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When I had done what man could do, And thought the place mine own, The enemy lay quiet too,
And smil'd at all was done.
I sent to know from whence and where
These hopes, and this relief?
A spy inform'd, honour was there,
And did command in chief.
March, march, (quoth I) the word straight give, Let's lose no time, but leave her;
That giant upon air will live,
And hold it out for ever.
To such a place our camp remove As will not siege abide;
I hate a fool that starves her love Only to feed her pride.
TO A FRIEND.
SIR, Whether these lines do find you out, Putting or clearing of a doubt; (Whether Predestination, Or reconciling Three in One, Or the unriddling how men die, And live at once eternally, Now take you up) know 'tis decreed You straight bestride the college steed. Leave Socinus and the schoolmen, (Which Jack Bond swears do but fool men) And come to town; 'tis fit you shew Yourself abroad, that men may know (Whate'er some learned men have guest) That oracles are not yet ceas'd: There you shall find the wit and wine Flowing alike, and both divine: Dishes, with names not known in books, And less amongst the college cooks, With sauce so poignant that you need Not stay till hunger bids you feed. The sweat of learned Jonson's brain, And gentle Shakespear's easier strain A hackney-coach conveys you to, In spite of all that rain can do: And for your eighteen-pence you sit The lord and judge of all fresh wit. News in one day as much as we've here As serves all Windsor for a year; And which the carrier brings to you, After t' has here been found not true. Then think what company's design'd To meet you here, men so refin'd, Their very common talk at board, Makes wise, or mad, a young court lord: And makes him capable to be Umpire in's father's company. Where no disputes nor forc'd defence Of a man's person for his sense
Take up the time; all strive to be
Masters of truth, as victory:
And were you come, I'd boldly swear
A synod might as eas❜ly err.
Thou vermin slander, bred in abject minds,
Of thoughts impure, by vile tongues animate,
Canker of conversation! could'st thou find
Nought but our love whereon to shew thy hate?
Thou never wert, when we two were alone;
What canst thou witness then? thou base dull aid
Wast useless in our conversation,
Where each meant more than could by both be said.
Whence hadst thou thy intelligence, from earth?
That part of us ne'er knew that we did love;
Or from the air: our gentle sighs had birth
From such sweet raptures as to joy did move:
Our thoughts, as pure as the chaste morning's breath,
When from the night's cold arms it creeps away,
Were cloth'd in words; and maiden's blush that hath
More purity, more innocence than they.
Nor from the water could'st thou have this tale,
No briny tear has furrow'd her smooth cheek;
And I was pleas'd, I pray what should he ail
That had her love, for what else could he seek?
We short'ned days to moments by Love's art,
Whilst our two souls in amorous ecstasy
Perceiv'd no passing time, as if a part
Our love had been of still eternity;
Much less could have it from the purer fire,
Our heat exhales no vapour from coarse sense,
Such as are hopes, or fears, or fond desire;
Our mutual love itself did recompense:
Thou hast no correspondence had in heav'n,
And th' elemental world, thou see'st, is free:
Whence hadst thou then this, talking monster? even
From hell, a harbour fit for it and thee.
Curst be th' officious tongue that did address
Thee to her ears, to ruin my content:
May it one minute taste such happiness,
Deserving lost unpitied it lament!
I must forbear her sight, and so repay
In grief, those hours joy short'ned to a dream;
Each minute I will lengthen to a day,
And in one year outlive Methusalem.
GEORGE WITHER-A. D. 1588-1667.
FROM THE FOURTH ECLOGUE OF THE SHEPHERD'S HUNTING. Roget (G. Wither) exhorts his friend Willy (William Browne, author of Britannia's Pastorals) not to give over writing verses on account of some partial detraction which he had met with; describes the comfort which he himself derives from the Muse. The scene is in the Marshalsea, where Wither was imprisoned for his Satires, and where Browne is supposed to visit him.
Willy. For a song I do not pass 'Mongst my friends, but what, alas! Should I have to do with them, That my music do contemn?
Roget. What's the wrong? Willy. A slight offence, Wherewithal I can dispense; But hereafter, for their sake, To myself I'll music make.
Roget. What, because some clown offends, Wilt thou punish all thy friends?
