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DESCRIPTION OF STONE-HENGE. And whereto serves that wondrous trophy now That on the goodly plain near Walton stands? That huge dumb heap, that cannot tell us how, Nor what, nor whence it is; nor with whose hands, Nor for whose glory-it was set to shew, How much our pride mocks that of other lands. Whereon, when as the gazing passenger Had greedy look'd with admiration; And fain would know his birth, and what he were; How there erected; and how long agon: Inquires and asks his fellow traveller What he had heard, and his opinion.
And he knows nothing. Then he turns again, And looks and sighs; and then admires afresh, And in himself with sorrow doth complain The misery of dark forgetfulness: Angry with time that nothing should remain, Our greatest wonders' wonder to express.
Then ignorance, with fabulous discourse,
Robbing fair art and cunning of their right,
Tells how those stones were by the devil's force
From Afric brought to Ireland in a night;
And thence to Brittany, by magic course,
From giants' hands redeem'd by Merlin's sleight.
And then near Ambri plac'd, in memory
Of all those noble Britons murder'd there,
By Hengist and his Saxon treachery,
Coming to parley, in peace at unaware.
With this old legend then credulity
Holds her content, and closes up her care.
But is antiquity so great a liar?
Or do her younger sons her age abuse;
Seeing after-comers still so apt t' admire
The grave authority that she doth use,
That rev'rence and respect dares not require
Proof of her deeds, or once her words refuse?
Yet wrong they did us, to presume so far
Upon our early credit and delight;
For once found false, they straight became to mar
Our faith, and their own reputation quite;
That now her truths hardly believed are; [right.
And though she avouch the right, she scarce hath
And as for thee, thou huge and mighty frame,
That standst corrupted so with time's despite,
And giv'st false evidence against their fame
That set thee there to testify their right;
And art become a traitor to their name,
That trusted thee with all the best they might;
Thou shalt stand still bely'd and slandered,
The only gazing-stock of ignorance,
And by thy guile the wise admonished,
Tver more desire such hopes t' advance,
Consid'ring na glory with the dead
And yet lie safe (as fresh as their fame to chance.
All those great worthies of antiquity,"~
Which long fore-liv'd thee, and shall long survive;
Who stronger tombs found for eternity,
Than could the pow'rs of all the earth contrive.
Where they remain these trifles to upbraid, Out of the reach of spoil, and way of rage; Though time with all his pow'r of years hath laid Long batt'ry, back'd with undermining age; Yet they make head only with their own aid, And war with his all-conqu'ring forces wage; Pleading the heaven's prescription to be free, And t' have a grant t' endure as long as he.
LOVE IN INFANCY.
Ah! I remember well (and how can I
But evermore remember well) when first
Our flame began, when scarce we knew what was
The flame we felt; whenas we sat and sigh'd
And look'd upon each other, and conceiv'd
Not what we ail'd, yet something we did ail;
And yet were well, and yet we were not well,
And what was our disease we could not tell.
Then would we kiss, then sigh, then look: And thus
In that first garden of our simpleness
We spent our childhood: But when years began
To reap the fruit of knowledge; ah, how then
Would she with graver looks, and sweet stern brow,
Check my presumption and my forwardness;
Yet still would give me flowers, still would me show
What she would have me, yet not have me know.
THE STORY OF ISULIA.
-There was sometime a nymph, Isulia named, and an Arcadian born, Whose mother dying left her very young Unto her father's charge, who carefully Did breed her up until she came to years Of womanhood, and then provides a match Both rich and young, and fit enough for her. But she, who to another shepherd had, Call'd Sirthis, vow'd her love, as unto one Her heart esteem'd more worthy of her love, Could not by all her father's means be wrought To leave her choice, and to forget her vow. This nymph one day, surcharg'd with love and grief, Which commonly (the more the pity) dwell As inmates both together, walking forth With other maids to fish upon the shore; Estrays apart, and leaves her company,
To entertain herself with her own thoughts:
And wanders on so far, and out of sight,
As she at length was suddenly surpriz'd
By pirates, who lay lurking underneath
Those hollow rocks, expecting there some prize.
And notwithstanding all her piteous cries,
Intreaties, tears, and prayers, those fierce men
Rent hair and veil, and carried her by force
Into their ship, which in a little creek
Hard by at anchor lay,
And presently they hoisted sail and so away.
