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ELEGY ON THE LADY PEN1.
SENT TO MY MISTRESS OUT OF FRANCE.
LET him, who from his tyrant mistress did
This day receive his cruel doom, forbid
His eyes to weep that loss, and let him here
Open those flood-gates to bedew this bier;
So shall those drops, which else would be but brine,
Be turn'd to manna, falling on her shrine.
Let him, who, banish'd far from her dear sight
Whom his soul loves, doth in that absence write
Or Ines of passion, or some pow'rful charms,
To vent his own grief, or unlock her arms,
Take off his pen, and in sad verse bemoan
This general sorrow, and forget his own:
So may those verses live, which else must die;
For though the Muses give eternity,
When they embalm with verse, yet she could give
Life unto that Muse by which others live.
Oh pardon me (fair soul) that boldly have
Dropt, though but one tear, on thy silent grave;
And writ on that earth, which such honour had
To clothe that flesh wherein thyself was clad.
And pardon me, sweet saint, whom I adore,
That I this tribute pay out of the store
Of lines and tears, that 's only due to thee;
Oh, do not think it new idolatry!
Though you are only sovereign of this land,
Yet universal losses may command
A subsidy from every private eye,
And press each pen to write, so to supply
And feed the common grief: if this excuse
Prevail not, take these tears to your own use,
As shed for you; for when I saw her die,
I then did think on your mortality:
For since nor virtue, wit, nor beauty, could
Preserve from Death's hand this their heav'nly
mould, Where they were framed all, and where they dwelt, I then knew you must die too, and did melt Into these tears: but thinking on that day, And when the gods resolv'd to take away A saint from us, I that did know what dearth There was of such good souls upon the Earth, Began to fear lest Death, their officer, Might have mistook, and taken thee for her; So hadst thou robb'd us of that happiness Which she in Heaven, and I in thee possess. But what can Heaven to her glory add? The praises she hath dead, living she had. To say she's now an angel, is no more Praise than she had, for she was one before. Which of the saints can show more votaries Than she had here? E'en those that did despise The angels (and may her, now she is one) Did, whilst she liv'd, with pure devotion
Adore and worship her; her virtues had
All honour here, for this world was too bad
To hate or envy her; these cannot rise
So high, as to repine at deities:
But now she 's 'mongst her fellow saints, they may
Be good enough to envy her: this way
There's loss i' th' change, 'twixt Heav'n and Earth,
Should leave her servants here below, to be
Hated of her competitors above;
But sure her matchless goodness needs must move
Those blest souls to admire her excellence;
By this means only can her journey hence
To Heav'n prove gain, if as she was but here
Worship'd by men, she be by angels there.
But I must weep no more over this urn,
My tears to their own channel must return;
And having ended these sad obsequies,
My Muse must back to her old exercise,
To tell the story of my martyrdom.
But oh! thou idol of my soul, become
Once pitiful, that she may change her stile,
Dry up her blubber'd eyes, and learn to smile:
Rest then, blest soul; for as ghosts fly away,
When the shrill cock proclaims the infant day;
So must I hence-for lo, I see from far,
The minions of the Muses coming are,
Each of them bringing to her sacred hearse
In either eye a tear, each hand a verse.
MY MISTRESS IN ABSENCE. THOUGH I must live here, and by force Of your command suffer divorce; Though I am parted, yet my mind (That's more myself) still stays behind; I breathe in you, you keep my heart; 'T' was but a carcase that did part. Then though our bodies are disjoin'd, As things that are to place confin'd; Yet let our boundless spirits meet, And in love's sphere each other greet; There let us work a mystic wreath, Unknown unto the world beneath; There let our claspt loves sweetly twine; There our secret thoughts unseen, Like nets be weav'd and intertwin'd, Wherewith we catch each other's mind: There, whilst our souls do sit and kiss, Tasting a sweet and subtle bliss (Such as gross lovers cannot know, Whose hands and lips meet here below;) Let us look down, and mark what pain Our absent bodies here sustain, And smile to see how far away The one doth from the other stray; Yet burn, and languish with desire To join and quench their mutual fire. There let us joy, to see from far Our emulous flames at loving war, Whilst both with equal lustre shine, Mine bright as your's, your's bright as mine. There seated in those heavenly bowers, We'll cheat the lag and ling'ring hours,
The time is too distant to trace out this lady's name with any certainty; probably she belonged to the Pennington family, who were then well known. Our poet is not so successful in grave elegy as in love sonnets. Perhaps he was not so sincere in his grief as in his love. When the fancy wanders after frivolous pointedness and epigrammatic | Making our bitter absence sweet, donceit, it shows too well that the heart is at ease. Till souls and bodies both may meet.
