Elizabethan Poets
 
THOMAS CAMPION
 

From The Second Book of Airs

7

GIVE beauty all her right;
She's not to one form tied.
Each shape yields fair delight,
Where her perfections bide.
Helen I grant might pleasing be,
And Rosamond was as sweet as she.

Some the quick eye commends,
Some swelling lips and red;
Pale looks have many friends,
Through sacred sweetness bred.
Meadows have flowers that pleasure move,
Though roses are the flowers of love.

Free beauty is not bound
To one unmoved clime.
She visits every ground,
And favours every time.
Let the old loves with mine compare,
My sovereign is as sweet and fair.



 

From The Third Book of Airs

12

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze,
And cups o'erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love,
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep's leaden spells remove.

 This time doth well dispense
With lovers' long discourse;
Much speech hath some defence,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.



 

27

NEVER love unless you can
Bear with all the faults of man:
Men sometimes will jealous be
Though but little cause they see;
And hang the head as discontent,
And speak what straight they will repent.

 Men that but one saint adore
Make a show of love to more;
Beauty must be scorned in none,
Though but truly served in one:
For what is courtship but disguise?
True hearts may have dissembling eyes.

 Men, when their affairs require,
Must awhile themselves retire;
Sometimes hunt, and sometimes hawk,
And not ever sit and talk.
If these and such-like you can bear,
Then like and love, and never fear!


 

From The Fourth Book of Airs

20

TURN all thy thoughts to eyes,
Turn all thy hairs to ears,
Change all thy friends to spies
And all thy joys to fears:
True love will yet be free
In spite of jealousy.

 Turn darkness into day,
Conjectures into truth,
Believe what th' envious say,
Let age interpret youth:
True love will yet be free
In spite of jealousy.

 Wrest every word and look,
Rack every hidden thought,
Or fish with golden hook;
True love cannot be caught:
For that will still be free
In spite of jealousy.


 

From The Third Book of Airs

27

SILLY boy, 'tis full moon yet, thy night as day shines clearly;
Had thy youth but wit to fear, thou couldst not love so dearly.
Shortly wilt thou mourn when all thy pleasures are bereaved,
Little knows he how to love that never was deceived.

 This is thy first maiden-flame that triumphs yet unstained,
All is artless now you speak, not one word yet is feigned;
All is heaven that you behold, and all your thoughts are blessed,
But no spring can want his fall, each Troilus hath his Cressid.

 Thy well-ordered locks ere long shall rudely hang neglected,
And thy lively pleasant cheer read grief on earth dejected;
Much then wilt thou blame thy Saint, that made thy heart so holy
And with sighs confess, in love that too much faith is folly.

 Yet be just and constant still, Love may beget a wonder,
Not unlike a summer's frost or winter's fatal thunder:
He that holds his sweetheart true unto his day of dying,
Lives, of all that ever breathed, most worthy the envying.


 

From The Fourth Book of Airs

 7

 THERE is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies grow;
A heavenly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.
There cherries grow which none may buy,
Till 'cherry-ripe' themselves do cry.

 Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rosebuds filled with snow.
Yet them nor peer nor prince can buy,
Till 'cherry-ripe' themselves do cry.

 Her eyes like angels watch them still,
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threatening with piercing frowns to kill
All that attempt, with eye or hand,
Those sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till 'cherry-ripe' themselves do cry.


 

6

So sweet is thy discourse to me,
And so delightful is thy sight,
As I taste nothing right but thee:
Oh why invented Nature light?
Was it alone for Beauty's sake
That her graced words might better take ?
No more can I old joys recall,
They now to me become unknown,
Not seeming to have been at all:
Alas, how soon is this love grown
To such a spreading height in me
As with it all must shadowed be!

 

From The Third Book of Airs

25

SLEEP, angry beauty, sleep and fear not me!
For who a sleeping lion dares provoke?
It shall suffice me here to sit and see
Those lips shut up that never kindly spoke
What sight can more content a lover's mind
Than beauty seeming harmless, if not kind?