When she was thus inshipp'd, and woefully
Had cast her eyes about to view that hell
Of horror, whereinto she was so suddenly emplung'd,
She spies a woman sitting with a child
Sucking her breast, which was the captain's wife.
To her she creeps, down at her feet she lies;
"O woman, if that name of woman may
Move you to pity, pity a poor maid;
The most distressed soul that ever breath'd;
And save me from the hands of those fierce men.
Let me not be defil'd and made unclean,
Dear woman, now, and I will be to you
The faithfull'st slave that ever mistress serv'd;
Never poor soul shall be more dutiful,
To do whatever you command, than I.
No toil will I refuse; so that I may
Keep this poor body clean and undeflower'd,
Which is all I will ever seek. For know
It is not fear of death lays me thus low,
But of that stain will make my death to blush."
All this would nothing move the woman's heart,
Whom yet she would not leave, but still besought;
"O woman, by that infant at your breast,
And by the pains it cost you at the birth,
Save me, as ever you desire to have
Your babe to joy and prosper in the world:
Which will the better prosper sure, if you
Shall mercy shew, which is with mercy paid!"
Then kisses she her feet, then kisses too
The infant's feet; and "Oh, sweet babe," (said she)
"Could'st thou but to thy mother speak for me,
And crave her to have pity on my case,
Thou might'st perhaps prevail with her so much
Although I cannot; child, ah, could'st thou speak."
The infant, whether by her touching it,
Or by instinct of nature, seeing her weep,
Looks earnestly upon her, and then looks
Upon the mother, then on her again,
And then it cries, and then on either looks:
Which she perceiving; "blessed child," (said she)
"Although thou can'st not speak, yet dost thou cry
Unto thy mother for me. Hear thy child,
Dear mother, it's for me it cries,
It's all the speech it hath. Accept those cries,
Save me at his request from being defil'd:
Let pity move thee, that thus moves thy child."
The woman, tho' by birth and custom rude,
Yet having veins of nature, could not be
But pierceable, did feel at length the point
Of pity enter so, as out gush'd tears,
(Not usual to stern eyes) and she besought
Her husband to bestow on her that prize,
With safeguard of her body at her will.
The captain seeing his wife, the child, the nymph,
All crying to him in this piteous sort,
Felt his rough nature shaken too, and grants
His wife's request, and seals his grant with tears;
And so they wept all four for company:
And some beholders stood not with dry eyes;
Such passion wrought the passion of their prize.
Never was there pardon, that did take
Condemned from the block, more joyful than
This grant to her. For all her misery
Seem'd nothing to the comfort she receiv'd,
By being thus saved from impurity;
And from the woman's feet she would not part,
Nor trust her hand to be without some hold
Of her, or of the child, so long as she remain'd
Within the ship, which in few days arrives
At Alexandria, whence these pirates were ;
And there this woeful maid for two years' space
Did serve, and truly serve this captain's wife,
(Who would not lose the benefit of her
Attendance, for her profit otherwise)
But daring not in such a place as that
To trust herself in woman's habit, crav'd
That she might be apparel'd like a boy;
And so she was, and as a boy she serv'd.
At two years' end her mistress sends her forth
Unto the port for some commodities,
Which whilst she sought for, going up and down,
She heard some merchantmen of Corinth talk,
Who spake that language the Arcadians did,
And were next neighbours of one continent.
To them, all rapt with passion, down she kneels,
Tells them she was a poor distressed boy,
Born in Arcadia, and by pirates took,
And made a slave in Egypt: and besought
Them, as they fathers were of children, or
Did hold their native country dear, they would
Take pity on her, and relieve her youth
From that sad servitude wherein she liv'd:
For which she hoped that she had friends alive
Would thank them one day, and reward them too;
If not, yet that she knew the heav'ns would do.
The merchants mov'd with pity of her case,
Being ready to depart, took her with them,
And landed her upon her country coast:
Where, when she found herself, she prostrate falls,
Kisses the ground, thanks gives unto the gods,
Thanks them who had been her deliverers,
And on she trudges through the desart woods,
Climbs over craggy rocks, and mountains steep,
Wades thorough rivers, struggles thorough bogs,
Sustained only by the force of love;
Until she came unto her native plains,
Unto the fields where first she drew her breath.
There she lifts up her eyes, salutes the air,
Salutes the trees, the bushes, flow'rs and all:
And, "Oh, dear Sirthis, here I am," said she,
"Here, notwithstanding all my miseries,
I am, the same I ever was to thee; a pure,
A chaste, and spotless maid."