Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Nay, and, if from a deity
So much deified as I,

It sound not too profane and odd,
Oh, my master and my god!
For 'tis true, most mighty poet!
(Though I like not men should know it)
am in naked Nature less,

Less by much, than in thy dress.

All thy verse is softer far
Than the downy feathers are
Of my wings, or of my arrows,
Of my mother's doves or sparrows,
Sweet as lovers' freshest kisses,
Or their riper following blisses,
Graceful, cleanly, smooth, and round,
All with Venus' girdle bound;
And thy life was all the while
Kind and gentle as thy style,
The smooth-pac'd hours of every day
Glided numerously away.
Like thy verse each hour did pass;
Sweet and short, like that, it was.

Some do but their youth allow me,
Just what they by Nature owe me,
The time that's mine, and not their own,
The certain tribute of my crown:
When they grow old, they grow to be
Too busy, or too wise, for me.
Thou wert wiser, and didst know
None too wise for love can grow;
Love was with thy life entwin'd,
Close as heat with fire is join'd;
A powerful brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleager's, fate.
Th' antiperistasis of age
More enflam'd thy amorous rage;
Thy silver hairs yielded me more
Than even golden curls before.

Had I the power of creation, As I have of generation, Where I the matter must obey, And cannot work plate out of clay, My creatures should be all like thee, "Tis thou shouldst their idea be: They, like thee, should thoroughly hate Business, honour, title, state; Other wealth they should not know, But what my living mines bestow; The pomp of kings, they should confess, At their crownings, to be less Than a lover's humblest guise, When at his mistress' feet he lies. Rumour they no more should mind Than men safe landed do the wind; Wisdom itself they should not hear, When it presumes to be severe; Beauty alone they should admire, Nor look at Fortune's vain attire,

Nor ask what parents it can shew;
With dead or old 't has nought to do.
They should not love yet all, or any,
But very much and very many:
All their life should gilded be
With mirth, and wit, and gaiety;
Well remembering and applying
The necessity of dying.

Their chearful heads should always wear

All that crowns the flowery year:

They should always laugh, and sing,
And dance, and strike th' harmonious string;
Verse should from their tongue so flow,
As if it in the mouth did grow,

As swiftly answering their command,
As tunes obey the artful hand.
And whilst I do thus discover
Th' ingredients of a happy lover,
"Tis, my Anacreon! for thy sake
I of the Grape no mention make.

Till my Anacreon by thee fell,
Cursed Plant! I lov'd thee well;
And 'twas oft my wanton use
To dip my arrows in thy juice.
Cursed Plant! 'tis true, I see,
Th' old report that goes of thee-
That with giants' blood the Earth
Stain'd and poison'd gave thee birth;
And now thou wreak'st thy ancient spite
On men in whom the gods delight.
Thy patron, Bacchus, 'tis no wonder,
Was brought forth in flames and thunder;
In rage, in quarrels, and in fights,
Worse than his tigers, he delights;
In all our Heaven I think there be
No such ill-natur'd god as he.
Thou pretendest, traiterous Wine!
To be the Muses' friend and mine:
With love and wit thou dost begin,
False fires, alas! to draw us in;
Which, if our course we by them keep,
Misguide to madness or to sleep:
Sleep were well; thou 'ast learnt a way
To death itself now to betray.

It grieves me when I see what fate
Does on the best of mankind wait.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]



ENOUGH, my Muse! of earthly things,
And inspirations but of wind;
Take up thy lute, and to it bind
Loud and everlasting strings;
And on them play, and to them sing,
The happy mournful stories,
The lamentable glories,

Of the great crucified King.
Mountainous heap of wonders! which dost rise

Till Earth thou joinest with the skies! Too large at bottom, and at top too high, To be half seen by mortal eye!

spirits above,

With all their comments can explain; How all the whole world's life to die did not disdain!

I'll sing the searchless depths of the compassion


The depths unfathom'd yet

By reason's plummet and the line of wit;
Too light the plummet, and too short the line!

How the eternal Father did bestow
His own eternal Son as ransom for his foe.

