being tossed by the air,
Had force to strike his foe with fear,
And turn his weapon from him.
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.
49. FROM THE POLY-OLBION.-SONG XIII.
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.
50. 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.
51. John Donne. 1573-1631. (Manual, p. 82.)
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.
52. Bishop Hall. 1574-1656. (Manual, p. 83.)
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 iu 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 perhaps 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,
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?
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 dinner with a walk in the middle aisle, where there was a tomb, by mistake supposed to be that of Humphry, Duke of Gloucester.