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How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will, Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill!
Whose passions not his masters are,
Whose soul is still prepared for death, Untied unto the worldly care
Of public fame or private breath.
Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Or vice; who never understood How deepest wounds are given by praise,
Nor rules of state, but rules of good.
Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make oppressors great.
Who God doth late and early pray
More of his grace than gifts to lend, And entertains the harmless day
With a religious book or friend.
This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall; Lord of himself, though not of lands ;
And having nothing, yet hath all.
This poet was born about 1577. He received his education at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where his genius and abilities early attracted notice. He was introduced to court, probably by his brother, and appointed Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and sewer in ordinary to King Charles the First; which posts he retained till his death, in 1639. Carew was the author of miscellaneous poems, not, unfortunately, all of a religious nature; but those that are so, have great beauty and simplicity.
BEWITCHING syren! golden rottenness!
Thou hast with cunning artifice displayed
Th' enamelled outside, and the honied verge
of the fair cup, where deadly poison lurks.
Within, a thousand sorrows dance the round;
And, like a shell, pain circles thee without.
Grief is the shadow waiting on thy steps,
Which, as thy joys 'gin towards their west decline,
Doth to a giant's spreading form extend
Thy dwarfish stature. Thou thyself art pain,
Greedy, intense desire; and the keen edge
Of thy fierce appetite oft strangles thee,
And cuts thy slender thread; but still the terror
And apprehension of thy hasty end
Mingles with gall thy most refined sweets.
Yet thy Circean charms transform the world.
Captains that have resisted war and death,
Nations that over fortune have triumphed,
Are by thy magic made effeminate;
Empires, that know no limits but the poles,
Have in thy wanton lap melted away.
Thou wert the author of the first excess
That drew this reformation on the gods;
Canst thou, then, dream those powers that from heaven
Banished the effect, will there enthrone the cause?
To thy voluptuous den fly, witch, from hence;
There dwell, for ever drowned in brutish sense.
GEORGE SANDYS. This eminent sacred poet, the son of Archbishop Sandys, of York, was born at his father's palace, at Bishopsthorp, in 1587. In his eleventh year he was matriculated at St. Mary's Hall, Oxford; and Wood conjectures that he afterwards removed to Corpus Christi College. Many years of his life were spent in travelling, after which he returned to England, and passed much of his time with his sister at Caswell, near Witney, in Oxfordshire. He died in 1643.
The principal work of Sandys is a translation of the Psalms of David, incomparably the most poetical in the English language, but yet at the present day scarcely known.
(WRITTEN ON REVIEW OF GOD'S MERCIES TO THE AUTHOR IN
O Trou who all things hast of nothing made,
Whose hand the radiant firmament displayed,
With such an undiscerned swiftness hurled
About the stedfast centre of the world;
Against whose rapid course the restless sun
And wandering flames in varied motions run;
Which heat, light, life, infuse ; Time, night and day
Distinguish ; in our human bodies sway:
That hungest the solid earth in fleeting air,
Veined with clear springs which ambient seas repair:
In clouds the mountains wrap their heavy heads;
Luxurious valleys clothed with flowery meads :
Her trees yield fruit and shade; with liberal breasts
All creatures she (their common mother) feasts.
Then man thy image hadst; in dignity,
In knowledge, and in beauty, like to Thee:
Placed in a heaven on earth : without his toil
The ever-flourishing and fruitful soil
Unpurchased food produced; all creatures were
His subjects, serving more for love than fear.
He knew no lord but Thee. But when he fell
From his obedience, all at once rebel,
And in his ruin exercise their might:
Concurring elements against him fight:
Troops of unknown diseases; sorrow, age,
And death, assail him with successive rage.
Hell let forth all her furies; none so great
As man to man. Ambition, pride, deceit,
Wrong armed with power, lust, rapine, slaughter reigned ;
And flattered Vice the home of Virtue gained.
The hills beneath the swelling waters stood,
And all the globe of earth was but one flood;
Yet could not cleanse their guilt: the following race
Worse than their fathers, and their sons more base:
Their God-like beauty lost-sin's wretched thrall
No spark of their Divine original
Left unextinguished ; all enveloped
With darkness; in their bold transgressions dead;
When Thou didst from the earth a light display,
Which rendered to the world a clearer day,
Whose precepts from hell's jaws our steps withdraw,
And whose example was a living law;
Who purged us with his blood, the way prepared
To heaven, and those long chained-up doors unbarred.
How infinite thy mercy! which exceeds
The world thou mad'st, as well as our misdeeds :
Which greater reverence than thy justice wins,
And still augments thy honour by our sins.
Oh! who hath tasted of thy clemency
In greater measure or more oft than I!
My grateful verse thy goodness shall display,
O Thou who went'st along in all my way,
To where the morning with perfumed wings
From the high mountains of Panchæal springs,
To that new-found-out world, where sober night
Takes from th' antipodes her silent flight,
To those dark seas where horrid winter reigns,
And binds the stubborn floods in icy chains,
To Libyan wastes, whose thirst no showers assuage,
And where swoln Nilus cools the lion's rage.
Thy wonders in the deep have I beheld;
Yet all by those on Judah's hills excelled :
There where the virgin's Son his doctrine taught,
His miracles and our redemption wrought!
Where I, by Thee inspired, his praises sung,
And on his sepulchre my offering hung.
Which way soe'er I turn my face or feet,
I see thy glory and thy mercy meet-
Met on the Thracian shores, when in the strife
Of frantic Simooms Thou preserv'dst my life;
So when Arabian thieves belayed us round,
And when by all abandoned, Thee I found.
That false Sidonian wolf, whose craft put on
A sheep's soft fleece, and me Bellorophon
To ruin by his cruel letter sent,
Thou didst by thy protecting hand prevent.
Thou savedst me from the bloody massacres
Of faithless Indians, from their treacherous wars,
From raging fevers, from the sultry breath
Of tainted air, which cloyed the jaws of death;
Preserved from swallowing seas, when towering waves
Mixed with the clouds and opened their deep graves ;
From barbarous pirates ransomed, by those taught,
Successfully with Salian Moors we fought.