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Oh, sister, come to the sea-strand,
And see our father's ships come to land.
She's ta’en her by the milk-white hand,
And led her down to the sea-strand.
The youngest sat upon a stane ;
The eldest came and pushed her in.
Oh, sister, sister, lend me your hand,
And you shall be heir of half my
Oh, sister, I'll not reach my hand,
And I'll be heir of all your land.
Shame fa’ the hand that I should take !
It twinned me and my world's maik.'
“Oh, sister, reach me but your glove,
And you shall be sweet William's love.'
“Sink on, nor hope for hand or glove,
And sweet William shall better be my love.
Your cherry cheeks and yellow hair
Had gar'd me gang maiden evermair.'
First she sank,
Until she cam to Tweed mill-dam.
The miller's dauchter was baking breid,
And gaed for water as she had need.
Oh, father, father, in our mill-dam
There's either a mermaid or a milk-white swan.'
The miller quickly drew his dam ;
And there he fand a drowned woman.
You couldna see her yellow hair,
Ir gowd and pearls that were sae rare.
You couldna see her middle sma',
Her gowden girdle was sae braw.
You couldna see her lilie feet,
Her gowden fringes were sae deep.
You couldna see her fingers sma’,
Wi’ diamond rings they were covered a'.
"Sair will they be, whae'er they be,
The hearts that live to weep for thee !'
Then by there cam a harper fine,
That harpèd to the king at dine.
And, when he looked that lady on,
He sighed, and made a heavy moan.
He has ta’en three locks o' her yellow hair,
And wi' theni strung his harp sae fair.
And he brought the harp to her father's hall,
And there the court was assembled all.
He laid his harp upon a stone,
And straight it began to play alone.
'Oyonder sits my father, the king !
And yonder sits my mother, the queen !
And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
And by him my William sweet and true!'
But the last tune that the harp played then,
Binnorie, O Binnorie,
Was, 'Woe to my sister, false Helen!'
By the bonny mill-dams o Binnorie.
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunned the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the hill of heavenly truth ;
The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast ; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity' and ruth.
Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light,
And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure
Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastful friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gained thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.
How wisely Nature did decree,
With the same eyes to weep and see !
That, having viewed the object vain,
They might be ready to complain.
And, since the self-deluding sight
In a false angle takes each height,
These tears, which better measure all,
Like watery lines and plummets fall.
Two tears, which sorrow long did weigh
Within the scales of either eye,
And then paid out in equal poise,
Are the true price of all my joys.
What in the world most fair appears,
Yea, even laughter, turns to tears :
And all the jewels which we prize,
Melt in these pendants of the eyes.
I have through every garden been,
Amongst the red, the white, the green ;
And yet from all those flowers I saw,
No honey but these tears could draw.
So the all-seeing sun each day
Distils the world with chymic ray ;
But finds the essence only showers,
Which straight in pity back he pours.
Yet happy they whom grief doth bless,
That weep the more, and see the less;
And, to preserve their sight more true,
Bathe still their eyes in their own dew.
So Magdalen in tears more wise
Dissolved those captivating eyes,
Whose liquid chains could flowing meet,
To fetter her Redeemer's feet.
Nor full sails hasting laden home,
Nor the chaste lady's pregnant womb,
Nor Cynthia teeming shows so fair
As two eyes, swoln with weeping, are.
The sparkling glance that shoots desire,
Drenched in these waves, does lose its fire.
Yea, oft the Thunderer pity takes,
And here the hissing lightning slakes.
The incense was to Heaven dear,
Not as a perfume, but a tear ;
And stars show lovely in the night,
But as they seem the tears of light.
Ope then, mine eyes, your double sluice,
And practise so your noblest use ;
For others too can see, or sleep ;
But only human eyes can weep.
Now, like two clouds dissolving, drop,
And at each tear in distance stop:
Now, like two fountains, trickle down:
Now, like two floods o'er-run and drown:
Thus let your streams o'erflow your springs,
Till eyes and tears be the same things;
And each the other's difference bears;
These weeping eyes, those seeing tears.
TO MY WORTHY FRIEND MASTER GEORGE SANDYS,
ON HIS TRANSLATION OF THE PSALMS.
I press not to the choir, nor dare I greet
The holy place with my unhallowed feet;
My unwashed Muse pollutes not things divine,
Nor mingles her profaner notes with thine;
Here, humbly waiting at the porch, she stays,
And with glad ears sucks in thy sacred lays.
So, devout penitents of old were wont,
Some without door, and some beneath the font,
To stand and hear the Church's liturgies,
Yet not assist the solemn exercise :
Sufficeth her, that she a lay-place gain,
To trim thy vestments, or but bear thy train;
Though not in tune nor wing she reach thy lark,
Her lyric feet may dance before the ark.
Who knows, but that her wandering eyes that run, 15
Now hunting glowworms, may adore the sun :
A pure flame may, shot by Almighty power
Into her breast, the earthly flame devour :
My eyes in penitential dew may steep
That brine, which they for sensual love did weep.
So (though 'gainst nature's course) fire may be quenched
With fire, and water be with water drenched;