« PreviousContinue »
No April can revive thy withered flowers
Whose springing grace adorns thy glory now; Swift, speedy Time, feathered with flying hours,
Dissolves the beauty of the fairest brow. Then do not thou such treasure waste in vain, But love now, whilst thou mayst be loved again.
At length extremity breaks out a way
Sighs (the poor ease calamity affords)
Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born: Relieve my languish, and restore the light;
With dark forgetting of my care, return! And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-adventured youth: Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
Without the torment of the night's untruth. Cease, dreams, the images of day-desires,
To model forth the passions of the morrow; Never let rising sun approve you liars,
To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow. Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain; And never wake to feel the day's disdain.
"O heavens," quoth he, “why do mine eyes be
hold The hateful rays of this unhappy sun? Why have I light to see my sins controlled With blood of mine own shame thus vildly done! How can my sight endure to look thereon ? 810
Why doth not black eternal darkness hide
That from mine eyes my heart cannot abide ?
This, that did season all my sour of life,
“Vexed still at home with broils, abroad in strife,
These miseries go masked in glittering shows,
Let others sing of Knights and Paladins
In aged accents and untimely words;
Which well the reach of their high wits records: But I must sing of thee, and those fair eyes
Authentic shall my verse in time to come; When yet th' unborn shall say, “Lo where she
lies Whose beauty made him speak that else was
That fortify thy name against old age;
Against the dark, and Time's consuming rage. Though the error of my youth in them appear, Suffice they shew I lived and loved thee dear.
FROM THE COMPLAINT OF
Thus, as these passions do him overwhelm,
Viewing the face that even Death commends,
On senseless lips millions of kisses spends. “Pitiful mouth,” saith he, “that living gavest The sweetest comfort that my soul could wish; O be it lawful now that dead thou havest This sorrowing farewell of a dying kiss. And you fair eyes, containers of my bliss,
Motives of love, born to be matched never,
Entombed in your sweet circles sleep forever. “Ah, how methinks I see Death dallying seeks To entertain itself in Love's sweet place; 842 Decayed roses of discoloured cheeks Do yet retain dear notes of former grace; And ugly Death sits fair within her face;
Amazed he stands, nor voice nor body stirs; Words had no passage, tears no issue found; For sorrow shut up words, wrath kept in tears; Confused affects each other do confound; Opprest with grief, his passions had no bound.
Striving to tell his woes, words would not come; For light cares speak when mighty griefs are
Sweet remnants resting of vermilion red,
That Death itself doubts whether she be dead. “Wonder of beauty, oh, receive these plaints, These obsequies, the last that I shall make thee; For lo, my soul that now already faints 850 (That loved thee living, dead will not forsake
thee) Hastens her speedy course to overtake thee.
I'll meet my death, and free myself thereby; For, ah, what can he do that cannot die?
“Yet ere I die thus much my soul doth vow,
Shewing thy beauty's title, not thy name, 860
Of tyrants' threats, or with the surly brow
Altho' his heart, so near allied to earth,
And whilst distraught ambition compasses, And is encompass’d; whilst as craft deceives, 50 And is deceiv'd; whilst man doth ransack man, And builds on blood, and rises by distress; And th' inheritance of desolation leaves To great-expecting hopes: he looks thereon, As from the shore of peace, with unwet eye, And bears no venture in impiety.
EPISTLE TO THE LADY MARGARET,
COUNTESS OF CUMBERLAND He that of such a height hath built his mind, And rear'd the dwelling of his thoughts so strong, As neither fear nor hope can shake the frame Of his resolved pow'rs; nor all the wind Of vanity or malice pierce to wrong His settled peace, or to disturb the same: What a fair seat hath he, from whence he may The boundless wastes and wilds of man survey !
And with how free an eye doth he look down Upon these lower regions of turmoil ! Where all the storms of passions mainly beat On flesh and blood: where honour, pow'r, renown Are only gay afflictions, golden toil; Where greatness stands upon as feeble feet As frailty doth; and only great doth seem To little minds, who do it so esteem.
He looks upon the mightiest monarchs' wars But only as on stately robberies; Where evermore the fortune that prevails Must be the right: the ill-succeeding mars The fairest and the best-fac'd enterprise. Great pirate Pompey lesser pirates quails: Justice, he sees (as if seducèd), still Conspires with pow'r, whose cause must not be ill.
He sees the face of Right t appear as manifold As are the passions of uncertain man; Who puts it in all colours, all attires, To serve his ends, and make his courses hold. He sees, that let deceit work what it can, Plot and contrive base ways to high desires, 30 That the all-guiding Providence doth yet All disappoint, and mocks this smoke of wit.
Nor is he mov'd with all the thunder-cracks
Sacred Religion! Mother of Form and Fear! How gorgeously sometimes dost thou sit decked! What pompous vestures do we make thee wear, What stately piles we prodigal erect, How sweet perfumed thou art, how shining clear, How solemnly observed, with what respect! 300
Another time all plain, all quite thread-bare; Thou must have all within, and nought without; Sit poorly without light, disrobed, — no care Of outward grace, to amuse the poor devout; Powerless, unfollowed; scarcely men can spare The necessary rites to set thee out!