 My words have charmed her, for secure she sleeps,
Though guilty much of wrong done to my love;
And in her slumber, see! she close-eyed weeps:
Dreams often more than waking passions move.
Plead, Sleep, my cause, and make her soft like thee,
That she in peace may wake and pity me.



 

From Philip Rosseter's A Book of Airs

10

FOLLOW your saint, follow with accents sweet!
Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feetl
There, wrapped in cloud of sorrow, pity move,
And tell the ravisher of my soul I perish for her love:
But, if she scorns my never-ceasing pain,
Then burst with sighing in her sight and ne'er return again.
 
 All that I sung still to her praise did tend,
Still she was first, still she my songs did end;
Yet she my love and music both doth fly,
The music that her echo is and beauty's sympathy.
Then let my notes pursue her scornful flight:
It shall suffice that they were breathed and died for her delight.

 
 

From The Third Book of Airs

7

KIND are her answers,
But her performance keeps no day;
Breaks time, as dancers
From their own music when they stray.
All her free favours
And smooth words wing my hopes in vain.
Oh did ever voice so sweet but only feign?
Can true love yield such delay,
Converting joy to pain ?

 Lost is our freedom
When we submit to women so.
Why do we need them
When in their best they work our woe?
There is no wisdom
Can alter ends by Fate prefixed.
Oh why is the good of man with evil mixed?
Never were days yet called two,
But one night went betwixt.


 

From Philip Rosseter's A Book of Airs

 2

 THOUGH you are young and I am old,
Though your veins hot and my blood cold,
Though youth is moist and age is dry,
Yet embers live when flames do die.

The tender graft is easily broke,
But who shall shake the sturdy oak?
You are more fresh and fair than I,
Yet stubs do live when flowers do die.

 Thou, that thy youth dost vainly boast,
Know, buds are soonest nipped with frost;
Think that thy fortune still doth cry:
'Thou fool! to-morrow thou must die.'


 

20

 WHEN thou must home to shades of underground,
And there arrived, a new admired guest,
The beauteous spirits do engirt thee round,
White Iope, blithe Helen and the rest,
To hear the stories of thy finished love
From that smooth tongue, whose music hell can move:
Then wilt thou speak of banqueting delights,
Of masks and revels which sweet youth did make,
Of tourneys and great challenges of knights,
And all these triumphs for thy beauty's sake.
When thou hast told these honours done to thee,
Then tell, oh tell, how thou didst murder me!
 

 

12

THOU art not fair, for all thy red and white,
For all those rosy ornaments in thee.
Thou art not sweet, though made of mere delight,
Nor fair nor sweet unless thou pity me.
I will not sooth thy fancies. Thou shalt prove
That beauty is no beauty without love.

 Yet love not me, nor seek not to allure
My thoughts with beauty, were it more divine.
Thy smiles and kisses I can not endure,
I'll not be wrapped up in those arms of thine.
Now show it, if thou be a woman right,
Embrace, and kiss, and love me in despite.


 
 

From The Fourth Book of Airs

18

THINK'ST thou to seduce me then with words that have no meaning?
Parrots so can learn to prate, our speech by pieces gleaning;
Nurses teach their children so about the time of weaning.

 

Learn to speak first, then to woo: to wooing much pertaineth:
He that courts us, wanting art, soon falters when he feigncth,
Looks asquint on his discourse and smiles when he complaineth.

 

Skilful anglers hide their hooks, fit baits for every season,
But with crooked pins fish thou, as babes do that want reason:
Gudgeons only can be caught with such poor tricks of treason.

 

Ruth, forgive me, if I erred from human heart's compassion,
When I laughed sometimes too much to see thy foolish fashion:
But, alas, who less could do, that found so good occasion?

 
 
From Philip Rosseter's A Book of Airs

I

My sweetest Lesbia, let us live and love,
And though the sager sort our deeds reprove,
Let us not weigh them. Heaven's great lamps do dive
Into their west, and straight again revive;
But, soon as once set is our little light,
Then must we sleep one ever-during night.

