Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete
Part 7 out of 20
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or cheer the drooping stage,
Which since thy flight from hence hath mourn'd like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light!
ON THE PORTRAIT OF SHAKSPEARE.
(UNDER THE FRONTISPIECE TO THE FIRST EDITION OF HIS WORKS: 1623.)
This figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakspeare cut,
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to outdo the life:
Oh, could he but have drawn his wit,
As well in brass, as he hath hit
His face; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in 'brass:
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture but his book.
VERE, STORRER, &c.
In the same age of fertile, seething mind which produced Jonson and the
rest of the Elizabethan giants, there flourished some minor poets, whose
names we merely chronicle: such as Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, born
1534, and dying 1604, who travelled in Italy in his youth, and returned
the 'most accomplished coxcomb in Europe,' who sat as Grand Chamberlain
of England upon the trial of Mary Queen of Scots, and who has left, in
the 'Paradise of Dainty Devices,' some rather beautiful verses, entitled,
'Fancy and Desire;'--as Thomas Storrer, a student of Christ Church, Oxford,
and the author of a versified 'History of Cardinal Wolsey,' in three parts,
who died in 1604;--as William Warner, a native of Oxfordshire, born in
1558, who became an attorney of the Common Pleas in London, and died
suddenly in 1609, having made himself famous for a time by a poem, entitled
'Albion's England,' called by Campbell 'an enormous ballad on the history,
or rather the fables appendant to the history of England,' with some fine
touches, but heavy and prolix as a whole;--as Sir John Harrington, who was
the son of a poet and the favourite of Essex, who was created a Knight of
the Bath by James I., and who wrote some pointed epigrams and a miserable
translation of Ariosto, in which heeffectually tamed that wild Pegasus;
--as Henry Perrot, who collected, in 1613, a book of epigrams, entitled,
'Springes for Woodcocks;'--as Sir Thomas Overbury, whose dreadful and
mysterious fate, well known to all who read English history, excited such
a sympathy for him, that his poems, 'A Wife,' and 'The Choice of a Wife,'
passed through sixteen editions before the year 1653, although his prose
'Characters,' such as the exquisite and well-known 'Fair and Happy
Milkmaid,' are far better than his poetry;--as Samuel Rowlandes, a prolific
pamphleteer in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I., author
also of several plays and of a book of epigrams;--as Thomas Picke, who
belonged to the Middle Temple, and published, in 1631, a number of songs,
sonnets, and elegies;--as Henry Constable, born in 1568, and a well-known
sonneteer of his day;--as Nicholas Breton, author of some pretty pastorals,
who, it is conjectured, was born in 1555, and died in 1624;--and as Dr
Thomas Lodge, born in 1556, and who died in 1625, after translating
Josephus into English, and writing some tolerable poetical pieces.
This was a true poet, although his power comes forth principally in the
drama. He was born at Newnham, near Daventry, Northamptonshire, in 1605,
being the you of Lord Zouch's steward. He became a King's Scholar at
Westminster, and subsequently a Fellow in Trinity College, Cambridge.
Ben Jonson loved him, and he reciprocated the attachment. Whether from
natural tendency or in imitation of Jonson, who called him, as well as
Cartwright, his adopted son, he learned intemperate habits, and died, in
1634, at the age of twenty-nine. His death took place at the house of W.
Stafford, Esq. of Blatherwyke, in his native county, and he was buried
in the church beside, where Sir Christopher, afterwards Lord Hatton,
signalised the spot of his rest by a monument. He wrote five dramas,
which are imperfect and formal in plan, but written with considerable
power. Some of his miscellaneous poems discover feeling and genius.
THE PRAISE OF WOMAN.
He is a parricide to his mother's name,
And with an impious hand murders her fame,
That wrongs the praise of women; that dares write
Libels on saints, or with foul ink requite
The milk they lent us! Better sex! command
To your defence my more religious hand,
At sword or pen; yours was the nobler birth,
For you of man were made, man but of earth--
The sun of dust; and though your sin did breed
His fall, again you raised him in your seed.
Adam, in's sleep again full loss sustain'd,
That for one rib a better half regain'd,
Who, had he not your blest creation seen
In Paradise, an anchorite had been.
Why in this work did the creation rest,
But that Eternal Providence thought you best
Of all his six days' labour? Beasts should do
Homage to man, but man shall wait on you;
You are of comelier sight, of daintier touch,
A tender flesh, and colour bright, and such
As Parians see in marble; skin more fair,
More glorious head, and far more glorious hair;
Eyes full of grace and quickness; purer roses
Blush in your cheeks; a milder white composes
Your stately fronts; your breath, more sweet than his,
Breathes spice, and nectar drops at every kiss.
* * * * *
If, then, in bodies where the souls do dwell,
You better us, do then our souls excel?
No. * * * *
Boast we of knowledge, you are more than we,
You were the first ventured to pluck the tree;
And that more rhetoric in your tongues do lie,
Let him dispute against that dares deny
Your least commands; and not persuaded be,
With Samson's strength and David's piety,
To be your willing captives.
* * * * *
Thus, perfect creatures, if detraction rise
Against your sex, dispute but with your eyes,
Your hand, your lip, your brow, there will be sent
So subtle and so strong an argument,
Will teach the stoic his affections too,
And call the cynic from his tub to woo.
TO MY PICTURE.
When age hath made me what I am not now,
And every wrinkle tells me where the plough
Of Time hath furrow'd, when an ice shall flow
Through every vein, and all my head be snow;
When Death displays his coldness in my cheek,
And I, myself, in my own picture seek,
Not finding what I am, but what I was,
In doubt which to believe, this or my glass;
Yet though I alter, this remains the same
As it was drawn, retains the primitive frame,
And first complexion; here will still be seen,
Blood on the cheek, and down upon the chin:
Here the smooth brow will stay, the lively eye,
The ruddy lip, and hair of youthful dye.
Behold what frailty we in man may see,
Whose shadow is less given to change than he.
TO A LADY ADMIRING HERSELF IN A LOOKING-GLASS.
Fair lady, when you see the grace
Of beauty in your looking-glass;
A stately forehead, smooth and high,
And full of princely majesty;
A sparkling eye, no gem so fair,
Whose lustre dims the Cyprian star;
A glorious cheek, divinely sweet,
Wherein both roses kindly meet;
A cherry lip that would entice
Even gods to kiss at any price;
You think no beauty is so rare
That with your shadow might compare;
That your reflection is alone
The thing that men must dote upon.
Madam, alas! your glass doth lie,
And you are much deceived; for I
A beauty know of richer grace,--
(Sweet, be not angry,) 'tis your face.
Hence, then, oh, learn more mild to be,
And leave to lay your blame on me:
If me your real substance move,
When you so much your shadow love,
Wise Nature would not let your eye
Look on her own bright majesty;
Which, had you once but gazed upon,
You could, except yourself, love none:
What then you cannot love, let me,
That face I can, you cannot see.
'Now you have what to love,' you'll say,
'What then is left for me, I pray?'
My face, sweet heart, if it please thee;
That which you can, I cannot see:
So either love shall gain his due,
Yours, sweet, in me, and mine in you.
The great, though whimsical author of the 'Anatomy of Melancholy' was
born at Lindley, in Leicestershire, 1576, and educated at Christ Church,
Oxford. He became Rector of Seagrave, in his native shire. He was a man
of vast erudition, of integrity and benevolence, but his happiness,
like that of Burns, although in a less measure, 'was blasted _ab
origine_ by an incurable taint of hypochondria;' and although at times a
most delightful companion, at other times he was so miserable, even when
a young student at Oxford, that he had no resource but to go down to the
river-side, where the coarse jests of the bargemen threw him into fits
of laughter. This surely was a violent remedy, and one that must have
reacted into deeper depression. In 1621, he wrote and published, as a
safety-valve to his morbid feelings, his famous 'Anatomie of Melancholy,
by Democritus Junior.' It became instantly popular, and sold so well,
that the publisher is said to have made a fortune by it. Nothing more of
consequence is recorded of the author, who died in 1640. Although
'Melancholy mark'd him for her own,'
she failed to kill him till he had passed his grand climacteric. He was
buried in Christ Church, with the following epitaph, said to have been
composed by himself:--
'Paucis notus, paucioribus ignotus.
Hic jacet Democritus Junior,
Cui vitam pariter et mortem
'Known [by name] to few, unknown [as the author of the "Anatomy"]
to fewer, here lies D. J., who owes his death [as a man] and his
life [as an author] to Melancholy.'
