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When fair Rebecca set me free,
'Twas then a golden time with me :
But soon those pleasures fled;
For the gracious princess dy'd,
In her youth and beauty's pride,
And Judith reigned in her stead.
One month, three days, and half an hour,
Judith held the sovereign power :
Wondrous beautiful her face!
But so weak and small her wit,
That she to govem was unfit,
And so Susanna took her place.
I'LL sing of' heroes and of kings,
In mighty numbers, mighty things.
Begin, my Muse! but lo! the strings
To my great song rebellious prove;
The strings will sound of nought but love.
I broke them all, and put on new;
"Tis this or nothing sure will do.
These, sure, (said I) will me obey;
These, sure, heroic notes will play.
Straight I began with thundering Jove,
And all th' immortal powers; but Love,
Love smil'd, and from m' enfeebled lyre
Came gentle airs, such as inspire
Melting love and soft desire.
Farewell, then, heroes! farewell, kings
And mighty numbers, mighty things !
Love tunes my heart just to my strings.
But when Isabella came,
Arm'd with a resistless flame,
And th' artillery of her eye; Whilst she proudly march'd about, Greater conquests to find out,
She beat out Susan by the by.
But in her place I then obey'd
Black-ey'd Bess, her viceroy-maid ;
To whom ensued a vacancy: Thousand worse passions then possest The interregnum of my breast;
Bless me from such an anarchy !
Gentle Henrietta then,
And a third Mary, next began;
Then Joan, and Jane, and Audria ; And then a pretty Thomasine, And then another Catharine,
And then a long et cætera.
The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again,
The plants suck-in the earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair;
The sea itself (which one would think
Should have but little need of drink)
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
So fill'd that they o'erflow the cup.
The busy Sun (and one would guess
By's drunken fiery face no less)
Drinks up the sea, and, when he 'as done
The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun:
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in nature's sober found,
But an eternal health goes round.
Fill up the bowl, then, fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there ; for why
Should every creature drink but 1 ?
Why, man of morals, tell me why?
But should I now to you relate
The strength and riches of their state;
The powder, patches, and the pins,
The ribbons, jewels, and the rings,
The lace, the paint, and warlike things,
That make up all their magazines;
If I should tell the politic arts
To take and keep men's hearts ;
The letters, embassies, and spies, The frowns, and smiles, and flatteries, The quarrels, tears, and perjuries,
(Numberless, nameless, mysteries !)
And all the little lime-twigs laid,
By Machiavel the waiting-maid ;
I more voluminous should grow
LIBERAL Nature did dispense
To all things arms for their defence;
And some she arms with sinewy force,
And some with swiftness in the course ;
Some with hard hoofs or forked claws,
And some with horns or tusked jaws:
And some with scales, and some with wings,
And some with teeth, and some with stings.
Wisdom to man she did afford,
Wisdom for shield, and wit for sword.
What to beauteous womankind,
What arms, what armor, has sh' assign'd ?
Beauty is both; for with the fair
What arms, what armor, can compare?
What steel, what gold, or diamond,
More impassable is found ?
And yet what flame, what lightning, e'er
So great an active force did bear?
They are all weapon, and they dart
Like porcupines from every part.
Who can, alas! their strength express,
Arm'd, when they themselves undress,
Cap-a-pie with nakedness ?
UNDERNEATH this myrtle shade,
On flowery beds supinely laid,
With odorous oils my head o'erflowing,
And around it roses growing,
What should I do but drink away
The heat and troubles of the day?
In this more than kingly state
Love himself shall on me wait.
Fill to me, Love; nay, fill it up;
And mingled cast into the cup
Wit, and mirth, and noble fires,
Vigorous health and gay desires.
The wheel of life no less will stay
In a smooth than rugged way:
Since it equally doth flee,
Let the motion pleasant be.
Why do we precious ointments show'r?
Nobler wines why do we pour?
Beauteous flowers why do we spread,
Upon the monuments of the dead?
Nothing they but dust can show,
Or bones that hasten to be so.
Crown me with roses whilst I live,
Now your wines and ointments give;
After death I nothing crave,
Let me alive my pleasures have,
All are Stoics in the grave.
Oft am I by the women told,
Poor Anacreon! thou grow'st old :
Look how thy hairs are falling all;
Poor Anacreon, how they fall!
Whether I grow old or no,
By th' effects, I do not know;
This I know. without being told
"Tis time to live, if I grow old;
'Tis time short pleasures now to take
Of little life the best to make,
And manage wisely the last stake.
A MIGHTY pain to love it is,
And 'tis a pain that pain to miss
But, of all pains, the greatest pain
It is to love, but love in vain.
Virtue now, nor noble blood,
Nor wit, by love is understood
Gold alone does passion move
Gold monopolizes love.
A curse on her, and on the man
Who this traffic first began!
A curse on him who found the ore !
A curse on him who digg'd the store!
A curse on him who did refine it!
A curse on him who first did coin it!
A curse, all curses else above,
On him who us'd it first in love!
Gold begets in brethren hate;
Gold in families debate ;
Gold does friendships separate;
Gold does civil wars create.
These the smallest harms of it!
Gold, alas! does love beget.
Happy Insect! what can be
In happiness compar'd to thee?
Fed with nourishment divine,
The dewy Morning's gentle wine!
Nature waits upon thee still,
And thy verdant cup does fill;
'Tis fill'd wherever thou dost tread,
Nature's self's thy Ganymede.
Thou dost drink, and dance, and sing ;
Happier than the happiest king!