 
If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armour should not be;
No drum nor trumpet peaceful sleeps should move,
Unless alarm came from the camp of love.
But fools do live and waste their little light,
And seek with pain their ever-during night.
When timely death my life and fortune ends,
Let not my hearse be vexed with mourning friends;
But let all lovers, rich in triumph, come
And with sweet pastimes grace my happy tomb:
And, Lesbia, close up thou my little light,
And crown with love my ever-during night.

 
 
From The First Book of Airs

I I

NEVER weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore,
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my weary spright now longs to fly out of my troubled breast.
Oh, come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest.
Ever blooming are the joys of heaven's high paradise.
Cold age deafs not there our ears, nor vapour dims our eyes;
Glory there the sun outshines, whose beams the blessed only see.
Oh, come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my spright to thee.

 
 
 
BEN JONSON
 

On my First Daughter

HERE lies to each her parent's ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,
It makes the father less to rue.
At six months' end she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul, heaven's queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth.

 
 
 

On my First Son

FAREWELL, thou child of my right hand, and joy!
My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy;
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy
To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry:
For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such
As what he loves may never like too much.

 
 

Epitaph on Elizabeth, L.H.

WOULDST thou hear what man can say
In a little? Reader, stay.
Underneath this stone doth lie
As much beauty as could die;
Which in life did harbour give
To more virtue than doth live.
If at all she had a fault,
Leave it buried in this vault.
One name was Elizabeth,
Th'other, let it sleep with death:
Fitter, where it died to tell,
Than that it lived at all. Farewell.

 
 


Epitaph on S[olomon] P[avy], a child of
Q[ueen] El[izabeth's] Chapel

WEEP with me, all you that read
This little story;
And know, for whom a tear you shed
Death's self is sorry.
Twas a child that so did thrive
In grace and feature,
As Heaven and Nature seemed to strive
Which owned the creature.
Years he numbered scarce thirteen,
When Fates turned cruel;
Yet three. filled zodiacs had he been
The stage's jewel;
And did act, what now we moan,
Old men so duly,
As south the Parcae thought him one,
He played so truly.
So, by error, to his fate
They all consented;
But, viewing him since?alas, too late!?
They have repented;
And have sought, to give new birth,
In baths to steep him;
But, being so much too good for earth,
Heaven vows to keep him.
 

 
 


Inviting a Friend to Supper

TONIGHT, grave sit, both my poor house and I
Do equally desire your company:
Not that we think us worthy such a guest,
But that your worth will dignify our feast,
With those that come; whose grace may make that seem
Something, which, else, could hope for no esteem.
It is the fair acceptance, Sir, creates
The entertainment perfect: not the cates.
Yet shall you have, to rectify your palate,
An olive, capers, or some better salad
Ushering the mutton; with a short-legged hen,
If we can get her, full of eggs, and then,
Lemons, and wine for sauce: to these, a coney
Is not to be despaired of, for our money;
And, though fowl, now, be scarce, yet there are clerks,
The sky not falling, think we may have larks.
I'll tell you of more, and lie, so you will come:
Of partridge, pheasant, wood-cock, of which some
May yet be there; and godwit, if we can:
Knat, rail, and ruff too. How so e'er, my man
Shall read a piece of Virgil, Tacitus,
Livy, or of some better book to us,
Of which we'll speak our minds, amidst our meat;
And I'll profess no verses to repeat:
To this, if ought appear, which I not know of,
That will the pastry, not my paper, show of
Digestive cheese, and fruit there sure will be;
But that, which most doth take my Muse, and me,
Is a pure cup of rich Canary-wine,
Which is the Mermaid's, now, but shall be mine:
Of which had Horace, or Anacreon tasted,
Their lives, as do their lines, till now had lasted.
Tobacco, Nectar, or the Thespian spring,
Are all but Luther's beer, to this I sing.
Of this we will sup free, but moderately,
And we will have no Pooly, or Parrot by;
Nor shall our cups make any guilty men:
But, at our parting, we will be, as when
We innocently met. No simple word,
That shall be uttered at our mirthful board,
Shall make us sad next morning: or affright
The liberty, that we'll enjoy tonight.