His work is certainly a most curious and bewitching medley of thought,
information, wit, learning, personal interest, and poetic fancy. We all
know it was the only book which ever drew the lazy Johnson from his bed
an hour sooner than he wished to rise. The subject, like the flesh of
that 'melancholy' creature the hare, may be dry, but, as with that, an
astute cookery prevails to make it exceedingly piquant; the sauce is
better than the substance. Burton's melancholy is not, like Johnson's,
a deep, hopeless, 'inspissated gloom,' thickened by memories of remorse,
and lighted up by the lurid fires of feared perdition; it is not, like
Byron's, dashed with the demoniac element, and fretted into universal
misanthropy; it is not, like Foster's, the sad, fixed fascination of
a pure intelligence contemplating the darker side of things, as by a
necessity of nature, and ignoring, without denying, the existence of the
bright; nor is it, like that of the 'melancholy Jacques,' in 'As you
Like it,' a wild, woodland, fantastical habit of thought, as of one
living collaterally and aside to the world, and which often explodes
into laughter at itself and at all things else;--Burton's is a wide-
spread but tender shade, like twilight, diffused over the whole horizon
of his thought, and is nourished at times into a luxury, and at times
paraded as a peculiar possession. In his form of melancholy there are
pleasures as well as pains. 'Most pleasant it is,' he says, 'to such
as are to melancholy given, to lie in bed whole days and keep their
chambers; to walk alone in some solitary grove, betwixt wood and water,
by a brook-side, to meditate upon some delightsome and pleasant subject;
and a most incomparable delight it is so to melancholise and build
castles in the air.' Religious considerations have little to do with
Burton's melancholy, and remorse or fear apparently nothing. Hence his
book, although its theme be sadness, never shadows the spirit, but, on
the contrary, from his dark, Lethean poppies, his readers are made to
extract an element of joyful excitement, and the anatomy, and the cure,
of the evil, are one and the same.
As a writer, Burton ranks, in some points, with Montaigne, and in others
with Sir Thomas Browne. He resembles the first in simplicity, _bonhommie_,
and miscellaneous learning, and the other in rambling manner, quaint
phraseology, and fantastic imagination. Neither of the three could be said
to write books, but they accumulated vast storehouses, whence thousands of
volumes might be, and have been compiled. There is nothing in Burton so
low as in many of the 'Essays' of Montaigne, but there is nothing so lofty
as in passages of Browne's 'Religio Medici' and 'Urn-Burial.' Burton has
been a favourite quarry to literary thieves, among whom Sterne, in his
'Tristram Shandy,' stands pre-eminent. To his 'Anatomy' he prefixes a poem,
a few stanzas of which we extract.
1 When I go musing all alone,
Thinking of divers things foreknown,
When I build castles in the air,
Void of sorrow, void of fear,
Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet
Methinks the time runs very fleet.
All my joys to this are folly;
Nought so sweet as melancholy.
2 When I go walking all alone,
Recounting what I have ill-done,
My thoughts on me then tyrannise,
Fear and sorrow me surprise;
Whether I tarry still, or go,
Methinks the time moves very slow.
All my griefs to this are jolly;
Nought so sad as melancholy.
3 When to myself I act and smile,
With pleasing thoughts the time beguile,
By a brook-side or wood so green,
Unheard, unsought for, or unseen,
A thousand pleasures do me bless,
And crown my soul with happiness.
All my joys besides are folly;
None so sweet as melancholy.
4 When I lie, sit, or walk alone,
I sigh, I grieve, making great moan;
In a dark grove or irksome den,
With discontents and furies then,
A thousand miseries at once
Mine heavy heart and soul ensconce.
All my griefs to this are jolly;
None so sour as melancholy.
5 Methinks I hear, methinks I see
Sweet music, wondrous melody,
Towns, palaces, and cities, fine;
Here now, then there, the world is mine,
Rare beauties, gallant ladies shine,
Whate'er is lovely is divine.
All other joys to this are folly;
None so sweet as melancholy,
6 Methinks I hear, methinks I see
Ghosts, goblins, fiends: my fantasy
Presents a thousand ugly shapes;
Headless bears, black men, and apes;
Doleful outcries and fearful sights
My sad and dismal soul affrights.
All my griefs to this are jolly;
None so damn'd as melancholy.
This delectable versifier was born in 1589, in Gloucestershire, from an
old family in which he sprung. He was educated at Corpus Christi College,
Oxford, but neither matriculated nor took a degree. After finishing his
travels, he returned to England, and became soon highly distinguished, in
the Court of Charles I., for his manners, accomplishments, and wit. He
was appointed Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Sewer in Ordinary to the
King. He spent the rest of his life as a gay and gallant courtier; and in
the intervals of pleasure produced some light but exquisite poetry. He is
said, ere his death, which took place in 1639, to have become very
devout, and bitterly to have deplored the licentiousness of some of his
Indelicate choice of subject is often, in Carew, combined with great
delicacy of execution. No one touches dangerous themes with so light and
glove-guarded a hand. His pieces are all fugitive, but they suggest great
possibilities, which his mode of life and his premature removal did not
permit to be realised. Had he, at an earlier period, renounced, like
George Herbert, 'the painted pleasures of a court,' and, like Prospero,
dedicated himself to 'closeness,' with his marvellous facility of verse,
his laboured levity of style, and his nice exuberance of fancy, he might
have produced some work of Horatian merit and classic permanence.
PERSUASIONS TO LOVE.
Think not, 'cause men flattering say,
Y'are fresh as April, sweet as May,
Bright as is the morning-star,
That you are so;--or though you are,
Be not therefore proud, and deem
All men unworthy your esteem:
* * * * *
Starve not yourself, because you may
Thereby make me pine away;
Nor let brittle beauty make
You your wiser thoughts forsake:
For that lovely face will fail;
Beauty's sweet, but beauty's frail;
'Tis sooner past, 'tis sooner done,
Than summer's rain, or winter's sun:
Most fleeting, when it is most dear;
'Tis gone, while we but say 'tis here.
These curious locks so aptly twined,
Whose every hair a soul doth bind,
Will change their auburn hue, and grow
White and cold as winter's snow.
That eye which now is Cupid's nest
Will prove his grave, and all the rest
Will follow; in the cheek, chin, nose,
Nor lily shall be found, nor rose;
And what will then become of all
Those, whom now you servants call?
Like swallows, when your summer's done
They'll fly, and seek some warmer sun.
* * * * *
The snake each year fresh skin resumes,
And eagles change their aged plumes;
The faded rose each spring receives
A fresh red tincture on her leaves;
But if your beauties once decay,
You never know a second May.
Oh, then be wise, and whilst your season
Affords you days for sport, do reason;
Spend not in vain your life's short hour,
But crop in time your beauty's flower:
Which will away, and doth together
Both bud and fade, both blow and wither.
Give me more love, or more disdain,
The torrid, or the frozen zone
Bring equal ease unto my pain;
The temperate affords me none;
Either extreme, of love or hate,
Is sweeter than a calm estate.
Give me a storm; if it be love,
Like DanaŽ in a golden shower,
I swim in pleasure; if it prove
Disdain, that torrent will devour
My vulture-hopes; and he's possess'd
Of heaven that's but from hell released:
Then crown my joys, or cure my pain;
Give me more love, or more disdain.
TO MY MISTRESS SITTING BY A RIVER'S SIDE.
Mark how yon eddy steals away
From the rude stream into the bay;
There lock'd up safe, she doth divorce
Her waters from the channel's course,
And scorns the torrent that did bring
Her headlong from her native spring.
Now doth she with her new love play,
Whilst he runs murmuring away.
Mark how she courts the banks, whilst they
As amorously their arms display,
To embrace and clip her silver waves:
See how she strokes their sides, and craves
An entrance there, which they deny;
Whereat she frowns, threatening to fly
Home to her stream, and 'gins to swim
Backward, but from the channel's brim
Smiling returns into the creek,
With thousand dimples on her cheek.
Be thou this eddy, and I'll make
My breast thy shore, where thou shalt take
Secure repose, and never dream
Of the quite forsaken stream:
Let him to the wide ocean haste,
There lose his colour, name, and taste;
Thou shalt save all, and, safe from him,
Within these arms for ever swim.
If the quick spirits in your eye
Now languish, and anon must die;
If every sweet, and every grace,
Must fly from that forsaken face:
Then, Celia, let us reap our joys,
Ere time such goodly fruit destroys.
Or, if that golden fleece must grow
For ever, free from aged snow;
If those bright suns must know no shade,
Nor your fresh beauties ever fade;
Then fear not, Celia, to bestow
What still being gather'd still must grow.
Thus, either Time his sickle brings
In vain, or else in vain his wings.
A PASTORAL DIALOGUE.
SHEPHERD, NYMPH, CHORUS.
_Shep._ This mossy bank they press'd. _Nym._That aged oak
Did canopy the happy pair
All night from the damp air.
_Cho._ Here let us sit, and sing the words they spoke,
Till the day-breaking their embraces broke.