How shall I grasp this boundless thing?
What shall I play; what shall I sing?
I'll sing the mighty riddle of mysterious love,
Which neither wretched men below, nor blessed Unhappy man! canst thou stand by and see

All this as patient as he?
Since he thy sins does bear,
Make thou his sufferings thine own,
And weep, and sigh, and groan,
And beat thy breast, and tear

'These verses were not included among those which Mr. Cowley himself styled Miscellanies; but were classed by Bishop Sprat under the title by which they are here distinguished. N.

I'll sing aloud, that all the world may hear
The triumph of the buried Conqueror.
How Hell was by its prisoner captive led,
And the great slayer, Death, slain by the dead.
Methinks, I hear of murdered men the voice,
Mixt with the murderers' confused noise,
Sound from the top of Calvary;

My greedy eyes fly up the hill, and see

Who 'tis hangs there the midmost of the three;
Oh, how unlike the others he!

Look, how he bends his gentle head with blessings
from the tree!

His gracious hands, ne'er stretch'd but to do good,
Are nail'd to the infamous wood!

And sinful man does fondly bind

The arms, which he extends t' embrace all human


Thy garments and thy hair,

And let thy grief, and let thy love,
Through all thy bleeding bowels move.

Dost thou not see thy prince in purple clad all o'er

Not purple brought from the Sidonian shore,


But made at home with richer gore?
Dost thou not see the roses which adorn

The thorny garland by him worn?
Dost thou not see the livid traces

Of the sharp scourges' rude embraces ?

If yet thou feelest not the smart Of thorns and scourges in thy heart; If that be yet not crucified; Look on his hands, look on his feet, look on his side! Open, oh! open wide the fountains of thine eyes, And let them call

Their stock of moisture forth where'er it lies! For this will ask it all. 'Twould all, alas! too little be,

Though thy salt tears come from a sea.
Canst thou deny him this, when he
Has open'd all his vital springs for thee?
Take heed; for by his side's mysterious flood
May well be understood,

That he will still require some waters to his blood.



WE allow'd you beauty, and we did submit
To all the tyrannies of it;

Ah! cruel sex, will you depose us too in wit?
Orinda 2 does in that too reign;
Does man behind her in proud triumph draw,
And cancel great Appollo's Salique law.
We our old title plead in vain,

Man may be head, but woman's now the brain.
Verse was Love's fire-arms heretofore,
In Beauty's campit was not known;
Too many arms besides that conqueror bore:
'Twas the great cannon we brought down
Tassault a stubborn town;

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

They talk of Nine, I know not who,
Female chimeras, that o'er poets reign;
I ne'er could find that fancy true,
But have invok'd them oft, I'm sure, in vain:
They talk of Sappho ; but, alas! the shame!
Ill-manners soil the lustre of her fame;
Orinda's inward virtue is so bright,
That, like a lantern's fair enclosed light,
It through the paper shines where she does write.
Honour and friendship, and the generous scorn
Of things for which we were not born
(Things that can only by a fond disease,
Like that of girls, our vicious stomachs please)
Are the instructive subjects of her pen;
And, as the Roman victory
Taught our rude land arts and civility,
At once she overcomes, enslaves, and betters, men.
But Rome with all her arts could ne'er inspire
A female breast with such a fire:
The warlike Amazonian train,
Who in Elysium now do peaceful reign,
And Wit's mild empire before arms prefer,
Hope 'twill be settled in their sex by her.
Merlin, the seer, (and sure he would not lye,
In such a sacred company)

Does prophecies of learn'd Orinda show,
Which he had darkly spoke so long ago;

Ev'n Boadicia's angry ghost

Forgets her own misfortune and disgrace,

And to her injur'd daughters now does boast, That Rome's o'ercome at last, by a woman of her




BE gone (said I) ingrateful Muse! and see What others thou canst fool, as well as me.

Since I grew man, and wiser ought to be, My business and my hopes I left for thee: For thee (which was more hardly given away) I left, even when a boy, my play. But say, ingrateful mistress! say, What for all this, what didst thou ever pay? Thou 'It say, perhaps, that riches are Not of the growth of lands where thou do st trade, And I as well my country might upbraid Because I have no vineyard there. Well but in love thou dost pretend to reign; There thine the power and lordship is; Thou bad'st me write, and write, and write again; 'Twas such a way as could not miss. I, like a fool, did thee obey:

I wrote, and wrote, but still I wrote in vain ;
For, after all my expense of wit and pain,
A rich, unwriting hand, carried the prize away.

