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Which, Venus hearing, thither came,
And for their boldness stript them;
With rods of myrtle whipt them.
Which done, to still their wanton cries
When quiet grown she'd seen them,
the bag between them.
TO THE WILLOW TREE.
Thou art to all lost love the best
The only true plant found,
And left of love, are crowned.
When once the lover's rose is dead
Or laid aside forlorn,
Bedewed with tears are worn.
When with neglect the lover's bane
Poor maids rewarded be
Is but a wreath from thee.
And underneath thy cooling shade,
of the light,
Come to weep out the night.
THE FUNERAL RITES OF THE ROSE.
The rose was sick, and smiling died;
Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may,
Old Time is still a flying ; And this same flower that smiles to-day,
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a getting, The sooner will his race be run,
The nearer he's to setting.
The age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
No will-o'-th'-wisp mislight thee;
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay, Since ghost there is none to affright thee,
Let not the dark thee cumber,
The stars of the night,
Will lend thee their light, Like tapers clear without number.
Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
Why do ye fall so fast ?
Your date is not so past
What were ye born to be
An hour or half's delight,
And so to bid good-night? 'Twas pity Nature brought ye forth, Merely to show your worth,
And lose you quite.
But you are lovely leaves, where we
May read how soon things have
Their end, though ne'er so brave; And after they have shown their pride,
Like you, awhile they glide
Into the grave.
The want in these graceful and delicate lyrics is thew and sinew. And yet they are what they pretend to be-airy petals of the cherry-blossom, hinting of fruit, bees fluttering and musical, giving token of honey.
The Muse fares ill in civil contentions. As Herrick fled before the Roundheads, so was George Wither opprest by the Cavaliers. The following noble praise of poetry was written in a prison; in a prison the poor poet passed many of his latter years, and it is still a question whether he actually died in confinement, or perished of want and misery after his release.
But alas ! my muse is slow;
And the lasses more excel Than the sweet-voiced Philomel ; Though of all those pleasures past) Nothing now remains at last, But remembrance, poor relief That more makes than mends my grief ; She's my mind's companion still Maugre Envy's evil will : Whence she should be driven too, Were't in mortal's power to do. She doth tell me where to borrow Comfort in the midst of sorrow; Makes the desolatest place In her presence be a grace ; And the blackest discontents Be her fairest ornaments. In my former days of bliss Her divine skill taught me this, That from every thing I saw I could some invention draw; And raise Pleasure to her height Through the meanest object's sight : By the murmur of a spring, Or the least boughs rustling; By a daisy, whose leaves spread Shut when Titan goes to bed ; On a shady bush or tree She could more infuse in me Than all Nature's beauties can In some other wiser man. By her help I also now Make this churlish place allow Some things, that may sweeten gladness In the very gall of sadness :