_Shep._ See, love, the blushes of the morn appear:
And now she hangs her pearly store
(Robb'd from the eastern shore)
I' th' cowslip's bell and rose's ear:
Sweet, I must stay no longer here.
_Nym._ Those streaks of doubtful light usher not day,
But show my sun must set; no morn
Shall shine till thou return:
The yellow planets, and the gray
Dawn, shall attend thee on thy way.
_Shep._ If thine eyes gild my paths, they may forbear
Their useless shine. _Nym._ My tears will quite
Extinguish their faint light.
_Shep._ Those drops will make their beams more clear,
Love's flames will shine in every tear.
_Cho._ They kiss'd, and wept; and from their lips and eyes,
In a mix'd dew of briny sweet,
Their joys and sorrows meet;
But she cries out. _Nym._ Shepherd, arise,
The sun betrays us else to spies.
_Shep._ The winged hours fly fast whilst we embrace;
But when we want their help to meet,
They move with leaden feet.
_Nym._ Then let us pinion time, and chase
The day for ever from this place.
_Shep._ Hark! _Nym._ Ah me, stay! _Shep._ For ever _Nym._ No, arise;
We must be gone. _Shep._ My nest of spice
_Nym._ My soul. _Shep._ My paradise.
_Cho._ Neither could say farewell, but through their eyes
Grief interrupted speech with tears supplies.
Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauties orient deep
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.
Ask me no more whither do stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For, in pure love, Heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.
Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale, when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters, and keeps warm her note.
Ask me no more, where those stars light,
That downwards fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there
Fixed become, as in their sphere.
Ask me no more, if east or west
The phoenix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.
SIR JOHN SUCKLING.
This witty baronet was born in 1608. He was the son of the Comptroller
of the Household of Charles I. He was uncommonly precocious; at five is
said to have spoken Latin, and at sixteen had entered into the service
of Gustavus Adolphus, 'the lion of the North, and the bulwark of the
On his return to England, he was favoured by Charles, and became, in his
turn, a most enthusiastic supporter of the Royal cause; writing plays for
the amusement of the Court; and when the Civil War broke out, raising, at
his own expense of £1200, a regiment for the King, which is said to have
been distinguished only by its 'finery and cowardice.' When the Earl of
Strafford came into trouble, Suckling, along with some other cavaliers,
intrigued for his deliverance, was impeached by the House of Commons,
and had to flee to France. Here an early death awaited him. His servant
having robbed him, he drew on, in vehement haste, his boots, to pursue
the defaulter, when a rusty nail, or, some say, the blade of a knife,
which was concealed in one of them, pierced his heel. A mortification
ensued, and he died, in 1641, at thirty-three years of age.
Suckling has written five plays, various poems, besides letters,
speeches, and tracts, which have all been collected into one thin volume.
They are of various merit; none, in fact, being worthy of print, or at
least of preservation, except one or two of his songs, and his 'Ballad
upon a Wedding'. This last is an admirable expression of what were his
principal qualities--_naivetť_, sly humour, gay badinage, and a delicious
vein of fancy, coming out occasionally by stealth, even as in his own
exquisite lines about the bride,
'Her feet, beneath her petticoat,
Like _little mice, stole in and out_,
As if they fear'd the light.'
Why so pale and wan, fond lover!
Prithee why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee why so pale?
Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
Prithee why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,
Saying nothing do 't?
Prithee why so mute?
Quit, quit for shame! this will not move,
This cannot take her;
If of herself she will not love,
Nothing can make her--
The devil take her!
A BALLAD UPON A WEDDING.
1 I tell thee, Dick, where I have been,
Where I the rarest things have seen:
Oh, things without compare!
Such sights again cannot be found
In any place on English ground,
Be it at wake or fair.
2 At Charing-Cross, hard by the way
Where we (thou know'st) do sell our hay,
There is a house with stairs:
And there did I see coming down
Such folks as are not in our town,
Vorty at least, in pairs.
3 Amongst the rest, one pest'lent fine,
(His beard no bigger though than thine,)
Walk'd on before the rest:
Our landlord looks like nothing to him:
The king (God bless him)'twould undo him,
Should he go still so dress'd.
4 At Course-a-park, without all doubt,
He should have first been taken out
By all the maids i' the town:
Though lusty Roger there had been,
Or little George upon the Green,
Or Vincent of the Crown.
5 But wot you what? the youth was going
To make an end of all his wooing;
The parson for him staid:
Yet by his leave, for all his haste,
He did not so much wish all past
(Perchance) as did the maid.
6 The maid--and thereby hangs a tale--
For such a maid no Whitsun-ale
Could ever yet produce:
No grape that's kindly ripe could be
So round, so plump, so soft as she,
Nor half so full of juice.
7 Her finger was so small, the ring
Would not stay on which they did bring,
It was too wide a peck:
And to say truth (for out it must)
It look'd like the great collar (just)
About our young colt's neck.
8 Her feet, beneath her petticoat,
Like little mice, stole in and out,
As if they fear'd the light:
But oh! she dances such a way!
No sun upon an Easter-day
Is half so fine a sight.
9 He would have kiss'd her once or twice,
But she would not, she was so nice,
She would not do 't in sight;
And then she look'd as who should say.
I will do what I list to-day;
And you shall do 't at night.
10 Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
No daisy makes comparison,
(Who sees them is undone,)
For streaks of red were mingled there,
Such as are on a Katherine pear,
The side that's next the sun.
11 Her lips were red, and one was thin,
Compared to that was next her chin;
Some bee had stung it newly.
But (Dick) her eyes so guard her face,
I durst no more upon them gaze,
Than on the sun in July.
12 Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
Thou'dst swear her teeth her words did break,
That they might passage get;
But she so handled still the matter,
They came as good as ours, or better,
And are not spent a whit.
13 If wishing should be any sin,
The parson himself had guilty been,
She look'd that day so purely:
And did the youth so oft the feat
At night, as some did in conceit,
It would have spoil'd him, surely.
14 Passion o'me! how I run on!
There's that that would be thought upon,
I trow, beside the bride:
The business of the kitchen's great,
For it is fit that men should eat;
Nor was it there denied.
15 Just in the nick the cook knock'd thrice,
And all the waiters in a trice
His summons did obey;
Each serving-man with dish in hand,
March'd boldly up, like our train'd band,
Presented and away.
16 When all the meat was on the table,
What man of knife, or teeth, was able
To stay to be entreated?
And this the very reason was,
Before the parson could say grace,
The company were seated.
17 Now hats fly off, and youths carouse;
Healths first go round, and then the house,
The bride's came thick and thick;
And when 'twas named another's health,
Perhaps he made it hers by stealth,
And who could help it, Dick?
18 O' the sudden up they rise and dance;
Then sit again, and sigh and glance:
Then dance again and kiss.
Thus sev'ral ways the time did pass,
Whil'st every woman wish'd her place,
And every man wish'd his.
19 By this time all were stol'n aside
To counsel and undress the bride;
But that he must not know;
But yet 'twas thought he guess'd her mind,
And did not mean to stay behind
Above an hour or so.
20 When in he came (Dick), there she lay,
Like new-fall'n snow melting away,
'Twas time, I trow, to part.
Kisses were now the only stay,
Which soon she gave, as who would say,
Good-bye, with all my heart.
21 But just as heavens would have to cross it,
In came the bridemaids with the posset;
The bridegroom eat in spite;
For had he left the women to 't
It would have cost two hours to do 't,
Which were too much that night.
22 At length the candle's out, and now
All that they had not done, they do!
What that is, who can tell?
But I believe it was no more
Than thou and I have done before
With Bridget and with Nell!
I pray thee send me back my heart,
Since I can not have thine,
For if from yours you will not part,
Why then shouldst thou have mine?
Yet now I think on 't, let it lie,
To find it were in vain;
For thou'st a thief in either eye
Would steal it back again.
Why should two hearts in one breast lie,
And yet not lodge together?
O love! where is thy sympathy,
If thus our breasts thou sever?
But love is such a mystery,
I cannot find it out;
For when I think I'm best resolved,
I then am in most doubt.
Then farewell care, and farewell woe,
I will no longer pine;
For I'll believe I have her heart
As much as she has mine.
