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your Servant, according to the new and fine but false phrase of the time, but in honest old English, your loving Brother and true Friend for
The following is a specimen of the Poem:
O sacred vertue, what a powerfull guard
Art thou? What a strong tower of defence?
All hearts are won to reverence and regard
Thy awfull worth thou neyther giv'st offence,
Nor takest it: men are not without sence,
But they both see and tast, and love and nourish
That reall good, by which themselves do flourish.
What understandinge soule, that doth not know,
And knowing love, and loving will not spend
The dearest bloud, that in his veines doth flow,
To guard, and give unto that prince, whose end
To publike more then private good doth bend?
Hee shall be ever able to command
At wil, his subjects purse, his heart, his hand.
Flight was our best defence, and flye we did,
So silly doves before proud falcons flye,
Till Gaveston in Scarborrow-castle hid
My peeres surpris'd: whom Warwickes Earl Syr Guy
Beauchamp beheaded: so my Pierce did dye.
A gloomie night concluded his fair morne,
And fortunes darling ended fortunes scorne.
O what is honour but an exhalation ?
A fierie meteor soone extinct and gone,
A breath of people, and the tongues relation,
That streyght is ended when the voyce is done,
A morning dew, dry'd up with mid-day sun,
A ceasing sweet, like Danaes golden shoure,
That both began and ended in an houre.
There breeds a little beast by Nilus streames,
Which being borne, when Phoebus first doth rise,
Grows old when he reflects his hottest beams,
And when at night western seas he hies,
Then life begins to faile, and streight it dyes,
Borne, old, and dead, and all but in a day:
Such honour is, so soone it wears away.
How much more happy is that sweet estate,
That neither creepes too lowe, nor soares too high,
Which yield no matter to contempt or hate,
Which others not disdaine, not yet envie,
Which neyther does, nor takes an injurie,
But living to itselfe in sweet content,
Is neither abject, nor yet insolent.
He lives indeed, and spendes his course of time
In truest pleasure, that this life can yield,
He hath set houres to pray at ev'n, and prime,
He walks abroad into his quiet field,
And studies how his home affaires to wield.
His soul and body make one comon wealth,
His councels care to keepe them both in health.
He feares no poysons in his meates and drinkes,
He needs no guard to watch about his bed,
No teacher undermines him, what he thinkes,
No dangerous projects hammer in his head,
He sits and sees how things are managed,
And by observing what hath earst beene done,
He levels oft, how future things will run.
ON the suggestion of my friend Mr. George Chalmers, I give the following Poetical Tract a place in this Collection :
"A GODLY DREAM.
By Elizabeth Melvill,
Lady Culros Younger,
At the request of a speciall Friend.
Matthew vii. 13. and Luke xiii. 24.
Enter in at the strayt gate, for wyde is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and manie there bee which go in thereat.
Imprinted by E. Raban, Laird of Letters, and are to bee sold at his shop, at the end of the Broad Gate. 1644."
There are two circnmstances, not a little remarkable, of this publication. It was, as my friend Mr. Chalmers informs me, the first book printed at Aberdeen; and perhaps no printer or publisher, before or since, has assumed so strange and singular a title as Mr. Raban, who scruples not to stile himself LAIRD OF LETTERS.
I looked up into that castle fayre,
Glistryng lyke gold, and shyning silver bright.
The statelie tour did mount above the ayre,
They blinded mee, they cast so great a light;
Mine heart was glad to see that joyfull sight;
My voyage then I thought was not in vayn,
I him besought to guyde mee there aright,
With manie vowes, never to tyre agayn.
Though thou bee near, the way is verie hard,
Sayd hee agayn, thereforr thou must bee stout,
Faynt not for fear. For cowards are debard,
That have no heart to go their voyage out.
Pluck up thyne heart, and grype me fast about,
Out through the trance, together must wee go,
The way is low, remember for to lout,
If this were past, wee have not manie mo.
I held him fast, as hee did give command;
And throgh the trance, together then wee went.
Where in the midst great pricks of yron did stand;
Wherewith my feet were all betorn and rent.
Take courage now, sayd hee, and bee content-
To suffer this. The pleasure comes at last.
I answered not, but ran incontinent
Out through the fyre, and so the payn was past.
When this was done, myne heart did daunce for joy,
I was so near, I thought my voyage ended;
I ran before, and sought not his convoy ;
Nor askt the way, because I thought I kend it,
On statelie steps, most stoutly I ascended;
Without his help, I thought to enter there;
Hee followed fast, and was right sore offended,
And hastilie did drawe me down the staire.
What haste, said hee? Why runnst thou so before?
Without myne help, thinkst thou to clime so hie?
Come down again; thou yet must suffer more,
If thou desyre that dwelling place to see.
This statelie staire, it was not made for thee.
Holdst thou that comes, thou shalt be thrust aback.
Alace, sayd'I! Long wandring wearies mee,
Which makes mee run the nearest way to take.
Then hee began to comfort mee agayn,
And sayd, my friend, thou must not enter heere;
Lift up thyne heart: thou yet must suffer payn;
The last assault of force must needs bee saire.
This goodlie way, although it seem so faire,
It is too high; thou canst not climb, so stay.
But look below, beneath this statelie stayre,
And thou shalt see another kind of way.
I looked down, and saw a pit most black;
Most foull of smoke, and flaming fyre so fell.
That uglie sight made mee to start aback;
I feared to hear so manie shouts and yell,
I him besought that hee the trueth would tell.
Is this, sayd I, the Papists purging place?
Where they affirm that sillie souls do dwell,
To purge their sinnes before they rest in peace?
- VOL. II.