And for the few that only lend their ear, That few is all the world; which with a few Do ever live, and move, and work, and stir. This is the heart doth feel and only know. The rest of all, that only bodies bear, Roll up and down, and fill up but the row, 560
And serve as others members, not their own, The instruments of those that do direct. Then what disgrace is this, not to be known To those know not to give themselves respect ? And though they swell with pomp of folly
And for my part, if only one allow
But, be it that thy body subject be
To no such sickness or the like annoy, Yet if thy Conscience be not firm and free,
Riches are trash, and Honour's but a toy! This Peace of Conscience is the perfect joy Wherewith God's children in the world be blest:
12 Wanting the which, as good want all the
He is to me a Theater large enow,
570 All my respect is bent but to his brow, That is my All; and all I am, is his.
And if some worthy spirits be pleased too,
Let those that know not breath, esteem of wind,
Hath that all-knowing power that holds within The goodly prospective of all this frame, (Where, whatsoever is, or what hath been, Reflects a certain image of the same) No inward pleasures to delight her in, 589 But she must gad to seek an alms of Fame?
The want thereof made Adam hide his head!
The want of this made Cain to wail and weep! This want, alas, makes many go to bed,
When they, God wot, have little list to sleep.
So rich a jewel, and so rare a guest !
MICHAEL DRAYTON (1563-1631)
JOSHUA SYLVESTER (1563-1618)
Were I as base as is the lowly plain,
And you, my Love, as high as heaven above, Yet should the thoughts of me, your humble
swain, Ascend to heaven in honour of my love. Were I as high as heaven above the plain,
And you, my Love, as humble and as low As are the deepest bottoms of the main, Whatsoe'er you were, with you my love should
8 Were you the earth, dear Love! and I, the skies;
My love should shine on you, like to the sun! And look upon you, with ten thousand eyes, Till heaven waxed blind! and till the world
were done! Wheresoe'er I am, - below, or else above, you, Wheresoe'er you are, my heart shall truly love
TO THE READER OF THESE SONNETS Into these Loves, who but for Passion looks;
At this first sight, here let him lay them by, And seek elsewhere in turning other books,
Which better may his labour satisfy. No far-fetched sigh shall ever wound my breast; Love from mine eye a tear shall never wring; Nor in “Ah me's!” my whining sonnets drest! A libertine! fantasticly I sing !
My Muse is rightly of the English strain,
Bright Star of Beauty! on whose eyelids sit
In whose dear bosom, sweet delicious Love
Let what I praise be still made good by you !
THE FRUITS OF A CLEAR CONSCIENCE
To flow in wealth, and feed on dainty fare,
The groaning gout, the colic, or the stone, 5
Whilst in despite of tyrannizing Times, Medea-like, I make thee young again, Proudly thou scorn'st my world-outwearing
rhymes, And murder'st Virtue with thy coy disdain ! And though in youth my youth untimely
And though this earthly body fade and die,
An evil Spirit (your Beauty) haunts me still, Wherewith, alas, I have been long possest; Which ceaseth not to attempt me to each ill, Nor give me once, but one poor minute's rest.
In me it speaks, whether I sleep or wake; And when by means to drive it out I try, With greater torments then it me doth take, And tortures me in most extremity.
Before my face, it lays down my despairs, And hastes me on unto a sudden death; Now tempting me, to drown myself in tears, And then in sighing to give up my breath.
Thus am I still provoked to every evil,
I hear some say, “This man is not in love !" “Who! can he love? a likely thing !” they say. "Read but his verse, and it will easily prove !" O, judge not rashly, gentle Sir, I pray!
Because I loosely trifle in this sort, As one that fain his sorrows would beguile, You now suppose me, all this time, in sport, And please yourself with this conceit the while.
Ye shallow Censures! sometimes, see ye not,
Where other men in depth of passion cry,
Since there's no help, come, let us kiss and
part! Nay, I have done; you get no more of me! And I am glad, yea, glad, with all my heart, That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever! Cancel all our vows! And when we meet at any time again, Be it not seen in either of our brows, That we one jot of former love retain !
Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath, When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies; 10 When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death, And Innocence is closing up his eyes, – Now, if thou wouldst, when all have given him
over, From death to life thou might'st him yet re
TO THE VIRGINIAN VOYAGE
Dear! why should you command me to my rest,
How happy are all other living things,
flight, The quiet evening yet together brings, And each returns unto his Love at night!
O thou that art so courteous else to all,
Well could I wish it would be ever day;
You brave heroic minds,
That honour still pursue;
Go and subdue ! Whilst loitering hinds
Lurk here at home with shame.
Whilst thus my pen strives to eternize thee,
Your course securely steer, West-and-by-south forth keep!
Rocks, lee-shores, nor shoals,
When Eolus scowls,