Cartwright was born in 1611, and was the son of an innkeeper--once a
gentleman--in Cirencester. He became a King's scholar at Westminster,
and afterwards took orders at Oxford, where he distinguished himself,
according to Wood, as a 'most florid and seraphic preacher.' One is
reminded of the description given of Jeremy Taylor, who, when he first
began to preach, by his 'young and florid beauty, and his sublime and
raised discourses, made men take him for an angel newly descended from
the climes of Paradise.' Cartwright was appointed, through his friend
Bishop Duppa, Succentor of the Church of Salisbury in 1642. He was one
of a council of war appointed by the University of Oxford, for providing
troops in the King's cause, to protect, or some said to overawe, the
Universities. He was imprisoned by the Parliamentary forces on account
of his zeal in the Royal cause, but soon liberated on bail. In 1643,
he was appointed Junior Proctor of his University, and also Reader in
Metaphysics. At this time he is said to have studied sixteen hours
a-day. This, however, seems to have weakened his constitution, and
rendered him an easy victim to what was called the camp-fever, then
prevalent in Oxford. He died December 23, 1643, aged thirty-two. The
King, then in Oxford, went into mourning for him. His works were
published in 1651, and to them were prefixed fifty copies of encomiastic
verses from the wits and poets of the time. They scarcely justify the
praises they have received, being somewhat crude and harsh, and all of
them occasional. His private character, his eloquence as a preacher, and
his zeal as a Royalist, seem to have supplemented his claims as a poet.
He enjoyed, too, in his earlier life, the friendship of Ben Jonson, who
used to say of him, 'My son Cartwright writes all like a man;' and such
a sentence from such an authority was at that time fame.
1 Where is that learned wretch that knows
What are those darts the veil'd god throws?
Oh, let him tell me ere I die
When 'twas he saw or heard them fly;
Whether the sparrow's plumes, or dove's,
Wing them for various loves;
And whether gold or lead,
Quicken or dull the head:
I will anoint and keep them warm,
And make the weapons heal the harm.
2 Fond that I am to ask! whoe'er
Did yet see thought? or silence hear?
Safe from the search of human eye
These arrows (as their ways are) fly:
The flights of angels part
Not air with so much art;
And snows on streams, we may
Say, louder fall than they.
So hopeless I must now endure,
And neither know the shaft nor cure.
3 A sudden fire of blushes shed
To dye white paths with hasty red;
A glance's lightning swiftly thrown,
Or from a true or seeming frown;
A subtle taking smile
From passion, or from guile;
The spirit, life, and grace
Of motion, limbs, and face;
These misconceit entitles darts,
And tears the bleedings of our hearts.
4 But as the feathers in the wing
Unblemish'd are, and no wounds bring,
And harmless twigs no bloodshed know,
Till art doth fit them for the bow;
So lights of flowing graces
Sparkling in several places,
Only adorn the parts,
Till that we make them darts;
Themselves are only twigs and quills:
We give them shape and force for ills.
5 Beauty's our grief, but in the ore,
We mint, and stamp, and then adore:
Like heathen we the image crown,
And indiscreetly then fall down:
Those graces all were meant
Our joy, not discontent;
But with untaught desires
We turn those lights to fires,
Thus Nature's healing herbs we take,
And out of cures do poisons make.
ON THE DEATH OF SIR BEVIL GRENVILLE.
Not to be wrought by malice, gain, or pride,
To a compliance with the thriving side;
Not to take arms for love of change, or spite,
But only to maintain afflicted right;
Not to die vainly in pursuit of fame,
Perversely seeking after voice and name;
Is to resolve, fight, die, as martyrs do,
And thus did he, soldier and martyr too.
* * * * *
When now the incensed legions proudly came
Down like a torrent without bank or dam:
When undeserved success urged on their force;
That thunder must come down to stop their course,
Or Grenville must step in; then Grenville stood,
And with himself opposed and check'd the flood.
Conquest or death was all his thought. So fire
Either o'ercomes, or doth itself expire:
His courage work'd like flames, cast heat about,
Here, there, on this, on that side, none gave out;
Not any pike on that renowned stand,
But took new force from his inspiring hand:
Soldier encouraged soldier, man urged man,
And he urged all; so much example can;
Hurt upon hurt, wound upon wound did call,
He was the butt, the mark, the aim of all:
His soul this while retired from cell to cell,
At last flew up from all, and then he fell.
But the devoted stand enraged more
From that his fate, plied hotter than before,
And proud to fall with him, sworn not to yield,
Each sought an honour'd grave, so gain'd the field.
Thus he being fallen, his action fought anew:
And the dead conquer'd, whiles the living slew.
This was not nature's courage, not that thing
We valour call, which time and reason bring;
But a diviner fury, fierce and high,
Valour transported into ecstasy,
Which angels, looking on us from above,
Use to convey into the souls they love.
You now that boast the spirit, and its sway,
Shew us his second, and we'll give the day:
We know your politic axiom, lurk, or fly;
Ye cannot conquer, 'cause you dare not die:
And though you thank God that you lost none there,
'Cause they were such who lived not when they were;
Yet your great general (who doth rise and fall,
As his successes do, whom you dare call,
As fame unto you doth reports dispense,
Either a -------- or his excellence)
Howe'er he reigns now by unheard-of laws,
Could wish his fate together with his cause.
And thou (blest soul) whose clear compacted fame,
As amber bodies keeps, preserves thy name,
Whose life affords what doth content both eyes,
Glory for people, substance for the wise,
Go laden up with spoils, possess that seat
To which the valiant, when they've done, retreat:
And when thou seest an happy period sent
To these distractions, and the storm quite spent,
Look down and say, I have my share in all,
Much good grew from my life, much from my fall.
Bid me not go where neither suns nor showers
Do make or cherish flowers;
Where discontented things in sadness lie,
And Nature grieves as I.
When I am parted from those eyes,
From which my better day doth rise,
Though some propitious power
Should plant me in a bower,
Where amongst happy lovers I might see
How showers and sunbeams bring
One everlasting spring,
Nor would those fall, nor these shine forth to me;
Nature herself to him is lost,
Who loseth her he honours most.
Then, fairest, to my parting view display
Your graces all in one full day;
Whose blessed shapes I'll snatch and keep till when
I do return and view again:
So by this art fancy shall fortune cross,
And lovers live by thinking on their loss.
This pastoral poet was born, in 1590, at Tavistock, in Devonshire,
a lovely part of a lovely county. He was educated at Oxford, and went
thence to the Inner Temple. He was at one time tutor to the Earl of
Carnarvon, and afterwards, when that nobleman perished in the battle of
Newbury, in 1643, he was patronised by the Earl of Pembroke, in whose
house he resided, and is even said to have become so rich that he
purchased an estate. In 1645 he died, at Ottery St Mary, the parish
where, in 1772, Coleridge was born.
Browne began his poetical career early, and closed it soon. He published
the first part of 'Britannia's Pastorals' in 1613, the second in 1616;
shortly after, his 'Shepherd's Pipe;' and, in 1620, produced his 'Inner
Temple Masque' which was then enacted, but not printed till a hundred
and twenty years after the author's death, when Dr Farmer transcribed
it from a MS. of the Bodleian Library, and it appeared in Tom Davies'
edition of Browne's poems. Browne has no constructive power, and no
human interest in his pastorals, but he has an eye for nature, and we
quote from him some excellent specimens of descriptive poetry.
Gentle nymphs, be not refusing,
Love's neglect is Time's abusing,
They and beauty are but lent you;
Take the one, and keep the other:
Love keeps fresh what age doth smother,
Beauty gone, you will repent you.
'Twill be said, when ye have proved,
Never swains more truly loved:
Oh, then, fly all nice behaviour!
Pity fain would (as her duty)
Be attending still on Beauty,
Let her not be out of favour.
1 Shall I tell you whom I love?
Hearken then a while to me,
And if such a woman move
As I now shall versify;
Be assured, 'tis she, or none,
That I love, and love alone.
2 Nature did her so much right,
As she scorns the help of art.
In as many virtues dight
As e'er yet embraced a heart;
So much good so truly tried,
Some for less were deified.
3 Wit she hath, without desire
To make known how much she hath;
And her anger flames no higher
Than may fitly sweeten wrath.
Full of pity as may be,
Though perhaps not so to me.
4 Reason masters every sense,
And her virtues grace her birth:
Lovely as all excellence,
Modest in her most of mirth:
Likelihood enough to prove
Only worth could kindle love.
5 Such she is: and if you know
Such a one as I have sung;
Be she brown, or fair, or so,
That she be but somewhile young;
Be assured, 'tis she, or none,
That I love, and love alone.
POWER OF GENIUS OVER ENVY.
'Tis not the rancour of a canker'd heart
That can debase the excellence of art,
Nor great in titles makes our worth obey,
Since we have lines far more esteem'd than they.
For there is hidden in a poet's name
A spell that can command the wings of Fame,
And maugre all oblivion's hated birth
Begin their immortality on earth,
When he that 'gainst a muse with hate combines
May raise his tomb in vain to reach our lines.
