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A THANKSGIVING TO GOD FOR

HIS HOUSE

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IO

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TO DAFFODILS

Lord, thou hast given me a cell

Wherein to dwell,
A little house, whose humble roof

Is weatherproof,
Under the spars of which I lie

Both soft and dry;
Where thou, my chamber for to ward,

Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and

keep
Me while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate,

Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door

Is worn by th' poor,
Who thither come and freely get

Good words or meat.
Like as my parlor, so my hall

And kitchen's small;
A little buttery, and therein

A little bin,
Which keeps my little loaf of bread

Unchipped, unfled;
Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar

Make me a fire,
Close by whose living coal I sit,

And glow like it.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,

The pulse is thine,
And all those other bits that be

There placed by thee;
The worts, the purslane, and the mess

Of water-cress,
Which of thy kindness thou hast sent;

And my content
Makes those, and my beloved beet,

To be more sweet. 'Tis thou that crown'st my glittering

hearth
With guiltless mirth,
And giv’st me wassail bowls to drink,

Spiced to the brink.
Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping hand

That soils my land,

Fair daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon;
As yet the early rising sun
Has not attained his noon.

Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day

Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having prayed together, we

Will go with you along.

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We have short time to stay, as you,

We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay
As you, or anything.

We die,
As your hours do, and dry

Away,
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,

Ne'er to be found again.

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50

And giv'st me, for my bushel sown,

Twice ten for one;
Thou mak'st my teeming hen to lay

Her egg each day;
Besides my healthful ewes to bear

Me twins each year;
The while the conduits of my kine

Run cream, for wine.
All these, and better thou dost send

Me, to this end,
That I should render, for my part,

A thankful heart,
Which, fired with incense, I resign,

As wholly thine; But the acceptance, that must be,

My Christ, by thee.

TO PERILLA

Ah, my Perilla! dost thou grieve to see Me, day by day, to steal away from thee? Age calls me hence, and my grey hairs

bid come And haste away to mine eternal home; T will not be long, Perilla, after this, That I must give thee the supremest

kiss. Dead when I am, first cast in salt, and

bring Part of the cream from that religious

spring, With which, Perilla, wash my hands and

feet; That done, then wind me in that very

sheet Which wrapped thy smooth limbs when

IO

HIS POETRY HIS PILLAR

Only a little more

I have to write,

Then I'll give o'er,
And bid the world good-night.

'Tis but a flying minute

That I must stay,

Or linger in it;
And then I must away.

O Time, that cut'st down all,

And scarce leav'st here

Memorial
Of any men that were!

How many lie forgot

In vaults beneath,

And piecemeal rot
Without a fame in death!

Behold this living stone

I rear for me,

Ne'er to be thrown
Down, envious Time, by thee.

Pillars let some set up,

If so they please,

Here is my hope,
And my pyramides.

thou didst implore
The gods' protection but the night be-

fore;
Follow me weeping to my turf, and there
Let fall a primrose, and with it a tear:
Then lastly, let some weekly strewings be
Devoted to the memory of me;
Then shall my ghost not walk about, but

keep
Still in the cool and silent shades of sleep.

GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633)

LOVE

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew

back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow

slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,

If I lacked anything.

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Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave,

Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye; Thy root is ever in its grave,

And thou must die.

Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses

A box where sweets compacted lie; My music shows ye have your closes,

And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,

Like season'd timber never gives; But, though the whole world turn to coal,

Then chiefly lives.

EMPLOYMENT

If as a flower doth spread and die,

Thou wouldst extend me to some good, Before I were by frost's extremity

Nipt in the bud;

I am no link of thy great chain,

But all my company is a weed. Lord, place me in thy consort; give one

strain To my poor reed.

EASTER WINGS

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and

store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,

Till he became

Most poor:

With thee O let me rise, As larks, harmoniously, And sing this day thy victories: Then shall the fall further the flight in

me.

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Tell her, that's young
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That, hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

ON HIS BEING ARRIVED TO THE

AGE OF TWENTY-THREE

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die; that she,
The common fate of all things rare,
May read in thee
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of

youth, Stolen on his wing my three and twen

tieth year! My hasting days fly on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom

shew'th. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the

truth, That I to manhood am arrived so near; And inward ripeness doth much less

appear, That some more timely-happy spirits

endu'th. Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow, It shall be still in strictest measure even To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the

will of heaven: All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye.

JOHN MILTON (1608-1674)

TO THE NIGHTINGALE

O nightingale that on yon bloomy spray Warblest at eve, when all the woods are

still;

TO THE LORD GENERAL

CROMWELL

The vales redoubled to the hills, and they To heaven. Their marytred blood and

ashes sow O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth

sway The triple Tyrant; 1 that from these may

grow A hundred fold, who, having learnt thy

way, Early may fly the Babylonian woe.2

ON HIS BLINDNESS

Cromwell, our chief of men, who through

a cloud Not of war only, but detractions rude, Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, To peace and truth thy glorious way hast

ploughed, And on the neck of crowned Fortune

proud Hast reared God's trophies, and his work

pursued, While Darwen stream, with blood of

Scots imbrued, And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises

loud, And Worcester's laureate wreath: yet

much remains To conquer still; peace hath her victories No less renowned than war: new foes

arise, Threatening to bind our souls with secu

lar chains. Help us to save free conscience from the

paw Of hireling wolves, whose Gospel is their

When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and

wide, And that one talent which is death to

hide Lodged with me useless, though my soul

more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and pre

sent My true account, lest he returning chide, “Doth God exact day-labor, light de

nied?" I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, “God doth

not need Either man's work or his own gifts. Who

best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best.

His state Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed, And post o'er land and ocean without

rest; They also serve who only stand and

wait."

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HENRY VAUGHAN (1622–1695)

THE RETREAT

When all our fathers worshiped stocks

and stones, Forget not: in thy book record their

groans Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient

fold Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that

rolled Mother with infant down the rocks. Their

moans

Happy those early days, when I
Shined in my angel-infancy;
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
i the Pope

- Rome

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