Thus I complain'd, and strait the Muse reply'd,
That she had given me fame.
Bounty immense! and that too must be try'd
When I myself am nothing but a name.

Who now, what reader does not strive
T invalidate the gift whilst we're alive?
For, when a poet now himself doth show,
As if he were a common foe:
All draw upon him, all around,

And every part of him they wound,
Happy the man that gives the deepest blow:
And this is all, kind Muse! to thee we owe.
Then in rage I took,

And out at window threw,

Ovid and Horace, all the chiming crew;
Homer himself went with them too;
Hardly escap'd the sacred Mantuan book:
I my own offspring, like Agave, tore,
And I resolv'd, nay, and I think I swore,
That I no more the ground would till and sow,
Where only flowery weeds instead of corn did grow.

When (see the subtile ways which Fate does find
Rebellious man to bind !

Just to the work for which he is assign'd)
The Muse came in more chearful than before,
And bade me quarrel with her now no more:
"Lo! thy reward! look, here and see
What I have made" (said she)

"My lover and belov'd, my Broghill, do for thee!
Though thy own verse no lasting fame can give,
Thou shalt at least in his for ever live.
What critics, the great Hectors now in wit,
Who rant and challenge all men that have writ,
Will dare t' oppose thee, when
Broghill in thy defence has drawn his conquering


I rose and bow'd my head,

And pardon ask'd for all that I had said: Well satisfy'd and proud,

I strait resolv'd, and solemnly I vow'd,
That from her service now I ne'er would part;
So strongly large rewards work on a grateful heart!
Nothing so soon the drooping spirits can raise
As praises from the men whom all men praise:
'Tis the best cordial, and which only those
Who have at home th' ingredients can compose;
A cordial that restores our fainting breath,
And keeps up life e'en after death!
The only danger is, lest it should be

Too strong a remedy;

Lest, in removing cold, it should beget

Too violent a heat;

And into madness turn the lethargy,

Ah! gracious God! that I might see A time when it were dangerous for me To be o'er-heat with praise! But 1 within me bear, alas! too great allays. 'Tis said, Apelles, when he Venus drew, Did naked women for his pattern view, And with his powerful fancy did refine Their human shapes into a form divine: None who had sat could her own picture see, Or say, one part was drawn for me: So, though this nobler painter, when he writ, Was pleas'd to think it fit

That my book should before him sit, Not as a cause, but an occasion, to his wit; Yet what have I to boast, or to apply To my advantage out of it; since I

[blocks in formation]

Dost in the midst of Paradise arise,

Oxford! the Muse's Paradise,

From which may never sword the bless'd expel! Hail, bank of all past ages! where they lie T'enrich with interest posterity!

Hail, Wit's illustrious galaxy!

Where thousand lights into one brightness spread; Hail, living University of the dead!

Unconfus'd Babel of all tongues! which e'er
The mighty linguist, Fame, or Time, the mighty

That could speak, or this could hear.
Majestic monument and pyramid !
Where still the shades of parted souls abide
Embalm'd in verse; exalted souls which now
Enjoy those arts they woo'd so well below;
Which now all wonders plainly see,
That have been, are, or are to be,
In the mysterious library,
The beatific Bodley of the Deity;

Will you into your sacred throng admit
The meanest British wit?

You, general-council of the priests of Fame,
Will you not murmur and disdain,

That I a place among you claim,
The humblest deacon of her train?
Will you allow me th' honourable chain?
The chain of ornament, which here
Your noble prisoners proudly wear;
A chain which will more pleasant seem to me
Than all my own Pindaric liberty!
Will ye to bind me with those mighty names submit,

Like an Apocrypha with Holy Writ?
Whatever happy book is chained here,
No other place or people need to fear;
His chain's a passport to go every where.

As when a seat in Heaven

Is to an unmalicious sinner given,

Who, casting round his wondering eye,
Does none but patriarchs and apostles there espy;
Martyrs who did their lives bestow,
And saints, who martyrs liv'd below;
With trembling and amazement he begins
To recollect his frailties past and sins;

He doubts almost his station there;
His soul says to itself, "How came I here ?"
It fares no otherwise with me,
When I myself with conscious wonder see
Amidst this purify'd elected company.

