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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,
'Twas but a bud, yet did contain
His brand, his bow, let no man fear: The flames, the arrows, all lie here.
PERSUASIONS TO JOY: A SONG
WILLIAM HABINGTON (1605-1654)
NOX NOCTI INDICAT SCIENTIAM
If the quick spirits in your eye,
Then, Celia, let us reap our joys
Ere Time such goodly fruit destroys.
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.
INGRATEFUL BEAUTY THREATENED
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
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.
THE STORY OF PH@BUS AND DAPHNE,
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,
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.
SIR WILLIAM DAVENANT (1606
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 AND PRAYER
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
Phyllis! to this truth we owe
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
ON A GIRDLE
That which her slender waist confined,
It was my heaven's extremest sphere, 5
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,
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
GO, LOVELY ROSE!
And though the shady gloom
The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
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;
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
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
Orbed in a rainbow; and, glories wearing,
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.
Nor is Osiris seen
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,
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,