As in an evening when the gentle air
Breathes to the sullen night a soft repair,
I oft have sat on Thames' sweet bank to hear
My friend with his sweet touch to charm mine ear,
When he hath play'd (as well he can) some strain
That likes me, straight I ask the same again,
And he, as gladly granting, strikes it o'er
With some sweet relish was forgot before:
I would have been content, if he would play,
In that one strain to pass the night away;
But fearing much to do his patience wrong,
Unwillingly have ask'd some other song:
So in this differing key though I could well
A many hours but as few minutes tell,
Yet lest mine own delight might injure you
(Though both so soon) I take my song anew.
FROM 'BRITANNIA'S PASTORALS.'
Between two rocks (immortal, without mother)
That stand as if outfacing one another,
There ran a creek up, intricate and blind,
As if the waters hid them from the wind,
Which never wash'd but at a higher tide
The frizzled cotes which do the mountains hide,
Where never gale was longer known to stay
Than from the smooth wave it had swept away
The new divorced leaves, that from each side
Left the thick boughs to dance out with the tide.
At further end the creek, a stately wood
Gave a kind shadow (to the brackish flood)
Made up of trees, not less kenn'd by each skiff
Than that sky-scaling peak of Teneriffe,
Upon whose tops the hernshew bred her young,
And hoary moss upon their branches hung;
Whose rugged rinds sufficient were to show,
Without their height, what time they 'gan to grow.
And if dry eld by wrinkled skin appears,
None could allot them less than Nestor's years.
As under their command the thronged creek
Ran lessen'd up. Here did the shepherd seek
Where he his little boat might safely hide,
Till it was fraught with what the world beside
Could not outvalue; nor give equal weight
Though in the time when Greece was at her height.
* * * * *
Yet that their happy voyage might not be
Without Time's shortener, heaven-taught melody,
(Music that lent feet to the stable woods,
And in their currents turn'd the mighty floods,
Sorrow's sweet nurse, yet keeping Joy alive,
Sad Discontent's most welcome corrosive,
The soul of art, best loved when love is by,
The kind inspirer of sweet poesy,
Least thou shouldst wanting be, when swans would fain
Have sung one song, and never sung again,)
The gentle shepherd, hasting to the shore,
Began this lay, and timed it with his oar:
Nevermore let holy Dee
O'er other rivers brave,
Or boast how (in his jollity)
Kings row'd upon his wave.
But silent be, and ever know
That Neptune for my fare would row.
* * * * *
Swell then, gently swell, ye floods,
As proud of what ye bear,
And nymphs that in low coral woods
String pearls upon your hair,
Ascend; and tell if ere this day
A fairer prize was seen at sea.
See the salmons leap and bound
To please us as we pass,
Each mermaid on the rocks around
Lets fall her brittle glass,
As they their beauties did despise
And loved no mirror but your eyes,
Blow, but gently blow, fair wind,
From the forsaken shore,
And be as to the halcyon kind,
Till we have ferried o'er:
So mayst thou still have leave to blow,
And fan the way where she shall go.
A DESCRIPTIVE SKETCH.
Oh, what a rapture have I gotten now!
That age of gold, this of the lovely brow,
Have drawn me from my song! I onward run,
(Clean from the end to which I first begun,)
But ye, the heavenly creatures of the West,
In whom the virtues and the graces rest,
Pardon! that I have run astray so long,
And grow so tedious in so rude a song.
If you yourselves should come to add one grace
Unto a pleasant grove or such like place,
Where, here, the curious cutting of a hedge,
There in a pond, the trimming of the sedge;
Here the fine setting of well-shaded trees,
The walks their mounting up by small degrees,
The gravel and the green so equal lie,
It, with the rest, draws on your lingering eye:
Here the sweet smells that do perfume the air,
Arising from the infinite repair
Of odoriferous buds, and herbs of price,
(As if it were another paradise,)
So please the smelling sense, that you are fain
Where last you walk'd to turn and walk again.
There the small birds with their harmonious notes
Sing to a spring that smileth as she floats:
For in her face a many dimples show,
And often skips as it did dancing go:
Here further down an over-arched alley
That from a hill goes winding in a valley,
You spy at end thereof a standing lake,
Where some ingenious artist strives to make
The water (brought in turning pipes of lead
Through birds of earth most lively fashioned)
To counterfeit and mock the sylvans all
In singing well their own set madrigal.
This with no small delight retains your ear,
And makes you think none blest but who live there.
Then in another place the fruits that be
In gallant clusters decking each good tree
Invite your hand to crop them from the stem,
And liking one, taste every sort of them:
Then to the arbours walk, then to the bowers,
Thence to the walks again, thence to the flowers,
Then to the birds, and to the clear spring thence,
Now pleasing one, and then another sense:
Here one walks oft, and yet anew begin'th,
As if it were some hidden labyrinth.
WILLIAM ALEXANDER, EARL OF STIRLING.
This eminent Scotchman was born in 1580. He travelled on the Continent
as tutor to the Duke of Argyle. After his return to Scotland, he fell in
love with a lady, whom he calls 'Aurora,' and to whom he addressed some
beautiful sonnets. She refused his hand, however, and he married the
daughter of Sir William Erskine. He repaired to the Court of James I.,
and became a distinguished favourite, being appointed Gentleman Usher to
Charles I., and created a knight. He concocted a scheme for colonising
Nova Scotia, in which he was encouraged by both James and Charles; but
the difficulties seemed too formidable, and it was in consequence
dropped. Charles appointed him Lord-Lieutenant of Nova Scotia, and, in
1633, he created him Lord Stirling. Fifteen years (from 1626 to 1641)
our poet was Secretary of State for Scotland. These were the years
during which Laud was foolishly seeking to force his liturgy upon the
Presbyterians, but Stirling gained the praise of being moderate in his
share of the business. In the course of this time he contrived to amass
an ample fortune, and spent part of it in building a fine mansion in
Stirling, which is still, we believe, standing. He died in 1641.
Besides his smaller pieces, Stirling wrote several tragedies, including
one on Julius Caesar; an heroic poem; a poem addressed to Prince Henry,
the son of James I.; another heroic poem, entitled 'Jonathan;' and a
poem, in twelve parts, on the 'Day of Judgment.' These are all
forgotten, and, notwithstanding vigorous parts, deserve to be forgotten;
but his little sonnets, which are, if not brilliant, true things, and
inspired by a true passion, may long survive. He was, on the whole,
rather a man of great talent than of genius.
I swear, Aurora, by thy starry eyes,
And by those golden locks, whose lock none slips,
And by the coral of thy rosy lips,
And by the naked snows which beauty dyes;
I swear by all the jewels of thy mind,
Whose like yet never worldly treasure bought,
Thy solid judgment, and thy generous thought,
Which in this darken'd age have clearly shined;
I swear by those, and by my spotless love,
And by my secret, yet most fervent fires,
That I have never nursed but chaste desires,
And such as modesty might well approve.
Then, since I love those virtuous parts in thee,
Shouldst thou not love this virtuous mind in me?
A man of much finer gifts than Stirling, was the famous Drummond. He
was born, December 13, 1585, at Hawthornden, his father's estate, in
Mid- Lothian. It is one of the most beautiful spots, along the sides
of one of the fairest streams in all Scotland, and well fitted to be
the home of genius. He studied civil law for four years in France, but,
in 1611, the estate of Hawthornden became his own, and here he fixed his
residence, and applied himself to literature. At this time he courted,
and was upon the point of marrying, a lady named Cunningham, who died;
and the melancholy which preyed on his mind after this event, drove him
abroad in search of solace. He visited Italy, Germany, and France; and
during his eight years of residence on the Continent, used his time
well, conversing with the learned, admiring all that was admirable in
the scenery and the life of foreign lands, and collecting rare books and
manuscripts. He had, before his departure, published, first, a volume
of occasional poems; next, a moral treatise, in prose, entitled, 'The
Cypress Grove;' and then another work, in verse, 'The Flowers of Zion.'
Returned once more to Scotland, he retired to the seat of his brother-
in-law, Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet, and there wrote a 'History of
the Five James's of Scotland,' a book abounding in bombast and slavish
principles. When he returned to his own lovely Hawthornden, he met a
lady named Logan, of the house of Restalrig, whom he fancied to bear a
striking resemblance to his dead mistress. On that hint he spake, and
she became his wife. He proceeded to repair the house of Hawthornden,
and would have spent his days there in great peace, had it not been for
the distracted times. His politics were of the Royalist complexion; and
the party in power, belonging to the Presbyterians, used every method to
annoy him, compelling him, for instance, to furnish his quota of men and
arms to support the cause which he opposed. In 1619, Ben Jonson visited
him at Hawthornden. The pair were not well assorted. Brawny Ben and
dreaming Drummond seem, in the expressive coinage of De Quincey, to have
'interdespised;' and is not their feud, with all its circumstances,
recorded in the chronicles of the 'Quarrels of Authors' compiled by the
elder Disraeli? The death of a lady sent Drummond travelling over Europe
--the death of a King sent him away on a farther and a final journey.