With hardship they, and pain,
Did to this happiness attain:
No la oui, nor merits, can pretend;
I think pr.destination only was my friend.


Ah, that my author had been ty'd like me
To such a place and such a company!
Instead of several countries, several men,
And business, which the Muses hate,
He might have then improv'd that small estate
Which Nature sparingly did to him give;
He might perhaps have thriven then,
And settled upon me, his child, somewhat to live.
"T had happier been for him, as well as me;
For when all, alas! is done,

We Books, I mean, you Books, will prove to be
The best and noblest conversation;

For, though some errours will get in,
Like tinctures of original sin;
Yet sure we from our fathers' wit

Draw all the strength and spirit of it, Leaving the grosser parts for conversation, As the best blood of man's employ'd in generation.



CHEER up, my mates, the wind does fairly blow, Clap on more sail, and never spare; Farewell all lands, for now we are

In the wide sea of drink, and merrily we go. Bless me, 'tis hot! another bowl of wine,

And we shall cut the burning line:

Hey, boys! she scuds away, and by my head I know
We round the world are sailing now.
What dull men are those that tarry at home,
When abroad they might wantonly roam,

And gain such experience, and spy too
Such countries and wonders, as I do!
But pr'ythee, good pilot, take heed what you do,
And fail not to touch at Peru!

[blocks in formation]

In every air and every sea 't has been,

'T has compass'd all the Earth, and all the Heavens

't has seen.

Let not the pope's itself with this compare, This is the only universal Chair.

Than those have done or seen, Ev'n since they goddesses and this a star has been) As a reward for all her labour past, Is made the seat of rest at last.

The pious wanderer's fleet, sav'd from the flame
(Which still the relics did of Troy pursue,
And took them for its due),

A squadron of immortal nymphs became :
Still with their arms they row about the seas,
And still make new and greater voyages:
Nor has the first poetic ship of Greece
(Though now a star she so triumphant show,
And guide her sailing successors below,
Bright as her ancient freight the shining fleece)
Yet to this day a quiet harbour found;
The tide of heaven still carries her around;
Only Drake's sacred vessel (which before
Had done and had seen more

Let the case now quite alter'd be, And, as thou wentest abroad the world to see, Let the world now come to see thee!

The world will do 't; for curiosity
Does, no less than devotion, pilgrims make;
And I myself, who now love quiet too.
As much almost as any Chair can do,
Would yet a journey take,

An old wheel of that chariot to see,

Which Phaeton so rashly brake:

Yet what could that say more than these remains of

Great Relic! thou too, in this port of ease,
Hast still one way of making voyages;
The breath of Fame, like an auspicious gale

(The great trade-wind which ne'er does fail) Shall drive thee round the world, and thou shalt run, As long around it as the Sun.

The streights of Time too narrow are for thee;
Launch forth into an undiscover'd sea,
And steer the endlest course of vast Eternity!
Take for thy sail this verse, and for thy pilot me!



Than ever beast, or fish, or bird, or ever tree, be- If you will say " Few persons upon Earth


Did, more than he, deserve to have

Tis folly all, that can be said,

By living mortals, of th' immortal dead,

And I'm afraid they laugh at the vain tears we shed. 'Tis as if we, who stay behind

In expectation of the wind,

Should pity those who pass'd this streight before, And touch the universal shore.

Ah, happy man! who art to sail no more! And, if it seem ridiculous to grieve Because our friends are newly come from sea, Though ne'er so fair and calm it be; What would all sober men believe, If they should hear us sighing say, "Balcarres, who but th' other day Did all our love and our respect command; At whose great parts we all amaz'd did stand; Is from a storm, alas! cast suddenly on land?”

A life exempt from fortune and the grave;
Whether you look upon his birth

And ancestors, whose fame's so widely spread→
But ancestors, alas! who long ago are dead-
Or whether you consider more

The vast increase, as sure you ought, Of honour by his labour bought, And added to the former store:"

All I can answer, is, " That I allow The privilege you plead for; and avow That, as he well deserv'd, he doth enjoy it now.”

Though God, for great and righteous ends, Which his unerring Providence intends Erroneous mankind should not understand, Would not permit Balcarres' hand, (That once with so much industry and art Had clos'd the gaping wounds of every part) To perfect his distracted nation's cure, Or stop the fatal bondage 'twas t' endure;

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »