Abbildungen der Seite

Are silenc'd by a calm, and then brings forth
The happy miracle of her rare birth,
Leaving with wonder all our arts possest,
That view the architecture of her nest.
Pride raiseth us 'bove justice. We bestow
Increase of knowledge on old minds, which grow
By age to dotage; while the sensitive
Part of the world in its first strength doth live.
Folly! what dost thou in thy power contain
Deserves our study? merchants plough the main,
And bring home th' Indies, yet aspire to more,
By avarice in the possession poor.
And yet that idol Wealth we all admit
Into the soul's great temple; busy Wit
Invents new orgies, Fancy frames new rites
To show its superstition ; anxious nights
Are watch'd to win its favour; while the beast
Content with nature's courtesy doth rest.
Let man tben boast no more a soul, since he
Hath lost that great prerogative; but thee
(Whom fortune hath exempted from the herd
Of vulgar men, whom virtue hath preferr'd
Far higher than thy birth) I must commend,
Rich in the purchase of so sweet a friend.
And though my fate conducts me to the shade
Of humble Quiet, my ambition paid
With safe content, while a pure virgin fame
Doth raise me trophies in Castara's name;
No thought of glory swelling me above
The hope of being famed for virtuous love;
Yet wish I thee, guided by better stars,
To purchase unsafe honour in the wars,
Or envied smiles at court ; for thy great race
And merits well may challenge th' highest place.


Yet know, what busy path soe'er you tread
To greatness, you must sleep among the dead *.

Castara, by W. Habington,

Edit. 1640.


Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are;
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue;
Or silver drops of morning dew;
Or like a wind that chafes the flood;
Or bubbles which on water stood :
Even such is man, whose borrow'd light
Is strait call'd in, and paid to-night.


The wind blows out ; the bubble dies ;
The spring entomb'd in autumn lies ;
The dew dries up; the star is shot :
The flight is past, and man forgot.

Dr. King's Poems, p. 139.

* Yet know, what busy path soe'er you tread

To greatness, you must sleep among the dead.] How comprehensively, bow plainly, yet how sublimely, hath Gray expressed this trite sentiment :

The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Elegy.



SIR, I hate the country's dirt and manners, yet I love the silence; I embrace the wit And courtship, flowing here in a full tide, But loath the expense, the vanity, and pride. No place each way is happy; here I hold Commerce with some, who to my ear unfold (After a due oath minister'd) the height And greatness of each star shines in the state, The brightness, the eclipse, the influence. With others I commune*, who tell me whence The torrent doth of foreign discord flow: Relate each skirmish, battle, overthrow, Soon as they happen; and by rote can tell Those German towns even puzzle me to spell ; The cross or prosperous fate of princes, they Ascribe to rashness, cunning, or delay; And on each action comment with more skill Than upon Livy did old Machiavell. O, busy folly! why do I my brain Perplex with the dull policies of Spain, Or quick designs of France? why not repair To the pure innocence of the country air, And neighbour thee, dear friend? who so dost give Thy thoughts to worth and virtue, that to live

* With others I commune.]

See note Vol. I. p. 102.

Blest, is to trace thy ways; there, might not we
Arṁ against passion with philosophy;
And, by the aid of leisure, so control
Whate'er is earth in us, to grow all soul?
Knowledge doth ignorance engender, when
We study mysteries of other men
And foreign plots. Do but in thy own shade,
Thy head upon some flow'ry pillow laid,
(Kind Nature's housewifery) contemplate all
His stratagems who labours to enthral
The world to his great master, and you'll find
Ambition mocks itself, and grasps the wind. .
Not conquest makes us great, blood is too dear
A price for glory: honour doth appear
To statesmen like a vision in the night,
And, juggler-like, works on the deluded sight.
The unbusied only wise: for no respect
Endangers them to error; they affect
Truth in her naked beauty, and behold
Man with an equal eye, not bright in gold
Or tall in title ; so much him they weigh
As virtue raiseth him above his clay.
Thus let us value things; and since we find
Time bends us toward death, let's in our mind
Create new youth, and arm against the rude
Assaults of age ; that no dull solitude
Of the country dead our thoughts, nor busy care
Of the town make us not think, where now we are
And whither we are bound ; Time ne'er forgot
His journey, though his steps we numb’red not.



AREWELL, ye gilded follies, pleasing troubles;
Farewell, ye honour'd rags, ye glorious bubbles;
Fame's but a hollow echo; gold pure clay;
Honour the darling but of one short day.
Beauty, th' eye's idol, but a damask'd skin;
State but a golden prison to live in,
And torture free-born minds: embroider'd trains
Merely but pageants for proud swelling veins;
And blood ally'd to greatness, is alone
Inherited, not purchas'd nor our own,

Fame, honour, beauty, state, train, blood and birth,
Are but the fading blossoms of the earth.

[ocr errors]

I would be great, but that the sun doth still
Level his rays against the rising hill:
I would be high, but see the proudest oak
Most subject to the rending thunder-stroke;
I would be rich, but see men, too unkind,
Dig in the bowels of the richest mind :
I would be wise, but that I often see
The fox suspected, whilst the ass goes free:
I would be fair, but see the fair and proud,
Like the bright sun, oft setting in a cloud :
I would be poor, but know the humble grass
Still trampled on by each unworthy ass:

« ZurückWeiter »