Willy. Honest Roget, understand me,
Those that love me may command me;
But thou know'st I am but young,
And the pastoral I sung
Is by some supposed to be
(By a strain) too high for me;
So they kindly let me gain
Not my labour for my pain.
Trust me, I do wonder why
They should me my own deny.
Though I'm young, I scorn to flit
On the wings of borrow'd wit.
I'll make my own feathers rear me
Whither others' cannot bear me.
Yet I'll keep my skill in store,
"Till I've seen some winters more.
Roget. But in earnest mean'st thou so?
Then thou art not wise, I trow.
That's the ready way to blot
All the credit thou hast got.
Rather in thy age's prime
Get another start of time;
And make those that so fond be,
Spite of their own dullness, see,
That the sacred Muses can
Make a child in years a man.
Envy makes their tongues now run,
More than doubt of what is done.
See'st thou not in clearest days,
Oft thick fogs cloud heav'n's rays;
And the vapours that do breathe
From the earth's gross womb beneath,
Seem they not with their black streams
To pollute the sun's bright beams;
And yet vanish into air,
Leaving it unblemish'd, fair?
So, my Willy, shall it be
With Detraction's breath on thee.
It shall never rise so high
As to stain thy poesy.
As that sun doth oft exhale
Vapours from each rotten vale,
Poesy so sometime drains
Gross conceits from muddy brains,
Mists of envy, fogs of spite,
"Twixt men's judgments and her light.
But so much her power may do,
That she can dissolve them too.
If thy verse do bravely tower,
As she makes wing, she gets power:
Yet the higher she doth soar,
She's affronted still the more,
Till she to the high'st hath past,
Then she rests with fame at last.
Let nought therefore thee affright,
But make forward in thy flight.
For, if I could match thy rhyme,
To the very stars I'd climb;
There begin again, and fly,
Till I reach'd eternity.
But alas! my Muse is slow,
For thy place she flags too low;
Yea, the more's her hapless fate,
Her short wings were clipt of late;
And poor I, her fortune ruing,
Am myself put up a muing.
But, if I my cage can rid,
I'll fly where I never did.
And, though for her sake I'm crost,
Though my best hopes I have lost,
And knew she would make my trouble
Ten times more than ten times double;
I should love and keep her too,
Spite of all the world could do.
For, though banish'd from my flocks,
And confined within these rocks,
Here I waste away the light,
And consume the sullen night,
She doth for my comfort stay,
And keeps many cares away.
Though I miss the flowery fields,
With those sweets the spring-tide yields;
Though I may not see those groves,
Where the shepherds chaunt their loves,
And the lasses more excel
Than the sweet-voiced philomel;
Though of all those pleasures past Nothing now remains at last But remembrance (poor relief) That more makes than mends my grief; She's my mind's companion still, Maugre envy's evil will; Whence she should be driven too, Were't in mortals' power to do. She doth tell me where to borrow Comfort in the midst of sorrow; Makes the desolatest place To her presence be a grace; And the blackest discontents Be her fairest ornaments. In my former days of bliss Her divine skill taught me this, That from every thing I saw I could some invention draw, And raise pleasure to her height Through the meanest object's sight. By the murmur of a spring, Or the least bough's rustling, By a daisy whose leaves spread Shut when Titan goes to bed, Or a shady bush or tree, She could more infuse in me Than all Nature's beauties can In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Make this churlish place allow
Some things that may sweeten gladness
In the very gall of sadness.
The dull loneness, the black shade,
That these hanging vaults have made;
The strange music of the waves,
Beating on these hollow caves;
This black den which rocks emboss,
Overgrown with eldest moss;
The rude portals, which give light
More to terror than delight;
This my chamber of Neglect,
Wall'd about with Disrespect:
From all these, and this dull air,
A fit object for despair,
She hath taught me by her might
To draw comfort and delight.
Therefore, thou best earthly bliss,
I will cherish thee for this;
Poesy, thou sweet's content
That e'er heaven to mortals lent,
Though they as a trifle leave thee,
Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive thee;
Though thou be to them a scorn,
Who to nought but earth are born;
Let my life no longer be
Than I am in love with thee.
Though our wise ones call it madness,
Let me never taste of sadness,
If I love not thy madd'st fits
Above all their greatest wits.