TOST in a troubled sea of griefs, I float *
Far from the shore in a storm-beaten boat,
Where my sad thoughts do (like the compass) show,
The several points from which cross winds do blow.
My heart doth, like the needle, touch'd with love,
Still fix'd on you, point which way I would move.
You are the bright pole-star which in the dark
Of this long absence guides my wand'ring bark.
Love is the pilot, but o'ercome with fear
Of your displeasure, dares not homewards steer;
My fearful hope hangs on my trembling sail;
Nothing is wanting but a gentle gale;
Which pleasant breath must blow from your sweet
Bid it but move, and quick as thought, this ship
Into your arms, which are my port, will flie,
Where it for ever shall at anchor lie.
Disdain not a divided heart;
Though all be hers, you shall have part:
Love is not ty'd to rules of art.
For as my soul first to her flew,
Yet stay'd with me; so now 't is true
It dwells with her, though fled to you.
Then entertain this wand'ring guest,
And if not love, allow it rest;
It left not, but mistook, the nest.
Nor think my love or your fair eyes Cheaper, 'cause from the sympathies You hold with her, these flames arise.
To lead or brass, or some such bad Metal, a prince's stamp may add That value which it never had:
But to the pure refined ore,
The stamps of kings imparts no more
Worth, than the metal held before.
Only the image gives the rate To subjects; in a foreign state 'Tis priz'd as much for its own weight:
So though all other hearts resign
To your pure worth, yet you have mine,
Only because you are her coin.
THOUGH frost and snow lock'd from mine eyes
That beauty which without door lies,
The gardens, orchards, walks, that so
I might not all thy pleasures know;
Yet, Saxham, thou, within thy gate,
Art of thyself so delicate,
So full of native sweets, that bless
Thy roof with inward happiness;
As neither from, nor to thy store,
Winter takes aught, or spring adds more.
The cold and frozen air had starv'd
Much poor, if not by thee preserv'd;
Whose prayers have made thy table blest
With plenty, far above the rest.
The season hardly did afford
Coarse cates unto thy neighbour's board,
Yet thou hadst dainties, as the sky
Had only been thy volary ';
Or else the birds, fearing the snow
Might to another deluge grow,
The pheasant, partridge, and the lark,
Flew to thy house, as to the ark.
The willing ox of himself came
Home to the slaughter, with the lamb,
And every beast did thither bring
Himself to be an offering.
The scaly herd more pleasure took,
Bath'd in thy dish, than in the brook.
Water, earth, air, did all conspire
To pay their tributes to thy fire;
A great bird-cage, in which the birds have room to fly up and down.
Whose cherishing flames themselves divide
Through every room, where they deride
The night, and cold abroad; whilst they,
Like suns within, keep endless day.
Those cheerful beams send forth their light,
To all that wander in the night,
And seem to beckon from aloof
The weary pilgrim to thy roof;
Where, if refresh'd, he will away,
He's fairly welcome; or, if stay,
Far more, which he shall hearty find,
Both from the master and the hind.
The stranger's welcome each man there
Stamp'd on his cheerful brow doth wear;
Nor doth this welcome, or his cheer,
Grow less, 'cause he stays longer here.
There's none observes, much less repines,
How often this man sups or dines.
Thou hast no porter at the door
T examine or keep back the poor;
Nor locks nor bolts; thy gates have been
Made only to let strangers in;
Untaught to shut, they do not fear
To stand wide open all the year;
Careless who enters, for they know
Thou never didst deserve a foe;
And as for thieves, thy bounty 's such,
They cannot steal, thou giv'st so much.
UPON A RIBBAND '.
THIS silken wreath, which circles in mine arm,
Is but an emblem of that mystic charm,
Wherewith the magic of your beauties binds
My captive soul, and round about it winds
Fetters of lasting love: this hath entwin'd
My flesh alone, that hath impal'd my mind:
Time may wear out these soft, weak bands; but those
Strong chains of brass fate shall not discompose.
