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SONG Would you know what's soft? I dare Not bring you to the down, or air, Nor to stars to show what's bright, Nor to snow to teach you white; Nor, if you would music hear, Call the orbs to take your ear; Nor, to please your sense, bring forth Bruised nard, or what's more worth; Or on food were your thoughts placed, Bring you nectar for a taste; Would you have all these in one, Name my mistress, and 'tis done!



This little vault, this narrow room,
Of love and beauty is the tomb;
The dawning beam, that 'gan to clear
Our clouded sky, lies darken'd here,
For ever set to us: by death
Sent to enflame the world beneath.

'Twas but a bud, yet did contain
More sweetness than shall spring again;
A budding star, that might have grown
Into a sun when it had blown.
This hopeful beauty did create
New life in love's declining state;
But now his empire ends, and we
From fire and wounding darts are free;

His brand, his bow, let no man fear: The flames, the arrows, all lie here.

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If the quick spirits in your eye,
Now languish and anon must die;
If every sweet and every grace
Must fly from that forsaken face;

Then, Celia, let us reap our joys

Ere Time such goodly fruit destroys.
Or if that golden fleece must grow
For ever free from agèd snow;
If those bright suns must know no shade,
Nor your fresh beauties ever fade;

Then fear not, Celia, to bestow

What, still being gather'd, still must grow. Thus either Time his sickle brings In vain, or else in vain his wings.

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Know, Celia, since thou art so proud,

'Twas I that gave thee thy renown. Thou hadst in the forgotten crowd

Of common beauties lived unknown, Had not my verse extoll'd thy name, And with it imp'd the wings of Fame. 6 That killing power is none of thine;

I gave it to thy voice and eyes; Thy sweets, thy graces, all are mine;

Thou art my star, shin'st in my skies; Then dart not from thy borrow'd sphere Lightning on him that fix'd thee there. Tempt me with such affrights no more,

Lest what I made I uncreate; Let fools thy mystic form adore,

I know thee in thy mortal state. Wise poets, that wrapt Truth in tales, Knew her themselves through all her veils. 18


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EDMUND WALLER (1606–1687)

Some nation yet shut in

With hills of ice May be let out to scourge his sin,

Till they shall equal him in vice.




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For they have watch'd since first

The world had birth; And found sin in itself accurst,

And nothing permanent on earth.

Thyrsis, a youth of the inspired train,
Fair Sacharissa loved, but loved in vain.
Like Phæbus sung the no less amorous boy;
Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy!
With numbers he the flying nymph pursues, 5
With numbers such as Phæbus' self might use !
Such is the chase when Love and Fancy leads,
O’er craggy mountains, and through flowery

Invoked to testify the lover's care,
Or form some image of his cruel fair.
Urged with his fury, like a wounded deer,
O'er these he fled; and now approaching

near, Had reached the nymph with his harmonious

lay, Whom all his charms could not incline to

stay. Yet what he sung in his immortal strain, 15 Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain; All, but the nymph that should redress his

wrong, Attend his passion, and approve his song. Like Phæbus thus, acquiring unsought praise, 19 He catched at love, and filled his arm with bays.





The lark now leaves his wat'ry nest,

And climbing shakes his dewy wings. He takes this window for the East,

And to implore your light he sings Awake, awake! the morn will never rise Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.


The merchant bows unto the seaman's star,

The ploughman from the sun his season takes; But still the lover wonders what they are

Who look for day before his mistress wakes. Awake, awake! break thro' your veils of lawn! Then draw your curtains, and begin the dawn! 12




Praise is devotion fit for mighty minds,

The diff'ring world's agreeing sacrifice; Where Heaven divided faiths united finds:

But Prayer in various discord upward flies.

Phyllis! why should we delay
Pleasures shorter than the day?
Could we (which we never can)
Stretch our lives beyond their span,
Beauty like a shadow flies,
And our youth before us dies.
Or would youth and beauty stay,
Love hath wings, and will away.
Love hath swifter wings than Time;
Change in love to heaven does climb.
Gods, that never change their state,
Vary oft their love and hate.

Phyllis! to this truth we owe
All the love betwixt us two.
Let not you and I inquire
What has been our past desire;
On what shepherds you have smiled,
Or what nymphs I have beguiled;
Leave it to the planets too,
What we shall hereafter do;
For the joys we now may prove,
Take advice of present love.



