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Till the Ledæan stars, so famed for love,
Wonder'd at us from above!
We spent them not in toys, in lusts, or wine;
But search of deep philosophy,
With eloquence, and poetry — Arts which I loved, for they, my friend, were thine.
There 'mong the blest thou dost forever shine;
And wheresoe'er thou casts thy view
Upon that white and radiant crew, See'st not a soul clothed with more light than thine.
Well then! I now do plainly see
This busy world and I shall ne'er agree.
The very honey of all earthly joy
Does of all meats the soonest cloy;
And they, methinks, deserve my pity
Who for it can endure the stings,
The crowd and buzz and murmurings,
Of this great hive, the city.
Ye fields of Cambridge, our dear Cambridge, say
Have ye not seen us walking every day?
Was there a tree about which did not know
The love betwixt us two ?
Henceforth, ye gentle trees, forever fade;
Or your sad branches thicker join
And into darksome shades combine,
Dark as the grave wherein my friend is laid! 40
Large was his soul: as large a soul as e'er
Submitted to inform a body here;
High as the place 'twas shortly in heaven to have,
But low and humble as his grave.
So high that all the virtues there did come,
As to their chiefest seat
Conspicuous and great;
So low, that for me too it made a room.
Ah, yet, ere I descend to the grave
May I a small house and large garden have;
And a few friends, and many books, both
Both wise, and both delightful too!
And since love ne'er will from me flee,
A Mistress moderately fair,
And good as guardian angels are,
Only beloved and loving me.
Knowledge he only sought, and so soon caught As if for him knowledge had rather sought; Nor did more learning ever crowded lie
In such a short mortality. Whene'er the skilful youth discoursed or writ,
Still did the notions throng
About his eloquent tongue;
Nor could his ink flow faster than his wit.
O fountains! when in you shall I
Myself eased of unpeaceful thoughts espy?
O fields! O woods! when, when shall I be
The happy tenant of your shade?
Here's the spring-head of Pleasure's flood: Here's wealthy Nature's treasury, Where all the riches lie that she Has coin'd and stamp'd for good.
His mirth was the pure spirits of various wit,
Yet never did his God or friends forget;
And when deep talk and wisdom came in view,
Retired, and gave to them their due,
For the rich help of books he always took,
Though his own searching mind before
Was so with notions written o'er,
As if wise Nature had made that her book.
With as much zeal, devotion, piety,
He always lived, as other saints do die.
Still with his soul severe account he kept,
Weeping all debts out ere he slept.
Then down in peace and innocence he lay,
Like the sun's laborious light,
Which still in water sets at night, Unsullied with his journey of the day.
72 But happy thou, ta'en from this frantic age, Where ignorance and hypocrisy does rage ! A fitter time for heaven no soul e'er chose
The place now only free from those.
ANDREW MARVELL (1621-1678)
Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide:
There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.
Such was that happy garden-state,
While man there walked without a mate
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises 'twere in one,
To live in paradise alone.
How well the skilful gardener drew
Of flowers, and herbs, this dial new;
Where, from above, the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run,
And, as it works, the industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we!
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers ? 72
No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name.
Little, alas! they know or heed,
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees! wheres'e'er your barks I wound
No name shall but your own be found.
When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat.
The gods, that mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race;
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow;
And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime,
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine, and curious peach,
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas,
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
They are all gone into the world of light!
And I alone sit lingering here; Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.
HENRY VAUGHAN (1622–1695)
It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
Like stars upon some gloomy grove, Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest, After the sun's remove.
Happy those early days, when I
Shined in my angel-infancy!
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
Or taught my soul to fancy ought
But a white, celestial thought;
When yet I had not walked above
A mile or two from my first love,
And looking back — at that short space -
Could see a glimpse of His bright face;
When on some gilded cloud or flower
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;
Before I taught my tongue to wound
My conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense,
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
O how I long to travel back,
And tread again that ancient track !
That I might once more reach that plain,
Where first I left my glorious train;
From whence the enlightened spirit sees
That shady city of palm trees.
But ah! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way!
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move;
And when this dust falls to the urn,
In that state I came, return.
Sure thou didst flourish once; and many springs, Many bright mornings, much dew, many show
ers, Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and
wings, Which now are dead, lodged in thy living
Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath
Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease; But this thy strange resentment after death 19
Means only those who broke in life thy peace.
FROM STANZAS ON OLIVER CROM
And now 'tis time; for their officious haste
Who would before have borne him to the sky, Like eager Romans, ere all rites were past,
Did let too soon the sacred eagle fly. Though our best notes are treason to his fame
Joined with the loud applause of public voice, Since Heaven what praise we offer to his name
Hath rendered too authentic by its choice; 8 Though in his praise no arts can liberal be,
Since they, whose Muses have the highest flown, Add not to his immortal memory,
But do an act of friendship to their own;
The marks of penitence and sorrow bears. 255
But you, whose goodness your descent doth show,
Your heavenly parentage and earthly too,
By that same mildness which your father's crown
Before did ravish shall secure your own.
Not tied to rules of policy, you find
Revenge less sweet than a forgiving mind.
Thus, when the Almighty would to Moses give
A sight of all he could behold and live,
A voice before His entry did proclaim 264
Long-suffering, goodness, mercy, in His name.
Your power to justice doth submit your cause,
Your goodness only is above the laws,
Whose rigid letter, while pronounced by you,
Is softer made. So winds that tempests brew,
When through Arabian groves they take their
270 Made wanton with rich odours, lose their spite. And as those lees that trouble it refine The agitated soul of generous wine, So tears of joy, for your returning spilt, Work out and expiate our former guilt. 275 Methinks I see those crowds on Dover's strand, Who in their haste to welcome you to land Choked up the beach with their still growing
store And made a wilder torrent on the shore: 279 While, spurred with eager thoughts of past delight, Those who had seen you, court a second sight, Preventing still your steps and making haste To meet you often wheresoe'er you past. How shall I speak of that triumphant day, 284 When you renewed the expiring pomp of May! A month that owns an interest in your name; You and the flowers are its peculiar claim. That star, that at your birth shone out so bright It stained the duller sun's meridian light, Did once again its potent fires renew, 290 Guiding our eyes to find and worship you.
Yet 'tis our duty and our interest too
Such monuments as we can build to raise, Lest all the world prevent what we should do,
And claim a title in him by their praise. 16
How shall I then begin or where conclude
To draw a fame so truly circular?
For in a round what order can be shewed,
Where all the parts so equal-perfect are?
His grandeur he derived from Heaven alone,
For he was great, ere Fortune made him so; And wars, like mists that rise against the sun, 23
Made him but greater seem, not greater grow. No borrowed bays his temples did adorn,
But to our crown he did fresh jewels bring; Nor was his virtue poisoned, soon as born,
With the too early thoughts of being king. 38
And welcome now, great Monarch, to your own! Behold the approaching cliffs of Albion. 251 It is no longer motion cheats your view; As you meet it, the land approacheth you. The land returns, and in the white it wears
The morn they look on with unwilling eyes,
Till from their maintop joyful news they hear Of ships which by their mould bring new supplies
And in their colours Belgian lions bear. 288