His grief for the execution of Charles I. is said to have shortened his
days. At all events, in December of the year of the so-called
'Martyrdom,' (1649,) he breathed his last.
He was a genuine poet as well as a brilliant humorist. His 'Polemo
Middinia,' a grotesque mixture of bad Latin and semi-Latinised Scotch,
has created, among many generations, inextinguishable laughter. His
'Wandering Muses; or, The River of Forth Feasting,' has some gorgeous
descriptions, particularly of Scotland's lakes and rivers, at a time
'She lay, like some unkenn'd of isle,
Ayont New Holland;'
but his sonnets are unquestionably his finest productions. They breathe
a spirit of genuine poetry. Each one of them is a rose lightly wet
with the dew of tenderness, and one or two suggest irresistibly the
recollection of our Great Dramatist's sonnets, although we feel that
'a less than Shakspeare is here.'
THE RIVER OF FORTH FEASTING.
A PANEGYRIC TO THE HIGH AND MIGHTY PRINCE JAMES, KING
Or GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND IRELAND.
_To His Sacred Majesty._
If in this storm of joy and pompous throng,
This nymph (great king) doth come to thee so near
That thy harmonious ears her accents hear,
Give pardon to her hoarse and lowly song:
Fain would she trophies to thy virtues rear;
But for this stately task she is not strong,
And her defects her high attempts do wrong,
Yet as she could she makes thy worth appear.
So in a map is shown this flowery place;
So wrought in arras by a virgin's hand
With heaven and blazing stars doth Atlas stand,
So drawn by charcoal is Narcissus' face:
She like the morn may be to some bright sun,
The day to perfect that's by her begun.
* * * * *
What blustering noise now interrupts my sleep?
What echoing shouts thus cleave my crystal deep,
And seem to call me from my watery court?
What melody, what sounds of joy and sport,
Are convey'd hither from each neighbouring spring?
With what loud rumours do the mountains ring,
Which in unusual pomp on tiptoes stand,
And (full of wonder) overlook the land?
Whence come these glittering throngs, these meteors bright,
This golden people glancing in my sight?
Whence doth this praise, applause, and love arise,
What load-star eastward draweth thus all eyes?
Am I awake? or have some dreams conspired
To mock my sense with what I most desired?
View I that living face, see I those looks,
Which with delight were wont t'amaze my brooks?
Do I behold that worth, that man divine,
This age's glory, by these banks of mine?
Then find I true what long I wish'd in vain,
My much beloved prince is come again;
So unto them whose zenith is the pole,
When six black months are past, the sun doth roll:
So after tempest to sea-tossed wights
Fair Helen's brothers show their cheering lights:
So comes Arabia's wonder from her woods,
And far, far off is seen by Memphis' floods;
The feather'd Sylvans, cloud-like, by her fly,
And with triumphing plaudits beat the sky;
Nile marvels, Seraph's priests, entranced, rave,
And in Mydonian stone her shape engrave;
In lasting cedars they do mark the time
In which Apollo's bird came to their clime.
Let Mother Earth now deck'd with flowers be seen,
And sweet-breath'd zephyrs curl the meadows green,
Let heaven weep rubies in a crimson shower,
Such as on India's shores they use to pour:
Or with that golden storm the fields adorn,
Which Jove rain'd when his blue-eyed maid was born.
May never hours the web of day outweave,
May never night rise from her sable cave.
Swell proud, my billows, faint not to declare
Your joys as ample as their causes are:
For murmurs hoarse sound like Arion's harp,
Now delicately flat, now sweetly sharp;
And you, my nymphs, rise from your moist repair;
Strow all your springs and grots with lilies fair:
Some swiftest-footed, get them hence, and pray
Our floods and lakes come keep this holiday;
Whate'er beneath Albania's hills do run,
Which see the rising or the setting sun,
Which drink stern Grampius' mists, or Ochil's snows:
Stone-rolling Tay, Tyne tortoise-like that flows,
The pearly Don, the Dees, the fertile Spey,
Wild Neverne, which doth see our longest day;
Ness smoking sulphur, Leave with mountains crown'd,
Strange Lomond for his floating isles renown'd:
The Irish Rian, Ken, the silver Ayr,
The snaky Dun, the Ore with rushy hair,
The crystal-streaming Nid, loud-bellowing Clyde,
Tweed which no more our kingdoms shall divide;
Rank-swelling Annan, Lid with curled streams,
The Esks, the Solway, where they lose their names,
To every one proclaim our joys and feasts,
Our triumphs; bid all come and be our guests:
And as they meet in Neptune's azure hall,
Bid them bid sea-gods keep this festival;
This day shall by our currents be renown'd,
Our hills about shall still this day resound;
Nay, that our love more to this day appear,
Let us with it henceforth begin our year.
To virgins, flowers; to sunburnt earth, the rain;
To mariners, fair winds amidst the main;
Cool shades to pilgrims, which hot glances burn,
Are not so pleasing as thy blest return.
That day, dear prince, which robb'd us of thy sight,
(Day, no, but darkness and a dusky night,)
Did fill our breasts with sighs, our eyes with tears,
Turn'd minutes to sad months, sad months to years,
Trees left to flourish, meadows to bear flowers,
Brooks hid their heads within their sedgy bowers,
Fair Ceres cursed our fields with barren frost,
As if again she had her daughter lost:
The muses left our groves, and for sweet songs
Sat sadly silent, or did weep their wrongs.
You know it, meads; your murmuring woods it know,
Hill, dales, and caves, copartners of their woe;
And you it know, my streams, which from their een
Oft on your glass received their pearly brine;
O Naiads dear, (said they,) Napeas fair,
O nymphs of trees, nymphs which on hills repair!
Gone are those maiden glories, gone that state,
Which made all eyes admire our bliss of late.
As looks the heaven when never star appears,
But slow and weary shroud them in their spheres,
While Titon's wife embosom'd by him lies,
And world doth languish in a dreary guise:
As looks a garden of its beauty spoil'd,
As woods in winter by rough Boreas foil'd,
As portraits razed of colours used to be:
So look'd these abject bounds deprived of thee.
While as my rills enjoy'd thy royal gleams,
They did not envy Tiber's haughty streams,
Nor wealthy Tagus with his golden ore,
Nor clear Hydaspes which on pearls doth roar,
Nor golden Gange that sees the sun new born,
Nor Achelous with his flowery horn,
Nor floods which near Elysian fields do fall:
For why? thy sight did serve to them for all.
No place there is so desert, so alone,
Even from the frozen to the torrid zone,
From flaming Hecla to great Quinsey's lake,
Which thy abode could not most happy make;
All those perfections which by bounteous Heaven
To divers worlds in divers times were given,
The starry senate pour'd at once on thee,
That thou exemplar mightst to others be.
Thy life was kept till the Three Sisters spun
Their threads of gold, and then it was begun.
With chequer'd clouds when skies do look most fair,
And no disordered blasts disturb the air,
When lilies do them deck in azure gowns;
And new-born roses blush with golden crowns,
To prove how calm we under thee should live,
What halcyonian days thy reign should give,
And to two flowery diadems thy right;
The heavens thee made a partner of the light.
Scarce wast thou born when, join'd in friendly bands,
Two mortal foes with other clasped hands;
With Virtue Fortune strove, which most should grace
Thy place for thee, thee for so high a place;
One vow'd thy sacred breast not to forsake,
The other on thee not to turn her back;
And that thou more her love's effects mightst feel,
For thee she left her globe, and broke her wheel.
When years thee vigour gave, oh, then, how clear
Did smother'd sparkles in bright flames appear!
Amongst the woods to force the flying hart,
To pierce the mountain wolf with feather'd dart;
See falcons climb the clouds, the fox ensnare,
Outrun the wind-outrunning Doedale hare,
To breathe thy fiery steed on every plain,
And in meand'ring gyres him bring again,
The press thee making place, and vulgar things,
In Admiration's air, on Glory's wings;
Oh, thou far from the common pitch didst rise,
With thy designs to dazzle Envy's eyes:
Thou soughtst to know this All's eternal source,
Of ever-turning heaven the restless course,
Their fixed lamps, their lights which wandering run,
Whence moon her silver hath, his gold the sun;
If Fate there be or no, if planets can
By fierce aspects force the free will of man;
The light aspiring fire, the liquid air,
The flaming dragons, comets with red hair,
Heaven's tilting lances, artillery, and bow,
Loud-sounding trumpets, darts of hail and snow,
The roaring elements, with people dumb,
The earth with what conceived is in her womb.
What on her moves were set unto thy sight,
Till thou didst find their causes, essence, might.
