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Within these folds lie hidden no deceits,
These things are now most clear, thee I embrace :
PHINEAS FLETCHER, a brother of Giles Fletcher, was born in 1584. He was elected from Eton to King's College, and Sir Henry Willoughby gave him the living of Hilgay, in Norfolk, which he held twenty-nine years; when it is supposed he died, 1650. The principal poem of this author is “ The Purple Island,” in twelve cantos, containing an allegorical description both of the body and soul of man. It has been truly said, that no degree of skill in the poet could render this subject agreeable, as a whole, to the modern reader. It abounds, however, with picturesque passages, and touches of natural and pleasing sentiment.
FROM CANTO XI. OF THE PURPLE ISLAND
The early morn lets out the peeping day,
And strewed his paths with golden marigolds:
Till light is quenched and heaven in seas hath flang
The headlong day to the hill the shepherds throng, And Thirsil now began to end his task and song.
Who now, alas ! shall teach my humble vein,
That never yet durst peep from covert glade;
Who now shall teach to change my oaten quill
For trumpet ’larms, or humble verses fill
Ah, thou dread Spirit! shed thy holy fire,
Thy holy flame into my frozen heart;
my low muse thy fierce alarms to ring,
Such as thou wert within the sacred breast
Of that thrice famous poet shepherd-king;
Or as those holy fishers once amongs,
Thou flamedst bright with sparkling parted tongues, And brought'st down heaven to earth in those all
AN APOSTROPHE TO THE FALLEN EMPIRES OF THE WORLD.
Fond man, that looks on earth for happiness,
And here long seeks what here is never found !
Nor can we pay the fine and rentage due:
Though now but writ, and sealed, and given anew, Yet daily we it break, then daily must renew.
Why shouldst thou here look for perpetual good,
At every loss 'gainst heaven's face repining ?
With gilded tops and silver turrets shining;
There now the hart, fearless of greyhound, feeds,
And loving pelican in safety breeds :
Where is the Assyrian lion's golden hide,
That all the east once grasped in lordly paw ?
Or he who 'twixt a lion and a pard,
Through all the world with nimble pinions fared,
Hardly the place of such antiquity,
Or note of those great monarchies we find :
But when this second life and glory fades,
And sinks at length in time's obscurer shades,
That monstrous beast, which nursed in Tiber's fen,
Did all the world with hideous shape affray;
His battering horns, pulled out by civil hinds,
And iron teeth lie scattered on the sands;
And that black vulture, which with dreadful wing
O'ershadows half the earth, whose dismal sight
Who then shall look for happiness beneath ?
death, And life itself's as fleet as is the air we breathe.
THE TRIUMPH OF THE CHURCH.
With that a thundering noise seemed shake the sky,
As when with iron wheels through stony plain
Puffed up by mighty winds, does hoarsely roar,
And breaking with his waves the trembling shore, His sandy girdle scorns, and breaks earth's rampart door.
And straight an angel, full of heavenly might,
(Three several crowns circled his royal head,) From northern coast heaving his blazing light, Through all the earth his glorious beams dispread,
And open lays the beast and Dragon's shame;
For to this end the Almighty did him frame,
A silver trumpet oft he loudly blew,
Frighting the guilty earth with thundering knell;
Babel, great Babel, lies as low as hell.
Her heaven-exalted towers in dust are drowned ;
The broken heavens dispart with fearful noise,
And from the breach outshoots a sudden light; Straight shrilling trumpets, with loud-sounding voice, Give echoing summons to new bloody fight:
Well knew the Dragon that all-quelling blast,
And soon perceived that day must be his last, Which struck his frightened heart and all his troops aghast.
Yet full of malice and of stubborn pride,
Though oft had strove, and had been foiled as oft, Boldly his death and certain fate defied;
And, mounted on his flaggy sails aloft,
With boundless spite he longed to try again
A second loss, and new death ;-glad and fain
So up he arose upon his stretched sails,
Fearless expecting his approaching death ; So up
he arose, that the air starts and fails, And overpressed, sinks his load beneath ; So
up he arose, as doth a thunder-cloud, Which all the earth with shadows black doth shroud; So up
he arose, and through the weary air he rowed.
Now his Almighty foe far off he spies,
Whose sun-like arms dazzled the eclipsed day, Confounding with their beams less glittering skies, Firing the air with more than heavenly ray,
Like thousand suns in one :-such is their light,
A subject only for immortal sprite,
His threatening eyes shine like that dreadful flame
hand : Himself had fairly wrote his wondrous name, Which neither earth nor heaven could understand :
A hundred crowns, like towers, be set around
His conquering head; well may they there abound, When all his limbs and troops with gold are richly crowned.
His armor all was dyed in purple blood,
(In purple blood of thousand rebel kings,) In vain their stubborn powers his aim withstood; Their proud necks chained he now in triumph brings,
And breaks their spears and cracks their traitor-swords ;
Upon whose arms and thigh in golden words Was fairly writ, “ The King of kings, and Lord of lords.“
His snow-white steed was born of heavenly kind,