And though some too seeming holy
Do account thy raptures folly,
Thou dost teach me to contemn
What make knaves and fools of them.
ON MY LADY D. SYDNEY'S PICTURE.
Such was Philoclea, and such Dorus' flame!
The matchless Sydney that immortal frame
Of perfect beauty on two pillars plac'd:
Not his high fancy could one pattern, grac'd
With such extremes of excellence, compose;
Wonders so distant in one face disclose!
ch cheerful modesty, such humble state, As when, big love, but with as doubtful fate Inviting fruit on too sumedy reach, we see All the rich flow'rs through his i Amaz'd we see in this one garland bound. Had but this copy (which the artist took From the fair picture of that noble book) Stood at Kalander's, the brave friends had jarr'd, And, rivals made, th' ensuing story marr❜d. Just Nature, first instructed by his thought, In his own house thus practis'd what he taught. This glorious piece transcends what he could think, So much his blood is nobler than his ink!
PHOEBUS AND DAPHNE.
Thyrsis, a youth of the inspired train,
Fair Sacharissa lov'd, but lov'd in vain:
Like Phœbus sung the no less am'rous boy;
Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy!
With numbers he the flying nymph pursues,
With numbers such as Phoebus' self might use!
Such is the chase when Love and Fancy leads,
O'er craggy mountains, and through flow'ry meads;
Invok'd to testify the lover's care,
Or form some image of his cruel fair,
Urg'd with his fury, like a wounded deer,
and now approaching near,
Had reach'd the nymph with his harmonious lay,
Whom all his charms could not incline to stay.
Yet what he sung in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain:
All but the nymph that should redress his wrong,
Attend his passion, and approve his song.
Like Phœbus, thus acquiring unsought praise,
He catch'd at love, and fill'd his arms with bays.
Had Dorothea liv'd when mortals made
Choice of their deities, this sacred shade
Had held an altar to her pow'r that gave
The peace and glory which these alleys have;
Embroider'd so with flowers where she stood,
That it became a garden of a wood.
Her presence has such more than human grace,
That it can civilize the rudest place;
And beauty too, and order, can impart,
Where Nature ne'er intended it, nor art.
The plants acknowledge this, and her admire,
No less than those of old did Orpheus' lyre.
If she sit down, with tops all tow'rds her bow'd,
They round about her into arbours crowd;
Or if she walk, in even ranks they stand,
Like some well marshall'd and obsequious band.
Amphion so made stones and timber leap
Into fair figures from a confus'd heap:
And in the symmetry of her parts is found
A pow'r like that of harmony in sound.
Ye lofty beeches! tell this matchless dame,
That if together ye fed all one flame,
It could not equalize the hundredth part
Of what her eyes have kindled in my heart!-
Go, Boy, and carve this passion on the bark
Of yonder tree, which stands the sacred mark
Of noble Sydney's birth; when such benign,
Such more than mortal-making stars did shine,
That there they cannot but for ever prove
The monument and pledge of humble love;
His humble love whose hope shall ne'er rise higher
Than for a pardon that he dares admire.
Anger, in hasty words or blows,
Itself discharges on our foes;
And sorrow too finds some relief
In tears, which wait upon our grief;
So ev'ry passion, but fond love,
Unto its own redress does move;
But that alone the wretch inclines
To what prevents his own designs;
Makes him lament, and sigh, and weep,
Disorder'd, tremble, fawn, and creep;
Postures which render him despis'd,
Where he endeavours to be priz'd.
For women (born to be control'd)
Stoop to the forward and the bold;
Affect the haughty and the proud,
The gay, the frolic, and the loud.
Who first the gen'rous steed opprest,
Not kneeling did salute the beast;
But with high courage, life, and force,
Approaching, tam'd th' unruly horse.
Unwisely we the wiser East
Pity, supposing them opprest
With tyrants' force, whose law is will,
By which they govern, spoil, and kill:
Each nymph, but moderately fair,
Commands with no less rigour here.
Should some brave Turk, that walks among
His twenty lasses, bright and young,
And beckons to the willing dame,
Preferr'd to quench his present flame,
Behold as many gallants here,
With modest guise and silent fear,