 
 


Ode to himself

COME, leave the loathed stage,
And the more loathsome age;
Where pride and impudence, in faction knit,
Usurp the chair of wit!
Indicting and arraigning every day
Something they call a play.
Let their fastidious, vain
Commission of the brain
Run on and rage, sweat, censure, and condemn;
They were not made for thee, less thou for them.

 Say that thou pour'st them wheat,
And they will acorns eat;
'Twere simple fury stiff thyself to waste
On such as have no taste!
To offer them a surfeit of pure bread
Whose appetites are dead!
No, give them grains their fill,
Husks, draff to drink and swill;
If they love lees, and leave the lusty wine,
Envy them not, their palate's with the swine.

 No doubt some mouldy tale,
Like Pericles, and stale
As the shrieve's crusts, and nasty as his fish?
Scraps out of every dish
Thrown forth, and raked into the common tub,
May keep up the Play-club:
There, sweepings do as well
As the best-ordered meal;
For who the relish of these guests will fit,
Needs set them but the alms-basket of wit.

 And much good do't you then:
Brave plush-and-velvet-men
Can feed on orts; and, safe in your stage-clothes,
Dare quit, upon your oaths,
The stagers and the stage-wrights too, your peers,
Of larding your large ears
With their foul comic socks,
Wrought upon twenty blocks;
Which if they are torn, and turned, and patched enough,
The gamesters share your gilt, and you their stuff.

 Leave things so prostitute,
And take the Alcaic lute;
Or thine own Horace, or Anacreon's lyre;
Warm thee by Pindar's fire:
And though thy nerves be shrunk, and blood be cold,
Ere years have made thee old,
Strike that disdainful heat
Throughout, to their defeat,
As curious fools, and envious of thy strain,
May, blushing, swear no palsy's in thy brain.

 But when they hear thee sing
The glories of thy king,
His zeal to God, and his just awe o'er men:
They may, blood-shaken then,
Feel such a flesh-quake to possess their powers,
As they shall cry: 'Like ours
In sound of peace or wars,
No harp e'er hit the stars,
In tuning forth the acts of his sweet reign,
And raising Charles his chariot 'bove his Wain.'


 

From Cynthia's Revels

SLOW, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears:
Yet slower, yet; oh, faintly, gentle springs,
List to the heavy part the music bears,
Woe weeps out her division when she sings.
Droop herbs and flowers;
Fall-grief in showers,
Our beauties are not ours;
Oh, I could still,
Like melting snow upon some craggy hill,
Drop, drop, drop, drop,
Since nature's pride is now a withered daffodil.

 

From A Celebration of Charis

 HAVE you seen but a bright lily grow,
Before rude hands have touched it?
Have you marked but the fall o' the Snow
Before the soil hath smutched it?
Have you felt the wool o' the beaver?
Or swan's down ever?
Or haye smelt o' the bud o' the briar?
Or the nard i' the fire?
Or have tasted the bag o' the bee?
Oh so white! Oh so soft! Oh so sweet is she!

 
 

From Cynthia's Revels

QUEEN and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.

 Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear when day did close:
Bless us then with wished sight,
oddess excellently bright.

 Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short soever:
Thou that mak'st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright.
 


 
 


From The New Inn

IT was a beauty that I saw
So pure, so perfect, as the frame
Of all the universe was lame,
To that one figure, could I draw,
Or give least line of it a law!

 A skein of silk without a knot,
A fair march made without a halt,
curious form without a fault,
A printed book without a blot,
All beauty, and without a spot!


 
 

From The Silent Woman

STILL to be neat, still to be dressed,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powdered, still perfumed:
Lady, it is to be presumed,
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.

 Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all the adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.


 
 

That Women are but Men's Shadows

FOLLOW a shadow, it still flies you;
Seem to fly it, it will pursue:
So court a mistress, she denies you;
Let her alone, she will court you.
Say, are not women truly, then,
Styled but the shadows of us men?
At morn and even, shades are longest,
At noon they are or short, or none:
So, men at weakest, they are strongest;
But grant us perfect, they're not known.
Say are not women truly, then,
Styled but the shadows of us men?

