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An Ode to Master Anthony Stafford 1603

The waves are broken precious stones,

Sapphire and amethyst,

Washed from celestial basement walls
By suns unsetting kissed.

Out through the utmost gates of space,
Past where the gray stars drift,
To the widening Infinite, my soul
Glides on, a vessel swift;
Yet loses not her anchorage
In yonder azure rift.

Here sit I, as a little child:

The threshold of God's door
Is that clear band of chrysoprase;
Now the vast temple floor,
The blinding glory of the dome
I bow my head before:
Thy universe, O God, is home,

In height or depth, to me;
Yet here upon thy footstool green
Content am I to be;

Glad, when is opened unto my need

Some sea-like glimpse of thee.

Lucy Larcom [1824-1893]



COME, spur away,

I have no patience for a longer stay,

But must go down

And leave the chargeable noise of this great town:

I will the country see,
Where old simplicity,

Though hid in gray,

Doth look more gay

Than foppery in plush and scarlet clad.

Farewell, you city wits, that are

Almost at civil war

'Tis time that I grow wise, when all the world grows mad.

More of my days

I will not spend to gain an idiot's praise;
Or to make sport

For some slight Puisne of the Inns of Court.
Then, worthy Stafford, say,

How shall we spend the day?
With what delights

Shorten the nights?

When from this tumult we are got secure,

Where mirth with all her freedom goes,

Yet shall no finger lose;

Where every word is thought, and every thought is pure?

There from the tree

We'll cherries pluck, and pick the strawberry;
And every day

Go see the wholesome country girls make hay,
Whose brown hath lovelier grace

Than any painted face

That I do know

Hyde Park can show:

Where I had rather gain a kiss than meet

(Though some of them in greater state

Might court my love with plate)

The beauties of the Cheap, and wives of Lombard Street.

But think upon

Some other pleasures: these to me are none.

Why do I prate

Of women, that are things against my fate!

I never mean to wed

That torture to my bed:

My Muse is she

My love shall be.

Let clowns get wealth and heirs: when I am gone
And that great bugbear, grisly Death,

Shall take this idle breath,

If I a poem leave, that poem is my son.

Of this no more!

We'll rather taste the bright Pomona's store.

An Ode to Master Anthony Stafford 1605

No fruit shall 'scape

Our palates, from the damson to the grape.
Then, full, we'll seek a shade,

And hear what music's made;

How Philomel

Her tale doth tell,

And how the other birds do fill the choir;

The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,
Warbling melodious notes;

We will all sports enjoy which others but desire.

Ours is the sky,

Where at what fowl we please our hawk shall fly:
Nor will we spare

To hunt the crafty fox or timorous hare;
But let our hounds run loose

In any ground they'll choose;

The buck shall fall,

The stag, and all.

Our pleasures must from their own warrants be,
For to my Muse, if not to me,

I'm sure all game is free:

Heaven, earth, are all but parts of her great royalty.

And when we mean

To taste of Bacchus' blessings now and then,
And drink by stealth

A cup or two to noble Barkley's health,

I'll take my pipe and try
The Phrygian melody;

Which he that hears,

Lets through his ears

A madness to distemper all the brain:

Then I another pipe will take

And Doric music make,

To civilize with graver notes our wits again.

Thomas Randolph [1605-1635]


THE midges dance aboon the burn;

The dews begin to fa';

The paitricks doun the rushy holm

Set up their e'ening ca'.

Now loud and clear the blackbird's sang

Rings through the briery shaw,
While, flitting gay, the swallows play

Around the castle wa'.

Beneath the golden gloamin' sky
The mavis mends her lay;

The redbreast pours his sweetest strains
To charm the lingering day;
While weary yeldrins seem to wail
Their little nestlings torn,

The merry wren, frae den to den,
Gaes jinking through the thorn.

The roses fauld their silken leaves,
The foxglove shuts its bell;
The honeysuckle and the birk

Spread fragrance through the dell.—

Let others crowd the giddy court

Of mirth and revelry,

The simple joys that Nature yields

Are dearer far to me.

Robert Tannahill [1774-1810]


ABOVE yon somber swell of land

Thou seest the dawn's grave orange hue,

With one pale streak like yellow sand,
And over that a vein of blue.

The air is cold above the woods;
All silent is the earth and sky,
Except with his own lonely moods

The blackbird holds a colloquy.

"To One Long in City Pent" 1607

Over the broad hill creeps a beam,

Like hope that gilds a good man's brow;
And now ascends the nostril-steam

Of stalwart horses come to plow.

Ye rigid plowmen, bear in mind

Your labor is for future hours!
Advance spare not—nor look behind-

Plow deep and straight with all your powers.
Richard Hengist Horne [1803-1884]


A COUNTRY life is sweet!

In moderate cold and heat,

To walk in the air how pleasant and fair!

In every field of wheat,

The fairest of flowers adorning the bowers,

And every meadow's brow;

So that I say, no courtier may

Compare with them who clothe in gray,

And follow the useful plow.

They rise with the morning lark,

And labor till almost dark,

Then, folding their sheep, they hasten to sleep

While every pleasant park

Next morning is ringing with birds that are singing

On each green, tender bough.

With what content and merriment

Their days are spent, whose minds are bent

To follow the useful plow.




To one who has been long in city pent,

'Tis very sweet to look into the fair

And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer

Full in the smile of the blue firmament.

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