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With watchful eyes I ne'er behold the night,
Mother of peace, but ah! to me of wars,
And Cynthia queen-like shining through the woods,
When straight those lamps come in my thought, whose light
My judgment dazzled, passing brightest stars,
And then mine eyes en-isle themselves with floods.
Turn to their springs again first shall the floods,
Clear shall the sun the sad and gloomy night,
To dance about the pole cease shall the stars,
The elements renew their ancient wars
Shall first, and be depriv'd of place and light,
Ere I find rest in city, fields, or woods.
End these my days, indwellers of the woods,
Take this my life, ye deep and raging foods ;
Sun, never rise to clear me with thy light,
Horror and darkness, keep a lasting night;
Consume me, care, with thy intestine wars,
And stay your influence o'er me, bright stars !
In vain the stars, indwellers of the woods,
Care, horror, wars, I call, and raging floods,
For all have sworn no night shall dim my sight.
And paint the sable skies
With azure, white, and red;
Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed,
That she thy career may with roses spread ;
The nightingales thy coming each where sing ;
Make an eternal spring,
Give life to this dark world which lieth dead;
Spread forth thy golden hair
In larger locks than thou wast wont before,
1 Printed careere in the Bodleian copy. Elsewhere cariere or carrier.
And, emperor like, decore
With diadem of pearl thy temples fair :
Chase hence the ugly night,
Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light.
This is that happy morn
That day, long-wished day,
Of all my life so dark
(If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn,
And fates not hope betray),
Which, only white, deserves
A diamond for ever should it mark :
This is the morn should bring unto this grove
My love, to hear and recompense my love.
Fair king, who all preserves,
But show thy blushing beams,
And thou two sweeter eyes
Shalt see, than those which by Peneus' streams
Did once thy heart surprise ;
Nay, suns, which shine as clear
As thou when two thou did to Rome appear.
Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise ;
If that ye, winds, would hear
A voice surpassing far Amphion's lyre,
Your stormy chiding stay ;
Let zephyr only breathe,
And with her tresses play,
Kissing sometimes these purple ports of death.
The winds all silent are,
And Phæbus in his chair,
Ensaffroning sea and air,
Makes vanish every star:
Night like a drunkard reels
Beyond the hills to shun his flaming wheels ;
The fields with flow'rs are deck'd in every hue,
The clouds bespangle with bright gold their blue :
Here is the pleasant place,
And every thing, save her, who all should grace.
[From Madrigals and Epigrams.]
See, Chloris, how the clouds
Tilt in the azure lists,
And how with Stygian mists
Each horned hill his giant forehead shrouds ;
Jove thund'reth in the air,
The air, grown great with rain,
Now seems to bring Deucalion's days again.
I see thee quake; come, let us home repair,
Come hide thee in mine arms,
If not for love, yet to shun greater harms,
SONNET TO SIR W. ALEXANDER.
The love Alexis did to Damon bear
Shall witness'd be to all the woods and plains
As singular, renown'd by neighbouring swains,
That to our relics time may trophies rear :
Those madrigals we sung amidst our flocks,
With garlands guarded from Apollo's beams,
On Ochills whiles, whiles near Bodotria's streams,
Are registrate by echos in the rocks.
Of foreign shepherds bent to try the states,
Though I, world's guest, a vagabond do stray,
Thou mayst that store which I esteem survey,
As best acquainted with my soul's conceits :
Whatever fate heavens have for me designed,
I trust thee with the treasure of my mind.
Look how the flower which ling'ringly doth fade,
The morning's darling late, the summer's queen,
Spoild of that juice which kept it fresh and green,
As high as it did raise, bows low the head :
Right so my life, contentments being dead,
Or in their contraries but only seen,
With swifter speed declines than erst it spread,
And, blasted, scarce now shows what it hath been.
And doth the pilgrim therefore, whom the night
By darkness would imprison on his way,
Think on thy home, my soul, and think aright
Of what yet rests thee of life's wasting day?
Thy sun posts westward, passed is thy morn,
And twice it is not given thee to be born.
The last and greatest herald of heaven's King,
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he than man more harmless found and mild :
His food was locusts, and what young doth spring,
With honey that from virgin hives distilld ;
Parch'd body, hollow eyes, some uncouth thing
Made him appear long since from earth exild.
There burst he forth : ‘All ye, whose hopes rely
On God, with me amidst these deserts mourn ;
Repent, repent, and from old errors turn.'
Who listen'd to his voice, obey'd his cry?
Only the echoes, which he made relent,
Rung from their marble caves, ‘Repent, repent!'
Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours,
Of winters past or coming void of care,
Well pleased with delights which present are,
Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers;
To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers
Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare,
And what dear gifts on thee he did not spare,
A stain to human sense in sin that lowers.
What soul can be so sick which by thy songs,
Attir'd in sweetness, sweetly is not driven
Quite to forget earth's turmoils, spites, and wrongs,
And lift a reverent eye and thought to heaven?
Sweet artless songster, thou my mind dost raise
To airs of spheres, yes, and to angels' lays.
This world a hunting is,
The prey poor man, the Nimrod fierce is Death ;
His speedy greyhounds are
Lust, sickness, envy, care,
Strife that ne'er falls amiss,
With all those ills which haunt us while we breathe.
Now, if by chance we fly
Of these the eager chase,
Old age with stealing pace
Casts up his nets, and there we panting die.