 
 

Song. To Celia

DRINK to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine:
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be.
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me:
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.
 

 
 

Song. To Celia

COME, my Celia, let us prove,
While we may, the sports of love;
Time will not be ours for ever,
He, at length, our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain:
Suns that set may rise again;
But if once we lose this light,
'Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys?
Fame and rumour are but toys.
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies?
Or his easier ears beguile,
So removed by our wile? '
Tis no sin love's fruit to steal,
But the sweet theft to reveal;
To be taken, to be seen.
These have crimes accounted been.

 Kiss me, sweet; the wary lover
Can your favours keep, and cover,
When the common courting jay
All your bounties will betray.
Kiss again; no creature comes.
Kiss, and score up wealthy sums
On my lips thus hardly sund'red
While you breathe. First give a hundred,
Then a thousand, then another
Hundred, then unto the tother
Add a thousand, and so more
Till you equal with the store
All the grass that Rumney yields,
Or the sands in Chelsea fields,
Or the drops in silver Thames,
Or the stars that gild his streams
In the silent summer nights
When youths ply their stol'n delights:
That the curious may not know
How to tell them as they flow;
And the envious, when they find
What their number is, be pined.
 
 


 
 

GEORGE WITHER
 

From Fair Virtue, the Mistress of Philarete

SHALL I, wasting in despair,
Die because a woman's fair?
Or make pale my cheeks with care
'Cause another's rosy are ?
Be she fairer than the day,
Or the flowery meads in May,
If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?

Should my heart be grieved or pined
'Cause I see a women kind?
Or a well-disposed nature
Joined with a lovely feature?
Be she meeker, kinder than
Turtle-dove, or pelican,
If she be not so to me,
What care I how kind she be?

Shall a woman's virtues move
Me to perish for her love?
Or her well-deserving, known,
Make me quite forget mine own?
Be she with that goodness blessed
Which may gain her name of best,
If she be not such to me,
What care I how good she be?

'Cause her fortune seems too high,
Shall I play the fool, and die?
Those that bear a noble mind,
Where they want of riches find,
Think what with them they would do
That without them dare to woo;
And unless that mind I see,
What care I though great she be?

Great, or good, or kind, or fair,
I will ne'er the more despair:
If she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve:
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go;
For if she be not for me,
What care I for whom she be?
 


 
 
 

WILLIAM DRUMMOND
 

Madrigal

THIS life, which seems so fair,
Is like a bubble blown up in the air
By sporting children's breath,
Who chase it everywhere,
And strive who can most motion it bequeath:
And though it sometime seem of its own might,
Like to an eye of gold, to be fixed there,
And firm to hover in that empty height,
That only is because it is so light.
But in that pomp it doth not long appear;
For even when most admired, it in a thought.
As swelled from nothing, doth dissolve in nought.

 
 

ROBERT HERRICK
 

Corinna's going a Maying

GET up, get up for shame! the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air:
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept, and bow'd toward the east,
Above an hour since; yet you not drest,
Nay! not so much as out of bed?
When all the birds have matins said,
And sung their thankful hymns: 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation, to keep in,?
Whenas a thousand virgins on this day,
Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.
Rise; and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come, forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care
For jewels for your gown, or hair:
Fear not; the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept:
Come, and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night:
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying:
Few beads are best, when once we go a Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come; and coming, mark
How each field turns a street; each street a park
Made green, and trimm'd with trees: see how
Devotion gives each house a bough
Or branch: each porch, each door, ere this,
An ark, a tabernacle is
Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
Can such delights be in the street,
And open fields, and we not see't?
Come, we'll abroad: and let's obey
The proclamation made for May:
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But, my Corinna, come, let's go a Maying.
There's not a budding boy, or girl, this day,
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
Some have dispatch'd their cakes and cream,
Before that we have left to dream:
And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
Many a green gown has been given;
Many a kiss, both odd and even:
Many a glance, too, has been sent
From out the eye, love's firmament:
Many a jest told of the keys betraying
This night, and locks pick'd:?yet we're not a Maying.
Come, let us go, while we are in our prime;
And take the harmless folly of the time!
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short; and our days run
As fast away as does the sun :?
And as a vapour, or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne'er be found again:
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade;
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drown'd with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna! come, let's go a Maying.

