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With thy tuneless serenade? Well 't had been had Tereus made Thee as dumb as Philomel; There his knife had done but well. In thy undiscovered nest Thou dost all the winter rest, And dreamest o'er thy summer joys, Free from the stormy seasons' noise, Free from th' ill thou'st done to me; Who disturbs or seeks-out thee? Hadst thou all the charming notes Of the wood's poetic throats, All thy art could never pay What thou hast ta'en froin me away. Cruel bird! thou'st ta'en away A dream out of my arms to-day; A dream, that ne'er must equall'd be By all that waking eyes may see. Thou, this damage to repair, Nothing half so sweet or fair, Nothing half so good, canst bring, Though men say thou bring'st the Spring.
ELEGY UPON ANACREON;
WHO WAS CHOAKED BY A GRAPE-STONE.
Spoken by the God of Love.
How shall I lament thine end,
My best servant and my friend?
Nay, and, if from a deity
So much deified as I,
It sound not too profane and odd,
Oh, my master and my god!
For 'tis true, most mighty poet!
(Though I like not men should know it)
I am in naked Nature less,
Less by much, than in thy dress.
All thy verse is softer far
Than the downy feathers are
Of my wings, or of my arrows,
Of my mother's doves or sparrows,
Sweet as lovers' freshest kisses,
Or their riper following blisses,
Graceful, cleanly, smooth, and round,
All with Venus' girdle bound;
And thy life was all the while
Kind and gentle as thy style,
The smooth-pac'd hours of every day
Glided numerously away.
Like thy verse each hour did pass ;
Sweet and short, like that, it was.
Some do but their youth allow me,
Just what they by Nature owe me,
The time that's mine, and not their own,
The certain tribute of my crown:
When they grow old, they grow to be
Too busy, or too wise, for me.
Thou wert wiser, and didst know
None too wise for love can grow;
Love was with thy life entwin'd,
Close as heat with fire is join'd;
A powerful brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleager's, fate.
Th' antiperistasis of age
More enflam'd thy amorous rage;
Thy silver hairs yielded me'more
Than even golden curls before.
Had I the power of creation,
As I have of generation,
Where I the matter must obey,
And cannot work plate out of clay,
My creatures should be all like thee,
'Tis thou should'st their idea be:
They, like thee, should thoroughly hate
Business, honour, title, state;
Other wealth they should not know,
But what my living mines bestow;
The pomp of kings, they should confess,
At their crownings, to be less
Than a lover's humblest guise,
When at his mistress' feet he lies.
Rumour they no more should mind
Than men safe landed do the wind;
Wisdom itself they should not hear,
When it presumes to be severe;
Beauty alone they should admire,
Nor look at Fortune's vain attire.
Nor ask what parents it can shew;
With dead or old 't has nought to do.
They should not love yet all, or any,
But very much and very many :
All their life should gilded be
With mirth, and wit, and gaiety;
Well remembering and applying
The necessity of dying.
Their cheerful heads should always wear
All that crowns the flowery year:
They should always laugh, and sing,
And dance, and strike th' harmonious string,
Verse should from their tongue so flow,
As if it in the mouth did grow,
As swiftly answering their command,
As tunes obey the artful hand.
And whilst I do thus discover
Th' ingredients of a happy lover,
'Tis, my Anacreon! for thy sake
I of the Grape no mention make.
Till my Anacreon by thee fell,
Cursed Plant! I lov'd thee well;
And 'twas oft my wanton use
To dip my arrows in thy juice.
Cursed Plant! 'tis true, I sec,
The old report that goes of thee
That with giants' blood the Earth
Stain'd and poison'd gave thee birth;
And now thou wreak'st thy ancient spite
On men in whom the gods delight.
Thy patron, Bacchus, 'tis no wonder,
Was brought forth in flames and thunder;
In rage, in quarrels, and in fights,
Worse than his tigers, he delights;
In all our Heaven I think there be
No such ill-natur'd god as he.
Thou pretendest, traitorous Wine'
To be the Muses' friend and mine:
With love and wit thou dost begin,
False fires, alas! to draw us in;
Which, if our course we by them keep,
Misguide to madness or to sleep :
Sleep were well, thou'st learnt a way
To death itself now to betray.
It grieves me when I see what fate
Does on the best of mankind wait.
Poets or lovers let them be,
'Tis neither love nor poesy
Can arm, against Death's smallest dart,
The poet's head or lover's heart;
But when their life, in its decline,
Touches th' inevitable line,
All the world's mortal to them then,
And wine is aconite to men;
Nay, in Death's hand, the grape-stone proves
As strong as thunder is in Jove's.
ACME AND SEPTIMIUS.
WHILST on Septimius' panting breast
(Meaning nothing less than rest)
Acme lean'd her loving head,
Thus the pleas'd Septimius said:
"My dearest Acme, if I be
Once alive, and love not thee
With a passion far above
All that e'er was called love;
In a Libyan desert may
I become some lion's prey;
Let him, Acme, let him tear
My breast, when Acme is not there.'
The god of love, who stood to hear him
(The god of love was always near him)
Pleas'd and tickled with the sound,
Sneez'd aloud; and all around
The little Loves, that waited by,
Bow'd, and blest the augury.
Acme, enflam'd with what he said,
Rear'd her gently-bending head;
And, her purple mouth with joy
Stretching to the delicious boy,
Twice (and twice could scarce suffice)
She kist his drunken rolling eyes.
"My little life, my all!" (said she) So may we ever servants be
To this best god, and ne'er retain
Our hated liberty again!
So may thy passion last for me,
As I a passion have for thee,
Greater and fiercer much than can
Be conceiv'd by thee a man!
Into my marrow is it gone,
Fixt and settled in the bone;
It reigns not only in my heart,
But runs, like life, through every part."
She spoke; the god of love aloud
Sneez'd again; and all the crowd
Of little Loves, that waited by,
Bow'd, and bless'd the augury.
This good omen thus from Heaven
Like a happy signal given,
Their loves and lives (all four) embrace,
And hand in hand run all the race.
To poor Septimius (who did now
Nothing else but Acme grow)
Acme's bosom was alone
The whole world's imperial throne;
And to faithful Acme's mind
Septimius was all human-kind.
If the gods would please to be But advis'd for once by me,
I'd advise them, when they spy
Any illustrious piety,
To reward her, if it be she
To reward him, if it be he
With such a husband, such a wife;
With Acme's and Septimius' life.
In a deep vision's intellectual scene, Beneath a bower for sorrow made, Th' uncomfortable shade
Of the black yew's unlucky green,
Mixt with the mourning willow's careful grey,
Where reverend Cham cuts out his famous way,
The melancholy Cowley lay:
And lo! a Muse appear'd to's closed sight,
(The Muses oft in lands of vision play,)
Body'd, array'd, and seen, by an internal light.
A golden harp with silver strings she bore;
A wondrous hieroglyphic robe she wore,
In which all colours and all figures were,
That Nature or that Fancy can create,
That Art can never imitate;
And with loose pride it wanton'd in the air.
In such a dress, in such a well-cloth'd dream,
She us'd, of old, near fair Ismenus' stream,
Pindar, her Theban favourite, to meet;
A crown was on her head, and wings were on her feet.
She touch'd him with her harp, and rais'd him from the ground;
The shaken strings melodiously resound.
"Art thou return'd at last," said she,
"To this forsaken place and me?
Thou prodigal! who didst so loosely waste
Of all thy youthful years the good estate;
Art thou return'd here, to repent too late,
And gather husks of learning up at last,
Now the rich harvest-time of life is past,
And Winter marches on so fast?
But, when I meant t'adopt thee for my son,
And did as learn'd a portion assign,
As ever any of the mighty Nine
Had to their dearest children done;
When I resolv'd t'exalt thy anointed name,
Among the spiritual lords of peaceful fame;
Thou, changeling! thou, bewitch'd with noise and
Would'st into courts and cities from me go; Would'st see the world abroad, and have a share In all the follies and the tumults there:
All thy remaining life should sunshine be;
Behold! the public storm is spent at last,
The sovereign's tost at sea no more,
And thou, with all the noble company,
Art got at last to shore.
But, whilst thy fellow-voyagers I see
All march'd up to possess the promis'd land,
Thou, still alone, alas! dost gaping stand
Upon the naked beach, upon the barren sand!
"As a fair morning of the blessed spring, After a tedious stormy night,
Such was the glorious entry of our king;
Enriching moisture drop'd on every thing:
Plenty he sow'd below, and cast about him light!
But then, alas! to thee alone,
One of old Gideon's miracles was shown;
For every tree and every herb around
With pearly dew was crown'd,
And upon all the quicken'd ground
The fruitful seed of Heaven did brooding lie,
And nothing but the Muse's fleece was dry.
It did all other threats surpass,
When God to his own people said
(The men whom through long wanderings he had led)
That he would give them ev'n a heaven of
They look'd up to that Heaven in vain, That bounteous Heaven, which God did not restrain
Upon the most unjust to shine and rain.
"The Rachel, for which twice seven years and more
Thou didst with faith and labour serve,
And didst (if faith and labour can) deserve,
Though she contracted was to thee,
Given to another thou didst see
Given to another, who had store
Of fairer and of richer wives before,
And not a Leah left, thy recompense to be!
Go on; twice seven years more thy fortune try;
Twice seven years more God in his bounty may
Give thee, to fling away
Into the court's deceitful lottery:
But think how likely 'tis that thou,
With the dull work of thy unwieldy plough,
Should'st in a hard and barren season thrive,
Should'st even able be to live;
Thou, to whose share so little bread did fall,
In that miraculous year, when manna rain'd on all."
Thus spake the Muse, and spake it with a smile,
That seem'd at once to pity and revile.
And to her thus, raising his thoughtful head,
The melancholy Cowley said.
"Ah, wanton foe! dost thou upbraid
The ills which thou thyself hast made?
When in the cradle innocent I lay,
Thou, wicked spirit! stolest me away,
And my abused soul didst bear
Into thy new-found worlds, I know not where,
Thy golden Indies in the air;
And ever since I strive in vain
My ravish'd freedom to regain;
Still I rebel, still thou dost reign;
Lo! still in verse against thee I complain.
There is a sort of stubborn weeds,
Which, if the earth but once, it ever, breeds;
No wholesome herb can near them thrive,
No useful plant can keep alive :
"Teach me not then, O thou fallacious Muse!
The court, and better king, t'accuse :
The heaven under which I live is fair,
The fertile soil will a full harvest bear :
Thine, thine is all the barrenness; if thou
Mak'st me sit still and sing, when I should plough.
When I but think how many a tedious year
Our patient sovereign did attend
His long misfortunes' fatal end;
How cheerfully, and how exempt from fear,
On the Great Sovereign's will he did depend;
I ought to be accurst, if I refuse
To wait on his, O thou fallacious Muse!
Kings have long hands, they say; and, though I be
So distant, they may reach at length to me.
However, of all the princes, thou
Should'st not reproach rewards for being small or
Thou! who rewardest but with popular breath, And that too after death."
HYMN TO LIGHT.
FIRST-BORN of Chaos, who so fair didst come
From the old Negro's darksome womb!
Which, when it saw the lovely child,
The melancholy mass put on kind looks and
Thou tide of glory, which no rest dost know, But ever ebb and ever flow!
Thou golden shower of a true Jove!
Who does in thee descend, and Heaven to Earth make love!
Hail, active Nature's watchful life and health!
Her joy, her ornament, and wealth!
Hail to thy husband, Heat, and thee!