But unto nought thou so thy mind didst strain,
As to be read in man, and learn to reign:
To know the weight and Atlas of a crown,
To spare the humble, proud ones tumble down.
When from those piercing cares which thrones invest,
As thorns the rose, thou wearied wouldst thee rest,
With lute in hand, full of celestial fire,
To the Pierian groves thou didst retire:
There garlanded with all Urania's flowers,
In sweeter lays than builded Thebes' towers,
Or them which charm'd the dolphins in the main,
Or which did call Eurydice again,
Thou sung'st away the hours, till from their sphere
Stars seem'd to shoot thy melody to hear.
The god with golden hair, the sister maids,
Did leave their Helicon, and Tempe's shades,
To see thine isle, here lost their native tongue,
And in thy world-divided language sung.
Who of thine after age can count the deeds,
With all that Fame in Time's huge annals reads?
How, by example more than any law,
This people fierce thou didst to goodness draw;
How, while the neighbour world, toss'd by the Fates,
So many PhaŽtons had in their states,
Which turn'd to heedless flames their burnish'd thrones,
Thou, as ensphered, kept'st temperate thy zones;
In Afric shores the sands that ebb and flow,
The shady leaves on Arden's trees that grow,
He sure may count, with all the waves that meet
To wash the Mauritanian Atlas' feet.
Though crown'd thou wert not, nor a king by birth,
Thy worth deserves the richest crown on earth.
Search this half sphere, and the Antarctic ground,
Where is such wit and bounty to be found?
As into silent night, when near the Bear,
The virgin huntress shines at full most clear,
And strives to match her brother's golden light,
The host of stars doth vanish in her sight,
Arcturus dies; cool'd is the Lion's ire,
Po burns no more with PhaŽtontal fire:
Orion faints to see his arms grow black,
And that his flaming sword he now doth lack:
So Europe's lights, all bright in their degree,
Lose all their lustre parallel'd with thee;
By just descent thou from more kings dost shine,
Than many can name men in all their line:
What most they toil to find, and finding hold,
Thou scornest--orient gems, and flattering gold;
Esteeming treasure surer in men's breasts,
Than when immured with marble, closed in chests;
No stormy passions do disturb thy mind,
No mists of greatness ever could thee blind:
Who yet hath been so meek? thou life didst give
To them who did repine to see thee live;
What prince by goodness hath such kingdoms gain'd?
Who hath so long his people's peace maintain'd?
Their swords are turn'd to scythes, to coulters spears,
Some giant post their antique armour bears:
Now, where the wounded knight his life did bleed,
The wanton swain sits piping on a reed;
And where the cannon did Jove's thunder scorn,
The gaudy huntsman winds his shrill-tuned horn:
Her green locks Ceres doth to yellow dye,
The pilgrim safely in the shade doth lie,
Both Pan and Pales careless keep their flocks,
Seas have no dangers save the wind and rocks:
Thou art this isle's Palladium, neither can
(Whiles thou dost live) it be o'erthrown by man.
Let others boast of blood and spoils of foes,
Fierce rapines, murders, Iliads of woes,
Of hated pomp, and trophies reared fair,
Gore-spangled ensigns streaming in the air,
Count how they make the Scythian them adore,
The Gaditan and soldier of Aurore.
Unhappy boasting! to enlarge their bounds,
That charge themselves with cares, their friends with wounds;
Who have no law to their ambitious will,
But, man-plagues, born are human blood to spill!
Thou a true victor art, sent from above
What others strain by force, to gain by love;
World-wandering Fame this praise to thee imparts,
To be the only monarch of all hearts.
They many fear who are of many fear'd,
And kingdoms got by wrongs, by wrongs are tear'd;
Such thrones as blood doth raise, blood throweth down,
No guard so sure as love unto a crown.
Eye of our western world, Mars-daunting king,
With whose renown the earth's seven climates ring,
Thy deeds not only claim these diadems,
To which Thame, Liftey, Tay, subject their streams;
But to thy virtues rare, and gifts, is due
All that the planet of the year doth view;
Sure if the world above did want a prince,
The world above to it would take thee hence.
That Murder, Rapine, Lust, are fled to hell,
And in their rooms with us the Graces dwell;
That honour more than riches men respect,
That worthiness than gold doth more effect,
That Piety unmasked shows her face,
That Innocency keeps with Power her place,
That long-exiled Astrea leaves the heaven,
And turneth right her sword, her weights holds even,
That the Saturnian world is come again,
Are wish'd effects of thy most happy reign.
That daily, Peace, Love, Truth, Delights increase,
And Discord, Hate, Fraud, with Incumbers, cease;
That men use strength not to shed others' blood,
But use their strength now to do others good;
That Fury is enchain'd, disarmed Wrath,
That (save by Nature's hand) there is no death;
That late grim foes like brothers other love,
That vultures prey not on the harmless dove,
That wolves with lambs do friendship entertain,
Are wish'd effects of thy most happy reign.
That towns increase, that ruin'd temples rise,
That their wind-moving vanes do kiss the skies;
That Ignorance and Sloth hence run away,
That buried Arts now rouse them to the day,
That Hyperion far beyond his bed
Doth see our lions ramp, our roses spread;
That Iber courts us, Tiber not us charms,
That Rhine with hence-brought beams his bosom warms;
That ill doth fear, and good doth us maintain,
Are wish'd effects of thy most happy reign.
O Virtue's pattern, glory of our times,
Sent of past days to expiate the crimes,
Great king, but better far than thou art great,
Whom state not honours, but who honours state,
By wonder born, by wonder first install'd,
By wonder after to new kingdoms call'd;
Young, kept by wonder from home-bred alarms,
Old, saved by wonder from pale traitors' harms,
To be for this thy reign, which wonders brings,
A king of wonder, wonder unto kings.
If Pict, Dane, Norman, thy smooth yoke had seen,
Pict, Dane, and Norman had thy subjects been;
If Brutus knew the bliss thy rule doth give,
Even Brutus joy would under thee to live,
For thou thy people dost so dearly love,
That they a father, more than prince, thee prove.
O days to be desired! Age happy thrice!
If you your heaven-sent good could duly prize;
But we (half palsy-sick) think never right
Of what we hold, till it be from our sight,
Prize only summer's sweet and musked breath,
When armed winters threaten us with death,
In pallid sickness do esteem of health,
And by sad poverty discern of wealth:
I see an age when, after some few years,
And revolutions of the slow-paced spheres,
These days shall be 'bove other far esteem'd,
And like Augustus' palmy reign be deem'd.
The names of Arthur, fabulous Paladines,
Graven in Time's surly brows, in wrinkled lines,
Of Henrys, Edwards, famous for their fights,
Their neighbour conquests, orders new of knights,
Shall by this prince's name be pass'd as far
As meteors are by the Idalian star.
If gray-hair'd Proteus' songs the truth not miss--
And gray-hair'd Proteus oft a prophet is--
There is a land hence distant many miles,
Outreaching fiction and Atlantic isles,
Which (homelings) from this little world we name,
That shall emblazon with strange rites his fame,
Shall rear him statues all of purest gold,
Such as men gave unto the gods of old,
Name by him temples, palaces, and towns,
With some great river, which their fields renowns:
This is that king who should make right each wrong,
Of whom the bards and mystic Sibyls sung,
The man long promised, by whose glorious reign
This isle should yet her ancient name regain,
And more of fortunate deserve the style,
Than those whose heavens with double summers smile.
Run on, great prince, thy course in glory's way,
The end the life, the evening crowns the day;
Heap worth on worth, and strongly soar above
Those heights which made the world thee first to love;
Surmount thyself, and make thine actions past
Be but as gleams or lightnings of thy last,
Let them exceed those of thy younger time,
As far as autumn; doth the flowery prime.
Through this thy empire range, like world's bright eye,
That once each year surveys all earth and sky,
Now glances on the slow and resty Bears,
Then turns to dry the weeping Auster's tears,
Hurries to both the poles, and moveth even
In the figured circle of the heaven:
Oh, long, long haunt these bounds which by thy sight
Have now regain'd their former heat and light.
Here grow green woods, here silver brooks do glide,
Here meadows stretch them out with painted pride,
Embroidering all the banks, here hills aspire
To crown their heads with the ethereal fire,
Hills, bulwarks of our freedom, giant walls,
Which never friends did slight, nor sword made thralls:
Each circling flood to Thetis tribute pays,
Men here in health outlive old Nestor's days:
Grim Saturn yet amongst our rocks remains,
Bound in our caves, with many metall'd chains,
Bulls haunt our shade like Leda's lover white,
Which yet might breed Pesiphae delight,
Our flocks fair fleeces bear, with which for sport
Endymion of old the moon did court,
High-palmed harts amidst our forests run,
And, not impaled, the deep-mouth'd hounds do shun;
The rough-foot hare safe in our bushes shrouds,
And long-wing'd hawks do perch amidst our clouds.