 
 
To Electra
I DARE not ask a kiss;
I dare not beg a smile;
Lest having that, or this,
I might grow proud the while.

 No, no, the utmost share
Of my desire, shall be
Only to kiss that air,
That lately kissed thee.


 
 

Delight in Disorder

A SWEET disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility,?
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

 
 

Upon Julia's Clothes

WHENAS in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes!

 Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see
That brave vibration each way free;
Oh how that glittering taketh me!


 
 

An Ode for Ben Jonson

AH Ben!
Say how or when
Shall we, thy guests,
Meet at those lyric feasts,
Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun;
Where we such clusters had,
As made us nobly wild, not mad?
And yet each verse of thine
Out-did the meat, out-did the frolic wine.

 My Ben!
Or come again,
Or send to us
Thy wit's great overplus;
But teach us yet
Wisely to husband it,
Lest we that talent spend;
And having once brought to an end
That precious stock,-the store
Of such a wit the world should have no more.


 
 


His Winding-sheet

COME thou, who art the wine and wit
Of all I've writ:
The grace, the glory, and the best
Piece of the rest.
Thou art of what I did intend
The all and end;
And what was made, was made to meet
Thee, thee, my sheet.
Come then, and be to my chaste side
Both bed and bride.
We two, as relics left, will have
One rest, one grave.
And hugging close, we will not fear
Lust entering here:
Where all desires are dead or cold
As is the mould;
And all affections are forgot,
Or trouble not.
Here, here the slaves and prisoners be
From shackles free;
And weeping widows long oppressed
Do here find rest.
The wronged client ends his laws
Here, and his cause.
Here those long suits of chancery lie
Quiet, or die:
And all Star-chamber bills do cease,
Or hold their peace.
Here needs no court for our request,
Where all are best,
All wise, all equal, and-all just,
Alike i' the dust.
Nor need we here to fear the frown
Of court, or crown;
Where fortune bears no sway o'er things,
There all are kings.
In this securer place we'll keep
As lulled asleep;
Or for a little time we'll lie
As robes laid by;
To be another day re-worn,
Turned, but not torn:
Or like old testaments engrossed,
Locked up, not lost;
And for a while lie here concealed,
To be revealed
Next at that great Platonic year,
And then meet here.

 
 

Lyric for Legacies

GOLD I've none, for use or show,
Neither silver to bestow
At my death; but thus much know,
That each lyric here shall be
Of my love a legacy,
Left to all posterity.
Gentle friends, then do but please,
To accept such coins as these
As my last remembrances.
 

 
 

His Litany, to the Holy Spirit

IN the hour of my distress,
When temptations me oppress,
And when I my sins confess,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When I lie within my bed,
Sick in heart and sick in head,
And with doubts discomforted,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the house doth sigh and weep,
And the world is drowned in sleep,
Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the artless doctor sees
No one hope, but of his fees,
And his skill runs on the lees,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When his potion and his pill,
Has, or none or little, skill,
Meet for nothing, but to kill,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the passing bell doth toll,
And the Furies in a shoal
Come to fright a parting soul,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the tapers now bum blue,
And the comforters are few,
And that number more than true,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the priest his last hath prayed,
And I nod to what is said,
'Cause my speech is now decayed,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When, God knows, I'm tossed about,
Either with despair or doubt;
Yet before the glass be out,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the tempter me pursu'th
With the sins of all my youth,
And half damns me with untruth,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the flames and hellish cries
Fright mine ears, and fright mine eyes,
And all terrors me surprise,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

 When the judgement is revealed,
And that opened which was sealed,
When to thee I have appealed,
   Sweet Spirit, comfort me!


 
 

Upon his departure hence

THUS I
Pass by,
And die:
As one,
Unknown,
And gone:
I'm made
A shade,
And laid
I' the grave,
There have
My cave.
Where tell
I dwell,
Farewell.

 
 


To Meadows

YE have been fresh and green,
Ye have been filled with flowers:
And ye the walks have been
Where maids have spent their hours.

