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Teach us sprite or bird,
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream? Praise of love or wine,
We look before and after, That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught; (thought. Matched with thine would be all
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest But an empty vaunt,
Yet if we could scorn A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
Hate, and pride, and fear; What objects are the fountains
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground !
Teach me half the gladness Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
The whilst full quires around
Then I believe, that at thy birth was set
A SONG TO SIR PHILIP SIDNEY. Spirit, whose bliss beyond this cloudy sphere Is with the rising, and the setting light, Who, far remov'd from all that grieves us here, For ever happy, and for ever bright, Yet lookest down with pity from on high, 'Midst airs of immortality: 0, with what pure and never-ending song, Song, that uplift upon the wings of love, May gain access to that celestial throng, Shall I now soar above, And in the silver flood of morning play, And view thy face, and brighten into day?
Forgive me, then, O love-enlarged soul, Or love itself in pure felicity, If, questioning my nature's fast controul, I slip my bonds, and wander unto thee; But, ah! too well I know That this may not be so, Till that prefixed doom from heav'n be spent: Then for a little while, If measure may beguile, Let thy sweet deeds become my argument; That all the wide hereafter may behold Thy mind more perfect than refined gold.
But this is to enlarge the liberal air, And pour fresh light into the diamond, To herald that the fragrant rose is fair, And that the sun in beauty doth abound; So vain, and so excessful is the thought To add to Sidney aught: Yet cannot I forego the sweet delight, More sweet to me than music or the spring, Or than the starry beams of summer's night, Thy sweetest praise, O Astrophel, to sing ; Till the wide woods, to which I teach the same, Shall echo with thy name; And ev'ry fount that in the valley flows, Shall stay it's fall, and murmur at the close.
Nor yet shall time, a thing not understood, Nor weary space forbid me my desire; The nimble mind can travel where it would, More swift than winds, or than the greedy fire; So shall my thoughts aspire To that eternal seat, where thou art laid In brightness without shade; Thy golden locks, that in wide splendour flow, Crowned with lilies, and with violets, And amaranth, which that good angel sets With joy upon thy radiant head to blow; (Soft flow'rs, unknown to woe, That in the blissful meads of heav'n are found ;)
ZERBINO INSTRUCTED BY THE MUSE.
The daffodils did in the meads appear,
Such pleasure did his face to him convey.
As well by beauty, as his virtue's charm,
That on itself still gazes to this hour.
Unless sad herbs have in its wave been thrown
And say, “ Go, fool, and to thy image talk.”
For Itys did with weeping song complain ;
So swiftly from the impious king she fled,
“ I tell you, you shall walk the shades of night, And swiftly has e'er since pursu'd her flight, And hear the song, that can turn back the day, Still weeping for the cruel rage, that shed
For hell, Zerbino, opens to my might,
And upward to the morning I can stray:
The muse I am, that offer to your sight
The banks of Lethe, and the starry way:
No harm shall meet you on your sacred road;
For virtue in all worlds hath her abode. As much delighted with the beauteous fruit,
“ 'Tis virtue, not your golden arms, can save That, like a banquet, on his helm y-shone,
Your soul from Evil, that with wand'ring flight When joyous marriage doth with parents suit,
Doth journey on the wing of Care, and brave
The fine perdition of the beamy light;
For rest is not her consort, by the wave
Of Stygian darkness, or the crystal height;
But with an iron plume she beats the air,
Incessant on her journey of despair:
“ Not feared by the mind, whose beauteous thought
Is dear to angels, and with angel's wing
O'er-shadow'd, when to depths of darkness
And fed with nectar of immortal spring:
Then come, Zerbino, without fear of aught,
As Virgil did of old, the poet's king,
Ascend with me into the crystal air,
And see what love, and what delights are there. Enduring not the flashing beams of day,
“ I will you show the palace of the moon,
And take you in the track of Phæbus' car,
In all bis glorious altitude at noon;
Where you may wonder, how each little star,
Like pearl, upon the milky air is strewn;
And see the world diminish'd from afar:
Awake, Zerbino, for the sun is high,
And we ere night must to Olympus fly.
“ Awake, Zerbino!" and the knight awoke, A song, of sweetness to ascend the sky,
And saw before him, on the flow'ry ground, And rest amid the bliss to us forbid,
The beauteous Muse, that like an angel spoke, Until indeed our latest moments fly,
More soft than is in spring the thunder's sound: And all, that to our earthly sight was hid,
A golden plume from each fair shoulder broke, In radiant prospect doth before us lie;
And with a laurel leaf her hair was bound;
Her hair, that like Italian harvest shone,
When burning Ætna flameth them upon! “ O youthful guest, whose lineaments divine
She stood in height as stately, and as tall,
As some fair temple, to Diana dear,
Round which, when Jove doth to his daughter call,
The golden-hoofed harts do start for fear,
And Ay into the sacred woods again :
So stood the Muse upon the flow'ry plain.