Thou the world's beauteous bride, the lusty bride-
Night, and her ugly subjects, thou dost fright,
And Sleep, the lazy owl of night;
The guilty serpents, and obscener beasts,
Creep, conscious, to their secret rests:
Nature to thee does reverence pay,
Ill omens and ill sights removes out of thy way.
At thy appearance, Grief itself is said
To shake his wings, and rouse his head:
And cloudy Care has often took
A gentle beamy smile, reflected from thy look,
The ghosts, and monster-spirits, that did presume
body's privilege to assume,
Vanish again invisibly,
And bodies gain again their visibility.
Ev'n Lust, the master of a harden'd face,
Blushes, if thou be'st in the place,
To Darkness' curtains he retires;
In sympathising night he rolls his smoky fires.
All the world's bravery, that delights our eyes,
Is but thy several liveries;
When, goddess! thou lift'st up thy waken'd head,
Out of the morning's purple bed,
Thy quire of birds about thee play
And all the joyful world salutes the rising day.
Thou the rich dye on them bestow'st,
Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou go'st.
A crimson garment in the rose thou wear'st;
A crown of studded gold thou bear'st;
The virgin-lilies, in their white,
Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light.
Asham'd, and fearful to appear,
They screen their horrid shapes with the black Through the soft ways of Heaven, and air, and sea,
Which open all their pores to thee,
Like a clear river thou dost glide,
With them there hastes, and wildly takes th' alarm, And with thy living stream through the close chan-
Of painted dreams a busy swarm :
At the first opening of thine eye
The various clusters break, the antic atoms fly
The violet, Spring's little infant, stands
Girt in thy purple swaddling-bands
On the fair tulip thou dost doat;
Thou cloth'st it in a gay and party-colour'd coat.
With flame condens'd thou do'st thy jewels fix,
And solid colours in it mix:
Flora herself envies to see
Flowers fairer than her own, and durable as she.
Ah, goddess! would thou could'st thy hand withhold,
And be less liberal to gold!
Did'st thou less value to it give,
Of how much care, alas! might'st thou poor man relieve!
To me the Sun is more delightful far,
And all fair days much fairer are.
But few, ah! wondrous few, there be,
Who do not gold prefer, O goddess! ev'n to thee.
But, where firm bodies thy free course oppose,
Gently thy source the land o'erflows;
Takes there possession, and does make,
Of colours mingled light, a thick and standing lake.
At thy appearance, Fear itself grows bold;
Thy sun-shine melts away his cold.
Encouraged at the sight of thee,
HOPE! whose weak being ruin'd is,
To the cheek colour comes, and firmness to the Alike, if it succeed, and if it miss;
But the vast ocean of unbounded day,
In th' empyræan Heaven does stay.
Thy rivers, lakes, and springs, below,
From thence took first their rise, thither at last
Whom good or ill does equally confound,
And both the horns of Fate's dilemma wound:
Vain shadow! which does vanish quite,
Both at full noon and perfect night!
The stars have not a possibility
Of blessing thee;
If things then from their end we happy call,
Tis hope is the most hopeless thing of all.
Hope! thou bold taster of delight, [quite! Who, whilst thou should'st but taste, devour'st it
Thou bring'st us an estate, yet leav'st us poor, By clogging it with legacies before!
The joys which we entire should wed, Come deflower'd virgins to our bed; Good fortunes without gain imported be, Such mighty custom's paid to thee. For joy, like wine, kept close does better taste; If it take air before, its spirits waste.
Hope! Fortune's cheating lottery! Where for one prize an hundred blanks there be; Fond archer, Hope! who tak'st thy aim so far, That still or short or wide thine arrows are !
Thin, empty cloud, which th' eye deceives With shapes that our own fancy gives! A cloud, which gilt and painted now appears, But must drop presently in tears! When thy false beams o'er Reason's light prevail, By ignes fatui for north-stars we sail.
Brother of Fear, more gayly clad!