For Prayer the ocean is where diversely

Men steer their course, each to a sev'ral coast; Where all our interests so discordant be

7 That half beg winds by which the rest are lost.


By Penitence when we ourselves forsake,

'Tis but in wise design on piteous Heaven; In Praise we nobly give what God may take,

And are, without a beggar's blush, forgiven. 12



That which her slender waist confined,
Shall now my joyful temples bind;
No monarch but would give his crown,
His arms might do what this has done.

It was my heaven's extremest sphere, 5
The pale which held that lovely deer.
My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
Did all within this circle move!

A narrow compass! and yet there Dwelt all that's good, and all that's fair; 10 Give me but what this ribband bound, Take all the rest the sun goes round.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-

To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day, And chose with us a darksome house of mortal

clay. Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein 15 Afford a present to the Infant God? Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, To welcome him to this his new abode, Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light, 20 And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons



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And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,

80 As his inferior flame The new-enlightened world no more should

need: He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright throne or burning axletree could


The shepherds on the lawn,

85 Or ere the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they than,
That the mighty Pan
Was kindly come to live with them below:

90 Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

Ring out, ye crystal spheres !

125 Once bless our human ears

(If ye have power to touch our senses so), And let your silver chime Move in melodious time;

And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow; And with your ninefold harmony

131 Make up full consort to the angelic symphony. For if such holy song Enwrap our fancy long,

Time will run back and fetch the age of gold; And speckled Vanity

136 Will sicken soon and die,

And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; And Hell itself will pass away, And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering



When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet
As never was by mortal finger strook,

95 Divinely-warbled voice Answering the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took: The air, such pleasure loath to lose, With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly


Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,

Orbed in a rainbow; and, glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Throned in celestial sheen,

145 With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steer





And Heaven, as at some festival,

The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight Will open wide the gates of her high Palace Hall.


In urns and altars round, But wisest Fate says no,

A drear and dying sound This must not yet be so;

150 Affrights the flamens at their service quaint; The Babe yet lies in smiling infancy

And the chill marble seems to sweat,

195 That on the bitter cross

While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat. Must redeem our loss, So both himself and us to glorify:

Peor and Baälim Yet first, to those ychained in sleep,


Forsake their temples dim, The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through With that twice-battered god of Palestine; the deep,

And moonèd Ashtaroth,

Heaven's queen and mother both, With such a horrid clang

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; As on Mount Sinai rang,

The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn; While the red fire and smouldering clouds out- In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz brake:

mourn. The aged earth, aghast

160 With terror of that blast,

And sullen Moloch, fled,

205 Shall from the surface to the centre shake, Hath left in shadows dread When at the world's last session,

His burning idol all of blackest hue; The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his In vain with cymbals' ring throne.

They call the grisly king,

In dismal dance about the furnace blue; And then at last our bliss

165 The brutish gods of Nile as fast, Full and perfect is,

Isis and Orus and the dog Anubis, haste.
But now begins; for from this happy day
The old Dragon under ground,

Nor is Osiris seen
In straiter limits bound,

In Memphian grove or green, Not half so far casts his usurped sway; 170 Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings And wroth to see his kingdom fail,


215 Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

Nor can he be at rest

Within his sacred chest; The oracles are dumb;

Naught but profoundest Hell can be his shroud; No voice or hideous hum

In vain, with timbrelled anthems dark, Runs through the arched roof in words de- The sable-stolèd sorcerers bear his worshipped ark. ceiving

175 Apollo from his shrine

He feels from Juda's land Can no more divine,

The dreaded Infant's hand; With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; No nightly trance, or breathèd spell,

Nor all the gods beside Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic Longer dare abide,

225 cell.

180 Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:

Our Babe, to show his Godhead true, The lonely mountains o'er,

Can in his swaddling bands control the damned And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament; From haunted spring, and dale

So when the sun in bed, Edged with poplar pale, 185 Curtained with cloudy red,

230 The parting Genius is with sighing sent;

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave, With flower-inwoven tresses torn

The flocking shadows pale The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets Troop to the infernal jail,

Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave, And the yellow-skirted fays

235 In consecrated earth,

Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moonAnd on the holy hearth,


loved maze.




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