All the fields which thou dost see,
All the plants, belong to thee;
All that summer-hours produce,
Fertile made with early juice.
Man for thee does sow and plow;
Farmer he, and landlord thou!
Thou dost innocently joy ;
Nor does thy luxury destroy ;
The shepherd gladly heareth thee,
More harmonious than he.
The country hinds with gladness hear,
Prophet of the ripen'd year!
Tbee Phæbus loves, and does inspire ;
Phæbus is hiinself thy sire.
To thee, of all things upon earth,
Life is no longer than thy mirth.
Happy insect, happy thou!
Dost neither age nor winter know;
But, when thou'st drunk, and danc'd, and sung
Thy fill, the flow'ry leaves among,
(Voluptuous, and wise withal,
Sated with thy summer feast,
Thou retir'st to endless rest.
Fill the bowl with rosy wine!
Around our temples roses twine!
And let us cheerfully awhile,
Like the wine and roses, smile.
Crown'd with roses, we contemn
Gyges' wealthy diadem.
To-day is ours, what do we fear?
To-day is ours; we have it here:
Let's treat it kindly, that it may
Wish, at least, with us to stay.
Let's banish business, banish sorrow;
To the gods belongs to-morrow.
XI. THE SWALLOW. Foolish Prater, what dost thou So early at my window do,
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 undiscover'd 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 from me away.
Cruel bird! thou'st ta'en away
A dream out of my arms to-day;
A dreant 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.
WHO WAS CHOKED 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 beat with fire is join'd;
A powerful brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleager's fate.
Th' antiperistasis of age
More inflam'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, honor, 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. Rumor 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 show; 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 tongues 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 see,
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 learn't 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.
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.
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, inflam'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 kiss'd his drunken rolling eyes.
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 colors 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 favorite, 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 front.
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
show, 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 : Thou wouldst, forsooth, be something in a state, And business thou would'st find, and would'st
Business! the frivolous pretence
Of human lusts, to shake off innocence ;
Business! the grave impertinence;
Business! the thing which I of all things hate;
Business the contradiction of thy fate.
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.
"Go, renegado! cast up thy account,
And see to what amount
Thy foolish gains by quitting me: The sale of knowledge, fame, and liberty, The fruits of thy unlearn'd apostasy. Thou thought'st, if once the public storm were
If the gods would please to be But advis'd for once by me,
All thy remaining life should sunshine be; The foolish sports I did on thee bestow,
Behold! the public storm is spent at last, Make all my art and labor fruitless now;
The sovereign's tost at sea no more,
Where once such fairies dance, no grass doth ever. And thou, with all the noble company,
grow. Art got at last to shore. But, whilst thy fellow-voyagers I see
When my new mind had no infusion known, All march'd up to possess the promis'd land, Thou gav'st so deep a tincture of thine own, Thou, still alone, alas! dost gaping stand
That ever since I vainly try Upon the naked beach, upon the barren sand !
To wash away th' inherent dye :
Long work perhaps may spoil thy colors quite, “As a fair morning of the blessed spring,
But never will reduce the native white : After a tedious stormy night,
To all the ports of honor and of gain, Such was the glorious entry of our king;
I often steer my course in vain;
Enriching moisture drop'd on every thing : Thy gale comes cross, and drives me back again.
Plenty he sow'd below, and cast about him light! Thou slack’nest all my nerves of industry,
But then, alas! to thee alone,
By making them so oft to be
One of old Gideon's miracles was shown; The tinkling strings of thy loose minstrelsy
For every tree and every herb around
Whoever this world's happiness would see,
With pearly dew was crown'd,
Must as entirely cast off thee, And upon all the quicken'd ground
As they who only Heaven desire The fruitful seed of Heaven did brooding lie,
Do from the world retire. And nothing but the Muse's fleece was dry. This was my error,
my gross mistake, It did all other threats surpass,
Myself a demi-votary to make. When God to his own people said
Thus, with Sapphira and her husband's fate, (The men whom through long wanderings he had led) (A fault which I, like them, am taught too late,
That he would give them ev'n a Heaven of For all that I gave up I nothing gain, brass :
And perish for the part which I retain They look'd up to that Heaven in vain, That bounteous Heaven, which God did not re- "Teach me not then. O thou fallacious Muse! strain
The court, and better king, t'accuse : Upon the most unjust to shine and rain
The heaven under which I live is fair,
The fertile soil will a full harvest bear: “The Rachel, for which twice seven years and more Thine, thine is all the barrenness; if thou
Thou didst with faith and labor serve, Mak’st me sit still and sing, when I should plow, And didst (if faith and labor can) deserve, When I but think how many a tedious year Though she contracted was to thee,
Our patient sovereign did attend Given to another thou didst see,
His long misfortunes' fatal end; Given to another, who had store
How cheerfully, and how exempt from fear, Of fairer and of richer wives before,
On the Great Sovereign's will he did depend; And not a Leah left, thy recompense to be! I ought to be accurst, if I refuse Go on; twice seven years more thy fortune try; To wait on his, O thou fallacious Muse! Twice seven years more God in his bounty may Kings have long hands, they say; and, though I be Give thee, to fling away
So distant, they may reach at length to me. Into the court's deceitful lottery :
However, of all the princes, thou But think how likely 'tis that thou,
Should'st not reproach rewards for being small or With the dull work of thy unwieldly plow,
slow; Should'st in a hard and barren season thrive, Thou! who rewardest but with popular breath, Should'st even able be to live;
And that too after death."
Thou, to whose share so little bread did fall,
In that miraculous year, when manna rain’d on all."
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
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 ravislı'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 :