 You have beheld, how they
With wicker arks did come
To kiss, and bear away
The richer cowslips home.

 Ye've heard them sweetly sing,
And seen them in a round:
Each virgin, like a spring,
With honey-suckles crowned.

 But now we see none here,
Whose silvery feet did tread,
And with dishevelled hair,
Adorned this smoother mead.

 Like unthrifts, having spent
Your stock, and needy grown,
Ye are left here to lament
Your poor estates, alone.
 


 
 

To Daffodils

FAIR daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon:
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attained his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having prayed together, we
Will go with you along.

 We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay
As you, or anything.
We die,
As your hours do, and dry
Away
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning dew
Ne'er to be found again.


 
 

To Violets

WELCOME, maids of honour!
You do bring
In the spring;
And wait upon her.

 She has virgins many,
Fresh and fair;
Yet you are
More sweet than any.

 You're the maiden posies,
And so graced,
To be placed,
'Fore damask roses.

 Yet though thus respected,
By and by
Ye do lie,
Poor girls, neglected.


 
 

Grace for a Child

HERE, a little child, I stand,
Heaving up my either hand;
Cold as paddocks though they be,
Here I lift them up to thee,
For a benison to fall
On our meat, and on us all. Amen.
 

 
 

To Music, to becalm his Fever

CHARM me asleep, and melt me so
With thy delicious numbers,
That being ravished, hence I go
Away in easy slumbers.
Ease my sick head,
And make my bed
Thou power that canst sever
From me this ill;
And quickly still,
Though thou not kill
My fever.

 Thou sweetly canst convert the same
From a consuming fire,
Into a gentle-licking flame,
And make it thus expire.
Then make me weep
My pains asleep,
And give me such reposes,
That I, poor I,
May think, thereby,
I live and die
'Mongst roses.

 Fall on me like a silent dew,
Or like those maiden showers,
Which, by the peep of day, do strew
A baptisme o'er the flowers.
Melt, melt my pains,
With thy soft strains;
That having ease me given,
With full delight
I leave this light,
And take my flight
For Heaven.
 
 


 
 

Lovers how they come and part

A GYGES' ring they bear about them still,
To be, and not seen when and where they will.
They tread on clouds, and though they sometimes fall,
They fall like dew, but make no noise at all.
So silently they one to th'other come,
As colours steal into the pear or plum,
And air-like, leave no pression to be seen
Where e're they met, or parting place has been.

 
 

To Dianeme

SWEET, be not proud of those two eyes
Which star-like sparkle in their skies;
Nor be you proud, that you can see
All hearts your captives; yours yet free:
Be you not proud of that rich hair
Which wantons with the love-sick air;
Whenas that ruby, which you wear,
Sunk from the tip of your soft ear,
Will last to be a precious stone
When all your world of beauty's gone.
 

 
 

Happiness to hospitality, or a hearty wish to
good housekeeping

FIRST, may the hand of bounty bring
Into the daily offering
Of full provision, such a store
Till that the cook cries
'Bring no more!'
Upon your hogsheads never fall
A drought of wine, ale, beer, at all,
But, like full clouds, may they from thence
Diffuse their mighty influence.
Next, let the Lord, and Lady here
Enjoy a christening year by year;

And this good blessing back them still,
T'ave boys, and girls too, as they will.
Then from the porch may many a bride
Unto the holy temple ride,
And thence return, short prayers said,
A wife most richly married.
Last, may the bride and bridegroom be
Untouched by cold sterility,
But in their springing blood so play,
As that in lustres few they may,
By laughing too, and lying down,
People a city or a town.


 
 

To the Virgins, to make much of Time

 GATHER ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day,
To-morrow will be dying.

 The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

 That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

 Then be not coy, but use your time;
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.
 


 
 
 

JAMES SHIRLEY
 

From The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses

THE glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

 Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late,
Thev stoop to fate,
And must give up the murmuring breath,
When they, pale captives, creep to death.

 The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death's purple altar now,
See where the victor-victim bleeds:
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.


 
 
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