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TO THE NEW YEAR.
GREAT Janus! (who dost, sure, my mistress view
If thy fore-face do see
Than did thy face behind;
With thine old year its voyage take,
can make !
At least a part of me away: [hours, His well-horsed troops, the months, and days, and
Though never any-where they stay,
Make in their passage all their prey; [find The months, days, hours, that march i'the’rear, can
Nought of value left behind. All the good wine of life our drunken youth devours ; Sourness and lees, which to the bottom sink, Remain for latter
to drink; Until, some one offended with the taste, The vessel breaks, and out the wretched relics
run at last. If then, young Year! thou needst must come
(For in Time's fruitful womb The birth beyond its time can never tarry,
Nor ever can miscarry);
Choose thy attendants well; for 'tis not thee
We fear, but 'tis thy company: Let neither loss of Friends, or Fame, or Liberty, Nor pining Sickness, nor tormenting Pain, Nor Sadness, nor uncleanly Poverty,
Be seen among thy train :
Nor let thy livery be
Nay, if thou lovest me, gentle Year!
Let not so much as Love be there;
Although I fear,
Yet, gentle Year! take heed
Such a mistake:
Such Love I mean, alone, As by thy cruel predecessors has been shown ;
For, though I have too much cause to doubt it, I fain would try for once if Life can live without it.
Into the future times why do we pry,
That would even happiest men affright;
The past and present joy.
The book of Fate is writ,
'Tis well we understand not it; We should
mad with little learning there: Upon the brink of every ill we did foresee,
Undecently and foolishly
We should stand shivering, and but slowly venture
The fatal flood to enter. Since, willing or unwilling, we must do it; They feel least cold and pain who plunge at once
WE'RE ill by these grammarians used ;
From the maternal tomb,
To the grave's fruitful womb,
That nothing here can truly claim :
We call our dwelling-place ;
We call one step a race: But angels, in their full enlighten'd state, Angels, who Live, and know what 'tis to Be ; Who all the nonsense of our language see ; Who speak Things, and our words, their ill-drawn
pictures, scorn; When we, by’ a foolish figure, say,
“ Behold an old man dead !" then they [born!” Speak properly, and cry, “ Behold a man-child
My eyes are open’d, and I see
Because we seem wisely to talk
From place to place, And mighty voyages we take,
And mighty journeys seem to make, O'er sea and land, the little point that has no space:
Because we fight, and battles gain ;
And, like Egyptian chroniclers,
With maravedies make the account,
That really we Live: Whilst all these Shadows, that for Things we take, Are but the empty dreams which in Death's sleep
But these fantastic errors of our dream
Lead us to solid wrong ; We pray
God our friends' torments to prolong, And wish uncharitably for them To be as long a-dying as Methusalem. The ripen'd soul longs from his prison to come ; But we would seal, and sow up, if we could, the We seek to close and plaister up by art (womb: The cracks and breaches of the extended shell,
And in that narrow cell
Would rudely force to dwell The noble vigorous bird already wing'd to part.
AWAKE, and with attention hear,
Awake, I say, and listen well,
In strength and number more Than e'er was raised by God before, [about. To scourge the rebel world, and march it round I see the sword of God brandish'd above, And from it streams a dismal
ray ; I see the scabbard cast away; How red anon with slaughter will it prove!
How will it sweat and reek in blood! How will the scarlet-glutton be o'ergorged with his
And devour all the mighty feast ! [food,
Nothing soon but bones will rest.
sare. The altar all the land, and all men in 't the victims Since, wicked men's more guilty blood to spare,