This only relic may preserve my wrist,
But my whole frame doth by that pow'r subsist:
To that my prayers and sacrifice, to this
I only pay a superstitious kiss:
This but the idol, that 's the deity;
Religion there is due, here cer'mony.
That I receive by faith, this but in trust;
Here I may tender duty, there I must :
This order as a layman I may bear,
But I become Love's priest when that I wear.
This moves like air, that as the centre stands;
That knot your virtue ty'd, this but your hands:
That nature fram'd, but this was made by art;
This makes my arm your prisoner, that my heart.
TO THE KING,
AT HIS ENTRANCE INTO SAXHAM. BY MASTER JO. CROFTS.
ERE you pass this threshold, stay,
And give your creature leave to pay
Those pious rites which unto you,
As to our houshold gods are due.
1 These verses were presented to his mistress
Instead of sacrifice, each breast
Is like a flaming altar drest
With zealous fires; which, from pure hearts,
Love mix'd with loyalty imparts.
Incense nor gold have we, yet bring
As rich and sweet an offering;
And such as doth both these express,
Which is, our humble thankfulness:
By which is paid the all we owe
To gods above, or men below.
The slaughter'd beast, whose flesh should feed
The hungry flames, we, for pure need,
Dress for your supper; and the gore,
Which should be dash'd on every door,
We change into the lusty blood
Of youthful vines, of which a flood
Shall sprightly run through all your veins,
First to your health, then your fair trains.
We shall want nothing but good fare
To show your welcome, and our care;
Such rarities that come from far,
From poor men's houses banish'd are;
Yet we 'll express, in homely cheer,
How glad we are to see you here.
We'll have whate'er the season yields,
Out of the neighbouring woods and fields;
For all the dainties of your board
Will only be what those afford;
And, having supp'd, we may perchance
Present you with a country dance.
Thus much your servants, that bear sway
Here in your absence, bade me say;
And beg, besides, you 'd hither bring
Only the mercy of a king,
And not the greatness; since they have
A thousand faults must pardon crave;
But nothing that is fit to wait
Upon the glory of your state.
Yet your gracious favour will,
They hope, as heretofore, shine still
On their endeavours; for they swore,
Should Jove descend, they could no more.
UPON THE SICKNESS OF E. S.
MUST she then languish, and we sorrow thus,
And no kind god help her, nor pity us?
Is justice fled from Heaven? can that permit
A foul deformed ravisher to sit
Upon her virgin cheek, and pull from thence
The rose-buds in their maiden excellence?
To spread cold paleness on her lips, and chase
The frighted rubies from their native place?
To lick up with his searching flames a flood
Of dissolv'd coral, flowing in her blood;
And with the damps of his infectious breath,
Print on her brow moist characters of death?
Must the clear light, 'gainst course of nature, cease
In her fair eyes, and yet the flames increase?
Must fevers shake this goodly tree, and all
That ripen'd fruit from the fair branches fall,
Which princes have desired to taste? Must she
Who hath preserv'd her spotless chastity
From all solicitation, now at last
By agues and diseases be embrac'd?
Forbid it, holy Dian! else who shall
Pay vows, or let one grain of incense fall
On thy neglected altars, if thou bless No better this thy zealous votaress? Haste then, O maiden goddess, to her aid; Let on thy quiver her pale cheek be laid, And rock her fainting body in thine arms; Then let the god of music with still charms Her restless eyes in peaceful slumbers close, And with soft strains sweeten her calm repose. Cupid, descend, and, whilst Apollo sings, Fanning the cool air with thy panting wings, Ever supply her with refreshing wind. Let thy fair mother with her tresses bind Her labouring temples, with whose balmy sweat She shall perfume her hairy coronet, Whose precious drops shall, upon every fold, Hang like rich pearls about a wreath of gold: Her looser locks, as they unbraided lie, Shall spread themselves into a canopy, Under whose shadow let her rest secure From chilling cold, or burning calenture; Unless she freeze with ice of chaste desires, Only holy Hymen kindle nupt al fires. And when at last Death comes to pierce her heart, Convey into his hand thy golden dart.