“ The silv'ry dragons to the team of thought,
That feed upon the pleasure of the air,
And in her hand a myrtle branch she bore,
With bud and blossom beauteously adorn'd,
Op whatso forehead she that myrtle laid,
Methinks, already on my reeds I blow, In yet unpractis'd youth, and flow'ring age,
And charm the world with glory of my song; That sacred head was by her counsel sway'd: For winter now is gone, and with it woe, Nor can he in the foaming chase engage,
And sparkling summer will be here ere long; Nor practise yet the gainful merchant's trade, Then cast I here away the winter's wrong: Nor seek of mighty war the iron rage,
This day I call the fairest of the year, Nor yet to love can yield his spirit pure;
That shows the soft delights of spring are near. But is her pupil, and must so endure.
But wisest kings, that with a sacred eye
Behold their subjects, and allot to each
By great example of the times of old.
And bless him with the fat of venison;
So then upon the stringed harp he sings
A song, that may delight Olympian Jove,
I know not, Thenot, sith thy speech is so,
A DIALOGUE OF TWO SHEPHERDS.
The softer season now will soon be here,
For now, the bitter cold of winter past,
So said the Shepherd to his younger peer,
This glorious index of a heav'nly book, Not seldom, as in youthful years he stood,
Divinest Spenser would admiring look; And, framing thence high wit and pure desire, Imagin’d deeds, that set the world on fire!
, queen of blossoms, And fulfilling flowers, With what pretty music
Shall we charm the hours ? Wilt thou have pipe and reed, Blown in the open mead? Or to the lute give heed
In the green bowers !
How oft, O Moon, in thy most tragic face,
The travell’d map of mournful history, Some record of long-perish'd woe I trace,
Fetch'd from old kings' moth-eaten memory ; Which thou, perhaps, didst in its acting see,
The perturbation of its doleful birth, Then crawling on to sad maturity,
And it's last sleep in the forgetful earth : But if, in style proportion'd to its worth,
We raise it up, to shake the world again, To madness we shall turn heart-easing mirth,
With horror laying waste the minds of men: O, marble is the flesh, unmou'd can be, When it beholds so fearful tragedy!
Thou hast no need of us,
Or pipe or wire,
Ripen'd with fire ;
With new desire.
I grieve to think, so often as I muse,
Musing on sweet and bitter argument, How many souls posterity doth lose,
In that they leave behind no monument: Souls, that have fed upon divinest thought,
Yet lacking utt'rance of their music's store, To us, that breathe hereafter, are as nought,
Or question’d but as names, that dwelt before : Were it sad chance, that them of fame bereft,
Love, grief, or sickness, or resentful woe, Or abstinence of virtue made a theft
Of that, which virtue to itself doth owe ; The cause unknown, their worth unwritten too, Let the world weep, for they are pity's due'!
Thou hast thy mighty herds,
Tame, and free livers; Doubt not, thy music too,
In the deep rivers; And the whole plumy flight, Warbling the day and night; Up at the gates of light,
See, the lark quivers ! When with the jacinth
Coy fountains are tressed; And for the mournful bird
Green woods are dressed, That did for Tereus pine; Then shall our songs be tbine, To whom our hearts incline:
May, be thou blessed !
The nightingale is mute, and so art thou,
Whose voice is sweeter than the nightingale: While ev'ry idle scholar makes a vow,
Above thy worth and glory to prevail : Yet shall not envy to that level bring
The true precedence, which is born in thee; Thou art no less the prophet of the Spring,
Though in the woods thy voice now silent be: For silence may impair, but cannot kill
The music, that is native to thy soul;
Upon thy purest honour have controul:
ON BEHOLDING THE PORTRAITURE OF SIR PHILIP
SIDNEY, IN THE GALLERY AT PENSHURST.
The man that looks, sweet Sidney, in thy face,
Beholding there love's truest majesty, And the soft image of departed grace,
Shall fill his mind with magnanimity : There
may he read unfeign'd humility, And golden pity, born of heav'nly brood, Unsullied thoughts of immortality,
And musing virtue, prodigal of blood : Yes, in this map of what is fair and good,
The largest reign of silence yet bath sway
In beauty, which is music to the soul; The lily hath no voice, yet shames the day;
Nay, the sweet air is liken'd in controul : The silver Moon, more paler than desire,
That with unvoiced wheel doth climb on high, In meditation's ear is as a quire,
That leads th’o'er-visioned Night along the sky: All silence in it's pleasure hath a voice,
If balanc'd in the fine esteem of thought;