The wanton wood-nymphs of the verdant spring,
Blue, golden, purple flowers shall to thee bring,
Pomona's fruits the Panisks, Thetis' girls,
The Thule's amber, with the ocean pearls;
The Tritons, herdsmen of the glassy field,
Shall give thee what far-distant shores can yield,
The Serean fleeces, Erythrean gems,
Vast Plata's silver, gold of Peru streams,
Antarctic parrots, Ethiopian plumes,
Sabasan odours, myrrh, and sweet perfumes:
And I myself, wrapt in a watchet gown
Of reeds and lilies, on mine head a crown,
Shall incense to thee burn, green altars raise,
And yearly sing due paeans to thy praise.
Ah! why should Isis only see thee shine?
Is not thy Forth, as well as Isis, thine?
Though Isis vaunt she hath more wealth in store,
Let it suffice thy Forth doth love thee more:
Though she for beauty may compare with Seine,
For swans, and sea-nymphs with imperial Rhine,
Yet for the title may be claim'd in thee,
Nor she nor all the world can match with me.
Now when, by honour drawn, them shalt away
To her, already jealous of thy stay,
When in her amorous arms she doth thee fold,
And dries thy dewy hairs with hers of gold,
Much asking of thy fare, much of thy sport,
Much of thine absence, long, howe'er so short,
And chides, perhaps, thy coming to the north,
Loathe not to think on thy much-loving Forth:
Oh, love these bounds, where of thy royal stem
More than an hundred wore a diadem.
So ever gold and bays thy brows adorn,
So never time may see thy race outworn,
So of thine own still mayst thou be desired,
Of strangers fear'd, redoubted, and admired;
So Memory thee praise, so precious hours
May character thy name in starry flowers;
So may thy high exploits at last make even,
With earth thy empire, glory with the heaven.
I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought,
In Time's great periods shall return to nought;
That fairest states have fatal nights and days;
I know that all the Muse's heavenly lays,
With toil of sp'rit, which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds, of few, or none, are sought,
That there is nothing lighter than vain praise;
I know frail beauty like the purple flower,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords,
That love a jarring is of minds' accords,
Where sense and will envassal Reason's power;
Know what I list, all this can not me move,
But that, alas! I both must write and love.
Ah me! and I am now the man whose muse
In happier times was wont to laugh at love,
And those who suffer'd that blind boy abuse
The noble gifts were given them from above.
What metamorphose strange is this I prove I
Myself now scarce I find myself to be,
And think no fable Circe's tyranny,
And all the tales are told of changed Jove;
Virtue hath taught with her philosophy
My mind into a better course to move:
Reason may chide her fill, and oft reprove
Affection's power, but what is that to me?
Who ever think, and never think on ought
But that bright cherubim which thralls my thought.
How that vast heaven, entitled first, is roll'd,
If any glancing towers beyond it be,
And people living in eternity,
Or essence pure that doth this all uphold:
What motion have those fixed sparks of gold,
The wandering carbuncles which shine from high,
By sp'rits, or bodies crossways in the sky,
If they be turn'd, and mortal things behold;
How sun posts heaven about, how night's pale queen
With borrow'd beams looks on this hanging round,
What cause fair Iris hath, and monsters seen
In air's large field of light, and seas profound,
Did hold my wandering thoughts, when thy sweet eye
Bade me leave all, and only think on thee.
If cross'd with all mishaps be my poor life,
If one short day I never spent in mirth,
If my sp'rit with itself holds lasting strife,
If sorrow's death is but new sorrow's birth;
If this vain world be but a mournful stage,
Where slave-born man plays to the scoffing stars,
If youth be toss'd with love, with weakness age;
If knowledge serves to hold our thoughts in wars,
If Time can close the hundred mouths of Fame,
And make what's long since past, like that's to be;
If virtue only be an idle name,
If being born I was but born to die;
Why seek I to prolong these loathsome days?
The fairest rose in shortest time decays.
Dear chorister, who from those shadows sends,
Ere that the blushing morn dare show her light,
Such sad, lamenting strains, that night attends,
Become all ear; stars stay to hear thy plight,
If one whose grief even reach of thought transcends,
Who ne'er, not in a dream, did taste delight,
May thee importune who like case pretends,
And seems to joy in woe, in woe's despite.
Tell me (so may thou fortune milder try,
And long, long sing) for what thou thus complains,
Since winter's gone, and sun in dappled sky,
Enamour'd, smiles on woods and flowery plains?
The bird, as if my questions did her move,
With trembling wings sigh'd forth, 'I love, I love.'
Sweet soul, which, in the April of thy years,
For to enrich the heaven mad'st poor this round,
And now, with flaming rays of glory crown'd,
Most blest abides above the sphere of spheres;
If heavenly laws, alas! have not thee bound
From looking to this globe that all upbears,
If ruth and pity there above be found,
Oh, deign to lend a look unto these tears,
Do not disdain, dear ghost, this sacrifice,
And though I raise not pillars to thy praise,
My offerings take, let this for me suffice,
My heart a living pyramid I raise:
And whilst kings' tombs with laurels flourish green,
Thine shall with myrtles and these flowers be seen.
Look, how the flower which ling'ringly doth fade,
The morning's darling late, the summer's queen,
Spoil'd of that juice which kept it fresh and green,
As high as it did raise, bows low the head:
Right so the pleasures of my life being dead,
Or in their contraries but only seen,
With swifter speed declines than erst it spread,
And, blasted, scarce now shows what it hath been.
As doth the pilgrim, therefore, whom the night
By darkness would imprison on his way,
Think on thy home, my soul, and think aright,
Of what's yet left thee of life's wasting day;
Thy sun posts westward, passed is thy morn,
And twice it is not given thee to be born.
The weary mariner so fast not flies
A howling tempest, harbour to attain;
Nor shepherd hastes, when frays of wolves arise,
So fast to fold, to save his bleating train,
As I, wing'd with contempt and just disdain,
Now fly the world, and what it most doth prize,
And sanctuary seek, free to remain
From wounds of abject times, and Envy's eyes.
To me this world did once seem sweet and fair,
While senses' light mind's prospective kept blind,
Now, like imagined landscape in the air,
And weeping rainbows, her best joys I find:
Or if aught here is had that praise should have,
It is a life obscure, and silent grave.
The last and greatest herald of heaven's King,
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he more harmless found than man, and mild;
His food was locusts, and what there doth spring,
With honey that from virgin hives distill'd;
Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing
Made him appear, long since from earth exiled;
There burst he forth; 'All ye whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn;
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn!'
Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry?
Only the echoes, which he made relent,
Rung from their flinty caves, 'Repent, repent!'
Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours
Of winters past or coming, void of care,
Well-pleased with delights which present are,
Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers:
To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers,
Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare,
And what dear gifts on thee he did not spare,
A stain to human sense in sin that lowers.
What soul can be so sick, which by thy songs,
Attired in sweetness, sweetly is not driven
Quite to forget earth's turmoils, spites, and wrongs,
And lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven?
Sweet artless songster, thou my mind dost raise
To airs of spheres, yes, and to angels' lays.
As when it happ'neth that some lovely town
Unto a barbarous besieger falls,
Who both by sword and flame himself installs,
And, shameless, it in tears and blood doth drown
Her beauty spoil'd, her citizens made thralls,
His spite yet cannot so her all throw down,
But that some statue, pillar of renown,
Yet lurks unmaim'd within her weeping walls:
So, after all the spoil, disgrace, and wreck,
That time, the world, and death, could bring combined,
Amidst that mass of ruins they did make,
Safe and all scarless yet remains my mind:
From this so high transcending rapture springs,
That I, all else defaced, not envy kings.
We have already spoken of Giles Fletcher, the brother of Phineas. Of
Phineas we know nothing except that he was born in 1584, educated at
Eton and Cambridge, became Rector at Hilgay, in Norfolk, where he
remained for twenty-nine years, surviving his brother; that he wrote
an account of the founders and learned men of his university; that in
1633, he published 'The Purple Island;' and that in 1650 he died.
His 'Purple Island' (with which we first became acquainted in the
writings of James Hervey, author of the 'Meditations,' who was its
fervent admirer) is a curious, complex, and highly ingenious allegory,
forming an elaborate picture of _Man_, in his body and soul; and for
subtlety and infinite flexibility, both of fancy and verse, deserves
great praise, although it cannot, for a moment, be compared with his
brother's 'Christ's Victory and Triumph,' either in interest of subject
or in splendour of genius.
DESCRIPTION OF PARTHENIA.
With her, her sister went, a warlike maid,
Parthenia, all in steel and gilded arms;
In needle's stead, a mighty spear she sway'd,
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