THOSE that can give, open their hands this day;
Those that cannot, yet hold them up to pray;
That health may crown the seasons of this year,
And mirth dance round the circle; that no tear
(Unless of joy) may with its briny dew
Discolour on your cheek the rosy hue;
That no access of years presume t' abate
Your beauty's ever flourishing estate:
Such cheap and vulgar wishes I could lay,
As trivial offerings at your feet this day;
But that it were apostacy in me
To send a prayer to any deity
But your divine self, who have power to give
Those blessings unto others, such as live
Like me, by the sole influence of your eyes,
Whose fair aspects govern our destinies.
Such incense, vows, and holy rites, as were
To the involved serpent' of the year
Paid by Egyptian priests, lay I before
Lucinda's sacred shrine; whilst I adore
Her beauteous eyes, and her pure altars dress
With gums and spice of humble thankfulness.
So may my goddess from her Heaven inspire
My frozen bosom with a Delphic fire;
And then the world shall, by that glorious flame,
Behold the blaze of thy immortal name!
1 The Egyptians, in their hieroglyphics, represented the year by a serpent rolled in a circular form, biting his tail, which they afterwards worshipped; to which the poet here alludes. This was the famous serpent which Claudian describes :
Perpetuumque; virens squamis, caudamque: reducto
Ore vorans, tacito religens exordia morsu.
TO MY MISTRESS, I BURNING IN LOVE.
I BURN, and cruel you, in vain,
Hope to quench me with disdain;
If from your cyes those sparkles came
That have kindled all this flame,
What boots it me, though now you shrowd
Those fierce comets in a cloud,
Since all the flames that I have felt,
Could your snow yet never melt?
Nor can your snow (though you should take
Alps into your bosom) slake
The heat of my enamour'd heart;
But with wonder learn love's art.
No seas of ice can cool desire;
Equal flames must quench love's fire:
Then think not that my heat can die,
Till you burn as well as I.
TO HER AGAIN, SHE BURNING IN A FEVER.
Now she burns as well as I,
Yet my heat can never die;
She burns that never knew desire,
She that was ice, she that was fire.
She, whose cold heart chaste thoughts did arın
So, as love's could never warm
The frozen bosom where it dwelt;
She burns, and all her beauties melt:
She burns, and cries, "Love's fires are mild;
Fevers are gods, but he 's a child."
Love, let her know the difference
"Twixt the heat of soul and sense;
Touch her with thy flames divine,
So shalt thou quench her fire and mine.
UPON THE KING'S1 SICKNESS.
SICKNESS, the minister of Death, doth lay
So strong a siege against our brittle clay,
As, whilst it doth our weak forts singly win,
It hopes at length to take all mankind in.
First, it begins upon the womb to wait,
And doth the unborn child there uncreate;
Then rocks the cradle where the infant lies,
Where, ere it fully be alive, it dies.
It never leaves fond youth, until it have
Found or an early, or a later grave.
By thousand subtle slights from heedless man
It cuts the short allowance of a span;
And where both sober life and art combine
To keep it out, age makes them both resign.
Thus, by degrees, it only gain'd of late
The weak, the aged, or intemperate;
But now the tyrant hath found out a way
By which the sober, strong, and young, decay;
Ent'ring his royal limbs, that is our head,
Through us, his mystic limbs, the pain is spread.
That man that doth not feel his part, hath none
In any part of his dominion;
If he hold land, that earth is forfeited,
And he unfit on any ground to tread.
This grief is felt at court, where it doth move
Through every joint, like the true soul of love.
All those fair stars that do attend on him,
Whence they derive their light, wax pale and dim:
That ruddy morning-beam of majesty,
Which should the Sun's eclipsed light supply,
Is overcast with mists, and in the lieu
Of cheerful rays, sends us down drops of dew.
That curious form made of an earth refin'd,
At whose blest birth the gentle planets shin'd
With fair aspects, and sent a glorious flame
To animate so beautiful a frame;
That darling of the gods and men doth wear
A cloud on 's brow, and in his eye a tear:
And all the rest (save when his dread command
Doth bid them move) like lifeless statues stand.
So full of grief, so generally worn,
Shows a good king is sick, and good men mourn.
TO A LADY NOT YET ENJOYED BY HER HUSBAND COME, Celia, fix thine eyes on mine,
And through those crystals, our souls flitting, Shall a pure wreath of eye-beams twine, Our loving hearts together knitting. Let eaglets the bright Sun survey, Though the blind mole discern not day.
When clear Aurora leaves her mate,
The light of her grey eyes despising, Yet all the world doth celebrate With sacrifice her fair uprising. Let eaglets, &c.