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Oh, when shall Englishmen
With such acts fill a pen,
Or England breed again
Such a King Harry !
Where dost thou careless lie,
Buried in ease and sloth ?
Knowledge, that sleeps, doth die;
And this security,
It is the common moth
5 That eats on wits and arts, and [so] destroys them
both. Are all the Aonian springs
Dried up? lies Thespia waste ? Doth Clarius' harp want strings, That not a nymph now sings!
Or droop they as disgraced, To see their seats and bowers by chattering pies
If hence thy silence be,
As 'tis too just a cause,
Let this thought quicken thee :
15 Minds that are great and free,
Should not on Fortune pause ; 'Tis crown enough to Virtue still, her own applause. What though the greedy fry
Be taken with false baits
Of worded balladry,
They die with their conceits,
And only piteous scorn upon their folly waits.
Then take in hand thy lyre,
Strike in thy proper strain, With Japhet's line, aspire Sol's chariot for new fire,
To give the world again : Who aided him, will thee, the issue of Jove's brain. And since our dainty age
31 Cannot endure reproof, Make not thyself a page To that strumpet the stage, But sing high and aloof,
35 Safe from the wolf's black jaw, and the dull ass's hoof,
MELANCHOLY. Hence, all you vain delights, As short as are the nights
Wherein you spend your folly ! There's nought in this life sweet, If man were wise to seet,
But only melancholy,
Oh, sweetest melancholy !
Welcome, folded arms, and fixed eyes,
A sigh that piercing mortifies,
A look that's fastened to the ground,
A tongue chained up without a sound !
Fountain-heads, and pathless groves,
Places which pale passion loves !
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed, save bats and owls !
A midnight bell, a parting groan !
These are the sounds we feed upon ; Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley ; Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.
Beaumont and Fletcher.
Misdeeming eye! that stoopeth to the lure
Of mortal worths, not worth so worthy love ;
All beauty's base, all graces are impure,
That do thy erring thoughts from God remove.
Sparks to the fire, the beams yield to the sun,
All grace to God, from whom all graces run.
If picture move, more should the pattern please ;
No shadow can with shadowed thing compare,
And fairest shapes, whereon our loves do seize,
But silly signs of God's high beauty are.
Go, starving sense, feed thou on earthly mast;
True love, in heaven seek thou thy sweet repast.
Glean not in barren soil these offal ears,
Sith reap thou may'st whole harvests of delight;
Base joys with griefs, bad hopes do end with fears,
Lewd love with loss, evil peace with deadly fight:
God's love alone doth end with endless ease,
Whose joys in hope, whose hope concludes in peace.
Let not the luring train of fancies trap,
Or gracious features, proofs of Nature's skill,
Lull Reason's force asleep in Error's lap,
Or draw thy wit to bent of wanton will.
The fairest flowers have not the sweetest smell ;
A seeming heaven proves oft a damning hell.
Self-pleasing souls, that play with beauty's bait,
In shining shroud may swallow fatal hook ;
Where eager sight on semblant fair doth wait,
A lock it proves, that first was but a look: The fish with ease into the net doth glide, But to get out the way is not so wide.
So long the fly doth dally with the flame,
Until his singèd wings do force his fall ;
So long the eye doth follow fancy's game,
Till love hath left the heart in heavy thrall.
Soon may the mind be cast in Cupid's jail,
But hard it is imprisoned thoughts to bail.
Oh! loathe that love whose final aim is lust,
Moth of the mind, eclipse of reason's light;
The grave of grace, the mole of Nature's rust,
The wrack of wit, the wrong of every right;
In sum, an ill whose harms no tongue can tell ;
In which to live is death, to die is hell.
TO THE WORLD. A FAREWELL FOR A GENTLE
WOMAN, VIRTUOUS AND NOBLE.
False world, good night, since thou hast brought
That hour upon my morn of age,
Henceforth I quit thee from my thought,
My part is ended on thy stage.
Do not once hope, that thou canst tempt
A spirit so resolved to tread
Upon thy throat, and live exempt
From all the nets that thou canst spread.
I know thy forms are studied arts,
Thy subtil ways be narrow straits;
Thy courtesy but sudden starts,
And what thou call'st thy gifts, are baits.
I know too, though thou strut and paint,
Yet art thou both shrunk up and old;
That only fools make thee a saint,
And all thy good is to be sold.
I know thou whole art but a shop
Of toys and trifles, traps and snares,
To take the weak, or make them stop:
Yet art thou falser than thy wares.
And, knowing this, should I yet stay,
Like such as blow away their lives,
And never will redeem a day,
Enamoured of their golden gyves ?
Or having 'scaped, shall I return,
And thrust my neck into the noose,
From whence so lately I did burn
With all my powers myself to loose ?
What bird or beast is known so dull,
That fled his cage, or broke his chain,
And tasting air and freedom, wull
Render his head in there again?
If these who have but sense, can shun
The engines that have them annoyed ;
Little for me had reason done,
If I could not thy gins avoid.
Yes, threaten, do. Alas, I fear
As little, as I hope from thee:
I know thou canst nor show, nor bear
More hatred than thou hast to me.
My tender, first, and simple years
Thou didst abuse, and then betray;
Since stirr'dst up jealousies and fears,
When all the causes were away.
Then in a soil hast planted me,
Where breathe the basest of thy fools ;
Where envious arts professèd be,
And pride and ignorance the schools :