The merrier fool o' th' two, yet quite as mad: Sire of Repentance! child of fond Desire! That blow'st the chymics', and the lovers', fire, Leading them still insensibly on
By the strange witchcraft of "anon!" By thee the one does changing Nature, through Her endless labyrinths, pursue; And th' other chases woman, whilst she goes More ways and turns than hunted Nature knows.
HOPE! of all ills that men endure,
The only cheap and universal cure!
Thou captive's freedom, and thou sick man s health!
Thou loser's victory, and thou beggar's wealth!
Thou manna, which from Heaven we eat,
To every taste a several meat!
Thou strong retreat! thou sure-entail'd estate,
Which nought has power to alienate!
Thou pleasant, honest flatterer! for none
Flatter unhappy men, but thou alone!
Hope! thou first-fruits of happiness! Thou gentle dawning of a bright success! Thou good preparative, without which our joy Does work too strong, and, whilst it cures, destroy ! Who out of Fortune's reach dost stand, And art a blessing still in hand! Whilst thee, her earnest-money, we retain, We certain are to gain, Whether she her bargain break or else fulfil; Thou only good, not worse for ending ill!
Brother of Faith! 'twixt whom and thee The joys of Heaven and Earth divided be! Though Faith be heir, and have the fixt estate, Thy portion yet in moveables is great.
Happiness itself's all one
In thee, or in possession!
Only the future's thine, the present his! Thine's the more hard and noble bliss: Best apprehender of our joys! which hast So long a reach, and yet canst hold so fast!
Hope! thou sad lovers' only friend! Thou Way, that may'st dispute it with the End! For love, I fear, 's a fruit that does delight **e taste itself less than the smell and sight.
Fruition more deceitful is
Than thou canst be, when thou dost miss ; Men leave thee by obtaining, and straight flee Some other way again to thee; And that's a pleasant country, without doubt, To which all soon return that travel out.
| CLAUDIAN'S Old man of verona.
DE SENE VERONENSI, QUI SUBURBIUM NUNQUAM EGRESSUS EST.
FELIX, qui patriis, &c.
HAPPY the man, who his whole time doth bound
Within th' enclosure of his little ground.
Happy the man, whom the same humble place
(Th' hereditary cottage of his race)
From his first rising infancy has known,
And by degrees sees gently bending down,
With natural propension, to that earth
Which both preserv'd his life, and gave him birth.
Him no false distant lights, by fortune set,
Could ever into foolish wanderings get.
He never dangers either saw or fear'd:
The dreadful storms at sea he never heard.
He never heard the shrill alarms of war,
Or the worse noises of the lawyers' bar.
No change of consuls marks to him the year,
The change of seasons is his calendar.
The cold and heat, winter and summer shows;
Autumn by fruits, and spring by flowers, he knows;
He measures time by land-marks, and has found
For the whole day the dial of his ground.
A neighbouring wood, born with himself, he sees,
And loves his old contemporary trees.
He 'as only heard of near Verona's name,
And knows it, like the Indies, but by fame.
Does with a like concernment notice take
Of the Red-sea, and of Benacus' lake.
Thus health and strength he to a third age enjoys,
And sees a long posterity of boys.
About the spacious world let others roam,
The voyage, life, is longest made at home.
WELL, then; I now do plainly see
This busy world and I shall ne'er agree;
The very honey of all earthly joy
Does of all meats the soonest cloy;
And they, methinks, deserve my pity,
Who for it can endure the stings,
The crowd, and buzz, and murmurings,
Of this great hive, the city.
Ah, yet, ere I descend to th' grave, May I a small house and large garden have! And a few friends, and many books, both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too! And, since love ne'er will from me flee, A mistress moderately fair, And good as guardian-angels are Only belov'd, and loving me!
Oh, fountains! when in you shall I Myself, eas'd of unpeaceful thoughts, espy? Oh fields! oh woods! when, when shall I be made The happy tenant of your shade?